Thursday, January 1, 2015
The New York Yankees have reportedly started off the New Year with a trade involving one of their long-time top prospects.
On Thursday afternoon, YES Network’s Jack Curry tweeted that the Yankees have traded LHP Manny Banuelos to the Atlanta Braves for a pair of bullpen arms, RHP David Carpenter and LHP Chasen Shreve.
Other sources later confirmed the deal on Twitter, and the team made it official Thursday night.
Banuelos, 24, has long been considered one of the organization’s brightest prospects, from his signing as an international free agent in 2008 through his Tommy John surgery in 2012 and subsequent 2014 return. He split last season, his first action since the surgery, between three levels, going 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 76 2/3 innings spanning 26 appearances (25 starts).
Carpenter, 29, was a key piece of the Braves’ bullpen the last two seasons, going 10-5 with a 3.62 ERA and three saves in 121 appearances and striking out 141 in 126 1/3 innings. He will likely slide into the relief role that was vacated when Shawn Kelley was traded to San Diego earlier in the week, and as a first-year arbitration eligible player, Carpenter will be under team control through 2017.
Shreve, 24, made his major-league debut last season, posting a 0.73 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. An 11th-round pick of the Braves in 2010, the lefty had a career 3.22 ERA in the minors (including a 2.67 mark between Double-A and Triple-A last year) and will join a now-loaded group of southpaw relievers in the upper levels of the Yankees system.
While certainly not an awful trade, it sure as heck didn’t make a whole lot of sense, either. The Yankees just dumped Shawn Kelley in part because he didn’t have a role on the 2015 team and they then went out and traded for basically Shawn Kelley (to be fair, Carpenter is under team control through 2017 while Kelley was only under control through this season).
Shreve, though, is at least an intriguing prospect. He pitched really well in the Majors last season.
It’s a fair deal for both teams, so I’m fine with it, but the player with the most upside in the deal is clearly Banuelos, so it seemed odd for the Yankees to deal him to bolster an area that really didn’t need much help bolstering. Unless, of course, they just have lost faith in Banuelos completely, which very well might be the case.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
In another transaction that adds youth to the team and saves a few dollars, the Yankees traded the veteran right-handed relief pitcher Shawn Kelley to the San Diego Padres for a 22-year-old minor league right-hander, Johnny Barbato, a promising pitcher who missed much of last year with an elbow injury.
Barbato had a 2.87 earned run average and 33 strikeouts in 311/3 relief innings for Class AA San Antonio in 2014, but the Padres shut him down because of a sore elbow, and he may eventually require surgery. The Yankees were aware of the extent of the injury before making the trade.
Barbato could be an interesting prospect if he wasn’t damaged goods. But he is damaged goods.
Kelley was inconsistent last year, but his peripherals and 2013 performance point to that being a fluke rather than his newly established level. I guess in the big picture the Yankees got two mostly useful seasons out of Kelley at a minimal cost then flipped him for a potential asset down the road, which should be applauded.
That being said, this move makes the 2015 Yankees worse but I don’t think it’s a big deal. And Hal gets to save a few more bucks, which is always good to see.
Monday, December 29, 2014
CAIRO 2015 Extremely Early and Completely Useless 2015 Projected MLB Standings
Around this time every year I take a run at some projected standings for the upcoming season. As the title says, this is extremely early and completely useless so think of it more as a goof than anything too serious. So using the latest version of CAIRO which I’ll probably update this week and the depth charts from MLB Depth Charts and Rotochamp as a rough gauge of playing time, here’s how the 2014 MLB season looks as of November 20.
Fair warning, despite Hal Steinbrenner’s horseshit claims the Yankees are probably not “championship caliber.”
W: Projected final 2015 wins
L: Projected final 2015 losses
RS: Projected final 2015 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2015 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation
I guess I’m a bit surprised to see the Rays ahead of the Yankees but nothing else in the East stands out. Then again, it’s not like one game is that meaningful given the margin of error inherent in an exercise like this.
Just eyeballing the rest of the majors, nothing really stands out although I’m guessing the Dodgers and Nationals projections are too high and I need to look at why that is.
Anyway, the Yankees aren’t going to project as much better than .500, even if they add Max Scherzer. But their division isn’t great so they should have chance at the postseason, I guess.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Hiroki Kuroda is returning to Japan to pitch for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, an official with knowledge of the move told ESPNNewYork.com, confirming Japanese media reports.
The 39-year-old right-hander went 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts last season, his third with the New York Yankees.
Kuroda signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 2008 season after an 11-year career in Japan.
The Yankees believe they are set to begin the 2015 season with Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano in the rotation, a source told ESPNNewYork.com. Plus, they have Ivan Nova due to return from Tommy John surgery in late May.
It was very much an expected move, so I’m not, like, devastated or anything like that. But boy, Cashman really needs to pick up another starter. “The Yankees believe they are set” sounds like “Bubba Crosby will be our starting center fielder.”
Thanks for three great seasons, Kuroda!
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Phelps, 28, credited A-Rod with helping him make the transition to the big leagues back in 2012, going so far as to say, “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He’s an incredible teammate who went out of his way early in my career to help me out. My first couple outings, I’d be in the dugout or in the clubhouse and he would come over and pick my brain; things like, ‘Why did you throw this pitch in this situation?’ ” Phelps said.
“Even when we were rehabbing in Trenton a couple years ago, he pulled me over and we talked about the business side of the game, protecting players’ rights, that kind of stuff. He’s incredibly intelligent on the field and with the business side of baseball. He has a lot to offer younger players.”
But, but teh STERIODS???!
Anyway, happy holidays or at least happy day off to all.
Monday, December 22, 2014
The Yankees are prepared to open the 2015 season with a 24-year-old shortstop and a 23-year-old second baseman. Three of their projected five starting pitchers could be 26 or younger. Out in the bullpen, Shawn Kelley might be the only reliever who has celebrated a 30th birthday.
Yes, friends, the Yankees are getting younger. Never saw that coming, did you? This shift toward more youth is one of the interesting storylines of general manager Brian Cashman’s offseason.
He remains focused on keeping the Yankees competitive. At the same time, he has started something of a transition at a time when his farm system appears to be stronger than it has been in years.
The Yankees still won’t qualify as a young team. They’ll still be counting on some older players, but not nearly as many as in recent years when Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte were part of the core.
I applaud the Yankees trying to get younger, but I am just not that comfortable that the young players they’ve brought in are particularly good. But if they were definitely good, they wouldn’t have come at the price they did.
It kind of happened suddenly, which is why my initial reaction to the Yankees trading Martin Prado and David Phelps for Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones was negative. Upon a bit more thought, if the Yankees do actually now have a plan that doesn’t involve signing a bunch of washed up players while hoping for a dead-cat bounce, I embrace it.
It means they will probably not be very good this year, but they haven’t been very good for the last two seasons either. But they should at least be a bit more interesting to watch than they have been over the last two seasons.
Friday, December 19, 2014
The Yankees are close to bolstering their biggest question mark.
The team is finalizing a deal with the Marlins on a deal that would send Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Marlins for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and first baseman Garrett Jones plus power pitching prospect Domingo German, The Post’s Joel Sherman confirms.
Eovaldi, who turns 25 in February, went 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA last season for the Marlins. He gives the Yankees a proven arm in a rotation filled with unknowns.
This was a real gut punch, as watching a healthy Prado hit was one of the few things I was looking forward to with the 2015 Yankees on the offensive side of things, so it seemed quite curious to trade away one of the few strong parts of their biggest weakness. However, all said and done the trade is a pretty equal value deal, with the Yankees picking up a young pitcher who should at the very least eat up some innings. He’s likely a better bet to be a #4 starter than Phelps was. And Garrett Jones IS useful insurance for the inevitable Teix/A-Rod/Beltran injuries. And the Yankees might really be high on Rob Refsnyder, who could make up a lot of the value Prado was going to give just by himself, not even counting Eovaldi.
So while I don’t like the move, I understand it. Cashman is a smart GM when it comes to trades, so I really should just trust him. Plus this frees up about $6 million that could be put towards their budget for a starting pitcher, in which case this could be a really significant move if it helps them to land Scherzer.
EDITED TO ADD: Apparently the Yankes are paying $3 million of Prado’s salary this season and $3 million of his salary next season as part of the deal. I definitely don’t like that part. So this just frees up $3 million this season.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Yankees president Randy Levine confirmed Thursday that the team is highly unlikely to bid on right-hander Max Scherzer, the top starting pitcher in this offseason’s free-agent crop.
“The chances of us bringing in a guy for six [years] and $25 million or over in my opinion is virtually none,’’ Levine told reporters at a midtown news conference to announce a broadcast deal between the YES Network and the New York Football Club. “At the end of the day you have to be realistic in any organization.’‘
Max Scherzer, 30, is believed to be seeking a deal in line with the six-year, $155 million contract Jon Lester recently signed with the Cubs.
Levine did not mention Scherzer by name, but his words echoed those of two sources who spoke to ESPNNewYork.com Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
“He’s a great pitcher,” the source said of Scherzer, “but not even the Yankees can have three $25 [million] to $30 million pitchers on the payroll. You just can’t.
Honestly, I still wouldn’t count them out on Scherzer, as that sure sounds like it might be a case of them trying to drive his price down.