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Monday, February 28, 2011

WHY I DON'T BELIEVE CASHMAN

"I'm not talking to anyone about anything right now, nobody's available. Nobody of value, anyway." --Brian Cashman

The Yanks and the Twins are about to make a deal, despite what Brian Cashman says. Francisco Liriano is on the Yankees radar and pretty much has been since December. Again, many questions are still out there as to who will be involved in the trade and whether or not it's worth it. Liriano, who at one time was one of the most talented pitchers in the majors was 14-10 last year. He's 27 and is coming off injury. That being said, he can be totally dominant if he is to stay healthy. And by the way, he would not be a 4th rotation guy with the Yankees. No no. If Liriano came to the Bronx, this guy is sitting right behind CC Monster or behind Hughes. He's that good. Now comes the burning question, who to give up?

You can't get something for nothing and while I'm convinced that Liriano would be a huge help for the Yanks, I'm just not sure who would be the odd man or men out.

1. Joba Chamberlain- It seems like a no brainer right? Wrong. I've been down on Joba sure, but fixing mechanics is major and if consistently pounds the strike zone touching 94 like he did Saturday, I don't want to give him up. Yankee Brass probably disagrees and has a bow on him all ready to deliver to Minnesota. Now, If I needed to give up someone, then it's bye bye Mr. Chamberlain, it's been real.

2. Ivan Nova- The kid was put into the Yankee rotation in the hardest part of the Yankees season last year. When I put it like that, he didn't do so bad. The reality is he's got great stuff and has balls, and I don't mean bases on balls, this guys got brass ones. Remember his stare down with Jose Bautista last year? He's no chump. But, knowing what we have in the minors, I'd be willing to give Nova up, but I'm not sure I want to just yet. Give me 24 hours on this one.

3. Sergio Mitre- YES! (But no one wants this guy)

4. Pitching prospects- Baneulos, Betances, Brackman, Phelps, Noesi and the list goes on. There are a lot of promising things to say about each. But if I had to, I'd part with any of them EXCEPT the Killer B's. 5. Jesus Montero- No. Forget it. Look, the Twins have Joe Mauer right now. If Montero was to go to Minnesota, he'd play a lot, Mauer always gets hurt. That being said, we have a great setup in New York and I just know Montero will be a star in the Bronx if we let him play at the pro level.

Who would have thought that looking for a pitcher would be this tricky. It is possible Liriano will be a New York Yankee by Opening Day, and the possibilities for who are ongoing and unlimited...even if Cashman says it's not true. Stay tuned.

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WHY BASEBALL IS TIMELESS

This is not so much a Yankee post as it is a baseball post, although based on the Bill Dickey article we recently posted titled WHY DICKEY PAVED THE WAY, I was approached by a man who loves the game of baseball just as much as I do. And, I’m glad I’m in such good company. His name is George Case III, and his father was George Case, a pro ballplayer for many years and rubbed elbows with some of the greatest players ever. Anyway, if you haven’t seen the website Timeless Baseball, you should. George Case Jr. played for the Washington Senators and Cleveland Indians. He was a 6 time base stealing champ. While he loved baseball, he also loved 8 mm photography. I wanted to post this for all of you because I love the good old days of baseball. Check it out:

video
Back in 1939, baseball was a real man’s sport. Pitchers throwing 200 pitches an outing, 3 men rotations and players played until they couldn’t play anymore. Pure grit. Luckily for us, Mr. Case documented some of it. Timeless Baseball has a DVD featuring some of Case’s footage from 1939-1946.


There are rare moments like batting practice with Joe DiMaggio and others at Griffith Stadium in Washington.

And, in a recent email exchange with Case’s son George, I found out Mr. Case and Bill Dickey were friends and that friendship stemmed from playing ball against each other for many years. It was a neat piece of history I was not aware of.

So what’s my point? Baseball history. Learn about it, embrace it. People forget why players like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, even Mickey Mantle played baseball in the first place. They watched their favorite players as kids and said “That’s what I want to do when I grow up.” God I love this sport.



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WHY A BAD ATTITUDE IS POISON

So, I've hesitated about writing about this because there was so much other chaos surrounding the Yankees, I hate adding to it. Besides, it's upsetting and irritating.

Rafael Soriano has a chip on his shoulder. Big surprise. Bill Madden of the NY Daily News first touched on this back on January 17th, read it HERE. I appears that Soriano's all about himself and that's a different cry than the postive family attitude coming out of Yankeeland normally.

Back in Tampa Bay, it seems he wasn't a team player at all and was "hated by almost everyone in Tampa Bay." Madden says that Rafael Soriano didn't like being brought into games in non-save situations, he would freak out. He'd get pissed if he had to pitch more than one inning in a game.

According to Madden: "The final straw was the last game of the season - Game 5 of the ALDS versus Texas - when Maddon asked Soriano to pitch the ninth inning with the Rays trailing, 3-1. After throwing a tantrum in the bullpen in front of all his fellow relievers, Soriano trudged into the game and promptly gave up a single to Nelson Cruz and a game-breaking homer to Ian Kinsler."

Now, if there is one thing I hate it's a selfish player. We saw it with Ruben Sierra back in 1995-1996. He thought he deserved more playing time, he didn't like the way he was being treated on the team. So he was traded. When he came back to the Yanks in 2004, he was a changed man, because there's something to be said about the Yankees clubhouse and it all goes back to attitude.

So yes, while I don't like to hear or write about attitude problems and poisons in the Yankee Clubhouse, we've seen it before and we'll see it again. My prediction for Soriano is it will start out tough, he'll probably piss some people off, maybe even Joba will knock him out, but he'll learn to adapt and learn about what the Yankees are all about.

The most brilliant part of this contract was handled by the Yankees, who've dealt with pricks like this before. Get this... the Yanks had given Soriano an opt out clause and no no-trade clause. If he we're to opt out, the Yankees would get a draft pick. If they wanted to cut him loose, he could go anywhere, even Kansas City and no one would care.But back to my thinking about attitude. Mariano Rivera was the guy who was behind getting Soriano here, he saw the talent and the confidence. Mariano Rivera is Mr. Yankee when it comes to sportsmanship, team work and love of the game. I know Rivera will be the man who guides RaSo and keeps his mind focused, and probably turns his nasty attitude around.

If Soriano keeps his attitude in check, he'll be a successful for the Yanks no doubt, but if the attitude problem lingers, he'll be a cancer, and no one needs that. Bottom line.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

WHY THE YANKEES ARE CLASSY

NOTE: This will be the last time I refer to Hank Steinbrenner is reference to his rant earlier this week. It's old, tired and pathetic.The best part of the Hank Steinbrenner's rant earlier in the week is that nobody cared in the clubhouse, only us... and to tell you the truth, I'm not sure we did either. The New York Yankees may have the classiest group of players ever with Derek Jeter leading the pack. I love what he said at Spring Training after the incident occurred:

"I think every time it seems like you don't win, people say that you don't have the hunger . We got beat by a team that was better than us in that series, that was the bottom line. I wouldn't say there was a lack of hunger. I just think we didn't play as well. That's why we lost. But any time teams lose you always hear that."

On Hank specifically he said: "Owners can say anything they want to say, They're owners. They're entitled to their opinion. You don't have to necessarily agree with their opinion but they can say what they want to say. I have no problem with it."

The Yankees never speak out of turn, they have each others backs, and prediction, they'll turn the Hank rant into a motivational tool and move forward. It was stupid anyway. Unfortunately for everyone else, it was a total circus.

I'm not going to lie, I love when Hank speaks. The guy just opens his mouth and everything pours out. Did you ever see Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty and the bees fly out of his mouth? Then you know what I mean. There are always 3 to 8 nuggets to talk about around the water cooler or write about. And we, following our team, feed into it like hungry dogs and bring it to all of you.

It's funny when it happens, but the one thing I notice all the time is the way it's handled, almost like a bunch of kids moving away from the old man farting in the rocking chair. They snicker and laugh, but they get out of there quick and continue their day. You have to love that.

So hopefully, now that the week is over and the first Spring Training game's under our belt, The Yankees will have cleared their minds of chaos and are focusing on baseball and a new season, and maybe just maybe, the old man in the rocking chair will stop farting, or at least do it less.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

WHY DICKEY PAVED THE WAY

CATCHERS

"Bill Dickey isn't just a catcher, he's a ballclub."

--Dan Daniel, Dean of American Baseball Writers

#2. Bill Dickey. Probably the most tragic aspect about Mr. Dickey is that for being such a great ballplayer and New York Yankee, his career and achievements get completely overshadowed and lost. Most glaringly, on the wall of retired numbers, Dickey is the other #8, yet, he was before the other #8 and proved his worth every day on the field. But with the lineup he was surrounded by, how could he possibly compete with the batting feats of his teammates, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio?

One of the facts on Dickey’s plaque at Cooperstown reads: Holds numerous World Series records for catchers, including most games, 38. Dickey was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1954. But by 1956, the record for most World Series games belonged to his successor, Yogi Berra.

Dickey never won an MVP, but finished runner-up in 1938. Dickey finished 8th place or better in the MVP voting 5 times. The reason I feel that high finishes in the MVP voting are important is because it shows that the baseball writers of that time valued his season. In 1938 for example, Dickey finished second. So, according to the baseball writers of that time, only one other player was more valuable to his team’s success. In 1936 & 1937, he finished 5th. This means only 4 other players throughout the entire league were more valuable to their teams. My point is, he may not have ever won the MVP, but it's still very impressive.

  • CHARACTER. If a man is judged by the friends he keeps, Bill Dickey’s best friend on the New York Yankees was Lou Gehrig.. Although Dickey never officially succeeded Gehrig as Captain of the Yankees, he was considered to be the leader of the team.
  • ABILITY. Dickey's Yanks won 7 out of 8 World Series titles throughout the 1930's and early 1940's. He was an eleven time All-Star. Over a 17-year career, Dickey batted .313 and averaged 109 RBI a year. His career high batting average of .362 in 1936 remained the highest batting average for a catcher until Joe Mauer batted .365 in 2009. He was a difficult batter to strike out. He averaged just 26 strikeouts per season. That's amazing if you think about it. In 1935, with 491 plate appearances, Dickey struck out an amazingly low 11 times. That’s 40.7 at-bats per strike out!
  • THE MASTER. Dickey was masterful at handling a pitching staff and had an amazingly accurate throwing arm. He caught a record 100 games for 13 consecutive seasons. In 1931, he became the first catcher in baseball history to not allow a passed ball. Although very talented as a hitter and catcher, Dickey preferred catching the ball over hitting it. He is quoted as saying, "I loved to make a great defensive play. I'd rather do that than hit a home run."

In 1932, Carl Reynolds of the Washington Senators crashed into Dickey on a play at home. The Yankee catcher thought Reynolds was overly aggressive and slugged him, breaking his jaw. Dickey was fined $1,000 and suspended for a month. (Remember the name, Carl Reynolds. He almost snapped one of the most legendary Yankee streaks.)

According to Dickey himself he said: "A catcher must want to catch. He must make up his mind that it isn't the terrible job it is painted, and that he isn't going to say every day, 'Why, oh why with so many other positions in baseball did I take up this one.'"


--Moonlight Graham, BYB Staff Writer



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WHY HANK WAS RIGHT

Today begins the quest for 28. The Yanks put on a nice little ceremony, once again proving they’ll spare no expense on pomp and circumstance. Seriously, who needs a military flyover at a Spring Training game?

Now, last week, Hank came out and ripped on MLB’s luxury tax and rightfully so. As usual, the Yankees pay the most into MLB’s version of revenue sharing. Revenue sharing works in the NFL because they have a league wide television deal and league wide merchandising. Baseball is different.

Each team does what they want, with whom they want. Everyone rips the Yankees for “buying championships”. ATTENTION, the Red Sox aren’t too far behind. But so what? The Mets are here in New York and have the same resources available to them that the Yankees do. The difference comes in when you look at how teams spend their money. Yankees & Red Sox ownership understands that you need to spend money to make money. Basic business principles say if you invest wisely in your asset you’ll see a return. This most basic fundamental seems to be lost on the Wilpons and other owners such as Peter Angelos of the Orioles. It's been well documented that a few years back, Peter Angelos took the earnings he acquired from revenue sharing and bought a yacht. I’m sorry, doesn’t that seem to slap the face of the original intention of revenue sharing. Doesn’t it exist to make teams equal, not to line the pockets of cheap owners?

Friday, it was revealed that MLB has loaned the Wilpons $25 million to help cover expenses after what they lost in the Madoff scandal. While I feel bad for the legal troubles that are about to ensnare the Wilpons, I don’t feel bad for the Mets. The Mets have never spent money wisely. The organization was seen as a business and “winning at all cost” attitude has never struck me from Fred or Jeff. They treat the Mets, much like the Dolans treat the Knicks & Rangers, as toys. I can honestly say I feel bad for the fans of these teams.

Whether you agree or disagree with Hank, he brings up a good point. Revenue Sharing needs to be reevaluated or maybe some of these teams shouldn’t exist. Winning needs to bred from Ownership right down to the field. Maybe the Wilpons should sell to Donald Trump. He may not always succeed, but at least he tries. Something the Wilpons haven’t done in years.


--Lem Allen, BYB Freelance Contributor



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WHY MITRE HAS A CLEAN SLATE

I know, the Yankees play their first Spring Training game today, and I know it's the debut of Bartolo Colon...I didn't forget, but I was struck by something today. I felt sympathetic... for Sergio Mitre.

I know what you're think... WTF Bro. Yes yes, I know. I've been ripping on this guy since this blog began. In fact, here is the first entry of Bleeding Yankee Blue titled WHY LAST NIGHT WAS IMPORTANT from September 15, 2010. Seeing Mitre in a game has always meant they were about to lose or they were about the blow the game.

But Pete Caldera writes a great piece in today's Bergen Record called MITRE EAGER TO PROVE WORTH and I tell you, you can't help but root for the guy after reading it.

Look, this is my feeling on Mitre, he's been given plenty of chances and have pretty much not delivered. He's not a great pitcher. He probably has the drive, but his body can't handle what he wants to accomplish out there, and that happens some times. Some pitchers just can't hack it. Now, you have to give the guy a little credit. He's a major league pitcher, that takes a lot of talent and he's continually in the mix, you have to hand that to him. He's just not good.

In Caldera's piece he quotes Mitre saying: "When I found out Andy was retiring, I just started licking my chops... It's a wide open door to compete for Freddy, Bartolo, myself — whoever wants it. It's a great opportunity. [I] can't wait to go out there and try to perform."

I like that attitude. In fact, I like that Caldera actually put a human face on Mitre, because for so long many of us, including me, just figured his was a robot on automatic failure, but it's true, the guys out there competing like all the other guys. You have to respect it.

So as we start a new today, February 26, 2011 and the Yankees are about the take the field in Tampa against the Phillies, I realized that I've been a little harsh. Call it my passion for my team, maybe you want to just call me an S.O.B., but the bottom line is, If you can get out there, compete for a job and win it, you deserve it. Even if it means, it's Sergio Mitre.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

WHY THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT

It’s not exactly a secret anymore: the New York Yankees have a pretty freakin' good farm system. It's true. In Baseball America’s latest ranking of baseball’s top 100 prospects, there were 6 future Yankees to be found. There are 30 teams in the Major Leagues, so for every team to have 6 prospects on the list, it’d have to be a top 180. It doesn’t take a professional minor league scout to figure out that that gives the Yankees one of the best farm systems in the Majors. And let’s tell the truth here, the teams with better farm systems than the Yanks, like the Royals and the Rays, aren’t exactly powerhouses with great talent already at the Major league level. While those teams will be relying almost entirely on their young guys as soon as they’re ready, we’ll have an already star studded team for them to join.

Sure, people like to point out our aging stars like Jeter, Posada, Mo, A-Rod, and, to a lesser extent, AJ Burnett, but the rest of our team is quite young. Think about it... Tex, Hughes, Swisher, Cano, Gardner, Granderson, and Martin. Oh, and presumably Ivan Nova. Yes, they are all 31 and younger and a few of them are under 27 and have yet to even hit their prime yet. Perhaps just as importantly, all 6 of our prospects are either catchers or pitchers. While this may not immediately seem beneficial, added depth at a position would help to put together trades if they became necessary. Moving a catcher to 1st or the outfield isn’t exactly difficult, so if A-Rod ever can’t cut it at 3rd, perhaps Tex can take the hot corner and perhaps one of the catching prospects could take a crack at 1st. No matter what happens, we are good to go for the future.

So, in light of this, I think it’s safe to say the Yankees have the brightest future in baseball, at least on paper. But the question now facing us all is “when will this bright future start?” Well, some of our top prospects are quite far off, our #2 and #3 prospects, both Gary Sanchez and Manny Banuelos are only 18 and 19 respectively, so even a 2012 debut for either of them seems like a bit of a long-shot. Some say Dellin Betances is right there, but he’s barely even pitched in AA ball and doesn’t have too many innings logged, so I see him starting in AA and ending the season in AAA. Maybe even ma
king his debut early next season.

Austin Romine seems like a possibility at catcher, but really, what possible benefits would he provide over the also young Russell Martin? If we’re going to move someone up and make them a starter, they better provide some immediate benefit over the guy they’re replacing. This leaves just Jesus Montero, our #1 prospect, and Andrew Brackman our #5 prospect.
Jesus flew through the minors and wrecked in every single one. Brackman barely made it to AA last season, but he’
s made great strides in recovering from his Tommy John surgery when he first joined the Yanks and being the only one of the 6 who played college baseball, Brackman has significantly more career innings than any of them and at 25, has 3 years of experience on the next eldest guy to boot. Wow. Both Montero and Brackman could potentially be huge contributors this year.

Brackman could help ease the Yankees back half of the rotation and Jesus Montero could potentially split time wi
th Martin and eventually take over his starting role.

Jesus Montero was ranked the #3 overall prospect in baseball by Baseball America, behind Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Neither of them is expected to make it the majors this season, leaving Montero as the highest ranked prospect expected to make the jump to the big leagues this year, as well as the #1 catching prospect.

The first thing anyone notices about Montero is that the ball absolutely explodes off his bat. He sends balls out of the atmosphere and straight into orbit. In 4 Minor League seasons, he’s maintained a .314 BA with 58 HRs, and an .882 OPS. Hell, even his down year was amazing, the first half of last season he struggled making the jump to A
AA offensively, but after just a bit of coaching he hit around .350 and hit the majority of his 21 home runs in the second half. Any scout that says Montero’s bat isn’t 100% major league ready should be fired on the spot in my opinion because he’s predicted to hit at worst .280 with 20 home runs, and that’s a fairly conservative prediction.

Montero's defense has long been a concern, but Girardi recently said that it looks vastly improved. He said: "I think he sits more comfortable, I think his hands work better." Despite this high praise, many seemed to be convinced that he would start the season in AAA, and possibly spend all of 2011 there to develop. However, Girardi also recently said that he believes Montero can learn just as much or more catching a few times a week in the Bronx as he can catching every single day in Scranton. Now that's an interesting thought.

Jack
Curry of YES, recently said Girardi seems to be planning to give Montero the backup job. I personally don’t just think he’ll be getting the backup job. No, instead I think he and Martin will initially split time and as Montero develops and gets up to speed in the pros. Evenutally, I think he'll take over the starting catcher position, and come the playoffs, the job will be his.
Now, while Montero seems to be the most obvious candidate to have a big impact with the Yanks this year, Andrew Brackman recently burst into the spotlight after reports of his incredibly impressive pitching work during a live batting practice broke. Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild, and his parents all watched as he threw, but reports say he put on a show like none of them were even there. Brackman is ranked the 78th overall pro
spect by Baseball America, putting him as our 3rd pitching prospect behind Manny Banuelos (41st) and Dellin Betances (43rd), but he has significantly more experience pitching than either of them and had the best season in AA of any of them with a 3.01 ERA. While jumping directly from AA to the MLB isn’t common, it’s not unheard of, and with his extra experience and impressive 4 pitch arsenal (a fastball that’s reached 99, a changeup, a curveball with huge break, and a knuckle curve) he could end up being the big surprise out of Spring Training and become the big fix to the back of the rotation the Yanks are looking for.

Most likely Brackman will start the season bouncing between AAA and doing some relief work in the Bronx, then somewhere in the 2nd half of the season he’ll be given a few starts. If all goes well, he could earn a spot in the rotation, or at least get a spot in the bullpen for the playoffs. Some might say it’s still a long shot, but considering an impressed Girardi say “Everything just seemed to be really consistent,” I think he’s officially entered the competition to get one of the two undecided spots in the rotation.
Yes, this week the groin pull will hold him back a week, but don't expect it to hold him down.

Who knows? Someone else could randomly burst into the spotlight; Cashman could go straight back on his previous statement that Betances and Banuelos will start the season in AA and be so impressed by their Spring Training showings that he may be forced to give them a shot in the Majors. Hell, Romine could come out of no
where become a huge hitter this season or Sanchez could pull an Andruw Jones and debut before he’s even 20.

All that being said, Andrew Brackman and Jesus Montero seem to be the two players who could potentially be difference makers above the level of the minors this season, and how sweet it will be.



--Grant Cederquist BYB Staff Writer


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WHY THURMAN WAS GREAT

CATCHERS

The history of the New York Yankees is filled with legends. And even though their names have never been on the back of their uniforms, come April, and most Octobers, their names are always at the front of our minds. So who are the best of these legends? We start with the Yankee catchers. We ranked them from 3 to 1. Number 1 is the best Yankees catcher, in our opinion of course.
  • #3 Thurman Munson: The hardest part in accurately judging #15 is to avoid “adding” stats or to think of what could have been. He died a terrible tragedy and God knows, if it never happened, his numbers would be truly great. But that being said, what Thurman accomplished while on this earth is just as amazing and will never be forgotten. Thurman's statistics, leadership, and character put him at my #3. But there is so much more. In 1970, Munson won the Rookie of the Year. In 1976, he was voted MVP. He received MVP votes almost every year of his career.
  • PLAYING ABILITY: An excellent fielding backstop, Thurman won 3 Gold Gloves. He was also a perennial All-Star. For his career, he batted .292 and averaged 80 RBI a year. He was even better in the postseason, especially the World Series. In three consecutive Fall Classics, from 1976 to 1978, in 16 games, Munson hit .373 AVG, drove in 12 RBI, and scored 11 runs. His Yanks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in both ’77 and ’78.
  • LEADERSHIP: Thurman was the first Yankee Captain since Lou Gehrig.
  • CHARACTER: A nugget not many know about Thurman. As you know, the late '70's the rivalry between the Yankee and the Kansas City Royals was huge. They hated each other. During one game, George Brett slid hard into third base and a brawl started. Brett got trapped at the bottom of the pile. Munson, who always showed sportsmanship, threw himself on top of Brett, shielding him, and said, Don't worry, George. I won't let anybody hit you when you're down.” --This story was told be George Brett, by the way.
For most of his career, Munson hit third or fourth in the batting order. If you're batting third, you are the all-important run producing bat in the lineup. Munson was that bat at the all-important position of catcher for the Yankees, and will never be forgotten.



--Moonlight Graham BYB Staff Writer



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WHY TEIXEIRA IS A MONSTER

"Tex is going to have a monster season.” --Alex Rodriguez
No one knows Mark Teixeira better than Alex Rodriguez. In Texas, the 2 knew each other, trained together and Alex and Mark, played well together. Here in the Bronx, they kicked major ass in 2009 and in 2010, even with slow starts, slumps and injury, they still both put up respectable numbers. Alex and Mark are a good team, so if Alex says he believes Tex will have a monster season, I tend to believe him.

Couple that with Hitting God Kevin Long's recent quote and you may even grin from ear to ear:

“I've never seen Tex work so hard, He's on a mission, especially to get over the hump in April. He started swinging earlier, started swinging more. He's getting after it...he's worked on some things mechanically, too. He's tightened up his swing, made it more compact. If you've got competitive fire, which he does, you get to a certain point where you say, ‘This isn't going to happen again.’"

This sounds great, let's hope Teixeira can do it. It's funny how things get into a player's head and how a player's body adapts to certain environments and settings. As long as I can remember, Teixeira has started slow. Do I think he will again? Yes. But notice all he's doing to try and overcome the hump. I appreciate Mark for his work ethic. I respect it. Ladies and Gentlemen, even though he's trying to better himself, he also doesn't want to let us the fans down. You've got to love that.

Much like Alex and Long, I too believe Tex will be dominant this year. I think a slow start is inevitable, but the numbers and play will be respectable again, he will bounce back freaks! That, I can guarantee.

Tex hit .256 last year but he had 33 homers and drove in 108 runs. While the average is down, those production numbers a great. So all I can say is listen to the guys closest to Mark Teixeira, they're feeling his energy and soon enough, we will too.

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WHY THERE'S PASSION FOR ALEX

I realized something when I woke up today. Alex Rodriguez is a champion to many. Not only that, he's a Yankee Champion. Why do I say that? Fan passion.

It's funny. Moonlight Graham is a new writer for BYB. He's one of the best baseball minds I know and he's taking on a huge task for me. He's going to bring his Yankee smarts to a new level and bring it to all you. It's a hard look and it's bound to make people think, make people smile or make people angry. After all, it's the New York Yankees and every fan has a favorite, whether it's Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Reggie or Randy Velarde, everyone loves someone, right?So, Graham's introduction post apparently became a lightening rod for Alex fans. Free speech lives. everyone is entitled to their opinion. Read Graham's piece WHY WEARING PINSTRIPES DOESN'T MAKE YOU A YANKEE. Don't be a hater, understand the point he's trying to make. Jeter had some successful years with the Yankees.

Look, me personally, I've been a Yankee fan all my life. My first game was Game 1 of the 1981 World Series and I still remember the marijuana smell in the right field Mezzanine section where we sat. My passion was always Yankees through life. I loved Guidry, Danny Pasqua and Ricky Henderson growing up. I cried in '96 like a chick and I thought 2009 was the greatest playoffs of my Yankee life. Why? Because Alex Rodriguez kicked ass. Not only were Yankee fans rooting for the Yankees in that '09 playoffs, they were rooting for Alex to break out so we could celebrate this guy after all these years of falling short. 2009 was big, not only for us, for Alex because he finally won us over.

Now, you're thinking "Casey, make your point, you're annoying me", right? Moonlight Graham's piece wasn't to diss A-Rod and his 2009 heroics, no, it was to set a tone and present an example, that's it. No one hates Alex here, NO ONE.

So, when you look at your Yankees, who's earned their pinstripes? Mariano Rivera? Reggie Jackson? Paul O'Neill? Mike Pagliarulo? Paul Blair? Derek Jeter? CC Sabathia? See what I mean? Some on this list do, others didn't.

Yes, it's a matter of opinion, but it's also a matter of passion. And after all, fan passion rules, doesn't it.

So welcome Mr. Graham, he's no hater, he'll be offering information, facts and analysis and opinion on our Yankees past and present that you will only see here. And yes, believe me, passion for your Yankees WILL be factored in, no doubt.

Please comment and let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and join the group Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook, just type it in.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

SWISH AND GRANDY EXCHANGE TEXTS

Swisher: Bro hanks off the deep end

Granderson: you guys partied way too much after 09. Haha

Swisher: hilarious. probably ;)

Granderson: just silly

Swisher: 09 was amazin. We're allowed alittle

Granderson: then he said we crapped around last year

Swisher: yea, whatever

Granderson: u didn't build a mansion did u??

Swisher: NICE!! Lol

Granderson: DJ pissed u think?

Swisher: nothing bothers that dude, jeets fine

Granderson: ready for saturday bro?

Swisher: the game? we'll play 1 inning. Piece o cake

Granderson: ha

Swisher: but try real hard so hank sees we're trying lol

Granderson: that's funny u should be a comedian

Swisher: add to my resume, baseball, acting, comedian

Granderson: true true

Swisher: so u ready?

Granderson: I want a ring yes

Swisher: I feel u. This is it. We need to dig deep, take hanks advice

Granderson: I just felt like my nutty Uncle was yelling at me ;)

Swisher: lol

Granderson: but we'll turn it into a positive, kick ass

Swisher: I feel that

Granderson: 11, here we come!

Swisher: later bro

(NOTE: THESE ARE FAKE TEXT EXCHANGES. THIS IS ME USING HUMOR AND MAKING A GUESS OF HOW THE PEOPLE INVOLVED WOULD SPEAK TO EACH OTHER VIA TEXT. THERE IS NOTHING REAL ABOUT THIS. IT IS DONE STRICTLY FOR LAUGHS. ENJOY)

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WHY YOU CAN'T BLAME CASH

Yes, we are in Spring Training and we don't have the rotation we want. You know Cashman hasn't settled, don't you? He's Brian Cashman, the best in the business. As long as we've known this guy, he's never settled. Late surprises and crazy moves come when we least expect it and this winter is no different. Why? How do I know... Because he's been in the mix for years. Think of it this way, every decent Free Agent he could gather, he's gathered. Minor League deals. Yes, a smart move. Now we have them competing with the youngsters, a competitive setting to kick each other's butt. It makes it more competitive and brings the best out of a pitcher.

Meanwhile, back in Yankeeland, Cashman's working the phones. Frank Russo of New York's Baseball Digest suggests that there are targets we don't even know about.

Tim Hudson: Hudson had a great season for the Braves last year on his long road back. He was 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA. The problem is, the Braves don't want to unload him, they like him and what he's provided.

Hiroki Kuroda: The Dodgers have him but are unwilling to part. Or, let's just say nothing really came of it. Last year he was 11-13 with a 3.39 ERA.

Mark Buehrle: My favorite choice. Buehrle would accept a trade to the right team, according to and you know Cashman won't pass up this lefthander. The big question is for who. I wrote about Buehrle back in December in posted like WHY THERE'S NO JOY IN MUDVILLE and WHY I'M IN A NEW YORK STATE OF MIND. He's a smart choice, a great pitcher. The problem is at what cost and for what prospects? While it's a hard position to be in, we'd get back on this investment for sure.

If you need to blame anyone for the Yankees shortcomings this winter, it's becoming clearer and clearer to me that it has nothing to do with Brian Cashman. He may not have given us what we need, but it's not for lack of trying. Back our GM ladies and gentlemen, let him work the phone, flick his magic wand and maybe, just maybe well see something happen. After all, I've been suggesting a February Surprise could happen, maybe it will.

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WHY AM I DREAMING YANKEE BLUE?

I was talking to The Mighty Casey today and told him about this funny and bizarre dream I had Friday night. We go way back so we were both laughing about it, so I figured I'd share it.

Casey and I were hanging out in Hotlanta. Don't ask me why. They say you don’t really feel things in your dreams, but I do remember one thing about this one, it was freaking hot and I know we were in Alanta for sure.Casey and I were setting up to do a podcast for Bleeding Yankee Blue -- now, I know what a podcast is, but couldn’t tell you one thing about how it's done or what’s involved to set one up, but I just remember we had these little iPods that we had to speak into and we were wearing these big ass headphones and were sitting on the first base line talking about the Yankee greats.

I think it was a World Series game or an All-star game or something like that because the stadium was packed and there were players everywhere -- it was pretty cool.

Now the funny part, at least Casey and I think so, was Roy White and Bucky Dent came over to our little podcast because we were going to interview them for you guys! They were actually wearing their 1978 away Yankee uniforms. Weird again, but funny. Bucky had the eye black under his eyes and Roy had his batting helmet on and kept saying, “I can’t stay long cause I’m up next!”
Bucky started talking about how he hated the Red Sox and said they always wanted him but he told them to screw off when he heard their offer! Of course, that was the favorite part of my dream!

Anyway, nothing else really weird happened in the dream other then Mike Francesa having us kicked off the first base line because that is where he was suppose to broadcast from!

Any “psychologists” out there want to analyze what this dream means? Add a comment maybe? Shoot us an email? Bottom line, I love the Yankees, and I love writing for BYB. Go Yanks!



--Mikey Blue, BYB Staff Writer





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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WHY GARDNER TRUMPS CRAWFORD

I love Brett Gardner on our team. He's quick, scrappy, he can lead off, he's a great fielder and his hitting is maturing more every year. OK. I'm glad I got that out there. Now...

How much of an ego do you have to have to act like you weren't interested in the best franchise in baseball? Apparently Carl Crawford showed off that ego today when he was on WEEI this morning talking about why the New York Yankees weren't his choice.

Crawford said of the Yankees: "To be honest with you, I never talked to New York. They never offered me a contract. I never had any kind of communication with New York, so it was never an option to go to New York."

BYB says: "That's because the contract that was offered by the Red Sox was embarrassing and over inflated. You're not worth that much."

Nice. That was fun, let's analyze this guy's other statements:

Crawford says of Red Sox players: "They’re showing a lot of love. We’re fitting in really well and just trying to find our place around the clubhouse."

BYB says:
"That's because you're new on the team and your new teammates haven't experienced your enormous ego yet. It's the honeymoon stage bro, it'll come."

Crawford says: "(I need to) just go out there and play my best."

BYB says:
"No shit. That's why they're paying you."

Crawford says: "Cliff Lee was their first choice. I didn’t want to be somebody’s backup plan."

BYB says:
"Lee is a starting pitcher, not a lead off man, of course Lee was our first choice."

Crawford says: "I wanted to go to a place where they wanted me just as bad as I wanted to go there."

BYB says: "You wanted to be in a place that showed you the money. If it was the Pirates, you would have been there. Who are you kidding?"

Crawford says of his game plan with Boston: "They don’t want me to change nothing."

BYB says: "Anything. They don't want you to change anything. Hopefully they threw a grammar book in that contract of yours."

Was this clever or ridiculous? Tell me.

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WHY RUMORS ARE FLYING

If there was an opportunity to trade Nick Swisher for a starter better than what we already have competing for the 4th and 5th rotation spots, would you do it? No? What if it was the Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter?

I know, it's a tough call. Many are totally against it. Some may love it. But several would rather deal with what we have in Colon, Garcia and the youngsters than trade the "Bronx Elvis" for a reliable starter. It's funny what happens when tough options are presented.

The Bleacher Report raises the Carpenter for Swisher trade question and I found it to be interesting actually. You can read it HERE.

I'm not saying I'd make the trade, No. You know I love Swish and I'd hate to see him leave the Bronx, but I did hear rumblings about him being on the trade block last October and I wouldn't be surprised if his name is coming up again with the Yankees brass. All I'm saying is the idea, according to The Bleacher Report makes sense. They say this of the Cards:

"Having Dave Duncan would make trading Carpenter easier." This basically means Duncan the pitching coach is a wizard and can make any pitcher great in the Cardinals organization, so losing Carpenter would be no big deal.
They went on the say: "The Cardinals might look into trading Carpenter is to start to immediately retool a team that seems destined to lose the best player in baseball at season's end in Albert Pujols."

This means, in a nutshell that if Pujols doesn't come back to St. Louis, Lance Berkman, who is their left fielder could be moved to first and there would be a hole in the outfield for the Cards.

You see what they mean? Yanks need pitching and the Cards can need outfield help if the above scenerio was to happen.

Look, this theory, while brilliant, I just can't get behind. Yes, you heard it here first! "The Mighty Casey" said it! I have preached pitching for years... Pitching wins Championships, blah blah blah. Yes, it does... but I'd rather not part with Nick Swisher. I know, many would say that outfielders are replaceable. That may be true, but Swisher's not based on his heart and production alone. Add energy to the mix and he's the player you most likely DON'T want to part with.

Yes, The Bleacher Report is smart to float this idea, but fame in New York is hard to part with if your a Yankee fan and it would be damn hard to cut Swish loose. I just don't want to see it happen. Tell me what you think.

By the way, check this out: WE WANT NICK SWISHER TO HOST SNL

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WHY WE'VE REACHED OUR FIRST TEST

It's game on for Bartolo Colon, also known as Dr. Chunky. I have no idea why, I just feel like it works. He will be pitching for the Yankees on Saturday in the first Spring Training game against the Philadelphia Phillies. 1:05pm start on YES. How exciting is that?

Groan, go ahead, it's allowed. Colon pitched this winter on his long road back and yes, there were mixed reviews about his winter ball pitching, in fact, ESPNdeportes.com had this report from January 1oth. It doesn’t sound too promising. He was 0-2 with 4.86 ERA. He allowed 27 hits in 16 2/3 innings as one of Escogido's late roster additions. Read the story HERE.

Anyway, my point is, 1 week later, the Yankees signed Colon. Read that HERE. Maybe they saw grit, promise, effort, I'm not sure, but on paper, that record doesn’t look good.

Look, bottom line, Colon gets a shot, you have to give him credit. A lot of pitchers become injured and disappear. This is a former Cy Young award winner. He's getting a shot on the greatest franchise in the world. At one time he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He can relive some of that this year. To me, it’s going to be a tough road, he’s older, chubbier and he’s not the same pitcher he once was, but that’s what makes this opportunity so grand for Bartolo Colon. He's got everything to gain and nothing to lose. Why? Because if he doesn't get a major league gig, he still has a job in the minors. He's working, so consider it rehabilitation if he can't get to the big show. For him, it's a win win, but for the Yankees, it's a win or a lose, especially if he can't deliver to major league levels again. The Yankees need a pitcher, not a belly itcher (nice, I've been trying to work that in for weeks). Also, some good news on the "chubby-gate", ESPN has a story out today saying Colon realizes he's a tub and would love to try and lose the weight, saying:

"I would like to go down 25 more pounds, but it is going to be hard to do during spring training."

My feeling is, if you want a job, you'll shed some weight Bartolo. We're pulling for you.

But back to my point about the Yankees and their win, lose dilemma. What if, Colon, Garcia, Prior, they just can't cut it. Those rotation holes look much bigger then don't they. So, let's hope that this years pitching competition forces pitchers to turn it up a notch and pitch to the best of their ability. Many decent pitchers is better than none and maybe this competition will push each other. I think in the end, it can be a huge advantage, stockpiling arms and swapping starters if needed. Yes, I'm a huge fan of certainty, but this is the hand us Yankee fans have been dealt, let's make the best of it.

Oh and by the way, heavy pitchers has been in baseball for decades. It's not like Colon CAN'T pitch overweight, many have done it and have been quite successful. As a matter of fact, I don't even care, my feeling however is if you put on more weight than your used to, your body may not work the way you want it to, that could be a health issue as well as you becoming injury prone. It's all I'm saying. Thanks for letting me clear that up. Good luck Colon.

First live baseball, Saturday, 1:05pm on YES. Yankees vs. Phillies. Come on Bartolo.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

WHY JESUS WILL RISE

It's been along time that we've been hearing about Jesus Montero. You get scouting reports about the guy and then mixed reviews from minor league guys and Yankee brass alike suggesting he's ready for the major or he's not. I think all this talk is silly. Let's see what the guy's got.

Yes, Russell Martin is our catcher and he's on track to have a bounce back year in New York, but Jesus Montero is everything people are saying, he'll be up soon enough. Plus, right now the Yankees have a dilemma...2 words...Francisco Cervelli. While he provides absolutely no power in the Yankee lineup, his passion is undeniable. He brings an energy many of us love and he and Martin are in the way of Jesus blossoming in the Majors. So, what's got to happen? I'll tell you.

For Jesus to rise, things need to fall into place. There's no reason the Yankees should carry 3 catchers AND Posada. So for things to really click for Montero in spring training, stars need to align, catchers need to struggle and Jesus needs to shine.

I hate rooting against my Yankees, but my biggest fear is for the Yankees to keep Montero in the minors and God forbid our pitching struggles by June, The brass could push the panic button and we never see this guy do some damage in the pros. We've seen it before.

Luckily for us, Spring Training's about working out the kinks and working in the prospects. A lot can happen. My prediction? Russell Martin is our catcher, Cervelli is our backup, but there will be a short leash on Cervelli. One bad play, 1 slump, 1 missed call, they pull Francisco and there will be the rise of Jesus. I say by Easter. (That's a joke, get it?). No seriously, Look for a microscope to be on Francisco. They tried to unload him in the off season and my guess is his days are numbered. The Yanks have a plan for Montero ladies and gentlemen, let's hope they execute soon.

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WHY WEARING PINSTRIPES DOESN'T MAKE YOU A YANKEE

Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome a new writer to the BYB family, Moonlight Graham will be sending over pieces from time to time about his thoughts on the New York Yankees. It's a hard look and will bring you more of the historic perspective a lot of you have been asking about. Enjoy it, and welcome him. --The Mighty Casey
There is a HUGE difference between playing for the New York Yankees and being a New York Yankee.


I think this dramatic difference can best be explained by two players who ironically play closest to each other on the field: Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.


As for Jeter, well, it’s obvious he’s a Yankee. He bleeds Yankee blue. Even if he burned Yankee Stadium to the ground, and traded pinstripes for prison stripes, he’s a Yankee, Forever. Now, as for A-Rod, I’m not saying that he can’t become a Yankee, but right now, he’s only playing for the team.


Think about it this way, Derek Jeter, even if he did something terrible, it wouldn't matter, #2 will be automatically retired in his honor when he hangs up his spikes. He will be forever remembered as the Captain, no doubt. But, do you think #13 is as automatic? With the career numbers A-Rod should put up, it should be automatic, yes, however, the reason it’s not automatic is because he plays for the New York Yankees. He’s not a New York Yankee. Again, that can change.


What makes a Yankee? Pride, game play, championships. Some have it, some earned it, others were just there to receive it. Some, never earned it.


Now, here are players who have become Yankees. Think Paul O’Neill, Reggie Jackson, and for you old-timers, Red Ruffing. But some players will always remain as someone who played for the Yankees. Think Wade Boggs, Darryl Strawberry, and Rickey Henderson.


So, why did I make the distinction between being a Yankee and playing for the Yankees?


Because in the coming weeks leading up to Opening Day, I’ll be naming the best three Yankee players to play each position. I’m going to start with catcher, working my way around the diamond, ending with pitchers and finally managers. Please feel free to send in your suggestions. It's a hard look and I'm happy to hear you all out.


Oh, and allow me to introduce
myself officially. My name is Moonlight Graham. If my name sounds a bit familar, it may be because my career was a bit unique. You see, my Major League Baseball career consisted of only playing two innings in right f ield. I never got a chance to come to bat. So if you have some time, drop me a line. Until the season starts, this cornfield out in Iowa is a little lonesome. If you know who I am, you're a true baseball fan.



--Moonlight Graham BYB Staff Writer






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