Author Archives: Brien Jackson

ESPN unveils their Sunday night schedule

ESPN revealed their first half schedule of Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts and, as you might expect, the Yankees will make a couple of appearances. Actually, you might be a little bit surprised that the Yankees are only slated to make two appearances on Sunday night, but the entire month of June appears to be vacant at the moment, for what reasons I’m not exactly sure. The Yankees will have their first Sunday night affair mid-way through April, when they renew their surprising 2012 rivalry with the Orioles on April 14th, and then again when they travel to Fenway Park on July 21st. Yeah, that’s right; the first ESPN Sunday Night Yankees-Red Sox game doesn’t come until the second half of July. I’ve spent most of the afternoon trying to get over the shock.

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Soriano finds his mark, er, team

Put that next article about how Bud Selig and baseball’s ownership collective have finally figured out how to stymie Scott Boras on hold for now, because the uber-agent just pulled another rabbit out of his hat, and one that will have an impact on the Yankees. According to Jeff Passan, Rafael Soriano has agreed to a two year, $28 million contract with the Washington Nationals. The deal also includes a $14 million option for 2015 that will vest if Soriano finishes 120 games in the first two seasons, meaning that if Soriano is healthy and closing over those years, he’ll not only make more money than he would have by picking up his 2013 option with the Yankees, but this new contract will be even larger than the one the Yankees signed him to back two offseasons ago.

As far as the Yankees are concerned, Soriano signing with the Nationals means that the Yankees will pick up a supplemental first round pick as compensation.…

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Ichiro sounds really happy to be a Yankee

The Yankees made an exception to their apparent policy of only signing one year contracts this winter when they agreed to give Ichiro Suzuki a two year deal, and the single season hit king told Japanese media that he feels a “fresh determination” as a result. “It is an absolutely unique team,” said Ichiro. “Being able to take my place alongside such players has been something I have thinking about.”

The Yankees and their fans are now left hoping that that determination leads to continued production, on the level they saw out of him after being traded to New York, as opposed to the level at which he played in his final year and a half with Seattle. At least for now, Ichiro is being asked to bridge the gap between Nick Swisher and their talented trio of outfield prospects, and with age, injury, and diminishing productivity affecting much of the lineup, there’s precious little room for mishaps for this team.…

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Long already working on Youk’s swing

The Yankees are clearly hoping that Kevin Youkilis can hold down the third base fort while Alex Rodriguez is on the shelf, but more than that they’ve also got to be hoping that Youkilis’ 2012 season was something of an aberration, and that Youkilis can return to being a very productive hitter who can help lengthen a lineup that’s taken a hit due to age, injury, and the departure of Nick Swisher. In the same article in which he discussed A-Rod’s injured hip, hitting coach Kevin Long revealed that he’s already working on Youkilis’ hitting mechanics, and that he hopes he can make major strides with the former Boston star.

“We looked at old film and compared it to 2012,” Long told Dan Martin of the Post. “We saw some considerable differences, mainly in his stance and it looked like the adjustments had an impact. … I think we can get him back to being an all-star caliber player.”

Youkilis had his worst year as a professional last season, and particularly struggled against right-handed pitchers, against whom he posted a wRC+ of just 89.…

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On the Money 1/14/2013

For tonight’s show we were joined by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, who talked about Justin Upton, the messaging coming out of the team’s front office, and whether Yankee fans would rather see Carl Pavano, Javier Vazquez, or an IRS agent in a Yankee uniform in 2013. In the later part of the show our own William Tasker joins us to check in ahead of a crushing defeat for his Patriots on Sunday from the Northern reaches of New England. He sounds off on the Yankees’ offseason, brings a bit of historical perspective to the discussion, and joins Stacey and I for a rousing round of making fun of Javier Vazquez. We also mention the just passed anniversary of the Michael Pineda trade, and my laughably terrible ability to guess the proper pronunciation of names. You weren’t totally spared the effects of my football (and cough syrup) induced delirium either, though I contented myself with a brief musing on the emotional difference between watching football and baseball, and only for a minute or two, I promise.…

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Interpreters on the mound among proposed rule changes

Via Jayson Stark, the owners have approved a trio of proposed rule changes that will now be sent to the union for ratification. The biggest of those changes is likely a proposal to allow interpreters to join pitchers and coaches for mound visits with non-English speaking pitchers. The owners would also like to expand the number of coaches allowed in uniform to seven, in order to accommodate the growing number of teams who are hiring an assistant hitting coach, and to eliminate the fake to third throw to first “pickoff” play. The owners can actually implement that one immediately on their own, but they want the union to ratify it. There’s really no good reason to allow the move, especially since it would be illegal for a left-handed pitcher to do the opposite, and it’s a huge waste of time, so I hope they get that done promptly.

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Long: A-Rod was hurting in August

Last week Alex Rodriguez‘s doctor said in no uncertain terms that the hip injury he’s about to have surgery to repair was responsible for his horrific postseason performance, and now his hitting coach is saying that signs something was wrong were present well before that:

“I knew it in August,” the Yankees hitting coach [Kevin Long] said by phone Saturday. “I didn’t know exactly what it was, but his lower half was not letting him do the things he’s normally able to do.”

Long also knew there were no easy fixes.

“At that point of the season, there’s not much you can do other than keep grinding,” Long said. “So I wasn’t surprised when I heard about the hip injury. His explosion was gone.”

This sort of raises the question of why A-Rod wasn’t checked out for an injury sooner, however. Perhaps Alex didn’t complain of any pain, but if the hitting coach was noticing a physical problem in a 37 year old slugger who’s already had a hip surgery, you’d think that would be a “better safe than sorry” sort of scenario, right?…

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Yankees officially release Dickerson

Chris Dickerson cleared waivers, and has officially been released by the Yankees, the team announced over the weekend. Dickerson, who was designated for assignment last week in order to clear a roster spot for Russ Canzler, could have been traded to another team, but it’s generally hard to find someone who wants to trade for a player about to be released unless they really want to beat the rest of the league to the punch, and Dickerson isn’t really the sort of player who gets people that excited. Dickerson produced pretty well for the Yankees after a September call-up last year, but he’s a left-handed hitting fourth outfielder on a team looking for a right-handed hitter to balance out their lefty heavy starting lineup, so there was no room for Dickerson on the active roster.

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On the Money preview

On the Money returns tonight for our regular Monday program to help you grind out the deepest, darkest, period of the winter. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch will join us at the top of the show to discuss the latest Yankees related news (I’d say there’s a very good chance we’ll be asking him about Justin Upton and Javier Vazquez), and later on in the hour our own William Tasker will come out of hibernation long enough to check in and share his thoughts on the offseason thus far. The festivities start at 9:00 P.M., and you can listen live here.

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