Now that A.J. is gone, who’s the new A.J.?

I don’t mean this the way you think. Time and time again during A.J. Burnett‘s rocky tenure in pinstripes it seemed like he was the missing piece. Often the Yankees were one more dominant pitcher away from being in the World Series, or found themselves with their season potentially on the line and A.J. on the mound. As a result, he was the secret ingredient helping the Yankees to advance in the playoffs or preventing them from succeeding. A.J.’s role as the make or break player was logical. Most playoff teams have at least one dominant starter to face off Continue reading Now that A.J. is gone, who’s the new A.J.?

TYA Prospect Week 2012

This week at TYA, we have something special for you, ladies and gentlemen. While not every post this week will be prospect-centric, there will be myriad musings on the Yankee farmhands. Later today, E.J. will release the composite TYA Top 20 Yankee prospects, and throughout the week, we’ll have multiple roundtable discussions related to prospects. Prospects are a reflection of what I love about the game of baseball. It’s a game of constant anticipation, and that’s the same game we play when we prospect watch. Nothing in baseball is a guarantee and that practically goes without saying when it comes Continue reading TYA Prospect Week 2012

Mark Teixeira is in the best shape of his life

Via John Harper and George King, Mark Teixeira reported to camp visibly trimmed down, with the Yankees’ first baseman claiming to have lost 15 pounds over the winter. “The older you get, the lighter,” said Tex. “I tried to eat better and work out a little harder. I also drank a lot of green juice. I was really happy with my offseason.” He also discussed his intention to lay down some bunts when the other team employs the infield shift against him.”If the situation calls for me to drive in a run or hit a home run I am not going to bunt, but…if we need a baserunner…[a bunt single] is better than a line drive to the second baseman in right field.”

That’s all well and good, but successfully dropping a few bunts against the shift is going be be a rather muted victory if Teixeira doesn’t improve the overall quality of his at bats from the left side. He admitted that he feels as though he’s become very pull happy when facing right handed pitcher. “Sometimes when you feel like you can hita home run every time up,” he mused, “you try.” The result of that has been a more open swing that leaves Tex exposed to pitches over the outer third of the plate, pitches he wasn’t able to handle with any sort of authority last season. Adding the bunt to the mix in the right situation may help the team at the margins, but it would be better still if Teixeira cut down on his pop-ups and routine fly balls and start shooting some of those outer third pitches the other way.

A line drive to the second baseman might not sound too appealing to Tex, but a line drive into the left-center field gap sounds mighty fine to me. Continue reading Mark Teixeira is in the best shape of his life

Billy Beane’s Wild Winter

Billy Beane took a gentle ribbing last week, probably for no better reason than that headline-makers relish the punning symmetry of Moneyball and Mannyball. Whatever your feelings about the eponymous ex-Red Sox outfielder, it’s impossible to criticize Beane for auditioning him in Oakland. When you consider that the list  of  Spring Training invitees around the league also includes Carlos Silva, Brett Tomko, Scott Podsednik, Oliver Perez, Carlos Guillen, and Jeff Suppan, Manny Ramirez no longer seems like the foremost poster-child for the washed-up and over-the-hill. Instead of critiquing this single and likely inconsequential acquisition, I’d like to focus instead on everything Beane did up to that point, in what might be the strangest offseason of his long career.

Thanks to the fall release and somewhat unexpected buzz surrounding the Beane biopic, the longtime Oakland GM spent 2011 getting profiled by major media outlets and reclaiming the title “revolutionary baseball genius” he first acquired in the wake of Michael Lewis‘s 2003 book. Whether or not one believes Beane’s reputation is deserved, it’s pretty hard to dispute that Beane, in both his successes and failures, has displayed a penchant for unconventional and counterintuitive thinking. Aaron Sorkin’s script focused on Beane’s insistence that converted catcher, Scott Hatteberg, could play first base without throwing, and that soft-tossing submariner, Chad Bradford, could have success as a big-league reliever. Lewis’s book also highlighted Beane’s pursuance of underrated prospects Nick Swisher, Joe Blanton, and Jeremy Brown in the ’02 draft. As with most drafts, some picks were more successful than others. More recently, Beane was among the first to recognize that speed, defense, and past-their-prime veterans were being undervalued. He netted great deals on Frank Thomas, Josh Willingham, and Rajai Davis, but his experiments with Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Ryan Sweeney, and Orlando Cabrera yielded less impressive results.

In the wake of the renewed Moneyball hoopla, Beane spent another offseason betting against the grain.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Billy Beane’s Wild Winter

Yankees outright Dickerson

Chris Dickerson cleared waivers today, and the Yankeees have announced that he’s cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre, which is sort of surprising. Not that Dickerson was waived, the Yankees don’t have any room for him on the big league roster and he’s out of options, but that he wasn’t claimed by another team. He is a viable fourth outfielder who can handle right handed pitching reasonably well, so you’d figure there’d be a number of teams he’d fit in with. Then again, the Yankees acquired him for Sergio Mitre, so this is, at most, only the second most ignominious moment of his professional career. Continue reading Yankees outright Dickerson

One last go round with Joba the starter

I’m sure that headline elicited the standard three Joba responses. Some thinking “Yes! Finally!” while others saying “Been there, done that” and the vast majority of readers thinking “Not THIS topic AGAIN”. I can assure you that what follows isn’t a rehashing of the debate we all grew weary of from a few years back. What I’m arguing for here is something different. I think it makes sense for the Yanks to send Joba down to AAA sometime in April or May and let him pitch his rehab as a starter, whether they plan on using him as one at Continue reading One last go round with Joba the starter

I was wrong, wasn’t I?

When news of Ryan Braun‘s failed PED test first broke, I quickly wrote a post proclaiming his failed test a black eye for the game. But I was hasty in my judgement. Those who posted in the comments section rightly pointed out that it wasn’t clear that Braun had failed the test, that an appeal was taking place. In response, I said that if Braun’s suspension was overturned I would declare that I was wrong, right here on the blog. Well, I was wrong. Wait, was I wrong? Things aren’t entirely as the headlines have proclaimed. Braun did successfully overturn Continue reading I was wrong, wasn’t I?

Thinking out loud on failing to extend Russell Martin

As I’m sure you know by now, there were some mid week reports that the Yanks and Russell Martin were discussing a contract extension. Those reports were shot down almost immediately, and it turns out they were just a rehashing of some pre-arb hearing conversations that went nowhere. Both sides have since decided to shelve any further discussions until after the season, when Martin is due to become a free agent. The talks apparently broke down over cost. The Yanks were willing to go 3 years and around 20M, while Martin was seeking more than that. Both sides have solid Continue reading Thinking out loud on failing to extend Russell Martin