Friday, January 16, 2015
NEW YORK—In the post-Jeter era, the Yankees are in a yet-to-be defined transition stage in their history. Are they retooling? Rebuilding? Or just plain regressing?
They haven’t made the playoffs in two years and, if they are going to return to the postseason, it very well could be on the backs of newcomers like Andrew Miller, Nathan Eovaldi and Sir Didi Gregorius.
No one knows what will happen in 2015, with 13 new faces and Alex Rodriguez showing up in Tampa next month, but we asked scouts and executives to give us their take on the Yankees’ offseason so far.
For the most part, they like what they’ve seen.
“I think this is a step in the right direction,” one scout said. “Are they at the top of the perch? No, but they are going in the right direction.”
I think the Yankees are about as ‘good’ as they’ve been the last two seasons, as in they are probably a team that will likely be outscored and will be lucky to finish at .500. But I do think I’m fine with the offseason they’ve had. There was nothing that could have realistically been done to turn this into a good team. I guess they could have traded Melky + IPK + ??? for something awesome, but aside from that… Instead, they’ve brought in some younger players with some potential and have kept their farm intact while maintaining a puncher’s chance at the postseason if a lot of things happen to break just right.
I’m not sold on Didi Gregorius being an average SS or Nathan Eovaldi being anything more than a back-of-the-rotation starter, but they at least might be better than that. So that’s something. And while the likelihood of Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda pitching 200 innings this season are slim, it’d be a pretty awesome young front of the rotation if they can do something close to that.
I miss the days of a just about sure-fire 95 win team, but this is where we are now.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz.—Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner said on Wednesday that he’s happy with the progress his club has made trying to improve so far this offseason, and he wouldn’t dismiss making more significant roster additions before Spring Training opens in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 20.
“It’s not over until it’s over. We still have a full month before Spring Training,” Steinbrenner told a group of reporters as the first day of this week’s quarterly Owners Meetings got underway. “We’re always going to continue to improve. I’m not putting a cap on it. We’ve certainly filled some holes that we had. We’ll keep going for the next few weeks.”
Yay. More middle relievers coming!
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The Yankees acquired reliever Chris Martin from the Rockies on Tuesday. The Rockies will receive cash considerations.
The 28-year-old Martin made his MLB debut in 2014, posting a 6.89 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in 16 relief outings.
In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated reliever Gonzalez Germen for assignment.
I can’t believe the Yankees are getting rid of a True Yankee™ like Gonzalez Germen for a guy who had a 6.89 ERA and 1.66 WHIP last year. Farewell Gonzalez, it was a pleasure to have you in pinstripes.
I can’t tell you a damn thing about Martin, aside from the fact that he’s a reliever who has options left and he didn’t really cost the Yankees anything. So sure, why not?
Ty Hensley, the Yankee prospect who suffered a fractured jaw and other injuries in a beating in his native Oklahoma Dec. 28, posted a video of himself throwing a pitch on Instagram Sunday.
“Hope everyone is just as excited for the 2015 season as I am!” Hensley wrote in an accompanying message.
“He has thrown a couple of times,” Hensley’s agent, Rob Martin, wrote in a text message to the Daily News. “Biggest issue is pain threshold and breathing (with) jaw wired shut still. But arm feels good!”
In this particular throwing session, Hensley made about 30 throws from flat ground at a sports facility in his native Edmond.
“Ty is very determined for this not to set back his throwing progression,” Martin wrote.
Last week, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office charged NFL hopeful Anthony Morales with felony assault and battery stemming from an incident Dec. 28 that apparently started after an argument about athletes’ signing bonuses, according to court papers.
Morales pleaded not guilty and was released on $8,000 bond. Hensley’s lawyer says he was attacked by Morales, but Morales’ lawyer says Morales was defending himself. There’s a court date next month for the case.
Pretty crappy story, but it’s good to see Hensley throwing. Even if it’s off flat ground.
Monday, January 12, 2015
The Yankees are set to replace fired hitting coach Kevin Long with Jeff Pentland, a source confirmed.
And they also plan to add Alan Cockrell as an assistant hitting coach, with Joe Espada taking Mick Kelleher’s spot as infield coach.
Long was let go shortly after the season ended and the Yankees missed the playoffs for a second straight year. Pentland was first named as a potential replacement for Long in The Post last month.
The 68-year-old Pentland was the hitting coach for the Marlins, Cubs, Royals, Mariners and most recently the Dodgers in 2010 and 2011. Last year, he served as the Marlins’ hitting coordinator.
He told The Post last month when asked about the Yankees’ job, “It’s a great city and a great organization.”
I am not sure exactly why anyone would want the Yankees’ hitting coach job.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel reports that the Yankees and Red Sox are the “heavy favorites” to sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada.
Moncada, who is still just 19, is considered a fantastic prospect. He’s expected to land a contract in the $30-40 million range. He’s still not eligible to be signed, however, as he has not received official clearance from the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control and won’t be able to start negotiating with teams until he gets that clearance.
Yeah, he’ll be a Red Sock.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
The Yankees are finalizing a one-year contract with Stephen Drew that will pay him $5 million. If he plays a lot, he can push his salary to $7 million. The deal could be done by the end of the week.
Drew is not popular with the Yankees fan base, but here in January the Bombers see value in a player who was originally looking in the $8 million-plus range.
Competing: When camp opens next month, Drew will be competing with Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela for the second base job. He also will offer insurance at short with Sir Didi Gregorius and Brendan Ryan.
At second, Drew should be the favorite, if he shows he hasn’t completely forgotten how to hit. He batted .162 last year with the Red Sox and Yankees, striking out an incredible 75 times in 271 at-bats.
While the Yankees will likely present the competition as a race without a lead horse, Refsnyder probably would be aided by spending more time at Triple-A learning second. Refsnyder and Pirela could be utility guys on the big club. I would give Pirela a slight edge to break camp with the Yankees.
I guess the way to look at is that Drew is probably better than Brendan Ryan, who I can’t see remaining on the roster. I also think there’s a non-negligible chance that Drew will be better than Gregorius.
As it is now, the Yankees probably have to carry 8 relievers to justify the fact that they keep trading for them, but let’s say they go with a 12 man pitching staff. That leaves four bench spots, one for a backup catcher and one for Chris Young as the backup OF. If Drew is starting, then Ryan has a spot on the bench, along with someone else like Pirela, who could conceivably back up most of the IF and OF. The Yankees can use Brian McCann and Chase Headley to back up first base, and maybe Alex Rodriguez could back up both corners. But I think they’ll likely jettison Ryan and eat the money he’s owed, because I can’t see any sane teams taking his contract.
This probably cuts into Refsnyder’s chances at playing in MLB this year, but from everything I’ve seen and read it seems like he may need more work on his glove anyway. I think justifying paying $5M for Drew to save service time on Refsnyder is silly because I’m not sure the extra savings from that is even worth $5M.
Signing Drew is not a bad move. It just feels like an uninspired move for a team that needs a lot to go right to be a legitimate contender for a postseason spot. And for me, it makes the team slightly less interesting than the team that had a very good chance of having Refsndyer at 2B on Opening Day.
Not that that team was all that interesting either…
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
The Yankees are finalizing a one-year agreement with infielder Stephen Drew, who is expected to return to the club as their starting second baseman for the 2015 season.
The deal, which was not confirmed by the club, will be worth approximately $5 million plus performance bonuses, according to a source familiar with the negotiations, and is pending the passing of a physical.
Drew, who turns 32 in March, is hoping to bounce back after a lost 2014 season in which he rejected a qualifying offer from the Red Sox and missed Spring Training before eventually re-signing with Boston. He did not appear in a big league game until June 2.
Almost the entirety of Drew’s value comes from him being a good defensive shortstop, so they sign him to be a second baseman only? That is not the best idea.
The early indications were that Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder would compete for the second baseman job, but now not only does that not appear to be the case, it looks like neither of them even have a role on the team. The Yankees have already said that they plan to platoon the right-handed slick-fielding shortstop Zbrendan Rtan with Didi Gregorious at short to start the season. So that means that they no longer have room to keep either Pirela or Refsnyder on the Major League squad (the Yankees have room for thirteen position players, meaning a four-man bench. That bench is currently Rtan, JR Murphy/Austin Romine, Chris Young and Garrett Jones). I find it difficult to believe that Stephen Drew is going to outperform Refsynder, even with Refsnyder’s defense being possibly poor.
I don’t think this particularly helps the 2014 Yankees and it definitely robs them of one of the few areas on the team where there was legitimate hope for a player to beat his projection, which is very important considering how poorly the overall team projects at this point in time.
Perhaps the Yankees will part ways with Rtan now? That would allow them to carry Pirela as a platoon mate for Drew at second and then have Drew and Gregorious just split the remaining shortstop at-bats against left-handed pitchers, while giving Refsnyder time to play every day in the minors. Plus, a $5 million salary is not so high that the Yankees would be unable to shed Drew midseason if they decided to go a different direction, like they did last season with Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson (like perhaps Refsnyder forces the issue by performing really well in the minors). The Yankees’ 40-man roster was filled before this signing, so someone needs to go and it could be Rtan (although there are still some fungible players on the 40-man that could easily go before Rtan, like Eury Perez, so it is not a big issue). The 40-man could also play a role in who would be Drew’s platoon-mate, as Pirela is on the 40-man and Refsnyder is not.
Finally, I will give them this - Drew’s value comes from being a good defensive shortstop, but he is a good defensive second baseman, as well. So the Yankees will have an outright good infield defense this season for the first time in many, many years. Teix, of all people, is the weak point in the infield defense, and he’s still pretty good at first.