Results tagged ‘ Jesus Montero ’

Subway Series Spark!

In all honesty, I really have to give my Yankees some credit. After an exceptionally long, lackluster offseason and kickoff to the season that consisted of losing our closer, losing our new starting pitcher, and well – losing in general, I was just about ready to accept the “fact” that my boys just weren’t going anywhere in 2012. Ready I was to rant about using rookies, vent against the long-contracted veterans, and strangle Joe Girardi.

I find myself exceptionally busy for being on summer vacation, so I haven’t been able to actually watch games as religiously as I have in previous seasons. In the games I saw, the team looked lifeless, dead, beaten before they even stepped on to the field. But that was then.

I don’t know when things changed, how they changed – or even if anything really changed at all. What’s different now? It’s the same old guys, but now these old guys that I thought were getting too old and too stinky seem to have new life. I look at the Yankee record, 34-25, just ½ out of first place, and I wonder: WHEN THE HECK DID THIS HAPPEN?

Surely, I feel like an idiot.

Okay, maybe I wrote my boys off a little too early. But it’s only June 10, and I don’t want to get too cocky, either. Then again, I actually watched this Subway Series in its entirety, and the Yankees looked fantastic in all aspects. The power bats surged, the starters dominated in lengthy fashion, and perhaps most importantly, the team had that all-important fire that has been missing.

The whole team has exceeded my expectations recently, but three guys especially I think deserve some special recognition and apologies.

Ever since the second half of 2010, I have been relentlessly ripping on Phil Hughes. I was mad at him for being fat and worthless in 2011. I thought he was done, and I was mad because I have his rookie card and would like it to be worth something someday. Constantly, I ridicule my Yankees for getting rid of their prospects, but I felt that Phil Hughes was one guy that they held on to for far too long.

Finally, I think I’m seeing the real Phil Hughes.

A 6-5 record with a 4.76 ERA may not seem too wonderful on the surface, but let’s remember, Hughes, like the vast majority of the Yankees team, didn’t exactly burst out of the gates when the season started. He sort of scuffled along, to put it nicely, racking up a frightening 7.88 ERA in his first month. Just when I thought all faith was lost, he started to improve. Take away that one bad start against the Angels, and Hughes has been fantastic from May onwards. He has lowered his ERA in 8 of his last 9 starts, proving that he definitely has something left to offer. He bounced back from his worst start of the year in LA – 7 runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings – with arguably the best start of his career in his next time out against the Tigers – a complete game, where he surrendered just 1 run on 4 hits.

So Phil, I’m definitely sorry for hating on you. I forgot you were only 25. You’ve really stepped up this season. While I previously thought our starting rotation was God awful this year, you’ve shined a light. Keep it up!

When the Yankees were in Anaheim a few weeks ago, I wanted to kill Brian Cashman. It was the first time I saw the adorable, amazing rookie Mike Trout in action. God was he cute…and he seriously impressed everyone in my home. I wanted him, and I made it clear that I wanted him, prancing around my house saying, “Let’s trade for Mike Trout! Take him, and pay the Angels to take Teixeira!” Little did I know, he could have been a Yankee. Supposedly, he was set to be the Yankee’s first draft pick in 2009, but they lost that draft pick to the Angels due to the signing of their free agent. That free agent was Mark Teixeira.

I was livid when I learned that. During the Angel’s series, I was probably at my height of my “I’m sick of Mark Teixeira sucking with a huge contract” phase. He just made me so mad, promising to bunt but never doing it, popping up or grounding right into the shift, and making that annoying face when trying to hit. He was the perfect example of what was annoying me about the Yankees: veterans with giant contracts that sucked but were still getting paid, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Mark is a historically slow starter. At June 10th, maybe he’s just now getting his groove on. He’s actually hitting almost .250, which doesn’t seem like much, but he had been hovering around .220-.230 for so long that it was sickening.  Teix has definitely shown glimpses of improvement at the plate, and still is arguably the best glove over at first.  I’m looking forward to seeing how he performs going forward.

The last guy I feel the need to apologize to is someone I’ve never come out and openly criticized. I have underestimated him, and perhaps neglected him. I don’t think I’ve shown Russell Martin nearly enough love, and today especially, he reminded me why I love him.

I admit it, I’m not over the whole Jesus Montero thing, and I probably never will be. And all my blabbering about that little catching cutie probably made it seem like I had absolutely no faith whatsoever in Russell Martin.  I never said it, but he worried me, spending practically the whole season under the Mendoza line.  I mean seriously – Chris Stewart was hitting better. I know a catcher’s primary focus should be on assisting the pitchers, but when the Yankees were stinky, the pitching was too, along with Martin. So I didn’t feel like he was doing very well overall.

When the calendar flipped to June, something sparked in Martin. All of a sudden he’s insanely good. Martin is hitting at a hot clip of .333 so far this month. And today, he was literally my hero, hitting 2 home runs (one to right field and one to left), WALKING OFF, and winning the Subway Series finale for my boys in style. Coincidence that Martin and the starting pitching have been hot simultaneously? I don’t know.

All I know is that I don’t know what has changed with my Yankees, but I’m liking the results very much. Winning is fun. But more importantly, thinking you can win is even more rewarding. This series against the Mets opened my eyes, as everything seemed to work out for my boys. The Subway Series brought the best out of my Yankees, sparking my team and myself once again.

I just hope we can carry this forward.

Go Yankees!

Pineda Pessimist

I don’t want to be that obnoxious person that’s all, “I told you so.”

But I really did tell you so.

I really don’t want to be that fan who feels overly-bitter towards a player so soon, but I really can’t help it. It’s not like I wanted this to happen – I just had a feeling that it would. Am I glad I’m right? Am I right, or am I jumping the gun here? I’m not glad, because I want what is best for my team. And I hope I’m just overreacting.

It’s all just so confusing.

Okay, I admit it: I never really fully accepted the Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda trade (what a surprise!).  I still think my tears and fears were justifiable. Surely, I understand that you have to give if you want to get in trades. But from the beginning, I felt this trade wasn’t equal. Jesus Montero – in very limited Big League action – went above and beyond my expectations. It’s not so much that he hit .328 with 4 HR in 18 games with my Yanks last year. It was the way he hit: raw power to all fields. The ball just jumped off his bat in a way I’ve never seen from any other 21 year old rookies. I can’t get his opposite field line drive home run out of my head.  And obviously, being the most highly-touted prospect in New York meant that the pressure was on. But that wasn’t any kind of excuse for him. Montero still performed. It would have been a lot of fun to see him grow as a ballplayer on the Yankees.

Michael Pineda’s stats from 2011 appear to have been impressive: a 3.74 ERA, a 9-10 record on a stinky team, and a guy in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. Looks pretty good. But after digging deeper into the stats and discovering that his ERA post-All Star break was an A.J. Burnett-reminiscent 5.12, and his ERA away from the pitcher-Heaven SAFECO Field was a mediocre-at-best 4.40, his “good” doesn’t look as “pretty.” What annoyed me about this trade wasn’t that the Yankees traded away Jesus Montero – it’s that they traded away Jesus Montero for a guy who was good for about half a season in SAFECO Field. Obviously, Pineda has great potential. But so does Montero. For the Yankees, I believe Montero had higher potential than Pineda does, simply because he fit the Stadium so well. And power to all fields that he possesses is something beneficial no matter what ballpark you play in. Again, I realize that both players are young and need time to develop, but if they are willing to wait for Pineda to develop, I don’t see why the Yanks weren’t willing to watch Montero grow. They needed pitching (which it’s hard to have enough of), but they do appear to have an abundance of starters as it is right now. And they have the luxury of being able to sign guys via free agency, like they did with Hiroki Kuroda, who are proven pitchers. This trade bothered me because I didn’t think the Yankees got the talent back for Jesus Montero. Pineda too has a lot of potential, but I think that for the Yankees, he won’t be as beneficial as Montero would have been.

But here’s what scares me: now, I don’t think Michael Pineda appears anywhere near as good as Jesus Montero. I thought this trade wasn’t equally balanced before. Now I’m really worried, and I know it is early, but this definitely looks like a problem.

Last night was actually the first time I was able to see Michael Pineda pitch from the beginning of a game (pitiful, I know, but I’ve been so busy between work and school that I’ve barely had time to do anything fun). I haven’t really been following Spring Training too closely, and that really bothers me because I love Spring Training (rookies galore!). I’ve only been able to get the gist of it, and all I knew about Pineda was that he wasn’t doing well. I saw it last night, and it wasn’t pretty.

My brother had told me that Michael Pineda came into camp in not-too-great shape. He was a little fat, and supposedly, Pineda has the potential to get big like CC if he doesn’t control himself. I’m sorry, but there is no excuse for coming into camp out of shape. You’re on the New York Yankees for goodness sake. Show a little respect, or some work ethic. How a young man whose job it is to play baseball can let himself go like that is something I don’t understand. I was so annoyed at Phil Hughes for being a fatty last season, but apparently he learned his lesson. Look at Hughes now – he looks like a different pitcher, just as I was ready to write him off as lazy and stinky for good. I’m proud of him. But Pineda…really? Everyone’s eyes are on you, you’ve got a lot to prove here in New York, and you have the nerve to start out your Yankees career by not being anywhere near physically prepared to pitch? That alone makes me think he’s not Yankees material. First impressions mean a lot. That’s just unacceptable.

CC Sabathia is chubby, but he can still pitch. If Pineda happens to have a larger body type that doesn’t interfere with his performance, then that’s fine. But that’s the problem: he’s not pitching well. At all. Last night, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew Pineda was a guy who was struggling, but what I saw was a guy who could not locate (Martin’s target was never hit), who had no velocity (most fastballs between 88-91mph), and who had horrible body language on the mound. He allowed 6 runs in 2.2 innings, he threw 70-something pitches, and his ball to strike ratio was awful.

Oh, and now his shoulder hurts.

Really? REALLY? Try being physically ready to start playing baseball. What did you think was going to happen? And his attitude on the mound last night showed me that he’s not mentally ready for this either. Even David Cone made a note of that during the broadcast. Michael Pineda might not even make the starting rotation – that’s how bad he has been. Imagine that: the Yankees traded away their best prospect for a guy that might not even make the team. So much for wanting to win immediately, Yankees – like a Triple-A pitcher is really going to help you out. This is the New York Yankees. If you’re not going to perform, you’re not going to play – end of story. Nothing is guaranteed just because you’re supposed to be a good pitcher – you’ve got to show it. Sure, it’s a competitive, high-pressure atmosphere in Spring Training, especially because the Yankees have the pitching depth. But that is absolutely no excuse to suck. It’s competitive for all the guys who are trying to prove their worth, and some guys have stepped up. I mean what did you expect? You’re going to pitch for the Yankees; it’s not exactly an easy ride. If you can’t handle Spring Training, how do you expect to handle Yankees/Red Sox games, or postseason games where everything is amplified and means so much more?

I can’t believe this. I didn’t think he would be this bad. I finally was able to see Pineda pitch last night, and I thought I would see a little something to get me excited, to get him on my good side. Nope. The complete opposite happened.

Am I being too harsh? Perhaps. It is only March, but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not….only March and already having physical, performance, and maturity issues with this kid who was supposed to be so great. My brother jokingly said that the Yankees should try and swap Pineda now while he still has some value. I wonder how long that will be a joke for. I just knew this was going to happen. I really didn’t want it to. I want to win this year. But I didn’t think this move was right, and so far, it’s showing.

Michael Pineda, I know it’s early, but it’s wearing thin already. You’ve got a lot of work to do. I don’t want to hate you, but if you’re going to make me hate you, then I have no choice but to hate you. I know you didn’t mean for this to happen, but it’s up to you to fix it.

Show me you can do it.

 

*Update: MRI showed that Pineda has shoulder tendinitis. He’ll begin the year on the DL. WOW. :(

The Worst/Best Trade Of My Life

Ohhh, Cashman, you don’t make blockbuster deals on Friday the 13th. You just don’t.

And you definitely don’t make this deal.

I’m sure the entire baseball world knows the news by now. I was supposed to have this post up right away, but every time I started it, I had to stop. I figured I could just type through the tears, but then I thought an overly-emotional post would be irrational and unfair. So I waited until I regained some composure. Here I am now, still in shock, but over my initial state or mourning. I haven’t cried yet today, though that may be because I depleted everything I had last night.

This is without a doubt the hardest thing I have been forced to go through in my life as a Yankees fan.

I don’t even know where to start. There’s so much running through my head. I guess I’ll talk about what happened when I found out that the Yankees traded Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda (along with Hector Noesi for Jose Campos, but it’s the Montero part that sent me over the edge).

I saw the news on facebook first on a baseball page that I liked. It wasn’t official then. But my heart stopped a little, and I gasped. I immediately headed over to MLBtraderumors, they had it up with the little times next to each sentence, as if they were monitoring every move. I knew that was a bad sign -that meant it was legit.

I began to panic.

The Yankees website had nothing, just as I feared. Throughout my life as a Yankees fan, being surprised by Brian Cashman and his stealthy moves became quite a regular thing. He never lets you know what’s up. I went on some other site about the Pineda/Montero swap, and it wouldn’t load – too much traffic.

I knew right there that it was happening. I admit it: I started to cry a little.

Aww, who am I kidding. My brother wrote it on facebook anyway, so everyone knows: I was bawling like a baby. The kind of tears that flow without you even knowing, then you rejoin reality and think, “What the heck, I’m crying?”

Yeah I’m a nut. But I can’t help it.

I’ve been hearing about Jesus Montero for God knows how long. The highlight of the 2011 season was the 18 games that Montero played in during September. The .328 avg, the 4 HR (some of which were opposite field line drives, which totally turned me on to the kid), the 12 RBI, the handsome young man with the high socks and the boyish smile, I was swept off my feet. He looked like everything I heard he would be.  And I thought it was just the beginning of what would be a 20-year superstar successful career in Yankee pinstripes. A home-grown, superstar Yankee to be part of a new core of young Yankees. I figured, since they held on to him for this long, he was safe. I penciled him into my 2012 lineup. I said goodbye to Posada, which was tough, but the thought of Jesus Montero eventually catching eased the pain of losing one of my favorite Yankees. In my public presentation class, I even did my persuasive speech on the claim “The Yankees should not trade Jesus Montero,” and I got an A. I never thought he would be traded, because frankly, the Yankees did nothing up to this point in the offseason.

Losing Jesus Montero – I can’t even believe this happened. I just can’t trust Brian Cashman anymore. I never know what’s going to happen. I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever see this new generation of prospects play in the Bronx. Everyone knows what his potential is. Shouldn’t we want that kind of talent on our team, especially because he’s home-grown? This trade is an example of the things I don’t like about the Yankees. The immediate-gratification thing, where they don’t want to wait. Sure, Montero’s not a full-time catcher yet, but he can be eventually. Now I heard that the Yankees are thinking about expanding payroll a bit. Although Michael Pineda is at a bargain price, I’m worried now that Montero won’t be the DH, that they’ll go out and sign someone. Like Prince Fielder. Which is exactly what I don’t want: a big free-agent contract, probably ridiculously expensive and around 8-10 years, for a guy who will probably decline soon who we’ll be stuck with. Like A-Rod. Like Teixeira. Partially why I was so into Jesus Montero, was that he was different. Young blood, a new start. He can’t decline. He can only improve. So even if he didn’t start out like the superstar I believe he will one day be, if we wait, he’d learn and improve. I wanted to see that happen to him as a Yankee.

Never in my wildest nightmares did I ever suspect that this would happen. That’s partially why I don’t like this trade, because I’m a little embarrassed. I’ve been saying how he’s going to be on the team in 2012, despite the frequent debates with another Yankees fan. So not only was I upset that the one thing I wanted for the 2012 season was gone, but I was also dreading the remarks of this fellow Yankees fan. I mean it’s not like I’m stupid. No one expected this. I thought Cashman was serious about doing nothing. He let all the other pitchers go by, but little did I know that he’d go for someone that we didn’t even know was on the market. Losing Jesus Montero has left me bombarded with the worst feelings: anguish, dismay, disinterest for the coming season, distrust of the organization, and humiliation for being wrong about it all.

So from a purely emotional perspective, this is the worst trade of my life. And on Friday the 13th, I can’t help but to think it may be bad luck for the Yankees.

But this girl knows that there shouldn’t be any crying in baseball.

I feel bad about feeling bad about this trade. It’s unfair to Michael Pineda. It makes it seem like I hate him. I can’t hate the guy, he didn’t do anything. I mean sure, if asked if I would make the Montero/Pineda trade, I would have said NO (maybe that’s why I’m not in charge of the Yankees). But that doesn’t mean I don’t want Pineda. He’s almost 23 and he had a pretty fine rookie season. Okay, maybe he’s not as cute as Montero on the surface, but maybe he’s got a cuter personality – I heard rumblings of Jesus Montero having an attitude.

And who am I kidding? I know the Yankees needed pitching. I didn’t think they’d get any, but I shouldn’t be upset that they improved in the area that they needed to most. Michael Pineda, as well as Hiroki Kuroda, who I found out was going to be signed about five minutes after the big trade, can definitely strengthen the rotation. And Pineda will be under team control for years to come before he gets to make the big money, which will give him every reason to play heard and reach his fullest potential. I should like that, since I hate the long contracts that I feel create laziness and a sense of entitlement. Another good sign: according to my brother, the Red Sox fans are nervous about the moves the Yankees have made.

That’s always a good sign.

This deal, as with all deals, is a risk. And on Friday the 13th, you know…I can’t help but to think negatively.

Last night in the midst of my meltdown, I was seeking distractions from the news. I had 5 conversations going on facebook, I was blasting Guns N’ Roses in my headphones, hoping the song “Don’t Cry” would actually help my cause (“…there’s a Heaven above you, baby…”), I was contemplating hitting the liquor cabinet (kidding, underage over here!), and I was just trying to avoid reality. Then Grandma comes in my room (brave of her when I’m unstable), and asks if I’m busy, and if not, if I could check to see what the numbers were to see if she won.

She didn’t win, but the number made me a little happy anyway. It was 777.

A sign of things to come? Maybe this is a lucky trade for the Yankees. Maybe the good can counteract the bad here. Maybe I can like, get over this? Maybe there was something about Jesus Montero that I just didn’t know, and maybe this was for the better. Maybe I should trust Brian Cashman, after all, he’s done pretty well for me in my lifetime.

And maybe I should get excited for this upcoming season again. Maybe Pineda will help my boys reach their next goal: #28. And maybe Michael Pineda can be one of “my boys” the way I thought Jesus Montero would be.

Maybe this’ll actually be the best thing that’s ever happened in my lifetime for the Yankees.

We’ll see.

Offseason Is On: ENOUGH OF A-ROD

Happy New Year, everybody! The changing of the calendar is a time where people are optimistic about the future, ambitious in setting goals, and determined in trying to achieve them. We start off with a clean slate and hope for the best. My goals for 2012 are to keep doing well in school and aim for another 3.925 GPA (or higher!), to blog more and not just wait for the Yankees to give me something to write about, and to get as good at playing guitar as I am at playing piano. Oh, and for my Mom, I said I’d stop doing unladylike things when the Yankees get on my nerves, or at least make a valiant effort to try…

Although the Yankees haven’t made any moves to get me excited for the 2012 season, overall I am still optimistic. They haven’t gotten anyone, but they haven’t traded away those cute rookies such as Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos yet either. I don’t know how they’ll do in 2012, but I am looking forward to the season. How can we not be excited about a new baseball season? Everyone starts out at 0-0, Burnett’s ERA isn’t above 5 yet, and everyone has a chance to redeem themselves (yes, I believe in you, A.J.)!

Everybody but A-Rod.

I know that’s unfair. But I’ve tried – I’ve really tried – I wipe his slate clean. The Yankees have made no news in the offseason, but Alex Rodriguez has had his fair share of coverage once again, and I can’t say I’m happy about it. I’m just sick of Alex Rodriguez’s predictable nonsense.

It’s the same thing every year: after the Yankees lose in the postseason because A-Rod is unclutch, he promises that he will “come back with a vengeance” in the next season. Yeah, he said that last season and he sucked. $32 million for a .276 avg, 16 HR, and 62 RBI in 99 games, with an extremely aggravating .111 avg in the postseason. I know he was hurt. I don’t care (heartless, I know). The surgery was one thing. But the thumb – your THUMB? Maybe if you got your thumb out from your you-know-where you’d be okay.

Oooh…that was harsh.

Perhaps it’s unfair to pick on him for last year when he was hurt. But I can’t help it. When he said he’s rehabbing and working to get back, and then I see him in the dugout with that stupid smile, I just think he’s so disingenuous. I don’t believe anything he says. Why would be bust to get back when he is already guaranteed millions and millions? He doesn’t even look like he’s trying or he cares when he’s out there. Every time he strikes out, he walks away flipping his bat, and looking back at the radar to see how fast the pitch was that he swung and missed at – usually a low-mid 90s fastball that for some odd reason he can’t catch up to – and he makes that face that’s like, “Oh well. I’m A-Rod!” I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me…

I’ve already lost my patience with A-Rod for 2012. He says he’ll be back with a vengeance, then we heard he went all the way to Germany for some bizarre blood-spinning procedure. So he’s not healthy. Great, another excuse to suck.

Then the other night my brother shows me an article from the New York Daily News in which A-Rod has been spotted at least three times with former WWE Diva and Playboy sensation Torrie Wilson, yet another gorgeous blonde to distract him from baseball. I might be overreacting about this, but I’ve just had enough. It’s the same old thing with A-Rod.

So he says he’ll be better in 2012? It doesn’t look it. Just another wasted $30+ million. I can’t believe we have 6 more years of this. And there’s no way he’s going to get any better at 36 years old. Sometimes I wish the Yankees would just get rid of him and eat the money – that’s how fed up I am. Who needs superstars? Scott Brosius was no superstar, and they won with him at third base.

If I was manager, I wouldn’t bat Rodriguez cleanup anymore. Cleanup is for the productive guy. Striking out and scowling at the radar gun is not productive – I’m sorry. That spot should be for either Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano, because they’ve earned it.

 

 

My Opening Day lineup would look something like this:

1) Derek Jeter

2) Nick Swisher

3) Robinson Cano

4) Curtis Granderson

5) Mark Teixeira

6) Alex Rodriguez

7) Jesus Montero

8) Russell Martin

9) Brett Gardner

Originally, I had Teixeira 6th and A-Rod 5th, but in the process of writing this post, I demoted A-Rod again because I’m staring at that picture of him smiling, and I’m struggling to refrain from smacking him and breaking my laptop screen in the process. So because of all that unnecessary effort I’m expelling, I demoted him further.

But actually, Jesus Montero might provide him with some protection. I can’t get the images of that kid hitting line-drive opposite-field home runs at Yankee Stadium out of my mind…

I say to start the season with this lineup. If A-Rod wants to bat clean up, then he’s going to have to earn it. Why, just because he makes the most money, he is guaranteed the star-spot in the order? How’s that fair? I’m tired of watching the top of the Yankees order do so much, just to see A-Rod negate it all by failing to come through in the clutch. Granderson is a guy who I think earned this spot in the order by proving that he can come through after his MVP-worthy 2011 campaign.

Will Joe Girardi listen to me? Nope. It’s sad. A new season, but the same old thing.

If A-Rod miraculously does well in 2012, I’ll apologize. I’ll do whatever. Someone make a bet with me. I’m not worried. I know I’ll win.

47 days until pitchers and catchers report. It may not sound like it after this post, but I am looking forward to seeing my boys in 2012!

Everyone but A-Rod, that is.

Offseason Is On: Inactivity For The Win?

A year ago at this time, I was just beginning to accept that the Yankees didn’t get Cliff Lee. That pained me for a long time, but I slowly convinced myself that it was okay, and that I had other things to look forward to in the season. I later said that I wouldn’t care how well the Yankees did – I just wanted to see some of the young guys come up and play and make an impact. I waited and waited, and finally, Jesus Montero debuted on September 1. To the surprise of many, the 21 year old got hot quickly, without letting the pressure of being the best prospect on the best team in the best city get to him. Although the season was cut short as the Yankees lost to the Tigers in the ALDS and the ultimate goal of bringing home #28 was not accomplished, I can look back on 2011 and smile. The rookie brought me hope.

I’ve been extremely busy finishing up my first semester in college, and I knew I wouldn’t have been able to follow the events of the offseason the way I would have liked to, but I made sure to check up on things every once in awhile to see if my Yanks did anything. CC Sabathia received a contract extension and Freddy Garcia was signed – moves which were either expected or not all that exciting. No major changes have been made to the Yankees yet, despite Cashman’s claims that the starting pitching is in need of improvement.

Awhile back, I did a debate saying Yu Darvish should go to the Yankees. At first I didn’t really think so, but when formulating my argument supporting that claim, I wound up convincing myself. I though Yu Darvish made a ton of sense for the Yankees. CJ Wilson didn’t appeal to me because I am not fond of giving up draft picks, and when CJ Wilson is the best pitcher on the market, there’s a problem. I didn’t want the Yankees to overpay for him.

Now I know Darvish isn’t going to be cheap, but I still think he made sense for the Yankees. The posting fee wouldn’t have counted towards the luxury tax threshold that the Yankees are trying to get under – it’s just disposable money, and the Yankees have a fair amount of that. Besides, since they didn’t do anything else this offseason, they could have put in a better bid than one that was described as just “modest.” I don’t know what Darvish’s actual contract would be, but what I do know is that many are wary of giving a rather large deal to a guy who is unproven in America. Still, there’s risk with every player. Who knows if CJ Wilson would have been able to succeed in New York? And the rookies, as much as I want to see them, they’re unproven as well. Granted, they don’t have the same kind of price tag…

I know Yu Darvish is a risk, but I wish the Yankees pursued him more actively. They’ve been scouting him for years now. I know so many people who say just that because he’s from Japan, they don’t want him. And yes, I know teams have been burned by international signings before – I remember Igawa. But Darvish is supposed to be ten times better than all the other international signings combined. To me, if you can pitch, you can pitch no matter where you are on the globe. Darvish is extremely, incredibly dominant in Japan. Maybe in the United States, he’d be just regular-dominant – perfect for a number-two starter.

Yu Darvish was all I wanted for Christmas this year from Cashman, much like Cliff Lee was all I wanted last year. The free agent market for starting pitching is pretty dry this year, and Darvish to me was the best free-agent option. And if nothing else, it would have been exciting to have him on the Yankees. Darvish is headed to Texas, and the better free agents are no longer available, but the Yankees are still in need of pitching. What’s going to happen?

They could either sign low-risk and high-reward guys like they did with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia last year, or they can trade for someone more suitable for the top of the rotation. Neither of these ideas is too appealing to me.

Or, the Yankees can do nothing.

To my surprise, I support the latter option.

Yu Darvish was kind of like a checkpoint for me: if they signed him, great, I’m beyond satisfied. I would have known that their earlier inactivity was because they were focused on him. To me, he was the deal of the offseason. Since he’s not coming to the Yankees and there’s no one else to sign, I don’t want anyone. I don’t want to trade just to trade. The rookies gave me hope last year, and the more time passes, the more the prospects are getting more ready to play in the Bigs. I want them to do so as Yankees. I don’t want them to be traded away. And like I said before: sure, trading is perhaps less risky than signing Darvish, because you’d be trading for someone who had success in this league. But success in the Majors does not by any means guarantee success on the New York Yankees. I’ve seen countless good players come to New York and underperform beyond belief. In this case, I don’t think trading for a guy is any better than letting the rookies pitch. They have the same upside – but the cost is way different.

Trading for a starting pitcher wouldn’t guarantee a championship anyways, and trading away the prospects that I’ve been dying to see wouldn’t make me any more excited. Since Darvish is out of the picture now, I want the Yankees to try out their prospects. Keep Jesus Montero, and Manny Banuelos, and let’s finally see what these guys, and other guys of their caliber who we’ve heard so much about, can actually do. Sure, they definitely don’t guarantee a championship. But watching them would create a heck of a lot more excitement than any trade can do for me.

Cashman, since you’ve decided to do nothing so far, is it a lot to ask from you to do nothing for the remainder of the offseason?

Sometimes it’s the moves you don’t make that help you out the most…

Jesus Is Just Alright With Me!

That was a Byrds reference in case anyone cares.

But that’s beside the point. Point is, Jesus Montero is a friggin beast. And I’m still in disbelief about everything.

Jesus Montero has given me so much hope since I heard about him what seems like many years ago. Way back at the beginning of the season, when everyone was counting the Yankees out and saying there was no possible way they could win, because the Red Sox were so amazing, I thought to myself, “That’s okay, I don’t have to win every year. We Yankees fans still have a lot to look forward to. If I get the chance to see Montero play this year, no matter what, I will consider this season worthwhile.”

God. I mean Jesus…

IT’S THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!

Currently, the Yankees have a 2.5 lead over those anointed champion Red Sox, which is relatively roomy considering how tight this division has been all season long. They have had possession of first and lost it many times this season…but with every game that passes, there is less and less time for the standings to change.

Not only are the Yankees winning – but now Montero is part of it! And I truly believe he is the real-deal.

Jesus Montero stole the show yesterday by hitting his first 2 homers in the Bigs. They were both of the opposite field variety, and they both earned him curtain-calls. I found that somewhat surprising, and also a little relieving. I thought maaaybee I was the only one who was so excited about the kid, and when he didn’t get a hit in his first game, I thought maaaybee my excitement was silly, but then when he had that huge game yesterday, all the fans embraced him, so now I don’t feel stupid for being his biggest fan already.

I’m tempted to go buy myself a “Montero #63″ Yankees jersey, but I think his number might change soon. He’s too good to be #63 for much longer. But I’ve learned the hard way about those player jerseys…all of mine are out-of-date: I have Cano as #22, Melky Cabrera as #28 (lol), and Francisco Cervelli as #29. I had a Gary Sheffield #11 jersey, but my Grandma took off the lettering, so now it’s a #11 shirt WITHOUT a name. Ohh yeah.

But yeah, back to that Jesus Montero guy….okay not gonna lie, I really like him. And those of you that know me know what that means. He’s only 21….I’m 18, there’s hope. He’s soooo adorable.

Fangirl commentary needs to be put on hold…I’m sorry.

So yeah, Jesus Montero. In all seriousness, Jesus Montero, in the short time he has been with the team, has made me so happy. He has given me that desire to watch games again with that intensity that I can’t even describe. He’s helping us now, and I’m confident that he’ll be here for the future. If Brian Cashman didn’t move him yet – and he has had his fair share of golden opportunities to do so – I don’t think he’ll move him now. Not when he gave us a glimpse of why he was meant to be a Yankee. His swing is perfect for Yankee Stadium. That short porch in right was BUILT for him. The fans already adore the kid, hence the curtain calls. And hey, I know it’s a small sample, but he’s hitting .385 and has shown awesome power. Every once in a while, a player really does live up to his expectations. Can Montero be one of those guys?

I definitely think so.

I hope the Yankees continue to keep on plugging him into the lineup. Jesus Montero in the BOTTOM THIRD of the lineup? That’s quite a force. They should use him every day, because after all: they have to win, and they have to put their best guys out there. Right now, I think Jesus Montero is a better designated hitter than Jorge Posada.

Even if he struggles, I say pencil him in there. Sure, he may worry about slumping, he may lose a little confidence – who cares about him losing trade value, he’s here to stay in my mind. Bottom line, Jesus Montero has spent 2 seasons in Triple-A. He can hit. The defense will come. Too much hope and excitement has been invested in the guy. The Yankees owe it to the fans to use him.

I can’ t wait to come home and watch the game tonight – and I hope Jesus Montero is playing.

GO YANKEES!

Where Have My Yankees Gone?

Yankees Struggles Continue

This past series against the Red Sox was incredibly embarrassing for my Yankees. God, it was unbearable! I thought I would finally be able to sit down and watch a good ballgame, because when they were out West I usually found myself waking up startled on the living room couch at 1am with the game over. Going back East, back HOME, seemed so comforting.

Not this time!

For some odd reason, the Yankees have struggled so far in the Bronx this year, when previously, they had a great homefield advantage at Yankee Stadium. Their record is just 17-16 in New York – definitely not good enough.

I don’t want to do recaps of these three games, because they were miserable. The Red Sox owned the Yankees, but I kind of feel like the Yankees beat themselves. This is not the team I saw in April, and there are many reasons why.

First of all, injuries. Not to make excuses or anything, but the Yankees have been ravaged by the injury bug. Remember that seemingly-unfaltering bullpen they had in April? It’s all gone. Completely destroyed. Rafael Soriano (who was very disappointing anyway, but I didn’t think he would stay bad for long) is out for God knows how long with an inflamed ligament in his throwing elbow. So there goes the 8th inning. Joba Chamberlain was recently diagnosed with a torn ligament in his throwing elbow, and he may undergo Tommy John surgery. He’s pretty much out for at least the rest of this season. So there goes the 7th inning. Now the Yankees have names like Luis Ayala and Lance Pendleton, who looks a lot like Woody Harrelson, finishing up games for them. These are not the type of player who is going to win the team a championship. The Yankees need to so some serious work.

And speaking of Joba: remember those Joba Rules? Like, the rules stating: “Let’s coddle and baby and shelter our prospects from the real world of baseball that involves pitching, because we don’t want them to injure themselves, so we’ll make a ridiculous proposal stating the exact amount of innings they can pitch, keeping in mind that they can’t pitch back to back days – God FORBID – and they can’t throw more than this many pitches in a game, and they have to use this much ice on their elbow after the game, and shower for this long, and” – okay you get it. THOSE absurd rules.  Remember them? They were also used for other pitching prospects, like Phil Hughes. Well I have just one question:

WHY ARE PHIL HUGHES AND JOBA CHAMBERLAIN SERIOUSLY INJURED?

 

I don’t believe we will see either Phil Hughes OR Joba Chamberlain again this season, and I doubt if Joba has Tommy John surgery, that we will ever see him play in a Yankees uniform again.

It seems like the Yankees are clueless when it comes to managing their players. These “Joba”-type rules are insanity. Coincidence that both these guys are damaged now? I don’t know. All I know is that, back in the day, when baseball players were MEN and not BABIES, they played the game. They didn’t have innings limits, pitch counts, or Joba Rules of any sort. And they had perfectly fine careers. I don’t get why they can’t just do that today. I mean what, this way is any better? It seems that players are way too fragile nowadays, hence these injuries.

The Yankees are currently 33-27, but they really have not been playing well of late. They just don’t have that “spark” that they used to have. I don’t know why. Their team needs improvement drastically – in so many aspects. Relief pitching, for one. But also clutch hitting. I think the Yankees owe it to the fans to do something to get them a little excited, because maybe if the fans have a spark, it will translate into the team having some fire again. I say, since they need bullpen help and offensive help right away, just bring up some kids – and DON’T screw them up with “RULES.” Let them play the friggin’ game. Russell Martin is a little hurt, Posada isn’t hitting well? Try bringing up Jesus Montero for a catcher/DH. Maybe bring up Andrew Brackman (who is in Triple-A, just itching to get a taste of the Bigs) or Dellin Betances, and just try them out in the bullpen or in the rotation. Just DO it! Other teams do it all the time. Other teams actually USE their prospects! What a novel idea!

It may sound crazy to some, but I swear by my idea. The kids are obviously good. They’ve been sitting there, wasting away in the Minors. They are good enough and experienced enough down there to come up. And since the Yankees are struggling mightily and don’t even look like the Yankees, maybe now is the right time to make a bold move like this.

Maybe now’s the time to get a team together again.

Catching Up: Cliff Lee, College, Christmas

A lot has happened since the last time I posted, and I’ve had more than enough time to reflect. Yesterday was Christmas, and all I wanted was some Green Day sheet music and Cliff Lee. I got my music (yay!), but not Lee…he signed what seems an eternity ago with the Phillies. Little coward…At first I was devastated about Lee, but after awhile I began to think: he NEVER wanted to be a Yankee, so why the heck did I even want him in the first place? Baseball players, especially pitchers, are fragile creatures. If they aren’t happy, they will not be successful. Cliff Lee was to scared to come to NY, so whatever.

In other news, I found out on Thursday, December 17 that I was accepted into Marist College and received a hefty scholarship. It was my first and only choice, so thank God I’m in. I hope to Major in Sports Communications. Now that that big weight has been lifted from my shoulders, I can concentrate on more important things, like the blog. Being a nerd, I will still do all my schoolwork, but I won’t have spend as much time on it (it’s time to enjoy senior year). Instead, I will spend time doing fun stuff, like playing piano and putting myself on youtube, learning guitar, and blogging.  

Although I haven’t blogged in awhile, I have been staying on top of the baseball news. Johnny Damon is available, and I heard the Yankees might be interested in signing him. But I then heard that it will be “unlikely” for the Yanks to sign him. Personally, I’d love to see him back. I was crushed to see him go in the first place. Johnny Damon is a fan-favorite, and I think the Yankee organization owes it to the fans do make a move like signing Damon, especially since they couldn’t make the Lee thing work out. Damon can still play, and if he’s happy (in New York) he will be even better. And he’s such a good clubhouse guy…he might even be able to help straighten out A.J Burnett! I miss his smile, I miss is hair, and I miss his shirtless interviews…Aww, Johnny I hope you come back.

 

Johnny Damon.jpgI’ve learned this offseason to not take anything for granted. So for now, I’ll just expect NOT to get Damon. So if the Yankees do get him, I’ll be extra happy.

It’s been a pretty dull offseason for the Yankees, minus the whole Derek Jeter saga. They signed former-Met Pedro Feliciano to be a leftt-specialist with Boone Logan. They also signed former-Dodger catcher Russell Martin, which I don’t like. I mean he’s a fine player and everything, but I’d really rather see Jesus Montero play. I don’t care how “ready” he is. I know the offseason is not over, but I’m just not expecting the Yankees do make any big moves. And with their starting rotation in the shape it is right now, I honestly do not think they have what it takes to contend in 2011. Sabathia, Burnett, Hughes, Nova, Mitre…not too good. So if that is the case, then why don’t they just use Montero?

I have been saying it ever since the Yankees missed out on Lee: if they aren’t going to win next year, all I want is to see Jesus Montero, this phenom, get a full year in the Bigs under his belt. If the 2011 season started tomorrow, I wouldn’t expect to win. And I’d be okay with that. I think many Yankees fans, especially ones like me who are 17 years old, have been a bit spoiled: all we’ve ever known are Yankees who win. But every once in a while, even the best teams go through periods where they are not on top. And if 2011 is the start of that period, that’s okay: I’ll still be a fan with things to look forward to, like Montero. I’m just praying that they don’t trade him.

My Mom keeps saying that I’m not being a good fan because I’m “counting them out already.” I’m just being realistic. To win, the team has to have a dominant rotation. CC Sabathia is an ace who we can count on. A.J. Burnett is too inconsistent – actually last year he was consistently BAD. Phil Hughes is a question mark – he needs to prove that he can do it again. Ivan Nova? Yeah…young, we don’t know what we are going to get. And Sergio Mitre….now I love the guy, but he’s not good enough to pitch every five days for the Yankees. With that, the Yankees won’t win. But my Mom keeps on saying “the offseason is not over, maybe they are working on something we don’t know about.”

Okay Mommy, we’ll see…I think you are wrong.

But I hope you are right…

Yay for the Giants – Now It’s Our Turn

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning the World Series! And thank you for beating the Texas Rangers! The better, and more likeable team, truly won. I didn’t watch much of this World Series, since FOX was being all obnoxious. But I did watch the last game. Their on-field celebration after that final strikeout of Nelson Cruz brought a smile to my face…and just a slight tear to my eye. But I shouldn’t mope about the Yankees – this was the Giants’s year to shine.

I have to say, I don’t mind the Giants. In fact I kind of like them. They were indeed the underdogs, and they showed everybody how good they really were. They were the best this year. One player whom I REALLY adore is the Giants’s rookie catcher, Buster Posey. That dude is adorable. When the Giants let Bengie Molina go, (to the RANGERS…how ironic) they must have known how special Posey was.

            San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey celebrates after defeating the Texas Rangers in Major League Baseball's World Series in Arlington, Texas, November 1, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

 Aww

Yep, Buster Posey sure is something else…but I think my Yanks have their own Buster Posey. And his name is Jesus Montero.

Jesus Montero…tore it up in triple A Scranton-Wilkes Barre this year with a .289 avg, 21 HR and 75 RBI after what was a slow start. He’s been the Yankees’s most prized prospect for a little while now. He’ll turn 21 later this month.

I wonder if he has a place on this team next season…

Jorge Posada is clearly slowing down – in 2010 he posted his worst numbers. But clearly, the Yankee fans don’t want to see him go just yet.

Francisco Cervelli, the love of my life, put together a nice season, but he was incredibly streaky. I hate to say it, but I’m not stupid, so I’ll admit it: Cervelli is not an everyday catcher.

But neither is Jorge Posada.

What are the Yankees to do?

I say, BRING UP THE KID, ALREADY!!! The Yankees have claimed that they wanted to get “younger.” Doesn’t a hot 21-year old Venezuelan catcher make sense?

                             

                                                             Cuuuuute ;)

The young catcher worked for the Giants, it’ll probably work for the Yankees, too.

But at one point this past season, Jesus Montero almost wasn’t a Yankee. He was part of the package that would have been traded for Cliff Lee. But instead, the Seattle Mariners screwed the Yankees over, and sent Lee to the Texas Rangers for the player they were dying for: Justin Smoak. Justin Smoak, or Jesus Montero? Hm….Jeez that’s a tough one.

Whatever. Their loss.

Yankee fans were stunned when they heard that Cliff Lee was not going to be on their team in 2010. I was stunned, but pleasantly surprised. I didn’t want to have to give up the phenom, Jesus Montero, for Lee. Sure, I knew he would hurt the Yankees in the postseason, but it was a risk that I was willing to take.

But now that the Giants have officially beaten the Texas Rangers in the World Series, baseball is over….and you know what that means…

FREE AGENCY!!!!!

Oh yeah. Now it’s our turn to shine. I believe that the Yankees will sign Cliff Lee this offseason. That will make everything better. 2010 may have been a slight disappointment for Yankee fans because they didn’t win, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’s a sign of better things to come. Maybe not getting Cliff Lee this year was the best thing that could have happened for the Yankees. I mean, let’s say the Yankees had Cliff Lee and say that they made it to the World Series to play against the Giants. The Giants OWNED Cliff Lee this year! So even if we had Cliff Lee this year, there was no guarantee that we would have won.

And hopefully, in 2011, the Yankees will  have Cliff Lee AND Jesus Montero! It’ll be the best of both worlds!

Wouldn’t that be something? Hey Giants: Enjoy being the World Champs. You guys had an amazing season, and I think you’ve earned a lot of respect from fans throughout the nation. Congratulations.

But don’t get your hearts set on repeating.

In 2011, it’s NEW YORK’S turn to shine.

I LOVE YOU, YANKS!!!

Rookies Running Wild!

Today has been so much fun, and now it all gets better from here. With Spring Training officially over, the regular season is about to start. I had the greatest pleasure of watching the Yankees play an exhibition game against the Future Stars. It was great – no matter who won, the Yankees would win! As it turned out, it was the Big Boys who came out on top. I got a little confused at the end of the game, because the Yankees put in all their rookies. So it was the Future Stars versus the rookies! For all of you who know me, you know I just LOVE rookies. Today was especially fun for me.

It was a good day all around. I don’t think anyone cared about the final score: Yankees 9, Future Stars 6. In fact, the rules hardly applied to this game. Marcus Thames was randomly thrown into the lineup without replacing anyone. His home run in the 5th was a monster shot.

I had the pleasure of watching Jesus Montero again today, who I don’t hate anymore. How could I? I only hated him because I thought he was a threat to Cervelli’s job. But Cervelli is safe for now, so I can now freely love Montero. He is cute…always, ALWAYS smiling! He reminds me a little of Melky Cabrera with his smile. And he’s good too, getting 2 hits today: a powerful double and a line-drive single. If I wasn’t falling for him before, I am now…he’s so muscular…and young…ooh-la-laa ;)

Nice muscles ;)….

There’s the smile :)….

Ooh and he’s a goofball too? Aw…

Mmmm…..

Okay. Before when I said, “If I wasn’t falling for him before, I am now…” well, that’s somewhat of a lie now. I HAVE FALLEN FOR HIM. I thought you should just know this…

Remember how I was all depressed that Melky was gone? Well today, I was pleasantly surprised. As they showed the lineup for the Future Stars, a name caught my eye: Melky Mesa. Then the “Oh my God”s rampantly flew from my mouth. I could not wait to get a glimpse of him. When I saw him at-bat, I realized he didn’t look anything like the Melky I love. But I guess that’s okay. He is a different person…a different Melky…but I hope I can still love him the same. Like I said before, he looks different than Cabrera, but I can’t say that I’m disappointed at all. He’s still a cutie.

Here he is, the new Melky: Melky Mesa

Melky Mesa…mmm…skin a little darker than Cabrera’s, body a little thinner…but same youthful demeanour. I’m pulling for this kid all the way. ♥♥♥

I can’t get over how much fun today was for me. Aside from assessing the rookies’ looks, I assessed their skills! One player I think will be very very good is reliever Jonathan Ortiz. He has a very unorthodox delivery that creates deception. From the little I saw of him, I think he’s going to be special. Mark my words. I’ve “scouted” other players in the past too…like Ramiro Pena.

Ortiz will be good! I know it!

Spring Training, and especially today, was a blast. But now the real thing is here! The war is about to begin….and luckily, my Yankee warriors are back to good health. Cervelli will be okay, as well as Nick Johnson, Damaso Marte, and Alfredo Aceves. This is good…now, the Yankees will be able to deploy their finest, strongest, best warriors on the battlefield of Fenway tomorrow.

I’ll be there in spirit boys, just like I always am :)

The 2010 season…I just can’t believe it is really here!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!! The quest for #28 starts tomorrow!

Here we go again :)

Go on, boys. Make this momma proud.

♥♥♥ 

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