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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’ »

C70 At Bat Series ‘Playing Peppers: 2011 New York Yankees’

Lady Loves Pinstripes took part in Playing Peppers 2011 New York Yankees, which is an annual featured series over at C70 At Bat.

What is Playing Peppers? Here is the description directly from Daniel who runs the popular baseball site C70 At Bat, which is a must go visit for any baseball fan.

Two years ago, I started a series I called Playing Pepper, where I asked questions of bloggers of each major league team about the season to come.  Not only was that informative and entertaining, it led to the spawning of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  With spring training coming up, it’s time to get back into shape by again playing a little pepper.

Here is the intro to Playing Peppers 2011 New York Yankees, which lists all the participants and their great baseball blogs that are definitely worth a look:

If you ever want to get a strong opinion, toss out the word “Yankees” to a group of baseball fans.  Some may love them, some may hate them, but all of them have some sort of feeling about them.

The tradition and history of the Yankees appeals to a lot of people, while their checkbook baseball (or at least, that perception) turns off just as many.  So, what’s the one good thing about the biggest team in the biggest market?  There are a lot of great bloggers to tap.

Kate Conroy writes for the blog Lady Loves Pinstripes.  You can find her thoughts over there or follow her on Twitter or Facebook to get a different perspective on the Yanks.

Gregg Snyder, Jr. pens Double G Sports, which not only covers the Yankees but also other New York sporting teams, both professional and college.  Keep up with him on Twitter as well as Facebook, or give a listen to his regular Blog Talk Radio show.

Yanks Go Yard is written by Andrew Corselli as part of the FanSided network.  You can find him over on Twitter as well.

Even if you don’t like the Bronx Bombers, stick around through the jump as we discuss what their biggest weakness is in 2011.

C70: What is your opinion of the Yankees off-season?

LLP: The Yankees off-season was a media circus. Between Derek Jeter‘s contract negotiations to Cliff Lee going to the Phillies to Andy Pettitte retiring, the Yankees just couldn’t get a break. Then the team signs the best closer in the American League, maybe in baseball and there is a public disagreement between GM and owners. Looking back, it was actually refreshing for me as a fan to see my Yankees get a reality check. It broke my heart at times, but the team is so blessed already and I think as a whole Yankee Universe is better for it. Continue reading ‘C70 At Bat Series ‘Playing Peppers: 2011 New York Yankees’’ »

Yankees Vs. Red Sox: Looking At The Facts Spells A Different Story For Rivalry

MLB is home to one of biggest rivalries in sports between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Over the last few seasons’ things have been become quieter and tamer in comparison to the bench clearing brawls of the late 90’s and early 00’s.

Boston and New York fans live for these 18 games every season because so much pride is on the line.

I am lucky enough to have attended countless match-ups between the two, both at Yankees Stadium and Fenway Park, and let me say it is baseball at its peak.

Heading into 2011 season, every Tom, Dick and Harry has staked claim that it is the World Series or bust for the Red Sox. Leaving the Yankees with the Wild Card as their only viable hope of getting into the postseason.

Maybe it’s because this off-season could not have gone more differently, as Boston signed two monsters in Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez and the Yankees lost two giants in Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte.

Don’t get to cocky yet Red Sox nation, as when you get to the nitty gritty and compare players position by position the teams don’t look all that different.

Getting Gonzalez would be huge for any team, but the Red Sox needed to get a player of his caliber to match Yankees Mark Teixeira. Tex is no slouch and it was a hole for Boston, especially after losing Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez’s power bats in the line-up.

Overall, things are pretty even but even though I am a Yankees fan, realistically the Bombers have a slight edge.

Here is my breakdown (click picture to enlarge) of the Red Sox vs. Yankees, position by position (pitching post is coming shortly) and which team has the stronger player. Continue reading ‘Yankees Vs. Red Sox: Looking At The Facts Spells A Different Story For Rivalry’ »

2011 MLB Team Preview: New York Mets

For the first season since 2007, the New York Mets finally made some off-season changes to get the once successful franchise back on track.

In typical Mets fashion, fans started to get hope for the future only to be hit with another blow, that their team’s owner can’t pay because he might be Madoff insider. Yikes.

The large and dedicated Mets fanbase just can’t seem to catch a break. All the fans are thankful for is that the team plays in the same city as the Yankees, so it won’t just disappear.

The Mets have embraced the role of not being the Yankees and getting mad about it instead of doing something about it. Let’s look at the Amazins heading into 2011 season:

The Positives:

It took long enough for the Mets owners to realize that leadership changes had to be made; as GM Omar Minaya and Skipper Jerry Manuel had well worn out their welcome.

Finally, Fred Wilpon did something about it by hiring Sandy Alderson to replace Minaya and Terry Collins to take over as skipper.

Getting a fresh perspective on expectations and acceptable clubhouse behavior will set a new tone.

Collins is a fierce competitor and the players seem to have responded to him, some players even showed up to Spring Training days ahead of schedule. Collins is known for his own dramatic tendencies, and in his last two managerial stints he lost his players respect and was fired from both jobs. That was 11 years ago and Collins acknowledges openly that he didn’t enjoy himself, but now he does.

Look anything is an improvement from Manuel and hopefully Collins will clean up the rebellious, do-whatever attitudes of many Mets players. Mets fans should look at Joe Torre’s managerial history pre-Yankees to see that men can change for the better.

GM Sandy Alderson should thrive and is the guy who can turn this mess around. Alderson has a resume filled with years of success with the Oakland A’s and San Diego Padres. Also, he was a Marine and this should bring some structure. So far Alderson has said all the right things.

The hiring of Collins and Alderson sends the players a clear message, things are about to change and you don’t rule the team anymore.

The Mets definitely don’t lack talent, already have 3B David Wright and P Mike Pelfry to build around, have some terrific young talent in 1B Ike Davis and have a lights out closer in K-rod.

Wright is the franchise’s prize, posting a .283 batting average with 29 homers, 103 RBIs and stole 19 bases in 2010. Wright is in his prime at 27-years of age and look for another solid season from the Mets franchise player.

If the Mets can get production from Jason Bay and Jose Reyes, the Mets have a seriously competitive line-up, who can also run on the basepads. Can’t ask for much more, but need to execute all that wasted talent in 2011.

The Negatives:

The Mets have so many questions and with their lengthy history of giving the wrong answers, makes it hard for fans to trust that better days are ahead.

The traps are all set for the team to fail in 2011, whether they will battle or fold again is up to the players. See any MLB team has the potential to implode, but most don’t fold when it happens like the Mets. Continue reading ‘2011 MLB Team Preview: New York Mets’ »

New York Yankee Fans Have To Play Nice With AJ Burnett Too

After a disappointing finish in 2010 season, New York Yankees pitcher AJ Burnett knew what he has to do.

When Burnett first came to New York in 2009 from the Toronto Blue Jays he delivered, posting a 4.04 ERA, eating 207 innings and 195 strikeouts in the regular season. He followed by making 5 postseason starts, where he went 6+ innings in four starts.

The Yankees won three critical playoff games with Burnett on the mound, which eventually led to the franchise’s 27th World Series title.

Burnett showed no signs of slowing down when 2010 season began. He didn’t lose a game in March/April finishing the month with a 3-0 record over five starts and a 2.34 ERA.

By the All-Star break Burnett started to slip. Still, he left no time for the Yankees to worry, as in July Burnett posted a 3-1 record over five starts, an ERA of 2.0 and threw one complete game.

It is easy to forget, or it was hard to remember how well Burnett was pitching last season before the real damage came in August.

Burnett literally was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in pinstripes, finishing 0-4 with a 7.80 ERA in five starts.

Whether it was pitching coach Dave Eiland going AWOL for weeks, or something personal like his mystery black eye, really didn’t matter because the discontent was all over his face. Something was clearly off.

Always known to be a fierce competitor, Burnett career is branded as wild hitting 89 batters in 12 seasons, 19 of which were from 2010.

In all fairness, no pitcher has ever been perfect all season long but no one expected Burnett too be either.

Burnett performances deemed ‘bad days’ are a whole new level of mess. Usually it happens in the third or fourth inning, after Burnett flashes though the two or three prior. Than he just implodes, sometimes allowing seven or more runs to score with only one out achieved.

If Burnett is not pulled and comes in following the hell he just allowed, he has a tendency to go right back to pitching like a stud again. Burnett defines frustration; you can see it in his face and on every fan at the game when this happens.

See all pitchers are expected to have tough games, but Burnett would have four or five solid outings maximum knowing inevitable struggles were on the horizon. This was part of having Burnett on your staff, and trust me any MLB team would be happy to have AJ as their solid number two. His stuff is electric and he so much natural talent.
The last two months of 2010, Burnett seemed to be stuck in that one bad inning, but it was no longer sandwiched in between accomplishments. It was painful for everyone to witness.

Now, with 2011 Spring Training in full swing fans have seen Burnett in a few outings and he looks phenomenal. He built a pitching facility on his property in the off-season and all his hard work is headin in the right direction.

Continue reading ‘New York Yankee Fans Have To Play Nice With AJ Burnett Too’ »