Author Archives: Brad Vietrogoski

Quick Hit: Hey, That Home Run Celebration Looks Familiar

A-Rod HR Celebration vs BOS

Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who absolutely loved Alex Rodriguez aping David Ortiz‘s HR celebration when he crossed the plate in the top of the 6th last night.  That’s trolling of the highest order, on national TV no less, and it’s brilliant.  After hitting the deepest Yankee homer of the season off the pitcher who’d plunked him in his first at-bat and pimping it around the basepaths with fist pumps, hand claps, and some trash talk, A-Rod still had the wherewithal to put that troll cherry on the “Eff You” sundae.

It was almost as if A-Rod was daring Ryan Dempster to hit him again.  It was the ultimate heel move and it was freakin’ awesome.  I know there are a lot of Yankee fans out there who still hate A-Rod, won’t cheer for him, think he’s a bum and the devil and a disgrace to the pinstripes and all of that.  But if you can’t get behind Heel A-Rod, even strictly from an entertainment standpoint, then I don’t know what to tell you.…

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Lack Of Logic In The Claiborne Demotion

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The Yankees had to make yet another roster move yesterday Friday to clear a 25-man spot for the newly signed Mark Reynolds.  In a move that came as a surprise, it was Preston Claiborne who got sent down.  With rosters expanding in 2 weeks, it’s not the end of the world for him.  Claiborne will be called back up and he should re-assume the role he had carved out as top middle inning guy.  Still, the decision to send Claiborne down when there were other more worthy candidates doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

The Yankees won’t be weren’t shorthanded in manpower without Claiborne this weekend.  They called up David Huff before the series to give them an extra arm and an extra lefty to use as they see fit.  Huff could also be used as a long man if the situation arises in the next 2 games weeks, which is why I didn’t get the decision to demote Claiborne over Adam Warren.  …

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Mark Montgomery Back To The DL

Mark Montgomery

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

At the end of last season, Mark Montgomery was the hands down top relief prospect in the Yankee system, a borderline top 10 organizational prospect overall, and on his way to breaking into the Major League bullpen sometime around now if not earlier.  After leaving his last appearance on Saturday with more shoulder problems, he’s likely done for the year and has become a much bigger question mark for next season rather than a possible bullpen answer.

Donnie Collins confirmed earlier this week that Montgomery was put back on the DL for the 3rd time this year, each of them shoulder-related.  This latest issue puts a fitting end to a disappointing season and continues the storyline I’ve talked up since last fall about Montgomery being overworked in 2012.  The story for a while has been that Montgomery didn’t come to spring camp in the best shape and the team has used that as an explanation for his diminished velocity and shoulder problems.  …

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Preston Claiborne Also Onboard The Train To Regression Town

Preston Claiborne

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod. Stats have not been updated to reflect last night’s game)

Bullpen issues seem to be a hot topic in Yankeeland these days, much hotter than they were earlier in the season.  From Boone Logan not getting lefties out as often as a lefty specialist should to Mariano Rivera blowing 3 straight saves to Joba Chamberlain ceasing to exist as a viable medium-leverage-and-up relief option, the Yankee ‘pen hasn’t been the strong, deep unit it was months back.  This is partly because the rotation hasn’t been very good either and the bullpen has had to take on more innings, but it’s also because some guys, mostly the young guys, have regressed from their pre-summer levels of performance.  Last week we took a look at Adam Warren‘s rough trip down the ladder, this week it’s former walk-less wonder Preston Claiborne who’s under the microscope.

Claiborne’s regression hasn’t been nearly as dramatic as Warren’s.  He still has a solid 3.00/3.06 ERA/FIP split in 39.0 innings pitched and he’s been worth 0.5 fWAR this season, not bad at all for an unheralded rookie.  …

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Joe Still Pushing The Right Buttons

Joe Girardi

I know I wasn’t all that enthused to see that both Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki were out of the starting lineup last night, even with a lefty opposing pitcher on the mound.  I was even less enthused to see Eduardo Nunez batting leadoff in their place and was fully prepared to write this morning’s post on Joe still leaning too hard on the matchup binder instead of just playing his best guys.  Naturally the team went off for 14 runs on 19 hits, Nunez went 2-6 with 2 R and 4 RBI at the top of the lineup, all 14 runs were driven in by right-handed batters, the Yankees won their 3rd in a row and 4th out of 5, and I was once again reminded why Joe is the manager of the New York Yankees and I’m a cubicle monkey Yankee blogger.

It wasn’t just the decision to sit Gardner and Ichiro.  It was Joe’s consistency in playing that matchup game whenever it was to his advantage that made last night brilliant on his part.  …

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On Derek Jeter’s 2014 And The Future At Shortstop

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter‘s battle to return to the playing field for more than a few days raged on yesterday.  The Captain resumed baseball activities – a little “tee and toss” hitting according to Joe – after playing catch over the weekend.  The activities are obviously a little light.  With no real hitting or running involved, it’s not like Jeter is close to returning.  The plan is to send him to Tampa to continue his rehab work when the team hits the road on Friday, and as of right now there are no plans to activate Jeter when the team returns, even though he’s eligible to come off the DL this Sunday.

At this point, Jeter has spent more time this year doing baseball activities than he has playing actual baseball.  The rushed rehabs and resulting leg issues have reduced Jeter to just 5 games in 2013.  5 games, 21 measly plate appearances, a season’s worth of frustration for both Jeter and the Yankee fans, and a whole lot of questions about what next season could be like.  …

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Mo’s Recent Home Struggles

Mo vs DET

In a scene that seemed unfathomable even as it was happening, Mariano Rivera blew a 9th inning lead again yesterday, giving up 2 solo home runs to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez to tie the game the Yankees won soon after.  The blown save was Mo’s third in a row, the first time he’s ever done that in his career and the first time it’s happened in Yankee history since Kyle Farnsworth did it in 2006.  A pitcher of Farnsworth’s caliber blowing 3 saves in a row is hardly news, but to watch Mo do it, even in short highlight form, was unnerving and unfamiliar.  He’s allowed his 1 or 2 bad weeks a year and it just so happens that this past week was one of those weeks.  For as long as he’s been around, intelligent Yankee fans know that it’s no cause for concern  Still, it’s always weird watching Mo when he doesn’t have it and yesterday was one of those days.  …

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Adam Warren’s Descent Back To The Mean

Warren vs BOS

Like David Phelps and Ivan Nova before him, Adam Warren stepped up to grab an opportunity that injuries presented in Spring Training.  He pitched well, got noticed by the coaches, and stepped into Phelps’ vacated long man bullpen role when Phelps got bumped to the rotation.  Warren, always regarded as a consistently good but never great prospect in the Minors, projected to be a 4th-5th starter at best at the Major League level and his best chance to work his way onto the roster was probably through the bullpen.  Warren continued his impressive spring through the first couple months of the season, coming up with a couple big outings and displaying solid stuff.  Since the calendar flipped to summer, however, the going has gotten tough for Warren and the regression has brought him back down to just average.

After taking the loss in Wednesday night’s suckbomb, Warren now sports a 3.74/4.46/3.70 tripleslash on the season in 53.0 IP.  His K rates (19.0%, 7.30/9) are nothing special and his BB rates (8.0%, 3.06/9) are a little more than you’d like to see.  …

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Done

Mo vs CHW

Monday night was supposed to be the night that turned the 2013 Yankee season around.  At least that was the narrative we were expected to believe after Dan Barbarisi posted his story on Monday night’s postgame closed-door meeting.  There were words like “fun,” “energy,” and “intensity,” and the obligatory “our postseason starts now” message was thrown out there.  The team didn’t want to fall into a pattern of accepting the losing culture that has defined them since about mid-May.  They had to come together, they had to stay positive, and they had to start turning things around towards a playoff push Tuesday night.

The reality is that this team was dead where it stood and has been for some time.  The fact that a team meeting was called to rally the troops and get some positive vibes going served only to confirm that previous sentence.  I can’t remember who said it, but I remember hearing a player once sum up team meetings like this perfectly: “Winners win.  …

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