Author Archive

Jorge Posada Retirement: Where Does He Rank Among All-Time Yankees Catchers?

The New York Yankees have had their share of outstanding catchers over the past century, so where does Jorge Posada rank on that list?

With the 40-year-old veteran reportedly set to announce his retirement in the next few weeks, let’s count down the top 10 backstops in the storied history of this franchise…

Begin Slideshow

New York Yankees-Blue Jays Preview: Starters Look to Keep Rolling Versus Toronto

The Yankees‘ rotation has been on fire of late, turning in seven straight quality starts and allowing just eight earned runs over the past 50 innings for a 1.44 ERA.

That streak should be tested this weekend as the first-place Bombers battle the Blue Jays, one of the better offensive teams in baseball.

Let’s take a look at the pitching matchups for this three-game series.


Friday, April 29: Freddy Garcia (1-0, 0.69) vs. Ricky Romero (1-3, 3.00)

Garcia became the first pitcher to begin his Yankee career with consecutive starts of at least six scoreless innings in 64 years when he silenced the Orioles over six frames on Sunday. The right-hander struck out seven and walked only two in that outing, but manager Joe Girardi pulled him way too early, costing Garcia the win.

Garcia may have some trouble keeping the hot streak going when he battles the Blue Jays, a team that has given him fits over the years. The 34-year-old is 6-5 with a 6.10 ERA in 14 career starts against Toronto.

The current roster hits .300 off him, led by Jose Molina’s 8-for-20 (.400). Slugger Jose Bautista is 2-for-4 with a homer and two walks.

Since a 13-3 thrashing of the Twins on April 1, the Jays haven’t provided Romero with much run support. They’ve averaged just one run per game in losing his last four starts despite three quality outings, including a 10-strikeout effort against the Rays on Sunday.

The left-hander is 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA in six lifetime starts against the Yankees, including a 2-1 record and 6.00 mark in the Bronx.

It’s strange that Girardi sat Derek Jeter on Thursday despite his 11-for-31 (.355) history against White Sox starter Edwin Jackson when he could’ve just waited a day and sat the captain against Romero, against whom Jeter is just 1-for-13 (.077).

Other Yankees who struggle against the southpaw include Jorge Posada (3-for-15, .200, 7 K’s) and Robinson Cano (2-for-16, .125, 5 K’s). I wouldn’t be so quick to insert Andruw Jones into the lineup vs. the lefty either; he is just 1-for-9 (.111) off Romero.

Brett Gardner should continue turning things around; he’s 4-for-9 (.444) with a homer, double and two walks against Romero. Girardi should bat him first in this series opener.


Saturday, April 30: A.J. Burnett (3-1, 3.52) vs. Kyle Drabek (2-0, 3.30)

Burnett’s best start of the season came in his only loss, as he allowed just one run on three hits over eight strong innings in a 2-0 setback to the White Sox on Monday.

The former Blue Jay is 2-4 with a 5.60 ERA over nine career starts against his old club, yielding three runs (two earned) on six hits and five walks through 5.1 innings at Toronto on April 19.

Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are each 5-for-11 (.455) with multiple homers off Burnett, but Corey Patterson is just 4-for-26 (.154).

In that same April 19 contest, Drabek struggled against the Yankees, surrendering four runs with four walks over 5.1 innings. He bounced back in his next start, though, giving up three runs on five hits through six frames at Texas.

The young right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two lifetime starts vs. New York, but he has yet to pitch at Yankee Stadium.


Sunday, May 1: Ivan Nova (1-2, 5.82) vs. Jesse Litsch (2-1, 3.86)

After a rough start to the season, Nova pitched into the seventh inning for the first time in his career on Tuesday, limiting the White Sox to one run on five hits over 6.1 innings.

He is 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in three appearances against the Blue Jays and served up a walk-off RBI double to Travis Snider in the 10th inning, working out of the bullpen on April 19 in Toronto. Luckily for Nova, Snider has since been sent down to the minors.

Litsch allowed three runs over six innings to beat Texas on Tuesday in what was his third good start of the season. The right-hander will be making his fourth consecutive outing on the road Sunday at Yankee Stadium, where he is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts.

Overall, though, Litsch is 1-4 with a 5.72 mark in six appearances against New York. Alex Rodriguez is 4-for-13 (.308) off him, and Gardner is 3-for-5 (.600) with a triple and three RBI. Nick Swisher is just 1-for-9 (.111).


Follow me on Twitter at @ JordanHarrison.

Jordan is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. 

He can be reached at

Read more MLB news on

Are New York Yankees Relying Too Heavily on Home Runs?

Through 14 games, the Yankees have already pounded out a franchise-record 27 home runs, the most in the Majors by a wide margin.

The Reds are five behind despite playing one more game, and the Indians and Rangers are tied for  second in the American League, all the way back at 19.

New York leads the AL East with a record of 9-5, but will the Bombers be able to keep winning when the long balls decrease?

And that’s definitely going to happen unless they plan on hitting 312 homers this year, which would break the current record by 48.

A drop off should also be expected because after playing 11 of their first 14 games at the homer-happy stadium in the Bronx, the Yanks will be hitting the road.

However, the decline may not be felt until New York travels to Comerica Park in Detroit in the first week of May because the Yankees play their next two series in Toronto and Baltimore, two places that ranked among the top 10 in home-run parks last year.

Of the 77 runs New York has scored this season, 48 have come from round trippers. That’s an astronomically high 62.3 percent.

The Bombers must find another way to score because, as they have found over the past decade, homers are a lot harder to come by when you face elite pitching in the postseason.

Since 2002, the Yankees have averaged a home run every 26 at-bats during the regular season. But in October, that frequency decreases to once every 29.8 at-bats.

In fact, over its last eight trips to the playoffs, New York has increased its home run frequency over the regular season only twice—in ’02 and ’07. The team lost in the Division Series both of those years.

Entering Monday’s action, Joe Girardi’s club is tied for 11th in the AL with just six stolen bases and ranks ninth with only two sac bunts.

I guess it doesn’t make sense to sacrifice outs and baserunners when you’re hitting a home run once every 17 at-bats, but the Yankees should be prepared to play a little more small ball when those long flies start being caught on the warning track.

Since 1985, only one team has won the World Series after leading baseball in home runs. That was the 2009 Yankees, but then again, that squad had a better No. 3 starter.


Follow me on Twitter at @    JordanHarrison.

Jordan is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at, and

He can be reached at

Read more MLB news on

Yankees-Orioles Series Preview: New York Looks to Take Over First Place

There’s no shame in losing two out of three at Fenway Park, but with the rubber game pitting CC Sabathia against Josh Beckett, the Yankees should’ve come away with the series win in Boston over the weekend.

After an off-day, New York (5-4) returns home to host the first-place Baltimore Orioles (6-3), who have continued to flourish under manager Buck Showalter. Baltimore is 40-26 since he took over last year, so this is a team that needs to be taken seriously.

The O’s offense is still struggling, but the pitching staff has been among the best in baseball, ranking ninth in ERA (3.33) and second in batting average against (.216). However, their two best starters so far, Jeremy Guthrie and Zach Britton, will miss this series.

Let’s take a look at the pitching matchups for this three-game set in the Bronx.


Tuesday, April 12 – A.J. Burnett (2-0, 4.09) vs. Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.38)

Burnett has shown no signs of last season’s struggles thus far, winning both of his starts with solid performances. The often wild right-hander has issued just three walks in 11 innings, compared to 11 strikeouts.

Burnett is 11-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 18 career starts against the Orioles. J.J. Hardy is 5-for-10 with two doubles off him, but is headed to the disabled list with a left oblique strain. Felix Pie is 5-for-15 and Brian Roberts is 15-for-50 (.300) with 10 RBI, but for the most part, Burnett has held Baltimore’s hitters in check.

Vladimir Guerrero is just 12-for-50 (.240) with 12 strikeouts, Cesar Izturis is 6-for-27 (.222) and Matt Wieters will probably get a day off as he is an astonishing 0-for-17 against Burnett.

Tillman tossed six shutout innings in his first start at Tampa Bay, but he followed that up with a poor outing against Detroit on Thursday. The right-hander allowed four runs on six hits and two walks over 4.2 frames.

Tillman is 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA in three starts versus New York, and he allowed four runs on nine hits over five innings in his only outing at Yankee Stadium.

The current roster is 18-for-47 (.383) off Tillman, with Robinson Cano leading the way at a ridiculous 6-for-7 (.857) clip. Only Jorge Posada (0-for-6, 3 K’s) really struggles against him, so Tuesday may be a good time to give the scuffling veteran a day off.

Prediction: Yankees 5, Orioles 4


Wednesday, April 13 – Phil Hughes (0-1, 16.50) vs. Brad Bergesen (0-1, 4.91)

Hughes has looked awful over his first two starts. In his latest outing at Fenway Park on Friday, the right-hander’s velocity was down once again as he surrendered six runs on seven hits over just two innings. If his fastball doesn’t return to 92 mph over his next few starts, the Yankees will probably have to put him on the disabled list or send him down to Triple-A to work out his issues.

Hughes is 4-2 with a 5.04 ERA in 11 appearances (eight starts) against Baltimore. Luke Scott has terrorized him, picking up seven hits in 13 at-bats (.538), but Roberts is just 2-for-13 (.154).

With Hardy headed to the DL, the Orioles are expected to recall Bergesen to make this start in place of Chris Jakubauskas (0-0, 15.00 ERA). Bergesen yielded four runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks over 3.2 nnings in a 7-3 loss to the Tigers last Wednesday before being sent down to Triple-A.

The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA in three career starts versus the Yankees, with all three appearances coming in the Bronx.

Alex Rodriguez is 3-for-8 (.375) with a homer off Bergesen, while Curtis Granderson is 3-for-6 with three RBI and Cano is 3-for-7 (.429). Mark Teixeira, however, is 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.

Prediction: Orioles 10, Yankees 5


Thursday, April 14 – Ivan Nova (1-0, 6.10) vs. Jake Arrieta (1-1, 8.68)

Nova’s struggles against the Red Sox continued on Saturday, when he gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks over 4.1 innings in Boston, but he should fare better against a weaker lineup like the Orioles.

In his only appearance against Baltimore last year, the right-hander allowed two runs in six innings. Wieters took him deep in that game, but he struck out Pie twice.

After a solid one-run, six-inning debut against the Tigers, Arrieta was knocked around by the Rangers for eight runs in 3.1 innings on Saturday. Britton also pitched that day in a double header, but Arrieta drew the assignment against the Yankees because he has had success against them.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA in two starts versus New York, and he allowed just two runs over 6.1 innings in his only career appearance at Yankee Stadium.

Derek Jeter and Cano are both 2-for-5 with a double and a walk off Arrieta, but Nick Swisher is 0-for-5.

Prediction: Yankees 6, Orioles 4


Follow me on Twitter at @   JordanHarrison.

Jordan is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at, and

He can be reached at

Read more MLB news on

Joe Mauer Wishes the Best for Albert Pujols in His Contract Negotations

Twins catcher Joe Mauer became a full-fledged hero in Minnesota, and across baseball for that matter, when he signed an eight-year, $184 million contract extension with his hometown club before the 2010 season.

“It was where I was happy,” said Mauer, who was recently in New York City to promote MLB 11 The Show, a video game on which he graces the cover for the second straight year. “Another big thing was the chance of winning. I feel like we have a great chance of winning in Minnesota. I’m definitely comfortable there. I have my family and my friends’ support there, and I really couldn’t see myself in another uniform.”

Mauer is a Minnesotan through and through. He was born in St. Paul and became a three-sport star at the city’s Cretin-Derham Hall High School. Twins fans were ecstatic when the club drafted the local boy first overall in 2001 and even more thrilled when he passed up the chance to hit the open market in order to remain committed to the Twins through ’18.

Albert Pujols doesn’t have the same sort of connection to St. Louis. While he has spent all of his 10 major league seasons with the Cardinals, he was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and didn’t immigrate to the United States until he was 16.

Nevertheless, Pujols is an icon in Redbirds country, which has made his recent contract negotiations so unsettling for fans. A preseason deadline came and went last month without a deal, and the slugger’s agent has said that further contract talks have been suspended until after this season.

After LeBron James’ free agency drama last summer, some sports fans are simply fed up with athletes selling their skills to the highest bidder or the team that can give them the best chance of winning an easy championship, but Mauer said every guy has to do what’s best for him.

“I probably would’ve handled things a lot different than some of those other guys, but it’s their life and you just wish them the best,” he said. “I know Albert, and I know he’s a good person and a good guy, and you just wish the best for him.”

Some are criticizing Pujols for how he is handling these negotiations, but he didn’t have to give his current team a chance to sign him to an extension before the season starts. He could have just waited until he becomes a free agent in November and is available to talk to any organization he wants.

Whether the three-time MVP is asking for too much is another issue, but the best player in the game should probably make the most money.

Twins fans are just happy they didn’t have to experience similar drama this winter with their prized catcher, but there was some uncertainly surrounding one of their pitchers recently.

Francisco Liriano avoided arbitration when he inked a one-year, $4.3 million deal with Minnesota last month. The southpaw requested $5 million, but was offered $3.6 million, so the two sides split the difference.

Mauer said the rest of the team wasn’t affected too much by the negotiations.

“We know what type of guy Franky is,” he said. “You have to understand it’s between him and the club. It’s not that he doesn’t like his teammates or anything like that. We’re going to support him and we know that he can help us out a lot. We want to see him take the ball every fifth day.

“Those things won’t distract you unless you let it distract you. You understand that it’s a group of 25 guys and you try to pull for each other and keep everything within the clubhouse. We’ve been able to do that over the years.”


Follow me on Twitter at @    JordanHarrison.

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at, and

Jordan can be reached at

Read more MLB news on

New York Yankees Sacrifice Offense for Defense in Andruw Jones Acquisition

The New York Yankees agreed to a one-year, $2 million deal with Andruw Jones on Thursday to replace Marcus Thames as a right-handed-hitting fourth outfielder.

While Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, is not the same outfielder he was 13 years ago when he was still breaking into the Majors, he’s still a far better defensive option than Thames.

But at what cost?

Jones hit just .230 last year with the Chicago White Sox, and what’s scarier is that was his highest average since 2006.

Thames, who put up a .288/.350/.491 line last season, was better in all three categories, and he hit .300 against lefties, while Jones hit just .256.

In fact, over the past four years, Thames has a higher overall batting average (.253 vs. .212) and slugging percentage (.491 vs. .412) than Jones.

Starters Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson are both fine defensive outfielders, so shouldn’t the main purpose of a backup be to pinch-hit for guys who both struggle against southpaws? (Gardner hit .252 and Granderson hit .234 off them last year.)


Follow me on Twitter at @  JordanHarrison.

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at, and

Jordan can be reached at

Read more MLB news on

New York Yankees’ Top 5 Free-Agent Pitching Options

With Andy Pettitte continuing to lean toward retirement and the Yankees’ stubborn refusal to give Joba Chamberlain a true shot at a rotation spot—despite his career 12-7 record and 4.18 ERA as a starter—New York must consider adding a free agent to replace Sergio Mitre as the No. 5 starter this season.

Mitre was 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in three starts last season and holds a career 13-25 record and 5.48 mark in 64 career starts, so keeping him in the rotation for any extended period of time would be disastrous.

With New York missing out on Cliff Lee, there aren’t a lot of great options remaining on the free-agent market, but let’s take a look at five that would be better than Mitre.

Begin Slideshow

Carl Crawford Signing With the Red Sox Means Yankees Must Get Cliff Lee

The Boston Red Sox have reportedly signed free agent outfielder Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million contract, which not only drastically improves their lineup and defense, but also puts an immense amount of pressure on the New York Yankees to lock up Cliff Lee.

Two days after trading for Padres slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Theo Epstein has nabbed the No. 2 player on the open market, meaning Brian Cashman must come away with the crown jewel in order to keep pace.

The Bombers have reportedly offered Lee a six-year, $140 million contract, but must now wait as the pitcher mulls over other offers from the Rangers, the Nationals and maybe other clubs.

The Yankees had been eyeing Crawford for some time now, but the need for another outfielder decreased slightly with Brett Gardner’s impressive 2010 campaign and Curtis Granderson’s strong finish to the season.

Still, Crawford, who has stolen 400 bases over the past eight season and has hit over .300 in five of the last six years, would have been a major upgrade from what New York has now.

But, with Lee being their primary target, the Yanks probably didn’t go as far as they normally would in negotiations with Crawford.

This could be a good thing in the end as it frees up some extra cash to throw Lee’s way. If New York had to go to a seventh year with the 32-year-old Lee, they’ll be more willing to do so now, knowing they won’t have to hand out another massive contract this offseason.

The addition of Crawford and Gonzalez to a lineup that already includes Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew and David Ortiz gives Boston a clear advantage over the Bombers offensively.

Further, the move makes it even more important that New York increases its pitching depth. Putting Lee behind—or in front of—CC Sabathia in the rotation would give the Yankees the most intimidating 1-2 punch in baseball.

Now they just need to go out and get it done.

Follow me on Twitter at @   JordanHarrison.

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at, and

Jordan can be reached at

Read more MLB news on

Derek Jeter’s Worth For the New York Yankees Is in Cumulative Stats

Derek Jeter will be a New York Yankee next season. Let’s just get that out of the way.

Both sides have been a little wrong and a little right in the ongoing negotiations for the free agent and future first-ballot Hall of Famer.

With the Yankees reportedly offering the captain a three-year, $45 million contract, they are clearly willing to pay far more than market value for a 36-year-old shortstop who set career lows with a .270 average, .340 on-base percentage and .370 slugging percentage in 2010.

But I can also understand Jeter’s rejection of the offer after the Steinbrenners and general manager Brian Cashman went public with the negotiations.

The five-time World Series champion is the face of the franchise. He’s bigger than Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams, and is on par in the Yankee Universe with legends like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle, so he should be treated with the utmost respect.

“He’s done so much for this team, so much for the city, and so much for the game of baseball,” teammate Nick Swisher recently told FOX Business Network. “Who knows what’s gonna happen, but I could not see him in any other uniform than the pinstripes.”

But the organization shouldn’t just pay Jeter for what he has done, but also for what he will do.

Jeter is only one season removed from a year in which he hit .334 and finished third in the MVP vote, so to say he is done is premature.

The 11-time All-Star picked a bad time to have his worst Major League season, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect his numbers to climb back toward his career marks in 2011. A .300 batting average with 100 runs, 30 doubles and 15 steals seems like a good guess.

But Jeter’s true value lies in cumulative stats.

He is just 74 hits away from becoming the first Yankee to reach 3,000 for his career and is on pace to reach that historic milestone sometime around June 7 in the Bronx against the Red Sox.

You can just hear the Steinbrenners salivating over the publicity and merchandise sales that would accompany the feat.

But Jeter won’t stop there.

If he plays five more years, like reports have him asking for, the captain should finish his career at least sixth on the all-time hits list, passing baseball immortals like Honus Wagner, Carl Yastrzemski and Willie Mays.

And there’s an outside shot Jeter could reach 3,800 hits, leaving him third all-time ahead of Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Tris Speaker.

Next season alone, he’ll pass Rogers Hornsby, Barry Bonds, Frank Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Wade Boggs, Rafael Palmeiro, Lou Brock, Rod Carew and Rickey Henderson.

And then there’s the less sexy, but still important, all-time runs scored list.

Jeter currently sits 27th with 1,685 and could finish his career as high as fifth, passing Ruth and Aaron (but not Alex Rodriguez) in his final days in the Major Leagues.

These are milestones the Yankees’ front office wouldn’t dare have Jeter achieve out of pinstripes, which leads me to believe the two sides will agree on a four-year deal worth about $80 million sometime in December.

And everyone will forget this ever happened by the time Jeter notches his first hit on March 31 to tie him with Al Simmons for 35th all-time.


Follow me on Twitter at @  JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at,, and

Jordan can be reached at

Read more MLB news on

AL Cy Young Award: Felix Hernandez More Deserving Than CC Sabathia

When it comes to pitching statistics, wins are nearly as insignificant as saves.

That’s why it’s ridiculous to exclude Felix Hernandez from the American League Cy Young Award race simply because the terrible team he plays for allowed him to win only 13 games.

King Felix’s 2.27 ERA led baseball and his 249 2/3 innings were tops in the AL. His 232 strikeouts and 1.06 WHIP were second best in the league and he finished third with six complete games.

When you consider that no team in the designated hitter era scored fewer than the Mariners’ 3.17 runs per game this season, it’s pretty easy to throw wins and losses out the window.

Taking that one step further, Hernandez led the Majors in ERA and he didn’t even get to pad his statistics by facing one of the worst offenses of all time.

Clay Buchholz (17-7, 2.33) went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against Seattle, Trevor Cahill (18-8, 2.97) was 1-0 with a 0.00 mark vs. the Mariners and CC Sabathia, who led the league with 21 wins but had an ERA nearly a run higher than Hernandez, was 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA against Seattle.

In fact, when you remove Sabathia’s stats against the Mariners, his ERA rises from 3.18 to 3.57.

Hernandez, meanwhile, was 3-0 with a 0.35 ERA vs. the Yankees in 2010.

That’s right, the Seattle hurler had a lower ERA against the best offense in baseball than Sabathia had against the worst.

Hernandez was dead last among 92 qualifying pitchers in Major League Baseball at 3.75 runs of support per game; Sabathia was 15th at 7.31.

Some critics like to say Hernandez rarely had to pitch in a pressure situation because his team didn’t play a meaningful game all season. But you could say he was under more pressure than any pitcher because he knew that if he gave up a run, his team had pretty much no shot at winning.

In fact, Hernandez faced more batters in high leverage situations this year than Sabathia did and had better results.

Opponents hit just .205 off the right-hander in those spots, while they batted .258 vs. the lefty.

Sabathia had a tremendous season as he finished second in the league in winning percentage (.750) and innings pitched (237 2/3) and placed sixth with 197 strikeouts, seventh in ERA and 10th with a 1.19 WHIP.

But the choice is clear when it comes to picking an American League Cy Young.


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at,, and

Jordan can be reached at

Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress