Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Yank's Are Coming To Town

The Yankees are looking to come out on top. They are in the midst of a 3 game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are on top of the American League (AL) East after the first 4 games of the 2010 season. I say the Yank's are coming to town because I live in the surrounding Tampa Bay area. The Yankees are coming off of a 2-1 series win against inner division rival, the Boston Red Sox. The Rays got the easier matchup against fellow division rival, the Baltimore Orioles. It was a scary game 1 in Tampa last night after the Rays defeated my Yankees 9-3. The Yank’s started great as they went up 2-0 early but starting pitcher, Javier Vasquez, seemed to let his Yankee return mirrow his last. The last time he pitched for the Yankee’s was his 2005 ALCS loss which led to his departure from the Yankees. I feel confident in him bouncing back in his next start. However, as I have been following via ESPN scoreboard, the Yank's are having their way with the Rays in today’s matchup.

Starting pitcher CC Sabathia appears to be back to his dominant ways, as he is throwing a no hitter through 7 innings in todays game. Let’s face it, the Rays have a great hitting ball club and to be no hit by a team shows a great job by that opposing pitcher. It is a sigh of relief to see because CC was so great in spring and showed a terrible performance on opening night with over an 8.0 era average against the Boston Red Sox. CC is known for being a slow starter each season and tends to show his greatness towards the end of each season. As for the Yankees, CC is fortunate because he is surrounded by other great pitchers to help carry the team when he is failing on the mound.

Another scary picture was the hitless Mark Teixeira. He is back on track with a double in todays game against the Rays. It is great to see Teixeira get his first hit after recording his slowest start since his rookie season. He broke through with an RBI double to snap his very poor start to the season in which he went 0-17. He just recorded his 2nd consecutive hit in back-to-back at bats today against the Rays.

Alex Rodriguez continues to prove himself as a Yankee having recorded his 1,000th hit today. Rodriguez is also 1 home run shy of surpassing Mark Maguire for the 8th spot on the all-time home run leaders list. We are very excited to have Rodriguez as a Yankee as he has performed nothing short of amazing in New York. According to the LoHud Yankee Blog, A-rod is showing no signs of a sore hip after a solid spring and his first 5 games of the 2010 season.

Here are some live updates from the The LoHud Yankees Blog, showing off the great day for the Yank’s in Tampa:

UPDATE, 3:22 p.m.: Might have been a single for Mark Teixeira. Instead it was hit right into the shift for the second baseman to catch on the fly. Officially the worst start of his career at 0-for-17.

UPDATE, 3:41 p.m.: Single to left for Rodriguez’s 1,000th hit with the Yankees… He was then caught stealing second.

UPDATE, 4:05 p.m.: How many times and how many ways can Francisco Cervelli get hit in the head this year? By the way, great job to work a walk there.

UPDATE, 4:19 p.m.: How’s Cano looking in the No. 5 hole? His two-run homer has the Yankees on top 2-0.

UPDATE, 4:37 p.m.: The Yankees continue to get nice production out of the bottom of the lineup. Single by Gardner and sac bunt by Cervelli setup the RBI base hit for Jeter.

UPDATE, 4:41 p.m.: Took him one more at-bat than in his rookie season, but Teixeira just broke out of his hitless slump with an RBI double. Gutsy move by Rob Thomson to send Jeter, especially with Rodriguez coming to the plate, but it paid off. It’s 4-0 Yankees.

UPDATE, 4:56 p.m.: Cervelli was at least halfway to the dugout and still pumping his fist after the Burrell strikeout.

UPDATE, 5:06 p.m.: Granderson seemed uncertain what he wanted to do in that situation. When Shoppach shifted, Granderson was in a bad spot. That was a nasty spill.

UPDATE, 5:15 p.m.: Teixeira with a great, great play.

UPDATE, 5:33 p.m.: Chan Ho Park is getting loose in the Yankees bullpen. You do not want to see Park enter this game, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. We can talk about why after the game.

UPDATE, 5:35 p.m.: Alex Rodriguez’s arm doesn’t get talked about enough. Talk about that right now. There’s nothing else that should be talked about!

UPDATE, 5:51 p.m.: Gazooooo!

UPDATE, 5:58 p.m.: Are you (freaking) kidding me! What a play by Cano.

UPDATE, 6:03 p.m.: There goes the no-hitter on an 0-1 pitch to Kelly Shoppach. The Yankees infield was already on the mound before Girardi could get there to take Sabathia out of the game, and Jorge Posada was the first player to greet him when he got to the dugout. What a game for Sabathia and the Yankees infield defense.

Here is one of my very own personal updates:
6:23 P.M. : In a live update, the Yankee scoreboard shows a dominant 10-0 steamroll over the Rays heading to the bottom of the 9th. Looks like CC is going to pick up his 1st win of the season and the Yankees will be taking game 2 of this 3-game series. A win tomorrow and the Yankees will move into 1st place in the AL East. GO YANKEES!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Opening Day Warfare and Spring Recap

Everyone wants to be a part of it. Regardless of what team you cheer for, opening night in baseball is one of a kind. It is a day that recognizes America’s past time. The amount of viewers on opening night this season should be ready for a barn-burner. One of the most anticipated openers this season will be when the Boston Red Sox host the New York Yankees on Sunday April 4th at Fenway. From what it looks like, the Yankee’s will throw starting pitcher CC Sabathia in hopes to pick up right where the ACE left off last season. This spring has been nothing short of a success from Sabathia. He is peaking right at the end of spring training into the start of the 2010 season.

After reading over the New York Yankee website that I have been following, Yankees manager Joe Girardi, has spoke highly over Sabathia’s past two starts and mentioned briefly that he plans for Sabathia to take the mound on opening night. In the brief article, Girardi made gestures that sum up the ACE and his spring performances:

"I really liked what CC did today," Girardi said. "His last two starts, he's been extremely efficient, and he had command all day today -- an outstanding changeup, very good breaking ball, the location was great. It's pretty much what CC is."

As you can reference for yourself on the Yankee website, the article begins with the homerun heroics once again of Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez. But Rodriguez’s moment of glory was shattered by Sabathia’s routing of the Detroit Tigers. Sabathia pitched 5 1/3 innings of two-run, eight-strikeout ball in a 6-2 victory over the Tigers.

As the spring is almost near its end, Phil Hughes name is still mentioned as a possible candidate for the 5th spot in this seasons starting rotation. Today looked to be a great opportunity to prove himself in a starting role against the Tigers. However, the weather became an issue as today’s matchup was cancelled due to rain. He was listed to follow starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. Hughes would have pitched against a quality Detroit lineup. The Tigers listed they had planned to play almost all their projected season starters in today’s game. Here is a look at what would have been the starting lineup for both teams:

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson 1B
Jorge Posada C
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Curtis Granderson CF
Randy Winn LF
Francisco Cervelli DH

RHP A.J. Burnett

Brandon Inge 3B
Johnny Damon LF
Magglio Ordonez RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Carlos Guillen DH
Don Kelly CF
Gerald Laird C
Scott Sizemore 2B
Adam Everett SS

RHP Justin Verlander

Reaching back to Opening Day and what it means to the Yankees would be nothing short of 2 out of 3 minimum wins against the Red Sox. Starting the season off on the wrong foot could tarnish a positive spring. In the Yankees situation, not having such a great spring season would mean getting back on track with a couple wins in Boston. Given the past few years, it has been more difficult than ever to defeat the Red Sox at Fenway. Let’s face it, the team finally found a way to win when it matters. The team has tasted World Series victory twice in the past 10 years, something they hadn’t done since the departure of Babe Ruth from their organization back in 1918. Plus, from a fan’s perspective, anytime your team defeats their divisions rival it is always bittersweet.

After doing some research on the New York Yankee and Boston Red sox rivalry, I learned information from the earlier days in baseball. Here was a timeline that I pulled from a great online source in the USA Today.

History still on Yankees' side in Red Sox rivalry

From staff reports
The Boston Red Sox (as the Boston Americans) first played the New York Yankees (then the Baltimore Orioles) on April 26, 1901. (Baltimore won 10-6.) It has been a rivalry ever since and history favors the Yankees:

April 20, 1912
Fenway Park opens with the Red Sox beating the New York Highlanders (Yankees) 7-6.

Sept. 11, 1918
Boston beats the Chicago Cubs, four games to two, and wins the last of its five World Series titles.

Jan. 3, 1920
Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sells George Herman "Babe" Ruth's contract to Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert for $125,000 and a $350,000 loan. Ruth becomes the greatest player in history and the Red Sox don't break .500 for a decade.

April 18, 1923
New York wins its inaugural game in Yankee Stadium by beating Boston 4-1. It becomes "The House that Ruth Built."

Oct. 15, 1923
The Yankees beat the New York Giants four games to two and win the first of their 26 World Series titles.

Oct. 8, 1927
The Yankees sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Series four games to none, capping a banner year. Ruth hits 60 home runs. The Red Sox lose 103 games.

The 1940s
The two purest hitters in baseball, Joe DiMaggio (New York) and Ted Williams (Boston), dominate play.

Oct. 2, 1949
The Red Sox and the Yankees battle for the pennant in the last two games of the season. New York wins both games (5-4, 5-3) and goes on to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series four games to one.

Oct. 2, 1978
The Yankees and Red Sox, tied for first at the end of the regular season, meet in a one-game playoff. Bucky Dent helps end Boston's postseason hopes with a three-run home run. New York wins 5-4.

Oct. 13, 1999
New York and Boston meet for the first time in postseason play. New York prevails four games to one.

Oct. 8, 2003
New York and Boston meet in postseason play for the second time. New York wins 6-5 in Game 7.

Feb. 16, 2004
The New York Yankees trade for Alex Rodriguez. Boston was trying reach a deal for A-Rod two months earlier.

Jumping ship
Among the players who have swapped uniforms over the years: Former Boston third baseman Wade Boggs (1993) and pitcher Roger Clemens (1999) donned New York pinstripes. Former Yankees outfielder Danny Cater (1972) and pitcher Ramiro Mendoza (2003) joined the Red Sox.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

There's No "I" In Team

The smell of baseball brings the smell of spring. We’re already more than 10 games into this 2010 spring season and are seeing quite a bit of action daily. Spring is the time for the new guys to state their claim and, well, of course the veterans to solidify their spot for another long season. The key to a successful spring, from a manager’s perspective, is simply to find the right gel amongst his team that will provide for a winning season. During spring training the team is always split up into what is called a “split-squad” for every game. Sounds simple right? However, this is designed to see which players gel the best alongside each other. Spring is always exciting to follow because of the battles that take place for an open starting position whether it is a pitching spot in the starting rotation or a field player. As for the Yankees, the two battles taking place is the spot for a left and center field position as well as a 5th spot in the starting rotation.

After reading over recent blog posts on the LoHud and reviewing spring statistics, I found that neither Joba Chamberlain nor Phil Hughes have been stepping up to take on that 5th starter role. However, it is still early in the spring season and it is just simply THE spring season. But isn’t this the time where you’re supposed to prove yourself? Joba seems to almost be written off as a leading candidate instead of stating his claim. After reading more in depth, Phil Hughes name was like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. Other pitchers are stepping up such as Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre. As mentioned in my previous blog Mitre was continuously dominating his opponents faced. Aceves has also shown great dominance on the mound as he has only allowed 1 earned run in 10 innings pitched this spring. Last season Aceves proved himself as a go-to-guy out of the bullpen. He was also a solid guy in relief as he set up the great Mariano Rivera several times for the victory.
Alfredo Aceves

On March 13, the Yankee’s had a split squad game against the Detroit Tigers and against division rival the Baltimore Orioles. It was another great day for Aceves against the O’s; however, Mitre struggled for one of the first times this spring in Lakeland against the Tigers. He surrendered a solo home run to former Yankee Johnny Damon in the 5th inning. Out of all players to give a home run up to Mitre surrendered it to Damon? That’s a home run Yankee fans will remember even if it is spring season. Looking on the bright side of the spectrum, Mitre has more opportunities to bounce back before the start of the season.

As the spring season progresses, were are finding out that there is never an “I” in team. It is awesome to see several players, even some of the non-big name players, hit for average and contribute to the Yankee wins this spring. For example; Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, and Juan Miranda all had consecutive hits in the first inning against the Orioles compiling a 3-0 score from the very beginning. There was no looking back from there either as the Yankees took the matchup in a 5-3 win. It was also another great day for the newer Yankee offseason additions as well as the guys trying to make a name for themselves. As the LoHud had mentioned on more than one occasion, Ramiro Pena can play shortstop and play it extremely well. The guy has an amazing arm, great defense and superb range from the shortstop position. He made two highlight-reel plays from short against the Orioles today that made it clear he will be waiting in the wings for the day Jeter decides he cannot provide solid play no longer at shortstop.

As for the outfield, both Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner proved that speed makes routine fly balls look easy. Granderson showed off his exceptional speed when he made a catch on the run into foul territory against the O’s. The Yankee manager, Joe Girardi, stated that he plans to juggle the two outfielders between the left and center field positions to see which is the best fit for the two fielders. The game against the Orioles marked the first game this spring in which Granderson played left field. Regardless of where Girardi places either one, having both in the outfield at the same time is almost like putting 3 average speed players out there. Their speed combined will make it one of the quicker outfields in the entire league. However, Gardener’s bat still remains quiet, as it did last season. This was a main reason for him strictly coming in as a pinch runner or hitter in a situation where the Yankee’s needed a bunt laid down to advance a runner into scoring position. The Yankee’s have a tremendous hitting coach and I am truly convinced that he will turn Gardener into a solid all around player for the team this season.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Ahead and Already Falling Behind

Spring training is where it all starts. It is the beginning to a long and grueling 162 regular season games without the playoffs taken into consideration. The way a team enters its spring training is very key. You have the teams that are pissed off from the way their previous season ended, to the teams that are just simply going through the motions. Major League Baseball has the highest pay scale in all of sports. So in other words, it is sad to see a team with a lack of a few key players take their upcoming season lightly. You would think, like any other job, every member of a MLB team is ready to give it everything they have.

In the Yankees situation, you’re coming off of a monumental season in which you won the World Series. Believe it or not, a championship team has the hardest upcoming season of all teams. I say this without reasonable doubt due to the simple fact that every team is out to prove that they can beat the best to become the best. For example, when the Yankees play at Tropicana Field this season to face the Rays, the attention towards the Yankees should provide the Ray’s organization with a decent income. Everyone wants to see the Champs. Therefore, even people who are not fans of either team might buy tickets just to see the World Series Champs in action.

The Yankees goal this spring training is to solely eliminate all potential pitchers who show weakness. Also, the team’s main focus this spring is to have a solid pitcher they can name to the rotation before the start of the season. Regardless of a World Series title, every ball club has off season goals they want to fulfill prior to the beginning of the year. From a fan and writer’s perspective, I would love to say that the only issue prior to the upcoming season would be the open question to whom the 5th starting pitcher is going to be. The Yankees are struggling with putting the bat on the ball this spring; a task they made look so easy last season. Also, an 11-0 loss doesn’t speak to highly for the pitchers they are testing out. I say this because every team in spring training plays a few starters at the beginning of every game. The remainder of the team is all the minor league players seeking their opportunity to make the 2010 roster. This means that the Yankees are considering multiple pitchers for the 5th spot in the rotation who are proving they can give up multiple runs. Their record is a scary 1-4 and need to turn things around Monday when they face the Phillies. The matchup against Philadelphia will be no walk in the park. The Phillies already gained an inch of revenge back from last year’s World Series loss by defeating the Yankees 3-2 this past Thursday in the 2nd game of the spring training season.

On a more positive note, it was actually nice to see an eager Sergio Mitre step up to the plate and throw some solid innings. When taking a further look at Sergio Mitre’s numbers from last year, they are not too impressive with a 6.79 ERA in 2009. He finished the year with a 3-3 record in 12 game appearances. However, the real story is how well he has performed this spring so far. It is funny to see how previous years can easily be forgotten through hard work that shows on the field due to off season determination to become a better player. The guy is pitching as if he is already a starting pitcher. He is proving to everyone that he might not be called the “backup” for much longer. The following two rosters explain the lineup for both squads prior to the Twins 11-0 dismantling defeat over the Yankees:

Gardner CF
Swisher DH
Teixeira 1B
Cano 2B
Thames LF
Hoffmann RF
Rivera C
Pena SS
Laird 3B

Pitching: RHP Sergio Mitre (3-3, 6.79 ERA in 2009)

Revere CF
Punto 3B
Mauer C
Cuddyer RF
Kubel DH
Peterson 1B
Jones LF
Tolbert SS
Casilla 2B

Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (15-9, 4.36 ERA in 2009)

It is exciting to see those big name roster players mentioned within any line up. If I had to pick the most exciting Yankee to watch, besides Derek Jeter, I would have to say Nick Swisher. The guy brings so much excitement and laughter into the clubhouse. He is the only Yankee I know to test the “clean-cut” role the Yankees enforce and grow out a Mohawk.

Overall, if the Yankees plan to have another successful season they must first get their pitching in order. But why am I even freaking out? It is only the 5th game into the start of spring training and we have yet to even start the regular season. The regular season is what it all boils down to but spring training can also keep you on the edge of your seat as well. I say this because spring training is really a trial and error on the coach’s behalf. It is up to the head coach who he cuts and wants to keep on the full season squad. This always keeps the fans on high alert until the season begins, especially the expectancy performances from last season’s everyday starters.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pitcher's Duel

Another season adding up to 100 wins. This is a statement running through the mind of all Yankee fans. Will it happen? Will the pitching rotation stay healthy enough into the month of October to bring yet another World Series title to New York? Logistically speaking, the Yankees have moved a few pitchers in and out of the line up to set up another potential run for glory. For example, the big news in Tampa right now is the recent edition of relief pitcher, Chan Ho Park. We acquired Park from the Phillies last season. Brian Cashman, head of operations for the Yankees, has stated that Park hasn’t filled shoes quite yet but he expects a high level of performance from the bullpen this season. The Yankees have also posted the expected pitchers for the first 11 spring training games:

[The first name listed is that day’s starter. The other names will pitch in relief.]

March 3 vs. Pittsburgh
Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre, Alfredo Aceves

March 4 at Philadelphia
CC Sabathia

March 5 vs. Tampa Bay
Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain

March 6 vs. Toronto
A.J. Burnett

March 7 at Minnesota
Sergio Mitre, Chad Gaudin

March 8 vs. Philadelphia (ss)
Javier Vazquez

March 8 at Pittsburgh (ss)
Alfredo Aceves

March 9 vs. Pittsburgh
CC Sabathia

March 10 at Detroit
Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes

March 11 vs. Atlanta
A.J. Burnett

March 12 at Washington
Andy Pettitte

March 13 vs. Baltimore (ss)
Javier Vazquez

March 13 at Detroit (ss)

The third game of spring training against Tampa should be interesting. Both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes will pitch in the same game. Hughes is listed first; therefore, he should get the ball first with Chamberlain coming in relief. However, it is interesting because these two are battling for the 5th spot in the starting rotation this season. This isn’t the last time Giarardi is placing them together. It will come down to who has worked the hardest throughout the offseason to state their claim for a starting role.

Speaking of stating a claim, I predict the Yankees should be on tract to win another 100 + games this season if not repeat as World Series champs. This could be the start of another Yankee dynasty in which they win consecutive titles throughout a span of the next couple years.

It is evident that the Yankees are attempting to do so with the recent off season transactions they have made. They have replaced all that have departed with, in my opinion, better players that will step up to back another great season. The Yankees made a lot of pitching moves but have also added depth to their outfield with the recent signing of Detroit free agent, Curtis Granderson. Let’s face it, Damon was clutch but he was also getting old and needy. No one wants to resign a player who probably has a couple years left to a major contract. After all, it seems Damon was more about the money rather than playing for a team willing to resign him. He is lucky he had that offer. Damon’s an asshole, period.

Granderson is a dependable every day starter with plus speed and a quick bat. He was a great pick up for an outfield that gave the wave to several average outfielders during the offseason. The names range from: Melky Cabrera, Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon, and backup outfielder Hideki Matsui. (Not cutting Matsui short with a reference to a back up but he was strictly named the designated hitter throughout the 2009 season). The Yankees seem to be starting a trend by going with young talent in the outfield and speed. Even though Nick Swisher is neither of the two, he earned a starting job last season when he stepped up in several clutch situations. When we lost Xavier Nady for the season due to injuries, Swisher’s bat kept him in the lineup throughout the remainder of the Championship run. Another trend set is consistency within the outfield. Granderson will most likely, given how he does this spring training, takeover the starting centerfield position. Ever since his rookie season, the guy has put up promising numbers that would keep him in the starting lineup on any ball club. Despite his .249 batting average, Granderson hit for power last season. He hit 30 home runs and had an on base percentage of .327. He also was a member of the 2009 American League All-Star team. Quite frankly, if we are saying goodbye to demanding Damon and welcoming an All-Star, we didn’t make out half bad after all.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The ACE That Beats Any Hand

Want to know the ace? Over the past week there were several blogs written about the report of pitchers and catchers to spring training. The Yankees have 3 set in stone returning starters from last season. With the recent addition of dominant pitcher, Javier Vasquez, the Yankees look to add more fire power and depth to an already successful rotation. More towards the beginning of spring training talks, Vasquez was rumored for his “lack of interest” in playing much longer. It was said that he wasn’t planning to be that guy who pitches until 40 years of age and plans to do other things with his future after baseball. Coming to a conclusion of rumors, mainly family related, Vasquez has a revamped attitude and is totally stoked about being the 4th starter in the Yankee rotation. Vasquez has even requested to throw early bullpens to prepare his mental and physical drive into the upcoming season.

On another note, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes are still the main candidates for the possible 5th starter in this season’s Yankee rotation. Personally I liked Joba up until the mid to latter parts of last season. His control became an issue and his consistency was unpredictable. He was either blowing it by hitters or blowing the game away. It will be interesting to see what he can produce this spring training. However, as for Phil Hughes, he was a guy we considered releasing a couple seasons ago in a trade deal. But the Yankees held on to Hughes and it has paid off. He was a key contributor once relief pitcher Brian Bruney was troubled with injuries last season. Hughes spent time throughout last season making a name for himself again. He was consistent in the later innings which helped the Yankees close out must win games. Therefore, these wins helped contribute towards keeping the Red Sox in second and helping us clinch the division in first place. Our bullpen is probably one of the weaker parts to our team. It has been inconsistent with injuries and pitchers who bounce in and out of the lineup.

As mentioned in the opening line, “Want to know the ace?” CC Sabathia is hands down THE ACE of the Yankees rotation. I do not have to follow a blog to know the answer to this question. However, Chad Jennings, fellow blogger of the LoHud Yankee blog I follow, spoke on Sabathia's behalf that he is yet ready to pitch another long and full season. Jennings wrote:

Counting the playoffs, Sabathia pitched more than 240 innings for a third straight season, but he said it’s too early in his career to think about cutting back to save his arm. Sabathia doesn’t mind pitching on short rest and wouldn’t mind pitching into November again. Jennings said.

“I’ll do it every year,” he said. “I’ve got no problem with that.” Sabathia said.

As for how his ace manages such a workload every season, Joe Girardi compared Sabathia to Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. Jennings said.

Jennings is simply pointing out that Sabathia stands out amongst the Yankee rotation with his ability to pitch a full season with consistency. If you look at Sabathia’s past, he is good on short rest and still supplies win after win without a sore arm. The guy has a rubber arm I think. Jennings also pointed out within his blog in the opening paragraph how Sabathia only waited 3 weeks to begin throwing after the World Series. This is a sign of a true ace. He is also a player that has a passion and love for the game, his team, and appreciates his salary. In order to appreciate Jennings argument of Sabathia being the Yankee ace, it has helped the fans knowledge with the facts and in depth following of Sabathia’s off season work that Jennings has provided. I say this in agreement with Jennings, Sabathia simply is the ace because he wants to be. It is up for grabs within any rotation on any team. However, whoever has the most determination to put in the extra work is going to be the pitcher that will solidify the “ACE” spot on a pitching staff.

As mentioned previously, Vasquez may throw bullpens early, but were his rumored talks 3 weeks after his previous season more important than his upcoming season? This is the difference between Sabathia and Vasquez my friends. Also, Vasquez is a new addition so he still has to go through his trial and tribulations in the Bronx. Also mentioned in one of my previous blogs, if Vasquez can’t back his efforts for his early work, the Bronx is a jungle that will eat him right out of New York. To even consider becoming the ace, Vasquez would need to earn his pinstripes first. This will come with his first dominant must need win and could come against any team within the division, preferably the Boston Red Sox.

Later this week look for more updated pitching news and Chan Ho Park in New York?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jeter: The Definition of Shortstop

State of the Yankees: Shortstop. Really? After reading several blogs about my Yankee’s this past week, I strolled across a blog discussing the shortstop position. The question ranged from “Is Jeter’s age a factor? Does Derek have what it takes to produce the numbers he has in recent years?” The answer is hell yes. The Lohud Yankees blog really fired me up over this one. I understand as a writer, to make headlines you must state questionable information from time to time knowing in fact it will bring more appeal to reading the article.

Derek Jeter has been the face of the New York Yankees since his rookie season in 1996. He is a 9-time MLB all-star and takes pride in being named the captain of the squad. When Derek is out of the lineup you can tell. He plays such a crucial role in the Yankee offense. With Jeter missing, they pitch around the bigger hitters such as Teixeira and Rodriguez. Let’s face it, with a gap in any lineup your team seems to falter just a tad. It takes a team to gel and play together to get the best out of a season. Jeter has been known for his substantial optimum health throughout his playing years as well as his consistency at the plate. He may not hit for power but he sure knows how to make contact and that’s what matters most in clutch situations. Jeter also has been known for his strong offensive game and acrobatic play in the field during the month of October. He has never had a year where you question him individually or his play by any means at all. This is why it is hard for me to take in the title of the LoHud blog this week called “State of the Yankees: Shortstop.” Come on, are we serious? For a player like Jeter to never have had a bad year and coming off a monumental season where he led Yankees to their 27th World Series title leaves me with a blank stare at this article.

Chad Jennings, author of the LoHud Yankee blog, laid out his blog with a worse-case and best-case scenario. At the beginning of his article he mentions how Jeter will be turning 36 this season. He then builds into his worst-case scenario on how it makes sense to worry about a lack of production from most 35-year-old shortstops. His following sentence was a weak attempt to cover up the fact that he previously mentioned Jeter potentially having a non-productive season. What kind of Yankee fan is he questioning someone who hasn’t stopped his production since the day he put on the pinstripes. Ok, I could agree with Jennings if Jeter’s previous season was just “average.” Quite frankly, I personally believe an article such as this one, should not have even been posted until the day Jeter’s previous season is labeled as average.

On a more positive note, it was enlightening to see Jennings post a liberal paragraph titled “The future.” He mentioned the upcoming utility infielders who in fact will see more playtime when Jeter does make the switch to DH. I personally believe the playtime for these minor leaguers will be determined on Jeter’s watch. Jeter still has a flashy glove and as mentioned earlier, Jeter has great range/ acrobatics in the infield. When the time comes to pass the torch in the direction of the next prospect, Jeter will coach and mold this chosen one into the player he is. It was mentioned by the Lohud that Ramiro Pena will be the player with the flashy glove and great defense similar to Jeter. But it is Pena’s bat that is at question when it comes to making him solidified as that man. As for now he is in AAA ball and will continue to work hard into that player we will eventually call up. He is also listed on the roster as the backup and could also see time if Jeter or Rodriguez find themselves on the DL this upcoming season.

Overall, let’s just say Jeter does have a season that is labeled as average. It would be the first average season in his entirety throughout his Yankee career. I am led to believe regardless of an off season or not you must consider as an organization what he has done for the team. He lifts them on and off the field with class and strong determination to win. I disagree with Jennings cheap shot of it being a messier offseason after the duration of this year if Jeter doesn’t put up the numbers expected. Jeter started a Yankee and will retire a Yankee. Period.