A week in review: Lidle, Long, Minaya, Roberts, Search for a hitting coach

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The third week of the offseason was easily the quietest one so far for the Yankees but things did happen. Let’s take a look back at all the news that occurred this week.

— October 11 was the eight year anniversary of the death of former Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle. Lidle passed away in an airplane accident in 2006, when his airplane hit a 40-story apartment building. Lidle’s flight instructor also died in the airplane crash.

— Recently fired hitting coach Kevin Long is attracting a ton of attention from other teams including the New York Mets, the Boston Red Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees let go of Kevin Long last week after he spent eight seasons with the organization.

— The Yankees are considering Omar Minaya for a high-ranking position in the front office. Mets fans would know Minaya as the former GM and despite his troubles with the Mets, he’s still highly respected around baseball. The Yankees reportedly would consider Minaya in a scouting role or in an advisory role.

Derek Jeter was the first Yankee to retire following the 2014 season but he surely won’t be the last. MLB.com announced yesterday Brian Roberts was retiring after playing 14 seasons in the Major Leagues. Roberts spent 13 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles before signing a one-year contract with the New York Yankees in 2014. The Yankees designated Roberts for assignment in August which might have come into play when he announced his retirement.

— The Yankees continued their search for a hitting coach and they have interviewed quite a few applicants for the position. Dave Magadan and Chili Davis ..read more

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Brian Roberts retires after 14 seasons

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Derek Jeter wasn’t the only Yankee to hang up his cleats in 2014.

According to MLB.com, Brian Roberts announced his retirement after 14 seasons in the Major Leagues. He spent majority of his career with the Baltimore Orioles and his final year was with the New York Yankees before he was released from the team in August.

It was just kind of my time,” Roberts told The Baltimore Sun. “There were numerous reasons that I felt like I couldn’t play at a level that I was accustomed to and wanted to play at if I continued to play. I always said that I wasn’t going to be the guy that tried to hang on as long as I could.”

Roberts was a free agent and signed a one-year contract with the Yankees during the 2013 offseason. Roberts final career hit and RBI came on July 25, 2014, plating Yankees catcher Brian McCann.

“I took, at the time, the best offer I had,” Roberts told the Sun. “Do I wish in some ways that I had spent every day with the Orioles? Sure, that was a dream of mine for a long time. I don’t think I ever shied away from making that pretty clear. It will always be the organization I feel like is home for me.”

Roberts was a career .276 hitter with 97 HR’s and 542 ..read more

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Report: Cuban 2B Jose Fernandez defects

Well, it looks like there could be one more player on the free agent market by summer of 2015 at the latest.

According to Jon Morosi, Cuban 2B Jose Fernandez recently defected from Cuba and is looking to sign a big-league contract. However, there are multiple steps before he can be put on the free agent market. Those include:

1) Establishing residency in another country 2) Being unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control 3) Being declared a free agent by Major League Baseball

Fernandez hit .315/.415/.426 in 65 plate appearances before defecting last week and if anyone is interested, he’s not related to Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins.

The Yankees currently have Martin Prado at second base, but Prado is extremely versatile and with Rob Refsnyder knocking on the big league door, there might not be room for Fernandez. The Yankees should consider him, but I personally don’t think the Yankees are going to sign him. If there’s any position the Yankees could focus on, it’s shortstop and third base. Second base is the least of their concerns.

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Yankees need to find their way back to October

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The last time the New York Yankees played October baseball, terrible things happened. Derek Jeter broke his ankle, the team as a whole hit .157 which was second worst average to all 172 teams that competed in the ALCS since 1969 and Alex Rodriguez had to be benched because he was a strikeout machine. All those things resulted in a four-game sweep and the Detroit Tigers found their way to the World Series.

The day the Yankees were last eliminated from postseason contention was October 18, 2012. Today marks the two year anniversary of the Yankees last postseason game and since then the team has struggled to even reach the postseason, let alone play for a World Series trophy. Following the elimination in 2012, Brian Cashman insisted the Yankees weren’t going to change the way the lineup was built.

“If you have a philosophy you believe in, that’s been tested, I have no problem with people asking about it — clearly trying to challenge it, trying to dissect it and tear it apart,” Cashman said. “But I am not going to turn myself into, as Joe (Girardi) used earlier in the year, the Bronx Bunters because all of a sudden we didn’t hit for this week in October. That’s not our DNA. That’s not what makes us successful and that’s certainly not what’s getting us in the postseason every year but one year since I got here.”

Relying on power from the Bronx Bombers became a problem. In 2014, the Yankees ranked 10th in the AL in slugging percentage and one of their home run hitters was Brett Gardner with 17 home runs. That says a lot about Gardner’s power improving but it also says a lot about ..read more

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Report: Yankees near decision for new hitting coach

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As the Yankees attempt to fill the holes within their organization, the search for a new hitting coach could soon come to an end.

According to George A. King III of the New York Post, the Yankees are near a decision for a new hitting coach. Dave Magadan spoke to the media and said the Yankees could have a new hitting coach by Game 1 of the World Series, which is Tuesday.

“I interviewed Wednesday in New York with the Yankees. They told me they were going to interview a couple of other candidates. I don’t know if that was going to happen Thursday or Friday. They said they would make a decision shortly thereafter,’’ Magadan said.

The Yankees also interviewed Chili Davis and expressed interest in Dante Bichette and Marcus Thames. Magadan said he spent three hours talking to GM Brian Cashman, assistant GM’s Jean Afterman and Billy Eppler, manager Joe Girardi and Yankees scout Gary Denbo.

I thought it went well,’’ Magadan said. “But they are the ones who need to think it went well.’’

Magadan is under contract with the Texas Rangers as their hitting coach for next season but with the resignation of Ron Washington, the Rangers organization allowed the coaches to speak with other teams for future employment ..read more

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Yankees send message of support to Bengals DT Devon Still’s daughter

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The biggest story in the sports world isn’t the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals reaching the World Series for a rare Wild Card only match-up. The big sports story comes out of the National Football League where Cincinnati Bengals DT Devon Still’s four-year-old daughter Leah is battling childhood cancer. Since hearing about the news, the Yankees sent a message of support for Still’s daughter by having the ticket staff give him and his daughter a small tribute.

The Yankees ticket staff bought Still’s jersey and posed with the jersey’s at Yankee Stadium. All proceeds from Still’s jersey goes to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer research.

Still acknowledged the Yankees staff on his Instagram account, with the picture of the ticket staff posing in his jersey.

“Awesome pic of the Yankees ticket staff wearing my jersey at Yankee Stadium in support of my daughter and every child facing cancer #BeatCancer #LeahStrong,” Still wrote on Instagram along with the picture from Yankee Stadium.

If you needed one more reason to respect the Yankees, this gesture pretty much gives you one. A classy move by a classy organization to a classy man and his ..read more

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Burning questions for the 2015 starting rotation

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I’ve noticed within the last few weeks I’ve been focusing on the Yankees offense and in the bullpen (notably David Robertson). So I thought I would take time this morning to address the starting rotation for the upcoming 2015 season. With the 2015 rotation, there is a lot of uncertainty, there are spots that need to be filled and there are pitchers who need to have a bounce-back season. With every pitcher, there is one big question mark, so what would the question marks be if the 2015 season started today?

Masahiro TanakaMasahiro Tanaka had an impressive first season with the Yankees but it was cut short due to a tear in his UCL. He was able to rehab and make his final two starts of the season, but the UCL tear causes some concern. How much longer can Tanaka pitch with the UCL before it becomes a point he’ll need Tommy John surgery? Will Tanaka’s arm hold up for the entire 2015 campaign? Will he be the once dominant pitcher we saw in the beginning of the 2014 season with the tear in his elbow? All those questions provide a ‘sit-and-wait’ answer, but it’s a little hard to wait for an answer when there is so much uncertainty.

Michael PinedaThe Yankees easily won the Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero trade, but Pineda’s bug-a-boo has been the injury bug. When healthy, Pineda can arguably be one of the top pitchers in the league, but even Pineda missed some time this season, right after he was suspended for using pine tar in his start against the Boston Red Sox. Can Pineda find a way to stay healthy the ..read more

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Report: Yankees interested in Bichette, Thames and Rowson for hitting coach position

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As the Yankees continue searching for a hitting coach to replace the recently fired Kevin Long, their ‘persons’ of interest’ list keeps on growing.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Yankees have shown interest to Dante Bichette, Marcus Thames and James Rowson for the vacant hitting coach position. The team interviewed Dave Magadan for the job yesterday in New York.

Bichette, who is close friends with manager Joe Girardi and father of Yankee prospect Dante Bichette Jr., has experience as a hitting coach; he was the Colorado Rockies hitting coach in 2013, but left the position after deciding he didn’t want to be away from his family. Thames was the hitting coach for Double-A Trenton last season and Rowson had two stints with the Yankees as a minor league instructor along with a hitting coach position with the Chicago Cubs in 2013.

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