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Yankees Q&A with Neil Keefe

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What's plaguing the pinstripes?

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Continuing our early season Q&A series, we turn to the Yankees as the Rays face off against the rival franchise. Today's interview is with Neil Keefe, formerly of WFAN, now writing for his own site Keefe to the City.

Follow the link to his portion of the interview with me titled EVAN LONGORIA IS THE RAYS' DEREK JETER.

Not all is well in the Bronx, the team has opened the year with three consecutive series losses. The blame falls on the team as a whole, but how on earth is Alex Rodriguez leading the Yankees offense? I thought he'd died and gone to heaven!

As of publishing, Rodriguez's batting line: .286/.394/.571 with a .417 wOBA and 167 wRC+

A-Rod is leading the team in batting because he is the best offensive player on the team. It's sad that a soon-to-be 40-year-old player coming off a year-long suspension, who hasn't played baseball in 18 months is the team's best hitter, but that's the reality of the team that Brian Cashman built.

I wrote on Friday how, for $1 million more, the Yankees could have Robinson Cano, David Robertson, Martin Prado, Brandon McCarthy and Shane Greene still on the team and be in a much better play overall, but Cashman has made a lot of bad deals recently and given out a lot of horrible contracts and the Yankees are in trouble.

It's also comical how Cashman spoke so lowly about A-Rod all offseason and right through spring training and now A-Rod is the team's best player and the one guy that has kept this team from a possible winless start to the season.

There were some strong indications Michael Pineda was back to form this season, can you detail what's changed about his game and/or health?

I'm scared about talking about the success and good health of Michael Pineda for fear that it might change. Pineda, along with Masahiro Tanaka, are the keys to this team. If they can't stay healthy all season, the season is over. And it might be over anyway even with the two of them healthy.

For a while, I thought Pineda might never pitch for the Yankees. After missing the first two years with the team, he was dominant last year before the pine tar incident and being placed on the DL following that suspension for most of the season. But Pineda is finally healthy (knock on wood) and his velocity is there and his impressive strikeout numbers are back. He is one of only a few things to be excited about with this team.


Photo credit: LI-Aerial/Getty Images

Is Adam Warren the truth?

Adam Warren is not the truth. Adam Warren is very, very far from being the truth.

He was a starter that couldn't crack a mediocre rotation and then went to the bullpen where he had very little success and was basically guaranteed to allow any inherited runner to score or blow up in a big spot.

I'm not the biggest Warren fan, but he did pitch well against Boston last week and maybe he can be an overachiever for this team and a bright spot on the roster. We could use some of those this season.

Is Masahiro Tanaka's elbow going to explode? How has he changed his approach to cause less stress on his throwing arm? His slow start to the season is not promising.

Every day when I go online, I get scared to see that Masahiro Tanaka is experiencing elbow discomfort and is going to visit Dr. James Andrews. Tanaka's arm could go at any second, but then again, so could any pitcher's. The Yankees tell us he's healthy and the best orthopedic and Tommy John surgeons in the world came to the consensus that he didn't need surgery for his injury last season, so I have to believe them.

His slow start has not been promising and everyone wants to cite it as a health concern, but it could be the league adjusting to him from last season and now he needs to adjust back. Or it could be a slow start. Or it could be all of those things. He just needs to figure it out and quick because if he's healthy, which again he says he is, then he needs to pitch like he did pre-injury last season.

What's the story at second base right now?

The story at second base is that Stephen Drew is one of the worst Yankees in the history of the franchise and shouldn't be on the team.

Jose Pirela could be the starting second baseman, but the Yankees decided to put him in center field in an inning in spring training and he got a concussion. Reggie Jackson called him the best hitter in the organization, so good job by the Yankees to play their best hitting prospect out of position and force him to miss the beginning of the season.

Or Rob Refsnyder could be the starting second baseman. Refsnyder can hit, but is an outfielder trying to learn second. His defense might not be there, but the rest of the team's defense sucks, so why not give him a chance if he an actually hit.

Shane Greene's hot start to the season seems to have many in New York envious. Are there any other depth concerns with this roster? Is age a concern this season?

I don't want to talk about Shane Greene. He should still be a Yankee. Didi Gregorius has been a nightmare. Thanks, Brian Cashman!

This season has been a nightmare. The Yankees are a few more bad games from guaranteeing this a lost season and a miserable summer.

In that case, throw me a bone. Do you secretly hope A-Rod fails?

No way. I'm a big A-Rod fan!

***

Unbearable.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by Neil. I hope your Yankees lose.