Reds/Yanks Preview with Yanks Go Yard


The New York Yankees and their legion of fans invade GABP for a three game series starting this evening. In preparation for this, I had the opportunity to exchange some questions with Ricky Keeler of Yanks Go Yard, the Yankees blog on the FanSided Sports Network. Here’s his take on the questions I presented to him…

BRM: What is it that makes people dislike A-Rod so much? Is that feeling prevalent in New York?
RK: I sometimes wonder that myself. After 2009, I thought that all Yankee fans would begin to embrace Alex Rodriguez as one of their own. The only problem is people like Derek Jeter so much that they will never like A-Rod, no matter what he does in a pinstriped uniform. It is also the fact that he will never live up to the near 300 million dollars that the Yankees will pay him through the length of the contract they gave him after 2007. Alex is having a sub-par 2011 due to the lack of home runs, but he has suffered through oblique injuries and now has the latest revelation of playing with a shoulder strain. In the end, Rodriguez will get his thirty homers and 100+ RBI’s he always gets.

BRM: How much confidence do Yankees fans have in Eduardo Nunez filling in for Derek Jeter while Jeets is on the DL?
RK: Yankee fans have confidence in Nunez’s bat, but not in the field. People always criticize Jeter for not having the range or not making the great plays like he used to, but when the ball is hit right to him, he always makes the play. Nunez continues to make errors left and right in the field. He has seven errors at shortstop, but the Yankees love his bat so much that they did not want to put him in a deal for Cliff Lee last summer. I went to watch Nunez a few years when he was playing for Short Season Single A Staten Island. The kid made five errors in a 9-8 loss to Brooklyn at shortstop. It is tough for me to imagine the guy as the heir apparent to the Captain, but, give him credit because he has stepped up and he had some huge hits this past week.

BRM: Speaking of the DL, seems like a lot of pitchers reside there. How has the staff as a whole been able to overcome the injury bug?
RK: The staff has not taken as many injuries as the bullpen has. Yes, Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon have had some big injuries, but the bullpen lost some huge acquisitions from the offseason in Rafael Soriano and Pedro Feliciano. The Yankees have somehow patched a bullpen together with unknowns like Hector Noesi, Cory Wade and journeyman pitchers like Luis Ayala. The rotation has seen a good CC Sabathia (9-4) and AJ Burnett has been at least a little more consistent than years past. However, give Brian Cashman credit for the small moves he made signing Bartolo Colon, who has been a huge surprise. Also, give him credit for signing Freddy Garcia who has been not that good but not that bad either. They will not likely add an arm at the deadline, but once they get Hughes and his velocity back, look out.

BRM: What are the thoughts that this could be Jorge Posada‘s last season in pinstripes?
RK: This is definitely going to be the last year for Jorge Posada in pinstripes. In May, after the whole taking himself out of the lineup debacle, I thought he would not finish the year as a Yankee. He has proved me wrong. Ever since he came in for Mark Teixeira in the Red Sox series, he has been lights out at the plate. The only problem lately is that he can’t catch anymore, so he is a liability in the National League parks. He was a great Yankee in his career, but fans have been calling to see Montero for a while. However, I don’t expect Cashman to call him up this season because they do not want to see their big trade chip flounder in the major leagues.

BRM: The Yankees are known for making mid-season moves. What names are being tossed around as possible Bronx residents?
RK: From what I said before, I think it is unlikely the Yankees will trade for a starting pitcher, or at least a top pitcher. The holes New York could fill are a corner outfielder, a lefty reliever, or a late inning reliever. Mets OF Carlos Beltran has been a hot name in New York, but I can’t see the Yankees wasting their future to help the Metropolitans. Keep an eye on maybe A’s OF Josh Willingham as well.

I would like to see the Yankees get another reliever to add depth to the bullpen. Some players you could see is Padres closer Heath Bell or their set-up man Mike Adams. Another player would be Cubs’ set-up man Sean Marshall, who would give New York a second lefty in the bullpen. But, you are right, we know that Brian Cashman makes the moves at the deadline. However, in the past two seasons, they have made very good small moves to help their team. (i.e Berkman, Wood, Hairston Jr., Hinske).

BRM: How valuable has Bartolo Colon really been for this staff even though he is currently on the DL?
RK: With Phil Hughes’ loss of velocity, Bartolo Colon has been extremely valuable to the Yankees this season. The stem cells have seemed to kick in and give him the high velocity on his fastball that we have not seen in a long time. Now, the hamstring injury could be a huge concern going forward. He did come in out of shape and it seemed like a matter of time before that was going to happen. I like Colon, but now the Yankees are scrambling to find help and Brian Gordon in his first start did that. If they can get Colon back and at a high level, New York would have a solid rotation going into the final stretch of the season. Who would have thought we would say that in March?

I appreciate Ricky taking the time to provide the answers to these questions. If you would like to check out Ricky’s questions to me, my answers, and even a podcast preview of the series done by Ricky, simply go here for all the info.

And one last thing…GO REDS!