Born in Dover, Delaware and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Brad now resides in Wisconsin, where he regularly goes out of his way to remind Brewers fans that their team will never be as good as the Yankees. When he’s not writing for IIATMS and An A-Blog for A-Rod, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

Author Archives: Brad Vietrogoski

Now The Real Utility Bench Competition Begins

Dean Anna

The move to designate Eduardo Nunez for assignment was a long time coming.  After spending a few years earlier in his career as the media-anointed heir to Derek Jeter‘s starting shortstop spot, Nunez came to be seen for what he truly was over the last few seasons: a below-average hitter with a swing-happy approach and an almost unfathomably bad defensive player at any position.  The Yankees gave him plenty of chances to show signs of improvement and he didn’t show them, so even though there does exist the slight possibility of him sticking with the organization, it’s far more likely that we’ve seen the last of Eduardo Scissorhands in a Yankee uniform.

With the book closed on Nunez’s time in pinstripes, the Yanks will turn to a pair of lifetime MiLers to see if they can do what Nunez couldn’t and adequately fill the utility bench role.  The Spring Training competition was just the knockout round.  Nunez was eliminated, Scott Sizemore was eliminated, and now it’s down to Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte to see who is the better man for the job.  …

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Happy Opening Day, Everybody!

Or Happy Opening Day again if you were celebrating for the games yesterday.  I partook in the festivities at Miller Park in Milwaukee, the end of which was a satisfying 2-0 Brewers victory, so needless to say I’m operating at less than full strength this morning.  Because of that, I’m going to keep it short and sweet.  Here are 5 things I want to see from the Yankees in today’s season opener:

1) Derek Jeter hitting the ball hard

I don’t care if he goes 0-5 and doesn’t get on base once.  I just want to see him make some solid contact and hit the ball with a little oomph.  Jeter acknowledged that it took him a little longer than usual to get his swing together this spring and it still doesn’t look close to being all the way back.  A few line drives today would be a positive sign.

2) CC commanding his fastball down in the zone

The big guy has done a much better job of this so far this spring, and with the addition of the cutter he looks like he’ll be more than capable of living in the high 80s-low 90s.  …

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Lots Of Sound Logic In Joe’s Opening Day Roster Decisions

Joe ST 2014

As the Yankees were coming down the home stretch of Spring Training last week, I thought I had Joe’s final roster selections all figured out.  I thought he was going to go with the experience/performance combo and take Matt Daley for the final bullpen spot, which also would have allowed Vidal Nuno to stay stretched out as a starter in Triple-A and be ready to come up and spot start in case of an emergency.  When it came to the final bench spot, I thought Eduardo Nunez‘s tenure as a Yankee and familiarity with their system would give him the advantage over Yangervis Solarte and Joe would give him the nod based on loyalty.

In another shining example of why Joe and Cash have the jobs they have and I’m a cube monkey who blogs in his spare time, I was wrong on both accounts.  Joe didn’t go on experience and he didn’t go on loyalty.  He thought about what his team was going to need the most in the first few weeks of the season and made the 2 most logical choices to meet those needs.…

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Thursday Morning Musings: “Just Start The Season Already!!” Edition

Can everybody tell that I’ve run out of things to write about?  I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl about the regular season starting in 5 days from a fan perspective, but from a blogging perspective those 5 days are going to be hell.  I’ve got nothing right now.  Nothing.  I need the regular season to start simply to give me some fresh topics and stats that actually matter.  That said, here are some of the random Yankee-centric thoughts that are rattling around in my head.  Let’s muse.

- Preston Claiborne, your Spring Training.  Woof!  He’s gone from being named by Joe as an unofficial part of ‘pen before the start of ST to an afterthought in the competition over the last month and he almost assuredly sealed his Triple-A or DFA fate with yesterday’s dumpster fire of an outing.  4 hits, 1 walk, 6 ER, not a single out recorded.  I can’t help but think I might have jinxed the guy with my post about his future potential last month.

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A Quick Word On The Shift

Kelly Johnson ST 2014

Just one more thing for Johnson to learn at third. Courtesy of Getty Images

Yesterday, Pete Caldera wrote an interesting little article about the Yankees’ plans to employ infield shifts more this year as part of their in-game defensive strategy.  They’re one of the teams that hasn’t been as quick to jump on the shift bandwagon as a team like the Rays, and with a very old and very range-limited starting infield this season it makes sense to try to cover some of those infield range holes with a shift in situations that call for it.

What remains to be seen is how successful this strategy will play out with the infielders the Yankees have.  Kelly Johnson is the only one with any experience playing in shifts as a former Ray, and he’s spending the bulk of his time learning what is essentially a new position for him at third base.  That learning curve hasn’t been a smooth or steady so far for Johnson.  …

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Late Spring Training Winners And Losers

Dellin Betances

Somebody cue the music because we’ve reached the final countdown.  We’re now only a week away from Opening Day.  This time next week we won’t be talking about who’s going to make the bullpen or win the 5th starter competition or what the batting order should look like because all of that stuff will be decided.  That means the guys in camp still competing for roster spots or clearer roster definitions don’t have much time left to prove their worth.  A little less than 3 weeks ago, I singled out some of the early winners and losers in Spring Training.  In the time since, the winner/loser landscape has almost completely changed, as it’s wont to do when the sample sizes become a bit larger and roster cuts start being made.  With a handful of ST games remaining, here is the updated list for who’s sitting pretty and who’s not.

Winners:

Dellin Betances- The only player to appear on the same list both times, Betances hasn’t missed a beat since his hot start.  …

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Late Spring Training Injury Roundup

With 8 days until Opening Day, the Yankees enter their final week of ST game action with a few more potential roster holes to plug than they were hoping for.  It’s not competition that’s causing the uncertainty.  The starting lineup and rotation are mostly set, as is the bench, and the bullpen is starting to take shape.  A few late spring injuries have popped up and for now the Yankee training and coaching staffs are addressing them in a very slow and cautious manner.  None of the injuries appear to be too serious and none involve important ligaments or joints, continuing the refreshing string of good luck that Mike E. pointed out last Thursday, but there are a few that are serious enough to possibly affect the look of the Opening Day rosters.

Brendan Ryan- Already out for most of ST, Ryan suffered what I’m calling a setback with his back last week on the day the Yankees tried to get him back into a game.  …

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Keep Talking To Me, Ivan

Nova vs ATL ST

Coming off back-to-back shaky outings in which he was touched up for 17 hits in 9.0 innings pitched, Ivan Nova got back on track yesterday with a brilliant start against the Atlanta Braves.  He worked 6.1 scoreless, effortless innings, giving up only 2 hits, striking out 5, and not walking a batter for the 4th straight outing.  It was a start right out of Nova’s 2013 2nd half catalog.  Fastballs located down in the zone, a lot more GB outs than balls in the air, and a big swing-and-miss curveball.  Brian McCann, who said he wanted to play in yesterday’s game specifically for the purpose of catching Nova again, was gushing after the game, and any uneasiness people may have been feeling after watching Nova’s previous 2 starts was quelled.

Once again though, it was what Nova said after the game that stood out to me more than what he did on the field.  I’ve watched enough Nova starts to know when he’s got it and when he doesn’t.  …

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So The Yankees Basically Won The Pineda-Montero Trade Yesterday, Right?

Pineda vs BOS ST

The title of this post was a topic that came up on our daily email thread yesterday, mostly jokingly if I interpreted the email correctly.  The now infamous Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade of 2012 has been an easy source of comedy in the baseball world with how poorly the deal has turned out for both sides thus far, but the more I thought about it last night, the more I think the joke is actually true.  Even if he wakes up today, has his right arm fall completely off of his body, and never throws another pitch for the Yankees again, Pineda’s start yesterday guaranteed a W for the Yankees on that deal.

It’s a simple matter of hope.  Pineda’s strong outing yesterday, against an admittedly C-level Red Sox lineup, inspired more hope that he can come back and be an effective Major League starting pitcher, maybe even better than he was in 2011.  Back then Pineda was mostly a thrower, 90% fastballs and sliders, and he got by on the strength of his 4-seamer velocity and sharp slider break.  …

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