William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

Author Archives: William Tasker

Rafael Soriano opts out

According to Jon Heyman, it is now official that Rafael Soriano has opted out of his contract with the New York Yankees and is a free agent. This is certainly no surprise and was long expected. Expect the Yankees to make a qualifying offer to Soriano by the deadline on Friday and then Soriano can negotiate with the Yankees and then other teams. Soriano is reportedly looking for a four year deal.

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Salivating over Mark Montgomery

One of the least areas of concern for the New York Yankees heading forward into 2013 is the bullpen. Yes, some of the personnel of that bullpen are in flux right now. Jon Heyman insists that Rafael Soriano will opt out of his contract today, giving the Yankees until Friday to make a qualifying offer. Then the fun starts as Soriano can either accept that offer (unlikely), or work out a two or three year deal with the Yankees (he wants four years). Mariano Rivera has not decided if he will pitch or not in 2013 and if he decides he will, still has to work out a deal with the Yankees to do so. David Robertson is an elite relief pitcher and Joba Chamberlain looked great in September. David Aardsma will be available and is Plan D. In the back of all those contingency plans is one Mark Montgomery, the next big thing.

It has been hard to salivate over the impending arrival of any Yankee youngster since Jesus Montero was traded away.…

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Teixeira and Cano win Gold Gloves

The Rawling Gold Glove Awards were announced today and Robinson Cano has won his second award for his work this season at second base and Mark Teiseira won his fifth for his play at first base. The announcement gave the Yankees two of the nine American League positions.

Taking a quick look at the list, the American League seems free of disputable picks this season and Cano and Teixeira certainly seemed to deserve the honors.The only possible bone of contention might be at shortstop where J.J. Hardy won his first Gold Glove. A quick look at the comments below the announcements shows that many thought Brendan Ryan should have won the award. But Hardy’s numbers are rock solid and a case can certainly be made that he deserved the award.

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So Girardi called A-Rod…

According to “sources,” Joe Girardi called Alex Rodriguez and they talked for about an hour. Wallace Matthews of ESPN.com reported the story and mentions that “Joe could not have been more supportive, and Alex could not have been more receptive.” Well, that’s all fine and dandy and it was probably necessary after Girardi benched A-Rod for most of the ALCS. Being a former employer and talking to employees brings to mind that the words you sometimes use with employees are not exactly the ones you are thinking. And the same goes for the employee. As such, it was rolling around in the noggin this morning what Girardi and A-Rod were actually thinking during the conversation. Sure, both had to SAY the right things as they have to work together in 2013 and beyond. But here is a purely fictional and conjectural construct of what the conversation might have sounded like and what the two participants were actually thinking.

The conversation is in regular text and the thoughts are in italics:

Alex: What’s up, Joe.…

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Projecting arbitration salaries

The New York Yankees do not have a large contingent of young(ish) players that are arbitration eligible. But the ones they have are fairly important to the team. Matt Swartz of the MLB Trade Rumors site has worked on a fairly successful model of predicting the arbitration salaries of these players. Swartz’s model accounts for the fact that most of these players will not actually make it to arbitration and are signed to one year contracts. Some are extended for multiple years. It must be a difficult trick of projection. I bring it to your attention only to feature his projections for players on the Yankees to give you a fairly good guess on how much they will cost the Yankees in the coming year.

First, let’s identify who they are. The list includes Casey McGehee and Jayson Nix, both of whom will probably be non-tendered. The rest include Boone Logan, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain.  …

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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.…

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The last time the Yankees were swept in a seven game series

Getting swept in the American League Championship Series by the Detroit Tigers in that seven game series was an inglorious way for the Yankees’ season to end. The fact that the Yankees never put up a serious fight after that ninth inning in the first game of the series was unsettling. After such a shocking and upsetting end to the season, I wanted to look back and see the last time the Yankees were swept in a seven game series in the post season. And once such an occurrence was found, see if there were any comparisons or anything to be learned by such a happenstance. It turns out that the last time was in 1976 when the Yankees lost four straight World Series games to the Cincinnati Reds. As most of you know, the Yankees rebounded from that blowout of 1976 to win two straight titles in 1977 and 1978. The circumstances behind that 1976 team and this 2012 team’s post season failure could not have happened to more dissimilar teams and therefore, such a glorious rebound looks far less possible.…

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Granderson getting his eyes checked

Holy smokes! For weeks I have been joking in the comments that maybe Curtis Granderson should get his eyes checked. It was a joke based on his prodigious swing and miss rate as the strikeouts piled up. But the New York Daily News reports that Granderson is indeed going to get his eyes checked to see if that is part of the problem. Jay Jaffe, upon seeing the news, speculated that bad vision could have also led to Granderson’s bad routes to balls in center field.

Heck, if better vision turns Granderson’s clock back to where he was not such a liability in center and could make contact with the baseball more often in 2013, it makes sense to pursue that angle as a root cause of his problems. The Yankees have already picked up his option for 2013 and though he does not have a n0-trade option and could be dealt, the possibility is also strong that Granderson is in the Yankees’ plans for the coming season.…

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The best team doesn’t always win?

Once upon a time there were six, then eight and then ten teams in each of the American and National Leagues. They played 154 and then 162 games. There were no divisions. The top team in each league won the league pennant and went on to the World Series. Such a format, at least in theory, meant that the best team in each league went on to the World Series. But now, as frequent commenter, Bill, mentioned in last night’s game recap, the World Series is perhaps going to consist this season of two teams that were not the best teams in their leagues. As Bill also mentioned, the playoff system currently in place means that the hottest teams carry the day. Whether any or all of this new era is fair is subject for debate and few will ever agree.

In that old system, two of the twelve, sixteen and then twenty teams had something to cheer about in October.…

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