AL East Notes: Yanks, Greene, Lackey, Lester, Uehara

The changing rules and increasing number of extensions in the game are serving as a detriment to the Yankees, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Tighter rules regarding performance enhancing drugs are preventing players from performing well into their 30s, and many would-be free agents are locked up through their decline years and therefore unavailable to the Yanks in free agency. MacPherson looks at New York's misses in the draft over the years, pointing out that they'll need to turn that trend around if they're to improve a "crumbling foundation … that can't be rebuilt the way it once was." Amazingly, he highlights that among Yankees position players with at least 20 plate appearances, only Yangervis Solarte is under 30 years of age.

Here's more out of the AL East…

  • Scout.com's Kiley McDaniel looks at the story of how Yankees right-hander Shane Greene went from an unknown junior college arm to a big league pitcher. Yankees Florida area scout Jeff Deardorff had known Greene's family since Greene was nine years old, having lived down the street from them. Greene underwent Tommy John surgery his freshman year of JuCo, and afterward began asking Deardorff to watch him throw. Deardorff eventually conceded and was shocked to see his arm speed and velocity. He called scouting director Damon Oppenheimer to add Greene to the team's pre-draft workout, and the Yankees selected Greene in the 15th round having seen him throw just twice. McDaniel does an excellent job of telling Greene's story, and I would recommend taking the time to read the entire article.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington appeared on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show, and WEEI's Meredith Perri has some highlights. Cherington discussed John Lackey, his outfield and Jon Lester's extension process. Cherington said Lackey is understanding of the clause in his contract that will cause him to earn the Major League minimum next season after a serious arm injury and is one of the most accountable players in the game. Cherington expects Lackey to pitch beyond the 2015 season.
  • The GM also said that recent salary hike for free agent pitchers has made the Lester negotiations more difficult, but there's always a chance for a deal to get worked out when both sides have interest — which they do. Cherington does not, however, make it sound like a slam dunk: "…[W]e want Jon Lester to be here. We will work as hard as we can to try to make that work, but there’s things that other teams might do that we just won’t do."
  • WEEI's Rob Bradford looks at Koji Uehara's incredible run as the Red Sox' closer, noting that statistically speaking, his time in the ninth inning stacks up with the best runs of the great Mariano Rivera's career. Bradford spoke with Rangers GM Jon Daniels about Uehara, with Daniels saying that Texas made a very similar offer to Boston's following the 2012 season, but Uehara elected for a fresh start in Boston. Daniels, unsurprisingly, calls Uehara a "tremendous bargain" for Boston.


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48 Comments on "AL East Notes: Yanks, Greene, Lackey, Lester, Uehara"


connfyoozed .
1 year 4 months ago

I am not a Sox fan, but I know a good story when I see one. Uehara might be the most under appreciated closer, if not player, in the game right now. Sick numbers in Boston

1 year 4 months ago

He’s quite appreciated.

connfyoozed .
1 year 4 months ago

I don’t read or hear about him as much as a lot of closers whose numbers aren’t as good. Maybe I just don’t get out enough…

1 year 4 months ago

I’m not sure where you’re getting that idea from. He’s beloved in Boston and had a pretty elite year that ended with a championship.

connfyoozed .
1 year 4 months ago

I don’t know where I got it either. I already implied I could be and might be wrong, and I will gladly state it if you like. Thank you for repeatedly pointing out that you think I am incorrect. I was only trying to say something nice about the guy, but perhaps used the wrong words. Let’s move on, shall we?

1 year 4 months ago

Very indecisive comment you’ve got there.

Victoria Roberts
1 year 4 months ago

I think he gets props in Boston, but he’s not as well known outside of Boston, even though numberswise he’s probably one of the top three relievers in baseball. Last year was his first as a closer, and closers seem to get the most notice. As a fan I can say it typically takes a player at least into a second season of dominance before he becomes known on the national level. Koji flies under the radar a lot, because his stuff isn’t fast, but at the same time it is overpowering and nearly impossible to put a good swing on. You can bet as time goes on, he’ll get mentioned more and more in the dominant closer conversation.

johnsilver
1 year 4 months ago

I am more interested in hearing about him getting a 2 year extension, even though he is already 39YO than constantly reading stories about Lester.

Uehara may have had injury issues, but I would love to see Boston just offer him 2/20m. Even if he does get injured? It’s the best gamble the team could ever make on right now, one of the most lock down closers in the game who loves where he is playing.

1 year 4 months ago

I’d rather wait until the season is over though personally I’m reluctant on reliever deals in general. Uehara appears to really like how Boston has embraced him and I think they will be able to reach a deal after the season.

johnsilver
1 year 4 months ago

I understand what you mean about giving out any money to relievers. Uehara loves the town, probably would not even leave for 15-20m and is top 2-3 in the game right now is my thoughts, injury risk and all for a team that isn’t even close to the luxury tax limit. I’d trust him more than Mujica.

Offering Koji That really miniscule amount of money (in baseball terms) for such a key position would seemingly lock down a key position and they still will have Taz and Mujica for another year to set him up and Taz beyond that. Even better if they retain Miller on a 2y 4-7m deal after the year.

1 year 4 months ago

10 million is probably his ceiling unless he has another historic season and probably that anyway if its for a 2 year deal.

Closers break. There’s no locking down the closer position. While the Red Sox have flexibility, that’s going to start evaporating pretty soon given the need to replace the guys coming off the books. Pierzynkski will likely be replaced by a rookie but its unlikely that all 3 of JBJ, Boegarts, and WMB will pan out for next year.

johnsilver
1 year 4 months ago

WMB is a goner, hopefully this season by the AS break they figure out he is a hacker of the 100th degree.

Cecchini just needs to continue his path of getting on base as consistently as he can IMO. I don’t buy it that his defense could be the issue. Anyone who watched ST games, even tonight probably noticed that both Holt and Herrera do not look very good at 3b and even with Cecchini having less than half a season at AA, he still probably has the better bat.

I think what Boston has right now in the minor leagues is reminiscent to what was coming up in the early 70’s.. when they had a flood of kids all at once.. Lynn, Rice, Juan Beniquez, Roger Moret, Dwight Evans, Fisk.. All start showing up 2-3 at a time for several years in a row.

Boston FO needs to think internally in this regard with people that they have.

MB923
1 year 4 months ago

I don’t know where you think he’s under appreciated. Everyone knows how great he was last year for the Sox. Also the ALCS MVP

dc21892
1 year 4 months ago

Not under appreciated in Boston. I was at the Sox home opener, Koji seemed to get the 2nd largest ovation. First was Papi. Even if he tails off a bit, he’s still going to be a favorite of mine.

MB923
1 year 4 months ago

Speaking of Yankees/Red Sox, they are playing know and there is speculation Pineda used pine tar. Surprised the Red Sox haven’t said anything (who knows, maybe Clay had some too on hehe)

connfyoozed .
1 year 4 months ago

Speculation by who?

MB923
1 year 4 months ago

By everyone who is watching the game? No one knows if it’s pine tar or not, it very well might be. The league should say something and find out what it is.

1 year 4 months ago

I’m watching the Yankee feed because I live outside NYC and they haven’t mentioned it, but there’s plenty of photos on the internet which suggest he was.

MB923
1 year 4 months ago

They mentioned it last inning and yes I’ve seen plenty of photos already too.

1 year 4 months ago

Buchholz did have a pretty wild pitch a few innings back, but I’d chalk that up to shaky control.

Jeff Hill
1 year 4 months ago

Or the “suntan lotion”. I think that is what the Jays said he used last season. But I have read online that both are most likely doctoring the ball. With Pineda and his hand and Buchholz with the stuff in his hair.

1 year 4 months ago

I don’t think there’s reason to believe Buchholz was messing with the ball tonight.

Jeff Hill
1 year 4 months ago

I didn’t watch the game it was just an idea from a red sox fan but was there any reason for him to do it against Toronto last year, I mean it was toronto.

MB923
1 year 4 months ago

I also just read Astros reliever Josh Zeid applied a substance to his forearm before entering the game.

rct
1 year 4 months ago

Google’s auto-complete for ‘Michael Pineda’ already has ‘pine tar’ as one of its top choices.

MB923
1 year 4 months ago

That escalated quickly then

connfyoozed .
1 year 4 months ago

OK thanks. I am not watching the game, just curious. I was wondering if the announcers were talking about it, or the Red Sox had complained, or what.

MB923
1 year 4 months ago

No complaints from the Red Sox team. Red Sox announcers from what I heard pointed it out in the 3rd or 4th inning. Yankees announcers mentioned it in the 7th inning.

NY Media is nuts. I can bet you that’s the first thing they’ll ask Girardi after the game.

johnsilver
1 year 4 months ago

It’s nonsense. Jack Morris pulled the same stunt last year with Bucholz after he shut out Toronto. Next game? Bucholz made a point of putting a dark spot of stick-em on his arm and grabbing it before holding the ball and putting it into his glove. Umpires didn’t do a thing.

Announcers, and guys like Morris are just way out there. Dennis Echersley really called out Jack Morris on that nonsense with Bucholz and would love to here what (if anything) Eck has to say regarding Pineda.

Douglas Rau
1 year 4 months ago

The anti-Yankee bias in that article is ridiculous. The author says this could be the first season since ’92 that the Yankees finish below .500. Now I’ll be the first to admit that there’s are serious concerns throughout the organization but this team is still infinitely one than the one that was trotted out there last season and they still managed to win 85 games. Last year’s clean-up hitter for much of the year was Lyle Overbay. The middle of the order comprised of Cano (admittedly, a huge loss), Overbay, Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner (for the handful of weeks that he was healthy) or Ben Francisco. Jayson Nix hit second. There’s no way a team that features a middle of the order that is Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano is worse than that. Add in Tanaka and this team should at least finish above .500.

Bob Bunker
1 year 4 months ago

They won 85 games but they had a lot of luck ( I think third order wins had them at 72) and lost their best hitter and some quality pitching pieces and didn’t fix the pen or infield injury concerns. I doubt that they finish below 500 but I don’t think it is ridiculous to think they could. Personally I see them with 87 wins.

MadmanTX
1 year 4 months ago

Uehara was a bad acquisition for Texas as an 8th inning setup type pitcher. Maybe he didn’t like the heat?

Tko11
Tko11
1 year 4 months ago

??? 1.75 era in 36 innings 43/ 3 strikeout to walk ratio. Nothing wrong with those numbers.

Mike1L
1 year 4 months ago

With all due respect to Mr. MacPherson, where would his beloved model franchise Red Sox have been without the Dodgers bailing them out? We appreciate his concern for our moribund franchise, but he has all the smug virtue of the adulterer who suddenly finds redemption in faith. FYI, he loved the signing of Carl Crawford…..

Tko11
Tko11
1 year 4 months ago

I love Koji. Great pitcher and seems like the nicest guy ever. I wish he was 10 years younger but his age makes what hes doing so much more remarkable and Rivera like.

UltimateYankeeFan
1 year 4 months ago

“Amazingly, he highlights that among Yankees position players with at least 20 plate appearances, only Yangervis Solarte is under 30 years of age.”

Last time I checked the Red Sox only had 2 position players under 30 with at least 20 AB’s this year Bogaerts and Bradley playing tonight. And Bradley just makes it with 22 AB’s prior to tonight’s game.
I was always under the impression that the object was to have the best players you could have on the roster not necessarily the youngest.

Tko11
Tko11
1 year 4 months ago

The Red Sox are also coming off a World Series win…The Yankees have more bad contracts and a middle of the road farm system which hasn’t really developed anything good in the past few years.

morgannyy
1 year 4 months ago

Also lost their starting catcher, CFer, and shortstop.

morgannyy
1 year 4 months ago

Also lost their starting catcher, CFer, and shortstop.

Tko11
Tko11
1 year 4 months ago

None of those guys were worth the money since the Sox have viable replacements for CF and SS.

morgannyy
1 year 4 months ago

Time will tell; Catcher? Lavarnway hasnt panned out

East Coast Bias
1 year 4 months ago

Hey we can point fingers at the Red Sox, but that truth does hurt. Only one position player under 30 as a regular does not bode long term confidence.

PS: You think the author was waiting until Gardner turned 30 to write this? haha

feztonio
1 year 4 months ago

That’s all Brian cashmans fault. As a GM his lone ability where he excels is throwing giant piles of cash and long term years at free agents. The game however has changed to valuing prospects with an emphasis on scouting drafting and developing. These are all skills cashman lacks or is terrible at. It doesn’t seem like this is likely to change on either front. The Yankees would be best served with a change at GM. They should be attempting to throw giant piles of money at one of the brain trust in Tampa bay to bring them to NY or the GM of the cardinals, pirates or heck see if they can make a run at billy beane and lure him out of Oakland. Times have changed in baseball and the Yankees need a GM who is skilled in this new method of building a roster

morgannyy
1 year 4 months ago

Don’t know if that is all Cashman’s fault: He’s been vocally against some deals that he was overridden on. No where did I see that if the Yankees had stood pat, they had no outfielders on their roster for next year (Ichiro final year, Soriano final year, Gardner free agent) With the look of the farm system, they HAD to sign at least 2 outfielders. Now they have Beltran, Ellsbury, and Gardner for the next 3 years. I like that better than the alternative.

chicothekid
1 year 4 months ago

Personally, I’ve got a lot more respect for Lackey now than I did a few years ago. He’s handled himself extraordinarily well throughout all of this. There was a time when a lot of people thought his career might be over, but he kept on battling through it and has come through all of that. I LOVE that clause in his contract and wish there were more of them in baseball. It would make it easier to give out a 7 year deal to a pitcher at big money if you knew that you’d get a free year at the end if they had to take a year off. I think every pitcher’s contract should have one of those if it goes over 4 years.

BYOP
1 year 4 months ago

Does Lackey love that clause in his contract though?

Roger Arnott
1 year 4 months ago

Why call it AL East notes when Bandwagon Updates seems so much more appropriate.

SandyMc
1 year 4 months ago

I wish that the Rangers could have kept Koji, but it wasn’t about the money. Koji apparently wanted to play for an East Coast team, and when a player’s choice is about location, there’s nothing the Rangers could have done about it. I have read that Koji has kept his home in Baltimore, and you can’t blame a guy for wanting to be closer to his family. When I saw his little son after the ALCS, so excited for his dad, I fully understood why family is so important to him.