Hidy ho there, boys and girls. I hope everybody had an enjoyable holiday week. If you spent any time near a computer, you had some of the best Yankee coverage and analysis in the biz available to you right here again. But since things have been quiet for the past few days (mainly because I couldn't/didn't drag my bloated carcass to my parents' computer), I figured today would be a good day to catch up on what's been going on and prepare for a return to blog business as usual. - The top Yankee-centric story of the past few days was the announcement that Hiroki Kuroda will return to Japan in 2015 to pitch for the Hiroshima Carp. I was a huge proponent of re-signing Kuroda before and after the Capuano and Eovaldi additions and I still think he would have made a lot of sense for the Yanks. With the team never making any proactive moves to engage him, however, it's pretty clear the plan all along was to move on without Kuroda next year. Hopefully he continues his consistently excellent performance back in his home country in 2015 and gets to retire on top of his game, something few players ever get to do.
- The continuation of the new hitting coach search will carry over into 2015, and a new candidate has entered the ring. According to a report by Ken Davidoff and George King on Monday, Jeff Pentland is now being considered for the job. The team has yet to reach out to him, but Cash himself confirmed that Pentland's name was suggested to him. Pentland has a ton of experience and his connection to the Yankees comes via his time with the Cubs from 2000-2002, when he coached with Larry Rothschild and coached Joe Girardi while he was still in his playing days. The new hitting coach hire has gone from top priority in October to the bottom of the team to-do list in 2015. I want to say there's a problem with that, especially when the reported Marcus Thames hiring has been talked down, but I'm going to trust that the shot callers know what they're doing.
- If you missed it earlier, the recently DFA'd Preston Claiborne was claimed off waivers by the Marlins. He was a roster casualty of the Gonzalez Germen trade and could have been a contender for the final bullpen spot before being let go. William had our story on this on Christmas Eve day.
- In Yankee playing surface-related news, Penn St. defeated Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl yesterday. The game actually had a pretty exciting finish, as it went into overtime and was won 31-30 after the BC kicker shanked his extra point attempt in the first OT possession. But the greater concern to me was watching how badly the field got torn up. I know the Yanks have a professional grounds crew and the best facilities in the business, but I can't help but be concerned when I see chunks of turf coming up like that. When there's $250 mil invested in the starting outfield next year, I don't like the idea of their playing surface being chewed up by non-baseball activities.
- Lastly, for regular Yankosphere readers who didn't know, the crew at NoMaas have shut down operations. Sensei John Kreese wrote this goodbye post explaining the decision on Christmas day. It's a huge personal bummer to see NoMaas be no mas. At their peak they were one of the smartest and funniest Yankee blogs out there and one of the blogs that inspired me to get into writing about the Yankees. So thanks to SJK and all the guys there for the years of laughs and outside-the-box thinking and good luck to them in their future endeavors.