Chien-Ming Wang was the New York Yankees Ace in 2006 and 2007. In both of those years he compiled 19 wins in a season. Wang even came close to winning the Cy Young award finished second to Johan Santana in 2006. He has several good pitches in his arsenal but is known for his sinker. Wang's sinker enables him to create ground balls resulting to double plays. Thus therefore lowering his pitch counts to go deep into games. He was destined to be a star pitcher in New York.
Then injuries came. In 2008, he suffered a right foot injury while running the bases during an inter-league game against the Houston Astros. Wang was diagnosed with a torn Linsfranc ligament of the right foot which caused him to end the remainder of the season.
In 2009, Wang's ERA ballooned to 9.64 and there was speculations that his previous foot injury caused him to compensate with the rest of his pitching motion. Wang was diagnosed with weakness in the muscles with both hips and was placed on the disabled list.
All of a sudden Wang turn from Hero to Zero. Now the Yankees are thinking if they want to bring their former 19 win Ace Pitcher. According to Dr. Andrews (Wang's doctor), Wang's shoulder was doing remarkably well and is looking forward for rehab.
Wang's agent Alan Nero says Dr. Andrews cleared Wang to begin throwing on Dec. 1. The quicker he can get himself on a mound the more likely the Yankees are to keep him around. Personally I think it is wise for the Yanks to keep him. He will probably be back in action by the end of April or May, 2010.
The Yankees almost certainly will not tender Wang a contract, which would cost $5 million at the least. But Wang still prefers to play with the Yankees if they still want him.
Most of the critics says that he is done. Wang should pack up his bag and look for a new home. But if the Yankees get him cheap, it is worth considering signing him. Who knows Wang might be back to his old self. It's worth the risk for keeping the sinker ball specialist. Give Wang a shot for one more year. If Wand did not produce and suffered another injury (Probably neck this time), the Yanks will just have to count their losses and move on. But what if Wang stayed healthy and performs well. The Yankees starting rotation will be deep especially of Pettitte comes back.
I think it's worth a shot to give Wang another run to redeemed himself. I'm starting to miss Wang's double plays where we used to see him pitch till the 8th inning and got an outstanding 18 ground ball outs.
There are rumors that Yankees are considering trading JOBA CHAMBERLAIN, BRETT GARDNER, and IAN KENNEDY. According to Toronto Blue Jays organization they are looking for arms and power for their prized pitcher Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays will be receiving 2 promising young pitchers who are believed to be a star someday.
Joba Chamberlain is touted as one of the best prospect in the Yankees Farm system. He has a pretty good fastball and slider and has demonstrated good command on his pitches. The Yankees have envisioned him to be their starter but someway Joba always goes to back to the Yankees bullpen where he first started his career in pinstripes.
I think Joba will fit perfectly with the Blue Jays either if he is a starter, a middle relief pitcher, or a closer. There is no big pressure in Toronto unlike in New York. And Toronto will give Joba time to blossomed. Same thing goes with Ian Kennedy, who can't seem to find his niche with the Yankees. He too will fit perfectly in Toronto.
The Blue Jays might not be getting power in Brett Gardner but they will be getting speed (a lot of it). Gardner' speed will give Toronto a new dimension with his base stealing and aggressiveness. If he only improved his batting average he could be Toronto's lead-off hitter.
Bottom line Toronto will be getting 3 young and promising athletes that are cheap. This will benefit the Blue Jays payroll and they will have mobility to add players that they need from the Free Agency pool.
For the Yankees, they will be getting another ace in their rotation. Roy Halladay will definitely give the Yankees another shot at the World Series title. He is not as young as the 3 Yankees but he is not that old. Halladay can still perform at his level for another 5-8 years. Just think of it this way, with Halladay coming in, opponents will be threaten to face the Yankees because of their monstrous rotation. You got CC Sabathia as your No. 1 pitcher, followed by Halladay in No. 2 (No. 1 in other teams). Then you have AJ Burnett in No. 3, plus the coming of Andy Pettitte at No. 4. Add or mix players from the bullpen of the farm system to complete the rotation. Chad Gaudin, Ace Aceves, Phil Hughes are those who are considered to participate in the starting rotation.
That's pretty deep. If you got that kind of a rotation there's a small chance for the opposing team to get a win against the Yanks. I'm sure the Yankees won't mind spending money on Halladay. Halladay is like a carbon copy of CC Sabathia. So you got 2 former Cy Young award winners in your starting rotation.
Personally I would prefer to trade away Phil Hughes than Joba. I think Joba would be the next Yankee closer when Mariano Rivera retires.
So let's keep our ears on the ground for what will happen with the Yankees transaction. A player like Roy Halladay won't be easy to find and even if the Yankees want to stick to their budget they will be force to open their wallet just to keep Halladay away from the Boston Red Sox.
The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees is probably the most talk rivalries in sports history. Ever since the time of Babe Ruth up to the acquisition of Mark Teixeira this two teams have been going at it for quite some time. Now they are at war for the services of Ace Roy Halladay.
Boston is much more desperate than the Yankees. They lost the Divisional Series this year to the Angels. Their Rotation is not that deep and injuries have hampered their chances of advancing to the ALCS. The Yankees on the other hand is thinking of reducing their payroll and is planning not to be aggressive as they were when they hired guys like CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Teixeira last season. Still getting Halladay wouldn't hurt. Even if Andy Pettitte comes back the Yankees need more depth in their rotation so that they won't do the risky "3 man rotation" which they did in the post-season.
AJ Burnett, the former Blue Jay and team mate of Halladay would be exhilarated to have Halladay on board. Roy Halladay was Burnett's mentor and Halladay was responsible for Burnett's success for teaching how to throw the right pitches at the right location. Halladay also taught Burnett how to avoid injuries and taking care of his health.
Roy Halladay is considered one the best pitcher in the game today and plays a Cy Young performance all season long. He is an incredibly gifted workhorse. He sets hitters up with his fastball, works the strike zone, and uses a lethal off-speed arsenal to put them away. Halladay is also incredibly durable, intense, and hard-working, he's truly the definition of an ace. Every team in baseball would definitely want him. But getting Halladay's services would cost heavily. Halladay is still in contract with the Toronto Blue Jays for 2010 and has full no trade clause. Toronto new GM Alex Anthopoulos said he is open for trade talks for their star pitcher but for a good price. Boston is offering Clay Buchholz plus more promising prospects in their farm.
If the Yankees wants to join, they should at least consider trading Joba Chamberlain and/or Phil Hughes. Toronto is also interested in other Yankee prospects like Jesus Montero, Austin Jackson and several young pitchers.
The Yankees must join the bidding war even if they are not seriously interested in getting Halladay. This is just to up the ante and value of Halladay and forcing the Red Sox to almost giving everybody away from their farm system.
If you would ask me, I would like to get Halladay. Having Halladay would almost be an insurance for the Yankees to grab their 28th World Series title. Halladay is known as a Yankee killer. His 18-6 record against the Bronx Bombers attests. If the Red Sox gets Halladay, that would spell disaster for the Yankees. So it would be best for the Yankees to get Halladay to give them a 20+ wins and not to bitter rival Red Sox. His salary would only cost $ 15.75 M in 2010. So you get him cheap for one year.
The problem is Halladay would be a Free Agent at the end of the 2010 season and would demand a bigger pay and longer contract. Even if Halladay deserves to get a large contract and the Yankees can afford him, the Yankees will have a behemothic payroll. Remember that Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera would also be Free Agents at the end of 2010 and the Yankees would definitely commit first to this two loyal and outstanding players. Can the Yankees fit Halladay in their payroll? I think not! Unless they want to go back to their over-spending days.
The best thing for the Yankees to do is to keep their young stars (Joba and Hughes) and prospects (Montero, A-Jax, etc.). They are still young and comes in cheap. Plus they have the potential of being a star in the league or at least contribute for the Yankees success.
The Yankees spend enough money last year to get talents like Sabathia, Burnett and Tex. This time it is wise for them to concentrate on using and developing Home-grown talents like Cano, Joba, and A-Jax. Balancing veteran leadership and young talents is essential and key for the Yankees to win it all.
As for Roy Halladay, let's just hope the Blue Jays wont strike a deal with the Red Sox. Because all the Yankees can do is to bluff and fool the Red Sox and hope that the Blue Jays would get a lot in return for a prize of just one pitcher.
The New York Yankees are blessed. They have the best closer of all time in Mariano Rivera. How many times did we see him close games in clutch situations. How many times did we hear Mariano's entrance song "Enter Sandman" which means exit time to the opponents. How many times did we see him use his famous "cutter" that until now the league hasn't found a way to solve it.
The Yankees won't be the 2009 World Series Champs without Rivera as their closer. Rivera is such an important and integral part of the team that he even played more than one inning just to make sure to clinch a win. In fact it became a trend in the Championship series and the World Series where starting pitchers like CC Sabathia would pitch 7-8 good innings (eliminating the set-up guy) then passing the ball the the Yankees great closer. It worked effectively as the opponents can't rally back and has simply no answer to the great pitching arsenal of Mariano Rivera.
And to add insurance to the Yankees winning ways, Rivera said that he is planning to play 5 more years. Yankee fans are hoping that Rivera is not kidding. At the age of 39, Rivera showed no signs of slowing down. And barring injuries, 5 years is a realistic plan for Rivera.
Problem is the remaining staff in the Yankees bullpen. During the 2009 season, the Yankees pen are probably the best in the league with Phil Hughes as Rivera's set-up man and newcomers like David Robertson, Ace Aceves, and Phil Coke providing stability and consistency. But in the post-season, the Yanks bullpen was evaporated forcing Mariano Rivera to play extra innings to ensure a win.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that Yankees bullpen is still strong (even if they faded in the post-season). That holds true, but there is uncertainty in pitching. A pitcher can be a MVP caliber this year and drop out of the rotation next year. Just look at Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Last year he was MVP of the world series with 1.80 ERA. This year Hamels played poorly allowing 5 earned runs in Game 3 of the World Series and was credited with a loss. Looking for consistency in pitching is very hard to find nowadays.
That is why the Yankees must think to bolster their bullpen even if that is not their biggest need this off-season. Rumors is that the Yankees are considering signing Free Agents like Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano (both Type A Free Agents). Or the Yankees might consider placing young pitchers like Joba and Phil Hughes in the pen if they were able to bring back Andy Pettitte and/or sign a Free Agent pitcher like John Lackey.
Either way, Mariano Rivera needs help. He can't do it all alone. He can't carry the bullpen on his own even if he has Superman type of skills. Getting help from their farm system or through free agency will help the Yankees closer and if that is done 5 years for Mariano Rivera is not an impossible feat.
Good news! Andy Pettitte might come back to the Yankees next season. Pettitte was among the last two of the 171 eligible players to declare for free agency. This move made a strong indication that the 37 year old lefty isn't ready to retire.
The Yankees wants him back to keep their starting rotation intact. After CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, the Yankees' rotation is a question mark. The Yankees is still not sure where to place Joba and Hughes seemed to be comfortable in the bullpen. Andy Pettitte can fill that hole nicely. Pettitte still has a lot of thread in him and can still pitch for 1-2 years. Pettitte would definitely provide stability in their rotation.
Andy Pettitte has the most post-season career wins (18) and is still considered a 6 inning guy. He went 14-8 with a 4.16 ERA in 32 starts and was brilliant in the postseason when he was 4-0 with a 3.52 ERA in five games. He was the winning pitcher in the clinchers against the Twins (ALDS), Angels (ALCS) and Phillies (World Series).
The question is how much is his worth?
Last season, Pettitte took a pay cut from his previous $ 16 million a year down to $ 5.5 million. Randy Hendricks (Pettitte agent), thought the amount was too steep a decline. So the Yankees buttered it up with incentive laden contract that was based on innings pitched and days on the active roster. Pettitte can get $ 11-12 million in 2009 if he stays healthy and remains consistent. Pettitte did exactly just that by playing 32 games and had 194.2 innings pitched. And on top of that Pettitte grab his 5th World Series title, defeating the Philliies in Game 6.
If you will ask me Pettitte is worth $ 11-12 million and the Yankees should or must consider signing the veteran pitcher with that kind of amount. Remember Closer Mariano Rivera begged owner Steinbrenner to bring Pettitte back last year to provide guidance and wisdom to newcomers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett about pitching in The Bronx.
Andy Pettitte is also instrumental in teaching young studs like Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. Pettitte is still considered a staple player in the Yankees roster and he is one of the Yankees original "Core Four" where they won World Series championships in the late 90's and the year of 2000.
I have a strong feeling that the Yankees will get the services of Andy Pettitte next season. The Yankees don't have any excuse not to sign him. Pettitte is a big time pitcher and strives to play in pressure games.
So Brain Cashman, what are you waiting for. Get the offer sheet ready and hand it out to Handy Andy.
In terms of baseball, pitching is never enough. While the Yankees said to go easy this off-season compared to previous off-season, it is still a necessity to add a few more arms to help their rotation or their bullpen. As of today, the Yankees only have CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett as their starters. Andy Pettitte is still unsure of coming back (the Yankees better hope that he comes back) and the coaching staff his still studying the status of their young pitchers like Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes if they are capable to start next season.
What the Yankees need is a another starting pitcher to man the position in their 4th or 5th slot. One guy they should consider is Free Agent and 2002 World Series Champion Jarrod Washburn. Even with the age of 35 and his recent knee injury, Washburn can still be effective and provide stability in the Yankees back-end rotation. In his 12 year career, Washburn had only one serious injury and that happened in his stint with the Tigers where he blew off his knee and was required to have a surgery. But the doctors have cleared Washburn and he's ready to play this coming season.
Although Washburn is not as great as Roy Halladay and John Lackey, he will give something to the Yankees that the other 2 pitchers can't give --- A cheap contract. Washburn made $ 9.375 million last year and he is still looking for a new team. If no one in the league gives him an offer, the Yankees can give Washburn an offer sheet ranging from $ 5-7 million and 1-2 years contract.
Washburn specialty is his change-up and slider. He has established a diverse arsenal of fastballs (ranging from 84-94 mph). He is a lefty which gives the Yankees depth in their rotation with Sabathia and Pettitte (if he comes back) in their roster.
If the Yankees decide to place Joba and/or Hughes back in the bullpen next season, adding Washburn will help their cause.
The Yankees should consider adding Jarrod Washburn to their roster. He comes in cheap and can provide stability and experience to their ball club.
See this picture? Remarkable play isn't it? That is Curtis Granderson, Detroit's All-Star center-fielder. You don't see that everyday from your center fielder. Because of Granderson's value and Detroit's economic problems, the center fielder has been the main piece of trade discussions nowadays. And who would not want to have the services of this All-Star, he is still young and has a reasonable salary and is under contract till 2012. He's got power and speed and plays good defense. The Tigers still want to keep Granderson but Detroit is in a hole financially and is open for trade offers.
The Yankees is one of the teams who are interested in Granderson. But who will the Yankees offer in return? Detroit is asking for Yankees top prospect Austin Jackson plus additional players. Some Yankee experts says that this is not going to be a wise move but if you give a deeper analysis to it I say it's a perfect move. As long as the Yankees don't throw in Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and Jesus Montero, then they are in perfect shape to make the trade.
Remember that Austin Jackson is still a "prospect". Meaning it's just an expectation of something great, but not yet proven. A-Jax is amazing in the minor leagues but it's a whole new level once your in the majors. Ask that to former Yankees top prospects Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. These two young pitchers are promising players and the Yankees have vision them to be No. 1 and No. 2 starter in their rotation in the future. In 2009, both of this pitchers were penciled to start in the rotation but the two of them ended up in the bullpen at the end of the season. You see it's a different game once your in the major league. The opponents are tougher, scouts are better, pressure is more intense, the crowd will eat you alive. Its a whole new level out there.
That is why the Yankees should strongly consider trading for Curtis Granderson. He is proven and has post-season experience. The Yankees might lose some promising players in their farm but they got something great in return. And the Yankees won't be missing A-Jax since Granderson also has the same skills. They both got speed, plays defense, covers a lot of field, strike out a lot, and has pretty good batting skills. Their only difference is Granderson has lot of MLB experience and has more power (30 HR in 2009).
The only key element here is who should the Yankees add to the Austin Jackson package. The Yankees should be careful on throwing away to much talent that they may lose in the long term. And Detroit want's to dumb expensive contracts to the deal. They are thinking of including Nate Robertson or Jeremy Bonderman to the package. Remember that the Yankees don't intend to spend heavily this off-season. The Yankees can get Detroit's unwanted players and trade them immediately to other teams for a prospect to save them some money.
The bottom line here is the Yankees should not waste this opportunity and try to get Curtis Granderson to remain competitive in the 2010 season.
So who would you pick Curtis Granderson or Austin Jackson?
The Yankees have outfield problems this off-season. Melky Cabrera had a good turn-around season in 2009 compared to his disappointing season in 2008 but he still lacks the power and consistency and he doesn't steal bases a lot. Brett Gardner is fast and a base stealer threat but also lack home run prowess and just rely purely on his speed. 2009 acquisition Nick Swisher has power but he played miserable in the post-season. These 3 Yankee outfielders are good but not great.
Johnny Damon can help this guys but he is a free agent and might not come back due to Damon's agent Boras luxurious contract demands.
Hideki Matsui, the World Series MVP, is still a dangerous hitter, but his aching knees might be a burden for him to play the outfield. The DH spot is his only option (sharing time with Posada).
So what do the Yankees need to do to fill some holes in the outfield? One option; Detroit Tigers Curtis Granderson.
No, Granderson is not a free agent but the Tiger's GM Dave Dombrowski said they are willing to hear trade offers from other teams about their prized center fielder (although Granderson is not the player Detroit really wants to trade).
The Tigers are in a cost-cutting frame of mind and they have let other GM know that Granderson could be had for the right package.
Brian Cashman met with Dombrowski at the GM Meetings and the two discuss about their needs. They have a good relationship and have made significant trades before.
Scott Boras, the blood sucking sports agent, who almost convinced Alex Rodriguez not to deal with the Yankees when his contract was opted out, is at it again.
Today Boras is telling Johnny Damon not to sign with the Yankees-- not until it reach Boras contract demands. Boras is demanding 3-4 years contract for his client Damon. That is something the Yankees can't afford even if they have the highest payroll in MLB.
We all love Johnny Damon. Since his arrival in 2006, the Yankees had a legitimate lead-off hitter and another offensive weapon to their line-up. Damon's got power and is suited nicely for the Yankees since he takes advantage of the Yankees Stadium short porch in right field. And even with his age, Damon can still steal bases and runs well in the base paths.
In the post-season, the Yankees relies on Damon's experience (winning 1 World Series with the Red Sox) and he brings maturity and tenacity on the ball club.
However, Damon is getting old (36 this year) and has recent injuries from his legs and hamstrings. Playing on the average of 142 games every year on his 15 year career brought some wear and tear to his once speedy and agile body. Plus he is a defensive liability in the outfield with a weak throwing arm.
And now Boras is dreaming and wants a contract for Damon similar to the Yankees captain Derek Jeter (for the record, Jeter will earn $21 million in 2010). And Boras even brag about his client that Damon has a body of a 30 year old. This guy must be nuts.
The Yankees wants to bring Damon back but on a 1-2 year contract and on the range of $ 6-8 million. That seems to be a "win-win situation" for both the Yankees and Johnny Damon. The Yankees will still be competitive and might repeat as champs in 2010 with Damon batting on the 2 hole and Damon will not only be getting his market value but he will have a chance to add another World Series ring to his collections.
But Scott Boras stands in their way. Boras wants a share of a pie. If only Damon would bypass his agent and talk directly to the Yankees (like what A-Rod did in 2007) then everything will be all right.
NO. 1 : KATE HUDSON
Alex Rodriguez or A-Rod is probably the best baseball player in the world today. A-Rod is a 12 time All Star selection, 10 time Silver Slugger award winner, 4 time AL Hank Aaron award winner, 3 time AL MVP, 2 time Gold Glove award winner, the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs, the 4th player to reach the 40-40 club (40 homers and 40 stolen bases) and recently a World Series champion.
But come play-off time A-Rod's performance will vanish and slither away. From 2004-2007 post-season, A-Rod has been horrible at the plate forcing Joe Torre (Yankees former manager) to bat A-Rod on the 6th or 7th hole. In 2005 and 2006, Rodriguez batting went to a sub .200 AVE.
Dating back to Game 4 of the 2004 AL Championship Series, Rodriguez had come to bat with 38 runners on base over a span of 61 postseason at-bats. He stranded every one of them, going 0-for-29 with runners on base. Much of the criticism regarding Rodriguez is focused upon his alleged inability to produce hits in clutch situations.
That quickly change in 2009 when Kate Hudson went into play and become Alex Rodriguez's girlfriend. A-Rod suddenly become a play-off scapegoat and loser to a post-season clutch performer and World Series champion. He had several postseason clutch performance;
in the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins, he hit a game tying homer off closer Joe Nathan in the bottom of the 9th inning in Game 2. In the ALCS, Rodriguez hit his third game-tying HR of the post season in Game 2 in the bottom of the 11th against Angel closer Brian Fuentes.
Rodriguez's postseason success continued in Game 4 of the World Series, as he drove in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 9th inning off of Phillies closer Brad Lidge.
The question is what did Kate Hudson do to A-Rod that made her boyfriend the new Yankees post-season hero? I guess it's her beauty, wit and personality. Because of Kate's incredible charm, she was invited to sit among the Yankees wife's seat even though she is not A-Rod's wife yet. Whatever it is, I think Kate Hudson deserved a ring from A-Rod from all the positive things that she brought in. So A-Rod give her a ring.... not the World Series ring but a diamond engagement ring.
NO. 2 : MINKA KELLY
Derek Jeter, the Yankees Team Captain and future Hall of Famer, has so many awards to prove his greatness in baseball. Jeter is a 5 time World Series champion, 4 time Gold Glove award winner, 10 time All Star selection, 3 time Silver Slugger award winner, 2 time AL Hank Aaron award winner, 1996 AL Rookie of the Year award winner, Yankees All-time hits leader, and 2000 World Series MVP.
That is why there is a bunch of girls that are attracted and have been linked to the Yankees Shortstop. Among them are diva Mariah Carey, former Miss Universe Lara Dutta, singer Joy Enriquez, Jordana Brewster, Scarlett Johansson, Gabrielle Union, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Minillo, and Jessica Biel.
And now there are rumors that Jeter is engaged to Friday Night Lights actress Minka Kelly. Funny that Minka Kelly supports his fiance by watching baseball games in New York while she is acting as a cheerleader from a college football team. For Jeter its Friday Night all the time in baseball and in private life. Jeter added another award in Minka Kelly.
NO. 3 : HIDEKI MATSUI'S MYSTERY WIFE
The New York Yankees Designated Hitter and the World Series MVP Hideki Matsui is a silent and soft-spoken guy in public but on the baseball field Matsui let's his actions do the talking. Nicknamed Godzilla, Matsui breaths fire by putting up 100+ RBI's and 20 something home runs.
Matsui announced to the press on March 27, 2008 that he had married in a private ceremony in New York. His bride's name has not been announced, but it is reported that she was 25 years old and had been formerly working in a "reputable position at a highly respected company". They met in Japan after the 2006 off-season.
So who is this mystery lady? Is she afraid of the limelight? Or does she prefers a quite and simple life? Whatever it is, this lady gave Hideki the boost that he needed. Even with his aching knees, Matsui was still a major factor to the Yankees especially in the World Series where he had one home run and 6 RBI in Game 6 alone.
NO. 4 : MICHELLE DAMON
Johnny Damon has excellent speed (especially during his prime) and an outstanding base stealer. In 2004, Johnny stole the heart of the alluring and sexy Michelle Mangan, the best stealing performance of Johnny in his life. They got married and had 2 kids.
Michelle Mangan, now Michelle Damon attracted the attention of many and she was chosen to appear in the pages of Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2008.
So guys who do you want to round the bases for the Yankees? Johnny or Michelle?
NO. 5 : AMBER SABATHIA
CC Sabathia is like a beast in baseball. Everyone is afraid of him. And why not, CC almost strike out batters that he face. CC, who won the 2007 AL Cy Young award, exhibits a good command of his pitches. He has four plus pitches: a fastball, slider, cutter, and a changeup. CC is the Yankees ace and top gun. Nobody can intimidate this 300 pound pitcher.
Only one person can control and constrain CC Sabathia. That person is no other than Amber Sabathia, CC's wife. Amber and CC were high school sweethearts when they were both growing up in Vallejo, California. And when they got married in 2003, they choose to reside in Fairfield, CA outside their hometown of Vallejo in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Did you know that Amber Sabathia was pressing her husband hard last off-season to sign with the hometown San Francisco Giants, so they would not have to move to another city, and it was rumored that CC only agreed to sign with the Yankees after Brian Cashman had a private sit-down with Amber to convince her that it was possible to raise kids in New York.
That is how powerful Amber is. More powerful than her 300 pound husband. With Amber's nod, CC signed with the Yankees and their family moved to a residence in Alpine, New Jersey.
Just imagine if Cashman was not able to convince Amber. It will be a total disaster. The Yankees won't be having their 27th World Series title without CC Sabathia in their roster.
NO. 6 : LAURA PETTITTE
Even with age there is no stopping Yankee starting pitcher Andy Pettitte. Andy is one the most feared pitcher during his prime and until now he can still dominate with his four-seam fastball, a cutter, a 12-6 curveball, a sinker and a changeup.
I don't understand why Andy needs to take performance-enhancing drugs when he has Laura Pettitte to boost his skills.
Andy Pettitte is known for his pick-off. Did Andy did that too to Laura to get her nod? Either way, Andy won't be Andy without Laura behind him.
NO. 7 : LAURA POSADA
Jorge Posada's catching days may be over but the Yankees catcher can still hit big time. In fact Jorge scored big time by marrying Laura Posada.
Laura married Jorge in 2000. Before marriage, she had been a fitness model and minor actress in Puerto Rico, before later hitting the books to become an attorney. Laura also made waves after coming to the US by posing in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition wearing nothing but strategically placed paint.
Laura Posada is one of the oldest mainstay in the Yankees wives organization but that doesn't mean she is old. She is still hot even with 2 kids. Jorge really made a big "catch" out of this.
NO. 8 : LEIGH TEIXEIRA
Mark Teixeira is one of the biggest acquisition for the Yankees. Teixeira gave the Yankees an additional power in their line-up and gave A-Rod some protection by batting before him. Tex is also known for his defensive plays at 1st and has 2 Gold Glove award to his name. Again thank the wife.
It's Leigh Teixeira who made his husband Mark to sign a multi-deal contract with the Yankees (taking the slugger out of the Red Sox). Throughout his free agency, Teixeira solicited his wife's opinion and she kept saying, "I just want you to be happy," Teixeira recalled. On date night, Teixeira asked, "Everything's equal, where do you want to go? She finally said, 'I want you to be a Yankee.'"
That made Mark happy knowing he is going to play to a team where his idol Yankee legend Don Mattingly used to play. And now Mark Teixeira has the chance to make his mark to the Yankee tradition by playing 1st base (Mattingly played 1st base as well).
Guess who is the real boss?? I think Leigh might have to become Marks manager from now on, she really knows best. It was one of Marks dreams to play for the Yankees so Leigh just gave him the push he needed!
NO. 9 : KAREN BURNETT
AJ Burnett has known to be good at times and wild at times. When Burnett is on, the opponents will have a hard time scoring a run. What makes Burnett successful this year? Was it Jose Molina? Burnett's personal catcher... No, I don't think so. It's AJ's guardian angel and wife Karen, who stood by him through thick and thin.
Karen and AJ Burnett lives year-round in her hometown of Baltimore with the couple’s two sons Ashton and AJ Jr. One fact about Karen is she hates to fly. So much so that it was said to affect AJ’s possible destinations as a free agent this past off-season (it's a good thing they signed with the Yankees). In AJ’s contract with the Blue Jays, Karen was guaranteed 8 roundtrip limo rides between Baltimore and Toronto per season. That's a lot of ride, and that is about a 9 hour trip each way, she must really hate to fly.
Living in Baltimore made easy for Karen to let his husband signed a contract with the Yankees. She doesn't need to take a plane to watch his husband in New York. You see, Wives play a major factor in contract signing. You get the wife, you get the husband.
The Yankees are the World Champions. The Yankees consist of several marquee and upcoming promising players. What makes them exceptional?
Want to know their secret to their success ...... it's their wives. In every great man is a great woman. And the Yankees wives transformed their husbands into great champions. So here is my top 10 list of Yankees wives. Let's start from no. 10:
NO. 10 : DANIELLE GAMBA
Although Nick Swisher has been linked to several women including Gossip Girl (TV Series) actress Joanna Garcia, who were seen together at the World Series Parade in New York City on Friday, November 6th 2009. It's Danielle Gamba who made Nick Swisher as a powerful home run hitter. Why? Well just look at her.... Isn't she a fox?
Danielle Gamba is an American model, dancer, and former NFL Cheerleader. Gamba, an and Italian and Spanish descent, is also a Playboy model.
FHM magazine named Danielle Gamba their only "International Honey" after breaking the magazine's record for winning the "Hometown Honey" duel 3 months in a row. Subsequently, they named her their Official Lingerie representative for the United States, appearing in 7 of their publications.Nick Swisher helped the Yankees with a season performance of .249 AVE, 29 HR, and 82 RBI. Is Danielle Gambe the reason behind it?
No, I am not saying this as a farewell phrase to our beloved slugger. We all know that Matsui is a free agent in the 2009 off-season and there are rumors that he might not come back. I am writing this blog to inform the Yankees (particularly Brian Cashman) to strongly consider Matsui before looking at other free agents. Matsui's age and weak knees indicated that the Yankees will let go of their DH after the season but that immediately change when Matsui played superbly in the World Series.
In the World Series, Matsui batted .615 AVE, 3 HR, and 8 RBI's. In Game 2 he hit a home run of Phillies pitcher Pedro Martinez. In Game 4, with the DH role being waive of, Matsui pinch hit in the late inning to provide insurance run. In his only at bat he hit another homer. In Game 6, Matsui exploded hitting a home run and produce 6 RBI that put Philadelphia's nail in the coffin. Matsui's incredible performance gave MLB no choice but to award the Yankees' DH the World Series MVP. The Yankees roster is deep and talented but Matsui really provided the offense that the ball club needed.
Since Matsui's arrival in New York back in 2003, Matsui provided his ball club another weapon in their always feared line-up. In his 7 years stint with the Yankees, Matsui gave the Yankees 100+ RBI's (except to the seasons that he was injured in 2006 and 2008). He was often called the "RBI Machine", giving important runs to his team. Matsui was nicknamed Godzilla because of his powerful hitting especially in right field.
Matsui is also known as the Yankees "Iron Man", playing 163 games every season. He had only two injury season in 2006 and 2008, but other than that Matsui was there all season long. Matsui played left field but his recent injury (knees) kept him from doing that this season. The Yankees made Matsui their DH at the start of the season and Matsui answered back with an a above satisfactory statistics (.274 AVE, 28 HR, 90 RBI's in just 142 games played).
And now the Yankees are thinking of letting Matsui go. I say no.
I am aware that Matsui's age is a concern and his knees are a big risk but if Matsui somehow agree to take a pay cut and play for one more year then the Yankees should grab it immediately. There are not a lot of free agent out there that can not compare to the offense of Matsui. And the Yankees will make a dumb decision of going for another high prize free agents like Bay and Holliday.
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada is slowing down defensively and the Yankees are thinking of giving Posada the DH role next year. That seems to be a great idea but who will be their everyday starting catcher? Molina? Cervelli? The Yankees will be losing the offense that brought their ball club to their 27th World Series title. Let Posada catch for at least a year and relief him with Molina or Cervelli from time to time to save his strength for the post-season.
Give Matsui the DH role next season (Posada can DH once in a while). If the Yankees let Matsui go they will lost their No.5 or No.6 hitter and they will lose power from that spots.
Why are the Yankees even thinking of changing their roster that made wonders in 2009. If they want to change they should add talents not reduce. Matsui has 1-2 good offensive years left him. The Yankees should not waste it. Bring Godzilla for one more year and let his numbers do the talking.
The Yankees are in the right state of mind... the Empire State of Mind. Sung by rapper Jay-Z and Alicia Keys in Game 2 of the World Series in the New Yankee Stadium, the Yankees are confident to win it all at home.
Throw away those scouting reports and performance graphs. We are just relying on plain old instincts right now. We all know who is in the zone and who is struggling. We all know what this certain player can do and can't do.
Sometimes in a ball game, it is important not to give to much importance on statistics and just believe in faith. Everybody knows what the Phillies strengths and weaknesses are. And Philadelphia did all the scouting to find ways to defeat the Yankees. Every card is laid on the table. There's no element of surprise... not a monumental surprise. And there is an old saying that just to "Bring it on".
I am expecting the Yankees to finish this in Game 6 with reliable Andy on the mound. It is going to be a nice battle but we will be seeing the Yankees still standing once the dust is settled.
So have faith Yankees fans and just B-E-L-I-E-V-E! No. 27 will be on our hands. And just like in the Mastercard commercial:
A taxi to central=$5, A subway ticket to the stadium=$10, A ticket to the game=$30, See the Yankees win No. 27=Priceless. There's something money can't buy, for everything else there's the New York Yankees!
As good as the Yankees are on paper, in reality they lack dept when it comes to pitching. Our bullpen evaporated like water in the post-season leaving Mariano Rivera doing all the work load. CC Sabathia is great but how long will we keep him starting on only 3 days rest? AJ Burnett can't do it on short rest and Pettitte, the play-off savvy that he is, is getting old and might not be consistent on 3 days rest.
The Yankees hate to admit it but they lack one more pitcher to rest their starters and give them full rest. Or they desperately need somebody in the bullpen to bridge the gap to the great Mo. If only Moose were here!
Mike Mussina played with the Yankees from 2001-2008. Mussina is a five-time All Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner. He has a record of 3.68 ERA in his 18 illustrious career. Mussina possesses a nasty knuckle-curve and excellent control of all of his pitches. He is a good defender, and he also keeps runners close to first base.
Early in his career, Mussina's arsenal included a four-seam fastball that topped out at 95 mph, a two-seam fastball, a slider, a changeup, and plus his famous knuckle-curve. He has always been known as a finesse pitcher. Mussina's prolonged success is also the result of his ability to make adjustments. He has added a splitter to his repertoire and replaced his knuckle-curve with a more conventional curveball. He has become more skilled at changing speeds with his breaking pitches and using different arm angles to confuse batters as well as to compensate for the diminishing speed of his fastball, now at 86–88 mph (tops out at 90.91 mph).Throughout his career, Mussina has also complemented his pure pitching ability by doing the little things well. He issues very few walks, holds base runners well, and fields his position superbly.
If only Mussina signed with the Yankees this year with a one year contract and a cut from his previous salary ($ 11 million). And if only the Yankees administration did a major convincing effort to let Mussina play for one more year and have the opportunity to win the World Series this time around (he played and lost the World Series against the Diamondbacks in the 2001).
Even at the age of 40, Moose can still be effective with his decision making and timely pitches. Mussina would be a big help not only to the Yankees starting rotation but to the bullpen as well. Moose can start in Game 4 of the ALCS and World Series, giving stars like CC Sabathia the normal rest that they deserved. Or he could come out of the bullpen and give 1-2 strong innings. Ether way, having Mussina on the Yankees roster will give the their ball club a big edge.
If only Mike Mussina didn't retire....
Can you smell it? I know you can. The Yankees are cooking and it smells like World Series No. 27. The Yankees gained the upper hand after winning an exciting game against the Phillies that gave the Yanks a 3-1 lead. And the exciting part is the Yankees won 2 out of their 3 wins in Philadelphia's home turf.
The Yankees have the chance to clinch it in Game 5 with AJ Burnett starting. However the Phillies won't give the series on a silver platter. They will fight tooth and nail if they have to. The Yankees must not be to confident and must take every opportunity that they can get. Game 5 is next. Here are some roadblocks in Game 5 that stands in the Yankees way:
Every Yankee fans will not forget what Cliff Lee did to the Yanks in Game 1 of the World Series. Cliff Lee dominated and played a complete game. He played 9 innings with 10 strikeouts and no earned runs. Lee completely shut down the Yankees offense giving the Phillies and early advantage with a 1-0 lead in the series. Cliff Lee is a former Cy Young Awardee and has a good season this year. He has a nice, four-pitch arsenal featuring low-90s heat, nasty slider, curve and change. When he is on, Lee gives an automatic win for his team. Cliff Lee has a fluid, sometimes sneaky delivery. So how do we beat this guy?
- Stock as many right-handers and switch hitters on the line-up.
- Work his pitch counts. Lee is in the zone if his pitch counts is low. Make him work and get more pitch out of the Phillies Ace pitcher. Try to make his pitch count to 25-30 per inning. Tire him out and get him out early in the 5th or 6th inning. The Phillies will go to their bullpen, that is where the Yankees can take advantage and make this game like a Home-Run derby.
The Yankees offense somewhat dried up in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series. But the Bombers came alive in Games 3 and 4 scoring 8 and 7 runs respectively.
The Yankees problems in their defeats in the post-season is producing with runners in scoring position. They always leave man on base. They were thinking to much of playing long ball and hitting home-runs. Little did they know that they can play small ball and manufacture runs if they have to.
Getting on 1st base on a hit or walk is important. It starts the offense running. A bunt here, a hit there, stealing a base or two, hitting doubles can help the Yankees get enough runs to win a ballgame.
The Yankees are deep from 1-9. All of them can hit and produce. There are no easy outs. So get the Yankees batters on base and keep the ball rolling. Runs will be easy if they keep on pressuring the Phillies pitchers by putting runners in scoring positions.
Bridge to Mariano Rivera:
I know the bullpen have been dissolving in the post-season leaving Rivera all alone. Joe Girardi lost faith in his relievers and gave his starters like CC Sabathia longer innings to bridge the gap to the Yankees closer. Mariano Rivera even played two full innings just to close a game. The Yankees lost their set-up man and long relievers. The normal trend is from the Yankees starting pitcher jumping to their closer. There is no one in between.
In the World Series, a light somehow shine in the Yankees bullpen. Some of their relievers somewhat became a little reliable (good enough for Mo).
With the Phillies having majority of their feared sluggers as left handed batters (Utley, Howard, Ibanez) the role of the Yankees left handed specialist became important. This gave way for Damaso Marte. Marte rose to his expectation by getting outs when they need it the most.
The other one is Joba. Joba is now their set-up man and is performing well as of late. With the rise of a few Yankees relievers, this will give Rivera to save his strength for the 9th inning (where he is at best).
Froze the Phillies offense:
Here is the statistics of some of the Phillies sluggers in the post-season:
- Ryan Howard: (NLDS stats .375 AVE, and 6 RBI's), in the NLCS (stats .333 AVE, 2 home runs, and 8 RBI's)
- Jimmy Rollins: (NLDS stats .263 AVE), in the NLCS (stats .227 AVE)
- Shane Victorino: (NLDS stats .353 AVE and 1 homer), in the NLCS (stats .368 AVE, 2 HR, 6 RBI's)
- Raul Ibanez: (NLDS stats .308 AVE and 5 RBI's)
- Ryan Howard: .176 AVE, no HR and 10 strikeouts
- Jimmy Rollins: .200 AVE, no home runs and 1 strikeout
- Shane Victorino: .200 AVE, no homers and 1 strikeout
- Raul Ibanez: .188 AVE, no HR and 9 strikeouts
The Yankees place this 4 powerful hitters in the freezer and kept them there freezing. The 4 Phillies were invisible and did not not provide offense that the Phillies badly needed.
So if the Yankees need to advanced, minimize the Phillies offense to 1-3 runs. Get their lead-off hitter out every inning to shut down their running game and throw a lot of strikes.
The Yankees are cooking and it smells like World Series championship # 27.