Yankees Have A Light Schedule Against Left-Handed Pitchers In April

After losing Alex Rodriguez to hip surgery this offseason, the Yankees made a point of finding a right-handed hitting third baseman to counter left-handed pitching. In 2012, the team struggled against lefties, while Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson regressed against same side pitchers. The organization made a point of finding some right-handed bench players, but Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera did not pan out.

When Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter were expected to miss opening day, you could start to see the panic in the Yankees’ moves. Ben Francisco and Vernon Wells were the best two options, and now on Monday we were left with an opening day lineup that was hard to look at. Eduardo Nunez batted second, Francisco was your DH, Jayson Nix found himself at third base, and Kevin Youkilis was batting cleanup with Wells as his protection. Against lefties, the Yankees’ lineup is nothing short of a mess.

Fortunately, Jeter should return sometime in April. Meanwhile, Teixeira is growing more optimistic about his wrist injury, and could start swinging a bat with two hands in a couple of weeks.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Unconditionally Release Clay Rapada

Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Joe Girardi has announced that the Yankees have unconditionally released Clay Rapada. We knew previously that Rapada was a victim of the 40-man roster crunch, but for those holding out hope that he’d clear waivers, the Yankees didn’t even try. The left-hander pitched to a 2.82 ERA last year, and held left-handed batters to a .186/.263/.255 triple slash. As good as he was against same side hitters, Rapada is useless against right-handers.

The Yankees currently have Boone Logan in the bullpen, who can pitch to all hitters. The organization also has a number of left-handed relievers in their system, including Cesar Cabral, who is on the same recovery schedule as Michael Pineda. Rapada’s recent injury troubles were also a concern going forward.

Rapada was very successful in his stint with the Yankees and I would assume the team plans to offer him a Minor League deal, but he shouldn’t have a huge problem latching on to a Major League team as a productive LOOGY.… Click here to read the rest

Tonight’s Lineup Versus The Red Sox

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart C

On the mound: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Clay Buchholz

This is the first look we get at the Yankees’ lineup versus right-handers. I’ll have a post coming up on the topic at 5:00 PM, but as you can see, the Yankees are more suited to play against right-handed pitchers. If Vernon Wells finds himself struggling to hit early on, the Yankees can slide Brennan Boesch into a corner outfield spot as well.

The game starts at 7:05 PM on YES and ESPN2.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hits: Draft, Boras, Injuries

Jim Callis at Baseball America has a copy of the 2013 Bonus Pools. The Yankees, who have 12 picks in the first 10 rounds, have a total of $7,957,400 to spend on. This amount ranks 8th in all of baseball, behind the Twins, and in front of the Diamondbacks. Most of this money is due to owning the 26th, 32nd, and 33rd overall picks, which should each be worth a little less than $2 million each. The point of this new system is to deter big market teams from spending big money on players later in the draft, and thus increasing the prices of amateur free agents altogether. This year, the Yankees have found a way to match the bonus pool of small-market and losing teams, but at the price of losing Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano.

Scott Boras isn’t very happy about Robinson Cano switching agencies. One unnamed agent had some unkind things to say about Cano’s decision, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Boras’ team that released this, as he has a strong grip over the media.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Ty Hensley Out 2-3 Months After Hip Surgery

If you were getting tired of all the positive news on the gaggle of injured Major Leaguers, here’s something negative on the MiL front to balance things out.

As first reported by George King of The Post, 2012 1st round pick Ty Hensley will be out for 2-3 months after having surgery today to correct a bone impingement in his right hip.  You might remember that Hensley was reported to have an abdominal strain earlier in spring camp, and according to Senior VP of Player Ops Mark Newman this was the cause.

The good news is that this injury has nothing to do with the shoulder abnormality that was discovered during Hensley’s pre-draft physical last year, and with Hensley likely ticketed for SS Staten Island or the GCL it may not have much of an effect on his ability to pitch this season.  But it’s still disheartening to know that the injury bug isn’t done biting in the organization.  Mike Eder will have more on this story later today.… Click here to read the rest

MLB Needs To Tweak Free Agency

Almost under our noses, the economics of baseball profoundly changed. The most overt changes came during the 2011 CBA negotiations, where two big developments happened: draconian amateur spending caps were implemented, and a $189 million salary + other stuff soft cap was implemented. But more importantly, the success of MLB Network, MLBAM, and other negotiated TV deals brought scores of millions of dollars of equally-divided revenue to major league teams.

The result is something that looks like a fairly level playing field. Roughly half of MLB teams now have payrolls over $100 million, and several others have the capacity to spend more if need be. Teams are taking that extra payroll room and spending on big extensions for home-grown players. You know who these players are, but some recent monster extensions include Justin Verlander, Joey Votto, Elvis Andrus, etc.

The bloodbath (from a Yankee perspective) week of extensions prompted Jonah at Grantland to declare that free agency is on a “march toward irrelevance.” The 2014 free agent class after Robinson Cano, who may be extended himself, is incredibly weak, and is comprised mostly of players on the wrong side of 30.… Click here to read the rest

How Does Brennan Boesch Fit Into This Team?


There was a brief period of time after his signing on April 15th where things were looking pretty sweet for Brennan Boesch.  He had hooked on with a team in desperate need of help in the outfield, signed a guaranteed Major League deal with that team, and because of the circumstances surrounding the rest of the outfield competition, looked to be a lock for a starting spot in that team’s outfield for at least the first month of the regular season.

Then Boesch missed a few games with a strained rib cage, watched as the Yankees traded for Vernon Wells and signed Lyle Overbay, and ended up being one of the final players selected for the Opening Day roster, now in the 4th outfielder spot instead of the starting lineup.  He was on the bench to start Monday’s home opener as Joe elected to go with right-handed hitters Wells and Ben Francisco against southpaw Jon Lester, and there he stayed for the entirety of the game.  … Click here to read the rest

Sabathia’s Struggles Due To Control, Not Velocity

The results of yesterday’s start by CC Sabathia weren’t great, but the left-hander didn’t look as bad as the box score indicates. He gave up 8 hits, 4 walks, 4 earned runs, 5 strike outs in 5.0 innings. Allowing 12 men on is not a good way to show the fans that you’ve recovered from elbow surgery. Half of these eight hits came off ground balls, and half of these came off infield singles. If Jayson Nix had held on to a line drive in the 2nd inning, Sabathia might not have given up any of the 4 runs in that inning.

While the amount of groundballs going for hits were unlucky, he also struggled to locate his pitches. His fastball and slider were wild, and without that, he was forced to live off his changeup. The walks are inexcusable, but for what’s only his third start of the year, there was bound to be an issue somewhere. Since Sabathia is coming off his surgery, and his velocity started especially low, there was a subsequent panic over the Yankees’ ace.… Click here to read the rest

Opening Day provides clues on approaching Cano

Little, if anything, on Opening Day is predictive. The Astros probably aren’t going to beat the Rangers many more times this year and I don’t think there are going to be many innings when CC Sabathia coughs up four runs at a time. To break my own rule, though, there are things that may give us a bit of an indication as to how something will unfold over the course of the season. In the case I’m about to present, it has much more to do with process than it does with results.

As time has passed and the other big name players on the Yankees have waned in terms of talent or health–think Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira–and with Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson injured to start the season, Robinson Cano is, even more obviously (if possible) the focal point of the offense. And even though there are (semi) brand names backing him up–Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis, and Vernon Wells–they’re not shining like they used to.… Click here to read the rest