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New York Yankees’ Quiet Offseason Moves Paying off so Far

As I suggested during the offseason, Brian Cashman‘s low-key moves are paying off.

With the 2014 payroll target looming, the Yankees did not want to commit big money or multiple years to the free-agent crop of this past winter, so they made moves to fill their holes in less conventional ways. 

Granted, you can’t predict the injuries to players like Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson or Derek Jeter’s setback, but Cashman has done a pretty good job so far—good enough to see the Yankees at 4-4 with decent production.

Hopefully, they can stay afloat until the cavalry comes home.

So far, the Yankees have seen great production from the lines of Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Brennan Boesch. Youkilis is arguably having the best early season out of any Yankee and is even finding himself amongst the best in the majors.

Wells has found a revival early on in the season, showing more signs of the All-Star player he was in Toronto and not the bust he was in Anaheim. This isn’t necessarily a new thing for the Yankees over recent years, as we have seen players like Ichiro Suzuki, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon and Eric Chavez revive their careers—albeit for a short time in some cases—when they put on the pinstripes.

The Yankees have been attempting to catch lightning in a bottle in these instances, and so far, it is working in their favor.

Of course, a big part of the Yankees’ success has been some strong pitching from Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia, but that is expected. Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda have yet to find their stroke, but being this early in the season, we can expect them to get their feet under them in the next start or two.

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Phil Hughes Shows Improvement in Spring Debut

In his first outing this Spring, Phil Hughes looked closer to his 2010 form. After dropping some weight, Hughes was hitting 92-93 on the gun, according to scouts

Now these numbers aren’t staggering, but for someone who was having trouble breaking 90 last year, this is a great sign. 

We already know Hughes has great off-speed stuff, so if he can mix in his fastball around 93, he’ll be anchoring the rotation and helping the Yankees to another division title and No. 28. 

Now I know it’s only one start, but in his case, this is a big step forward. After being an All-Star in 2010, Hughes had a terrible 2011, and his future was often in doubt. He isn’t out of the dark yet, but he can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

It seems that Hughes has shown up to camp in great shape, and hopefully things stay that way. Girardi says that Hughes is still competing for a spot in the rotation, so he will likely continue to improve and impress. 

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New York Yankees 2012: The Lineup Girardi Needs to Stick with

Joe Girardi is known for changing things around, using different players on different days and tweaking his lineup. However, in 2012, Joe needs to make a basic lineup and stick with it. 

For the sake of this article, the starting positions will be:

C: Russel Martin

1B: Mark Teixeira

2B: Robinson Cano

SS: Derek Jeter

3B: Alex Rodriguez 

LF:Brett Gardner 

CF: Curtis Granderson

RF: Nick Swisher 

DH: Jesus Montero 


When you look at this Yankee lineup, just when you think you’re about to hit a weak spot, you get another guy who is is well capable of hitting close to .300 or knocking in 20 bombs a year. It is relentless, to say the least. 

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New York Yankees: Expect Cashman to Target Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes

With the winter meetings coming up, and the New York Yankees not feeling too high on any free agent starting pitchers or right-handed hitters, it seems quite possible Brian Cashman can target the latest imports rumored to be coming to America. 

Star Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, and Yoennis Cespedes, the Cuban defector, could possibly find their way to the Bronx this spring. 

Now, I am not suggesting the Yankees would go after both players of course, seeing as both will command their fair share of millions, but it is quite likely one of the two will end up on the Yankees. 

Cashman recently admitted to the Yankees’ interest and scouting of Cespedes.

Darvish, only 25, is already a star in Japan. The talented righty has a career record of 93-38 with an ERA of just 1.99 and 1,259 strikeouts. Obviously, Japanese baseball is quite different from the MLB (height of the mound, ball, talent, etc.), but numbers those good don’t lie. 

Darvish has been the talk of the international baseball water cooler ever since the 2008 Olympics. Many teams would love to land him, it just depends who posts for him. Being that it will only take money, and not any of the Yankees prospects, it is quite possible they will dig into their deep pockets and bring Darvish to New York. 

The other possibility—and less likely in my opinion, as the Yankees have plenty of hitting—is Cespedes. The Cuban is a power-hitting center fielder (the Yankees would put him in right field), who has speed, amazing athleticism, and is only 26. 

There are more risks with Cespedes however. He is a center fielder, so putting him in right field may prove unsuccessful; the move isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Also, aside from his YouTube video and from what the scouts have seen, there is less known about Cespedes. 

Regardless of his age or skills, the Yankees need pitching more than anything, and Darvish seems like the right choice. 

Expect Darvish and the Nippon Ham Fighters to be a whole lot richer come spring. 

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New York Yankees Should Skip Trading and Hold on To Their Young Talent

If anything can be taken from the first two days of spring training, it’s this: The Yankees have a great farm system. 

The Yankees are choc-full of talent ranging from starting pitchers to catchers. 

At nearly every position there are legitimate prospects that should be making their ways to the Bronx over the next couple of years. 

Most importantly, and immediately, is starting pitching and catching.

For starting pitching, the Yankees have Ivan Nova, Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi and Manuel Banuelos. Nova has already shown his stuff in the big leagues and he looked good again today.  Now Betances and Noesi have shown why there is a lot of hype surrounding them today agianst the Phillies.

Another abundant spot is at catcher. Jesus Montero, Austine Romine, Francisco Cervelli and Gary Sanchez are the youngsters competing for a backup spot behind Russell Martin. Cervelli has already been in the majors for a couple of years now, so we know he could do the job if he wins it. However, Montero and Romine are among the best prospects in all of baseball, and either one of them has a great shot of making the final roster.

The thing that is important is that these guys do not need to be ready on day one. The Yankees mixed and matched with players like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, threw in Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova, and of those four candidates two starters will emerge.

Assuming Nova makes the fourth spot, Colon Mitre and Garcia wil battle for the fifth spot.

In all likliehood, Mitre will make the team as a long reliver because he has proven to be most helpful in that job for the Yankees.

That would leave Colon or Garcia as the fifth starter to start the season. Not the most ideal situation, but it is not bad either. Either of those guys can hold down the fifth spot long enough for one of the prospects to get some time in Triple-A and then be called up during the season to take over.

That would allow for more time for these young guys to develop and would also allow the Yankees more time to evaluate the situation.

Either the fifth starter will do well and stay there, or they will do poorly.  Then the prospect can come up, and the pitcher (either Colon or Garcia) can be released. At the end of the day, that wouldn’t be a bad situation at all, because both pitchers were low-risk.

As far as the catcher position goes, it is a very similar situation. Let Martin start off as the starting catcher starting the season but work in the backup catcher a few days a week potentially. In a week’s worth of games, Martin can start four or five of the days, and a guy like Montero could start the other two or three.

This would allow for Montero to become familiar with his teammates, most importantly the pitchers he will be catching. Also, it will allow him to get big-league at-bats, which are more valuable and beneficial than facing Minor League pitchers.

Again, in this situation if Martin is doing well he will stay on as the starter and Montero would be a backup. If Martin doesn’t perform, Montero can take over as starter if he has developed enough.  

The Yankees can treat this situation similar to the way the San Francisco Giants treated the Molina/Buster Posey situation.

Once they feel the prospect is ready, let him take over as starter. However, the Yankees are in an even better position because Martin is younger than Molina and certainly is not done.

All the Yankees need to do is be patient. DO NOT trade away one of these blue chip prospects for a quick fix. The Yankees have four starters who can do just fine in games with the run support that the lineup can provide.

Wait it out and give these guys time to develop, and then bring them to the big leagues. A rotation of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and a prospect looks pretty damn good to me.  

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New York Yankees: Five Biggest Questions Heading Into Spring Training

The news for the Yankees this offseason has been generally negative. Missing out on Cliff Lee, the Derek Jeter contract debacle and Andy Pettitte retiring. Add a peppering of has-been players, and the Yankee Universe isn’t looking as rock-solid as it has in the past.  

There are a few questions, both big and small, for the Yankees heading into spring training. 

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Yankees Avoid Arbitration With Hughes, Chamberlain and Logan

The Yankees recently avoided arbitration with pitchers Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan, easily saving the club a lot of money. 

All three of the pitchers were signed to one-year deals with the club.

Hughes—$2.7 million

Joba—$1.4 million

Logan— $1.2 million

The latter two are good deals, but not as surprising as Hughes. To me, it would have made more sense for the Yankees to try to lock Hughes down on a multi-year deal now, before he gets even better and has more leverage to request a higher contract. Also, as of today, he is the No. 2 starter, and is therefore extremely important to the Yankee’s success. 

Signing Joba to a smaller deal like this makes a lot of sense for numerous reasons. First, you save money. Second, keeping him on the roster is not a burden, because he isn’t making a whole lot of money. Third, it makes it that much easier to trade him if the Yankees decide they want to, because there isn’t a monster price tag weighing them down. 

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Rafael Soriano: What Does It Spell for Joba Chamberlain As a Yankee?

Remember 2007, prior to the midges, when Joba Chamberlain was the golden boy for the Yankees? 

Then, things got Biblical. Bugs attacked the Yankees in Cleveland like something out of the movies, and the untouchable kid, suddenly became very human. 

After that, the Yankees moved Joba back and forth for, back and forth. 2008 saw Joba start the season back in the bullpen. A few months later he was a starter, then bullpen, then starter. It was like a soap opera with all the drama. 

Fast forward to today. Chamberlain is no longer the lights-out setup man he once was. Now, that is Soriano’s role. As of now, Chamberlain is basically splitting time with Roberston as a seventh inning man or a righty-right matchup. Not really what anyone envisioned for the kid a few years back.

On the bright side, he’s still a kid. Joba is only 25, he has plenty of years left ahead of him, and he’s pretty healthy.

There has been talk for a while about trading Joba away, but right now, he wouldn’t bring much back. If the Yankees are going to trade him, the only way it happens is if they get a top-starter in return. That would likely include a package deal, but that’s a whole other story.

Either way I see it, whether the Yankees want to keep him or trade him, the only way things are going to improve for him are in the rotation.

Assuming Pettitte is still retired, the rotation is currently CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and ?. A few days ago I was all for trying out one of the young studs in the minors as the fifth starter, but now, I say give it to Joba.   

I’d prefer to take the chance with putting Joba back in the rotation over signing Justin Duchsherer. Also, a few possibilities may arise out of Joba back as a starter. 1) He can be pretty good. Not great, but good enough for a back-end starter. 2) He can be showcased to other teams to make him more attractive as a trade piece. 

It’s funny how things change in a few years. Two years back, I would have thought the Yankees were crazy to even think about trading Joba, but today, it doesn’t seem too crazy. 

For the meantime, it seems like Joba will be around until at least the trade deadline, until he shows that spark again, or the Yankees include him, Jesus Montero and a few other players in a package for Felix Hernandez. 

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New York Yankees: What Numbers Are Left?

With a franchise as storied as the Yankees, it seems like there are few numbers left un-retired, or very soon to be.

With Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez, not many desirable numbers will still be left for newcomers to pick. 

It is a rite of passage for players to shed their #89 that was designated to them in the minors, for a bright, shiny No. 6 or 22. 

The current retired numbers are as follows

1-Billy Martin

3-Babe Ruth

4-Lou Gehrig

5-Joe DiMaggio

7-Mickey Mantle

8-Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey

9-Roger Maris

10-Phil Rizzuto

15-Thurman Munson

16-Whitey Ford

23-Don Mattingly

32-Elston Howard

37-Casey Stengel

42-Jackie Robinson (entire MLB)

44-Reggie Jackson

49-Ron Guidry


For Argument sake, we’ll stop at 25 for my article. 

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New York Yankees Ink Rafael Soriano, Form Best Bullpen in All of Baseball

In an offseason of head scratching and a whole lot of nothing, the Yankees have finally made a move to make the fans happy. 

By signing Rafael Soriano, the Yankees have solidified their bullpen into the strongest in all of baseball. With Mariano Rivera at closer, Rafael Soriano at setup, and Pedro Feliciano, David Roberston and Joba Chamberlain as middle relief, the Yankees can start to make baseball games a lot shorter than nine innings. 

In 2010, Soriano had an ERA of 1.73, 45 saves, a WHIP of .80 and 57 K’s. That’s the three most saves in the entire MLB, and amongst the best ERA, WHIP and K/9. 

Having two of the best closers in the entire game makes things a lot easier on a questionable rotation, something the Yankees will likely address, now that it is their only issue. 

A three-year-deal for Soriano would currently give him the closer job on his third year, assuming Rivera retires after his recently-signed two-year-deal. 

Aside from being just a great closer, Soriano is a strikeout pitcher who can throw to either lefties or righties with little variation.

The only drawback to this deal, is that the Yankees will lose a first-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Rays because Soriano is a type-A free agent. To me, that isn’t that bad of a break.

Sure, it hurts to lose a draft pick, especially to a division rival, but draft picks can be busts. We already know Soriano is not a bust, and he will be facing the exact same teams he faced with the Rays, so we won’t have to worry about a Javier Vazquez type situation.

Speaking of Javy, the Yankees will be getting a pick from the Florida Marlins, so things will work out just fine. Also, losing one draft pick isn’t nearly as costly as what the Yankees would have had to give up in order to obtain Joakim Soria. Yes, I like Soria more as player, but this deal is working out a lot better for the Yankees.

Yet again, Cashman has shown why he’s the man for the Yankees. He showed patience really is a virtue, and maintaining his head after losing out on Cliff Lee really paid off. They didn’t spring for the first deal they can sign, but instead they waited it out and made the smartest decisions for the organization. 

When you’re an opposing player and you see Pedro Feliciano, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera sitting out there in the bullpen, I don’t think your’e going to like your chances of getting many runs, let alone hits in the late innings of a game. 

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