Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Yankees Won!

The Good

Curtis Granderson avoided the DL and made it to New York. He had a diving catch. A running catch. And a home run. All in one day! Teixeira also crushed a ball which Nasa is probably still tracking just to make sure it doesn't interfere with their mission to take pictures of Mercury (FYI: turns out Mercury looks a lot like those artist renditions in textbooks that they paid far less to produce).

The Bad

Sabathia only lasted six innings. Not awful with our bullpen, but I'm sure Girardi was hoping to save some of those pitchers for AJ's start tomorrow.

The Ugly

The Yankees took a risk rushing Granderson back for opening day, but potential replacement Chris Dickerson was simply not an option.

"Chris Dickerson is crazy," explained Joe Girardi in a recent sit-down interview with RJG. "He was walking around the clubhouse with this purse around his shoulder. I'm all, 'What are you doing with a purse?' And he's like, 'It's not a purse, this is a man's bag.' I'm like, 'Ummm, no. That couldn't even be considered a murse. It's quite clearly a purse. In fact, I think my wife has that same purse. In burgundy.' And he's just, 'No, it's a man's bag.' 'What about this bag suggests anything man about it?' I says. He's all, 'There's a glock in it.' He pulls out this glock and then starts doing this crazy dance. He's all, 'This is my glock dance.' I'm all, 'He is not breaking camp with us. Hell no. He's #$%*&@! crazy!'"

RJG Is for the Children

Teixeira and Granderson both went deep. That's $2 for the children. I think. I'm actually not sure what my brother has pledged this year. Could be zero for all I know. That'll be embarrassing for him after this post!

Teixeira 1hr = $1
Granderson 1hr = $1
Total = $2

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Barry Bonds: Your Hat Size Condemns You!

If you haven't been following the news, Barry Bonds has gone to trial for allegedly lieing about knowingly taking steroids in front of a federal grand jury. Its generally a good practice to not lie in front of a federal grand jury. What's interesting is that its no longer an argument of whether or not he took steroids. As I follow the trial it seems like its accepted that he did take them. What's under trial is whether he knowingly took them, and then lied to the grand jury about knowingly taking them. As a baseball fan I can't help but feel that Barry Bonds is a disgrace to the game. He disgraced the homerun record by cheating his way to higher stats, and honestly I don't consider him the homerun leader. But that being said, I also don't think he should go to jail for this. I feel satisfied knowing the truth about him so the record can be viewed in the proper light, but going to jail for lieing about steroid use? There has to be a better way to protect the american public from law breaking individuals.

The trial has been pretty ridiculous thus far with testimony by a childhood friend who said that he was really concerned about Bonds' steroid use that he went to Bonds' father with his concerns. His former club house manager and mistress have both taken the stand, and among things revealed were his increased hat size, acne breaking out on his back, abnormal muscle growth near his elbow creating an unnatural bump, roid rage, etc. all symptoms of steroid use. Even Jason Giambi has taken the stand along with his brother Jeremy saying that they too received steroids from Bonds' trainer, and that they knew that they were getting steroids. Honestly, I just want this era in baseball to come to a close. The players association needs to agree to whatever drug testing is appropriate, and we need to move on.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Montero Loses Catching Job

Just read a post from Joel Sherman about Montero, and I have to agree with his take. When Cervelli went down with his foot injury it was largely expected that Montero would win the backup job. I wrote in a post earlier in the spring that it would probably be best for Montero to play every day in the minor leagues, instead of getting into games here and there in a backup capacity at the big league level. The wisdom at the time from the Yankees leadership was that it would actually benefit Montero to have him play as a backup in the majors as Posada did early in his career, so he can be groomed into the starting role. But as Sherman points out, the Yankees have backtracked on this. This from Girardi: “We thought it was more beneficial for them (Montero and Austin Romine) to play every day instead of maybe just getting a couple starts in the month of April.” Personally, I think it was smart not to bring Montero up this early, but the reason he's not coming up right now isn't because the Yankees had a change in heart, but because Montero couldn't catch and couldn't hit during spring training. He has the talent to, he just couldn't put it together. The Yankees were hoping to see him replace Russell Martin at the end of the season as the every day catcher, but they may need to be a little more patient. I still think Montero can become a legitimate big league hitter, but they should still make him earn that spot. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery for Cervelli.

Monday, March 28, 2011

These Are the Breaks

Tough Spring for Rays' third baseman Evan Longoria. First he had his car stolen. Now he's had his house burgled. My guess? Johnny Damon's not happy with his contract, so he's getting paid one way or another.

More Decisions Coming

This is the week. Girardi mentioned that he would be announcing the backup catcher, utility infielder and reserve corner outfielder today, and this means little more than that spring training is almost over and the season is close to starting. This very Thursday, the Yankees will be taking on the Tigers. Spring training can be enjoyable, but its always just a place holder for real baseball. But this is the time for optimism and speculation. A-Rod's been crushing the ball, Jeter's been punching out base hits, Eric Chavez has made it through baseball activities without a season ending injury, its all looking up.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rotation Set For Yankees

The Yankees have finally finalized their rotation. CC, AJ, Hughes, Nova, and Garcia will be the nos. 1-5 starters, with Colon as the long man/Garcia's future replacement. That's actually his official title which can't make Garcia particularly at ease with his level of job security. With less than a week left before opening day, the Yankees now have five pitchers upon whom they are depending to get them through May. Yankees officials are secretly hoping for some sort of labor unrest, perhaps a strike in solidarity with the NFLPA, to shorten the season. It's not the best plan, but it's a plan.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Told Y'All

For those who don't believe us about the weeping in Spring Training:

[Video by]

Buck Showalter Has Apparently Forgotten Who He's Managing

Buck Showalter recently made some comments about how he likes to scream at Jeter because of the way he jumps back from pitches inside, and said Theo Epstein wouldn't be so smart with the Rays payroll. The RJG were able to catch up with Showalter to see why he had so much animosity towards Jeter and Epstein.

"Well, we'll throw pitches inside to Jeter, and he backs off the plate. I mean why doesn't he just let it hit him? That's how my team plans to get on base this season. Everyone knows we can't hit our way on."

And for Epstein?

"He has a billion dollar payroll and he signs Carl Crawford and everyone thinks he's a genius. Its not like he's built two championship teams in the past decade. Same with Cashman. If they were smart they'd be able to build themselves into the basement of the AL east like we have. We're poised to come from behind any moment now. Just like the Rays were in the early part of the 2000's. And just like them, we're going to win that championship!"

When told that the Rays haven't won a championship yet, Showalter grew furious.

"You think the Orioles are finished!? Its just like that book Animal Farm! You're all a bunch of communists!"

Indeed. Lets hope this new fire spurs the O's onward.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Training: Blogging Edition

We've all been following Spring Training for over a month now. Throwing the ball. Hitting the ball. Catching the ball. It's all very, very exciting. But not many people realize that as the baseball season approaches, those of us who cover it for free also have to prepare; both mentally and physically. Here's how a typical Spring Training day goes for a blogger.

12:30pm - Wake-up

This is an important part of our preparation. You can only blog when you're awake. For now.

1:30pm - Get Out of Bed

You don't want to risk injury by rushing anything.

2:15pm - Turn On the Computer

We bloggers rely heavily on our computers. Without their keyboards and wireless network cards, we could not do our jobs.

2:16pm - Research

As soon as your machine is fired up, it's time to get to the serious work of researching what is going on with your team. Attention to detail is crucial. Who pitched? Who hit for what average? Who got hurt? You need to know all these things because you never know what will inspire your next post.

2:17pm - Beer Break

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

6:30pm - Stop the Room from Spinning

After a long and hearty breakfast, it's always a good idea to stop, breath, figure out where you are, and how you got there.

7:15pm - Thank Officers for Ride Home

A hand-written note is always a nice touch. Smart bloggers keep a few extras in their wallets.

7:30pm - Write a Post

Go to a lesser known blog. Copy. Paste. Word to the wise: the New York Times is not a "lesser known blog".

7:32pm - Beer Break

It's important to follow up breakfast with a good lunch.

11:52pm - Daily Inventory

I was definitely wearing a watch when I got to this fine establishment. And pants. Where are my pants? Why am I wearing shoes but no pants? $#!%, the cops are back.

1:45 - Bedtime

A good night's rest is always important. You need to have energy for the next day's blogging activities. It's an early next morning, so you need to make sure you go right to sleep. Who am I kidding? I've been passed out for at least an hour.

Colon Goes 6 Strong

Bartolo Colon pitched 6 innings of 1 run ball against the Rays yesterday furthering his case for winning that 5th spot in the rotation. I think we have seen enough from him to give him a shot. At this point I wouldn't mind seeing Colon and Nova in the rotation and Garcia in the bullpen if he would accept that. This would rid us of Sergio Mitre, but I don't know how big of a role we could have expected Mitre to play. We've never seen Garcia pitch out of the bullpen, but I would imagine that getting outs through one inning wouldn't be too hard a task for someone who's sole asset seems to be a competitive spirit. Just think about it, whenever you hear anyone talk about Garcia they never talk about how good his stuff is. In fact, all the talk is pretty much about how weak his stuff is compared to his pre-surgery days. The one thing people credit him with is a competitive spirit, and that's fine, but I don't know that its enough to win him a rotation spot. Especially with how well Colon is pitching. If Garcia accepts the bullpen role, we could always stretch him back out and plug him into the rotation if and when Colon gets injured, or reach into our pitching rich system to fill that spot. You have to figure that as long as Colon is healthy, he should be able to keep up the way he's been pitching. The risk could very well be rewarded.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mets Release Ollie Perez

Its official, the $12 million lefty has been let go by the Mets just a few days after 2nd baseman Luis Castillo was released with the Mets eating the $6 million left on his contract. That's $18 million wasted dollars for the Mets in a time when the team's ownership is struggling the most financially. But it is a good sign for the Mets that they're willing to cut their losses, and move forward with more of a rebuilding mentality. Even with what I still consider a stupid signing in Rafael Soriano, you have to give it to the Yankees for building the team the way they have. The Mets spent money, it wasn't just an issue of the Yankees buying the best players. In fact, some of the more recent decisions by the Yankees have paid huge dividends without the big price tags. Easing Phil Hughes into the rotation, and Brett Gardner into the outfield have given us two cost controlled pieces who look to be major contributors. Robinson Cano is locked into a modest deal for a player of his caliber, and that's not even considering guys like Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson who we brought in through trades, and look to boost our offense considerably. Yes we've signed the A-Rod's, the Sabathia's and the Teixeira's, but we've also built around those pieces with other cost effective pieces. If only we could find another quality starting pitcher.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Is Feliciano Still on the Team?

I'm not going to say I've been paying super close attention, but it seems like Feliciano hasn't pitched in forever. Am I crazy? Is he still in our bullpen. I've seen Logan get coverage but not Feliciano. Maybe he's training with the Mets?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nova Sharp Against O's, but Then Again, They're the O's.

Yesterday, Ivan Nova pitched so well against the Orioles that his 5 inning outing stretched to 6 innings, and even after that needed to pitch in the bullpen to get all his work in (source). Apparently, Nova's curveball had been erratic during his warmup and he decided to dust off an old slider he used to use. That slider proved to be an out pitch last night, and he used it effectively. Nova was really excited about his new found slider until someone reminded him that he was playing the O's. "Its kind of like winning a fight, and feeling all proud of yourself, only to realize that you were fighting a girl scout who was just trying to sell you cookies. I bought the Samoas. They're really good." Explained Nova.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Best Things in Life Are Free, Except for Yankees Tickets. Those Cost a Crapload.

Its about this time of year that my family begins looking into purchasing Yankees tickets for the season, and I'm always impressed at just how expensive they can be. Yes, the Yankees do field a regular team of multi-millionaires, and do a great job of keeping seats filled. Well, not the luxury seats, even rich people didn't want to pay that much, but in general they pack the stadium. A day in the stadium, a good one at least, will run you the price of the ticket, a couple $6 hotdogs, and a couple $9 beers per person, etc. It adds up quickly. I do see why families with kids would have a hard time going to the ballgame. Especially when money should probably be going to more important things, like fixing the leak thats sending water into my basement right onto the 70's carpets, because people in the 70's apparently thought basement carpets were a great freakin' idea. The point being, that I can only afford to go to a game this season, because my benevolent parents are taking me. Well technically I'm taking them as I'll be driving, but they're paying so I get the better end of the deal. June 10 against Cleveland, I am pumped! Some say handouts are for suckers, but I say if they're good enough for the largest banks in the world, then they're good enough for me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New York Killer B's, They on the Swarm!

So much talk this spring has centered around the Yankees top pitching prospects Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman also known as the "Killer B's". Cashman even alluded to the fact that he would not trade these players as they're all legitimate pieces. “I have enough chips,” Cashman said. “But if people want to demand certain bullets, those certain bullets I’m not going to shoot… There are untouchables here.” But one member of the Yankees feels slighted by his non-inclusion as part of the Killer B's.

"I have to be the most experienced prospect the Yankees have." Explained recent acquisition and 13 year major league veteran Ronnie Belliard. "My name has a 'B' in it. I listen to more Wu-Tang Killer Bees than all of those kids. So why can't I be a Killer B?"

When told that the designation was meant for prospects, Ronnie didn't want to hear it:

"Were those kids even alive when the Wu-Tang Killer bees were on the swarm? There was the RZA, the GZA, Ol' Dirty, Mr. T, that dude from Soul Train, and I think I once saw Brad Pitt. If any of the supposed 'Killer B's' can name half of those guys then they can join the Killer Bees. But otherwise, I should be a Killer Bee."

When explained that the Yankees Killer B's were different from the Wu-Tang Killer Bees, Belliard was shocked.

"So all this baseball stuff isn't getting me closer to a RZA-produced album?"

No, but we hope it does seeing as all this baseball stuff isn't likely to get him closer to being on a baseball team this season either. Plus, a RZA-produced album is so rare these days.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gardner vs. Crawford

I was recently in a conversation about Carl Crawford and Brett Gardner and how the Red Sox have the edge on offense in that position (though not as a whole), and it led me to look up their stats from last season. Though Crawford is clearly the better power hitter, I wonder if Gardner could give him a run for his money in batting average for 2011. Crawford had a great season last year hitting .307 with 19 homeruns 90 RBI's and 47 stolen bases. He led the league in triples (which he's done 4 times in his career). By comparison Gardner had a .277 batting average with 5 homeruns 47 RBI's and tied Crawford with 47 steals. The only place where Gardner takes the edge is that he had a .383 OBP vs. Crawford's .356. Gardner had almost 100 fewer plate appearances than Crawford last season as well. So the question is, if they both stay healthy, could Gardner overtake Crawford in batting average and stolen bases? Gardner was batting in the .300's before his wrist injury, and he's as patient an eye as we've seen at the plate. If Gardner bats out of the lead off spot as many think he should, then he should have comparable plate appearances as Crawford. There's only a 2 year age difference between them, and they are both in what many consider the prime age for baseball players. Though Crawford will undoubtedly hit for more power, I'm making a fearless prediction that Gardner will take the batting average and stolen bases from Crawford this season. If not, no one will remember this post by the end of the season, even though it will stand in cyber space for all time, haunting and condeming me for all eternity.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I think if I stole $305,000 from a man who hits things with a bat for a living, I'd turn myself in too.

Glad We Never Made This Trade

Greinke will start the season on the DL with a fractured and bruised rib. Way to do a thorough physical, Brewers' Medical Staff.

Back by Popular Demand

It's been a while since we last spoke with our esteemed GM, so it was time to fire up the old video satellite phone and call up one Brian Cashman. The following is a Justice Department approved transcript of the conversation:

BC: Hello?

RJG: Hey Bronny.

BC: Wow. I haven't heard from you in a while! Where have you been?

RJG: Well, after you failed to sign Lee I didn't really have anything to say to you. But I figured I should check in at this point in the spring.

BC: I know you're down about Lee, but we've got a good rotation.

RJG: Yeah, I know. Hell, if Burnett can manage to land his foot consistently in the same spot, with his stuff, it's almost like having a Cliff and I can't even finish that sentence.

BC: You don't have to be snippy!

RJG: You're right. I don't have to be. Yet somehow I am. Funny how that works isn't it?

BC: Do you call me just to be an @$$hole?

RJG: Well, I think I'm an @$$hole whether or not I'm calling you at the time. What? Do you expect me to change who I am just because I'm talking to the guy who failed to trade all our prospects for Felix Hernandez?

BC: Would you really want me to do that?

RJG: I'm just hurt right now.

BC: You realize we have three solid starting pitchers, with more than two competitive back end options for the rotation? There aren't that many teams in baseball who have as many good, viable pitching options. We're in a pretty good position.

RJG: Don't try to use fact and logic against me, Bronny! You know that's not fair!

BC: Have you been drinking?

RJG: What makes you think that?

BC: You've been yelling all your non exclamatory sentences throughout this conversation.

RJG: Maybe that's how I talk.

BC: It's not though. We've talked on multiple occasions. I know that's not how you talk.

RJG: I'm reading the paper.

BC: What?

RJG: The paper. I'm reading it.

BC: Man, you're losing it.

RJG: I haven't watched a baseball game since October! Of course I'm losing it!

BC: You need another hobby.

RJG: I'm sure someone like you has plenty of time for hobbies when you're busy not signing your free agent targets. Boom!

BC: I failed to sign one target to what was almost certainly an irresponsible contract anyway. Why are you so hung up on this?

RJG: I'm not really, it's just been such an uneventful Winter and Spring that I don't have anything else to talk about.

BC: You could simply not call me then.

RJG: It's not all about you, Bronny.


There you have it folks. The Yankees feel good about their rotation options heading into the season. I think it's hard to argue with them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We Respect His Gangster

It sometimes comes about that in spring training, those minor league players who are real long shots to make the team, end up getting hurt and knocking themselves out of any possible chance they may have had to make the team. Its happened with Cervelli just about every season, and it recently happened with Colin Curtis, who made an all out sprint into a wall to make a catch, injuring his arm in the process. Making an all out play in spring training is respect worthy for a minor leaguer who is hoping to catch some attention from the big league club, but most respect-worthy is his statement afterwards:

"Kind of unlucky...Sick catch though." - Colin Curtis

Sir, you have just won my respect. You have managed to maintain perspective despite the setback. Never apologize for playing hard Colin!

However, an apology is due from Nick Swisher, who as a major league player shouldn't be playing hard in spring training. Swisher ran into and over a fence yesterday making a catch in foul territory. Its spring training Swish, don't go getting yourself injured before we have a chance to pitch ourselves out of contention this year! And on that front, Sergio Mitre just pitched three scoreless innings adding himself to the list of 5th starter candidates throwing well this spring. Honestly this is the best case scenario. All three candidates are pitching well and showing the team they can contribute. Keeping the extra candidates around after the season starts insures that whoever wins that spot won't become complacent. Its hard to slack off when you're replacement is already hired and in uniform, and is watching you, in a weird way, in a following you home and needing a restraining order kind of way.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring Training Has a Way of Making Decisions for You

Just last week I was questioning the wisdom behind sending Montero ahead of Cervelli, since Cervelli is a serviceable backup and gives the Yankees the rare opportunity of not having to rush a prospect. But now that Cervelli has a fracture in his foot, its pretty much set that Montero will be in the big leagues. This is welcome news for Montero, and we'll get to see what this kid can do. And that's the beauty of spring. Some decisions are hard to make, but some get made for you. Injuries, terrible performances, steroid scandals, all have a way of making decisions for the team. The toughest decision right now has to be that 5th starter spot. While the 4th almost seems like a lock for Freddy Garcia (barring injury, terrible performance and steroid scandals), Colon had a strong start his last time out making the race between Colon and Nova a little tighter. Competition is good, and considering how boring this off season was, its good to have something, if only of nominal interest, to talk about.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Power Struggles in the Front Office

For the past several years, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has worked very hard to develop the Yankees' minor league system, keep the major league team competitive, all the while reducing payroll. At times, these competing goals have brought Cashman into conflict with his bosses in Tampa.

"Soriano was not the only time I was overruled this offseason," explained Cashman. "I didn't want to sign Martin either. There were serious concerns about his health and I just thought we could use those $4 million differently. I went to Hal and said, 'Look, I have this chair in the office I don't use, we can lean this board against it and use it as a back stop.' Hal's all, 'No, I demand a human catcher!' Sometimes people don't see eye to eye. Sometimes they don't appreciate your vision. But it's their team, their money."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pitching and Catching

Freddy Garcia made his debut in spring training yesterday pitching a pair of scoreless innings, including a strikeout of thirdbase phenom Evan Longoria. Its certainly a good sign, and though the nay sayers, like myself, will say its only 2 innings, its still far better than having our 4th starter candidate come in, give up 4 homeruns and leave injured. So the question now is, can the Yankees realistically compete with a Sabathia, Burnett, Hughes, Garcia, and Nova/Colon rotation? Though its still way too early to tell and anything from injuries to the acquirement of that ever elusive gyroball could strongly alter the outcome of this argument, its still a fun conversation to have. If Garcia remains healthy and Burnett regains some of his 2008 form, we could be seeing a drastically different rotation than we thought we had.

Then there's the ever present question of who will become our backup catcher. In previous years, we've had players competing for this role, but we've never cared because none of them were a top prospect who could change the world with his bat alone. I'm starting to wonder if its a good idea bringing Montero back north with such limited experience in triple A. Some say that learning on the job in the big leagues could be huge for his growth, but I question how playing every few days even against higher competition, is better than playing every day. He may be close to the big leagues, but what's the rush? Why not let him play every day in Scranton to start the season and call him up in June or July? We know we have a servicable guy in Cervelli, so there's no real demand to have Montero up now. It just feels like we could potentially stunt Montero's growth all for the purpose of having a backup. Let's be clear, next season, Posada will not be our catcher, neither will Russell Martin. The best thing the Yankees can do is prepare Montero to be an everyday player. Even if he plays out a couple months on our bench to finish the season, I think having that extra refinement at the triple A level will go far. Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Teixeira Drops Boras

According to the Lohud blog, Mark Teixeira has dropped Scott Boras as his agent. Teixeira, who is already signed for bazillions of dollars, apparently wants to focus more on charity work, and everyone knows Boras' inability to negotiate with charities.

"I tried to set up a sponsorship with Habitat for Humanity." Explained Mark Teixeira. "Boras, told them I needed $12 million up front plus a luxury suite in every city I would visit for them. I tried to tell him that it was charity work, but Boras didn't get it. He was all like 'Look at these numbers, my client can hit homeruns, and homeruns equal revenue streams for your organization.' The people at Habitat didn't know what to say. Boras then pretended to take a phone call, and when he got off he says 'That was the Ronald McDonald House, they're willing to pay $18 million! The market is shaping up, but my client really wants to work for you. Lets make a deal.' It was really embarrasing. Every time the negotiations would take a turn, he would pretend to take a call from Ronald McDonald himself. 'Ronald, is that you? What's that? Free happy meals for life? Habitat doesn't even want to include meals!' I didn't know what to do."

For now, Teixeira would prefer to work with another agent who is more familiar with charity negotiations.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Pox on Both Their Houses?

First Wainwright and now Chris Carpenter has gone down with an injury. Did Pujols curse the Cards after they failed to pay him $30M a year for infinity? It's really the only logical conclusion.

Should Cano Bat 3rd?

Bob Klapisch wrote an interesting article on Robinson Cano and whether or not he should be batting 3rd. The basic argument is that Teixeira is largely a giant void in the 3-spot until early July when he remembers that the season started. In April of last season Cano hit .400 with 8 homeruns while Teixeira, in the 3-spot, was hitting .136. It hasn't been much of an issue since the Yankees always score lots of runs, but the question is whether this year, when we don't have as much confidence in our starting pitching, if it would be wise to swap the two. According to the article, Cano doesn't even like the idea, and Teixeira could be effected by it. Would it be worth trying it out for the short term? Would you like to see Cano batting 3rd?