Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Everything the Yankees have their prints on comes with a catch.
How much of Elvis Andrus’ money will the Rangers swallow if they are serious about moving the 26-year-old shortstop who begins an eight-year deal worth $118 million in 2015 that houses a $23 million vesting option for 2023?
With the Yankees looking for Derek Jeter’s replacement, they are intrigued about adding a young player with six years of big league experience and a two-time All Star. Yet, several talent evaluators doubt the Yankees have what the Rangers are looking for — starting pitching and/or a corner outfielder — unless the Rangers go into full salary dump mode.
The Rangers also are interested in seeing how much interest there is in 32-year-old outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who has six years and $116 million left on his pact. But the Yankees are set with Brett Gardner in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center and have their fingers firmly crossed that Carlos Beltran will be able to play right field.
There’s been a lot of recent murmuring about the Yankees and Andrus, so there might actually be a fire to go with all of that smoke. If that’s the case, I do appreciate that the narrative is already about the Rangers eating money on the deal.
By the way, yesterday I made a joke about Jon Heyman articles and how they always seem to end up with stuff like “This Scott Boras client is undervalued” or “A mystery team is interested in this Scott Boras client.” Well, shockingly enough, Heyman has a new article out - “Might Yanks revisit their low-key winter plan and shoot for Scherzer?” Here’s a choice quote, “Scherzer looks like such a standout as a free agent—a 30-year-old pitcher with a dynamic fastball, stellar change-up and slider, and an emerging curve—that it’s been shocking to see such abject silence to this point.” Boy, I wonder who Scherzer’s agent is?
Monday, November 17, 2014
It’s a changing game where, as both the Royals and the Giants demonstrated, the bullpen is everything now. As Cashman discovered last year when CC Sabathia went down and was hardly missed, and the subsequent loss of Masahiro Tanaka was likewise barely felt, you don’t need a 250-inning, 20-win horse to compete. It’s nice if you have one (or two, if you’re the Los Angeles Dodgers), but the vast majority of starting pitchers now are out of the games after six innings and/or 100 pitches, and if you don’t have the relievers who can consistently get you those last nine outs, you’re sunk.
This is why re-signing David Robertson is Cashman’s absolute top priority and why, if Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy get above-market, four-year offers elsewhere, the Yankees will simply move on.
With Robertson in tow, and Dellin Betances supported by Wilson and emerging system lefty Jacob Lindgren, plus Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren, the Yankees could have one of the deepest bullpens in the AL.
The Yankees would like to re-sign McCarthy, but as much as they were impressed by how his ability to produce ground balls played to Yankee Stadium, they aren’t allowing themselves to overlook his entire career — which is essentially that of an under-.500 pitcher, with an ERA of over 4.00 and more hits allowed than innings.
Much like Peter Gammons, while I disagree with most of Bill Madden’s positions on baseball-related matters, I do respect him as one of the top baseball insiders out there (and unlike say, Jon Heyman, Madden doesn’t seem to have a particular angle with his insider information. No “Sources say that this Scott Boras client has multiple big offers out there” or “The most undervalued free agent out there right now is this Scott Boras client”). So when Bill Madden says that the Yankees’ top priority is re-signing David Robertson, I tend to believe him. However, that information conflicts with other insiders who say that Headley is the Yankees’ top priority. It will be interesting to see which insider is correct.
By the way, speaking of issues I have with Madden, check out this quote:
Meanwhile, with or without Headley, Cashman knows he’s going to need a backup first baseman but that could be anyone, from free agent Mike Carp to unsung, non-roster system guy Kyle Roller, who hit 26 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this past season. Did somebody say Alex Rodriguez? Only in Fantasyland.
Out of nowhere Alex Rodriguez insults? You know you’re reading the Daily News!
Friday, November 14, 2014
The Yankees have unleashed their July strategy in November.
So often the stalking horse of the offseason, including last year when they spent nearly half-a-billion dollars on four major free agents, the Yanks are deploying a more deliberate strategy this time.
It is the ploy general manager Brian Cashman so often uses during the season in trade discussion: 1) Aggressively make clear what you want. 2) Define a price in dollars or player return that you are willing to pay. 3) Do not budge much, if at all, from that price. 4) Be able to walk away if the price is not acceptable and move on to the next option.
This is essentially high-stakes chicken, seeing who will blink. The Yankees gamble that regardless of what the other side says, they really do not have other good options and eventually will come back to the Yanks. Often it is because teams are looking to move dollars, and the Yankees correctly surmise they are the only ones willing to accept it.
We saw this, for example, play out twice during last season with the Diamondbacks. The Yankees offered Vidal Nuno for Brandon McCarthy and waited more than a month until Arizona eventually accepted that.
Then, in the few weeks before the July 31 trade deadline, the Yankees offered Pete O’Brien for Martin Prado. Arizona was fixated on catcher John Ryan Murphy. The Yanks actually became convinced the D’backs would not blink in that request. Then, with less than an hour to go until the deadline, Arizona called to say it would accept O’Brien.
And we already have seen this strategy shifted to this offseason.
Interesting info from Sherman about the Diamondbacks asking for Murphy. What I also found interesting today was reading somewhere else that Cashman had tried to trade Cervelli for Justin Wilson two years ago. I remember him trying to trade Cervelli for a Pittsburgh reliever, but I didn’t know it was Wilson.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
The Yankees have opened negotiations on a multiyear deal with free-agent closer David Robertson only days after the right-hander turned down a $15.3 million qualifying offer, general manager Brian Cashman said on Wednesday as the annual General Managers Meetings at the Arizona Biltmore went into their second full day.
“I met with Robertson’s guy yesterday,” Cashman said, referring to Robertson’s California-based agent Scott Leventhal, during his media availability. “We had our first post-qualifying offer turndown discussion. There’s really nothing to report, but yeah, we met with him for a while.”
Man, what is up with these Yankees.com headlines? First the Yankees “land” Justin Wilson and now this headline, which sure makes it sound like the Yankees and Robertson are working out a deal while the actual article itself makes it sound like Cashman and Robertson’s agent are only barely touching base with each other and not actually coming together to do a deal as of yet. I don’t think there is anything here to really report about, but since they were so willing to go with this headline I figured I couldn’t pass up posting it here in case they actually are a lot closer to a deal than we think.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
he Yankees have acquired left-hander Justin Wilson from the Pirates in exchange for catcher Francisco Cervelli, both clubs announced on Wednesday evening.
Wilson, 27, was 3-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 70 appearances with Pittsburgh in 2014, and he projects to compete for a bullpen role with the Yankees this coming spring. In three Major League seasons, the lefty is 9-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 136 appearances.
“Thank you Pittsburgh!” Wilson said on his Twitter account. “Will never forget the great time I had with the Pirates. Going to miss the organization and my teammates, but excited to join the Yankees! Tradition and a first class organization. Can’t wait for Yankee baseball. Hope I look good in pinstripes!”
You have to love that headline. “No way, they didn’t land THE Justin Wilson!” How do you title it “Yankees land Wilson”? Wilson is a legitimately talented pitcher and has room to grow and might become a top notch reliever (he’s already a good one) but you don’t “land” guys like him.
Silly rhetorical semantics aside, I don’t like the deal but I don’t hate it either. I’d like to believe that Cervello had more trade value than a decent reliever, but maybe he didn’t. I sort of trust Cashman to know what Cervello’s trade market was. And between Murphy and Romine, the Yankees should have enough at backup catcher, especially considering Cervello’s penchant for getting injured. It’s hilarious that the Pirates will be going with a Cervello/Chris Stewart catching platoon next season. They are apparently following up a repeat of the 2012 Yankee catching platoon (Martin/Stewart) with a repeat of the 2013 Yankee catching platoon (Cervello/Stewart)!
Anyhow, good luck to Cervello. He was a fave of mine, so I hope he does well (but not too well, of course).
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Greg Bird hasn’t made it to the major leagues yet — not even to Triple-A, for that matter — yet the Yankees minor-league first baseman enjoyed a taste of big-league exposure earlier this month.
He trended on Twitter.
“I don’t have Twitter. I don’t do any of that,” Bird said Monday, at Salt River Fields, before his Scottsdale Scorpions played the Salt River Rafters in Arizona Fall League action. “But I heard. Later on, people started texting me and stuff.”
I haven’t been this excited about a Yankee hitting prospect since Jesus Montero!
Bird is interesting, at least.
In other news, the Yankees have signed Jose DePaula. If you’re like me, your first thought was, “Who?”
An executive familiar with De Paula said, “He is a hard-throwing lefty. He can be a starter if he stays healthy. He has been a Four-A guy to this point, but he does have upside.”
Seems like a reasonable type to take a flier on.
New York Yankees free-agent closer David Robertson turned down the chance to have the highest closer salary for one season in baseball history. Now he has his eyes on the largest contract ever given to a reliever.
Robertson is looking for “Papelbon money” in initial talks with teams, a baseball official with knowledge of the discussions told ESPNNewYork.com.
In 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to the richest overall reliever contract, a four-year, $50 million deal. If Papelbon finishes 15 games in 2015, his contract will vest for a fifth year at $13 million more, making it a total of five years and $63 million.
If Robertson and his agent, Scott Leventhal, can persuade one team to offer “Papelbon money,” it is doubtful the Yankees would match. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is not a big believer in paying relievers not named Mariano Rivera such large amounts on a multiyear deal.
I understand seeking Papelbon money is a significant difference from getting Papelbon money, but it sure does look like Robertson’s time as a Yankee is coming to a close. I suppose if they replaced him with, say, Andrew Miller, there would not be much of a drop-off in the bullpen, but man, I continue to think that they handled Robertson’s contract fairly poorly. There is no way in the world that he would not have signed an extension after 2012, and it likely would have been seven figures per year and not eight (probably about $8 million a year). I personally tend to think that it was the fault of their ill-fated plan to get under $189 million in 2014, but it is also possible that it is just another example of them playing the extension market poorly (even after doing a great job with Cano’s extension, which you’d think would make them question their extension philosophy - although you could easily argue that their philosophy did not change, that they continue to only consider extensions for superstar level talents like Cano).
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Betances, whose career record is 5-0, came in third place in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He finished behind Jose Abreu, who was the unanimous choice.
The Angels’ Matt Shoemaker (16-4, 3.04 ERA) was second. Shoemaker had 12 second-place votes to Betances’ seven.
The third-place finish is still a nice exclamation mark on Betances’ incredible run. A year ago, Betances appeared as if he might be a big bust, one who might be stuck in the minors another year. Around this time last year, the Yankees found out that Betances had another minor league option, meaning they could potentially stash him away at Triple-A in 2014.
Instead, from the beginning of spring training until the end of the year, Betances was the Yankees’ best reliever and one of the most dominant in all of baseball. Of his 270 outs, half were from strikeouts. The 135 broke Mariano Rivera’s rookie record.
With David Robertson declining the Yankees’ qualifying offer and free to sign with any team, Betances could enter next spring as the Yankees’ closer.
You wonder how the Yankees will replace Betances when he ascends to closer after their failure to re-sign David Robertson. I’m not sure more Adam Warren in high-leverage situations is a good thing.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Add a couple more names to the list of shortstops who could replace Derek Jeter for the Yankees in 2015.
The Yankees are discussing trades that could net them the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus and the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan.
Rollins, 35, has a full no-trade clause and is due $11 million next year. Andrus, a 26-year-old, has a no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until 2016, but he’s due $120 million over the next eight seasons
I’d be fine with either, although wouldn’t really want to see the Yankees trading any of their better prospects for them. There’s a very good chance that neither Rollins nor Andrus will be provide value commensurate to the amount of money still owed to them over the remainders of their contracts. In the case of Rollins, the risk is minimal, but Andrus has a pretty big commitment remaining and hasn’t shown the type of improvement you’d hope to see in a player who debuted in the majors at the age of 20 (82 OPS+ at 20, career OPS+ of 84 after five full years in MLB).
Still, either will likely be better than Derek Jeter was in 2014. The Yankees still need more than that, but every little bit helps.