And the winner of the factually irresponsible Tanaka article of the year goes to…

…Kevin Kernan, for this stunning piece of overly-sensationalized, factually devoid, panic-pandering trash. In a season filled with back seat doctoring, Mr. Kernan has somehow leapt them all with this take. Let’s feast on this buffet of goodness, shall we, with Mr. Kernan’s opener:

This was the sound and the fury.

And the Yankees better take this warning to heart as the decline of Masahiro Tanaka continues.

“…as the decline of Masahiro Tanaka continues“? We’ve been through this before, with the second guessing of the doctors, but hey, facts don’t seem to be a prerequisite for Mr. Kernan or The Post, who pays him to grind his pencil into the paper with a ferocity and anger which should be better applied to warcrimes.

Yes, our favorite elbow ligament surrounded by the body of Tanaka is a source of angst and nervousness for us all, but let’s sneak a quick peek at his last three starts since returning from the DL:

Tanaka

That’s right: Three starts, 1.71 ERA, a grand total of 4 earned runs over 21 innings (an even 7 IP/start).…

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Quick Hit: Are The Yanks Going To Use A Sixth Starter Or Not?

With another “20 games in 20 days” stretch underway and a pitching staff that’s a coin flip at best right now, the Yankees have reportedly been kicking around the idea of going with a 6-man rotation for a turn or 2 as a way to manage workloads and give everybody enough rest.  It’s really not a bad idea and something Matt discussed on this very site last week.  All things considered, I could live with a 6-man rotation plan for the short term.

What I can’t live with, and what doesn’t make me feel good about the possibility, is how the Yankees are going about it.  Or rather, how they’re not going about it since there’s no real plan in place.  Chad Jennings had a quote from Joe in his pregame notes yesterday, and what Joe had to say really didn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling:

“We’re playing with some ideas, so I don’t have anything for you yet.

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On Using These Off-Days To Plan For The Near Future And Improve The Roster

The Yankees had their first scheduled off-day since April 30th yesterday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  At the end of a stretch that saw them play 30 games in 31 days, they were playing baseball like a tired team that needed a rest.  The bats had gone cold, the bullpen had been worked hard, and there wasn’t much energy to their losses during their 1-5 week last week.  Despite that long stretch and rough finish, they still wake up today in first place in the division, with a respectably positive run differential (+15), and with another scheduled off-day on the horizon before they head home for the weekend.

The Yankees are still in a good spot, and they’re going to hopefully get some more pitching help back in the weeks to come.  I’m confident that 2 days off this week will help bring some life back to those old legs and cold bats.  But to make the most out of this now friendly off-day schedule, I think the Yankees need to do more than rest.  …

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Read ALL Future “Player X Disappoints Me” Columns, Right Here!

When real news is sparse — say, the week of opening day, when there’s no further news about roster construction, yet no valid signs yet of who’s performing above or below expectations — beat writers often fall back on a favorite genre piece: “Player X Disappoints Me and Hey Look How Much He’s Getting Paid Whaaa?!” I figure I’ll save us some reading time, and save beat writers their modest effort of writing “new” columns, by pre-writing all future pieces in this genre, just by pasting together text from past pieces in this genre. Following is a 500-word article I “wrote” just by cobbling together quotes from ten different articles about various Yankee free agent signings who made a beat writer really sad. That is, each below paragraph is an exact quote from the hyperlinked article. Each quote expresses disbelief, anger, and other stages of grief about one of the last half-dozen major free agent Yankee signings, all of whom at some point struck a beat writer as either disappointing from the start (McCann, Beltran, Ellsbury) or disappointing at the end of a long-term deal after providing several years of strong performance (A-Rod, Sabathia, Teixeira).…

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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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Why I’m Only Pretty Sure I’m Ticked They Let Moncada Go

Wow, my timing remains great: I write an ode to Frankie Cervelli one day before he’s unexpectedly traded, then a brief supporting a Moncada signing one day before he becomes a Red Sock. Feel free to hit me up for stock or pony tips, because I’m clearly clairvoyant. Anyhow, I’m ticked they didn’t get him, but it’s very possible I’m wrong:

(1) To start with, he seems worth it even if you’re not a cockeyed optimist. Even if he’s not at the level of a #1-2 overall draftee, and instead is only the 8th-15th best draftee, that’s good for an expected 11.5 WAR in his six team-controlled years, and $60m is well-below-market for that. And if he’s really a #1-2, his expected production is then easily double his pricetag, given that (as the same linked article shows) you can expect 24-28 WAR in the first six years of a #1-2 overall draftee.

(2) But the Yankees and all other teams declined to bid $70-80m after seeing him repeatedly, and we non-insiders saw him zero times.…

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Report: MLB Holding Up The Yoan Moncada Proceedings, Not US OFAC (UPDATED)

Here’s an interesting new wrinkle in the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes.  According to this report by Ben Badler, the holdup in getting him unblocked and eligible to sign does not reside with the US Dept. of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control as many believed, but rather with MLB itself.

“Any Cuban national who presents documents showing permanent residence in a country outside of Cuba qualifies for OFAC’s ‘general license,’ which is not a written document. As far as OFAC is concerned, that should make him unblocked, and that’s good enough for the government to allow him to sign.

The holdup is that MLB won’t let Moncada—or any Cuban player, for that matter—use the general license any more. That wasn’t always the case. Yasiel Puig, for example, signed using the general license. It’s not clear what exactly changed, but at some point in 2012 after Puig signed in June that year, MLB no longer allowed Cuban players to sign using the general license and instead required them to apply for the specific license, which is a written document from OFAC…

“MLB issued the following statement to Baseball America on Sunday: ‘MLB is confident with the current plan we have in place regarding signing foreign born players and will abide by the guidelines of the OFAC requirements.’

Except, by the OFAC guidelines, Moncada has met the criteria of the general license to be considered unblocked, and he is not alone.

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Choo-Choo!! The A-Rod Hate Train Is Back On The Rails

Baseball is inching closer and closer to being back, and that can mean only one thing.  It’s time for the A-Rod Hate Train to come back into town!  It’s been a while since that line ran through, but if you mind the gap on your way in and keep your tickets out, we’ll be on our way.

With the start of Spring Training a month and change away, the topic has naturally shifted from A-Rod’s legal issues to his on-field activities.  Everybody knows he’s been working out for a while in preparation for his return, but all the offseason moves have essentially limited him to semi-regular DH/backup third base duties.  According to the New York Post, he’s fine with that:

“’Alex is looking at this season as a fresh start,’ one friend said. ‘He’s prepared to do the best he can in his role as a DH, but he is also preparing to play third base, knowing there will be times that Headley needs a break.

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Yankees Not Valuing Their Own Free Agents

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees may be willing to go to four years for free agent reliever Andrew Miller since it will surely take that to sign him. Meanwhile, they are still resistant to make that same commitment to their own free agent reliever David Robertson.

There are some legitimate reasons for this. Miller will cost less because he has less of a track record and the Yankees would gain a draft pick for losing Robertson to another team. However, should a few bucks and a pick really stop them from choosing a guy with a one-year track record over a guy who has been one of the best players on their team over the last six years?

Starting with Robinson Cano last year, this would be the second straight season in which the Yankees let a great homegrown player go, instead choosing outside guys to fill positions of need. These are the Yankees, they’re not supposed to be letting their best guys leave via free agency with their money.…

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