Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Oscar Gamble, a lefty-swinging hitter popularly known for the large Afro hairstyle he wore in the 1970s, died Wednesday at age 68.
Gamble’s death was confirmed by Andrew Levy, his agent. His wife, Lovell Woods Gamble, said Gamble died in Birmingham, Ala., of a rare tumor of the jaw, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Gamble played seven of his 17 Major League seasons with the Yankees, who employed him as a pull hitter who could platoon or come off the bench and take aim at the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium, in 1976 and again from 1979-84. He hit a career-high 31 home runs for the “South Side Hitmen” White Sox in 1977 and also spent time with the Cubs, Phillies, Indians, Rangers and Padres.
His agent, Levy, had a beautiful quote about Gamble, “He was the player on the Yankees known for big hair. But those who knew him best will remember his big heart. R.I.P. Oscar Gamble.” Very sweet tribute to his client.
It was always a bit of a shame that Gamble missed out on the two World Series wins of the late 1970s.
Here’s his afro in all of its (slightly reduced when he joined the Yankees, so you can only imagine how big it was for other teams) glory…
Yu Darvish is waiting to see if the Dodgers or Yankees can clear enough salary to add him as a free agent, according to a report.
On MLB Network Monday morning, Ken Rosenthal said: “(The Yankees) would need to trade a big salary, probably (Jacoby) Ellsbury to get this done. What are the odds of the Yankees or Dodgers doing such a thing? Probably somewhat slim, but that’s why this thing isn’t over just yet.”
Other teams connected to Darvish have been the Brewers, Cubs, Twins, Rangers and Phillies.
The Dodgers are reportedly Darvish’s No. 1 choice, but, like the Yankees, they also want to stay under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold.
Maybe the Yankees could forget about the stupid Hal-Cap™ and get him?
Monday, January 29, 2018
MLB Network has unveiled its top 25 teams of Major League Baseball’s expansion era—and it’s a star-studded list.
These aren’t just 25 great clubs. They’re some of the most transcendent squads to set foot on the field.
The teams on this list have treated baseball fans to some of the most indelible moments in the history of America’s national pastime. They’ve been behind some of the most memorable pennant races, postseason clashes and World Series in the decades since MLB expanded in 1961.
Which team was named the best? Read on. Here are MLB Network’s 25 greatest teams of the expansion era:
1. 1998 New York Yankees
Here it is. The greatest club on the list. The ‘98 squad started New York’s three-year championship run, behind the efforts of Jeter, Rivera, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, among others. Managed by Joe Torre, the Bronx Bombers went 108-54 in the regular season, then 11-2 in the postseason—with their historic campaign capped by a sweep of the Padres in the World Series.
It’s really hard to believe 1998 was 20 years ago. Of course, they got the Yankees’ record wrong in the excerpt above. They were actually 114-48.
It was a magical season, the likes of which we’ll probably never get to see again. Luckily, most of us got to experience it when it happened.
Friday, January 26, 2018
Last year’s shortstop list started the same way this one does, with the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres atop it. The Braves’ Dansby Swanson and Amed Rosario of the Mets graduated off, but Torres joins six other holdovers from 2017.
The Top 10
1. Gleyber Torres, Yankees More »
2. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres More »
3. Bo Bichette, Blue Jays More »
4. Brendan Rodgers, Rockies More »
5. Royce Lewis, Twins More »
6. Willy Adames, Rays More »
7. J.P. Crawford, Phillies More »
8. Franklin Barreto, A’s More »
9. Jorge Mateo, A’s More »
10. Nick Gordon, Twins More »
Thursday, January 25, 2018
We know the Yankees want to keep their 2018 payroll below $197 million, in order to reset their luxury-tax obligations. They’re currently looking at both pitchers and position players, one source said, shopping opportunistically for value, more so than need.
At the moment, the Yankees’ payroll commitments add up to roughly $162 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
By that calculation, one might conclude that general manager Brian Cashman has $35 million left to spend.
That’s not accurate.
Instead, sources say the Yankees’ tentative plan allows for another $15 million in spending this offseason—unless Cashman frees up additional payroll by trading reliever David Robertson or outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
Here’s why: Under baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the payroll calculation for the Competitive Balance Tax includes benefits, insurance and performance bonuses paid to players on the Major League roster. For the Yankees, that figure could be at least $10 million in 2018.
Moreover, the Yankees want to allocate another $10 million to spend at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and on callups during the season.
That leaves $15 million.
I never understand the luxury tax math used by reporters, because it seems like each guy has their own take on how much cap room that the Yankees actually have. Morosi makes sense here with his math, but maybe he’s missing something, too?
In any event. if the Yankees have $15 million to spend, then I imagine we’ll see them wait until the very end of free agency, to see if guys get desperate. $15 million, though, isn’t getting you Darvish. It might get you Cobb, but is Cobb even much of an upgrade over Jordan Montgomery? $15 million would be more than enough to get you Todd Frazier or Neil Walker, but I imagine it is the years and not the money that is the issue with Frazier.
Money might not be the only thing stopping a reunion between the Yankees and Todd Frazier.
It could just be Miguel Andujar’s time.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has repeatedly said Andujar, the team’s 22-year-old top third base prospect, could be in the mix to start Opening Day. Cashman has also put Tyler Wade, Gleyber Torres and Ronald Torreyes in the mix.
So far, there’s been little doubt that Andujar’s bat is big-league ready. Between Double-A and Triple-A, the Dominican Republic native hit .315 with 16 homers and 82 RBI and a .850 OPS.
But there were some concerns about his defense. While he has the tools—a strong arm, athleticism—to excel at the position, there were times in which Andujar’s throws would sail and when his consistency on routine plays was lacking.
Andujar and the Yankees worked hard to address the problems when he got called up in September. He worked nearly every pregame with then-infield coordinator Joe Espada.
CAIRO thinks Andujar can be a league average 3B right now offensively. He projects to hit .263/.315/.425 as his baseline in 550 PA which would be worth 1.8 WAR. Steamer sees him at .266/.311/.426. ZiPS sees him at .267/.307/.432 The question is how much of that would he give back with his glove? If he’s a few runs worse than average, the Yankees can probably live with that. If he’s Nun-E™ Two, Electric Boogaloo, maybe not so much.
I think the Yankees should roll with Andujar to start the year and hope for the best. There is upside with him, and they have plenty of other infield options to fall back on if he falters for whatever reason.
Monday, January 22, 2018
NEW YORK—As he ascends to the higher levels of the Minor Leagues, Nick Solak has merited praise as a “winning-type player who can hit and has real attributes that are clutch,” as Yankees director of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer recently said.
MLB Pipeline has agreed, announcing on Monday that they rate Solak as the No. 5 second-base prospect in all of baseball. The 23-year-old Solak played well at two levels of the Yankees’ system last year, and though he is pegged to begin 2018 in the Double-A Eastern League, a big league promotion may not be far off.
You wonder what the Yankees will do with Solak if Miguel Andujar ends up establishing himself at 3B and Gleyber Torres does the same at 2B. Would they trade Didi (HalCap™!) to save a bit of money and throw Torres at short?
I guess that’s a good example of a first world problem so let’s hope it comes to fruition.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
The 2017 Yankees relievers were elite, by any metric you care to use. They had the third-lowest ERA (3.34); the lowest average against (.204); the highest strikeout rate (29.1 percent); the most Wins Above Replacement (9.2). They were good. They were so, so good.
Now realize they could possibly be better in 2018. Then, think about the fact that if they were, it might put them in the conversation for “the best bullpen of all time,” an extremely unofficial title that’s nonetheless fun to think about.
How could those things happen? And what does “best bullpen” even mean? Let’s dig in.
I still think the Yankees will end up trading a reliever or two to make some more cap room to add a sixth starting pitcher and/or infielder. And while that makes sense, it’s fun to dream about a world where they don’t do that and go into the season with a bullpen that really looks like it has a chance to be historically great.