Saturday, February 24, 2018

BEING A YANKEE? BETTER THAN BEING A MARLIN!

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Giancarlo Stanton loves being a New York Yankee so much better than being in Miami. I feel bad for the Marlins fans when I hear that. But I know it's really nothing personal against them.  It's just the organization itself that went stale.

For Stanton... it's the fan atmosphere that he is in love with.  After all... Yankee fans are the best fans in the world.

Bryan Hoch writes:

Credit Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
"'It was fun, a lot of fun,' said Stanton, who batted second and played right field....'How'd it compare? This is better,' Stanton said. 'Just more exciting, I'd say. More excitement. More can't wait, happy for spring -- it's a spring game, but [people] can't wait to see what we can do. That's what would be the difference.'"

And there's more. Stanton gets mad respect from guys like Miguel Cabrera...


'I think he's going to have a great year,' Cabrera said. 'Like I say to every hitter going from the National League to the American League, you're going to hit more here than the National League, because this league is about more hitting. We have good pitchers, great pitchers in the American League, but you're going to face a ninth hitter.'"

Look... Stanton didn't look very good in his Yankee debut yesterday. No one cares. Yesterday was about first time, life action and working out the kinks, timing, all of that.  Things will get better and things will get exciting.

Hell... it's just good to know that he feels comfortable with the best fans in the world. With that in mind... the dude will do great in New York.

Very Exciting!


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WHERE WILL MOUSTAKAS LAND? WE KNOW

Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America
Let's not forget...Spring Training games have started, and Mike Moustakas is still not on a team. Is he home? Is he just watching MLB Network and wondering? What's his agent doing? This is a nice player to pick up, but I think now the dude has to be realistic... don't you?

Jon Heyman has this. He thinks with the Braves of the White Sox:

Source: Brian Davidson/Getty Images North America
Braves:
"The Braves have talked about Mike Moustakas, but so far there's no common ground."

White Sox:
"Mike Moustakas could emerge as a possibility, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported. The White Sox have as many prospects as any AL team but don't have a big one at third base. While this would be a year before any expected push for a pennant, it may represent a nice opportunity for the ChiSox. The third base market hasn't developed as expected, and Moustakas may not get what he originally sought. There are plenty of one-year opportunities for him, but a one-year deal would put him back on the market with Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado."


Source: Jon Durr/Getty Images North America
But let's not forget BYB phantom genius Douglas Solomon wrote I KNOW WHERE MIKE MOUSTAKAS IS GOING a while back.

"Here's my prediction... the Orioles still pop in my mind. They can easily put him at 3rd and put Machado at short and then they have a replacement for Machado, who is obviously leaving in free agency."

He also wrote this about the Braves and White Sox:

"--Chicago White Sox: The youth movement is happening. They are unlikely to make a big money signing while they are rebuilding.

--Atlanta Braves: Youth movement – not spending money on big free agents "

In the end, Douglas picks the Orioles.

I'm sticking with Solomon.  This is a test.  Let's see who will be right.


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JESSE BARFIELD HAS A CAT ON HIS HEAD


I just saw this and had to share it.  We all loved Jesse Barfield when he was with the New York Yankees.  I know I did.  Well... if you didn't know, Barfield's on Twitter and the dude is pretty active.

He posts everything from congratulating former players to talking about great memories playing in Toronto and in New York. 


It's actually pretty cool to watch him walk down memory lane.  Kind of fun for any fan too.

But what the hell is this??

I burst out laughing. More importantly, is it real? Fake? I don't know what the hell's going on here.  I did alittle more research and came across this:

Turns out @MBarfielddesign looks to be Jesse's wife maybe? And designing funny things on Barfield is a thing.  I love it!

Anyway... I just had to share.  Happy Saturday for us all.  Thanks for the humor, Jesse. You made my Saturday.


Friday, February 23, 2018

THE NICEST DAY OF THE YEAR!


Photo: Kim Klement / USA Today Sports
The Yankees win in their first Spring Training game.  That's the least of it but still great.

As a baseball fan, it's just great to see our New York Yankees take the field today.  It was great to see baseball in live action on YES Network today.  It was great to see Giancarlo Stanton in pinstripes. 

Photo: Pete Caldera Tweet
Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record had the best Tweet to complete our day as Yankee fans...
And that's it!  This is the "working-out-the-kinks" portion of our New York Yankees. 

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Couple that with what we heard from people like Kenny Singleton, read HERE
in this morning's BYB post, and the excitement we feel and even appreciate has been officially established for 2018!
When you see a guy like Nick Swisher who's out there as a Yankee special assistant chatting it up with the Yanks the last few days... there is this undeniable feeling of hope and energy we haven't seen with this team since 1996... we're BACK!


Bottom line, today felt good. No... it felt great.  We need it as Yankee fans and you know what? The Yankees haven't won it all since 2009.  That, my friends is a drought.  We are ready for a championship. 

Photo: Brandon Drury / New York Daily News
Cashman did some great things this off season.  We are a great group of hardworking players and the most important part of it? They are talented and YOUNG.

Very, very exciting.  

I leave you with this; I love what MLB did about today's game.  All players in baseball were required to wear SD caps in honor of the fallen in that terrible shooting at that Parkland Florida High School... Stoneman Douglas.

 
Class act.  Loved it. I want to order my own. I hope the proceeds go to those families.

We need more kindness in this world.  I approve 100%, Rob Manfred.




KENNY SINGLETON SEES BIG THINGS FOR THE YANKEES FUTURE

Look out!

Photo: Getty Images
I love when Ken Singleton speaks! When he does, I listen.  Don't forget, BYB interviewed him a while back because we love the guy.  (Read EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: KEN SINGLETON for that).

Photo: NY Post
Anyway... he had this to say about the Yankees future.  In a nutshell... it looks bright. This is brought to us by the New York Post:

"'In my own personal experience through the years, teams that come very close the year before, they are very determined the following season and very tough to deal with,' Singleton said of the Yankees, who lost to the Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS. 'In ’83 we had more injuries and more problems to deal with, but we won the World Series because we were more determined. I think that can apply to the Yankees.


When you talk to these guys in the dugout, they all reference that if they don’t win it there’s going to be huge disappointment. They are already pointing toward that, and that’s the way it should be.'...


'The Yankees sense they have the type of team now that was like the late ’90s,' Singleton said. 'They have a sense they have this kind of ball club again, and if everything goes right, they can challenge for a title every year.'”

Photo: Baltimore Sun
Singleton referenced 1983.  Just to put that in context, he was with the Orioles, and that year, they won the Championship.

I love what I hear from Kenny.  It's a smart analyst giving solid perspective, plus, it gets me excited.


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Thursday, February 22, 2018

MUST WATCH: RUSSELL WILSON'S COMING FOR YOU!

Or something like that.

Photo: YouTube
Quick post, because I just love this video message from Russell Wilson who is now a New York Yankee.  He instagrammed (or whatever you call it) this today and made his message clear, to the Yankees... to the fans... to Aaron Judge and to Giancarlo Stanton who needs to be looking over his shoulder or something.  It's pretty fun and refreshing.  Check it out.
A post shared by Russell Wilson (@dangerusswilson) on

More tomorrow. I'm hitting the sack.




I CALL HIM BRIAN "BRILLIANT" CASHMAN



He's got his finger on the pulse. He finds a lead and even if it takes a while he seems to make it happen lately. I really think his latest move is genius and is about to payoff big time for the Yankees. Other people may not be as "wowed" as I am but I think this is going to benefit the Yankees in more ways than one.

. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)
Someone told me today that Brandon Drury was an "up and comer" and while it is a nice pickup it's not that big of a deal. I think he's a big deal though and we even thought so back in December when we wrote WINTER MEETING MADNESS & SCOTT BORAS MIGHT BE CRAZY! We knew on paper the Diamondbacks and the Yankees were a match for a trade, I just really didn't think that they would give him up.

Photo: Getty Images
We knew back in December that the Yankees were scouting Drury but we already had an inside look at him before we traded Starlin Castro and needed another infielder. The Yankees new third-base coach Phil Nevin, managed Drury when he played for the Diamondbacks Triple-A team in 2014.  Returning Yankee bullpen coach Mike Harkey is also familiar with Drury because of his time as the Diamondbacks pitching coach in 2015 which is the same year he made his major league debut. The Yankees saw a lot that they liked in Drury and they've seen it for awhile.

Sept. 4, 2017 - Source: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America
There's a lot to like about Drury. He fits everything that the Yankees are looking for as they continue their youth movement. Drury is only 25, he's versatile and he's cheap. I'd even go so far as to say he is undervalued. Drury can play first, second, third, left, and right field. Scouts say Drury's best position is third base where he was blocked by Jake Lamb in Arizona. As a Yankee he could fill in for Greg Bird if needed (let's hope not) and give one of our guys in the outfield a rest.

I think Drury's full potential has not yet been realized. Now that he is a Yankee he has an opportunity to play his best suited position with regular playing time in a hitter friendly ballpark. The Yankees got the infield help they needed who has the ability and potential to be more than just a band-aid fix.

Source: Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America
The Yankees had two big challenges this off season which were adding another starting pitcher and an infielder....on a budget. The Yankees have at least solved one of those challenges. Drury isn't arbitration eligible until 2019 so he may top out at $700,000 on this year's payroll which gives Cashman some more breathing room to look for that pitching. That won't be an easy task but it at least gives Brian "Brilliant" Cashman a little breathing room.

So we can mark infielder off of the "To Do" list, so who is next? Maybe Lance Lynn? If anyone can do it, Cashman can.



--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj




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STANTON FITTING IN NICELY

Source: MLB.com
Like many Yankee fans, I am getting excited as each video clip of batting practice and pitcher warm ups leak out onto the Internet. One of my favorite clips so far has been Giancarlo Stanton taking questions at his new locker on Friday when he showed up early to spring training. Maybe it’s that Stanton is the new guy on the block, and easily the Yankees’ biggest acquisition in the off season. Maybe it’s the fact that It’s been months since I’ve seen live baseball, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that we’re starving for the Yankees to take the field and play ball. The whole presentation impressed me, and if he holds to form, we may have something even more special than his ridiculous hitting stats would indicate.

Source: Associated Press
The fact that he showed up early says something to me. This is not something a prima donna would do. I expected that his arrival would have been a grand spectacle, with reporters and microphones and flashing cameras pointed at him from all angles. I’ll be honest, I was worried about him having a need for attention that would disrupt the team dynamic. He certainly has the name recognition to generate a media circus. Instead, he just sat there and took questions, like any player would. Yesterday, he went out to the cages to take some swings and get his work in. He expressed more concern about getting the rust off his swing than the fact that he hit a few over the fence.

Source: Associated Press
If you ask me, this is critical for a guy as conspicuous as he is. The Yankees had a really good dynamic last year. It’s something Aaron Boone has to be very careful to protect. Stanton’s arrival was a stark contrast to some of the higher profile acquisitions in the Yankees’ past. Who could forget Randy Johnson’s literal run-in with the media that needed a public apology? How about the paparazzi surrounding Alex Rodriguez’ arrival that created a chill with his teammates? If you’re old enough, you might remember Rickey Henderson stepping in it with reporters when he first walked into the Stadium clubhouse as a Yankee and announced, “I don’t need no press now, man”. That went over like a lead balloon. To be fair, these were huge personalities, accustomed to reporters and cameras orbiting them like planets around the sun.

Source: Associated Press

Stanton is just as huge. So far, he is doing the smart thing and staying focused, fitting in, and making sure he’s ready to contribute. He doesn’t have a spotless record with the media, occasionally being unavailable for reporters after a game. The New York media is no walk in the park, and the fact that it has gone as well as it has for him is a great sign. This team has a lot of the key ingredients for a championship run. The less time they spend thinking about how to answer questions about their new teammate and the more time they get to focus on the game, the better. If he is the real deal, on and off the field, we have a lot of reason to be pumped about him this season.


--Ike Dimitriadis
BYB Contributor
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon




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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

BIG BATS BRING ADDED EXCITEMENT TO YANKEES!

Source: MLB.com

The Incredibles have nothing on Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.  Their batting practice sessions are truly a show- a home run derby in February.  To say that it's exciting is an understatement, and truth be told, I was jealous I wasn't there to see the show today.



“It’s a big deal because they’re good players, but obviously they’re both kind of larger-than-life human beings — you don’t see people like them in baseball,” (Greg) Bird said. “It’s good. It’s a good hype. I mean obviously there’s a lot of attention on them but it’s good for baseball, it’s good for them and it’s good for this team," reported the New York Times.  Fans were treated to long balls to all parts of Steinbrenner Field, a foreshadowing of things to come back in the Bronx.

Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America

And if the home run show wasn't enough, we made another move to improve our offense and defense this season. "After two full-squad spring training workouts the Yankees on Tuesday filled a void at third base by acquiring 25-year-old infielder/outfielder Brandon Drury from the Diamondbacks in a deal that also sent Rays outfielder Steven Souza to Arizona," reported the NY Post.

Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

Drury is a key acquisition because he can play multiple positions.  He is a .271 hitter with 962 big league at-bats, 29 homers and drove in 116 runs in the past two seasons.  He is the right fit with a bigger bat than glove.  "The deal means the Yankees won’t be rolling the dice on two very young and inexperienced players at third (Miguel Andujar) and second base (Gleyber Torres). The Yankees believe they are going to be productive big league players, but in Drury they get an experienced player and won’t have to rush Andujar who could use seasoning with the glove and arm," stated the Post.

Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

So much to look forward to and it is only one week into Spring Training.  The first official squad game in this Friday against the Detroit Tigers, a team we engaged in more than just some healthy competition last season.  Recall the brawl and suspensions when tensions got high last season.  But we have no time for that.  We have a season to win and we are just getting started.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof 





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IMAGINE MACHADO...

Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America
Imagine a Yankee infield consisting of Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, Gleyber Torres, and Manny Machado.

I'm sure that idea seems very appealing to you. It does to me, and according to this little nugget found in USA Today, it's almost certain to happen. I'm serious...

Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America
"Manny Machado walked into the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse at 8:48 Saturday morning, circling the room and shaking hands of all his teammates, wondering all winter whether he’d even see them again.

Here he was saying hello.

Before he says goodbye Machado, who was shopped during the winter but stayed when the Orioles never received the trade package they desired, will ultimately end up with the New York Yankees."

Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America
As players at various training camps get ready to kick off the 2018 season, some have already started to skip ahead a year and ponder what may happen in 2019. It's their future after all.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
The idea of Machado manning shortstop or third base for the New York Yankees sounds nice. Will it happen? I really can't tell you, but if you asked me a year ago if I thought the Yankees would end up with Giancarlo Stanton, I would have said no way!

Look, Machado grew up in Miami idolizing the Yankees. Machado’s idol, Alex Rodriguez, spent 10 years in New York and won a World Series. And Machado, who would like to be on center stage in a big market, happens to love New York City.  In the end, Machado wants to be a Yankee, and oh, how the feeling is mutual.  How many times have you heard that one before? Another big star wants to be a Yankee, but at what cost will it take to make it happen?

(Photo: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports)
Here's the thing, and this is important.  Some are estimating a 10-year deal worth upwards of $300 million. But, at 25 years old, 10 years for Machado might work out.

That being said, we've all seen what has happened with a lot of the 10-year deals. Many deteriorate, some quicker than others because a team can't predict health.


I'm not sure I'd be willing to give out anymore cash and as this past off season has gone, I think a lot of teams aren't either. Then again, a lot of teams aren't the New York Yankees. While it would be nice to have Machado, I hope the Yankees do their due diligence and see what the kids they have can do first.

That being said... I'm imagining Machado in pinstripes... and it's pretty damn cool.



--Michael Carnesi
BYB Writer
Twitter: @sevn4evr





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Monday, February 19, 2018

CLUBHOUSE CULTURE: IT MEANS EVERYTHING

Source: Lynne Sladky | AP

As Spring Training 2018 unfolds with a number of first time managers, I might add, it will be interesting to see whose clubhouse can lead the best.  Yes, I said lead, not hit, not pitch, but lead.  Because behind the clutch hitting and stellar pitching, is a foundation, which supports players taking risks and giving it everything they have. Positive clubhouse culture provides the skeleton of success and this year, it is going to be a change agent when it comes to winning.

Source: NJ.com

"In Culturize, author and education leader Jimmy Casas shares insights into what it takes to cultivate a community of learners who embody the innately human traits our world desperately needs, such as kindness, honesty, and compassion. His stories reveal how these "soft skills" can be honed while meeting and exceeding academic standards of twenty-first-century learning," totes Amazon about the book published in late fall 2017.  Time and time again we have discussed the importance of clubhouse culture and its value to a team.  And when we reflect on the "students" of the game entering Major League Baseball seemingly younger and younger, the connection between Casas's book on culture and baseball could not be more clear.

Source: Twitter

Do baseball players need to be kind, honest and compassionate?  Yes. As Bryan Hoch said in his interview with our BYB skipper, Robert Casey yesterday in his piece BYB EXCLUSIVE: BRYAN HOCH, AUTHOR OF "THE BABY BOMBERS," "What you saw in the dugout with the thumbs-down and the Toe-Night Show stuff was the same kind of vibe we were seeing in the clubhouse. It's the Yankees, so there was a certain responsible atmosphere that still needed to be in place, but there was a much more youthful vibe. They laugh with each other and they pull for each other."

Source: Lynne Sladky | AP

Yankee manager Aaron Boone shared his vision for culture in his first press conference of spring training last week.  "I think it’s having that ability, and maybe it’s a little bit of an art form, but to have the ability to connect in the clubhouse with the guys, to have that trust factor, to have that your players understand that you do care about them, you’re putting the New York Yankees in this case in the forefront , as we’re going to do in the end always what’s best for the New York Yankees," reported NY Daily News.

Source: NY Daily News

Soft skills cannot be underestimated in a ball club, particularly one that is looking to shift its culture, much like we see with the NY Mets and their new leadership under Mickey Callaway and the Philadelphia Phillies with their new skipper, Gabe Kapler.  "I'm going to show them day in and day out, by the decisions I make, the way I communicate with them, that I truly, truly care about them," stated Callaway as reported by Golf Digest's The Loop.

Source: STEVE NESIUS

Kapler has filled the Phillies' spring training quarters with the inspiration of music, stating that music motivates and re-culturizes the clubhouse. "Ultimately, when we’re surrounded by music, we feel good,” said Kapler, whose father is a music teacher and a classically trained pianist. “We smile more, we’re more relaxed at the plate. There’s science behind this. It’s been studied. Workplaces are happier and they are more inspired when music is playing,” reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Source: NJ.com

The culture of an organization is the backbone of its success.  Besides warming up arms and bats, teams should be looking to warm up their culture much like we are seeing in the new manager strategies of Boone, Callaway and Kapler.  Clubhouse culture is going to be a main component to whose team is on top come October.  May the best culture win and may that culture be the Yankees.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof






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