The Bronx is Heating Up With Addition of Chapman

The Yankees made a HUGE splash by trading for flamethrower Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds for four minor leaguers. By doing so, they didn't trade any of their main prospects or part with any major league talent. This was a move I'm in favor of for so many reasons. Some of them I just listed but I'll explain why this is a win-win for the Bombers.


The addition of Chapman now gives the Yankees the best 1-2-3 punch in baseball...by far. If they all play up to their caliber, this season will be very special in the Bronx. This end of the bullpen gives the starting rotation some wiggle room and takes some pressure off their shoulders. With an already question filled rotation with each of the five starters, all that's going to be asked is to get 5-6 solid innings on any given night. The three headed monster awaits at the end of games. Now the bridge to the trio needs to worked out by manager Joe Girardi but honestly, will it be that much of an important role? The answer is yes, but the pressure to be an Adam Warren 2-3 inning guy won't be there. An inning of solid relief is all the Yanks need , ala Chasen Shreve pre- August 2015.


The pending suspension of Chapman can very much work in the Yankees favor. Should Chapman be suspended more than 45 games, he forfeits his rights to be a Free Agent at the end of the 2016 season, which then gives the Yankees control of Chapman for another season.
“We felt this was an opportunity to add a big arm to our bullpen, even though there are some things that are unresolved,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said after the trade.
If this does end up being the case, then it gives the Yankees time during his suspension to figure roles and lets Girardi see who has what coming out of his bullpen. Who's reliable, who's going to implode. That way once Chapman returns, everyone can settle into their roles and hopefully we see a simple formula, starter goes 6, Bridge, then ANY combination of the trio can be used to mix and match for the rest of the game.


Dellin Betances will get less work this season and get a chance to rest an arm that was overtaxed the last two seasons. Last year Betances' stuff wasn't as sharp going down the stretch. Andrew Miller can pitch multiple innings much like he did with Balitmore and Boston the year before he won the Yankees closer's job. It's very possible we could see the trio of Betances, Miller and Chapman for FIVE innings on any given day. That's how lethal this group can be.


Chapman gives the Yankees the top three relievers by strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings in the majors. Miller had 36 saves in his first year with New York and Betances made his second straight All-Star team as the setup man. After defecting from Cuba in 2009, Chapman spent the past six seasons with the Reds and saved 146 games in 164 chances. He had a 1.63 ERA this year, when he struck out 116 in 66 1-3 innings. Betances struck out a league-best 131 and Miller fanned 100.


Big things are ahead for the Yankees this season. Of course the excitement for the flamethrowing trio could all be for naught if the offense can hit and score runs, but that's a story for a different day. For now lets enjoy the big move the Yankees just made and picture how this could look come October 2016 under the lights at Yankee Stadium for the World Series :)














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Yankees Make The Right Move For Cubs' Castro

Embedded image permalinkOn Tuesday night the Yankees made their first big move of the offseason. They sent pitcher Adam Warren and infielder Brendan Ryan to the Chicago Cubs for Second Baseman/Shortstop Starlin Castro. This is a good move for both sides and gives the Yankees another young solid infielder. Gone are the days of overpriced aging players. I love this!

There are many things to like about this. But first lets say goodbye to Adam Warren. He was the most consistent pitcher the Yankees had and most reliable in 2015. Wherever they put him, he was dependable. In the rotation or in the bullpen, he was good. He always gave the Yankees just what they needed that day and there's a lot of value in that, especially with a team full of question marks. Warren seemed to fit the role of 4th or 5th starter just fine but he was pushed to the bullpen after 17 starts in '15 because Ivan Nova came back from Tommy John surgery. Warren then filled the gap from starter to the trio of Justin Wilson-Dellin Betances- and Andrew Miller. THAT role he filled proved to be so vital because once he was inserted back in the rotation late in the season, his absence in the bullpen was felt. Manager Joe Girardi tried replacing Warren's absence with kid after kid from the minors in BIG spots. They rarely delivered. It ended up costing them the division. Warren now joins a World Series contender and probably one of the best rotations in the National League.

Yankees Blue Jays BaseballWith Castro, the Yankees get a 25 year old 2B/SS with 6 years of major league experience. He hit just .237 through the end of July, but hit .335 in the final two months. For the Yanks, he fits the profile of their recent targets as a young, cost-controlled player in a buy-low opportunity. Castro is signed through 2019 with a team option for 2020. He has $38 million guaranteed left on his contract. The idea of him and Didi Gregorious as the Yankees new double play combo lights up my eyes and gets me excited to see what they can do
“You could be greedy (at second base),” manager Joe Girardi said at today’s Winter Meetings before news of the Castro trade went public. “You look for outstanding defense and offensive production. I mean, that’s the greedy part of it; that you can get a lot of production, too, offensively."



 The move gets the Yankees younger, cheaper and hungrier. GM Brian Cashman went on the Michael Kay Show last week and said he was focusing on acquiring players through trades as opposed to signing the usual big free agent contract. Today we see that Cashman and company have a plan they're sticking to. The Yankees are getting younger and more athletic....and I'm ok with that. Good job!




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Age Before Beauty in the Bronx

The offseason is only a week old and I'm already itching for something to happen. The Yankees have an old inversatile roster so there won't be much movement unless something drastic happens. I think that's what should happen.

If there's any good of the NY Mets making the World Series its that the Yankees saw just how much attention that the youth of the Mets organization got. The Royals won it all because they were young, hungry and durable. Sure, they needed to make some mid season additions to get over the hump, so did the Mets. The Yankees were quiet at the trade deadline. That was the right move because it meant they kept all their young guns. The thing that gets me is that the young guys aren't exactly part of the plan for 2016.

Rob Refsynder is platooning at second base, Greg Bird doesn't have a spot on the big league roster after belting 11 home runs in his month and a half stint replacing Mark Teixeria at first base and in the lineup. Aaron Judge still won't see any significant time above Triple A because of Carlos Beltran clogging up time in right field. If last season was anything to learn from it's when the old guard goes down with an injury, which is going to happen with older players, you need reliable replacements. Brendan Ryan and Chris Young aren't the answers.

2016 should be the year where much like Luis Severino got his chance in 2015, Judge, Refsynder, and Bird should get significant time to showcase their talents and learn on the big league level. Teixeria doesn't give you any reason to think you're going to get a full healthy season out of him. Beltran was great down the stretch but it took him 4-5 months to get there. By that time, the rest of the team wore down and were left for dead.

While not young to be a rookie, Nathan Eovaldi showed he was reliable and develpoed into a solid top of the line pitcher. Pair him with Micheal Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees have a formiable 1-2-3 punch. If Ivan Nova goes back to his 18 win form, then the Yankee rotation came be one of the best in baseball. It would be a shame if they were and the lineup couldn't back them up because of age.

I wanna see the young core play and develop. It's time. Even if it's at the expense of some expensive past their prime players.
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Now Batting...Number 2, Derek Jeter

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What Went Wrong and What's Next For The Yanks

It's been two weeks since the Yankees were eliminated at the hands of the Houston Astros in the Wild Card Playoff game and it still hurts.


This Yankee team that no one gave a shot at winning before the season started far exceeded expectations. By the end of July it looked like the Yanks would coast into October, except three things happened that derailed the entire season. Mark Teixeria went down with a season ending injury hurting the offense. Nathan Eovaldi ultimately went down for the remainder of the season hurting the starting rotation and the bullpen. The Yankees got old very quickly.


Teixeria was on his way to a 40 home run 115 RBI season when he fouled a ball off his shin and fractured his shin. Eovaldi was 14-2 and on his way to 200 innings when he went down with a forearm strain and he threw the balance of the pitching off its rocker. It put trusted pitcher Adam Warren back into the rotation, which was ok because he excelled during his stint in the rotation earlier in the year BUT it left a gapping hole in the bullpen. The 2-3 innings Warren would solidify in case a game was close or within reach now went to young inexperienced kids and boy did the Yankees pay for having to go that route. The Yanks lost countless games down the stretch because their starters just couldn't give them enough length. When they did, the offense was non-existent causing there to be more pressure on the lineup to produce. This formula was the demise of the 2015 Yankees.


So much could be said of how manager Joe Girardi handled the bullpen down the stretch in the final month and a half of the season but the REAL cause for concern is the lineup. The lineup that produced 20 runs in Atlanta, two potential Comeback Players of the Year in Teixeria and Alex Rodriguez, the future first baseman in Greg Bird, and a 7 game lead in the A.L. East on July 29th could only muster up 3 hits against the Astros. They went 1-7 in the final 8 games of the overall season. Pitiful, pathetic and embarrassing.


I'm not sure where the Yankees go from here but the answer to me is crystal clear. Get younger, get hungry, get rid of the old. Look around the MLB LCS's going on. All young teams going around. Out are the days of the high priced payrolls, In are the young and hungry want to make a name of themselves kinda players. This is what the Yankees should be aiming for. The new core is ready to be unleashed, Bird, Luis Severino, Rob Refsynder, Aaron Judge, Dellin Betances are just some of the homegrown talent waiting to make this THEIR team. I'd say make this happen sooner rather than later.




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QUITE FRANKLY: Yankees Best Bet Is Hope

The Yankees are in! Postseason baseball returns to the Bronx for the first time since 2012. It's been a hell of a roller coaster since then, as the Yanks said goodbye to some iconic players. Mariano Rivera in 2013 and Derek Jeter in 2014. They almost said goodbye to Alex Rodriguez for good both years but in 2015 he found the fountain of youth and became a clutch everyday 30 home run hitter. Now with a new group of players, the Bombers find their way to Tuesday night's Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium.

This team by NOOO means is going into the Postseason with any momentum or anything that makes you believe they will get far this October. They finished 3 games behind where I thought they would.  But I did predict the Yanks would get into October by making the Wild Card. I wasn't too off with my other predictions on how our main players would finish.

THIS Yankee team that takes the field on Tuesday will have more question marks going into that ONE game than it did going into the season. How does Masahiro Tanaka pitch with the season on the line? Who starts at second base? Who's Joe Girardi bringing into the game from the bullpen? How can Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury get out of their second half funk? How much more does Alex Rodriguez have left in the tank? There's more but you get the point. I'm really worried about this team and I'm afraid I know what fate awaits us on Tuesday night.

The Yanks will play the Houston Astros to determine who goes on to play the defending American League Champion Kansas City Royals in the ALDS. It was the one team I didn't want them to face because of their ace Dallas Keuchel. He's shut the Yankees down everytime he's face them and he neutralizes the lefty bats in the lineup, especially at Yankee Stadium, something we don't need in this sudden death situation. Any lefty getting thrown at the Yankees will be successful. Girardi has admitted such this past week.

To be honest, ANYONE taking the mound would've been successful against the Yanks this past week. A week that saw them go 1-6 needing to win only TWO games to clinch the Wild Card and Home Field Advantage in that sudden death game. A week that saw Girardi make some of the most baffling moves of his tenure here in the Bronx. That is what scares me as a fan.

Now to the positive. Last year saw BOTH Wild Card winners catch fire and go to the World Series. There's not reason to think the Yankees can't do the same. The One Game Playoff has proven to be the momentum swing that every team looks for come this time of the year. Tanaka gets the ball and I believe he can be the $175 million ace. I believe the bats of A-Rod, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran still have a little magic left in them. I believe that Girardi can bring in Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller in the late innings and secure a victory. I've seen it so many times this year. Why not again Tuesday night to an Astros team that is young, inexperienced in a big stage and is worn down. It can happen.

The 2000 Yankees stumbled into the Postseason losing 15 of their last 18 games and they went on to win the World Series for the 3rd year in a row. Not saying we're winning the World Series.....yet, but I am saying anything can happen to change the misfortunes of the present and turn them into a steamrolling truck all the way to the end. I'm just happy we have Postseason baseball back in the Bronx. It belongs here.

Prediction: Yankees lose due lack of urgency in the lineup and they're not able to get the "big hit" when they need it. It'll be close, but after 2-3 missed opportunities, it's time to pack up and head home.




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Yanks Hopes Starting To Get Wild

I was going to post during the Toronto series but the rain out and god awful play of the Yankees delayed that until I had a better understanding of where they stood in terms of the playoff picture. I wanted to post yesterday after Monday night's amazing comeback but it seems after last night's loss, the Yankees are destined for the Wild Card.

Last night was a missed opportunity to gain ground on the Toronto Blue Jays when they lost to the Atlanta Braves in the bottom of the 9th inning. The Braves are one of the worst teams in baseball and for them to beat one of the best teams in baseball was a gift. A gift they might get again. So the Yankees blew a 3-2 lead and lost 6-3 and stayed 3 games out of first.
“It’s tough,” Joe Girardi said after watching his team blow a 3-2 lead in the sixth. “It’s tough that we’re not able to hold them down.”


The reasoning for the Wild Card over the Divsion is simple. Last night was the prime example of why the Yankees are in trouble. The Yankees that played like one of the best in baseball in June and July would've had Nathan Eovaldi on the hill and his 14-2 record. In the 5th when the Yanks went to the bullpen, Joe Girardi would've summoned Adam Warren to bridge the gap to Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances but with the injury to Eovaldi, that wasn't possible. We got Warren going 4 innings then went to young inexperienced relievers to hold a one run lead. That didn't go too well as Nick Rumbelow gave up a two run homerun to Nick Franklin who's batting .133 (!!) on the season.

“They’ve come up all year and done a pretty good job,” Girardi said. “It’s a lot to ask of them, but we think they’re capable of doing the job and we need it.”


Now with the opportunity missed, the Yankees don't gain ground and are just as close to losing that top Wild Card spot as they are overtaking Toronto. By this time next week we will have a better idea where the Bombers stand but I don't think it'll be good news. This team relies too much on the long ball. Their top two hitters Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner are the spark plugs, but they don't steal bases like they're supposed to. Ellsbury is batting .250 on the season and in the middle of an 0 for 28,29, 30 slump. That's very alarming. The offense goes into spurts of knocking the cover off the ball but it hasn't happened much since the beginning of August. This team is talented and have the tools to win it all but I feel with the injuries to Eovaldi and Mark Texieria, it may be too much to overcome. You lose your best pitcher and most productive hitter in the lineup. That kind of loss will eventually catch up to you.

I certainly can see the Yankees turning it around within the blink of an eye. I thought that was the case after Monday night's comeback but after what I saw last night, it's back to the same old story we saw this weekend against the Blue Jays. The Yanks aren't ready and they're just not as good as the Jays. It may be too late for the Yanks to turn it around, but then again..who says the Wild Card is a bad thing. It may be the best thing that happens to the Yankees.
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Yanks Stink Up The Joint Before Showdown With The Jays

This was a TERRIBLE series for the Yankees. They dropped 2 of 3 to the Baltimore Orioles, who came in losers in 15 of their last 18 games. What made it worst was the two losses came on 8th and 9th inning home runs in tied games!

Dellin Betances is the 8th inning guy in a tie game but manager Joe Girardi decided not to use him or closer Andrew Miller because they pitched two days in a row. Ok, I get it but maybe just maybe ONE of those two guys could've pitched three days in a row? Both losses were very very winnable games but they lost because there was NOOO offense whatsoever!

Tuesday night the Yankees lost because they scored just ONE run. Tonight they lost because Stephen Drew's glove had some cement in it and couldn't receive the ball. It's very troubling that the offense has had its spurts where it goes completely awol and other times they hit everything in site. You can't have this kind of inconsistency in October, especially in a one game wild card playoff.

The Yankees have time to right the ship as the Blue Jays come in for a HUGE four game series at the Stadium. This will be the biggest series in the past three seasons and I expect Yankee Stadium to be rockin'. The battle for first place is on the line and the Jays just wont go away. Playoff atmosphere in the Bronx, I cant wait..but if they play like they have the last two nights say goodbye to those October hopes.
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Book Signing: Fritz Peterson

Meet former Yankee Fritz Peterson! Visit Stans Sports World, 850 River Ave before the game and pick up your copy and meet the former Yankee!! 
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Sevy and Alex Lead The Charge

The Yankees season may come down to how they get through this 10-game homestand that started Friday night. In order to make it to October, they have to get through the A.L. East and that's what the next 10 games will be all about.

The Yankees got off to a stellar start by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 at Yankee Stadium. In the process they gained a game on the Toronto Blue Jays. Something they haven't been able to do lately. 

Luis Severino pitched into the 7th inning and recorded his 3rd victory of the year. He lowered his ERA to 2.04. Showing poise on the mound and possibly auditioning for a spot in the playoff rotation, he gave the Yankees just what they needed. He threw a gem giving up just one run in his longest outing of the year. 

Alex Rodriguez, Greg Bird and Brian McCann all homered in the win. A-Rod was the first one to go deep in Friday night and the Yankees will need more of that down the stretch in order to regain control of the division. Alex has slowed down a bit here in the 2nd half but a couple off days seemed to do the trick.

The 10-game homestand ends with a 4-game set with the Jays so every game counts at this point. Day 1 is in the books and the Yanks show they mean business and are coming to claim the division crown. 

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Eovaldi Emerges

Last night proved the Yankees can hang with the best the American League has to offer. The surprising Houston Astros are in town for a 3 game series and the Yanks took the opener in a nailbiter, 1-0.

The offense was non-existent once again until the 9th inning where they ultimately won the game but that's for a different blog. The thing we really want to focus on that came out of last night is the fact Nathan Eovaldi pitched magnifecent. 8 innings, no runs allowed, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts. Solid performance by a guy who was an afterthought in the Yankee rotation back in April.

Eovaldi seems to have turned a corner and it's happened at just the right time. With CC Sabathia going on the 15-day DL and possibly lost for the re
st of the season, Eovaldi has stepped into the slot we all thought CC would occupy. Reliable, solid starting pitcher.
“Tonight was the best I’ve felt about an outing,” he said.
Since that game in Miami on June 16 when he couldn't get out of the first inning, he’s gone 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his past 12 starts.
“Last year I had to rely on my fastball a lot more than this year,” Eovaldi said. “That and my slider, then I’d get behind in counts with my slider. I didn’t have a great feel for my curveball last year, and then I didn’t have the split. This year I’ve been using my curveball a lot better and all my offspeed pitches (have been better), which is helped me out a lot.”

The difference is now Eovaldi is more of a pitcher than a thrower. The results are showing.  The Yanks win keeps pace with the surging Toronto Blue Jays at top of the AL East. The two teams have 7 head to head matchups remaining and certainly those games will determine who wins the divison but a win last night will prove valuable should the Yankees make it to October. The Astros are among the AL's elite so whether it's a 1-0 win or 16-2, a win's a win and it gives you the confidence moving forward to gain another victory. Eovaldi's emergence couped with Tanaka, Pineda, and Severino will provide the Yankeees with a dynamic rotation going down the stretch and in a postseason series. After 2 years of missing the playoffs, that's all you could really ask for from this team.
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A-SLAM Latest In Season Of Redemption For A-Rod

Last night saw the latest highlight of Alex Rodriguez' comeback season. After going 0 for 3 in his first three plate appearances A-Rod belted a 1-0 fastball into the bullpen in right centerfield and put the Yankees ahead 5-4 in the 7th.

“A home run feels great,” Rodriguez said. “A grand slam feels pretty awesome. … I said in Spring Training, there were going to be some ups and downs. The last two weeks are pretty good examples of some downs, but it’s also important to keep perspective when you’re doing great or when you’re struggling.”
We all knew A-Rod would come back down to earth eventually. He's already exceeded expectations. So what's there to lose? Right now..the division. With The Toronto Blue Jays hot on the Yankees trail in the A.L. East, every game is important. Every at-bat is crucial.

The Blue Jays were taking care of business last night in Philly when Alex came up to the plate in the 7th with the bases loaded and the Yanks down 4-1. Talk about pressure. The man was once renowned for failing in clutch situations. This season, Alex has been the unsung hero more often than not. It was these same Minnesota Twins he slugged THREE Home Runs against last month and single-handily kept the Yanks in the game, which eventually led to a Yankee victory.

The Grand Slam was A-Rod's 25th on the season and 25th Grand Slam of his career. It was his first HR since his 40th birthday on July 27th. He was due. You sensed that all he needed was to be put in a situation where the Yankees needed him the most. I was at the game last night, I sensed it before he even came out to the on deck circle. It was just time. I looked over to my friend and said, Alex is due, if he comes up with men on, he's going to come thro. And he did...in a big way. With everyone in Yankee Stadium behind him and chanting "Let's go A-Rod" , he hit one into the Bronx night. The place went crazy and stayed didn't calm down until Alex came out for a curtain call.

“What’s bothered me is when you have poor at-bats and when you chase, when you’re not being productive and helping the team win,” Rodriguez said. “I think when you hit a lot of home runs, they come in bunches. Sometimes there’s droughts. I just went through one. … I’ve been stinking up the joint here for about three weeks now. That one felt good.”
It certainly did Alex. So much so that the Yankees official Twitter posted a pic of Alex with the caption #BAEROD. Now that everyone is in FULL support of #13 what else is in stored for A-Rod for the rest of this season? We're gonna need him down the stretch if we're getting to October. In a season of redemption, Alex has everything he needs to be New York's NO. 1 beloved athlete.




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#BAEROD

A-Rod breaks his slump with his 25th Grand Slam of his career and puts the Yankees ahead for good to defeat the Twins

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A-Rod 3K

Congratulations to Alex Rodriguez on becoming the 2nd Yankee ever to reach the 3,000 hit Milestone!

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No Focus Leads To Bad Start

The Yankees have played terrible baseball in the opening week of the season. At 1-4 it's very easy to see how bad this team can be. If it weren't for a few miscuses by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 8th inning on Wednesday night, the Yanks could be 0-5. Yikes!

What I've seen is a team that is making mental mistakes left and right resulting in errors on the field, pitches getting left over the strikezone and runners getting picked off the bases at an alarming rate. Some of these mental mistakes are just inexcusable. You can not get picked off at first base in just about every game. Where is the focus of the team? New shortstop Didi Gregorius got thrown out on Opening Day trying to steal 3rd base to end the 8th inning with Mark Teixeria at the plate having a chance to get the Yankees back in the game. Inexcusable!

19 innings on Friday night meant MANY squandered chances at winning the game in extra innings but continous mental errors and lack of focus denied the Yankees of a classic victory in the wee hours of the morning. Stephen Drew and Gregorius had countless opportunities to win the game with runners in scoring position and failed to send EVERYONE home. Granted Chase Headley, Teixera both homered when the Yankees needed them most and Carlos Beltran came through with a clutch double in the late late innings, it's the lesser impactful hitters in the lineup who came up short. Everyone was swinging for the fences when all was needed was a hit or a sac fly. Boston won on a sac fly in the 19th btw. 
“We have to play better,” Headley said. “It’s as simple as that. We’re better than that. We have to get it cleared up.”


The sentiment resides all throughout the clubhouse. As I've stated, this Yankee team can be and should be MUCH better than this but most people outside of the Bronx will tell you, this IS what the Yankees are. Right now, it's hard to refute that point but it's 5 games in. Everyone will go through bad streaks like this throughout the season
“I think we’re a much better team that how we’ve played,” Joe Girardi said. “If you were to play at this pace the whole year, you wouldn’t have many wins. And I think we’re much better than this.”
A bad week certainly puts a lot of doubt in people's mind, especially when the offense is sporting a .193 average at the plate. The best part of the young season is the emergence of Alex Rodriguez as the most reliable hitter. Who would've thought that?  Alex has looked good all spring and has continued it during the the opening week. He even saw time at first base yesterday, how bout that?!

The Yanks send Masahiro Tanaka to the hill tonight to salvage the final game of this aweful series against the Red Sox. All eyes will be on Tanaka as he rebounds from a poor Opening Day start. All breaths will be held as they will be anytime he takes the mound this season as we all hope his right elbow holds up and doesnt require season ending Tommy John surgery. If the Yanks keep playing at this pace, thet might as well send him under the knife now. Let's hope this was just one really bad week.

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Quite Frankly: 2015 Yankees Will Give You "Two" Many Question Marks

It's Easter Sunday and the anticipation is finally at its peak! No, not the treasure hunt for Easter eggs but for Opening Day! Tomorrow we officially make the transition from Winter to Spring as the sun will be out, it will be 65 degrees and Yankees Baseball will be back in the Bronx! The 2015 Major League Baseball season has arrived.

It seems like only yesterday we saw one of the greatest moments in sports history play out in the Bronx when Derek Jeter decided to say farewell in dramatic fashion by getting the game winning hit in his last ever at-bat at Yankee Stadium. While that was a tremendous way to say goodbye, it was bittersweet because the Yankees missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. With the old guard now officially gone, we turn our attention to the new and current crop of players wearing the pinstripes.

2015 will ALL hinge on the team's health. I can't remember the last time the fate of the team couldn't be determined or predicted. This team has the ability to be really good or really bad. So many question marks surround the Yankees so let's look at some of the major questions followed by my predictions.

Can Masahiro Tanaka remain healthy enough to be the unstoppable ace he was last season?
--- This is the biggest concern the Yankees have this year. Without Tanaka healthy, the Yankees don't make it to October. The guy has quickly established himself as a stopper. He'll stop losing streaks, keep the rhtymn of good quality starts going, and be able to pitch in big game situations. He finished 13-5 last season after missing a few months in the middle of the year because of the tear in his right elbow. He was well on his way to a 20 win season, but he was also well on his way to Tommy John surgery. Thankfully he avoided the surgery (for now) and as long as he can take the ball every fifth day, I like the Yankees chances of making it to October.
My Prediction: 16-7 2.96 ERA , one stint on the DL.  / 8-4 3.45 ERA Tommy John surgery in the 2nd half of the season. I know, it's two different predictions but it can go honestly either way. Sadly, I think I'm closer with the latter prediction.

Which CC Sabathia are we getting in 2015?
--- This spring CC's velocity is back up to the mid 90's. That's huge (no pun intended). Why, because CC will need his velocity up so he can mix in his offspeed pitches and create a wider timing variance for the hitters. Bottom line, he couldn't get by with his subpar 89 mph fastball the last two seasons and he hasn't developed into a "pitcher" who relies on location and mixing in pitches. He's been a thrower and now maybe we can get a little bit of both. The most concerning thing this spring with CC was the locating of his pitches, While at times he's looked good, he's had glimpses of looking really bad. Maybe it's because he's missed most of last season and it'll take him some time to get into his groove. Sabathia is a notoriously slow starter so I don't see this as a worry....yet.
My Prediction: 13-9 4.23 ERA one stint on the DL, Yanks 3rd best starter behind Tanaka and Pineda.

Can Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeria return to form?
--- Both played TERRIBLE last season and that was because of health issues. So the good news is, they both can't possibly play worst than they did last year. The bad news, is they're broken down aging players so just how good is their best? Two switch hitting middle of the lineup sluggers need to be a huge threat in the lineup. Just plain and simple. Both have to hit 25-30 home runs with 100 RBI. Both have made it through Spring Training with no health issues and appear ready to go to open the season so let's just hope they play to the back of their baseball cards.
My Prediction: Beltran: 271 26HR 92 RBI two stints on the DL / Teixeria: 265 32 HR 95 RBI no DL stint.

What's left of Alex Rodriguez?
-- The guy everyone wants to go away but don't want to admit we need. A-Rod has been the Yanks best hitter this spring. He hit 3 homeruns and his bat speed has looked good. He's had a good vision of the strikezone so he'll put together quality at-bats. After a year and a half away from the game and the nonsense that followed him, I truly believe A-Rod will be a fully focused baseball player in 2015. He has A LOT to prove. The Yankees want him to produce, Alex wants to produce, the fans want him to produce so there's nothing left to do but just play baseball. Hopefully the black cloud has left Alex and he can be a vital part of the lineup. I think he can do it and I think he will.
My Prediction: 275 18HR 73 RBI solid player in the lineup and fills in at 3B and 1B with no problem.


How do the 2015 Yankees finish?
-- The bullpen is strong, the starting rotation is strong IF healthy, the lineup should be solid. There's a lot of flexibility with this team as opposed to years past. I see a team that closely resembles the '96 Yankees. Small ball, timely hitting, just decent starting pitching and just enough depth to compensate any injuries (except if Tanaka goes down for the year).
My Prediction: 90-72 2nd AL East, Wild Card berth gets them into October.


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A Few Dates To Remember in 2015

Some dates to remember in 2015


May 24: Will retire No. 51 and present plaque in Monument Park to Bernie Williams



June 20:  Present plaque in Monument Park to Willie Randolph and it will also be Old Timer's Day.



August 22: Will retire No. 20 and present plaque in Monument Park to Jorge Posada





August 23: Will retire No. 46 and present plaque in Monument Park to Andy Pettitte

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A-Rod Staying Clear Of Headlines

Sometimes our curiosity just gets the best of us. For better or worst we cant control the fact that we love controversy and we love seeing something that is out of the norm. As long as it's not us on the end. In this case, you clicked on this article because the name in the headline has controversy all over it.

Alex Rodriguez is no stranger to the spotlight, negative or positive. So here we are in the middle of March and A-Rod so far seems to be avoiding the spotlight. Such a polarizing figure, yet A-Rod seems to be on the backburner of baseball related questions surrounding the Yankees. With questions surrounding seemingly the entire team, A-Rod's productive spring has lead to eyes focusing on the pitching staff and other hitters in the lineup.

Major injuries to other overpaid under-performing superstars CC Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, and Mark Teixeira have gained much of the focus so far this spring. Mix that in with the $155 million investment in Masahiro Tanaka's right elbow and Alex flies under the radar...for now. That's because he's hitting at a .300 clip and so far so good defense in the limited time he's been at third base.

In his tv interviews he's been saying the right things, saying he feels like he's a rookie again, he's been humbled, he can't wait to play for the greatest fans in the world at Yankee Stadium and he feels great playing with his teammates.

"Some of the things that he told us still is some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten as a hitter, just as far as professional baseball went." Yankees prospect Greg Bird on A-Rod
If this can continue all year long, the Yankees will be happy. Will the fans be happy? I would. If he hits .300 and contributes to a winning team then no need for headlines and controversy. Although many people will bring that to the table no matter what just because its..well Alex Rodriguez.

There are a lot of what-if's this season for the Yankees. Alex is just one of many what-if's. He is so polarizing that you have to watch, you have to buy tickets to see just what he's gonna do. Whether you want him to fail or succeed, there is no denying that all eyes will be on A-Rod all season. The best thing he can do is be a reliable option on offense. The Yankees need offense in the worst way. Alex won't hit 50 homeruns anymore, but if he's got 15-20 in him and can drive in 70-90 runs this year no one will complain.

Opening Day is 19 days away and I'll reserve final comment on A-Rod once we get there and I'll see how Alex finishes up his spring.
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Rewind to the Future

A sight Yankees fans haven't seen in quite some time. Both men played in an instrumental part of the 2009 World Championship but in 2015 both will have to be "productive" and healthy for the Yankees to have a shot at October glory.

 Alex Rodriguez has had a good spring, better than most expected while CC Sabathia had a decent outing last night in his spring debut.


“I haven’t been around much the last two years, so it’s hard to think about how these guys feel and what they’re doing. But I know CC’s always a big part of what we do, and he’s part of our DNA. And I thought the ball exploded out of his hand today just from third base.”  - Alex on Sabathia

Sabathia said he’s not worried about whether he gets the ball on Opening Day. He’s done it 11 times in his career and said he’s focusing on making sure he’s available in September (and for Game 1 of a playoff series).
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Tanaka Impresses In His Second Outing

Masahiro Tanaka made another Spring Training start tonight and went 3 2/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves in Orlando. Tanaka appeared free and easy with his mechanics and delivery. Let's see how his elbow responds tomorrow after an increased workload tonight.


The Yankees 2015 season relies heavily on Tanaka's right elbow. The Yankees and their fans better get used to holding their breath this season. With major question marks surrounding the health of Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and the returning Ivan Nova, the season is literally impossible to predict. What we've seen so far this Spring, all signs seem to point in the right direction. It's ok to exhale for now, but don't get too comfortable, its only March.
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