With the decimation of their pitching staff through injuries the New York Yankees have been actively negotiating with the Philadelphia Phillies for star pitcher Cliff Lee. Lee, 35, is locked up through the end of next season and would not only give the Yankees a bona fide top of the rotation starter but also one of the postseason pitchers in the clutch over the past decade.
Will the Bombers give up the farm for Lee?
The only problem is that the asking price for the veteran left-hander will be steep. Originally the Yankees reportedly wanted both Lee and Chase Utley in a deal, but the Phillies have let the Yankees know that New York doesn’t have the pieces for that type of move.
Still, the Yankees would have to mortgage their future as the Phillies have been adamant that top prospect Gary Sanchez must be in a deal for Lee. Even the prized catching prospect may not be enough as the Philllies may want one of the Yankees top outfield prospects as well.
However, New York has been exploring other options such as finding another trading partner for a three team deal. With a weak A.L. East this season and the fact that Lee would be locked up until the end of 2015, could make the Yankees pull the trigger for the southpaw that they have coveted for years.
With the Phillies already looking forward to 2015 and the Yankees once again in the thick on a pennant race, the deal makes sense for both sides. That is, unless another suitor such as Los Angeles, Anaheim, or Detroit becomes involved.
The sooner the Yankees can get this deal done the better.
The scene has been played over and over again. Yankee stadium, one run game, top of the ninth. Blinding lights from the grand stand puncture the black New York sky. The outfield gates swing open to the sounds of Metallica’s Enter Sandman blasting over the
When 42 walked out of the bullpen, it was pretty much over
PA system. 50,000 plus fans erupt into jubilant cheers that bombards the opposing team like an avalanche. Then he emerges. The pinstriped assassin. Carrying a black glove in his right hand as navy 42 on his back bounces up and down with each long stride he takes towards the pitching mound. As he once again climbs the Yankee Stadium mound and grabs the baseball everybody is thinking the same thing. Game Over! In the final days of the 2013, Yankee fans enter an unfamiliar world. A life without Mariano Rivera. As Mo departs the Yankees, many of the Yankee faithful and baseball fans are left to wonder, is this the beginning of the end for the Yankee Empire? Through all the tough times and questions that have surrounded this franchise for years now from declining production, bad free agent signings, and off the field issues, the one constant has been Rivera. When the game was on the line everyone knew who was going to take the ball. Mariano Rivera blowing a game happens about as often as a blue moon. If it happened, it was a rare anomaly. What only adds to the Rivera mystique is not only how good he is, but how long he’s been dominant. During his reign as the game’s elite closer, we’ve seen many great closers come and go, but Rivera was the standard. Eric Gagne? Sure he set the consecutive saves record but after that streak he slowly faded into obscurity. Trevor Hoffman? One of the greatest ever, but by the end of his career his talent had faded while Rivera remianed the cream of the crop. Jonathan Papelbon? Sure he’s won a World Series, and while he has had some dominant season, he’s had his fair share of mediocre ones. When we talk about great closers, Rivera is the one we all think of. Don’t believe me? Name five other elite closers, better yet name three that are in the same ballpark as Rivera! Can’t do it can you? What sets Rivera apart from every other closer is all of the great attributes the man possesses. He has a composure that cannot be broken, even in the toughest situations. Rivera has incredible stamina. In an age where closers are bred for three outs, Rivera constantly would come into pressure situations in the eighth and could get more than three outs. However, what impresses me the most is his stuff. He had one pitch. Think about that for a moment. If Major league hitters know what pitch is coming most times that ball will find a home in the upper deck. Mariano Rivera’s cutter is one of baseball’s greatest pitches. Over 90 MPH, unbelievable movement, devastating late action, and pinpoint accuracy. Even these adjectives don’t give Rivera’s cutter the justice it deserves. It’s living art that you have to witness for yourself. It’s unbelievable that a hitter knew exactly what was coming, but batters could never truly figure out Rivera’s cutter. With that one pitch Rivera ruled the
With his cutter, Mariano became not only one of the greatest Yankees, but the greatest closer ever
ninth inning like no other pitcher before him. For 19 glorious years Rivera’s cutter not only broke a small forest worth of bats, but made the game’s greatest hitters look foolish. Armed with that one pitch Rivera would notch 652 career saves and counting while posting a brilliant 2.21 ERA. However, like most closers, it’s when the lights shined the brightest that he was at his best. In the post season, where Rivera won five World Series championships, Rivera was the best. An 8-1 record, 42 saves, and a 0.71 ERA. Mariano is the definition of clutch. While his regularly season numbers are incredible, his post season numbers alone make him a legend. In an era dominated with steroids and inflated offensive numbers, we may look back with a smile and say we witnessed the greatest closer of all-time. I missed the great Yankees of the past and have always heard about the honor of watching those men play. The greats like Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Berra, Jackson, Dimmagio, and Maris should now include Rivera. Sure, Jeter has 3000 and is the greatest captain, but he’s not the greatest shortstop of all time. Rivera is the greatest closer to climb the mound. With the Yankees already fittingly retiring Rivera’s number in monument park this past it’s weekend, just proves that one day we’ll look back and tell our kids I saw Mariano Rivera pitch. While he will not go out with another World Series ring, Rivera will leave the game with not only his hall of fame resume, but with the respect of every major league player. Baseball is filled with dishonest and diva superstars, but Rivera was simple and humble. As Rivera once said: “I get the ball, I throw the ball, and then I take a shower.” It’s only fitting that a man who has given so much both on and off the field be rewarded for his service to the game. We’ve seen all teams Mariano has played this year give him a trinket in gratitude. The only tribute was the All-Star game. At Citi Field the they played his classic intro and when he went to the mound he got a standing ovation from the players and fans. When he does finally step off the field this week, it will be a sad day for the Yankees and baseball. Rivera is a tremendous individual that played the game it was meant to be played. He was more than a great person, he was an unbelievable human being. Baseball may be losing one of its greats, but Cooperstown will soon welcome another legend. From all of us who love this game, Thank You Mo, for the memories!
What will the Yankees collect first? another ring or their social security checks?
That’s right Yankee fans the reign of dominance that the Yankees have had for more than a decade is coming to an end. Since 2000, when the Yankees won their third World Series in four years, the club has only won the championship once, in 2009, during the last 12 years. Fast forward to 2013, the winds are changing in the Bronx as many factors are slowly eating away at the Yankees facade as the best team in baseball. You cannot question the teams’ success, 27 championships in the club’s history, but more recently the Yankees have lost the dominance the once had. There are many reason for this including the passing of the George Steinbrenner and passing the ownership to his son’s who have not shown the same passion for winning that their father once had. Do you think that the boss would have stood for this or been this quite in the offseason? The competition in the AL East has caught up with the Bronx Bombers. Remember when it used to be a two-horse race between the Yankees and Red Sox? While the Yankees often beat out the Red Sox in the past decade, the Sox have won more championships than the Yankees. While the Red Sox have taken steps backward, the Blue Jays have vastly improved this offseason, especially because they’ve added half of the Marlins lineup and the N.L. Cy Young winner. Add in the Always competitive Rays and the improved Baltimore Orioles and you have a competitive division from top to bottom. It’s not like it was a few years ago when the Yankees could just beat up on the weaker teams in the division, now they will have to play in arguably the most talented division in baseball. While the Yankees competition has gotten better the Yankees biggest opponent may be father time. Just look at this team. At this rate they’ll get their AARP cards before they win another World Series. Just look at this spring, the injuries to Granderson, and Teixeria have already put more pressure on a thin depth chart. This Yankee roster is littered with players in the twilight of their careers with large contracts that the team cannot move. If this offseason was any indication the team isn’t willing to increases their already absurd payroll due to the salary cap tax the team would face. They are paying these players hundreds of millions of dollars for declining production, trips to the DL, and no championships. Just look at A-Rod. Over the past few seasons his
A-Rod is the poster child for the declining Bombers
production has steadily been declining and he’ll miss most of this season with his hip injury. The answer is to replace him with Kevin Youkilis? Sounds more like waving a white flag then a move to put this team over the top.The problem the Yankees face is can they win a World Series with this group? We know they can make the playoffs but the Yankees are built for championships not playoff appearances. If they get to a point where the front office doesn’t believe this team can Win a World Series then they need to rebuild. Ok I know Yankee fans dread that infamous R word and are probably yelling profanities right now but hear me out. The Red Sox began their rebuilding by shedding their payroll while continuing to develop their farm system. The Yankees have the luxury of having the largest payroll in baseball so once they shed the contracts of A-Rod, Granderson, and Texieria, not to mention when Jeter an Mo come off the books, they can use that money to invest in a younger core. Cano would be a great piece to rebuild around for this new Yankee team. Let me ask Yankee fans this. Would you rather see this team to continue to decline to the point where they can’t even reach the playoffs, or sacrifice a year or two without October baseball in order to win more World Championships in the next decade? What do you think? Take the poll below and don’t forget to subscribe!