Tag Archives: New York Yankees

Gary Sanchez: New York’s Next Superstar

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The New York Yankees had by far the most interesting season in all the MLB this year. To sum it up, their year had three parts. The first part ranged from opening day until the All-Star break, where fans saw a continuation of the previous season with their team showing flashes of greatness only followed by long periods of disappointment. Sporting an everyday lineup filled with injury prone veteran players, fans had to hope t00at these men would play above their potential every game in the very tough AL East. But to their disappointment, we watched as Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, and Mark Teixeira struggled mightily and went through lengthy absences due to injury. When the All-Star break finally arrived, the Yankees sported a .500 record of 44-44, this is where the second part began.

Following the break, the Yankees ended July going 8-8 and capped it off by getting swept by the dreadful Tampa Bay Rays. This generated a lot of chatter about what New York would do at the trade deadline, either stay course and hope the team could rebound and make a push for the playoffs, or cut their losses and sell some of their top players to build for the future. General Manager Brian Cashman chose option number two and at the deadline agreed to multiple trades which resulted in Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova being shipped to different teams. The pool of players that New York brought in return were highlighted by highly touted prospects Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres among many others. To go along with these trades, the Yanks also decided to part ways with Alex Rodriguez when they cut him on August 13th and thanks to the pressure he was feeling from the fans, Mark Teixeira announced he would retire after the season.

With all of this said, the Yankees now had a totally revamped major league roster to go along with a much improved minor league system. Part three occurs when NY called up their top prospects Gary Sánchez, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin. Each player helped spark the team and allowed them to realistically contend for the post season. But as everyone is well aware, Gary Sánchez was the heart and soul in the last two months of the season.

On August 3rd Gary Sánchez was officially moved up to the big leagues and while many knew of the incredible skill set this young man had, no one could have predicted he would go on the tear he did. After making all the trades they did, New York was seen by many as officially entering the rebuilding stage, they were trying to get these young players at-bats and playing time so when the 2017 season rolled around they would at least have some level of experience. But to baseball viewer’s amazement, Sánchez played historically good and not just because he was a rookie. In two months, Sánchez was able to break multiple rookie records, was the main reason his team even sniffed the playoffs, and somehow put himself in contention with Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer to win AL Rookie of the Year. In just 53 games, Sanchez’s slash line was .299/.376/.657 to go along with an incredible 20 home runs and 43 RBI, those stats are nothing short of amazing.

Image result for gary sanchez                                                                                                 Image via nypost.com

Ever since two of the Yankees all-time legends, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, retired, New York has been dying for their next superstar. After spending millions of dollars on big names like Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka, it’s only right the next star would work himself up through the team’s system. The buzz and hype that Sánchez generated from his play is ver similar to what Jeremy Lin did to the city when he came to the Knicks, not just the city of New York was in a state of shock and utter disbelief but as was the entire nation. In an article titled Gary Sánchez has impressed the baseball world written by Erik Boland, there is a quote from an opposing AL team executive describing his view of Sánchez, he says, “I’m buying. I don’t think it’s a fluke. That’s a stupid pace he was on, but . . . with that swing, he should be a 30-home run guy, I would think.” This just adds to the point of how in just two short months, Sánchez has already won over many people in the league thanks to his consistent high level of play.

During the 53 games he played at the major league level, it is impossible to find just how many articles were published about this player or how many times he was mentioned in broadcasts because simply everyone in the sports world wanted to talk about Gary Sánchez. He could have done what he did on any team in the league and would still be receiving a crazy amount of attention, but the fact that he did this in New York City, the center of the sports world, only added to the hype.

It is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that in such a short time Sánchez has already put himself in the center of the Yankees plans for years to come, looking to him as the player they need to build around. Even though his club still missed the playoffs, his efforts helped shift the view of the team from being in a state of rebuilding, to being one that should contend in 2017. Obviously in sports it is impossible to predict if a player can continue to have such an incredible level of play but when discussing Sánchez, how can you doubt him anymore? His tenure with New York this year was filled with many claiming it was beginners luck but night after night he kept producing. No adjustment could be made to slow him down and now fans are eager for next year to see the numbers he will put up. The 2016 New York Yankees season will simply go down as the year Gary Sanchez emerged.

Yankees Notes: The Unusual Situation for Rob Refsnyder

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

It has been a disappointing Spring Training for young Yankees infielder, Rob Refsnyder, to say the least.

                               Image via riveraveblues.com

The former 5th round pick was a favorite to make the big league roster as a backup infielder this spring. After being brought up at the end of last season and having an immediate impact (hitting .302 with two home runs) it is easy to see why some people would think this way. He would have been even more of a lock to make it if the team would not have made one particular offseason move.

Going into this offseason, fans and media were interested to see what player would emerge as New York’s every day second baseman this year with the forthcoming departure of Stephen Drew (who had an abysmal year). Would they just hand the job over to Refsnyder, sign a big name free agent, or perhaps make a trade? The team decided to go with option C.

In December, the Yankees and Cubs agreed to a trade in which New York would receive recently converted second baseman, Starlin Castro in return for swingman pitcher, Adam Warren and utility infielder, Brendan Ryan. Many saw this trade as a win-win for both teams. A win for the Yankees because Castro has five years of experience at the Major League level while only being 26 years old, he is a three-time All-Star, and addresses the need of a productive second baseman immediately. Also a win for Chicago because with the signing of star free agent 2B Ben Zobrist (who previously played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay) and the rising of 2B prospect Javier Baez, Castro’s talents were no longer needed and the club received a proven pitcher who could help strengthen either the bullpen or the rotation in Adam Warren and a backup infielder with Brendan Ryan to help take some of the pressure off the starters.

While fans and media rejoiced about the arrival of Castro and claimed the change of scenery was exactly what he needed to get back to his All-Star form. One person was not celebrating, and that person was Rob Refsnyder. It was also later revealed that the Yankees had previously tried to trade for Castro before they even gave Ref a chance. In an article on Pinstripeally.com, a popular Yankees blog, Caitlin Rogers writes, “the Yankees failed to trade for Castro, then decided that the best option was to continue to play Drew instead of Refsnyder, and Drew was terrible.” This further proves some fans theories that the New York Yankees are doing all that they can to not have Refsnyder on their roster, but why would they feel that way?

Fast-forward to the beginning of Spring Training for the New York Yankees. There were many storylines going into camp including who would step up and replace Adam Warren and Justin Wilson in the bullpen? who will the backup catcher be? And who the fifth starter would be? It seemed like most had already forgot about Refsnyder and were focused on Castro being the team’s second baseman for years to come. Even with the arrival of Starlin Castro and the spotlight being on him now, this did not stop Ref from working, improving, and striving to earn a roster spot on the New York Yankees. An article on nj.com quoted Refsnyder discussing the current predicament, “It didn’t change much about how I go about my business. I was raised to work hard and make the most of the situation.”

The former Arizona Wildcat certainly did all he could to try and make the Big League roster and that included trying out a new position. Now that the club had Castro at second with veteran utility player Dustin Ackley serving as his backup, speculation around Yankees camp was that they were going experiment with Ref at third base. Rob began the spring at his traditional position of second but after a week the coaches had moved him across the diamond to third base. The goal for Refsnyder now was to learn quickly and make the roster as a backup to 3B Chase Headley (who took his lumps at third this past season after appearing in the most games since his 2012 season). At the beginning it seemed like Rob was a natural at third and the experiment was successful. Just a short week ago he carried a .250 average including a home run and had only committed one error at the hot corner where he had played 90% of the time this spring. But the last week of Spring Training where success was pivotal in order for him to earn a spot, was not kind to him.

The struggles came this past Friday and Saturday where fans and media saw two plays where the ball took a bad hop and struck Refsnyder in the face, causing him to leave early in both games. Also in the two games combined, Ref committed three errors. He ended Spring Training with a slightly disappointing .242 average and a demotion to AAA followed shortly after. For one player (who was originally an outfielder converted to second base) to learn third base in a month span is an almost impossible task. Although Rob may not have made the Big League roster, this spring has certainly been an encouraging one to Yankees coaches and management in terms of Ref showing them he was willing to do anything to be a part of this team.

The question now becomes what the Bronx Bombers plan to do with this prospect in the future. There are multiple situations that the team could be mulling over in regards to Rob, including sending him back to AAA to further gain experience at third base so he could help take some of the workload off of Headley later in the year or continuing to give him reps at multiple positions (3rd, 2nd, and OF) in order to boost his trade stock. It is unknown if Yankee management includes Rob Refsnyder in their group of prospects who are “untouchable” in trade talks along with OF Aaron Judge, SS Jorge Mateo, C Gary Sanchez, and P James Kaprielian. In an article from the NY Post titled Rob Refsnyder’s weekend from hell ends with sad demotion, Manager Joe Girardi is quoted as saying, “Our feeling is that we want him to play more at third. For him to be valuable to us, if he can do them both [second and third], he would be valuable to us.” So the plan for now is in place.

Personally I think Ref is going to be a great player and I’m rooting for him to excel at third or any other position the organization wants him to try. His work ethic is going to be key to his success and progression as a player and it was on display this spring with the 25 year-old showing up weeks early at the Minor-League complex in Tampa to train. He is not concerned about being buried in the depth of the organization, he is only worried about continuing to improve and will be waiting for his opportunity.

It remains to be seen who the Yankees will keep as the backup infielder to Headley at third, now the players that are in the running for the job and are still at camp include Pete Kozma and Ronald Torreyes who both have at least some Major League experience. The team could also turn to a player who has been cut recently from another team or even make another trade and bury Refsnyder even more. Whatever option the team goes with it will be a short-term fix and Ref will still be seen as the long-term answer as long as he continues to improve. Who knows, Castro or Headley could struggle down the stretch this year and the Yankees may look to Rob Refsnyder as the replacement (wishful thinking).

 

A Rod Trying to Fly Under the Radar

By Ellen Chlumecky

April 3, 2015

The day has come back where Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees returns to the grand stage during spring training to debut what he’s been doing during his suspension. Many Yankees fans and baseball fans recall the trial regarding Alex Rodriguez. For almost two whole years, Alex Rodriguez denied he ever used banned substances from a Coral Gables anti-aging clinic. In 2013, he finally admitted getting testosterone creams, lozenges laced with testosterone and human growth hormone injections from the fake doctor Anthony Bosch. Anthony Bosch not only lied to him about what the drugs would do, but he also gave him tips on how to beat the MLB’s drug testing.

In 2013, Alex Rodriguez was reduced from a 211 game suspension to a 162 game suspension. He received the longest suspension of all the MLB players. Rodriguez’s statement fortified the criminal steroid case against Bosch and indicated his cousin as the middleman. He also admitted that he had used performance-enhancing substances as a member of the Texas Rangers in 2001-03. Recently he wrote a handwritten apology letter to his fans. He’s trying to cover all his basics before coming back this season. I am not sure that he has everyone convinced though.

Media constantly question Yankee manager Joe Girardi about Rodriguez’s return to spring training. Their main question is if Alex Rodriguez has been a distraction during spring training. Girardi is of the opinion that no one is bothered by the media. He said none of the players are bothered or distracted either. Girardi thinks things will be fine and will return back to normal quickly. Sounds plausible, right?

As far as we know, Girardi’s intuition was correct. Rodriguez has settled comfortably back onto the Yankees. While the media has been hounding them, it’s nothing that they’re not accustomed to already. Girardi believes that the media doesn’t believe Rodriguez is high up on their radar right now.

However, it almost seems scripted on how Rodriguez has been responding to the media. He has recited general thankfulness and obedience to the Yankee staff every day he’s been interviewed. He expressed a want to just play baseball and to perform well for the team. He said, “I’ll tell you that I’m a lot more happy, fortunate, and grateful than I was twelve months ago.” He is acting in a professional manner as I’m sure his superiors told him to act.

It’s odd to see his transition. He went from suing the league to sticking the “mistakes were made” defense now to the loyal, devoted player. So far so good for A Rod, but we have the whole season to see what unfolds.

 

Should You Get Rewarded After Any Steroid Use

By Kia Tyus

February 26, 2015

The New York Yankees have decided to retire three more jerseys. One of those jerseys being number 46, Andy Pettitte.

Pettitte was a stellar athlete for the Yankees. With the team he won 5 championships and spent his whole career 16-season career in a Yankee uniform.

My question for you is does Pettitte deserve to have his jersey retired? Think about it as you read.

Professional sports teams have been known to cover their star players for their poor actions off the field.

In 2007, Pettitte admitted to using the drug HGH in 2002 to speed up a recovery from an elbow injury.

Recently, the Yankees have absolutely ripped apart superstar Alex Rodriguez for his steroid scandal. They acted like they were an organization who held their players to high standards.

Now, in the middle of this Rodriguez scandal, the Yankees make a controversial choice to retire Pettitte’s number even after Pettitte admitted to using a banned substance.

Even a former teammate of Pettitte’s Chuck Knoblauch made reference to the fact that Pettitte’s jersey is getting retired but it’s like the Yankees are ignoring the fact that he did in fact use HGH. Knoblauch tweet read, “Congrats to 46. Yankees retiring his number. Hopefully they don’t retire it like his HGH testimony.”

To me, it is an honor if you get your jersey retired. It means that you made history, paved the way for younger players, was an outstanding citizen, and did so by still following the rules of the game. Pettitte simply did not do this.

Sports Center brought up a great debate, on if Pettitte is really worthy of this honor. Now granted it is not the Hall of Fame, but your jersey being retired on any team especially the legendary Yankees, your respect for the game is not there.

Now I ask you, should Pettitte’s jersey be retired, and should the Yankees one day retire Alex Rodriguez jersey? Is there a different between what they both did?

The Walls of Rodriguez are Crumbling

By Kaleb Page

February 20, 2015

Years ago as a young kid looking to get my hands on sports books to read, I came across a book about an athlete that intrigued me. I had this feeling that he was going to be a special player even more so than he already was. This player was a young budding star in the MLB playing shortstop for the Texas Rangers.

His name was Alex Rodriguez.

As the years passed, I guess my feeling did come true with how Rodriguez turned into a larger than life athlete in the MLB. Eventually he inked a deal in 2007 with the marquee team in the league, the New York Yankees, a deal so astronomical it still can blow your mind (10 years for $275 million).

Now as I mentioned earlier Rodriguez grew into this larger than life figure on the field, and it wasn’t just figuratively speaking either; it was definitely literal too. As soon as he switched from the Rangers to the Yankees he began to grow from a decent sized player to a rather hulking man who eventually moved over to third base.

With the eventual steroids scandal that rocked the MLB and prominent player being popped for it, one player had a big mark on his back. That player just so happened to be Rodriguez and rightfully so was he questioned and looked to since he had such a quick body transformation. In fact, back in 2009 Rodriguez sat down on ESPN admitting his usage of steroids from 2001-03.

However, this story was just merely a scratch on the surface with how Rodriguez was involved in the world of steroids.

Then in 2013 Rodriguez found himself back in another ring of steroid use when trying to rehab from hip surgery. As it came to light, his involvement with Anthony Bosch and Bosch’s Biogenesis corporation dropped Rodriguez in even bigger trouble.

His involvement resulted in him missing a substantial amount of time in 2014 (162 games) and with Bosch’s conviction Tuesday (four years in prison); Rodriguez is toeing the line of being banned from baseball for good.

I find it interesting that Rodriguez has been laying this low for this long. It has been far different from guys like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa or even Mark McGuire in how the media handled their steroid convictions. It seemed as if the storm around their convictions raged on for months and never ended (maybe in part to the time the convictions came out).

It will be interesting to see where this whole thing goes, especially with baseball season approaching. It also will be interesting to see the dissection of a statement issued by Rodriguez on Tuesday trying to distance himself from not only Bosch but his past involving steroids. As spring training approaches and more is made of his statement, I wonder if it will grow to the level we saw with Bonds.

I can remember watching TV and all you would see is every stadium Bonds attended full of signs against everything he did. Will it be the same this season for Rodriguez if he plays? I can’t imagine it being any easier than it was with Bonds. This mainly being due to how adamant he was way back when about being clean and then turning around admitting his guilt. I also see the media scrutiny and pressure from questions before or after games ramping up as well.

I’m sure as Rodriguez wrote that letter today, he thought back to a time when things were much better, a time where a young kid like me was picking up a book about him being the next big thing to look up to.

Now kids see him as nothing more than another baseball cheat.

As the walls come tumbling down it makes you think ‘oh how the mighty have fallen.’

The Return of A-Rod

By Savannah Malnar

Performance-enhancing drug use is a predominant issue in the MLB. It has tainted the names of many greats such as Joe Canseco, Barry Bonds, and most recently, Alex Rodriguez.

Last year the MLB suspended A-Rod for the entirety of the 2014 season for a scandal involving him taking performance-enhancing drugs and being connected to a medical clinic in Florida known to provide these drugs to players. This suspension was originally 211 games but was dropped to 162 games by an arbitrator; this is still the longest in MLB history for doping, and when it was issued there was plenty of debate as to the severity of the ruling by now-retiring MLB commissioner Bud Selig.

But as of the end of the 2014 World Series, A-Rod is back. Or at least he wants to be.

The suspension is in the past and the New York Yankees and A-Rod are working on their relationship. Both parties seem intent to get A-Rod, a historically great third baseman, back into starting shape. His age (he will be turning 40 during the 2015 season) and lack of conditioning from missing an entire season are a concern. If the Yankees were to drop his contract, it would force them to pay him the remaining $61 million salary.

This is a minor story that is being overshadowed by both the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series and Selig retiring; an ironic situation seeing how widely covered the story was covered when A-Rod was first suspended. The end of the suspension should be a bigger deal than it is.

The sport media needs to begin now in deciding how it will portray A-Rod. Will he be shown as a cheater, or someone to be admired for attempting to overcome all odds and recover his starting position? Already, writer Christian Red for The New York Daily News referred to him as a “steroid-tainted player.” Perhaps this is a preview of how the sport media will choose to label him.

I believe, if that is the case, it is the correct course of action. Too often, players who come back from suspension and do well are commended by the media and fans for their success in the face of “adversity.”

ALCS Announcers Biased Toward Yankees

BY LORI RAUDIO

Game one of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers was called by play-by-play announcer Ernie Johnson and analysts Ron Darling and John Smoltz. The dramatic game was filled with fair comments about both teams early on, but as the Yankees struggled, battled back, and eventually lost, the announcers’ comments swayed in favor and in defense of New York.

During the beginning of the game, I was impressed the commentators were equally talking about both teams. They would give a compliment to one team, calling the Yankees’ defense “Fort Knox in the infield,” and seconds later praising the “lumber hitters” of the Tigers. Favorable comments were also made about both starting pitchers, Andy Pettitte and Doug Fister. More examples of equitable coverage included video montages of both teams’ seasons and conversations with a member of both teams’ coaching staff in between innings.

The game was fairly quiet through the first few innings, but as play progressed biases became evident. The Yankees failed to produce a run after loading the bases in three separate innings, which turned the focus to the struggles of the Yankees players in the postseason. The announcers talked at length about their poor performance, discredited the good plays made by the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta and Fister. While the announcers did mention Fister and Peralta, they seemed to be more concerned with the Yankees lack of production.

A topic that was revisited many times throughout the game was the postseason woes of Yankee Alex Rodriguez. He was benched the previous day against the Baltimore Orioles, and the announcers discussed his situation at seemingly every available moment. The camera frequently followed and zoomed in on him, even while the Tigers were batting and had men on base. Rodriguez seemed to be used as the scapegoat for the Yankees’ problems in the postseason.

Those problems continued as the Tigers took a four run lead, but the announcers kept expecting the Yankees to strike back, saying “this is when the Yankees do their best work against the Tigers.” The Yankees did exactly that, in dramatic fashion, in the bottom of the 9th inning. Tigers’ pitcher Jose Valverde gave up two home runs which tied the game. With the Yankees resurgence, more of the announcers’ biases came out, evident in their excitement. Raul Ibanez’s game-tying home run was even praised by one of the announcers as “the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.” They seemed to think the Yankees then had it in the bag, but the Tigers came back in extra innings to win game one of the ALCS by a score of 6-4.

An interesting note for the rest of the series involves Derek Jeter’s injury in the 12th inning. A broken ankle on a diving play ended Jeter’s postseason, and the announcers seemed very upset by this news. As the series continues, it will be interesting to see the stance the media takes on Jeter and the Yankees. If the Yankees lose, it could easily be blamed on the loss of Jeter. If they win, the team could be celebrated for winning without Jeter’s experience and leadership. Whatever the results may be, the remainder of the ALCS will be worth watching.