Wednesday, November 12, 2014
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.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
The New York Yankees are bringing back outfielder Chris Young on a 1-year contract, according to WFAN’s Sweeny Murti.
The deal is pending a physical.
Young batted .222 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs last season for the Mets and Yankees.
The 31-year old was released by the Mets in August. He hit .282 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 23 games after being picked up by the Bombers.
The deal is for a base salary of $2.5 million with plenty of incentives.
Wow, that is a great deal. I would have been cool with this deal at twice that price (the incentives might be so easy to hit, though, that it might be closer to $5 million realistically).
On a less good note, Jon Heyman tweeted today that the Yankees also tried to lock Brandon McCarthy down but he told them that he wanted to wait to see what happens when the Big Three sign, as he seems to think that the teams that miss out on Scherzer, Lester and Shields will all come a-runnin’ to him. He’s probably right, too, which is worrisome.
Friday, November 7, 2014
The Yankees have signed Andrew Bailey to a minor-league contract, a team source told NJ Advance Media Friday afternoon.
The source requested anonymity because the club hadn’t officially announced the agreement yet.
Bailey hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 2013. He’s been rehabbing a labrum tear in his right shoulder.
The Yankees declined Bailey’s team option for 2015. They paid him $2.5 million in 2014, during which he saw setbacks in his rehabilitation program after initially hoping to join the big-league club by August.
I like this move. They clearly had to decline their 2015 team option (especially because I believe it involved a guaranteed 40-man roster spot), but now they get to keep him for less money. It will probably not end up helping them in 2015, but it is a worthwhile gamble. Also, I have to admit, I at least partially like this move because it would irritate me if he ended up making the Majors in 2015 for another club after the Yankees basically just paid him to rehab all of 2014.
Brett Gardner had a minor surgical procedure in October to address a core muscle injury and expects to be ready for Spring Training, the Yankees outfielder said in a radio interview on Wednesday.
Gardner told MLB Network Radio that he is completing his physical therapy following the surgery, which he hopes will correct an injury that affected Gardner in both July and September of this past season.
The Yankees said that Gardner had the procedure performed on his right rectus abdominis muscle on Oct. 16. The surgery was performed by Dr. William Meyers at the Philadelphia Vincera Institute in Philadelphia.
“I’m just about feeling 90 to 95 percent from that,” Gardner said. “I should be back to 100 percent here in about a week or so and pretty much have my normal offseason from here on out, and get ready for 2015.”
Man, in the future, Yankee players, just get medical help instead of playing hurt. Carlos Beltran was pretty much useless after getting injured (which needed offseason surgery), CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Masahiro Tanaka all lost games that they pitched while hurt. And now Gardner tries to gut out a muscle injury. Just sit out the games! The team is better off playing a healthy mediocre guy than it is playing a hurt good player, and playing hurt tends to just make the injury even worse. The Yankees are (tentatively) extremely lucky that Tanaka’s hare-brained idea to pitch in pain didn’t lead to a full tear of his elbow ligament.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
The Yankees saw these two market opportunities dry up while their revenues stayed high and they pinpointed the international market as a target. As a result of spending nearly $30 million dollars on teenagers last summer, the Yankees now cannot sign a player for over $300,000 for the next two summers. If they get lucky with some timing, they may still be able to make this one-year international blowout even more advantageous, but their competitive advantage has mostly passed in these three markets for the time being.
An Under-The-Radar Market
With limited avenues to spend their money, where have the Yankees turned now? Minor league free agents. Starting today, free agents can sign with any club and most fans will focus on the splashy big money major league signings. Sometimes, a former standout major leaguer that’s past him prime will sign a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite and fans may hold out hope this player can regain past form. Below even this radar are the often first time free agents with little to no big league service that are signed to minor league deals with Spring Training invites and little fanfare. This is where the Yankees have been frustrating most of baseball.
I swear, Kiley McDaniel is such a great sportswriter. He’s the one who broke the story about the Yankees’ international free agent signing spree and now he has another fascinating piece about how the Yankees are using their financial clout to get an advantage on the Yangervis Solartes of the world. One area where I would slightly differ from McDaniel is that I think he’s taking the league sources a bit too much at their word as to why the Yankees are the only team going beyond what teams normally pay minor league free agents. I don’t think it’s simply a matter of other teams being more fiscally conservative, I think it is a matter of the other teams effectively colluding with each other to keep minor league salaries low (as the minor leaguers have no union to stick up for them) and the Yankees just don’t care about following the collusion efforts of the other teams. In either event, it’s a great article and well worth reading.
A really fascinating line in the piece is where McDaniel cites a Yankee source who claims that the Yankees could break even even if they spent $500 million on salary and tax. Seems hard to believe.
The Yankees are targeting Brandon McCarthy, Jason Hammel and others in that mid-rotation category for their staff.
They also have interest in bringing back left-hander Chris Capuano, who pitched decently as a spot starter after being acquired from the Rockies last year..
At least for the moment, sources connected to the team suggest they have “zero” plans to pursue either of the top two starting pitchers on the free-agent market—Max Scherzer and Jon Lester—and will instead concentrate on a mid-rotation guy.
I think the headline is a bit misleading, because while I believe that the information is generally correct, I think it is more like this - They are targeting McCarthy as a top priority. Once they get him, though, they also want to add another back of the rotation pitcher as security in case CC comes back done or if Pineda or Tanaka get hurt (someone who can fill in until Ivan Nova returns from Tommy John Surgery). So Capuano fits that profile. Someone who can eat innings and not suck.
One interesting line was the following:
However, Yankees people are telling others at present that they don’t see the wisdom in going “seven or eight years” for a top starting pitcher. The Daily News first suggested Lester and Scherzer were unlikely for the Yankees.
That does sound like their current thinking. It’s bad enough to go seven years to Jacoby Ellsbury, someone like Lester might very well age even worse.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Former Major League left-hander Brad Halsey died on Tuesday at the age of 33, according to a tweet by Halsey’s agency, O’Connell Sports.
Halsey spent three years in the Majors from 2004-06, pitching one season each with the Yankees, D-backs and Athletics. The lefty appeared in 88 career games, making 40 starts, and went 14-19 with a 4.84 ERA.
Daaaang, that is messed up. Our condolences to Halsey’s friends and family.
Halsey was involved in two distinctive moments in Yankee history.
1. He was traded along with Javy Vazquez and Dioner Navarro for Randy Johnson after the 2004 season.
2. He started the famous “Jeter dives into the stand” game for the Yankees against Pedro Martinez in July of 2004.
After being traded from Arizona to Oakland, he had two infamous incidents…
1. He gave up Barry Bonds’ 714th home run
2. He went off on the Oakland Athletics when they decided not to call him up from the minors in 2007 to replace an injured starter. He felt that they were about to call him up before they learned he was scheduled to get an MRI exam because they feared that if he were injured while on the Major League roster, they’d have to pay him the Major League Disabled List salary and not the Minor League Disabled List salary. He went off on them in a dramatic rant: “I kept going in and saying, ‘My arm is bothering me, it’s not right,’ and they said, ‘Oh, it’s just biceps tendinitis, you’ll be fine.’ Then they send you down and screw you. I’m grinding it out, trying to be a team guy, and I get fucked . It’s all just a business decision, because if I came up and pitched Tuesday and then had an MRI and had to go on the DL, they’d have to pay me major-league DL money. It’s such a mom-and-pop organization.” He did, indeed, have a problem that required surgery. The Athletics released him after the season.
Reinstated New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez admitted to use of performance-enhancing drugs during a meeting with the Drug Enforcement Administration in January, according to a report from the Miami Herald.
Two sources confirmed details of the Herald’s report to ESPN.
The Herald, citing a written “report of investigation,” says Rodriguez told the DEA that he paid Biogenesis doctor Anthony Bosch for testosterone cream, testosterone gummies and HGH injections. According to the report, one such injection took place in the men’s room of a Miami nightclub.
“Rodriguez injected the HGH into his stomach,” the DEA report stated, according to the newspaper. “Rodriguez said Bosch told him the HGH would help with sleep, weight, hair growth, eyesight and muscle recovery.”
According to the report, Rodriguez was also trained in tricks to beat a urine test.
“Bosch advised him to only use mid-stream urine for MLB drug testing,” the DEA report stated, according to the newspaper. “Bosch told Rodriguez not to use the beginning or the end urine stream.”
This marks the first time Rodriguez has admitted to using PEDs between late 2010 and 2012. In 2009, the Yankees third baseman admitted to using PEDs while with the Texas Rangers in 2001.
So, A-Rod just admitted to doing the thing that he had already been suspended a year for doing? I know we have to keep the news cycle going, but was there a single person around who did not think A-Rod used steroids in 2010-2012? His whole case seemed to revolve less around “I am innocent of this claim” and more around “You don’t have nearly enough proof to ‘convict’ me.” And after they ‘convicted’ him anyways, he decided to help the DEA in their case against his cousin after his cousin decided to blackmail him for $900,000 (is it too difficult to write $900,000? Why do all the headlines involving the blackmail say “a million dollars?”) using information that turned out to not mattter since A-Rod got ‘convicted’ even without it going public.
So sure, I guess any news is news, but this really doesn’t seem to change the narrative much.