Friday, December 19, 2008

Rotation Shaping Up

The Yankees went out and got two high profile starting pitchers in CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. The Rotation is definitely coming into focus now, but there is still work to be done. Right now you’ve got CM Wang, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Joba Chamberlain. That’s four guys and the Yankees will have to come up with a fifth soon. Chamberlain is doubtful to last a full season as a starting pitcher in my estimation, and so the Yankees really need a six man rotation this year. That means two additional starters need to be found.

You’ve got Hughes and Kennedy available, and re-signing Pettitte is still on the table. Ideally, I’d like to see the Yanks go out and sign Derek Lowe. I’ve been high on him for a while now and am surprised he wasn’t a higher priority than Burnett. Somehow, I think the idea of the Yanks getting another big name guy is pretty low. Still, with Burnett’s injury history, and Chamberlain’s durability problems, it would make sense to me to get another reliable arm. Even CM Wang had injury trouble last year. I’m extremely worried that this year’s rotation is going to blow up due to injury and we’re left scrambling to bring up guys from the minors and having another off season.

Andy Pettitte is available but I can’t see signing him for too much money, or a long term deal. 1 year at 12 million or so sounds about right. Again, Derek Lowe would be my first priority, but I think that is unlikely. I’ve lost faith in Hughes and Kennedy and think each needs to spend a full year in AAA ball, but the likely outcome is that one of them will be in the starting rotation at the beginning of the season and the other will get a start before too long.

The Yankees don’t seem to be too active in the Texiera hunt and with Boras as his agent, I don’t blame them. The deal with the Brewers for Cameron is currently off, but this on again, off again saga fluctuates on a daily basis. Cameron isn’t a huge pickup and the only reason the Yanks were looking at this was to make CC Sabathia feel at home with a friend of his on the field.

Center field remains a bit of a problem with Cabrera and Gardner looking like the best options at the moment. I’m not sure there are too many better options available. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Yankees give up a little offensive production for some better defense, and I don’t have a problem with guys like Nick Swisher playing first. On the other hand, injury issues with guys like Matsui and Posada could be a bigger problem without enough other big bats around.

Last but not least, thank goodness they got rid of Betemit. He was just awful and Girardi seemed to love to play him for some reason.

Things are winding down for offseason moves, but I expect one to two more announcements before the spring, namely the signing of Pettitte and possibly a trade for a CF or unloading Kennedy or Cabrera.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CC Coming to Town

Finally this morning the news broke that CC Sabathia will be joining the New York Yankees. Apparently the deal is for 7 years and 160 million, approximately.

This is a big deal for the Yankees and Yankee fans. CC was dragging his feet and each day that went by it was looking more and more like he would sign somewhere else. The Yanks now officially have a healthy ace to lead off the rotation. If Wang stays healthy he’s their number two and Joba will be number three.

That leaves at least two more spots to fill. There have been rumors before the CC news that the Yanks were stepping up talks with Burnett and Lowe and that they had also been talking to Ben Sheets. The last I heard was that a better offer was made to Burnett and that the Yanks were close to a deal with Lowe. I don’t know how things will change now that Sabathia has been signed, but expect the Yankees to sign at least one of these guys.

Personally, I think Lowe should be the number one priority at this point. He’s the best value out there and the most consistent of the bunch. I’d look at Sheets a little more than Burnett as well. There hasn’t been much word on the Yankees and Andy Pettitte, and all the news concerning him is about talks with other teams.

I think the Yanks will try to sign two more starting pitchers, won’t go after Texiera hard any more, and will still shop around Cano, Cabrera and Kennedy for a center fielder or a utility infielder.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Little Going On, and it May Hurt the Yanks

There really hasn’t been much to report or comment on lately, which is what I’m going to comment on. No major signings, no major official offers, nothing. The rumor mill has been spinning and things don’t sound so hot for the Yankees right now. The Angels are rumored to be close to offering CC Sabathia a big time deal that comes close to the Yankees offer. From what I’ve read, the Yankees are going to have to significantly beat another teams offer to lure CC away from a team that’s higher on his list of preferences.

The Yankees’ rumored offers for AJ Burnett and Derek Lowe were apparently quite off the mark, with one wanting a longer deal and the other wanting more money.

Several teams have expressed interest in Mark Texiera and there certainly will be competition for his services. Boston’s interest is just a show and a ploy to drive up the price for the Yankees, but rumors of interest from other teams is more likely accurate.

Andy Pettitte has talked to the Dodgers, most likely trying to keep his options open if the Yankees don’t sign him and also in an effort to light a fire under the Yankees.

Once the dominos start to fall, there will be a rapid succession of signings. Most of the big deals probably center around CC Sabathia, as he is likely the biggest target out there. After he signs, the others will quickly follow.  If the Yankees sign him, they won’t go all in on Texiera and will try to get the best deal out of either Burnett or Lowe. If CC goes somewhere else, the Yankees will make Texiera a big offer and will turn up the heat trying to sign both Lowe and Burnett (or possibly making a trade for Peavey if he’s still available).

What could set things off kilter would be a team making a surprisingly big offer to someone like Burnett or Lowe before CC signs. The Yanks won’t sign anyone until CC is off the table and other clubs scrambling to get the remaining free agent pitchers available could up their offers quickly and the Yanks could get left out in the cold.

I think the prudent strategy would be to aggressively go after the players you want all at once, and do it before too many other teams get close to a deal. I’m a big fan of setting deadlines and letting players know they have a finite period of time to accept an offer (a reasonable period like a week or so). If a player says no, move on to the next target. The Yankees desperately need starting pitching, as do a few other teams. There are a few big names available this year, but the supply is far behind the demand.

I don’t expect any big deals today, and with Thanksgiving tomorrow, things will slow down for a while but I expect the first big deal to go down before Christmas.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekly Recap

Last week we finally had some action from the Yankees giving us a glimpse into what the future holds.

1. Darrel Rasner was sold to Japan. This one seemed a little odd to me at first. I liked Rasner and thought he did an excellent job for the Yankees when they needed him. He started out strong and had a very rough finish, but I thought he had value as a long reliever. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that teams in major league baseball just don’t see the need for long relievers any more. Joe Girardi last year made it clear that he didn’t want to waste roster space with a long reliever if he didn’t have to. In the end, I think this move came down to something Rasner really wanted to do, and the Yankees let him. Best of luck Darrel.

2. CC Sabathia given a huge offer. There have been a few complaints coming out of the Brewers organization that the Yankees overbid for Sabathia, but the Yankees have the money to spend and don’t want to waste time getting the players they covet the most. I don’t see the Sabathia offer as being too extravagant. A little more than he probably deserves but that’s exactly what you expect from the Yankees. There have also been rumors that the MLBPA has been pressuring CC to sign the deal to help push up contract prices for players, but that claim sounds dubious at best. I predict that CC will talk to one or two other clubs early this week and be signed with the Yanks by the weeks end.

3. The Yanks want to go after Lowe and Burnett. Hank Steinbrenner let the cat out of the bag that the Yankees were going to be making offers to three big name pitchers, not just one or two. Most people seem to think that the Yankees are interested in signing two quality free agent starters, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more than that if the team can come to terms with the players it wants. The Yankees’ rotation was beat up last year and injuries took their toll. Joba couldn’t handle the physical stress of being thrown into a full time starting job at the end of last season and it’s still questionable how many innings he can throw this year. Mussina might not want to come back and the Yankees might not want Pettitte back. The most likely scenario is that the Bombers pick up two new arms, but don’t rule out them getting all three of their targets.

4. Yanks acquire Swisher from White Sox. Finally Wilson Betemit is jettisoned. He was a drain on the team more than anything else. His offensive production was abysmal and his defense was suspect as well. Joe Girardi insisted on giving him playing time rather than getting young prospects the at bats and innings they deserved. Marquez had some potential but wasn’t necessarily a guaranteed big league player. Kanekoa Texiera has potential and could possibly end up playing at Yankee stadium some day and his inclusion in the deal is a little surprising. Nick Swisher showed potential early in his career and then went and had an awful year this past season. He’s billed as a Jason Giambi type of hitter, but not quite as good (which, considering Giambi’s performance last year, is pretty scary). The hope is that last year was a fluke and that Swisher will continue to develop and reach the potential many thought he once had. His defensive skills are a significant improvement over last year and I laud the Yankees for placing a little emphasis on defense rather than just offense. Swisher also has the flexibility to play left and right field if needed. He’s a bit of a gamble, but the Yankees got him for a steal so you have to be pretty happy with this deal. The Yankees will still go after Mark Texiera, but their need at first base isn’t as dire and I think the Pinstripers won’t be offering quite as much as they would have if the hadn’t acquired Swisher.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meacham Let Go

According to Peter Abraham over at LoHud, Bobby Meacham will not be returning as the Yankees third base coach. Meacham had been criticized repeatedly by the media for several bad calls that cost the Yankees runs and games during the year. There’s a bit of a knack to being a third base coach and until this year, I never really realized how much a bad coach could cost a team. Unlike Peter, I’m not reading too much else into the move, especially regarding relations between Girardi and Cashman. Check out the full update over at LoHud for some names that might come up as replacements.

2009 Rotation

Let’s take a quick look at who was here this year and who could be here next year.

Guys who were around in 2008

Chien Ming Wang – Hopefully will be healthy and will anchor the rotation. Given his surgery this year, it’s not a given. If Wang can’t return to form, the Yankees are in trouble.

Joba Chamberlain – Can be the ace of the rotation if he stays healthy. There are definite issues about his endurance, and whether or not his body can handle the load of a starter. He’s got the stuff, but how long can he keep it up. If the Yankees manage to secure enough other talent, he could go back to being a starter with a few extra days off to limit his innings. If injuries become an issue, he becomes their set up man.

Mike Mussina – I don’t know if Mussina can repeat his 2008 performance or whether we’ll start seeing more of the horrendous outings he had at the beginning of the season. If he’s willing, I’d sign him and take a chance but it’s not a sure thing that he will return or that he can continue to pitch successfully. I think the best bet at this time if he does return is that he’ll fill out the back end of the rotation nicely.

Andy Pettitte – Andy has always been a favorite player of mine since day 1, but I think it’s time to retire. He could probably play another year or two but his numbers are only going to get worse. I think the Yankees will make him an offer and try to bring him back just to have another guy around, but I don’t think he’s a good fit for the team any more.

Darrel Rasner – A backup plan at best. Darrel had early success when he hit the rotation but after a while hitters started to figure him out and he became more of a liability. He could make the team as a long reliever, but Joe Girardi hasn’t gotten to the chapter on long relievers in Coaching Baseball 101 (sometimes I wonder if he’s ever even opened the book).

Dan Giese – Another possible long reliever.

Phil Hughes – Trade bait. If the Yankees could get a decent player in return for Hughes they had better jump at the opportunity. A lot of informed observers are suggesting the Yankees need to hold on to this guy because he still has star potential but I’m sticking with the opinion that he’s a total bust and a big liability given his injury history. I think the team will try to move Hughes but if not will continue to try and move him along and get him ready for the rotation. If things go well in the fall league and the Yankees still have Hughes come spring, he’ll be high on the list for the number five slot.

Ian Kennedy – I thought Ike would bring up the back end of the rotation this year and be a solid not-so-bad pitcher. Boy was I wrong. I think the Yankees will try to move him in the offseason and the organization isn’t as attached to him as they are Hughes. If there is interest in Kennedy, he’ll be gone but for now, I think Hughes is the main target for teams interested in trading with the Yanks.

Sidney Ponson – A temporary solution who won’t be around next year.

Carl Pavano – It had been suggested earlier that the Yanks should pick up Pavano’s option and use him for a year if healthy. I don’t see any chance of that happening. So long Carl.

New Faces

CC Sabathia – Number one on the list of players the Yanks would like to get but will come at a hefty price. It’s all going to come down to two things, the number of years and the number of dollars he wants. There is a strong possibility that another team may step in and actually outspend the Yankees to land him. Right now I say it’s 50-50 for CC to land in the Bronx.

Jake Peavey – There has been a few mild rumors about the Yankees working a trade for Peavey and for my money, he should be the number one target for the rotation. I think the chances are pretty slim that he’ll end up in NY, but it’s definitely a possibility worth exploring.

AJ Burnett – I’m not all that excited about this one but I expect the Yanks to look into acquiring him.

Betances, Brackman, Marquez and others – I just haven’t heard enough buzz about any of the prospects being ready for the majors yet. Brackman needs time to rediscover his stuff after the surgery and the others could be brought up mid-year, but I don’t think they’ll be given serious consideration during the spring. Also, these guys could be packaged up in a deal to acquire a veteran starter or center fielder. I expect the farm system to take a hit this offseason as the Yankees ship off a few young guys in order to make some trades for veterans who can help the team out immediately in 2009.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I’m going to go out on a limb here and officially shoot myself in the foot regarding my readers. This entry is inspired by a recent post over on River Ave Blues which asked the question of how we (as Yankee fans) wanted the Red Sox to lose.

I never quite got into the “hate” part of a good rivalry. If you are a Yankee fan, it is commonly expected that you hate the Red Sox. A few crazed fans take this hatred to an extreme and once or twice a year you’ll read a story in the news about a fight or assault happening where the motive was trash talking by fans of either the Yankees or the Sox. Earlier this year a person was actually run over by a car in a Yankees/Sox related incident.

When the Yankees play the Red Sox, I root for the Yankees. I get on the phone and call up a good friend who is a die-hard Red Sox fan and frequently taunt him. During the regular season, if the Yanks and Sox are vying for first place or a wild card, I’ll cheer for any team that beats the Sox, improving New York’s standings.

If the Yankees get eliminated, or if the Sox play some one other than NY in the playoffs, I’ll usually root for our long-time rivals, the Red Sox. I’ll even join my friend (who makes a wicked home-brew) to watch the game. That’s right. On occasion I’ll root for the Red Sox (but only if it does not adversely affect the Yankees in any way).

Here are two reasons: First, I lived in Boston (and very close to Fenway) for about two years and have some connection with the area.

Secondly, and most importantly, If two teams have a rivalry and one team completely stinks, it’s not much of a rivalry. If the Red Sox never make the playoffs or always exit early, the rivalry starts to lose some of it’s luster. When both teams are competitive in the regular season and in the post-season, then the rivalry really starts to take on meaning and have some history. Some of the greatest NY-Boston games have happened in the playoffs. If Boston never makes it there, after a while the rivalry becomes an afterthought.

Also, if teams in your division do well, it makes you look better. The Yankees 2008 season isn’t quite as bad in retrospect when you consider that Tampa and Boston were two of the best teams in the league.

This theory doesn’t apply just to my favorite baseball team. In college hoops, I’m always 100% behind my alma mater Syracuse University. In the NCAA tournament, I’ll frequently root for other Big East teams, even Georgetown, when they are not playing SU. As far as hoops rivalries go, SU-Georgetown is about as big as Yankees-Red Sox.

There’s nothing better than seeing my team beat our rivals, but when a game doesn’t involve my team, I give the rivals a little love. College football is a classic sport where you definitely should root for your competition to do well. Many of the polls and rankings consider strength of schedule directly or indirectly and having the teams you play win a lot of their games can have a big impact on your team’s ranking.

I’ve been called out by a few people who claim that “I’m not a true fan” and have heard other, cruder replies as well. I can somewhat understand those who root against a team’s biggest rival, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. Oftentimes, having a rival do well makes my team look better and as a true fan, it’s always about having my team on top. If you want to disagree with me that’s fine, but if you think I’m not a “true fan”, then you’ve got a lot to learn.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here?

With the blog, that is.

The Yankees season has officially ended and after a brief respite, things will pick up again slightly as Brian Cashman and others attempt to piece together next year’s team. While the developments will be slow, there are usually enough rumors popping up for some lively discussions to occur.

This was my second blog (my first was a personal blog with a mix of sports, tech, and other random commentary) and my first real attempt to do a focused blog about a single topic and team. I think it went pretty well all in all.

I had a little more time on my hands during the spring and first half of the season and was able to do at least one post a day and sometimes more. In the late summer, early fall, real life time commitments made it a little harder to put out daily content and things slowed down a bit.

I also have gone back and forth regarding the types of content I put up on the blog. From basic game recaps and stats to more opinionated commentary. There are lots of places on the internet to get all the game recaps on big sites like ESPN or SI. There are a few outstanding blogs that provide an excellent blend of both game summary and opinion content, like Sliding Into Home (one of my personal favorites). Toward the end of the season, I tried to get away from just repeating the game recaps and providing more of my personal opinions on what was happening with the team. This can get a little tricky after a while, especially when a team is having a bad season, as I sometimes feel like all I’m doing is bitching.

With a popular team like the Yankees, there are a huge number of blogs out there dedicated to the team and there is fairly stiff competition for readers, and sometimes I feel like I’m just re-hashing the same stuff that a lot of other people have gone over.

Realistically, other job and family commitments are going to slowly continue to get worse and daily posts are likely out of the question. Three or four days a week is a more reasonable expectation. Baseball is more of a daily game however (compared to something like football) and wonder if a few times a week would be enough.

I’d love to hear any comments, opinions or suggestions from anyone out there. So if you like reading the blog or have any constructive insights as to why you don’t read more often, let me know!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Torre Finding Success in LA

I don't know how much a manager really contributes to the success of a team, but my gut tells me that the manager is definitely an important part of success. I always liked Joe Torre and was sad to see him go. It didn't take long for him to find himself another high-profile managerial position, this time all the way on the west coast managing the Dodgers. LA made it to the playoffs this year and quickly dispatched the best team in the National League in 3 games. Even if they lose to the Phillies in the next series, I think this year has to be recorded as an outstanding success for the Dodgers.

The Yankees on the other hand are the complete opposite, not making the playoffs for the first time in years. How much of this year's disaster can be accounted for by the departure of Torre and arrival of Girardi? I've often felt that this year's team was heartless, lacking in both drive and motivation and I squarely place the responsibility for those types of intangibles on the manager.

I'm going to try to be optimistic that Girardi isn't entirely stubborn and thick-headed and that he'll learn from this years colossal failure. His approach this year didn't work, plain and simple. Relations with the media were attrocious and clubhouse chemistry was non-existant. Hopefully Joe G can take a step back, look at what went wrong, and make adjustments and improve himself as a manager by learning from his mistakes. Hopefully.

Meanwhile, Joe Torre did what he does best. Takes a motely bunch of underachievers and pastes them together into a cohesive playoff bound team. Even when one of the most notorious personalities is dropped in his lap, Torre finds a way to get Manny back to being the superstar that he is. Not all of the current Yankee problems are due to Torre's leaving, and not all of the Dodger's success is related to Torre's arrival, but I sure as heck believe that a significant portion of each is all Torre.

Lastly, Torre has always been a class act and has maintained his dignity throughout the fiasco that was his pseudo-firing, the Yankees hardships this year, his team's success, and the end-of the-stadium snub. Several other big league managers would do well to take a page out of Torre's book in this regard.

Way to go Joe.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cashman Coming Back

Brian Cashman agreed to a three year contract to remain the general manager of the Yankees today. Personally, I'm not all that thrilled but it has its good and bad sides. The down side for me is that I've never been particularly impressed with Cashman's philosophies, judge of talent, and the outcomes he's produced. This year certainly turned out to be a disaster and a portion of the blame can be squarely lain on Brian's shoulder.

There is an upside to the return of Cashman, however. When it comes to assembling a team and a farm system, consistency at the top is a good thing. Oftentimes a GM is fired before the fruits of his labor are fully realized. I think Brian has been around long enough that we see what he's all about and what he can do, but I think we're just starting to see his influences on the farm system start to pan out (for better or worse). Over the next year or two we'll really see some of his labors start to bear fruit. This offseason should be a great opportunity to once and for all see what Cash can do. He's got two new bosses to deal with, a big list of needs and a boatload of money to spend.

The last point is that I'm not sure who else is available that could fill in as GM of the Yankees other than Cashman. While I've not been his biggest fan, I honestly don't know if there is someone out there who is available that would be any better.

Now that the GM position is locked up, we should start seeing some action regarding the re-signing of current players.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Bright Spot at the End

Mike Mussina, pitching what could be his last game ever, earned his 20th win of the season for the first time in his career, making him the oldest player to hit 20 for the first time. Moose was in control from the start and pitched like the ace he’d become. In a season marked by disappointment, it was nice to see something uplifting on the last day. Moose hasn’t decided definitively whether or not he’ll return but most people think that it’s 50/50 at best with Mussina leaning toward retirement.

Joe Girardi pulled out all the stops late in the game and ripped through his bullpen to keep the game in hand and the Yankee offense stepped up and delivered a series of runs to ensure a victory.

The Pinstripers weren’t so fortunate in the final game of the doubleheader and ended up with an 89 win season, missing the playoffs for the first time in years. Here’s my take on the key points since the last season.

Final Season at Yankee Stadium – Unfortunately things didn’t end quite the way we wanted, and the final season was one we’d like to forget. There was a nice closing ceremony, but the man who brought the most recent World Series titles to NY was conspicuously absent. We missed you Joe.

Joe Torre essentially fired – Unlike Yankee ownership, Joe Torre was and is a class act. He knew how to handle big salary and big ego players and was arguably the best guy at handling the New York sports media. The contract he was offered was insulting and quite frankly baffling. The guy put the Yankees back on the map and is a big reason why they were able to get the funding for the new stadium. Joe held his head high throughout the entire affair and quickly landed a job in Los Angeles, where he has led the ragtag Dodgers into the playoffs. The Steinbrenners will have plenty of time this October to watch the man they let go coach in the post season.

Joe Girardi hired as manager over Don Mattingly – Quite a few people think Mattingly will make a great head coach. I have no idea but I do know he is a Yankee icon who would have been extremely well received. Joe Girardi on the other hand was a known quantity with an impressive but short managerial resume. Joe Girardi’s rookie season will be remembered for two things: missing the playoffs for the first time in years, and getting hammered for repeatedly lying to the media. Personally I’ll remember him for making several poor in-game decisions and being completely unable to motivate the team when he needed to. Joe will be back for another year but he won’t last too long in the Big Apple.

Yankees try rely heavily on 3 young pitchers – This was the biggest disaster and a valuable lesson learned for the Yankees. Joba Chamberlain was the only pitcher who amounted to anything and he predictably had injury problems late in the season. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy were total busts and essentially crippled the team early on. A baseball team can handle one fifth starter who is shaky from time to time. A decent bullpen can bail out the young guy from time to time and can step in when some of the others are having an off day. Two consistently bad pitchers, combined with veterans still having their share of struggles, absolutely depleted the bullpen, frequently put the team behind big early on and generally torpedoed the team’s morale. The situation was greatly compounded by the ineptitude of Girardi, who for some reason never bothered calling up a long reliever early on, despite having at least two decent options available.

Lack of Offensive Consistency – Every once in a while the sleeping juggernaut would awaken and have a big game but the runs seldom came when they were needed. Injuries played a role but the team always had enough guys around who were capable of big numbers that should have been able to pick up the slack. Jason Giambi, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Wilson Betemit, Melky Cabrera to name a few. These guys didn’t live up to expectations in one way or the other. Giambi had a quite a streak later in the season but helped get the Yankees in a big hole early on. Cano had issues all season long that were apparent to everyone watching the game yet Girardi failed to do anything about it. All in all the offense was a disaster.

So there you have some of my early thoughts on the season. I’ll post a few more as time goes by.

Feel free to chime in with what you think were the biggest stories of this year!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wet and Wild Win

The Yankees scored 19 runs on a rainy Friday night in Boston. It was another game with a lot of young faces, some doing well and others not so well. Cody Ransom went 3 for 3 with 2 home runs and a walk. I like this kid at the plate. Brett Gardner went 2 for 6 and Juan Miranda 1 for 1.

Robinson Cano had another big night and it seems he’s been a superstar ever since his benching. I’ve been very critical of Cano all year but all of a sudden he seems to have found his game again. I don’t like players who can’t be relied on for consistent performance and wonder if his recent output will enhance his trade value.

Pitching wasn’t a pretty sight. Aceves struggled and has work to do before he’s ready for the majors on a permanent basis. Coke and Britton gave up too many hits in too short of a time period but Robinson looked solid.

I’m glad these guys are getting a chance to play at the end. Watching them in real big league games under pressure against a good team can help with next year’s scouting. There is going to be a big debate over how much home grown youth to have on the roster and how many overpriced, over the hill veterans to bring in. This years attempt at a youth movement was a resounding failure, but unfortunately many of the vets didn’t do much better.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rivera Might Need Surgery

Mariano Rivera returned home early with a sore shoulder and news is starting to come out now about an MRI and possible arthroscopic surgery. Joe Girardi continues his stance of telling the media anything but the truth and invented a story about a “cranky body.” Don’t bother looking that one up in your medical textbooks. When later questioned about the comments, Girardi became annoyed and demonstrated his complete lack of media savvy.

The Carl Pavano era is likely over in NY, finishing with a final season ERA of 5.77. I’ve heard some talk about the Yankees re-signing him for a single year and in a sick way, it almost makes sense as the Yankees will be in desperate need of starting pitching next year. Fortunately, saner and cooler heads will prevail and there is zero chance Carl will be playing for the Pinstripers in the future.

Brett Gardner has been reading my blog and comments about his batting skills apparently. Last night he started proving me wrong by going 3 for 4 at the plate. I’d love to see Gardner emerge as a starter if he can bring his batting average up a bit. Last night was a good start. Keep it up Brett!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Game in the Win Column

Phil Hughes lasted a career high eight innings last night, allowing only two runs on five hits. It was the first game all year when Hughes actually looked like a big league pitcher. Phil ins’t out of the woods yet but hopefully a fall season in the Arizona league will help him come around.

The Yankees had a lot of young guys in the lineup last night and the offense was mediocre at best. Things came alive a bit in the tenth inning when Bobby Abreau hit the game winning grand slam home run but ideally, it shouldn’t have to come down to the tenth inning.

At least the team is going out strong, safely in third place ahead of Toronto. It doesn’t take away the sting of not playing in the post season, but it leaves a little hope for next year.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yanks Eliminated Despite Win

The Yankees didn't lose, but with Boston winning, ended up eliminated from post season play regardless. The good news is that Mike Mussina collected his 19th win of the season and should have a shot at number 20 before things wrap up for good. As a matter of pride, the Yankees now have a few games lead on Toronto for 3rd place in the AL East. It's not much, but these days you take all you can get.

Phil Coke and Damaso Marte had troubles in the bullpen again last night, but Bruney, Chamberlain and Rivera were solid. Bruney has sure been something of late and should be a big contributor next year. If Chamberlain moves to the starting rotation, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bruney get a shot as the set up man.

Brett Gardner and Cody Ransom got a few at bats and some quality playing time. Both could make the roster as utility guys or defensive players next year, but I, not too certain either has what it takes to be a full time guy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Yanks Win Stadium Finale

For perhaps the first time this year, the team played with some heart, technically keeping their post-season hopes alive, but first and foremost playing for pride.

Andy Pettitte gutted out 5 innings earning the win. Newcomers Coke and Veras help the opposition hitless before the one-two punch came in.

It was reminiscent of years ago when Mariano Rivera would come in and shut down hitters with his blistering fastball while setting up all-star closer John Wetteland. This time it was Joba who finished the seventh, continued dominating in the eighth before Rivera came on in the ninth. Both Joba and Mo kept the Orioles hitless.

Jose Molina had the final homerun ever hit at Yankee Stadium, wearing number 26, the number of championships won during the stadium’s lifetime.

The win was a much needed one for a team that’s been down on it’s luck most of the season. I was concerned that the heartless, flat team would come out and watch another game slip away but these guys got the job done. Long time Yankees Pettite and Rivera and newcomers like Chamberlain did what they had to do to put the appropriate  finishing touches on a historic night at the stadium.

Cheers guys, nice job.

Yankee Stadium, we’ll never forget you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bernie's Back!

I've been watching the ceremonies here at Yankee Stadium and watching Bernie Williams make his return to the stadium and the tremendous ovation the crowd is giving him is giving me goosebumps. It's been too long since Bernie has been a part of this team and he is and will always be one of the greatest players to put on pinstripes.

Welcome back Bernie.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Phil Hughes Lasts 4 Innings

Taking the mound at Yankee stadium again for the first time in a long while, Phil Hughes looked a little different than the struggling pitcher I'd seen before. He seemed to have a little better command of some of his pitches and was aggressive going after guys right out of the gate. This didn't last too long and White Sox hitters started working Hughes over a bit by going deep into counts. In the end, Hughes only allowed one earned run, but only pitched four innings. Four innings isn't good enough in the majors. It's his first game back but Phil needs to turn things around in a hurry. My opinion is that he's a bust and this is the best we'll ever see from him, but he'll get plenty of chances to prove me wrong.

Robbinson Cano went 3 for 3 last night and I'm hoping he can finish out the season in stellar fashion to give himself some trade value. Phil Coke looked strong in two innings of work but I continue to be amazed at Brian Bruney. Another shutout inning for the guy who was told he'd need season ending surgery on his foot. Hopefully he'll stay healthy and can come back to be a big time bullpen contributor next year.

With Tampa's win over Boston, the Yanks remain ten games back and are still tied with Toronto. Boston is now two games back and really looks to be struggling against the Rays. At this point I think that the Rays are actually going to pull it off and take home the AL East title. I'm not sure that Boston has enough grit to pull out a playoff win either so I'm thinking it will come down to Tampa and LA of the AL title.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tied For Third

With a win last night the Yankees moved back into a tie for third place in the AL East. Boston is now tied for first with Tampa and it looks like this race is going to come right down to the end.

The Yankees had a nice game and Alfredo Aceves pitched well once again. He could turn out to be a nice addition to the rotation, but it's too early to tell. When a minor league pitcher gets called up, he often has a decent outing or two because batters haven't seen him pitch. The same thing happens when going from one league to another. Jeff Karsten's phenomenal first outing for the Pirates against the Cubs was a perfect example. Jeff did very well in shutting down one of the best hitting clubs in the league. The second time he faced them, he was lit up. Also, take a look at guys like Rasner, whose early success is nowhere to be seen these days.

Jorge Posada added more fuel to the Joba Chamberlain fire by saying he thinks Joba belongs in the bullpen. Good for Jorge. He's certainly entitled to his opinion, and while I don't necessarily agree with him, there's nothing wrong with having an opinion, despite what some of the media say.

Brett Gardner finally got another hit last night, bringing his average up to a whopping .170. Can you tell I never got on the Gardner bandwagon? Don't worry, I'm sure he's still number one in the hearts of many a Yankee blogger. Personally, I'm curious as to what Cody Ransom can do and could he be a legitimate option at second base?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pavano Keeps on Winning

Despite giving up five hits and four runs in just over five innings of work, Carl Pavano earned the win in last night's victory over Tampa. When he finally left he had a lovely chorus of boos to entertain him as he walked off the mound in the sixth inning. What really kept the Yankees in the game was a host of solid performances from the bullpen and an offensive explosion by the Yankee hitters.

Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig for the most hits at Yankee stadium and Robinson Cano was benched for a lack of effort. It's like the Manny Ramirez situation, except Cano can't swing a bat.

Humberto Sanchez is on his way up to New York as the Yankees slowly start brining up a few young guys to the big leagues with the expanded roster.

With Boston winning the Red Sox are now one game out of first while the Yankees are still ten games out in fourth. Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs tossed a one-walk no-hitter last night and the Cubs are looking like a team with a good chance to going to the series.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rained Out

The Yanks-Rays game was postponed yesterday due to rain, and will be played as part of a double-header today.

Hank Steinbrenner made the news recently by proclaiming he has going to have a lot more involvement with the team and with personnel decisions and that he would have a committee of advisors to help with the decisions. One of those people would be the GM of course. Brian Cashman fired back saying that he already has a committee that includes his scouts, his GM and others. This situation sounds like a disaster waiting to happen and at this point I think Cashman is going to leave NY. Nobody wants to get caught up in a job like that where your boss, who doesn't know much of anything about baseball, starts making more and more decisions, and brings in a bunch of other people to replace you, and will ultimately still blame you if things go sour.

Phil Hughes will be called back up to NY for some reason that eludes me at this time. If the Yankees actually needed him, it was a few weeks ago, when they were still in the hunt. At this point the Yankees have nothing to gain and a bad outing and some typical NY boos have the potential to do some damage to Hughes.

Lastly, it has been reported that Bernie Williams will be on hand for some of the closing celebrations at Yankee stadium. That's good to hear. It's a shame that the relationship between Bernie and the Yankees became strained. Williams was a critical part of the team for many years and will go down in the history books as one of the Yankee greats. It's nice to see him making an appearance and getting back into the Yankee family.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Should Andy Pettitte Come Back

Pettitte has been a staple of the Yankees rotation for many years, and an important part of the team. He returned to NY after a stint in Houston and this year hasn't been one of his best. He had a few impressive games, still has one of the best pick up moves in baseball, but just isn't the same player he was in the past.

The Yankees are in desperate need of starting pitching and need to have a major shakeup next year. Do they take a chance on older, veteran pitchers like Pettitte and Mussina? Moose had a phenomenal year this year but Andy has struggled. Could he do some work in the offseason and turn things around completely like Mussina did? Somehow I doubt it. Mussina's steallar performance this year was the exception rather than the rule. Most likely Andy pitching next year would look an awful lot like this year.

The real issue to me is whether or not the Yankees are going to be able to get enough starting pitchers to fill out the rotation if they let Pettitte go or if Andy decides to retire. Yanks fans will have plenty of time to mull over these issues this October.

The Yankees lost to Los Angelas, helping LA clinch a share of the divisi0n title. Chamberlain pitched two innings while only giving up a hit. Tampa beat Boston to maintain it's lead in the East while the Bombers remain 11 games out of first.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yanks Throw BP for Angels

There was a brawl, pitching coach Dave Eiland passed out, and every Yankee pitcher to take the mound did their best to help LA score some runs. Carl Pavano got his ERA up over 5 and the bullpen was atrocious. The Yankees offense was largely inept, scoring only one run all night. Just when you think the team couldn't possibly look any worse, they do.

In other news, Yankee owership confirmed that manager Joe Girardi will be back next year, a move we all expected. Maybe over the offseason Joe will have a chance to stop by Barnes and Noble and pick up a book on coaching baseball. I know, probably not, but one can hope.

Meanwhile the Boston Red Sox beat the Rays, leaving themselves only a half game outside of first while the Yankees fell to ten back.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Yanks Slip To Fourth in AL East

That's right, despite Tampa losing and the door opening for the Yanks to inch a little closer, they looked amateurish in a loss to one of the worse teams in baseball. There was a lot of sloppy play and some truly bizarre calls by Joe Girardi. At this point, I'm completely fed up with the new coach. I had high expectations at the beginning of the season but now would classify Girardi as an utter failure. He simply can't coach. He can't handle the media or be the least bit truthful with reporters. He can't motivate his team, which is possibly one of the most underachieving teams in the history of baseball. Lastly, he can't manage a game. If there was a way to accurately quantify it, I bet we'd all be amazed at the number of runs Joe's horrible managerial skills have cost the team this year.

Of course he'll be back next year but I hope that ownership will have him on an extremely tight leash. I've made peace with the fact that this team is going to miss the playoffs for the first time in years, but I can't get over the ineptitude of the new manager.

The Toronto Blue Jays moved up into third place in the AL East and Boston moved a game closer to the division lead, now only 1.5 games out.

Another Win for Sir Sidney

The Yankees managed a win against the hapless Seattle Mariners late last night, with a decent outing from Ponson and some mixed action in the bullpen. Brian Bruney was strong but then Joba Chamberlain struggled resulting in Mariano Rivera getting called in early. The Yankees have said that they are keeping Joba in the pen for the rest of the year and would like to get him back into the rotation next year. If he can handle it, Joba is unquestionably a valuable starter. If injuries continue to creep up, the bullpen it is.

Thanks to some offense from Abreu, Giambi and Matsui, the Yanks tacked enough runs on the board to secure the win. With both Boston and Tampa losing, the Yanks inched  slightly closer and are now 10 games out of first and 7.5 behind Boston.

In other news, Alfredo Aceves will be replacing Rasner in the rotation. Darrel did everything we could have asked of a replacement pitcher at the beginning, but as the season wore on hitters had him figured out and at the end, he was just abysmal.

Tampa has looked a little shaky lately and I'm sticking with my earlier predictions that Boston will finish in first. If the Yankees could play some serious ball at the end, it's not out of the question to make the post-season. This Yankee team, however, doesn't have the stuff to put together the necessary late season charge.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Instant Replay Works!

Alex Rodriguez added an important home run at the end of the game that solidified the Yankees lead and allowed them to not have to bring in Rivera. The ball looked pretty foul to me and most everyone else watching, but the play was reviewed and a quick decision ruled it a home run. The replays being shown on ESPN afterward look like the call was the correct one, and the most impressive aspect of the process was that it didn't take much time at all. From start to finish the whole endeaver was under 2 minutes.

As to the game itself, Carl Pavano looked good early and then got tired out in the 4th inning, giving up a double, homer, and a hit batter. He came back out for the 5th but was quickly relieved. The Yankee bullpen did the job the rest of the way, and the offense made the most of it's opportunities with key hits and aggressive baserunning.

A-Rod was the offensive star of the game, and his late-game homer was important. Sure the Yankees had a 3 run lead already but having watched the team play recently, was anyone really feeling overly secure?

Tonight's win puts the Yankees 10 games out of first and puts Boston only 3 games out. Tampa has a tough schedule coming up and will have their work cut out for them if they are going to hold off the charging Red Sox. I don't see much hope for the Yanks, but it's good to see them winning again.

NY Gives Boston a Boost

A win by the Yankees over the first place Rays helped the Red Sox move a game closer in the AL East. The bombers are still 11 games back but now Boston is only 4 games out.

Mike Mussina gave up 10 hits but only 2 runs in 6.0 innings. Moose is certainly one of the best surprises of the 2008 season. I wonder how long he can keep it up. Damaso Marte was a little better today than recently, giving up 0 runs and 1 hit over 0.2 innings. Joba Chamberlain made his return to the bullpen and threw 1.1 innings, giving up one hit.

The offense scattered 9 hits around and put up 7 runs on the board. This is the type of game the team was playing at the very beginning of the year, when everyone was still filled with optimism and hope. This was the scrappy style of play that makes you think "why can't they play like this all the time?"

I don't understand some fans in certain markets. Granted, ticket prices are sky high and not going for financial reasons is perfectly understandable, heck, I turned down a few chances to see some big league games lately because they were just too expensive. The New York Yankees come to play the first place Tampa Rays and there are lots of empty seats? I don't get it. Maybe it is all financial. Maybe player salaries are forcing ticket prices to be so high that the average fan can't afford to go. Maybe everyone down there would rather watch the game on cable indoors where there is air conditioning.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Messy Win For Yanks

Most of the Yankees offense was heated up this Labor Day afternoon. Pitching, however, was rather cool. Sidney Ponson gave up 7 runs in 3.0 innings, placing him solidly in the company of other great Yankee starters this season including Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes and Kei Igawa. Edwar Ramirez boosted his ERA by allowing 2 runs in 1.1 innings of work while Brian "broken foot" Bruney got the win by throwing 1.2 innings with only 1 hit. Coke, Marte and Britton were likewise effective in cleaning up Ponson and Ramirez's mess.

Cano and Giambi continue to struggle at the plate. Giambi won't be back next year but Cano remains an enigma. Coke was the only pitcher brought up with the expanded rosters and it looks like the Yankees are going to let Kennedy and Hughes continue to develop the rest of the season in the minors. Hughes reportedly will be joining the Arizona fall league. This is probably a good idea for both youngsters, if they can truly apply themselves and work on becoming better pitchers.

There's a difference between beating guys in the minors, and using time in the minors to develop your pitches and improve yourself. Hopefully Ike and Phil are doing more of the latter.

It's only September 1st, and I love baseball, but as a Yankee fan this season cannot end soon enough. Ugh.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yanks Have Work Cut Out For Next Year

I want to describe today's game as heartbreaking, but the way this team has been playing lately, it's not surprising to see them falter yet again. Looking over the box scores for many of the recent games, I've narrowed down the Yankees needs for next year to two things - pitching and hitting. Yep, those are the two areas that need the most work.

In all seriousness, the team needs a major overhaul. Mussina pitched well this year, but he's going to be a year older. Pettitte has been spotty. Rasner and Giese were OK short term replacements, but not guys you want pitching on a regular basis as starters. Wang and Chamberlain should be stars if they can stay healthy and handle the load. So right now, I've got 2 starting pitchers penciled in - Chien Ming and Joba. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy are both busts in my book, but could turn things around and end up starting.

Relief pitching has been a mixed bag. Other than Rivera, there are very few guys you can count on. Ramirez and Veras are the best we've got at the moment, and they are serviceable, but not quite as good as you'd like. Neither has truly emerged as the reliable set up man the Yanks need.

Offense is simply atrocious. A-Rod is relaxing, enjoying his mega contract and not producing much in the way of results. The Yankees are stuck with him, for better or worse, for a long time. Matsui and Damon are getting more and more injury prone every year and their defense leaves a bit to be desired. Robinson Cano is a waste of a roster spot, but the Yankee brass hasn't quite figured it out yet. The Bombers need to address the upcoming vacancy at first, ideally with someone like Posada, who's catching days are numbered. I doubt that will happen, in which case the Yanks will have to shell out a lot of cash for someone like Texiera.

The list goes on, and this offseason should be a busy one for Yankee brass. Ideally I'd love to see a lot of the fat get cut but despite all the talk from the Steinbrenner boys, I expect to see a lot of the same underachievers back again next year.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pavano Pitches Yanks to Win

Carl Pavano brought his ERA down to 3.27 with a three hit, one run performance Friday night. He might actually have some trade value for the last month of the season, especially if a team (unlike the Yankees)  has a legitimate shot at making the post-season. I can't imagine the Yankees would be able to get much for Carl, but even a draft pick is better than nothing.

The Yankees won tonight, but they really had to run through a large potion of the bullpen and had to use Rivera for more than one inning.

The offense was pretty lame, with only a few players offering contributions.

The Yankees announced the pricing schemes for the new stadium and the bottom line is that tickets are expensive. The New York Market will no doubt shell out the money regardless. Sometimes it amazes me how much money people are willing to spend to go to a game. I love watching a game in person, live, from time to time but lately the prices for just about any big-league sporting event is just ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Important Game Lost

Alex Rodriguez treated last nights game like it was an October playoff and did nothing offensively. Andy Pettitte was hit hard and the offense did little in return.

A few fellow bloggers and writers are saying that the next two games are must win, but I think yesterday's game was a must win as well. The Yanks needed (however improbable) a sweep of the Sox and they blew it in game one. Don't expect any last minute heroics from this heartless team

Mike and Mike in the morning touched on the team a bit and came to the conclusion that Texiera and Sabathia would be in Yankee pinstripes next year. From what I hear, that isn't all that likely, but the point is that just about all talk regarding the Yankees is focusing on next year, this one's long gone.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Last Shot?

After a three game sweep of the Orioles, the Yankees climbed back up to 9.5 games out of first and five games behind Boston. When tonight's series with the Red Sox kicks off, the Yankees have an opportunity to close the gap in the wild card chase. It's a very long shot at best, but still a possibility.

In their last game, Darrel Rasner was roughed up and the bullpen had its work cut out for it. Thankfully the hitters provided a little offense and salvaged the day. Having guys like Matsui and Damon back in the lineup helps quite a bit, and other guys like Abreu have been stepping up as well.

Carl Pavano's return wasn't all that exciting. He certainly didn't look sharp but managed to last a few innings. There continues to be speculation about who will be pitching next time around and many are clamoring for Phil Hughes' return. There aren't any good answers at this point. The Yankees simply don't have enough healthy quality starters available.

Blogging at the end is a bit difficult. There's not a lot to say about recent games and the season that hasn't already been said before. It is what it is. The real excitement will kick back up in the offseason, where there should be some drastic changes in the makeup of the team, but for now, the frustration continues.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yanks Eek Out Win

The Yankees managed to maintain their composure and put together some late inning heroics to get a win against Baltimore last night, thanks to some awesome hitting by Bobby Abreu who went 5 for 5.

Mussina was not on target, giving up 4 runs over 6 innings, but in the end it was enough. Damaso Marte actually managed to get two batters out without giving up a hit or a run. Rivera was sharp at the end, getting the final 4 outs with relative ease.

It's been pointed out that Pavano is starting today, and several bloggers have asked "why?' The only one benefitting from this is Carl Pavano, who gets a chance to showcase his talents for any team that might be interested in signing him via free agency next year. The Yankees would be better served by giving Phil Hughes some more experience on the mound in the majors.

It's an interesting perspective and one with a lot of merit. The reason I see for putting Pavano out there instead of Hughes, is to get Phil more time in the minors to really work through his injuries and work on his delivery a bit, taking time to make sure when you do come back, you're throwing the best pitches of your life. An early comeback with another rocky outing could shake a young pitcher's confidence.

Over on the LoHud blog, Pete Abraham had some scathing criticism of Robinson Cano, which I largely agree with. What really bothered me was the implied fact that several of Cano's teammates think he's dogging it at times and not putting forth a good effort. That's a recipe for disaster. Once your teammates lose faith in you, it's over. Unfortunately, Joe Girardi has shown zero capability of getting people motivated and it wouldn't surprise me to see this type of behavior continue.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Apocalypse Nears

That's right, Carl Pavano is scheduled to make a big league start.

The Yankees were absolutely shelled by the Toronto Blue Jays, giving up 14 runs. A few fans on other blogs have commented that this team isn't out of it until they're mathematically eliminated, but with all due respect, this team has been done for a while.

I'm a fan to the core, but I just can't see any hope that the Yankees have even the slightest chance of making the post season. The team had one good run this season, and the rest of the time every emotional win or small streak was quickly met with a string of losses.

At this point we're left speculating who will be back next year, what to do with guys like Giambi and Pudge (who could be offered arbitration) and what to do with young guys who haven't lived up like Kennedy and Cabrera.

Sidney Ponson absolutely blew up today and despite racking up a few wins, hasn't looked like a serious starter in many of his appearances for the Yanks this year. Billy Traber has proven to be equally unreliable despite delivering a few decent innings here and there.

It's an unusual position to be in recently, a Yankee fan facing a Yankee-less post season. Such a poor showing would make me think a big shake up would be in order for next year, but for some reason, I have a feeling many of the same faces will be back (both players and coaches).

At least for now we can have fun watching the return of Pavano.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yankees Close Gap to 9

The Bronx Bombers are on a two game win streak and have closed the lead in the AL East to only 9 games, thanks to a gutsy extra innings win yesterday and a blowout today.

Brett Gardner has actually showed a little mettle the last two days, getting some key hits and helping the team. Melky hasn't been missed much since getting sent down. Cody Ransom had a pinch hit 2 run homer in his only appearance.

Billy Traber gave up one run in two innings of work and Chris Britton gave up two runs in one inning. Britton just doesn't seem to quite be able to play at the level the Yanks need him to, but he's awful close and gets repeatedly called up. He is still leaps and bounds better than Damaso Marte, who has been awful in pinstripes.

It's hard to get excited about two wins when you are this far back and the up and down season makes me think that after a few wins we'll quickly fall back into another slump. Still, it's good to see a win. It's also good to see some of the guys just brought up doing well and getting some experience.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Yankees Sinking to All New Lows

The New York Yankees are playing some of the worst baseball ever. Mariano Rivera is throwing wild pitches, young guys are getting picked off first, no one on the offense can get a hit with a runner in scoring position and Joe Girardi is helpless to do anything with the team.

Melky Cabrera was finally sent down to the minors and Richie Sexson was released. Cody Ransom and Brett Gardner were brought up to fill out the roster. This move signifies that the Bombers have officially given up on the season and are giving a few guys a chance to get some at bats at the major league level to see where they might fit into the team next year.

Rumors have been swirling that Cashman will be asked to come back next year which doesn't excite me. When it comes down to it, Cashman hasn't done much to really make this team work. He has had a major flop or two, but none of his moves have really made a big positive impact on the team.

Girardi will surely be back despite his abysmal performance this year, but hopefully next year he'll be on a short leash.

Melky is officially trade bait in my book. I've seen enough of Gardner to predict that he's not big league material, but perhaps he can show something that another team might find interesting. Ransom could turn into something good, but he's going to need to get some play time before we can say too much.

The Yankees are currently 10.5 games out of first and no one seems particularly concerned. Hank Steinbrenner is looking ahead to next year, most of the team is playing like they've given up, and a lot of my favorite bloggers are saying the same thing. This team is (and has been for a while now) done.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nine Games Out

The Yankees continued their losing ways yesterday afternoon with a struggling offense that couldn't do any better than two runs.  Darrel Rasner was serviceable and Robertson, Traber and Bruney were on target. Dan Giese had some discomfort in his arm and was taken out.

With Boston winning the Yankees fell six games back in the wild card chase. Thankfully this road trip is at an end and the Bombers will be coming home for a day off and then will resume play tomorrow.

At this point it would be nice to see some young guys get a promotion to the major league just to see what they can do. There isn't much hope for post-season play, so why not bring up a few prospects and get some big league scouting?

Tampa and Boston continue their winning ways. I predicted that Tampa would have a good season and have 85 wins or more but I'm still surprised every time I read the box scores. There is a team that is getting things done.  Boston seems to be plagued by the Manny turmoil and recurrent injuries to the pitching staff. I have expected them to overtake the Rays most of the season but little by little things seem to be unraveling a bit in Beantown. The Angels get my vote as the best team in the AL right now and I'm anticipating an Angels-Cubs series.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Yanks Blow Lead, Win Anyway

Mike Mussina turned in another fine performance and Damaso Marte threw it away along with a little help from Mariano Rivera. Marte has just been abysmal. He had one decent outing all year for the Yankees when he struck out Ortiz in his first appearance. Ever since then he has been awful. Marte makes Farnsworth look like an ace.

Meanwhile Mariano Rivera has slowly come back down to earth after being virtually unhittable in the first half of the season. He's blown a few leads and lost a few tight games for the Yankees.  Mo is still the best closer in the game and the guy you want in there in a tight situation though.

Hank Steinbrenner spoke with the media, giving his take on the season. He basically admitted that this season is lost and blamed it on injuries. He had high expectations for next year and indicated getting a veteran starter is high on the priority list.

It's nothing all that insightful, most of the Yankee faithful have realized by now that this year's team isn't going anywhere and that the starting rotation needs help. The idea of both Hughes and Kennedy coming into the rotation at the beginning of the year turned out to be a colossal failure.

With Tampa's loss, the Yankees are 8 games out of first. Boston won in a wild one and remains 5 games ahead of the Yankees.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Girardi Gives Up On Season

I can't come up for a better reason to explain Joey's lineups. Down 8.5 games to Tampa and he puts Sexson and Christian in a lineup rather than Damon and Giambi. Why bother playing Pudge when you've got Molina?

Needless to say, the hapless Yankees lost again, getting shut out 4-0. Sidney Ponson was tolerable, giving up 4 runs in 7.2 innings, but the Yankees once again had no offense. I wonder how many times the Yankees have been shut out this year, and how many times they have been shut out in previous years? They seem to get blanked a lot recently.

Yesterday Ian Kennedy was sent down to the minors. A few players in the clubhouse including Andy Pettitte set him straight about his comments. I don't think we'll see any more of Ian in New York this year. Girardi made a quip that he wants Kennedy ready to play in September, but I don't see him coming back. The Bombers will definitely need some starting pitching next year, and I think Ian is officially available as trade bait in the offseason.

This season has certainly been a trying one. Is this what it feels like to be a Pirates fan?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Unbelievably Frustrating Loss, Again

Dan Giese brought his A game and looked like a champ for 6 innings. Veras gave up a few and then Ramirez blew it wide open. The book on Ramirez is that good hitters can take advantage of him and he needs to get his other pitches working. If not, he suffers from Farnsworthitis, giving up lots of big hits deep.

Oh well. A few bad calls by Girardi, a horrible outing by Ramirez and a wasted solid performance by Giese. Another feather in the Yankees caps this year. I certainly hope none of the players on today's losing team feel bad about their play. Girardi made it clear that being pleased with poor performances is OK.

Joe has made quite a in-game time decisions that I didn't like. The most important thing, however, is that he can't find a way to get the team to win. The team had one decent winning streak all season and too many losing streaks.

I think it's time to shift perspective on the season. This is not a championship team, for several reasons.

1. Too many injuries. Hughes, Wang, Chamberlain from the starting rotation. Numerous bats gone for short to long periods.

2. Lack of consistency. Cano and Giambi have played well in the middle of the season, but where were they at the beginning? Every position has had it's ups and downs. Mussina had some rocky outings before settling down. Relief pitching has really been a roll of the dice at times.

3. Lack of heart. Too many leads have been blown, too many games have been lost by one point, and too few come from behind wins point to a listless club.

4. Joe Girardi isn't a championship caliber manager. He's no Torre. Joe G has done little to get the team motivated, to effectively manage players, or make good calls in game. I know he'll get a pass this year, but next year, he's on the hotseat starting day one.

Kennedy OK With Abysmal Outing

Ian Kennedy had another horrible outing last night. After the game in the press conference, he said that he wasn't all that worried about the way he pitched. I guess that means he's now getting used to only lasting two full innings. That's great. A starter who lasts two innings and considers it a quality outing. Really, is anyone out there still convinced that there is any hope of Ike being a big league pitcher?

I'm sure some team somewhere will have a modicum of interest in him, so go ahead and trade him away Brian. The Yankees were trying to hold onto Hughes and Kennedy, thinking those two were the future of the franchise. The jury is still out on Hughes but I think we can now close the book on Kennedy.

Rasner and Bruney weren't all that spectacular either, and the loss puts the Yankees 6.5 games out of first. Playing .500 baseball, they aren't going to get any closer. Despite the offensive additions to the team, the Yankees still aren't going anywhere.

There hasn't been much reaction by Girardi to Kennedy's performance and words, we'll see if something pops up over the next day or two.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Yankees Split Series With Mussina's Help

Mike Mussina continued to shine last night, propelling the Yankees to a victory over the Texas Rangers. Moose threw seven shutout innings against the highest scoring team in baseball, earning the Yankees a split over the four game series. With Tampa losing the Bombers are now 5.5 games out of first place and still have two other teams in front of them for the wild card spot.

It looks like Ike is back. Ian Kennedy will get the start tonight against the Angels and Giese will start tomorrow. Kennedy has been alright in the minor leagues so we'll have to see what happens when he faces big league hitters again. At the beginning of the season, I was very pro-Kennedy but after his performances early on, I lost faith. At the time he looked like he had no confidence in his stuff and was afraid of the hitters. Ian needs to throw strikes early and challenge hitters. If he starts painting the corners again, teams just sit back and watch him struggle as he gets worked deep into counts and his pitch count soars. I was hoping a prolonged stay in the minors would help his confidence a bit. Perhaps he'll have a chip on his shoulders when he returns to the big leagues tonight and will use that to motivate himself. Sure, and maybe Carl Pavano will be healthy again soon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why Did We Trade This Guy?

Joba Chamberlain is on the DL with rotator cuff tendonitis. The Yankees are now in dire straits when it comes to starting pitching. Meanwhile, Jeff Karstens, recently traded to the Pirates, shut down one of the most potent offenses in baseball when he manhandled the Cubs a few nights ago and then proceeded to throw a two-hitter in his next outing.

Jeff spend most of the year on the DL after looking like a decent candidate to make the roster as a long reliever. Damaso Marte is quickly looking like another Kyle Farnsworth while Xavier Nady is an offensive stud so far. It was certainly a good deal for the Yankees, but sometimes you have to wonder if these guys don't quite realize what they've got down in the minor leagues. Why wasn't Giese on the radar in the spring? Karstens never got his fair shot due to injury, but you have to think the Yankee coaches and scouts just may have missed something.

I was too frustrated to do a blog recapping yesterday's disaster. I'm quickly falling back to the position that the Yankees aren't going to make the post season this year. They've got the talent, but not the consistency. Now with Wang and Chamberlain out, they're pretty much sunk.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Joba Leaves Early With Shoulder Problems

It was not a good night for the Yankees. As if losing to the Rangers 9-5 wasn't bad enough, Joba Chamberlain had to leave the game early with tightness and soreness in his shoulder. The Yankees rotation is shakey as is, barely coping with the loss of their ace Chien Ming Wang, but the loss of Joba could be fatal.

JC is returning to NY today for medical evaluation and at this time, there aren't many details. Pete Abraham is reporting that Dan Giese is going to replace Darrel Rasner in the rotation. Ian Kennedy might be coming back soon as well, especially if Joba has to miss a start.

I'm sure this incident will start bringing out guys like Goose Gossage who will once again go on about how Joba belongs in the bullpen and a new wave of controversy will start up again. I stand by my position that if Joba can be a starter, he should start. The caveat is that if injury problems creep up repeatedly, it's time to consider a move to the bullpen. Chamberalin wouldn't be the first pitcher who couldn't handle the load and had to be moved to the pen for injury reasons. That being said, if he can get over this temporary setback and go back to pitching injury free as a starter, that's where he belongs.

Damaso Marte walked the bases loaded and then gave up a grand slam home run in the ninth inning, once again showing that the scouting reports regarding his inconsistency were on target. Clean-shaven Giambi went 3 for 4 and Xavier Nady went 2 for 4. The Yankees can hit some days, and they can pitch some other days. Someone needs to get everyone on the same page again for the winning to resume.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Farnsworth Still Haunting Yankees

The New York Yankees managed to get a split out of their series with one of the best teams in baseball, and so all in all it wasn't too bad of an outcome. Unfortunately, Kyle Farnsworth is still Kyle Farnsworth and even if he's playing for a different team, he can still hurt the Yankees.

While pitching only one inning for Detroit, Kyle managed to give up 3 runs on 3 hits and helped Tampa beat the Tigers and preventing the Yanks from moving up a game in the AL East.

The Yankees game was certainly a wild one. Edwar Ramirez gave up a grand slam home run to Mark Texiera, allowing 4 runs on 2 hits in a single inning, yet still was awarded the win. Darrel Rasner was pulled after 4 innings of work in favor of long reliever Dan Giese.  I think Ian Kennedy is going to be given another shot at the rotation soon. Sidney Ponson may have stayed his execution another start or so with his last performance, but the hitters seem to be catching up with Rasner on a consistent basis now.

Xavier Nady went 4 for 5 with a home run, Ivan Rodriguez went 2 for 3 and the new Yankee lineup looks like it can definitely put some runs on the board. Still, consistency is the key and the team needs to find a way to avoid those 1-0 losses that seem to pop up every so often.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mussina Back on Top

Mike Mussina returned to his winning ways, Brian Bruney returned to the big leauges, and Jose Molina did everything he could to show the Yanks that he's every bit as good with a bat as Pudge.

Moose gave up only 2 hits over 7.0 innings and allowed 2 runs (only 1 earned) and shut down a very, very good offense. Jose Veras was sharp in the 8th and Brian Bruney, returning from a foot injury, allowed only 1 hit but gave up no runs.

Four different Yankees hit home runs and Jose Molina went 3 for 3 with a homer and an RBI. If only Jose could hit like that day in and day out.

Tampa and Boston also play today so we'll have to wait and see how they do to know if the Yanks can close the gap at all.

We all know the Yankees are capable of playing at this level with their pitching and hitting, it's just a matter of them having the consistency to avoid falling back into another losing streak.

Ponson Sharp, Rivera the Weakest Link

Tampa and Boston both won but the Yankees slid back once again with a loss to the Angels. Surprisingly, Sidney Ponson pitched an excellent game, going 7.0 innings with only 2 hits and 0 runs, his best outing so far for the Yanks. When it came time to bring in Mariano Rivera in the 9th, the wheels came off. Mariano, who is normally a sure thing, walked a batter and gave up 2 hits, allowing the winning (and only) run to score.

That kind of a loss really hurts. A pitcher who normally struggles throws extremely well and the offense can't put a single run on the board in support. The Yankees had only 5 hits on the night and couldn't move runners or get them home.

It's been the same story all year long. The potential is there but the consistency isn't. The Yankees have had a few 1-0 losses and they feel absolutely demoralizing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Angels Strut Their Stuff

The Los Angeles Angels showed that they are the team to beat in the American League. Boston's hopes appear to be fading with the trade of Manny Ramirez and despite how well the Rays are playing, does anyone really see them going to the World Series. No, the best team in the AL is in LA.

Both Andy Pettitte and Chris Britton were helpless to stop the Angel's bats, giving up a combined 12 runs and 18 hits. It was definitely a night those two would like to forget.

New acquisitions Rodriguez and Nady went 1 for 3 and 2 for 3 respectively. The rest of the offense wasn't bad and the Yanks managed to put 6 runs on the board (some of them were during garbage innings). Once pitching rights itself again, the team should be in good shape.

Baseball is a game of streaks and this year, more than ever, the Yankees look to be one of the streakiest.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yanks Get Pudge

In an effort to shore up the offense in the wake of Jorge Posada's season ending surgery, the Yankees dealt Kyle Farnsworth to Detroit for Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge will instantly improve the offensive production behind the plate compared with Molina and Moeller. Chad will probably be designated again although no one picked him up last time he was on waivers.

The deal makes sense for the Yankees, who have really struggled with the tail end of their lineup. Both Rodriguez and Farnsworth were in the last years of their contracts, so the Yankees didn't really give up a long term player. Kyle had been pitching well lately, but really, how many of you out there really thought professor Farnsworth had turned his game around?

Kyle throws hard and gets hit hard. You never know which Farnsworth is going to show up and he can't be relied on in a clutch situation. Veras and Ramirez have emerged as the core of the bullpen (with Rivera as the obvious closer). Despite a rocky outing recently, David Robertson has been impressive as well. Dan Giese gives another option and can handle the long relief duty. To top it off, newly acquired southpaw Damaso Marte can be extremely versatile, coming in as a situational reliever, or throwing two full innings.

With the bullpen as solid as it is, Farnsworth was easy to let go. Rodriguez should add some instant offense, and should help the team start winning more games right away.

Yanks Drop Another

The Pinstripers certainly looked like a contender back when they were playing Boston, but now that they're facing off against the not-so-good Orioles, nothing seems to go their way. Sure, they had a late rally (that fell short) but the team just seems a little worn out after all that winning.

Rasner wasn't as sharp as he's been in the past, but still pitched about what you would expect from your number five guy. Damaso Marte's honyemoon with the Yanks is over, as he was hit hard. His first appearance in the Yankee uniform was impressive, but the scouting reports on him say that he can be inconsistent at times, which is what we saw last night. I still think he's a good addition to the team, but don't be surprised if he blows up every once in a while.

Girardi continues to rotate players and change the lineup, giving different players a chance to rest. Still, a back end of Betemit, Moeller, and Cabrera certainly isn't striking fear into the hearts of opponents.

It's looking like the Yankees won't be picking up another starter anytime soon. Talks for Washburn appeared to have cooled and there really aren't that many decent starters out there. If Hughes or Kennedy can show something down in AAA, they might make a return, but for now I think we're stuck with what we have. I don't see Wang pitching again this year despite his optimism.

Hopefully the Yankees can get a win against Baltimore this afternoon and avoid the sweep. Tampa won last night pulling another game ahead. If the Bombers have any chance of even getting a wild card, they need to keep on winning, as there are currently two other teams in front of them even for the wild card spot.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yanks Blown Out By Orioles

Mike Mussina is human after all. He'd been on a terrific run of great pitching, surprising most people including himself. Last night, however, Moose wasn't on top of his game, giving up 6 runs in 5.0 innings. His relief didn't fare much better as David Robertson gave up 5 runs on 4 hits while only getting one batter out. Even Krazy Kyle got in on the action by giving up 2 runs in the eighth inning.

Setbacks happen, even against Baltimore. The good news is that Boston and Tampa lost and so the Yankees didn't lose any ground to their competition.

Jorge Posada is going to have season ending shoulder surgery. With his injury, he hasn't been as effective as he could be and getting the surgery out of the way now is probably the smart move. Hopefully he'll be fully recovered and ready to play by the time the season starts next year. For now the Yankees have Molina and Moeller still on the roster to handle the catching duties, but there have been rumors of the Bombers trying to acquire another catcher, possibly Gerald Laird.

There's not much to say about this ugly loss. It's one of those games we'd all rather forget. Tonight is a new game, and a new opportunity for a win. Let's just hope last night's performance was a fluke for Mussina, who's been the anchor of the rotation lately.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Win Streak Ends

Sidney Ponson's luck ran out. He's been a little shakey on the mound but usually received plenty of run support of managed to get out of an inning despite allowing several hits. Last night there was no such magic. In four innings of work, Sir Sidney gave up 7 runs on 10 hits. Dan Giese came in and pitched the remaining four innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits.

This is the first time this season I've seen Girardi actually use a long reliever in long relief. Your starter comes out of the game early and you go to the long reliever. The offense wasn't able to close the gap and so you leave Giese in, saving guys like Rivera for another day when they're needed more.

The offense had hits, but couldn't do much with runners in scoring position, especially with the bases loaded. That's one area that has plagued the team all year and will kill them when crunch time comes at the end of the season.

Damon was back in the lineup and doesn't seem hampered by yesterday's injury. Xavier Nady went 0 for 4. Richie Sexson went 1 for 4. For the Sox, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez continue to be Yankee killers.

The Yanks stay 3 games out of first place and drop to 2 games behind Boston. It would have been a great sweep, but taking 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox is still a very successful trip.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yanks Take Second Game From Sox

10-3 Yankees behind strong pitching from Andy Pettitte and the unstoppable offense of Robinson Cano.

Newly acquired Damaso Marte came in late in the game to face David Ortiz and got the job done, striking out Big Papi. If he can be reliable, the Yankees will definitely benefit from having a lefty in the bullpen. Xavier Nady didn't have any hits, but reached base on a walk and scored.

This was a great win for the Yankees although Johnny Damon appeared to come up lame after running to first late in the game. We'll have to keep our fingers crossed that it's nothing serious; the Bombers need his bat in the lineup.

There have been more roster moves today. Brett Gardner was optioned to Scranton which isn't surprising. He didn't do anything in his big league appearances other than run fast.

Latroy Hawkins was designated. I wouldn't be surprised if another team picked him up.

The earlier players I named in the trade with the Pirates wasn't accurate. Pittsburgh received Ohlendorf, McCutchen, Tabata and Karstens. McCutchen has potential and Karstens is serviceable. Pittsburgh got 3 a prospect and 2 guys with potential. Tabata could work out for them as well if he can behave. The deal sounded pretty one sided yesterday, but the actual details are more reasonable.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Joba Strikes Out Nine

That's right, nine strikeouts in seven scoreless innings. Does anyone out there (other than Goose Gossage) still think Joba is best served in the bullpen?

Kyle Farnsworth had a setback, only getting one out while facing three batters, forcing Mariano Rivera to come into the game early. Rivera stopped the bleeding before any runs could score. Farnsworth has been playing some of the best ball of his career lately, but tonight was back to typical Krazy Kyle.

The Yankees were only able to score one run, but it was enough. The offense could certainly use the help of Nady when he gets here. Brett Gardner continues to disappoint and is really starting to look like he peaked back in triple A ball.

The Yankees are two games behind Boston and if Tampa holds on to win, we'll be three games out of first. For a long time I've been saying that this team wouldn't make the playoffs, but they've been getting the job done lately. It hasn't always been pretty, but a win is a win. With the new additions coming soon, the team might actually be a contender.

Nice Move for Yankees

The Yankees made a trade with the Pirates to acquire right fielder Xavier Nady and left handed reliever Damaso Marte. The Pirates will get Ross Ohlendorf, George Kontos, Phil Coke and Jose Tabata. This looks like a very good deal for the Bombers. Nady adds some much needed power and helps to fill in some gaps created by injuries to Matsui and Posada. Marte solidifies the bullpen nicely adding a lefty to the mix. I liked some of what I saw out of Ross Ohlendorf, but he really had some struggles in his big league appearances for New York. He still could turn into a big league reliever or even a #5 starter. Tabata had too many attitude and discipline problems and while talented, wasn't the kind of guy I'd want on my team.

The deal is pending on physicals by each team, but when completed, will definitely help the Yankees this year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

TYanks Win Big, Boss Says Trade Prospects

The Yankees had a timely win last night to bring them within 3.5 games of the league leading Tampa Bay Rays. Darrel Rasner was decent, throwing 5.2 innings, giving up 4 hits and 2 runs, although the Bombers were down 2-1. It wasn't until Rasner left that the offense took off and the new wunderkind David Robertson, facing only one batter, got the win.

Rasner got the job done and did what the Yankees needed him to do, and was pitching better than  he had in some prior outings, which is a good sign. The relief crew was outstanding. Jose Veras and Kyle "automatic" Farnsworth allowed no hits and no runs. Professor Farnsworth walked 1 but struck out 3. Dan Giese came on in the ninth and allowed a hit but no runs.

Robinson Cano. Wow. The guy has a .522 batting average over the last 7 games and has an OPS of 1.391. Talk about turning your game around. It's too bad he couldn't have found his swing earlier in the season. Bobby Abreu hit a long overdue homer.

The Yankees didn't get any production from the back end of the lineup, with Melky, Moeller, and Gardner being helpless at the plate (except for Brett's walk). This is an area that needs to be addressed. had an interesting blurb in its Truth and Rumors section stating that Hank Steinbrenner has given the OK for Cashman to trade away any of its prospects. The league would have to approve of any deal involving Hughes who is on the DL and Melancon is rumored to be the only untouchable out there.  With the team playing well and only 3.5 games out, it certainly wouldn't surprise me to see the Yanks do some big time shopping soon. The idea of trading prospects doesn't really bother me all that much because no one has particularly impressed me stats-wise (I haven't had a chance to go and scout any of these guys in person).

There have been quite a few rumors about Jarod Washburn, a lefty from Seattle. This one seems to be getting the most traction right now. The Dodgers' Derek Lowe has popped up on the radar as well. Brian Fuentes has too many suitors at the moment and the asking price is likely to be too high.

Expect to see a move soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Winning Continues

The Yankees managed a 12-4 win over the Minnesota twins last night, continuing the win streak of recently acquired Sidney Ponson. Ponson certainly didn't look all that sharp, but when he pitches, the offense shows up. Sidney lasted 5.2 innings before being relieved by Edwar Ramirez. In the seventh inning, Robertson came in and retired the side in order. Honestly, who saw this guy being on the roster and making a contribution. So far in the appearances he's made, he's been extremely efficient. LaTroy Hawkins came in to pitch the last two innings and held onto the lead.

Alex Rodriguez racked up 3 RBIs, 2 hits and a home run. Robinson Cano continues to show us he's got his swing back, hitting a homer of his own and adding 2 RBIs.

Fellow Yankee Blogger Mark Serio over at the Baseball Hot Corner points out the odd luck of baseball. Beleaguered pitcher Sidney Ponson has a remarkable record with the Yankees despite some not-so-stellar performances. Joba Chamberlain, the Yankee Wunderkind, can't seem to buy a supporting run. I'm still getting over Chien Ming Wang's 1-0 loss much earlier in the season when the Wanger pitched a beauty but the offense couldn't score.

For the most part this season, the key word has been consistency. The team just doesn't have it. The offense is the worse offender, but pitching has fallen prey as well. If the team could figure out how it is doing things when they are playing well and could repeat those performances, they'd be World Series bound but for now with the inconsistent play, even a wild card looks iffy.

The Yanks win is their fourth in a row. With Boston and Tampa winning, they didn't pick up any ground, but they didn't fall any further behind and they kept the momentum going. Maybe, just maybe they'll start to gain a little of that consistency that's been lacking.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yanks Close to 4 1/2 Games

Despite an extremely poor offensive effort yesterday, the Yankees managed to win by getting hit by a pitch. Today, Andy Pettitte threw eight impressive innings and the offense was just barely good enough to beat the A's.

At the end of the weekend, a win is a win and a sweep is a sweep. It hasn't been pretty, but the Yankees have managed to win. The team still needs a lot of work and could use some better hitting. Robbie Cano is officially off my "shouldn't be on the roster" list, but Cabrera, Molina, Gardner and Betemit aren't scaring any pitchers at the back end of the order.

Let's take a look at Gardner,  he hasn't done much of anything offensively, but if he does get on base, he can sure run. Has he had enough time to prove himself at the big league level? No. But has he really shown anything offensively, even in the minor leagues, to make you think he's going to be a star? Not in my book. Granted, the Yankees don't have any better options at this point, but I hope were not clinging to Gardner as a protected prospect we shouldn't be putting on the table for trade negotiations.

The last two wins certainly haven't been overly impressive, but they've been timely, coupled with Boston and Tampa losses, now have the Bombers only 4.5 games out of first and certainly within striking range.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Starting Off Right

The Yankees started the second half of the regular season on the right foot, clobbering the Athletics 7-1. It was an important win because Oakland has been hovering in contention for a wild card spot and every chance you can get a game up on the competition is important.

A-Rod had the most hits while Cano drove in the most runs. Richie Sexson went 1 for 3 in his Yankee debut.

Over six innings, Mike Mussina gave up 9 hits but only one earned run. I was extremely critical of Moose early in the season when his performance was poor, but wow, what an important part of the starting rotation he's been. I'd wouldn't have suspected him of being at 12-6 right now based on some of his earlier outings, but he really did turn his game around.

Robertson, Ramirez and Hawkins all retired the side in order. I'm still hoping some team caught a glimpse of Hawkins, saw something they liked and now is on the phone with Cashman trying desperately to get the Yankees to trade him. OK, not likely, but one can hope.

This win is definitely a big one. A quality, convincing win against a quality opponent at an opportune time. Hopefully the guys can build of this and get some momentum going here in the second half.

Back in Action Tonight

After the all star break the New York Yankees are back in action playing the Oakland Athletics. The All Star game has came and went and was a relatively quiet affair. The game was the longest in history, and certainly had some great moments, but only contained a small amount of controversy.

The trade wheels were still turning as Oakland traded away Joe Blanton to the Phillies, and apparently Greg Smith is scheduled to get the start against the Yankees on Saturday.

Goose Gossage again gave another speech explaining why he thinks Joba belongs in the bullpen rather than in the starting lineup. At this stage, Gossage has slipped into full blown self-ego stroking, explaining to the world why a good relief pitcher is far more valuable to a team than a starting pitcher. To be perfectly clear, this isn't about Joba, it's about Goose, who, despite being in the hall of fame, is still trying to convince people that he was more important to the game of baseball than a lot of other pitchers.

The Yankees have added Richie Sexson to the roster, hoping his right handed bat can give the team an offensive boost against left handed pitching. The Yankees were able to get Sexson dirt cheap and with Matsui out for a while, they could use an extra DH. Sexson's performance this year has been pretty abysmal and I wouldn't expect much out of him, but the Yankees got him for next to nothing and you certainly can't blame them for giving it a go.

After the few days off, it almost feels like a new season. For this Yankees team the next few days should be really telling. Has the time off done them any good. Have they decided for themselves whether or not to show up and play each and every day, or are they going to continue with the mediocre effort, up and down playstyle that's gotten them third place in the division standings so far this season. A good run out of the gate could turn the team around. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Yanks Drop Another Before the Break

Andy Pettitte summed it up best by saying that "We stink right now for the most part". Tampa dropped another game opening a door for the Yanks to move up but the Bombers were unable to capitalize.

Cano, Cabrera, Betemit and Gardner combined to provide one of the poorest hitting back ends in baseball. The Yankees desperately need to get guys like Damon and Matsui back from the DL.

The all star break will hopefully give the guys on the team time to reflect and figure out what they want to do with this year. They've got the potential, just not the drive so far this season. Only six games out of first means that the Pinstripers are definitely in the hunt. There has been talk of picking up another starting pitcher and another closer. At least one team out there is interested in Ian Kennedy, and I can't imagine the Yankees being overly committed to keeping Ike. There are moves the organization could make to turn them into legitimate contenders, but that won't do any good if the current stars continue to wallow in mediocrity.

I think Cashman will make some moves.  The question is will they be moves for the future or moves for right now. The answer, given any New York sports team, especially one run by a Steinbrenner, is that it will be a move for right now. The New York Yankees will never have a fire sale. Those over-paid, underproducing players on the team won't be let go during the season. Off-season, perhaps, but they're here for the duration of this season. Young prospects and struggling guys with potential are fair game, as other teams can get them cheap.

It will be interesting to watch the second half of the season. The Yankees are by no means out of it according to the standings, but anyone who has watched them play might think otherwise. Maybe the Yankees, like the Tin Man, can finally find their heart.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bobby Murcer Passes is reporting that Yankee great Bobby Murcer has passed away, succumbing to complications of the brain cancer he bravely fought since 2006. Murcer has been with the Yankees as a player and announcer and has been an important part of the team in one capacity or another for many years. Murcer may be gone, but never forgotten in the hearts of Yankee fans.

A Rod Moves Up

The Yankees offense showed up in full force this afternoon and Alex Rodriguez hammered his way past Mickey Mantly for 13th place on the all time home run list. Derek Jeter homered early to get the festivities started and had 3 RBIs for the day. Brett Gardner went 2 for 2, bringing his average up to .182. Posada was DHing again and Chad Moeller got the start behind the plate. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to Joe Girardi's lineups.

Congratulations to A-Rod for hitting the big home runs and moving up the list. Alex doesn't seemed too bother by all of the personal turmoil that's been surrounding him lately.

Darrel Rasner earned the win after striking out 6 batters over 5 innings. Rasner allowed 7 hits and 4 runs (3 earned) and threw 108 pitches. Not pretty, but good enough. Ramirez, Veras, Farnsworth and Hakwins eached pitched an inning and gave up no hits.

When they're on, they're on. This Yankee offense can put lots of runs on the board. The problem is they lack any sense of consistency and oftentimes seem to lack a sense of urgency. Games like this one just go to show what this team is capable of offensively.

Boston is off to an early lead today but Tampa is having some troubles early on. There may be a window to move one step closer to the Rays.

Joba Piches Well, Halladay Better

Joba Chamberlain is really flexing his muscle on the  mound, striking out nine batters last nigh. The young chamberlain got a good less from Doc Halladay, however, as the unstoppable veteran shut down the Yankees for nine innings. The Yankee offense was less than anemic last night, as most of the hitters were powerless to touch anything Halladay was throwing at them.

Betemit, Cano and Cabrera are all hitting under .250 and Gardner is still hitting .129. This isn't the kind of lineup the Yankees need if they are going to chase the Sox and Rays. While Cano has been hitting a little better, he's nowhere near the hitter he was last year. Melky has lost his stroke as well and Betemit was, is and will always be a replacement level player at best. Gardner is inexperienced, but hasn't shown much of anything at the plate to warrant his sticking around when Damon gets back, Sure, he's got speed and runs the bases well, but if he never gets on base, what's the point.

Jorge Posada was back behind the plate today and the Yankee faithful were spared his whining for a day at least.

Despite great wins against Boston and Tampa, the Yankees struggle against Pittsburgh and Toronto. The offense only seems to come to life every few days. Injuries are really crippling the team offensively, and relief pitching has a lot of holes in it. This just isn't a championship caliber team. If the Yankees want to try to catch the teams ahead of them, they'll need help. Most of the focus has been on picking up another starter or reliever, but the real attention should be about putting some people in the lineup who can hit. It can't be that hard to find someone hitting .275 can it?

Hat's off to Halladay. He really pitched one heck of a game. Joba - keep your chin up, better days will come.