Reconsidering The Yankee Rotation With Tanaka

Tanaka Yankees

Before the news of the Masahiro Tanaka signing came out yesterday morning, the Yankee rotation was in big trouble.  At least that’s the spin that was being put on the majority of the conversations, reports, and blog posts around the Yankosphere.  CC Sabathia was coming off a terrible year and was going to be another year older with no indication that he could ever rebound to become a good pitcher again.  Hiroki Kuroda was also going to be another year older and potentially ready to break down and regress after a poor second half in 2013.  Ivan Nova was a big, inconsistent question mark, Michael Pineda was an even bigger question mark in bold font who might never be a starter again, and the rest of the 5th starter competition contingent was nothing special.  There was no way the Yankees were going to compete for anything with that crew.

After the Tanaka signing, the whole story changed.  Now Sabathia could be looking at a bounce back year after having a normal offseason throwing program to work on his mechanics and getting into even better shape.  …

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Minor move that might be major

The Yankees signed Robert Coello to a minor league contract. Coello might be one of those nice surprises the Yankees have come up with in the bullpen the last couple of years like Kelley and brief brilliance by Eppley, Repada and Wade in 2011 and 2012. What made me sit up and take...

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Dodgers Sign Alexander Guerrero

After months of contract speculations between the two parties, Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero has agreed to a 4-year $28 million deal with the Dodgers.

I know what you’re saying, what does this have to do with the Yankees? The Dodgers needed a second baseman, and they had the biggest wad of cash in their wallet next to the Yankees this offseason. We already heard that Los Angeles did not plan to pursue Robinson Cano, but this signing now makes it all the more unlikely. It leaves the Yankees as the stand out favorites to re-sign Cano.

After the Dodgers, there seem to be very few other threats to signing Cano now. We know that the Rangers had interest in the left-hander earlier this season, but that was in a trade. Although the Rangers have a reputation of being big spenders on the free agent market, they rarely live up to that. Yu Darvish took a $100+ million commitment, but he’s only paid $9.3 million a year.…

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Determining Nova’s Role For 2014

Nova vs TOR II

Ivan Nova picked up his 3rd straight win yesterday afternoon and 5th since rejoining the rotation in late June.  For the second straight start it was more of a struggle for him than it had been in most of his previous outings.  He was just a touch off with his command in and around the strike zone, and with his transformation into a fastball/curveball pitcher that lack of command made him more hittable.  Last year a game like yesterday’s would have ended in disaster for Nova.  As it is he put 11 men on base and gave up 4 ER, hardly eye-popping numbers.  He also gave all those runs up in the 2nd inning and recovered to pitch scoreless from then on into the 7th inning.  Considering the 2012 alternative, you’d have to call yesterday a good start for Nova.

That Nova managed to pitch around his command problems and still get victories in these last 2 starts is a big deal.  …

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C-Grand Brings Respectability Back To The Lineup

C-Grand Rehab

Barring any really unforeseen setbacks in the next few hours, all expectations are that Curtis Granderson will rejoin the Yankees and return to the lineup this weekend.  He wasn’t in the Double-A Trenton lineup yesterday and Josh Norris reported that he was off to rejoin the team in Cali.  There was no formal confirmation or announcement by the team – they were basically on media blackout yesterday with the A-Rod stuff still hanging out there – but I can’t imagine they would give up a day of rehab ABs for C-Grand if they and he were confident he was ready.  Personally, and I don’t think I’m alone here, I’m hoping to see him back tonight.

Whether it’s tonight or tomorrow, the return of Granderson to an already upgraded lineup should bring that lineup up out of the “upgraded” category and back to a level more befitting of a competitive Major League team.  While “good” would still be a bit of a stretch, these boys should now be at least respectable against both righty and lefty pitchers.…

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Reports: Jeter To Return Today

This thing really came together quickly, huh?  Earlier in the week there were hints and suggestions that the Yankees were planning to activate Derek Jeter from the DL as early as this weekend.  The situation heated up yesterday when Craig Carton tweeted that Jeter would be in the lineup Friday and The Post reported that his stuff had been shipped out of Tampa.  Late last night, Ken Rosenthal brought things to a boil when he tweeted that Jeter would be back for today’s series finale against the Royals.  Joel Sherman reported the same about an hour ago, so all signs point to The Captain making his return this afternoon.

As someone who’s been firmly in the “don’t rush him back” camp since he had the surgery last year, it’s hard to say I’m a fan of this move.  What it boils down to is that I don’t think it’s smart for the team to basically mandate that it wanted to see its 39-year-old shortstop play 2 consecutive full games in the field before declaring him ready to return and then drastically alter that plan after the aforementioned 39-year-old shortstop has already suffered one setback this season from trying to come back too quickly.  …

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Hey Thanks For Coming Out, Minnesota. We’ll See You Again Real Soon

Wells vs MIN

You gotta love the Twins.  You really do.  Every time the Yankees need a good series they always seem to be available to get stomped on.  Year after year after year after year; postseason series after postseason series after postseason series.  They’re the most reliable opponent in recent Yankee history and this week’s rendition of that reliability came at the absolute perfect time.  The Yanks were nosediving into the bottom of the AL East, with their starting pitching showing cracks to match the already shattered offense.  After 4 days in the Twin Cities, the Yanks have found their bats, found their bearings, got Robinson Cano completely locked in after a few good games to end June, and swept the Twins out of their own park as they head back home for an important 10-game stretch before the All Star break.  Heck, Minnesota was even nice enough yesterday to confirm once and for all that Joba Chamberlain should not be used in any situation other than an absolute blowout.  …

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Relying On Zoilo Almonte

As we close out the month of June and slowly approach the All Star break, the media, the fans, and front offices begin to assess the first half of the season and what’s possible in the second half. July is a pivotal month for the Yankees, where they’ll discover if Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Pineda, Eduardo Nunez, Curtis Granderson, and Francisco Cervelli can return from their ongoing injury troubles. Injuries were supposed to subside by now, but with Kevin Youkilis‘ back surgery and possible season ending surgery for Mark Teixiera, the Yankees’ injury problems are starting to look like something fundamentally wrong with the structure of the roster, something that can’t be waited out.

zoilo

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

Broken fingers and shoulder surgeries will always remain risks in baseball, but the injuries sustained by the majority of the team can be attributed to the age of the lineup. Players like Youkilis, Rodriguez, Jeter, and Teixeira have each spent 15-20 years playing difficult positions daily, a feat that the human body isn’t built to sustain.…

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Pineda Makes His First Official Rehab Start Today

It was hinted at before his last ExST start on Monday, confirmed later in the week after he came through that outing without any further fingernail problems, and it will become a reality tonight.  Almost some 17 months after first being traded, Michael Pineda will throw his first in-game pitches in a Yankee uniform.

A Tampa Yankee uniform, sure, but that’s still good news for the guy who was brought in to be the king of hearts to CC’s ace.  Pineda will get the start for Tampa tonight against the Lakeland Flying Tigers and everybody will get their first chance to see how he looks pitching in a real game.  The reports on his bullpen, sim gam, and ExST game work have all been incredibly encouraging, with his velocity regularly sitting in the low-to-mid 90s range the last few times he’s pitched.  This somewhat surprising quick return of said velocity has added a hint of excitement to this rehab comeback, and with the Yankee rotation depth taking a few hits in the last 24 hours due to Wang’s opt out and Nuno’s injury, Pineda’s chances of moving right into the rotation are getting even better.…

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