Now that the Brewers are out of contention I find myself grasping at straws for who to root for in the World Series, or even if I should watch it. Once again, at gun point, I’d go for the Cardinals. I’m still holding a bit of a grudge against the Rangers for last season, even if there’s no rationale behind it. In the interim, I’ll be watching the Jets tonight. Enjoy.
In a very interesting column on the Yankees’ offseason plans, Joel Sherman shared the following nugget about how the organization views Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish: “For those on the Matt Cain bandwagon, I heard the Giants have made it so clear they are not trading him that the Yankees have not asked about the righty in “’years.’ The A’s want a No. 1 starter return for Gio Gonzalez, and the Yankees don’t view him as an ace. John Danks took a step back this past year. Many key Yankee voices like Yu Darvish, but the internal sense is Steinbrenner Continue reading Don't Believe What You Read On Darvish
It’s not usually a good sign when controversy surrounds you from the moment you sign with a new team, and that’s exactly what happened to Rafael Soriano this past year. We all know the story, so there’s little reason to go into detail about it again, but suffice it to say it can’t be fun to have the general manager of your new team publicly acknowledging that he opposed signing you, or to be the catalyst for a bazillion and one stories about some supposed rift in the front office.
And to make matters worse, the local media took Soriano’s controversial beginnings with the Yankees and made as much hay as they possibly could out of it, almost relishing the opportunity to turn Soriano into a Bad Guy, to give them some new material when the Alex Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett wells were dry. Joel Sherman waged a one-man war on Soriano early in the spring, calling him a bad teammate and insinuating he was the dreaded “locker room cancer” as early as training camp, based on nothing but his body language and introverted personality. When he blew an 8th inning lead in the season’s first week and didn’t talk to the media about it, a firestorm of self-reverence no one put the New York media is capable of broke loose.
(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading 2011 season profile: Rafael Soriano
(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). The San Francisco Giants’ championship in 2010 was supposed to usher in a new era of pitching dominance. With offense levels reaching long-time lows, the conventional wisdom suggested that only with a strong starting rotation could a team hope to make the World Series. Then, 2011 happened. The Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals have each advanced to this year’s Fall Classic despite lackluster starting pitching. In fact, the teams’ respective rotation ERAs of 5.62 and 5.43 rank near the bottom among the field of eight that began the postseason. Even more incredibly, Continue reading End of an ERA? Dominant Starters Not Setting the Tone This October
Have Yankee fans witnessed a changing of the guard in the Bronx over the past two seasons? Derek Jeter will always be The Captain and the person most viewed as the face of the Yankees. Mariano Rivera will remain the most universally beloved Yankee of this era, and the most impressive when it comes to doing his job. And it’s hard to imagine anyone could have a bigger presence, for better or worse, than Alex Rodriguez. But at this point it doesn’t seem far-fetched at all to say that Robinson Cano is the best all around player on the team.
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Continue reading 2011 season profile: Robinson Cano
Friday I ran the first post in this series, examining what Fangraphs estimated each Yankee hitter was worth to the team on the season, and then comparing that value to what a player was actually paid in 2011. Today, I’ll be performing the same exercise, only examining the Yankee pitchers. As before, the rules of this are simple. All the data come from Fangraphs. The value and salary numbers are in millions. The difference between a pitcher’s salary and his value is either the profit he generated for the team, if his value exceeded his salary, or the loss he Continue reading Working hard for the money: What each Yankee pitcher was paid, versus his worth
Either the Red Sox were just a wee bit chastened by the largely negative reaction to the hit piece they commissioned on Terry Francona last week, or Bill Madden has simply forgot what city the newspaper he writes for is located in, but it seems as though the suits on Yawkey Way decided to outsource the job of whacking Theo Epstein (or getting the ball rolling on it, anyway) to Madden.
(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Bill Madden has the hit on Theo
One of the more popular refrains surrounding the Yankee offense in 2011 was that it seemed to have a good deal of trouble scoring in the later innings of ballgames. More often than not it seemed we’d watch the offense get to work immediately in the first inning — highlighted by a league-leading 115 runs scored in the 1st — only to let an opposing starter settle in over the next few frames and seem to make it through relatively unscathed before turning it over to the bullpen. If the Yankees weren’t ahead by this point in the game, it Continue reading Follow-up study on the 2011 Yankees' run-scoring by inning
I would be perfectly content to never write another word about A.J. Burnett as long as I live. It’s not that I don’t like him, it’s just that I’m tired of talking about him all the time. I don’t think any other player this side of Alex Rodriguez has caused so much digital ink to be spilled, especially in New York. The locals love to hate him, and he’s given them plenty of fuel to keep the fire going over the last two seasons.
Burnett arguably had more pressure on him coming in to 2011 than any other Yankee. Burnett was coming off of the worst season of his career, by far, and one of the worst seasons by any Yankees’ starter, ever, but with Cliff Lee choosing Philadelphia over New York and Andy Pettitte retiring, the onus was supposedly on Burnett to come through as a solid front-of-the-rotation starter once again to help buoy the Yankees’ pitching over the season. The Yankees hired a new pitching coach, a move many suspected was primarily about getting someone who could straighten out Burnett, and A.J. came to Spring Training with a new delivery and an emphasis on cleaning up his mechanics (this was not the last we would hear of this theme in the season). Here at IIATMS we designated Burnett as the Yankees’ “X-Factor,” and the idea that the fortunes of Burnett and the rest of the team would be closely wedded was a popular belief.
(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading 2011 season profile: A.J. Burnett