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New York Yankees pick Ian Clarkin before MLB draft: ‘I cannot stand the Yankees’

Ian-Clarkin-YankeesNew York Yankees first-round draft pick Ian Clarkin grew up idolizing former Arizona Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez. As you may know, Gonzalez was the guy who came up with that huge RBI single in Game 7 that helped Arizona defeat New York in the 2001 World Series. Clarkin loved every second of it.

Before the MLB Draft on Thursday, the left-handed pitcher talked about what his reaction was when Gonzalez had that huge bloop single.

“I cannot stand the Yankees, so I was actually in tears because I was so happy,” Clarkin said during a pre-draft feature.

Talk about irony. Clarkin, who handled himself well and by all indications seemed to be a good kid, looked legitimately frightened when he was reminded that he made that comment publicly.

“Ohhh my gosh,” he said, looking wide-eyed.

This is not uncommon. Most professional baseball players grow up as regular kids who have favorite players and teams, just like the rest of us. It’s not hard to instantly love a team that you used to hate when they take you with the 33rd pick in the draft and provide you with a jumping off point to fulfill your dreams.

“Now I do love them, and my dad’s going to have to learn to love them, too,” Clarkin later told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “They’re the most historic organization, and I am looking forward to it. There’s proof in the pudding, and I’m excited for it.”

David Price made a similar comment about the Yankees earlier this year when talking about his impending free agency, and he’s already an MLB pitcher. Clarkin will quickly be forgiven, if he hasn’t been already.

Fist pound to Big League Stew

Joe Girardi rips MLB scheduling after second-straight rainout

Joe-Girardi-YankeesThe New York Yankees have not played a game since Tuesday, as their last two games against the Cleveland Indians have been rained out. Playing baseball in April can be challenging, with unpredictable weather lingering throughout many northern states. Joe Girardi thinks the MLB needs to start accounting for that.

After the Yankees’ second-straight rainout in Cleveland on Thursday, Girardi ripped the league for sending teams to places like Cleveland and Minnesota in April when you are only visiting them once.

“I don’t think you can go to cold-weather cities if you only go there one time,” Girardi told reporters, via the NY Daily News. “I think you have to stay within your division the first month. Or, I know teams want night games, but if we would have had a day game today, it gives you a longer window to play the game.

“I mean, it’s snowing in Minnesota and the Mets are there. I don’t know who can make the best snowman.”

Girardi’s argument is that it is much less of a hassle to make up games when you are going to visit a team at least one more time during the remainder of the season. Now, the Yankees and Indians will likely have to play a doubleheader in Cleveland on a mutual off-day. You can see why that would be annoying, but the problem is impossible to avoid around this time of year. The league wants teams to have division games late in the season to create playoff drama. In order to achieve that goal, they’re willing to risk having to put up with some nasty weather.

Judges rule Yankees are the ‘Evil Empire’

Darth-Vader-first-pitchThe name “Evil Empire” may have started as a derogatory term for the New York Yankees, but it is now apparently one that they take pride in and enjoy profiting from. Legally speaking, the Yankees are now officially known as the Evil Empire.

According to the NY Daily News, trademark judges blocked an entrepreneur from registering the phrase “Baseballs Evil Empire” earlier this month. That name, they say, belongs to the Yankees.

“The record shows that there is only one EVIL EMPIRE in baseball and it is the New York Yankees,” the judges wrote in their decision.

The company that was seeking to trademark the phrase is known as Evil Enterprises Inc. The goal was to earn the exclusive rights to print the phrase “Baseballs Evil Empire” on shirts, hats and other merchandise. Major League Baseball objected to the trademark on behalf of the Yankees, using hundreds of news stories that used the phrase “Evil Empire” to describe the Yankees in support of their claim.

Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino coined the phrase in 2002, saying that the “Evil Empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America” when the Yankees swooped in and signed Jose Contreras, who the Red Sox were targeting. The name stuck and is frequently used as a reference to the Yankees’ deep pockets and ability to seemingly acquire any player they seek.

The Evil Empire wins the exclusive rights to call itself the Evil Empire? How fitting.

David Price backs off facial hair comments: Yankees are best organization in sports

Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price is going to command the type of salary that very few teams can afford if he hits the free agent market in a few years. Naturally, one of those teams are the New York Yankees.

However, Price recently said that he would never sign a long-term contract with the Yankees because their organization has rules that are too old school — like its facial hair policy.

“I wouldn’t stay there very long then,” he told John Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. “I wouldn’t sign a long-term deal there. Those rules, that’s old-school baseball. I was born in ’85. That’s not for me. That’s not something I want to be a part of.”

Since it’s extremely rare to hear a player say he would never play for a franchise like the Yankees, Price’s comments created a ton of buzz throughout the sports world. On Thursday, the left-hander softened his stance a bit.

“It probably wasn’t the best thing to say, but I didn’t mean anything by it,” Price told reporters, via CBS New York. “I wasn’t looking to offend the Yankees. It’s probably the best organization in all of sports. Not just baseball, but all of sports. I didn’t mean anything (against) the New York Yankees. I’ve had friends on that team for multiple years.”

Price isn’t set to become a free agent until 2016, but don’t think for a second his agent Bo McKinnis didn’t give him a lecture about how dumb it is to eliminate the team with the deepest pockets in the league as a potential suitor.

“I can’t rule out anybody because, obviously, what they do for the game of baseball is just tremendous,” Price continued. “I was talking about Joe (Maddon). I was talking about the way we do everything over here, how he lets us be comfortable in our own skin. And that’s what I was referring to.”

In the event that Price does hit free agency rather than signing an extension with the Rays or any other team he might be traded to, the Yankees would be a valuable commodity. Even if he was telling the truth and would never consider playing in New York, you never want to discourage potential bidders.

H/T Hardball Talk

Yankees reportedly scrapping cost-cutting plan, will go back to spending big

Hal-Steinbrenner-YankeesThe New York Yankees have an incredibly important situation to address at some point over the next eight months with Robinson Cano set to become a free agent after this season. Cano is the best second baseman in baseball and arguably the best all-around player in the game today. He could sign a record-setting contract next fall or sooner.

Until recently, it would have been silly to think any team in Major League Baseball had a shot at prying Cano away from New York. The Yankees have the deepest pockets in the league, but last year Hal Steinbrenner expressed a serious desire to get the team’s payroll below the luxury tax threshold of $189 million.

“It was an absolute mandate,” a source reportedly told ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews.

Yankees fans will be relieved to hear that it sounds like Hal’s frugal phase is behind him. Citing sources with intimate knowledge of the team, Matthews said the $189 million plan is a thing of the past. According to one source, Steinbrenner was “freaked out” by the realization that the public was beginning to feel that the Yankees were trending toward “cheapness.” The belief is that someone within the organization made The Boss Jr. realize that cutting expenses now would lead to millions less in revenue over time.

In other words: if the Yankees don’t build an annual contender and maintain their status as the most dominant team in MLB history, luxury taxes will matter very little.

Of course, saying it and doing it are two entirely different things. The new Yankee Stadium has gained a reputation for being a rather easy place to play, and a lot of that could have to do with high-priced tickets and a decrease in ticket sales. If Steinbrenner truly is committed to reestablishing the reputation that his father created by sparing no expense, the way he handles Cano will be a great starting point for proving it.

David Price would never sign long-term with Yankees because of facial hair policy

The Tampa Bay Rays have David Price under team control for a few more seasons, but history would tell you they are not opposed to trading him before their time with him is up. Price is 27 years old and one of the best left-handed starters in the game. If he continues to pitch the way he has over the past few seasons, he could be destined to become the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history.

If the Rays are unable to afford signing Price to a long-term extension, they could look to trade him while he still holds a ton of value. As John Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reminded us, they traded James Shields to the Kansas City Royals when he was still two years from free agency.

Price understands that his time in Tampa may be limited, but he doesn’t sound like a guy who is simply going to sign with the highest bidder in three years. For example, he has a very specific reason why he doesn’t envision himself pitching for the New York Yankees.

[Read more...]

Yankees reportedly trying to protect Alex Rodriguez from paparazzi

alex rodriguezAlex Rodriguez appears to be hiding. Between rehabbing an injury that could sideline him for much of the 2013 season and facing accusations surrounding performance-enhancing drug use, A-Rod is likely not anxious to speak to the media any time soon. That is why the New York Yankees are doing their best to protect him.

“I’m not going to say to try and keep away the extra, whatever you want to call it, paparazzi, whatever it is, the stakeout, wherever he is working out,” general manager Brian Cashman said Monday night at a team fundraiser, via the New York Post. “That’s the only reason I’m not going to say where he is going to be on a given day.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he has seen A-Rod working out at Yankee Stadium since undergoing hip surgery on Jan. 16, but that he has only spoken to him about his health — not the latest steroid controversy.

“I think our club is used to handling distractions,” Girardi said. “The city we play in, there’s a lot of news always surrounding our club. A lot of times, it’s a lot of good news. Our club will handle it. A club like ours is going to go through adversity all the time. Going through a season is never easy. Why would this year be any different?”

It’s interesting to hear the Yankees’ brass come out and publicly state that they are protecting A-Rod, especially on the heels of this report that claims Rodriguez is wondering if the MLB and the Yankees have something to do with trying to smear his name. Since A-Rod has a history of lying about steroid use, he is not going to receive the benefit of the doubt. I understand wanting to hide from the paparazzi and tabloids, but at some point Rodriguez needs to tell his side of the story. The longer he waits, the more people will assume he is guilty.