Wednesday, March 28, 2012

RJG Speaks With The Cash Man

Every now and again, we here at RJG call up old friend of the blog, Brian Cashman, to get his personal insight into the current state of the Yankees. With the rotation decision less than a week away, and meaningful baseball not far behind, we thought it time to check in once more with the heralded--by stalkers, but still--GM. The following is a transcript of our conversation.

BC: Yes, Bronny speaking?

RJG: You're calling yourself that now?

BC: No! Pfff, as if! Whatever, man.

RJG: That was weird. Anyway, about the rotation.

BC: I can't keep explaining to you guys how day turns to night.

RJG: I'm not talking about that rotation, though I wish you'd just admit that your little 'theory' is nothing more than a scientific hoax. I'm talking about the starting staff for O-twelve.

BC: I can't really discuss that right now. There's just too much going on.

RJG: Oh, cause Joba got hurt?

BC: No, not that.

RJG: That's the only thing going on.

BC: I have other things on my mind right now, things you wouldn't understand.

RJG: Try me.

BC: Alright, but pay attention and try to keep up. You know the movie, Star Wars?

RJG: Yeah.

BC: Okay, you know when the Millennium Falcon first docks in the Death Star hangar bay, after getting pulled in by the tractor beam?

RJG: Yeah.

BC: They send two storm troopers to check the ship, which they find empty then leave. That's when Han Solo and company pop out of the secret compartments he uses for smuggling.

RJG: Why is this troubling you?

BC: Because, next they send two guys with scanning equipment who presumably get housed. Then, you hear Han ask the two storm troopers guarding the ship for some assistance. The troopers run up, you hear a laser shot, and next thing you know, Han and Luke exit the Falcon in the uniforms of the aforementioned storm troopers.

RJG: So?

BC: So?! So what happens to the four people they just disposed of?! Were these bodies decomposing in secret compartments for a remaining two and a half movies?! When Lando got to pilot the Falcon, in Jedi, was he sitting around like, 'What the #$%&@ is that smell?' I feel like this is a major hole in the plot!

RJG: This doesn't seem to have anything to do with the plot at all.

BC: Have you even seen, Star Wars?

RJG: Yes! Pfff, as if! Whatever, man.

BC: That's what I thought.

RJG: Well your personal life is all over the news.

BC: Well you're talking to yourself.


RJG: Whataya mean I'm talking to myself? Hello? Bronny? &@*% it!

There you have it folks, the Yankees feel good about their rotation for the upcoming season.

Rotation Decisions Forthcoming

In the next few days Girardi has said that he will release his rotation decisions. Being the investigative reporters that we are we had no choice but to toe the line of unethical behavior and acquire the unreleased rotation list. This mission was the hardest thing we had ever done.

I approached Girardi in the clubhouse under the pretense of asking him about Joba's ankle injury, but in his hand was the briefcase that our sources confirmed had the rotation list. I pulled out my notepad as if I was going to take notes on his answers, but Girardi knew something was up, and made a mad dash for the door! How could I be so stupid!? I never take notes, I always make up their answers. I chased him into the parking lot where he hopped into a car that was waiting for him. I jumped into my car and chased him through the city weaving in and out of traffic, and onto the free way, but he was more equiped than I. Popping the trunk of his car a giant container of oil spilled out as I was right on his tail. My car spun on the slick surface and crashed into a ditch. Girardi flicked his cigar onto the oily road sending a trail of flames heading straight for my car! My gas tank ignited and my car exploded into a glorious array of metal and fire, but I wasn't dead. I had slipped out through the trap door in my Hyundai that I keep for moments just like this. But since Girardi thought I was dead, I had a distinct advantage. I called my sources and found out that Girardi was heading to the airport. I beat him there, bought myself a ticket and planned to confront him in the terminal. As I waited for him, I pulled out my notepad and flipped through the empty pages, passing the time, until I came across a page that read "Boom!". As I pondered the implications of such an ominous message, a flight attendant hurled a briefcase from across the terminal yelling "Rotate this!". The briefcase landed at my feet. I jumped at a trash can, flipped it over and covered the briefcase to absorb the explosion, but at that moment I was jumped by airport security. In the scuffle, the briefcase detonated, and I hid myself in the smoke, broke through the security door and ran out onto the tarmac, just in time to see an airplane taking off, with Girardi in the window, giving me the finger. It was quite clever.

But my sources are good, and I found where he was headed. Hiding in the back seat of his car, I waited for Girardi. The moment finally came, Girardi arrived and began driving home, but I jumped out and we began a scuffle. We traded blows and tumbled about, rolling right out of the drivers side door and onto the pavement where we continued the fight as his Jeep crashed into a Panera. But as we fought a mack truck passed by and Girardi grabbed ahold of the door, making his escape! He stared me down as the truck drove off holding the rotation list up in his hand in a mocking manner, but the joke was on him. In the scuffle I had switched rotation lists. The list in his hand was a list of Wu-Tang clan members. So long story short, here's the rotation:

CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Michael Pineda
Ivan Nova
Freddy Garcia

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chamberlain Injured

It was recently reported that Chamberlain suffered a rather significant ankle injury playing with his son at a recreational center that had trampolines. The details haven't all come out but the injury sounds fairly substantial. I read on Fox Sports that the bone in the ankle broke the skin. We'll have to wait and see what we hear about this.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Question Worth Debating

Is it possible that I, not Mariano Rivera, am the greatest relief pitcher of all time? I was never given a chance, by the Yankees or anybody else, so we'll never really know. We just have to assume that I'm at least as good as Rivera, which makes giving him, or anyone else, the title of 'best ever' unfair and unduly hurtful.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Training is Boring

Andy Pettitte threw a bullpen yesterday. You probably already know that because it's practically headline news this time of year. The only time an Andy Pettitte bullpen should be headline news is if the story goes something like this:

Andy Pettitte Throws Bullpen, Martin $#!%$ Himself

(AP) - Today, Andy Pettitte threw his first bullpen of the spring, beginning a process that he hopes will help him return to the dominant form he last displayed in 2010. Russell Martin, catching the legendary Yankee hurler for the first time, $#!% himself.

"When you crouch down in that box, and you see those eyes glaring at you from behind that glove . . . it's creepy man," explained a still soiled Martin. "I was scared, so I $#!% myself."

The actual story, that Martin was impressed by Pettitte's location, is boring. At this point, everything about this spring is boring. There aren't even enough roster spots open to competition to pretend to have anything to care about. The rotation questions aren't interesting because, unless somebody gets hurt, the Yankees are going to put Garcia in the bullpen since he missed 'significant time' with that hand injury and isn't as 'stretched out' as everybody else. You know, the players that were going to get rotation spots ahead of Garcia no matter what. I just want it to be April 6th, so we can start to care again.

Badger, Badger, Badger, AH SNAKE! Badger, Badger, Badger

Lately, we've been getting some beautiful weather up north which can only mean one of two things: either baseball is on the horizon, or the apocalypse is near. After the Yankees signed Pettitte, I was sure it was the latter, but after checking my Bible, it turns out signing retired veterans to minor league deals isn't one of the signs of the coming end. So we're alright....for now.

With baseball clearly on the horizon, I am starting to get excited for this season. There's several story lines I want to see play out. Who will earn the 5 spots in the rotation? How will Andy pitch? Can A-Rod bounce back? Can Jeter turn back the clock just a little and have a Jeter-like season? Can Granderson put up MVP numbers again? Will Robertson prove a likely successor to Mariano Rivera? Will we win a championship? All of these questions will be answered over the next 7 months, but will begin on April 6th in Tampa. That alone is enough to keep me going for the next two weeks of meaningless spring training games. So what does this have to do with the title of this post you ask? Well what does your face have to do with your history of rejection I respond? Everything. Think about that. Its deep.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Does This Move Bode Well for the Pitching Staff?

How concerned do the Yankees have to be concerned about Pineda, Hughes, and Kuroda to sign another veteran pitcher to join a rotation that already has Garcia as an odd man out? As much as I like this move, perhaps due nothing more to nostalgia, it raises some concerns about the current state of our starters and management's opinion of them.

Oh Dizzam

The Yankees have resigned Andy Pettitte to a minor league deal. Pettitte last pitched for the Yankees in 2010, but left the team to spend time with his family. After an entire year with his little miracles, Pettitte has reached the conclusion that family blows. The Yanks have signed him largely to convince Mariano Rivera of that fact. Both men are devout Christians who have played together for a long time, so Pettitte's words should carry some weight. Stay tuned as this story develops further.

In other news, Bernie Williams is pissed right now.

Pettitte Coming Back!

I thought it was a joke too, but apparently he's signed a minor league deal!

2 Legit 2 Quit

Lots of talk this spring training has come around Pineda's less than impressive fastball and Raul Ibanez's less than impressive hitting abilities. The one story that has slipped under the radar, is Jeter's gangster rating. This year, his gangster has been projecting far greater than in previous years. His gangster over replacement player or GORP, is a stunning 48 Joe Pesci's. Statisticians have projected him as a .357/.400/.450 player, all of which are calibers of bullets. It may be too early to tell, but Jeter may be in for his best year in recent memory. Definitely his most gangster year. Despite his age, Jeter remains the most gangster player in all of baseball. Baseball players get old and become obsolete, Jeter gets old and becomes the Don Corleone of the baseball world. Respect his gangster.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A-Rod Wows the Crowd

It was reported that early in Spring Training, A-Rod mesmerized the clubhouse with an emotional speech about the upcoming season. RJG has acquired a transcript of this special, behind closed doors, monologue and now presents it to you, our loyal reader:

AR: Good morning, gentleman. I'm here to talk to you all about a very important topic. Ninja attacks can happen at any moment of any day. One-hundred percent of ninja attacks are unavoidable, but there are precautions you can take. One, don't make ninja enemies. It might seem like a good idea when you're in Vegas, but it comes back to haunt you. Also, when you go to the beach, don't get eaten by a shark. That's not ninja specific but still worth keeping in mind. Don't get eaten by a shark.

Galvanized minor leaguer: Amen, brother!

AR: We're not related. Odd. To continue, this year we're playing for the same goal we always play for, to maximize shareholder value. Remember that every time you lose, it hurts the brand. When you hurt the brand you hurt the investors, and we don't know how many of those investors are ninjas. They could all be ninjas. When you meet someone with a stake in the Yankees, assume they are ninjas. I have a question. Why is this guy talking about ninjas? That's an excellent question, Alex. Why are there so many flavors of Schnapps? It's confusing. Also, ninjas don't like Schnapps. I don't like Schnapps. Does that make me a ninja? Another excellent question, Alex. You are on a roll.

Galvanized major leaguer: You are on a roll!

AR: I'm not a sandwich. Again, let's try to keep these comments helpful guys. 'Constructive' is the word of the day. Back to the topic at hand. Thank you.

There you have it folks. Having been psyched up by such a stunning display of word smithery, the Yankees, it can only be assumed, are headed for a championship this year.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Truth About Robertson's Injury

David Robertson has injured his foot. He claims he sustained the injury while carrying empty boxes down some stairs and slipping, but we at RJG know better.

You see, when you're a pro athlete, you're not allowed to do $#!%. In fact, you are contractually obligated to not do $#!%. So when Robertson says, "I was carrying empty boxes that were empty and weighed almost nothing and slipped exactly just one step and sustained a trip to the DL necessitating injury", what he means is:

"So I'm in my house at the top of the stairs, and I says to myself I says, 'I think that I can clear these steps if I jump off from here.' So I jump and I totally cleared the steps. But then I thinks to myself I think, 'Beginner's luck. Let's see if you can do it again!' So I dos it again and I clear all the steps. But I'm not thrilled about my level of clearance on this second jump, so I tries again. I really jumped the hell out of those steps on that last try, but I landed kind of hard and broke my foot on some boxes that were full of bricks. I thought they would cushion my landing better is what I thought. Not so much."

Reviewing Our Rivals: Third Base

Alex Rodriguez vs. Kevin Youkilis

Third base. The hot corner. The place where shortstops go to die. At this pivotal intersection sits Alex Rodriguez in New York and Kevin Youkilis in Boston. Both of these players had off years last year. A-Rod hit .276 with 16 homeruns and 62 RBI's, while Youkilis hit .258 with 17 homeruns and 80 RBI's. Youkilis played in 21 more games than A-Rod as A-Rod suffered from injuries found most prevalent in German Shepherds.

Despite Youkilis' slightly better performance last year, A-Rod holds the advantage in a few key areas. For one, A-Rod's a better hitter than Youkilis. Yes Youkilis can out walk A-Rod, but A-Rod can actually hit the ball better. A-Rod can also out date Youkilis. A-Rod is commonly found with actresses and singers, while Youkilis is commonly found in police lineups fitting the common profile of "creeps". Further more, Youkilis has bad karma from his time in the minor leagues, where he worked a second job hiring himself to families as the boogie man to scare children into obeying their parents. Many children were emotionally scared in those days. The kids were so horrified of Youkilis they would run to the actual boogie man for comfort. That stuff has a way of coming back to you.

So who wins in this comparison of third baseman? A-Rod. Only because he's making $29 million this season, and only 70 homerun hitters with high .400 batting averages make that kind of money. Youkilis will make $12 million which is in the ballpark of what Carl Pavano was making when he was with us. Do you pick the 70 homerun hitter or Carl Pavano? I rest my case.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rival Review: Short Stop

Derek Jeter vs. ?

I'm not going to lie, I don't even know who the Boston Red Sox's short stop is, so I'm going to google that right now . . .

I'm back. That took for #$@&*$ ever! There's only one short stop listed on the Red Sox active roster at their official site, but he, it turns out, is not their starting short stop. It turns out Mike Aviles, listed as a third baseman, and Nick Punto, listed as a second baseman, are competing for the job. So right now, as far as I know, the Red Sox don't have a starting short stop. What they do have is a series of back-up type players competing for the starting job.

The Yankees have Derek Jeter.

Gosh, let me think, who takes this one? Hmm. It's close, but I'm going to have to go with Jeter over "#@$& it, this season's lost anyways."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rival Review: Second Base

Robinson Cano vs. Dustin Pedroia

If you have a lot freckles and watch most baseball games in an alcohol induced blackout, rambling aimlessly about what a good pick-up Mike Cameron was, you probably think Dustin Pedroia is the greatest thing to ever happen to the Boston Red Sox. He is the face of baseball, or at least the only face you can still remember with any clarity. He's won an MVP. He's won two World Series. And he's only 5'8", so you're not quite as emasculated by him as you are by every other ball player.

Last year, Robinson Cano had a breakout season. Not so much because he performed in a manner superior to previous seasons (if anything, he was less disciplined at the plate than the year before), but because his performance in the Home Run Derby established him as one of the game's brightest stars. He also, it turns out, is king of Taiwan. A fact few people knew.

But how do these two second basemen stack up against each other? Cano has unusual range for a second baseman. Pedroia also has unusual range, but with a less impressive qualifier: for a guy who's 5'8". It has always been said that Pedroia plays hard, while Cano was thought to cruise through his first few Major League seasons purely on talent and minimal effort.

That, however, couldn't be further from the truth. Cano is one of the hardest workers in the game, while Pedroia gave Jon Lester cancer. The edge, therefore, goes to Cano in the battle of the second basemen.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rival Review, Continued

Mark Teixeira vs. Adrian Gonzalez

In the battle of first basemen, stats rule. In 2011, Mark Teixeira hit a blazing .248, while Gonzalez only mustered a paltry .338. Teixeira's gargantuan efforts led to 39 home runs. How many did Gonzalez have? 27, a number most back-up infielders would be ashamed of. Both had identical .997 fielding percentages, but Gonzalez did it mostly by cheating and through avid use of stunt doubles.

Teixeira is a great teammate, often helping his colleagues with mundane as well as extraordinary problems. Gonzalez, on the other hand, routinely steals things from other lockers in the Fenway home clubhouse. When confronted, he generally blames whatever Make A Wish participant happens to be standing nearby.

Where does that leave us in our analysis? Teixeira wins, but only by a hair. He would have won more handily, but, and in the interest of full disclosure, Gonzalez bribed us.

Yankees Rotation Prediction

The conventional wisdom is that the Yankees starting rotation will consist of Fatsah Sabathia, Shouldah Kuroda, Super Nova, Raidah Pineda, and Refuse to Hughes. I concede that this may be the case on opening day, but come mid-May or, at the latest, June, Garcia will be our number 5 starter.

Excuse my skepticism, but I just don't see Hughes being a long-term solution for the Yankees' rotation. There are two interrelated reasons for this. The first is that Hughes doesn't throw very fast. He just doesn't, and there is nothing you can do about that. The second reason is that Hughes doesn't have the sort of control and/or pitch repertoire necessary to make his low 90s fastball work. Maybe he could get away with his stuff on the Diamondbacks, but not in the AL East or the AL in general.

I strongly suspect that Hughes will not last much longer in the starting rotation than he did last year. I know he pitched well in 2010, at least for the first half of the season, but remember when Lee Mazzilli was managing the Os and they were kicking everybody's @$$ through May, and then did nothing from there on out? Yeah. Welcome to Phil Hughes. He's our Baltimore Oriole.