What do the Yankees need to do to become contenders?

Dellin Betances

There are 68 games left of the 2014 season, and the Yankees are in between on the “contender/pretender” scale. They have a chance to make a postseason run, but with them at the .500 mark to begin the second half of the season, the Yankees need to improve before they can even think about trying to climb to the top of the American League East. So, what do the Yankees need to do?

Work on offense: If your names are Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Jacoby Elllsbury, this section does not apply to you. The Yankees paid expensive contracts for Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann to take advantage of the right field porch at Yankee Stadium. Instead, the Yankees have a losing record at home and majority of the bats have been silent. The Yankees need their bats to all be hot at the same time, and they need to score with RISP.

Get quality pitching: Let’s face it, four-fifths of the Yankees rotation is on the disabled list and a team full of fifth starters (minus Hiroki Kuroda and maybe Brandon McCarthy) isn’t going to cut it in an AL East race. The Yankees are going to need help, and they’re going to need to trade for more pitching. Brandon McCarthy was a good start, but they need more. Not only do the Yankees need to trade for pitchers but they need to get length from their starters; they need about seven innings from all their pitchers, and they haven’t been getting that.The length issue brings up the next topic on what the Yankees have to do to become contenders.

Don’t tax out the ..read more

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2014 Yankees mid-season report cards: Bullpen



Yesterday, I graded the Yankees starting rotation. Today, I will take a crack at grading the Yankees bullpen, including the newest Yankees closer. Let’s grade the pen!

David RobertsonDavid Robertson took over the closer role from Hall-of-Fame legend Mariano Rivera and to say he’s done a good job is an understatement. Sure, he had one bad outing against the Minnesota Twins, but Robertson has 59 K’s and 23 saves. Robertson is not Mariano Rivera, but he’s making the transition from the Mariano Rivera Era move just a little bit smoother.

Robertson’s Mid-Season Grade:

Dellin BetancesDellin Betances has faced hurdles in his road to the big leagues. He wasn’t successful as a starter, so the Yankees decided to place him in the bullpen to begin the 2014 season. I’m pretty sure no one predicted Betances was going to be an All-Star in his rookie season, but Betances defied the odds and impressed everyone. In 40 games with the Yankees, he went 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA and he struck out 89 batters. If anything, Betances has proven he has the stuff to be a permanent fixture in the Yankees pen.

Betances Mid-Season Grade:

Adam WarrenI’m sure when Adam Warren envisioned joining the New York Yankees this season, he didn’t think he was going to be in the Yankees bullpen. He had auditioned for a spot in the starting rotation, but lost out to Michael Pineda and later David Phelps. In his first season in the Yankees bullpen, Warren has been effective, posting a 2.79 ERA and notching 46 K’s. He had lost some of ..read more

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Derek Jeter took center stage at All-Star Game


Sure, the American League beat the National League 5-3 and Mike Trout won the All-Star Game MVP–but the real winner of the night was Derek Jeter. Jeter made his 14th and final appearance in the All-Star Game and he went 2-for-2 with a double and run scored before being lifted in the fourth.

Okay, so Adam Wainwright admitted he threw a pitch that Jeter could handle which resulted in the Jeter double…

“I was going to give him a couple pipe shots,” Wainwright said. “He deserved it.”

But Wainwright clarified himself when his comments caused a lot of controversy along the internet. After the game, Derek Jeter took that chance to make a comedic comment of his own.

“He grooved them?” he asked. “I don’t know, man. … If he grooved it, thank you. You still have to hit it.”

Derek Jeter’s final All-Star Game felt extremely surreal; from the recording of Bob Sheppard when Jeter stepped to the plate, the Jordan’s Nike commercial to the multiple standing ovations to when he was taken out of the game by Alexei Ramirez to the tune of “New York, New York.” Fans were having a tough time trying to keep their emotions in check, especially when Jeter jogged into the dugout and gave a final curtain call. However, Jeter brought the laughs again when he was interviewed by Joe Buck and Harold Reynolds–and made lighthearted jokes about Reynolds’s age.

Commissioner Bud Selig attended the All-Star Game (this is Selig’s final All-Star game as the Major League Baseball commissioner), and he had nothing but wonderful things to say about the Yankees captain, a player who will be missed at the end of this year when he hangs ..read more

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Derek Jeter has two hits as AL beats NL in 85th All-Star Game 5-3


The 85th Annual All-Star Game brought out the stars of the American and National League, with home field advantage for the World Series on the line. In the end, the American League was able to win their second All-Star game in a row, beating the National League 5-3 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the first with a double and scored on a Mike Trout triple. Miguel Cabrera later hit a two-run home run, giving the American League a 3-0 lead. The National League fought back in the top of the second inning on a Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy double.

There was a slight delay in the top of the fourth inning when Alexei Ramirez came onto the field to replace Derek Jeter after Jeter notched a single in the bottom of the third. The delay went on for three minutes while Jeter gave the fans a curtain call, going into the dugout and hugging his American League teammates.

Play then resumed and in the bottom of the fourth inning, Lucroy had his second double of the game, scoring Dee Gordon and tying the game at three. The American League was able to take the lead for good in the fifth inning on a Trout double and a Jose Altuve SAC Fly.

What’s Next?

– All-Star Week is over for Major League Baseball and they get back to work on Friday. The Yankees will  be home when the second half of the season begins, sending David Phelps to the mound against the Cincinnati Reds. First pitch for that game will ..read more

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Yankees release Alfonso Soriano


Here’s a little bit of Yankees news before the All-Star game begins:

The Yankees have officially announced they have released OF Alfonso Soriano. Soriano was designated for assignment last week following a rough three months of the season and with Soriano’s poor play and Ichiro Suzuki gaining more playing time, there was honestly no room for him to get quality at-bats. In 67 games with the Yankees, Soriano was hitting .221 with 6 HR’s and 23 RBI’s.

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Derek Jeter and Dellin Betances prepare for All-Star Game


During tonight’s All-Star Game, all eyes are going to be on none other than Derek Jeter, the future Hall-of-Famer who is making his 14th and final start as an All-Star shortstop. However, Derek Jeter isn’t the only Yankee in tonight’s All-Star game; Dellin Betances who had an impressive first half of the season is making his first All-Star appearance in his rookie season. Betances is excited to get this opportunity, and he’s soaking it all in.

“To be a part of this is going to be something I’ll try to cherish and just enjoy the moment,” Betances said. “(Looking forward to) just meeting some of the guys, seeing what it’s like, and just try to have a good time. At the same time, just go out there and do the best you can.”

Obviously, Betances isn’t the center of attention tonight–that honor goes to Jeter. But if Betances gets his chance to shine, he could impress everyone with his stuff.

“I hope it just doesn’t go too fast for him,” Joe Girardi said. “(That he takes in) the things you get an opportunity to do, and he’s able to soak it in and enjoy what he’s been through in his career and the expectations and how he’s handled them and being able to burst on the scene. I hope he’s able to enjoy it, and enjoy it with his family, because it means a lot. And it means a lot for players to the people that have helped you out along the way. You can go all the way back to your first coach. You think about those people and you’re appreciative.”

Although tonight is supposed to be about Jeter, Jeter knows Betances also deserves to be recognized for his work–there ..read more

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2014 Yankees mid-season report cards: Starting Rotation


Yesterday, I graded the Yankees position players and today is probably the toughest task: the starting rotation. I’ll start by grading the five original pitchers in the rotation and finally, I’ll grade David Phelps and Chase Whitley (I can’t really grade Shane Greene or Brandon McCarthy because they didn’t make enough starts for consideration. It also wouldn’t make sense to grade Vidal Nuno considering he’s not here anymore). Here are the grades for the Starting Rotation.

CC SabathiaCC Sabathia got off to a rocky start for the Yankees after an abysmal 2013 season, but he didn’t have a chance to turn things around when he went down with a knee injury after making eight starts. In the eight starts Sabathia made, he was 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA, but because he didn’t make to the halfway mark, it’s almost impossible to grade him.

Sabathia’s Mid-Season Grade:

Hiroki Kuroda: Hiroki Kuroda got off to an un-Kuroda like start, but has since settled down and has given the Yankees decent outings. He’s not going to be vintage Kuroda since he’s 39-years-old, but a 6-6, 4.10 ERA is respectably solid in the American League East. The only complaint I have: the Yankees offense almost never gives Kuroda run support, so his 6-6 record is a little deceiving. On top of that, Kuroda is the only one who wasn’t bit by the injury bug in the rotation, so good for him. He wins the 2014 version of Survivor: Yankees Pitching edition.

Kuroda’s Mid-Season Grade:

Masahiro TanakaBefore partially tearing his UCL, Masahiro ..read more

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Yoenis Cespedes wins Home Run Derby


The last time a player had won the Home Run Derby in back-to-back years, it was Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998-1999. Tonight, Yoenis Cespedes joined Griffey Jr. in that club, winning the Home Run Derby for a second consecutive year in a row.

After getting off to a slow start, Cespedes was able to take down Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and finally Todd Frazier in the finals to win the crown. While Cespedes was impressive, the player that impressed me the most was Todd Frazier. Many fans expected a Cespedes vs. Giancarlo Stanton finals, but Frazier was the sleeper and scooted his way into the finals when he defeated Stanton in the National League semi-finals 1 HR to none.

The shocker was in the first round when Yasiel Puig didn’t hit a single home run; his pitcher was none other than Robinson Cano‘s father. Interesting fact: Cano’s father Jose Cano has a 0.00 ERA in his last two Home Run Derby starts; he last pitched to Cano two years ago in Kansas City.

What’s Next?

– Tomorrow night the All-Stars take the field with the All-Star Game taking place on National Television. The game will air on FOX and the pregame will start at 7:30 ..read more

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