Aaron Judge Named To AZFL’s “Fall Star Game”; Greg Bird Not

Arizona Fall League update.  They announced the rosters for this upcoming weekend’s Fall Star Game (get it?) and the Yankee representative is going to be Aaron Judge.  Judge gets the nod over fellow Yankee farmhand Greg Bird despite Bird leading the league in games played, at-bats, hits, runs, doubles, home runs, RBI, and total bases, and he’s getting the nod because this game is designed to showcase top prospects rather than reward good performance.

Whatever.  I get that.  The AZFL is more of a showcase than anything else, so it makes sense to highlight the bigger prospects to get more people familiar with them now in case they turn into big All Stars at the Major League level later.  I actually love this for both guys.  Judge gets to go out and be the big freakshow athlete with the monster power potential that he is, and if he hits a monster home run in the game it will be the first thing people remember when they’re talking about the game online the next day.  …

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Was It Worth It?: Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod WS Parade

Insert joke about A-Rod being the devil here. Courtesy of Getty Images

Long-term contracts.  They’re the worst nightmare of owners, general managers, and fans alike, and no team in MLB is feeling the negative effects of them right now more than the New York Yankees.  It’s why they let Robbie Cano walk, it’s why they want to get under the luxury tax threshold to avoid paying so many extra tax dollars, and it’s why they’ve floundered at, around, or slightly above the mediocrity line for the last 2 seasons while still boasting annual payrolls north of $200 million.

When the offseason began and we threw the line out for post ideas, one of the reader suggestions was an analysis of the team’s long-term contracts and whether the players’ production in the early part of the deal was enough to make it worth it when they fell apart at the end of the deal.  This week I’m going to attempt to perform that analysis on the 3 big deals currently weighing the Yankee roster and payroll down like old, expensive anchors: Mark Teixeira‘s, CC Sabathia‘s, and A-Rod’s.…

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The Puerto Rico Rays? Sí, se puede…

Yankee fans following road trips to A.L. East rivals may not have to visit one of MLB’s most humdrum parks and cities much longer: frustrated with MLB-low attendance and a notoriously weak park, the Tampa Bay Rays’ owner “has discussed moving the club … to Montreal.” Believe or don’t believe reports that “play[ing] to a half-empty (or worse) stadium night after night … wore on Maddon” in his decision to leave the team he managed for nine years. But clearly the Rays, despite being roughly tied with the A’s as the team most praised for innovative decision-making, are also roughly tied with the A’s as MLB’s most troubled team; the hit they’ll take from losing simultaneously one of the most respected GMs and one of the most respected managers just compounds their structural attendance and park problems.

Yet a team looking for a more devoted fan base would be making a curious decision by shacking up with Montreal, the one city MLB jilted by permanently confiscating its MLB team for lack of local support.…

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Monday Morning Food For Though: So About That New Hitting Coach…

This time last week, the new hitting coach was the hottest topic on the Yankee news wire.  They had a rapidly growing list of candidates, confirmed interviews with Dave Magadan and Chili Davis, and there was a rumor that they’d be making an announcement on the position being filled before the start of the World Series.

A week later, and all we’ve got is crickets.  No new candidates have been announced, Magadan elected to stay with his current team, Davis was signed by the rival Red Sox, old hitting coach Kevin Long was signed to the same position by the Mets, and the World Series is 5 games old and heading back to KC to possibly be closed out tomorrow night.

What happened?  What’s going on?  Why the complete 180?  Have those other previously mentioned candidates been interviewed?  Are there new candidates?  Are there more interviews scheduled?  Was Magadan or Davis the runaway favorite and there wasn’t a solid backup plan?  …

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Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 10/24/14

Here’s your weekly trip around the Yankosphere.  Feel free to use the comment section to explore some crazy scenarios for Joe Maddon’s future.

– On Tuesday, Jim Callis profiled Aaron Judge and the experience he went through after being drafted and getting hurt last year.

– Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record had some more details on CC Sabathia’s rehab schedule and plan to arrive early at Spring Training.

– On Wednesday, el duque of It Is High… bought in on the idea of the Yankees going after Jung-Ho Kang to play shortstop next year.

– Scott Davis of Pinstripe Alley gave an optimistic look at the potential rotation next year and how deep and talented it could be.

– Mike Axisa of RAB reviewed Shane Greene’s improbably strong rookie season.  I’m really hoping he’s for real and can keep the performance up next year.

– On Thursday, Chad Jennings of LoHud discussed the importance of improving the infield defense this offseason.

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To Re-Sign Or Not To Re-Sign: Ichiro And Chris Young

Young Walk-Off vs TB

Chris Young doesn’t get hyped, he stays hyped. Courtesy of Corey Sipken/NY Daily News

This is the final post in this week’s free agent case series, and to be perfectly honest, it’s not one I even wanted to write.  Ichiro Suzuki and Chris Young are not players I would bring back next season if I were calling the shots.  I think the Yankees can do better than them in the 4th outfielder spot and I think they should make a strong effort to do so.  Their injury problems the last 2 seasons have been magnified by a weak and powerless bench, and neither of these guys has been anything close to what they were at their peak.  But 4th outfielder is a position of great importance again next season and I think these 2 will get at least slight consideration for a new deal.  For that, they’ll get some slight consideration here and will be lumped together into a single post.…

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Sabathia Update: Back To 100%?

The Yankee season has been over for almost a month, and with the World Series in the early stages and free agency not yet underway, the only real player news is injury news.  There was a fair amount of news regarding CC Sabathia and his rehab from knee surgery this week.  He was on ESPN Radio on Wednesday to discuss it, and Chad Jennings put together a post recapping all the major talking points.

The biggest one is obviously CC’s health and all sounds well on that front.  Sabathia said he’s been “telling people I’m 100%” and that he’s been throwing 2 days a week at The Stadium.  He said the knee feels good and discussed the importance of him being healthy going into next season while adding that he still believes he can “definitely get back to being able to go out and dominate a game, and just be myself.”

Good on the guy for being confident, but I think I’ll pump the brakes on any kind of optimism until I have somebody other than Sabathia confirming he’s 100%, preferably somebody in the medical field.  …

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Seven best Yankee off season trades since 1975

Blockbuster trades do not happen that often for the New York Yankees. Most of the off season news concerns free agents and waiver pickups. What few trades made over the Steinbrenner years seem inconsequential and the players involved quickly sink into oblivion. The last big off season trade involved sending Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. The debates about that trade have been fun. The official tally so far is Pineda with 2.7 rWAR to Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi both at -0.4 since the trade occurred. We will have to give that one a little more time before the Yankees can be declared the winner. But what were the best trades?

I am just talking off season here or that period between the end of the season and the start of the next one. Obviously, the list will not include the most recent seasons because, again, time needs to occur before you can look at a long history of what happened after a trade.…

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Get Ready for the 2015 Postseason: A-Rod in the “Best Shape of His Life”! But Let’s Look at Past “Best Shape” Claims…

The Hypothesis: The news that “multiple reports say [A-Rod] is in the best shape of his life” (10/13/14) is useless for predicting his performance. Or am I just a snarky, condescending jerk for mocking the concept that diet and exercise can help a near-fortysomething who, to play well for a team I like, reportedly is working harder than the many who let their bodies go by their early/mid-30s – like those Girardi “ripped … for being overweight, not being ‘hungry'” in an impressive bit of managerial wordplay?

The Slipshod Methodology: I Googled “best shape of his life” yankees and “best shape of my life” yankees to find others with off-season “best shape” reports; the first five pages of results from each search yielded 10 “best shape” claims. (I included a few that didn’t quite say “best” but did claim dramatically better physical condition.) I then looked at their performance the seasons before and after the offseason “best shape” claim.…

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