The Best Yankee Game of the Decade

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The moment you've all been waiting for. The best Yankee game of the past decade is:

1. October 16, 2003 Game 7 ALCS "Aaron Bleepin' Boone" : Yankees vs Red Sox. Game 7. Winner goes to the World Series, loser goes home. Clemens faces Pedro again after the Fenway fiasco in Game3. The Red Sox pounded Clemens early. Trot Nixon hit a two-run home run in a three-run second inning for the Red Sox. In the top of the fourth Clemens gave up a leadoff home run to Kevin Millar, walked Trot Nixon, and a single to Bill Mueller. Torre had seen enugh and called on Mike Mussian with first and second nobody out, down 4-0. Mussina did the best thing possible by striking out Varitek and getting Damon to groundout into a double play to escape the jam.

The Yankees did not score until Giambi hit a solo home run in the fifth and seventh innings. Ortiz gave the Red Sox some insurance in the top of the eighth with a solo home run to make it 5-2. After getting Nick Johnson to pop out, Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox were 5 outs away from beating the Yankees to go to the World Series. That's when the ghosts arrived.

Jeter doubled and Bernie Williams singled to score him narrowing the score to 5-3. With the lefthanded Matsui coming to the plate, it appeared Pedro's night had been done. But instead Grady Little left Pedro in and Matsui doubled down the righfield line making it second and third with 1 out. For sure Pedro's night was done now. But no. He stayed out to face Jorge Posada who blooped a single into centerfield which tied the game 5-5. The Yankees had comeback and Pedro's night was done for good.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth, 10th, and 11th innings to keep the score tied at 5. Then to lead off the 11th, mid-season acquistion Aaron Boone was up for his first at bat of the game replacing Enrique Wilson. On the first pitch by Tim Wakefield, Boone sent the ball sailing into leftfield sending the Yankees to the World Series and the stadium into a frenzy.

It was a celebration in the Bronx in one of the most classic baseball games you can watch. The game had plenty of hype going into it, and it managed to be greater than advertised. The Yankees lost the World Series that year, but the seven games against the Red Sox were so grueling and intense it felt more like that was the World Series. It was also the last time the 19-18 chants took place at Yankee Stadium, but we won't get any further into that.

That concludes our list of the top Yankees games of the decade. Feel free to post what your favorite game was or if you think there were any games we missed.

Have a happy and healthy New Year and hopefully the next year and decade brings great Yankees memories as well.

See Ya in 2010!


Top Yankee Games of the Decade Part 3

With the decade coming to an end tommorow we look back at the best Yankee games of the past decade. Here are our #2 and 3 games we have chosen, which also comes from the best World Series of the decade:

3. November 1, 2001 Game 5 World Series "Deja Vu All Over Again": After a late-inning dramatic come-from behind win the night before, the Yankees and Diamondbacks were tied 2-2 with the winner being one game away from winning the World Series. Should the Yankees lose they would go back to Arizona where they lost the first two games. Mike Mussina pitched for the Yankees, going 8 innings giving up 2 runs. But Miguel Batista outpitched him going 7.2 shutout innings. In the ninth inning Byung Hyun Kim was looking for redemption after giving up the game tying home-run to Tino Martinez and game-winning home run to Derek Jeter the previous night. Just as in Game 4, Kim allowed one baserunner but managed to get two outs. He was one out away from sending the Diamondbacks up 3-2 back to Arizona. Then Scott Brosius came to the plate.

Brosius swung at a 1-0 pitch and drilled the ball down the leftfield line and into the stands for a home-run. The Yankees had done it again. The game was tied and the Yankees and their fans celebrated while the Diamondbacks were stunned. The game remained tied at two and eventually headed into the 12th inning. In the 12th Alfonso Soriano finished the job with a walk-off single scoring Chuck Knoblauch and the Yankees won 3-2.

Blowing leads and walk-off wins happen. But to do the same thing, in the same fashion, on the next night off the same pitcher in the World Series? Never again will you see that happen.
2. October 31, 2001 Game 4 World Series "Mr. November": This game preceeded the one above so I kind of already explained what happened. But lets get a little more into it. The Yankees were in a 2-1 hole and no team wants to be down 3-1 in the World Series so this was a must win game. Curt Schilling and El Duque found themselves battling a pitchers duel. Each gave up 1 run while working into the seventh inning. Mike Stanton blew the tie score out of the bullpen in the top of the 8th giving the Diamondbacks a 3-1 lead. Bob Brenly called on closer Byung Hyun Kim in the bottom of the 8th who struck out the side.

Kim came back out for the 8th and got two outs while giving up a single to Paul O'Neill. Now, I was at this game, and with two outs and Tino Martinez, who was hitless in his last 9 at bats up at the plate, we decided to start heading out to beat the rush out of the stadium. As we walked down the ramps of Yankee Stadium the crowd suddenly erupted with cheer. I swear I felt the stadium shake. I ran out to the next section and went to see what happened. Tino Martinez just tied the game with a home run. Well that turned us right around and back to our seats.

The game went to the 10th and Kim was still out there. Now as Derek Jeter came to the plate, the clock struck midnight and for the first time ever, there was baseball in November. Jeter worked the count full, then drove an outside pitch over the right field wall for the game-winning home run. An overzealous Michael Kay even added TWO extra See Ya's! on his home run call.

Now, the Yankees did not win the World Series. But what made these two games extra special was the fact that it happened right after 9/11. The Yankees in the World Series gave the people of New York something to take their minds off of. The way the Yankees won these two games in the aftermath of 9/11 was somewhat inspiring and gave the city of New York a positive energy and vibe.

Wow that was a lot of writing. I'm sure you've figured out what the best game is by now, but that should deserve its own separate post so you'll have to wait until tommorow.


Top Yankee Games of the Decade Part 2

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Here is part two of our top 10 Yankees games of the decade.

5. October 13, 2001 Game 3 ALDS "The Flip": The Yankees found themselves down 0-2 in the best of 5 series going on the road to Oakland. So this was a must win game for them. No team had ever come back 0-2 on the road adding a little more pressure too. The game was a pitcher's duel but the Yankees struck first on Jorge Posada's solo home-run in the fifth for the only run of the game. Leading 1-0 in the 7th Mike Mussina faced Terrence Long with a runner on first and two outs. Long hit a double down the rightfield line. Shane Spencer fielded the ball and overthrew both cutoff men (Soriano and Martinez) on the relay to home plate. Jeremy Giambi was on his way home when out of nowhere Derek Jeter scooped the ball on the first base line. With all his momentum carrying him toward the dugout he quickly flipped the ball banckhanded to Posada, who tagged Giambi (who was not sliding) on the back of the leg for the final out of the inning.

The play saved the game and the Yankees season as they went on to win 1-0 and eventually came back to take the series in 5 games. The flip showed everyone what makes Jeter so great. Most teams don't run a third backup on a relay, but Jeter was standing at the pitchers mound waiting to make the necessary decision. A's third baseman Eric Chavez said, "you probably never see that play made again."

4. November 1, 2009 Game 4 World Series "The Double Steal": I'm sure everyone remembers this game as it is the most recent on the list. The Yankees were up 2-1 heading into the game with CC Sabathia pitching on three days rest. The Yankees got to Joe Blanton early taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning. But Sabathia gave up an RBI double to Chase Utley to pull the Phillies back within one run. With the game tied at two in the fifth, Jeter and Johnny Damon had back-to-back RBI singles to put them up 4-2. However, Sabathia's troubles against Utley continued as he hit a monster shot into rightfield tocut the score to 4-3. It was Sabathia's last pitch of the game as he went 6.2 innings giving up 3 runs and striking out 6.

In the bottom of the eighth Joba Chamberlain came out in relief and struck out the first two batters he faced. Joba was one pitch away from striking out the side when Feliz crushed the ball tying the game at 4-4 with a solo home run. The Phillies had all the momentum and called on Brad Lidge for the top of the ninth, who had yet to blow a lead or tie game in the postseason.

Like Joba, Lidge got the first two outs with ease. Then came Johnny Damon. Damon worked a tough at-bat reminiscent of Paul O'Neill's at-bat off Armando Benitez in 2000. On the ninth pitch Damon singled to left bringing up Mark Teixeira. With Teixeira up left-handed the Phillies had a lefty shift bringing third basemen Feliz to the shortstop position. On the first pitch Damon took off to steal second. The throw was low and in front of the bag. As Damon popped up he did something that caused every fan from Philadelphia to New York scream at their television...he started running to third.

Because of the shift nobody was there to cover third base. Lidge could have, but he just stood on the mound and watched. Damon caught Feliz offguard and easily made it to third base. Lidge proceeded to hit Teixeira, setting up A-Rod with a go-ahead two out double to put the Yankees ahead 6-4. The Yankees won 7-4 and the rest is history. If it were not for Damon's at-bat or his heads up, instinctual play of stealing two bases on one pitch, the game could have very well headed into extra innings with the Phillies having the home-field advantage.

To me it was this inning that decided the World Series. Because of the double steal the Yankees won this game. After they won it, it was only a matter of when the Yankees would win their 27th World Series title, not if.

So I expected to write way more than I originally planned, so the next games will appear on another post, probably later tonight.


Top Yankee Games of the Decade (Part 1)

With the hot stove pretty cold right now and the end of the 00's decade coming to the end, we've compiled what we think are the top 10 Yankees games of this decade. Obviously we only chose games they won. Here is part 1 of our segment:

10. October 21, 2000 Game 1 World Series "Subway Series": In the first ever Subway World Series between the Yankees and Mets, the two teams started the series off with a thriller. In a scoreless game in the top of the 6th, Todd Zeile hit a fly ball off the top of the leftfield wall. David Justice threw it into Derek Jeter who fired a perfect strike to Jorge Posada to get Timo Perez out at home plate. Down 3-2 in the 9th Paul O'Neill worked a long at-bat off Armando Benitez into a walk. Luis Polonia would pinch run and score to tie the game at 3-3 on a Chuck Knoblauch sac fly. In the bottom of the 12th, Jose Vizcaino singled to left with the bases loaded giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the series. They would go on to win their third straight World Series in five games.

9. July 1, 2004 "The Dive": Entering the game the Yankees were 7.5 games up on the Red Sox and had spot starter Brad Halsey going up against Pedro Martinez. So it wasn't very meaningful, but it was at the height of the rivalry played at full intensity. The Yankees got out to a quick 3-0 lead. But the Red Sox came back, tying the game in the 7th 3-3. From there is where things got crazy. The Yankees threatened with runners in scoring position in the 9th and 10th innings, but the Red Sox escaped the jams. Mariano Rivera got out of an 11th inning jam with a key double play that got a force out at home.

The following inning with runners on second and third Derek Jeter chased down a Trot Nixon pop up making the catch and his momentum took him flying face first into the stands. His face was bruised and cut up and he was taken out of the game but the cameras continously showed Nomar Garciaparra sitting in the dugout with a "sore wrist" while Jeter was going face first in the stands. In the top of the 13th, Manny Ramirez hit his second home run of the game and it looked life the Yankees effort was going to be all for naught. But then Ruben Sierra singled up the middle with two outs in the 13th and Miguel Cairo followed with a game-tying double. John Flaherty, the last man off the bench, was up and doubled off the right-field wall giving the Yankees a 5-4 victory in one of the most thrilling regular season games you will see.

8. October 11, 2003 Game 3 ALCS "Pedro vs Zim": There was plenty of hype entering this game with Clemens facing Pedro with the series tied 1-1. What happened next nobody could have predicted. In the top of the 4th with the game tied 2-2 Pedro Martinez hit Karim Garcia in the back. Garcia did not appreciate the pitch being so close to his head and had a few words for Pedro. Pedro was then seen yelling at Posada in the dugout each pointing at their heads. Garcia then slid hard into second on the next play. As the Red Sox came up Roger Clemens threw a pitch high over the plate to Manny Ramirez which he thought was too close inside, prompting him to confront Clemens with the bat in his hands. The benches cleared and players had to be separated.

Then off on the side bench coach Don Zimmer was seen barking at Pedro and charging at him. Pedro then sidestepped him, put his hands on Zim's face and threw him to the ground. The mayhem did not stop there. Later in the game Jeff Nelson got into an altercation with a Fenway groundskeeper. When the game was over, the Yankees had won 4-3, but it was what happened in the fourth inning that will be most remembered in the history books.

7. October 9, 2009 Game 2 ALDS "A-Rod's Redemption": Alex Rodriguez's career with the Yankees has been a roller coaster ride. He's admitted using steroids, been criticized for unclutch play in the playoffs, won two MVPs, but only one playoff series in his first 5 years as a Yankee. On this day A-Rod became a Yankee legend. Down 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Yankees fans began to get that feeling of the previous three we go again, win the first game lose the next three. And with the "unclutch" A-Rod at the plate, hope was dim. But on a 3-1 pitch A-Rod sent an "A-Bomb" into the right-center bullpen tying the game at 3-3. Yankees fans everywhere went into pandemonium and you began to get that feeling this is our year.

But the Twins still threatened to win the game. In the top of the 11th, David Robertson faced a bases loaded nobody out jam. He pulled off the Houdini act by getting a lineout, groundout to first, and a flyball without giving up any runs. In the bottom of the 11th, Mark Teixeira earned his pinstripes (and a pie in the face) by hitting a walk-off home run giving them a 2-0 series lead they wouldn't look back on.

6. October 17, 2009 Game 2 ALCS "A-Rod Does It Again": In the following series the Yankees found themselves in a situation similar in the previous round. A wild fifth inning for A.J. Burnett allowed the Angels to tie the game up 2-2. From that point on neither team could get a rally going and they were tied up until the top of the 11th. Alfredo Aceves had given up a RBI single to the hitless Chone Figgins, putting the Angels up 3-2. As it looked like the Yankees were going to head to Anaheim tied 1-1, A-Rod decided he wasn't done with his postseason heroics.

With the rain begin to come down, A-Rod sent an 0-2 pitch from Brian Fuentes just over the rightfield wall, tying the game once again 3-3. It wouldn't be until the 13th inning when Jerry Hairston Jr. led off with a single. He moved to second on a bunt and two batters later Melky Cabrera hit a groundball to second when Maicer Izturis tried to turn two but threw the ball away from Erick Aybar sending Jerry Hairston home to win the game. It was the fifth longest game in ALCS history and was the second game of the postseason where the Yankees won in extra innings.

Check back either tommorow or later in the week for the rest of our countdown.


Still Waiting On A Leftfielder

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Brian Cashman did plenty of Christmas shopping this past month, but there is still one thing he still needs: a leftfielder.

Now, the name that has recently surfaced is Reed Johnson. Johnson is a right-handed hitter who can play all three outfield positions, so he is a fit for leftfield. However, he is not a great hitter and would fit as more of a platoon guy with Brett Gardner because of his splits.

Right now, the leftfield situation is about looking for a hitter to fill the 9th spot. Some people think they should give Gradner a shot, but I think you will expose Gardner if you give him a lot of at bats. Also Gardner gives us depth on the bench. I still think Mark DeRosa is the best option but it looks like he could be heading to San Francisco.

Sam Borden looks at Johnny Gomes and Xavier Nady as possibilities.

Honestly, after watching the Yankees World Series DVD I got for Christmas, I miss Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui already. I was content with the Yankees moving on without them, but then I watched that video and I wished they were coming back. I really wish the Yankees would stop pretending they have a budget and just sign Damon. But they want to clear as much money off the budget for next year to give Jeter and Rivera extensions.

I don't know what the Yankees will do for leftfield, but it won't be anything of the likes of Jason Bay or Matt Holliday.


Yanks trade Melky to ATL for Vazquez

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

According to Buster Onley of ESPN, the Yankees have sent Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and $500,000 in cold hard cash to the Atlanta Braves for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan.

My first reaction: "No, not the Javier Vazquez from the ALCS-that-shall-not-be-mentioned."

My second reaction: This is actually a very good trade for the Yankees. After the Top 3 of CC, AJ, and Andy, there were question marks. Hughes and Joba were in line to fill the last spots in the rotation, and this sures up one of those spots. Now one of those two will head to the bullpen, and my money is on Joba (but more on that later, and likely all off-season). Vazquez comes in after posting a 15-10 record and a 2.87 ERA (keep in mind that was the NL, and the NL West, one of the weaker divisions in MLB). He also was second in the NL with 238 strikeouts.

The Yankees rotation now looks like this:

  1. CC Sabathia
  2. AJ Burnett
  3. Andy Pettitte
  4. Javier Vazquez
  5. Hughes (or Chamberlain)
I believe that's the best rotation in the Majors, but I'm obviously biased.

The fact that they pick him for Melky (who despite being a fan favorite, was a career .269/.331 hitter with 36 career homeruns) and a minor league reliever, is a plus. Cashman is being very shrewd this off-season, making some bargain deals and short-term contracts. Vazquez is due $11.5 million this season, so after you take out the $3 million Melky will likely get in arbitration, that adds about $8.5 million to the Yankees payroll.

With Melky gone, and Gardner not exactly everyday left fielder material, the Yanks will likely go after someone to play left. Mark DeRosa is looking for about $6 million and can also play several positions, so he may be a target for the Yankees.

As John and I discussed, the worst part about this trade will be having to watch highlights of Game 7 of You-Know-Which-ALCS for the next 2 days, the first time Vazquez starts for the Yankees, the first time Vazquez starts against the Red Sox, and anytime Vazquez faces Johnny Damon.


Yanks Close To Acquiring Starting Pitcher?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Numerous reports have risen that the Yankees are in "serious talks" in acquiring a starting pitcher. These beat writers don't know who they are in serious talks with or what team if it is a trade. These are two pretty important details to know... but Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Constitution Journal wrote in the comments section of his blog that he received an email from a NY beat writer asking if he heard anything between the two things of "something big" happening.

My guess is it's a trade for Derek Lowe or Javier Vazquez's second chance as a Yankee. Lowe wouldn't make sense because he's old, coming off a bad year, and they could have got him last year. Vasquez makes more sense because he's young and a power pitcher, someone who could succeed in Yankee Stadium (even though he didn't in his first stint).

If anyone is gone it's Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner. The Braves have been looking for an outfielder and their has been speculation about trading these two.

This all comes after I speculated about the team's interest in Carlos Zambrano.

We will have a post if a deal becomes final.


Yankees Inquire On Carlos Zambrano

As most of you would assume, the Yankees are still looking for another starting pitcher. Interesting report I saw on mlbtraderumors about the Yankees asking the Cubs the price for Carlos Zambrano. However, according to the NY Post report, the Yankees did not like the asking price. I would imagine the asking price was probably something like Melky/Gardner, Montero, and a pitching prospect. Zambrano has a no-trade claus and is paid a lot of money, and the Cubs are always looking to contend, so I doubt Zambrano is going anywhere.

I think the fact that the Yankees looked into the asking price of someone such as Zambrano is very interesting. The pitchers on the free-agent market are Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer, Joel Piniero, and Jason Marquis. So there are plenty of starters who can fill the role of a back end of the rotation guy. But why would the Yankees be looking to make a trade? There has been much speculation about trading Gardner and Cabrera and maybe the Yankees are seeing if they can get a big-time pitcher in return. Honestly, I'd like to see them keep Gardner, because he provides speed off the bench and is useful late in games. He was a tool that the Yankees didn't have in the few years before 2009.

All this is speculation, and many expect the Yankees to acquire a pitcher soon. I still think they ,will sign someone off the free-agent market, but it is interesting that they are checking the price on pitchers like Zambrano. Maybe Cashman surprises us with a big trade. But right now, I'm thinking they will sign a free agent.


Why Nick Johnson Over Godzilla?

Friday, December 18, 2009

So it seems like the Nick Johnson deal is all but done. Now, some people are upset about this because Johnson is injury-prone and essentially going to be a full-time DH with Teixeira playing everyday. Many have been quick to criticize the Yankees and Cashman because if they were going to get an injury-prone full-time DH, why not just stick with Matsui? Well, I will tell you.

Matsui's knees are more of a liability than any injuries Johnson has. By signing Johnson he replaces Johnny Damon's spot as the number 2 hitter in the lineup. His OBP was .426 last year. How many players had a better OBP in the majors?

Two. Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols. The two MVPs of each league.

With Jeter leading off and Johnson as the 2 hitter, the Yankees have two guys who know how to get on base which will be able to set up the power guys. Granderson will replace Matsui's spot in the lineup as the number 5 hitter. Granderson likes to pull the ball and hit 30 HR last year so I think the lineup is looking pretty good. Plus Granderson and Johnson are younger and cheaper than Matsui and Damon.

I can understand the frustration of some by refusing to sign Matsui but going after Johnson instead. But overall, I think this move will benefit the Yankees. Granderson and Johnson are not Matsui and Damon, but they are younger and have more upside. I think the Yankees will be just fine, and did a good job replacing two important pieces that brought a championship back to New York.

Looks like we're going to be snowed in this weekend. So I'll have nothing else better to do than surf the Internet for the latest trades and rumors so we'll keep you up to date.

See Ya!


Nick Johnson Coming Back to NY?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Today I spent most of the day traveling, but when I came back home to the wonderful state of New Jersey, I saw various reports on mlb trade rumors and ESPN that the Yankees are in "serious discussions" with DH/1B Nick Johnson.

Nick Johnson would be a perfect fit in replacing Hideki Matsui in the DH role. If this does happen, it appears Johnny Damon's days as a Yankee will be no more. Or, there is the possibility that the Yankees are doing this to pressure Damon into coming back. But if you look at Damon's history, he will go to whoever gives him what he wants, and right now him and the Yankees are at a disagreement.


Matsui Reaches Agreement with Angels

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Hot Stove has been on fire all day today. Tyler Kepner of the NY Times reports that Matsui and the Angels agreed to a 1-year deal. Matsui, 35, played in 142 games and hit .272 with 28 homer runs and 90 RBI last season. He was 8 for 13 (.615) with three homers and eight R.B.I. in the World Series, making him the World Series MVP for the Yankees 27th title.

Matsui was never a priority for the Yankees this offseason. Cashman's philosophy of getting younger and healthier doesn't fit well with Matsui, who is 35 and battling knee issues. Getting Johnny Damon back would be more beneficial to the Yankees for his ability to still play the field.

Matsui never lived up to the power numbers he put up in Japan, but because of his postseason success he will be remembered as a hero in the Yankee Universe. The Yankees home-opener is against the Angels next year, so he will be there for the ring ceremony, and will be sure to get a standing ovation.


The Balance of Power shifts in the division...but which one?

Well, obviously there was a lot of news coming out of Major League Baseball today. Enough even to prevent SportsCenter to not mention Monday Night Football in the first 15 minutes of the show, which is almost unfathomable. Let's take a look at the deals:

John Lackey on June 15, 2006Image via Wikipedia

Roy <span class=Halladay" style="border: medium none ; display: block;" width="300" height="377">Image via Wikipedia

First, the deal that most directly affects the Yankees. John Lackey signs a five year contract worth more than the $82.5 million A.J. Burnett got from the Yanks last year. This doesn't really scare me that much. Yes, Lackey is a workhorse who has had success in the playoffs, but besides that what is he? He went 11-8 in 2009 and 12-5 in 2008 while missing time with injury. Boston's rotation, as of right now, is Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Clay Buchholz. I think the Yankees rotation matches up favorably to that, but I do have a biased opinion.

Now the big news: the Roy Halladay trade. The three team deal between the Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners is still pending, and it is still unclear what prospects are headed where but the basics: the Phillies get Halladay, the Mariners get Cliff Lee, and the Blue Jays get prospects from both teams.

Now for the Phillies, they get the guy they've wanted for months now, but they have to give up Lee, who was their ace from this postseason. I literally just got off the phone with a friend of mine who is a Phillies fan who had just heard of the trade. He had only heard that the Phillies got Halladay and I was the one to break the news that they had to give up Lee in the deal. After assuring him that I was not trying to get back at him for the Giants-Eagles game last night by joking around, he was considerably less excited about the trade. Now, Halladay is an upgrade over Lee, but they Phillies would have been a lock for a World Series appearance next season if they had both.

But I think that the attention should be going to the Mariners. They added a front-line starter in an off-season where they already signed Chone Figgins and have been linked to players such as Matt Holliday and Jayson Bay to add to their lineup. They have taken advantage of the Angels losing some big names over the past few years (like Teixeira and Lackey) and have made an aggressive push to make themselves competitive. I think this deal affects the AL West more than the NL East or the AL East.

Well it's finals week, so there may not be too many posts, especially if no big news comes out of Yankee-land because, you know, priorities.


"The Baseball World's Been Turned Upside Down"

Okay, that is what my roommate (who's a red sox fan) just said in reaction to all the deals that happened today. Obviously that is what we call an overreaction. If you havn't heard the Red Sox signed John Lackey to a 5-yeard deal supposedly a little more than what Burnett's deal was.

But what has the rest of the baseball world talking is the deal that sends Roy Halladay to the Phildaelphia Phillies, Cliff Lee to the Mariners, and prospects to the Blue Jays. I'll have more of my opinion and two cents later... but thought these deals were kinda of important so I posted this.


Yanks Non-Tender Wang

Sunday, December 13, 2009

As expected, the Yankees non-tendered Chien-Ming Wang's 2010 contract, making him a free-agent. The Dodgers and Cardinals appear to be interested in signing Wang. Wang had back-to-back 19 win seasons with the Yankees, but in 2008 he suffered a LisFranc sprain to his foot running the bases in an interleague play against the Astros that required surgery.

Wang returned this year but was never the same, he had that awful game against the Indians when he couldn't even get out of the first inning allowing 10+ runs. He was put on the DL but was still never fully able to return to the groundball pitcher he once was.

Wang was one of my favorite Yankee pitchers during the years of 2005-2008 because he was always reliable to pitch well. He had a rough time in the playoffs, but he couldn't match the frontline aces of the other playoff teams. I'd like to see Wang succeed and hopefully he does (unless he finds himself on the Red Sox).

If you're worried about the Yankees pitching depth, Chad Jennings breaks down the Yankees options should they need a spot starter or if someone suffers an injury.


Winter Meetings Report Card

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Winter Meetings officially ended Thursday, so we're a little late, but we'll give you our analysis and grade of how the Yankees faired in this year's Winter Meetings.

First, the Curtis Granderson trade. This was the deal of the Meetings and probably the Yankees offseason. They had to trade away some good prospects (Austin Jackson)but they were still able to acquire a young, excellent player in Granderson. Granderson fills their need in acquiring an outfielder and will play centerfield as Melky will most likely move to left. Granderson can either fill the two-hole in the lineup, or if Damon returns, he can protect A-Rod in the five spot. Overall, great deal for the Yankees.

Second, the Andy Pettitte signing. This was important because Pettitte was such an important part of their World Series run last year and he showed he still has something left. By re-signing Pettitte it takes pressure off the Yanks to go out and look for another veteran arm.

Third, trading Brian Bruney to the Nationals. Bruney was injury-proned and never really lived up to expectations. His role can be filled within the organization and the trade led to the Yankees getting the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft which led to:

Finally, drafting Jamie Hoffman. Hoffman is a right-handed outfielder who made perfefct sense for the Yankees to choose. He can make the team in spring training and contribute immediately by giving them depth and a right-handed bat off the bench.

There were also reports Cashman began negotiating withScott Boras about Johnny Damon, but it doesn't look like much progress has been made.

Despite not much progress with Damon and giving up some good prospects, Cashman definitely exceeded my expectations during this week as it was a very successful week. He addressed the top priorities and did everything the Yankees needed him to do in a short amount of time. The Yankees left the Winter Meetings as one of the biggest winners.

Overall Grade: A+...there really wasn't anything more they could have done.


Yanks, Damon Begin Negotiations

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ESPN is reporting that the Yankees have begun negotiations with Scott Boras to re-sign Johnny Damon. Damon made $13 million last year and was rumored not to take a pay cut. However, the deal for Granderson give the Yankees leverage in this situation. If a deal cannot be reached Mike Cameron and Mark DeRosa are the other expected targets for the Yankees to pursue.

In other news, the Yankees selected Jamie Hoffman from the Dodgers with the first pick (acquired from the Nationals) in the Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 Draft isn't much to get excited about. Nobody really amazing comes out of it other than a few excpetions (Josh Hamilton, Dan Uggla). Here's how Chad Jennings of the LoHud Blog describes it:

The Rule 5 Draft is a bit of a crapshoot...It's all about teams going after a specific need. Maybe that’s a left-handed pitcher or a utility infielder or a speed guy off the bench. It’s often high-ceiling, not quite ready talent for a team that doesn’t expect to contend.

Hoffman is a right-handed hitting outfield who hits lefties well. Cashman expects that he has a chance to win a bench spot on the team. If he does make the team you'll be sure to hear what the Rule 5 Draft is everytime he comes to the plate from Michael Kay. For a complete profile of him check out the LoHud Yankees Blog.


Granderson deal official, Pettitte re-signs

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The 3-team deal to bring center fielder Curtis Granderson to the Bronx is official. A couple of quotes from the press conference with Brian Cashman and the conference call with Curtis Granderson:

On Granderson:

We're excited about what he brings to the table -- his athleticism, his youth, his power and how it all relates to where we play. His personality, how people gravitate to him -- they're all plusses.
On Austin Jackson and the other players the Yankees gave up in the deal
We're excited about what we're getting, and we're distraught about what we gave up at the same time. It's not like I'm doing handstands. It's a tough decision. You're trading the future for here and now.

On his role on the team
I'm not going to be the standout guy. I'm not going to be the guy that you're constantly worried about. But if you don't keep an eye on me, hopefully, I can go and sneak in and do some positive things for our team.
On playing at Yankee Stadium
I've never been a guy who's gone up there trying to hit home runs.I think it's one of those things that has evolved over my career, and hopefully, the same will hold true at Yankee Stadium -- going up and trying to drive the baseball, and if it gets out, it gets out.
On whether he will wear #28 (or whether manager Joe Girardi will)
It'll be interesting. Of course, [Girardi's] the man. He's the one that makes everything go. He's going to definitely have first dibs on it, and if he chooses to take it, I've played in other numbers before. It's just a number on the back. Whatever you do on the field hopefully will stand out more.
In other news today, Andy Pettitte will return to the Yankees in 2010, as he signed a 1 year, $11.75 million deal that was announced today. After going 14-8 with a 4.16 ERA and winning all the clinching games in the postseason, the Yanks rewarded one of their "Core Four" with a raise over his $5 million base salary last season.


Granderson apparently headed to Yanks in 3-way trade

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Multiple outlets, including SI's Jon Heyman and ESPN are now reporting that a deal that was rumored last night has been finalized and center fielder Curtis Granderson will be coming to the Yankees.

Curtis <span class=Granderson" style="border: medium none ; display: block;" width="224" height="240">Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

It is a three-team deal involving the Yankees, Tigers, and Diamondbacks. Here's how it breaks down:

Yankees get: Granderson (from Tigers)

Tigers get: Phil Coke and Austin Jackson (both from Yankees) and Max Scherzer (from Diamondbacks)

Diamondbacks get: Edwin Jackson (from Tigers) and Ian Kennedy (from Yankees)

Different reports differ slightly on whether the Diamondbacks give the Tigers pitcher Daniel Schlereth (better known as the son of ESPN football analyst Mark Schlereth)

If this trade goes through, it means a couple of different things for the Yankees.

  1. The Yankees now have some leverage in negotiations with Johnny Damon
  2. The Melky/Gardner combination in center field, despite being relatively successful last year, will not continue next season, unless they slide over to platoon in left or...
  3. Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner may now be trade bait.
  4. Say sayonara to Hidkei Matsui.
  5. The Yankees won't be going after Matt Holliday or Jayson Bay (unless they were kidding about cutting payroll).
  6. By trading 3 for 1, the Yankees open up 2 spots on the 40-man roster for other free agent signings.
  7. Granderson will be your everyday centerfielder through at least the 2012 season, and possibly the 2013 season because of an option.
  8. The Yankees pick up a very back-loaded contract: Granderson is due $5.5 mil in 2010, but that increases to $8.25 mil in 2011, and $10 mil in 2012.
We'll update with more as soon as more news becomes available.

UPDATE 3:45: No news as of yet, as they are apparently looking over medical records and physicals and things of that nature. I just had a couple of other thoughts:

  • From the Tigers point of view, they get considerably younger and it makes you wonder if people like Miguel Cabrera and Maglio Ordonez are on there way out the door as well.
  • While I was a little hesitant about giving up Austin Jackson, reading a Tweet from PeteAbe made me reconsider it a little:
    Look at the trade this way, #Yankees fans, the best you could have hoped for Jackson to be was Granderson. So get Granderson.
  • With stats of .249/30/71 Granderson helps to make up some of the offense lost by Matsui and/or Damon leaving. You'd like to see a higher average and a better on-base percentage (.327 in 2009, .344 for career) especially if he bats towards the top of the order.
  • Plugging Granderson in centerfield and possibly move Melky/Gardner to left vastly improves their outfield defense, which at times was horrendous.
  • With Coke headed out, that means Mike Dunn, who the Yankees are very high on, will most likely get the chance to be the 2nd lefty out of the bullpen behind Damaso Marte.

UPDATE 5:00: John here, busy day for me today, but even busier for the Yankees. Just wanted to give my reaction of the trade. I thought the Yankees did a good job here. Despite giving away our best position player prospect, the Yankees sent Kennedy who is coming off a shoulder anuerysm and has shown inconsistencies in his development and Phil Coke (who I deemed the name Choke) for an All-Star centerfielder. So when it comes down to it, the Yankees made the right move.

It took me a while to deal with losing Jackson, but for a team looking to repeat, Granderson is probably the better option. Look what happened when we threw Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy into the spotlight in 2008. They stunk up the joint. It takes a few years for players to develop. If you can give up prospects for a relatively young and inexpensive player who is in the prime of his career and fills a need on the roster then you pull the trigger. The difference between this and Johan Santana a few years ago is the cost of Granderson, which Jim talks about above.

Now, as for Granderson, what I like about him is his defense, power, and his speed. I don't like his splits against lefties which is why I have mixed feelings about him. His average has also declined over the last two season. However, playing in a hitter-freindly park like Yankee Stadium, especially for a lefty, and with a little faith in Kevin Long, things may work out. And as Jim pointed out, Granderson in center Melky in left improves our defense tremendously.

Now we just have a few more questions which we kind of answered but we'll make a post later or tommorow. What does this mean for Damon and Matsui? And where does Granderson fit in the lineup?


Brian Bruney Traded to Nationals

Monday, December 7, 2009

Just read on the LoHud Blog that Joel Sherman is reporting that Brian Bruney has been traded to the Nationals. Bruney will best be remembered as that average bullpen pitcher who smack-talked K-Rod and almost got into a fight with him.

Bruney is a MKS blog favorite as we met and got his autograph (that's me with Bruney below). Being he was on a championship team I guess I can sell it for like, 12 bucks. If only we can find out if this was really his car when we met him:


Pettitte Rejects Offer But Will Play in 2010

So I've heard two things this morning on the first day of the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. That Andy Pettitte will return in 2010 and that he rejected a 1-year $10MM offer from the Yankees. SI's Jon Heyman tweets negotiations have begun between Brian Cashman and Pettitte's agent Randy Hendricks. According to Buster Olney and Joel Sherman's reports, it's just a matter of working a deal out, so perhaps the $10 million deal isn't what Pettitte wants. I don't think the Yankees will go higher than $12MM. I can see maybe a 1-year $10MM deal with incentives. Either way, many expect this deal to be done so it looks like Andy Pettitte will be back in pinstripes next year, making it less stressful to find a pitcher to replace him this offseason.


Yankees Attack Bloggers

Friday, December 4, 2009

With not much going on in the baseball world right now, I came across something interesting on the Yankees Universe blog. The Yankees Universe blog is a fan blog just like us and recieved this e-mail which they posted on their blog:

"While the Yankees are very appreciative of their loyal and highly valued fan support,unauthorized use of the Yankees Marks that would be confusing or misleading to the public, orfalsely imply some endorsement or sponsorship by the Yankees, cannot be tolerated. Althoughthe Website purports to be a “blog about Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees,” ithas clearly branded itself throughout with the Yankees Marks, including the Logo. Thus, you arenot using the Yankees Marks in a permissible manner but rather to brand your own onlineservice, and to create or imply a false impression that the Yankees have approved, condoned orsponsored the Website...

Accordingly, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and desist from usingthe YANKEE UNIVERSE name and the Logo, any other Yankees Mark and any other MLBMark in and as the name of your Website, to promote the Website, to seek advertising any othercommercial opportunities, in and as the Domain Name, and in any other manner that wouldcause consumer confusion, dilution of the MLB Marks, or imply any sponsorship orendorsement of your Website or its contents by any MLB Entity."

Well, that just sucks. So the same thing doesn't happen to us we will be adding to our disclaimer's on the page. I feel bad for the Yankees Universe guys, and it's moments like these when even Yankee fans just shake their heads at the organization. I love the team, but there are some people who run it I disklike. Like the people who set the new prices and thought a bar in centerfield to block views from other fans seats were a good idea.

In baseball news, the Red Sox signed Marco Scutaro. Even though I hate him for hitting that game-winning homer off Rivera I love it as a Yankee fan. This is ten times better than Pedroia moving to short and them acquiring a Brandon Phillips or Orlando Hudson.

Winter Meetings are next week, there will be more updates I promise.

See Ya!


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The owners, operators, and writers of the Michael Kay's Successors blog are in no way sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with the New York Yankees or the aforementioned Michael Kay. Because if they were, we'd be on World Series championship #39 by now.

Also, anything written about broadcaster/on-air personalities is all in good fun and meant to be taken as a joke.

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