Browsing Posts tagged Nick Swisher

It’s been a difficult offseason for Yankee fans. Derek Jeter broke his ankle, but should return for Spring Training. Alex Rodriguez, who is undergoing hip surgery, will miss at least half of 2013. Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, and Andruw Jones, who combined to hit 94 home runs, signed elsewhere. Rafael Soriano, who saved 42 games, is also expected to sign elsewhere. For better or worse, the Yankees were not linked to any top free agents. The Yankee brass is committed to spending less than baseball’s $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014, so free agent spending sprees are off the table.

Brian Cashman always emphasizes the importance of keeping his ‘core’ together, so four key pieces were re-signed to team friendly deals. Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda signed one-year deals while Ichrio Suzuki signed a two-year deal. These deals should help the Yankees win in 2013, but each player is over 40-years-old and adds little value to the future of the team.

The Yankees are one of the oldest teams in baseball, but still boast some of the game’s best players. Jeter and Ichiro will set the table for Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson. CC Sabathia will be supported by Kuroda, Pettitte, and Phil Hughes in the starting rotation. Mariano Rivera and David Robertson will lock down the backend of the bullpen. This core won 95 games last season, so anything less will be a failure.

While the Yankees boast a strong core, many are questioning their complementary parts. As of today, the Yankees have not named a starting catcher or designated hitter. Cashman will not sign a free agent catcher, so expect a combination of Francisco Cervelli-Chris Stewart-Austin Romine to start. Kevin Youkilis will start at third base, but he was signed as A-Rod’s caddy. The Yankees will need Youkilis to play third base and DH, but he can’t seem to stay healthy. If Youkilis suffers another injury, will the team trust Eduardo Nunez to play third base? Nunez is currently the de-facto designated hitter, but Cashman always extends multiple Spring Training invites. The Yankees have a glutton of left handed hitters in its outfield, so expect a right handed bat to join this threesome. Remember, Marcus Thames and Raul Ibanez were signed late and played significant roles. Expect similar moves.

Going into 2013, the Yankees have a very small margin for error. The roster is primarily comprised of older players that may break down. Each AL East foe improved its roster and many are expecting the Toronto Blue Jays to win the division. However, the Yankees boasted baseball’s best run differential and have a roster full of players that have endured October battles. The Yankees continue to pour resources into scouting and player development, but don’t count them out. In terms of player development and a more cost conscious approach, the 2013 season may prove to be a transition year. That doesn’t mean the Yankees are incapable of raising another AL East flag.

It took five games, but the Yankees were able to get the best of the Orioles. After watching Justin Verlander throw a gem last night, CC Sabathia delivered a gem of his own tonight. The big man was electric, dominating both sides of the plate while getting ahead of hitters with first-pitch strikes. CC is the definition of an ace and has earned every penny of his massive contract. 

The Yankees had their moments offensively, but Curtis Granderson’s seventh-inning home run sealed the deal. Granderson really, really struggled during the first four games of the series, but gave the Yankees a big boost when they needed it.

A few take-aways from the ALDS:

  • I was/still am 100 percent against benching A-Rod. He’s struggling and his at-bats are futile, but as we saw with Granderson, one swing can change everything. Baseball is all about confidence and I find it troubling that Girardi sat him. I don’t think A-Rod is hurt nor do I think he should be hitting third in the order. However, he plays great defense and can still get on base. One big swing may change his post-season, but that can only happen if he’s in the lineup. All four of Detriot’s pitchers are right-handed, but we can’t expect Girardi to start Chavez in each game. I hope/fully expect A-Rod to be in the starting lineup tomorrow night.
  • Yankee Starting Pitchers were dominant. Over the course of five games, the starters threw 38 innings and gave way to only nine earned runs! In addition, the Yankee bullpen was great and gave the offense additional innings to score run(s) (Cite: Mr. Ibanez)
  • Nick Swisher is terrible. I’m getting sick of Swisher. Fans love him because he’s a ‘happy-go-lucky’ type of guy, but this is the playoffs and he just sucks. Swisher was just 2-for-18 with five strikeouts. During his post-season career, Swisher is 23-for-139 (.165) which may be the worst batting average among players with 100+ at-bats. Since Gardner can’t swing a bat and Ibanez can’t run, Swisher is the de-facto starting right fielder. In the playoffs, it’s impossible to hide hitters, but I’ve learned to not expect anything from Swishalicious. In a month, he’ll be suiting up for Kenny’s New York Mets!
  • Will Joe add Andruw Jones? Given Swisher’s struggles and Joba’s injury, does Joe add Andruw Jones to his ALCS roster? Detriot’s starters are all right-handed and Jones has been futile against righties this season (.185/.293/.400). However, Swisher has been so bad that he has to at least consider it.
  • Still waiting for Soriano. Rafael Soriano didn’t have a big pressure-packed moment in the ALDS. Soriano’s counter-part, Jim Johnson was involved in almost every contest. Soriano was able to keep games tied, but did not have a pressure-packed save opportunity. With that being said, I’m sure Soriano will have that opportunity against the Tigers. We’ve seen closer after closer crumble in October, but we don’t know how Soriano will fare. Since Yankee fans are so used to ninth inning, post-season dominance, anything less will be a massive disappointment.
  • Congrats to the Orioles. No one expected anything from the O’s this season. However, they battled the Yankees for 23 games this season. The Yankees were able to get the better of them, but the future of the team is very, very bright.

Since both the Yankees and Tigers just used their aces, we’ll see #2 pitchers square off tomorrow night. Andy The Dandy vs. Doug Fister. Fortunately for the Yankees, a meeting with Justin Verlander won’t happen until Game 3. The downside? No CC until Game 4. Aces are wild, but these two will not meet unless there is a Game 7.

It’s been a common topic for at least three or four seasons already; are the New York Yankees too old to compete? Should they go with a youth movement on offense? Or even, can they? And how is this affecting their MLB odds?

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The Yankees played home run derby today as they topped the Royals in the final game of this four-game set, 10-4. Robbie Cano delivered a much needed grand slam while A-Rod and Swisher also homered for the Bombers. While the offensive fireworks were nice, Phil Hughes was the story of this game.

Yankee fans have been very, very critical of Mr. Hughes this season. Coming into this game, Hughes dropped four of his first five decisions and carried an ERA over seven. But today, Hughes gave the Bombers 6 2/3 innings of hard work. He threw 116 pitches, issuing one walk while striking out seven. More importantly, Hughes’ velocity was sitting around 95 MPH for the entire game. Hughes’ absent velocity has been a cause for concern, but today’s outing is hopefully a sign of things to come.

I don’t get too caught up over wins and losses for pitchers, but strong, quality starts are encouraging. With his next three starts coming against the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Royals, look for Hughes to build off of this one and forget about his ugly April.

As John Sterling normally says, ‘Well, you just can’t predict baseball, Suzyn’–and today proved why. In addition to Phil Humber tossing the 21st perfect game in the Major League history, the Yankees overcame a 9-0 deficit by tallying 15 unanswered runs as they embarassed the Red Sox, 15-9. The Yanks did their damage in the seventh and eighth innings, scoring seven runs in each frame. Teix hit two homers, including one nice opposite field shot from the left side. Nick Swisher crushed a grand slam in the eighth to give the Yanks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Ex-Yank, Alfredo Aceves served up the Swisheroo bomb and failed to record an out in his brief appearance. 

After the game, the Red Sox brain trust had a ‘closed door’ meeting to discuss what the hell happened. However, it’s pretty easy to see that the Red Sox relievers just can’t get anyone out. The Sox back end of the pen is filled with mediocre options while the rotation hasn’t been much better. Overall, Sox GM Ben Cherington failed to add quality depth in the off-season–and his team is paying big time. With Papelbon now pitching for the Phillies, the Sox don’t have an answer for the ninth inning. 

As a Yankee fan, I can’t stop laughing about this weekend’s events. First, the Red Sox have their little ceremony with all of their ex-players (and Tito Franconer who that fans obviously want back). Kevin Millar brings up Karim Garcia’s brawl–and the Yanks respond in typical Yankee fashion–hanging up two Ws. The Red Sox ship is quickly filling up with water and it hasn’t even left the Boston Harbor yet. With no captain on board, this ship isn’t going anywhere–and that’s totally fine with me. 

Big C will get to toss the pill tomorrow night on the national stage against Dan Bard (the man who should be closing). First pitch, 8:05 PM.

Love it or hate it, Joe Girardi’s Binder of Fun is here to stay. Luckily for the Bombers, the BoF was good on this night.

With the game tied at four in bottom of the ninth. two runners on-base and two out, Binder Joe elected to intentionally walk Nick Markakis (effectively loading the bases) to get to Adam Jones. Rafael Soriano, who is dealing with a chipped finger nail (boo hoo), was a bit erratic, but that didn’t slow down the BoF. Girardi liked the righty-on-righty match-up of Soriano vs. Jones–and Soriano recorded a game saving strikeout. 

On the surface, this move was very, very unorthodox and a combination of things could have ended the game. Namely, a passed ball, any hit, a walk, balk, error, etc. could have ended in. I didn’t like the move at the time, but hey, it worked out and Girardi is going to live and die by the BoF. 

Nick Swisher delivered with a mammoth two run, home run in the Top of 10, propelling the Yanks to a sweep of the Birds. Swisher’s hit made Girardi’s decision look brilliant and gave the Yankees a lot of momentum as they head home to take on the Angels. 

The BoF wasn’t good to Joe in his first game against the Rays (Carlos Pena says hello), but heading home with a 3-3 record isn’t the worst thing in the world. 

Going forward, Yankee fans are going to have a love-hate relationship with the BoF. Baseball is a game that is completely predicated by statistics and Girardi has made it clear that he will live (and die) by those numbers. 

Baseball players aren’t robots (Except Albert Pujols)

The game’s best hitters cannot hit on command.  The best hitters may produce in the regular season, but fail to do anything in the playoffs (cite: Mark Teixeira & Nick Swisher). The playoffs are all about hot streaks and trends. To illustrate this point, let’s look at two sets of numbers:

  • 10 HRs, 55 RBIs, .297 BA, .350 OBP (97 games)
  • 5 HRs, 21 RBIS, .397 BA, .464 OBP (18 games)

These were David Freese’s numbers during the regular season and playoffs. Are Freese’s post-season numbers a sign of things to come? Is he the next coming of Babe Ruth? Both answers are obviously no, but these stats just show us that hot streaks are arbitrary and players can’t be forced to hit on command. Albert Pujols, the game’s best hitter, went just 3 for 21 in the World Series if you remove his historic Game 3. The Rangers weren’t throwing four aces at the Cardinals, either.

The point of this post? Relax.

I’ve read/listened to/heard so many different fans claiming that the Yankees need to get of Gardner, A-Rod, and even Teix. Without Teix, the Yankees are short 40 HRs and more importantly, a Gold Glove at first. Without Gardner, the Yankees are a one-dimension power hitting team. Without A-Rod, they do not have the pure presence of one of the game’s best hitters. All three of these players (plus all 22 others) make up the Yankees. Most of these players are under contract into the forseeable future.

The playoffs are so short; teams get hot and teams go cold. The Yankee bats happened to turn into ice during Game 5 of the ALDS. It happens. They aren’t robots.

Even though you probably wanna strangle A-Rod when he strikeouts with the bases loaded, he’s part of the family. When Derek Jeter can’t get to a ball in the hole, he’s still part of the family. Love’em, embrace’em, and scream at em when necessary. You never know when one of these guys will unlock their inner David Freese… 

He’s baaaack. Ok, he never really left.

CC Sabathia and the Yankees agreed to a contract extension tonight, hours before the burly lefty had declare whether he was opting out of his contract. I won’t get into the details, but the Yankees basically tacked on an addition year with a team option for another in 2017. He’s making Cliff Lee money (5-year, $122 million) and he’s staying in NY. That’s all we really care about.

The Yankees re-signed CC and picked up Swisher’s and Cano’s options this weekend. Cano’s $14 million option was more of a formality, but Swisher’s $10.25 million option was debatable. Swisher stinks in the playoffs, but he’s a good guy to have around (and he’s a World Champion). The Yankees must think he’ll outproduce that contract next year.

Overall, it was a good day for the Yanks. They don’t have to worry about any media backlash, the Phillies can’t try to get cute with CC, and the Yankee rotation will not be led by Bartolo Colon next season.

The Detroit defeated the New York Yankees 5-3 in Game #2 of the American League Divisional Series this afternoon. Miguel Cabrera provided the bulk of the offense for the Tigers with 3 RBI, and the Yankees had no answer for Max Scherzer, who allowed no runs in six innings. With the loss, the series is tied at one apiece as both teams head to Detroit for two games.

One of Those Days - Chris Trotman, Getty Images

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The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the New York Yankees tonight by a final score of 5-4. It seems like the Yankees have made a bad habit of losing one run games late recently, so hopefully this slide will end in late September, when the Yankees will be preparing for a late-season run at the World Series while the Mets are making tee times in St. Petersburg.

I agree, Derek - AP

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