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New York Yankees: Manny Mania, Manny Rules

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By now, most of baseball has heard or witnessed New York Yankee pitching prospect Manny Banuelos.

Facing the Red Sox a-lineup this past Sunday night, Banuelos maintained such poise, considering skipper Joe Girardi told him just hours before that Sergio Mitre was scratched with stiffness.

Even though Banuelos gave up three walks against Boston’s best, the 20-year-old looked good. Banuelos didn’t allow a run to score and struck-out two batters. He throws mid-90’s and has a sick change-up.

Banuelos has left quite an impression this Spring Training, and not just with Yankees. Here are a few quotes about Banuelos:

“That guy’s 20 years old? He’s really good, and he seems to have an idea. Shoot, when I was 20, I was swinging with an aluminum bat.” – Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia NY POST

“I like everything about him. The makeup and how he keeps his composure. I notice situations and how you react in situations. Where you make your pitches in tough situations, where you spot your pitches, he has the ability to do that.” - Yankees closer Mariano Rivera ESPN

“I think for this young man’s future they should go slow with him, very slow,” - Red Sox manager Terry Francona said with a smile NY POST

It is confirmed from GM Brian Cashman that Banuelos will start in Double A. He has only made three starts total with Trenton, so it makes sense not to rush him.  Banuelos needs to pitching more innings, but it would seem impossible that the Yankees can resist not letting him into the Bronx at all in 2011. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: Manny Mania, Manny Rules’ »

New York Yankees: Manny Banuelos Update

Thanks to the YES Network, the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox game was blacked out in New York despite being advertised to be showing on ESPN2.

This was ridiculous of YES to blackout one of the most relevant games of Spring Training and one that fans were very excited to watch. YES had the Nets vs. Celtics game on and ESPN ran SportsCenter for two straight hours.

So, Yankee fans missed watching prospect Manny Banuelos pitch against Boston’s A-line-up. This was announced last yesterday after slated starter Sergio Mitre couldn’t go due to stiffness in his left oblique. The injury is not of any concern according to the Yankees.

Skipper Joe Girardi decided to start Banuelos in place of Mitre, which means the Yankees have faith in this kid. Banuelos is  something for fans to definetly be excited about, as the just turned 20-year-old has been impressing throughout Spring Training.

Will we see Banuelos in the Bronx during 2011?

Knowing the Yankees it would be doubtful because of he needs more innings in the minors.  Post-All-Star break it would not surprise me if that sentiment changes because Banuelos is that talented and keeping him in the minors is wasting his talents.

Since I could not watch the game here is the NY Post writer Brian Costello’s article of how Banuelos outing went.

Yankees prospect Banuelos hangs tough vs. Red Sox regulars

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With all the hype around Manuel Banuelos, you expected the Yankees prospect to levitate to the mound, turn the water in the cooler into wine and throw lightning bolts from his left hand against the Red Sox last night.
He didn’t quite do all that, but Banuelos was impressive in his first start of the spring. The 20-year-old left-hander struggled with his control, but showed poise when he got into jams and gave glimpses of a filthy fastball and a nasty changeup. He allowed two hits in 2 2/3 shutout innings, striking out two and walking three.

Read the rest of article HERE….

2011 MLB Team Preview: Texas Rangers

There were a lot of ‘firsts’ for the Texas Rangers in 2010.

The team won their first post-season berth, played in their first World Series and for the first time are the reigning AL Champions.

Expectations have certainly gone up for the Rangers heading into 2011, as both the fans and the players got a taste of what it takes to get to the World Series only to lose.

The opportunity to highlight a reputation as one of the best teams in baseball is now deep in the heart of Texas. Let’s take a look at the AL Champs as they try to do it all over again.

The Positives:

The Rangers can hit lead by Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Michael Young and Ian Kinsler, who all had a batting average above .280, which is not a great stat, as it doesn’t really tell the whole story. Still the Rangers offense can produce big time and will have too.

Also, Rangers rookie Neftali Feliz emerged as one of the best closers in baseball in 2010. At just 22 years old, Feliz had 40 saves and proved to not break under pressure in the post season. Feliz is an asset for the Rangers for years to come.

Leading the rotation are starting pitchers CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis, who both proved to be solid starters at the end of last season. The stuff is there for both and they can both eat 200+ innings in 2011.

Following Wilson and Colby is a new addition, former CY Young winner Brandon Webb. Webb is coming off a major arm trouble could really help the Rangers rotation if he stays healthy. Webb hasn’t pitched in the majors in two years, but so far so good in Spring Training.

Things internally were on shaky ground for the first half of the season, until Nolan Ryan took control of the team. Ryan was one of the best pitchers in baseball back in his heyday. You could not ask for a better owner and Ryan can provide experience to a team who is not used to having success.

The Negatives:

The Rangers lost their ace Cliff Lee, who only brought his talents for second-half of last season. That was long enough for Lee to make a huge difference. Trying to make up for the loss of Lee is no easy task and the Rangers will be noticeably hurt by his absence. Continue reading ‘2011 MLB Team Preview: Texas Rangers’ »

New York Yankees Scouting Carlos Silva Must Be A Joke Not A Rumor

The latest report from MLB Trade Rumors is that a few ball-clubs, one of which is the New York Yankees, are showing interest in Chicago Cubs Carlos Silva.

This didn’t register to me considering the Yankees already have a better version of Silva in Bartolo Colon and Freddie Garcia, but I wouldn’t hold it past GM Brian Cashman especially with the new nursing home he has created down in Tampa.

Silva is owed $12 million on his current contract for 2011 and even though the Yankees can easily pay that, he is definitely not worth it.

Silva is about to turn 32-years-old, has a bad attitude and is overweight at 250 lbs; even at 6’4 that screams out-of-shape.

Also, Silva’s now referred to as his personal catcher, Geovany Soto have to come with him so he doesn’t start fights in the dugout?

I find that pitchers (i.e. Randy Johnson) who have personal catchers to always be a problem. Some people do work better together and if it can change a game’s outcome fine, but out of the two or three catchers already on the roaster.

Look, if the majority of aces like Sabathia, Halladay, Lee, Lester, Johnson etc. can do it than there is no reason that a guy like Silva is living like he is P-Diddy.

Silva is not even a good pitcher. He can’t throw for strikes, doesn’t eat innings and pitches to contact.

Last season, Silva went 10-6 in 21 starts, with a 4.22 ERA, allowing 120 hits, striking out 80 over 113 innings and this was a good year.

In 2009-2008 when Silva was a Seattle mariner he made 36 starts, posting a 5-18 record, a 6.81 ERA, giving-up 254 hits, 139 earned runs and only fanned 79 batters.

Even mentioning the idea of acquiring Silva is just wrong. Silva has never put up solid numbers in his nine-year career, like Colon and Garcia have.

This is NOT a guy the Yankees want or need. He is the definition of a clubhouse cancer, whose antics do not get evened out by his play on the field. He has been god-awful in his first two spring starts and his last one was just okay.

Bottom line is starting a fight in the dugout during Spring Training is something the Yankees don’t want to be a part of.

The Cubs would love to dump Silva and his paycheck literally anywhere and that should be enough of a reason in itself to stay far, far away.

New York Yankees Sign Juan Paniagua And The Future Of The AL East

With 2011 Spring Training in full swing, the Yankees are not only working on the now, as scouts continue to work on maintaining the franchise’s future.

That is why it came as no surprise when Dominican reporter Dionisio Soldevila reported to Baseball America and via Twitter, that the Yankees had agreed to terms with 20-year-old Dominican right-hander Juan Carlos Paniagua for $1.1 million bucks.

Paniagua hails from the Dominican Republic and just finished serving a one-year suspension for age fraud.

There is not much on this young kid, but here is what Baseball America wrote about Paniagua:

Paniagua, who had previously been suspended by Major League Baseball for one year due to age and identity fraud, is 6-foot-1, 170 pounds with excellent arm speed and a power fastball that sits around 93-95 mph and touches 98. Some scouts said Paniagua has shown feel for a curveball and a changeup that could become above-average offerings in the future, though other scouts weren’t quite as sold on his secondary pitches.

Age or identity fraud has become a problem, as Dominican players cannot sign with an MLB team until the age of 16 years old. Not only are players lying about being older to ink MLB money, older players are falsifying their age down to be a more valuable talent, which will get them a bigger signing bonus.

Future Of The AL East:

The AL East still remains the toughest division in baseball. Not only because it is home to the big spending Yankees and Red Sox. The Tampa Bay Rays have proven that through smart drafting and scouting talent, a team can be just as victorious working even with a payroll the size of A-rod’s paycheck this season.

This is a well-known victory for the smaller market teams and it also keeps baseball authentic in a sense. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees Sign Juan Paniagua And The Future Of The AL East’ »

New York Yankees: Cliff Lee’s Just Not That Into You

First off let’s make one thing clear, Cliff Lee is not some kind of hero.

As everyone knows, Lee was the most coveted free agent on the market this off-season and he choose to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies over the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.

This past Thursday, Lee made some bold and stupid comments during a radio interview on CBS Philadelphia 610WIP Sports Radio about what factored in the process, who came in second and third and why Philly will win him multiple rings.

Click on link below to listen to Lee’s interview:

Cliff Lee talks with Angelo Cataldi – March 10, 2011


Look, I could really go into details about this entire interview but those would be more opinions vs. opinions.

What I could not let slip by was how Lee answered this question below, with my reasons for being angry following.

601WIP SPORTS RADIO: “Who finished second?’

LEE: “Texas probably finished second to be honest with you. Just as far as the quality of the team and the chance to win a World Series ring, I think they’re a better team. That’s just my opinion. The Yankees can do anything at any moment to improve and they’re not afraid to go do things. That was part of the decision making process too, but I felt like with what the Red Sox had done and it seems like some of the Yankee guys are getting older, but I liked the Rangers.”

I guess Lee didn’t realize that Philadelphia is the oldest club in all of baseball with an average of 28.7 years old, while the Yankees average is an almost a year younger. Ooooppps.

What did the Red Sox do that puts them ahead of New York?

Boston filled holes where the Yankees were better. Starting with matching Mark Teixeira by getting Adrian Gonzalez and than signing Carl Crawford to make the outfield as good as the Yankees trio Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher.

So, could someone tell me what Lee is referring too in his answer?

Pitching-wise both Boston and New York have unsettling back ends of their rotations. The Yankees have the best bullpen in baseball with Soriano, Mariano, Feliciano, Joba and Robertson. The Red Sox have a solid group in relief too, but not as good because closer Jonathan Papelbon still remains a question after not being dominate the last two seasons.

Hitting-wise both the Red Sox and Yankees have heavy hitting line-ups that ooze with talent. Is one better than the other is too hard to tell because both can be equally as lethal.

Oh and maybe Lee didn’t know that the Yankees have some of the best young pitching prospects in baseball. If they continue developing at this rate, the youngsters will bring many more rings to the Bronx.

Regarding Texas as being a better team than New York is ridiculous. Lee cannot be basing this on one series where the Yankees played like crap. Look it is no excuse as a game is a game, but fact is New York lost the 2010 ALCS.

So, could someone please explain who is giving Lee his facts? Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: Cliff Lee’s Just Not That Into You’ »