Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Free agency has been around since 1975, and since then the Yankees have never gone an offseason without signing a major-league free agent. Not once. The closest they’ve come is re-signing one or two of their own free agents a few times. They’re on the verge of doing something they’ve never done before.
Not only have the Yankees not signed a big-league free agent, they’ve made it clear this is intentional. Would they jump in sign a player at the right price? Of course. But right now they don’t see any of the prices as being right. Owner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman have indicated they are trying to avoid long-term contracts on multiple occasions.
The last major-league free agent the Yankees signed was Stephen Drew last January. That was a tiny little one-year contract. Most of New York’s major recent moves have been trades, including Chapman and Castro this offseason, Dustin Ackley at the trade deadline, and Didi Gregorius and Nathan Eovaldi last offseason.
The Yankees decided not to sign any MLB free agents during an offseason with seemingly the best free agent class we’ve seen in years.
If that was going to be the case, why didn’t they just go for Yoan Moncada with the money they didn’t spend this offseason?
Time will tell if this plan was wise.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
There may not be a nicer man in baseball than Adam Warren. But though he was respected by the Yankees’ hierarchy, he always seemed to be an afterthought in the team’s plans. The topper came at the end of June last season, when he was lifted from the starting rotation, even though his ERA was 3.59, while CC Sabathia’s was 5.65.
There was neither a public complaint or a peep from Warren. He just went to the bullpen, did his job and the Yankees finally restored him back to the rotation in the middle of September.
Of all the Yankees who started 17 or more games, Warren’s 3.66 ERA only trailed Masahiro Tanaka’s 3.51. (Luis Severino had a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts.) His success led to the Yankees filling their biggest offseason need, as they traded him to the Chicago Cubs to acquire a starting second baseman in Starlin Castro.
Warren, 28, is the kind of guy you may not appreciate fully until he is gone. In 162 games, a solid swing man, with no whine in him, is in the words of Yankees GM Brian Cashman, a “tremendous asset.”
“He always did everything he was asked,” Cashman said. “That’s how he is wired.”
I’m hoping Ivan Nova can fill the Warren role reasonably well. I haven’t seen anything out of Bryan Mitchell aside from velocity that makes me think he’s going to be any better than he was last year. But you never know with pitchers.
Monday, January 25, 2016
1) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade B+: Age 23, hit .274/.330/.485 with 18 homers, 29 walks, 78 strikeouts in 365 at-bats in Double-A/Triple-A, threw out 37% of stealers with significant reductions in passed ball and error rates as receiving improved. Can stay behind the plate, getting to his power more often, and seems to have matured emotionally after previous problems.
2) Jorge Mateo, SS, Grade B+: Age 20, hit .278/.345/.392 between Low-A and High-A with strong run late (.321/.374/.452 for Tampa), stole 82 bases, 43/98 BB/K in 449 at-bats. Top-shelf speed and uses it well, may or may not develop more power, tools fit at shortstop but needs more polish as you’d expect given his age. You can make a good case to rank him ahead of Sanchez and I may ultimately do so when the Top 150 prospects list comes out in March.
3) Aaron Judge, OF, Grade B+/B: Age 23 (24 in April), hit .284/.350/.516 with 12 homers in 250 at-bats in Double-A then .224/.308/.373 with eight homers in 228 at-bats in Triple-A. Huge 6-7 wingspan and the power to match, has some pure hitting skills though Triple-A pitchers were able to contain him more often than not, an under-rated fielder. Impact power but still uncertain what his batting average and OBP will look like.
4) James Kaprielian, RHP, Grade B+/B: Age 21 (22 in March), first round pick out of UCLA, ace of the staff there, good curve, good slider, good change-up, throws strikes, main question revolves around fastball which was 88-92 in college but hit 93-96 in the New York-Penn League. Very polished; an Aaron Nola-like rapid rise is possible under the right conditions.
5) Domingo Acevedo, RHP, Grade B: Age 21, posted 1.69 ERA with 53/15 K/BB in 48 innings in New York-Penn League, huge guy (6-6, 240) with huge fastball (95-100 MPH, peaking at 102-103 according to some reports), good change-up, breaking ball is inconsistent. Questions about command and long-term role, could be dominant ace-type if breaking ball comes along, perhaps a closer if it doesn’t.
You can go to the link to see 6-20.
The Yankees don’t have any ‘A’ prospects according to this list, but their top 10 prospects all range from a B+ to a B-, which is good.
Friday, January 22, 2016
He’s played in four cities now,” said a person close to the situation, “and he’s told friends that he felt more at home in New York than anywhere else by far. It’s a great city for the Latin guys.”
To that end, another source said that Cespedes’ agents, the Roc Nation group, reached out to the Yankees on Thursday to tell them of the slugger’s desire to stay in New York, and ask if they’d be willing to jump in with a three-year offer.
All indications are that the Yankees have no such intentions, but the scenario itself is revealing and perhaps encouraging to the Mets.
I would certainly be interested in Cespedes on a three year deal if that was really an option, but if the team’s primary goal is getting below the luxury tax threshold, then it’s not an option.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
CAIRO 2016 v0.1
I honestly didn’t think I would get around to doing CAIRO this year, but for those patient enough to wait, it’s here.
So with that done, i can finally try and project the Yankees as of this point in time. Here’s how that looks.
CAIRO has taken the underlying assumptions and assumed the Yankees will score 100 fewer runs than last year. Does that seem too pessimistic? Maybe, but that’s what it says.
Here’s how the pitching looks:
Assuming that the Yankees will score 660 runs, with a pitching staff that would allow 655 runs combined with a defense that would save about six runs relative to average leaves with you with a .508 winning percentage, or a roughly 82 win team. You can argue that having the bullpen they have can help them outperform in enough close games that they are maybe closer to an 84 or 85 win team. Then they just need a few players to exceed their projection here and they should be right in the middle of the wild card race, with a puncher’s chance at the division.
There’s a team tab on the spreadsheet where you can modify the above depth charts for the Yankees in terms of playing time. You can even add (unlike the real Yankees) and remove players if you want. Anything highlighted in yellow is adjustable. Just make sure that your team batting outs add up to 4100 and your team innings add up to 1450 if you want a realistic projected final win total.
You can download the full spreadsheet at the following link:
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
The Yankees and shortstop Didi Gregorius have avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $$2.425-million deal, according to the YES Network’s Jack Curry.
The sides were unable to come to an agreement Friday. Early last week, Gregorius filed for a $2.525-million 2016 salary. On Friday, the Yankees filed at $2.3 million.
The resolution doesn’t come as a surprise. Considering the gulf between the Yankees and Gregorius was so small, and that the Yankees haven’t taken a player to court over arbitration since Chien-Ming Wang in 2009, it was bound to happen.
Still unsigned are Aroldis Chapman, Ivan Nova and Nathan Eovaldi. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take Chapman and Nova to arbitration since neither is likely to be a Yankee after 2016, but I assume they’ll agree with Eovaldi shortly.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Here’s what I’ve been told: The Yankees are not planning to sign a Major League free agent this offseason.
I’m certainly not the only reporter hearing such a thing. The Yankees have taken on some money in trades, and they’re about to pay a bunch of money to arbitration eligible players — and they committed a ton of money two years ago — but it’s entirely possible, if not likely, that the Yankees will not sign a single Major League free agent this winter.
The Yankees’ last Major League free agent signing was technically Garrett Jones during weird situation last season when the Yankees released, then re-signed, then released Jones again, all within a few days.
The Yankees’ last normal Major League signing was Stephen Drew to a one-year, $5-million deal which became official last January 16, exactly a year ago tomorrow.
Page 2 of 1 pages: