Spring Training Is Around The Corner
Some of the Yankees are already in Tampa. CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, and Andrew Miller are already working out, along with Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Mason Williams, Bryan Mitchell, and Dustin Ackley.
Of that group of early arrivers, I am most interested in CC Sabathia and how he does this Spring. We all know about his offseason and the shocking announcement before he headed into rehab for alcohol abuse. Before early end to his 2015, and after he was fitted with a knee brace, Sabathia was pitching a lot better than he had the previous five months of the season. In September, he made five starts and was he was 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA. It will be interesting to see how much the brace helps and if he can last a full season at age 35 (he's turning 36 in July), but it would be great if Sabathia could contribute to the team and be a part of the starting rotation for the whole season.
Speaking of the rotation, here's what Ken Davidoff of the NY Post has to say about who he thinks could be the Yankees' true ace.
A Healthy Ellsbury?
Another guy Yankee fans are probably wondering about is Jacoby Ellsbury. He injured his knee in May, wasn't the same afterward, and had a very disappointing finish to his 2015. The Yankees will need him 1) to remain healthy and 2) remain healthy. That's it. If he's healthy, it's a big boon for the top of the lineup. If he's not, he's a detriment. It's pretty simple. The Yankees cannot expect both Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez to repeat their 2015 numbers, (Teixeira is turning 36 in April, while A-Rod will be 41 in July) so Ellsbury needs to step up a bit.
Leave A-Rod Alone
On Friday, Andrew Marchand and Wally Matthews had a back and forth on ESPN New York in which they wondered if A-Rod was truly a changed man. It took me the entire weekend to come up with words to say about it that didn't involve me using foul language.
Here were my initial thoughts on the piece:
You guys can read it and judge for yourselves, but it seems to me that Mr. Marchand and Mr. Matthews are vexed that Rodriguez didn't fall on his face last season. He committed the sin of not giving them a reason to write awful things about him (once the 2015 season started), and since they apparently needed clickbait this weekend, well who better to provide it than A-Rod?
Now, is it fair to wonder if A-Rod's still taking something? Of course it is. We can never be sure about any of these PED guys, and while I would hope that Alex wouldn't be stupid enough to risk a lifetime ban after missing a full season to suspension, you just never know. With that said, I also feel that the piece in question was completely unnecessary, and given the fact that Matthews himself refused to take a position after the Yankees signed Aroldis Chapman, his thoughts about A-Rod seem more personal than anything. And it has always seemed that way, at least to me.
Here's what he wrote about Chapman on December 28:
There are questions about Chapman’s character and judgment -- according to a source who spoke to ESPN.com on condition of anonymity, Chapman’s 2-year-old baby was in the house at the time he allegedly was shooting up the furniture -- but let’s not get carried away with moralizing about the kind of people who play our games.
In a perfect world, they would all be model citizens. But in the world we live in, performance always takes precedence over behavior. And in truth, I have no idea whether Chapman is a good guy or a bad guy.
I do know he’s a terrific pitcher, and any baggage that he brings into the Yankees' clubhouse will be their problem, not mine or yours.
How do you not take a stance when someone is involved in a domestic violence case, but act as if taking PED is much, much worse? It doesn't make any sense. And if someone says, "Well domestic violence doesn't happen on the field, but PED usage does!" I will scream.
Here's what he said about A-Rod in the piece on Friday:
Unfortunately, baseball and all professional sports have made this dirty bed for themselves and it’s not only naive, but irresponsible for us as journalists not to suspect hanky-panky when an athlete of an advanced age does something it seems unlikely he would be able to do.
So it's irresponsible for journalists not to suspect hanky-panky when it comes to PED, but it's fine for them say almost nothing when a player allegedly shoots a gun eight times while his two year old child is in the house?
More on A-Rod the Terrible
This weekend at Twins fest, John Ryan Murphy who after being asked about Rodriguez, told Twins fans: "A-Rod is the greatest teammate I ever had. He'd hold meetings, he'd help, he'd ask questions. He was amazing." He also mentioned that he got to talk to Alex a lot last season because he was on the bench a lot and Alex was DHing.
Uh oh, Murphy better be careful and start saying bad things about Alex. We can't have people actually liking him!
Blogging for Charity
Finally, I, along with a lot of great baseball writers and bloggers, participated in a charity Blogathon on the Baseball Continuum website. It was to raise money for cancer research.
The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.”Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.
Here are some links for you to read:
- From Andrew Mearns of Pinstripe Alley: The 2015 All Out-Of-Position Team
- From Kazuto Yamazaki: NBP Bat Flip Juggernauts to Watch For
- From Dave Brown of CBS Sports: Taters, tobacco and terror: Baseball in the Future
Oh, and here's what I wrote for the Blogathon: Sonnet 13. You can guess what it's about just from the title. (And for the record, I know it's not a true sonnet so I don't need any pedantic people leaving comments about it, thanks.)
Spring Training countdown: 17 days