It’s that time of year, again – views on the start of Yankees Spring Training

By: shortfinals

Feb 27 2012

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Category: baseball, New York, NY Yankees, United States

1 Comment


Once again, the baseball gods are smiling down on us and Spring Training has begun. Down in Tampa, Florida the New York Yankees have assembled, and like all clubs, the story is about who is newly arrived and which familiar faces are missing. The Yankees Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Brian Cashman, after a slow start to the off-season has been very busy on the baseball front, whilst dealing with some spectacular mis-steps in his private life. The priority, according to most observers of the Yankees was (as always) the rotation. Last year, the Yankees failed to sign the pitcher they wanted, Cliff Lee and lost the inimitable Andrew Eugene Pettitte to retirement. Strangely, the most significant move, and the one which was greeted by general sighs of relief, was the departure of A.J. Burnett. Although no Kei Igawa, his Yankee pitching career was startling in its inconsistency; indeed, he had the ability to let a game get away from him – irretrievably – inside an inning, before the manager even had a chance to warm a reliever up; his total of 25 wild pitches were the most by any pitcher in the American League during 2011. His trade to the Pittsburg Pirates was truly addition by subtraction. The addition of former Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher, the 36-year old Hiroki Kuroda, is a great upgrade, let’s hope that there are no echoes of another former Dodgers ‘transplant’, one Kevin Brown! However, the biggest trade – for both clubs involved – was the acquisition of the extremely promising young pitcher Michael Pineda from the Seattle Mariners for the potential slugger/catcher Jesus Montero (the other pieces in the trade were Hector Noesi to Seattle, and Jose Campos to the Yankees – I personally think that the Yankees got the better of that, too). It is difficult to acquire a young ‘flame-thrower’ like Pineda, and ‘Cash’ said that Montero was the ‘best player I’ve ever traded’. Personally, I think that we had seen enough to know that Montero’s skills behind the plate were never going to be good enough, and his speed around the bases equalled that of the newly-retired Jorge Posada. I think Seattle are going to have to convert him to a designated hitter – soon. Suddenly, the Yankees have a powerful rotation – C C Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Hiroki Kuroda and either Phil Hughes or the evergreen Freddie Garcia, with the loser for the fifth spot going to the bullpen.

Jorge Posada’s retirement leaves just a Dynamic Duo rather than a Core Four, and Mariano Rivera has hinted strongly that he MAY retire at the end of the 2012 season. His good friend, Derek Jeter has been told by Mariano of his decision, but is not talking. If Mo does retire, as the all-time ‘saves’ leader, and the last wearer of the number ’42’ in the Big Leagues, then the Captain will be the last of the Core Four – the Sole Survivor, perhaps?

That excellent gloveman Eric Chavez will be back for one more try at a championship, so any time A-Rod needs a rest from playing third base we get a superb replacement in the field, and with Andruw Jones having had a surgical procedure to improve both his availability and ability to spell someone in left field, the bench is more effective.  The acquisition of the aging but still capable Raul Ibanez will provide yet more power and RBIs off the bench, and the short right ‘porch’ at Yankee Stadium is likely to get peppered, this year. The controversial ‘Orthokine’ technique which Alex Rodriguez underwent in Germany recently (related to the platelet-rich plasma therapy which IS approved in the USA) may well cure his ailing left shoulder and right knee, if the results shown by the basketball star Kobe Bryant, of the Los Angeles Lakers, are to be believed. If so, the Yankees slugger might end his stretch of only average production.

What more can I say? Injuries will cause shuffles, and possibly acquisitions, throughout the season. The young pitchers in the minors (particularly down at the Yankees’ AAA club at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) are champing at the bit, and some will be subject to a late season call-up, perhaps. Maybe there will be one last trip down ‘The Canyon of Heroes’ for Mariano, and Joe Giradi will get to change his jersey number again?! Next update at the All-Star Break, everyone, when I will have put another 81 games on my Laz-E-Boy recliner.

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One comment on “It’s that time of year, again – views on the start of Yankees Spring Training”

  1. A nice wall mural there 🙂

    Like


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