World Series Game 1: Justin Verlander Vs. … Barry Zito?

The Yankee season is over, but why not watch the rest of the baseball season? We have a real treat of a pitching match up tonight, Justin Verlander against the great Barry Zito. That’s pretty one sided for the Tigers. The way the Giants have been playing lately, Verlander really should start this series off by stopping the San Francisco momentum.

Here are some links to look over as we await tonight’s 8:00 start.

That’s all for now. Whoever you’re rooting for, go them!… Click here to read the rest

Scouting Otani

Shohei Otani is the new shiny object on the international free agent radar, so of course the Yankees have been linked to him. Like most amateur free agents, I don’t really know anything about him (he’s 18 and he throws hard), but if you’re a Baseball America subscriber you can head over there and read Ben Badler’s scouting report on him. A sampling:

Otani has great arm speed and arm action with a loose, easy delivery. His fastball sits around 92-96 mph and has touched 98 (he hit 99 according to a video online, though BA could not find a scout who could confirm a reading above 98). Pitching every fifth day, Otani’s fastball may sit in the lower end of that range, but his power arm is a major draw for scouts. Some scouts liked the life on Otani’s fastball, though others thought it flattened out, which contributed to him getting hit against Canada.

Scouts were mixed on Otani’s offspeed pitches.

Click here to read the rest

Joe Girardi’s final press conference of 2012

So Joe Girardi had a press conference today, the final one of the 2012 season.

Nothing particularly earth shattering was revealed. There were no surprise ailments or injuries to key players. He also said there weren’t any nagging injuries that the coaching staff didn’t know about it. Apparently, the majority of the offense came down with a bad case of suckitis at the same time.

Some more highlights:

  • Girardi said he expects all of his coaches to return so if there’s anyone who was hoping for a Kevin Long firing, sorry.
  • CC Sabathia has not seen Dr. James Andrews yet. Sabathia was planning on getting his elbow checked out. Girardi said Sabathia is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
  • Girardi also revealed that he has not spoken to Alex Rodriguez since the end of the postseason. Girardi added that A-Rod was totally healthy during the playoffs and that the plan is to have Rodriguez be the everyday third baseman next season.
Click here to read the rest

The Real Impact Of Derek Jeter’s Ankle Injury

How's that ankle going to respond the first time Jeter has to make a similar play to his left next year? Courtesy of Getty Images

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The immediate impact of Derek Jeter’s ankle injury was major and painfully obvious to anybody who watched the ALCS. Without him in the lineup or on the field, the Yankees managed to score just 2 runs in the final 3 games while giving up more than that and committing 3 official defensive errors, 5 if you want to be a stickler like me and give Chavez and Teix Es for their stay-back botches in Game 4.  Even deeper than the on-field results, the entire attitude and morale of the team seemed to drop without the presence of The Captain. Say what you want about his robotic repetition of nothing comments to the media, but the tired, lifeless nature of the Yankees’ play in the final 3 games should stand as an example of just what kind of behind-the-scenes leader Jeter is in the clubhouse and how important he still is to the Yankees’ success.… Click here to read the rest

Offseason questions: Who’s in right?

For a team that feels as though it could be about to undergo some big changes, the Yankees have surprisingly few holes in their projected lineup for 2013. Six regular position and four pitchers who made multiple big league starts remain under team control, and you’ll probably see some of the team’s own free agents return to fill a few of those spots. So, “blow it up!” media histrionics aside, why is there a distinct feeling that things are going to be different in The Bronx when pitchers and catchers report in four long months?

(click “view full post” to continue reading)

The right field situation is a prime example. In most circumstances, there wouldn’t even be a right field question. Nick Swisher has manned the position for the past four seasons, and to say he’s done so admirably would be an understatement. During his time in pinstripes, Swisher has hit .268/.367/.483 and averaged 3.75 fWAR per season. He hit .272/.364/.473 in 2012, good for a wRC+ of 128 and the second best on base percentage on the team.… Click here to read the rest

Do The Yankees Have Room For Big Papi?

Most of us hate David Ortiz, but only because he’s worn a Red Sox uniform over the last 10 years. In that time, he’s hit .290/.389/.573, and he’s killed the Yankees with a .313/.403/.569 triple slash. Last year, at 36 years old, the designated hitter signed on to a one year deal with the Boston for $14.5 million. Age was a major deterrent from issuing a multi-year deal, but he’s continued to defy the expected deterioration in hitting.

A late season injury to his Achilles in August limited him to 383 plate appearances in 2012, but in that time he hit 23 homeruns and 26 doubles, walked more than he struck out, and finished with a .318/.415/.611 slash line. As much as we want to hate on him for wearing a different uniform, Ortiz has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the last decade, and the declining trends of age haven’t manifested yet. As he looks to hit the free agent market this offseason, should the Yankees be interested?… Click here to read the rest

Uncertain to the core

Of all the uncertainties that face the New York Yankees heading into the post season, concern about the “core” should probably come to the top of the list. The last we saw Derek Jeter, the captain and Yankee stalwart since 1996, he was flat on the infield after suffering what we later learned was a fracture to his ankle. This past Saturday, he had surgery on the ankle and is expected to be ready to go by Spring Training. The last we saw Mariano Rivera, the 42 year old designee as the greatest closer that ever lived was being carted off the field with a torn up knee and a blood clot later complicated his injury. Andy Pettitte was the only one of the old guard that ended the season on his feet, but that was after getting drilled in the leg and suffering a fracture of his own that would take two months to heal. You know Jeter will be back and Rivera said he would be back.… Click here to read the rest

Looking at the Yankees’ future at catcher

As Brien mentioned, the Yankees job for starting catcher is up for grabs right now. Russell Martin‘s contract was for one year and the Yankees have yet to indicate whether they plan to resign him. This year they sent a pretty clear signal that they do not view Francisco Cervelli as a viable option, while they groom their next backstop of the future. First, they traded for Chris Stewart at the end of Spring Training, sending Cervelli to the wandering Empire State Yankees and then only gave him three at bats and a handful of innings behind the plate after being called-up in September. While thinking about this potential hole in their lineup, it struck me that the Yankees have found themselves in a place many of us thought they would avoid, given their penchant for drafting and developing some strong catching prospects.

For much of the 1990s and 2000s, the Yankees had a solid starting catcher behind home plate.… Click here to read the rest

Banuelos to miss all of 2013

Brian Cashman is giving an interview on WFAN, and while much of the conversation is very similar to the interview he did on ESPN Radio Sunday, the Yankees’ general manager did confirm that Manny Banuelos, the team’s top pitching prospect, will miss the entirety of the 2013 season following Tommy John surgery. That’s not a surprise, obviously, but the Yankees arent even going to hint that he could make an early return, apparently.

Banuelos, who was all the rage after a strong Spring Training performance in 2011, struggled with walking batters after being promoted to Double-A that season, and then missed almost all of 2012, first with a back injury and then with an elbow injury. The latter problem was originally diagnosed as being non-structural and the Yankees were hoping to have him pitching in winter ball, but announced that he would indeed need Tommy John surgery during the last week of the regular season.

(h/t to Rob Abruzzese for alerting me to the interview)Click here to read the rest