A Month of Fundays

A New York Yankees, Giants, Knicks, Rangers and other stuff blog.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

This Week on the Blog

Could be a very interesting week on the blog.  Each of the four teams we cover should be plenty busy, and if they're not, we've got problems.

Yankees: Yesterday, they hired one of the best hitting coaches in baseball to handle their Low A affiliate.   Maybe this coming week, they'll finally name a hitting coach for their Major League and Triple A affiliates.    We'll also see if they name someone to the all important director of development position.   So this could be a week of crucial hires for the Yanks or they could keep twiddling their thumbs.  Btw, it's possible that they're not really twiddling their thumbs at all, but are instead involved in their top to bottom analysis of their system.   We'll see.

Knicks: They will finally start their '14-'15 regular bridge to the new roster season this coming week. They've already made some cuts that will be destined for the D league.  They may also have to make contract room for a kid or two.  Of course, we'd all like to see all of our teams become more kid friendly, so it will be interesting to see what the Knicks are willing to do.

Giants: I thought we might see some roster turnover during the first week of the bye, but nothing happened.   We'll see if they make any moves early this week as they get ready to play again. I think Schwartz can come of the injury DL, and hopefully, he'll be ready to play RG real soon.  They have a chance to save their season, but they have to pick it up in all three areas.

Rangers:  Rangers are getting down to decision time with Anthony Duclair.  Of course it's a no brainer that they should keep him, but we'll see if they're willing to overcome their longterm early season bias toward marginal veterans.  Meanwhile, they need another win tonight, and let's hope Declair has his coming out party.

In all, it should be a really interesting week.  And I hope it's a great one for each of you.

Rangers Tonight

Anthony Duclair will be back in the lineup as the Rangers take on Montreal tonight.   He's going to be playing on a line with Carl Hagelin and Dom Moore.   Hope Dom can keep up with his wings, not many can.   Should be fun.

The other story that's brewing is, will the Canadiens, being the punk ass bitches that they've always been, take a run at Chris Kreider?   Or will they take a run at Hank?  Either case would be too bad, and I hope the Rangers will not stand for any of it, if it does come up.   I suspect the league might have warned both teams.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Yanks: Colbrunn Goes Home

In a bit of good news for the system, Greg Colbrunn, who left the Red Sox because he wanted to be closer to his home in Charlestown, NC, has returned to the RiverDogs as their batting coach, and position he's held in the past.   Interestingly, the Dogs may end up having a better hitting coach than the major league Yankees do.

This is pretty exciting, because when all of those IFA kids they signed this year end up in Charleston, they will really have access to one of the best hitting coaches in baseball.

Eric Hinske Rejects Yanks

The other day the Yanks reportedly told Dave Magadan that they wanted to go in another direction in their searching or a new hitting coach.   That other direction remains unclear as reports have surfaced that Cub assistant coach Eric Hinske has turned them down, choosing instead to be the Cub assistant hitting coach this year.  Not sure if the Yanks should be looking for a message in this, but it's pretty clear they didn't have much of a plan, when they let Long go.   I'm still hoping they hire 2 and that Rowson is one of them.

Btw, yesterday, Trey Hillman cleared something up.  He was asked if he wanted to interview for Newman's job, not that he was offered the job itself.   So Denbo might have gotten it anyway.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yankee Farm Review Pt.4: Is it Still a Problem?

We spoke a few weeks ago about the farm.  First, we discussed the persistent issues, and second, we discussed what had been good about the 2014 season.   So here's a question that's worth asking: is the farm still a problem?

I really don't think so, unless it turns out the Denbo lacks a winning vision and if they hire the wrong guys for their remaining job openings.   I'm sort of hoping Mario Garza or John Kremer gets the player development gig, but we'll have to see what happens.

Btw, per Denbo, it looks like he may be behind the firing of Butch Wynegar and the hold of on replacing any hitting coaches, yet.    And if that's the case, I like his assertiveness and it would feel like he has a vision.  

In fact, I am hoping that the search for executives and coaches is taking so long because there is a vision in place.  We'll see.

What they have been able to do over the past few years is find better talent in the drafts, exploit inefficiencies with pitching picks and even found college seniors with upside on both the pitcher and position player sides of the draft.   Also, more of their overslot preps have been popping.

What's more, what they are doing in IFA and their Dominican Academy could be historic.  Obviously, they were good their when they were churning out Cano and Melky, but they've been better since Donny Rowland was sent over there and Pat McMahon started running development.   To wit, the foreign kids are learning to take their walks in their career infancy.   Cano didn't learn till his teammates and finally Coach Long worked with him.   Soriano never learned.

Of course, they also found Luis Severino, who looks like he could be the next homegrown star.   This year, they also finally blew out the budget on their IFA class, signing 6 "first rounders" and couple of dozen more high upside kids in the Avelino, Molina and Mateo mold.  They won't all play up to their bonuses, but if some do, they pay for the whole experiment in franchise savings.

In all, I think they now have good scouts all over the place, and I think they have limited their risky bets on tools only guys.

Of course they could have been even farther ahead if they'd kept their 3 #1's and the draft pool they would have created. That said, Lindberg and a few others have hit the ground running and it could turn out to be a pretty significant draft.

So, the development side is really still in the fix stage, and we'll see what they do, but players were developing faster than they could promote them this past year, and that was after they had switched from Nardi to Gil Patterson, and switched a bunch of minor league coaches at the lowest levels.

So, as long as they don't blow the remaining hires, I think they're in good shape moving forward, even with their IFA punishment coming and their penchant to punt picks for old guys.   They should really keep their picks this year.  There's nothing out there worth punting for.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yanks Down to Second Choices?

Not sure why, but Trey Hillman revealed that he turned down the "Mark Newman Job" before leaving  the Yankees to become the bench coach for the Astros.   We also know that Chili Davis took the hitting coach job with the Red Sox instead of the one the Yanks might have offered him.

Now, I believe these situations, as often as not, work out for the best, but I don't want them to lead the Yankees back into the reactive spending we saw from them last season.  Not that we couldn't use some help, but we can't afford the picks that go with orgiatic acquisitions.

Meanwhile, lots of jobs remain open for the Yanks, including MLB and AAA hitting coach was well as head of player development.

Hitting coaches maybe somewhat fungible, but a head of player development can make a huge difference.   I'm really hoping they go for a younger guy.  I'm not trying to be ageist, but a younger guy might prove more stat savvy than a retread like Minaya.   Now, I know they now have a whole Analytics Department to help them with a more mathematical understanding of things, but I'd want them to hire someone who contains both the number savvy and the teaching savvy in one person.  

We'll see what they come up with.  As far as I know, no one has turned them down for that one, yet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rangers Win In OT

Wow!  The Rangers had a really gutty comeback win tonight, and believe it or not, Kevin Klein scored the game winner in OT off a beautiful feed from a crossing Chris Kreider.

But before they could even get to OT they had to overcome a two goal deficit.   And yes, one of the Devil goals went in off of Kevin Klein.

Chris Kreider started the scoring with the Rangers first PP goal of the season.   Then Kreider got sent to the box because Jagr claimed he tripped him -- which he didn't -- and then Jagr scored a PP goal and tied it up.   Then the refs continued calling things one way as the Devils scored two more PP goals in the second period, including one credited to freaking Henrique.

The third period belonged to the Rangers as Mueller scored their second PP goal of the year on a snipe, the Nash tied it up at three with just a few minutes left.

Kreider finally got to play 4 on 4 and set up the winning goal.  I wonder what else could have happened if he'd been allowed to earlier.

Huge win.

Yankees: Greg Bird is Busting Out in the AFL

So, Greg Bird, the best Yankee 1B prospect since Nick Johnson is crushing it in the AFL.   Cool as it is, it starts to raise uncomfortable questions about his future with the Yankees.  He missed the first part of the 2014 season, then started the season in High A Tampa before being promoted to AA Trenton.   Once he got going, he raked and had a great stint at AA.   The question is, will they start him back at AA?  Or will they start him at AAA and have him ready for whenever it is that Tex gets his first boo boo.  And if he continues to thrive at AAA, will they even promote when Tex goes down?   They didn't promote Roller who had a fine offensive season.

Btw, I've read various scouting takes on Roller, and you know what?  I'll believe the numbers.   He should have been promoted.  I don't care how he looked producing the numbers.

In any event, Bird could end up as next year's Refsnyder -- a better player than the big league starter but mired in the minors due to poor planning.

I hope they don't trade him.

Rangers Tonight

The Rangers are back in action against the Devils tonight.  Even when the Rangers are the clearly better team, the Devils have been a tough opponent for them, and tonight should be no different.  AV has once again benched one of his best players so Glass, Malone and Mueller can play.   Idiocy.   Meanwhile, Dan Girardi can go, we we won't have to witness Kostka 2.   Thus it will be up to Kevin Klein to own goal us again and help the Devils

Silly as it's been, that big line of Hayes, Kreider and Nash could really take off at some point.  Perhaps as soon as tonight.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Yanks Promote Gary Denbo to VP of Baseball Operations

So it looks like long time Yankee hitting coordinator/minor league manager/assistant director or player development/ and player development coordinator Gary Denbo will be taking over Mark Newman's position as Vice President of Baseball Operations.

He's certainly got massive experience with the operation and the transition should be an easy one.

Importantly, the Yanks also made it official that Pat Roessler is out.  I would think Pat McMahon or Jon Kremer would get that job.    We'll see.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yanks Miss Out on Chili

While the Giants were losing on the field, the Yanks were losing off the field, as the Red Sox hired Chili Davis to be their new hitting coach.  I really hope this is not one of these offseasons where we can't rangle our first choices.   We're off to a bad start.

Rangers Shutout Kings 4-0

At least one of our teams played some defense today, as Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers beat the big, tough San Jose Sharks 4-0 at the Garden.   It was a scoreless game for the first period, the Hagelin finally scored a goal in the second.  Toward the very end of the second St. Louis finally scored a goal, and Nash followed right up with his 7th.  Finally, in the 3rd Kevin Hayes scored his first of many NHL goals.  Too bad Duclair wasn't playing since so many were getting their first.

Perhaps next game.   They really shouldn't send him down for the reasons I've outlined.

Giants Play Stupid and Lose

First off, the Giant defense was horrible today and couldn't stop Dallas at any point when they just had to.   Having said that, the Giants had an idiotic game plan that they just wouldn't abandon, it called for endlessly running the ball on first down or on long down distances.   It worked against them all day.  When they finally used their hurry-up, late, they scored easily and could have all day, but they were stupid.  Also, more dumb penalties on the OL, plus two more fumbles from Donell, and stupid plays most of the day by Ruben Randle.  Preston Parker should be cut.

Beckham had 2 TD catches and should have been used more.

The Giants head into their weak looking like they can't beat anyone that's any good.    We'll see if they make changes or ride it out and work in the young guys.   It's definitely time for a new D scheme for next year, if not a whole new staff.

Giants Today

Today the Giants are in Dallas to see if they can maybe score a point of two.    Seriously,  we should know pretty fast if they've prepared for the right opponent or not.  Last week, they were caught unprepared, or, more fairly mis-prepared. as I have no doubt the coaches had them doing something to get ready for the Eagles.  It just wasn't the right thing.

So hopefully, the staff has better insight into the Cowboys, or the players are going to get punched in the face again.  

If it's the Cowboys we know, then stopping Murray, hitting Romo and protecting Eli are the keys.  

We'll see if they're capable.