Since we’ll soon be swimming in season previews that have the Yankees winning 100 games, the division, the league and probably the World Series, let’s have some fun and see what would happen if absolutely everything went wrong in the Bronx. To that end, here’s Part 1 of NYaT’s “The Yankees Worst Case Scenario.” It’s a lot of this sort of thing:
Brett Gardner – What it would look like: Tony Womack II.
In 2005, the Yankees decided it would be a good idea to give an
everyday spot to a guy who was fast but couldn’t get on base to exploit
that speed. That’s the biggest fear with Gardner. The guy is never
going to hit for power but if he can get on base at a decent clip, he
can be dangerous for the Yankees. Also, if his defense isn’t as good as
the small sample size suggests, that really decreases the value of
Gardner. If he can’t play, the fans will get on him and he’ll face
“Johnny Damon” chants when he bats. That’s nothing good.
There’s one for every position player. Unlike Gardner’s, however, most of the entries involve a good player suddenly reverting to his worst season or partial season, such as Jeter returning to 2008 form and Mark Teixeira putting up a whole season in to match the beginning of 2009. This is highly unlikely to happen, of course, but it is instructive to remember that stars don’t always shine forever and, yes, one or two of these guys aren’t going to be as good in 2010 as they were in 2009.
I presume Part II will be the pitchers. Bookmark it, Orioles and Jays fans! It may be the best you feel all year!
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.