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2011 New York Yankees: Almost Time To Go on Offseason Shopping Spree

Not repeating and no longer reigning as champions was not the game plan the New York Yankees had at the start of the 2010 season.

Losing the ALCS to the Texas Rangers was heartbreaking. The Bombers elimination seemed almost unreal, as the Yankees were the stronger ball-club all season long.

The blame-game is in full swing in New York, pointing fingers at Skipper Joe Girardi for his managerial calls and GM Brian Cashman not facing a team of over-the-hill players in time.

Yankees Universe is spoiled and winning it all is the only mark of achievement. Any outcome otherwise is considered a failed season, but this rigid motto is what players sign up for the moment they put on the pinstripes. Call it whatever you want, but it has led the franchise to the most elite status in sports.

What needs to happen in the offseason to get the Yankees back on top in 2011?

Here are the five I want to see happen:

1) Go get Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee is sure be on the top of Cashman’s list.

Lee just bombed his first World Series start and if he repeats a piss poor, performance maybe he could come cheaper. Not by that much, but Lee is 33 and has had back problems in the past. Regardless, Lee went from a want to a necessity today after hearing some startling news from the Yankees.

First, ace CC Sabathia has to have knee surgery later this week for a small meniscus tear in his right knee; while not serious, it is not comforting news at all. CC is physically enormous standing at 6’7″, weighing 309 lbs and at 30-years-old, which is implementing some serious stress on his body. CC threw 3,903 pitches in 2010, not including spring training. This was a concern when the Yankees signed Sabathia, as the odds were all stacked against him being able to avoid injuries like this one down the road. Finally, Yankees fans got a concrete clarification behind Sabathia’s why postseason struggles just came out of left field. Sabathia waved his option to remain for the rest of his five years in pinstripes.

Secondly, Girardi came clean as to the reason he switched Hughes and Pettitte in the rotation for the ALCS. Everyone was quick to blame the Yankees skipper for another horrible stat-based decision. Then today, the news broke that Pettitte felt off during his final start against the Twins in the ALDS. Smartly, Girardi played it extra cautious by switching him and Hughes to give Pettitte and extra two days off.

Add the above to AJ Burnett’s mental state and Phil Hughes inexperience making the rotation too risky. Get Cliff Lee and all will be ideal again.

2) Renegotiate reliever Kerry Wood’s contract and sign him on for two more years. Wood was a huge reason the Yankees won games in the second half of the season. Wood still throws heat form the mound, has a dominating presence and his experience eludes his confidence. I believe Wood is an inspiration and mentor for Joba Chamberlain, who significantly improved once Wood arrives. Also, god forbid Mariano Rivera becomes mortal, but at 41-years-old, it is going to happen. Wood can help the transition go smoothly from the baseball side during this unthinkable time.

3) Grab a position player that has proven his merit already, but do not spend the money on Tampa Bay Rays Carl Crawford. Crawford will be a fortune to acquire and with all the money going out to resign Jeter, Rivera, Girardi and hopefully Lee the Yankees can go cheaper. Crawford’s personality is something of concern because he can be quite immature at times and not always a team player. Crawford’s hard work after the 2009 season was not for the Rays, but for his pending free agency contract. Obviously any player wants to do his best to get the most money, but you can still be a team player at the same time. New York City will swallow Crawford with the instant celebrity status, which Rays players do not receive in Tampa Bay.

Philadelphia Phillies Jayson Werth would be perfect in pinstripes, but beware of his recent hiring of agent Scott Boras who might shop Werth with too big a price tag. Werth is older, so he will come cheaper than Crawford without a doubt, plus Phillies players are icons at home so he is used to all the craziness. Boras will go right to Cashman and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, as he knows how to drive up the price. Still, even if money wasn’t an object, I truly believe that Werth is a better fit for the Yankees. Continue reading ‘2011 New York Yankees: Almost Time To Go on Offseason Shopping Spree’ »

2010 World Series: Getting To Know The San Francisco Giants

As a New York Yankees fan it is easy to get to know the players in the American League.

Due to geographical circumstances and interleague play, I have learned more about some of the teams in the National League, like the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Over the past few seasons, the San Francisco Giants have not come to the Bronx and have not factored in the postseason.

The Giants actually resided in New York City from 1930-57, in which the franchise won five World Championships and 17 pennants. Since making the move to San Francisco, the city still awaits for their Giants to bring a World Series title to the Bay.

Mainly known as the home to starting ace Tim Lincecum (“The Freak”), who has won the Cy Young Award the past two seasons, the Giants are another team residing in the NL West along with the Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

The organization’s biggest star, Barry Bonds disgraced the team’s mainstay. It seemed that the last special baseball moment for the Giants was Bonds hitting for his home-run record. It is his record because MLB can’t count it as baseball history when it was unauthentic.

Other than a cheat and a freak, there wasn’t much reason to get to the Giants over the last five seasons, until now.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After watching a few Giants games I understand their team’s appeal. The Giants players are scrappy, good, fundamental baseball players who are darn fun to watch because they never seem to give up.

STRENGTHS:

The team’s biggest asset is pitching. Three aces: Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner, follow Lincecome.

The Giants starters finished the regular season with a 3.36 ERA, which was the lowest in baseball. The Giants rotation also tossed a total of 1461 innings, gave up the least hits with 1279, 546 earned runs, and struck out the most batters.

All stats led the majors for 2010. They tied for third place with the Dodgers and Marlins for the least home-runs allowed with 134 in total. Continue reading ‘2010 World Series: Getting To Know The San Francisco Giants’ »

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World Series Game 1: New York Yankees Fans Will Be Watching Lee vs. Lincecum

Just in case you didn’t know, a 2009 World Series rematch between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies is not happening.

To many baseball fans surprise, both powerhouse ball-clubs lost in the Championship Series. Some might say the Phillies and Yankees lacked the heart, as making the postseason is basically part of the regular schedules.

Regardless of the reason, a loss is a loss no matter how it happened, who was injured, why so many players were slumping or if a team had too many days off.

So now the 2010 World Series starts on Wednesday in San Francisco, CA.

The city’s Giants will host the Texas Rangers for the first two games of a seven-game battle where only one team will leave as champions. The other team will leave with nothing, as nobody gets introduced as the “team that lost in the 2010 World Series.”


Will I watch the 2010 World Series?

Yes, but not if something better is on or I go out. Also, I am a huge baseball fan so whether I watch or not doesn’t speak for much of the norm.

The best matchup of the series and only one other teams fans might watch is on Wednesday night. Game 1 features the Rangers’ Cliff Lee vs. the Giants’ Timmy Lincecum, who are both legitimate Cy Young-winning pitchers.


Why will New York Yankees fans watch Game 1 of the 2010 World Series?

Cliff Lee is a free agent after the World Series ends and all of baseball is drooling just at the thought of acquiring Lee.  Yankees Universe wants him, CC Sabathia is his buddy and fans will get excited with the realization that they get what they want.


Who do I predict to win in this battle on the mound?

Picking a winner between Lee and Lincecum is a toss-up because if both are throwing heat, which has been the trend it could fall either way. Since Texas and San Francisco barely face each other in the regular season, if ever makes both the pitchers become even more devastating.

If this winds up being the case, my guess is Cliff Lee would win. The Rangers are better hitters than the Giants. Also, Lee has been in the postseason before, pitching for both an AL and NL team.

To be more specific Texas has Josh Hamilton in their lineup, and a hot-hitting Hamilton is lethal no matter who is pitching. The guy is a machine and was just crowned the ALCS MVP. Imagine where Hamilton would be if he didn’t do all those drugs, because it doesn’t seem possible to be any better.

Lincecum is six-plus years younger than Lee. It is only Lincecum’s fourth season as a professional, and this is his first postseason ever. Also called the Freak, Lincecum has been dominating in the playoffs thus far, striking out 14 in the NLDS.

Mind you, Big Time Timmy Jim has won two Cy Young awards in his first three seasons. As many claim Lincecum is the best pitcher of the last two seasons without question.

What I have noticed watching this postseason is hitters make contact with Lincecum, but not with Lee. Lee shutdown the two best hitting teams in baseball, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees so the Giants will presumably be no threat.

The World Series is a different monster, as it’s one of the biggest stages in all of sports. It’s a stage that Cliff Lee seems to be nothing but flawless on, and I don’t see that changing on Wednesday night in Game one.


Who Do I Predict Will Win Game 1?

Texas Rangers win 3-1, and Cliff Lee gets the win, one RBI and a home run (kidding about the home-run, but you never know with this guy).

Yankees GM Brian Cashman Adresses Media About Jeter, Rivera, Girardi Contracts

NEW YORK YANKEES BREAKING NEWS….

It’s no surprise to hear from New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman that pitching coach Dave Eiland will not be returning in 2011.

Eiland took an extended leave of absence in 2010, the reason still remains personal but it was almost a month until he returned to his job. The pitching did suffer during this time, especially AJ Burnett’s turn for the worst. This is a good move by the Yankees.

Cashman also made it clear the Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Skipper Joe Girardi are all priorities and that both sides have said they want to return in pinstripes. This is not a shocker to Yankees fans either, but it’s always nice to get some confirmation from someone in charge.

New York Yankees: Now Go Get Your Money’s Werth

Free agency. It is what consumes GMs, owners, players and fans during baseball’s offseason.

This free agent market looks to rival that of 2008-09, when the New York Yankees went on a shopping spree scooping up CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett and Nick Swisher.

Names like Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Jim Thorne, Derek Jeter, Josh Beckett, Mariano Rivera, Victor Martinez, Adam Dunn, Jayson Werth, Derrek Lee, Jorge De La Rosa, Brandon Webb and Javier Vazquez are all on the market.

Rivera and Jeter will stay in pinstripes, as they are the face of the Yankees and are vital elements to New York’s allure. Yankees ace Sabathia waived his opt-out clause to stay in New York through 2016.

Same story goes for Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett. Beckett is the leader of the Red Sox pitching staff, which has a lot of young talent that look up to Beckett, which means his recent back problems get over looked.

The same cannot be said for starting pitcher Javier Vazquez, whose second time around as a Yankee was even worse than the first. Neither side should want to continue this relationship because it has not benefited either. Vazquez will get offers; my guess would be mainly from National League teams.

As a Yankees fan, GM Brian Cashman first order of business should be to pick-up the option for Kerry Wood. Wood was the best pick up of the year by Cashman and he has electric stuff out of the bullpen, as well as a nice mentor to Joba Chamberlain whom the Yankees owe at least another season to straighten himself out.

Second priority, at least I hope, is that Cashman goes after Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth. Werth’s attitude, bat and personality are a perfect fit for the Yankees. Werth is a big-game clutch hitter, he can steal bases and would be a nice addition in the outfield next to Curtis Granderson.

A question remains about who would not start, Brett Gardner or Nick Swisher, if the Yankees did get Werth.

Swisher hits power, but Gardner is a pest with his legs as he is fast as hell on the basepaths. Both are known to draw long at-bats and have great eyes at the plate.

Swisher and Gardner sharing time would be a nice option for the Yankees manager to have at his disposal because Werth and Granderson will both start for the majority of the time.

Starting Pitcher Cliff Lee’s arm will be the 2010-11 offseason’s prize for sale. Everybody wants a piece of Lee because he is that good, but he is 32 years old and has suffered from back problems.

The Yankees don’t need another pitching arm of that caliber, but that is not why Lee won’t come to the Bronx. To be honest I don’t think Lee wants to be a Yankee. The Yankees need a bat like Werth to help the aging lineup and a four-man outfield of Swisher, Werth, Gardner and Granderson is solid.

I fully realize that Rays’ Carl Crawford is a dynamite player and will be coveted by many teams. Crawford in pinstripes doesn’t work for me. Yes, Crawford’s numbers are ridiculously good, but he is young will cost more money and years than Werth. Plus, Brett Gardner is maturing and the Yankees would be dumb to let him go anywhere, just to load up on all-stars.

Another factor is how the new Yankees ownership of Hal and Hank Steinbrenner without “The Boss” in the background any longer with the final say. Let’s see how deep Mr. Steinbrenner’s sons’ pockets are in comparison to dad’s generosity.