Tuesday, June 27, 2017


This weekend both New York baseball teams were setting up to make big moves and have one thing in common that could set up a rare event. The Yankees and Mets are hardly frequent trade partners but on Saturday a common need quickly turned into a real trade possibility and rumors started flying. The Mets are likely to be sellers, and the Yankees have some serious issues to fix if they want to be contenders this year. The Mets may have what they need so could they really be trade partners?

Last week it sounded like Joe Girardi and Yankee ownership were on different pages. Yankee brass wanted to focus on pitching and Girardi wanted another option for first base and suddenly on Saturday Chris Carter was designated for assignment. Girardi and Yankee fans everywhere rejoiced (sorry Carter) and Tyler Austin was called up to finally get his shot.

Austin's first game up didn't go as we all had planned. His first game got the best of him and now the Yankees may be looking for some more veteran options to help out at first base. With an unproven Austin and Greg Bird still out with an unknown return date the Yankees and Mets may make a good trade match-up....enter Lucas Duda?

Now I have to admit, at first I laughed but HERE is one source talking about it and there are others out there too. I have frequently poked fun at Duda making up my own song to the tune of "Old McDonald" but the more I looked at it the more I understood why it makes sense at least on paper.

Duda may be one of the Mets most desirable pieces and the Yankees could be the best landing spot for him if other big names like Eric Hosmer on the Royals remain in playoff contention. The Yankees have a laundry list of injuries to deal with and it is now even worse now that Aaron Hicks is on the disabled list and Starlin Castro has a strained hamstring. The Yankees insist that Austin is the everyday first baseman now, but he's already had to play the outfield, the Yankees are going to have to take it easy as Jacoby Ellsbury gets back into a routine and let's face it....Greg Bird is still a giant question mark.

Photo: Getty Images
I have never been overwhelmed by Duda and the Yankees still see Bird as the first baseman of the future, but for now he can offer the Yankees something they don't have. He has the experience at first and he has hit five home runs this month and is rebounding after missing time last season  with injuries. He would also give them a legitimate power left hand bat to put between Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Matt Holliday. They’re going to need more pop if and when Hicks or Brett Gardner does hit a slump. It just gives the Yankees some more options without creating a roadblock at first base for Bird or Austin and since Duda is a free agent after the season it's an easy short term addition for the Yankees.

Photo: Getty Images
I still have all of my faith in Austin at first base right now. This weekend was just a blip, and Casey was right when he said A CAREER IS NOT DETERMINED BY 1 GAME but the Yankees are in a downward spiral and need some help. First base is a major weakness right now because offensive production at first base has been pathetic. Their .599 OPS from first base ranks 29th overall, and only the Angels (.590) are worse.

The Yankees aren't desperate but if the Mets are selling it can't hurt to look. Duda wouldn't require losing anything important. The Yankees aren't desperate yet, but if they don't do something soon things could get ugly soon.....and not just at first base.

--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

20% Off at SteinerSports.com with code YANKEEBLUE2017


Since it's professional beginnings in Cincinnati, baseball has seen some changes, yet it's also pretty much stayed the same game over all these years.

Recently though, the game has started to change due to advanced technology. The commissioner insists it's for the better and in some instances I can see how it might be. But in my heart, there are a lot of the proposed changes I just plain hate. MLB.com writes about how Rob Manfred is proud of the new technology side of baseball:

"We've come so far in such a short period of time. We're closer than we've ever been. We're better informed, too. We know how fast the center fielder runs and how hard the shortstop throws. We see the spin on pitches, the break, the everything.

'I think what's important is that you offer our fans alternatives in how they engage with the game,' MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said..."

Look, I can see how some of this can make the game more fun for people to watch. We can learn and know everything about a player and his tendencies instantly. We can learn about the history of the game...everything from the last time a batter for the Yankees had a 3-2 count with 2 outs, the bases loaded and hit a grand slam, to the last time a player came to the plate with his grandmother in the stands and got the game-winning hit.  Crazy stuff... and immediate.

And all of those stats are just fine and dandy because they don't actually effect the game itself. Some are actually fun to learn.  But the thing I really hate, is instant replay and other on-field changes that have been proposed and tried. For me, personally, instant replay has taken some of the fun away from the game. This piece from 2013, in the Huffington Post shows why MLB is making an error with it.

"...Major League Baseball (MLB) will institute limited Instant Replay to decide close plays and the, on the whole, rare missed-calls by its professional umpires. I say Boooo! While all of us want all the calls to be right so the deserving team wins based on its true merit, Instant Replay will ruin practically the last thing in America that isn’t ruled by technology."

I agree. While instant replay might be good in other sports, in my eyes at least, it has no place in baseball. In the long run, there aren't too many plays that really affect the outcome of the game, throughout the season. It's not like football, where 1 game can make or break a season. You can look back in the history of baseball and pretty much count all the controversial calls that might have been overturned or confirmed by instant replay.

As mentioned in that Huffington Post article, there are many things that have occurred that have led to the lore of the game. Leave some stuff for us fans to bitch about with our buddies after the fact. You know what I mean?  In a strange way, the controversy makes us happier and gives us more incentive to cheer or boo and be more involved with the game. Imagine a world without Yogi Berra insisting, until his death, that Jackie Robinson was out!

Photo: Monroe Gallery of Photography
Think about that. Leave the replays for us fans to sit and debate for years to come. Leave the replays so we can laugh as the ball bounces off Jose Canseco's head and over the wall for a home run. It's the game and it is what it is so please just leave it alone.

It's sad. The days of managers like Earl Weaver, Bobby Cox and Billy Martin are gone. Leaving us with iPad-toting and strategic managers that rely on match ups and data to decide what to do just seems so weird to me in this wonderful game.

Just my opinion... what's yours?

--Michael Carnesi
BYB Writer

Follow me on Twitter: @sevn4evr

Monday, June 26, 2017


Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America
"Michael Pineda has Cy Young-caliber stuff.

"His fastball. His slider. His changeup. All potentially dominant pitches.

"CC Sabathia knows it. Pineda knows it, too.

“I always come in and say this is the year he’s going to win the Cy Young,” Sabathia said Tuesday. “He’s got so much talent, and he just needs to put it all together but he’s right there.”

"Told of Sabathia’s praise a day later, Pineda laughed and smiled. “Yeah, I know I have that ability,” he said."

Those were the days, huh? That was the Daily News, folks.

(June 6, 2017 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)     
Those days were only four months ago, to be exact, and if you were buying it then congratulations. Your official pinstripe rose-colored glasses should be in the mail to you right about now.

That was pretty bold talk from both CC and Big Mike after three seasons that saw the latter go 23-27 with a 4.10 ERA and coming off a year he went 6-12 with a 4.82 ERA while coughing up 27 dingers.

Source: New York Daily News
Of course, there were those 207 strikeouts over 175 innings to dream on. Like AJ Burnett before him, the stuff to make bats miss has always been part of Mike's resume. And also like Burnett, there's always been a scary instability  to blow up like a vial of fulminated mercury at a moment's notice in his makeup as well.

In this, his walk year, though, he's proving to be who he always was: Burnett.

Burnett's Yankee years: 34-35  4.79 ERA  99 starts
Pineda's Yankee years: 30-30 4.01 ERA 86 starts

(May 21, 2017 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)     
Following Sunday's four-inning, seven-run stink bomb that once again saw the Yankees' bullpen burned up in a losing effort, per the Post's Joel Sherman: "Girardi said he “didn’t want to make a bigger deal than it is” about Pineda’s poor pitching because the manager described it as “the first time” that the righty did not do well in minimizing damage this year. But after the first two months, when he was 6-2 with a 3.32 ERA, Pineda went 1-2 in June with a 5.85 ERA and .316 average against."

"This dichotomy played to who Pineda has been as a Yankee — the stuff is there to tease that consistent excellence is possible. But the track record is pretty well established that Pineda will not sustain that level. His constant is inconsistency.

"And these Yankees really do need the best version of Pineda for 2017 to be more than just seeing silver linings.

"Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery actually have been the Yankees’ best starters. But it should be remembered that they have never pitched a full major league season in a rotation, and that both probably have innings caps to which the Yankees will adhere.

"That duo won the Nos. 4 and 5 jobs in spring with the Yanks hoping Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Pineda could form a sturdy top 3. Sabathia is on the DL, though getting closer to a return. Tanaka had a terrific start Friday, and the Yankees want to believe again that is a trigger — with him working up in the zone a little more with his fastball — that top-of-the-rotation results will regularly follow.

"And then there is Pineda, who Sunday became the first Yankees starter in 2017 not named Tanaka to allow three homers in a game. The skill is in there, but his June of bad start, good start, bad start, good start, bad start felt like a familiar one-step-forward, one-back pattern for him while in pinstripes.

"The Yankees could conceivably try to upgrade the rotation by promoting Chance Adams or finding a trade. But that would mean counting on another youngster and/or unearthing an available quality rotation arm and being able to complete a trade for it when other contenders, notably the Astros, will be hunting the same species.

"For now, the rotation you see is the rotation you get. Which means the Yankees remain in that most uncomfortable of positions — needing to depend on the undependable Michael Pineda."

In other words, this team needs more than a trade and a Chance to fix what ails its rotation if it hopes to lock up the division and make a deep, meaningful run at a ring.

It needs to be rebuilt from the top down.

That'll be costly and not likely compatible with the season's primary objective of constructing a self-sustaining  winning franchise for the future.

Quality pitching is never more expensive than it is at the trade deadline. And as much as I've been a believer in going all in this year when there was still a chance to bury the competition, some poor luck combined with some poor arms management in the dugout have combined to allow too many wounded rivals to recover from early knockout blows and get back into the postseason race.

Now with injuries piling up for the Yankees, their flawed rotation exposed and burning up their bullpen and blunting their momentum, and innings limits looming for their only two remaining "dependable" starters (an ironic and bittersweet label for the back end of the Opening Day rotation), I'm just hoping  Brian and Hal aren't persuaded by public pressure to deviate from their original blueprint and will only make deadline moves that make sense for the future.

If that means Brian dusting off his for-sale sign again and collecting more trade chips by dealing short-timers like Pineda and others instead of renting some for a playoff run, so be it.

I'll still enjoy the stretch run just as much as I did last year's after everyone wrote this team off. That's because the more invested in the future this team gets, the more they refuse to give up, entertain and surprise. That's why this team has been so much fun to watch this season.

They're already winners. We want a winner that lasts though, not another one-and-done batch of band-aids.

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

American Eagle


Photo: Getty Images
As if watching yet another starting pitcher melt down early and burn up the bullpen in a losing effort wasn't bad enough, another key Bomber landed on the disabled list Sunday.

"It's very frustrating," said  Aaron Hicks, who was told by team doctors he will be out three to four weeks, per NJ.com. "I want to be out there battling with my team and now I can't do that."

"So much for manager Joe Girardi having to figure out a way how to get steady playing time for four outfielders when Jacoby Ellsbury is off the DL.

"As a matter of fact, Ellsbury likely will cut short his minor-league rehab stint in time for the Yankees' road-trip-opening game Monday night against the Chicago White Sox.

Photo: Getty Images
"Ellsbury, who has been out since May 25 with a concussion, started his rehabbing by going 3-for-7 in two weekend games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He had been scheduled to play two more games early this week for the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

"If the Yankees delay Ellsbury's return, their options would include recalling infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder, who is on the 40-man roster but struggled during his big-league chances this season.

Photo: Pinstriped Prospects
"Other possibilities would be giving a first big-league stint to one of two touted Triple-A outfield prospects who would need to be added to the 40, Clint Frazier or Dustin Fowler.

"Hicks injured his oblique in the first inning Sunday on a checked swing, but he stayed in the game until hurting it worse in his next at-bat, a single to center.

"I took a checked swing, kind of felt it and then I really didn't think too much of it," Hicks said. "I thought I could play through it. My second at-bat, I took a swing on a base-hit up the middle and that's when I really felt it."

"The Yankees will miss their multi-threat switch-hitting outfielder, who had been rebounding in a big way from a bad 2016 season, his first with the club.

"In 60 games, Hicks is hitting .290 with 10 homers, 37 RBIs and seven steals. His average was up to .323 early in June and at .306 before he missed three games last weekend in Oakland with a sore Achilles.

"The Yankees, who are still tied for first in the AL East despite losing 10 of their last 12, have been hit hard with injuries and have been playing without starting pitcher CC Sabathia, first baseman Greg Bird, reliever Adam Warren and Ellsbury. Earlier, closer Aroldis Chapman, shortstop Didi Gregorius, catcher Gary Sanchez and first baseman Tyler Austin spent time on the DL.

"Besides those injuries, DH Matt Holliday (sick) and second baseman Starlin Castro (right wrist) were unavailable Sunday. Third baseman Chase Headley returned after missing three games with back spasms.

"Now Hicks will be out until mid-to-late July.

"It's tough on us, but that's one of the things we cannot control," Castro said. "We'll just keep focusing and hopefully (Hicks) will get back sooner."

It's amazing the Yankees are still contenders for a division title given their mounting injuries and pitching meltdowns.

Then again, everyone in the AL Least is now too with only five games separating the cellar from the leader.

Five weeks to go until the trade deadline.

The team that makes the biggest moves by then wins it.

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Source: Paul J. Bereswill

I have never seen anything like it.  Seriously, Tyler Clippard has to be the sorriest looking pitcher on the hill right now.  And when he said that the fans have a right to be angry, he is right.  He absolutely choked on Saturday after being placed in the 9th inning hole by Joe Girardi who was hoping to snap his funk.

Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

"He coughed up four runs in the ninth inning to kill any chances the Yankees had in an 8-1 loss to the Rangers. Granted, Clippard came into the game already down 4-1, with Girardi looking for opportunities to get the 32-year-old back on track," reported the NY Post.

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

But this seems to be Clippard's MO, at least of late.  He has more than doubled his ERA over his last three outings from 2.22 to 4.85.  These kinds of performances are not acceptable for a team who is battling for first place and who has the charisma of a championship team from yesteryear.

Source: Reuters 

With Old Timers Day upon us, the Yankees 71st of its kind, I hope that the legends that take the field bring some much needed champion magic back to this year's team and back to Clippard who wears Catfish Hunter's number across his back.

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

“They have a right,” Clippard said. “They have a right to boo me. I’m pitching terrible right now. It is what it is. This is a city that demands excellence. I realize that. It is what it is.”

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

I think what gets me is that confused look on Clippard's face every time he makes a mistake.  He looks shocked, almost like he got busted with his fingers in the cookie jar and now has to face the consequences.  “I know I’ve been through some trouble in my career . . . I’ve had some bad times and I’ve had a lot of good times. It can’t get any worse. Hopefully, there’s some good times to come," reported Newsday.

And if Clippard doesn't have good times in his near future, I hope the team and media stop babying the guy and they send him down for the next guy in who can help us win ball games, not lose them. Honestly, I have seen enough and we, the fans, deserve a much needed break.  Besides, I am eating way too much ice cream over this guy.  For health's sake...Clippard, please take a vacation and get your head on straight.  Yanks lose a big one at home 8-1 with the rubber game later today following Old Timers' Day.

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof