Joba or Nova for Liriano?

Liriano has of course had a bevy of injury issues so far in his career, but when he’s healthy he’s a legitimate #1 starter on just about every team in baseball. He’s a strikeout and ground ball machine, and those guys just don’t go on trees. It’s not clear whether Nightengale was reporting something he heard from sources in or around the Twins organization or merely speculating on what the Yankees would have to give up, but suffice it to say that if the Yankees actually can acquire Liriano for a package centered around Nova or Joba, the Twins would be selling exceptionally low on a guy who was one of the 5-10 best pitchers in the American League last season.

I took some heat a while back for saying I wouldn’t be excited about trading Manny Banuelos for Liriano, and the more the situation develops, the more I think that’s a pretty solid position to take. Aside from Liriano’s injury history, its just hard to get over how willing the Twins are to trade this guy if these reports are accurate.… Click here to read the rest

TYA Trivia Open Thread For 2-28-11

On every weeknight throughout the year, one of the TYA writers will post a trivia question as the nightly open thread. The blog administrators will keep track of the winners, and the commenter with the most correct answers will win a prize that has yet to be decided upon. The answers will be posted in the following evening’s open thread.

Yesterday’s Question: The Yankees have three rookie pitchers in camp (Brackman, Betances, Banuelos) that project as front of the rotation starters. Name the three Yankee pitchers that have won the American League Rookie of the Year award since its inception in 1949.

Answer: Stan Bahnsen, Bob Grim and Dave Righetti

Today’s Question: In honor of Charlie Sheen’s incredible meltdown, we have a few questions about his classic baseball film, Major League:

a) Which former Major Leaguer played Yankees’ slugger Haywood in the film?

b) In which MLB stadium were the home game scenes filmed?

c) Which cast member was offered a baseball scholarship to the University of Kansas as a teenager?… Click here to read the rest

Some Sobering Data On Montero's Defense

After Jesus Montero‘s Spring Training debut behind the plate yesterday, many Yankees fans were cautiously optimistic about his defensive performance. Although he was not tested much, he did not seem as awkward back there as he has been advertised to be, and looked like he could handle the position at the Major League level. However, while most of us have watched plenty of baseball, few of us have scouting experience and therefore do not know exactly what to look for when evaluating a catcher’s defense. SG over at RLYW provided a link to a post from August, written by Kyle, which presented some sobering numbers regarding Montero’s defense:

To state the obvious, Montero does an awful job blocking balls in the dirt. His PB rate is nearly three times that of his teammates, and Scranton pitchers are charged with more WP when he’s the catcher, too. Over 130 games, Montero would be expected to give up 14 PB and 28 more WP than his teammates, which would be about 11 runs (7.5 runs below IL average rates).

Click here to read the rest

Seasons Change: Yanks’ Youngsters Help to Bring About Early Spring Thaw

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

One of the cardinal rules about spring training is you have to take the results with a grain of salt, especially the early performances of eager rookies who are either facing veterans slowly ramping up to speed or overmatched secondary talent. With that disclaimer noted, some of the bad vibes from the Yankees’ offseason of discontent dissipated yesterday thanks to impressive early performances from three of the team’s young prospects.

Can Dellin Betances continue to make Joe Girardi take notice (Photo: Daily News)?

The biggest impression from the spring contest against the Phillies was appropriately left by imposing 6’8” right hander Dellin Betances, who struck out the side in his one inning of work. More impressive than the result, however, was the way the Brooklyn-born hurler achieved it. In addition to featuring a mid-90s fastball (that topped out at 97), Betances also wielded a late breaking knuckle curve that had several Phillies’ batters fooled completely.… Click here to read the rest

Players to Watch: NL Central

You know the drill: I’m running through the divisions, singling out players worth of watching. Today, the NL Central is our focus.

NL West

Cincinnati Reds: I’m going to avoid going with the obvious choice of Joey Votto here and go with one of my favorite players: Scott Rolen. I don’t know why, but I’ve always liked Rolen. I think he’s been underrated in the grand scheme of things and he had a solid year last year, posting a .367 wOBA in 537 PAs. Here’s my proof, by the way, of Rolen’s underrated-ness.

St. Louis Cardinals: Lance! Another player who’s been massively underrated in his career, I’m very interested to see Lance Berkman in his return to the NL after a brief stopover in the AL with the Yankees. Yes, I’ll admit that, perversely enough, I’m most interested (morbidly excited?) to see if Berkman can return to the outfield as the Cardinals plan on playing Puma in right. On a “nicer” note, we’ll have to watch Berkman’s power and see if it comes back.… Click here to read the rest

Grapefruit League Game 3: Yankees @ Tigers

Derek Jeter SS

Robinson Cano 2b

Mark Teixeira 1b

Alex Rodriguez 3b

Andruw Jones RF

Russell Martin DH

Francisco Cervelli C

Justin Maxwell CF

Melky Mesa LF

C.C. Sabathia SP

Some notes for Monday:

  • Haven’t seen anything yet about who is scheduled to pitch after Sabathia. If and when that comes out, I’ll update accordingly.
  • Russell Martin will make his first appearance of the spring, but he’s not yet getting time behind the plate. The team seems to be giving him plenty of time to let the knee rest.
  • I’m sort of surprised Jeter, Cano, Tex, and A-Rod are going to Lakeland instead of Clearwater, though I guess Joe Girardi didn’t want them playing back to back days right out of the gate.
  • I’m already sick of Cervelli.
  • Bold prediction of the day; Melky Mesa crushes a home run today, but strikes out in each of his other at bats.

Update: According to Marc Carig, Pedro Feliciano, Manny Banuelos, and Mark Prior are scheduled to pitch in relief today.… Click here to read the rest

Imagining Trades, Part Three

Last week, I took two looks at some trade possibilities. The first was general in nature, introducing two possible trade candidates, Mark Buehrle and Chris Carpenter. The second looked at Carpenter’s theoretical trade value. It went a little longer than I expected, so I pushed this part of the post off until now.

Let’s start with Buehrle’s contract status. He’s scheduled to make a healthy $14M this season, but there are no options for 2012. He does have a $25K escalator for winning a Gold Glove and a $15K escalator for making the A.L All-Star team. Buehrle is a “ten-and-five” guy (ten years in the league, five years with his current team) so he can veto any trade he’d like. Despite that, he is open to (possibly) accepting a trade. From the first post:

“But if it came down to it, I would do it for [White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] and the team because they have done enough for me.

Click here to read the rest

2011 American League Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Off-season analysis: If any Yankee fans out there are wondering why so many were cautioning against the tendency to do something rash after missing out on a top free agent target, look no further than Anaheim. Though they were at various times seen as the most obvious landing spot for Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre, and/or Rafael Soriano, the Angels failed to sign even one of those guys, mostly because they were reportedly offering them low-ball contracts. Instead, they gave away a top draft pick to sign Downs to a 3 year contract, and gave away Mike Napoli‘s bat for Wells’ contract (to make matters worse, Napoli wound up on the Rangers’ roster a couple of weeks later). Missing out on Beltre will probably hurt them the most, as they have a glaring hole at 3rd base. But at least Scott Boras won’t be cashing a commission check from Arte Moreno’s bank account, right?

Projected lineup: (2010 wOBA):

Jeff Mathis C (.223 in 218 plate appearances)

Kendry Morales 1b (.357 in 211 plate appearances)

Howie Kendrick 2b (.317)

Erick Aybar SS (.288)

Alberto Callaspo 3b (.295)

Vernon Wells LF (.362)

Peter Bourjos CF (.273 in 193 plate appearances)

Torii Hunter RF (.350)

Bobby Abreu DH (.348)

Projected rotation (2010 FIP):

Jered Weaver (3.06)

Ervin Santana (4.28)

Dan Haren (3.71)

Joel Pineiro (3.84)

Scott Kazmir (5.83)

2011 outlook: While the Angels’ off-season has been widely and rightly criticized, rumors of their demise are most likely exaggerated.… Click here to read the rest