New Year’s Open Thread

Happy New Year!

I finally got used to writing 2012 on checks and now I have to start writing 2013. As quick as the year passed, the Yankees have done so much during that time. Jesus Montero was swapped for Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda became a Yankee, Phil Hughes rebounded, Brett Gardner and Mariano Rivera were injured for nearly a full season, David Phelps emerged with a strong 2012 in the Major Leagues, the demise of the Killer B’s, Raul Ibanez became a post season hero, Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano Russel Martin left for the Indians and Pirates, and Kevin Youkilis and Ichiro Suzuki are now in pinstripes. What a wild season.

Throughout that time, we’e had a number of great fans come to TYA. The game threads are usually brimming with emotional high’s and emotional low’s. And our writers, I believe, have done some of the best Yankee analysis on the internet. Whether it’s  number-based or a romantic piece, I’m always proud of what our authors do at TYA, and the response by our readers is always fantastic.… Click here to read the rest

The ten best moments of 2012

Though it might have felt like it at various times, 2012 was certainly far from all bad for the Yankees. Yes, that should be self-evident for a team that won more games than anyone else in the American League and a playoff series on top of it, but let’s face it: the lowest lows were awfully darn low for Yankee fans over the past year. But because we’re ever the optimists around here, let’s bid adieu to 2012 with a warm and fuzzy feeling as we remember the good times, and hope for even more in the coming new year.

10. A.L. East Champions! (October 3):

It might have officially gone down to the final day of the season, but the Yankees winning the A.L. East crown wasn’t exactly the stuff of the final day of the 2011 season. The Yankees needed just a win or a Baltimore loss after the Orioles had been dominated by James Shields the previous night, and with the beating they put on the hapless Red Sox that was never really in doubt.… Click here to read the rest

Which Ichiro Suzuki will show up in 2013?

When the Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki mid-way through the 2012 season I was unimpressed. Suzuki is a star who had played his entire career to that point in Seattle, so there was considerable fanfare after the deal was completed, but this wasn’t the Ichiro of old, the perennial 200 hit machine with a high average. This was the Ichiro of 2011, a player who managed a 79 wRC+ and a .310 OBP. He was a big name, but no longer a big player.

I proceeded to eat my words. Suzuki returned to form with the Yankees. Over 240 plate appearances Ichiro hit .322/.340/.454 in pinstripes. He hit five homers and thirteen doubles, essentially matching his output from his time this past season in Seattle, in half the plate appearances. He stole fourteen bases. Seattle traded the Yankees the Ichiro in decline and the Yankees got vintage Suzuki. Can he keep it up?

Bill James is uncertain. His projection system sees Ichiro batting .294/.331/.370 next season, which translates to a .304 wOBA.… Click here to read the rest

The ten worst moments of 2012

(As we prepare to close the door on 2012 and ring in the new year let’s use today to look back at the highlights, and lowlights, of the year that was. We’ll start with the downers, and then go out on a high note.)

On the surface, a season that culminates with a division championship and a trip to the ALCS is a positive one by any (reasonable) standard. Of course, any successful season has it’s share of low points, and the 2012 Yankees certainly seemed to weather more than their fair share of them for a team that wound up winning more games than anyone else in the league. Here then, for therapeutic purposes, is a look back at the ten worst moments of 2012 as defined by us.

10. Jerry Meals (September 8):

The Yankees were already reeling when they opened this four game weekend series in Baltimore, having fallen into a first place tie with the Orioles earlier in the week, but after a solid victory the night before and with C.C.… Click here to read the rest

Projecting Derek Jeter in 2013

New York has never had a shortage of sports writers who have predicted the demise of Derek Jeter over the last decade. The sports writers have always been proven wrong. I’m no different. After the 2010 season I was openly declaring that Jeter was done, and that the Yankees should retain his services only until he collected his 3,000th hit, after which it would be time to find a new shortstop. If the Yankees had listened to me (mercifully they didn’t) the team never would have benefited from Derek’s 2012 season.

For those who don’t remember, this past year, at the ripe old age of 38 (that’s about 138 in shortstop years), Derek hit .316/.362/.429. He led all of baseball with 216 hits. He knocked in 15 homers, which may not sound like much, but it was just one dinger behind his career season average of 16. (Important aside: Jeter isn’t thought of as being much of a power hitter, but he’s amassed 255 career home runs to date, the same number as Kirk Gibson, who was known for being a power hitter.) He managed a 117 wRC+ and played in 159 games.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees hire ex-manager Wakamatsu

Via Ken Davidoff, the Yankees have hired former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu to a job in their pro scouting department. Wakamatsu managed the Mariners in their surprisingly strong 2009 season, but was fired before the end of his second season at the helm amidst an historically inept offensive performance by the M’s in 2010. He spent the last two seasons as John Farrell’s bench coach in Toronto.

Front office/staff moves like this are tough to “evaluate,” if only because we don’t actually see what goes on with these people as they go about doing their job. However, I do think it’s interesting that the Yankees continue to bring in names you’ve heard before to do these jobs. In the past few years they’ve used Kevin Towers and Jim Hendry as special assignment scouts after they lost GM jobs elsewhere, and now they’re incorporating Wakamatsu as a scout. … Click here to read the rest

Hideki Matsui (and Me): A Retrospective

Hideki Matsui announced his retirement yesterday after 10 seasons in the Majors – seven of them with our New York Yankees – and I thought it would be fun to take a look back at his time in Pinstripes.

For this post, I chose to focus on specific games I attended during Matsui’s Yankee tenure so I could tell some stories. Some are just random games, there’s a playoff game in there and a game in which he wasn’t even a Yankee.

I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane and please, feel free to leave your memories of Matsui in the comments section following this post.

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Home Opener 2003:

This was an odd day for a couple of reasons.

1) It was 35 degrees when the game started so it was like being at a football game. It had snowed the day before, it was overcast and it was pretty windy. Thank goodness I attended college in upstate New York so I knew how to dress for the weather.… Click here to read the rest

The Case For Trading Boone Logan

Courtesy of Tim Farrell/The Star-Ledger

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

The trade market continues to look like the best option for the Yankees to address their biggest areas of need this offseason.  With the bulk of this year’s free agent class picked clean and the team already stretching its budget to add Kevin Youkilis and guarantee 2 years to Ichiro Suzuki, it’s highly unlikely the Yankees will plunk down more guaranteed money to what are essentially scraps.  There have been multiple reports of the Yankees quietly shopping guys like Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova already this offseason, reports that as of yet have returned very little in the way of meaningful rumors.  But there are more trade options than just those names.  One name that has come up consistently around the Yankosphere is Boone Logan.  The oft-maligned lefty reliever had another solid season in 2012, and could generate interest on the trade market as something better than just your everyday LOOGY.  … Click here to read the rest

Just get rid of the character clause

Obviously I don’t agree with the conclusions Ken Rosenthal reaches in his Hall of Fame coulmn, at least with respect to steroid users (outside of that, his ballot is pretty much exquisite), but it’s more considered than most of the people who are going to withhold their vote from Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be, so it’s worth a read on its own terms. Still, there are a couple of points at which I think the line of reasoning that Rosenthal employs does more to disprove his position more than anything, particularly this bit on the character clause;

The Hall of Fame specifically instructs us that voting “shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

You may disagree with selective application of the “character clause.” You may believe that the clause should be eliminated entirely. And you may think that a player’s performance matters far more than his character.

Click here to read the rest