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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.

ALCS 2010: Why the New York Yankees Lost

Let me start by saying congratulations to the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers are the ALCS Champions and well deserve to be just that after winning Game 6 against the New York Yankees, 6-1.

It is a first World Series appearance for the Texas Rangers organization. Texas will face either the Philadelphia Phillies or the San Francisco Giants, who are still battling it out in the NLCS.

After dominating the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, the Yankees had eight days off till the ALCS started down in Texas.

The Yankees could have won this series, but you have to play baseball in order to win.

Let’s look at the three factors, hitting, pitching and managing for the Yankees in the postseason to figure out what happened:

1) Hitting, a word that became unfamiliar to the Yankee batters. If you do not score runs, you will not win ball games. Maybe if a team had Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, The Freak or CC Sabathia in the same rotation, you could afford not to hit, but even that Cy Young foursome would lose a game or two.

A-Rod continued his horrible 2010 postseason, coming into Game 6 with three hits in 17 at-bats, with a .176 batting average. Last year, A-Rod hit six home runs, batting a .365 over 15 postseason games. His slump was a HUGE problem and reason the Yankees struggled so much.

It’s not as if the rest of the Yankees were much help anyway. Swisher’s batting average was .194 and Teixeira (pre-injury) was even worse, hitting .148 in the postseason. Both regular season sluggers lost their swagger completely for the second postseason in a row.

2) Shockingly, the pitching was second to the hitting, because if you can’t score runs, the game is over no matter who is on the mound. Otherwise, the pitching was almost as terrible as the batting, following the ALDS where the pitching was phenomenal.

Sabathia got the job done winning both his ALCS starts, even though he grinded in both games against Texas. CC is an ace and that is why he gets the title. Sabathia had an ERA of 5.63 over 16 innings and struck-out 15 batters. The Yankees won all three games CC started, which is the only stat that matters in the post season. Continue reading ‘ALCS 2010: Why the New York Yankees Lost’ »

2010 ALCS Game 6: Why Arod’s Bat Will Decide New York Yankees Fate

 

History in sports usually has to do with some sort of stat, which can be a predictor for the future regarding similar circumstances.

So, with the Yankees down 2-3 in the ALCS series to the Texas Rangers, it got me thinking of how the bats could stay hot for more than just one game.

Pondering over the past two seasons at what had facilitated the Yankees to get hot and stay that way. I looked at all kind of stats for the team, individual players trying to see how what affected more wins and fewer losses. Did anything make the line-up respond in 2009 and 2010?

Nothing was blatantly obvious, but the one factor that did generate more wins and all around team production depended on Alex Rodriguez.

When Arod drives in runs or hits home-runs the team tends to follow his lead about 25% of the time, but in the playoffs it was around 80% in 2009. Problem is that the same goes if Arod posts all zeros as well.

Still, everyone can’t stop blaming the Yankees middle-of-the-road pitching for getting the team into this ALCS mess, which has not made it easier by any means. The bottom-line remains the same, scoring runs wins ball-games. This is regardless of who is starting on the mound, because a starter’s teammates main job is to driving in runs or else you need five pitchers who never let a run score.

If Arod’s performance in the team’s 7-2 win of Game 5 is any induction that the slugger is about to get hot, watch out.

The Yankees tend to get that extra push when Arod swings; something they so desperately need right now.

Don’t forget that New York need to win both games over the weekend to survive, sans superstar Mark Teixeira.

Tex had been cold as ice in both the ALDS and ALCS prior to the injury, but statistical history over the past two seasons proves this to be a working formula.

The tandem, that graces the Yankees three and four spots in the line-up are a lethal combination and everyone’s job just goes a little harder.

For now all eyes will be on Game 6, Friday night in Arlington, TX.

For the Rangers, it’s a place in history as they’re looking to clinch the franchise’s first trip to the World Series ever.

While, the Yankees only focus is just to win. What other options does New York have other than digging themselves out of this hole they climbed into.

They don’t, but this is the Bombers reality now and they know what they have to do.

If history means anything in the postseason, which is a debatable topic, Alex Rodriguez’s bat will hold the key to the New York Yankees destiny in the ALCS.

2010 ALCS Game 5: New York Wins And The Real Yankees Are On The Way To Texas

As the saying goes, if you can’t hit the baseball get the hell off the field was the theme coming into Game 5 tonight in the Bronx.img_1105

Instead, it was the New York Yankees who got the job done beating the Texas Rangers 7-2, in a must-win to stay-in the series game.

The Rangers are still ahead of Yankees 3-2 in games. If this Wednesday afternoon game is an indication of what’s to come in the next game, Texas should be running home nervous.

The Yankees flat out put the Rangers back where they belong when Cliff Lee is not pitching.

I have held to my opinion about the Rangers all season long; I do not think the Texas Rangers are as good as people think.

The Rangers have some good players like Josh Hamilton, but someone had to replace Alex Rodriguez production when he came to New York. Overall the team is just not well rounded, because without Cliff Lee, the Rangers would not be in the ALCS and maybe make the playoffs because the AL West was such a joke in 2010.

Cliff Lee Yankees are without all-star, gold glove first baseman Mark Teixeira for the rest of the playoffs. Tex’s Yankee teammates do not crumble without him, life is not easier by any means but the Yankees are talented enough to still win. Unlike the Rangers, who without Hamilton at the end of the regular season, fell apart.

Sabathia did not have one of his smooth days on the mound, but CC grind-ed his way through six innings and held the Rangers to two earned runs. This is what defines an ace, and it is why Sabathia was brought to New York in the first place.

The pitching has not been its best for the Yankees, but the main problem seems to be fixing itself because the Bombers are hitting again. This is the first time in the ALCS that the Yankees kept the lead from the start and never gave it up all game.

Finally reality hit the Yankees who seemed to be riding the late bus to school the last two games.

The Yankees entire lineup participated in the win, with a hit, RBI, home run or a walk. It is about time that the Yankees started playing like themselves again.

Imagine if the pitching and hitting could get it together for the same game, the Rangers would not stand a chance.

Guess the Rangers will have to wait another day to try and make it to a place they have never been.

The Yankees need to continue to just be themselves, but it’s another must-win for Game 6. When the Yankees have their backs against the wall, they seem to right themselves pretty quickly.

Cliff Lee will be on the mound for the Rangers in Game 7, but let’s get through Game 6 before anyone starts to get ahead of themselves, even a lowly sports writer and die-hard fan like myself.

2010 ALCS Game 4: New York Yankees Lose A Double Tex

Going into Game 4 of the ALCS, the New York Yankees were down 2 games to one to the Texas Rangers.

So, it’s understandable how hesitant Yankees fans were to trust the decision of starting AJ Burnett in the most important game of this postseason for New York.

Burnett did okay, better than expected but once again the Yankees couldn’t hit the baseball and once again stranding runners on base.

Things hit rock bottom in the fifth inning when Mark Teixeira grabbed the back of his right leg trying to get to first. What might have seemed like a slide into the base was actually Tex in pain that was so bad Tex needed help off the field.

Skipper Joe Girardi said that it would be a miracle if after the MRI Tex would be cleared to play. So, season is over for Mark Teixeira and that will hurt the Yankees at first-base big time. Regardless of Tex’s recently ice-cold bat, he was bound to warm up if the team went on to play more games.

The Yankees are not themselves, and handing the Rangers the wins. It is due to lack of production and not playing to their established potential.

Fact remains if both ALCS teams were playing at the top of their game, the Yankees would prevail.

Well, that is not reality for the Yankees but it still can be. Nothing is set in stone just yet, but if the Yankees want to win they have to play.

The Rangers are playing ALCS-worthy baseball right now and deserve to move on to the World Series. It would be a first for the Rangers franchise and nothing is standing in the way of that happening as of now.

If the reigning World Champions want to keep that title, than winning Game 5 on Wednesday afternoon is the perfect and last chance to start playing New York Yankee baseball.

With CC Sabathia on the mound the Yankees should be able to get this series back to Texas.

In sports, you simply aren’t considered a real champion until you have defended your title successfully. Winning it once can be a fluke; winning it twice proves you are the best. ~ Althea Gibson


New York Yankees: Not Scoring Runs Just Blame It On The Pitching

The ALCS has not been good for the New York Yankees thus far, but blaming the pitching is just a mask for the real issue.

The issue is not hitting, which means runs don’t score. With zero or two as a team’s score, it forces the pitching into having to be almost perfect to get a win.

For example look back at CC Sabathia’s start in Game 1 of the ALCS. Sabathia, who is an ace in all terms is human at times and that CC was on the mound against the Rangers that night.

Sabathia posted his shortest outing of the season, leaving the game after four innings, giving up six hits, five earned runs, one a home-run, while walking four and striking out three. To say he imploded would be correct, but guess who won that game?

The Yankees did in one inning, being down 5-1 entering the top of the eighth the bats scored the five runs needed to take the lead. Then it was over because Mariano Rivera in the ninth is a postseason God.

So, the reason behind the Yankees losing ALCS Game 4 is not AJ Burnett’s fault, as he pitched much better than Sabathia.

In the sixth inning Burnett threw one bad pitch, which turned into a Bengie Molina homerun. Molina scored the two Rangers on base and turned the Yankees 3-2 lead into a 3-5 New York deficient and an eventual Yankee loss.

Whatever is not happening on the mound is also not happening at the plate and that is the Yankees or any other team’s recipe for disaster. This holds even truer in the tough postseason.

Philadelphia Phillies seem to be following in the Yankees footsteps in the NLCS, as the Giants 3-0 shut out the Phillies. A post-game quote from Phillies Shane Victorino sums up my point:

“If you don’t hit, it doesn’t matter how good the pitching is,” Shane Victorino said. “So you can’t blame our pitching right now. We need to find a way. Cole gave up three runs today and we scored nothing.”

It is crazy that the two best teams can’t seem to hit the ball and it is a shame for baseball. A rematch of a Yankees-Phillies World Series make for an awesome series, ratings would be through the roof.

Without question, MLB will see it’s worst ratings if the Giants-Rangers both make it into the championship ever! No one in the northeast (huge sports media market) will even care to watch, which only hurts the game itself.

A rematch is still possible but surely the Yankees and Philles are cutting it too close.