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Look Back – Alex Rodriguez’s 2007 Resiging

December 1, 2009 4 comments


Photo Courtesy of Bleacher Report

There are a couple ways I wanted to go with this particular look back. I wanted to go back to when the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez initially but then there would be too many possibilities. But, I found that it was a lot more feasible to discuss what might have occurred if the Yankees had chosen not to resign him in 2007.

After all it was perfectly reasonable that the Yankees would not resign A-Rod. Scott Boras operated in such a way that it was certainly possible the Yankees had had enough of dealing with Alex Rodriguez’s massive contract. They had offered him $230 million dollars and had previously said that they would not play around with A-Rod if he opted out.

So the Yankees do not sign Rodriguez which leaves 3rd base open. Here are a few possibilities:

RED SOX SIGN ALEX RODRIGUEZ

Despite the idea that Boston would never want to sign A-Rod because they dislike Boras or did not believe that A-Rod was a “Boston” guy, in reality it would make complete sense for them to sign him. With Mike Lowell’s contract up, they could sign Rodriguez to a huge contract and generate even more publicity for their campaign to defend their World Series title.

YANKEES SIGN MIKE LOWELL

In need of a 3rd basemen, the Yankees sign Mike Lowell away from Boston. This has the added benefit of slighting the Red Sox while gaining Lowell, who at the time, was regarded as a very potent third basemen. There was serious interest in Lowell on the part of the Yankees so do not mistake this as just a rumor. They might have even signed him even if they brought A-Rod back.

YANKEES SIGN MARK TEXEIRA

Pretty easy to see that this signing would still have occurred.

YANKEES MOVE ROBINSON CANO to third base and sign (gulp) LUIS CASTILLO

Of all the other free agent second basemen available, Castillo makes the most sense for the Yankees. His career average was around .300 and he was a fairly good defensive second basemen who might have have been able to replace Cano’s production at 2nd base.

Recap of the Yankees Starting lineup:

WITH LOWELL AND TEIXEIRA

1. Jeter SS
2. Damon LF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Matsui DH
5. Posada C
6. Cano 2B
7. Lowell 3B
8. Swisher RF
9. Cabrera CF

WITH CASTILLO AND TEIXEIRA AND CANO AT 3RD

1. Jeter SS
2. Damon LF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Matsui DH
5. Posada C
6. Cano 3B
7. Swisher RF
8. Castillo 2B
9. Cabrera CF

I have to say, even if one were to take into account the extra money that could be freed up to buy a pitcher, it would have been a very bad move to put Cano at 3rd and sign Castillo, or really any other 2nd basemen because the 2007 class was not stellar at that position. With Lowell and Teixeira in the lineup it looks infinitely better but, upon comparison to the lineup the Yankees have today with Rodriguez both of these lineups simply do not compare.

Gold Glove Awards

November 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Image Provided by Getty Images, By: Rich Pilling


With Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira winning gold gloves, as well as Jeter winning the Roberto Clemente Award and Hank Aaron Award for being the best hitter in the American League, the recognition of the brilliance of the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees has rightfully continued (Yahoo Sports). This team was a truly masterful collection of great defense, even better hitting, and very good pitching. But, the Yankee defense has been largely overlooked throughout the course of the season despite being one of the best in the league. These awards have acknowledged that defense remains very important in the run to a championship.

The Yankees do not have a flashy defense but rely more on sound defensive play with the occasional top ten plays candidate. Jeter, who has been constantly assaulted for his poor defense in recent years, made a career-low 8 errors and had an astounding .986 fielding percentage. Even with a great first basemen it is clear that Jeter remains a top fielder as there is no way that Teixeira’s play was the sole cause for Jeter’s great defense during the 2009 season. Many people have accused Jeter of being one of the worst defensive shortstops in the league based on new statistical analysis. It speaks volumes, however, about his defense that he won an award that was voted on by the opposing teams who would not give him the award simply because he was Derek Jeter.

Teixeira’s defense during the postseason saved him from a great deal of attacks on his fortitude and ability to perform under pressure. Anyone who watched any Yankee game this year probably saw at least one play that Teixeira made that saved an error, a run, or stopped a base runner from advancing. He was a much needed improvement over past first basemen whose defensive skills were desperately lacking. He made the entire infield better by taking pressure off of Robinson Cano, Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez and just allowed them to concentrate on making the play rather than worry about throwing a strike to first.

Defense in many other sports is often the key to winning a championship. In baseball pitching is essentially the primary defense that any team has. For the Yankees their pitching and hitting led them to the World Series title but the defense certainly helped them get there so it is great to see the defense be rewarded with the Gold Glove Awards for Jeter and Teixeira.

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New York Yankees Defeat Philadelphia Phillies in Six Games, Win World Series

November 5, 2009 Leave a comment

The Yankees defeated the Phillies tonight 7-3, and won the World Series in six games. With tonights victory the Yankees have 27 World Series victories and 40 pennants.

Random Notes:

-Clutchest Pitcher in baseball history=Mariano Rivera

-Only the Yankees fans would go crazy over not winning a World Series in 10 years. In a place like Kansas City, making the playoffs twice in 10 years is an amazing feat.

-I was in Philadelphia earlier today and I was booed heavily (I wore a Yankees jersey)

-I was cursed at by two 80-year-old ladies and challenged to a fight by a teenage girl

-Philadelphia has great food, so they at least have that going for them

-Damaso Marte just skyrocketed his status with the Yankees fans. What a postseason for him.

-This could have been Andy Pettite’s last career game.

-What a postseason for Hideki Matsui. It will be very tough not to bring him back next year….don’t be surprised if the White Sox sign Damon and the Yankees sign Matsui/Bay/Holliday.

-Cano needs to step it up in the clutch.

-The Yankees won the World Series.

-Spike Lee is one impressive fan.

-Alex Rodriguez finally won a World Series.

-The Yankees won the World Series

-Tough loss for the Phillies, even tougher for dirt-bag Jimmy Rollins. (I don’t mind any other player on the team)

-THE YANKEES WON THE WORLD SERIES

GAME RECAP: WORLD SERIES GAME 5

November 3, 2009 Leave a comment

AJ Burnett gets rocked early, Yankees unable to complete the comeback late

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 6 PHILLIES 8 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Top of the 1st: Johnny Damon singles to center field. Alex Rodriguez doubles to right field, Damon scores (NYY 1, PHI 0)
  • Bottom of the 1st: Jimmy Rollins singles to center field. Shane Victorino hit by pitch. Chase Utley homers to right field. Rollins, Victorino, & Utley scores (NYY 1, PHI 3)
  • Bottom of the 3rd: Chase Utley walks. Ryan Howard walks. Jayson Werth singles to center field. Utley scores, Howard to 2nd base (NYY 1, PHI 4)
  • Bottom of the 3rd: Raul Ibanez singles to right field. Howard scores, Werth to 3rd (NYY 1, PHI 5)
  • Bottom of the 3rd: Carlos Ruiz grounds into a force out, Werth scores (NYY 1, PHI 6)
  • Top of the 5th: Eric Hinske draws a 1-out walk. Derek Jeter singles to right field, Hinske to 3rd. Johnny Damon gounds out softly to first base, Hinske scores (NYY 2, PHI 6)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Chase Utley homers to right field (NYY 2, PHI 7)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Raul Ibanez homers to right field (NYY 2, PHI 8)
  • Top of the 8th: Johnny Damon gets an infield hit. Mark Teixeira doubles to left field, Damon to 3rd. Alex Rodriguez doubles to left field, Damon & Teixeira scores (NYY 4, PHI 8)
  • Top of the 8th: Nick Swisher moves the runner (ARod) to 3rd on a ground out to 1st. Robinson Cano out on a sacrifice out, Rodriguez scores (NYY 5, PHI 8)
  • Top of the 9th: Jorge Posada doubles. Hideki Matsui singles to left field, Posada to 3rd. Derek Jeter hits into a double play, Posada scores (NYY 6, PHI 8)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • AJ Burnett: 2 innings, 4 hits allowed, 6 earned runs, 4 BB, 1 HR, 2 SO, 7.00 ERA
  • Cliff Lee: 7 innings, 7 hits allowed, 5 earned runs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2.81 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: Chase Utley 2-for 3 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI

OBSERVATIONS: 10 down, 1 to go.

GAME RECAP: ALCS GAME 6

October 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Solid pitching and defense help secure the Yankees’ 40th trip to the big show

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 5 ANGELS 2 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Top of the 3rd: Jeff Mathis doubles to center field with 1 out. Bobby Abreu singles to right field, Jeff Mathis scores (NYY 0, LAA 1)
  • Bottom of the 4th: Robinson Cano Walks. Nick Swisher singles to left field. Melky Cabrera out on a sacrifice bunt that moves runners to 2nd and 3rd base respectively. After Derek Jeter is issued a 1-out walk, Johnny Damon comes to the plate with bases loaded for the second time in the game. Damon hits a line drive to center field, Cano and Swisher scores (NYY 2, LAA 1)
  • Bottom of the 4th: After a Mark Teixeira infield single to load the bases, Alex Rodriguez draws a walk. Derek Jeter scores (NYY 3, LAA 1)
  • Top of the 8th: Mariano Rivera comes in for an 6 out save. Chone Figgins singles on a bloop to left field. Bobby Abreu grounds out to first base, Figgins advances to 2nd base. After Torii Hunter grounds out to 2nd base, Vladimir Guerrero singles on a ground ball to right field. Chone Figgins scores (NYY 3, LAA 2)
  • Bottom of the 8th: Lead-off walk for Robinson Cano. Nick Swisher puts down the sacrifice bunt and a missed catch error by second baseman Howard Kendrick puts man on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Brett Gardner comes in to run for Swisher. Melky Cabrera puts down another perfect sacrifice bunt but an error throw by pitcher Scott Kazmir moves Cabrera to 2nd and Garder to 3rd. Robinson Cano scores (NYY 4, LAA 2).
  • Bottom of the 8th: Mark Teixeira out on sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brett Garner scores. (NYY 5, LAA 2)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • Andy Pettitte: 6 1/3 innings, 7 hits allowed, 1 earned run, 3 BB, 6 SO, 2.84 ERA
  • Joe Saunders: 3 1/3 innings, 7 hits allowed, 3 earned runs, 5 BB, 0 SO, 5.84 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: Andy Pettitte gives another solid postseason performance, in the process becoming the winningest pitcher in postseason history. A solid 6 1/3 innings with only 1 earned run. Damon, Teixeira, and Rodriguez each had 2 hits and at least 1 rbi, none bigger than Damon’s 1 out hit to center field which gave the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish. Mariano Rivera was…well Mariano Rivera.

COMMENTARY: The New York Yankees have won the 2009 American League Championship. This is the most beautiful sentence I’ve written for The Pinstriper yet. What else is there to say folks? This team with its infectious attitude, steely resolve and clear focus has secured itself an opportunity to win another World Championship. There is a lot to be said about this closeout game, the pitching, the defense, the contributions up and down the lineup, and it will all surely be dissected numerous times before the first pitch of the World Series.

I just want to pay homage to a group of athletes that never lost sight of their goal, they played within themselves, they were patient and showed everyone that their confidence in each other is not mere bravado. The Yankees looked comfortable in every aspect of this game, inning after inning they never wavered and if there were any nerves it must have come from the bleachers because this team never showed a hint of worry. After a 6 year hiatus the Yankees are headed to their 40th World Series. They arrive to the October/November classic with a combination of youth, talent and experience unlike any team I can remember, along with the confidence that they finally have the right mix that can get it done. Let’s go get it! Congratulations to the 2009 AL Champions New York Yankees!

REDEMPTION

October 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Redemption: def. the act, process, or an instance of redeeming

Redeeming: def. serving to offset or compensate for a defect; To restore the honor, worth, or reputation of

2004 ALCS. Every Yankee fan understands the significance of that year and why it is once again a relevant topic. We should not be afraid of it folks, it is a historical fact and we shouldn’t hide from the truth. To be in the history books for squandering what was thought to be an insurmountable lead on a Pennant Series, and to our rival to boot, is something we should carry as scars earned in battle. After all this beautiful game always gives its players a chance at redemption.

Before the ghosts of Yankees past do a number on your head, lets get a grip, this is not the same ’04 team. There are, you would agree, a number of players in this staff exorcising demons of past postseasons. You can’t watch coverage of the ALCS without an overwhelming part of the broadcast devoted to the past and present postseason performances of Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira to name a few.

As analysts and so-called experts are asked to figure out what is accounting for the obvious reversal of fortune, the players seem to respond in unison “I feel good, I’m in a good place, and my teammates are here to pick me up.” Much is made of the overwhelming talent in this Yankee squad, as there should be, but one factor should not be overlooked: they are comfortable with each other, they are happy to be here, happy to be Yankees, and they have come to believe in team not as an abstract idea but because they have battled and proven to each other that every individual contributes to the success of the whole.

When you consider the numerous walk-off wins this year in Yankee Stadium just look at the names of the heroes: Cabrera, Posada, Rodriguez, Damon, Matsui, Cano, and then Teixeira in the ALDS. Everyone contributes. That is why the benching of Swisher, even when the numbers scream for such a change, is not becoming of this team. If this postseason is any indication everyone on this team gets a shot at redemption, and as the definition so clearly states: it happens in an instant. This postseason is far from over and before all is said and done AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes, and Nick Swisher may all get their shot at redemption. Who knows? Even Girardi may find a little bit for himself.

Author’s Notes: Another writer may have held onto this story in case the Angels force a Game 7, but that would be like a Yankee fan rooting for a loss in Game 5 because they have tickets to Game 6…not cool bro, not cool.

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GAME RECAP: ALCS GAME 5

October 23, 2009 Leave a comment

The rally monkey rears it’s ugly head, Yankees unable to clink the ALCS.

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 6 ANGELS 7 (F9th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Bottom of the 1st: Chone Figgins walks. Bobby Abreu doubles to center field, Chone Figgins to 3rd. Torii Hunter singles to center field, Figgins and Abreu scores (NYY 0, LAA 2)
  • Bottom of the 1st: Vladimir Guerrero doubles to center field, Torii Hunter scores (NYY 0, LAA 3)
  • Bottom of the 1st: Kendry Morales singles to left field, Vladimir Guerrero scores (NYY 0, LAA 4)
  • Top of the 7th: Melky Cabrera 1-out double to right field. Jorge Posada draws a walk. Derek Jeter walks, Melky Cabrera to 3rd, Jorge Posada to 2nd. After Johnny Damon flies out to left field, Mark Teixeira doubles to center field: Cabrera, Posada, and Jeter score (NYY 3, LAA 4)
  • Top of the 7th: Alex Rodriguez is walked intentionally. Hideki Matsui singles to center field: Teixeira scores, Alex Rodriguez to 2nd (NYY 4, LAA 4)
  • Top of the 7th: Robinson Cano triples to center field, Rodriguez and Matsui score (NYY 6, LAA 4)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Jeff Mathis singles to left field. Erick Aybar draws a walk. Chone Figgins moves the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Bobby Abreu grounds to first base, Jeff Mathis scores (Aybar to 3rd) (NYY 6, LAA 5)
  • Bottom of the 7th: After a Torii Hunter walk, Vladimir Guerrero singles to center field: Aybar scores, Hunter to 2nd (NYY 6, LAA 6)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Kendry Morales singles to right field, Torii Hunter scores (NYY 6, LAA 7)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • John Lackey: 6 2/3 innings, 6 hits allowed, 3 earned run, 3 BB, 7 SO, 3.65 ERA
  • AJ Burnett: 6 innings, 8 hits allowed, 6 earned runs, 3 BB, 3 SO, 5.84 ERA

KEY PERFORMERS: John Lackey gave the Angels a very solid outing, posting 7 strikeouts through 6 scoreless innings before the top of the 7th unfolded. Both Hunter and Guerrero had 2 RBI each, as well as Kendry Morales who went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI including the game winning hit.

COMMENTARY: Like many of you, Joe Girardi’s announcement that Jose Molina would be catching for AJ Burnett during the playoffs gave me pause. Certainly loosing Posada’s bat was a concern, but more importantly what did this move say about Burnett’s psyche and overall mental state. For those of you not convinced about the importance of psyche, I give you Alex Rodriguez as proof that the mind is a powerful thing.

Now we all have seen Burnett unravel before our very eyes, sometimes a half inning is all it takes and there is no doubt that Burnett was put on the quick fire as the Angels scored 4 runs on 4 straight hits to begin the game. But Burnett settled down and worked through the Angels lineup for the next 5 innings without giving up a run, long enough for the Yankees to put up a 2-out rally for the ages in the top of the 7th scoring 6 runs and grabbing a 6 to 4 lead which at the time felt like enough to clinch the series. I thought it was important for Burnett to get those scoreless innings under his belt after such a rocky start. Think about it this way, if the lead held up Burnett would get the win and Girardi would have a confident 2 starter ready to face the Phillies in the World Series. That is why I can’t see the upside of having Burnett pitch the bottom of the 7th. Girardi had a rested bullpen and it is very different for a reliever to start the inning than to come in with men on 1st and 2nd with no outs and the speedy Chone Figgins at the plate. Instead Burnett is left with the lasting image that he gave up a walk after giving up a lead-off hit and put his team in a pressure situation that they could not overcome.

Once again Girardi’s managerial approach comes into questions, I’m not even going to mention his pitching choices in the 7th, and many Yankee fans are left wondering if the Yankee skipper has a feel for the game (it can’t all be scientific folks). There are other aspects of this game that I fail to mention in this short piece, like Teixeira and Cano combining for 5 RBI with RISP or Swisher’s failed chance at glory, forgive me for I’m emotionally drenched from the quick reverse of fortune that was the 7th inning of Game 5 of the ALCS.

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