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Miami Marlins 2014 Preview Part 2: The Pitchers

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Lead Baseball Columnist):

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Earlier in the month, we touched on the Miami Marlins and their offense going into the 2014 season here

The Miami offense has talent, but I believe it will be a frustrating lineup to follow due in large part to the team’s tendency to strike out a lot.  The pitching staff has the potential to also be a frustrating unit to follow during the season. 

While there is an elite player at the top of this rotation, the body of the staff lacks another stopper or really anyone to put any real faith in as a legit No. 2 or 3 starter at this point. Read the rest of this entry

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Miami Marlins State Of The Union Part 1: The Hitters Preview In 2014

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Lead Baseball Columnist):

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The 2012 baseball season was filled with skeptical optimism by baseball supporters in South Florida.

Along with the opening of the new stadium, the Marlins seemed committed to the idea of contention as they spent money with  reckless abandon.

 In 2013, Miami opened the season with as much negative public relations as possible as they quickly dumped all the excess salary they had acquired in 2012 on the open market.  

Overall, the short term roller coaster left a bitter taste with many fans.   Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Believe Everything You Read: A Response to The New Normal For the New York Yankees- Part II

Alfonso Soriano came back to New York - and thrashed on the competition, with 17 HRs and 50 RBI - in just 58 games with the Bronx Bombers.  He also snuck in 18 SB for the campaign, but nobody even noticed.  Still the experts have failed to recognize that the offense was significantly better once this man entered the fray.  Even with his 38 year old season coming up, it is entirely possible he could club another 25 - 30 HRs and approach 85 - 95 RBI out of the DH slot.

Alfonso Soriano came back to New York – and thrashed on the competition, with 17 HRs and 50 RBI – in just 58 games with the Bronx Bombers. He also snuck in 18 SB for the campaign, but nobody even noticed. Still the experts have failed to recognize that the offense was significantly better once this man entered the fray. Even with his 38 year old season coming up, it is entirely possible he could club another 25 – 30 HRs and approach 85 – 95 RBI out of the DH slot.  Along with McCann, Beltran, Ellsbury, a potentially full year of Teixeira and Jeter, this lineup is a hell of a lot different from the team that limped to a 85 – 77 mark for the 2013 year.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

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As with the first part of this piece, this article is in response to a piece written for Grantland by Rany Jazayerli (which can be found here) that paints a fairly negative picture of the near-future for the New York Yankees.

Once again, I would encourage everyone to visit Grantland.com as it is a one stop shop for some of the best internet based writers on the planet. 

Again, a quick thank you to Fangraphs.com and Baseball-reference.com.

Those organizations are a huge reason for the increased understanding and intelligent discussion relating to baseball over the last decade, and they are used throughout as resources for all advanced statistics. 

If you aren’t reading the content on those sites, I would strongly suggest you do.

We will start with our Point/Counter-Point structure with a discussion of the new Yankee line-up, and more so, the effect of the departure of Robinson Cano on that lineup.

For Part 1 Of Don’t Believe Everything You Read:  A Response to The New Normal click here.

Alfonso 2013 Highlights as a Cub and a Yankee – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance Is Advised


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Don’t Believe Everything You Read: A Response to The New Normal For the New York Yankees- Part I

Opinions have varied wildly about the effect on the wholesale changes to the New York Yankees roster.  This piece is in response to in response to a piece written for Grantland by Rany Jazayerli (which can be found here  http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10150907/the-new-normal-new-york-yankees).

Opinions have varied wildly about the effect on the wholesale changes to the New York Yankees roster. This piece is in response to in response to a piece written for Grantland by Rany Jazayerli (which can be found here lower in a link icon in the 1st couple of lines.)  As the Yankees Correspondent for the MLB Reports, I felt I needed to address the merits of the topic in question, make some counterparts, in order to move the dialogue from a slightly different perspective.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

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Before we get started, I wanted to give credit where credit is absolutely due.

This piece is in response to a piece written for Grantland by Rany Jazayerli (which can be found here) that paints a fairly negative picture of the near-future for the New York Yankees.

If you haven’t been to Grantland.com for sports and entertainment news and opinions, you are missing out.  Some of the best work in the business. 

All advanced statistics (and other statistics) are courtesy of our friends at Fangraphs.com and Baseball-reference.com

As always, we appreciate those sites making the information available to be able to debate the game we love. For ease to the reader, the response has been broken into two parts.  This is part one of the response.

Part 2 of the Don’t Believe Everything You Read: A Response to The New Normal For the New York Yankees click here

New York Yankees 2013 Year Highlights – With Full Credit Going To The YES Network

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Trade Deadline Wrap – Up: Part I – The Winners

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The winners at the trade deadline have something in common.  One team used to call Theo Epstein their general manager and the other currently calls him their President.  Both the Red Sox and the Cubs have done a spectacular job at the deadline to meet the needs of their organizations.

The winners at the trade deadline have something in common. One team used to call Theo Epstein their general manager – and the other currently calls him their President. Both the Red Sox and the Cubs have done a spectacular job at the deadline to meet the needs of their organizations.  Boston fully expects to be in a pennant drive for the AL East, so adding a proven Starter like Peavy – is a great insurance move considering the Clay Buchholz injury situation.  Unlike last year, the Cubs were able to do some deals with their veterans – to help their team in the future.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

July 31, 2013 has come and gone.  The non-waiver trade deadline is always one of the more interesting times of the baseball year.  

Fans become obsessed with the idea of improving their team’s opportunity to win a World Series, whether it be for the upcoming October or in an attempt to rebuild for future seasons.

The question on everyone’s mind now that the deadline is over: how did your team do at the deadline? Did it get better? Did the organization “win” the transaction and will it translate now or later into more wins on the field?

This will end up invariably being a two-part article because of the depth we need to take to look at these moves.  Let’s get right into it with the Winners:

1. Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox are a unique team in that they are concerned both with the current championship window for 2013, but also, a larger window they hope to keep open over the next 3 to 5 years.  

In an effort to stabilize their rotation over the next 1 and 1/2 seasons, the Red Sox acquired Jake Peavy from the White Sox.  Peavy has pitched very well this season.  

His 8.55 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9 are both indicators of an elite level starting pitcher.  Peavy is not the same ace that he was during his prime of 2004 through 2007, but his current numbers speak to an adequate No. 1 starter or a very strong No. 2 starter.

JAKE PEAVY: THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE RED SOX

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Triple Play Podcast #18: The Trade Deadline + Rangers Chat

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Sunday, July.28, 2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour. Chuck Booth will guest once a month for MLB Power Rankings,

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Guests in this Podcast

Brooke Robinson

Nicholas Rossoletti

With the trade deadline around the corner we reach to mlbreports.com’s trade analyst Nick Rossoletti to break down the deals that have happened and the ones that will.

Brooke Robinson stops by to discuss all things Texas Rangers including who she’d put on their Mt Rushmore.

And of course Pat and Chris take a stick to that lying SOB Ryan Braun and their weekly Blue Jays bitch. All that and the bethubb.com best bets!

Click past the Triple Play Icon or CLICK: READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY TO CONTINUE:

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To Buy Or Not To Buy, That Is The Question For NYY? Soriano Deal Looks Imminent

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The trade deadline is quickly approaching, and there is very little doubt in the Bronx what the Yankees need.  For the first time since 1990, the Yankee offense is one of the worst in baseball. If there is any hope that the Yankees can compete for a playoff spot, the front office has to add pieces to the anemic Yankee lineup.

The trade deadline is quickly approaching, and there is very little doubt in the Bronx what the Yankees need. For the first time since 1990, the Yankee offense is one of the worst in baseball. If there is any hope that the Yankees can compete for a playoff spot, the front office has to add pieces to the anemic Yankee lineup. The Bronx Bombers are reeling out of the ALL – Star Break, dropping 3 of 4 – and 5 of their last 7 overall.  They need a quick resurgence, as the Rays have won 18 out of 20, while the Orioles have won 5 games in a row to both leapfrog them in the standings.  The Yankees begin play today 4.5 Games Behind the Playoff Bar.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

The dog days of summer have arrived.  Every team has played in excess of 90 games, and the All-Star break has come and gone.  At this point, it seems only right that we discuss the Yankees as either buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

 Going into Sunday, the Yankees were 6 games behind the Red Sox for first place and were 8 games over .500, which is good for fourth in the uber-competitive American League East.  

Certainly, a playoff spot is still available to the Yankees at this point, and I believe that if you are the Yankees you have to at least examine the market to find what offensive help is available.

The Yankees have pitched well throughout the first half and have both David Phelps and Michael Pineda returning from injury in the next few weeks so the team has enough pitching to get them through the second half and potentially into a playoff spot.  

The major issue has been and will continue to be the once vaunted Yankees offense is a shadow of its former self.

ALFONSO SORIANO ON THE THROW DOWN:

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2 And A Hook Podcast #10: All Star Chat, Yankees, Dbacks + Trade Deadline Talk

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Friday, July.12, 2013

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast.

‘2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

Guests On The Show

Im back & ready after being off during the 4th of July week to give you all another baseball packed podcast. On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports ( www.mlbreports.com ) & yours truly The Bench Warmers Show.

I star by paying respect to the great Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Sheppard on the 3 year anniversary to the day that he passed away…

I talk to the boss man Chuck Booth as he returns to do his segment!  16 Minutes in and a 31 Minute Segment

Chuck makes some notions about the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman needing to risk it all for this year – for the legacies of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano.  Plus whether the club can trade Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes – and maybe acquire a bat. Read the rest of this entry

The Yankees Youth Movement

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Monday, June 24/2013

The Yankees find themselves in the unfamiliar territory of having to rely on younger players to get the team back to the post-season.  Hopefully, the youth movement in the Bronx can help keep the Yankees competitive.

The Yankees find themselves in the unfamiliar territory of having to rely on younger players to get the team back to the post-season. Hopefully, the youth movement in the Bronx can help keep the Yankees competitive. Almonte, Adams and Romine, who is exactly are these guys?  3 guys whom have seen regular duty in the lineup over the last few weeks.  The Yankees managed to take the 1st 2 games of their weekend  series with Tampa before losing the series finale on Sunday.  At 41 – 34, they start play today at 2.5 Games Behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.  A Division in which all teams are over .500.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

As I sit here typing this, I feel a bit out of my element.  My own life has been very much a roller coaster of late.  I’m in the process of moving out of a place I’ve called home for the last four years.  I’ve been traveling for most of the month, and generally, I feel about as out of touch with the Yankees as I have in quite a long time.

After preaching patience to Yankee fans everywhere over the last several months, its become abundantly clear that those All-Stars I’ve been waiting on to carry the team back to October may not show up.  Mark Teixeira is back on the Disabled List with his bothersome wrist. Curtis Granderson just had pins removed from his hand and has yet to take a rehab swing.

Kevin Youkilis‘ back may end his career.  Alex Rodriguez, well, is actually putting on a show in rehab, but god only knows if and when he will face the wrath of Major League Baseball for whatever role he played in this Biogenesis noise. 2013 was supposed to be the final ride of this Yankees group with the serious regrowing pains coming in 2014 and beyond.

In addition to the absolutely atrocious injuries, the glass slipper has shattered for the replacement Yankees, who carried the team through April.  Vernon Wells, the most notable of the slumping replacements, has given the team little to no reason to continue to give him run.  

After writing several pieces begging for patience and instructing fans to embrace Wells, I will admit to having a bit of mud on my face.  Wells is what most people thought he was.  An expensive piece with just enough left in his bat to give you a bit of hope.  I was hoping for a 1-2 WAR player out of Wells.  It is official.  I am (and/or was) delusional.

ZOILO GOES DEEP:

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New York Yankees: What Goes Up, Must Come Down

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Wednesday, June.5/2013

It had been a fun two months of the season for the Yankees until the last week in May lead to series losses to the Mets and Red Sox.  No amidst more controversy and another injury, the Yankees must regroup and get ready for the heart of the summer.

It had been a fun two months of the season for the Yankees until the last week in May lead to series losses to the Mets and Red Sox. No amidst more controversy and another injury, the Yankees must regroup and get ready for the heart of the summer.  Heading into play Wednesday, they are 33 – 25 (.569) and 2.5 Games Behind the Boston Red Sox for the AL East.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

There is no one that wishes that I could stop typing the words “Disabled List” and “Injury Replacements” more than me.  It seems like each of my articles since I took over the Yankee Correspondent position for MLB Reports has focused on how the team would survive the first portion of the 2013 season after off-season and Spring Training injuries left the team without its most expensive and experienced pieces.

Thanks to elite pitching from almost the entire team as well as some timely hitting from some unlikely sources, the Yankees have not just managed to compete through injuries but succeed.

As May turns to June, the thought was that the regular Yankee bats would return, which is basically the same thing we were told as April turned to May.  

Now more than ever it seems necessary as the team has been regressing back to a fairly disturbing mean.  The team has lost five in a row and dropped to two (2) games back of the Red Sox.  

It is imperative that the team get healthy quickly. The first of the Yankee regulars to return was Curtis Granderson, who got all of 31 Plate Appearances before lightning struck twice.

The injury bug continues to bite the Yankees moving forward.  The offense will be without a bat that generated 84 Home Runs over the 2011 and 2012 seasons for a little while longer.

BIG TEX:

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The Pinstripe Magic

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Monday, May.20/2013

Yankee fans consistently criticize their General Managers decision making process despite the fact that the last four years have been substantial successes. Will Yankee fans come to appreciate Cashman's ability to find value to help sustain success?

Yankee fans consistently criticize their General Managers decision making process despite the fact that the last four years have been substantial successes. Will Yankee fans come to appreciate Cashman’s ability to find value to help sustain success?

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

There is a tendency for certain fan bases to panic quickly because of past failures.  It can be hard to put your faith blindly in an organization that has frequently disappointed you. 

The other side of that coin is that certain ball clubs deserve a bit more rope on the organizational end because of a string of impressive results. 

One organization has seen such an unbelievable string of successful regular seasons over the last two decades.  The New York Yankees.  Despite this success, the fans of the organization ride a roller coaster quite unlike anything else in sports.

Vernon Wells Going Yard in Colorado:

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu7IGoYtndY]
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Yankees Current State Of The Union + The Phil Hughes Question

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Wednesday, May.08/2013

As the Yankees enter May, they do so in second place trailing their rivals, the Boston Red Sox. This is a surprise for many who thought that Boston and New York would struggle in 2013.

As the Yankees enter May, they do so in second place trailing their rivals, the Boston Red Sox. This is a surprise for many who thought that Boston and New York would struggle in 2013

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

As April came to a close and May began, the Yankees found themselves in an all so familiar place. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were atop the American League East.  It seems like this struggle between century old rivals has dominated the AL East for the better part of the last 15 years.  

This year was supposed to be different as New York and Boston were both expected to cede the division to the Baltimore O’s, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, and perhaps that will still be the case, but after five weeks of the season, it certainly seems like the demise of the Yanks and Sox was greatly overstated.

Part of the reason that the Yankees have managed to prove their naysayers incorrect has been their stellar starting pitching.  Each of the top four Yankee starters has pitched well to start the season, but as the title of the article suggests, there is one pitcher who has stood out especially in the last several weeks.

 His performance leads to this question: Is Phil Hughes finally becoming the pitcher he was always touted to be? Is the 26-year old right hander finally blossoming into a strong 1/2 starter? The numbers, at least early on, scream YES. 

The Phil Hughes Question:

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Yankees Update: Week 4 – The Injuries Mount Yet They Are Still The Bronx Bombers!

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Wednesday May 1,2013

After a hot start to the 2013 campaign, Francisco Cervelli has broken his hand and added his name to the long list of Yankee injuries in 2013.  Cervelli worked to get back to the Majors and won the Yankee starting job out of training camp.  Now only time will tell whether Cervelli can return from injury with the same skill that he opened the season.

After a hot start to the 2013 campaign, Francisco Cervelli has broken his hand and added his name to the long list of Yankee injuries in 2013. The man worked his way back to the Majors and won the Yankee starting job out of training camp. Now only time will tell whether Cervelli can return from injury with the same skill that he opened the season.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

The end of April was supposed to signal the beginning of the end of the Yankee injury woes. Upon breaking camp, it was thought that Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira would all be returning in the next week or two.  

Now, it has become clear that the Yankee injury woes are just beginning.

As discussed in last week’s piece, Jeter’s set-back already has extended his time table until the middle of July at the earliest.  Big Tex has been unable to meet his time table as well and is not prepared to take live swings yet.

Granderson is the only player on track to return from injury based on the original timeframe.  Grandy is slated to return in at some point in May.

Frankie Being Frankie:
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NYY “Down on the Farm”- Week 4: Familiar Faces

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SCWBRR

RailRiders

Scranton Logo

Wednesday May 1, 2013

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

This week DOWN ON THE FARM….

As stated my Major League article this week, Triple-A lost several assets this week to the Major League club. Austin Romine and Vidal Nuno were both called to the Majors to help ease some of the injury woes facing the Bronx Bombers.  

While those new names will graces the scorecards in the Bronx, there are some familiar names still hanging around Scranton, who deserve a bit of attention this week.

 Chien-Ming Wang has started two games since his return to the Yankee organization.  Wang has managed to keep runners off base and has delivered 22 ground outs in 2 starts.  

Obviously, every Yankee fan remembers the terrific seasons where Wang posted other-worldly Ground Ball Rates of above 60%.  If his shoulder is healthy and his sinker is, well, sinking, Wang could be a very useful depth piece as the season rolls along for this organization. Read the rest of this entry

Yankees Update: Bad News On El Capitan While The Team Keeps Winning

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Wednesday April.24/2013

Derek Jeter. The Yankee Captain. A future Hall of Famer.  Last October, Jeter broke his ankle during the American League Championship Series.  All off-season, it was reported that Jeter would be ready for Opening Day.  After a series of set-backs, it has now become clear that due to a small crack in his ankle, Jeter will not be ready until after the All-Star Break. Can the Yankees survive without their captain? Only time will tell.

Derek Jeter. The Yankee Captain. A future Hall of Famer. Last October, Jeter broke his ankle during the American League Championship Series. All off-season, it was reported that Jeter would be ready for Opening Day. After a series of set-backs, it has now become clear that due to a small crack in his ankle, Jeter will not be ready until after the All-Star Break. Can the Yankees survive without their captain? Only time will tell.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

Transitions are rarely easy.  People, generally, are creatures of habit and routine.  Change is almost always seen as a scary thing for most.  Yankee fans are no different.  The transition from the old guard is an overwhelming theme to this season for the Yankees. 

As Week Three of the Major League season moved along, the Yankees received more bad injury news on their shortstop, Derek Jeter.  The Yankee captain suffered a significant setback in his recovery from a broken ankle when it was reported that a small crack had emerged in the same location as the injury. 

Reports had indicated that Jeter’s surgery would prevent such a re-occurrence.  Obviously, this is not the case, and now, the Yankees will be without their shortstop until at the very least the All-Star break.

Yankee fans’ reaction was obvious as the news broke.  For the better part of two decades, Jeter has been the constant in the Yankee lineup, and this injury reminds Yankee fans, again, that the times, they are a changing. 

The Captain:

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Yankees Week Two – Getting Right in Cleveland + A Triple Play = 4 – 1

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Week Two for the New York Yankees was a far more fun ride than Opening Week.  An offensive outpouring in Cleveland followed by taking 2 out of 3 from Baltimore has left the Yankees within striking distance of 1st place in a very strange AL East.  Now the Yankees enter the second half of April within striking distance of 1st place in a very strange AL East.

Week Two for the New York Yankees was a far more fun ride than Opening Week. An offensive outpouring in Cleveland followed by taking 2 out of 3 from Baltimore has left the Yankees within striking distance of 1st place in a very strange AL East. Now the Yankees enter the second half of April within striking distance of 1st place in a very strange AL East.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

In baseball, a momentum turn can be a slight thing.  A player getting a seeing eye single through the infield that turns him from slumping to streaking. A pitcher getting a lucky hop that turns a rally into a double play.

For this Yankees team, the momentum turn seems to have been C.C. Sabathia‘s gem against the Tigers on a Sunday afternoon.  

The Yankees used that 7 Inning performance to jump-start the second week of the season. In almost every regard, Week Two was the anti-thesis of Week One.

After Sabathia dominating the Tigers’ line-up and the Yankees getting after Detroit ace Justin Verlander, the Yankees headed to Cleveland where it was either raining or the Yankees were scoring runs.

After Opening Week, the 11 and 14 runs scored in the first two nights in Cleveland allowed the fan base to breathe easy.  This run shed some light on an issue I wanted to look at this week.  

Before the season got under way, my pre-season piece focused on the Vernon Wells trade and keeping the faith in a Yankees front office.  

The line-up’s ability to score runs has been largely based on the performance of their veteran acquisitions in the off-season (and the fact that Robinson Cano is absolutely an offensive superstar).

Pronk Cometh:

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Down On The Farm – New York Yankees Update

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Almonte is showing his stuff at Triple-A, Particularly, his plate patience is something to keep an eye on and may land him in the Bronx sooner than originally expected.

Almonte is showing his stuff at Triple-A, Particularly, his plate patience is something to keep an eye on and may land him in the Bronx sooner than originally expected. In Scranton, Zolio Almonte has begun to separate himself from Melky Mesa as the more advanced outfield prospect.  The Most exciting thing about Almonte is how he is managing Triple A Pitchers  He Has worked out 10 Walks – while putting up a very impressive .512 OBP.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent): 

Yankees Report From Down on the Farm:

As of the writing of this paragraph, Almonte had worked another two Walks to further improve that On Base Percentage.  The ability to control the strike zone and force pitchers to throw strikes may be the most important factor in promoting a ball player.  

In the pre-season, we talked briefly about Almonte as a potential replacement for an injured Curtis Granderson.  While Vernon Wells has obviously filled the ranks of the Yankee Outfield, should there be regression from Wells or further injury, Almonte is beginning to show himself as a real option to get Major League At-Bats.

Zolio Almonte HRs:

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Opening Week Jitters For The Yankees

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Opening Week was what many suspected, but as the Yankees come out of that leg of the marathon, they are alive and kicking.  The question will be as it always was: Can the pitching keep the team in the game?

Opening Week was what many suspected, but as the Yankees come out of that leg of the marathon, they are alive and kicking. The question will be as it always was: Can the pitching keep the team in the game?

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent): 

As winter turns to spring, anyone who loves the game of baseball begins to become anxious.  The season is almost here becomes a rallying cry for those fans who spend the cold winter missing the boys of summer. 

Opening Day is a borderline holiday for we baseball fans.  It marks the beginning of our six (6) month journey.  A time of renewal and rebirth.  A time of hope as spring turns to summer and our favorite teams return to their ballparks.  The Yankees headed north to begin the season and immediately entered their traditional role in the spotlight of New York.

For over 100 years, there has been no bigger ticket in sports in the Big Apple than the Yankees.  Sadly enough opening day was as bad as many of the naysayers expected.  CC Sabathia, a traditional slow starter, was beaten badly by the Red Sox.  

Sabathia’s largest weakness was the frequency with which runners reached base.  Allowing 12 base runners over the course of only five innings, Sabathia provided the Red Sox with opportunity after opportunity.  

Much has been made of Sabathia’s decreasing velocity.  It was the hot topic after the outing.  Sabathia topped out at around 92 MPH on his fastball, which seemed ultimately much more hittable.  

Equally worrisome to the loss in velocity is the inability to control the strike zone with 4 Walks during the start.  All in all, it made for another horrid opening day from a pitcher that has traditionally been poor on opening day.

Ivan Nova: Back When It Was Working:

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2 And A Hook Podcast – Episode #2: The Yankees, Injured Players And Early Year Schedules

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Thursday, April.04/2013

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

People in this Podcast:

Chuck Booth – Guest (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Nicholas Rossoletti – Guest (Trade/Yankees Correspondent)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran) 

On today’s show brought to you by www.mlbreports.com & yours truly The Bench Warmers, we talk about opening week of MLB! Chuck Booth called in on his usual segment – to talk about injuries that have been going on lately to start this season and  especially with baseball’s All – Stars. Read the rest of this entry

Trust In Cash: Vernon Wells And Getting Through Early 2013

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Monday April.1, 2013

Our own Chuck Booth predicted that Mr. Wells could be wearing pinstripes this season and low and behold, Chuck was right.  Now, to see if Wells can bridge the gap for the Yankees until Curtis Granderson returns.

Our own Chuck Booth predicted that Mr. Wells could be wearing pinstripes this season and lo and behold, Chuck was right. Now, to see if Wells can bridge the gap for the Yankees until Curtis Granderson returns.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees + Trade Correspondent)

There have been few moments as divisive for Yankees fans over the past year than last weekend’s trade for Vernon Wells.  While I will get to the trade analysis of the Wells deal, I find it incredibly interesting the conversations and general disdain Yankee fans are currently showing for the management team in the Bronx.  

The Yankee universe took to social media after the announcement of the trade.  A large contingent were calling for Brian Cashman’s job, which I’m sure is not anything unusual for the General Manager of the Yankees.  It did get me thinking about where the team is coming into the season.

Vernon Wells Highlights – Parental Guidance is Advised:

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The Yankees Prospects Going Into 2013

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Tampa Yankees are the High-A affliate for the Yankees and served as the home for Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams, Tyler Austion and Slade Heathcott during the 2012 season.

The Tampa Yankees are the High-A affiliate for the Yankees and served as the home for Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott during the 2012 season.

By Nicholas Rossoletti  (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent): 

Heading into the 2013 season, few things in the Yankee universe have been more controversial than the organizations goals to get under the $189 million salary mark after the season.  It has been largely debated as to whether such a goal is realistic for an organization known for spending wildly in its never-ending pursuit of championships.  

It is also hotly debated whether the goal will have the desired effect of taking some of the Yankee millions out of the revenue sharing arena and placing them back into the Steinbrenner family pockets.  I won’t spend much time discussing the benefits or negatives of a team sticking to a 189 million payroll, but I will say that it is very possible to build a world champion well within that budget.

The first step to building a future champion regardless of how much money the Yankees spend is to follow the formula that brought the Yankees success over the past two decades: build a base around young talent.  So with this article we will take a look at the prospects that Yankees fans have to hope pan out and begin heading for the Bronx.

Slade Heathcott showing off how to slide in the AFL:

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Miami Marlins – Updated State of the Union: The Hitters and Pitchers

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

In 2013, the Marlins will have an all to familiar feeling of being a team waiting to grow up around in a division of championship contenders.  Hopefully this is the exception and not the rule for the Miami club.

In 2013, the Marlins will have an all to familiar feeling of being a team waiting to grow up around in a division of championship contenders. Hopefully this is the exception and not the rule for the Miami club.

In December, we took a look at Miami moving forward after the now infamous salary dump of the Winter of ’12.  Living in South Florida, its been an interesting off-season to discuss baseball with those who care about the sport.  Some believe that the trade was a positive baseball move, others think it was another in a long line of for profit motivated transactions by a team whose reputation is for that type of maneuver.  

In either case, with opening day approximately three (3) weeks ahead of us, it is now time to move on from the trade and examine to a greater degree what the 2013 season holds for the Miami franchise.

As with the past article, we will start with Giancarlo Stanton.  Statistically, we have spent a large portion of time discussing Stanton’s strengths.  He is an elite power presence in the middle of the Marlins lineup.  I won’t spend time re-hashing the statistics that we have already went over.  I do think its important to point out a few things that may effect Stanton’s output this year.

For Part 1 of the Marlins State Of The Union Piece in December – The Hitters:  click here

For Part 2 of the Marlins State Of The Union Piece in December – The Pitchers: click here

More Giancarlo Stanton Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

New York Yankees Player Roster In 2013 Part 2 – The Pitchers: State Of The Union

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Monday, March 4, 2013


The Yankees come into 2013 relying more on pitching and defense than in previous seasons.  This incarnation of the Yankees will only go so far as their pitching can carry them.

The Yankees come into 2013 relying more on pitching and defense than in previous seasons. This incarnation of the Yankees will only go so far as their pitching can carry them.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade and Yankees Correspondent):

Allow me to re-introduce myself. I have spent the last three months discussing the Marlins, Astros, Mariners and the off-season trades. I have loved every second of it, and I appreciate my readers more than you will ever know. That being said, today I undertake something that has always been a dream. Today, I begin a journey where I get to do something that the 14 year old me always wanted to do. Today, I take over as the Yankees correspondent, which is a fancy term for a guy who gets to write about his favorite baseball team. Some of my most vivid memories of my past relate to the Yankees. I will never forget the moment that ball fell into Charlie Hayes‘ glove. The pure joy of the first time my team would be called world champions.

Embracing my Dad in a bear hug as we celebrated something that meant so much to the both of us. Since then the Yankees have provided endless enjoyment as I watched a dynasty grow up as I grew up. Now, it has come to a point where the Yankees face their championship window closing. It happens to all great teams, but the question that hangs in the balance is whether the window is already closed or can the Bombers come up with another magical season before this generation fades? We will try to answer that question starting with the Yankee pitchers.

CC Sabathia Highlight Reel:

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Seattle Mariners Payroll in 2013: And Contracts Moving Forward

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Tuesday.February.25/2013

The Mariners Payroll in 2013 will be 80+ million dollars.  Sadly enough, the Mariners are still not expected to compete in the American League West.

The Mariners Payroll in 2013 will be 80+ million dollars. Sadly enough, the Mariners are still not expected to compete in the American League West.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

It has been over ten years since the Seattle Mariners found themselves as participants in the American League playoffs. Over the course of that time, the M’s have had their ups and downs (quite obviously more downs), and they have come close to getting back to the post-season on several occasions. However, the last three years have been frustrating for Mariners’ fans as the team has ended each season in last place in the AL West. Along with the post-season drought, the Mariners have made some poor contractual decisions. This seasons payroll will not be exceptionally high, but Seattle is far from a small market team. One of the benefits of this season is that the Mariners are not flooded with a lot of long term, massive contracts. The future for the Mariners can be bright, but they need to find some talented offensive pieces and a couple of arms to back their superstar ace, Felix Hernandez.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the big deals that make up the top end of the Mariners payroll in 2013. I think most Mariners fans will ultimately be pretty disappointed in which player is following up King Felix on the payroll for the upcoming season.

Mariners 21 Rangers 8 on May.30/2012 Highlights:

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Miami Marlins Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Monday, February.18/2013

The Marlins will start year 2 of their ball park with about 33 % of their 2012 Team Salary.  They essentially have traded away veteran over the course of last season and then in the winter.

The Marlins will start year 2 of their ball park with about 33% of their 2012 Team Salary. They essentially have traded away every veteran over the course of last season and then in the winter.  They go to camp with a lot of prospects, some re-treads and a lot of broken promises to their fans.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

Welcome to Miami, home to sunshine, beautiful people and a unique multicultural atmosphere. Miami is not home, however, to a big market baseball team. For years the Marlins have attempted to fake it to make it. The team would build its payroll towards a single season where the front office felt like it could compete for a world championship. Then, regardless of result, the Marlins would break up the team, sell the pieces for as much value as was offered and rebuild towards another season when a championship hope seemed realistic. So the Miami Marlins, their fans, their brand new stadium enter 2013 in a very similar situation. In 2012, the team took a shot at competing by spending money on several free agents. I’ve written in detail about why that didn’t work and what the fans can look forward to in the future. In 2013, the payroll will be once again be amongst the lowest in baseball.

As with our past looks at payroll we will start with the high-end of the Miami payroll. You will notice that one of these is not like the other.

Giancarlo Stanton Highlights 2012 – Mature Lyrics  so parental guidance is advised:

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Houston Astros Roster In 2013: State Of The Union:

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Monday, February.11,  2013

houston_astros-9413By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

In 2005, the Houston Astros completed a run to the World Series. It was the culmination of the Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell teams in Houston. That team had players on it named Clemens, Pettitte, Oswalt,Bagwell and Biggio. This Houston team is a far way from that National League Champion. Houston has failed at epic levels the last two seasons. The state of the current union of this team is summed up in one word: bad. With that said, there is a ray of hope in these dark days.

When I first learned of this assignment, I planned on doing a portion of a piece on the Astros most expensive and possibly most prominent offensive piece, Jed Lowrie. Houston, in an effort to aggressively proceed with rebuilding its roster, traded Lowrie for several pieces. The trade itself has been covered by this site and our Astros’ corespondent already so I’m going to focus on piece of it. Chris Carter, the First Baseman/Outfielder, acquired by the Astros. Carter has shown consistent power at the Minor League levels as he consistently posted well above league average ISO numbers. His brief stint in the Majors with the A’s prior to the 2012 season did not see those numbers translate. Finally in 2012, we got a look at what we hope is the real Chris Carter.

Carter posted 16 Home Runs in less than 300 Plate Appearances while posting a spectacular ISO. Carter is not the type of player who will hit for average as his Strike-Out rates are consistently well above league average, but he does so an excellent propensity for taking walks. Carter is an Adam Dunn - type player. Big power, good On Base Percentage, but a high Strike Out rate with a low Batting Average. Overall, I think he will make a fine number four hitter, but the pieces around him need to fit. The other issue is where does Carter play. He is traditionally a First Baseman, but Houston is currently playing 26-Year Old Brett Wallace at first in an effort to determine his value. More important than Wallace though is one of Houston’s top prospects, First Baseman Jonathan Singleton.

Bagwell and Biggio Mix of Highlights:  Who will be the next tandem of Astros greats?:

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Justin Upton Trade Opens A Window For The Braves And Ends An Era For The D’backs

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Monday, February.04,  2013

Justin Upton leaves Arizona on a down year after finishing 2012 with .280/.355/.430 slash line and only 17 HRs.

Justin Upton leaves Arizona on a down year after finishing 2012 with .280/.355/.430 slash line and only 17 HRs.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

What many Arizona Diamondback fans once considered the unthinkable happened last week.  The team decided to part with 25-Year-Old Right Fielder, Justin Upton. Upton was the franchise’s top draft pick in 2005, its Number 1 prospect in 2007 according to Baseball America, its best player in both the 2009 and 2011 seasons based upon Wins Above Replacement and the 13th best position player in the Major Leagues in 2011 as he added 6.4 Wins to the D’Backs.

The D’Backs shipped Upton to Atlanta where he will be reunited with his brother, BJ Upton, and in doing so, the team ended a relationship with another of its first round picks. None of Arizona’s top picks from 2003 through 2011 are still with the franchise. Upton was the type of player that teams normally build around especially at 25 Years Pld. Instead the D’Backs determined it was better to use Upton to acquire 5 pieces that they hope will provide several building blocks to replace the one they gave away. In that way, Upton still provided the D’Backs with foundation even when he is no longer playing for them.

Justin Upton Highlights Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is Advised:

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Morse Back To Seattle: The Mariners Add Yet Another Bat

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Sunday, January 27th,  2013

MIcheal Morse Has a Career 3 Slash Line of .295/.347/.839.  He will likely see some time at 1B and DH with Kendrys Morales

MIcheal Morse Has a Career 3 Slash Line of .295/.347/.839 heading into 2013. He will likely see some time at 1B and DH with Kendrys Morales.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

Once upon a time, Mike Morse was a Seattle Mariners’ farm hand who played parts of four seasons in the majors with Seattle. He never really lived up to expectations during his first time in Seattle. Now, the Mariners have acquired him from the Nationals where he spent the best four seasons of his career. The Mariners are looking everywhere they can for affordable offense, and they have turned back to a familiar face in Morse. The real question is how does Morse fit in Seattle and does the acquisition make the Mariners better?

In order to address this topic, its important that we take a look at how Morse performed last season and whether the decrease in performance is going to carry over into the 2013 campaign. Morse was injured for a portion of the season so it is important to take that into consideration when breaking down his 2012 season, but even with injury, Morse took a fairly large step backwards.

Mike Morse’s 1st hit in the Major Leagues with the Mariners (2005):

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The Texas Rangers Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Saturday, January.19th,  2013

Texas has doubled their total team payroll since the new ownership group took over.  As good as they are doing right now for Payroll - the Angels still have them beat by 35-40 Million Dollars

Texas has doubled their total team payroll since the new ownership group took over. As good as they are doing right now for Payroll – the Angels still have them beat by 35-40 Million Dollars.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

It is easy to equate a big market team’s success with merely a willingness to overspend on free agents and use their superior earning power to dominate the sport. While the Rangers certainly are not afraid of spending all that money that playing the Dallas/Fort Worth area provides, it would be inaccurate to equate the team’s recent string of success with only their ability to outspend a fair portion of their competitors. As we enter the 2013 season, the Rangers have built a very strong base – while managing to not tie themselves to any back-breaking, future altering contracts. That is a testament to the organization’s belief in its system – and its refusal to spend on player just because they are able to. With that being said, let’s take a look at the Rangers 2013 payroll as of now and see where Texas will be spending its money next season.

Rangers 2011 ALCS Clincher:

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The Red Sox Trade for a Closer (Hanrahan) … Again.

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Thursday, January.10,  2013

Joel Hanrahan had 76 Saves over the last 2 Years with the Pittsburgh Pirates - including 2 straight ALL-Star Appearances. He will be throwing down in the 9th Inning for Boston now.  Picture Courtesy of Marc Smilow

Joel Hanrahan had 76 Saves over the last 2 Years with the Pittsburgh Pirates – including 2 straight ALL-Star Appearances. He will be throwing down in the 9th Inning for Boston now. Picture Courtesy of Marc Smilow.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

Back in 2005, the Boston Red Sox brought up a 24 Year Old flame throwing phenom. Seven seasons, a World Championship and 219 Saves later, Jonathan Papelbon and his fastball had become something of Boston baseball lore. Papelbon was the kind of big strike out, big personality that fans grow to love at the back-end of a bullpen. From 2007-2011, Papelbon never posted a K/9 under 10.00 and never had less than 30 saves in a season. It seemed like Papelbon would become Boston’s answer to Mariano Rivera until the Phillies swooped in and signed Papelbon to a 4 year/50 Million Dollar Contract before the new CBA was even agreed to during the 2011 off-season. Suddenly, Boston was without its ALL-Time Saves Leader and in need of a new stabilizing force in the back of their bullpen.

After Papelbon signed in Philadelphia, the Red Sox went out and acquired Andrew Bailey from the Oakland A’s to fill the closers role. When the trade happened, the perception was that Andrew Bailey was the best player in the deal. The Red Sox acquired Bailey and OF Ryan Sweeney for OF Josh Reddick, INF Miles Head and Right Handed Pitcher Raul Alcantara. Bailey was coming off a 24 save season where he was worth less than 1 WAR (Win Above Replacement). It is important that we differentiate perception with reality at this point.

Joel Hanrahan Highlights from 2010-2012

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