Is there anything or anyone out there?

The Hot Stove season is far from over. There are still over 40 days until pitchers and catchers report to Florida and Arizona for Spring Training, so there is still plenty of time for deals to get done. Despite that, the Yankees seem to have a fairly complete roster. With the re-signing of Ichrio Suzuki, the outfield is set and with the signing of Kevin Youkilis, the infield is set. The top of the bullpen is set, even with the departure of Rafael Soriano and the rotation is more or less set. The one spot that doesn’t seem to be settled is the DH spot. Matt Diaz recently signed a minor league deal and has a chance to be the DH vs. LHP, but can the Yankees do better? What about the other side of the DH platoon?

There is a more important question to pose, though. What exactly do the Yankees want out of the DH? As recently as 2010 with Nick Johnson, and later, Lance Berkman, the team has gone with the “traditional” DH: a hitter who offers little in the way of playing a position.… Click here to read the rest

Scouting The Free Agent Market For An Ibanez Replacement

I might have watched every game this year, but it’s still hard for me to remember exactly what kind of season Raul Ibanez had in 2012. Our most recent recollection was his three ridiculously well-timed homeruns in the playoffs. For the rest season, the left handed hitter had his good moments, but also some pretty lousy ones. As expected, he was rather awful against left handed pitchers, but a .248/.319/.492 triple slash (115 wRC+) against righties more than made up for it.

Unfortunately, once the Yankees lost Brett Gardner for nearly the entire season, Ibanez saw much more defensive playing time than expected. The 40 year old actually manned 90 games in the outfield, and started nearly half of the regular season games. It’s not a fact, but the extra work apparently caught up to him after the allstar break, where he hit just .190/.287/.341 for the two months of the Yankees most important stretch of the year. From August 16th to September 19th, Ibanez recorded a total of 3 hits over 60 plate appearances.… Click here to read the rest

Morning stroll down memory lane

Whenever someone mentions Jason Giabmi’s tenure with the Yankees, I get pretty peeved. He wasn’t exactly the player he was in Oakland and his glove was, well, let’s just not talk about that. However, he was still productive with the bat, posting a .404 OBP and a .525 SLG (.925 OPS) in his time with the Yankees; his wOBA with the Bombers from ’02-’08 was a robust .397, good for a 145 wRC+. I still don’t get why people say he was a disappointment on offense. Anyway, today marks a special anniversary for Giabmi and the Yanks. Today is the 10 year anniversary of his walk off grand slam against the Twins, and Chris Jaffe over at Hardball Times has a nice retrospective about the homer; he’s also got notes on other “Day-verseries” like this one: “5,000 days since Jeff Bagwell finally hits his first career grand slam. It’s his 218th home run” and anniversaries like this one: “1887: Pud Galvin, the first pitcher to win 300 games (and also the first to lose 300), gives up the only grand slam of his career.”… Click here to read the rest

Players to watch for 2012: NL West

While the Yankees negotiate with Raul Ibanez, let’s turn our attention to some non-Yankee topics. You’ll remember that I did this series last year, so let’s kick it off a little earlier this year to fill our baseball void.

We’ll be starting with the last year’s defending division champion, the Arizona Diamondbacks. There’s an obvious choice here, and I’m going with it. Ian Kennedy. IPK just went off this year. He threw 222 innings, had a great 8.03 K/9; 2.33 BB/9; and 0.77 HR/9 which helped him post a fantastic 2.88 ERA (72 ERA– and a solid 3.22 FIP (79 FIP–). I don’t think we can expect a repeat of these numbers, but I’ll always enjoy rooting for and watching Kennedy pitch.

Next, we’ll go up north to San Francisco. Let’s keep our eyes on another former Yankee: Melky Cabrera. Traded to the Giants from the Royals for Jonathan Sanchez, Melky will be looking to build on a career year in 2011.… Click here to read the rest

Starring Mark Teixeira as Jason Giambi (hopefully)

Texiambi

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Yankees sign a big-name free agent first baseman coming off an MVP-caliber year to a mammoth long-term deal that will keep him in the Bronx well past the point he’s still worth his salary. The slugger goes crazy in his first season in pinstripes, putting up yet another MVP-caliber season. The first baseman’s second season in pinstripes is still very good, though perhaps a slight disappointment based on previous expectations. Things continue to go in the wrong direction in the third season, prompting the Yankee faithful to start wondering whether their $100 million man is heading down an irreconcilable path to offensive mediocrity.

Obviously the two men in question are Mark Teixeira and Jason Giambi. In the latter’s case, his third season as a Yankee was an unmitigated disaster, due primarily to a year of health-related issues. However, many seem to forget that Giambi bounced back in a big way, turning in a huge 2005 campaign and ultimately finishing his seven-season Yankee career with a rather incredible .260/.404/.525 triple slash, .398 wOBA, 143 wRC+ and 21.8 fWAR.… Click here to read the rest

Ubaldo ubaldozes Yankees to sleep in 4-2 Rockies victory

(photo c/o Getty)

Ubaldo Jimenez settled down after a slightly wild first inning Friday night, ultimately throwing seven strong innings and yielding only two runs on four hits as the Rockies beat the Yankees 4-2. A.J.Burnett got touched up for one run in each of the 2nd through 5th innings, and that picket fence wound up being plenty on a night where the Yankees were only able to muster up five total hits. In fact, after Eduardo Nunez led the 5th off with a single, the Yankees went hitless until Nick Swisher hit a single with one out in the ninth, further prolonging the teams’ season-long inability to score during the late innings of games.

Oddly enough, as Michael Kay noted on the broadcast, this also dropped the Yankees to 12-14 in series openers this season, and 6-8 at Yankee Stadium. It’s an inconsequential stat, considering that the Yankees have managed to bounce back and take the following two games in many of those series opener losses, but it’s still really strange, and worth noting.… Click here to read the rest

Looking back at Giambi's contract

On December 13th, 2001 the Yankees announced the signing of Jason Giambi to a 7 year contract worth a reported 120 million. Giambi was at the time one of the premier sluggers in the game, leading the AL in OBP (.477) and SLG (.660) the prior year. He came in 2nd in MVP voting to Ichiro Suzuki, after winning the award himself in 2000. The Yanks were looking to continue their championship run of the late 90’s, and the 2001 group finished a disappointing 5th in runs scored. Giambi’s signing was a clarion call to the baseball world that despite coming off a World Series berth, that type of run production would not be tolerated by the Yankees. Jason grew up in a family of Yankee fans, and by his account coming to play in the Bronx was fulfilling his Dad’s dream. His father, who played a large part in Jason’s career and was a steady influence on and off the field, was a huge fan of Mickey Mantle.… Click here to read the rest

Looking back at Giambi’s contract

On December 13th, 2001 the Yankees announced the signing of Jason Giambi to a 7 year contract worth a reported 120 million. Giambi was at the time one of the premier sluggers in the game, leading the AL in OBP (.477) and SLG (.660) the prior year. He came in 2nd in MVP voting to Ichiro Suzuki, after winning the award himself in 2000. The Yanks were looking to continue their championship run of the late 90’s, and the 2001 group finished a disappointing 5th in runs scored. Giambi’s signing was a clarion call to the baseball world that despite coming off a World Series berth, that type of run production would not be tolerated by the Yankees. Jason grew up in a family of Yankee fans, and by his account coming to play in the Bronx was fulfilling his Dad’s dream. His father, who played a large part in Jason’s career and was a steady influence on and off the field, was a huge fan of Mickey Mantle.… Click here to read the rest

Off Day Thoughts

With one summer course finished last night, I’m like 95% done with my Master’s. Woo. Okay done with the semi-cool brag. Onto the baseball…

During the series with the Cubs, I was annoyed with the constant Wrigley-fapping. This series, it was (as it usually is when they’re together) the Michael Kay and Paul O’Neill Show. This time, though, it wasn’t so much about their constant discussions of food, or golf, or texting but the harping on Drew Stubbs and how he needs to “figure out what kind of hitter he’s going to be” since he strikes out a bit and hits for power. To both Kay and O’Neill, he is unsuited for the leadoff roll because of those strikeouts…and the power. Sure, the strikeouts are bad out of the leadoff spot, but he clearly backs it up with a power bat. And, he works walks. Going into last night, his walk rate was 9.0%, a solid mark for anyone. Kay does this ignoring walk shtick a lot, especially with guys like Mark Reynolds and Carlos Pena.… Click here to read the rest