Yankees Need to Solve their Offensive Woes

The Yankees have always been a great offensive team, building their new ballpark to fit their needs perfectly, allowing a lot of balls to hit the seats with that short porch in right field. However, because the Yankees have so many power hitters in their lineup, i.e Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, along with possibly Andruw Jones being the 4th OF if he comes back next season, they have mainly become a home-run hitting team, and if they are not hitting a long ball, then they usually get in some serious trouble.

I’m sure all fans would agree, seeing your favorite player hit one out of the ballpark is always fun. But, there is a time and place for everything. There is a time to break open the game, which I the Yankees are very good at, but then theres also a time when you just have to get one little single to possibly win the game.

You don’t know how many times I sat on my couch watching a game, with the bases loaded, maybe like 1 or 2 outs, and having one of the big players come up and hit. Did I scream out “Hit a Grand Slam”? No, although that would be nice. If its a close game, whether the Yankees are winning or losing, I always say “Come on (insert name here) just hit a single, that’s all you need!”. Most of the time, that was not the case. Instead the guy stuck out or got into a double play.

So clearly this has become a problem for the Yankees. Basically they need to get “clutch hitting” at the right moment. Especially in the postseason, because let’s face it, everyone made a big deal about the rotation, especially going into the postseason, including myself, but in the end hitting is what got us knocked out. So that does that mean we have to get some new “clutch guys” well not necessarily.

I’m no expert on hitting but I think the lineup just needs some tweaking. Kevin Long says he works with his offense every season from spring training on on “situational hitting”, but it might take a bit more than that.

bats

Now during the playoffs, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner were the only Yankees to consistently get on base and actually get the big hit with men on base. With a lineup as powerful and deep as the Yankees, that should not be the case.

Heck even Cervelli did a good job with runners in scoring position, and he barely plays. So younger players like Nunez, Gardner, Cervelli need to play more often. I personally believe Gardner should be playing every day, Nunez and Montero need to get as many at-bats as possible, and Cervelli well we’ll see what happens with him.

So what can the Yankees do to solve this problem? Well got to go in there and do some tinkering. I am no expert at hitting but those “situational hitting” “games” that Long is doing with the Yankees isn’t good enough. Most of these power guys, besides Robinson cause he can hit anything, usually go up to the plate looking for that one special pitch, the “fastball”. That is not always going to be the case, do you think the pitchers are just going to be like “well Im going to throw this fastball right down the middle and take my chances”? NO. Especially not in the postseason. Pitchers do their homework and they know what certain guys like and how to get them out. Unless you can throw a 100mph fastball and blow it by a hitter, they are usually not going to do that, unless they have to. Now I don’t know if this is really going to help, but perhaps they just need to learn to shorten their swing at the right moment? Probably harder that it sounds, but these players need to KNOW that there are certain things you need to do in certain situations. I shouldn’t have to tell them this.

I know that there’s pressure, and they want to hear the crowd roar with a Grand Slam, but timely hitting is key, and a game winning single will probably get the same reaction. So even though Cashman needs to focus on pitching for the Yankees, whether it be signing Buerhle, trading for someone that won’t deplete our farm system, or just giving the kiddies a shot at the rotation, Kevin Long and even perhaps Joe Girardi, need to work with this offense and make sure that they are not relying on the long-ball as much.

Whatever happened to just playing “small-ball”? At times it seems like the Yankees don’t even know what that means.

On a side note, I also think that some tweaking of the lineup wouldn’t hurt either.

Cano

Cano is clearly the best hitter on the packed Yankees lineup. In the playoffs, Girardi put Cano at 3rd and had Teixeira moved down to 5th. But with A-rod not hitting what was the point??? No protection for Robbie whatsoever. Now I don’t know how A-rod will play next year, no one does, but he better bring Alex Rodriguez with him!! We need a healthy, productive Alex. If I were Joe I might make a line-up looking like this.

Gardner
Jeter
Granderson
Cano
Teixeira
Rodriguez
Swisher
Martin
Montero

Before you read my explanation, please really don’t take this seriously. I really don’t know what Im doing here. I know each spot in the lineup has a specific purpose but that’s pretty much it:P This was really just for fun, but don’t take it seriously.

Now this probably might not make any sense but this is just my opinion. I have been one of those people saying that Gardner should lead off. So you have Gardner and Jeter hopefully getting on base, and then with Granderson batting 3rd and Cano coming up after him, the Grandy man might see better pitches to hit, because I don’t think anyone wants to face Cano, so they just take their chances with Granderson. Cano is the best hitter, but I have in the clean-up spot because I just don’t know about Alex anymore. Can he stay healthy, and actually play more than a 100 games?? Can he hit like 40 Hrs and get 120 RBIs again? I don’t know and only time will tell. But let’s face it, he is not the best hitter anymore, Cano is. I kept Teixiera at 5th, and then I put Montero last because the kid has power, and if Swisher, who usually has a good OBP, and Martin can get on base before Montero, then Jesus could do some serious damage.

That’s my opinion, what’s yours? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Advertisements

Are Voters against Yankees winning any awards?

All right so as most of you know, some of the Awards that are given out every off season have been announced already during the course of the week. Here are the ones that have been give out so far and who won them. (Note this is for the American League only)

Rookie of the Year

1. Jeremy Hellickson (TBR)
2. Mark Trumbo (Angels)
3. Eric Hosmer (Royals)
4. Ivan Nova (NYY)

Cy Young Award
1. Justin Verlander (Tigers)
2. Jered Weaver (Angels)
3. James Shields (Rays)
4. C.C. Sabathia (NNY)

Manager of the Year
1. Joe Maddon (Rays)
2. Jim Leyland (Tigers)
3. Ron Washigton (Rangers)
4. Manny Acta (Indians)
5. Joe Girardi (NYY)

All right, now let’s look at each individually.

Rookie of the Year

NovaKiddie

Jeremy Hellickson or the “kiddie” as I call him, won the award, like pretty much everyone said he would. Now this year’s Rookie of the Year for the American League was pretty crowded as you can see, however I have noticed pretty much every Yankee fan has been complaining about this. Now am I saying Nova should have won, no but he made a strong case.

Nova won 16 games agaisnt just 4 loses. Thats pretty good for a rookie. Hellickson was 13-11. Now clearly you gotta acknowledge the fact that Nova has a great offense behind him giving him runs, while Hellickson does not. While Hellickson had a few complete games and a lower ERA than Nova, Nova won his last 12 decisions, and this is after he got sent to the Minors for a month because they needed to make room for Phil Hughes in the rotation. They also both pitch in the AL League East, arguably the best and toughest division in baseball.

Yeah you could argue that while Nova has to face the Red Sox and the Blue Jays, both having very potent offenses, Hellickson had to have both of those and the Yankees offense. But in the end they both pitched brilliantly this year. A lot of Yankees fans think Nova should have won. Of course, you’re going to root for your team, and thats normal. Personally I just wanted him to be like 2nd or 3rd. Every time I listen to people talking about the candidates, yes they talk about Nova, but briefly, just because they have to.

Cy Young Award
Jutin

Now there really is no argument here because we all know that Justin Verlander had a phenomenal season and he had this in the bag. However, as you saw earlier, CC came in 4th in the voting. Personally I know he kind of trailed off in the last month of the season, but still he won 19 games against 8 losses, he finished with a ERA a bit over 3.00. I’ve noticed in the past two seasons CC’s ERA has been in that same area, and I also see that Weaver and Shields had lower Era’s, but ERA is not everything. I really thought CC would win the Cy Young this year, but that was in like June and July when CC was PHENOMENAL. Then, as I said, he kind of fell from that. But I look for CC to have a amazing season next yr, hopefully he can win 21 or more games:D

Manager of the Year

JoeJoe m

Joe Maddon, skipper for the Rays took home the award this year, again. Now I don’t disagree with this. Although you could argue that if the Red Sox hadn’t collapsed in the last month of the season, the Rays probably would not have made it to the playoffs, they still made it, and Joe did a good job of believing in his team and keeping them in the game. But again, Joe Girardi came in 5th. I mean that seems a bit too low for me. Yes, he has the luxury of working for a team with a big payroll, and having so many “star” players on the team, and all that stuff. Still, 5th? I mean come one, no one EXPECTED this team to beat the “Mighty” Red Sox to win the division. Some analysts even said the Yankees were’nt even going to make into the postseason (which is ridiculous). But guess what, the Yankees ended up with the best record in the American League, and they did this with a patchwork rotation that consisted of our big Lefty Ace CC Sabathia (a.k.a CCMonster courtesy of BleedengYankeeBlu ), but then the rest was just a bunch of ??? marks. Nova was a rookie, no one expected much from him, Phil Hughes came off a 18 win season, but then he got injured, AJ, well you know the story with him, always unpredictable, and then low-cost signings Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. But that “patchwork” rotaion helped the Yankees win 97 games! Don’t forget the bullpen of course, probably Joe’s strongest area in terms of managing. At the beginning of the year, before the season began, the bullpen was supposed to be Mariano Rivera closing, Rafeal Soriano as the setup man, Joba Chamberlain as the 7th inning man, David Robertson the 6th inning guy, and Boone Logan and Pedro Feliciano the lefties. But we all know what happened. Pedro never went anywhere near the mound at Yankee Stadium, with his injuries and possibly needing surgery, so he probably won’t be back in 2012 either. Joba fell to Tommy John Surgery, and Soriano was out with “elbow inflamation”. But, Joe and the Yankees made the best of it. You gotta believe it happened for a reason, otherwise the great David “Houdini” Robertson might not have gotten a chance to really show Yankee fans and the rest of baseball what he is capable of. After an All-Star season, Robertson is now being regarded by some, including myself, as the next great Yankees closer after the King of Closing Games, Mo, retires. Besides Roberston, the Yankees got Corey Wade and Luis Ayala. They also brought up several “kiddies” from the minors, and one of them, Hector Noesi, really shined and he may have a shot at the rotation for 2012. With other call-ups in September, Joe mixed and matched and at the end of the season, the Yankees bullpen was still a strength, having the best ERA of any bullpen in the AL.

Gold Gloves
Gloves

This year, the Yankees had three nominees for Gold Gloves- Robinson Cano at 2nd, Mark Teixeira at 1st, and Brett Gardner at LF. As I’m sure you know, none of them won. Instead Dustin Pedroia won for 2nd base, Adrian Gonzalez won at 1st, and Alex Gordon won at LF. (above is a picture I made) I believe that Gardner specifically SHOULD HAVE won the GG at LF. He did win the Bible Award, but still I think he was robbed. Now I also think Teixeira was robbed, but I might just be saying that because I really don’t like Adrian Gonzalez. Cano not winning, I understand that because at the beginning of the season I remember seeing Cano at 2nd and he did not look quite like himself.

MVP
Finally the last and probably most important award, the MVP. Most Valuable Player award has many candidates this year. For the Yankees it is Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. This award hasn’t been given out yet, however here is what I think will happen. I truly believe, with all my heart, that Justin Verlander is going to take this award. Why? Look at this way. You have a lot of great everyday players that are deserving, each with outstanding seasons, but none of them really stand out from the pack. None of them are guys that you can say “he was clearly better than everyone else”. You could say Jose Bautista was that guy, but because his team plays in the AL East and they were’nt even contenders to make the playoffs, that will hurt him. But then you have Verlander, a pitcher who had a phenomenal season, and well he is the guy that the voters can pick and say “he stands out” because he does. Like every other Yankee fan, I want the “Grandy Man” to win, but it isn’t going to happen.

Now this is all just opinion. I’m sure non-yankee fans would probably say we are being a bunch of “sore-losers” but I think there is definitely some “anti-Yankee” sentiments when these voters cast their votes.

What do you think? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Why I believe Mark Buerhle is the best option for the Yankees

This is starting to sound like a broken record, but we all know the Yankees need “pitching, pitching, pitching” as Brian Cashman put it. Now there are several options that the Yankees can go after, and I talked about some of them in my previous .

Now that you know about some of the options that the Yankees have, well I am going to tell you who I think is the best option for the Yankees. That would be Mark Buerhle.

Mark

Now Mark has been with the White Sox pretty much his whole career. He has a not hitter, a perfect game and he can handle the media. Throughout his career, Buerhle has shown to be a dependable, durable pitchers. I know that he is older, and well the truth is the Yankees need to get younger, but Buerhle is probably the best option in terms of Free Agent pitchers right now. Yes, the Yankees could trade for a starter, but think of it this way. Most of the top prospects the Yankees have are pitchers. So does it really make sense to trade your young, talented pitchers for one starter? No. Personally, I believe Buerhle is the best short-term solution.

If you sign C.J. Wilson, hes probably going to get an “A.J. Burnett” type of contract. That means he is going to want perhaps five or six years, and probably anywhere from 80-90 million dollars, maybe even more since he is the best Free Agent pitcher available.

If the Yankees sign Yu Darvish then not only will they also have to give this kid a big contract, because he is a Japanese pitcher that also means that you have a high level of uncertainty and risk. There’s no denying the kid is talented. However, as seen with previous Japanese signings with Igawa and Irabu. There’s also Matzuzaka who signed with the Boston Red Sox. The Japanese baseball league is very different than the MLB here in the United States. Hence no one will know for certain if this kid will pitch well here or not. Frankly I think its too high of a risk to take.

Again, there are other options such as Edwin Jackson, or Cashman could try and trade for some young stud. However, here is my plan for the Yankees for the next few years and you will see is the best fit for this.

If the Yankees sign Buerhle lets say to a 2yr contract the rotation would probably look something like this.

CC, Nova, Mark, Phil, and A.J.

Now I hear a lot of talk that Garcia might be back, but I also hear there is a lot of interest for him. I also know Noesi is playing in the Domican League this winter to stretch himself out. So he is also an option for the rotation. I would imagine as well that some of the “kiddie” pitchers will get a shot during Spring Training. But really the only one that could possibly be moved for one of these guys is Phil Hughes, and if that happens he will probably be going to the bullpen.

Now, our top pitching prospects, the Killer Bs, will probably be ready by 2013. However there is really no room so I say the Yankees try as hard as they can to sign Cole Hammels. He would be an excellent #2 guy to have in the rotation behind CC. So the rotation for 2013 could look like this.

CC, Cole, Mark, Nova, AJ

Notice no Phil Hughes, because I think he is better suited for the bullpen.

Then finally by 2014, both AJ’s and Mark’s contracts are up so there’s room for the B boys to come in and the rotation could look like this.

CC, Cole, Nova, Banuellos and Betances.

So that’s my plan. Now I know Buerhle might cost more than 2 yrs, and I know plenty of teams are interested. With that being said if the Yankees don’t get Buerhle, well I probably see Cashman resigning Garcia, or maybe plugging in Noesi into the rotation. So it might look like this

CC, Nova, Phil, AJ, Garcia/Noesi

I know this is not a very great rotation by any means, but by 2013 again we can sign Cole Hammels, Phil goes to the bullpen and Garcia will be gone. So rotation could be

CC, Cole, Nova, AJ, Banuelos/Betances.

So as you see there are plenty of options out there, but the ones I stated are the best in my opinion. The only big name we would be acquiring, hopefully, is Cole Hammels, and we finally bring up the Killer Bs like everyone wants.

Stay tuned, for next week I will be going over some lefty reliever options that the Yankees can look at. Feel free to leave a comment below, or send/follow me on twitter @nataliayank25 :).

Why I’m glad the Yankees have Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi

We all know, everyone on a team is important, especially the managers, the General Managers, the President, the people behind the scenes. These are the people that sign the Free Agents, trade for players, and basically keep the team from falling apart. As an avid Yankee fan I enjoy going on sites such as ESPNNewYork, YesNetwork.com, MLB.com, Yankees.com, etc. I enjoy reading the articles and reading about what’s going on. I also enjoy reading the comments that people leave on the discussion boards. Over the course of this year I have noticed that many people seem to dislike Joe Girardi and to a lesser extent Cashman. Now I will admit I have had my personal debates with Joe over certain things he does, but when you look back at the 2011 season, we could not have asked for more than what these two guys and the rest of the Yankee team did. After all, even though pretty much every baseball insider/reporter said the Red Sox would win the division (many also said the World Series) and we all know how that turned out. While some even went as far to say that the Yankees would not even make the postseason, the Yankees won the division, they had the best record in the American League by winning 97 games, and, unlike the Sox, they made the playoffs. So here is a breakdown of what Cashman and Girardi did this year to help this team overcome some criticism and ultimately prove people wrong.

Cashman
Brian Cashman

Let’s start with Brian Cashman. Cashman has been with the Yankees now for 14 years. Thats quite a long time, especially in a city like New York City. In my opinion he has done a phenomenal job. He has gotten the Free Agents that the team needed when they needed them. He has built up our farm system and now it’s become one of the best farm systems in Baseball filled with future players and possible trade chips. He knows this team needs pitching and needs to get younger. So unless it was to try and get Cliff Lee, or Roy Halladay, or as some Yankee fans hope, Felix Hernandez, Brian has kept the top prospects Yankees, i.e. Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Warren Phelps, etc. Because he has built up the farm system we have had plenty of great players come up from it. Players like Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Ivan Nova, and Robinson Cano. And there is still a ton of talent waiting to just come up to the majors and shine. He might not have gotten Cliff Lee last year but he has given us players like Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and Curtis Granderson. He has made some bad signings, some which he did not approve of, (i.e. Alex Rodriguez extension, Rafael Soriano) but that’s how baseball is. You win some, you lose some.

Now let’s take the 2011 season as an example. As I mentioned earlier, we missed out on Cliff Lee as he decided to go back to Philadelphia for less money, and the beloved Andy Pettitte decided to retire, but we still the won the division did we not? How you may ask? By being smart, and taking some risks. He took a HUGE risk that ultimately paid off by signing veterans Freddty Garcia and Bartolo Colon. In fact Freddy might even be back for one more year in 2012. The Yankees decided that Jorge Posada’s reign as a Yankee catcher was over, and that the young kiddie catchers were not quite ready to take on this responsibility, so he brought in former LA Dodger Russell Martin. In my opinion Russell was the best signing of the offseason because he brought with him great defense behind the plate and leadership behind the plate as well. Using Posada as a resource to learn more about the Yankee pitches, he helped bring this “patch-work” staff together, calling great games and really bonding with all out pitchers, especially AJ Burnett and his wild pitches.

Now Brian, along with the Yankee front office, built a new bullpen during the season. What do I mean by this? Well, before the season even began, the bullpen was supposed to be strength. With Mariano Rivera closing the games, Rafael is the setup man, Joba being the 7th inning guy, Robertson the 6th inning guy, and Boone Logan and Pedro Feliciano. But that ideal bullpen never happened because of injuries. Pedro Feliciano got injured, possibly needing rotator cuff surgery, might not even pitch in 2012, Joba had Tommy John Surgery and will be back next year, and Rafael was out for about 2 months with elbow inflammation. But I believe everything happens for a reason. If these injuries hadn’t occurred we probably wouldn’t have seen how truly talented David Robertson is. Working his way to the setup man role, Robertson was a much deserved All-Star this year, and he was phenomenal. He came barely in 2nd for most strikeouts per inning in the AL, and also had a ERA of slightly over 1.00. Now it seems he is the heir to Mariano’s throne. Of course, the bullpen was still strength for the whole season despite these injuries. With the signings of Cory Wade, Luis Ayala, Raul Valdez, along with minor league kiddies getting “the call to the bullpen”, the Yankee bullpen was phenomenal, 1st in the American League in terms of ERA.

Now there were also a lot of injuries that occurred and that’s where out manager Joe Girarid comes in.
Joe

Joe Girardi

A very serious man, a numbers guy, who loves to mix and match by using his binder, Girardi has now been with the Yankees for 4 years, and will be with the team for at least another 2. Now this year the Yankees had a ton of injuries. We had Phil Hughes out for most of the year, Alex Rodriguez had knee surgery, Derek Jeter was out for a bit after getting his 3000 hit, Francisco Cervelli, Ramiro Pena, Eric Chavez, I mean the list goes on and on. But that did not stop the Yankees, and it did not stop Joe.

With these injuries, Joe was able to give some of the younger kids a chance to really show what they were made off, and it worked out good. We got to see more of Eduardo Nunez and learn that he has a dynamic bat, but really needs work on his defense. We got to see Brandon Laird at 3rd for a bit, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine came up at the end of the year. Joe used his bench wisely, and made the best of what was given to him.

I was especially impressed by how Joe and the Yankees handled the bullpen. Like I mentioned already a lot of injuries, but with some smart and cheap pickups, it was the best in the American League.

So as you can see, both of these guys have done a great job for this team. Now its the offseason, one of my favorite times of the year. I’m excited to see what Cashman and the Yankees can pull off. Cashman already did something that I thought was very key, signing CC Sabathia to an extension and not having him opt out. This was huge. We need CC to lead our rotation, and there’s no question if he had opted out, it probably would have cost more to keep him. But the contract in my opinion is a win win for both parties.

So now with pitching still being the primary need, who will the Yankees get? Well I think they will go after Yu Darvish more than CJ Wilson, and possibly go after Mark Buerhle. It seems like they will resign Freddy Garcia which I think is good idea. He’s a good #5 guy to have, with good veteran presence for the younger kids such as Phil and Ivan. Personally, I also think the Yankees will try very hard to trade for a pitcher, possibly Gio Gonzalez? They also need to find a lefty reliever to help out Boone Logan.

So let’s see what happens. It should be an interesting offseason, and I’m looking forward for another great season, with these two guys leading the way.