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Tag:Brett Gardner
Posted on: January 20, 2011 4:19 pm

Yankees sign Jones

Andruw Jones
As has been expected for the past week, the Yankees have signed Andruw Jones to be their fourth outfielder. Danny Knobler of has confirmed that Jones will get $2 million with another $1.2 million in incentives.

In recent years Jones, 33, hasn't been anywhere near the numbers he put up in his prime, as he's batted .212/.312/.412 since 2007 with the Braves, Dodgers, Rangers and White Sox. But when healthy he's still a plus defensive player and he still has pretty good pop, hitting 19 homers last season in just 278 at-bats. His right-handed bat is a good fit with the Yankees, whose starters include two left-handers (Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson) and a switch hitter (Nick Swisher). Jones batted .256 against left-handers last season.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: December 23, 2010 2:26 pm

Cashman says no room for Damon

The Yankees did indeed talk with Johnny Damon, as reported Wednesday, but general manager Brian Cashman said it was just a part of the team's vetting of all free agents and there's not really a place for Damon to return to the Bronx.

"It's something we do with every free agent," Cashman said in a radio interview. "I can't tell you if anything's going to happen there. There's not a clear role for him here.''

The Yankees are set with Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher in the outfield, and Jorge Posada is getting ready to transition to designated hitter, so it doesn't seem there would be much playing time for Damon, who still sees himself as an everyday player.

"I'm trying to get a utility infielder, I'm trying to get a right-handed hitting outfielder, I'm trying to get a starter and I'm trying to get a reliever,'' said Cashman, who also shot down rumors he was pursuing Freddy Garcia and Brandon Webb. "I'm working on things, but they have to make sense for us.''

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: December 22, 2010 7:12 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2010 7:25 pm

Yankees have talked to Damon about a return

Johnny Damon The Yankees have talked to Johnny Damon about a return to the Bronx, Newsday 's Ken Davidoff writes .

Davidoff notes four sources indicated the two sides have talked about bringing Damon back to New York where he'd serve a part-time role as a backup designated hitter (behind Jorge Posada), as well as in left field, where he could spell Brett Gardner, or allow Garner to fill-in at center for Curtis Granderson or in right for Nick Swisher.

Damon, however, is looking for more guaranteed playing time.

Damon played with the Yankees from 2006-2009 before leaving for a one-year deal with the Tigers.

Damon hit .271/.355/.401 with eight home runs and 51 RBI for Detroit last season.

UPDATE: On his blog , Davidoff says he wouldn't bet on the reunion happening, but does see Damon in the American League East, perhaps with the Rays or Orioles. He notes Damon wanted to go to the Cardinals, but then the team signed Lance Berkman.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm

Jeter wins another Gold Glove

Oh, as we complain again and again about the Baseball Writers Association of America and their votes for MVP and Cy Young, the coaches and managers once again show they're not a better committee to choose the biggest awards in the game.

Exhibit A: Derek Jeter, Gold Glover.

Derek Jeter Yep, Jeter won the Gold Glove again on Tuesday in a vote from American League coaches and managers. Derek Jeter with a -5.4 UZR/150, -13 runs saved and -17 plus/minus, was determined by the coaches and managers to be the best defensive shortstop in the American League. Among qualified players, only Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett (-13.8) and Kansas City's Yuniesky Betancourt (-9.2) had a worse UZR/150.

Sure, Jeter had just six errors, but the idea that errors tell you much about a player's defense is preposterous. It tells you who is able to make the routine plays best. That's well and good, but it has little to do with the best all-around defensive player. Jeter has the range of, well, a mediocre 36-year old defensive player. (You know how many times you see Jeter go into the hole and doing that leaping throw, but doesn't quite get the runner? Oh, what a gutty play, he doesn't get an E. Thing is, most other shortstops don't have to make that jump and get the runner.)

Who would be a better choice? Well, who wouldn't?

The Fielding Bible Awards had Chicago's Alexei Ramirez as its third-place finisher, and best among AL players. Ramirez's UZR/150 was 10.1, he had 16 runs saved and a 20 plus/minus.

In UZR/150, Ramirez was trailed by Oakland's Cliff Pennington (8.8), Baltimore's Cesar Izturis (5.8) and Texas' Elvis Andrus (0.3), among qualified players.

The Gold Gloves have been one of those openly mocked selections since a designated hitter won one in 1999 (Rafael Palmeiro). Defense, even in this day and age of advanced statistics, is still highly subjective, with reputation playing more of a role than production. That's what the Gold Glove tells us every year. It also tells us the coaches and managers have as much of a Yankee bias as the media is accused of having.

Alex Rodriguez was the only Yankee infielder not to be awarded, even though the advanced statistics liked Oakland's infield much more.

Mark Teixeira won at first base, even though Oakland's Daric Barton was likely the best choice. Mark Ellis had the top UZR/150 among second basemen (12.7), but the winner was Robinson Cano (-0.9).  Also deserving at second would be Minnesota's Orlando Hudson (12.0 UZR/150). Hudson was the top AL vote-getter in the Fielding Bible Awards, while Ellis was behind him.

As for the outfield, that's probably where a Yankee was actually left off. Left fielder Brett Gardner had the best UZR/150 of any qualified outfielders with a 27.9. He also won the Fielding Bible Award in left field.

American League Gold Glove winners
P Mark Buehrle, White Sox
C Joe Mauer, Twins
1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B Robinson Cano, Yankees
3B Evan Longoria, Rays
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF Carl Crawford, Rays
OF Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 16, 2010 9:49 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:12 pm

Who could participate in an All-Star race?

Brett Gardner has a suggestion for the All-Star planning committee.

"I think they need to have a race at the All-Star Game, just line up 10 or 20 guys and see who wins," the Yankee told the New Jersey Star-Ledger prior to the Game 2 loss.

Gardner named teammate Greg Golson and Ranger outfielder Julio Borbon as part of the top candidates, but wouldn't say who No. 1 would be.

"There's only one way to find out," he said.

Well, the All-Star Game is over and there won't be another one for quite a while. But it's never too early to look ahead. Here's who could be part of the 2011 All-Star speed demon contest.

Brett Gardner : Gardner swiped 47 bags and came in second on Bill James' speed score with 8.1. The speed score averages stolen base percentage, frequency of attempts, percentage of triples and runs scored percentage.

Juan Pierre Carl Crawford : Crawford paced the bigs in speed score with 8.5, and tied Gardner with 47 steals.

Jacoby Ellsbury : Ellsbury stole 70 bases last season and could have repeated if not for being sidelined all season with injuries. He had a 8.1 speed score.

Austin Jackson : Jackson burst on the scene in 2010 with excellent defense and added 27 stolen bases.

Shane Victorino : The Flyin' Hawaiian has stolen 37, 36, 25 and 34 stolen baes the last four years, respectively. He's also near the top of leaderboards in all years in speed score.

Michael Bourn : Bourn paced baseball in speed score in 2009 with an 8.6 mark. He has led the NL the last two years in stolen bases.

Elvis Andrus : Andrus impressed with a speed score in 2009 of 8.0, tacking on 33 stolen bases. He finished with 32 in 2010, but did dip down to 5.8 in speed score.

Julio Borbon : We'll take Gardner's advice and place Borbon on the list. He stole 15 bases in 468 plate appearance with a speed score of 6.1. His speed score was 6.3 in 2009, and swiped 19 bags in 179 PA.

B.J. Upton : Upton has matched or topped 42 stolen bases each of the last three seasons and set a career-high in 2010 with a 7.5 speed score.

Juan Pierre (pictured): Pierre is 32, but can still bring it. He set a career high by leading baseball with 68 stolen bases in 2010, but his speed score did tumble to 6.9 after a 7.5 mark in 2009.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 15, 2010 10:44 am

Yankees happy with Gardner in left

Brett Gardner These days, it's a foregone conclusion that Cliff Lee will sign with the Yankees as a free agent.

Unless he doesn't.

That same uncertainty is why the assumption Carl Crawford would be donning pinstripes for 2011, with two years speculation, is now looking sketchy.

That has to do with the emergence of Brett Gardner, who has anchored the left field spot for New York in 2010 and led the majors in pitches per plate appearance at 4.62. This comes in his first full season at the plate after spending the last two seasons as a backup.

"We always projected him to be an everyday player in New York," GM Brian Cashman told the New Jersey Star-Ledger . "A lot of people doubted that was real. We never did."

Gardner's career line in the minors is .289/.369/.383 in five seasons, and hit .228/.283/.299 in 141 plate appearances for the Yankees in 2008 as a 24-year-old. Being at a listed height of 5-foot-10 with 185 pounds on his frame, it looked as if Gardner wouldn't have the power to hack it in the majors and one who would eventually become a solid backup in part due to his speed.

But, as Cashman says, "Brett Gardner has emerged as a hell of a player."

At 26, Gardner madde 569 appearances at the plate, primarily playing left field and hitting .277/.383/.379 with 47 stolen bases and has been compared to Jacoby Ellsbury minus the power.

"He’s just tenacious, he’s good with the bat," Cashman added. "He’s got great hand-eye coordination, great contact ability, and he’s certainly a plus runner."

Not your prototypical left fielder, but valuable nonetheless and will likely eventually be the permanent leadoff man in 2011. He split time between the eighth, ninth and leadoff spots in 2010 and even filled in at center field while Curtis Granderson worked through his own struggles.

The reason for Gardner's production is simply in his plate discipline, which allows him to be extremely discerning and fight his way on base. That has its drawbacks, such as Gardner finding himself with two-strike counts in about two-thirds of his total PA. Most players are at just under half.

"There’s a very fine line in being too passive or too aggressive and trying to work the pitcher, don’t let him off too easy," Gardner said.

"His approach gives people a problem," Yankees manager Joe Girardi added. "He’s the kind of guy who can put a 10-, 12-pitch at-bat on you at any point."

That's valuable in a day and age where plate discipline is all but a requisite to play in the bigs. 

"The more pitches I see my first at-bat, the better chance of success I have in my second at-bat," said Gardner. "See the ball out of hand, the way it spins, and different things like that. For me, it’s just what I feel makes me have a little bit of success."

That success might knock the Yankees out of the running for Carl Crawford. With Gardner in left, Granderson in center and Nick Swisher hanging around right field, there's no simple fit for Crawford. You can never count the Yankees out because they're the Yankees and they have an open DH spot waiting for someone to fill it.

If Crawford is to join New York, though, he's apt to do it with Gardner as a teammate.

"[Gardner is] under [team] control, and we’ll be in better position going into next year with Brett there knowing that he’s a stable commodity than if we went a different direction," Cashman noted.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 29, 2010 7:53 pm

Yankees want to win division

Joe Girardi At one point, the Yankees said they weren't worried about winning the American League East title -- instead, they just wanted to make the playoffs.

Hours after clinching a postseason spot, manager Joe Girardi changed course, rolling out a lineup full of regulars, minus Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner.

"You see our lineup," Girardi told reporters, including the Star-Ledger 's Marc Carig . "We're playing to win this division. We'll be smart about it, but we're still playing to win this division."

The Yankees are a half-game behind the Rays, who finish their home schedule tonight against the Orioles before heading to Kansas City for four games.

In that push to win the division, Girardi announced Andy Pettitte would start Friday in Boston, followed by A.J. Burnett on Saturday, but didn't announce a starter for Sunday's season-finale.

If the Yankees don't win the division, they'll play the Twins in the first round. If they win the division, they'd play the Rangers.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 1, 2010 9:13 pm

Moving Jeter down not an option

Derek Jeter
Here's a startling observation, courtesy of Brian Costello of the New York Post: Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira entered the day with the same batting average of .267. On June 6, Teixeira was at .211 and Jeter at .300.

The Yankees' shortstop is headed the wrong direction. He's batting .208 in the past 28 days and .251 since the All-Star break. His ground ball rate is up dramatically. He turned 36 in June and is in line for a big new contract after the season. Under those circumstances, even Jeter comes under the microscope.

Now, there's almost no chance Jeter doesn't doesn't finish his career as a Yankee. But whether this is a fluke off year or the start of an age-related dropoff, his role at the top of the order is inevitably is going to have to change.

Manager Joe Girardi says the time for that has not come.

"I don't really see it happening. We still think he's a top of the order guy," Girardi told reporters Wednesday. "Look at the runs he's scored. His average is down a little bit, but ... he's on pace to score 115 runs, which is not too bad for a leadoff guy. I just think people are so used to seeing him have such great years offensively that when you're having a little bit of a down year and you're older, people's eyebrows go up."

It's not as if Jeter, even at nearly 50 points below his career batting average, is a huge liability as a leadoff hitter. From the leadoff spot (which in 117 of 132 games has been Jeter), the Yankees lead the American League in runs (102) and RBI (60) and are fourth in OPS (.741) and on-base percentage (.351). Most teams would take that.

Brett Gardner might be a better option leading off, and if things get tight Girardi might have no choice but to eventually act on that. But Captain Clutch has earned enough benefit of the doubt that he'll get every chance to turn it around.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
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