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Posts Tagged ‘Randy Johnson’

It’s not heaven, it’s Iowa.

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As we head into the homestretch of Spring Training, many fans are wondering which of the Yankees highly touted prospects will make the team. My best guess is that only two will be on the Opening Day roster – and one won’t be the guy everyone seems to think. Here’s a quick run-down, beginning with pitchers and catchers.

Pitchers – Coming into camp, there were six youngsters on the radar. All have demonstrated that they’ll be in the majors someday and a few have shown glimpses of top of the rotation talent.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Lomoglio

Dellin Betances: Headed to AA Trenton. Although he impressed at times, those moments were mostly in the early spring. As the competition began to stiffen, his lack of command and inexperience began to show. Don’t worry, though. He has all the tools to be an ace one day. My best guess is he gets a cup of coffee in 2012 and is a full time Yankee in 2013.

Manny Banuelos: See above, although he’s shown more poise. He may actually fast track to the boogie down faster than Betances; he has better command of more pitches at this stage and he’s left-handed.

Andrew Brackman: Remember how Randy Johnson frustrated the Expos early in his career, as his 6’10” frame got completely out of kilter with men on base? Brackman is at that stage now. He throws hard and has a wicked breaking ball, but his mechanics need a lot of fine tuning. He’s headed for AA Scranton, but we may see him in pinstripes sooner than the other Killer B’s.

Ivan Nova: Yankee fans, meet your number 4 starter. It isn’t official yet, but he has proven himself capable this spring. He is combining a plus fastball with a “cut-slider” and improved change to make hitters look foolish at times.

Adam Warren, David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell: All three are proving that they may be serviceable as middle of the rotation or relief type pitchers. A lot of teams would drool at this trio, but with the Yankees, they’re merely trade pieces.

Catchers – Most teams have trouble finding one young catcher. The Yankees have 3 kids who are pushing for a MLB spot. The back-up spot on the Yankee roster will be open until early May with Francisco Cervelli’s injury. Which one goes north?

Jesus Montero

Jesus Montero: The kid can hit, but his defense…well, no one is going to confuse him with Thurman Munson just yet. I really hope the Yanks send him back to AAA to start the year – to allow him to play every day and work on it. Catcher is still a defense-first position and having an all-offense catcher isn’t a luxury the team can afford. I suspect that the manager understands that, having been a catcher during his MLB career.

Austin Romine: The most polished defensively of the trio, his odds of being the heir to Jorge Posada are pretty low. By bringing him north and letting him play 2-3 times a week, he can show off those skills and hopefully hit well enough that the Yanks can set him up as a big-time trade piece – or that he plays so well that Cervelli winds up on the trading block. He is good enough to start for about 20 teams right now, including a few with hopes of contending.

Gary Sanchez: With only 47 pro games under his belt, the 18 year old is near the top of Baseball America‘s Top 100 prospect list. He is still at least two, and more likely four, years away from being ready for the majors. But if the scouts are right, this kid is the next coming of Johnny Bench.

Coming tomorrow, I’ll look at the minor league infielders and outfielders trying to make the Opening day roster.

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In part two of our look back at Brian Cashman’s track record since gaining autonomy over baseball operations, we take a look at what has happened under his hand between October 2006 and October 2007. Part one can be read here.

Signings and Re-Signings

Mike Mussina resigned for 2 years/$23 million.

Signed Kei Igawa for 5 years/$20 million (Plus a $26 million posting fee)

Signed Andy Pettitte to a 1 year/$16 million deal with a 2008 player option

Signed Roger Clemens to a 1 year/$17.4 millon deal

Trades (more…)

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Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted earlier today that the Yankees have signed Marcus Thames. Joel Sherman reports that it is a minor league deal and if Thames makes the major league roster, he’ll make $900k. Thames was originally drafted by the Yankees in 1996 as the 899th pick in the 30th round and then was traded to the Texas Rangers in June 2003 for Ruben Sierra.

In Thames brief career as a Yankee, he only had 13 Plate Appearances, but is best known for hitting the first pitch he saw from Randy Johnson as his first career home run.

After being traded, Thames played primarily for the Detroit Tigers where he amassed a .245 BA, 99 HRs and 255 RBIs while playing left field and some first base.

Going into 2010, it is unlikely that Thames will be the starter, however, he will likely battle with Randy Winn, Jamie Hoffmann, and whomever the Yankees call up from AAA for the right to hit against left handed hitters this season. Career wise against left handed pitchers, Thames has hit .256, 40 HRs with a .516 SLG in 620 ABs.

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Darryl Strawberry is going to appear on ‘Apprentice’. “No, the former Mets and Yankees slugger isn’t up for a front-office position, but something a bit more television-friendly. It was revealed Monday by NBC that Strawberry, 47, is one of the cast members in the next season of “Celebrity Apprentice,” entrepreneur Donald Trump’s reality show that begins airing in March after the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.”

LoHud.com’s Chad Jennings wonders if the Yankees’ lineup would seem better if Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner swapped positions, since Granderson has the power of a corner outfielder and Gardner has the speed of a center fielder.

The agent for Chien-Ming Wang told 1050 ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand that he has heard from 15 teams, whom are interested in Wang.

Blomberg wants to do radio. He  joined Ed Randall on WFAN radio and fell in love with the microphone, opening another potential avenue for the 61-year-old who for years has had a hand in everything from motivational speaking, to scouting for the Yankees, to running sports camps for youths in New Jersey. “I want to do radio,” says Blomberg, who was taken by the Bombers with the first pick of the 1967 draft and spent seven of his eight major league seasons in pinstripes. “It’s a natural thing, I love to talk to people and talk baseball.”

Bruney loves his facial hair. “I can finally grow some facial hair after four years,” he said. “That’s great. That was one of the first things I thought about. When I was traded, I said, ‘Wow, finally, I can grow a beard.’”

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution believes that if his price tag drops to well below $10MM, Johnny Damon could be a good fit for the Braves.

Strikeouts on the rise for Sanchez. “In his last four regular season appearances with Scranton, Sanchez had 22 strikeouts in 18.1 innings. During the Triple-A playoffs, he had 17 strikeouts in 10 innings. This winter in Venezuela, Sanchez has 47 strikeouts in 33 innings (his previous three winters combined he had just 22 strikeouts in 34.1 innings).”

Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues wants the Yankees to stay away from free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd. 

Randy Johnson announces retirement. “I would like to officially announce my retirement. I’ve taken this long because I definitely wanted to kind of relax from the season being over and make sure I had a clear head when I made this decision, and that I would be making it wholeheartedly, and that I would stick with it. Without a doubt, 100 percent, I will be retiring at this time.”

Bay: “I just kind of assumed Damon would be back”. “I didn’t really see them having a hole,” Bay said. “They moved some guys, and I just kind of assumed Damon was going to be back. I just never really gave it a lot of thought to be honest.”

The Misery Tenor. The Yankees have moved on and they have no plans for Ronan Tynan to sing during the 7th inning stretch at future home games.

A-Rod still has Madonna on his mind. “Actress Kate Hudson reportedly dumped sportsman Alex Rodriguez, her boyfriend of nine-months, because he is still obsessed with Madonna.” (more…)

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As a part of ESPN’s end of decade ‘Best of Series’ they have been having, they have named Mariano Rivera as the most valuable pitcher of the 2000’s (Cy Young of the Decade, if you will). Mariano had some stiff competition in being named this award (See: Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Greg Maddux, etc al), but all his competition had various reasons for not being named for this award (Injuries, Off Years, Not Playing all of the 2000s, etc al).

For Mariano, this is yet another accolade he is deservant of. While it is hard to quantify what Mariano has meant to the Yankees, Rebecca at Purist Bleeds Pinstripes tries to quantify how many wins Mariano has meant to the Yankees and does a damn good job and ESPN’s article does a damn good job as well. Enjoy ESPN’s article after the jump.

(more…)

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Now that we know where Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and John Lackey will be playing baseball in 2010, it’s time to look at the best options that the Yankees have not named Chien-Ming Wang. The best free agent options the Yankees have are Justin Duchscherer and Ben Sheets. Let’s compare these two and pick a future Yankee…

Ben Sheets- Pros

Upon mentioning his name, I know I invoke a few groans and rolls of the eyes, which is well deserved, in some cases. Though, the stats do not lie, in 8 active years, he has an ERA of 3.72 and 7.6 Ks per nine innings. Though, when healthy (and that’s a big IF) he can throw 200+ innings easily and even with injury riddled years, he provides 6+ innings in his starts. Think of this you can slide Ben Sheets in as a 4th or 5th starter and move Joba or Phil to the bullpen or rotate their starts which benefits everyone. With Ben not needing to be the #1 starter like he was in Milwaukee, he can relax and pitch his game. When healthy, Ben Sheets has the potential to be a front line starter. Sheets is also one year younger than Justin Duchscherer.

Cons

Sheets missed all of last year due to rehabilitation of his surgically repaired elbow which he injured in 2008.  All the eye rolling and scoffing at him possibly signing is well deserved. The biggest con against him is his health. If you remove 2008 from his pitching records, from 2005 to 2007, his innings pitched were: 156.2, 106, 141.1. Not exactly stellar, more like Joba rules were in effect for him. Another big IF is whether or not he’d be able to pitch in a big city market like New York. Many pitchers have come and not lived up to their expectations or wilted under the pressure (See: Javy Vasquez, Kenny Rodgers, Jack McDowell, Randy Johnson, etc al). He has also pitched solely in the National League Central… (more…)

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     I shared my thoughts on the state of the Yankees over the last five years over at WasWatching.com. This is what I had to say:

From those who were 19 years old or younger when the Yankees last won a ring in 2000:

From Kevin of Zell’s Pinstripe Blog answering the question “How would you describe the state of the Yankees over the the last five years?” –

Over the last five years the New York Yankees have gone after the wrong players. It’s not bad to go after big name players, but you need to go after the right guys. Sheffield over Guerrero? Big Unit over Beltran? The Yankees won in the 1990’s with clutch players who were hungry to win. They weren’t all about the big bucks. The idea over the last five years was to buy everyone they could. I don’t blame the organization for trying to get the Yankees back on top, but spend the money wisely. Don’t just get a player just for the sake of bringing in a big name. Get a player who will help benefit the team and is devoted to winning a World Series ring. Some other mistakes they made…Kevin Brown, Jaret Wright, Javier Vazquez, Raul Mondesi, Kei Igawa, Clemens. (in ‘07) These moves just didn’t make sense. The Yankees finally made the right moves this off-season. They brought in the two best pitchers out on the free agent market. (Sabathia, Burnett) They obtained Mark Teixeira to play first base, which is a big upgrade over Jason Giambi. They finally have a legitimate top of the line rotation, and have depth in the minor leagues. They haven’t had that for a long time now. They improved their defense as well. They have a gold glove winning player at first base, and they will have either Gardy/Melky playing in CF over Damon. If this isn’t the year they win it all, then I don’t know when it will come…

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 67 Days Until Home Opener: April 16, 2009

4 Days, 22 Hours Until Pitchers & Catchers Report

Angels, Yanks have big holes to fill / The Yankees’ rise and fall

Swisher, Bruney shed pounds this offseason / Rice Struck Fear Into Yankees

To Brian Cashman, ‘A-Fraud’ no real worry for Alex Rodriguez / Ball Four

Game used Staten Island Yankees jerseys available / Canseco looks ‘Vindicated’

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     I guess this will be one of the many major stories this off-season, and I don’t see this stopping any time soon. This book has become very controversial, and people have different opinions on it. Not only will he be on Letterman, and doing his book signing at the Yogi Berra Museum, but he will also be on Larry King Live this Friday.

I think the only way you can judge Torre is after you read the book. Most people are just taking stuff from headlines and bashing Torre.

Here are some of the headlines:

Torre issues first comments on book

In his first public comments since excerpts from his book, “The Yankees Years,” began to surface over the weekend, Joe Torre told The New York Times on Tuesday that he is prepared to answer for the contents of the final product.

In the book, a third-person collaboration with Tom Verducci, Torre touches on a variety of controversial topics — among them, his dealings behind closed doors with Alex Rodriguez, general manager Brian Cashman and more.

“Knowing that my name is on it, I know I’m going to have to answer for it,” Torre told the Times in a telephone interview from Hawaii, where he is on vacation.

“I’m comfortable with what I contributed to the book, even though I’m probably going to get more credit or more blame than I deserve, whichever way you want to look at it.”

Torre’s book: Selfish players ended Yankee dynasty

Beyond the blunt critiques of Alex Rodriguez and rising tensions with Brian Cashman, one theme dominates “The Yankee Years,” the new book “co-authored” by Joe Torre:

That the Yankees of the former manager’s final six seasons were a self-absorbed, overpaid imitation of the famously gritty bunch that brought him four rings in his first six years.

“It was just not an unselfish team,” Torre says of the revelation that hit him in 2002.

“The team wasn’t tough enough . . . A lot of those players are more concerned about what it looks like as opposed to getting dirty and just getting it done. Those other teams, they were ferocious.”

TORRE’S TRASHING CONTINUES: BOOK RIPS BROWN, WELLS, PAVANO, BIG UNIT

But Torre doesn’t hold back, with more than his share of caustic comments about other players, too:

On Kevin Brown: “I think he had some emotional issues. There were a lot of demons in this guy. It was sad.”

On David Wells: “The difference between Kevin Brown and David Wells is that both make your life miserable, but David Wells meant to.”

On : “The players all hated him. It was no secret.”

In ‘The Yankee Years,’ David Cone spills juice on Joe Torre’s clubhouse

According to the authors, players often joked about teammates who worked out with McNamee when he served as an assistant strength coach for the Yankees in 2000-2001, especially players who grew dramatically stronger, bigger and leaner in a short period of time. “He’s on Mac’s program,” was the joke, or “He’s on The Program.”

“They were on his program, guys like Roger, Andy and maybe (Mike) Stanton,” the book quotes Cone as saying. He says he thought McNamee “had some GNC stuff he was putting in shakes, maybe creatine or Andro or whatever you can get over the counter.”

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“I didn’t like McNamee,” Cone said in the book. “Not that he was a bad guy. I never thought he was properly vetted.”

Torre: I didn’t feel ‘betrayed’

“I heard the word ‘betrayed’ and I knew that it wasn’t part of the actual book,” Torre told The New York Times yesterday by telephone from Hawaii in his first interview about the book. “I can tell you this much: I know there’s stuff Brian and I disagreed on, and I had one perception and he had another, which, to me, there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re obviously two different people.”

MUSSINA SAYS TORRE BOOK WON’T HURT: A-ROD CAN HANDLE ANOTHER DISTRACTION

“He’s the best player that I’ve had a chance to play with,” Mussina told The Post. “And he works hard at it and if he sat around and worried about everything that happened, he wouldn’t be able to be the player that he is.

“I was in that clubhouse for eight years. I’ve seen a lot of stuff go on. A lot of stories go out. I’ve seen Alex deal with a lot of things, this past year and in other years. I don’t foresee this as being a major issue.”

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“What goes on in the clubhouse and teammates razzing or giving each other a hard time doesn’t necessarily mean we’re cutting into people,” Mussina said. “Did I ever hear anybody call him that? It’s possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s meant in a harsh way. We’re stuck together for six months and we’re trying to have fun with each other and get people motivated. I don’t look at that as something that’s nasty. Yeah, maybe it was wrong, but it’s what guys do.”

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Joe Torre’s poison pen in ‘The Yankee Years’ could be blot on career

Some things are better left unsaid  /  Continuing the Torre story

A-Rod has been hit hard from all directions  /  Torre no longer Mr. Nice Guy

How Brian Cashman leaves Joe Torre to manage alone  /  A-Rod’s latest lie

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