Category Archives: division races

BITS AND PIECES – THE TRADE DEADLINE!

We get all worked up about this trade deadline thing and often forget that some of the biggest “trades” have been made after the July 31 deadline via the waiver clause……but let’s take a look at what’s transpired so far looking at the impact…….or overall non-impact of these changes of scenery for some of the big names dealt so far……

The Royals landed  Johnny Cue to. An impressive addition to their staff images-19and no doubt one of the the premier  starters in the game today. Still, the unanswered question is how will he thrive in American League lineups stacked with  hitters top to bottom. We’ll see but it’s worth wondering about.

Troy Tulowiski…….another big name going to the Blue Jays….but what is images-21the added value of him over another pperennially injured player in Jose Reyes. Surely, it makes a splash in the hometown newspapers and talk radio……….and (cynically) maybe that’s the intent…..but beyond that……I don’t get it.

Basically, it boils down to this. Sellers (or at least they should be at this point in the season) like the Tigers and Padres should clean house as best they can to fortify the future………while buyers  beware the temptation to strike lightning in a bottle because…….well I challenge you………give me one or two examples of a player aquired now (in the past) who you can justify “made the difference” for the team that acquired him………

WHEN ALL THE PIECES FALL INTO PLACE…….

As in life there are times in baseball when everything just seems to fall into place. A hitter goes on a stretch where the ball coming to the plate looks as big as a beachball. Likewise, a pitcher goes through a series of starts where home plate seems 30ft away. Teams also have runs where twenty five players and the coaching staff come together to form a juggernaut that seems destined always find a way to win.

The New York Yankeesimages-8 are giving every indication thatimages-9 they are that kind of a team this year. Under the laid back (but focused) leadership of Brian Cashman (left) and Joe Girardi (right) we are watching – not a great team by any means- but certainly a solid and steady team that is avoiding the predictable highs and lows of a long and arduous baseball season.

No, this is not the team of the five year run. This year’s edition of the Yankeesimages-7 images-6is not even comparable to the 2009 team. Except for Mark Teixeria, there’s not even a true All Star on the team.

What the team does have are a bunch of role players who complement and support each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Brian McCann (upper right) for example is proving clutch at the plate while handling a relatively young staff seamlessly. Mashahiro Tanaka (upper left) seeks perfection every time out there. To hear him talk about his start that day, you’d think he gave up ten runs if you hadn’t watched the game.

It goes even deeper than that with contributors like Jacoby Ellsbury (right) who if not the best leadoff images-10 hitter in the game today,  must  surely  be in the discussion. A natural center fielder who runs like a deer, clutch is fast becoming his middle name too.

Flying under the radar too is Chase Headley (left). A star by no means….your everyday ball player who shows up for work every day andimages-15 gets his one hit a night when it means the most. So too with Brett Gardner who Cashman refused offers for a year ago when the season was already lost. Now, he’s having a career year as a graduate of the Yankees much underrated farm system.

This is a good team that certainly can win its imploding division. And when they get to the crapshoot playoffs, look out because they just might find their way to an unexpected but well earned title.

 

The Yankees Should Pass And Stay Pat – No Moves Required

About this time during every baseball season the airwaves become filled with the anticipation of a brand new season – the one that occurs after the upcoming All Star Game break. Teams begin dreaming of a new lineup replete with the one big bat or starting pitcher that is going to make all the difference in the world – and erase the failures of the first half and jettison the team to see the playoffs and beyond.

All fine and dandy except for one thing………it rarely happens that way. Eighty-five percent of the time the teams sitting in first place now are the same teams that are there in October. There are exceptions of course and one needs only to go back to last year’s horrific collapse of the Milwaukee Brewers………..but generally whatever moves are made in the next couple of weeks are built on dreams and the hope of catching lightning in a bottle.

The New York Yankees images-1are a good solid team and they currently occupy first place in the American League East. They have a good manager in Joe Giraard (right) who handles a bullpen as well as anybody at the same time he neutralizes and protects his players ( A-Rod is just one example).

Their starting pitching Michael-Pineda-1may be fragile with Tanaka, Pineda (right), and Nova coming off arm surgeries. But whose pitching isn’t fragile these days? The pitching is fine. Leave it alone. They’ve gotten the team to where it is…..why mess with it and sell off your farm system for………let’s say 31 year old Cole Hamels who may or may not be able to adjust to American League lineups.

Ditto for the bats. Mark Teixeria imageshas been a one man wrecking crew leading the league in RBI. Behind and in front of him lie Alex Rodriguez and rebounding Brian McCann who are both having outstanding and clutch driven years. Could they add a bat for Stephen Drew? Sure they could but understand Drew’s presence is felt in the clubhouse and in the field every day…….again….Leave it alone.

The point is that the team in the Bronx is good enough. If they only play .500 baseball for the remainder of the season, they’ll finish with 87 wins………..which again should be “good enough” in the AL East. Forget the great teams nonsense (the Yankees have been there too)………..just be good enough to get into the crap-shoot playoffs.

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 And it’s not like we’re talking about their counterparts in Flushing where the struggling Mets can’t get by with what they have and indeed are (or should be) in “panic mode”. There’s a old worn out saying that happens to be true…..”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.