Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 10/24/14

Here’s your weekly trip around the Yankosphere.  Feel free to use the comment section to explore some crazy scenarios for Joe Maddon’s future.

– On Tuesday, Jim Callis profiled Aaron Judge and the experience he went through after being drafted and getting hurt last year.

– Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record had some more details on CC Sabathia’s rehab schedule and plan to arrive early at Spring Training.

– On Wednesday, el duque of It Is High… bought in on the idea of the Yankees going after Jung-Ho Kang to play shortstop next year.

– Scott Davis of Pinstripe Alley gave an optimistic look at the potential rotation next year and how deep and talented it could be.

– Mike Axisa of RAB reviewed Shane Greene’s improbably strong rookie season.  I’m really hoping he’s for real and can keep the performance up next year.

– On Thursday, Chad Jennings of LoHud discussed the importance of improving the infield defense this offseason.

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To Re-Sign Or Not To Re-Sign: Ichiro And Chris Young

Young Walk-Off vs TB

Chris Young doesn’t get hyped, he stays hyped. Courtesy of Corey Sipken/NY Daily News

This is the final post in this week’s free agent case series, and to be perfectly honest, it’s not one I even wanted to write.  Ichiro Suzuki and Chris Young are not players I would bring back next season if I were calling the shots.  I think the Yankees can do better than them in the 4th outfielder spot and I think they should make a strong effort to do so.  Their injury problems the last 2 seasons have been magnified by a weak and powerless bench, and neither of these guys has been anything close to what they were at their peak.  But 4th outfielder is a position of great importance again next season and I think these 2 will get at least slight consideration for a new deal.  For that, they’ll get some slight consideration here and will be lumped together into a single post.…

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Sabathia Update: Back To 100%?

The Yankee season has been over for almost a month, and with the World Series in the early stages and free agency not yet underway, the only real player news is injury news.  There was a fair amount of news regarding CC Sabathia and his rehab from knee surgery this week.  He was on ESPN Radio on Wednesday to discuss it, and Chad Jennings put together a post recapping all the major talking points.

The biggest one is obviously CC’s health and all sounds well on that front.  Sabathia said he’s been “telling people I’m 100%” and that he’s been throwing 2 days a week at The Stadium.  He said the knee feels good and discussed the importance of him being healthy going into next season while adding that he still believes he can “definitely get back to being able to go out and dominate a game, and just be myself.”

Good on the guy for being confident, but I think I’ll pump the brakes on any kind of optimism until I have somebody other than Sabathia confirming he’s 100%, preferably somebody in the medical field.  …

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Seven best Yankee off season trades since 1975

Blockbuster trades do not happen that often for the New York Yankees. Most of the off season news concerns free agents and waiver pickups. What few trades made over the Steinbrenner years seem inconsequential and the players involved quickly sink into oblivion. The last big off season trade involved sending Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. The debates about that trade have been fun. The official tally so far is Pineda with 2.7 rWAR to Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi both at -0.4 since the trade occurred. We will have to give that one a little more time before the Yankees can be declared the winner. But what were the best trades?

I am just talking off season here or that period between the end of the season and the start of the next one. Obviously, the list will not include the most recent seasons because, again, time needs to occur before you can look at a long history of what happened after a trade.…

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Get Ready for the 2015 Postseason: A-Rod in the “Best Shape of His Life”! But Let’s Look at Past “Best Shape” Claims…

The Hypothesis: The news that “multiple reports say [A-Rod] is in the best shape of his life” (10/13/14) is useless for predicting his performance. Or am I just a snarky, condescending jerk for mocking the concept that diet and exercise can help a near-fortysomething who, to play well for a team I like, reportedly is working harder than the many who let their bodies go by their early/mid-30s – like those Girardi “ripped … for being overweight, not being ‘hungry'” in an impressive bit of managerial wordplay?

The Slipshod Methodology: I Googled “best shape of his life” yankees and “best shape of my life” yankees to find others with off-season “best shape” reports; the first five pages of results from each search yielded 10 “best shape” claims. (I included a few that didn’t quite say “best” but did claim dramatically better physical condition.) I then looked at their performance the seasons before and after the offseason “best shape” claim.…

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The One Where I Rant About Mark Teixeira’s Perceived Lack Of Desire

Teix Foul Territory

Mark Teixeira was a guest host on “Mike And Mike” this morning and a quick sample of tweets I saw makes it sound like he was pretty entertaining.  If you’re a Mark Teixeira fan, you probably already knew this and probably checked it out.  What you might have missed was this post by Wally Matthews last Friday that took some jabs at Teix’s desire and quoted an anonymous “baseball insider” who suggested that Teix’s off-field interests are part of the reason he has declined on the field over the past few seasons:

“A baseball insider I spoke with this week said Teixeira’s ‘outside interests’ — he is financially involved in real estate holdings, a chain of juice bars, and is working to create what he called a “marriage of baseball and social media” — had become a point of concern, with some wondering how badly he still wanted to be a baseball player.”

I’m not even going to get into whether or not it’s fair or right for writers to be taking shots at Teix’s perceived level of desire and effort when the guy has already said he’s going to work out all offseason to make up for how poorly his body held up this year.  …

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To Re-Sign Or Not To Re-Sign: Stephen Drew

Drew vs TOR

Hey look! It’s Stephen Drew actually getting a hit! Courtesy of Getty Images

For all the good moves Cash made at the deadline this year, the one that didn’t pan out was the swap of Kelly Johnson for Stephen Drew.  Drew, who was strongly-pursued by the Yankees last offseason, held out and didn’t sign with a team after declining his qualifying offer from the Red Sox.  When the season started and he remained jobless, he came crawling back to Boston and began what ended up being the worst season of his career.  He finished that season playing second base in New York and moonlighting as Derek Jeter‘s potential replacement at shortstop.  Now he’s looking at entering free agency again with his value at an all-time low and an obvious match with the Yankees as that replacement.  Should they give it another go with Drew?

Case For:

  • Position of Need- The Yankees had the same starting shortstop for the last 19 years and for the last couple of them they didn’t have a very good starting shortstop.  
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Sizing Up the Market: Right Field & DH

Over the last several years, the Yankees have garnered a reputation for not using a true designated hitter. Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, and others have stated on more than one occasion that they view the position as a means to give a player a half-day, so as to rest his legs without removing his bat from the lineup. And, as is the nature of the beast, the team has taken flack for not going out and signing a traditional thumper to be the full-time (or a full-time-ish) DH. However … that is not necessarily true. Or, it is not true over the last couple of seasons.

Prior to the 2013 season, the Yankees signed Travis Hafner and Ben Francisco to platoon at designated hitter, and supplemented that platoon by acquiring Vernon Wells. It was ineffectiveness and injury that doomed the platoon, as the trifecta of Hafner, Francisco, and Wells started 89 of the team’s first 95 games at DH – and 67 of those were started by Hafner.…

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IIATMS Episode 31: World Series, Yankee Coaching and Front Office, 2015 Infield

Guess who’s back? (After some technical difficulties)

That’s right, Domenic, EJ, and yours truly actually recorded a podcast last night! We discussed the improbable World Series matchup and revealed who we were rooting for to win said matchup. (And we’ll never be… you know the rest) We also talked about the changes that have happened this past week or so within the Yankees organization, whether those changes were warranted or not and EJ and Domenic talked about what the Yankees infield could look like in 2015 and beyond while I listened intently.

Here’s a direct download link to the entire podcast.

And here is a diagram we mention during the World Series discussion. Don’t click on it until we get to it in the podcast. We want your mind to be blown like ours were while we were recording. Think of it as listener participation.

As usual, you can tweet all three of us (@domeniclanza, @ejfagan, @stacegots) with questions and/or suggestions or leave them in the comments below.…

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