High Hopes in Tampa: NY Yankees Spring Training Looks Promising

Source: Yankees/MLB

Source: Yankees/MLB

It’s one of the greatest times of the year once again, sports fans. In American sporting history, the words ‘Spring Training’ ranks right up there as one of sport’s most energizing phrases that pull fans from their postseason slumbers.

After falling in the single-game playoff to the Houston Astros, our New York Yankees are back in Tampa, looking to improve on last year. Our club feels optimistic about its prospects too.

That includes catcher Brian McCann who loves our underrated rotation that includes starters CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and youngster Luis Severino. When talking about Severino, Joe Girardi compared him to a pitching legend. Girardi said, “I was around Greg Maddux when I was a young player…There was a ton of poise, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do. And I feel like Sevvy is the same way. He knows what he wants to do.” Throw in our bolstered bullpen and it makes why we are feeling good this spring.

It’s not just the arms that have expectations high within the organizations. If the early games have shown what can come, the Didi Gregorius-to-Starlin Castro combination could prove lethal to baserunners. Meanwhile at the plate, both of their bats give fans hope that we’ll have runners in scoring position early and often.

The youth of the organization also give Yankee faithful hope as top prospects Jorge Mateo, Aaron Judge and pitcher James Kaprielian stood out in the first few weeks down in Florida. Whether they make the opening day roster or we eventually see them in the Bronx at some point this season, the future looks bright in the short and long-term for our club.

Spring training has been a great sign for our season ahead. Get ready for an exciting season ahead, fans. The Bronx Bombers will be back in town real soon.

Manager Profile: Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi

Since 2008, Joe Girardi has served as the ideal leader of the New York Yankees. For five seasons, Girardi served as the Bronx Bomber’s trusty catcher–providing leadership and wisdom behind the plate. During his stint with the club, Girardi contributed to classic Yankee moments that include catching Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter in 1996 and winning the World Series later that season.

Throughout his entire life, Girardi has been a consummate leader and professional.

After graduating from Northwestern University in 1986 with a degree in industrial engineering, Girardi joined the Cubs farm system before making his first big league appearance in 1989. In 1992, the expansion Colorado Rockies selected Girardi as an unprotected player for its inaugural season. In 1995, New York City began discovered its appreciation for him when the Yankees traded Mike DeJean for the catcher. After five incredible seasons behind the plate at Yankee Stadium, he would return to the Cubs for the last major stretch of his career. In 2000, he would earn his only All-Star team appearance as a player with his home state club.

During his career, Girardi batted .267 with 422 RBIs.

After retiring, Girardi would spend two stints as a broadcaster for the YES Network. While he excelled at his new position, the game he loved proved too tempting to walk away from entirely. Girardi joined the Florida Marlins as its manager for the 2006 season. Guiding the club to a 78-84 record, Girardi earned several Manager of the Year honors before he and the club would go their separate ways at season’s end.

In 2007, Girardi returned to the Yankees as its new Manager. He opted to wear the number 27 to demonstrate his desire to bring a 27th championship to the Bronx. That proved to true in 2009 after the Bombers took down the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies.

As Girardi and the Yankees pursue pennant 28, New York knows that Joe has its back.

The MLB Hot Stove Heats Up as Trade Deadline Looms

Source: MLB

Source: MLB


Every Major League Baseball team has decided by July 31st if they are buyers or sellers this season. For some teams it’s an obvious decision to go all in and make the postseason push. For other clubs, the end of July indicates rebuilding for the future. In other occasions, a middling team could keep fans on the edge of their seats to see how the rest of the season will turn out.

This year is no exception. This is the MLB trade deadline.

Yankee fans probably recall big name acquisitions like David Justice and Bobby Abreu coming over in past years, helping propel the club to the postseason. Teams short on success in recent years, like the Astros and Mets, now find themselves in a race to acquire talent for the fall.

Already this season, we’ve seen end of July deals send Troy Tulowitzki from the Colorado Rockies to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jose Reyes. Other notable players like Shane Victorino, Aramis Ramirez and Scott Kazmir also changed teams in recent days. Many more could join them soon. This year, names like Cole Hamels and Craig Kimbrel are mainstays on the hot stove.

Unlike other sports, MLB has a slightly different trade structure. While July 31st is the official trade deadline, teams actually have until August 31st to solidify their postseason rosters. If a team wants to trade a player outright, it must come before the July deadline. However, if a team wants to move a player after that, they must first pass through waivers. That explains why you may see some jaw dropping all-stars put on waivers in the coming weeks. Additionally, while you see draft picks involved in other leagues’ deals, MLB does not allow that. Rather, teams have the Rule 5 draft. One player chosen in the Rule 5 draft was then-Astro Johan Santana. After being selected by the Marlins, Santana was traded to the Minnesota Twins where he stayed on the roster the full season, solidifying his Twins status. From there, he became the bonafide stud pitcher we witnessed for several seasons.

When it comes to waiver trades, teams run a risk of having that player claimed on waivers. If that arises, the player’s original team has three options:

  • Orchestrate a trade with the team that made the successful claim
  • Rescind the player’s waiver and bring them back to the team
  • Allow the new team to assume the player’s contract.

Most likely, you will see the first two options exercised more often.

This year may prove to be particularly interesting at the deadline with numerous borderline contenders around the .500 mark. Depending on which way they go, the league could turn on its head. A fringe contender could push to the top of the pack while a star acquisition can prove to be a colossal letdown. While I’d love to give you more details on the rumblings of my team, that’d be a bit too much “inside baseball.”

New Rules Breathe Fresh Air into 2015 Home Run Derby

via USA Today

via USA Today

This year’s Gillette Home Run Derby came to Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark with a revised format. Under fears that the reformed competition would be a rain out, some worried the All-Star Game would be without one of its signature events. Thankfully, the weather held out enough to see veteran Reds third baseman Todd Frazier hoist the title in front the hometown faithful. Frazier fought back to beat Prince Fielder and Josh Donaldson in the prior rounds before defeating Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson with a buzzer beater home run to claim the title.

You heard that right. A buzzer beater home run.

The new timed elimination format appears to be a hit with fans. With hopes of reducing game time while accelerating play, the format had some thinking that we’d see a lack of home runs. Those concerns were quelled quickly and often when a total of 159 homers sailed over the fences during the competition–a significantly higher figure than 2014’s 78 home runs. Many league experts credit the new system for instilling a higher sense of competition while others credited a field of hitters that included some of the most impressive batters the league has seen in recent years.

Pujols and Champ Pederson share a moment as brother Joc watches on. (via SportsCenter Instagram)

Pujols and Champ Pederson share a moment as brother Joc watches on. (via SportsCenter Instagram)

While Frazier’s hometown victory seems like an impossible moment to top, there was one that transcended the game altogether. Angels’ slugger Albert Pujols combined with Joc Pederson for an incredible battle of the bats. However, the true touching moment came between Pujols and Pederson’s older brother, Champ–who has special needs, met on the field. Their moment together demonstrated the true power of the game and the players that make it possible.

To cap All-Star festivities off, the AL took home the big game and now hold home field advantage during the World Series. Here’s to an excellent second half of the season!