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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

YANKEE RUMORS & BYB: PART 30

AJ Burnett: According to Andrew Marchand who spoke with a Major League baseball "exec", it's unlikely that the Yankees will trade Burnett because there are too many problems with the Yanks unloading him right now. He outlines them HERE, but in the nutshell:

"1. He is viewed as an erratic, back of the rotation type guy, who has a reputation for accountability-issues

2. Even if the Yankees picked up $22M of the $33M, there may not be any takers

3. If a team wanted to spend that type of dough, they could've signed a guy like Joe Saunders (1-year, $6M)


4. Most teams have already spent their money for the year so they don't have $8-to-$10M laying around"


Well then... now that that's out of the way... can we play ball already?Yoennis Cespedes: According to ESPN, Cespedes is excepted to meet with interested teams within 7 to 10 days according to Cespedes' agent. Read about that HERE. Jim Bowden tweets that 6 teams are interested in Cespedes. If I had to predict, I'm going with the Cubs or Marlins. I wish the Yankees were in on this guy, but I would think at this point it's doubtful, although, we did trade for Alex Rodriguez in February... remember? Oh right, that's when we didn't care about spending money. Stay tuned to this story, it will get interesting soon enough.

Jim Hendry: Hendry is the Chicago Cubs former General Manager. He is now the Yankees special assistant to Brian Cashman according to ESPNChicago.com...read HERE. It's amazing how deep the Chicago connection goes with the Yankees. Joe Girardi, Larry Rothschild, Lou Piniella, Jim Hendry...is Ferris Bueller next?Scott Kazmir: If you had a shot to pick up Scott Kazmir cheap, would you? I used to think that it would be a good idea. I had this silly fantasy, that when he was cut loose by the Angels, the Yankees would sign the lefty cheap, re-invent him as a lefty specialist to pitch to 1 or 2 batters and then send him to the showers. Well, Kazmir is available and wants to pitch in 2012, but a few reports indicate that his fast ball is only clocked in the mid 80's which makes me wonder... what the hell happened to this poor guy? Anyway, you can read about my theory on what I would have done with Kazmir back in July 2011 when I wrote WHY THE YANKEES ARMS RACE HAS STARTED. If anything, you'll chuckle.

If there are any updates on Raul Ibanez, AJ Burnett, Bill Hall or anyone else, we'll bring it to you here at Bleeding Yankee Blue.

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WHY JETER & MINKA ARE HOT & HEAVY AGAIN

The New York Post is suggesting that Minka Kelly and Derek Jeter are back! We posted on December 31st the following story: WHY JETER & MINKA MAY BE TOGETHER AGAIN because someone saw them together in Paris. It was one of the most read posts we've ever written. Which means 1 thing, you're obsessed with Jeter and perhaps, just perhaps, you either like Minka Kelly with our Captain, or you ladies hate it. Hey... we men like it, more to look at, bottom line. The Post's Page 6 story says the following:

"We’re told that she and Jeter are “discreetly seeing each other again and talk all of the time.” But the dark-haired actress was without Jeter at LIV at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach on Saturday night, where spies said she “danced with her girlfriends and completely ignored a pack of good-looking men who approached her table.” Onlookers said Kelly was more occupied with texting someone."

The full Page 6 story is HERE. In fairness, Minka could be dating her friend Phyllis, I mean, who the hell knows. One things for sure though, if Minka and Jeter are together again and if Jeet's happy then I'm happy, I just want the Yankees to go out and win and if that means the Captain leads the charge and he's happy in his private life... well then Bravo!

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WHY EDWIN JACKSON'S THE LAST MAN STANDING

Edwin Jackson is a good pitcher, but incredibly inconsistent. Edwin Jackson's agent Scott Boras tried to convince the world that Edwin Jackson wasn't Edwin Jackson. Instead, Boras over shot, and went to the press suggesting his client should receive a 5 year deal worth $60 million dollars...read HERE. That's wasn't only stupid, it was freaking hilarious. Not only does Jackson not deserve that type of contract, he can't live up to it... no offense.

We here at Bleeding Yankee Blue are only telling you this because it's being reported by the Baltimore Sun, read HERE, that Jackson now will probably accept a 1 year deal. Then at the end of 2012, he will test the free agent market in search of a multi-year deal. Suddenly Boras realized that his client's the only one left holding the check. Good work Scott.

Look, Jackson should "test" the market at the end of 2012 if he see fit, but that's one year more on yet, another ball club (don't forget, this guys bounced around from team to team) and he not only needs to do well, he needs to do incredibly well in 2012. Why? Because his agent propped him up into something he's not. We predicted it, Boras blew it. Read WHY BORAS WILL MESS THINGS UP FOR EDWIN JACKSON. Look, if Jackson can get more than a 1 year deal and a few extra bucks at this point, good for him, but next time they really need to think this one through.

Message to Mr. Jackson...fire your agent, he's delusional.

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WHY SABATHIA WILL LEAD US

CC Sabathia has support now...Thank God. It was the only thing I wanted this Christmas. OK, truth be told, I also wanted a Kindle Fire and I got it, so 2 great gifts... now I’m happy. I wished and begged for Cashman to do something and it’s true, some days I just gave up, but when the Yankees signed Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, I felt better. I felt like we did something to better the club.

Now CC can lead his team and the others will follow wonderfully. This isn’t to say that Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova, and AJ Burnett couldn’t hack it before, they would do fine, but one thing I didn’t want was the same rotation as 2011. That, I knew wouldn’t cut it. Now we mix in new pitching, we go to Spring Training and we work out the kinks. I couldn’t be happier and I can read all about it on my Kindle Fire.

Sabathia has developed into a terrific pitcher. I liked him back in Cleveland, but never in my wildest dreams did I think he’d improve and mature as such a dominant pitcher. Back then, he had a few good years and was “just another pitcher” in my opinion. But that little spurt of being with the Brewers and then signing with the Yankees really did something for him. He got real good.

I don’t go to Yankee stadium to see pitcher's pitch. I go to Yankee stadium to see the Yankees win and watch home runs get launched into the seats. But I do try to catch CC Monster live whenever I can. I love to watch him work on the mound. It’s funny, he could be having the game of his life, but he always has the same type of set up after delivery; he walks behind the mound, wipes the forehead, fixes the cap, and then digs in and launches another one for a strike. Sabathia rarely gets excited, but when he does, the monster roars and that emotion is dynamic.

I’m quite excited about CC and Co. as we embark on a 2012 season. I know it will be filled with magic in the Bronx this year. Our fan base is downright confident and our players are too. Cashman, while it seemed like he would do nothing this off-season to stabilize our pitching, fooled us all. You have to respect that. He’s a genius in that regard. Let’s just hope the moves he made offer a true dominant Yankee pitching staff. With Russell Martin behind the plate, I have no doubt we can do this… we have to. Why? Because we’re the God damn New York Yankees, that’s why.

BY THE WAY: Check out Yankees Fans Unite's Twitter interview with Yankee Prospect Slade Heathcott HERE.

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WHAT IF DEREK JETER & BABE RUTH SWITCHED PLACES?

Ridiculous, I know, but think about it for a second. How much different would the lives of Jeter and Ruth be if they changed places in Yankee history? I mean look, I know, the pitchers were different back in the 1920’s… they're different now. The playoffs are longer, the season is longer, sure, there are plenty of factors to consider, but let's try to keep it simple. What if their statistics were exactly the same, but just in a different era? How would they stack up and would their lives be different? I would venture to say… they would be...maybe, but it would be interested, especially with the way things are today and the way the game was played then.

Now in fairness, this is my scenario, so, while your opinions are welcome, don’t crucify me. Everyone will have different opinions on this no doubt. Just leave your comments in the comments section below and keep it clean.

Derek Jeter: Well, right off the bat, I see Jeter having very similar popularity as he does today. Being a New York Yankee, it comes with the territory. Lou Gehrig would most likely still be the Captain of the Yankees, but it would be a tough call. Jeter would have been known as a team leader, and one of the best Yankees ever, plus, he'd be considered one of the nicest Yankee players of this era. He would almost be considered to be unorthodox because of the atmosphere around him, meaning, in the 1920's, the game was tougher, the season was shorter, the times were different and you heard all sorts of crazy stories about off-field antics. Jeter would have stayed on the straight and narrow and I base that solely on his personality and upbringing... a “tight ass” so to speak, especially when you read about the craziness of Babe Ruth and his rumored drinking HERE and guys like Ty Cobb and his rumored nastiness (HERE).I would even suspect Jeter would have been very close to Lou Gehrig personally; much closer than the Babe and Lou were. Lou Gehrig would have been Derek’s Jorge Posada.

Sure, I believe that Derek Jeter would have went down in the record books as a great ballplayer, like Joe DiMaggio and much later Don Mattingly and no doubt he would have been a part of those winning championship teams in 1923, 1927, 1928 and 1932. But I do wonder if Babe Ruth's talent's really would have contributed more to those championships than Jeter would have. I'm just asking...I don't know. Would Ruth's power have made a difference? Looking at 2 of Ruth's World Series' performances, it's a toss up. For example, in 1928, Babe Ruth batted .628 with 10 hits and 3 home runs and scored 9 runs. In 1927, Ruth batted .400 with 7 RBIs. Could Jeter have done that? I would say yes, knowing what we know about Derek and the post season.

You'd have to also think about the bigger question when comparing Jeter to Ruth. If Jeter played on the Yankees from 1920 to 1934, would he perform like he was larger than life like Ruth? I'm not so sure. Ruth was iconic because of his big personality and power...he was like a God because he hit more home runs than entire teams. Jeter's iconic because of his Yankee professionalism and talent. It's different... That's what I think anyway.

If you look at Jeter’s numbers, he would have blended in nicely as a team leader, but he would have been more well rounded so to speak. Look, Jeter at this point has over 9800 at bats, a .313 average, 3088 hits and 24o home runs. Clearly that's a man who plays in a longer season. The Yankees in the 20's had guys like Tony Lazzeri who had 6297 career at bats, 178 homers and a .292 average. Bill Dickey had 6300 at bats, 202 home runs and a .313 average. Earle Combs... he had 5746 at bats, a .325 average and only 58 home runs. Teams played less games, they would have had less at bats and I would conclude that Jeter's number would have been similar to guys like these. Yes, he would have still maintained that over .300 average, but he may not have reached the 3000 hit mark.

And look, if he did hit 3000 in the 1920's, today it would be a story legends are made of... "Grandpa, tell me about how Jeter hit his 3000th hit and it was home run again!" It would be Jeter's claim to fame. Jeter would have made the Hall of Fame easily and his number would have been retired relatively quickly too I believe.

Babe Ruth: Well, sure this is a tough one because if you get too technical, the Red Sox would have never sold the Yankees Babe Ruth in this day and age. But for argument sake, say they did and say Ruth started his pro career when Jeter did...1995. Ruth would have been apart of the 5 Yankees championships and I would venture to say they may have even won more because of Babe Ruth’s raw power. Jeter contributed well to in the playoffs, but don't forget, the playoffs are longer than they were in the 1920's. More games, more rounds. But let's make it simpler...let's just look at the World Series numbers:

  • In 10 years of World Series games, Ruth had 129 at bats, had a .325 average, 15 home runs, 33 RBIs and an OBP of .467.
  • In 7 years of World Series games, Jeter calculated 156 At Bats, 3 home runs, a .321 average, 9 RBIs and a OBP of .384.

I ask quite simply, would Babe have helped bring more championships because of of his raw power alone? Ruth would have been a monster in this age, but I suspect he would constantly be surrounded by PEDs accusations as well as probably getting fined for drinking and excessive eating... all stemming from team rules. I would also bet David Wells and he would have been best friends in the late 1990's because of their same interests but I almost see the Yankees eventually trading Wells to keep them separated to focus Ruth. The Boss would have loved the Babe like he loved Jeter, because he loved winning, but in the end, he probably wouldn’t have tolerated the bad diet and drinking issues. That being said, you know that the Yankees would have kept Ruth around as long as possible because of his talent and star power. Ruth in this day and age would keep Yankee Stadium sold out, no doubt everyone would want a ticket.

Look, this was clearly more difficult that I originally dreamed, but fun. Both Jeter and Ruth would have probably led the same lives in my opinion, but would have been subjected to different elements of the times they visited. Looking through this, I realize that God does things for a reason. Ruth belonged where he did as does Jeet today. To think of it the other way is almost nuts... or is it?

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WHY THE TEX-ECUTIONER IS STAGING A COMEBACK

There is no way to sugar coat this, so I am just going to say it….the last two seasons for Mark Teixeira have been disappointing, and Yankee fans are waiting for him to come back and dominate again. The RBI’s and the power are always there, but the low batting average is hurting him. Imagine how much more effective he could be if that average was closer to .300 like it was in 2009 and before he came to the Bronx. I love Tex, he is my favorite player, so I say the above statement with tough love. Tex has the potential to succeed here, and he can and will return to the player we saw in 2009.

Defensively, you can’t find much to criticize, and he has been so important to the Yankees since coming the Bronx. The Yankees needed that presence after Tino Martinez left, and Jason Giambi just didn’t have that (no offense, Giambi!) I have the utmost confidence when he is on the field because if anything is hit in his general direction, he has it. Tex only had 4 fielding errors in 2011, and I can’t even imagine how many runs he saved for the Yankees. We have a gold glove first basemen on or team, regardless of the fact that he did not repeat this achievement in 2011 he surprises Yankee fans all the time, and I can’t wait to see what he does this season.Offensively….there is room for improvement, but he is taking the necessary steps read that HERE. I usually don’t like to make predictions when it comes to baseball, but I believe in Tex’s ability to turn 2012 into a big year so I am going to do just that…I am going to go against my theory and predict! If Tex can bring in 111 RBI’s with a .248BA then imagine what he can do with a better average. So here it is, mark your calendars because when he hits .270, brings in 125 RBI’s people won’t be able to tell me I am crazy anymore! To make this happen Tex will concentrate on hitting more singles, and driving the ball to the opposite side of the field instead of pulling it which will avoid hitting into “the shift” that other teams put on him. Say goodbye to the .224BA as a lefty as well, the split is about to become less daunting and the pop-ups ups are too. Despite the new approach at the plate, I believe the power numbers will still be there, but maybe not the 39 home runs we saw this season, but I will still take 33. Another interesting factor for all of this will be if Girardi does keep him batting in the fifth spot. I love Tex, but I think this is where he should be. It takes off some of the pressure so he can just focus on hitting again.I admire Tex because he can admit that he isn’t getting the job done, and he also can tell you what he needs to do to fix it. Tex is making a comeback, we can’t see it yet…but it is on the way. When I think about my favorite moment nothing tops Game 2 of the 2009 ALDS against the Twins when Tex smashed that ball to the left side and it narrowly passed over the wall. THAT is the Tex I know is coming back to the field, the one who uses the entire field. It has been a long, frustrating road since 2009….but just like the saying goes, you can always count on the Yankees, and that is why I put my faith in Mark Teixeira.



--Jeana Bellezza --BYB Writer and Editor


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Monday, January 30, 2012

WHY THE YANKEES SIGNED MANNY...DELCARMEN

The Yankees are stockpiling arms and I have no problem with that. According to the New York Post's Joel Sherman, the Yanks signed Manny Delcarmen to a minor league deal. Read about it here in this TWEET. DelCarmen also gets an invitation to Spring Training. So, what does this mean?It simply means the Yankees get a look-see and will check out if Delcarman has what it takes to become an extra helper in the Yankees bullpen. Manny was a Red Sock and was also a member of the Rockies in 2010...that was the last time he pitched in the pros. He split time between those 2 teams and racked up a 4.99 ERA in 52.1 innings striking out 38 and walking 32. Before you barf all over your shoes, just understand the Yankees just want to see what this guy's got, he was available, probably cheap and you know that's how the Yankees roll right now. Don't look more into it than you need to. He spend 2011 in the minors of both the Rangers and Mariners farm systems. Oh and by the way, if you're worried about him not pitching since 2010 in the majors, Bartolo Colon didn't pitch in 2010 and he pitched pretty well for the Yankees in 2011. I'm just saying... anything can happen.

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YANKS IN "SERIOUS TALKS" WITH BILL HALL

The Yankees are in serious talks with one time Red Sox utility man Bill Hall, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and notes that the 32-year-old has worked out in the off season with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long.  Hall began the 2011 season as the Astros' starting second baseman and finished the season on the Giants.  Hall finished with only a .211 Avg. and a pair of home runs, which was was way off his 2010 season, in which he hit 18 home runs in 382 plate appearances.

Although no deal is imminent Bleeding Yankee Blue was all over two months ago. Casey wrote:  "You want a bench player with wisdom and pop? Bill Hall is your guy. Not only can the guy play second base to give Robinson Cano a break once in a while, he can also be a 4th outfielder. Don’t dismiss this idea, Bill Hall may have bounced around to a few teams over the last few years, but that’s because he is unique."  Hey, never dismiss Casey's crystal ball! :)

Keep it hear for all your Yankee news and be sure to #BYB on Twitter.


--Mikey Blue, BYB Senior Writer
Email: DonnieBaseball2323@gmail.com
Twitter: @MikeyBlu23

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YANKEE RUMORS & BYB: PART 29

Johnny Damon: According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets are looking at Johnny Damon. Read HERE. I don't see it. At this point the Mets are lucky to get Damon Wayans. That being said, I guess you never know. The Yankees / Damon rumors have seem to cooled as of late. I'd still love to see the guy back in pinstripes. We wrote about it here at BYB in a piece called WHY JOHNNY DAMON NEEDS TO COME HOME. We'd love him back and we'd love him to abuse that right field porch, or Damon's Deck, if he returned to the Bronx. Did you know he has 77 home runs with the Yankees in his 4 years in New York? He also played 4 years in Boston...his home runs there you ask? Only 56. Just sayin'.Hiroki Kuroda: An interesting nugget in Kuroda's 1 year deal with the Yankees. There is a full no trade cluase for him now that he's with the Yanks. That report comes from Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports HERE. Look, good for Kuroda, I guess, but if the Yankees want to flip him now, if they thought they could get a pitching upgrade come the trade deadline, they couldn't. No biggie I guess, just thought it was interesting.Roy Oswalt: I bring up Oswalt, not because the Yankees are pursing him. I don't think they ever really considered him. I'm bringing up Oswalt because the Red Sox, Cardinals and now the Rangers have all been attached to rumors involving Oswalt. Read the Rangers connection HERE.
It will be interesting the way this one pans out, only because as of Friday, the Cardinals looked like they had a deal or were damn close. Stay tuned for this one.Kevin Whelan: Sorry I didn't write a full write up about this, but it's important just the same. Bryan Hoch reported that the Yankees designated Whelan for assignment when they officially wrapped up signing Hiroki Kuroda. This comes from Bryan Hoch, read HERE. In 2 games for the Yankees this season Whelan pitched in 2 games, 1.2 innings and had a 5.4o ERA.

Check back here for more updates on MLB players and of course, Yankees as we inch closer to Spring Training.

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TOP 5 YANKEE PROSPECTS OF 2012: #1



LHP (6-7, 3.75 ERA, 129.2 IP, 8.7 K/9, 4.9 BB/9, 9.0 H/9, 1.550 WHIP,
20 games at AA Trenton, 7 games at AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre)


A quick look at the numbers will tell you that Dellin Betances actually had a better season than ManBan. In addition to having a lower ERA, higher K/9, lower H/9, and better WHIP, Betances' BB/9 is virtually identical to Banuelos'. With all the hype surrounding Manny, it's hard to believe 2011 was only his age 20 season, which makes him 3 years younger than Dellin. For reference, when Betances was 20 years old, he spent most of the season in Single-A Charleston. No matter how you slice it, Manny is incredibly young and is perhaps the most unfinished project of all the Yankees' top pitching prospects. He displayed uncharacteristically bad command and control this past season, but given that prior to 2011 his command was usually cited as his best attribute, I expect it's either a blip or trouble harnessing the velocity he added late last year.As for the stuff, it's all there and better than ever. He still sits 92-95 with the fastball, has an excellent change-up that's proven to work against Major Leaguers (see Youkilis, Kevin), and a curve ball that has gone from decent offering to true plus pitch over the past couple of years. He'll need another season in the minors to regain the command that made him a top prospect, but by the beginning of 2013 the wait for Banuelos should finally be over.

Big league comparison: Ricky Romero

If you haven't yet seen #5 through #2 of BYB's Top Yankee Prospects of 2012, they are:
#5 Jose Campos
#4 Gary Sanchez
#3 Dellin Betances
#2 Mason Williams

We hope you enjoyed out list. Tell us what you think...comment.



--Grant Cederquist, BYB Staff Writer

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BRETT GARDNER: BIG DOESN'T MEAN BETTER

Brett Gardner is not a Bronx Bomber...he’s a New York Yankee and for a little guy to succeed in this franchise...well, it really is terrific. You know me by now, speed's my thing and Gardy has the tools to get on base and score every time he comes to the plate. Gardy has a keen baseball sense and once Kevin Long was able to tweak his swing and get him to use his legs more in the box, we saw a big difference. (Read HERE.) As Long has said before, the lower half is key when at the plate and it almost seemed as though Gardy was slapping rather than swinging, and not using his full body to drive the ball.

Breet Gardner doesn’t fit the mold of the Yankees…I mean they’re nicknamed the “Bronx Bombers” for a reason. Gardner’s little, like Andy Stankiewicz, Wayne Tolleson and Phil Rizzuto before him.

(In Photo: Wayne Tolleson)

But one thing all those guys had that allowed them to succeed in pinstripes was heart. Gardy has heart and can grind it out at the plate as well as in left field against any “big” guy any day of the week. No, it doesn’t come easy to Gardy, one swing of the bat rarely wins it all for his team, but advancing to third in a tight game will. He uses the tools that work for him, and you have to respect that. And not only that, he’s improving every day. His numbers since 2008 have made steady improvement with more playing time. True, in 2011, his average and OBP dipped a bit from .259 in 2011 from .277 in 2010, but look at the stolen bases. Do you know that Gardner has a total of 135 stolen bases in his 4 seasons as a New York Yankee? Do you know where that puts him on the list of the all-time Yankee greats? Number 14 and he’s only been playing for 4 years pro. By the way, that list is brought to you by Yankeenumbers.com.

And what about his defense? There is no doubt that Gardner was robbed of a Gold Glove this year. When the ball is hit to left, he’s there and if he can’t reach it, he’ll get there somehow… always.

Look, I’m drooling over this kid, you clearly can tell, but that’s because the stolen base isn’t utilized as much as when Rickey Henderson was tearing up the base paths. Gardner’s bringing it back, because he knows the others can’t. I look forward to a solid season for Brett this year, with GGS in full effect, the man can definitely propel himself into one of the more valuable Yankees… and it’s not so much because of his power at the plate, but instead, his keen instincts, speed and defense. Gardy does it his way and you gotta love it.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

WHY BERNIE WILLIAMS STILL SWINGS FOR THE FENCES

(Photo credit : Bill Menzel)
This past Saturday night I had the privilege to attend the annual charity gala for the Hillside Food Outreach. I was a guest of one of Bleeding Yankee Blue’s faithful readers, Doc Haveron. This amazing organization helps our less fortunate neighbors in Westchester and Putnam Counties in New York and Fairfield County in Connecticut. This charity is special to one of our Yankee heroes, Bernie Williams. And let me tell you, Bernie isn’t just a famous face...Bernie is involved! And if it's important enough for Bernie, it should be important to the rest of us as well.

Of course Bernie brought along some of his friends such as former Yankees’, Jim Leyritz, Charlie Hayes, Hensley Meulens, Scott Kamieniecki, Chad Curtis, Roberto Kelly and Ralph Branca. This year’s guest of honor was Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. (Photo credit : Bill Menzel)
WFAN’s Sweeny Murti hosted a little chat between Bernie and Donnie. The former teammates traded stories and talked about the respect each had for the other. Bernie admitted to being in awe the first time he met Mattingly (much like me.) Mattingly talked about Bernie’s laid-back approach to the game. (Photo credit : Bill Menzel)
He also talked about what it's like managing the Dodgers and having Kelly and Meulens, who both are coaches for the San Francisco Giants, in the opposing dugout. (Meulens jokes around and Roberto Kelly is so focused, he doesn’t acknowledge Mattingly). I could’ve listened to the stories for hours. As a fan of all these guys when I was a kid, this was a dream come true. Even my wife who isn’t much of a baseball fan thought the whole experience was pretty great.

But back to the Cause. At the event, we we’re introduced to two people who have benefited from Hillside. These are people who live right in our communities and are struggling to make ends meet. With the help of others, Hillside makes sure these people don’t go hungry. For more information or to donate yourself, you can visit: http://hillsidefoodoutreach.org(In Photo: Charlie Hayes, Lem Allen, Hensley Meulens)
The gala was a great night for an even greater cause. I was honored to have been a part of it. Kudos to Bernie and to Hillside Outreach. Still swinging for the fences while making us all open our eyes, and our wallets to help others in need.


-- Lem Allen, BYB Freelance Writer
bybcurmudgeon@gmail.com



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WHY KURODA'S THE YANKEES WILD CARD

The Los Angeles Times has some quotes and a good story about Hiroki Kuroda and why he chose the New York Yankees and left the Dodgers. Read the full story HERE.

“They were unable to ever make a formal offer, I couldn’t wait any longer.”

On the Yankees Kuroda said: “They have an incredible tradition... They contend for the championship every year. I wanted to play for a team like that. When you get to my age, you don’t know how much longer you can pitch and I wanted to experience that before my career ended.”

Now look, it's nice to hear and I wish Kuroda well on the Yankees this year. There is no question, he could contribute nicely, but I’m not going to hide the fact that I didn’t like the idea of signing Hiroki Kuroda and I’m sticking with that. BUT…and there’s a big but to all of this; having Kuroda there as some extra stability will be better with someone like Michael Pineda also being acquired, and the solid stability of him, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and company is much much better. Kuroda alone in my mind is a no go… now it’s a go.

There are some positives. Kuroda was able to get his ERA down to a low 3 every single year. In 2011, his record stood at 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA. In 2009 it was 3.76. In 2010 it was 3.39.

Yes, he’s older. Being an older pitcher goes 2 ways, you’re seasoned and know how your body works OR, well, you’re old and times almost up. Kuroda is in the middle in my opinion. He knows what he’s got to do out there, but I also think he’s winding down. He can however offer something very important in our quest for 28…wins. The Yankees have bats and there is no doubt they can get runs for every one of their starters this season. It’s one of the strongest teams offensively in all of baseball. All our pitchers need to do is keep us in the game and we will knock in runs. Kuroda, in turn will get it done. I suspect struggles and adjustments because, let’s face it, Dodgers Stadium and Yankee Stadium are much different parks. If Kuroda can keep the ball in the ballpark, I believe he will be a success during his time in pinstripes. One can only hope, because if Kuroda shows signs of not adjusting adequately to being a New York Yankee, the Yankees will get the hook out. I have no doubt. This will be a no nonsense year for the Yankees. The Yanks last championship was in 2009. Once we got a taste of that, 2 years of loss is way too long. No doubt, with the help of Kuroda, the Yankees can and will win the whole thing in 2012. I feel it… do you?

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YANKEES SPRING TRAINING 2012: WHAT TO EXPECT

In less than one month’s time, all of our attention will finally be turned away from the “Hot stove” to the warm weather and palm trees of Tampa Bay, Florida, where our New York Yankees will report to begin Spring Training for what is hopefully their next Championship Season.

Many talking heads have speculated about what to expect from the team during this year’s pre-season training. Things like roster changes, management issues, and even changes to the television coverage that brings us the much needed information about the day-to-day grind of
Spring Training. In my honest, educated and professional opinion, here’s what my take is on what to expect from our Yankees in the Spring of 2012.

I DON’T KNOW.
Yeah, sure, I can go back and research statistics and line scores, but what good does that do? I wrote an article about Jesus Montero...next thing you know, he gets traded. I interview Kim Jones HERE, then, she leaves the YES Network. I wrote a blurb about Jorge Posada...and then he retires. For all intents and purposes, I’m beginning to a see a pattern here. Therefore, the likelihood that you’ll see me discussing anything relative to the team’s existing players, especially our Captain, is very slim. Not taking the risk by naming any more names, or making any more speculations about what may or may not go down this season. For now, at least.

Anyone that has followed Bleeding Yankee Blue and read my articles pretty much knows that this is not a girl who can keep her mouth shut for too long. For the present moment, I do still feel that I need to contribute to all of the talk about this year’s Spring Training. You know, just to
keep myself “in the loop”. In the interest of meeting my deadline for the amazing Casey, here’s what I am willing to say about what to expect from Spring Training:
  1. The weather will be warm
  2. It will take place at Steinbrenner Field with Hank and Hal somewhere closeby
  3. Joe Girardi will be there
  4. Jorge Posada won’t be there
  5. Neither will Jesus Montero.
  6. Derek Jeter will wear #2 on his uniform
  7. There will be coverage by someone from the YES Network
  8. I’m pretty sure that unlike “some other teams”, no beer or poker games are allowed in the dugout
  9. Most of the team will be tan
And last, but not least….

10. It won’t suck

And so, in the meantime, Yankee fans, use the “grain of salt” approach to what everyone has to say about what will…or won’t…happen during Spring Training. You can crunch any number you want to, look at tapes of past performances, or calculate whatever average you want to.Whether you are Albert Einstein or belong to the “Psychic Friends Network”, no one knows for sure. My speculations, however, I’m pretty sure are dead-on, which is why you should always refer to Bleeding Yankee Blue for the real deal!

Let the countdown begin!




--Christy Lee, BYB Staff Writer



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WHY VARITEK EVEN RESPECTS POSADA...WHO KNEW?

You have to love a story like this, especially on a Sunday morning. You're just waking up, not alot going on in your house, the kids are sleeping, you grab a cut of coffee, click on Bleeding Yankee Blue and you see that Jason Varitek, an enemy of the Yankees for years, actually had something nice to say about Jorge Posada.

Not sure if many of you saw this, but I just caught it and I was touched. Jason Varitek is the guy you love to hate, just because he has the same competitive nature and passion as Jorge Posada...just on the enemies side. He wants to beat our Yankees every time they hit the field. Posada was clearly the same way in Beantown. It was guys that this that really made the rivalry a true World War throughout the past decade.Anyway, the day Posada retired, this nugget was floating out there in cyberspace. No one appeared to pick it up. I am, for 2 reasons, you should know about it, and I just found a new respect for Jason Varitek.

Peter Abraham from the Boston Globe had the story on January 24th, HERE. Real quick, if you don't know who Peter Abraham is, know this, he used to write about the Yankees, and I loved reading him every single day. Since then though, he got a gig with the Globe, so now he's there. That's important because Abraham is probably one of the best writers out there and clearly great at his job.
Varitek released a statement about Posada and it reads like this:

"After hundreds of head-to-head games during the regular season and the postseason, I can't say I respect and admire anyone at our position more than I do Jorge. The hard work and preparation he put into catching is a huge reason he has five championships on his resume. He is a true grinder."

I know you want to crack a smile. Just do it, that statement is truly complimentary. You didn't think Jason Varitek had it in him, did ya? I didn't either, but I like this statement from V-Tek and yes, if he were to come back to Boston, I'd hate him again, but sometimes you just need to stop and think about all the games these guys play against each other. I guess it isn't about hate sometimes is it? Respect seeps in. All I'm saying is it's good to see and I hope the day old man Varitek retires, Jorge Posada reciprocates... but knowing how much of a stand up guy Posada is, he's already thanked Varitek by phone. Whatever the case, V-Tekc gets 2 thumbs up from me... until the next Yankees / Red Sox game that is!

Please comment, we have DISQUS, it's easier than ever. Let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and look for the hashtag #BYB. Also, join the group Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook, just type it in.