Rivera and Jeter Re-up with New York

"Mo and Jeter will be back with the Yankees next season." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

In the past few days the Yankees have re-signed two career Yankees in Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.

Mariano was the first of the duo to re-join the Yankees by signing a 2 year contract worth $30 million. I cannot say I have any reason to complain about this contract, I think he can hold up for at least another two years and at $15 million per season this doesn’t seem like a gross overpay.

Derek Jeter and the Yankees agreed to a contract yesterday which is somewhat more complicated. The deal will pay him $51 million over the first three years of the contract ($17M per season), and then there is a player option for a fourth season. Since the option is a player option, this is basically a four-year deal. The option is apparently worth $8M and Jeter can earn an additional $9M that year based on incentives. While this seems to be an unnecessary overpay (especially giving Jeter the 4th year), this deal could have been a lot worse, so I can’t say I’m overly upset.

Notes

  • With Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera off the board, the Yankees can head into the winter meetings this Monday focussed on Cliff Lee and any other pursuits, knowing that there really is no rush to sign Andy Pettitte because he will either be going to the Yankees or retiring.
  • Lance Berkman has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and will be playing left field. Yankee fans never really seemed to warm up to Lance, but I really liked him and although there was no real chance he would return to the Yankees, I’m kind of sad to see him gone. Good luck Berkman!
  • People have been wondering what the chance is that the Yankees sign both Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford. While Crawford would make the outfield defense otherworldly (assuming Swisher would be traded), I think signing the outfielder would be a misuse of resources.
  • We recently heard that the Yankees had a trade set up to send Francisco Cervelli to the Dodgers in exchange for Russell Martin. However, it didn’t go through but now Martin is a free agent so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees go after Martin as a possible backup catcher. He would certainly be an upgrade over Cervelli.
  • The Yankees have non-tendered Dustin Moseley and Alfredo Aceves. While the Moseley decision was not surprising, I was surprised that Aceves was non-tendered. I guess the Yankees are not confident in his health, especially after his recent bike-induced injury.
  • Sergio Mitre has been re-signed and should serve as the long man and a spot starter.
  • The Red Sox have agreed to a trade for Adrian Gonzales in exchange for three of their top prospects. The deal has not been completed yet and is waiting due to a physical and contract extension talks. I’ll analyze this deal further if the trade is finalized. Update 2:50 – According to Jon Heyman the Red Sox could not reach an extension deal with Gonzalez and the deal has fallen through. Still, I could see the Red Sox revisiting the trade.

 

Rivera vs. Jeter

"Isn't this a cool picture?" Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter are two of the most iconic Yankees ever. Both players played huge roles in the late 90s Yankee dynasty and both players contributed heavily to the 2009 World Champion Yankees. There’s no question that both players have been extremely valuable throughout their careers, but who has been more valuable? This poses to be a much more difficult question than it seems. Has Mariano Rivera and his persistent dominance as a closer been more valuable than Derek Jeter? Or has Jeter’s year in and year out above average play been more valuable than Mo? Well, when in doubt, turn to the numbers.

Mariano Rivera (since 1996)

Total WAR: 35.9

Average WAR (per season): 2.394

Highest WAR (1996) : 4.4

Highest WAR as a closer (2001): 3.3

Total innings pitched: 1,068.2

Derek Jeter (since 1996)

Total WAR: 70.6

Average WAR (per season):  4.71

Highest WARs (1999 & 2009): 7.5 and 7.4 respectively

Total innings played: 19,317

So clearly WAR heavily favors Derek Jeter as more valuable than Mariano Rivera since 1996. Jeter’s total WAR is almost twice as much as Rivera’s total WAR, same goes for Jeter’s average season WAR and highest single season WAR.

My take: Derek Jeter has been more valuable than Mariano Rivera since 1996. And I don’t think it’s even close. The reason, shortstops are more valuable than closers. There’s no doubt that Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer to ever live, the greatest reliever to ever live. While it’s a bit more arguable whether Derek Jeter is the greatest shortstop ever, he has been more valuable than Mariano Rivera. Closers play a much more limited role than do shortstops. As a closer Mariano only influences games for one inning, two at the most. On the other hand, as a shortstop Derek Jeter can impact a game for at least 9 innings. This is why Derek Jeter has been much more valuable than Mariano Rivera has been to the Yankees, in my opinion.

"The Captain." Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

Mariano Rivera’s statistics

Derek Jeter’s statistics

A-Rod leads Yankees to 8-4 Victory

After losing four out of their last five games, The Yankees defeated The Minnesota Twins tonight with the help of Alex Rodriguez. Let’s break it down…

Pitching

Allan James Burnett started tonight for the Yankees and he went 6.2 innings while only allowing 3 runs (2 earned). He wasn’t great as he walked 4 batters and only struck out 4 batters, but he held the damage to a minimum. Damaso Marte followed Burnett with two outs in the 7th inning, and with the Yankees leading 3-2 Marte gave up an RBI single to Joe Mauer and an RBI double to Justin Morneau. Marte did manage to escape the 7th inning, however. Joba Chamberlain came in to pitch the eight with the Yankees leading 7-4 and he struck out the side. PitchFX clocked Joba’s fastball in at an average of 95 MPH tonight with the high at 96, for those of you wondering. Chamberlain was awarded the winning pitcher for his effort. In the ninth, some guy named Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 inning and that was the end of the story.

Hitting

The Yankees offense had been kind of stagnant lately, but it seemed to awaken tonight. In the bottom of the 4th, with the Yankees down 1-0, Brett Gardner hit a solo home run. Later in the inning Robinson Cano doubled to score Mark Teixeira. In the bottom of the fifth Mark Teixeira doubled to score Brett Gardner. Then the big blow came in the bottom of the seventh when Alex Rodriguez came up to the plate with the bases loaded and The Twins leading 4-3. On the second pitch of the at bat Matt Guerrier gave Alex a pitch to hit and A-Rod took advantage of it depositing it into left field for a grand slam. The Yankees then led 7-4 and would never look back, but Francisco Cervelli tripled in the eight to score Juan Miranda just for fun.

Here's one of those cool Win Probability graphs for you.

Swisher ailing

Nick Swisher left today’s game with a strain in his left biceps which has been bothering him lately. fortunately, according to Chad Jennings the MRI came back negative.

New Look

So, as you can see 161st Street looks a little different, haha! This design obviously isn’t set in stone, I just didn’t feel like working on it anymore today, so please any suggestions to make it better would be great. By the way, I’ve noticed that depending on the size of your computer screen you may or may not see the full background image. Larger screens will display the blue background with pinstripes running down it, smaller screens will only display the blue background (because the pinstripes are cut off). Either way, let me know what you think about it.

Injury Bug Hitting Yanks Hard

Lately it seems like the Yankees can’t even go a game without someone getting injured. Building injuries like this can really hurt a team, but let’s hope the team pulls through them. Let’s take a look at each injured player.

Chan Ho Park

Park strained his right hamstring on April 15th and has been on the 15-day DL since then. Fortunately, it looks like he may not be there much longer. According to Chad Jennings, Park through 45 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday and is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. This is big step in his recovery, and if all goes well with Park I would expect him back in a week or so.

Curtis Granderson

Granderson was placed on the 15-day DL on May 1st with a grade 2 strain of his left groin. I’ll turn it over to Will Carroll of “Under The Knife” to describe Granderson’s injury…

The Yankees will be without Granderson for about a month with a Grade II groin strain. That’s a reasonable time frame no matter which way you go with the estimate. On one side, you could be optimistic and say that Granderson’s conditioning and strength will help him get back in two to four weeks. On the other hand, caution and some normal setbacks could push it to four to six weeks. There’s not really much more here to clarify; Granderson has a simple groin strain. Until he begins to jog or run, probably mid-month, we won’t know anything new.

I could see Granderson being out for quite a while because he is a player who really relies on his legs and the Yankees won’t want to rush him back and risk a much worse injury.

Jorge Posada

Posada has been staying on the bench lately with mild calf strain. According to Chad Jennings, Posada said yesterday that he expects to play today. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees give some extra time to recover.

Mariano Rivera

Rivera has sat out since April 30th with stiffness in his left side, but he appears to be ready to return to action. He was available last night out of the bullpen, although he didn’t see any action. He did however throw in the bullpen during the game, so it seems as if he is not really an issue anymore.

Andy Pettitte

Pettitte last pitched May 5th before he had to prematurely leave that game with stiffness and mild inflammation in his left arm around his elbow. Whenever you hear news like this about a pitcher you have to be worried. Fortunately, the Yankees have so far deemed Pettitte healthy enough not to put him on the DL. Pettitte is scheduled to miss his next start and for now Sergio Mitre will take his spot in the rotation. Hopefully Mitre will only have to make one start and then Pettitte will go back into the rotation.

Nick Johnson

Johnson left last night’s game with a sore right wrist and is headed for the DL. Johnson is scheduled to undergo tests today in New York, and we will hopefully know more after then. Johnson’s right wrist is the same wrist that he injured in 2008 and kept him out for most of the season. Hopefully this isn’t as serious.

Robinson Cano

Cano was hit by a pitch from Josh Beckett on his left knee. Cano left the game shortly after with a bruise on his knee but is not scheduled for any further testing. Don’t expect Cano to play today, but for now it doesn’t look like he’ll be out for an extended period of time.

Roster Moves

With injuries usually come roster moves, and we should be seeing some moves today. While I can’t say for sure what the Yankees will do, I think they will call up Kevin Russo to be the backup infielder with Ramiro Pena as the starting second baseman for now. If the Yankees want to play it safe in the outfield they could recall Greg Golson who was sent down before yesterday’s game. While players usually have to wait 10 days in the minors before they can be called up again, with Nick Johnson going on the DL the Yankees can bring Golson right back up if they wish. If they decide to the call up Golson then he would take Johnson’s roster spot, and they could send Boone Logan or David Robertson down and use that spot to call up Kevin Russo.

"Call Doctor Robert, we need his help."

Update

Kevin Russo has indeed been called up. Robinson Cano is back in the lineup today as the DH according to Chad Jennings. Jennings also reports that Nick Johnson has a torn tendon in his wrist, I’m no doctor, but I’d expect him to be out for a few months if this is the case.

2nd Update

Looking back at Jennings’ post, it appears he has changed Nick Johnson’s torn tendon, to Nick Johnson’s inflamed tendon. That’s good news.

Game 4: Yankees at Rays

After taking the first series of the year 2-3 against the Red Sox, the Yankees had an off day yesterday, but they are back in action today. The Yankees will be taking on lefty David Price of the Rays so we are going to see the same lineup that faced Jon Lester a few days ago. Here it is via Chad Jennings

SS Derek Jeter

DH Nick Johnson

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

RF Nick Swisher

LF Marcus Thames

CF Curtis Granderson

RHP Javier Vazquez

Javy is ready to make his second stint as a Yankees much more impressive.

Joe West should keep his mouth shut

If you haven’t already seen what umpire Joe West said, you can read this. My opinion: What bothers me is not that he made a comment, but he had to use inflammatory language by calling the Red Sox and the Yankees “embarrassing” and “pathetic.” Whatever message he was trying to get across got lost in his unprofessional name-calling. Mariano Rivera seemed upset over what West said too. Mo told reporters, “It’s incredible. If he has places to go, let him do something else. What does he want us to do, swing at balls?” When you get Mariano to say something like that, you know you are wrong.

Yankees set out plans for home opener

Bernie Williams will throw out the first pitch, there will be a giant flag unrolled in the outfield, and of the course the ring ceremony will take place. It sounds like it will be fun to watch.

Minor League season starts up

Yesterday all minor league Yankee affiliates won, but unfortunately Christian Garcia got injured again. He is on my players “I’m watching list” and I’m hoping his injury isn’t serious but I have my doubts. Anyway, make sure you check out the “Minor League Affiliates” page at the top of 161st Street for links to rosters and things and also to see who I’m watching this season.

Game 82: Blue Jays at Yankees

As the Yankees look for the sweep of this 4 game series against the Jays, they send out the following lineup via PeteAbe to face the rookie Ricky Romero:

SS Derek Jeter

1B Nick Swisher

DH Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

C Jorge Posada

2B Robinson Cano

LF Melky Cabrera

RF Eric Hinske - making his first appearance as a Yankee

Brett Gardner

And on the mound, Andy Pettitte


“Sorry, but you’re still a bad hitter”

Since going 5-6 against the Mets, Brett Gardner is 0-14. Those 5 hits were the worst thing that could happen to him, now he thinks he is a hitter. He needs to be bunting every time he gets up. He can’t consistently get on base without bunting. It makes no sense to me that he goes to the plate with the intention of driving the ball, he just can’t do it.

‘Further exploring the options for the 5th starter”

Check out my previous post about who should take Chien-Ming Wang’s spot in the rotation. In it I had an unorthodox plan to put Hughes into the rotation, and another idea that I won’t spoil right now. While the Yankees have not announced who will start on Thursday, they have announced that it won’t be Hughes, but that doesn’t mean Hughes won’t take the spot after the All Star Break.

Congratulations Mark, Derek, and Mariano!

If you haven’t heard the news, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter are starting the All Star game at first and short, respectively. And the great Mariano Rivera also made the team. Oh, and Teixeira will not be participating in the home run derby, that’s a relief.

What’s up with Joba?

Mike Axisa over at River Ave Blues, suggests that Joba was rushed to the big leagues, and did not get to mature mentally as a result of that. He brings up the possibility of sending Joba to AAA to develop further instead of pitch in the spotlight. While I agree that Joba is a bit immature, I’m not sure now is the right time to send him down, maybe if the rotation wasn’t already missing it’s 5th starter I’d do it, but I’m not so sure right now. Anyway, go check out the full post by Mike Axisa, it’s very interesting.

Off Day Musings (3rd Edition)

odm 3rd

Right now everything is going well in Yankee Universe, winning seems to do that. After losing series to both the Nationals and the Marlins, things weren’t looking so good, and many were calling for Girardi’s head. However, since then things got back on track and the Yankees took 2 out of 3 from the Braves, and swept the lowly Mets. Today the Yankees are off, and they are gearing up for 7 game home stand, in which they play the Mariners 3 times and the Blue Jays 4 times. After that the Yankees set out for a road trip to Minnesota then Anaheim before the All Star Break begins. Let’s not get to ahead of ourselves though, because for now we should just be enjoying an off day, but I know there are many people out there (myself included) who don’t like off days because they want to see Yankee baseball every day. While, I can’t do anything about the Yankees not playing, I can hopefully quench your thirst for baseball with a few stories, links, and rumors.

Mo 500th save

Rivera the great reaches his 500th save

Last night Mariano recorded his 500th Major League save, 2nd on the all time list to Trevor Hoffman who has 571 saves. Despite how great Hoffman is, we all know that Mariano is the greatest reliever of all time. What makes Mo great is that his only goal is to help his team win, he is not trying to set records or anything. After last night’s game, things got emotional as every member of the Yankees gave Mo a hug. All of his teammates were so happy for him, some people got some memorabilia. Cody Ransom got to take home the bat that Mo used in the at bat in which he got his first Major League RBI. Chien-Ming Wang asked Mo to sign a ball to give to his son, JJ Wang, so that JJ would always know that his father played with the great Mariano Rivera. He truly is unbelievable. Recently, ESPN sat down with Mariano for an interview, it was a few days before he actually got his 500th save. It definitely is worth a watch, it was just amazing to see how humble Mariano really is. Check it out.

Should I stay or should I go?

According to PeteAbe, Jose Molina is set to return to the big league roster very soon. He was with the team yesterday, and he did some base-running drills. Now he will begin a rehab assignment that should last for about a week before he rejoins the Yankees. The big question though is, “What to do with Fransisco Cervelli?” There are only a few options:

  • Carry 3 catchers – One option is to carry Jose Molina and Fransisco Cervelli, along with Jorge Posada. In this option, somebody obviously has to be either sent down or DFA. Ramiro Pena sent down? Brett Tomko DFA? I’m not crazy about this option.
  • Send the kid to AAA – Another option is to carry just Jose Molina and Jorge Posada, and to send Fransisco Cervelli to AAA. This would be a tough call, Cervelli calls a great game, the pitchers love him, and he brings a spark to the team. I really don’t know if this is the right option, I’m 50-50 on this.
  • Trade Jose Molina – The final option is to trade Jose Molina and carry Jorge Posada and Fransisco Cervelli. To me this seems kind of harsh to Molina, plus what do you do if Jorge or Cervelli gets hurt, Kevin Cash? Maybe? Jose Molina has done nothing to deserve being traded, the pitchers love throwing to him just like Cervelli. If they were to trade Molina, I doubt they would get much in return, but there should be some teams out there that would like to have him. I really am unsure on what to do with this whole situation, but that’s why I’m not the general manager. However, feel free to pretend that you are Brian Cashman, and comment on the move you would make.

Huston Street?

The rumors keep on burning that Huston Street will be a Yankee. I still feel the same way on him, I’d absolutely love to have him in the bullpen as he would provide an 8th inning fix, and possibly even a future closer since he has already been closing ballgames, but the thing is that I don’t think he is worth the price that the Rockies are going to want for him. He only becomes more expensive now that the Rockies are winning ballgames left and right. How to you feel about the Huston Street comments? Feel free to comment.

How to get your baseball fix?

Well as you know the Yankees are not playing today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t watch baseball today. Here are some notable games set to take place tonight:

Boston @ Baltimore (NESN, MASN) 7:05

Lester goes for Boston

Berker goes for Baltimore

Tampa Bay @ Toronto (SUN, TSN) 7:07

Niemann goes for Tampa Bay

Halladay goes for Toronto

NY Mets @ Milwaukee (ESPN, FSWI) 7:08

Nieve goes for New York

Looper goes for Milwaukee


Update: I just realized this was my 100th post. Pretty cool.

Game 71: Yankees 8, Braves 4

Tonight the Yankees defeated the Braves by the score of 8 to 4. While it may look like an ordinary win, it was not quite. Through 5 innings the Yankees did not have a single base runner, and it looked like another night of losing to Cy Young. However, the story changed in the 6th inning. Brett Gardner led off the inning with a walk (the Yankees first base runner), then he got called out on a pick off on first. Joe Girardi immediately came out to argue. Gardner was clearly safe as seen on the replays, but from Girardi’s view he probably couldn’t really tell. Still, Girardi gave the first base umpire his money’s worth and was ejected. Seeing the manager ejected always seems to get a team fired up. Anyway, the next batter was Francisco Cervelli who hit a solo home run to tie the game at one (his first career home run). From there on almost everything went the Yankee’s way. They went on to score two more runs in the 6th, one in the 7th, two in the 8th, and then 2 in the 9th.

Girardi Argue

On the pitching side things also went well for the Yanks. Joba Chamberlain went 6.1 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned. Phil Coke came in to finish the 7th after Joba got in a bit of trouble. Then Bruney came into the 8th inning and right from the get go he didn’t look right, to me his fastball wasn’t there. Bruney allowed a run and could not finish the 8th after getting 2 outs. Enter sandman who stroke out the first batter he faced to end the 8th. Mo actually batted in the top of the ninth, he came up with the bases loaded and two outs and he actually hit a hard liner to center. In the bottom of the 9th Mo was smoking. He faced three batters, and struck out all three. So for the night Mo faced a total of 4 batters and stuck them all out. Vintage Mariano. So the Yankees won the game 8 to 4.

Side Notes

  • The Yankees held a closed door meeting after last night’s game. Supposedly it was basically a pep talk. Jeter and Teixeira were the two guys to step up and talk during the meeting.
  • Brian Cashman unexpectedly was in Atlanta tonight. He also had a little closed door meeting in Girardi’s office with Nick Swisher and Girardi himself. The original lineup posted tonight had Swisher on the bench and Melky in right field. After that little meeting with Cashman, Swisher was in the lineup and Melky was on the bench. The Yankees did not really comment on the situation, so we’re just left to speculate. All I could think off would be that Cashman and Girardi wanted to let Swisher know what the situation would be once Xavier Nady returns (which should be soon, he actually played right field tonight for Scranton). Maybe they told Swisher that he would become a bench player once Nady comes back. I really don’t know, but I would think there was more to Brian Cashman being with the Yankees on the road than just to tell Swisher something. But you know the Yankees, they are quite secretive.
  • Cody Ransom is back with the team, Angel Berroa was DFA’d.
  • Jose Veras was traded to the Indians for “cash considerations.”

Game 62: Mets at Yankees

BASEBALL/

The game post will not be like usual today, because by the time the lineup is announced I will not have a computer near me. So, I will just give my thoughts on last night’s game, and post a few links. Well, where to begin. Last night Joba came out looking good, his slider was devastating. However, he fell into trouble with command and was not able to start the fifth. After the game, when reporters were talking to him, his three year old son said, “Daddy, you didn’t throw strikes.” I read that on Pete Abe’s blog, by the way. Isn’t that really funny, I mean the kid is three years old! Anyway, I’m not going to sum up the whole game, but I will say that Matsui hit a 3 run home run last night on his 35th birthday, last year on his 34th birthday he hit a grandslam. Mo came in in the 8th with 2 outs, at the time it was a 7-7 game, but he walked Beltran and then allowed a double to David Wright to make it 8-7 Mets. In the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs, Jeter on 2nd, and Teix on 1st, Arod hit a routine pop up to 2nd base. It looked like the end, Arod even slamed his bat down in frustration, but it was just the beginning. Luis Castillo ended up dropping the ball and both Jeter and Teix. The real reason they won was that Teixeira hustled all the way from first base to score, today we don’t see many players do that. Well, anyway so the Yankees won 9-8.

Teixeira

Links

That’s it for the links. I’ll be watching the game (hopefully) today at 4:00 on FOX. It will be Andy Petitte up against Fernando Nieve filling in for the injured John Maine.

Game 57: Rays at Yankees

Here is tonight’s starting lineup via PeteAbe for the Yankees:

SS Derek Jeter

LF Johnny Damon

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

DH Hideki Matsui

RF Nick Swisher

CF Melky Cabrera

And on the hill, the old Texan, Andy Pettitte

The Stare

The Stare

Notes

  • Hopefully Andy’s back is OK
  • Tomorrow is day 1 of the amateur draft. Check out this article I wrote earlier about it.
  • Mo was ill on Saturday. Here’s more on the story.