Behold, the Nerd-cast is upon us!

RobNeyerFellow baseball NERDS, PJ-wearing basement dwellers, know-it-all-number-crunchers-who-never-played-the-game… REJOICE, a baseball broadcast specifically designed with YOU in mind is now here.

The main broadcast of Saturday’s opener between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals will be on Fox. Cable channel Fox Sports 1 will also show it, with extended replays and statistical analysis of batter-pitcher matchups, umpiring tendencies and defensive shifts.

Kevin Burkhardt will call the game from the studio alongside Gabe Kapler, CJ Nitkowski, Rob Neyer and San Diego Padres manager Bud Black. The broadcast will sometimes use a ”double box” to show the commentators and live action at the same time.

Long time readers might remember that it was the esteemed Rob Neyer who had the audacity (read: stupidity) to ask me to be his Yankees blog back when the ESPN SweetSpot Network was being formed in 2009. I will never forget to thank him for that kickstart, for without him, this site might not be up and running today, manned by these excellent writers around me.…

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The Best And Worst Of The 2014 New York Yankees (The Bench)

Ichiro vs BOS

The best (and only) full-time bench contributor. Courtesy of Getty Images

At last we come to the bench, the final piece of the 2014 roster puzzle.  The island of misfit toys that was assembled to support the shaky starting lineup.  The Yankees were somewhat flawed in the construction of their starting lineup this season, but they were really flawed in how they put together their bench.  They didn’t have young legs that could run and play good defense, they didn’t have much power for pinch-hitting situations, and they didn’t have adequate backup depth at their weakest spots.  It was not a good group, and the lack of production from the bench exacerbated the problem caused by the under-performing starters.

Best- The Catching Depth Shines Through

As underwhelming as Brian McCann‘s first year in pinstripes was, the Yankees got good production overall from the catcher position thanks to their backups.  Francisco Cervelli was quietly stellar in 49 games, his season once again shortened by injury problems.  …

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Marchand Could Be On To Something With His Shortstop Theory

The Orioles and J.J. Hardy caused a bit of a stir before the start of the ALCS yesterday when they announced an agreement to a 3-year/$40 million contract extension with an option for a 4th year.  This was bad news for the Yankees, who were surely interested in Hardy as the best defensive shortstop of the potential FA pool and a guy with AL East experience.  It could also hurt them in the free agent long run.  Hardy’s new deal basically sets the market for what the rest of the top guys are going to want. with the exception of Hanley Ramirez.  He’ll get more.  But the higher the numbers get for the Lowries and Cabreras of the world in years and millions, the less likely the Yankees are going to be to pull the trigger.

Andrew Marchand of ESPN NY thinks he has it all figured out as to where the Yanks go now, and I’m inclined to agree with him.…

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Quick Hit: Teix Gets Back On That Grind

I should hate everything about this story by Dan Barbarisi on Mark Teixeira’s early offseason workout plan, but I don’t:

“Now, a week since the Yankees’ season ended, Teixeira is back at work. Normally he would take close to a month off and shut his body down to recover from the season. But at age 34, he no longer has that luxury; coming off the worst season of his career, he has to make things right again.

‘I’m doing light workouts right now, and when I start hitting the weights heavy here in a couple weeks, I’ll be prepared,’ he said. ‘I’m not shutting it down for a month like I usually do.’”

I want to say this is stupid.  And somewhat surprising.  I didn’t know Teix usually took a month off at the end of the season every year.  If he’s been taking a month off and then getting hurt the way he has the last few years, I should shudder at the thought of him working out already.  …

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The Best And Worst Of The 2014 New York Yankees (The Bullpen)

Betances vs CIN

The Beast. Courtesy of Getty Images

It was a different kind of year for the traditionally strong Yankee bullpen.  They came into the season with higher turnover and more role uncertainty than they had seen in years.  It was going to be an unfamiliar feeling not having the security blanket of Mo out there for the 9th inning.  His replacement was known and more than capable of handling the closing task.  It was the rest of his supporting cast that was up in the air.  A few roles changed and ironed themselves out early, with 2 more homegrown arms elevating themselves to “plus” status, but overall the bullpen as a group might have taken a step back this year.

Best- The 2-Man Wrecking Crew

The best thing about D-Rob becoming the outstanding pitcher he’s become is the elite level 1-2 punch it gave Joe in his bullpen.  Between D-Rob and Mo, the Yankees had the 8th and 9th innings (and sometimes more than that) on lockdown 99 times out of 100.  …

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Qualifying Offer Price Bumped Up To $15.3 Million

Almost missed this one.  Via a report by the AP on Tuesday, the price for qualifying offers this offseason has risen to $15.3 million.  This is an 8.5% increase for the $14.1 million value for last year’s qualifying offers.

The Yankees have a pair of intriguing QO candidates in David Robertson and Hiroki Kuroda.  Robertson is eligible for free agency for the first time this offsfeason and is coming off a year that saw him replace Mariano Rivera with 39 saves, a 3.08 ERA, and a buttload of strikeouts.  15.3 mil is a high price to pay for a reliever, but D-Rob will probably command a big offer on the open market with multiple big budget teams in serious need of relief help.  The Yankees absolutely have to make him the offer to ensure they don’t lose him for nothing.  Kuroda makes sense simply because he’ll get a 1-year deal on somewhere between $15-16 mil if he decides to stay in MLB for another year and that will most likely come from the Yankees.  …

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The Best And Worst Of The 2014 New York Yankees (The Rotation)

Tanaka Smile

I’d be smiling too if I had $155 mil in my pocket and kicked that much ass. Courtesy of the AP

From the position players to the pitchers.  Today’s season review post tackles the starting rotation, the foundation of any and almost all success the Yankees had this season.  There was high turnover, from the projected starting 5 to the rookie replacements to the deadline pickups.  That turnover did not come with much deviation in performance, however, and the Yankee rotation ended up being the biggest positive storyline in a season of disappointment.

Best- The Upside

For the first time since the championship teams of the late 90s, the Yankees entered this season with a projected starting 5 that was not only a strength, but potentially one of the best top-to-bottom rotations in baseball.  They had ace potential in Tanaka regardless of the tempered public expectations they set for him, a legit #2 in Hirok and #2 starter potential in Pineda, #2-3 starter potential in Nova, and, if he could show that he had learned to work with diminished velocity and his body held up, the reasonable hope was that CC could settle into a reliable #3-type of guy.…

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Report: Yanks Don’t Have “A Serious Interest” In Yasmany Tomas

Well this isn’t good news:

“According to an industry source, the Yankees don’t appear to have a serious interest in Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas.”

This report by George King cites an anticipated price tag in the $100 million range as the primary reason for the Yanks passing on Tomas, which I don’t and will never understand.  I don’t care how much money they spent last offseason or on whom.  The Yankees still possess the greatest financial advantage over the rest of MLB and they should not be afraid to use it.  If the goal really is to put a “championship-caliber” team on the field, how can you pass on a 24-year-old with grade 70 right-handed power and a plus outfield arm?  Where is that guy in your farm system right now that allows you to say you can’t afford that player?

“What’s that?  Potentially the next Jose Abreu and we can lock him up through the best years of his prime without sacrificing a draft pick?  

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Headley And McCarthy’s Reported Interest In Returning Should Not Be Ignored

McCarthy vs KC

B-Mac says he wants to come back. Courtesy of Getty Images

With the divisional round done and the league championship series starting later this week, the time draws closer to when the Yankees can be active in the baseball world again.  Dom started laying out their list of offseason needs yesterday in preparation for the start of hot stove season, and 2 guys who will be very important in determining how those needs are addressed are Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley.  The trade deadline pickups were among the best players on the team post-acquisition.  Their performances in New York set them both up to earn pretty nice free agent paydays, and given that aforementioned list of needs, there’s a fair-to-good chance those paydays comes from the Steinbrenner checkbook.

The local media has already started covering these upcoming free agent cases and the stance coming from both Headley and McCarthy is that they would want to return to the Yankees next season.  …

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