Blue Jays hand Yankees a victory that Yankee bullpen hands right back

Josh Johnson and the Blue Jays handed this game to the Yankees in the fifth inning. With the Blue Jays leading 2-1, the Yankees loaded the bases on three hits by Chris Stewart, Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells. Johnson managed to get Travis Haffner out, but after that he completely lost the strike zone. Johnson issued bases loaded walks to Lyle Overbay and Eduardo Nunez, handing the Yankees a 3-2 lead. The Yankees expanded that lead the next inning when Brett Gardner scored Jayson Nix on a sacrifice fly. Suddenly the Yankees were up by two heading into the final innings with a possible sweep on their hands.

It wasn’t meant to be. Ivan Nova walked Adam Lind to start the bottom of the sixth inning. That brought up J.P. Arencibia who doubled, putting runners on second and third with no outs. That was the end of Nova’s day. The Yankees handed things over to Boone Logan who gave up a single to Colby Rasmus, the only batter he faced.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread: Yankees at Blue Jays, Sunday April 21

The Yankees and the Blue Jays have gone in opposite directions so far this year. Coming into the season the Yankees were projected to struggle due to injuries and austerity, while the new look Jays were supposed to thrive. So far the Yankees are off to a strong start, while the Blue Jays are currently in dead last. But the baseball season can change from one game to the next. Today the Yankees put Ivan Nova on the mound while the Jays counter with one of their new players, Josh Johnson. Once upon a time Johnson was a rising Ace with Florida. He was also made of glass. This season he’s off to a poor start (so you know he’ll give the Jays eight strong innings). Nova, meanwhile, has also struggled. My gut says this will turn out to be a pitcher’s duel, but if I’m wrong it could be a 10-8 ball game. Use this as your game thread. Enjoy!… Click here to read the rest

Examining the newest Toronto Blue Jays

Earlier this week the Miami Marlins gutted their team, sending several star players north of the border to the Toronto Blue Jays. The main additions to the Blue Jays through this trade were Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. Since then the Jays have also signed Melky Cabrera. Fellow Yankee Analyst Michael Eder already looked at the Blue Jays in aggregate after this trade. I agree with his conclusion. Between the new additions to the team and the players returning from injury, the Blue Jays figure to be a contender in 2013. Rather than rehashing that, in this post I wanted to zero in on the four new players and assess their value.

Jose Reyes – Yankee fans know Reyes well from his days with the Mets. In 2011 Reyes had a career (injury shortened) year and managed a 142 wRC+. That season had contract year written all over it and Miami took the bait, signing Reyes to a $100 million contract.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHf/x Scouting Report: Josh Johnson

The starting pitcher market is beginning to dwindle down as we reach the July 31st trade deadline. Cole Hamels has already agreed to an extension with the Phillies, Wandy Rordiguez is now pitching in Pittsburgh, and Ryan Dempster is on the verge of moving to Los Angeles. Amongst other trades, the Marlins have parted with Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, and Anibal Sanchez, and the club appears poised to trade away the remainder of their bulky contracts. Starter Josh Johnson may be the next to go, and the Yankees could be in play if they’re in the market for a top of the rotation pitcher.

Personally, over the past couple of years, Johnson had been one of my favorite pitchers. His remarkable 2.41 FIP in 2010 probably made him the best NL pitcher that season, and his early 2011 season began with an April where he gave up only 18 hits in 41.0 innings pitched. The downside to Johnson is his injury history, which caught up to him in mid-May of last season.… Click here to read the rest

Do the Yankees need to rethink their organizational philosophy regarding developing starting pitchers?

Hughes & Joba, forever intertwined

In the wake of Boston extending Clay Buchholz, I couldn’t help but think about the healthy number of young, good-to-excellent starting pitchers across baseball that have seen their teams jump to extend them prior to hitting free agency these last few years, and that the Yankees have remained noticeably absent from this practice.

The Yankees’ AL East rivals in particular have been quite active in this arena, with the Sox wisely extending Jon Lester back in 2009; the Blue Jays locking up Ricky Romero; and three-fifths of the Rays’ rotation — James Shields, Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann — having signed assorted team-friendly deals buying out their arb years that also contain a slew of club options. Other notable young hurlers signed early and removed from potential free agency in recent years include Josh Johnson, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander, not coincidentally arguably among the top five righthanded pitchers in the game.… Click here to read the rest

Lee shocks baseball world, jilts Yankees and Rangers for reunion with Phillies

For just the second time in the last two decades, a premier free agent pitcher has spurned the Yankees for less money elsewhere.

In the biggest offseason shocker since the Yankees’ signing Mark Teixeira two Decembers ago and perhaps one of the biggest surprises in baseball history, Cliff Lee declined both the Yankees’ and Texas’ higher offers to return to the Philadelphia Phillies, the team he pitched to the World Series in 2009. Turns out I — and just about everyone else — was wrong about Lee’s eventual destination.

Lee’s new contract with the Phillies is for $120 million over five years with a vesting option, making his $24 million AAV the second-highest ever for a pitcher, after Roger Clemens‘ pro-rated $28,000,022 in 2007. According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees offered Lee six years at $22 million each, plus an option year for $16 million, for a total of $148 million over seven years. The Rangers apparently offered six years, $138 million, which may or may not have included an option, while Heyman’s colleague Joe Lemire said the Rangers offered what could have been worth as much as seven years and $161 million if the final-year option vested.… Click here to read the rest

National League wins All-Star Game for first time in 14 years

In a contest with a final score that seemed rather appropriate for the so-called “year of the pitcher,” the National League finally beat the American League in the All-Star Game for the first time in 14 years, winning 3-1 on the strength of some ridiculous pitching.

Though I enjoy giving the NL a good ribbing from time to time, there was nothing to laugh about last night, as the National League All-Star pitching staff was flat-out filthy, limiting the AL to one run over nine innings (an unearned run, at that) and holding the hitters to a .194 batting average. Nearly every single pitcher who entered the game — for both teams — was throwing unreal gas, with seemingly every pitch registering in the high 90s. Ubaldo Jimenez and Josh Johnson in particular were downright unfair.

For their part, the AL pitching staff was almost as dominant, save for one bad inning. Clinging to a one-run lead — provided by a Robinson Cano sac fly — first time All-Star Phil Hughes put runners on first and third after surrendering two consecutive hits.… Click here to read the rest

Marlins Lock Up Josh Johnson

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From Jerry Crasnick:

Pitcher Josh Johnson reached an agreement on a four-year, guaranteed $39 million contract that will keep him with the Florida Marlins through 2013. The pitcher confirmed the agreement to ESPN.com Thursday….

The deal will pay Johnson $3.75 million this season, $7.75 million in 2011 and $13.75 million in each of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

The contract buys out the final two years of salary arbitration eligibility and the first two years of free agency for Johnson, who has a 34-16 record and a 3.40 ERA in parts of five seasons with the Marlins.

Yesterday, we discussed the agreement between the Marlins, MLB, and MLBPA in which the Marlins agreed to spend more money on players. At the time, I suggested that this may actually have a negative effect on the Yankees, as the Marlins would be more likely to lock up their great young talents. Signing Josh Johnson was exactly what MLB intended when they directed the Marlins to spend more, and can only be good for baseball.… Click here to read the rest

King Felix and Josh Johnson Headed Towards New Deals?

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From the excellent Craig Calcaterra D.J. Short over at Circling The Bases, we get word of two likely Yankee targets involved in discussions that would preclude them from making it to free agency. The first link D.J. provides is from MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro:

Sometime this week the Marlins plan to have discussions with agent Matt Sosnick regarding a contract for Josh Johnson.

Whether there is movement on a multiyear deal will depend on a key factor.

Sosnick claims if the Marlins will guarantee a four-year deal then he will listen.

Arbitration-eligible for the second time, Johnson is in line to make about $4.2 million in 2010, if both sides don’t reach a multiyear agreement for the 6-foot-7 right-hander.

Johnson is just beginning to blossom as a star pitcher, with 2009 being his first full “ace” type year. He required Tommy John surgery for an elbow injury that cost him chunks of 2007 and 2008, but is now fully healthy and seems ready to take that next step into stardom at just 26.… Click here to read the rest