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The Worst/Best Trade Of My Life

Ohhh, Cashman, you don’t make blockbuster deals on Friday the 13th. You just don’t.

And you definitely don’t make this deal.

I’m sure the entire baseball world knows the news by now. I was supposed to have this post up right away, but every time I started it, I had to stop. I figured I could just type through the tears, but then I thought an overly-emotional post would be irrational and unfair. So I waited until I regained some composure. Here I am now, still in shock, but over my initial state or mourning. I haven’t cried yet today, though that may be because I depleted everything I had last night.

This is without a doubt the hardest thing I have been forced to go through in my life as a Yankees fan.

I don’t even know where to start. There’s so much running through my head. I guess I’ll talk about what happened when I found out that the Yankees traded Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda (along with Hector Noesi for Jose Campos, but it’s the Montero part that sent me over the edge).

I saw the news on facebook first on a baseball page that I liked. It wasn’t official then. But my heart stopped a little, and I gasped. I immediately headed over to MLBtraderumors, they had it up with the little times next to each sentence, as if they were monitoring every move. I knew that was a bad sign -that meant it was legit.

I began to panic.

The Yankees website had nothing, just as I feared. Throughout my life as a Yankees fan, being surprised by Brian Cashman and his stealthy moves became quite a regular thing. He never lets you know what’s up. I went on some other site about the Pineda/Montero swap, and it wouldn’t load – too much traffic.

I knew right there that it was happening. I admit it: I started to cry a little.

Aww, who am I kidding. My brother wrote it on facebook anyway, so everyone knows: I was bawling like a baby. The kind of tears that flow without you even knowing, then you rejoin reality and think, “What the heck, I’m crying?”

Yeah I’m a nut. But I can’t help it.

I’ve been hearing about Jesus Montero for God knows how long. The highlight of the 2011 season was the 18 games that Montero played in during September. The .328 avg, the 4 HR (some of which were opposite field line drives, which totally turned me on to the kid), the 12 RBI, the handsome young man with the high socks and the boyish smile, I was swept off my feet. He looked like everything I heard he would be.  And I thought it was just the beginning of what would be a 20-year superstar successful career in Yankee pinstripes. A home-grown, superstar Yankee to be part of a new core of young Yankees. I figured, since they held on to him for this long, he was safe. I penciled him into my 2012 lineup. I said goodbye to Posada, which was tough, but the thought of Jesus Montero eventually catching eased the pain of losing one of my favorite Yankees. In my public presentation class, I even did my persuasive speech on the claim “The Yankees should not trade Jesus Montero,” and I got an A. I never thought he would be traded, because frankly, the Yankees did nothing up to this point in the offseason.

Losing Jesus Montero – I can’t even believe this happened. I just can’t trust Brian Cashman anymore. I never know what’s going to happen. I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever see this new generation of prospects play in the Bronx. Everyone knows what his potential is. Shouldn’t we want that kind of talent on our team, especially because he’s home-grown? This trade is an example of the things I don’t like about the Yankees. The immediate-gratification thing, where they don’t want to wait. Sure, Montero’s not a full-time catcher yet, but he can be eventually. Now I heard that the Yankees are thinking about expanding payroll a bit. Although Michael Pineda is at a bargain price, I’m worried now that Montero won’t be the DH, that they’ll go out and sign someone. Like Prince Fielder. Which is exactly what I don’t want: a big free-agent contract, probably ridiculously expensive and around 8-10 years, for a guy who will probably decline soon who we’ll be stuck with. Like A-Rod. Like Teixeira. Partially why I was so into Jesus Montero, was that he was different. Young blood, a new start. He can’t decline. He can only improve. So even if he didn’t start out like the superstar I believe he will one day be, if we wait, he’d learn and improve. I wanted to see that happen to him as a Yankee.

Never in my wildest nightmares did I ever suspect that this would happen. That’s partially why I don’t like this trade, because I’m a little embarrassed. I’ve been saying how he’s going to be on the team in 2012, despite the frequent debates with another Yankees fan. So not only was I upset that the one thing I wanted for the 2012 season was gone, but I was also dreading the remarks of this fellow Yankees fan. I mean it’s not like I’m stupid. No one expected this. I thought Cashman was serious about doing nothing. He let all the other pitchers go by, but little did I know that he’d go for someone that we didn’t even know was on the market. Losing Jesus Montero has left me bombarded with the worst feelings: anguish, dismay, disinterest for the coming season, distrust of the organization, and humiliation for being wrong about it all.

So from a purely emotional perspective, this is the worst trade of my life. And on Friday the 13th, I can’t help but to think it may be bad luck for the Yankees.

But this girl knows that there shouldn’t be any crying in baseball.

I feel bad about feeling bad about this trade. It’s unfair to Michael Pineda. It makes it seem like I hate him. I can’t hate the guy, he didn’t do anything. I mean sure, if asked if I would make the Montero/Pineda trade, I would have said NO (maybe that’s why I’m not in charge of the Yankees). But that doesn’t mean I don’t want Pineda. He’s almost 23 and he had a pretty fine rookie season. Okay, maybe he’s not as cute as Montero on the surface, but maybe he’s got a cuter personality – I heard rumblings of Jesus Montero having an attitude.

And who am I kidding? I know the Yankees needed pitching. I didn’t think they’d get any, but I shouldn’t be upset that they improved in the area that they needed to most. Michael Pineda, as well as Hiroki Kuroda, who I found out was going to be signed about five minutes after the big trade, can definitely strengthen the rotation. And Pineda will be under team control for years to come before he gets to make the big money, which will give him every reason to play heard and reach his fullest potential. I should like that, since I hate the long contracts that I feel create laziness and a sense of entitlement. Another good sign: according to my brother, the Red Sox fans are nervous about the moves the Yankees have made.

That’s always a good sign.

This deal, as with all deals, is a risk. And on Friday the 13th, you know…I can’t help but to think negatively.

Last night in the midst of my meltdown, I was seeking distractions from the news. I had 5 conversations going on facebook, I was blasting Guns N’ Roses in my headphones, hoping the song “Don’t Cry” would actually help my cause (“…there’s a Heaven above you, baby…”), I was contemplating hitting the liquor cabinet (kidding, underage over here!), and I was just trying to avoid reality. Then Grandma comes in my room (brave of her when I’m unstable), and asks if I’m busy, and if not, if I could check to see what the numbers were to see if she won.

She didn’t win, but the number made me a little happy anyway. It was 777.

A sign of things to come? Maybe this is a lucky trade for the Yankees. Maybe the good can counteract the bad here. Maybe I can like, get over this? Maybe there was something about Jesus Montero that I just didn’t know, and maybe this was for the better. Maybe I should trust Brian Cashman, after all, he’s done pretty well for me in my lifetime.

And maybe I should get excited for this upcoming season again. Maybe Pineda will help my boys reach their next goal: #28. And maybe Michael Pineda can be one of “my boys” the way I thought Jesus Montero would be.

Maybe this’ll actually be the best thing that’s ever happened in my lifetime for the Yankees.

We’ll see.

Offseason Is On: Infield Acquisitions?

Nothing much is happening in the world of the Yankees, as I’ve become accustomed to all winter long, but I feel like writing something. Actually, “nothing” is “something” for the Yankees this offseason.

Lately, it seems that even the non-exciting moves aren’t happening. When I thought of Japanese players that the Yankees would win the rights to negotiate with, I had my fingers crossed for Yu Darvish to be that guy. No. Although starting pitching was, as Cashman has tirelessly noted, the team’s number-one priority this offseason, they didn’t go wholeheartedly for Darvish, or for any other top starters, for that matter.

But what the Yankees did do, was they won the bidding for exclusive negotiating rights for Japanese shortstop, Hiroyuki Nakajima. Since the Yankees are playing the fiscal responsibility card this offseason, that’s probably why Nakajima appealed to them. They won his bidding with just $2 million.

Now I wasn’t excited about this at all, I mean aren’t there enough suitable utility infielders that already have Major League experience that they could have gone after? Why go after Nakajima?

Oh well. On Thursday, it became official that the Yankees had not reached a deal with Nakajima, so he’s going back to Japan, and the Yankees get to keep their $2 million.

I wonder, though: will they spend it?

$2 million isn’t enough to get a #2 starter, that’s for sure. But they do need a backup corner infielder, so why not bring back Eric Chavez? I know they signed Jayson Nix to a minor league deal in November, but Chavez is a better value in my eyes.

I was extremely pleased with Eric Chavez last year. Although me missed a huge chunk of the season with that foot injury, he produced in the 58 games he did participate in. He hit a respectable .263 avg with 2 HR and 26 RBI. More importantly, Chavez played perfect defense, ceasing to make any errors at third base or first base. One thing I like about Chavez is that he knows his limits. Even though he’s just 33, he understands that his role now will most likely be a part-time player, because he’s very fragile and has been worn down by various injuries over his 14 year career. He’s fine with being a bench player.

I definitely think the Yankees should bring him back. He’s a quality veteran ballplayer who when healthy can be productive at the plate, and his smooth defense is a guarantee. And he only cost $1.5 million last season. The upside is huge for Chavez, I mean why didn’t they bring him back yet? Not for anything, he also happens to be one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen on the baseball field. He looks fabulous in the Yankee pinstripes.

My tone towards the Yankees organization this offseason has been one of disinterest, simply because I’m getting bored with predicting what they’re going to do – or what they’re not going to do, rather. It’s getting annoying. So they probably won’t bring back Eric Chavez, simply because it makes a ton of sense to do so…

The winter is wearing thin now! I want to see some baseball!

Thank You, Jorge

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this is a bittersweet time for Yankee fans. It’s especially tough for my generation of fans, I think, because one of the constants of our life as Yankees fans will no longer remain. Obviously, it was inevitable – but when stuff like this becomes official, I can’t help but to be emotional.

I’ve been watching Yankees games for as long as I can remember, and throughout my life as a fan, Jorge Posada has been there. My first group of favorite players was Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte. Two of the three are gone. Now that Posada has officially planned to announce his retirement, he’ll move on as well, leaving me with that sense of bittersweet nostalgia.

Jorge, I’d like to thank you for your 17 year-service to these New York Yankees. You’ve been making an impact for my entire life, and it’s going to be weird knowing that you’d no longer be there.

There are so many things I’m going to miss about Jorge Posada. His production for the Yankees is the most obvious reason to miss him. In fact, I think he has himself a fair case for the Hall of Fame. When we think of potential Hall of Fame catchers from this era, Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez come to mind. But I feel that Jorge Posada should be right in the mix of this discussion.

Especially for the catching position, defense is important. Posada perhaps has not been known as a star defensive catcher, but in certain areas, he has been significantly better than Piazza and Rodriguez. Of the three, Rodriguez has committed the most errors behind the plate with 137, but he does have the longest career of the three. Mike Piazza committed 124 errors in his 15 years as a catcher, 5 less years than Pudge. But Jorge Posada blows them away, having committed just 88 errors in his catching career. Posada also has the best fielding percentage at .992. And Yankees fans will always remember May 17, 1998, the day of David Wells’ perfect game, which was caught by none other than Jorge himself. Posada also has been a weapon with the bat, having hit the most home runs since 2000 by catchers with 240. He has exceeded the 1,000 RBI plateau, with 1065 for his career, to go along with a more-than-respectable .273 average, all while playing in baseball’s hardest division for the team in the city that expects you to perform like no other.

Jorge’s presence will surely be missed. A switch-hitting power hitter that can fit right into the middle of the lineup? Definitely the kind of guy all managers would enjoy penciling into the lineup on any given day. But it’s not just his offensive presence – it’s his attitude, his passion for the game and for his teammates, his ability to be a leader in the clubhouse – that’s what the Yankees and I will miss the most about Jorge Posada.

Posada always had a certain toughness about him, and I love that in a man. If you mess with a Yankee, you’re going to mess with Jorge. I’ll never forget the animosity between Jorge Posada and Pedro Martinez. Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, the Pedro-pushes-Don-Zimmer incident, and the subsequent fury of Posada – just one example of Jorge’s passion.

Another favorite Posada moment of mine coincides with one of my favorite Yankees moments: the 2009 World Series, game 6, Pedro giving up runs, and Posada loving every minute of it. This picture says it all:

Good times…

2011 was rough for Posada both on and off he field. I think much of his struggles this past season were due to him being preoccupied worrying about his son, who had to have another surgery in June. Jorge and his wife Laura have a charity dedicated to helping families who have children with craniosynostosis, yet another reason to love this guy.

As difficult as 2011 was for Jorge, it ended on a high note. I got a kick out of seeing him catch in September. Emergency circumstances arose, and Jorge was ready to respond to his manager’s call:

“I got a chance to get back behind the plate,” Posada said. “I have my equipment with me. I’m an emergency catcher, like I was today. Joe said, ‘What do you think?’ So I said, ‘Well, if you need me, I’m there.’ He said, ‘Go ahead. It’s like riding a bike.’ I was excited. It was fun. I’ll be sore tomorrow, but I’ll sleep well tonight (ESPN.)”

The best thing about that was seeing Jorge catch Howie Kendrick trying to steal. He also picked up a hit that day.

And although the 2011 didn’t end the way Yankees fans had hoped, Jorge Posada was strong in the final stretch. On September 21, he delivered, coming through in the clutch with a  pinch hit, go-ahead two-run single in the bottom of the 8th inning, giving the Yankees the lead in the game that clinched the AL East Division title. In the postseason, though unfortunately cut short, Posada was the most lethal hitter on the Yankees. He hit a sizzling .429 in the ALDS, proving that when the stakes are high, he rises to the occasion, and even exceeds expectations.

It was a fitting way to end his career. I hate to see him go, but at least he’s going as a Yankee.

Jorge, Yankees fans will never forget you. Consider this the ending of one of the many chapters of your Yankee life. I’m confident that I’ll see you again involved with the Yankees in the future – you’d be a killer manager.

Thank you for everything, Jorge. Hitting the first home run in the new Yankee Stadium, being a 5-time All-Star, 5-time Silver Slugger recipient, and being a 4-time World Series Champion.

But most importantly, thank you for being the Yankee and the man you were. You’re one of the main reasons to why I grew up as a Yankees fan. I love you.

Best of luck in your future, Jorge.

Offseason is ON! Little Signing Here, Little Signing There…

As much as Yankees fans may try to convince themselves that they are okay with GM Brian Cashman doing nothing, parts of us are just not ready to fully accept that nothing will actually happen. I’m okay with it, but I still can’t believe that it’s going to be this way. All I’ve ever known in my lifetime were the Yankees that went out there and made moves, whether via free agency or trades. I haven’t liked every move my franchise has made in my lifetime, but overall I’d say they’ve done a pretty respectable job, considering in my 18 years they have won 5 World Series Championships, and I only remember them not making the playoffs once, back in 2008.

And it’s hard to believe that they’ll do nothing. I’ll never forget the day the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira on December 23, 2008. I went on the Yankees website during my last period in school only to find this article titled, “Hal: No Yanks offers to Tex…” and I left school thinking that my Christmas would be ruined. 6:30 later that night, an article was posted saying that they had signed Teixeira. It’s impossible for me to forget these kinds of things. How can one really take the Yankees organization seriously?

Sure, there are no free agents that appeal to the needs of the Yankees right now. Starting pitching, as Cashman has tirelessly noted, is the number one priority of this team. As each player – Wilson, Darvish, Buehrle, Danks, Gonzalez – found a new home that wasn’t New York, the frustrations of some fans boiled over, and rightfully so. We have to wonder what they’re up to if they let all of these players go by.

Sometimes I wondered if Brian Cashman was even conscious. Where has he been this offseason?

Although not incredibly exciting whatsoever, Cashman has made some moves for the Yankees – small, miniscule things that don’t change much – but at least he has proven to me that he is indeed alive, and may actually be working.

The two relatively recent signings were that of former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima and returning right handed bench player Andruw Jones.

The Hideki Okajima signing doesn’t do much for me. He had three great years in Boston and then became less and less effective. At 36 years old, the lefty was awarded with a Minor League deal from the Yankees and will compete for the otehr lefty-specialist spot in the bullpen. Boone Logan has managed to hold his own with that job for the Yankees, so even if the Yankees aren’t satisfied with their second-lefty options, I don’t really think it’s the end of the world.

I expected the Yankees to bring back Andruw Jones, so I’m not especially excited about this move, but I am very pleased. Andruw Jones exceeded my expectations last season, hitting .247 with 13 HR and 33 RBI, but really picking it up after the All-Star break, where he hit .291 and earned more playing time. I thought he would go off to another team and try to be an everyday player, but I’m glad he’s still with the Yankees. He has 15 years of experience, but he’s still just 34 and still has a baby-face and charming smile. And for just $2 million with additional incentives, I’d say Jones is a steal.

As I noted earlier, neither of these signings will satisfy the hungry Yankees fans. They aren’t spectacular, but they are practical, wise investments that are low-risk and high-reward. You really can’t go wrong with either Andruw Jones or Hideki Okajima.

Speaking of low-risk and high-reward and not going wrong, and keeping mind the number one priority of the Yankees this offseason, I’m wondering why the Yankees aren’t going after Roy Oswalt. Like Jones, Oswalt is a 34 year old veteran with over 10 years of experience in the Bigs. All he wants is a 1-year contract anyways, so even if he sucks, after the one year, he’ll be gone. With a career ERA of 3.21, it’s highly unlikely that he will completely flop. The Yankees are concerned with his back issues, but really? A one year contract, you won’t even do that? They signed Bartolo Colon last season, who had more than his fair share of injuries, and he was fantastic for them.

Oswalt is definitely someone for the Yankees to think about, but they better hurry. If they think for too long, he might be gone like the rest of them…

I’m not going to get my hopes up, because I don’t want to be disappointed. But this will remain in the back of my mind until I hear otherwise.

42 days until pitchers and catchers report!

I can’t wait to see my YANKEES.

Offseason Is On: ENOUGH OF A-ROD

Happy New Year, everybody! The changing of the calendar is a time where people are optimistic about the future, ambitious in setting goals, and determined in trying to achieve them. We start off with a clean slate and hope for the best. My goals for 2012 are to keep doing well in school and aim for another 3.925 GPA (or higher!), to blog more and not just wait for the Yankees to give me something to write about, and to get as good at playing guitar as I am at playing piano. Oh, and for my Mom, I said I’d stop doing unladylike things when the Yankees get on my nerves, or at least make a valiant effort to try…

Although the Yankees haven’t made any moves to get me excited for the 2012 season, overall I am still optimistic. They haven’t gotten anyone, but they haven’t traded away those cute rookies such as Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos yet either. I don’t know how they’ll do in 2012, but I am looking forward to the season. How can we not be excited about a new baseball season? Everyone starts out at 0-0, Burnett’s ERA isn’t above 5 yet, and everyone has a chance to redeem themselves (yes, I believe in you, A.J.)!

Everybody but A-Rod.

I know that’s unfair. But I’ve tried – I’ve really tried – I wipe his slate clean. The Yankees have made no news in the offseason, but Alex Rodriguez has had his fair share of coverage once again, and I can’t say I’m happy about it. I’m just sick of Alex Rodriguez’s predictable nonsense.

It’s the same thing every year: after the Yankees lose in the postseason because A-Rod is unclutch, he promises that he will “come back with a vengeance” in the next season. Yeah, he said that last season and he sucked. $32 million for a .276 avg, 16 HR, and 62 RBI in 99 games, with an extremely aggravating .111 avg in the postseason. I know he was hurt. I don’t care (heartless, I know). The surgery was one thing. But the thumb – your THUMB? Maybe if you got your thumb out from your you-know-where you’d be okay.

Oooh…that was harsh.

Perhaps it’s unfair to pick on him for last year when he was hurt. But I can’t help it. When he said he’s rehabbing and working to get back, and then I see him in the dugout with that stupid smile, I just think he’s so disingenuous. I don’t believe anything he says. Why would be bust to get back when he is already guaranteed millions and millions? He doesn’t even look like he’s trying or he cares when he’s out there. Every time he strikes out, he walks away flipping his bat, and looking back at the radar to see how fast the pitch was that he swung and missed at – usually a low-mid 90s fastball that for some odd reason he can’t catch up to – and he makes that face that’s like, “Oh well. I’m A-Rod!” I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me…

I’ve already lost my patience with A-Rod for 2012. He says he’ll be back with a vengeance, then we heard he went all the way to Germany for some bizarre blood-spinning procedure. So he’s not healthy. Great, another excuse to suck.

Then the other night my brother shows me an article from the New York Daily News in which A-Rod has been spotted at least three times with former WWE Diva and Playboy sensation Torrie Wilson, yet another gorgeous blonde to distract him from baseball. I might be overreacting about this, but I’ve just had enough. It’s the same old thing with A-Rod.

So he says he’ll be better in 2012? It doesn’t look it. Just another wasted $30+ million. I can’t believe we have 6 more years of this. And there’s no way he’s going to get any better at 36 years old. Sometimes I wish the Yankees would just get rid of him and eat the money – that’s how fed up I am. Who needs superstars? Scott Brosius was no superstar, and they won with him at third base.

If I was manager, I wouldn’t bat Rodriguez cleanup anymore. Cleanup is for the productive guy. Striking out and scowling at the radar gun is not productive – I’m sorry. That spot should be for either Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano, because they’ve earned it.

 

 

My Opening Day lineup would look something like this:

1) Derek Jeter

2) Nick Swisher

3) Robinson Cano

4) Curtis Granderson

5) Mark Teixeira

6) Alex Rodriguez

7) Jesus Montero

8) Russell Martin

9) Brett Gardner

Originally, I had Teixeira 6th and A-Rod 5th, but in the process of writing this post, I demoted A-Rod again because I’m staring at that picture of him smiling, and I’m struggling to refrain from smacking him and breaking my laptop screen in the process. So because of all that unnecessary effort I’m expelling, I demoted him further.

But actually, Jesus Montero might provide him with some protection. I can’t get the images of that kid hitting line-drive opposite-field home runs at Yankee Stadium out of my mind…

I say to start the season with this lineup. If A-Rod wants to bat clean up, then he’s going to have to earn it. Why, just because he makes the most money, he is guaranteed the star-spot in the order? How’s that fair? I’m tired of watching the top of the Yankees order do so much, just to see A-Rod negate it all by failing to come through in the clutch. Granderson is a guy who I think earned this spot in the order by proving that he can come through after his MVP-worthy 2011 campaign.

Will Joe Girardi listen to me? Nope. It’s sad. A new season, but the same old thing.

If A-Rod miraculously does well in 2012, I’ll apologize. I’ll do whatever. Someone make a bet with me. I’m not worried. I know I’ll win.

47 days until pitchers and catchers report. It may not sound like it after this post, but I am looking forward to seeing my boys in 2012!

Everyone but A-Rod, that is.

Offseason Is On: Inactivity For The Win?

A year ago at this time, I was just beginning to accept that the Yankees didn’t get Cliff Lee. That pained me for a long time, but I slowly convinced myself that it was okay, and that I had other things to look forward to in the season. I later said that I wouldn’t care how well the Yankees did – I just wanted to see some of the young guys come up and play and make an impact. I waited and waited, and finally, Jesus Montero debuted on September 1. To the surprise of many, the 21 year old got hot quickly, without letting the pressure of being the best prospect on the best team in the best city get to him. Although the season was cut short as the Yankees lost to the Tigers in the ALDS and the ultimate goal of bringing home #28 was not accomplished, I can look back on 2011 and smile. The rookie brought me hope.

I’ve been extremely busy finishing up my first semester in college, and I knew I wouldn’t have been able to follow the events of the offseason the way I would have liked to, but I made sure to check up on things every once in awhile to see if my Yanks did anything. CC Sabathia received a contract extension and Freddy Garcia was signed – moves which were either expected or not all that exciting. No major changes have been made to the Yankees yet, despite Cashman’s claims that the starting pitching is in need of improvement.

Awhile back, I did a debate saying Yu Darvish should go to the Yankees. At first I didn’t really think so, but when formulating my argument supporting that claim, I wound up convincing myself. I though Yu Darvish made a ton of sense for the Yankees. CJ Wilson didn’t appeal to me because I am not fond of giving up draft picks, and when CJ Wilson is the best pitcher on the market, there’s a problem. I didn’t want the Yankees to overpay for him.

Now I know Darvish isn’t going to be cheap, but I still think he made sense for the Yankees. The posting fee wouldn’t have counted towards the luxury tax threshold that the Yankees are trying to get under – it’s just disposable money, and the Yankees have a fair amount of that. Besides, since they didn’t do anything else this offseason, they could have put in a better bid than one that was described as just “modest.” I don’t know what Darvish’s actual contract would be, but what I do know is that many are wary of giving a rather large deal to a guy who is unproven in America. Still, there’s risk with every player. Who knows if CJ Wilson would have been able to succeed in New York? And the rookies, as much as I want to see them, they’re unproven as well. Granted, they don’t have the same kind of price tag…

I know Yu Darvish is a risk, but I wish the Yankees pursued him more actively. They’ve been scouting him for years now. I know so many people who say just that because he’s from Japan, they don’t want him. And yes, I know teams have been burned by international signings before – I remember Igawa. But Darvish is supposed to be ten times better than all the other international signings combined. To me, if you can pitch, you can pitch no matter where you are on the globe. Darvish is extremely, incredibly dominant in Japan. Maybe in the United States, he’d be just regular-dominant – perfect for a number-two starter.

Yu Darvish was all I wanted for Christmas this year from Cashman, much like Cliff Lee was all I wanted last year. The free agent market for starting pitching is pretty dry this year, and Darvish to me was the best free-agent option. And if nothing else, it would have been exciting to have him on the Yankees. Darvish is headed to Texas, and the better free agents are no longer available, but the Yankees are still in need of pitching. What’s going to happen?

They could either sign low-risk and high-reward guys like they did with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia last year, or they can trade for someone more suitable for the top of the rotation. Neither of these ideas is too appealing to me.

Or, the Yankees can do nothing.

To my surprise, I support the latter option.

Yu Darvish was kind of like a checkpoint for me: if they signed him, great, I’m beyond satisfied. I would have known that their earlier inactivity was because they were focused on him. To me, he was the deal of the offseason. Since he’s not coming to the Yankees and there’s no one else to sign, I don’t want anyone. I don’t want to trade just to trade. The rookies gave me hope last year, and the more time passes, the more the prospects are getting more ready to play in the Bigs. I want them to do so as Yankees. I don’t want them to be traded away. And like I said before: sure, trading is perhaps less risky than signing Darvish, because you’d be trading for someone who had success in this league. But success in the Majors does not by any means guarantee success on the New York Yankees. I’ve seen countless good players come to New York and underperform beyond belief. In this case, I don’t think trading for a guy is any better than letting the rookies pitch. They have the same upside – but the cost is way different.

Trading for a starting pitcher wouldn’t guarantee a championship anyways, and trading away the prospects that I’ve been dying to see wouldn’t make me any more excited. Since Darvish is out of the picture now, I want the Yankees to try out their prospects. Keep Jesus Montero, and Manny Banuelos, and let’s finally see what these guys, and other guys of their caliber who we’ve heard so much about, can actually do. Sure, they definitely don’t guarantee a championship. But watching them would create a heck of a lot more excitement than any trade can do for me.

Cashman, since you’ve decided to do nothing so far, is it a lot to ask from you to do nothing for the remainder of the offseason?

Sometimes it’s the moves you don’t make that help you out the most…

Haley Smilow: Future Yankees Journalist

3 more weeks of this semester and then I’m free for a month. Forgive me for not posting regularly! As some of you might know, I take my studies very seriously, and I’m doing so even more now that I have motivation to keep my scholarship! I admit it: I’m a nerd. But I have all A’s so I don’t care!

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving with their families and friends. I know I did. There’s nothing better than a week off when everyone is home and you have time to catch up on things. The rest of your life just kind of disappears for a while. And not to mention, everyone loves all that yummy food.

It’s this time of year where we all sit back and marvel at what we have in our lives. I’m incredibly grateful for my family and friends. But I’m also thankful for the New York Yankees (who are like family to me) and my blog, and the opportunities that it brings me. Every time I log in, I never know what I’m going to find. I love receiving reader feedback, but I think the thing I’m most thankful for with my blog is the people that I meet and the connections that I make. They can be very inspiring.

I recently had one of these experiences, and I’m honored to be part of it.

Haley Smilow is ten years old, and although young, she is quite the Yankees fan. In fact, she has already lived one of my dreams: to interview a Yankee.  This past August, Haley and her family followed the Yankee schedule and attended the away games.  And in July, she was able to interview one of my favorite Yankees, the adorable All-Star and should-have-been MVP outfielder Curtis Granderson. Her interview was even published in Baseball Youth Magazine.

 

I was asked if I would be willing to share Haley’s interview on my blog. Hmm…let me think: would I be willing to post an interview by a ten year old girl who is a huge Yankees fan, who from what I know reminds me of a mini-me, who interviewed one of my favorite Yankees, and who is an aspiring journalist?

ABSOLUTELY!

Now I didn’t know what to expect, but I really enjoyed the interview. Haley asked the kinds of questions that real fans want to know. I learned a lot about Curtis through this interview. Sure, she talked baseball, but she also helped me discover fun facts about Curtis, such as how he likes his pizza and who his favorite wrestler is.

 

 

I now present Haley Smilow’s interview with Curtis Granderson. Enjoy!

 

Haley: In August my family is following the Yankees to US Cellular Field, Kauffman Stadium, Target Field and Camden Yards with stops at Miller Park, Wrigley and Busch Stadium.  Do you have a favorite ballpark, and why? Is there a ballpark where you feel you always play well other than Yankee Stadium?

Curtis:I like the Anaheim Angels Stadium because it has good weather to play in and the playing surface is well taken care of, making it a nice place to play ball.  I also enjoy the Rally Monkey because he is fun to watch, but as a player it means that the Angels are doing well.  Other stadiums that I like to play in are Mariners Safeco Field and of course at home in Chicago at US Cellular Field and Wrigley.

 

Haley: Since I am going to be in Chicago, who has the best Pizza in Chicago?  Who in New York? Do you like Deep Dish or Thin Crust Pizza?

Curtis: My favorite Pizzerias in Chicago are Lou Malnali’s, Giordanos and Gino’s and in New York Artichoke Basille’s.  Sometimes I like Dominos thin crust pizza, because I like my crust crunchy.  If I am really hungry I will order deep dish.

 

Haley: Coney Island Hot Dogs or Nathan’s Hot Dogs?

Curtis: Since I played in Detroit I would have to say Coney Island Hot Dogs.

 

Haley: What is your favorite meal?

Curtis: I really love Thanksgiving dinner because you get to eat a little bit of everything and you can go back over and over for more helpings.

 

Haley: My little brother is a fan of WWE, I heard you are as well. Who are some of you favorite wrestlers of today?

Curtis: Of course I like CM Punk because he is a great wrestler and from Chicago. John Cena is another favorite. I also like the Divas because they work hard and are as good as the guys.

Haley: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Curtis: I have an older half sister, Monica. 

 

Haley: In your book All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It, you share the lessons that you learned growing up. What is one lesson you would tell the Baseball Youth readers if they haven’t read the book?

Curtis: The selection of friends, good and bad, positive or negative and the people you surround yourself with, will shape your whole life. 

 

Haley: I also know you are an ambassador for MLB and have traveled to England, Italy, South Africa, China, and New Zealand. Is there any place you would really like to go and represent MLB?

Curtis: I have never been to South America so that would be amazing.  I would also like to go to Japan and Australia, those would be on my top 3 list.

 

Haley: Why did you choose the #28 in Detroit and #14 in New York?

Curtis: I was given the #28 in college, which was great because the numbers 2 and 8 are my favorite numbers, so it was both of them together.  When I became a Yankee Joe Girardi was #28 so I chose #14 because that was my number from high school.

 

Haley: I get to go to a lot of Yankees games, and I have noticed that you have two rituals. Can you to explain them? When you step up to the plate you tap it with the bat from left to right then the top. Why?

Curtis: No particular reason, I guess it is just a habit.

Haley: When you are leading off from first and the pitcher makes a move, you always walk around first base same way every time. Why?

Curtis: Because I don’t want to get picked off or called out.

 

Haley: Do you have any other rituals or superstions?

Curtis: I only chew sugar free bubble gum.

Curtis asked Haley: Do you like gum?” Make sure you take a hand full when you leave the dug out.

 

Haley: What is it like in the Dug Out before and after a game?

Curtis: It is a fun place filled with energy and lots of handshakes. We are always meeting people before games.  After the game it depends if we won or lost.  If we win everyone is happy and celebrating and if we lost we need to move on to the next game.

 

Haley: When you are on the road do you share rooms with your teammates?

CurtisIn the majors we get our own rooms.  In the minors we share rooms, I used to share with Ryan Raburn, Joel Zumaya and David Espinosa.

 

Haley: AJ Burnett has created a celebration for a walk off win, a pie in the face.  Have you ever gotten pied?

Curtis: No, I have not been pied.  If I get pied it means we won but I am afraid it will burn.  

 

Haley: Who is the biggest practical joker you have ever been on a team with? Have you ever been the victim of a practical joke?

Curtis: Brandon Inge on the Tigers will do funny pranks, silly ones and even some gross ones.  We had a little battle going when I played for Detroit.  Once I opened his car and filled it with paper and construction tape making it a big mess inside the car and out.  Jorge Posada is a real joker as well.

 

Haley: In 2007 you became just one of four players in MLB history to record 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs & 20 stolen bases in a single season, what are some of your other accomplishments you are proud of?

Curtis: Graduating from University of Illinois-Chicago, and that I am 1 of only 37 players with college degrees.  Making it to the 2006 World Series.

 

Haley: Do you have any other favorite sports besides baseball?

Curtis: I like basketball, especially college ball. I also like hockey, football and bowling and I used to run cross-country.

Haley: What’s your favorite team?

Curtis: The Kansas City Jay Hawks.

 

Haley: Who would you consider your closest friends on the Yankees?

Curtis: Of course I have special bond with my fellow outfielders Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner.  But I also like to hang out with CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Russell Martin we go out to dinner and movies together. 

 

From this interview, I learned some important things: Curtis Granderson is as darling in real life as he seems on TV, and he and I have the same taste in wrestlers!

Not to mention, I learned that young female Yankees fans are extremely ambitious, talented, and extraordinary individuals.

I’ve been inspired by Haley, and I wish her and the Smilow family the best. I hope to share more of her work on here in the future.

 

 

Haley Smilow Social Networking Links:

http://www.wix.com/smilow/home-field-advantage

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Home-Field-Advantage/108037172615547