Friday, January 30, 2015

THE YANKEES WALK DOWN BAKER STREET. SIGN SCOTT BAKER


When I was a kid, there was a song that always comforted me. The song was Baker Street, and everytime I hear it, even to this day, it brings me back to my childhood. When I hear it... life is good.



Now truth be told, while I am a big fan of Baker Street... I am not so much a fan of Scott Baker.  Not now at least.  Was I ever? Hell yeah. Baker had a nice run with the Twins and he was always a solid pitcher.


Here's the deal. The Yankees signed Scott Baker to a minor league deal today.  That news comes from Matt Eddy:
Now look, if it was 2009, I'd love Baker on the New York Yankees.  Back them, he was 15-9 and just a very good pitcher.


These days though, he's recovering from Tommy John surgery and he's bounced around. He was on the Cubs and his last team was the Texas Rangers in 2014 where he went 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA.  Is that great? Not really.  But here's my take on Baker signing with the Yankees;


It's a "stock-piling of arms" situation.  Much like the Jeff Francis, signing Banker simply does this; it let's the Yankees get a look and see if he can offer anything.  If he can, that's great! Trust me, there is nothing better than watching players fight their way back to the Bigs. I love watching that! 


Remember what Scott Kazmir did? It was a long road, but he did it and those types of stories are great; Great for the fans and great for the players that push themselves.    And look... if it doesn't work out for Scott Baker, it's not a big deal for a team like the Yankees... they just move on.

So... If you're asking me my opinion of the Yankees going after Baker, I really don't have one. I just hope the guy personally bounces back and if he helps the club in the process... it's a good thing.  But that's it...


Welcome Scott... good luck to ya pal. Go get'em!

Now, if you'd excuse me... I'm going to go listen to Baker Street on my iPod now... and back to 1978 we go...

 Be Read. Get Known.

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A BETTER BELTRAN? I'D SAY SO


As spring training approaches, I always think about the scene from Major League where the group of misfits from the Cleveland Indians struggle and prepare for the season. They were all excited, many cocky, others goofy, all with chips on their shoulders who eventually found the winning formula. If anyone on the Yankees roster is chomping at the bit to get spring training started, it's Carlos Beltran. Although he is neither cocky nor goofy, I’m sure he has a chip on his shoulder and is prepared to prove to himself, the Yankees and us fans why the Yankees signed him.


Carlos Beltran is a true professional and borderline Hall of Famer in my opinion, but he struggled in 2014 while dealing with the bone spur in his elbow and has really taken some heat for it. He did sign a rather big three year contract worth $15 million a year at 36 years old. But his previous success warranted it. The criticism, sometimes cruel, he received is not warranted.

Remember Yankees fans, Beltran is a team player. Remember when Joe Girardi needed a first baseman with Mark Teixeira out after Francisco Cervelli popped his hammy? Beltran was your man. He took one for the team and played a very uncomfortable first base. But he sucked it up, succeeded well enough and even made light of it afterward. He said when asked about having the ball hit his way, “.. please God, hit it somewhere else!”


Joe Girardi was pleased and impressed with his willingness to be a team player at the time. “That man is willing to do anything you ask him to do,” Joe Girardi said. “Whether you put him some place he’s never been or you move him in the order, he just asks to play. He wants to contribute. That’s what I’ve learned. It’s very, very unselfish.” The skipper loves him, so he deserves our respect.


Us Yankees fans have to admire that. He wants to play. He wants to contribute. You know what? Injuries happen. It’s part of the game. 2015 is a brand new season, with new faces and some new coaches. If you ask me who is going to be ready come opening day, my money is on Carlos Beltran.

Although Beltran’s average dipped to .233 last summer, his other offensive stats weren’t too far off from his 2013 pace. He still hit 15 home runs in 109 games and added 23 doubles. In 2013, he hit 24 home runs and 30 doubles in 149 games. He also drew just one fewer walk than the previous season, showing a patient, professional approach at the dish. From 2011-2013 Beltran averaged 26 home runs, 88 RBIs and a .288 batting average. I don’t see any reason, barring injuries, why he can’t produce numbers similar to that in 2015.


With the respect of Joe Girardi and presumably everyone in the clubhouse, Carlos Beltran is one of the guys you want to be around. If I were a young player, particularly a Latino player, I would engulf myself with any and everything Carlos Beltran has to say. He has the experience, the knowledge and resume to back up everything he says. Soak it in while you can.

Beltran finally got his shot to be a Yankee in 2014. He famously asked the Yankees to sign him at a discount in 2005 and the Yankees refused. But years later, he is in pinstripes. One rough, injury plagued, season in which no regulars besides Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner really put up respectable numbers, shouldn't be a reason for negative publicity and cruel words toward Beltran.

Beltran wanted to be a Yankee and now he is. He is a team player with the willingness to do whatever it takes to help his ball club succeed. He should be respected and will come out swinging, literally and figuratively, this season. I have all the respect in the world for him and look forward to seeing him in the middle of the lineup.


2015 will be a year of redemption and all of us Yankees fans should show Beltran how we Bleed Yankee Blue for him! That's my take at least.


 
Dan Lucia
BYB Writer
Twitter: @DManLucia

 

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WHY ISN'T JOBA CHAMBERLAIN BEEN SIGNED YET?


I've never been a Joba Chamberlain hater. This is a guy that came to Bleeding Yankee Blue and we put out his note thanking the Yankee fans everywhere, EXCLUSIVELY. Remember? Read JOBA THANKS THE FANS EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH BYB! In it, he said:

"...I'm so grateful and thankful for the tremendous 7 years. Ups and downs included. It made me a better man, father, friend, and baseball player... I wouldn't be anything without the fans that supported me. I know it was hard at times but I hope they know I gave it everything I had every time I went out there."


So, in short, there's a loyalty from me personally and I would love to see Joba signed somewhere, but that hasn't happened and it's strange.  I was reading Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports who wrote this:

"Chamberlain at 29 is the youngest right-handed reliever on the open market. He had a presentable season in 2014, though his second half was sub-par, as was his performance in the playoffs. Yet, with February just days away, Chamberlain remains unsigned...

...At this point, Chamberlain knows that he is unlikely to meet his goal of a two-year deal and is considering a one-year offer with a relatively low base salary and incentives, the source said. Chamberlain made $2.5 million with the Tigers last season, and finished with a 3.57 ERA in 63 innings...

'Joba’s had some issues family-wise,' Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit Free Press after the team clinched the AL Central. “His mom’s been very sick. People don’t realize how that has affected him at times.'

Rival executives, though, still question Chamberlain’s makeup, a concern that first surfaced during his days with the Yankees. One exec also said that it alarmed him that the Tigers, for all their bullpen troubles, are not bringing Chamberlain back.

Chamberlain is said to be working hard, and has even shaved his beard. Now, he just needs to find a new home."


What's my point to all this? Don't forget those players that made you smile... that made you excited to watch your team.  Joba was one of those guys. Joba was electric for a while there in the Bronx and he's a good egg with a few small missteps.  I'm not sure why the Tigers don't wanna bring him back.  Maybe they still can't get over the playoffs.  But what's past is past, and this guy needs a new team, no doubt.

I hope you get signed soon Joba. Yankee fans still lova ya, pal.

Hang tough.

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THE RAYS MAY BE IN ON YOAN MONCADA


Quick note... because I know many of you are very excited about the possibility of the Yankees trying to snag 19 year old Cuban stud Yoan Moncada.  Apparently the Tampa Bay Rays checked in on him recently too.  This comes after clubs like the Yankees, Giants and Red Sox all gave him private workouts. Now apparently, the Rays are doing the same.

According to the Tampa Bay Times:

"The Rays most likely can't afford to sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, but they took at him Wednesday during a private workout at the Trop anyway.

Moncada showed impressive power in front of a group of team officials, including baseball operations president Matt Silverman.


Still awaiting clearance to sign with an MLB team, Moncada, 19, is expected to get a deal worth at least  $30- to $40-million. He has worked out for several other teams, a list that reportedly includes the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Giants and possibly the Cubs. Moncada is considered among the best players to leave Cuba."

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times always has his finger on the pulse which is why I wanted to at least bring you this nugget on Moncada and the Rays this morning.


It's all very interesting as the sweepstakes tighten up.  All I have to say is... "Come on Yanks... get this kid." 

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

MASAHIRO TANAKA SAYS HE FEELS GOOD

According to Masahiro Tanaka himself, his elbow feels good.  The Japan Times says:


"Tanaka, who missed two months last season due to an elbow injury, worked out ahead of his second big league season on Thursday.

Using the indoor facility of his former club, the Rakuten Eagles, Tanaka ran sprints, practiced fielding and played catch — in which he mixed in some breaking balls.

'So far so good — including that (the elbow)...Whether I’m the ace or I’m used in different roles within games, I’m always thinking I’m going to win, so I’m not going to change anything I do.'"


We really need this guy to be a big time ace for us this season.  Behind a healthy Tanaka, I believe we can do anything.

In other news... this is Tanaka and his puppy.


 He posted this on New Years Day.

That's all I got... carry on.


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