In one of the more humorous moments of Bob Costas’ career, he had a little trouble holding it in during last night’s Yankee-Mariners broadcast. Costas, called the game alongside John Smoltz for the MLB Network. Fans must have been ecstatic that they had another way to watch last night’s game that didn’t include Michael Kay in the broadcast booth, little did they know they would also be witnessing TV gold.
It appears the 7th inning stretch isn’t just for the fans, but the announcers as well. In the bottom half of the inning, Costas abruptly put Smoltz on the spot asking “How are your play-by-play skills?” Before Smoltz could get his “There not bad” answer out, Costas was halfway out the door. Upon his return, he went into detail as to what occurred. Apparently in the middle half of the inning, Costas attempted to relieve himself, but all stools were occupied by the Yankee and Mariner local broadcasters.
Costas decided he would make his best effort to hold it in and wait till the next half inning was complete. But that just wasn’t going to cut it. Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go.
Watch and Enjoy:
With Robinson Cano returning to the Bronx tonight, many are eager to see the treatment he receives from the fans. Cano, was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night, and we were given a glimpse as to what the crowd might be like.
Fallon has become notorious for pulling pranks during his years on late night TV, this time it came at the expense of Yankee fans. Random fans were questioned on the street as to how they would treat the former Yankee great upon his return. The fan would then turn and let their voice be heard to a poster of Cano, little did they know the real life Cano would be standing behind the sign. The faces of disbelief and shock are priceless when Cano reveals himself. Fans tones quickly change from boos to hugs.
This is the way most fans really are, regardless of the fan base. It’s easy to boo from a distance, knowing the person will be unable to single you out. But put that same fan face-to-face with their target, things will quickly change. The video is hilarious, kudos to Jimmy Fallon and whatever producer thought this skit up, well done.
Watch the video below, you won’t regret it.
The day has finally come Yankee fans, Robinson Cano makes his much anticipated return to The Bronx tonight. In quite the role reversal, the Yankees were outbid for the prized free agent this off season, as Cano took the money and ran to Seattle.
Cano was a bit of an Enigma during his tenure with the Yankees. He was undoubtedly the best all-around player on this Yankee squad for the past few seasons. But for whatever reason, he never reached the popularity of his fellow teammates. Cano was certainly well received among the fans overall, but he never truly received the complete love of the fan base.
As much as Cano will be remembered for his sweet swing, fans will also remember his lack of hustle. Too many times did Yankee fans see Cano barely step foot out of the batter’s box on a ground ball, or make a nonchalant effort defensively, it was enough to make any fan pull their hair out at times. Part of that is just Cano’s style, as he does things with such ease and grace, that it appears as if he isn’t even trying, but there are certainly times when that wasn’t the case and he was giving very little effort. It drove me nuts watching him on certain plays and I’m not even a Yankees fan. I can only imagine what was going through the heads of diehard fans every time they saw him giving a half ass effort. Continue reading
The Mets made their next round of minor league demotions this morning; most notably including Wilmer Flores. I know this doesn’t come as a complete shock, but I was holding on to hope that Flores would make the trip north.
Shortstop has been at the center of many conversations/rumors this off-season for the Mets. We’ve heard it all from the front office being disappointed in Ruben Tejada, talking (but not talking) to free agent Stephen Drew and discussing the possibility of a trade for Seattle’s Nick Franklin or Arizona’s Didi Gregorius. Despite all of those grumblings, Wilmer Flores has emerged into a legitimate internal candidate to fill this apparent hole.
Flores left quite an impression this spring with his transition back to his natural position. After spending much of the winter at a Mets training facility, he arrived at camp in the best shape of his life. Normally that sounds like a cliché, but there was a noticeable difference in his body this spring. Although he came up a shortstop, he quickly was thought to have outgrown the position with his bulkier build and had been moved around the infield the past few seasons. But with the continued struggles of Ruben Tejada, and Flores new-found agility, this experiment seems to be gaining some legs.
There hasn’t been much doubt about Flores offensive production, as he has done nothing but produce with each promotion he has made at the minor league level. This spring shown some pop with a .238 average/2 homeruns/9 RBI in a small sample size. However, the most impressive thing he has displayed this spring wasn’t with the bat, but proving that he can be a capable defensive shortstop. I don’t think anyone would ever expect him to be a gold glove caliber defender, which just isn’t fair.
The best comparison I can think of is Johnny Peralta, a shortstop with a larger build who is known much more for his offensive production. He may not have the range, but he makes all of the plays he is supposed to make. That would be the ideal player I would hope Flores can develop into.
If Ruben Tejada was a defensive wizard, I wouldn’t have any problem with him. You could argue that the biggest surprise has been the major step backwards his defense has taken. There have been routine ground balls this spring that have eaten him up. That just isn’t acceptable. When Tejada first arrived he surprised us all with his production at the plate. He working the count and finding ways to reach base, but that has quickly disappeared. His bat is sluggish through the zone as pitchers continue to simply overpower him. If Tejada is unable to provide any sort of plus attribute, then I don’t want to see him playing every day.
As much as I would love to see Flores as the opening day shortstop, I understand the need for him to gain more experience at the position before making the jump. I would expect Wally Backman to be running Flores out at shortstop every day in AAA, giving him the reps he needs to prove he deserves a promotion. Backman, being a former middle infielder himself, should be able to help his continued defensive growth. I just hope the Mets don’t toy around with his progress and shift him around every other game, either play him at short stop or don’t. That’s the only way we will find out if he will become a capable of playing the position at the major league level.
Tejada will be on a VERY short leash to start this season. If he wasn’t feeling the heat from the front office already, he will quickly feel it from the fans if he gets off to a sluggish start. I don’t think a trade is in the works just yet, as teams are pushing for young pitchers that Sandy Alderson isn’t ready to part with. With that in mind, Flores should have a bag packed at all times, ready to answer that call and return to Citi Field.
Well, it’s almost March and it appears the Mets are unsure of who their opening day short stop will be. Ruben Tejada was the “penciled in” candidate for the job, but reports have begun to surface that the Mets are once again disappointed in him, leaving the position in question once again.
Besides just the Tejada reports, we also have news that Wilmer Flores will spend time this spring back at his original position. Then there is Stephen Drew, who is still available and has been mentioned as a Mets target for months. More recently, we have the Seattle Mariners shopping Nick Franklin, who has also become a potential candidate via trade.
Here is a breakdown of the potential candidates:
Ruben Tejada (The Favorite):
The 24-years-old was/is the favorite to win the job. When the Mets allowed Jose Reyes to leave in free agency, it was believed that they had his replacement already in Tejada. Initially it looked like they might have been right. In 2012, he hit .289 with a .333 OBP while playing a solid short stop at just 22-years-old. But things quickly began to change in 2013. Tejada showed up to camp late (Not entirely true, but he wasn’t early) and out of shape. Things got worse from there, he was plagued by injuries and put up a .202 avg/.259 OBP/0 HR/10 RBI in just 57 games.
This is what ultimately led the Mets to send Tejada to their off-season conditioning program, where he has since returned to mixed results. Although the club appears to be unhappy with him, until a viable option is brought in, this is clearly still his job to lose. I’m not sure if he deserves all of these opportunities, but if Tejada does end up losing this position, he has no one to blame but himself.
This could be his last chance to be an everyday player with the Mets, I would live to see him revert back to the promise he showed in 2012, if not, Tejada could be looking at a future as a utility infielder.
Stephen Drew (Free Agent Option):
Then there’s the mystery of Stephen Drew. No one seems to be able to pin point exactly he is asking for. He clearly made a mistake in turning down the $14 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox. Because of that offer, a team would have to sacrifice a draft pick in exchange for signing him. In the Mets case, that would mean a third round pick (First pick is protected and second was given up in exchange for Granderson). There doesn’t exactly sound to be teams bidding on Drew and the Mets are really the only team you hear that has showed continued interest.
I know the majority of fans have been screaming to just sign Drew and get it over with already. I don’t think they are wrong, but I want it to be at our price. Drew is a proven player, at this point in his career, we have a good idea what it is we would be getting out of him. He is a good defensive player with a good bat for the position. The 30-year-old, soon to be 31, produced a season of .253 avg/.333 OBP/13 HR/67 RBI last season. Those are certainly upgrades from the production we have been getting since the Reyes departure, no doubt about it.
The biggest concern I have is Drew’s health. He has only played over 100 games once since 2010 and that was last season at only 124. That would make me weary about any sort of lengthy deal. If drew would sign for a 1-year or 2-year $20 million kind of deal, than I would say go for it. Anything more than 2 and I’m out. I know some people like to hold on to draft picks for dear life, but it is a third round pick and the draft is always a crap shoot after all.
Drew would bring instant credibility to the position, but don’t look at him as the savior. IF the Mets do bring him in, are they serious contenders to win the division? Probably not. But he does solidify this team more than where it stands today.
Wilmer Flores (The Experiment):
Flores is an interesting case, whose name has only come up for this job in the past few weeks. Like Tejada, Flores was sent to the off-season conditioning program. But, unlike Tejada, the Mets seem rather pleased with his results. The claim is that Flores is in the best shape of his life, quicker and more agile than he has ever been before.
The 22-years-old came into the Mets farm system as a short stop, but was later moved due to his inability to play the position. He has spent most his time playing second and third base. His offense is what has made him a touted prospect in the organization. In 107 games at AAA he posted a .321 avg/.357 OBP/ 15 HR/86 RBI, although he didn’t fair quite as well when he was promoted to the majors. In 27 games he hit only .211 with 1 HR and 13 RBI, all while playing third base.
There is no question that Flores is a better offensive option compared to Tejada, the only concern with him is his defense. Can a man who was known to have no real position the last few years suddenly emerge as a real candidate to play SS in the majors? It’s hard for me to imagine him being a serviceable defender to justify giving him the job. He has always looked stiff in the field and doesn’t appear to be athletic enough to handle this role.
But, if he really shows he can hold his own, and at least make the plays he is supposed to, I would like to see him given a real chance. We know at this point he will never play third base for this team, second base is blocked by Daniel Murphy, for now, and first base, who knows? Let’s wait and see how he looks this spring, he certainly would be a nice surprise if he could somehow earn the job.
Nick Franklin (Trade Option):
Franklin’s named has come up with the news that the Mariners are shopping around the 22, soon to be 23-year-old. He was considered one of the Mariner’s top prospect over the last few seasons but has been squeezed out with the emergence of Brad Miller at SS and the signing of Robinson Cano to play second base.
In his rookie campaign, his stat line read .225 avg/.303 OBP/12 HR/45 RBI. While those numbers don’t exactly scream wow, he was just a rookie. Franklin has been known to have some pop in his bat but questions remain as to whether he should be playing short stop or second base. Last year he spent the majority of his time at second, but in the minors he has played 261 games at SS compared to 122 at 2B.
I do like that Franklin is young, leaving it unknown as to what his ceiling could be. Hitting 12 HR and 45 RBI in only 103 games last season is respectable for a middle infielder in his first season. If the Mets think he is capable of playing short stop, then he is worth seriously looking into. But, I wouldn’t trade one of our pitching prospects for him either.
I understand you have to give to get in this game, but the Mets have spent the last few years stacking up their chips and I am not sold that he is worth one of our valuable pieces. Eventually some of our prospects will have to go, it’s a numbers game, but we should be saving our stockpile of arms to make that big splash somewhere down the line. If he is available for the right price, than I believe Sandy will jump on it, he has done quite well for us in his previous trades.
Honestly, the only one that would really shock me to be the opening day SS on this list is Flores. However, anything is possible. If Stephen Drew drops his asking price, I believe the Mets will ultimately sign him. If not, I’m sure Sandy will explore all other options before giving Tejada another opportunity. And if Tejada does end up winning this job, he will be on a very, very short leash.
The Yankees could soon be adding more depth to their starting rotation with Michael Pineda having begun his rehab assignment earlier in the week. For a team who has dealt with one injury after another, it seems they are finally getting some good news as Pineda could prove to be a crucial piece for the Yankees this season.
Pineda, was acquired by the Yankees two years ago when the Yankees traded catching prospect Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners. He quickly went down with a shoulder injury during his first spring training with the club and has been working his way back for the past year and a half. On Sunday, Pineda made his first rehab start in Tampa and the Yankees were very pleased with what they saw.
He went 4 1/3 innings throwing a total of 68 pitches. Scouts had him clocked up to 95 mph on his fastball, which is a very good sign this early in his rehab. His control was on point as 42 of his pitches were thrown for strikes. The Yankees have stated they plan on having him throw six rehab starts before deciding what to do with him. For his first three outings he will be allowed to just throw as he gets accustomed to pitching in real games again. His next three will be watched closely for fine tuning, to see if he has returned back to his all-star form of 2011.
Starting pitching has been a strong point for the Yankees this year, but you can never have enough pitching. The emergence of Pineda will be an interesting to follow as the season goes on. With aging starters such of Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation, there is no telling what their durability may be. Besides that, the Yankees might be in the market for a bat come the trading deadline and could use one of their starters as trade bait to acquire one, allowing Pineda to slide into the rotation.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Phil Hughes become expendable if Pineda continues to progress, and the rest of the rotation stays healthy. It is all but assumed the Yankees will allow Hughes to walk at the end of the season, so it would make sense to see what they can get for him at the deadline. Pineda, would not be a trading chip as he is only 24 years old and under Yankee control for a reasonable price the next few seasons. He is the type of pitcher the Yankees would like to build around for years to come.
Brian Cashman has said he hopes Pineda can one day become his “right-handed version of CC”, I’m not sure Pineda will ever amount to that caliber, but this could ultimately prove to be one of Cashman’s better moves as the Yankees GM.
Michael Pineda was supposed to be a key acquisition made by the Yankees two years ago when they traded highly touted prospect Jesus Montero for him. Quickly in his first spring training with the Yankees he was dealing with arm issues and it was discovered that he would require shoulder surgery that will cause him all of the 2012 season.
Pineda made headlines yesterday by having his SUV window smashed in by a home run at the Yankees Tampa complex. This wasn’t exactly the headline the Yankees envisioned him making. Pineda is scheduled to throw an extended spring training game soon which will be followed by a minor league rehab assignment. It’s amazing that a smashed windshield is what it took for people to remember that Pineda is still apart of this Yankee roster as he could be a helpful piece down the road.
The 24-years-old RHP and has plenty of time to prove this was a worthy trade. I was all for this trade at the time it happened, you could sense early on that Montero would quickly become nothing more than a full-time DH, which is a position that can easily be filled. Montero hit only .260 last season with 15 home runs and is batting a mere .205 so far this season, it appears the Yankees made the right call in dumping him. It’s just a matter of it they traded him for the right player as the Yankees had many opportunities to trade Montero.
Young starting pitchers are not easy to come by and are usually quite expensive. In Pineda’s rookie season, on a very bad Seattle Mariners team, he posted a 9-11 record with a 3.74 era while averaging more than a strikeout per inning. These are very promising numbers and if he is able to return to form he will give the Yankees some much-needed youth and depth to their pitching staff.