Monday, March 2, 2015

Yankees Start Spring Schedule Tuesday

We're one day away from the start of Grapefruit League action!

The pre-season gets underway on the road tomorrow against the Phillies. The Yankees have announced that Adam Warren will start, followed, I'm guessing, by half a dozen others. Game two, also against the Phillies, will take place the next day at George M Steinbrenner Field. Nathan Eovaldi will start things off in that one. They're back on the road the next day against the Pirates, where Esmil Rogers will be at the head of the line.

We'll have to wait a little longer to see the guys who will actually be part of the five-man rotation.

The Eovaldi game will be on the YES Network. Check out the entire Spring Training broadcast schedule here.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Did The Yankees Do Enough This Winter?

The New York Yankees have the biggest payroll in baseball, and it is no surprise that they have been able to win the most World Series ever as well. With that type of reputation, losing seasons are not tolerated. After not having a very good 2014 year, many thought that they would open up their checkbook to get more talent. Instead, they were relatively quiet during the winter. People in fantasy baseball are hoping that the few offseason moves they made will be enough to at least stay in contention in 2015.

 
The only new player expected to start on opening day for the New York Yankees is shortstop Didi Gregorius. He is the guy in charge of somehow trying to replace Derek Jeter. Even though Jeter’s fantasy baseball numbers were well below average in his final games, Gregorius knows a lot of pressure will be surrounding him just the same. He is a very fine shortstop on defense, but he is still maturing as a hitter.

 
Even though he is not new to the team, Alex Rodriguez will be returning after missing the entire 2014 season due to his suspension. No one really knows what he has left in the tank, but chances are he will get opportunities as a designated hitter and even a 1st baseman. If he does end up hitting well in providing value in fantasy baseball, he acts, a little bit, as a free-agent signing.

 
The bullpen was a little bit shaky last year for the Yankees, and that led to giving away a few too many games. Adding Andrew Miller as their top reliever in the middle innings will really help out. The left-handed pitcher has been able to have success in the American League East his entire career, and now he gets to go up against his former teams in Boston and Baltimore.

 
With so few moves, people are not exactly optimistic about the New York Yankees right now. They do have quite a bit of talent, but they need to find a way to stay healthy, unlike 2014. If they do pull that off, they will contend in a relatively weak American League East compared to recent memory.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Forget His Diet, Mark Teixeira's Hitting Approach Is NO FUN

Mark Teixeira's "no-fun" diet has become the talk of Spring Training.  Fans and media alike have been talking non-stop about it, which includes no dairy, no sugar and no gluten. 

Teixeira hopes that the diet will help him avoid inflammation and, thus, keep him on the field in 2015. He also hopes it will help bring him back to what he hasn't been since 2011: A 30HR, 100RBI man.

He didn't say that he hopes the diet will help him handle the shift better.

When asked what his thoughts are on the shift, Teixeira said he could conquer it by "hit[ting] more home runs, hit[ting] more doubles and walk[ing] more. We've talked about it ad nauseum. Every time I try to slap the ball the other way, it doesn't go well for anybody. That's what the other team wants.

"They want to take a middle-of-the-order power hitter and turn him into a slap hitter. So if I can hit more home runs, more doubles, walk more, that takes care of the shift. I don't want to ground out to second base. That's not what I'm trying to do up there."

In other words, he's going to remain the lazy, stubborn, selfish player that he is. I highly doubt that continuing to pull the ball will result in anything more than what we saw last year. Forget 30HR and 100RBI. He'll just be demonstrating the definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same terrible results.  If it isn't already there, his picture should be in the dictionary next to the word.

The really sad thing about this is that Teixeira wants to take more of a leadership role in the clubhouse this season.  Well, that will be just lovely.  So, if Rob Refsnyder comes up and strikes out a ton, he can point to Teixeira to explain why he keeps taking the same approach at the plate.

Hopefully new hitting coach Jeff Pentland can convince Mark Teixeira to at least think about going the other way. However, I'm definitely not holding my breath for it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Alex Rodriguez: Team Leader?

Position players who haven't already done so will report to camp today.  Then it begins: tomorrow will be the first full squad Spring Training workout for the 2015 New York Yankees.

It goes without saying that this team is leaderless at the moment. Hopefully a leader, or leaders, will eventually emerge, rather than one being anointed right away.  Several people could end up grabbing the reigns. It sounds as if at least one person wants to make an attempt to do just that: Alex Rodriguez.

According to Yankees.com, when he was asked about taking a leadership role with the team, A-Rod said, "I've been around a long time and I've seen a lot of things. If guys want to ask questions, I love talking baseball, and you guys know that better than anyone. I love the game and I love to talk it. Whoever needs my help, I'm available."

If I had been consuming a beverage while reading that, I'd have spit it all over myself.  A-Rod, a team leader? Come on. He's "seen a lot of things?" Not as many things as he's done.

But then I thought about it some more.

Alex Rodriguez has always been a mentor to young players, ever since his days with the Texas Rangers.  His generosity to them might be second-to-none.  Didi Gregorius is already calling A-Rod a "great teammate."

I guess it comes down to the fact that ballplayers are professionals, and they know talent when they see it.  Despite any PED use, they are able to see--better than the average fan--whether or not a player deserves the title of "leader."  Don't be surprised if they decide that Alex Rodriguez deserves it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Thoughts On Moncada Signing With The Red Sox

So the Yankees missed out on signing Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada.

Or, did they?

They put him through not one, not two, but three private workouts. They offered him $25 million, which meant they were willing to absorb a ton in taxes. Does that sound like they missed out?

To me it doesn't.  To me it sounds like they did their due diligence, and made a calculated decision based on it.

Their decision likely was based on other factors as well, including the fact that Moncada likely won't be on any Major League club's 2015 Opening Day roster.  There is also their list of current prospects, which include Juan Deleon, Dermis Garcia and Eric Jagielo.

But don't just take it from me. The folks over at Pinstriped Prospects say it best. Read their breakdown here.

Moving on....

Friday, February 20, 2015

MLB's Pace Of Game Initiatives Only One Step In Right Direction

"There's no clock in baseball."

As of this year, we can no longer say that about the National Pastime.  Along with changes made by the Instant Replay Committee, MLB's Pace of Game Committee has seen to it that, not only is there a clock in baseball, there are two:

Timers...will measure non-game action and break time between innings and pitching changes during each Major League game. One timer will be installed on or near the outfield scoreboard, and a smaller timer will be installed on the fa├žade behind home plate near the press box. Immediately following the third out of each half-inning, the timer will count down from 2:25 for locally televised games and from 2:45 for nationally televised games. An MLB representative attending each game will operate the timers from the ballpark and will track the following events:

Time Remaining
Activity
40 Seconds
PA announces batter and begins to play walk-up music
30 Seconds
Pitcher throws final warm-up pitch
25 Seconds
Batter's walk-up music ends
20 Seconds-5 Seconds
Batter enters the batter's box
20 Seconds-0 Seconds
Pitcher begins motion to deliver pitch

Traditionalists will likely balk at this, but it is a step in the right direction.  New Commissioner Rob Manfred is committed to making the game more appealing to the younger set, and this will go some distance in making it happen.

Notice I didn't say it will go "a long way."  Even with these changes in place, baseball will still be slower than other sports.  Like it or not, the Pace of Game Committee is engaged in a give-and-take, their own little game of sorts. They have scored in the top of the first inning. Now it's the bottom of the first: parents and mentors need to step up to the plate and do their part, by convincing kids that faster doesn't always mean better.

Let the game continue.