Yankees Offseason/early 2012 preview

Hey everyone! I am very sorry for not yet posting anything since last December. A lot has happened withe Yankees  since my last post. Here’s a look at some of the off season moves and how 2012 looks for the bombers.

Since 2009 the New York Yankees have had one prospect that seemingly every team in the league wanted to get their hands on. That prospect was none other than Catcher/DH Jesus Montero who ironically was considered by some of the Yankee’s ownership as the savior of the organization. Montero who is only 22 years old has already shown that he is a monster with a bat in his hand. In only 18 games last season the Phenom had 4 HR’s ,12 RBI’s and a BAA of .328 . In most of these games he played as a DH instead of behind the plate. What the 2011 Yankees had in hitting they lacked in their pitching staff. Because of their poor pitching GM Brian Cashman felt that it was a necessity for the team to add at least 2 more arms to its starting rotation.  So on January 14th 2012 in a trade with the Seattle Mariners the Yankees parted ways with their coveted prospect in exchange for a young 23-year-old SP by the name of Michael Pineda. Pineda like Montero had been the prized possession in the Seattle farm system, standing at a towering 6’7 ” Pineda can reach speeds upwards of 99 mph on the radar gun and features a slider that breaks in hard on Left Handed batters. Along with the acquiring   of Pineda the team also sign RHP Hiroki Kuroda who spent the 2011 season in LA with the Dodgers. The 36-year-old Kuroda is a native of Japan and has been in the majors for 3 seasons. Kuroda is not a pitcher that will over power hitters like Pineda will but will instead use strategy and movement with his pitches to fool hitters. His numbers weren’t too shabby with a career ERA of 3.45 2011 was not an awful year by any means for Kuroda. With a 13-16 record and an ERA of 3.07 Hiroki should really benefit from the Yankees offense that is much stronger and more reliable than the bats in LA.

(Left) Pineda and (Right) Kuroda

With the addition of these two arms Manager Joe Giaradi will have some flexibility on how he wants to set up his rotation. Here’s how I would do it if I were in his shoes.

The Rotation:

  1. CC Sabathia LHP : He’s the ACE you’ve gotta put him as your leader
  2. Ivan Nova RHP: Still young Nova proved himself last season
  3. Michael Pineda RHP: The big acquisition,Pineda will have to show he was worth the price of Montero
  4. Hiroki Kuroda RHP: Coming over from the NL his number should dip somewhat but will feel comfortable with Yankees bats behind him
  5. Either AJ Burnett or Phil Hughes : Both Hughes and Burnett had seasons to forget in 2011. Hughes only pitched in 17 games battling with injures throughout the season while Burnett had most of the Yankees Universe asking for his departure. This will be a Spring training decision.

After the Starting rotation the Yankees have one of the stronger bullpens returning from 2011. With old reliable Mariano in the closer role along with Dave Robertson , Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain to set up and even a core group of lefty specialists like Boone Logan,Pedro Feliciano.

As for the lineup and fielding spots here’s my picks.

The Lineup:

  1. SS Derek Jeter :Still captain clutch and continuing to prove his doubters and skeptics wrong look for Jeter to at least start this season 1st in the order
  2. CF Curtis Granderson: Coming off of an MVP caliber season Granderson is a solid lock at 2nd in the order
  3. 1B Mark Texiera: solid, still one of the best in the order
  4. 2B Robinson Cano: Yes I have Cano at 4 over AROD simply because of recent history and potential, Cano will be in the MVP race in 2012
  5. DH Alex Rodriguez: Like Tex he is still one of the better players in the game with the bat but not the same in the field which is why there is a DH next to his name
  6. RF Nick Swisher: A down year in 2011 swish has a lot to prove in 2012
  7. C Russell Martin: Will start the year as the as the number 1 Catcher on the roster but the development of Austin Romine will be something watch
  8. 3B Eduardo Nunez: He earned his spot last season and will be a sight to see in 2012, the latest infielder to come from the farm system
  9. LF Brett Gardner: He will get reps at the leadoff spot but for now he is batting at the end of the order.

As for the season itself I like the Yankees to perform at high level in 2012. They have proven that they can beat the Nation to the north and should be the winners of the AL East if all goes as planned.

What I will also say about 2012 is that like in 2007 the team will showcase and feature young talented arms. Back in 07 it was Joba Chamberlain , Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy that showcased their talents for the Yankee Universe, now guys like RHP Dellin Batances,RHP D.J. Mitchell and C Austin Romine will showcase their talents and cor=tribute to not only;y this team but also for teams to come in the future.

The Once Great Migration

I never really realized it until recently, but have you ever noticed how as players get older and stop producing at “elite” levels, they move out West.  Whether the player gets injured or just gets old, they do, in fact move.  I’ll give you some examples of that in a bit.  All I’m saying is that the East has the better players than the west.  The AL and NL East have the best teams; the AL and NL West have the worst teams; and the AL and NL Central are somewhere in the middle.

Obviously, there are some exceptions to the rule.  The East has some pretty pathetic teams.  Most notably, the lowly New York Mets, and the ‘wrong place, wrong time’ Baltimore Orioles.  The San Francisco Giants, the reigning WS champs, and the ‘slug you to death’ Texas rangers are in the West.  Meanwhile the Central has the most diverse pool of teams.  The fact that are 11 teams, rather than ten or  nine, may lend to that fact.

The Central divisions of Major League Baseball are, like I said, the most diverse.  In the NL, there are some teams that make me scratch my head and others that make me rip out my hair.  The Cubbies, who haven’t won a World Series in OVER 100 YEARS, the Pirates, and the Astros, all make me scratch my head.  I was worried that the Astros might in fact break the Mets’ record 40-120 season.  Thank god that prestigious honor still belongs to New York.  The other half of theleague, being currently, the Brewers, Reds, and Cardinals, all knwo how to play baseball.  The AL Central is in a constant state of flux with the royals 5th, Tigers in 1st, Whitesox, Indians, and Twins somewhere in the middle.

NOW, enough with the teams, let’s get to the players.  I find it to be remarkable how older players just move out there.  Some players start in the West, get good, and move East, then move back.  It’s funny.  I’m going to try and give you a full team of examples, so here goes.  These players don’t have to still be playing, just fit my description.

Catcher:  Mike Piazza, Todd Hundley
First Base:  Jason Giambi, Mike Sweeney
Second Base:  Aaron Hill, Kelly Johnson
Third Base:  Robin Ventura, Jorge Cantu
Shortstop:  Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciaparra
Left Field:  Manny Ramirez, Hideki Matsui
Centerfield:  Andruw Jones, Vernon Wells
Right Field:  Carlos Beltran, Reggie Jackson

Starters:  Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, Scott Kazmir, David Wells
Relievers:  Francisco Rodriguez, Heath Bell  Mets Rejects both…..

Now, just before I go, I want to point out that the New York Mets recently put David Wright on waivers.  He was claimed by the Colorado Rockies.  David Wright would join the 3B list if a trade gets completed.  Being the die-hard Mets fan that I am, you might think, ‘WHY would he want David Wright to be traded?!’  I mean, the Mets trading Wright would be like the Yankees Trading Jeter, or the Giants trading Lincecum, or the Nationals trading Ryan Zimmerman!  Well, my reader friend, because if the Mets can get one of or both of the following prospects, I would do it: the Tulsa Drillers’ Drew Pomeranz and/or Alex White, also of the Drillers.  Here’s the deals I would do:

David Wright

Mets give:
David Wright           for               Drew Pomeranz and a PTBN

or

David Wright, Jefry Marte, PTBN             for                 Alex White, Tyler Matzek

The Mets need young pitchign and speed.  And I’m willing to pay David Wright for it.  If any deal goes down, though…  the Mets have sent David Wright on the “Once Great Migration.”

                               

The Beauty of Minor League Baseball

The game of baseball has always been a way of bringing people together and giving them something to watch and enjoy. For years fans could go with their families and get some peanuts and cracker jacks and maybe even a program for the hardcore fan. At one point in time believe it or not you could get 5 tickets, food , drinks and souvenirs for a family of 5 at a price under $50. Now a days that kind of bargain is unheard of. Now try $200 to $300 for just the tickets and food and thats not even putting the price of parking into the equation.

Family at the Ballpark

Here is a little question for you to answer. Where can you go to a fantastic ball park , watch a great game with great fans for an affordable price ? The answer my friends in Minor League Baseball ! In my area , Rockland County NY everyone loves the game of baseball and goes to games frequently. Which is why an independent league team , The Rockland Boulders, have come to this baseball crazed area .Tonight (July 2nd , 2011) I went to my second Boulders game.

 I went with my boy Moze Nation and some other guys to watch the Boulders host the Newark Bears. We started the game along the 3rd base side of Provident Bank Ballpark but soon realized that we had to sit with the real fans in the best section of any ballpark!…. The Bleachers! We worked our way out there stopping for some hotdogs, sodas and some other ballpark favorites but once we got there we soon realized why Minor League baseball is so great. We were the only people in the section ! A whole section for 4 guys who are looking to kickoff their summer in an amazing fashion! We started chanting and banging and just flat-out having fun. Soon 4 more boys came over and joined us, followed by more people. By the 7th inning we had at least 30 people(including the usher) chanting and screaming for the Boulders players. We also got to know the outfielders quiet well (RF , Tommy Giles and CF, Sean Smith) getting them to dance and answer questions and even sign a few autographs.  We even did a rendition of the infamous “Rollcall” performed by the best baseball fans in history, The Bleacher Creatures ! (Only difference was that we referred to ourselves as the “Rockland Rockers”). As we chanted the players names 1 by 1 going around the field they all smiled and were very appreciative of the audience and attention that they were getting , despite making a fraction of what the pros are making.

Provident Bank Ballpark

Which is another HUGE reason that Minor League is so much more entertaining than Major League baseball. If we had done what we were doing in Provident Bank Ballpark at any big league stadium we would’ve been thrown out within 20 minutes of us entering. Not because we were swearing (Which we were not) but because we were interacting with the players and being slightly disruptive. At least 80% of major league players are jerks; It is a proven fact ! With these minor league guys who aren’t earning as much in salary , endorsements, or bonuses they are purely there to entertain and most of all have fun playing America’s pastime. 

Well there is my opinion ! Now I wanna hear yours ! By voting in our poll on which is more entertaining ? MLB or Minor League ?I am also interested in your comments or thoughts on the institution of Minor League Baseball!

The Famous summer of 1961

   With summer baseball right around the corner I thought it would be fitting to do a post on the famous home run race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle from 1961, After all it is the 50th anniversary!

  When ever someone thinks of the New York Yankees the 1st thing that usually pops into their head is a tradition of pride and winning. This all started back in 1923 with George Herman Ruth aka “The Babe” who had 60 Home Runs in the year 1927 with the bombers. Ruth’s record was known as the greatest record in all of sports and not one person thought that it would ever be broken.  Ruth played for over 22 years with three different ball clubs (Yankees,Red Sox, and Braves ) and hit 714 out of the park.

The Babe

Then in December of 1959, the Yankees made a big time trade with the Kansas City Athletics(Who were known as the Yankees “Major league farm team). The Yankees received 7 players in the deal including big time stars in the making: Don Larsen, Hank Bauer and of course Roger Maris.  All three were stars in the making and really shined while playing for the Bombers in the 60’s.

Maris had an amazing season in 1960, winning the American League’s Most Valuable Player award and led the league in Slugging percentage, RBI’ s and extra base hits. Second to Maris in MVP voting was another Yankee who had becoming a fan favorite entering his 10th season with the club.That player was Mickey Mantle who had a Hall of Fame career, winning 7 Championships , 20 All Star seasons and was the  most recent player to accomplish a Triple Crown season. Mantle and Maris both came into the 1961 season with high expectations from both the media and each other.
 
 Both Maris and Mantle started out the season slow  but came on by the end of April. Once this great accomplishment was thought to be in reach both the people of New York and the harsh and overly critical media began to try to make the quest for 61 Home Runs into a competitive contest between Mantle, the “True Yankee” and Maris “The Outsider”.  This constant attention and sensation with the media was not handled well by Maris who coming from North Dakota never knew this kind of media or attention for a sport existed. 46 games into the season both Maris and Mantle had 15 HR’s(1 pace off from the Babe) which again made all the critics chirp about how this record that had been untouchable for nearly 35 year would never be broken.
As the season rolled on so did the nagging injuries of the great Mickey Mantle. The Mick had been known for his injuries since 1951 and was aging a lot faster than he should have been. From his knees to his arms Mantle was practically a walking casket for 5 to 6 years of his career. At the peak of the race both players were in the mid 50’s for HR on the year when Mantle knee and hip finally gave out on him. Mantle would finish the season with a total of 54 HR and leave Maris with the quest for 61.
 
There was a bit of contrevesory with this record. When Ruth hit 60 back in 1927 the MLB season only had 154 games on the schedule. In 1961 the MLB and league commissioner, Ford Frick expanded the schedule to 162 games and added 2 expansion teams to the AL (Angels and Twins). Because of this a question began to arise… Would it still be a valid record if it is broken after 154 games ? To answer this question Commissioner Frick decided to put an * next to Maris’ 61 HR if he were to break the record.  With this added pressure the 154th game of the Yankees season was in a series in the hometown of the Babe, Baltimore,MD against the Orioles. Maris hit 1 HR in the series giving him 59 with 8 games remaining on the schedule. Maris then struggled getting only 1 HR in his final 7 games going into the season finale against the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium. On October 1st 1961 Maris stepped up to the plate in the 4th inning of the game to face 24-year-old Tracy Stallard and the rest they say is history!  
 
 
Maris had done it ! He had single handedly passed the Babe and became the record holder. And to make things even better the Yanks would go on to win the 1st of 2 back to back chamionships with Maris leading the way. Maris would go on to play another 5 seasons in the Bronx.
Till this day a true baseball fan will say that Maris still has the record even though some JUICERS may have passed him he will always live on in history as the man who passed the Babe !
 

Carmelo comes home

It has finally happened…. Brooklyn native and NBA superstar, Carmelo Anthony has completed his cycle in professional basketball. When Anthony was 8 years old he moved to inner city Baltimore where he set all kinds of records at his 1st of 2 high schools, Towson Catholic. At Towson he averaged 14 points , 5 rebounds , 4 assists and 2 steals a game in his SOPHOMORE year. He ended his career at Towson after his junior year when he nearly doubled his stats in the scoring and rebounding  categories (23 pts and 10.3 rbs ) he was also named the Baltimore County player of the year, All Metropolitan player of the year , and  Baltimore Catholic League player of the year. Because of all the publicity Melo began hearing calls for him to skip college and go straight to the pros. Despite the talks of Melo going in to the NBA early he stayed in school and finished up his senior year at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Anthony attracted even more attention from the pro scouts averaging over 25 pts a game and leading his local AAU team to a tournament in Las Vegas where he played against fellow Knick Amar’e Stoudemire .

 Following his year in High School Carmelo decided to attend Syracuse University where he won the greatest award possible in college… a NCAA Tournament Championship in 2003 and claiming MVP honors. In college Melo had 22.1 ppg and 10.1 boards and showed everyone what he could do on the next level. Because of this Anthony declared himself eligible for the 2003 NBA draft after just one season with the Orange. In the draft Carmelo Anthony was selected 3rd overall by the Denver Nuggets behind LeBron James (Cavs) and Darko Milicic (Pistons).

Melo at Syracuse

    Just like in High School and College Anthony wasted no time establishing himself as a Superstar. Melo averaged 21 ppg and received all rookie 1st team honors in is 1st full year. After that Melo became an immediate big name, franchise changing kind of guy.  Averaging over 20 ppg in each of his 7 season and has made the playoffs every year aswell. But not only has Carmelo been all about show and that kind of thing, he has also been a major voice in the club house and had a desire and some valuable experience of winning, which is something that has been desperately needed in the Empire State for years.

      Now with this trade that sends Carmelo ,(Point Guard) Chauncey Billups ,(Forward) Sheldon Williams , (Guard)Anthony Carter and (Forward)Renaldo Balkman to the Knicks from the Nuggets. In return the Knicks are sending a massive group of guys including 3 of their 5 starters. Headlined by (Point Guard) Raymond Felton, (Small Forwards) Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallianari and (Center) Timofey Mozgov. There is also a third-party…. the Minnesota Timberwolves who are acquiring big men Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry from the Knicks in exchange (Guard) Corey Brewer who will contribute a lot off of the bench for the Knicks. The Nuggets will attempt to replace the pieces that they are giving up with the 3 draft picks that they are receiving in this deal from the Knicks and the T-Wolves (2014 1st round , 2012 2nd round and 2013 2nd round pick). 

   Honestly as a Knicks fan I love this move because you get two key pieces (Anthony and Billups) who along with Stoudemire and Landry Fields can compete against the Celtics,Heat and Bulls for the Eastern Conference. However for the 1st week or so it wouldn’t surprise me to see something similar to what happened earlier this year in Miami with LeBron, D-wade and Chris Bosh. Miami started out the year with almost no chemistry but look at them now… They are practically unbeatable.  But not only was this trade done for winning now but also down the road with the monster free agent class in 2012 that includes superstars like (Guards) Chris Paul, Deron Williams and (Center) Dwight Howard who could maybe end up here in NY to complement Fields,Anthony and Stoudemire and form arguable the best team in the NBA. I can see the Knicks bringing NY back to the Basketball capital of the world that it once was. Especially with St.Johns being ranked in the top 25 for the 1st time since 2002 and making a push for a long tournament run. 

Now I wanna know what you all think of the deal so vote in the poll below and provide a comment…

 

New York Giants Offseason

Hey everyone, sorry I haven’t got a post done in a while.  I have been really busy with school and sports.  Anyway, I wanted to talk about the New York Giants season and some offseason moves they should make before the draft as well as the draft.

The Giants season can be described in one word, turnovers.  The Giants led the league in turnovers with 42 yet finished 10-6 just missing the playoffs.  Eli Manning was the one to blame for most of them with 25 interceptions and multiple fumbles.  Imagine if this team didn’t kill themselves with these turnovers.  They could have easily been a 12-4 team with a bye in the playoffs.  Here are some offseason moves and acquisitions the New York Football Giants should make to become a more complete football team.  First off the Giants should get rid of their own trouble in the locker room by trading away RB Brandon Jacobs.  Even though Jacobs was a loud-mouth and a baby about his playing time in New York, trading him away would make the leadership role even worse for the team because he was the one to pump his team up before the games.  Back on topic, Jacobs most likely destination would be the Detroit Lions who need a power back to complement Jahvid Best.  Big Blue would probably only receive back a 3rd or 4th round pick in this years up coming draft but that could be used to draft a solid lineman.   The only free agent I would love the Giants to pick up on is Leon Washington.  Big Blue’s special teams was dreadful this year and Leon would be a huge improvement.  I also believe he would be perfect is because he has the experience that all the returners on the Giants don’t have.  Will Blackmon and Darius Reynaud were terrible and anyone would be an upgrade over them.

Next I would like to talk about the players Jerry Reese should be eyeing down in the draft.  I know it’s still early but here are some players I would love the Giants to draft in the first 3 rounds

1st Round- Mike Pouncey ——- He would be an immediate help for the Giants line that is getting old and banged up.  Also both the starting center and guards are coming off majors surgery which means this would add depth to these positions.

2nd Round- Ryan Williams—— If the Jacobs trade goes through, Williams would split carries with Bradshaw because both of them are not every down backs.  His speed and size would definitely help complement Bradshaw and help get the Giants back to that hard nosed, running the football team.

3rd Round- Casey Matthews—– I know Casey is not the same player as his brother but sure is he good.  His whole family has succeded in the NFL so why not him next?  Casey would compete with Clint Sintim and Keith Bulluck for a starting spot in a very weak linebacker corp.

I will be back in a couple weeks with a better evaluation on the draft.  Enjoy

Jerry Reese

Jerry Reese

2010 a year in sports to remember

The Year of The Underdog

How will you remember 2010??? Will you think of the Tiger Woods situation , The world cup perhaps or maybe even Brett Favre and the end of his long and historic career. For me the way I’ll always remember 2010 is by the underdogs. We had 2 major sleepers win the 2 biggest titles in American Sports. Back in February the New Orleans Saints who had endured 42 losing seasons in franchise history took on the almighty Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts . The Saints pulled off the unthinkable upset and won the super bowl with maybe the gutsiest call in any super bowl… The inside kick to start the 3rd Quarter of play. The other major upset in sports this season was in the MLB. Even before the season began people started picking teams to win the fall classic. I was one how picked the Yankees. But I knew no on who was taking a team from the National league Western division , especially the San Fransisco Giants. But like the Saints the Giants found their way threw tight games and incredible pitching performances by young stars like Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. 

Some other top moments of 2010 were the USA’s run in the world cup, The UCONN women’s basketball team winning 90 Straight games passing legendary UCLA and Jimmie Johnson winning his 5th straight Sprint Cup in NASCAR. This year was also a big year of deaths to famous people who impacted sports in major ways. Heres a list of some of the great people the world of sports lost in 2010:

  1. Bob Feller  (MLB)
  2. Bob Fenimore (NFL)
  3. Jim Hunter (NASCAR)
  4. Carl Braun (NBA)
  5. Manute Bol (NBA)
  6. Dorothy Kamenshek (Baseball)
  7. Lew Carpenter (NFL)
  8. Gil McDougald (MLB) 
  9. Franklin Mieuli (NBA)
  10. Dave Niehaus (MLB)
  11. Bob Probert (NHL)
  12. Don Merideth (NFL)
  13. Bob Sheppard (MLB)
  14. Rob Santo (MLB)
  15. Fred Schaus (NBA)
  16. Freddy Sez (Baseball)
  17. Chester Simmons (TV)
  18. Jack Tatum (NFL)
  19. Ralph Houk (MLB)
  20. George Blanda (NFL)
  21. Sparky Anderson (MLB)
  22. Bobby Thompson (MLB)
  23. George Steinnbrenner (MLB)
  24. John Wooden (Basketball)

(All of these individuals contributed so much to their respected sports and will be missed by everyone who follows the games that they have impacted so very much.)

Another big part of 2010 was controversy. With scandals like Reggie Bush at USC and the recruitment of Auburn QB Cam Newton many writers had a field day writing and saying things about these amazing athletes but at the same time mysterious people. Another big topic of 2010 was the Concussion Discussion in the NFL. With new rules put in place against big hits many people are questioning the toughness of the NFL but there are some who say that this needed (Those people don’t even watch football). My view on the topic is that you just shut up and play football. Think of back in the day when players had a little or sometimes no facemask. They were still knocking each other out and no we have tons of protection but we have become babies and want to take away the best part of football… CONTACT !! Overall I enjoyed the 2010 sprts season. Even though neither one of my 2 favorite teams (Yankees and Va Tech) had a chance to compete for a championship they still both had good season and the Hokies can still add to their glorious streak of 11 win in a row with a win against Stanford on Monday 1/3/11 on ESPN.

Heres a look back into all the championship winners in the world of sports for the year 2010:

MLB: San Fransisco Giants over Texas Rangers

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers over Boston Celtics

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks over Philadelphia Flyers

NFL: New Orleans Saints over Indianapolis Colts

Hope you all enjoyed your 2010 and I wish all of you a happy,healthy and successful 2011 !!