No podcast today; just a regular rumors and gossip roundup!
- Where has Stephen Drew been for the past week? He hasn't started a game since September 15, and though he's made a spotty appearance or two in the meantime, it may just have been his ghost in those cameos as he hasn't had a hit since September 12. Rumor has it not many people noticed he was gone, but in reality Drew has suffered a head cold which has reportedly given him a sort of chronic dizziness. Girardi wasn't especially forthcoming when asked about Drew's playing time going forward—a pertinent question given the postseason is just around the corner—offering to media yesterday, "It’s hard to say [how Drew will be used] because we haven’t seen him play for the last ten days." Dustin Ackley, Rob Refsnyder, and Brendan Ryan have received time at second base, and the presence of Ackley and Refsnyder naturally complicate things for Girardi; both of them have been competent, more so Ackley. Much more so, in fact; Ackley is basically a lock to take over from Drew. The former Mariner certainly deserves it—he's clobbered the ball with a .333 OBP and a .944 OPS (before yesterday’s game) in his time with the Yankees.
- The Yankees are now warning Masahiro Tanaka may not be ready to take the ball in the Wild Card game. When asked if he expected to start the knockout game, Tanaka said, "I'm not ready to talk anything about that yet." Earlier he'd said he had "no problem throwing the ball." Of course, throwing is not all a pitcher does. Tanaka will have to be comfortable landing after he throws a pitch and he'll have to be comfortable fielding his position. If they can't start Tanaka before the Wild Card game, Girardi said he'll look to give Tanaka a few middle relief innings in the remaining regular season games to stretch him out. And if he doesn't make the Wild Card game? Look for Michael Pineda to be the Yankees' option. With Nathan Eovaldi unavailable, Pineda is the team's logical choice.
- While the general feeling is Carlos Beltran has carried the team this month, it's worth keeping in mind he's had a fairly average September. He's managed a .289 OBP this month, with five home runs, and a .711 OPS. Compare that to Greg Bird's September: a .318 OBP with eight home runs, and a .936 OPS. Alex Rodriguez has been better than Beltran too, despite the narrative being Rodriguez is out of gas. He's had twelve fewer plate appearances than Beltran this month, but he's galloped along with a .306 OBP, six home runs, and an .813 OPS. For reference, Didi Gregorius has achieved a .702 OPS; Brian McCann a .680 OPS. Beltran was playing out of his mind in August, but his bat has certainly cooled now.
- In absolutely mandatory Alex Rodriguez news, the legendary hero has bought a penthouse suite in a very expensive looking building in Miami. Word is it cost slightly over $4 million, but even that's but a scratch for Rodriguez—he made $21 million this year, and his career earnings total over $375 million (not counting endorsements and the like), which is, I hear, a lot. He can expect to move in once the building's completed in three years, and judging by the mockups, life there will be pretty alright.
- Australian cricketer Shane Warne wants to play cricket in Yankee Stadium later this year. Warne, who is known for his Wayne Rooney-esque regrowth of head hair and his extramarital affairs (as well as for being one of the best bowlers in the game), is pitching the International Cricket Council on a three-game Twenty20 series, with the games being played in Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Dodger Stadium. Twenty20 is the shortest form of the game, is hugely bombastic (i.e. it involves a lot of big hits), and is more or less as close as cricket comes to mimicking baseball for pace, action, and atmosphere. Per the Sydney Morning Herald, the tournament is set to feature many of the game's legends (now retired), including Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Jacques Kallis, and potentially Sachin Tendulkar.