Wednesday, December 31, 2014


New Years is a time to forget the old and bring in the new.  If you're a Yankee fan, you want to forget last season quickly, and we'll start fresh on January 1st, 2015.   For me personally, my family would like to forget some of 2014.  There were deaths in the family, quite a few visits to the ER and unfortunate accidents that didn't need to happen.  The year also went way too fast, much faster than years before.  I guess that's just us as a family doing way too much.  But as we close the book on 2014, we start a new year... a year of new beginnings, for my own life and for BYB's future.

Over the next several hours, the celebration will begin and carry on into the night.  We will go to bed late, and we will wake up just as late. Some with hangovers, some just tired.  But as we do, think about what you want to accomplish in 2015 and do it. Make a list and conquer it. Think about your goals. Think about what friendships and business partners you want in your life and how you want to push yourself in your personal life, in your social life, in your business life. Think about the person you'd like to be in 2015.  Push yourself and achieve great things.  Hence the new Robert Casey avatar. It was time for a fresh change... I hope you like the new face of BYB.  

2015 is a clean slate.  Remember where you were in 2014 and do better in 2015!

I look at this thing called Bleeding Yankee Blue and it's amazing that we're still standing.  It's outstanding that our audience is as smart and strong as it is. You guys are awesome!  That's a testament to good, bright baseball folks like all of you.  You are the reason why we're here.  Sure, it began with me yelling at my TV, but then my amazing writers came, and as we wrote our hearts out, the audience found us and shared us and chatting with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest and Google +.  It's because of the interaction that I am amazed more and more every day.  You guys keep us engaged!  You are passionate about the game of baseball and you love your New York Yankees.  Thank you for that.

I want to thank the BYB audience.  You are terrific people.  You read Bleeding Yankee Blue daily and you wear us on your body, proud.

That makes me prouder, trust me!  I have had the privilege of interacting with many of you every day over the past 4 years.  We talk baseball, but our bond is solid.

 Thank you for always being there.  Thank you for trusting us with our reporting and opinion.

(In Photo: Erica Morales, Senior Writer for BYB)
I want to thank my writers.  Bleeding Yankee Blue could never operate on this large scale with just me alone.  I would have burned out a long time ago.  With my writers, we are strong.  We are a unit dedicated to the Yankees, sure, but to the fan base and to the readers of BYB too.  You keep us going! You keep my writers wanting to express themselves!  Without the audience, we write for no one, and without us writers, you would have never discovered us and made us so popular. It's a brilliant give and take.

I want to also take a moment and thank my real family.  My wife is the strongest and most patient woman on the planet.  She calls BYB my mistress and for a while there, it was!  But as things start to come together, 4 years later, I can relax a bit and spend more time with my direct family.  It's ultimately because of their patience and them understanding my passion for writing that they put up with me being up all night and on my keyboard on family vacations and family parties.  They understood what I was doing and while they didn't like it, they got it.  Now BYB doesn't slip off the tongue with as much anger as it once did.  BYB is now one of the family.  It took a while, but it happened.

I'm going to leave you all now to enjoy New Years Eve.

Be safe, be smart and know that when you wake up on January 1st, we will be here for a new year at BYB!  After all, there's a new Yankee season in 2015, and we need to do better than we did the past 2 years.  We can do it ladies and gentlemen, we can... we just need to believe.

Yankee fans are the greatest fans in the world. We're also the most spoiled.  We've had a run... many runs actually, but the last one was glorious.  We need that fire back again, and as fans, many of us born in the Steinbrenner era, we demand it.  You know what? That's OK... we're fans. We pay alot of money to see our team win.  They need to start winning, bottom line.  Let's hope 2015 is the year!

Happy New Year everyone.  Bless you all.  Many thanks for all you do. For your interaction, for your reading and for your sharing.  Without it, we're just another Yankee fan site that stays stagnant and eventually fizzles.

It's because of you, that Bleeding Yankee Blue is popular. Thank you.

Now... let's bring on 2015!

 --Robert Casey, Chief & CEO of Bleeding Yankee Blue

Be Read. Get Known.

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As the old year closes and a new one moves in, it is fitting to reflect on the past year to perhaps get some perspective about where we have gone and where we are headed, or where we need to be headed.  As I see it, the New York Yankees need to battle their way back into our good graces and into a position that will yield their a playoff spot in 2015.  With the moves so far, however, I am not sure we are where we need to be.  Let's look at this week's Hot Stove for a better understanding.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, four teams are interested in Yankee shortstop/second baseman Stephen Drew and I feel blessed!  The Athletics, Cubs, Blue Jays and White Sox all have expressed some interest in Drew, but according to Sherman, "A few teams involved with Drew say his asking price of $9 million-$10 million for 2015 is not in their price range. Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, has emphasized the career .764 OPS the lefty swinger took into last season as representative of his client and not the .536 he posted in a disjointed 2014 campaign."  Sure the Yankees could have an interest too, but with their commitment to Didi Gregorius, there is word that the club does not want Drew around as a distraction to the development of their new short stop.  I guess there will be a enough of a distraction with Alex Rodriguez around, so I do count my blessings, again.

As was reported earlier this week here on BYB, the Yankees sent relief pitcher Shawn Kelley to the Padres for pitching prospect Johnny Barbato.  What does this mean for the Yankees as far as the bullpen this season?  According to Brendan Kuty of, "It opened a second spot in the Yankees’ bullpen, that’s for sure. Only five pitchers now appear to have secured spots in the club’s relief corps. Take a look:

RHP Dellin Betances
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Adam Warren
LHP Justin Wilson
RHP Esmil Rogers."

We still need to land an ace starter, an anchor and with the Padres set on Cole Hamels, who I think would have made a great addition to our team, it doesn't look likely we could be in on that unless, there is a three-way trade deal in the works.  Since we have already connected to the rebuilding NL West team, maybe we will have some sort of opportunity to pick up Hamels or 24-year-old outfielder Wil Myers who is rumored to go to the Phillies in exchange for Hamels.  We shall see.

WEEI is reporting that the Red Sox will not close a deal that would send Max Scherzer to Boston.  According to Rob Bradford, "The Red Sox always valued Lester over Scherzer, so the idea that they would extend beyond the six-year, $135 million offer made the lefty for Scherzer isn’t plausible. One major league source familiar with the Red Sox’ thinking believes the notion of the Red Sox being a player in the Scherzer talks is driven by a desire to use the Sox as leverage against what many believe to be the most legitimate Scherzer suitor, the Yankees." This is getting ugly.  I think the Tigers should just pay their pitcher to stay with them and move on.  As much as I like Scherzer, I worry about six-year deals with anyone.  I know I am not alone in that.

Finally, according to Fox Sports, the Orioles have expressed interest in picking up not only Colby Rasmus and Ichiro Suzuki but now they have their eyes on Kansas City Royal outfield Nori Aoki.  With the outfield looking thin for rival Baltimore, some movement could happen here.

That's it for this week's and 2014's BYB Hot Stove.  Happy New Year and keep the comments coming!

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer

BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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Quick post here.  This one's about journalistic integrity.  Write this down...

I'm getting alot of emails from readers, both BYB fans and just plain baseball people asking me one question... "Why are you not covering CC Sabathia 'freaking out'?"

Here is my answer. I wasn't there. I have no idea what happened, that's why.

Let me get this straight; You want me to report on a story from a gossip site? Why would BYB ever do that? So I can get a ton of clicks to make my readership quota for the day? Trust me... it's not that slow, not for me... not for anyone in this business.

So yeah, if you're looking for a report about Sabathia allegedly yelling at airport attendant, go elsewhere.  I'm not that desperate.

If there are reports about CC Sabathia trying to get back to his dominant self in 2015 for the New York Yankees, I want to know about it and we will report that.  That my friends is important to the people that read these pages.  That's what we are all about.

The other stuff? It's garbage... and you're better than that...

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With Brian Cashman doing his best Tim Allen impression and putting on the Santa suit for Yankees fans this holiday season, he has surrounded the base of our pinstriped tree with NEW gifts for 2015.  I emphasize “new” simply because it is a change for our Santa Claus to not just “re-gift” and shower us with presents that are well past their expiration date.

Those of you who have read my articles – and I thank each and every one of you for doing so – know that I am not a big Brian Cashman fan.  His past strategy of grabbing onto stale veterans with the hopes of rekindling glory from years gone by has worn out its welcome with me. Frankly, it hasn’t worked.  So, I find this off-season a tremendous breath of fresh air.  Dare I say that I even LIKE what Mr. Cashman has done?  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m still holding my breath and praying every night that he doesn’t revert to past ways and re-sign Stephen Drew.  I’ll run from my house screaming, and once settled, re-write the famous reply to little “Virginia”, telling her that I’m sorry, but Santa was violently killed by our GM.

Until then, I am impressed with the direction “Cash” is taking our club.  He’s finally trimming the dead branches from our tree and giving us a promising future.  In bringing the likes of Didi Gregorius, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Miller, Chase Headley, and Justin Wilson to the roster, he’s immediately injected new life into our team (every one of them is 30 or younger).  He’s already announced that Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder would compete for our open spot at second base.  That’s another boost to our future and a change to the prior business model that virtually snuffed out hope for our minor league players.

Sure, our Santa has a sense of humor, and to bate us all into thinking that he hasn’t changed, he gives us Chris Capuano and immediately announces that the pitcher will be the 4th man in the rotation.  I’ll just laugh that one off and look around our tree at all the new shiny things.  I’ll put the old worn box in the corner and know that chances are pretty good it will be gone – or at least out of the rotation – by mid-May.

For the most part, I’m pretty damn happy with what Santa Cashman has done.  Only, there still is one thing on the Yankees Christmas list that’s missing.   As BYB’s esteemed leader, Robert Casey pointed out; we still don’t have a hitting coach. Santa, it’s kind of an important gift to overlook.  Basically, we’ve been showered with all these new toys, but none of them have batteries.

Gregorius, Pirela, and Refsnyder need to come up to speed as soon as possible.  Our lineup doesn’t pack the intimidation it once did, and our youngsters need to hit the ground running.  Gregorius in particular needs to prove that he can hit left handed pitching.  One would think that a hitting instructor should be working with our new shortstop NOW in turning his weakness into a strength.

When it comes to our important gift, Santa has acted a little strange.  He hired former Yankee Marcus Thames as Assistant Hitting Coach.  As reported, not only is the hiring weird, but it goes against what Cashman himself had said. 
“Also, the Yankees have never had an assistant hitting coach position, and general manager Brian Cashman had said he'd likely consult the team's main hitting coach before hiring a No. 2.” 
Perhaps Santa had ingested a little too much of the holiday spirits? Regardless, the bottom line is that the Yankees still don’t have a primary hitting coach, and the time for one is becoming critical. Players start reporting to camp in 6 to 7 weeks. Given the number of “newbies” this team is looking to field for the 2015 season, it’s imperative that they have a well-managed hitting program to avoid the pitfalls of the past two seasons at the plate.

A new hitting coach will bring in his own philosophies on what defines a successful hitter. He’ll have his own techniques for developing players and his own style of catering to each of their needs. The sooner a new program can be implemented, the better.

I think Brian Cashman has had one of the finest off-seasons of his tenure, but our Christmas isn’t going to be complete until it’s tied up with a big Yankee-Blue ribbon and bow that is a hitting coach.


--Steve Skinner, BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1


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Tuesday, December 30, 2014


For me, one of the more fun things to do over the holidays is make a nice fire in the fireplace and cuddle up with my kids and watch movies.

We watch the classics like The Christmas Story, but we decided to watch one of the most underrated classics out there.  The film is called School of Rock and Jack Black is in it, and he's zany and selfish for most of the film.

But there was that moment where he realizes that his love for music, and the love for music of the kids he teaches could turn into something bigger than him making it in the music business and getting back at the band that fired him.  It was about passion.  It was about ambition... it's about pushing to the next level and as they put their band out there in "The Battle of the Bands" and the kids all came together in what was their final performance, I found tears falling from eyes.

It's that same feeling I have watching my kids push themselves on a baseball field or at a swim meet.  It's happiness. It's that feeling that you as a parent, or a mentor did something right.  You got through to that kid in some way, and now, they are demonstrating their ability to achieve greatness right in front of your eyes.

I've been Jack Black.  I think we all have at one point in our lives. It's that glimmer in a kids' eyes when it all comes together in their heads, after weeks of practice and teaching. It's them standing on second base after driving in 2 runs and giving you the thumbs up.  They never hit before, but they decided to listen to you and choke up.  When they did, something big happened and after that boost of confidence, that same kid never looks back... they just keep going.  As a coach, as a parent, as a teacher, there is nothing better.  Not so much for that moment, but for later on when you're walking through town and you hear a "Hey coach!"  You turn around and there's that same kid... happy... now more determined than before... all because of that double and because of what you taught them.

Bleeding Yankee Blue is about inspiration and pushing to the next level just as much as it's about the New York Yankees.  That's why we love stories about the Yankees of yesterday and the prospects that will soon turn into superstars.  All of them, be it Jorge Posada or Ty Hensley have positive role models in their lives to get to the top, regardless of who or what is in their way. They also have it inside them. They want it, more than anyone wanted it in their lives.

I was always taken by a guy like Yogi Berra.  He was small, he wasn't considered the best catcher in the world, but that man won 10 championships and had one of the best runs as a player in baseball history with one of the most important franchises in sports history. He became a leader, because he could and was given a shot by a mentor... a manager named Casey Stengel.

Jorge Posada was the player that many considered "not too athletic", but for a guy that didn't run fast, he sure did come up clutch when he needed to.  Posada is another story about hope and desire and the want to be the best.  I have always looked up to him as a player, even though we are literally the same age.  He may be my peer, but he's an inspiration.  And so is Laura by the way...

We talk a lot about the Posadas because it's evident to me, both Laura and Jorge are perfect for each other.  Their values, their drive is very similar.  They push each other, they inspire so many around them, and it's because of that, that they will raise their children to eventually do the same.

It goes back to the 'School of Rock'.  It's that confidence and inspiration you find in a person, as if to say, "Try it! Because if you succeed... it's the greatest feeling in the world."  When they do take that chance... 9 times out of 10... it IS the great feeling in the world and they want more.

Everyone needs their own 'School of Rock'.  Everyone needs their mountain to climb.  Everyone needs a push once in a while.  Lord knows I needed it in my own life.  Here's the thing though... when I accomplished something big... it stayed with me and I continue to climb mountains each and everyday, for myself and for others.  I'm a teacher, a coach, a mentor and a parent... and while it may be the hardest job in the world, when your son or daughter, or player or student learns from you and 'wins big' as they say... there is no better feeling for them... and definitely for you.

I know... this has nothing to do with the New York Yankees.  It does however offer a glimpse to all of you, about how champions are made.  Make one... you'll never forget that feeling... ever!

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Just when you thought maybe, MAYBE Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela would get a shot at second base... it appears the Yankees just can't get enough.

According to Baseball America, the Yankees are looking at a kid named Hector Olivera.

According to Ben Badler, "...second baseman Hector Olivera is the best Cuban player out there. Olivera is also right up there with Yasiel Puig as one of the most fascinating players to ever leave the island, a mixture of premium talent, performance, health issues, a lack of recent looks and age...

The Yankees re-signed Chase Headley this month to a four-year, $52 million contract, so they’re set at third base. Yet they also have a hole at second base after shipping Martin Prado to the Marlins. The long-term solution could be Moncada, with the Yankees looking like a favorite there having already gone over their 2014-15 bonus pool, owning the deepest pockets in the game and lacking young, impact talent at the upper levels of the system.

There’s no guarantee that Moncada will be a Yankee though, and even if he is, he’s not going to help in 2015, and maybe not in 2016 either. The Yankees could go with Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela at second base, but Olivera would be an upgrade over either player. Yankees international scouting director Donny Rowland has been around long enough to have seen Olivera in his prime, the Yankees haven’t spent much money this offseason and they are certainly a team that’s shown comfort giving big contracts to players in their 30s. If the Yankees want Olivera, he would be a good fit in New York."

(In Photo: Yoan Moncada)
That's right you saw the name Moncada in there. Remember Moncada? Yoan Moncada? The Yankees are apparently "in" on him too.  We wrote about that in  WILL THE YANKEES SNAG CUBAN, YOAN MONCADA?  It was back in November that the Yankees were very interested in him, a Cuban and an infielder, but right now, we still don't know if that's going to happen either.  The best part about Moncada is he's 19.  Olivera is 30.

Here's the reality of Olivera... he's a good pickup if the Yankees can get him and if they can see a showcase and fall in love, he could almost be an immediate 2nd baseman for the Yankees. But that raises the question of Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela.

My question is, why can't the Yankees just play their kids? What's this fascination of going after everyone they read about?

Look, there is no question I would love a "Puig type" player on the New York Yankees... I just don't see the Yankees being serious about these Cuban players.  They always seem to look like the "favorites", just to later on, peter out.

Stay tuned...

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Monday, December 29, 2014


In the Yankees new quest to get younger, things are continuing to happen...

The latest is the Yankees have traded away Shawn Kelley to the San Diego Padres in place of prospect Johnny Barbato.  That comes from Robert Murray:
Jack Curry of YES was in the mix on breaking that news too.  Not sure who got it first, but I talk more about Curry in a moment. He has an important nugget about Barbato.

Anyway, I'm going to sound awful when I say this... but I'm going to say it anyway. I was never a fan of Shawn Kelley.  I liked him, I liked what he had to offer, but I was never blown away by his stuff.  This is a good move.

In return we get a nice prospect named Johnny Barbato.

Barbato is a righty pitcher and he's 22 years old.  According to Hardball Talk, " Barbato saved 16 games in Double-A. He had a smidge better K/BB ratio and a lower ERA. Curry suggests he could need Tommy John surgery. "

You read that right.  Jack Curry of YES tweeted this interesting nugget:
I love Jack Curry. He's simply the best. The Tommy John nugget is something we will definitely watch.

Meanwhile though, we're getting younger ladies and gentlemen. I like younger. It could be the beginning of a new run for us.  Let's see how this plays out.

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Last week, the Marlins traded Nathan Eovaldi to the Yankees, and feelings were mixed. A lot of it had to do with the players that we gave up – David Phelps and Martin Prado. You never want to give up a young pitcher like Phelps, who has potential, but I think the Yankees made a shrewd move here. Eovaldi is a young pitcher at the age of 24, and he has shown signs of real ability to pitch well.

Eovaldi is primarily a fastball pitcher, averaging at 95 mph, though the radar gun has clocked him at 100 on occasion last year. He balances it with an effective slider that averages about 86 mph, which should keep hitters off balance. The question is, with those measurements, why did he get only 142 strikeouts in 199 innings. This will be one of his challenges in development. When you look at his pitch breakdown in 2014, he threw the fastball about 70% of the time. It could be that he has not learned how to mix his pitches well enough to fool hitters. This is something he will need to learn, but can improve with experience. He has his work cut out for him, but most pitchers that learn how to mix a 95 mph fastball and an 86 mph slider do very well. I think there is a lot of upside here.

One of his biggest challenges will be facing left-handed hitters. In 2014, he faced slightly more left-handed hitters than right handed, yet the difference in results is stark. Of the 14 home runs he gave up last year, 10 of them were to left-handed hitters. The OPS of opposing hitters Left vs. Right handed is .768 to .688. Unless he learns how to pitch to lefties, the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium will become his worst enemy.

Still, he manages to keep his time in the game more often than not. Do not let that 6-14 record fool you – that was more a factor of playing for the Marlins than his ability to pitch. Of his 33 starts, 20 of them were quality starts. In fact, of his 20 quality starts, he recorded six losses and eight no-decisions. Put those performances on a competitive team, and you have a legitimate major league starting pitcher.

The numbers do not always predict the future, but the fact that he is able to pitch at his level at the age of 24 tells you that this kid has a lot of potential. Once the Yankees fix their hitting problems, this guy can pay dividends for years to come.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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