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MLB Team Profiles: Florida Marlins
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Florida Marlins

2005 Record: .512 (83-79), 3rd place in NL East

2004 Record: .512 (83-79)

Who’s Out: A.J. Burnett (P), Jeff Conine (OF), Damion Easley (SS), Juan Encarnacion (OF), Alex Gonzalez (SS), Todd Jones (P), Paul Quantrill (P), Paul Lo Duca (C), Carlos Delgado (1B), Ron Villone (P), Juan Pierre (OF), Luis Castillo (2B)

Who’s In: Alfredo Amezaga (SS), Joe Borowski (P), Wes Helms (3B), Miguel Olivo (C), Mike Jacobs (1B), Reggie Abercrombie (OF), Randy Messenger (P), Scott Tyler (P), Renyel Pinto (P), Franklyn German (P)

Notes: For the second time in a decade the Marlins all but gutted their team, sending off big namers like Delgado, Encarnacion and Castillo in favor of cheap young blood and cash savings. The Marlins are looking toward the future and are spending their time breeding their future stars—kids that, with any luck, will be playing for the Marlins in a different city and new stadium a few years from now. Aside from rookies like Mike Jacobs and Reggie Abercrombie, the Marlins have also secured some of the top potential stars from the draft pool: last June they drafted eight of the top 96 high school and college players. No one expects the Marlins to have a repeat of either of their World Series seasons this year (least of all the Marlins themselves), but if they do a good job training their young players they could realistically have an incredible team in just a few short years.



Next Up: NY Mets

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, April 30, 2006   0 comments
How Do The Yankees Compare to MLB Leaders?
Thursday, April 27, 2006
We're almost a month into the 2006 season, and I thought it'd be interesting to see how the Yanks are doing compared to the league leaders:

Batting Leaders
Category MLB Leader Yankees Leader
Hits M. Tejada (Bal), 37 D. Jeter, 28
Doubles M. Young (Tex), 10 J. Damon, 8
Triples S. Finley (SF), 3 D. Jeter, 2
Home Runs A. Pujols (STL), 12 J. Giambi, 7
RBIs A. Pujols (STL), 29 J. Giambi, 20
Walks B. Bonds (SF), 24 J. Giambi, 22
Stolen Bases J. Reyes (NYM), 10 J. Damon, 5
OBP J. Giambi (NYY), .553 J. Giambi, .553
Slugging % A. Pujols (STL), .929 J. Giambi, .840
Batting Average M. Tejada (Bal), .425 D. Jeter, .384
Pitching Leaders
Category MLB Leader Yankees Leader
Wins Several Tied with 4 incl. B. Arroyo (Cin) and G. Maddux (CHC) M. Mussina and R. Johnson, 3
ERA G. Maddux (CHC), .99 M. Mussina, 2.45
Saves J. Papelbon (Bos), 9 M. Rivera, 2
Innings Pitched B. Webb (Ari), 36.2 M. Mussina, 33.0
Earned Runs Allowed C. Silva (Min), 25 C. Wang, 25
Home Runs Allowed L. Hernandez (WSH), 9 R. Johnson, 4
Walks Allowed D. Cabrera (Bal), 22 C. Wang, 10
Strikeouts O. Hernandez (Ari), 35 M. Mussina, 30


The Yanks' average may not reflect their talent, but it is reassuring to see that the Bombers are actually performing quite well. I've said it before and I'll say it again: with this lineup, there is no reason that the Yanks shouldn't cruise to the playoffs. Let's chalk our current win-loss-win-loss pattern up to early season adjustments and set our sights on October!

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Thursday, April 27, 2006   3 comments
More Pinstriped Years for Mike Mussina?
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
This year marks the end of Moose’s $88.5 million contract with the Yankees, and he’s had quite a run since joining the team in 2001. His first 5 seasons in the Bronx were winning seasons, despite recurrent elbow pain that slowed him down considerably in the past couple of years, and he has impressed batters and coaches with his ability to master new pitches as he ages. His elbow healed, Mike has been nothing if not dominate in 2006. In 3 starts he boasts a 2.67 ERA and has allowed just 8 runs in 27 innings pitched; he is averaging less than a hit per inning. By all accounts, his pitching has slowed down considerably over the years, but Mussina has an arsenal of available pitches that don’t rely on speed with which to trip up batters.

The question that will beseech the Yankees as they watch Mike’s performance this year is whether to keep him around next year, when he'll be 38. The Yanks have the option of picking up a $17 million option on Moose’s contract after this season, but it is considered to be highly unlikely that they would go that route. Mussina recently said that while he would like to keep pitching for a few more years, it “wouldn’t be worth the effort” to pitch anywhere but the Bronx. Mussina has continually expressed his desire to stay in New York, and it’s possible that the Yanks could offer him a deal at a reduced rate. Joe Torre appreciates Mussina’s adaptability and mentioned that such a trait could allow him to pitch for several more years—whether or not Torre thinks Mike could still be an asset to New York will be determined by his performance throughout the season.

posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, April 25, 2006   2 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins

2005 Record: .512 (83-79), 3rd place in AL Central

2004 Record: .568 (92-70), AL Central Division Champ

Who’s Out: Bret Boone (2B), Jacque Jones (OF), Matthew LeCroy (1B), Joe Mays (P), JC Romero (P)

Who’s In: Tony Batista (3B), Ruben Sierra (OF/DH), Rondell White (OF), Luis Castillo (2B)

Notes: The Twins made very few moves during the off-season, and I have a feeling that their record will reflect that. They have a solid team, there’s no doubt about that (the addition of Batista and Castillo can’t hurt), but it is unlikely that they will be able to surpass division rivals Cleveland or Chicago. The Twins’ offense has the potential to be dominating, and their defense is tight, but their pitching staff has not been able to pull together to shut out opposing batters (despite their obvious talent). Minnesota will finish 2006 a few games behind Cleveland again, and will probably rue the day they lost power-hitting Jones and relief-master Romero.


Next Up: Florida Marlins

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, April 25, 2006   0 comments
MLB Team Profiles: San Diego Padres
Monday, April 24, 2006
San Diego Padres

2005 Record: .506 (82-80), NL West Division Champs

2004 Record: .537 (87-75)

Who’s Out: Xavier Nady (OF/INF), Ramon Hernandez (C), Robert Fick (C), Chris Hammond (P), Damian Jackson (2B), Joe Randa (3B), Mark Sweeny (1B), Rudy Seanez (P), Akinori Otsuka (P), Adam Eaton (P)

Who’s In: Mike Cameron (OF), Mike Piazza (C), Geoff Blum (INF), Mark Bellhorn (3B), Doug Brocail (P), Alan Embree (P), Shawn Estes (P), Terrmel Sledge (OF), Chris Young (P), Adrian Gonzalez (1B), Scott Cassidy (P), Clay Hensley (P), Josh Barfield (INF), Ben Johnson (OF)

Notes: Last year the Padres won their division based on their opponents’ weakness. They had a decent team and were able to cruise into the playoffs, but once there it was clear that they were severely outmatched. This year, though, the Friars are prepared to beat not only their NL West compadres but the rest of the NL. They locked up closer extraordinaire Trevor Hoffman and brought defensive star Mike Cameron over from New York this winter, and they’ve brought up some young stars from the minors to fill out the roster. Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Barfield and Ben Johnson have made a big impact on the team, and there’s nothing better than a young core to carry you to the post-season.



Next Up: Minnesota Twins

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, April 24, 2006   0 comments
Forbes Publicizes Worth of MLB Teams; Yankees On Top
Friday, April 21, 2006

The quintessential money publication has published their annual appraisal of MLB teams, and values are up all over the league. The average value of an MLB franchise is now $376, with the Devil Rays at the bottom of the list—they’re currently worth $209 million—and the Yankees at the top, worth just over a billion. The Red Sox and Mets follow the Yanks with values of $617 million and $604 million, respectively, and the next-most valuable team is the Dodgers at $448 million.

It is not surprising that the Yankees are worth so much more than other teams in the league; they have a dramatic history and employ some of the most popular players. What is interesting is how much the Yankees affect the income of other teams. Revenue sharing, a league rule that requires the richest teams to pay out a percentage of their net revenue to help the poorer teams be competitive, serves as a way to level the playing field—not completely (or even close), but enough to allow the smaller-market teams a chance to make a big trade move or entice free agents. Last year alone, the Yankees paid out $77 million towards the revenue sharing system, a big part of the reason that teams like the Royals and the Twins increased in value by more than 20% this year. In addition to the revenue sharing, all MLB merchandise sales profits are distributed equally among the 30 teams, despite the fact that 27% of the sales are for Yankees merchandise. The Yanks are also responsible for boosting attendance when they’re on the road; ticket sales can increase by as much as 25% for the home team when the Bombers are in town.

The MLB has become an incredible stronghold of wealth, and it is clear that the wealth is dispersed incredibly unevenly between the teams. Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets will probably always be at the top of the money spectrum, but the effects of revenue sharing, new stadiums, team moves and the like on the other 20 or so teams will be exciting to see pan out. After all, who isn’t secretly hoping that the Rays will move to Vegas, build a tremendous stadium and surge up the value list?



The full article and list can be read here

posted by Yankees Chick @ Friday, April 21, 2006   1 comments
Yankees on the Farm: Minor League Report
Monday, April 17, 2006
The Bombers are back at .500 after Sunday’s crushing of the Twins in Minnesota, and as long as the pitching holds up they should have no trouble continuing to win. Small will be off the DL and supplying his talents to the bullpen next month, and Dotel will join him in June. Johnson and Mussina are pitching like their old selves thus far, and Chacon and Wang have proved steady as well. Wright and Pavano are sucking up payroll without giving much in return, but I’m optimistic that the Yankees’ remaining pitching and impressive offense will be able to compensate with little trouble. They’re heading to Toronto this week, and then they’ll be back in the Bronx for series against Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Toronto, hopefully bringing their game up before heading to Fenway to battle the Sox.

The season is underway in the minor leagues, as well, and the Yankees’ clubs around the minors are all over the board. Here are the latest happenings on the farm:


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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, April 17, 2006   0 comments
Dear Johnny Damon: I'm Supposed to Hate You
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Ever since Johnny Demon signed up with the BoSox in 2002, I have all but despised him. His unemployment-poster-boy beard frustrated me (make an effort!), and his long Pantene Pro-V hair made me nauseous (it’s not a beauty contest!). I hated it when sportscasters compared Damon’s “popularity” and “leadership” to Jeter’s. I rooted against him each time he came up to bat, whether he was against the Yankees or the Royals. Every base he stole made me cringe; every double he hit was like a reminder for me to stay away from SportsCenter and the accompanying Damon praise.

Towards the end of the 2005 season, when the Yanks’ centerfield options were being seriously discussed, I pushed Demon out of mind. I found the idea of the Red Sox Golden Boy playing in the Bronx preposterous, and I was sure that the Yankees powers that be would feel the same way. There were Brian Giles and Juan Pierre to be discussed, and anyway, Damon had made a public declaration of his loyalty and desire to stay in Boston. I thought I was safe.

Even after the ink on the deal bringing Damon to NY was dry, I continued to hate him. I was actually half hoping he would fail, just so I could laugh in the faces of everyone who thought he would be key to the Yankees’ success. I looked forward to the day that Torre would have to bench Damon and Bernie would trot out to his rightful place in centerfield.

Now, though, just two weeks into the season, I find myself harboring a different feeling towards ol’ “Demon”. New York reporters have had nothing but good things to say about him; his attitude is positive and he is purportedly a great teammate. His relationship with Giambi is rather endearing, and his teammates—old and new—have remarked on his work ethic. I also appreciate his rapport with the fans: he is gracious, patient and generous.

There’s also his performance. He’s had 12 hits in the first 9 games, 5 of them were doubles and 1 (today) was a homer. He’s stolen a base and walked 5 times, and his weak throwing arm hasn’t even been an issue yet. His beard and hair are both looking better, so it’s not painful to watch him play anymore.

I’m definitely warming up to him, and I’m doing my best to burn the images of him in a Red Sox uniform out of my mind. It gets easier with every double he hits and with every wayward bat he lets a fan hang on to. I wouldn’t buy myself a Damon jersey quite yet, but give me a month. I have a feeling he’s going to make me want one.

"I like to make an impression."

posted by Yankees Chick @ Thursday, April 13, 2006   5 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Washington Nationals
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Washington Nationals

2005 Record: .500 (81-81), last place in NL East

2004 Record: .414 (67-95) [in Montreal]

Who’s Out: Gary Bennett (C), Hector Carrasco (P), Deivi Cruz (2B), Esteban Loaiza (P), Junior Spivey (2B), Preston Wilson (CF), Brad Wilkerson (OF, 1B), Vinny Castilla (3B), Terrmel Sledge (OF)

Who’s In: Marlon Anderson (2B), Robert Fick (C), Damian Jackson (2B), Matthew LeCroy (INF), Ramon Ortiz (P), Felix Rodriguez (P), Mike Stanton (P), Michael Tucker (P), Alfonso Soriano (2B), Brian Lawrence (P), Royce Clayton (1B)

Notes: The Nationals had a roller coaster year in 2005. They packed up and moved from the Great White North down to D.C. before the season began and had the tough goal of establishing themselves in a new city and as a contender in the cutthroat NL East. They had a great first half, inexplicably followed by an abysmal second half of the season and finished 2005 right at 2005. This year, the Nats intend on being more stable and have added some big names to their roster (despite their low payroll) in Lawrence, LeCroy, and Soriano (who is doing quite well in left field in spite of his fussing). They also offered extended contracts to veterans like Nick Johnson, Tony Armas, and Brian Schneider.

The Nationals actually look pretty good this year, but they have a lot of obstacles to overcome before they will really be a threat. They would benefit from a new stadium and increased payroll—and an owner!



Next Up: San Diego Padres

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, April 12, 2006   2 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee Brewers

2005 Record: .500 (81-81), 3rd place in NL Central

2004 Record: .416 (67-84)

Who’s Out: Wes Helms (3B), Chad Moeller (C), Julio Santana (P), Gary Glover (P), Lyle Overbay (1B), Russ Branyan (INF)

Who’s In: Corey Koskie (3B), Dave Bush (P), Zack Jackson (P), Brent Abernathy (3B), Brian Dallimore (INF), Gabe Gross (OF)

Notes: Last year’s .500 record was the Brewer’s first non-losing season since 1992, and they are in no hurry to go back to the losing side of the fence. They are hoping to improve on their 2005 record, and will be wearing their 1987 jerseys (they had a winning season that year) every Sunday, perhaps in hopes that the jersey will rekindle some sort of winning spirit in the players. They have their eye on the future and have a good group of potential stars developing in the minors; they also made some trades for young players like Gross and added power with Koskie. The Brewers’ pitching is where they’ll shine, though: when Ben Sheets is healthy he is completely dominating, Chris Capuano had 18 wins last year, and Doug Davis has been steady. In the bullpen they have De La Rosa and Turnbrow, as well as Cappellan, their 24-year-old reliever.

As I see it, the Brewers are a winning team no matter what their record. They are the only team in the majors (or any sport, as far as I know) that has a giant slide in the outfield for their mascot to slide down in the event of a home run, and they should be proud of that.



Up Next: Washington Nationals

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, April 12, 2006   1 comments
Yankees Injury Report
The Bombers started the season short a few pitchers, and although the season has been going moderately well so far, the return of these men could provide the added security the Yanks need to hop on the win train.

Aaron Small: Small strained his right hamstring back in spring training and was placed on the 15-day DL on March 24th. He has been participating in throwing and pitching drills and could pitch in a minor league game as early as this weekend. He is expected to return soon—“mid April”—and new pick-up Koyie Hill will likely be placed back on waivers to make room on the roster for Smally.

Carl Pavano: In addition to being plagued by familiar back problems, Pavano strained his buttocks (hmm…) while making a play at first at the end of March. The original estimate for his return was April 28th, but that appears to be wishful thinking. He is currently only able to play catch, and only on flat ground. Don’t expect Pavano to make any starts in April, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the end of May before he steps on the mound.

Octavio Dotel: His recovery from last year’s Tommy John surgery on his right elbow is going smoothly, and he has been rehabbing by throwing pitches from halfway between the plate and the mound. He is optimistic that he will be ready to return as soon as the end of April, but the Yanks will probably play it safe and wait until the end of May. Once he returns, Torre and Guidry would like to use him in the 7th and 8th innings as a set-up man for Mo.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, April 12, 2006   0 comments
Mussina and the Unit Give the Yankees Some Pitching Confidence
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The Yanks may be heading into the second week of the season with a losing record, but the Bombers won’t be down for long. Despite having trouble scoring runs after the blowout against the A’s on opening day, no one had any doubts that A-Rod, Jeter and the rest of the crew would be smacking hits before long. A bit of a slump in offense is certainly not desirable, but it was the uncertainty of the Yanks’ pitching that had the Yankees Chick biting her nails last week.

I’ve previously mentioned my insecurities about having the Yankees rely on an old man, an aging guy who has lost his fastball, and two guys more injury-prone than a brittle-boned rugby player to hold their competitors at bay, and I’ll probably continue to feel that way until all of them have World Series rings on their fingers. This week, though, I was quite pleased with both Mussina’s and Randy Johnson’s outings. The Unit pitched brilliantly in his opening day win, and he did nearly as well yesterday despite earning the loss. He is hoping to have a 20-win season, and as long as he gets the run support we know the offense can supply, he should surely be able to accomplish his goal. For his part, Mussina allowed 3 runs in seven innings in his first start of the season and just 1 in today’s beatdown in Anaheim. He doesn’t have the velocity he once had, but Moose has always been known for the impressive arsenal of pitches he has mastered and he can still get the best of a batter with one of his many available pitches.

So Pavano and Wright may struggle with injuries, and Chacon may need some time to adjust, but it’s good to know that our veterans still have the goods to lead the Yanks to the post-season.

posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, April 09, 2006   1 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays

2005 Record: .494 (80-82), 3rd place in AL East

2004 Record: .416 (67-94)

Who’s Out: Corey Koskie (3B), Orlando Hudson (2B)

Who’s In: A.J. Burnett (P), Bengie Molina (C), B.J. Ryan (P), Jason Phillips (C), Brian Wolfe (P), Troy Glaus (3B), Lyle Overbay (1B)

Notes: Toronto spent a lot of money this off-season (owners Rogers Communications Inc. increased payroll by $210 million over the next three seasons), and they’re hoping that 2006 will be the year that the Jays make their presence known again in the AL East. The pitching staff, both the starting rotation and the bullpen, is loaded with talent new and old. They also added run-scoring power at the plate with Overbay and Glaus, and of course they still have Hillenbrand’s and Wells’ longball bats.

The Jays have put together an impressive team with the increased payroll, but one area that could prove to be an issue is their infield defense. After losing Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson in the Glaus deal, last year’s third baseman Aaron Hill will be moving to the second base post and whether the transition will be a smooth one remains to be seen. Shortstop Russ Adams committed 26 errors last season, and new third baseman Glaus is a career .945 fielder. Burnett, Roy Halladay and Josh Towers all tend to be ground-ball pitchers, so the infield defense—or lack thereof—could cause some trouble.

Regardless of any potential defensive problems, the Blue Jays look good for 2006. Luckily for them, Boston is in a rebuilding phase, giving the Jays the perfect opportunity to make a run for the playoffs.


Next up: Milwaukee Brewers

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, April 09, 2006   3 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Chicago Cubs
Friday, April 07, 2006
Chicago Cubs

2005 Record: .488 (79-83), 4th place in NL Central

2004 Record: .549 (89-73)

Who’s Out: Jeromy Burnitz (OF), Nomar Garciaparra (INF), Chad Fox (P), Corey Patterson (OF), Todd Wellemeyer (P)

Who’s In: Scott Eyre (P), Bob Howry (P), Jacque Jones (OF), John Mabry (OF), Wade Miller (P), Nate Spears (INF), Carlos Perez (P), Lincoln Holdzkom (P), Zach McCormack (P)

Notes: The Cubs made an effort to improve this winter, but I honestly don’t anticipate much increase in wins or runs scored. Jones and Pierre are both good players, but neither is a huge upgrade over Burnitz. Eyre and Howry are good additions to the bullpen, which was lacking quite a bit last year (save for Dempster, I suppose), but the starting rotation is shaky at best. Prior, Wood, and Miller will all be out for most of April (if not more) on account of various injuries, and Zambrano simply can’t carry the team alone.


Next up: Toronto Blue Jays

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Friday, April 07, 2006   0 comments
Yankees Looking Sharp, but Pitching is Still a Question Mark
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
There’s no question that the 2006 Yankees’ roster is more intimidating and tight than in any time in the recent past. The lineup offers no easy outs for opposing pitchers, and all of the position players finally seem at home at their posts. The first two games of the season went off without a hitch; it really looks like this year might really be their year.

Of course, there is always a “but”. In this case, the “but” is the Yankees rotation. Like last year, the starting rotation looks good in print: Randy Johnson, Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, Mike Mussina, Shawn Chacon. Sadly, like a beautiful vapid model, this pitching rotation doesn’t have much substance to back up the surface good looks. The pitching staff is riddled with problems, from Wright’s and Pavano’s propensity towards poorly-timed injuries to Mussina’s relative instability, not to mention the fact that we have yet to see how Chacon will perform over the course of a full season with the Yanks.

Luckily for the Yankees, with a batting lineup like they have this year even average pitching will do. This is not to say, however, that the Yanks should settle for the hurlers they have now. It would truly behoove them to add a solid starter to their roster. Clemens is one obvious semi-option (I say “semi” because it will be up to Clemens to decide whether to even consider the Yankees), but my personal vision for the Yankees is a pinstriped Barry Zito. He has communicated his interest in possibly moving to the Bronx after his contract is up this year, but why not make a push for him this season?

The bottom line is that the Yankees have a nearly impeccable squad this year. Their chances of making it to October are high, but a bolstered starting rotation would make them the team to beat.

posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, April 05, 2006   0 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers

2005 Record: .488 (79-83), 3rd place in AL West

2004 Record: .549 (89-73)

Who’s Out: Sandy Alomar (C), Doug Brocail (P), Kenny Rogers (P), Gerg Colbrunn (1B), Alfonso Soriano (2B), Freddie Bynum (INF), David Dellucci (OF)

Who's In: Kevin Millwood (P), Brad Wilkerson (OF), Termel Sledge (OF), Armando Galarraga (P), John Koronka (P), Robinson Tejeda (P), Akinori Otsuka (P), Adam Eaton (P)

Notes:
Pitching instabilities have been the bane of the Rangers’ existence for the past several years, and the focus of their off-season moves has been to create some consistency in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. Otsuka has a good track record as a setup reliever, and since the concerns over closer Cordero’s shoulder waned after it proved to be healthy and strong during spring training, the 8-9 relief looks very solid. Adam Eaton was slated to lead the starting rotation, but had to be placed on the 15-day DL with a strained right middle finger (was ex-Ranger Kenny Rogers give him some tips on what he could do with that finger?). The Rangers had picked up former Indians righty Kevin Millwood earlier this year, and with the loss of Eaton they made some quick trades in order to acquire former Cubs lefty John Koronka just before opening day. The club is still crossing their fingers in hopes that Roger Clemens will join the team later in the season; if the Rocket gets on board the Rangers have a good chance of winning their division.


Next Up: Chicago Cubs

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, April 05, 2006   0 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Arizona Diamondbacks
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Arizona Diamondbacks

2005 Record: .475 (77-85), 2nd place in NL West

2004 Record: .315 (51-111)

Who’s Out: Javier Vazquez (P), Lance Cormier (P), Oscar Villareal (P), Troy Glaus (3B), Sergio Santos (SS), Jason Bulger (P), Brad Halsey (P), Royce Clayton (SS), Shawn Estes (P), Kelly Stinnett (C), Tim Worrell, Buddy Groom (P)

Who’s In: Orlando Hernandez (P), Johnny Estrada (C), Damion Easley (INF), Jason Grimsley (P), Miguel Batista (P), Orlando Hudson (2B), Eric Byrnes (OF), Jeff DaVanon (OF), Alberto Callaspo (INF)

Notes: The Diamondbacks are in a rebuilding phase. They’re not pushing to win the pennant (much less the World Series) this year, but they made some valuable moves this winter and they have several young kids ripening in the minors. The good thing for the D-backs is that the NL West is definitely the place to be during a rebuilding year. They are a part of a very weak division, and there is always the chance that they could surge ahead of the Padres or the Dodgers—especially if the Dodgers’ core ends up on the DL again.


Next Up: Texas Rangers

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, April 04, 2006   0 comments
The Season Starts Sans Clemens
For the first time in over twenty years, Roger Clemens spent opening day in the stands rather than in the dugout. Clemens took in the Rangers’ home opener against the Red Sox yesterday, where he sat with his wife and Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks. The Rangers are, of course, one of four teams hoping to woo Clemens into spending at least the latter half of the season pitching for his team.

The Astros, Rangers, Red Sox, and Yankees are all still interested in the Rocket, but he is still holding fast on his retirement stance. His agent Randy Hendricks has said that he and Clemens have set an unofficial deadline of the end of July to decide which—if any—team the Rocket will grace with his presence.

I still have my doubts about Clemens’ future. Despite what he may say about wanting to relax now, I have a feeling that another month or two of watching games from the stands will spark some familiar urges and Roger will be yearning for the mound once again. Where he ends up will depend on the standings in July, as I anticipate that if Clemens makes a comeback it will be for one thing: a World Series ring.

posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, April 04, 2006   0 comments
MLB Team Profiles: San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants

2005 Record: .463 (75-87), 3rd place in NL West

2004 Record: .562 (91-71)

Who's Out: LaTroy Hawkins (P), Edgardo Alfonzo (INF), Scott Eyre (P), J.T. Snow (1B), Brett Tomko (P)

Who's In: Steve Kline (P), Mark Sweeny (INF/OF), Matt Morris (P), Steve Finley (OF), Jose Vizcaino (1B)

Notes: Barry Bonds’ absence in 2005—due to his “knee injury”—caused a lot of problems for the Giants, but now that he is back to attack they will likely have even more obstacles to contend with. Regardless of how many times Bonds and his teammates claim that the constant booing and media pestering does not affect them, the scrutiny and controversy will eventually take its toll on the team. Commissioner Bud Selig recently announced that he is launching an investigation into the alleged steroid abuse by Bonds and others, the consequences of which are yet to be determined.

In more positive news, the Giants locked up their young pitching star, Noah Lowry, for the next four years. GM Brian Sabean has called Lowry "one of the most competitive young pitchers in baseball," and it is apparent that he is hoping to rely on Lowry as an integral part of the team. Lowry and newcomer Matt Morris join Jason Schmidt and Matthew Cain in the starting rotation, which seems to be one of the Giants’ stronger areas this year.


Next up: Arizona Diamondbacks

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, April 04, 2006   0 comments
Yankees Take Game 1 From Athletics 15-2
Monday, April 03, 2006
The Yankees took Oakland by storm tonight, crushing Barry Zito and the rest of the A’s in a 15-2 victory. Zito helped the cause by not being at his best tonight (he lasted just one and 1/3 innings and let 7 earned runs in), but the Yankees played hard and earned every one of those runs.

Offensively, almost every Yank came to impress tonight. A-Rod had a grand slam, Matsui had a homer and went 4-4, Damon had three hits, Jeter walked once and had two hits, and Bernie looked comfortable in his new role as DH with a hit and a walk. Posada was hitless, but scored a run after being hit by a pitch hurled by ex-Yankee Brad Halsey. Part-timers Bubba Crosby, Andy Phillips and Kelly Stinnett all saw some playing time, though none of them had a big opportunity to show their skills.

Randy Johnson pitched beautifully, winning his seventh opening day game (out of 14 starts). He allowed just 5 hits and 1 run (a homer by Frank Thomas in the 2nd), struck out 3 and didn’t walk a single batter. Tanyon Sturtze came out to pitch the 8th inning and took up where the Unit left off, allowing 1 hit and no runs. Newcomer Ron Villone closed off the game for the Yanks, and although he did allow one A to cross the plate (bringing their score to an intimidating 2), he got the job done.

Tonight’s performance was heartening, to say the least. Our ace has proved that age is just a number (and ERA is a better one), and two of our relievers showed solid potential. Folks who were concerned about Bernie’s chances of being a contributor saw that he still has a dominating bat and will get on base. Damon, who has been under certain scrutiny after being signed to a mega-million dollar contract, earned his (pin)stripes in his first outing in a Yankees uniform with two doubles. Steinbrenner has assured his team and their fans of a ring in 2006, and while I don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch (or my home runs before A-Rod comes up to bat), the Yankees’ game 1 success will hopefully be a preview of many wins to come…

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, April 03, 2006   2 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles

2005 Record:
.457 (74-88), 4th place in AL East

2004 Record: .481 (78-84)

Who's Out: B.J. Ryan (P), Sammy Sosa (OF), Eric Byrnes (CF), Sal Fasano (C), Jason Grimsley (P), Rafael Palmeiro (1B), Sidney Ponson (P), Jorge Julio (P), John Maine (P), Brooks Kieschnick (P), Richard Hidalgo (OF)

Who's In: Jeff Conine (LF), Ramon Hernandez (C), Kevil Millar (1B), Ryan Burres (P), Franklyn Gracesqui (P), Kris Benson (P), Andy Tracy (1B), Raul Chavez (P)

Notes: The Orioles are crossing their fingers that the old adage “spring training means nothing” is true. They had trouble offensively throughout the spring and management was unsure of who to start at first and in left field as recently as last week. Their bullpen situation is also in dire straits after losing B.J. Ryan to the Blue Jays. It is expected that Chris Ray will be called upon for closing duties, putting quite a lot of pressure on the 24-year-old, who has just one year of major league experience. The Os’ starting rotation looks decent, however, with 31-year-old Kris Benson serving as some sort of mentor to younger hurlers like Bruce Chen and Rodrigo Lopez.

If you recall April and May of 2005, you’ll remember that the Orioles were actually in first place in the AL East before they seemingly lost their grasp. Despite the gaps in the bullpen and the question marks at first base and in the outfield, it is important to remember that the Orioles do still have Mora, Tejada, and Brian Roberts—not to mention the addition of Ramon Hernandez—to provide some offensive optimism for 2006. Leo Mazzone's post as pitching coach also provides hope for the rotation, so who knows?


Next up: San Francisco Giants

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, April 03, 2006   0 comments
It's Opening Day: Randy Johnson Starts the Season for the 14th Time
As Yankees and A's fans hold their breath hoping that the clouds don't let loose for a few more hours, Randy Johnson is busy warming up to start the season off for his team. This is the fourteenth season-opening start for the Unit, more than any other active pitcher, and after feeling comfortable and confident during spring training he is ready to leave the mound a winner. Randy is 6-2 on Opening Day starts, including the 9-2 win over the Red Sox in his Yankees debut last April 3.


The Unit had a rough year in 2005 - by his standards, anyway. He has been the target of much speculation, namely questions over whether he is too old to perform like he used to. Most fans believe that his performance last year was stunted by good old fashion discomfort from being in a new city with a high profile team, and although he denies that he felt any added pressure, I'd be willing to bet that Johnson amps up his performance this year: more strikeouts and an improved WHIP are in the cards for the Unit in 2006. Tonight's start will mark not only the beginning for the season for the Yankees, but the beginning of a chance for Randy Johnson to prove to any nay-sayers that he can still lead a team to the World Series.
posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, April 03, 2006   1 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds

2005 Record: .451 (73-89), 5th place in NL Central

2004 Record: .469 (76-86)

Who's Out: Wily Mo Pena (OF), Ramon Ortiz ( P)

Who's In: Tony Womack (INF/OF), Chris Hammond (P), Grant Balfour (P), Michael Gosling (P), Scott Hatteberg (1B), Matt Kata (INF), Bronson Arroyo (P), Jon Coutlangus (P), Rich Aurilia (SS), Ryan Freel (2B), Rick White (P)

Notes: The Reds didn’t make too many flashy moves this winter, but they have had a fairly successful spring. They had the luxury of having more worthy players than spots on their roster and got to see what some of their best minor leaguers might have to offer in the majors. With injuries to outfielders Quinton McCracken and Dewayne Wise, Chris Denorfia, Jacob Cruz, and Brian Buchanan all battled to be Cincinnati’s fourth outfielder with Denorfia’s versatility eventually winning him the spot. Spring training also allowed the Reds to see their 2006 bullpen in action with the likes of Todd Coffey, Matt Belisle and ex-Padre Chris Hammond, and new arrival Bronson Arroyo will fill out the starting pitching rotation.


Next up: Baltimore Orioles

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, April 03, 2006   0 comments
MLB Team Profiles: Los Angeles Dodgers
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Los Angeles Dodgers

2005 Record:
.438 (71-91), 4th place in NL West

2004 Record: .574 (93-69), 1st place in NL West

Who’s Out: Milton Bradley (OF), Antonio Perez (INF), Duaner Sanchez (P), Steve Schmoll (P), Eddie Murray (P), Elmer Dessens (OF), Olmedo Saenz (1B), Jeff Weaver (P), Jose Valentin (3B), Paul Bako (C)

Who’s In: Rafael Furcal (SS), Sandy Alomar Jr. (C), Bill Mueller (3B), Andre Ethier (OF), Nomar Garciappara (INF), Kenny Lofton (OF), Jae Seo (P), Tim Hamulack (P), Danys Baez (P), Lance Carter (P), Brett Tomko (P)

Notes: What a difference a year can make! After an exciting shot at the pennant back in 2004, the Dodgers fell hard in 2005, finishing behind the likes of the D-backs and the Giants. They have done well in the off-season, though, and they certainly have a chance to make a run for their division. The addition of Nomar, Furcal and Mueller have given the Dodgers an impressive defensive infield, and the Lofton-Furcal 1-2 batting order will certainly give pitchers something to tangle with. A healthy Gange is crucial as always, but if he does stay healthy the Dodgers will have one of the best 8-9 bullpens in the league. The Dodgers also added some coaching prowess with former Dodgers Eddie Murray and Rick Honeycutt as batting and pitching coach, respectively. I’m not convinced that the Dodgers have what it takes to make it to the Series, but a division title could very well be in their future.


Next up: Cincinnati Reds

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, April 02, 2006   0 comments
She's Baaaaack: Yankees Chick is Still Alive
I'm back, and just in time for the season opener. I apologize for the long hiatus, I started a new (non-baseball related) job a few weeks ago and time has been in short supply! I'm back, however, and will be here to update the daily games, player of the day, feature articles, and more!
posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, April 02, 2006   0 comments
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In 2009 Curtis Granderson published a book: All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It! Granderson "shares the lessons that he learned growing up--the importance of family and choosing the right friends, the power of listening and staying positive, and most important, the value of being yourself."
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