Via Jim Street of MLB.com, the Mariners have signed RHP Josh Fields, their 2008 first round pick. Fields was a senior and ran out of college eligibility, which is why the August 15th deadline didn’t apply to him. So why do Yankees fans care? Because as Lane Meyer of NoMaas explains, Fields’ signing eliminates the compensation pick Seattle would have received if he didn’t sign, so now the Red Sox pick one spot ahead of the Yanks instead of one spot behind them. You can see the updated pick order at our 2009 Draft Order Tracker. Oh well, such is life. · (18) ·
As the name implies, the Yanks have signed veteran righty Brett Tomko to a minor league deal, and PeteAbe says he gets an invite to Spring Training. Tomko had a decent year in 2005, going 11-7 with a 4.04 ERA for the Giants, but since then he’s bounced around with a Dodgers, Padres and Royals. His strength has always been limiting walks (2.89 BBper9), and I’m guessing he was brought in to provide a little competition for the long man spot. It’s basically a no risk move, because if he stinks they’ll cut him with zero consequences. Realistic best case scenario: Tomko pitches well during the spring and the Yanks are able to trade him for a Grade-C prospect before Opening Day. (h/t MLBTR) · (16) ·
Per the AP, former Yankee Jim Leyritz found himself back behind bars earlier today when he violated the terms of his bond. According to authorities, Leyritz, who will go to trial for DUI Manslaughter charges on May 25, had been drinking while out on bail. Leyritz’s lawyer disputes these claims and has already filed a motion for release and an emergency hearing. This whole saga has been one tragic story. · (9) ·
TFGIF. On to the links:
- As usual, PeteAbe’s got you covered from camp. He’s got audio from the Yanks’ new ace and the full Spring Training roster, and he even found the time to sit down for an interview with The Big Lead. I’m unemployed and I can’t even find time to drop my laundry off at the laundromat so the people there can wash my clothes for me. Man am I lazy.
- Tim Dierkes ran through all of this year’s Spring Training cliches at RotoAuthority. Unlike these guys, I put on 15-20 pounds this offseason.
- Part of me wishes the Yanks had more young players on their roster so I could put one of these together for RAB. The other part of me realizes how awesome it is to have CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira.
- Dan Turkenkopf at THT took a look at which pitchers allowed the most quality contact against based on some fancy math. He uses AJ Burnett as an example.
- Here’s another list of the worst contracts in baseball, except this list isn’t retarded. (h/t Neyer)
- AZ Snakepit sat down to a chat with Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes; here’s parts one and two. Hopefully one day we’ll get to do something cool like that.
- Maury Brown penned an open letter to Bud Selig.
- I know this is a few weeks old, but I feel ya Bally Star.
As you may or may have noticed, we added a small new feature to the site. Each comment now has a little box just above the reply button; if the button is orange, that means it’s a new comment. If it’s gray, that means you’ve seen it already. It updates after someone leaves a new comment and you hit refresh. Right now, hitting refresh without a new comment on the post doesn’t change anything. If we can solve the caching conflict, that functionality should be restored.
Here’s your open thread for the night. The Devils and Rangers are both in action, and the NBA is off for the All-Star Break. Anything goes, just be nice.
Photo Credit: Gene Puskar, Associated Press
KG over at Baseball Prospectus posted his list of baseball’s top 100 prospects today, with two Yankees making the list: Jesus Montero at #38 and Austin Jackson at #46. Jose Tabata barely squeaked on at #91. It’s not just KG, but in general there’s just a lot of people who are stubborn when it comes to Pedro Alvarez. He showed up to camp out of shape on two occasions already, plus there’s questions about his defense and ultimate position, and concerns about his strikeouts (167 K in 170 games with Vandy, too many for an elite college guy). Plus he hasn’t seen a pro pitch yet. I’m sorry, but he’s just not a top five prospect at this point.
Shameless self promotion: don’t miss my Top 30 Prospects list. · (5) ·
Leave it up to America’s Finest News Source to nail the A-Rod/PED scandal. As part of a rather amusing set of articles that strike the right balance between mock outrage and social commentary, The Onion has published an obituary of the disgraced Yankee slugger.
“A-Rod was a person, but a much better baseball player,” a statement from the New York Yankees’ front office read in part. “We only hope that members of the press will respect our wishes for privacy during this very difficult period. We can assure you that the Yankee organization is going to be haunted by A-Rod’s passing for a very, very long time, or at least until his contract expires in 2017.”
“Though A-Rod has been taken from us, his impact on this team has been greater in the past few days than it has ever been before,” the statement continued. “It feels like he’s not even gone.”
The loss of A-Rod comes as a shock to those in the sporting community and to baseball fans across the nation, many of whom had hoped that A-Rod—the youngest player to ever hit 500 home runs and arguably the greatest all-around baseball player of his generation—would surpass Barry Bonds’ career total of 762 home runs without resorting to the use of performance enhancing drugs, thereby restoring credibility and dignity to sports’ most cherished record.
A-Rod’s untimely end—coming as it did in the prime of his career, just as it seemed he was poised to usher in a brand-new era of baseball on the strength of his God-given physical talents alone—has forever destroyed that hope…
“I’m sure he’s in a better place,” Girardi continued. “Then again, probably not.”
The article even has a great quote from Jeter: “I never liked him. He was a jerk, a fake. The only thing he had going for him was his unlimited potential and tremendous on-field ability, but now that he’s been taken from us that really doesn’t mean anything.”
Over the years I’ve gone through phases when it comes to these lists. A few years ago I was all about upside; if you had a significant ceiling you were making my list, regardless if you struck out 195 times in 134 games (coughTimBattlecough). These days I find myself favoring probability and closeness to the majors. Don’t get me wrong, upside is still a huge part of prospect rankings, but I’m definitely starting to weigh readiness more in my rankings. It just makes sense considering the shift towards younger players in today’s game.
The Yankees’ system was definitely in the red this year. The losses sustained due to graduation, trades, injuries and ineffectiveness outweigh the gains brought on by breakouts and player acquisitions. Three players from last year’s top ten are no longer with the organization, and just one player from the top five makes a repeat showing there this year. On top of that the Yanks failed to sign their first and second round draft picks. While they’ll reap the benefits of the compensation picks this year, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to match the potential of Gerrit Cole, nevermind Scott Bittle. Forfeiting their first, second and third round picks in next year’s draft for signing free agents means they’ll be working at a disadvantage as they try to rebuild the system.
Despite all that, the Yanks’ affiliates did a whole lotta winning this year. Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton (pictured) each won their league titles this year, and it was Trenton’s second consecutive championship. All told the minor league affiliates combined for a 406-287 record (.586 winning percentage), far and away the best in baseball. They were the only club to eclipsed the 400 win mark, and the next best organization (Rangers) had a .556 winning percentage. Winning obviously takes a back seat to development in the minor leagues, but it’s always nice to give your young players a taste of success.
As I was putting this list together, I didn’t have to put too much thought into figuring out who the organization’s top three prospects were. Barring a trade I knew exactly who numbers one, two and three were going to be basically since September. Numbers four through seven are pretty interchangeable in my eyes, eight through nineteen even more so. Don’t get too worked up if I ranked your favorite prospect lower than you would have liked, quite often the difference between a set of two, three or ten prospects is smaller than you may think.
Yesterday morning, Ross from New Stadium Insider sent me a link to this post, and it’s creating quite the Internet stir. It seems that some of the seats down the left field line on the main level have obstructed views, and the fans are going nuts. In my opinion, this is much less of a story than most people are making it out to be.
Stadiums have obstructed views; that’s just a crappy fact of engineering life. Sometimes you can’t see the outfield; sometimes you can’t see some foul territory; sometimes you have to lean just right to get the view you want. Support poles are pretty bad, and as one NYYFans.com poster noted, this row looks like a late addition to the Main Level. But what are you going to do? The Yanks will get bad press over this, but my solution is easy: Avoid the last row down the third base line on the Main Level. Problem solved. · (38) ·
Joe Girardi hasn’t really had an easy job since taking over the managerial reins in Oct. of 2007. He had to face Joe Torre’s legacy, a raft full of injuries, the first non-Yankee October since 1994 and now the Alex Rodriguez mess.
On the flip side, though, 2009 is a manager’s dream. The Yanks landed three of the top four free agents this winter and head into the season with their best rotation since 2003 and one of the game’s best lineups as well. If all goes according to plan, Girardi’s toughest decisions this year will focus around the nine hole in the lineup and the center field spot. He may also have to determine who pitches the eighth.
At the same time, Girardi acutely feels the weight of expectations. Somehow, he has to right this PED-tainted ship his third baseman is on, and he has to manage against the on-field expectations his bosses, his fans and the media have. To that end, he knows that his job could be on the line if the Yanks head home after their Oct. 4 game in Tampa. Reports Ken Davidoff:
What interested me most was when Girardi agreed with a reporter’s question/assertion that he probably wouldn’t be invited back for 2010 if the Yankees failed to qualify for the postseason. That’s probably right, unless there’s a complete slew of injuries
“I don’t necessarily think about those things,” Girardi told the reporter who asked the question. “But as you stated the question, you’re probably right.” Then he laughed.
He can laugh at it, and he can joke about on Feb. 12. But Girardi is right. He was supposed to be the Next Great Yankee Manager, and while he did an admirable enough job last year, he has to do better this year. Better, of course, means a playoff berth.
It’s tough to manage in New York. With so much money spent on the on-field product, it’s not unreasonable for the those signing the paycheck to demand excellence every year. But when the fans hop on that bandwagon and the media follows suit, the pressure can be overwhelming. Girardi isn’t a rookie anymore. Now we get to see what he’s made of, and no one knows the pressure and potential success that awaits him more than Joe.