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Chan Ho Park Ready to Provide Pitching and Ninja Protection to the Yanks
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
As the Yanks report for duty in Florida to gear up for a repeat of last year's championship performance (no pressure though, dudes), there will be a few new teammates with whom to get acquainted. Since their big win in November, the Yanks added Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, Javier Vasquez, and Randy Winn (as well as an assortment of random non-roster invitee types), and yesterday it was announced that there will soon be another new face at camp: Chan Ho Park.

Huh? Eh, why not.

The Yanks have struck a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the 36-year-old veteran former starter, with plans to stick him in the bullpen and shore that sucker up as much as possible. Park has primarily been a starter throughout his 16-year career, but pitched decently out of the bullpen for the Phillies last year (including shutting down the Yanks in four appearances in the World Series). With the unheard of surplus of starters the Yanks are lucky enough to be in possession of there's certainly no need (or room) for him in the rotation, but when it comes to the bullpen, as the Cash Man so eloquently put it: "The more, the merrier. You can never have enough."

With Park rounding out a bullpen that already includes the likes of Edwar Ramirez, David Robertson, Sergio Mitre, Mariano, and of course whichever members of the Hughes-Jobamania-Guadin-Aceves contingent don't wind up with the starting gig, the Yanks roster seems to be improving by the day. And if anyone thinks otherwise....

why could I not find the video of this gorgeous display of ass-kickery (the absolute ONLY thing I ever think of when I hear Chan Ho Park's name)?!

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, February 23, 2010   3 comments
Farewell to the Wangster (And to What Might Have Been)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
If you had asked any baseball expert on June 14, 2008 to predict what Chien Ming Wang would be doing in 2010, I doubt a single one would have answered "pitching for the Nationals after putting up a 9+ ERA in 42 innings in 2009".

Alas, thanks to a freak foot injury incurred whilst running the bases during an interleague game on June 15, 2008, that is precisely the state of affairs in Wang-ville. Despite all the promise he showed in New York from 2005 through early 2008, the Wangster's days as a Yankee are over: it was announced yesterday that he signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Nationals.

90 seconds after the last time Wang was effective

There's no question that since that fateful day in Houston, the Wangster has made limited contributions to the team - he didn't pitch again in 2008, and when he returned in 2009 he went 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA before having season-ending shoulder surgery in July. Before the completely preventable injury (*cough* ADOPT THE DH RULE, NL JACKASSES *cough*), he was a vital part of the Yanks' rotation and on his way to becoming a bona fide ace. Before we bid him adieu and wish him luck in DC (where, ironically, he'll be forced to run the bases on a regular basis - let's hope he's more careful this time), let's take a gander at the highlights of his Yankee tenure:

2005: After being called up from AAA mid-season, the Wangster made 17 starts, putting up an 8-5 record with a 4.02 ERA. During the game against the Orioles on September 19, he tied a record for assists in a game by a pitcher with 9!

2006: A breakout year! 19-6 in 33 starts with a 3.63 ERA, a performance impressive enough to finish 2nd place in the Cy Young voting.

2007: Almost as good as the previous year, with a 19-7 record in 30 games started and a 3.70 ERA. He came 5 outs away from a perfect game against the Mariners in May and took a no-hitter against the BoSox into the 7th inning in August.

2008: In the brief time before the injury threw his career (and the Yanks' rotation) off track, the Wangster was putting together another nice year, with an 8-2 record and 4.07 ERA. When he won his 85th career start in April, he became the fastest starting pitcher to reach 50 wins since Dwight Gooden in 1986.

Had he not gotten injured, who knows how things might have turned out?

The moral of the story? Your choice: interleague play sucks, or the NL needs to get hip and join the DH train. Or both!

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, February 17, 2010   1 comments
A Quickie Post: Ready to Fire Boras Yet, Damon?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
It's finals time for me, so I apologize for the lack of updates lately - this situation shall be rectified in short order and I'll be back to posting multiple times a week soon, I promise!

To tide us over until my schoolwork is complete tomorrow, here's an interesting little nugget courtesy of the New Haven Register, who had a chat with the Cash Man recently. Cashman confirmed to the Register that the Yankees made not one but two generous offers to Damon, both of which $cott Bora$ turned down. The first offer was a 2-year, $14 million deal, which was promptly turned down despite the fact that that was pretty much exactly what Damon had requested (and about four times what he's worth). The Yanks tried one more time before signing Nick Johnson, this time offering one year for $6 million - far less than they had originally asked for, but by that point the demand for him had dried up considerably and the Yanks needed Damon less thanks to Granderson, so still a decent offer all things considered. Needless to say, that was rejected as well.

Per the Cash Man, Bora$ cited Abreu as the reason for the rejections, saying: "Bobby Abreu’s (new) contract is $9 million a year right now on the table so why would we do that? So I expect to see a Bobby Abreu contract."

As Damon approaches the last few weeks before Spring Training without a contract, I can't help but wonder if he's as pissed at Boras as he should be. Sure, "Abreu money" would be great, but times have changed - teams aren't doling out millions of dollars for dudes with sub-par fielding skills (even ones who can hit 25+ home runs in the new stadium). The offers the Yanks made were perfectly reasonable, and methinks Boras and Damon made a huge mistake in assuming that other teams would be looser with their wallets than the Yankees. It's not 2006 anymore (thank god) - the days of absurd contracts are largely over.

The Cash Man got a little jab in, saying "I hope he does not sign for something less than our offer. That means he should have been a Yankee and that’s not our fault.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, February 16, 2010   0 comments
And the Starting Left Fielder Is... Who Knows.
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
After the announcement of the decision to sign veteran Randy Winn last week that put the official kibosh on any hopes of a Damon return in 2010, one might have come to the conclusion that the Yankees were pretty much set with their left field plans. They've got Gardner, they've got Winn, they've got no more money allotted to improving that position - that just about settles that, right?

Apparently not!

The Yanks have now invited 32-year-old righty Marcus Thames to Spring Training with the intent of having him compete for the left field gig with Garder and Winn. Or they may platoon two of them. Or all three of them! There doesn't appear to be any plan in place at this point - these three potentially-capable candidates will have to battle it out in March to see who sucks the least; the one or two still standing come April will be our starting left fielder.

Ya know what would have been easier? Scraping together a few million bucks from the spare change in Big Stein's couch and signing Damon for the everyday job.

But i digress.

As I said a couple of weeks ago when I was advocating that the Yanks should just settle on Gardner and be done with it, with the other 8 dudes in the lineup there's really nothing to be concerned about even if our left fielder does suck. That is not to say that whichever of these three guys (or combination thereof) ends up starting will suck - just that they might, and that's actually OK. Let's take a gander at these three dudes and discuss what they may be capable of adding to the team:

Brett Gardner: A youngster - just 26 years old with two seasons of experience, both with the Yanks. Lifetime .256 average and .325 OBP; his slugging percentage is just .352, but he's 39-for-45 on his stolen base attempts (in just one and a half seasons). While he is a lefty, unfortunately not much potential for taking over for Damon in the cheap right-field homers category.

Randy Winn: The most seasoned of the bunch at 35 years old and 12 years of experience, and the only switch-hitter. Lifetime .286 average, .344 OBP, and .418 slugging percentage, and he's averaged 21 stolen bases per season during his career. Not a ton of power, but could hit a few to right field (who couldn't?).

Marcus Thames: 32 years old, 8-ish seasons of MLB experience (not many games played in some of those seasons), including 7 games for the Yanks in 2002 (you don't remember because it was not memorable). Lifetime .243 batting average, .306 OBP, .491 slugging, has stolen a whopping THREE bases in 8 years... and been caught 9 times (for the non-mathletes among us, that is a very, very poor ratio). Potential for hitting a bunch of cheapo right-field home runs is not remarkable. On the bright side, he's been hit by pitches 11 times in his career!

At least you got on base, we'll take it.

You'll notice I didn't bother to compare the fielding skills of these lads - I've determined that aspect is a moot point after last year; as long as the 2010 left fielder runs himself into walls 10% less often and his relay throws make it an extra 4 feet, we can consider it an upgrade over Damon's fielding.

While Winn arguably has the best stats of the three, my money is still on Gardner for the starting gig. He plays hard and has been steadily improving since his time in the minors, and he's got youth on his side. Gardner's speed and hustle (perhaps he's a John Cena fan?) are unique on a team packed with older guys with ample power, and quite valuable. What he lacks in power will be picked up by the other guys, and when he gets on base we know he'll be jetting down to second base.

Winn won't be out of a job, though - I anticipate that he'll be playing a few times a week, or coming in to bat in certain situations (remember, he's a switch-hitter while Gardner's a lefty).

As for Thames... I don't even understand why they invited him. Hope he likes Scranton!


posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, February 09, 2010   2 comments
A Double Shot of BQE: An Footballin Cashman-Hater and a Pitcher on a Mission
Friday, February 05, 2010
After a long week of work and school, I finally had a spare moment to review the happenings in Yankeeville from the past couple days, and was quite jazzed to find not just one but two quotable quotes to dissect!

The first comes to us courtesy of our dear Jobamania and relates to the surprising issue I wrote about a couple weeks ago: the surplus of starting pitching that the Yanks have to work with for 2010. Unlike most of his teammates, whose roles on the team are set, Joba will be heading into Spring Training without the promise of a starting gig. The Yanks have made it clear that they have not made a decision on who will be the fifth starter and will make a decision during or after Spring Training. Joba will need to compete for a spot in the rotation (which is where he wants to be - he is intent on being a starter despite the fact that he's arguably been more successful in the bullpen... but that's a whole other discussion I shan't delve into tonight) against Phil Hughes, Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre, and possibly even Alfredo Aceves.
This picture is too awesome to NOT include. It reminds me of this. Enjoy.

Despite a disappointingly mediocre 2009, Joba is still fired up and confident in his skills as a starter. He's ready to get down to Florida and prove himself, and understands that having four of five guys competing for one spot will benefit everyone:
"It's something that's going to be a battle. The greatest part about it is it's not only going to make guys fight for that No. 5 spot, but it's going to make our team better. We're going to push each other and continue to try to outwork each other. That's the greatest part about this game; not only do you push one another to do better, but the team is going to be better for it."
Joba is likely the frontrunner for the gig - barring a disastrous Spring, of course - but forcing him to work for it will make him even better. Of course, the bonus effect of this Spring competition will be an improved bullpen, too!

(Until everyone gets burned out in August because they worked so hard in the off-season.)

Alas, not everyone in the world is as gung-ho about the Yanks as Joba... which brings us to our second BQE!

The Yanks are, as we are well aware, a polarizing force. They certainly have their share of detractors, and their wealth is a main bone of contention amongst many of the haters. We've all heard the "the Yankees buy their championships!" scoff (9 times out of 10 in a Boston accent) enough times to want to beat a Bostonian over the head with a bag of chewed-up sunflower seeds, but Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti took the "Yankees and their money" complaint to an interesting new level this week. Bisciotti's beef is apparently not just the disparity between the Yanks' payroll and that of the other teams, but also that the Yankees don't win enough (seriously):
"It certainly doesn’t show up in the standings. If I’m a Yankees fan, I’m upset we’re not winning 130 games with the roster that they have and the money that they pay out. I think it’s a disgrace they only beat the average team by 10 games in the standings with three times the money. I’d fire that GM. You don’t need a GM. All you have to do is buy the last Cy Young Award winner every year."
"It's PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE that the team I run blew it (again) this year!!!"

I... don't know where to start here. This is so absurd I don't even know how to mock it properly. Are you angry that they have money? Or are you OK with the money but think that the number of wins should be directly proportional to the number of dollars spent (it doesn't work that way - talk to the Mets)? If it's a disgrace that they "only" won 10 more games than the average team, then I suppose it is also a disgrace that it took them 6 games to win the World Series. And if all a team has to do to be successful is be in possession of the previous year's Cy Young winner, then shouldn't the Giants have been in the Series? Seriously, I'm confused.

If anyone speaks idiot and wants to translate that for me, I implore you!

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Friday, February 05, 2010   0 comments
Swish Gets YC to Watch a Sitcom...
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
When baseball is out of season, most of my ample allowance of TV time is dedicated to a healthy balance of traumatizing true-crime shows, reality competitions (often equally traumatizing), and watching oiled-up muscly men with no acting skills roll around (I'm referring to the WWE, not porn - just for the record), but last night I had to make an exception and allot some precious DVR space to a much different type of show. The Yanks' ever-cheerful faux-hawked right-fielder, the one and only Nick Swisher, made his acting debut last night on "How I Met Your Mother", a show I'd previously only heard of from commercials and thought was called "We've Got Doogie... and He's Always Cheerful!"

Calling it Swish's "acting" debut is a bit of a stretch, as he played himself, but the dear boy was charming and represented himself quite well (which is, sadly, more than I can say for Johnny Damon's cringe-worthily awkward guest host gig on WWE Raw earlier this year*). Swish's participation in the episode consisted primarily of him looking cute (a job well done) and wooing the ladies, dishing out sage observations like "aren't we all trying to find that special someone to share a toothbrush with?" I can't say Swish's skills convinced me to give Doogie and his cheese-fest a permanent spot on my DVR, but he really did do a nice job. Maybe next he and Cano can go on Dancing With the Stars.

Check out Swish's Emmy-worthy performance below:

*I wasn't kidding about the WWE obsession

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, February 02, 2010   1 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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Name: Yankees Chick
Home: San Diego, CA, United States
About Me: Just your average 26 year old Yankees lovin' gal from the SD.
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