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Sunshine, Palm Trees and Baseball

What is more glorious this time of year than the thought of baseball being played every weekend through November? Spring Training games began earlier this week with the New York Yankees opening up their Grapefruit League slate against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The future of the Yankees was on display Tuesday as the Phillies and Bombers tied in the opener.

The series shifted to Tampa for Wednesday’s action. Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi looked sharp in his Yankees’ debut. The Yankees lost to the Phillies 3-1. Alex Rodriguez singled in his first at-bat since returning from a 17-month layoff. The slugger finished the afternoon 1-for-2.

RailRiders co-managing owner David Abrams was a guest during the seventh inning of YES Network’s telecast Wednesday afternoon. You can view the interview here.

The front office staff were all glued to their monitors!

Abrams has spent the week down in Tampa alongside other members of the ownership group.. Here they are with Mr. October Reggie Jackson!

From L to R: Bob Mills, Grant Cagle, Reggie Jackson and Abrams.

Meanwhile, back on Montage Mountain…

The RailRiders announced the return of Pinstripes in Pink!

And it’s on with this week’s news and notes!

Donnie Collins continues his season preview as he projects the RailRiders roster. Here is Donnie’s in-depth look at potential starting pitchersrelief pitchers and infielders.

Former RailRider Jim Miller signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Another RailRiders alumnus, Pat Venditte is off to a strong start in his quest to make the Oakland A’s roster.

Before the Yankees opened Grapefruit League play, the team went up against The Machine. We wonder how John Connor would’ve fared?

Bobby Wilson, a catcher for SWB in 2013, is in contention for a job with his hometown team.

Here’s an update on the Yankees potentially using a six-man rotation.

Aside from our continued updates on the RailRiders and Yankees, we always like to offer thoughtful or interesting reads. Like this one about a future National Bobblehead Hall of Fame. Baseball players took to Twitter to debate the dress controversy among other things in this week’s Minoring in Twitter. And have you seen this pitcher’s leg kick?? It reminds us at PIP of a famous cartoon rabbit…

As always, remember to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! Do us a favor and spread the word of PIP across the globe! Here’s your song of the week! We hear there’s a some baseball on TV….

 

 

 

 

 

Changing of the Guards

We open this week ‘s edition of PIP with our “Song of the Week.” We suspect David Bowie had the International League in mind when he released this song…

Or maybe not.

Anyway, as the RailRiders continue to settle in under new ownership, more changes are afoot around the IL. The Pawtucket Red Sox made headlines across the baseball world earlier this week when it was announced the club was sold to the Boston Red Sox and a group of New England business leaders.

The new owners also dropped a bombshell by announcing intentions to relocate the team to Providence, R.I. The move won’t occur before 2017, but it’s still tough to see baseball lose another historic franchise. All this talk of relocation got Donnie Collins wondering about the longest-tenured teams in MiLB.

You can read more reaction to the sale, courtesy the New York Times, by CLICKING HERE. You can also read the Boston Globe’s story HERE.

Staying with the theme of this week, the Louisville Bats also announced an ownership change.

At least one person has voiced their displeasure of all the teams changing hands:

You can read up on the RailRiders’ local ownership RIGHT HERE.

With Spring Training underway, it’s on with this week’s news and notes!

The RailRiders held their annual job fair last Saturday and WNEP had coverage of the event. You can also find more on the story by CLICKING HERE. The RailRiders are still accepting job applications. Information can be found by visiting the RailRiders website.  The club also announced the return of the Community Organization of the Game program earlier this week.

If you’re curious like we are about the potential makeup of the roster, Donnie Collins has started his yearly prognostications. Here are his thoughts on potential outfielders and catchers.

A “no fun diet” was at the heart of Mark Teixeira’s off-season strength program. The slugger is hoping to return to form in 2015.

Masahiro Tanaka has thrown three bullpen sessions and continues progressing in his comeback from injury.

Despite a substantial offer from the Yankees, the bidding war for Yoan Moncada’s services went to the Boston Red Sox.

Bryan Mitchell told reporters he would be disappointed if left off the team.

One former Yankee was given a second chance by the Pirates and could win a starting job.

Rob Refsnyder made some changes to his swing during the off-season. We respect Refsnyder’s attempts to improve his game, but that swing looked pretty good for the RailRiders last year.

Remember to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! Do your friends a favor and spread the word of PIP across the globe! That David Bowie song got us thinking about another great hit from the year 1971…

 

 

Tex(t) Message Delivered

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders  announced their new local ownership group on Thursday night as they entertained season ticket holders, sponsors and other special guests. WNEP was all over the local ownership announcement. New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was on hand to greet the fans and sign autographs as part of a fun, successful evening at PNC Field.

Teixeira met around 1,000 RailRiders and Yankees fans during the five-hour event. Everyone from children to the media clamored for just a moment of Mark’s time and the slugger was very gracious and patient throughout the evening.

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While meeting with the media, Teixeira was asked about his health heading into the 2015 season. The former MVP said he is good to go. Donnie Collins provided more coverage of the event in the Scranton Times-Tribune and the Citizens’ Voice. On his blog, he expanded upon the announced “Legends Day” and the pace-of-play changes coming to baseball.

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RailRiders manager Dave Miley was on hand as well. He spoke with Jim Coles of WNEP TV.

Teixeira also took a moment to speak with Jim.

Here’s a link to Eric Deabill and WBRE’s coverage of the entire event, including the announcement of the local ownership group.

The Times Leader’s Paul Sokoloski gave his take on the Teixeira appearance and the ownership reveal.

Pinstriped Prospects gave its take on the ownership reveal and Teixeira’s appearance.

Thanks, again, to all of our great season ticket holders and fans who braved the cold on Thursday night to come to PNC Field! We look forward to hosting more great events in the future!

Have a safe weekend!

Happy Returns!

Welcome back fellow PIP’ers! Mother Nature did her best this week to bring us down with arctic temps and more snowfall, but we won’t have any of it. Pitchers and catchers report in less than 24 hours! Let the celebration commence!

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Now that we have that out of our system…the RailRiders are busy this week in preparation of Mark Teixeira’s appearance at PNC Field. The Yankees slugger will be among several special guests – including the new ownership group – on hand to meet season ticket holders Thursday afternoon/evening. By the way, did you know Tex starred in his own show?

Here’s this weeks news and notes…

Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told reporters that the Yankees may use a six-man rotation this year due to the club playing 30 games in 31 days.

The club signed RHP Jared Burton to a minor league contract. Burton is the 28th invitee, including Kyle Davies who was signed last week, to big league camp.

Bronx Baseball Daily examines the backup catcher situation for the Yankees.

Derek Jeter is interested in becoming an owner, though possibly outside of baseball. Something tells PIP that he’ll make a better owner than Rachel Phelps.

Although pitchers and catchers don’t have to officially report to Tampa until Friday, February 20, for the Yankees, several clubs began preseason workouts earlier this week. The renewed activity has caused several players to come out of their off-season social media hibernation. This includes the Yankees’ Gosuke Katoh.

Speaking of social media, The Omaha Storm Chasers and Albuquerque Isotopes got into a Twitter spat earlier this week over AMC’s new series Better Call Saul. This reminds us of another great Twitter spat by the Fresno Grizzlies and Sacramento RiverCats.

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Everyone continues to follow the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes. According to the New York Post and Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, the Yankees continue to be a favorite to land the Cuban infielder’s services.

Finally, we at PIP and the entire SWB RailRiders organization would like to send our condolences to the family of local radio legend Mike Remish, who passed away earlier this week. Mike was a terrific broadcaster, announcing games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons in the 1990s and later University of Scranton men’s basketball. He was a passionate fan of RailRiders baseball and his presence at PNC Field will certainly be missed.

Remember to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! Continue to spread the word of PIP across the globe! And, with that, we leave you with the Song of the Week!

Baseball State of Mind

Greetings from the base of Montage Mountain! Baseball fever continues to take hold around PNC Field as pitchers and catchers report to the New York Yankees’ spring training facility in Tampa, Fla., next week. In preparation for the upcoming season, the RailRiders have announced their Job Fair will be held Saturday, February 21. For details CLICK HERE.

The team held national anthem tryouts last weekend and received a nice turnout of hopefuls for the O Say Can You Sing event.

Don’t forget Mark Teixeira will visit PNC Field next Thursday, February 19, to greet season ticket holders; one of the many perks to being a season ticket holder. By the way, season tickets are still available.

And it’s on to the latest news and notes from the Yankees…

Probably the biggest story line from the past week involved the embattled Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod met with Yankees brass to discuss his return to the club in 2015. It sounds like both parties are ready to leave the past behind and focus on baseball. Bryan Hoch as the story HERE.

The Yankees added pitcher Kyle Davies to the fold this week. The right-hander spent 2014 pitching for the Cleveland Indians’ Double-A and Triple-A clubs. Michael Axisa speculates that Davies is a name RailRiders fans should follow throughout Spring Training.

The 2014 season saw Luis Severino explode onto the season as the top prospect in the Yankees’ farm system.The soon-to-be-21-year-old jumped from Single-A Charleston to Double-A Trenton last year. While it’s possible RailRiders fans will see Severino at PNC Field this summer, Michael Cambria wonders if the right-hander will figure into the Yankees’ plans sooner than later.

Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News weighs in on Rob Refsnyder and the possibility of him seeing time at second base with the Yankees in 2015. Speaking of Rob, don’t forget the RailRiders will be giving away a Refsnyder bobblehead on Saturday, June 27. For the full promotional schedule, CLICK HERE.

Axisa also offers some injury updates and Yankees’ pitching coach Larry Rothschild offered another update on Masahiro Tanaka. After missing most of last season, C.C. Sabathia hopes to make 30 starts in 2015.

Here at PIP, we are always up for a good off-field story and Bryan Hoch provides us with one this week. RailRiders fan-favorite Chase Whitley dazzles on the mound during the summer and spends his off-season mentoring/instructing young athletes in Oxford, Ala. CLICK HERE for the full story.

Here’s a nice piece on SWB alumnus Brett Gardner. Another feature on the Yankees’ outfielder can be found HERE.

Before we wrap up, we here at the RailRiders and PIP would like to step out of the world of baseball for a moment and send our condolences to the families, friends and schools on the passings of two iconic coaches in Dean Smith and Jerry Tarkanian. This past week’s news was a tough blow for any fan of college basketball. They were transcendent figures of the sport. They were innovators on and off the field. Here are a couple of tributes to these great coaches…

ESPN Tribute to Jerry Tarkanian

Thanks for checking in this week. As always, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and spread the word about PIP around the globe!

And with that, it’s back to an Empire State of Mind for us. Take us home, Jay-Z!

The Anticipation Builds

With the Super Bowl in the books, a snow-covered sports world now turns their focus longingly towards the spring. In two short months, the gloves will pop, the bats will crack and the smell of hot dogs will once again permeate the air.

Spring Training cranks up with pitchers and catchers reporting for the New York Yankees on February 20. For a complete Spring Training schedule, CLICK HERE.

With the retirement of Derek Jeter, the Yankees are left with a hole to fill on the left side of the infield. Who will be the Bronx Bombers’ new shortstop? Bryan Hoch of MLB.com WEIGHS IN.

Chad Jennings spotlights RailRiders alumnus John Ryan Murphy and discusses his potential candidacy as the Yankees’ back-up catcher. He also offers speculation on where Bryan Mitchell and Ramon Flores wind up on Opening Day. A busy man, Jennings also breaks down some possible role players for the Yankees in 2015.

Other news and notes concerning the Yankees:

Dellin Betances is excited for A-Rod’s return to the Yankees.

– Yankees shoot down talks of joining the James Shields sweepstakes.

Ivan Nova continues on the comeback trail from an elbow injury last April.

If you have some time today, read this incredible story about Chris Martin‘s journey from pushing refrigerators on dollies to pitching for the Yankees. Never give up on your dreams!

Meanwhile, back at Montage Mountain…big news this week as last week brought the announcement of legendary Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Marc Bombard‘s 2015 induction into the International League Hall of Fame! Congrats Bombie! Dave Rosengrant has more on Bombard’s induction.

And if you hadn’t heard, Mark Teixeira will visit PNC Field on February 19 to help the RailRiders kick off a new era.

Have you ever wondered what a RailRiders’ bobblehead of Derek Jeter would look like? Need to add some t-shirts to the wardrobe? Or maybe your curious about what life would be like if CHAMP turned to the dark side? Well, the RailRiders hope to solve all of those quandaries this summer with our 2015 PROMO SCHEDULE!

Here is the story on our franchise-record 29 giveaways.

That’s all for now. As always, give us a follow on Twitter, like us on Facebook and spread the word about PNP!

Before we go, let’s join the rest of baseball in wishing a happy 81st birthday to Hammerin’ Hank Aaron!

We hope you stay warm!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The most wonderful time of the year is here. Yes, the holidays equal family time and higher meanings beyond, but this is also when the biggest blockbuster moves get made in the sporting world’s greatest off-season – baseball’s hot stove.

General managers that get it right might feel a bit like Clark once his lights finally kick in with the whole Griswold clan watching.

Arguably the biggest and certainly (as of this blog entry’s creation) the latest huge move had Wil Myers moving again, this time from Tampa Bay to San Diego as part of a three-team, 11-player deal. Myers, you may recall, endured a difficult first season in the IL in 2013 before he straight crushed the RailRiders over two series from May 24-26 and May 31-June 3. He hit .438/.441/.906/1.347 with three homers and 12 RBIs in seven games against SWB to ignite his rise. As of June 18, he was in the bigs to stay the rest of the way and became the AL Rookie of the Year.

The third team in this trade was Washington and 2014 IL MVP Steven Souza, who led the IL in batting average (.350), OBP (.432) and SLG (.590), is now property of the Rays. Souza, for what it’s worth, did not play well against the RailRiders (.200/.333/.440/.773).

The RailRiders have added another utility man who recently played for Tampa’s team in the IL. Cole Figueroa spent the last three seasons in the Bull City of Durham and got big league time last season. SWB beat man Donnie Collins gave his reaction to the move and highlighted some of the others that may affect NEPA’s team including the re-signing of pitcher Jose Campos, the arrival of free agent catcher Juan Graterol and the earlier additions of the versatile Nick Noonan and Jonathan Galvez. Collins’ predecessor, now on the Yankees beat in the bigs Chad Jennings, gave his views while River Ave Blues examined Noonan’s numbers and threw out the possibility of a Yangervis Solarte comparison.

The Rule 5 draft came and went with zero impact on the Yankees. Nobody added, nobody lost.

MiLB.com released its list of Yankees minor leaguers who had the best 2014 seasons by position and five of the 12 honorees saw extended time with SWB including first baseman Kyle Roller:

In terms of pinstriped moves, the Yankees biggest recent splash had them inking Chase Headley to a four-year, $52-million contract. What does that mean for the young guys like 2014 RailRiders Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela? Joel Sherman gave his take in the NY Post while River Ave Blues calls it a positive for the up-and-coming prospects.

Per Yankees GM Brian Cashman, there’s no concern about a position battle at third base. A-Rod is now a full-time DH.

Cashman offered some other insights recently like: the Yankees don’t believe Didi Gregorius is a finished product and stated, “I don’t think Yankees fans will be looking at Max Scherzer”. Cashman also demonstrated complete confidence in first baseman Mark Teixeira.

One of the game’s great guys, SWB alumnus Dellin Betances, keeps on giving back to the community and spoke about the possibility of closing games for the Yankees.

The Yanks added some starting depth by signing Chris Capuano to a one-year deal.

What do these moves mean? Jennings gave his best guess with this organizational depth chart.

YESNetwork.com’s Lou DiPietro tossed out his ideas on possible trade chips that rest on the farm.

LINE OF THE WEEK: Braves GM John Hart has riled up some fans of his club by breaking them down to build them back up. His reaction to the criticism was blunt:

- “Let’s be honest: This team finished 29th in offense,” Hart said. “It’s not like I’m breaking up the ’27 Yankees.”

Read more care of Mark Townsend and Yahoo!’s Big League Stew blog.

Considered by some the greatest team in the history of the franchise, “Murderers’ Row” inspired a funny tale by one of the game’s true legends in Tommy Lasorda:

Best of luck to a name that still resonates in NEPA, Jimmy Rollins. The Phils traded him to Lasorda’s longtime club, the Dodgers.

As far as some other moves involving SWB alums: Scott Sizemore has signed with the Marlins while Antoan Richardson has joined the Texas Rangers.

Another excellent Breakfast with Santa took place at PNC Field last weekend. Several hundred folks made their way to the Mohegan Sun Club for food and pictures with Jolly Old St. Nick himself. Check out the pictures on our Facebook page.

Please follow us on Twitter and spread the word of PIP far and wide. Have a safe, happy, healthy holiday season and we will talk to you again in 2015.

Piping Hot Stove Report

The stove, the stove…the stove is on fire. With baseball’s winter meetings taking place this week in perhaps PIP’s favorite American city, San Diego, the comfortable confines of Ron Burgundy’s homeland have aided a number of moves.

Let’s start with one of the bigger changes for the Bombers. Shane Greene getting dealt in a three-way trade that yielded a former top prospect that some believe might be the heir to the shortstop role. SWB beat man Donnie Collins gave his thoughts on the deal. Did you know? Didi Gregorious’ first major league home run came in Yankee Stadium in his first at-bat as a Diamondback in 2013. It came against SWB alumnus Phil Hughes. Don’t look for Gregorious to assume everyday shortstop duties right away. He very well might platoon at the position per GM Brian Cashman. No matter what, you know he respects his predecessor and this hand-drawn homage tells the tale.

In a few years, there’s another rising young shortstop who has been tearing up Venezuelan winter ball that might play into the Yanks’ plans.

Down a starter in the young and talented Greene, how does that affect the pinstriped rotation? Manager Joe Girardi said there are some “question marks” with who gets the ball at the start of games in 2015.

One of the greatest joys of the Hot Stove season – the questions marks for the next season.

What were some of the biggest questions facing the Yankees when they entered the winter meetings? The Daily News’ Anthony McCarron gave his view including the then-interrogative involving David Robertson. Collins tossed out his summary of what had happened so far and what was possibly still to come, including some highlight names that could be taken in tomorrow’s Rule 5 draft.

The Yankees will also have a new closer since David Robertson signed with the White Sox. Apparently the Yankees never made an offer to Robertson beyond their one-year qualifying offer. They seem content with southpaw Andrew Miller and in-house talent/SWB alumnus Dellin Betances. Miller is just fine with not closing for the Yankees though he is confident he can handle closing if need be. Both Cashman and Girardi have confidence in the Bombers’ bullpen as it stands.

There are conflicting reports, but at least some have cited that Marcus Thames will be named the Yankees’ assistant hitting coach. There was some speculation that Thames could have been promoted to Butch Wynegar’s former role with SWB.

Congrats to SWB alumnus Kevin Cash. The man who once played for Dave Miley in 2009 has joined him on the short list of six Tampa natives to ever serve as a big league manager. Cash takes over for NEPA’s own Joe Maddon with the Tampa Bay Rays.

With Chase Headley out, who takes over at the hot corner for the Yanks? The Post has some ideas. But ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews cited a source that pointed the finger at 2014 RailRider Rob Refsnyder as a possibility.

IMDB, or the Internet movie database, names names for just about everything that’s been produced on the big screen and small. How detailed is it? RailRiders manager Dave Miley and pitching coach Scott Aldred each have entries for their screen time on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball back in the day.

A name that might be a 2015 RailRider? Infielder Jonathan Galvez. Read more about Galvez and the new homes for a number of SWB alums in Chad Jennings’ blog entry or in Donnie Collins’ piece.

Could the RailRiders play 2015 with a “pitch clock”? Indeed. Read on my friends.

In case you missed it, a number of minor leaguers reacted to the Ferguson dynamic on Twitter, including quite a few IL veterans.

Who has the best dog in the minors? Puppy love and more in this look at the latest in social media musings of MiLB players.

This year’s Pinstripe Bowl should be a fun one for us in NEPA with Penn State facing Boston College.

The RailRiders’ Fit Track program is back in 2015 and looking for area schools to round out its remaining open slots.

The team’s front office has grown with a number of additions and an in-house promotion.

Know someone who gives to the NEPA community in a significant way? Nominate him or her for the team’s Banners of Honor program.

Don’t forget, the big man himself, Santa Claus, is coming back to PNC Field this weekend.

Until next time true believers…

A Legg Up On The Competition

Hey RailRiders fans! Welcome back to the latest and greatest in all things SWB, NEPA, Yankees – and more (perhaps a fantastic recipe for brownies for your holiday parties). Can you believe a week from today will be Thanksgiving? When we think of what we’re thankful for one of the first people that springs into our heads – SWB legend Greg Legg.

The Greg Legg bobblehead doll box cover from the 2013 season.

He still calls the Phillies his employers. Although in 2015, he’ll have a new home. Oddly enough, he’s going back to where it all started. Legg first coached with Clearwater in 1994 and returned to do so again in 1995, but was later activated as a player and finished the year…in SWB. Read more in the Threshers’ official release.

There’s new life for another SWB alum. Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte has signed with the Oakland Athletics and the deal includes an invite to Major League spring training. Demonstrating that he is in fact kind of a big deal, Sports Illustrated picked up the story. (No word on if he has many leather-bound books or if his apartment smells of rich mahogany).

Are the Yankees copying the Kansas City Royals? Bill Madden of the NY Daily News thinks so.

From the mouth of the man himself, hear what Yankees GM Brian Cashman has to say about the 2014 season and his efforts for the 2015 squad in this sit-down chat with Jack Curry of the YES Network. (For the record, PIP loves Cashman’s off-season facial hair). SPOILER – he sees big things ahead for the farm system.

When SWB alumnus Francisco Cervelli was traded to the Pirates last week, Mark Feinsand speculated that the move made 2013-14 RailRider John Ryan Murphy the new back-up backstop for the Bombers. But a few days ago, RiverAveBlues’ Michael Axisa pulled a Lee Corso on that thought process.

What will be the impact of the Cervelli for Wilson deal? Check out the breakdown care of the YES Network’s Yankees Hot Stove or Brendan Kuty’s thoughts on NJ.com

It is the off-season, but still games go on. Recently, an on-field collision injured prospect outfielder Tyler Austin. Read about that and huge news with MVP status for Greg Bird in the AFL from Chad Jennings’ lohud blog. The piece includes the final numbers for all of the Yankees entrants in the AFL this year. MLB.com columnist Jonathan Mayo offered his thoughts on how Bird’s efforts in the desert have raised his prospect profile all the more. Bird led the way in Sam Dykstra’s blog recap of the AFL’s “good” this year. Pinstriped players went out with a bang in the AFL’s final game of the year.

Do you have trouble keeping up with all of the free agent moves? Check out this handy, dandy minor league free agent tracker from our friends at MiLB.com.

How have moves already altered the Yankees roster? Here’s Jennings’ take on it from last week. Kuty reported that recent acquisition Jose De Paula could be a starter. The “Cal Ripken of Japan” is coming to America. But don’t expect the Yankees to have interest according to Joel Sherman. However, it sounds like both New York teams have interest in Stephen Drew. CBS’ Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees called the Angels to ask about Howie Kendrick.

Today’s the day. Who will the Yankees protect from the Rule 5 draft? Take a look at Jennings’ breakdown of some possible names including a few with SWB time.

What do members of the SWB coaching staff do in the off-season? It appears that pitching coach Scott Aldred grooms Division I baseball players.

Breakfast? Awesome. Santa? Super cool. Combine the two? Oh my. Be sure to block time on Saturday, Dec. 13 for the annual Breakfast with Santa at PNC Field.

It’s a must-click each time out – the latest Minoring in Twitter post from Danny Wild including a poll for which minor league has the best Twitter account in all the land.

Many of the game’s best prospects, broken down by organization, have been announced by MLB.com. The Yankees’ names hit the interwebs on Dec. 17.

Former SWB shortstop Doug Bernier has re-signed with the Twins.

We leave you the same way Yankee Stadium does…

Free Fallin’

While our autumn days fade away, free agency has hit and it has come some SWB casualties along with related heartbreak as some clubhouse favorites depart:

Zoilo Almonte now calls the Atlanta Braves his employer, as does former Yankee/RailRider Chien-Ming Wang. NEPA’s own Russ Canzler? He’s back with the Phillies. He spoke very highly of his employers and the loyalty he felt he owed them. Dean Anna has signed with the Cardinals who placed him on their 40-man roster. Want to see who else declared for free agency? Check out this composite list thanks to the folks at Baseball America. It appears that Andrew Bailey has already re-signed with the Yankees and there are some other names not on the Baseball America’s list due to timing, but they do appear in this Chad Jennings piece on the lohud blog.

What will happen with Hiroki Kuroda? Apparently he is mulling three options.

Not all former RailRiders have new teams though. Yoshinori Tateyama has retired from baseball. He announced it via his own Twitter account:

The Yankees might not blow everyone away at quite the same rate as they did a decade ago for MLB talent, but they still annihilate the competition in pursuit of pieces that bolster the Triple-A roster. Check out this insightful piece from Kiley McDaniel of fangraphs and this look from Jennings with some direct SWB flavor from his days on the NEPA beat.

There’s a new name to learn for the 2015 campaign – Jose De Paula has signed with the Yankees.

A number of former and some possible future RailRiders are mentioned in his Jennings look at winter ball exploits highlighted by the stellar efforts of Ramon Flores.

Take a look back at a number of RailRiders relievers (highlighted by Chase Whitley) and their impact on the big club’s bullpen thanks to Michael Axisa of RiverAveBlues.

The legend of Greg Bird grows.

Who will replace Derek Jeter as the Yankees’ shortstop? Elvis may enter the building. It’s something that drew speculation from the Texas media during Jeter’s farewell tour during the season. It could also be Alexei Ramirez.

The Bombers may also look to Cuba to help their infield.

Could Raul Ibanez become the Yankees next hitting coach? If they want him, they may have competition.

Until next time RailRiders fans…

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