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 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 !
 

Cliff Lee and the Cincinnati Reds

THE BEST PITCHER on the market this season is Cliff Lee.  The Yankees have been talking to Wakamatsu’s Mariners about a trade involving Cliff Lee and Jesus Montero.  I have issues with that.  A lot of them..

Why Cliff Lee wouldnt fit in with the Yankees is simple really.  The Yankees starters salaries total roughly $64.6 mil.  The Yankees are not going to have room for Lee.  CC. Sabathia (24.3 mil), Burnett (16.5 mil), Pettitte (11.8 mil), Javy (11.5 mil), and Hughes (500000).  With the kind of year Hughes is having, your not moving him.  CC. is your ace.  Pettitte is still as consistant as ever.  If they bench Mr. Inconsistancy in Burnett they have 16.5 million dollars sitting on his ass.  Javy is the most obvious one to stop.  Although, he would be making 11.5 million dollars on HIS ass. 

Also if he Yankees lose the world series, Lee is going to walk.  Although Lee’s $9 million is chump change to the Bankees, they lose out on a guy who won the AL Cy Young award in 2008.  Some people would be saying how the Yankees cant lose, but there is a team that I really like to win the World Series this year IF (a BIG IF) they snag Lee. 

If there was a deal made that would bring Cliff Lee to the CINCINNATI REDS, they WILL WIN THE WORLD SERIES.  The Reds Starting five, when they all get back will contain Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, and Edinson Volquez.  They also have young arms.  Homer Bailey and my boy, Aroldis Chapman.  Adding Lee to that mix would ensure that the Reds made it places.  Their Starting five would go something like this:

Cliff Lee, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez.  With their pitchers and their lineup.  They are my favorite to win the world Series at the All-star break.  Theyve got good young talent and if not this year, then next year for sure they will win it all.

Joba Chamberlain…. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

If you are a Yankee fan or have been for many years like myself you have probably seen all three types of the once prized possession of the New York Yankees organization…. Joba Chamberlain.

  1. THE GOOD ………   The 1st side that you probably had the pleasure of seeing was when Joba was 1st called up to the Bronx and would come steaming out of the bullpen to Tim McGraw’s hit “Indian Outlaw” with a 99 mph fastball and a swagger that was unlike any other in the great sport that we all call baseball. Joba also was known as the kid with a good head on his shoulders and a role model for younger fans to look up to and idolize. Another great side of Joba Chamberlain was the marketing tool. With “Joba Rules!” and “Joba the Heat” going on it seemed impossible that this phenom would ever get messed up enough to be thought of as a “curse” or a “devil” to the classicist organization in the world. But then came phase 2 of this train wreck in the making .
  2. THE BAD…………     The next phase of the Joba Chamberlain cycle was his bad stuff which includes the 07 “Bug Game” in Cleveland and the beginning of the epic failure that was the Steinbrenner’s cruel fantasy of having Joba Chamberlain as an ace of their pitching staff! Now Joba coming off of a great rookie season out of the pen seemed to be heading in the right direction as the latest great product of the Yankee Farm System. What would follow is now looked upon by diehards like myself as “The Destruction of the Future”!! Joba would be limited to a certain number innings , pitches and appearances for the next two seasons of his development. This plan completely back fired and had a major negative impact on both Joba’s confidence and performance. This phase is considered positive compared to the next phase of the demise of a would’ve been ALL-STAR!!
  3. THE UGLY…………. The current phase of Joba Chamberlain’s career seems to be the worst and the end of his cycle with the Yankees. The current state of the once amazing prodigy is a 92 mph fastball and the same amount of confidence as someone who has paranoia! He has lost everything and anything that made him the once great Joba Chamberlain! I’ve got a buddy who has season tix and many connections to get to the new House of the Yanks. He is telling me many things like “He’ll get traded to a club out west” or “He’ll be left on the street where he belongs!!” To me personally the guy can be a little harsh but how can you not be the Kid was gonna be phenomenal or he was phenomenal. But who really is to blame for this Epic Failure? Is it Joba that we should be yelling at and beheading for his failure or is it the Boss’ upstairs who tried but failed at creating the next pinstripe superstar.

For me I blame two people or two things. Both can effect players in the great city of New York particularly in the borough of the Bronx. Thats right Haven heads I blame the media and of course the people in the seats above….. THE STEINBRENNER’S!! Both these giant institutions put major pressure and talk into Joba…. Too much for any kid from Nebraska to handle or ever expect to see. Well I’m done for now but you can check us out on FaceBook by searching “Matt Burrill’s Sports Haven” or just leave a comment. Okay in the words of Ron Bergandy “Stay Classy San Diego!”

Former Baby Bombers making noise in Majors

The New York Yankees are known for going out and getting studs for the big bucks. And this philosophy worked very nicely for the Bombers in the 2010 season but they do tend to lose out on trades. What I always here as a Yankee fan is how great somebody like once top prospects Austin Jackson and Tyler Clippard are doing down in Scranton or Trenton. But now the bombers are getting bitten right in their rear end as former top prospects are making very great progress in the Big Leagues. Of course there are exceptions such as Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Francisco Cervelli who were too good to trade for an older player. But what I am trying to get at is that right now the Yankees cold use a fast and young stallion in the outfield like Austin Jackson who they traded for now injured Center fielder Curtis Granderson. Just a little side note the other player traded to Detroit in what seemed to be a “Blockbuster” move was a man by the name of Phil Coke… bring back any memories??? (Blowing a lead, giving up the big hit to the Nation or even being as careless as a man on road rage with his pitches) But now as I once predicted Coke has turned the corner that separates a man from a child… AN ERA UNDER 3.00.  Another highly talented prospect that never got the chance to make magic while dawning the pinstripes and has made magic in another place. Jose Tabata who was basically the biggest  or most important piece from a Pittsburgh prospective when they sent OF Xavier Nady (Now in Chicago) and LHP Damaso Marte to the Yanks. Tabata is currently the prize possession of a very well constructed pirates minor league system. In 35 games played in class AAA Indianapolis Tabata is hitting a staggering .331 with 15 RBI’s and 19 bags swiped Tabata will definitely help the future of the cheapest franchise in the Majors. Although the Bombers have traded away some significant players they do have some young talent currently in their system. Players include star Catching prospects Jesus Montero and Austin Romine who are both incredible with their bats and their athletic abilities. Two other players of interest down on the farm are outfielders Slade Heathcott who was the 1st round choice of the bombers in 09 and Greg Golsen who has already had a taste of the Bigs and will be called up really soon. The Yankees also have a loaded arsenal of Pitchers like RHP Arodys Vizcaino who BaseballAmerica has as the future 4th starter in the rotation by 2012. Overall the Yankees are good to go with their future….That is if they can keep their cattle in the farm!!!! Until next time I’m out!!!!!!

Jesus Montero..... Is he the Future????????

Boston Masscare 2010

This weekend has been talked about for quiet some time now…. Yeah it was going to be the Nations climb towards redemption with a sweep of their hated rivals The Yankees. Well that flat-out hasn’t happened!! The Sawx have lived up to their reputation of having a brutal pitching staff with 24 earned runs in 2 games and only have scored 6 runs against the Bombers who are clicking at the right time….(What else is new!!!) Anyway I am not here to be a bias fan, I am here to say facts that many people will not like or approve of but all I have to say is “The Proofs in da pudding” or have you seen the last two games!! What is really different about the Red Sox is that they are missing Ellsbury who is usually electrifying has been injured and has left a gaping hole in front of “DA Monster”  leaving a weak Bill Hall or average Jeremy Hermida out there. Also their staff is just lets face it… TERRIBLE!!! With Beckett having a control problem, Lester not going the distance and Dice-K and Wakefield Forget about it they’re both scrubs who don’t deserve to be on an American League team. Maybe they could survive in the weaker NL but since the highly not hitable yet extremely overrated “Gyro Ball” has stopped its effectiveness Dice-K has been trash or rubbish as the Nation refers to him. And Wakefield just doesn’t look comfortable or content with what Sox manager Terry Francona and Pitching Coach John Farrell want him to do.

Not So Big papi

Unfortunately for the Sox the upcoming schedule is not friendly to them with Toronto coming into Bean Town to battle for 3rd place in the division then they travel to Detroit to battle Johnny Damon and the Tigers. And if that’s not bad enough they will have 2 games at the Stadium with the Yankees who are currently on a 6 game tear of power and production from unlikely sources. Sources like Fransisco Cervelli, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner??? Yes all three of these pieces to the puzzle if you will are hitting over .300 and have 15 RBI’s a piece. And the pitching of Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and C.C. Sabathia certainly doesn’t hurt the cause either with all 3 being 100% dominant the Yanks have everything clicking at just the right time. Although things don’t look good up Boston I still ain’t counting them out yet as much as I wish I could but they have to good and to experienced of a ball club to not make a run at the Yanks and Rays and it is also a 162 game season so there’s plenty of time to play catch up. Until next time I’m out like Big Tex’s 3 dingers today!!!!!

 
 

Old Reliable

Ole Reliable

Andy Pettitte… What does his name mean to you?… Is your answer” He’s past his prime and is going down hill” or “A steroid using Yankee” If either one of these opinions sound like something that you might say or think you are either a member of Sawx Nation or are just a Yankee Hater because both of those statements are false. To me Andy Pettitte means old reliable literally it seems that with each year of experience that he earns he just gets better and better. Right now he is currently 3-0 after pitching 8 shutout innings today against the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim(Try saying that 5 times fast) who will surely be contenders in the American League. Back to Andy… Over his long 15 year career (which is the same as my age) he has been a part of all 5 Yankees Championship ball clubs. He has a career 3.89 ERA in 471 career games and he has the best pick-off move that baseball has ever known. Unfortanetly for Pettitte the MLB and its loyal followers do not keep track of pick-off as a stat if they did I could almost guarantee that Andy “Old Reliable” Pettitte would be the all time leader in that category. Also he has been part of the Core 4 since he was called up at the same time as current Yankees Derek Jeter,Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada who each have enough rings to fit on an entire hand. What Pettitte has also been great for is getting it done when it counts… IN THE POSTSEASON. Last year he pitched in the epic Game 6 of the World Series where Pedro Martinez was reunited with his daddy who was holding the belt the Hideki Matsui used to wreak havoc on the Phillies and they’re horrific fan base. Anyway I look for Andy Pettitte to win maybe 15-19 games this season for the bombers and at the pace that he is currently moving at he could have an ERA under 3.00 and should rack up close to 210 K’s. Overall Pettitte is a sure Hall of Famer and I don’t see an end in sight for this experience South Paw. I think that Old Reliable will be remembered for many years to come for his efforts and his number 46 will be out with the greats in monument park along with Jeter, Posada, Rivera and possibly Bernie Williams. Until next time from my pc to your’s I’m Outta Here!! 🙂