Thursday, January 14, 2016
Now that both the Mets and Yankees have graduated some of their top prospects from the minors the last couple of years, which of the two local teams has the better farm system?
MLBpipeline.com, which ranks individual prospects and organizations as well, comes out with rankings for 2016 at the end of this month, and Jim Callis, one of their evaluators, says the Yankees will fare better than the Mets.
“They’re both in pretty good shape, considering some of the guys who have gone to the majors,’’ Callis said on Wednesday. “But I like the Yankees more than the Mets right now. The Yankees should be somewhere in the 6-to-10 range (among all farm systems in baseball), and the Mets will be more in the 11-to-15 range.’‘
Woo! What do they win for that?
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
The Yankees acquired acquired left-hander Tyler Olson and infielder Ronald Torreyes in a Tuesday deal with the Dodgers, sending infielder Rob Segedin to Los Angeles.
The two newcomers filled out the 40-man roster for the Yankees, who still owe a player to be named or cash considerations to the Dodgers to complete the transaction.
Olson, 26, had been designated for assignment last Wednesday by the Dodgers, who had acquired him in mid-December from Seattle, where in 2015 he had made his Major League debut. Olson went 1-1 in 11 relief appearances with the Mariners after posting a 4.47 ERA in 25 games, including six starts, with Triple-A Tacoma.
Torreyes, primarily a middle infielder (511 of 612 Minor League games at shortstop or second base), appeared in eight games in ‘15 with the Dodgers. Otherwise, the 23-year-old Venezuelan was a vagabond last season, moving about the Double-A and Triple-A levels of three different organizations (Blue Jays, Astros, Dodgers).
For years now, Cashman has been a real master with playing with the back end of the 40-man roster, both in timing when to waive guys and keep them (Austin Romine, Slade Heathcott…other people I can’t remember right this second) and also when to pounce on other team’s 40-man issues. Torreynes is a really decent depth piece at the moment, with some real upside. He was only available due to an L.A. roster crunch, and a lot of teams were interested and Cashman got in there and got him for very little in return (unless the player to be named later is someone notable - I sincerely doubt that, though). Segedin is not terrible, but he’s not nearly as good of a prospect as Torreyes.
Olson is more strictly a depth piece.
Still, a fine trade by Cashman. He has a sharp eye.
By one measure, anyway.
Our friends at Fangraphs recently calculated projected win-loss totals for all 30 major league teams in 2016, factoring in runs scored and allowed. Where do the Yankees fall?
Exactly where they did last year: 87 wins, 75 losses.
Does that translate to a playoff berth? According to Fangraphs, yes, that would make them the No. 1 Wild Card team, even though this year’s squad is projected to score fewer runs than in 2015 when they plated the second-most in baseball.
I’m more of a fan of using runs scored and allowed to project a team’s W/L record than an “add the WAR” approach, but that seems a bit high to me. That being said, in eyeballing their projected standings, they pass two important sniff tests. Total wins and losses add up to 2430, and runs scored and allowed are essentially equal aside from rounding.
I would have guessed the Yankees would project to be in the 85 win range, even though they won 87 last year and had a Pythagorean W total of 88 and didn’t really lose anyone important and traded for a couple of upgrades. So it’s not like they’re hugely over-projected or anything.
For whatever it’s worth, at around this time last year Fangraphs had the Yankees projected at 82-80.
The fact is the bulk of the Yankees’ starting lineup is moving further away from the typical peak of a baseball player and their offense isn’t likely to be as good. Can Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius make up for declining bats everywhere else? It’s not particularly realistic which these projections seem to agree with.
But the pitching could be better. You could make a case that any one of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, or Luis Severino could pitch like one of the top 15 starters in the AL. Hell, if they all did, the Yankees could win 100 games. But they could also all get hurt or be less effective.
I agree with the basic premise behind the statistics here though , which is that the Yankees should be good enough to contend for a wild card, and the division is in play because I don’t think Boston or Toronto are markedly better than them, and I’m pretty sure Baltimore and the Rays are worse.
Friday, January 8, 2016
The Yankees just announced that they have acquired right-handed pitcher Kirby Yates from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for cash considerations.
Yates, 28, has appeared in 58 big league games, all with the Rays in the past two years. The Indians acquired him this offseason and ultimately designated him for assignment after they signed Mike Napoli. He’s always posted high strikeout totals with a fastball that averages roughly 93 mph and jumps up to 95. A slider is his primary offspeed pitch.
The Yankees’ 40-man roster now stands at 38.
This move reminds me of the Yankees in past offseasons when they’ve had some 40-man wiggle room and have regularly made small trades and waiver claims to add depth and options heading into spring training.
Yates has options left, so the Yankees can stash him in the minors. He’s also obviously pretty fungible if they ever need room on the 40-man. They definitely like pitchers who misses bats, so he fits in in that regard.
All in all, clearly not a big move, but hey, at least it’s something!
With his Hall of Fame jersey snug around his chest, and after he briefly switched his baseball cap backwards to the delight of the media audience assembled at the New York Athletic Club Thursday afternoon, Ken Griffey Jr. was asked to delve back into his baseball past.
The time he and his father, Ken Sr., hit back-to-back home runs as Mariners teammates in 1990; the time when Junior robbed Jesse Barfield of a home run at Yankee Stadium, a highlight Griffey Jr. ranked “in the top 10” of his career; and, to the dismay of Yankee fans still, the time Junior scored from first base at the Kingdome in the series-clinching Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS, which sent the Yankees home.
Yeah, I remember that too, but not fondly. That 1995 ALDS was one hell of a series though.
Congratulations to both Griffey and Piazza.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
The one that will sign for league minimum?
The month of January typically marks a time when MLB’s free agency period starts winding down, as the marquee names put the finishing touches on their lucrative new contracts.
This year, the market has played itself out more gradually, and several All-Star talents and young impact players remain unsigned with just over a month and a half left until spring training returns.
The Yankees have mostly stayed out of the negotiations between available free agents still out there today, electing instead to craft creative and sensible trades to help improve the roster piece by piece.
But what if Yankees GM Brian Cashman had a sudden change of heart and decided to sign a new player to the club?
After the Yankees traded a quartet of prospects for closer Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds, the Yankees’ roster fell below the 40-man mark, and stands at 37 players at the moment of publication. The door is open for at least one signing, but who would be the best fit to join the Yankees clubhouse?
The two biggest areas of need are most notably for a left-handed starting pitcher, and a right-handed bat with some power. CC Sabathia is the lone lefty starter currently slated for a spot in the 2016 rotation, and excluding Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees utilized a lineup last year with five lefty batters.
I could see the Yankees going after a starter, especially if they end up trading Ivan Nova, but the remaining starters are fairly unimpressive.
*Rejected qualifying offer and would cost the Yankees their first round pick
Yeah, I’d likely pass on that group. Maybe kick the tires on Buehrle if he’d sign a deal centered around incentives given the chance he won’t be healthy. I’d also call Cliff Lee just to tell him that he’s too old and broken down.
Monday, January 4, 2016
The Marlins have shown interest in Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova, according to a report from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
The report didn’t say what the Marlins might be willing to surrender for Nova.
The 28-year-old right-hander is also drawing interest from other clubs as a back-end starter, the report said, and the team could move him within the next month.
Yankees pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 18.
Nova has spent his entire major league career with the Yankees, who have so many rotation options that he could be expendable for the right return.
I don’t know that the Yankees have the depth in starting pitchers in the organization to trade Nova, who doesn’t project to pitch all that well but is probably better than the people they’d be replacing him with. Particularly since the return for Nova would likely not be much more than salary relief and a lottery ticket. I mean, how much is a back-end starter who is under team control for one year coming off a ligament replacement surgery sandwiched by ERAs of 8.27 and 5.07 in limited time really worth?
And Happy New Year! I resolve to complain more!
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
The depth of the Yankees’ bullpen remains questionable, particularly after the trades of right-handed swingman Adam Warren (for Castro) and left-hander Justin Wilson (for minor leaguers). But the back end, my goodness. Chapman, Miller and Betances last season ranked 1-2-3 among relievers in strikeout rate, minimum 150 batters faced.
Think about manager Joe Girardi’s options now. He can go with a traditional, push-button bullpen—Betances in the seventh, Miller in the eighth, Chapman in the ninth. Or, he can employ less predictable, more flexible thinking, playing matchups—Betances is the only right-hander in the trio—and/or using one or more of his late-inning weapons for more than three outs. Why not, when at least one figures to be in reserve for the next game?
Cashman, in manipulating his roster, also can go in any number of directions—again, depending upon the nature of Chapman’s discipline. The GM can trade Chapman or Miller if the Yankees’ rotation crumbles and the team falls out of contention by the deadline. He can trade one of them next offseason if Chapman fails to qualify for free agency due to the length of his suspension—or make Chapman a qualifying offer to ensure draft-pick compensation if he indeed becomes eligible to depart.
The Yankees figure to pay Chapman about $13 million in arbitration this season. They owe Castro a minimum of $38 million over the next four seasons. Bargain contracts, by today’s standards. Bargain trades, considering what the Yankees gave up.
This isn’t necessarily a playoff team, but the Yankees’ 2016 season is partly about buying time until the contracts of first baseman Mark Teixieira and outfielder Carlos Beltran expire, just as the 2017 season will be partly about buying time while left-hander CC Sabathia and third baseman Alex Rodriguez play out their deals.
In the meantime, Cashman is threading the needle—protecting his assets, getting younger and steering clear of new long-term obligations, in accordance with an ownership mandate.
It’s a neat trick he’s pulling off. And he might not be done yet.
I’m trying to get some kind of team projection done shortly, but I do not think this is a playoff team right now unless a lot of stuff ends up going right.