McCann And Teix Talk About Dealing With The Shift (And I Rant About What Teix Said)

With more and more players getting into camp, there have been some more stories trickling out among the A-Rod nonsense; meaningful, baseball-related stories.  Like Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira being asked about their thoughts on facing the shift this season and the approaches they want to take to beat it.  Quotes via Chad Jennings.

McCann:

“I want to hit the ball where it’s pitched. It’s not necessarily that I’m going to try to go up there and hit the ball to left field. If it’s away from me, it needs to go to left field. If they come in on me, I need to be able to pull it, but pull correctly. If you pull correctly, you create back spin which is going to help you hit home runs. … If I hit two or three singles in a row to left field, they’re going to continue to play the shift because that’s where my power is. That’s just the way it is and whether that takes a couple of points off my batting average, if I take the approach I have day in and day out for 500 at-bats, at the end of the year things will be there.”

Pretty reasonable if you ask me.  …

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On CC Sabathia’s Weight

This was a story over the weekend, but I wanted to touch on it briefly before it got completely washed away under the tidal wave of A-Rod coverage and early ST reports on other players.  CC Sabathia drew some attention when he showed up at camp heavier than he was the last few springs.  Some estimates had him at 305, and while it wasn’t nearly as blatant as the negative spin that everybody puts on their A-Rod tweets, I got the feeling that some people were trying to paint that as a negative and a reason for added concern with CC.

Here’s the thing.  His weight doesn’t matter anymore.  It doesn’t matter if he’s 305, 295, 275, or any other 5.  At this point, the difference in pounds isn’t going to make a difference as far as his knee health is concerned.  The damage is already done there, and if it does turn out that his knee is going to be problematic again then you can bet it’s going to be problematic no matter what he weighs.  …

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Report: Eovaldi Getting To Work

He’s not a prospect, but don’t sleep on Nathan Eovaldi as another young player to watch in the Yankee system this year.  The 24-year-old righty is going to be a very important part of the rotation this year, and in a really good piece by Bryan Hoch, he talked about what he’s been working on to improve his game:

“My goal toward the end of the season, my last two or three games with the Marlins, I was working on a changeup — kind of like a split-finger [fastball], in a way. It’s been feeling great. I felt comfortable with it toward the end of the season last year, and this offseason, I’ve been able to pick up pretty much where I left off.”

Eovaldi’s changeup has been the weak link of his offerings over the first few years of his career, so it’s good to know that he’s made it a top priority.  In addition to that focus, Hoch reported that Eovaldi has already spoken with Larry Rothschild, Brian McCann, Joe Girardi, and Chris Capuano, and it sounds like Roth and Big Mac are going to make working with Eovaldi their top priority when spring camp starts.…

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Resetting The Organizational Catching Depth

As usual, the Yankees are experiencing the pains of a 40-man roster crunch.  They have yet to make a move to open up a spot for the recently-signed Stephen Drew, and when they do they will have to deal with a possible surplus of infielders on the roster.  That’s not the worst problem to have when you’re coming off a year in which your infield was as bad as the Yankees’ was in 2014, and it should work itself out by the time Spring Training comes and goes.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Bombers were going through a similar crunch with their catching depth.  They opened the offseason with 5 catchers on the 40-man and not enough spots for all those catchers.  Francisco Cervelli was traded to Pittsburgh for Justin Wilson, which opened up the backup MLB job for John Ryan Murphy and eased the playing time concerns at the rest of the upper levels.  With that issue cleared up, let’s do a quick review of the team’s current catching depth.…

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The Already Youngering Yankees Continue To Get Younger

For years there has been a growing cry from Yankee blogs and fans alike for the team to get younger and start getting more from their farm system.  The term “rebuild” is seldom used in Yankeeland.  The front office openly declares every year that they plan on contending for titles, whether that goal is a realistic one or not, and they have stubbornly refused to be sellers at previous trade deadlines when doing so could have helped stimulate roster turnover and make the team younger.

This offseason has been a major sign that the Yankees are truly committed to following through on the goal of getting younger and better prepared for the future and creating opportunities for some of their prospects.  No huge deals have been given out in terms of money or years, they have steered clear of the top tier starting pitching targets, and there has been a noticeable focus on sacrificing a bit for the present to build for the future.  …

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Quick Hit: Cash On Sabathia’s Health And Rotation Status

Sorry to keep going back to Cash’s comments from the other night, but there was another thing he said that I thought was worthwhile and it’s the quote above regarding CC Sabathia.  Cash touches on every key buzzword that relates to the big guy these days: hope, question mark, rehab, velocity, innings.  The last one is the one that stood out to me, particularly this part:

“… I do think that you’re going to see a guy that can pitch in the middle of our rotation… “

Middle of the rotation, eh?  That’d be a new role for Sabathia.  Not in terms of performance or expectations, as everybody knows or should know by now that CC isn’t the pitcher he was from 2009-2011 and never will be again.  But in terms of public statements by the team, this is the first time Sabathia is being talked about as a mid-rotation guy and not the #1 starter on the pitching staff.…

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Quick Hit: Andrew Miller Gets It

Andrew Miller talked to the NY media for the first time yesterday, giving insight into why he decided to sign with the Yankees over his other pursuers and what role he saw himself playing in the new ‘pen.  The talk over who was going to do what was already intriguing before D-Rob signed with the ChiSox and it will only get louder now that he’s gone, either until the Yankees name Miller or Betances the closer or sign another reliever to handle that role.

To his credit, Miller said he didn’t really care where and when he pitched and that a promised closer role was never part of the discussion between he and the Yanks.  His take on how he should be used was actually one of the smartest things I’ve heard a professional baseball player say in a while (quote courtesy of Chad Jennings):

“I’m pretty confident in myself.  I think I can get three outs at any point in the game, wherever that may be.

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Shawn Kelley Discusses The D-Rob Situation

Cool little story by Bryan Hoch over at Bombers Beat yesterday.  He got to talk to Shawn Kelley and asked him for his thoughts on David Robertson‘s contract situation.  Kelley tossed out the typical “gotta do what’s best for you” line that anchors any venture into free agency, but did offer up a preceding statement that should be encouraging to everybody in favor of the Yanks retaining D-Rob:

“I know he loves New York, I know he’s close with Mariano (Rivera) and wants to kind of follow in Mariano’s footsteps.  I’m sure there’s a big part of him that probably wants to stay in New York, but he’s got to do what’s best and see what’s out there.”

I get wanting to see what’s out there.  Every free agent should look to get himself the biggest deal possible.  That’s the beauty of free agency in an uncapped sport.  But there’s a lot to be said for playing in New York and loving playing in New York, and the personal connection D-Rob has to the Yankees and Mo is something that no other team is going to be able to replicate.  …

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A-Rod’s Prospects After Steroids, Injury, Time Off, and 40: An Interview with an Expert Athletic Trainer and Champion Bodybuilder

Dos Equis commercials peddle their fictional man-of-many-feats as the “most interesting man in the world,” but my old friend Stu Yellin can give that old beer drinker a run for his money. I met Stu when we were 5; we spent much of the next decade getting each other in trouble in school, usually when one of us tried to make the other laugh in class by drawing pictures like Spider-Man beating up the teacher (an actual example of a drawing Stu showed me in 12th grade). My art skills never grew past middling (though I did just draw a decent Groot for my kids), but Stu became a major TV cartoonist, drawing the Colbert- and Carrell-voiced “Ace + Gary, The Ambiguously Gay Duo” for SNL, The Tick, and Lizzie McGuire. He then became an art teacher — before becoming a pro bodybuilder too. He got a very late start, competing only as of his early/mid-30s, yet won Pro Cards in various drug-tested federations (most notably the WNBF, the strictest one on substance abuse), and won first place as a middleweight in several “natural bodybuilding” competitions with tough drug testing.…

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