Wednesday, December 23, 2015
CC Sabathia has been so encouraged about the health of his left arm that he said Wednesday his training is “light years” ahead of where it has been in past offseasons, raising his optimism level about a productive 2016 campaign.
Speaking at Yankee Stadium while greeting fans as part of the 22nd annual Yankees Holiday Food Drive, Sabathia said that he has not stopped throwing since the end of the regular season and is excited about rejoining the team’s rotation.
“I’m probably light years ahead, being able to fully work out and do the things I want to do totally healthy,” Sabathia said. “The workouts are a lot tougher, but it’s kind of what I need at this point in my career.”
Sabathia left the Yankees at the conclusion of the regular season, seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. During his month-long stay in rehab, Sabathia said that he was able to find ways to keep his arm loose and strong.
“I’m one of those guys that never stops throwing, so I found a couple of guys in rehab to throw the football with,” Sabathia said. “Then when I came out, I picked up the baseball and have been throwing.”
On the one hand, my stance on “He’s in the best shape of his life” stories is that there typically isn’t a whole lot of relevance to them, but with CC, I guess I will take any slightly good news that I can get, as having a CC who pitched like CC did once he began wearing the right knee brace last season would dramatically change the complexion of the Yankees’ starting rotation.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
It’s interesting, I was looking at Yankees.com the other day and on their front page they had a link to the Yankees’ Top 30 Prospects and I was struck by how seemingly out of date it looked, as they had Domingo Acevedo, like, 24th or something like that. And then yesterday, voila, Baseball America put up their Top 10 List and Acevedo was fifth. However, it was not without some other surprises…
TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Jorge Mateo, ss
2. Gary Sanchez, c
3. Aaron Judge, of
4. James Kaprielian, rhp
5. Domingo Acevedo, rhp
6. Rookie Davis, rhp
7. Tyler Wade, ss
8. Rob Refsnyder, 2b
9. Wilkerman Garcia, ss
10. Dustin Fowler, of
Apparently their theory is that Judge’s stint in AAA has raised enough questions that he fell below Mateo (here is Norris on the comparison between the two:
There are serious questions with Judge’s ability to make contact at the highest levels. He is 6-foot-7 with long arms, which leaves him vulnerable on the inner half. Mateo is going to be an up the middle player, which carries a ton of value, and has top-ranked speed. He’s got more power than showed up on the field, and an adjustment in his approach could bring more of it to the forefront.
) and Sanchez (who obviously has been hitting the cover off of the ball recently - here is Norris on Sanchez:
Sanchez improved his stock greatly in the second half, both on the field and maturity off of it. I had one evaluator tell me they got him at a 1.79 pop time in the Fall League, which is nuts. He’s got massive raw power and could hit in the .260ish range. If he does that behind the plate, he’s insanely valuable.
What do you all think of the list?
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Joe Girardi acknowledged that starting pitching could be a Yankee weakness next season because of all the question marks his rotation faces, especially with pitchers coming off injuries.
“Yeah, I think there’s a concern because of health, when you think about (Masahiro) Tanaka coming off an injury, (Nathan) Eovaldi coming off an injury, CC (Sabathia) with a knee he’s had to deal with. Michael Pineda, that was the most innings (160.2) he’s thrown after a substantial period of time.
“There is some concern. We had a lot of concerns last year and the guys did OK for us. You can go into spring training with five starters that are locked in and you can still have concerns. You’d better have depth.”
Yankee starters were tied for 18th in the majors in rotation ERA last season (4.25) and got a total of 927 innings from starters, 21st in the big leagues. The Chicago White Sox’s rotation led the majors in innings pitched, recording 1,011.
The Yanks may have a burgeoning star in Luis Severino, but, like the rest of the rotation, there’s a question mark about him: Since 2016 will be his first full season, how much of his workload will have to be managed? Ask Matt Harvey about innings limits.
Pretty much yes, every single Yankee starter has legitimate questions. I think a top of three Tanaka, Pineda and Severino could be very good. But it could also be injured and/or have growing pains.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Across the final two months of the 2014 season, the Yankees played a 40-year-old Derek Jeter at short and sore-footed Stephen Drew at second base, a new position.
Last season, Dustin Ackley, Rob Refsnyder and Drew shared second.
When the 2016 season opens, Didi Gregorius will be at short and Starlin Castro at second.
Defensively, it will be an upgrade over the final two months of 2014 and the entire 2015 season. But how big of one?
“That will be significantly better because of the athleticism and putting Castro at second base, he has the ability to be a very good defensive player,’’ an AL talent evaluator said. “Second base is a little easier for a guy like him, and I think he will really hit.’’
Joe Girardi acknowledged Adam Warren, who went to the Cubs for Castro, was hard to part with, but you’ve got to give to get.
“We got a player in return we believe is going to be extremely valuable. Last year, when we made the trade for Didi, we had to give up a starting pitcher in Shane Greene, and there were some questions about that. It worked out pretty well for us,’’ Girardi said Monday at a taping for the YES Network’s “CenterStage.” “Now we feel we’ve kind of stabilized the middle of our infield, which is extremely important. We have two shortstops out there, which we think will help us tremendously.’’
With five regulars hitting left-handed, Girardi is glad to add Castro’s right-handed bat.
“One of the reasons we added Castro is we were vulnerable to left-handers at the end of the year, and all of a sudden we started seeing a ton of them,’’ Girardi said of Castro, a career .295 against lefties, with a .344 on-base percentage. “In our division there was not a lot of left-handed starters early in the year, but that changed and that hurt us.’’
Let’s hope their drool is justified.
Monday, December 14, 2015
When Brian Cashman left Nashville and the Winter Meetings on Thursday, the Yankees general manager admitted the team’s bullpen was not a finished product.
And since any additions won’t be made through free agency, the general manager is trolling the trade waters looking for help to replace Adam Warren and Justin Wilson.
How difficult is Cashman’s job to find a reliever to handle the seventh-inning assignment as Warren and Wilson did last season, knowing the Yankees’ need can best be satisfied via trade?
“We will see,’’ Cashman said Sunday. “It could come organically or it could be a combination [trade or from within], we will see.’’
A free-agent market that provided former Yankee Shawn Kelley with a three-year deal for $15 million is better left alone. The days of giving Steve Karsay four years for $21 million and Rafael Soriano two for $21 million have vanished one year after Andrew Miller landed a four-year pact for $36 million.
I am not really worried about the bullpen, but I am still having a hard time reconciling the fact that the Yankees traded Wilson for two prospects who appear to be marginal at best at a time when Shawn Kelley is getting a three-year deal for $15M.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
The Yankees announced Friday morning they have signed right-hander Domingo German, whom they non-tendered a contract to last week, to a minor league deal.
German came to New York as part of a five-player trade with the Miami Marlins a year ago, when the Yankees acquired pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and OF/INF Garrett Jones while sending second baseman Martin Prado and David Phelps to Miami.
German, 23, missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Before that, he had been rated as high as the sixth-best prospect in the Marlins’ system. In 293.2 minor league innings (44 of his 77 games have been starts), German owns a 2.33 ERA and has struck out 286 batters while walking 91.
The Yankees appear to have maneuvered well. German was not offered a contract last week (opening a spot on the 40-man roster for someone else), so he was not in the Yankees’ system. Had he been, he likely would have been taken in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft.
Other teams can have their fancy David Prices and Jason Heywards. We’ll take our Domingo Germans and win the $/WAR championship.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
The Yankees dealt left-hander Justin Wilson to the Tigers for a pair of pitching prospects, right-handers Luis Cessa and Chad Green, on Wednesday.
New York got Detroit’s No. 6 and No. 19 prospects in exchange for the 28-year-old Wilson, who was 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 74 appearances this past season.
General manager Brian Cashman acknowledged earlier on Wednesday that he would be willing to discuss Wilson—who excelled as the Yankees’ seventh-inning man last year, setting up for Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller—as a trade chip.
“If I’m talking about Miller, I’d be willing to talk about Wilson,” Cashman said.
The Yankees are in the market for a starting pitcher and bullpen help as the Winter Meetings continue, suggesting that the Wilson trade may be a precursor to flipping the prospects toward one of those goals.
Yet Cashman said that he is also looking to improve the starting pitching depth of the Minor League system in the wake of top prospect Luis Severino’s promotion to the big leagues last year.
I think that Cashman has been far too good of a trader in the past to judge this one at the moment, as I have to believe he has something else planned. If this is it, then yes, it is a curious trade. Not a bad trade, but when you have a thin bullpen in terms of top arms and you deal two of your best four relievers, that seems to be a strange approach - unless there are more moves coming, of course.
And since I have faith in Cashman’s trading skills, I tend to believe that this is part of a series of future deals that perhaps the guys involved in this deal might be part of. So I would hold off on judging this one just yet.