Romine Gushes about System’s Pitching

An on going theme of 2010 for the Yankees has been the vast improvement of the minor league system. What was once barren has now been replenished. There may be some kinks to work out–a few more potential impact position players would be nice–but behind Jesus Montero, there are definitely some high quality arms we could see either this season or in the next one or two.

Adding to the praise of the revamped Yankee farm system is catching prospect Austin Romine. In a recent blog post by the Daily News’s Anthony McCarron, Romine spoke of the talent in the Yankees farm system.

“There are so many good pitchers in our organization and it’s being overlooked. DJ Mitchell, (David) Phelps, (Dellin) Betances, (Andrew) Brackman. They’re all really good. I had the good fortune to catch a few of them in Double A and see them go up and I’m really proud of that.

We’ve, rightly, heard a lot about Betances and Brackman this season.… Click here to read the rest

Penny-wise

While Brad Penny will probably never return to the level of pitching he reached as a Dodger in 2007 — 3.03 ERA/3.63 FIP/4.33 xFIP; 4.3 fWAR — the 32-year-old is an interesting free agent possibility after throwing 41 2/3 innings of 167 ERA+ ball in 2009 for the Giants and 55 2/3 innings of 122 ERA+ ball for the Cardinals this past season before being shut down with a shoulder strain.

I’d imagine the whole “missing 75% of the 2010 season” thing is why we haven’t heard much about teams being interested in Penny this offseason (outside of the Tigers), but once again, for a team with a pitching need at the low end of the rotation, Penny could be a worthwhile gamble for the Yankees.

Here are a smattering of Penny’s career pitching numbers:

Most Yankee fans’ lasting memories of Penny are likely of the “being lit up” variety, and while it’s true he looked pretty cooked by the time the Yankees battered him for eight earned runs on August 21, 2009, leading to his release by Boston, he wasn’t an atrocious back-end starter for the Red Sox through his first 17 starts of the 2009 season (a stretch that includes six shutout innings against the Yankees at Fenway Park on June 11), posting a 4.71 ERA over 93.2 innings.… Click here to read the rest

Comparing Yankees' Offseason Transactions from the Past Decade

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog.)

The New York Yankees are in the unfamiliar position of entering a new year without having made any significant improvements to the team. Although the free agent signings of Russell Martin and Pedro Feliciano are both positive complementary acquisitions, the team’s failure to make a big splash has left it vulnerable to a serious of question marks, one of which will become an exclamation point should Andy Pettitte decide to retire. Patience has been this offseason’s theme, and hopefully its virtue, so instead of looking too far ahead, perhaps it would be better to look back at past acquisitions over the last decade? Below is a list of the major names acquired (re-signings generally excluded) after each season (based on conventional wisdom at the time) along with an assessment of the group’s overall performance.

2009: Javier Vazquez, Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson

Fresh off their 27th World Series championship, the Yankees were far from complacent.… Click here to read the rest

Simulpost on ESPNNY: Throwing logic out the window: Manny vs. Thome

There are many solid and rational reasons why Thome doesn’t fit into the Yankees’ plan. Here are a few: 

  1. Taking one of the 25 roster spots severely limits Joe Girardi‘s roster flexibility by keeping one guy who can only hit.
  2. The roster is already lefty-heavy.
  3. He will turn 40 during the 2011 season.
  4. He will likely want more playing time than the Yanks can offer.

Yet, despite the prevailing logic that there’s no true need for a DH on the Yankees, I’ve long been a fan of Jim Thome. By all accounts, his character is off the charts and a great addition to any locker room. The idea of watching him take aim at the short porch in right field is certainly tantalizing. Looking at Thome’s 2010 results, we can only be impressed at his effectiveness: 25 home runs in only 340 plate appearances (108 games) while posting a superb slash line of .283/.412/.627. Thome’s 2009, aside from his 17-game pinch-hitter stint in LA, was comparable with 23 home runs in 417 plate appearances and 249/.372/.493.… Click here to read the rest

Miranda to get a shot in Arizona

Former Yankee prospect Juan Miranda is likely to get a shot at the full time 1B gig in Arizona. The Yankees, you’ll remember, traded Miranda for pitcher Scottie Allen a little more than a month ago.

This is definitely encouraging news. Miranda had a solid minor league track record and if not for Mark Teixeira, he could’ve been at least a platoon option at first base for the Yankees. But, as it usually is with Yankee minor leaguers, Juan was the victim of blockage and timing.

With Juan Miranda joining personal favorite Ian Kennedy, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the Diamondbacks this year. Kennedy had some success in the rotation last year and should improve. With regular playing time, I think Juan Miranda could at least be an average player.

While it hurts to see guys like Kennedy, Miranda and Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson with non-Yankee organizations, the team should take pride in the fact that they’ve developed a fair amount of players lately.… Click here to read the rest

Jeff Francis: fourth (or fifth) starter?

Given the Yankees’ need for starting pitching, Jeff Francis‘ name has unsurprisingly recently come up in connection to the team, so let’s take a look at whether the lifelong NL West pitcher makes any sense for the Bombers.

After a breakout 4.1 fWAR season in 2007 with the Rockies in which he posted a 4.22 ERA/4.19 FIP/4.26 xFIP (on the surface these don’t appear to be overly impressive numbers, but adjusted for park and league it was a 114 ERA+ season) line over 215.1 innings, worth a whopping $16.9 million. Unfortunately, Francis, a classic slow-pitch lefthander (the kind that inexplicably routinely stymies the Yankees), has been a below-average pitcher in the two seasons he’s pitched since, recording a 94 ERA+ in 143.2 innings in 2008 and a 93 ERA+ last season in 104.1 innings. He missed all of 2009 due to shoulder surgery. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but they’re not exactly supremely confidence-inspiring, and it’s not all that surprising that teams haven’t been terribly eager to snap him up.… Click here to read the rest

Nolan Ryan, unplugged

Well, you’re obviously aware of the impact that contracts and the escalation of salaries have on the game and the thing that concerns me is keeping the game affordable for families and that’s what our goal is: to have affordable family entertainment. Now, of all professional sports, we’re still number one in that area; finding ways because of the number of games that we play to discount tickets, to put on promotions on certain nights to allow families to come to the games. But, as salaries continue to escalate and expenses pertaining to the club and the organization continue to escalate, that challenge continues to be greater every year. So, we have to try and be creative as we can and we certainly do not lose focus is that the fans are our bread and butter and that we have to try to do everything we can within our ability to enable them to come to the ball games and enjoy the ball games.Click here to read the rest

The calm after the storm

Between a snow-blanketed New York City and a holiday week in which many are off from work, there hasn’t been a ton of worthwhile Yankee-related news (a reunion with Johnny Damon? Adding Manny Ramirez? Come on), and I’d expect things to remain quiet for a bit. While all of Yankeeland continues to wait with bated breath for Andy Pettitte‘s decision, which apparently will make or break the Yankees’ 2011 season in many peoples’ eyes, I also expect that Brian Cashman isn’t quite done making improvements to the team, and I wouldn’t be surprised if January yielded a surprise or two.

Of course, judging by the massive contingent of fans who apparently are quite disenfranchised with Cashman, I’m not sure anything will be enough to satisfy the anti-pragmatists. After witnessing the back-and-forth that developed on my post defending Cashman last week I came away pretty shocked with the volume of folks still clamoring for Cashman’s head — I’m used to MLBTR-linked posts drawing the ire of fans of other teams, but it was a bit depressing to see a comment section filled with bickering Yankee supporters.… Click here to read the rest

Francisco Cervelli, Backup Catcher: No More, No Less

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One Yankees player who inspires some strong emotions among members of the fanbase is Francisco Cervelli. He started 2010 very hot, with a .387 wOBA in April fooling some into believing that he was an everyday player. With Jorge Posada’s defense continuing to deteriorate, a rapidly growing portion of the fanbase called for Cervelli to steal the starter’s job from Jorge. However, Frankie regressed terribly at the plate from June through August, and was not much better in the field. The bloom was off the rose, to the point where many called for him to be sent down to the minors.

This offseason, Cervelli was nearly traded for Russell Martin, and the Yankees have made it fairly clear that they do not trust Frankie in anything more than a backup capacity. Some Yankees fans have gone so far to say that he “sucks” and want him off the roster. However, a look at his numbers, and more importantly, the competition at backup catcher, shows that he is a solid backup and is a perfectly reasonable player to keep on the roster while he is cheap.… Click here to read the rest