Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Thoughts on the Return of Freddy Garcia

I'm a happy camper. Freddy Garcia is returning to the Yankees, and I'm all for it. Following a season where he posted a 12-8 record with a 3.62 ERA, the Yankees made a good move by re-signing a vet who gave them much more than any of us in Yankeeland could have anticipated. It's a good show of faith by the organization, and I'm happy to see them reward a guy who was pretty much a non-factor in baseball following a stellar 2006 season with the the White Sox. My only question is, what does this mean for the Yankees' offseason plans?

According to numerous reports, the Yankees will pay Garcia about $5 million on a 1-year contract for 2012. That much of a payout almost guarantees that Garcia will have a spot on the 5- man rotation. So we can assume right now that the rotation will look like this:

CC Sabathia
Ivan Nova
AJ Burnett
Freddy Garcia

So who gets the 5th spot? The Yankees are certainly looking at the free agent market for pitching, and CJ Wilson still seems like their best bet. Mark Beurhle is also picking up some steam in Yankee circles with the memory of his 2009 season and perfect game performance still fresh in the mind of Yankee fans alike. I'm fine with either signing, but, wouldn't this mean forcing Phil Hughes back into the bullpen? Have the Yankees just conceded now that Hughes is far more potent as a reliever than a starter? It's a legitimate question fanatics, and one that I'm sure has Hughes working his butt off in "fat camp" to muzzle down.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Say" It Ain't So, Mo

Mariano Rivera, the ageless, eighth Wonder of the World, may be headed for some offseason surgery, fanatics.

But don't panic. It's not at all what you may be thinking.

According to an article by George A. King III of The New York Post yesterday, Mo may need surgery on his... vocal cords??

"At a charity event in New Rochelle, the Yankees closer revealed he could be headed toward surgery to scrape his vocal cords. Rivera will meet with a doctor on Monday to find out if the ailment will require an operation."

And according to Mo, this has been going on for a while.

It’s been a month," Mo said at the event. "Every time I talk it gets worse and worse."

Mo is probably one of the most soft-spoken "big" guys in any sport. For him to need surgery on his vocal cords is really ironic, considering he abuses his pitching arm far more, yet shows no signs of wear and tear. Well, as we get older, some part of our bodies will always need a tune-up. For Mo, I guess this is it, since the rest of him seems to be doing just fine. 

But in all seriousness, I hope that if he does require surgery on those cords, that he has the speediest of recoveries and gets to painlessly enjoy the rest of his offseason.


Congratulations to Justin Verlander for not only winning the Cy Young Award, but for also netting the American League MVP Award. I personally don't agree with him getting the MVP as a pitcher since he  pitches, what, every 5 days? Unlike, oh I don't know, perhaps the other MVP candidates that play everyday, barring injuries or a day off? Just my opinion, folks.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cano, Granderson Win Silver Slugger Awards

As I predicted in my last post, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano took home Silver Slugger Awards for their outstanding offense in 2011. This is Granderson's first award and Cano's third.

Also as predicted, Boston's Adrian Gonzalez was able to edge out Detroit's Miguel Cabrera for the Silver Slugger for first baseman in the American League. Although I thought Gonzalez had a chance, I still believe Cabrera should have won; his offensive numbers in the big categories (SLG percentage, HRs, RBIs and OPS) exceeded Gonzalez' by much. Truth is, Gonzalez was heralded by many of the sports writers since the very beginning of the season for his offense in his first go-round in Boston, and was able to "ride the wave" until the end.

So congrats to Grandy and Robbie. We fanatics are all very proud!

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Silver Slugger Predictions

Tonight, MLB Network will announce the winners of the 2011 Silver Slugger Awards. The announcements are set to begin at 6pm ET.

If you're like me, you're probably looking forward to tonight's awards twice as much now after the shock of last night's Golden Glove Award announcements revealed that no Yankees would receive Golden Gloves this year. While I would have been absolutely shocked and amazed if Derek Jeter would have been able to get away with another award this year, I was really surprised that Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira didn't win; I'd really like for any baseball fan or analyst to show me any other first or second baseman in the American League that plays the position better than these two. I just don't see it.

But, some Yankees are almost certainly sure to win a Silver Slugger. The most obvious of the Yankees being Curtis Granderson, who is coming off of the greatest offensive performance of his career (thank God Jose Bautista plays in right and not center!). Cano may fare better tonight, as he once again hit over .300, had over 100 RBIs and slugged over .500. Boston's Dustin Pedroia fared slightly better in hits and average, but Cano's slugging and RBI numbers should really put him over the top. Teixeira would have had a great chance after hitting 39 homers with 111 RBIs, but Detroit's Miguel Cabrera blows him and pretty much every other AL first baseman out of the water with a .344 batting average, .586 slugging percentage and 1.033 OPS. Boston's Adrian Gonzalez could have a chance, as his numbers are only slightly lower than Cabrera's and he has 16 more hits.

As for the rest of the Yankees lineup, no chance. It's kind of disappointing though; at the beginning of the season, it would have seemed that Alex Rodriguez would have been on his way to his 11th Silver Slugger Award, perhaps even his 4th MVP Award. But injuries took his bat away. Let's hope that Alex gets himself healthy this offseason, and returns to form next year.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yanks Retain CC Through 2016

 Before CC Sabathia could even catch a whiff of the free agent market, he and the Yankees agreed on a contract extension last night that guarantees he will remain in pinstripes through 2016 and makes him the highest paid pitcher in baseball history. Bravo!

Since arriving in the Bronx three years ago, Sabathia has been clear on his fondness of the city of New York and the comfort of which the team and players have bestowed upon him and his family. He's said in the past that his intentions were to retire a Yankee, and yesterday evening, he made good on that intention. None of us fanatics would have blamed him for opting out of his already lucrative contract, in fact, I'm not sure if I know anyone who didn't believe that he would do so. We were all prepared for it, but I believe we all knew that the Yankees would do whatever it took to keep in the fold.

But of course, not all contracts are completely set up in the best interest of the player, and CC's is no exception. Here are the terms via Joel Sherman last night on twitter:

  • CC gets a guaranteed $30 million pay raise (going from the 4yrs, $92 million left on his original contract to 5 yrs, $122 million).

  • The contract includes a vesting option for 2017; the option is worth $25 million.

  • The option year will only vest if CC remains healthy through the end of 2016. If he suffers a left shoulder injury, spends 45 days on the disabled list, makes at least 6 relief appearances due to shoulder issues or is disabled at the end of the 2016 season, he will only receive a $5million buyout.

All in all, CC got a fair contract and the Yankees were able to protect themselves via the terms of the vesting option. CC will have to do his part to stay healthy, and as he says in the above video, losing weight is a priority.

It would have been a little scary to watch CC go into free agency, but I was kind of looking forward to seeing what other teams would have been willing to pay the big guy for his services.

So, now that the Brian Cashman and Sabathia deals have been locked up, the Yankees can spend the remainder of their offseason trying to secure a viable starting pitcher. Did I mention that the Yankees exercised their 2012 options on Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano? No? Well shame on me. Yes, both players will be back in pinstripes next year. Swish I'm sure breathed a sigh of relief, although, with him remaining on the payroll, the Yankees are now in a position to trade him; Cano...probably not too thrilled that his hopeful request for a new contract was never seriously entertained. I would think he had to expect that though, really.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter:@ra_cooper