Archive for the ‘New York Yankees’ Category

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees

Brett Gardner‘s success at the big league level is something of a mystery. A mystery that is equal parts utility and scarcity. A triumph of selection bias, really.

Players like Gardner tend to slip through the cracks, more often than not. Lacking the big time power profile of a prototypical outfield prospect, players who go about their business in the style of the Yankees newly minted millionaire put a lot of pressure on notoriously unreliable measures.

The Yankees are no fools. They understand how important a player like Brett Gardner is to their success and so they rewarded their left fielder with a four-year, $53 million contract extension.

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Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles

Brian Roberts will be the starting second baseman for the 2014 New York Yankees, Joe Girardi told reporters Monday. “That is the plan, for him to be our second baseman,” the manager said, in what is perhaps the most improbable quote of the offseason.

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Division Series - New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles - Game Two

Derek Jeter is probably the best offensive shortstop in the history of the game. Full stop. You can take your Honus Wagner Dead Ball era nonsense and go tell it on a mountain. Derek Jeter is one of the best shortstops to ever play the game. Full stop.

And now, by announcing his intention to retire at the end of the 2014 season, Derek Jeter begins a farewell tour around the league. One of the best known and, begrudgingly, beloved players in baseball history will walk away from the game at 40.

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Baseball: Japan at San Francisco Giants

New Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka left Japan this past weekend and will be officially introduced to the New York media on Tuesday. If the stories we’ve seen so far are any indication, expect a New York writer or two to invoke the dreaded name of Kei Igawa, immortal Yankee failure. See stories from when news broke of Tanaka’s signing with the Yankees in late January. Bloomberg Businessweek, the New York Times, the New York Daily News, and others joined in the fun, unsurprisingly, since dropping the Igawa name around Yankees fans is a good bet to elicit a reaction (and a click).

So, before any reporters ask any stupid questions at Tuesday’s presser, let’s get this out of the way: in no way is Kei Igawa an apt comparison for Masahiro Tanaka, other than the fact that they played in the same league before heading stateside.

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Baseball: Japan at San Francisco Giants

Masahiro Tanaka became a New York Yankee today. As inevitable as it feels now, it was certainly in doubt for quite a while. The Cubs, the Dodgers, and even the Astros were in the running for the services for the Japanese workhorse. But in the end, it wasn’t ever close.

As it turns out, offering to pay much much much more money than the other teams works almost every time in the “player acquisition” game. Sweet as calling on an old horse like Hideki Matsui to extoll the virtues of the pinstripes is, the money was more than enough to get Tanaka’s name on a contract.

The money and the opt-out, leaving the former Rakuten Eagle with a chance to test free agency again before he turns 30 – a recent wrinkle to the FA process with that benefits each side if you look at the right angle.

So what do the Yankees get for their very large outlay of cash? They a lot, really. They get what they need more than nearly every other team in baseball – a chance to compete.

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Baseball: Japan at San Francisco Giants

Shame? NEVER. You could’ve Tanaked me over with a feather when I learned it was the Yankees who outbid the field by, oh I don’t know, $25 mil for the services of Masahiro Tanaka.

Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blue and CBS’s Eye on Baseball joins me to talk about the Yankees and Tanaka and how there is still much work to do for the Bronx Bombers. Please to enjoy!

RSS/MP3 Link here

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Japan's pitcher Tanaka pitches against the Netherlands in the fifth inning at the WBC second round game in Tokyo

It was always going to be the Yankees, wasn’t it? The Yankees or the Dodgers were the only two real choices.

There were just too many things working in favor of the richest teams in baseball when it came down to a bidding war for a pitcher like Masahiro Tanaka. It is less of an indictment of the sport than a perfect storm that only the biggest supertankers could navigate.

25-year old pitchers simply don’t become free agents. A 25-year old with electric stuff hits the market just as the bidding process for such a player changes, bringing down the upfront costs and allowing pure payroll spending power to be the determining factor. A scenario tailor-made for the New York Yankees, who didn’t flinch when it came time to get the deal done.

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