The Yankees played in their third home opener of the year this afternoon, a duel between Hiroki Kuroda and Ubaldo Jimenez. Both pitchers came into the game with their own concerns. Last week, Kuroda took a linedrive to his middle finger and was pronounced day-to-day. Meanwhile, Jimenez was coming off a strong outing in Toronto after an awful 2012 season.
The pitching worries were a big part of the first half of today’s game. Jimenez opened up the first inning with an 84 mph fastball, after averaging 96 mph just a few years ago in Colorado. After walking Robinson Cano and allowing a single to Kevin Youkilis, hometown hero Travis Hafner launched a 3-run home run to dead center.
Kuroda lacked control in the first inning, and immediately walked Michael Bourn. What followed was a series of unfortunate events for the right-handed pitcher. There were three ground balls that could have easily been double play balls, but they just happened to bounce off bags and gloves for infield singles. Kuroda’s pitches had the right movement, but defense, bad luck, and wildness helped the Indians tie the game up by the end of the first.
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Over the last few days, there’s been a little bit of trade discussion surrounding Yankee reliever Joba Chamberlain. Mike touched on this yesterday and I’d like to expand on his value as a trade piece and to the team.
If the Yankees really could get Mike Olt or someone of his ilk for Joba Chamberlain, then there is absolutely no excuse for not executing the trade. But, that is not likely the case. For the Yankees to fetch someone of that caliber, they’d need to give up a lot more than just Joba. The thing is, that’s just not going to happen. As a reliever entering his contract year, he’s none too desirable, at least not right now. If the Yankees fall far out of contention at some point later in the year, say around the trade deadline, maybe they can flip him to a team that needs that one last guy to get it over the hump. Wouldn’t that be something for Joba? Come up in 2007 and help push the Yankees into the playoffs as a reliever, then do the same for another team in 2013? The chances of that happening, though, seem slim. Despite all their supposed and real flaws, the Yankees still have a good shot at making the playoffs. As such, Joba is more important to the team as a pitcher than he is as a trade piece.
Earlier today, George A King of the NY Post reported that the Rangers have been following and scouting Joba Chamberlain. With the type of relief depth the Yankees have, and the offensive needs, it’s no surprise that they’d make Chamberlain available. The question here is what the Yankees want back.
The team has some obvious needs offensively. The Yankees are down an outfielder until May and a corner infielder for even longer. If the organization is looking to find an outfielder, they’d likely target a right-hander to compliment the three lefties. They also may be looking younger, as Curtis Granderson will become a free agent in 2014, and Ichiro Suzuki the year after. The problem with acquiring an outfielder from the Rangers is their own needs in replacing Josh Hamilton.
If a corner infielder is what they want, the team is best suited to go with a younger player that can provide depth at third base while Alex Rodriguez‘ hips continue to be minced into pulp. The Rangers have a few corner infield options that could make some players expendable.
Mike Olt- There’s a bit of hype surrounding the Rangers’ third base prospect, but he’s still a very good player that fits the Yankees’ needs. Both Baseball America and Jonathon Mayo’s MLB.com ranked Olt the 22nd best prospect in baseball. At 23 years old, the right-handed hitter batted .288/.398/.579 in Double-A Frisco, hitting 28 home runs. The Rangers gave Olt a chance in the Majors at the end of last season, where he only had 5 hits and 5 walks in 40 plate appearances.
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During the day (and night thanks to a certain “media personality”) Tuesday, Joba Chamberlain made some small waves with his comments about his ability to be a starting pitcher; not surprisingly, he still thinks he can start. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen for the Yankees. Joba will be a free agent after this year [...]
(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) I’ve made reference multiple times recently to the Yankees having another strong bullpen in 2013, and I strongly believe that’s going to be the case. They’ve got the greatest closer of all time back for another shot at a last go-round, arguably the best setup [...]
(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) 2012 was a rough year for Joba Chamberlain. After being shut down in 2011 and undergoing Tommy John Surgery, he was in the process of working himself back to full strength to make a summer 2012 return when he suffered his now infamous trampoline accident [...]
It’s hard to believe that Joba Chamberlain returned to this team over a month ago. When he came up on August 1st, things didn’t go too well. He surrendered a homerun immediately to JJ Hardy. In fact, the whole month of August didn’t bode well for the reliever, but through a key mechanical change, he’s [...]
The last two weeks of Yankee baseball have been, well, frustrating is really the only word for them. They can’t see to pitch all the way right or hit all the way right and it’s led to more losses than wins. Let’s ramble a bit, just to get the verbal diarrhea out there and into [...]
It’s been over a year since Joba Chamberlain last stepped on a major league mound, and since then, he underwent Tommy John surgery and a severely dislocated ankle. The media practically put Chamberlain six feet under after his trampoline disaster, citing some false rumors that his life was in jeopardy. Some sources even questioned whether [...]