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Monday, December 22, 2014

BIG THINGS WILL HAPPEN FOR REFSNYDER & PIRELA


With the signing of Chase Headley, the Yankees not only ensured solid play at the hot corner for the next four seasons, they gave themselves a dependable defensive infield unit for the 2015 season.   As it stands, the third baseman will take the field with Didi Gregorius at shortstop, Mark Teixeira at first and, according to Brian Cashman, Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela will get their shot at second. A competition if you will, read HERE.

People in the organization know that both Refsnyder and Pirela can hit.  In a limited appearance with the big league squad in September, Pirela batted .333.  Refsnyder batted .300 over 77 games at Scranton last year – after hitting .370 over 60 games to start the season at Trenton.  There is little doubt that when they do finally get a full-time role in the Bronx... and they will, trust me, the pair will provide a boost to the Yankees offense.


The questions in regards to both surround fielding.  Refsnyder entered the organization as an outfielder and is still learning second base.  In 2013 his fielding percentage was .943, and last season it rose to .977.  He cut his number of errors from 25 to 12.  He’s getting there.  Prior to Headley’s signing, speculation was that second base was Refsnyder’s in 2015.  In theory, Prado would have to spend the majority of his time at third base, as Alex Rodriguez could no longer be counted on to man that position.  That changed when Headley entered the picture.


Pirela, for the most part, has been bounced between second base and shortstop, and last season saw significant time in the outfield.  It seems that the team is grooming him to be a utility player.  At shortstop, his fielding percentage is quite low - .930 (in 2011 he made 37 errors at short), and at second base he has a pedestrian .972 pct. 
At 24 and 25-years-old, respectively, Refsnyder and Pirela still remain promising prospects for the Yankees (Baseball America ranks Refsnyder 7th in the organization).  The fact that neither may have starting roles in the Bronx this year can only allow them the chance to hone their skills.
Their doors aren’t closing.

There’s actually a good probability that either one, or both, will make the Major League squad. For instance, if the Yanks ended up going with Ref as their primary 2nd baseman, Pirela has displayed decent speed on the base paths (he has stolen 34 bases in 44 attempts over the past two seasons) and would be useful in late innings when we need to generate a run.


Also, keep in mind, Pirela provides the Yankees with a good bat and good base running when the team tries to generate late inning rallies.  He’s had experience at every position except catcher, so he’d be able to handle being inserted wherever Girardi needs him.
It is true, our GM tends to discard or ignore the talent we have in the minor leagues, but I think with Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder that isn’t the case.  2015 will be their stepping stone.
Our future is bright with guys like Refsnyder and Pirela waiting in the wings.  Over the next 3 or 4 seasons, they’ll be paired with other names like Jagielo, Bird, Bichette Jr., Austin, Severino, O’Neill, Clarkin, and Judge to form the new core of success for MLB’s greatest franchise.
Get excited Yankee fans... the youth movement is coming!


    

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


  


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REVISITING EERIE SPECULATION ON DROB

 "I've watched how the Yankees have operated in years past, and I just don't know if a long term deal with DRob is something the Yankees want to do. "  

That was written on these pages, August 8th, 2014. Needless to say, we all kind of knew it was over then, but as a fan, you hold on hoping the Yankees would spend alittle, offer something to a guy like David Robertson.  That didn't happen, and DRob is long gone by now, wearing his black pinstripes in Chicago.


And now we look forward to what happens next with the Yankees pen.  Right now there is Dellin Betances and newly acquired Andrew Miller.  Both are qualified to handle to closing role.  But what are the Yankees thinking?  Who will be the closer?

(In Photo: Mike Stanton)
It's my opinion that they should have had that solid closer with Miller and Betances and almost build their bridge as they did during the dynasty.  Jeff Nelson, Mike Stanton, Graeme Lloyd, Mariano Rivera anyone? It was solid and it was a bridge that kept all hitters on their toes.   We seemed unstoppable back then.  Can we get back to that?

The Yankees were reportedly looking at Jason Grilli at one point. But now, according to the New York Post, they are no longer interested:

"The Yankees have not said they are done adding pieces to a revamped bullpen, but it doesn’t appear veteran reliever Jason Grilli will be joining the cast.

'We talked to Cash [Brian Cashman], and he said ‘not at the moment,’ ’ said his agent, the former slugger Gary Sheffield, when asked if the Yankees were interested in the right-handed Grilli, who has 50 career saves. 

'We will sit back with the offers we have and wait.’ Referencing the 38-year-old Grilli’s ability to pitch in multiple roles, Sheffield is puzzled why the Seton Hall product isn’t in the Yankees’ plans."


It's a good question.  I don't know the answer.  Grilli is no doubt qualified to be the closer for the New York Yankees, but the price has to be right. It's evident the Yankees don't want to spend big either. Or, maybe they are looking to hold onto big money for a guy like James Shields... a starter, and a guy that could definitely help out our rotation, but who really knows... this Yankee off season is a big puzzle.


Many are suggesting that Dellin Betances should be the guy. The next Yankee closer. Well,  I'm going to take another angle on this.


Based on experience in the Bigs, and the Yankee still grooming Betances a bit, I think Andrew Miller should close. Yup, I said it.  Keep Betances where he is... keep him dominant there.  Then, when the 9th inning hits, bring in the lefty to close and shut down the competition. 

Look. Everything happens for a reason, and it all started with David Robertson leaving the Bronx. Now doors open and there are some interesting questions about who gets that closing role.   I say Andrew Miller. Who do you say?

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

THE YANKEES STEP UP BIG

If you live in the Tri-state area, you definitely know about the 2 New York Police officers that were killed while on sitting in their patrol car yesterday.  Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu were shot by Ismaaiyl Brinsley who was 28, who after he shot the officers, shot himself.  He later died.

The act was cowardly. 

Now, the Yankees have stepped in to help the Ramos family who has 2 children.  According to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com:

"The Yankees will pay for the education of slain New York Police Department police officer Rafael Ramos’ sons.."

Liu did not have children.  Although, 1010 Wins reported he was a newlywed, only married 2 months.

The New York Daily News writes:


"For 32 years, Steinbrenner's Yankee Silver Shield Foundation has provided for the education of the children of New York City police officers, firemen and Port Authority employees who died in the line of duty, and will do so for the family of NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, gunned down by a cold-blooded killer Saturday along with his partner, Wenjian Liu..."

People can have negative opinions of the Steinbrenners all they want.  But when you step back and read about kindness like this... I kind of forget about all the other crap.

The Yankees stepped up big for a family in need again.

Prayers for out to the families of Ramos and Liu.  I am so sorry to hear this.

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THE TRADING OF ANOTHER #41


Ever since I saw him pitch in pinstripes in 2012, I was hooked on David Phelps.  I saw him as a breath of fresh air.  There is this youthfulness about him, this air of humble confidence.  He has the professionalism and articulation of a veteran but the freshness of a rookie.  And now he is off to Miami, where it will be hard for me to follow him as he moves through the trajectory of his career. Joe Girardi never really saw him the way we did here at BYB but yet he came in and filled some very big shoes when our ace CC Sabathia went down last season.  Prior to that, Phelps was consistently called upon as a middle relief pitcher.  When we spoke to him earlier in the 2014 season, Phelps was just grateful to be a Yankee, wanting to add value.  He provided much needed support and newness to an aging Yankee team and he respected and admired his veteran teammates Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.


When I was younger, I watched another #41 right-hand pitcher be traded from the other New York team to the Cincinnati Reds.  It is a day that broke my heart, much like Friday, December 19th.  "On June 15, 1977, the Mets sent Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman. In a coincidence, the Reds are in New York this weekend to play the Mets. The so-called midnight massacre, which occurred on a Wednesday, was to many fans the darkest day in club history," stated a 2012 article in the New York Times commemorating the 35th anniversary of the unthinkable event.

Tom Terrific was the Mets franchise player and in a blink of an eye, without anyone knowing or expecting it, he was gone.  Much like Phelps, who we reached out to for a comment or word about the unexpected trade to Miami, but have not heard back from him just yet.  Perhaps when the dust settles and he settles his young family perhaps in a new area of the country we will hear from him. 


I know I am down as this was a blow to me as a fan of the Yankees and of David Phelps.  But I just can't help it.  I interviewed him just five months ago almost to the date of the trade and it just isn't sitting well with me.  One of the things he said in that interview stays with me:
BYB: In your post game interviews and such, like the one you gave in Kansas City when you said you were the worst kind of teammate, you get down on yourself for giving up runs or hits , or letting your teammates down- how do you rebound? I mean, how do you stay focused or can you stay focused in a game that seemingly is not going your way. How can you just remove the anxiety and just go pitch?

David Phelps: One of the toughest things in this game is consistency. And one of the hardest things is to go out there and find a way to get better. That’s the challenge for each of one of us players. You just can’t be satisfied with what you did today. You have to go out tomorrow and be better, even if it’s just one little thing. A bad outing makes you stronger. You mention the Kansas City game, and they went out there and put up three and I go back out and give up four. You have to go back out there and shut them out the next inning. That’s how you win ball games. 


This is the level of professionalism and promise we gave up to Miami.  And you know what, it just wasn't worth it in my eyes.  It really wasn't.  We wish you and your family well, David Phelps.  We are grateful for your two years of service to us here in the Bronx and we hope you will continue to grow and evolve as a pitcher, perhaps in the starting rotation for the Marlins.

Good luck and God Speed, my friend.



--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @suzieprof





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BYB, FAMILY & THE HENSLEYS


You guys all know how important it is to have a solid foundation in your life, right? That's why you read BYB. You understand we love the idea of family here. It's that support system that helps nurture and provide confidence in our children, in our spouses, in our lives.  It's not a religious thing, although, you can go there if you'd like... The truth is, it's a life thing and it's damn important.

That picture above is of Marci Hensley, Ty Hensley's mom and a terrific person.  She and her husband Mike appear to be incredibly parents. I say that because from what I can tell, Ty and Jake Hensley work their tails off to be the best, not just in sports, but as human beings.


This is Ty Hensley in 2013 rehabbing from injury. He's with his teammates. Since the day we first interviewed him in 2012 (Read EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: TY HENSLEY: YANKEES 1ST ROUND PICK), we've always been in touch.



We were there when he was signed.  We were there when he was hurt.  We were there when he was on the mound in Staten Island this past year.   We believe in this kid, but it's goes further than baseball. We believe in him because we see the drive in this kid. We see respect in this kid.  Respect for the game, but respect for others.

I will never forget when Ty asked if he could thank the Bleeding Yankee Blue readers. It was the equivalent of a Thank you note in cyber space. TY HENSLEY THANKS THE BYB READERS was published in January 2013. In that note, he wrote:

"I just wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate the support you have shown me, my family, and now a cause I believe in.  I can't tell you how much my life has changed since the night of June 4th.  There have been big highs and big lows and I don't even have full season under my belt yet!    I had no idea what uniform I was going to get to wear, but I don't believe in accidents, I believe in purpose.  It is on purpose I am in pinstripes  and from day one BYB has made me feel like a real Yankee,  and part of something bigger than myself."

You know why I'm impressed? Simple. It's just good manners. It's basic life skills.  As you know, being on Facebook or Twitter, people need to learn a thing or two about that.

I teach my kids the same values Marci and Mike teach their children.  When you see it outside your circle, you recognize strong young individuals with determination and focus.  That's why I've always been drawn to the Hensleys, to the Sabathias, the Posadas.  The values all ring true and are very, very similar to mine and how I raise my own children.

I was once asked by Greedy Pinstripes about our interviews at BYB (Read YUP, I WAS ACTUALLY INTERVIEWED).  This is that exchange:
TGP: Who do you think has been your favorite interview while on BYB?
 
Casey: I would love to give you 1 interview that was my favorite, but you have to understand something, it’s not an interview… it’s a courting.  I am personally invested in meeting these people, learning about them and wanting others the hear things they’ve never heard before, you know what I mean?
This is true. I like learning about how people tick.  I've learned how many tick, how their lifestyles are and appreciate them all very much.  Throw the Hensleys in that category. They're top notch.

What's this all about? Respect. Friendship. Kindness. Ambition. Drive.
All of the above.

It's the holiday season.  It's the last kick off before Christmas. I saw more disrespect in the stores than I ever did on Saturday, but I noticed something else.  I saw a ton of respect.  I saw a kid around 12 years old hold a door open for an elderly woman.  Unfortunately I also saw a man about 30 with his headphones on cut in front of her on the way into the door. 

Be aware. Be respectful.  Teach your children right.  Understand kindness.

(In Photo: Ty Hensley as a kid)
It all goes back to that kid from Oklahoma.  A little kid with a big dream. A little kid that was raised right. You can't make that up.  At any point Ty Hensley could have packed it in. "I don't want to work to get better, I'm tired."  He could have said that during surgery... he didn't.  He jumped hurdles to make it to Staten Island.


What's next for Ty? His next step... and one day the RiverDogs and then Scranton.  And soon enough... standing on the mound at Yankee Stadium.  Those are big dreams and if you believe you can... well, then you can do anything. And that's being raised to have drive and determination.  That's a testament to Marci and Mike... and it's nice to see.

I leave you with this. Something very touching.  I wrote COMING BACK STRONGER about my own son's ordeal with a recent injury and now recovery... unrelated to baseball, but directly affecting his ability to play.  In it, I wrote:

"Months later, the (bone) chip was removed.  After rehab, and a long break, my son has the itch again, but you know 12 year olds,  they think they can just pick up where they left off after 1 workout.  He quickly learned that wasn't the case.
 
'How'd you do today?' I asked him after his return.  'I sucked,' He said.  He was depressed.  'Don't worry, it's December, not April. Plenty of time.'  He nodded and went up to change."

Ty wrote me on Twitter shortly after that article's release:
Stand guy guy.

I tip my cap to the Hensleys.  In fact, I tip my cap to all that believe in kindness, in determination, drive, ambition and just wanting what's right for you and your family.  Shoot for the stars.  Never give up.  Grind it...

and be a nice person.  It's the right thing to do always, but especially during the holiday season.

Love you guys. Thanks.

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

A "YANKS TO RELEASE AROD" STORY WITH ZERO DEPTH


I have no beef with David Lariviere of Forbes.  In fact, I don't even know the guy.  I'm deeply confused by his story though.  It's about Alex Rodriguez and of course, when I see the name, that peaks my interest.  Usually it's a post blasting him, or defending him in some demented way.  But it was none of that. 

Laeiviere's article was titled Yankees Appear Ready To Release Alex Rodriguez By Memorial Day. I thought, "Clearly he writes for Forbes. The guy's got some clout." Then I read the article, and realized in it's closing... "I want my freaking money back!"


Lariviere fooled me, and probably you with that headline.  For Forbes to put their name on it, makes them equally irresponsible.  What were they thinking? There isn't anything in this article at all that steers the reader in the direction that the Yankees are dumping ARod by Memorial day. It's a weak speculation.  No background, no nothing.  Again... I felt robbed.

Here's what David wrote...


"With every move they have made this offseason it’s clear the New York Yankees are preparing for the early jettison of Alex Rodriguez from their roster in 2015. The signing of Chase Headley to a four-year contract left him without a position in the field and the acquisition of lefty slugger Garrett Jones as a possible DH Friday further takes away potential at-bats for A-Rod."

OK.  It's a guess... maybe even a "squeeze" like I speculated a few days ago in THE AROD SQUEEZE.  Here's the difference. It was clear that my piece was speculation.  There is nothing to suggest that sort of thing in Lariviere's piece.  Here's more...

"It makes you wonder if the Yankees really expect – or want – Rodriguez, who’ll turn 40 in July, to play for them at all. It’s almost as if they are giving him a good-faith gesture in allowing him an opportunity to show he can still hit after a year-long suspension for PEDs. However, if he’s hitting .220 with a homer and 10 RBI in the middle of May, the real plan is to hand him his walking papers by Memorial Day and eat the remaining $60 million or so on his contract which runs through 2017."


Wait. What?? EAT $60 MILLION? Really? The Yankees, who are hanging onto every dollar these days, not willing to spend on top pitcher Max Scherzer, are just gonna EAT $60 MILLION?  Based on what, that ARod has an imaginary .220 average and 1 home run? I don't get it. I mean, I REALLY DON'T GET IT?

As you know, I'm no ARod fan, but I have written extensively on ARod, the Yankees and common sense when it comes to the guy.  I feel like he was unfairly treated for his actions involving PEDs when others skated.  That's based on opinion.  I've written that being an ARod fan shouldn't be a crime and I also believe that if the Yankees could get back something, ANYTHING on their ARod investment, at least they can say they tried.  For the record, I think Alex will contribute alittle bit better than 1 homerun by May, but that's just me.  We're talking about an ego driven ballplayer who wants to prove to the world that he can do it.  I have a sneaking suspicion he'll be OK.


But dumping ARod and EATING $60 million dollars doesn't even make good business sense. I would have made more sense to dump Carl Pavano in his 3rd year than Alex at this point. 

Bottom line, I try to read everything and I try to keep an opened mind, but this Forbes piece misses the mark and was literally empty.  Trust me, if the Yankees did dump Alex, I'm sure it would be helpful in many ways, but as Steve Skinner wrote in FINALLY, THE YANKEES MADE A MOVE FOR NOW & THE FUTURE, "Garrett Jones is an insurance policy.  The 33-year-old is primarily a first baseman, but also has experience in the outfield.  He has decent power (he has hit 15 or more HR in six straight seasons) and carries a career average of .253. "  


Slightly different from Lariviere's piece, huh? He suggests Jones would take at bats away from Alex.  We're suggesting Jones insurance.  Much smarter hypothesis. Why? Because the Yanks have a helluva lot of money tied up in Carlos and ARod. Quite simply, they'll get at-bats first. I have a strange feeling that Jones will get less at bats than Beltran, and less than ARod too.  That's my opinion of course... see what I did there?

All I'm saying is there's a whole lot of guesses going on, and no way for the reader to truly grasp what the real story is in that Forbes magazine piece.  If you're going to headline titled: Yankees Appear Ready To Release Alex Rodriguez By Memorial Day, you better have the plan mapped out rather than leave the reader with nothing, don't you think?

Look, BYB is not the all mighty. We do however try to bring you honest and fair information.  And yes, we also like to give opinion... but when we do, we walk you through it...

We will NOT leave you hanging.

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