Tagged: Brian Cashman

There can be only one: Who will reign as king of the back page, Harvey or A-ROD?

Matt Harvey (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images), A-Rod (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Photo from: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/02/12/mets-harvey-a-rods-return-good-for-him-good-for-baseball/

Matt Harvey (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images), A-Rod (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Image from: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/02/12/mets-harvey-a-rods-return-good-for-him-good-for-baseball/

New York City might be big enough for two professional baseball teams, but only one franchise, and in most cases one player, will control the back pages. Last season that man was Derek Jeter. Now that his farewell tour has ended, I wasn’t sure if it ever would, there are two men who will fill that void. Matt Harvey and Alex Rodriguez are poised for a back page battle in their 2015 returns. But as was the case in ‘Highlander’ – there can be only one.

In 2013, Harvey took the league, and city, by storm. You could find him featured in ESPN Magazine: The Body Issue, participating in skits for ‘The Tonight Show’, on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Us Weekly (featuring his breakup with super model Annie V) and sitting courtside at Knicks/Rangers games. Oh, then there was the fact the he started the 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field. Almost forgot about his on the field dominance. Simply put, he was everywhere.

Unfortunately, Harvey’s rise to stardom was derailed by a season-ending elbow injury that led to Tommy John Surgery. Even while he missed the entire 2014 season recovering he grabbed more attention than his active teammates. Now, much of that has to do with the lackluster season the Mets put together. Nonetheless, Harvey has become a walking headline. Every interview, comment, appearance or tweet he made has become back page news.

Harvey’s combination of talent and brash have him on the cusp of taking the throne as King of NY. All eyes will be on him this spring as he returns to the mound.

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Matt Harvey will be leading the charge as the Mets try to take back NY.

Then there’s A-ROD. He is one of, if not the, most captivating figure in sports. Given where he stands in today’s media landscape, it’s easy to forget that A-ROD was once one of the most popular players in the game. That was long before he donned the pinstripes. As a young phenomenon he was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career and was on pace to break every record in the book. He earned the largest contract in professional sports history (he would later receive a second deal to top that). His little black book is filled with a “who’s who” of women in Hollywood. Then steroids came into the picture. Accusations occurred, denials were initially made and then apologies were ultimately issued.

A-ROD went on to become a World Series hero and all was forgiven. Or was it? Accusations of PED once again began to occur. A lot of them. Denials were once again made. Then a suspension was handed down. A big one (The largest in baseball history). And once again, an apology was issued. This time in the form of a handwritten note.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that’s on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job.”

People love to see the mighty crumble. As bad as that may sound, it’s true. Think about every featured story on the news, magazine covers or website homepages. More times than not you won’t be seeing any feel good stories. It’s almost always regarding someones downfall. Hence why these A-ROD scandals have been so widely reported. Sure, his story has become kind of repetitive. He’s almost like watching a rerun on TV. You’ve already seen the episode. But you enjoyed it so much the first time around that you decided to watch it again. Sound familiar?

I don’t care how many monuments the Yankees give out this season. A-ROD is the only Yankee story people care about.

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Not so fast, A-ROD. I’m sure you have a few more back page covers in you.

The media aren’t the only ones excited for A-ROD’s return. Earlier this week Harvey himself said “If he is that dedicated and wants to come back then more power to him for going up to the organization like that, it shows a lot,” Harvey told the NY Post. “It will be exciting to see what he can do.”

No one epitomized a baseball player better than Derek Jeter. But I found myself becoming bored with him during those dog days of summer last season. I craved that polarizing figure. Someone who has a bit of a flair to him. I missed Matt Harvey. And at times, I can’t believe I’m saying this, I missed A-ROD..

Both The Mets and Yankees are projected to be in the playoff hunt this year, but neither are considered favorites. It’s been a while since these two were on roughly an even playing field. While winning is crucial in NY, it is considered almost equally as important to win those back pages. A-ROD, for both his on and (mostly) off the field actions, could be the Yankees only hope in this battle. While Matt Harvey will try to solidify himself as the new face of baseball in NY.

Yankees rotation still needs work

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman knows he still has work to do this off season. Missing the playoffs once in the Bronx? Okay. Two years in a row? Say your prayers that you still have a job. Three years in a row? Let’s just say no one wants to find out the answer to that question.

For me, I would be most concerned with the starting rotation. The Yankees took another blow with the news of Hiroki Kuroda returning to Japan. Since joining the Yankees in 2011, Kuroda has been their most reliable starter. Just have a look at his three year breakdown with the Yankees:

2012: 16-11 (33 Games started) 219 Innings pitched 3.32 ERA

2013: 11-13 (32 Games started) 201 Innings pitched 3.31 ERA

2014: 11-9 (32 Games started) 199 Innings pitched 3.71 ERA

The Yankees also lost Shane Greene (Traded to the Diamondbacks), and David Phelps (Traded to the Marlins). While neither were expected to play an important part in the Yankees future plans, they both figured to be in the rotation mix at some point throughout the year, due to injury or promotion.

The 2015 Yankee rotation projects to be the following:

  1. Masahiro Tanaka –  The Japanese import quickly established himself as one of the games top starters. Tanaka went 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA in 20 starts. He was well on his way to winning AL Rookie of the Year honors and was going to be in the AL Cy Young award discussion before an elbow issue shut him down. After resting for two months, he was able to return briefly in September to show the Yankees he was good to go for 2015. If healthy, The Yankees have an ace for their staff. Tanaka has avoided the three ugliest words in the game, Tommy John Surgery, for now. 
  2. Michael Pineda – After missing all of 2012 and 2013 to injuries, he looked sharp in his 2014 return. Pineda posted a fantastic 1.89 ERA and looked to be a front-end starter in the makings. However, he was only able to manage 13 starts and 76 innings due to continued health issues and a notorious suspension. Hard to say what the Yankees can rely on getting out of a pine tar less Pineda.
  3. CC Sabathia –  2013 was ugly but 2014 was just down right forgettable for Sabathia, He was only able to make eight starts and posted a 5.78 ERA before suffering a season ending knee injury. The once ace of the staff is now a huge liability on the Yankees books. With three years remaining (The third being a player vesting option that is likely to be picked up) Cashman has his fingers crossed Sabathia is able to reinvent himself. I have him in the #3 slot but that is based on reputation alone. His recent results barely warrant him a spot in the rotation at all. We’ll give him the benefit of doubt that some of his struggles were injury based, for now.
  4. Nathan Eovaldi –  The trade for the young flame thrower was the most surprising move Cashman has made so far this off season. Eovaldi is among the hardest throwing starters in all of baseball. The Yankees desperately needed to get younger, especially in the rotation, and acquiring the 25-year-old helped solve that problem. This will be pitching coach Larry Rothschilds biggest project. Despite consistently clocking one of the hardest fastballs, he also gave up hits at an alarming rate. The Yankees hope that Rothschild can help fine tune this talent and that they found themselves a diamond in the rough.
  5. Chris Capuano –  In my opinion, the Yankees are in serious trouble if they are relying on a full season of Capuano in the rotation. I do like Capuano for what he is and the price was right to retain him. The 36-year-old lefty made 12 starts with the Yankees after being acquired from the Red Sox last year and posted a 4.25 ERA. I would prefer to see him fill the void left by the Phelps and Greene combination – becoming the teams swing man, spending time in the rotation as needed and the versatile arm in the bullpen.

In house help

Ivan Nova – After undergoing Tommy John Surgery last year, he is expected to be ready sometime in May-June. After posting a strong 2013 campaign, he struggled in 2014 before going down for the season after just four starts. It’s hard to have high expectations for a pitcher returning from surgery but he could provide a mid season boost.

Luis Severino – The 20-year-old has quickly made a name for himself and is now the organizations top-ranked prospect. Severino has a fastball that sits in the mid-high 90’s but will still need a little bit more fine tuning in the minor leagues. Although he won’t be with the Yankees come April, he is worth keeping an eye on throughout the season. It’s only a matter of time before Severino is on the mound in Yankee Stadium.

Outside options

Max Scherzer – The 2013 AL Cy Young award winner took a chance when he turned down a huge extension from the Tigers last off season. But it appears his gamble is going to payoff, he returned with an equally impressive 2014 season and remains the biggest name in this free agency class. Being the top starter on the market doesn’t come cheap these days. The 30-year-old is said to be seeking a 7-to-8 year deal north of $200 million.

James Shields – He has been the poster boy of reliability for starting pitchers. Since 2007, Shields has made 30+ starts and thrown 200+ innings in each season. Although he hasn’t lived up to the “Big game James” moniker in terms of his October performances, he is exactly what the Yankees are in dire need of. There is no injury history to speak of when it comes to Shields and given the question marks surrounding the rest of the staff, Joe Girardi desperately needs an arm he can count on to take the mound every five days.

Cole Hamels – Unlike Scherzer and Shields, he is not a free agent. But, the Phillies are set to go into full blown rebuilding mode and have put Hamels on the market. It has been reported that the Yankees are one of the teams on Hamels list that he would waive his no trade clause for. Hamels has made 28+ starts in eight straight seasons and posted a career low 2.46 ERA in 2014. The 31-year-old has 4 years and $94 million left on his contract with a fifth year option for another $20 million.


At the end of the day, I think the Yankees need to either sign Shields or try to trade for Hamels. Scherzer might be the sexy move, but that doesn’t make it the right move. He is a power pitcher who is now entering the wrong side of 30. The Yankees don’t have to look any further than within their own rotation (Sabathia) to see how the back end of a contract with that type of pitcher plays out.

Shields provides the type of stability that Kuroda gave these past three years. Although he might not have performed in October last year, he did help anchor a staff into October, something the Yanks haven’t done in two years. Given his age and the way the market seems to be unfolding – a 4-year-deal might be able to land him. Even if they have to overpay it’s better to do that than give out the years. That is something Cashman must deter away from doing.

Hamels would be the most ideal fit. He has proven to be as durable as anyone in the game today. Hamels would combine with Tanaka to make one of, if not the strongest, 1-2 punch in all of the American League. He already has a contract in place that while high, isn’t unreasonable given his production. There won’t be any questions about his ability to pitch in New York given he has already proved himself in Philadelphia, a tough town in its own right. Plus he has succeeded in Citizens Bank Park, a field as hitter friendly as Yankee Stadium. The fact that his contract doesn’t have him locked up too far into his twilight years makes him even more attractive.

I don’t know what the Yankees will do. But I do know there are too many questions surrounding that projected starting rotation for Brian Cashman to sit idle.

Help Is On The Way For The Yanks

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Despite all of the injury problems the Yankees have faced this season, they have continued to keep themselves in the playoff hunt. While general manager Brian Cashman made some nice additions around the trading deadline, he was unable to land that “game changer” type of player.

Although there wasn’t a big name brought in, the Yankees could soon be receiving a jolt from within their own roster. Mashiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, the early season 1-2 punch in the rotation, each received good news this week regarding their rehab. Pineda, completed his first assignment and is scheduled to throw two more before a possible big league return. While Tanaka, threw a baseball for the first time in a month yesterday to positive results. Although his return would be roughly a month away, he could very well prove to be the difference maker they need down the stretch.

Cashman, did a fine job adding the pieces he did with such limited resources. Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy have quickly made an impact, while Martin Prado and Stephen Drew added some much-needed versatility to the roster. But the moves he didn’t make could turn into his finest of them all. The Yankees farm system is already well depleted. Trading for a rental player would have only sent their system back even further than it already is. Waiting on the rehabbing Tanaka and Pineda could prove to be the best decision he makes this year.

If the Yankees are able to stay in contention until the cavalry arrives, high praise will not only be in order for the job Cashman has done, but Joe Girardi as well. Girardi has once again proven himself to be a top-tier manager in the game today. He continues to get production out of his rosters, no matter who is on the disabled list.

Look for the Yankees to make things interesting down the stretch, especially if Tanaka and Pineda return to their earlier form.

Brian Cashman Must Keep Wheeling and Dealing

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Brian Cashman will be spending a lot of time on the phone these next few days

Despite a depleted starting rotation, and their aging position players dealing with nagging injuries, the Yankees have kept themselves well within reach of playoff baseball. Without any true powerhouse in the AL East, every team has been able to stay in the mix.

Brian Cashman has already been a busy man, making an array of mid-level moves to patch holes on his roster. Chase Headley, was brought in to fill a need at third base, while Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano, are attempting to solidify the rotation. So far-so good, as all three of these players have already made a positive impact. These are the kind of low-risk, high-reward maneuvers that Cashman has been making the last few seasons (Ichiro in 2012 & Alfonso Soriano 2013). Since there additions, each has provided an initial spark into the Yankees, helping them winning 7 of their first 8 games after the all-star break. But, they have lost three straight games since. While these are nice pieces that can undoubtedly help the Yankees down the stretch, they probably aren’t enough to get the job done.

After all, these are the Yankees we’re talking about. With the money Cashman spent this offseason, forget about any of that luxury tax nonsense many convinced us the Yankees were striving to stay below. There is no shortage of star power available at this years trade deadline, it’s more a matter of are you willing to take on one of these contracts? Names such as Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Matt Kemp, Marlon Byrd, Bartolo Colon, Chase Utley, Josh Willingham, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki have all been tied to the Yankees in trade rumors. Many possess large multi-year deals, the type that their respective teams would love to unload, but only few teams would be capable of adding these numbers onto their books. Luckily, the Yankees are one of them.

As I mentioned earlier, no one is running away with the division this year. Baltimore sits atop right now with a 2.5 game lead over Toronto, with the Yankees in third place trailing by 4.5 games. Tampa, who many thought played themselves out of the discussion with their horrendous start, is now the hottest team in baseball. After winning 29 of their last 40 games, the Rays are behind the Yankees by only 2.5 games. Division aside, the Yankees are tied with Seattle in the wild card standings, trailing the Blue Jays and Angels by two games for one of two spots available.

Brian Cashman needs to pull the trigger on one of these impact players, preferably a top of the rotation starter. With C.C. Sabathia finished for the year and Tanaka’s future in question, Joe Girardi desperately needs an anchor in his staff to count on down the stretch. A vintage Yankees “big splash” is exactly what this team needs to become a real contender. Simply put, with two months of the season left to play, October baseball is well within grasp.

Mets, Yankees get off to different second-half starts

Remember heading into the All-Star break when the Mets seemed poised to take back this town? Yeah, about that. Amazingly, in just the first weekend back, the Yankees and Mets momentum has reversed.

We had the young Mets riding high, winning 8 of 10 to finish off the first half. Newspaper and TV outlets had announced it was time for the Mets to end the Yankees long running reign as kings of New York. Things looked even brighter when the Mets were set to face the lowly Padres to start off the half. After a promising win on Friday night, the Mets offense went silent as they dropped the next two games. It wasn’t just that they lost, it was how they lost. Although the pitching remained strong, the return of an anemic offense reminded us of this teams achilles heal. Daniel Murphy will need to get out of this recent slump, while the revival of Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud must continue for the Mets to turn things around.

The Yankees closed out the first half getting bad news, after bad news. Their aging roster continued to get banged up and one after another went down in the starting rotation. C.C. Sabathia had knee surgery to finish his year, Michael Pineda’s return remains in doubt and no one really knows what the future holds for Mashiro Tanaka. With nothing but negativity surrounding the Yankees heading into the break, starting the second half with a sweep of the Reds was exactly what this franchise needed. Despite the lack of depth in the starting rotation, unlikely candidates have stepped up. Hiroki Kuroda is now the “ace” of this staff by default, and he pitched quite well out if the gate. David Phelps had a solid performance and newly acquired Brandon McCarthy showed signs of returning to his old form. Jacoby Ellsbury carried the offense over the weekend and he may need to do so the rest of the way if the Yankees are going to make any sort of a run. So far, so good for the Yankees.

I realize we are only ONE series into the second half, but it’s amazes me just how quickly the mood surrounding each franchise can change. I still believe the Mets have a brighter future ahead of them, but I’m not ready to commit to their reign starting in the second half. Many questions still remain surrounding the Yankees, as I don’t have confidence that they will be able to stay healthy enough to reach the post season. But the AL East lacks a dominant team and the division is there for the taking. A big splash from Brian Cashman at the trade deadline wouldn’t surprise me, as that is what it will take to keep this team afloat. One thing I do know for certain, it’s good to have baseball back in full force.

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What exactly do the Yankees have in Chase Whitley?

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Tonight, Yankees rookie Chase Whitley was lit up for 8 ER in just 3.1 IP against the Toronto Blue Jays. This was easily the worst outing in Whitley’s young career, as he has been a pleasant surprise in the rotation up to this point. The question remains though, just what do the Yankees have in Whitley?

The 25-year-old came into this game with a 3-0 record and a 2.56 ERA. With Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia on the shelf, Whitley has been a saving grace for the Yankees. Although Whitley was undefeated in his first 7 starts, he has only pitched more than 5 innings twice, and has never thrown more than 100 pitches in a game. I realize he’s young and probably on an inning/pitch count, but that isn’t too reassuring for me. It’s hard to count on a pitcher who can’t get through more than 5 innings in a start. With the Yankees rotation as thin as it is, it will be difficult having to use your bullpen for an extended period of time every fifth game.

More than anything else, Whitley just ran into a very good offensive team tonight who was seeing him for the second time around. But that is also what would alarm me the most. Is Whitley going to turn into one of those guys who the league quickly figures out? Or will he be able to make the adjustments as quickly as the batters will to him?

I know I’m only talking about 8 starts here, so I won’t get too carried away with any forgone conclusions about what Whitley will ultimately become. But if I were Brian Cashman, I wouldn’t be trigger shy when it comes to adding another starter. The name of the game is pitching, and I’m not sure you should be counting on Chase Whitley to be one of the starters you count on to help get you into the postseason. Best case scenario, Whitley slides into the fifth starter spot where he can eat up innings and keep the Yankees in ball games.

Tanaka and Pineda Are the Yankees New 1-2 Punch

The new 1-2 punch in the Bronz

The new 1-2 punch in the Bronx (photo courtesy of ESPN NY)

One of the biggest questions entering this season for the Yankees was – Can CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda return to their “ace” form? Well, it appears that may not be completely necessary. Today the Yankees new 1-2 punch, consisting of Mashiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, led the way throwing a combined 14 shutout innings in a sweep of the Cubs.

When the Yankees signed Tanaka, Brian Cashman tried to downplay expectations, labeling him as a middle of the rotation starter. Yeah, right. We all know the Yankees history of opening up their check book to bring in the game’s top talent, but even the Yankees wouldn’t lay out $155 million to a guy they expect to be at best a #3 starter. As of right now, Tanaka has been as good as advertised, if not better. He has quickly put the league on notice, striking out 28 batters in his first 3 starts. Whether Cashman wants to admit it or not, the Yankees brought him in to be the team’s ace. So far, so good. Continue reading

Uh-Oh, David Robertson is heading to the DL

David Robertson is heading to the DL

David Robertson is heading to the DL

Shortly after the Yankees 4-2 home opener win against the Orioles, Manager Joe Girardi put a damper on the day. Closer David Robertson has been placed on the 15-day Disabled List with a groin strain.

Robertson is in the midst of his first year as the Yankees closer, after replacing the great Mariano Rivera. He had been off to a strong start, throwing 3 scoreless innings while recording his first two save opportunities. The Yankees bullpen was already full of inexperienced late inning arms, which now leaves the closer role in a bit of turmoil. Continue reading

“Bronx Bombers” FINALLY hit a home run

Well it took 6 games to happen, but the Yankees finally hit a home run. I’m not sure what the bigger surprise was – that is took 6 games to happen or that Brett Garnder was the man to do it. Continue reading

Tanaka impresses in his MLB debut

Mashiro Tanaka was impressive in his MLB debut (Photo courtesy of CBS)

Mashiro Tanaka was impressive in his MLB debut (Photo courtesy of CBS)

Mashiro Tanaka made his much-anticipated debut last night and didn’t disappoint. Despite a shaky first few innings, Tanaka settled in to throw 7 innings while allowing 3 runs with 8 strikeouts on his way to earning his first win. Continue reading

Yankees rising executive leaves for the MLS?

Will Kunz is seen seated between GM Brian Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi (Photo courtesy ESPN)

Will Kunz is seen seated between GM Brian Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi (Photo courtesy ESPN)

In an ESPN article that I had to read twice to believe, the Yankees announced Will Kunz, Manager of Scouting, will be leaving the Yankees. Kunz, who isn’t even 30 yet, has risen to a prominent position with the most prestigious franchise in all of sports. His reason for leaving? The MLS came calling.

Now I can’t EVER imagine leaving a high-ranking job with a professional baseball team, let alone the Yankees, for a professional soccer league. Granted the league is growing, with popularity rising at a moderate rate in the states. But soccer is not baseball in America, it may be “the worlds game”, but it will always rank towards the bottom of the barrel here.

Brian Cashman had a few choice words for Kunz’s before he official announced his departure. “He is an extremely talented guy,” said Cash “He had a seat at the table” referring to his prominent position. It is well-known that Kunz had Cashman’s ear and was involved in many of this off seasons moves made. You would think a star rising in the organization like that would be on the fast track to even greener pastures in professional baseball. But it appears there was something he wanted even more than this.

Kunz accepted the position as Director of Player Relations with the MLS. “It was the one opportunity outside of baseball that would make me leave here,” Kuntz said.

At the end of the day, will this have any real effect on the Yankees? No, probably not. I just found it interesting to hear of someone making a move like this. But after all this was HIS dream, but mine.

Brett Gardner was in the Yankees future plans after all

Brett Gardner is in the Yankees future plans after all

Brett Gardner was in the Yankees future plans after all

With the way the off-season started, it appeared Brett Gardner’s future was bleak with the Yankees. Brian Cashman spent like a mad man, with a lot of that money going towards the outfield. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran were acquired to play CF and RF respectively,  leaving Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro and Gardner vying for that third outfield spot. But with this extension, it seems the Yankees feel Gardner is a valuable piece of their future and seemingly handed him the job. One shocking fact about Brett Gardner, on opening day in 2015, he will be the longest tenured Yankee on the roster.

When reports first came out, many people, myself included, felt Gardner was heavily overpaid. I have always liked Gardner as a player, but never thought of him as worthy of a 4 year $52 million dollar contract. The most recent free agent that I could compare him to was Michael Bourn, who signed a 4 year deal for $48 million just last season. I went back to compare their numbers before receiving their deals:

2013 Brett Gardner (30 years old): .273 avg /.344 OBP/8 HR/52 RBI /24 SB

2012 Michael Bourn (30 years old): .274 avg /.348 OBP/9 HR/57 RBI /42 SB

As you can clearly see, their numbers are eerily similar. What isn’t shown here is their defense, but the two are both above average defenders who play on a similar level. The only difference that really stands out is the stolen base total. Bourn had far more success on the base path and has been a better base stealer throughout his whole career. Gardner may not be quite at his level, but he isn’t too far behind, as he did lead the AL in 2011 with 49 SB. Overall, you can definitely argue that Gardner didn’t deserve a contract greater than Bourn’s and I won’t disagree with you. My point is that their production levels aren’t that far off, making Gardner’s deal on point with market value.

I know the traditional feeling is you don’t pay players whose game revolves around their legs well into their 30’s, so only time will tell how this will play out for the Yankees. Gardner is a gritty type of player, who very rarely walks away from a game with a clean jersey. It’s important to have a few of these guys on your team, the combination of him alongside Jacoby Ellsbury will give the Yankees a very formidable defensive outfield. I don’t think this contract will be an issue for at least the first few seasons, but for a player like Gardner, that is only slow step away from changing.

One last thing, I hope Gardner has put this “glove” or whatever you want to call it, that he used on the bases in 2013 into retirement.

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Masahiro Tanaka signs with the Yankees

The Yankees have reportedly signed Tanaka to a 7-year deal.

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Wrong Tanaka…

Wait, not that Tanaka. The Yankees desperately needed to add depth to their starting rotation and Masahiro Tanaka does just that. The 25-year-old signed a 7-year deal worth $155 million, add-on the $20 million negotiation fee and you get $175 all together for the most sort after pitcher this off-season. After missing the playoffs for only the second time in the past 20 years, this move puts the Yankees right back in the World Series conversation.

Tanaka is coming off a season in which he went a perfect 24-0 with a 1.27 era. He is in the early stages of his prime years, which won’t leave anyone second guessing a 7-year deal. His contract may sound steep, but given what front line starters are receiving these days, his contract is right on par. Hell, if his production is anything close to his final year in Japan, you could argue he would have earned a Clayton Kershaw, paying him up to $30 million a year. There is an opt-out clause after 4-years, so only time will tell how this will play out in the long run.

Masahiro Tanaka is poised to be the new ace of the Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka is poised to be the new ace of the Yankees

Brian Cashman knew he had to not only add a starting pitcher to this roster, but a potential ace to anchor what is currently in place. Currently, there are 3 starters in set to round out this rotation, C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova. Despite the name recognition, there are still question marks in this group.

Last year Sabathia went through the worst season of his career, going 14-13 with a 4.78 era. To make things worse, when the Yankees needed him the most in the second half, he pitched to a horrendous 6.08 era over that span. Sabathia has made headlines recently for his new slimmed down look, It appears he has gotten himself into shape in hopes of returning to his old form. Kuroda’s numbers look solid at first glance, going 11-13 but with a 3.31 era. After pitching to a strong first half, similar to Sabathia, he struggled mightily in the second half going 3-7 with a 4.25 era. You have to wonder if age has caught up with Kuroda as he will be 39 come opening day.

Ivan Nova made his return to the rotation about half way through the year and pitched quite well in his return. Nova went 9-6 with a 3.10 era, but he did pitch to an era over 5 just two years ago. Let’s not forget about Michael Pineda, the prized return in the Jesus Montero trade with Seattle. Pineda has been hampered with injuries and hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011. He finally showed some signs of health in the middle of 2013, but only pitched 40 innings in the minors. Although he possesses the talent, his health is one giant question mark and there is every reason to believe he will be on some sort of innings limit this year. It’s hard to put much faith into Pineda.

What I’m really trying to get at is this was a move the Yankees HAD to make. With the Yankees spending most of their off-season money revamping the offense, they were sorely overlooking their biggest need, pitching. But it appears Brian Cashman had a plan all along as the Yankees have had the strongest off-season in all of baseball.

Reality is, the Yankees reverted back to their old ways and made Tanaka an offer he couldn’t refuse.

What Is Going On In The Yankees Front Office?

Who is really running the show? Hal Steinbrenner or Brian Cashman

Who is really running the show, Hal Steinbrenner or Brian Cashman?

The Yankees front office seems to be taking a page from Alex Rodriguez these days, as they continue to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Private conversations and personnel decisions have been becoming more and more public recently, which is leaving many to question if ownership and Brian Cashman are on the same page.

Before yesterday’s game, Joe Girardi told reporters Derek Jeter would be playing in a simulated game before deciding if he was ready to rejoin the team. But, he would not reveal the location. This has many asking the obvious question, Why not? What does protecting the location of a simulated game really accomplish? This comes off as odd to me and has me curious who made the decision to not inform the media where the game would be held. It’s not like an army of reporters would have quickly fled to Staten Island, where the game was actually held, to watch Jeter. Even if they did, what was the worst that was going to happen, he gets asked how he felt and if he is ready to rejoin the team? Pretty sure Jeter would have been able to handle these minuscule questions.

It became even clearer later in the day that there are conflicting views of what direction this team should be going. Brian Cashman let his true feelings be heard to Joel Sherman of the New York post over the Alfonso Soriano trade:

“I would say we are in a desperate time,” Cashman told the Post. “Ownership wants to go for it. I didn’t want to give up a young arm. But I understand the desperate need we have for offense. And Soriano will help us. The bottom line is this guy makes us better. … This is what Hal wants, and this is why we are doing it.”

Ownership overruling Cashman is nothing new, just think back to when the Alex Rodriguez extension was forced upon him. The move for Soriano cost them pitching prospect Corey Black. It’s not like Black was being regarded as a big piece of the future for this franchise. In my opinion, this was Cashman venting a little bit as his frustration is beginning o catch up with him.

It was well documented that ownership wanted to have the Yankees below the Luxury tax and restock from within, but this move says otherwise. If George was still around, no one would even think twice about this move. He would willingly take a chance on such a player without blinking. If it didn’t work out? So what, move on and go sign someone else. Those days were suppose to be behind us. Cashman was supposed to be the one making decisions now, but you have to be doubting that after this recent power struggle.

This season has been one giant headache for Cashman, and if ownership continues to run this team in such a manner, it might be best if these two part ways at the end of the season.

Will Alex Rodriguez PLEASE Go Away

The media can't get enough of A-Rod

The media can’t get enough of A-Rod

I think I speak for everyone when I say I have had enough of Alex Rodriguez for a lifetime. With all of these conflicting stories floating around, I don’t know what to believe anymore. This story has so much drama, lies and backstabbing that it belongs on the SOAP network.

Everyday we have a new story about A-Rod. Whether it be regarding his PED use, his rehab assignments or a PR disaster, the media just can’t get enough of him. It’s not even that I blame the media, ok maybe a little bit, but Rodriguez brings this upon himself more than anyone else.

Yesterday for instance, A-Rod sought his OWN second opinion on his quad sprain. Now that sounds fine and all, until you hear he did it without the Yankees consent. Dr. Michael Gross is the man who A-Rod sought out for a second opinion. By midday his name could be found everywhere.

After first appearing as a guest on The Mike Francesa Show to give his MRI prognosis, he went on to talk to just about any other media outlet that would talk to him. He would not say how this all came about, but did say he was “enjoying his 5 minutes of fame”. Sounds like he found the perfect doctor for this situation.

This has all become an absolute joke. why did A-Rod even have to seek out a second opinion on a grade 1 quad sprain? This isn’t exactly a severe injury that should require another doctors opinion. But moving on from that, why would A-Rod see another doctor without telling the Yankees? This leads me to believe he thinks the Yankees are doing everything possible to keep him off the field. But if that’s the case, why not file a grievance and go directly through the players union? That’s the whole point of being apart of a union.

Major League Baseball obviously has something on A-Rod. The only thing that scares me is that they must not have a “slam dunk” case against him. If they did, they would have suspended him the same time as Ryan Braun. Whatever MLB has, they must know it will be something that will either have to be dealt with in the court room or through the appeal process.

A-Rod is just bad for baseball at this point. Plain and simple. Each day he remains in the league he tarnishes not just his own reputation, but the game of baseball as well. Maybe the Yankees and MLB truly are working together to keep A-Rod out of the game. Quite honestly, can you really blame them if they are?