Open Thread: 3/2 Camp Notes


The Yankees completely manhandled the University of South Florida earlier today, but that’s not all that happened in Tampa. Here’s the latest…

Here’s tonight’s open thread. The Rangers, Devils, and Nets are all playing tonight, so talk about those games or anything else. Go nuts.

[Photo via Bryan Hoch]

Yanks open exhibition schedule, crush USF 11-0

The Yankees played their first real live baseball game of 2012 today, beating the University of South Florida by the score of 11-0. Curtis Granderson opened the scoring with an RBI single in his only at-bat while Alex Rodriguez (1-for-2) and Eduardo Nunez (1-for-1 with a triple) were the only other starters with hits. Ramiro Pena and Zoilo Almonte made a run at the Big East Player of the Year Award by both going 2-for-2; Pena with a triple, a stolen base, and three runs scored while Almonte tripled and drove in four. Colin Curtis and Doug Bernier also had a pair of knocks.

On the mound, Adam Warren and Brett Marshall each allowed one hit in their two innings of work. Dan Burawa, Juan Cedeno, Graham Stoneburner, Ryan Pope, and Kevin Whelan all chipped in scoreless innings. Yankees’ hurlers struck out ten and didn’t allow a single walk or extra-base hit. Here’s the box score for your amusement. The official Grapefruit League schedule kicks off tomorrow against the Phillies.

No-hitters in Yankee history

Inspired by the advance copy I received of former Yankee PR director Marty Appel’s outstanding “Pinstripe Empire” — which, as far as I can tell, is the definitive and authoritative history of The New York Yankees franchise, and an absolute must-read for die-hards and casual fans alike — I was inspired to do some no-hitter research.

By my count, there have been 117 no-hitters in the AL (including postseason play), per, and 133 in the senior circuit, though of course the NL also has more than a quarter-century of additional history over the junior circuit. Of those 117 AL no-nos, only 12 have been perfect games, and three of those 12 have been authored by Yankees. The National League, believe it or not, has only recorded eight perfect games in its 125-plus year history.

I was also curious to see how many seasons it had been since each team in baseball had been no-hit:

In pulling together this research I was actually pretty surprised at how many teams in baseball haven’t been no-hit in more than a decade. The Cubs are the current MLB leader, going on 46 seasons of not being no-hit. Oddly, the Pirates are right behind them, having not been no-hit in 40 seasons. The AL team with the longest no no-hit streak is Oakland, at 20 years. The Red Sox are right behind them, with their last no-hitter-against coming all the way back on April 22, 1993, against Chris Bosio. Even the Mets, for all of their laughable hijinks, have been able to avoid being no-hit since 1993. Of course, on the flip side, the Mets remain one of two MLB franchises (the other being the Padres) to never have had a pitcher author a no-no. For a list of all-time franchise no-hitters for and against, make sure to check out


The Yankees have thrown 11 no-hitters (including the three perfect games) in franchise history, with 10 coming during the regular season. The franchise’s first-ever no-no was thrown by George Mogridge on April 24, 1917, against the Red Sox (being 1917 this game is not captured by B-Ref’s Play Index). Here are the remaining 9 regular season no-hitters in Yankee history:

Rk Player Date ? Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit GSc WPA
1 David Cone 1999-07-18 MON W 6-0 9.0 0 0 0 0 10 0 88 97 0.259
2 David Wells 1998-05-17 MIN W 4-0 9.0 0 0 0 0 11 0 120 98 0.477
3 Dwight Gooden 1996-05-14 SEA W 2-0 9.0 0 0 0 6 5 0 134 86 0.644
4 Jim Abbott 1993-09-04 CLE W 4-0 9.0 0 0 0 5 3 0 119 85 0.351
5 Dave Righetti 1983-07-04 BOS W 4-0 9.0 0 0 0 4 9 0 92 0.509
6 Allie Reynolds 1951-09-28 (1) BOS W 8-0 9.0 0 0 0 4 9 0 92 0.235
7 Allie Reynolds 1951-07-12 CLE W 1-0 9.0 0 0 0 3 4 0 88 0.796
8 Monte Pearson 1938-08-27 (2) CLE W 13-0 9.0 0 0 0 2 7 0 92
9 Sad Sam Jones 1923-09-04 PHA W 2-0 9.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 86
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/29/2012.

Interestingly, nearly half of the team’s no-hitters came during the 1990s. Since their last no-hitter on July 18, 1999, there have been 25 no-hitters thrown in MLB, four by the Red Sox and three by the Phillies. The Yankees have also been on the receiving end of a no-no during that time, the unforgettable six-pitcher debacle on June 11, 2003, which I had the bad fortune of attending. However, to even it out, I was also in attendance for Doc’s no-no in 1996.

Rather impressively, despite more than 100 years of history, the Yankees have apparently only suffered a complete-game no-hit shutout a mere five times since 1919 (and one was a rain-shortened six-inning affair). The last time the Yankees were no-hit for nine innings prior to the 2003 Astro debacle was on September 20, 1958, against Hoyt Wilhelm. The last time the Yankees were no-hit for nine innings at home pre-Astros was August 25, 1952.

All of this no-hit talk got me thinking that the Yankees seem somewhat due to no-hit another club, although clearly they’ve gone through much longer droughts than 11 seasons. As a Yankee, CC Sabathia has 15 starts of 7 or more innings and 3 or fewer hits:

Rk Date Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H ? R ER BB SO HR Pit GSc WPA
1 2010-04-10 TBR W 10-0 GS-8 ,W 7.2 1 0 0 2 5 0 111 80 0.314
2 2010-09-02 OAK W 5-0 GS-8 ,W 8.0 1 0 0 3 5 0 95 82 0.470
3 2009-09-26 BOS W 3-0 GS-7 ,W 7.0 1 0 0 2 8 0 96 81 0.475
4 2011-07-26 SEA W 4-1 GS-7 ,W 7.0 1 1 1 3 14 0 102 82 0.167
5 2011-04-05 MIN L 4-5 GS-7 7.0 2 0 0 1 6 0 104 78 0.278
6 2009-08-08 BOS W 5-0 GS-8 ,W 7.2 2 0 0 2 9 0 123 82 0.503
7 2010-09-13 TBR L 0-1 GS-8 8.0 2 0 0 2 9 0 119 85 0.537
8 2009-07-07 MIN W 10-2 GS-7 ,W 7.0 3 1 1 1 3 1 100 69 0.167
9 2009-05-19 BAL W 9-1 GS-7 ,W 7.0 3 1 1 1 7 0 105 73 0.393
10 2010-06-03 BAL W 6-3 GS-7 ,W 7.0 3 3 3 1 7 2 94 65 0.135
11 2009-06-26 NYM W 9-1 GS-7 ,W 7.0 3 1 1 0 8 1 99 75 0.249
12 2010-09-28 TOR W 6-1 GS-9 ,W 8.1 3 1 1 2 8 1 111 79 0.358
13 2011-07-16 TOR W 4-1 GS-8 ,W 8.0 3 1 1 3 8 0 110 77 0.339
14 2009-08-13 SEA W 11-1 GS-8 ,W 8.0 3 1 1 2 10 1 105 80 0.178
15 2009-09-07 (1) TBR W 4-1 GS-7 7.0 3 1 1 4 10 1 118 73 0.371
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/29/2012.

Sabathia may have come closest to his first career no-hitter this past summer, when he was absolutely cruising against the punchless Mariners before multiple rain delays ruined what could have been the latest chapter in team history (not to mention seemed to derail what had been an utterly glorious run of pitching).

Still, this year’s team may be as poised as ever to take a run at a no-hitter, given the strikeout-heavy tandem of CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda.

The RAB Radio Show: March 2nd, 2012

Baseball is back. By the time you read this the Yankees’ first spring training game will be underway. Of course, there’s plenty to talk about this week.

  • New playoff format. Mike and I discuss the latest on the second WIld Card, which will be implemented this year. There’s some funky formatting going on, though.
  • Those rumors of the Yankees’ desire to get below $189 million in 2012? Hal Steinbrenner says that is indeed the case. Mike and I run down the possibilities.
  • Plus stuff on lineups, rotations, and all the Yankees miscellany you can handle.

Podcast run time 41:25

Here’s how you can listen to podcast:


Intro music: “Die Hard” courtesy of reader Alex Kresovich. Thanks to Tyler Wilkinson for the graphic.

2012 Season Preview: Contract Years

With Spring Training fully underway, it’s time to begin our season preview. We’re going to change things up a bit this year, focusing on various aspects of the team rather than individual players. You’ll see most players in multiple posts, but the concepts will all be different.

Don't go Mo. (REUTERS/Steve Nesius)

The Yankees are known for their free-spending ways, and while that may be scaled back in the near future, the team still has plenty of roster and financial decisions to make. Eight players on the club’s projected 25-man Opening Day roster are scheduled to become free agents after the season, assuming the no-brainer 2013 options for Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are exercised. No less than four of those eight impending free agents can be considered critical pieces of the roster.

Things have a way of changing over the course of a 162-game season (plus playoffs), but the Yankees are going to have some tough choices to make in about eight months. In some cases, the may not have a choice at all.

Freddy Garcia
The Yankees quickly re-signed Garcia to a one-year, $4M contract early this offseason, but now he’s an extra piece. It’s easy to say they jumped the gun and should have waited to re-sign him, but they got him on such ridiculously favorable terms compared to what similar pitchers — Bruce Chen (2/9), Chris Capuano (2/10), and Aaron Harang (2/12) — received this winter that the Yankees will have no trouble trading him later this summer if they decided to go that route. Pitching depth is never a bad thing, and even if the fifth starter competition is rigged, I’m sure we’ll see Sweaty Freddy make some starts this year. Right now, it seems all but certain that Garcia will move on to another team as a free agent next offseason.

Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez & Eric Chavez
Three spare parts on cheap one-year contracts, Ibanez ($1.1M) will be the left-handed half of the DH platoon while Chavez ($900k) backs up both corner infield spots. Jones ($2M) will get playing time against southpaws, either in the field or at DH. None of the three players are all that crucial to the team’s short- or long-term success, with Andruw representing the most indispensable part. That said, he’s on the short end of a platoon. Injuries have a way of forcing guys like these into larger roles than expected. Jones will be the priority re-sign after the season if all goes well, but the other two will have to wait like they did this winter.

Hiroki Kuroda
The 37-year-old Kuroda was non-committal about his future when he arrived at camp a few weeks ago, instead saying he’s ready “to give 100% and contribute to the Yankees as much as possible.” Hal Steinbrenner agreed to expand the budget to sign the veteran right-hander for $10M, a signing of tremendous importance that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves because of the Michael Pineda trade.

With youngsters Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Phil Hughes in the rotation, Kuroda and CC Sabathia will be counted on to provide stability and innings every five days. He’s being reunited with former Dodgers battery-mate Russell Martin, which will hopefully get his ground ball rate back into the 50% range after a one-year hiatus. There’s no secret regarding Kuroda’s status with the team; he’s a one-year stopgap brought in to solidify the rotation while the younger pitchers take their lumps. If he performs well and is willing to return in 2013, I’m sure the Yankees would welcome him. If not, then no big deal. Both parties will move on.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Russell Martin
The Yankees have already touched base with Martin’s camp about a three-year contract extension, but talks are now on hold until after the season. Yadier Molina’s hilariously huge contract (five years, $75M with an option and a no-trade clause) is a total game-changer, raising the salary bar for above average catchers in their prime years substantially. Martin will benefit, the Yankees will not if they choose to re-sign him.

While Austin Romine and Frankie Cervelli represent viable and payroll friendly alternatives, there is definite value in having a guy like Martin around for the next few seasons. He can ease the transition of the youngsters and provide some certainty at a position where so many teams have none at all. By no means is Martin a star, but he fits the Yankees well and there are several reasons for the team to re-sign him after the season. Molina’s contract will make that extraordinarily difficult, as the Rangers and Diamondbacks learned when impending free agents Mike Napoli and Miguel Montero abruptly ended extension talks this week.

Nick Swisher
Unlike Martin, the Yankees have not approached their right fielder about any kind of contract extension. Also unlike Martin, the Yankees don’t have an obvious, in-house replacement for Swisher. Things could change during the course of the summer, but as of today there’s no player in the system who you could point to as a viable corner outfielder for 2013.

Swisher has made it obvious that he loves playing for the Yankees, but he also said he won’t force the issue and is willing to test the free agent waters next winter. Concerns about a down walk year because of his playoff failures (and thus his “inability to handle pressure”) are misguided because Swisher was playing for a contract last season too. If he performed poorly, he was faced with the same fate as today: heading out onto the open market coming off a bad season on the wrong side of 30. The Yankees seem more content to play this one by ear, mostly because finding a replacement corner outfielder won’t be as difficult as say, finding a replacement catcher. That said, Swisher is a pretty important piece of the offense and losing his production would hurt.

Mariano Rivera
Based on his comments from a few weeks ago, the Yankees may not have a choice when it comes to retaining Rivera after the season. The greatest relief pitcher in the history of the universe hinted at retirement his first day at Spring Training, saying he’s made a decision about his future and won’t change his mind even if he saves a zillion games or if they offer him a zillion dollars. That seems like a weird thing to say if he was planning on giving it another go in 2013.

Mo is the only player in this post the Yankees would absolutely, no doubt about it retain after the season if given the chance. Other roster decisions would be based on him and around his new contract, which is something that applies to very few players in today’s game. The Yankees have plenty of potential replacements should Rivera hang ’em up after 2012, but a pitching staff is a unique thing. They could carry Rivera and his potential replacements at the same time, unlike say Martin, Romine, and Cervelli. This is pretty much out of the Yankees’ hands. If Mo is willing to come back next year, they’ll bring him back. If not, well then we’ll see him in Cooperstown in six years.

Mailbag: A-Rod, LHP, Lineup, A’s, Mo

Six questions but five answers this week. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything, whether it be mailbag questions or something else entirely.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

EJ asks: Do A-Rod‘s financial bonus achievements impact the salary cap? That is, I believe that if A-Rod reaches certain homerun lifetime milestones, he receives X amount of dollars. Does this money belong to part of the equation for calculating the team payroll amount and thus be part of the luxury tax? Would that amount that he would receive be part of that year that he reached the milestone alone or would it be divided equally by the length remaining on the contract? Could this impact the plan to lower the payroll in 2014?

Alex Rodriguez will get a $6M bonus for each of his 660th, 714th, 755th, 762nd, and 763rd career homers, and bonuses do count towards the luxury tax. I’m not 100% sure, but I do believe they’re applied to the year they are earned as far as the tax is concerned, not spread out over the life of the contract. A-Rod is at 629 career homers this season, so hopefully he starts approaching a few of those milestones by 2014. The Yankees are going to have to leave some room for those bonuses in their payroll that season to avoid going over the $189M threshold.

Mark asks: With Andruw Jones as the LF/DH against LHP, does it look like Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli will be seeing regular playing time against southpaws?

I don’t think Cervelli will see regular playing time against lefties, chances are Joe Girardi will let him be CC Sabathia‘s personal catcher again and get him into the lineup once or twice a week that way. As for Nunez, I can absolutely see him getting regular at-bats against southpaws, playing either short or third while Derek Jeter or A-Rod get the day at DH. He’s hit lefties (.317 wOBA) better than righties (.298) in his short big league career, and he has shown a similar split in the minors. The Yankees seem pretty intent on getting Eduardo Scissorhands a decent amount of plate appearances in 2012, and this is one way to do it.

Jon asks: With Robinson Cano pretty much entrenched as the #3 hitter, where does that leave Mark Teixeira? Is he the #5? Does Andruw Jones (when he plays) or Nick Swisher have a chance to be the #5?

I think the most likely 3-4-5 lineup to open the season is Cano, A-Rod, and Tex. Teixeira did have a disappointing year in 2011, but he remains one of the game’s very best power hitters (39 HR and a .246 ISO last season) and batting him any lower that fifth strikes me as foolish. I think you’ll see Swisher bat sixth and Raul Ibanez seventh against right-handers but Jones sixth and Swisher seventh against southpaws. As long as Cano, A-Rod, Tex, and Curtis Granderson are four of the first five hitters in the lineup, I won’t have any major issues with the batting order.

(REUTERS/Alex Gallardo)

Max asks: Scott Sizemore is out for the season. Any chance the A’s want Nunez for, say, an outfield prospect? Is there anyone in the A’s farm you’d want to pursue that’s reasonably available?

Nick asks: Do you think the Yankees could target one of the A’s extra outfielders as a cheaper alternative to Swisher next offseason? Collin Cowgill? He doesn’t seem to have a spot in the Oakland outfield and the Yankees could stick him in AAA until next season.

Might as well lump these two together. I wouldn’t trade Nunez to the Athletics unless the Yankees would be getting a “significant” piece back just because he’s the team’s only legitimate backup infielder. If Jeter gets hurt and misses a month again, I’d much rather see Nunez out there for 30 games than Ramiro Pena. “Significant” is up for a debate, obviously. I’m not talking about a top 100 prospect or anything, but it would have to be a young, everyday caliber player right on the cusp of the show, an outfielder preferably. Michael Taylor makes some sense (though I’m not his biggest fan), but I don’t really buy Cowgill as an everyday guy on a contender.

I think a trade involving Brandon Laird would be more likely, though I don’t believe his trade value is all that high. A Laird-for-Cowgill swap would be an easy win for the Yankees. The A’s say they’re going to stick with their in-house options to replace Sizemore, specifically converted catcher Josh Donaldson. If that doesn’t work out, the two sides could always get together for a trade a couple months into the season. The Yankees are the ones with the luxury of time here, the A’s are the ones pressed to make a swap.

Marc asks: Clearly Mo is the greatest and we’ve had the joy in watching him dominate over the years. But what few current players get the honor of saying they hit Mo pretty well?

Over the course of his career, Mariano Rivera has held hitters to a .210/.262/.290 batting line (.552 OPS) in 4,815 plate appearances. After the jump is a big huge table listing all active players with at least a .552 OPS against Rivera, min. 10 PA.

[Read more…]