The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

RSS 2.0 Atom

Japan Times: Tanaka says everything fine after workout with former Rakuten teammates
(29 Comments - 1/30/2015 8:36:48 am)

Yahoo!: Sources: Star Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada’s free agency imminent
(31 Comments - 1/29/2015 10:02:10 am)

Baseball America: MLB, Not OFAC, Is Why Yoan Moncada Can’t Sign
(9 Comments - 1/27/2015 8:35:00 pm)

Fangraphs:  Evaluating the Prospects: New York Yankees
(5 Comments - 1/27/2015 4:36:41 pm)

NY Daily News: Yankees working to void milestone bonuses for Alex Rodriguez
(27 Comments - 1/27/2015 4:35:39 pm)

NYDN: Yankees not in play for Shields with A-Rod’s contract back
(76 Comments - 1/26/2015 3:17:16 pm)

NYDN: Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez works out with Barry Bonds in California: report
(29 Comments - 1/24/2015 5:10:39 pm)

NYDN: Nationals sign free agent Max Scherzer while Yankees never made bid
(30 Comments - 1/22/2015 10:06:06 am)

TGS NY: Better, worse or about the same? Scouts weigh in on Yankees’ offseason moves
(37 Comments - 1/19/2015 8:58:25 am)

MLB: Steinbrenner: Yanks might not be done making moves
(19 Comments - 1/16/2015 8:52:10 am)


Current Projected

Look what people have to say about the RLYW!

CAIRO just takes the Marcels and changes the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make the Yankees look better.

Wow, two stupid posts in one day. I think you’ve reached your yearly quota.

I don’t know if any of you current posters were around for that, but if so, I just can’t understand how you can call yourselves Yankee fans. Pathetic quitters is what you sounded like. Of the lame posts I could stand to read, the only person who had any confidence in the Yankees at that point was a (yeesh) Red Sox fan.
Jeter is King

Quite the attitude you have SG. Maybe you should shitcan this blog and join Steve at WasWatching? Or follow some other stupid team that has made the PS 15 of the last 17 years. Jeez… and some people think Yankee fans are entitled.

This site is best viewed with a monitor.

Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Japan Times: Tanaka says everything fine after workout with former Rakuten teammates

SENDAI – New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who missed two months last season due to an elbow injury, worked out ahead of his second big league season on Thursday.

Using the indoor facility of his former club, the Rakuten Eagles, Tanaka ran sprints, practiced fielding and played catch — in which he mixed in some breaking balls.

“So far so good — including that (the elbow),” said Tanaka, who returned from a partial tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow to make two starts at the end of the season.

I hope I can get over my fear that Tanaka’s elbow ligament is going to snap on every single pitch he throws this year, because it’s going to make it a bit harder to enjoy his starts.  I guess this qualifies as good news anyway.

--Posted at 10:28 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Yahoo!: Sources: Star Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada’s free agency imminent

Star Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada no longer needs a specific unblocking license to play baseball in the United States, paving the way for Major League Baseball teams to pursue him with a contract most expect to shatter bonus records, government and major league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Recent changes by the Obama administration allow native Cubans who can prove permanent residence in a third country to receive a general unblocking license and avoid the sometimes-arduous application process for an Office of Foreign Asset Controls specific license, which was previously needed to do business in the U.S. Moncada, who left Cuba for Guatemala in August, has a permanent residency document, a Guatemalan National Identity Card and a statement from a Guatemala-based bank as proof of residency, sources familiar with his case told Yahoo Sports.

Any person who meets the requirements for a general unblocking license no longer will be issued a specific unblocking license, a Treasury Department official told Yahoo Sports, putting the onus on MLB to verify Moncada’s residency and allow teams to begin negotiating contracts with him. Moncada had been waiting for a specific license from OFAC since late September, sources said, the only holdup in an expected bidding war for his services.

MLB was drafting a letter to OFAC on Tuesday asking for a meeting in the near future to clarify the new regulations and potentially change league policy, which requires a specific unblocking license. Should a meeting take place soon, one league official estimated Moncada could be free to negotiate with teams within two weeks.

Remember that last piece I wrote a couple of hours ago?

Well, apparently the Baseball America article in that piece has led to a change in MLB policies. The Baseball America article claims that the U.S. government no longer required specific licenses, but MLB was still requiring them. Obviously, after it came out, people started drilling MLB about it and they said, “Okay, we’ll go with the current standard.”

So expect Moncada to be up for bidding soon - hopefully the Yankees can find a way to sign him. I’d give him up to a $45 million bonus (that’d be $90 million total, with the 100% penalty). Anything over that, I’d let another team take him, although I guess $50 million wouldn’t be too nuts.

--Posted at 7:03 pm by Brian Cronin / 31 Comments | - (0)

Baseball America: MLB, Not OFAC, Is Why Yoan Moncada Can’t Sign

Major League Baseball, not the United States government, is the reason that Yoan Moncada and several other Cuban players have yet to begin their careers.

The U.S. has an embargo against Cuba, which means Cuban nationals must be regarded as “unblocked” by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before they can work for a U.S. company.

Moncada, though, has already met the government’s requirements to be able to begin his career. Moncada has permanent residence in Guatemala. Any Cuban national who presents documents showing permanent residence in a country outside of Cuba qualifies for OFAC’s “general license,” which is not a written document. As far as OFAC is concerned, that should make him unblocked, and that’s good enough for the government to allow him to sign.

The holdup is that MLB won’t let Moncada—or any Cuban player, for that matter—use the general license any more. That wasn’t always the case. Yasiel Puig, for example, signed using the general license. It’s not clear what exactly changed, but at some point in 2012 after Puig signed in June that year, MLB no longer allowed Cuban players to sign using the general license and instead required them to apply for the specific license, which is a written document from OFAC. That goes beyond what the government requires from Cuban players to be able to begin their careers, and with some players waiting six months to receive their licenses, MLB’s policy has added a significant bottleneck for those players.

Obviously, this seems like a bit of a cause for concern since the Yankees need Moncada to become eligible during the current international free agent signing period, which ends June 15th.

That said, Yoan Lopez went through this and ended up signing, so I think this just delays things. Lopez started his process about two weeks before Moncada started his, so I imagine Moncada will become eligible soon. Unless, of course, there is some vast conspiracy to keep the Yankees or Red Sox from signing him. That seems unlikely.

--Posted at 3:39 pm by Brian Cronin / 9 Comments | - (0)

Monday, January 26, 2015

NY Daily News: Yankees working to void milestone bonuses for Alex Rodriguez

The frayed relations between the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez are bound to be front and center when their one-time superstar reports to spring training next month with the goal of not only making the team but of cashing in on the marketing bonuses tied to his move up the ladder toward the all-time home run record.

As the Daily News first reported Saturday, the Yankees have declined to meet with Rodriguez as he attempts to mend relationships with Major League Baseball and prepares to re-enter the game following his season-long drug suspension, and are preparing for a battle to nullify the marketing bonuses that are separate from the remaining $61 million on A-Rod’s player contract.

Rodriguez, who has 654 career home runs, needs to hit just six more to tie Willie Mays’ 660 and become eligible for a $6 million bonus. The marketing deal also calls for him to receive $6 million if he ties Babe Ruth (714), another $6 million if he ties Hank Aaron (755) and yet another $6 million if surpasses Barry Bonds (762) to become baseball’s all-time home run king.

The Yankees, however, now view the marketing bonuses as worthless and invalid, according to sources, the result of Rodriguez’s suspension for violating the game’s collectively bargained drug policy and his scorched-earth attack on baseball and the Yankees. The club plans to do battle with its onetime superstar over paying the bonuses, and is prepared to fight Rodriguez if he files a grievance with the Players’ Association.

On the one hand, this sounds idiotic by the Yankees because it’s only drawing more negative attention to them for what is likely to be just an additional $6 million. An additional $6 million that could possibly not even come into play if A-Rod is not physically ready to play baseball. The guy is coming off an entire year’s layoff and he has had multiple hip injuries and he’s 39 years old. It is not hard to believe at all that he might not be able to be the Yankees everyday designated hitter this season, in which case he might not even get the six home runs needed to pass Willie Mays.

On the other hand, since this is a separate marketing deal, the Yankees have an actual chance of winning this fight. They can’t void his playing contract, but they at least have a real chance of successfully arguing that his steroid use has made this marketing deal valueless.

Going back to the first hand, though, if I’m A-Rod’s lawyer, I use this case to basically put the Yankees into the pillory through discovery. Do you really think that the Yankees had no idea that A-Rod was using steroids? Why would they want to open themselves up to the negative PR for a measly $6 million? If the other milestones were to ever actually come into play, the Yankees should be thrilled, since that would mean A-Rod is actually healthy and producing at a high level.

I imagine, though, that this is more a matter of the relationship between the Yankees and A-Rod being so toxic that the Yankees would gladly drag themselves through the mud if it meant damaging A-Rod in any way (granted, I do believe that it legitimately does gall them to pay him $6 million for a meaningless event).

--Posted at 2:58 pm by Brian Cronin / 27 Comments | - (0)

Fangraphs:  Evaluating the Prospects: New York Yankees

The Yankees’ drafts have been solid the last two years, with the three late first round picks from 2013 ranked 2nd, 6th and 8th in the system and all are at least meeting expectations so far, with RF Aaron Judge strongly beating them. Rival clubs kept pushing me to move up 2014 2nd rounder (the first Yankees’ pick) LHP Jacob Lindgren up the list; he should be a fixture in the late innings for the club very soon.  The depth here is outstanding and is a function of solid drafts, an influx of international signees and some recent trades that added depth to the 40 FV group.

With this bulk process in mind, the Yankees have the most short-season clubs of any other organization: two in the DSL, two in the GCL and two more in Pulaski and Staten Island. With that many roster spots to fill, the team can sign as many players as they want and not be forced (like many teams are) to avoid signing multiple high profile players at the same position that are at the same level. Yankees officials joked that making their Low-A Charleston roster is much more difficult now, with one comparing it to being a top recruit for Alabama’s football team, but struggling to get on the field because they’re so deep with touted players.

I’ve been updating a grid with the updated rankings for each system and the Yankees are the deepest team in all three subsections of the Others of Note section, along with having the most 40 FV players and are just a couple short of having the most 45 FV players. Tampa Bay is the only other team with close to this kind of depth, but the Yankees have two top-end talents (RHP Luis Severino and RF Aaron Judge) that the Rays can’t match, which helps separate the Bombers from Tampa Bay and other deep systems. Right now, I have the Yankees as the 10th best system in baseball, but with the bulk of high upside young talent and five of the top six prospects likely returning to next year’s list making it better than 50/50 that they’ll be even higher next year.

Interesting read by Fangraphs about their evaluations of the Yankees minor league system. FV, by the way, stands for “Future Value.” 40 and above typically means you have a legit shot at making the Majors. Tanaka, for instance, is a 70.

And yes, as others have already noted, this massive article does appear to need a little bit of editing, as there are some sentences that just don’t make sense due to missing or confusing words. One notable one being “To give you an idea of how much Lindgren in his junior season at Mississippi State, I saw him pitch as a sophomore and he was so generic that I didn’t even pull out my camera to get a couple pitches to refer back to later.”

--Posted at 2:38 pm by Brian Cronin / 5 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

NYDN: Yankees not in play for Shields with A-Rod’s contract back

In case you held out hope that the Yankees would turn to James Shields now that Max Scherzer is officially off the market, well, the club is apparently sticking to its pledge this winter to stay away from big free agent contracts for starting pitchers, GM Brian Cashman reiterated on Wednesday.

And the return of a certain Yankee slugger may have something to do with that.

“We in fact had some contracts coming back on with Alex Rodriguez returning from his suspension. That was $21 million dollars coming back on the payroll.” Cashman said Wednesday night during an interview on WPAT-AM 930. “. . . We’ll still have about the second-highest payroll and I don’t see it going any higher.”

Yeah, I’d pass on Shields as well.  But not because of Rodriguez’s deal.

--Posted at 10:18 am by SG / 76 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

NYDN: Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez works out with Barry Bonds in California: report

Alex Rodriguez is apparently seeking a blast from the past in his quest to return to baseball after two hip surgeries, advancing age, bruising steroid investigations by Major League Baseball and the federal government, and, oh yes, a season-long suspension.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that Rodriguez has been spending time getting hitting tips at a San Rafael, Calif. baseball training facility from another steroid-stained slugger, home run king Barry Bonds, whose own battles against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs rival few players other than Rodriguez.

According to the Chronicle, Bonds — who spent time tutoring Giants hitters last season — has also worked with Dexter Fowler, who was traded Monday from the Astros to the Cubs, but his star pupil is Rodriguez, who will report for spring training with his Yankee teammates in Tampa in mid-February to attempt a comeback that is sure to generate controversy all across the game.

There are worse players to work out with than one of the greatest hitters of all time.  Who incidentally struck out every single time he faced the great Mariano Rivera.

--Posted at 9:21 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)

Monday, January 19, 2015

NYDN: Nationals sign free agent Max Scherzer while Yankees never made bid

So it appears, once and for all, with Max Scherzer reportedly agreeing to a seven-year deal with the Nationals late Sunday night, the Yankees weren’t bluffing about keeping a lid on spending this winter.

That makes sense for their long-term future, saying no to another huge contract likely to look bad on the back end. But it also makes it hard to see, considering the fragile state of their starting rotation, how they can be serious contenders in 2015.

In any case, after all the speculation, much of it from baseball executives and scouts, that the Yankees were lying in the weeds on Scherzer, it turns out they never got into the bidding for the top pitcher on the free-agent market, according to a team source.

Instead Scherzer goes to the Nationals, as first reported by And while that will make life tougher in the NL East for the Mets and their publicly-stated intention to make a huge leap to post-season contention in 2015, his signing for the moment surely resonates more loudly in the Bronx.

GM Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine had been publicly saying for months they weren’t going to spend huge money on a pitcher such as Scherzer. But their history of such signings, combined with the injury-related uncertainty that surrounds their starters, made it hard to believe.

Did anyone here really think the Yankees were going to make a stealth run at Scherzer?  I sure didn’t.

Can’t say I blame them.  They’re not a Scherzer away from being one of the better teams in baseball. 

--Posted at 9:55 am by SG / 30 Comments | - (0)

Friday, January 16, 2015

TGS NY: Better, worse or about the same? Scouts weigh in on Yankees’ offseason moves

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.

--Posted at 11:21 am by SG / 37 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

MLB: Steinbrenner: Yanks might not be done making moves

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!

--Posted at 9:50 am by SG / 19 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CBS Sports: Yankees trade for Rockies RP Chris Martin, DFA Gonzalez Germen

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?

--Posted at 6:34 pm by SG / 14 Comments | - (0)

NYDN: Yankees prospect injured in beating posts throwing video

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.

--Posted at 8:16 am by SG / 16 Comments | - (0)

Monday, January 12, 2015

NY Post: At long last, the Yankees have a hitting coach

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.

--Posted at 8:46 am by SG / 26 Comments | - (0)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hardball Talk: Yankees, Red Sox “heavy favorites” for Yoan Moncada

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.

--Posted at 12:43 pm by SG / 56 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

TGS NY: Why the Yankees still want Stephen Drew

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…

--Posted at 10:28 am by SG / 46 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 Source: Yankees finalizing 1-year deal with Drew

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.

--Posted at 12:20 am by Brian Cronin / 96 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015 Yankees re-sign former top prospect Slade Heathcott

The Yankees re-signed Slate Heathcott, a former top prospect, Monday, a person with knowledge of the transaction confirmed. Heathcott, just 24, was non-tendered last month.

Heathcott returns on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The New York Post was the first to report the news.

Heathcott was the Yankees’ first round pick, 29th overall, in 2009 and seemed to have a promising future. However, a series of injuries derailed his progress and cut down his value.

He missed significant periods of time in 2013 and 2014 with right knee issues. He had surgery on that knee last year and played just nine games, all for Double-A Trenton.

Heathcott likely will never deliver on all of that potential, but I can’t say that it doesn’t please me to see him get another chance with the Yankees. Him putting it all together for another team, while unlikely, would be brutal.

--Posted at 8:29 am by Brian Cronin / 32 Comments | - (0)

NY Post: Yankees spoke to Willie Randolph about coaching spot

The Yankees remain on the lookout for both a hitting coach and first base/infield coach and Willie Randolph was among those interviewed during the process.

The former Yankee second baseman and coach interviewed a month ago, according to a source. Mick Kelleher, who was let go along with hitting coach Kevin Long following the season, worked with the infielders and Randolph would figure to be a potential fit for that role.

Randolph, who was on the Yankees’ staff for 11 seasons after an 18-year playing career, also managed the Mets from 2005-08.

Randolph would be one very over-qualified first base coach, but if he wants the job, that’d be cool with me. Perhaps the Yankees plan to move Tony Pena back to first and have Willie become the bench coach again? But then that would leave Pena as the too over-qualified first base coach. Man, Tony Pena really should get another crack at a manager gig.

--Posted at 6:46 am by Brian Cronin / 4 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Fox Sports: Yankees finally have prospects to make something happen

The Yankees are unlikely to trade for Cole Hamels. But you know what? At this point, they probably could.

They’ve got Didi Gregorius, a young shortstop the Phillies like. They’ve got catchers, premium young arms, some intriguing bats.

“We’re much deeper now,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’re much more flexible. We’re younger, more diverse.”

Of course, the Yankees should have taken this approach years ago, but better late than never. For once, they’re actually getting more players back than they’re giving up in certain trades. Their farm system, ranked 18th by Baseball America last season, probably has ascended to the top 15 and could be nearing the top 10.

So, why wouldn’t Cashman use his newfound prospect power to go get Hamels, particularly when the Yankees’ rotation remains full of questions?

For one thing, Cashman would need to replace Gregorius, whom he acquired to be his new shortstop. For another, the GM probably is reluctant to sacrifice the rest of what it would take to get Hamels, particularly at a time when he finally is operating from a position of strength.

Remember, the Yankees under Cashman balked at trading right-hander Phil Hughes, outfielder Melky Cabrera and two others for lefty Johan Santana after the 2007 season. They then signed free-agent lefty CC Sabathia the following winter and went on to win the ’09 World Series.

Hamels or no Hamels, Cashman may not be done maneuvering, even after making six trades between Nov. 12 and Jan. 1. Right-hander Luis Severino, the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America, is close to untouchable; the Yankees believe that he could make an impact in the majors this season. But, Cashman, speaking generally about future acquisitions, said, “I’m open to anything.”

Open, and capable of making something happen.

Haven’t seen an article like this for a while - a puff piece about the Yankees!

I think Rosenthal is overselling Gregorious and Eovaldi, but he’s right that the Yankees are slowly but surely developing some good young talent (other than relievers, of course, which they always seem to be good at developing), which is good to see.

--Posted at 11:04 pm by Brian Cronin / 39 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Yes Network: New York Yankees deal left-handed pitching prospect Manny Banuelos to Atlanta Braves

The New York Yankees have reportedly started off the New Year with a trade involving one of their long-time top prospects.
On Thursday afternoon, YES Network’s Jack Curry tweeted that the Yankees have traded LHP Manny Banuelos to the Atlanta Braves for a pair of bullpen arms, RHP David Carpenter and LHP Chasen Shreve.

Other sources later confirmed the deal on Twitter, and the team made it official Thursday night.

Banuelos, 24, has long been considered one of the organization’s brightest prospects, from his signing as an international free agent in 2008 through his Tommy John surgery in 2012 and subsequent 2014 return. He split last season, his first action since the surgery, between three levels, going 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 76 2/3 innings spanning 26 appearances (25 starts).

Carpenter, 29, was a key piece of the Braves’ bullpen the last two seasons, going 10-5 with a 3.62 ERA and three saves in 121 appearances and striking out 141 in 126 1/3 innings. He will likely slide into the relief role that was vacated when Shawn Kelley was traded to San Diego earlier in the week, and as a first-year arbitration eligible player, Carpenter will be under team control through 2017.

Shreve, 24, made his major-league debut last season, posting a 0.73 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. An 11th-round pick of the Braves in 2010, the lefty had a career 3.22 ERA in the minors (including a 2.67 mark between Double-A and Triple-A last year) and will join a now-loaded group of southpaw relievers in the upper levels of the Yankees system.

While certainly not an awful trade, it sure as heck didn’t make a whole lot of sense, either. The Yankees just dumped Shawn Kelley in part because he didn’t have a role on the 2015 team and they then went out and traded for basically Shawn Kelley (to be fair, Carpenter is under team control through 2017 while Kelley was only under control through this season).

Shreve, though, is at least an intriguing prospect. He pitched really well in the Majors last season.

It’s a fair deal for both teams, so I’m fine with it, but the player with the most upside in the deal is clearly Banuelos, so it seemed odd for the Yankees to deal him to bolster an area that really didn’t need much help bolstering. Unless, of course, they just have lost faith in Banuelos completely, which very well might be the case.

--Posted at 8:47 pm by Brian Cronin / 44 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NY Times: Yankees Send Shawn Kelley to Padres for Johnny Barbato

In another transaction that adds youth to the team and saves a few dollars, the Yankees traded the veteran right-handed relief pitcher Shawn Kelley to the San Diego Padres for a 22-year-old minor league right-hander, Johnny Barbato, a promising pitcher who missed much of last year with an elbow injury.

Barbato had a 2.87 earned run average and 33 strikeouts in 311/3 relief innings for Class AA San Antonio in 2014, but the Padres shut him down because of a sore elbow, and he may eventually require surgery. The Yankees were aware of the extent of the injury before making the trade.

Barbato could be an interesting prospect if he wasn’t damaged goods.  But he is damaged goods.

Kelley was inconsistent last year, but his peripherals and 2013 performance point to that being a fluke rather than his newly established level.  I guess in the big picture the Yankees got two mostly useful seasons out of Kelley at a minimal cost then flipped him for a potential asset down the road, which should be applauded.

That being said, this move makes the 2015 Yankees worse but I don’t think it’s a big deal.  And Hal gets to save a few more bucks, which is always good to see.

--Posted at 9:05 am by SG / 50 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 29, 2014

CAIRO 2015 Extremely Early and Completely Useless 2015 Projected MLB Standings

Around this time every year I take a run at some projected standings for the upcoming season.  As the title says, this is extremely early and completely useless so think of it more as a goof than anything too serious.  So using the latest version of CAIRO which I’ll probably update this week and the depth charts from MLB Depth Charts and Rotochamp as a rough gauge of playing time, here’s how the 2014 MLB season looks as of November 20.

Fair warning, despite Hal Steinbrenner’s horseshit claims the Yankees are probably not “championship caliber.”

Date 12/29/2014
American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Red Sox 86 76 802 759 25.8% 9.7% 9.0% 44.6% 76-95
Blue Jays 85 77 761 716 24.4% 9.8% 9.3% 43.5% 76-95
Orioles 85 77 723 677 23.6% 9.5% 9.3% 42.5% 75-95
Rays 80 82 630 626 14.6% 6.5% 7.3% 28.3% 71-90
Yankees 79 83 667 672 11.6% 6.2% 6.8% 24.5% 69-89
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 86 76 697 660 32.8% 7.1% 6.6% 46.5% 76-96
Indians 85 77 726 691 29.5% 7.2% 7.5% 44.2% 75-95
White Sox 80 82 716 724 17.5% 5.4% 5.9% 28.9% 71-90
Royals 80 82 647 664 16.1% 4.8% 5.8% 26.8% 70-89
Twins 69 93 666 773 4.0% 1.0% 1.9% 7.0% 59-79
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Mariners 90 72 660 593 40.4% 10.3% 8.6% 59.4% 80-99
Angels 87 75 674 630 31.9% 10.4% 8.6% 50.9% 78-97
Athletics 84 78 667 655 21.2% 8.8% 8.5% 38.5% 74-93
Rangers 72 90 726 813 4.5% 2.2% 3.2% 9.9% 62-81
Astros 66 96 673 811 2.1% 0.9% 1.8% 4.7% 57-76
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Nationals 97 65 700 568 63.9% 8.5% 6.2% 78.7% 87-106
Marlins 83 79 645 630 16.0% 8.0% 9.2% 33.2% 73-93
Mets 82 80 625 604 13.9% 7.7% 8.6% 30.2% 72-92
Braves 74 88 589 647 4.6% 2.7% 4.2% 11.5% 64-83
Phillies 66 96 571 696 1.6% 0.7% 1.5% 3.8% 56-76
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Cardinals 91 71 649 564 41.5% 9.8% 9.2% 60.5% 81-101
Pirates 89 73 649 589 32.3% 9.8% 10.3% 52.4% 79-98
Brewers 81 81 671 659 14.0% 6.6% 8.2% 28.8% 72-91
Cubs 76 86 651 680 7.2% 3.6% 5.5% 16.3% 66-86
Reds 73 89 617 678 4.9% 2.5% 4.0% 11.4% 63-83
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Dodgers 96 66 694 575 52.8% 13.7% 8.3% 74.8% 86-106
Giants 91 71 638 557 34.4% 16.3% 11.1% 61.8% 82-101
Padres 80 82 610 618 8.9% 6.9% 8.4% 24.2% 70-89
Rockies 72 90 741 831 3.1% 2.3% 3.8% 9.1% 62-81
Diamondbacks 66 96 562 681 0.9% 0.7% 1.7% 3.3% 56-75

W: Projected final 2015 wins
L: Projected final 2015 losses
RS: Projected final 2015 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2015 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation

I guess I’m a bit surprised to see the Rays ahead of the Yankees but nothing else in the East stands out.  Then again, it’s not like one game is that meaningful given the margin of error inherent in an exercise like this.

Just eyeballing the rest of the majors, nothing really stands out although I’m guessing the Dodgers and Nationals projections are too high and I need to look at why that is.

Anyway, the Yankees aren’t going to project as much better than .500, even if they add Max Scherzer.  But their division isn’t great so they should have chance at the postseason, I guess.

Happy Hal-idays!

--Posted at 10:15 am by SG / 84 Comments | - (0)

Friday, December 26, 2014

ESPN: Hiroki Kuroda to return to Japan

Hiroki Kuroda is returning to Japan to pitch for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, an official with knowledge of the move told, confirming Japanese media reports.

The 39-year-old right-hander went 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts last season, his third with the New York Yankees.

Kuroda signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 2008 season after an 11-year career in Japan.

The Yankees believe they are set to begin the 2015 season with Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano in the rotation, a source told Plus, they have Ivan Nova due to return from Tommy John surgery in late May.

It was very much an expected move, so I’m not, like, devastated or anything like that. But boy, Cashman really needs to pick up another starter. “The Yankees believe they are set” sounds like “Bubba Crosby will be our starting center fielder.”

Thanks for three great seasons, Kuroda!

--Posted at 9:31 pm by Brian Cronin / 17 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

NYDN: David Phelps: Alex Rodriguez has friends on Yankees

Phelps, 28, credited A-Rod with helping him make the transition to the big leagues back in 2012, going so far as to say, “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He’s an incredible teammate who went out of his way early in my career to help me out. My first couple outings, I’d be in the dugout or in the clubhouse and he would come over and pick my brain; things like, ‘Why did you throw this pitch in this situation?’ ” Phelps said.

“Even when we were rehabbing in Trenton a couple years ago, he pulled me over and we talked about the business side of the game, protecting players’ rights, that kind of stuff. He’s incredibly intelligent on the field and with the business side of baseball. He has a lot to offer younger players.”

But, but teh STERIODS???!

Anyway, happy holidays or at least happy day off to all.

--Posted at 10:00 am by SG / 21 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 22, 2014 Cashman pushes Yankees forward with youth movement

The Yankees are prepared to open the 2015 season with a 24-year-old shortstop and a 23-year-old second baseman. Three of their projected five starting pitchers could be 26 or younger. Out in the bullpen, Shawn Kelley might be the only reliever who has celebrated a 30th birthday.

Yes, friends, the Yankees are getting younger. Never saw that coming, did you? This shift toward more youth is one of the interesting storylines of general manager Brian Cashman’s offseason.

He remains focused on keeping the Yankees competitive. At the same time, he has started something of a transition at a time when his farm system appears to be stronger than it has been in years.

The Yankees still won’t qualify as a young team. They’ll still be counting on some older players, but not nearly as many as in recent years when Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte were part of the core.

I applaud the Yankees trying to get younger, but I am just not that comfortable that the young players they’ve brought in are particularly good.  But if they were definitely good, they wouldn’t have come at the price they did.

It kind of happened suddenly, which is why my initial reaction to the Yankees trading Martin Prado and David Phelps for Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones was negative.  Upon a bit more thought, if the Yankees do actually now have a plan that doesn’t involve signing a bunch of washed up players while hoping for a dead-cat bounce, I embrace it.

It means they will probably not be very good this year, but they haven’t been very good for the last two seasons either.  But they should at least be a bit more interesting to watch than they have been over the last two seasons.

--Posted at 9:05 am by SG / 103 Comments | - (0)

Friday, December 19, 2014

NY Post: Yankees to get Marlins’ Eovaldi for Prado in five-player swap

The Yankees are close to bolstering their biggest question mark.

The team is finalizing a deal with the Marlins on a deal that would send Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Marlins for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and first baseman Garrett Jones plus power pitching prospect Domingo German, The Post’s Joel Sherman confirms.

Eovaldi, who turns 25 in February, went 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA last season for the Marlins. He gives the Yankees a proven arm in a rotation filled with unknowns.

This was a real gut punch, as watching a healthy Prado hit was one of the few things I was looking forward to with the 2015 Yankees on the offensive side of things, so it seemed quite curious to trade away one of the few strong parts of their biggest weakness. However, all said and done the trade is a pretty equal value deal, with the Yankees picking up a young pitcher who should at the very least eat up some innings. He’s likely a better bet to be a #4 starter than Phelps was. And Garrett Jones IS useful insurance for the inevitable Teix/A-Rod/Beltran injuries. And the Yankees might really be high on Rob Refsnyder, who could make up a lot of the value Prado was going to give just by himself, not even counting Eovaldi.

So while I don’t like the move, I understand it. Cashman is a smart GM when it comes to trades, so I really should just trust him. Plus this frees up about $6 million that could be put towards their budget for a starting pitcher, in which case this could be a really significant move if it helps them to land Scherzer.

EDITED TO ADD: Apparently the Yankes are paying $3 million of Prado’s salary this season and $3 million of his salary next season as part of the deal. I definitely don’t like that part. So this just frees up $3 million this season. 

--Posted at 1:59 pm by Brian Cronin / 132 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

ESPN New York: Yankees not targeting Max Scherzer

Yankees president Randy Levine confirmed Thursday that the team is highly unlikely to bid on right-hander Max Scherzer, the top starting pitcher in this offseason’s free-agent crop.

“The chances of us bringing in a guy for six [years] and $25 million or over in my opinion is virtually none,’’ Levine told reporters at a midtown news conference to announce a broadcast deal between the YES Network and the New York Football Club. “At the end of the day you have to be realistic in any organization.’‘

Max Scherzer, 30, is believed to be seeking a deal in line with the six-year, $155 million contract Jon Lester recently signed with the Cubs.
Levine did not mention Scherzer by name, but his words echoed those of two sources who spoke to Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

“He’s a great pitcher,” the source said of Scherzer, “but not even the Yankees can have three $25 [million] to $30 million pitchers on the payroll. You just can’t.

Honestly, I still wouldn’t count them out on Scherzer, as that sure sounds like it might be a case of them trying to drive his price down.

--Posted at 11:01 pm by Brian Cronin / 90 Comments | - (0)

NY Post: Yankees give a stiff-arm to veteran closer Jason Grilli

The Yankees have not said they are done adding pieces to a revamped bullpen, but it doesn’t appear veteran reliever Jason Grilli will be joining the cast.

“We talked to Cash [Brian Cashman], and he said ‘not at the moment,’ ’’ said his agent, the former slugger Gary Sheffield, when asked if the Yankees were interested in the right-handed Grilli, who has 50 career saves. “We will sit back with the offers we have and wait.’’

The Yankees probably have more pressing needs than their bullpen, although I still would have liked to see them bring in a closer like Grilli and use Betances and Miller more optimally.  But one will be the closer, and one will pitch the eighth, and they’ll lose a bunch of games in the sixth and seventh instead.

In addition to Grilli, Rafael Soriano is a free-agent reliever with plenty of closing experience. The 34-year-old, who pitched for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, has 207 career saves.


--Posted at 9:17 am by SG / 21 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

USA Today: The Yankees are making A-Rod a DH, and he could actually help them there

After signing free agent third baseman Chase Headley to a four-year deal, Yankees GM Brian Cashman suggested that returning slugger Alex Rodriguez will become a full-time designated hitter for the rest of his tenure in pinstripes.

“I can’t expect Alex to be anything,” Cashman told the Associated Press. “Even before the suspension, he wasn’t the same player at third base on the defensive or offensive side.

“We look forward to him hopefully solidifying himself as a tremendous DH for us.”

I’m not all that optimistic that Rodriguez is going to hit enough to be a tremendous DH, but Yankee DHs hit .230/.290/.372 last season.  Their only positions that had a lower OPS than that were right field (only two more years!) and shortstop.

Because of that, Rodriguez doesn’t necessarily have to be a tremendous DH to be an upgrade on last season.  CAIRO projects him at around .252/.333/.399, which is barely above replacement level at DH.  But over 500 PA, the difference between Rodriguez’s projection and the Yankee D"H"s last season would be about 14 runs.  That’s like a month’s worth of runs for the Yankees these days.

Anyway, I am not expecting a damn thing from Rodriguez this year, but I would absolutely love it if he has a decent season.  Not just because it would help the Yankees, who need a lot of help, but because it would annoy a lot of people.  And what’s better than annoying people, really?

--Posted at 10:13 am by SG / 48 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

YES Network: LHP Capuano returning to Yankees

Jack Curry is reporting that the Yankees have re-signed Chris Capuano for 1 year/$5 million.

I like Capuano as a back of the rotation arm, but the Yankees still need at least one more starter for me to be sanguine about their rotation next year. Hiroki Kuroda would do it, honestly. But Scherzer (at a more reasonable, sub $200 million, contract) would be better.

--Posted at 12:52 pm by Brian Cronin / 42 Comments | - (0)

NY Post: How Chase Headley perfectly embodies the 2015 Yankees

Perhaps no transaction better illustrates where the Yankees are right now than signing Chase Headley to a four-year, $52 million contract.

The business model that has mainly enriched the Yankees for nearly four decades — see problem, throw wallet at problem — has ebbed toward being obsolete to them.

The number of elite position players in the game is at an historic low. The subset of those that ever become available to the Yankees is minuscule. The number of teams that could battle the Yankees for that minuscule group is larger than ever, both in free agency and trade.

I agree with Joel Sherman’s point here.  It’s a lot harder to bring elite players to your team from elsewhere now.  This is why the Yankees will be mediocre until they start producing their own talent again.

--Posted at 9:56 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Yankees To Sign Chase Headley

Per Jon Heyman’s Twitter:


headley signing with yanks. 4 yrs, a little north of $50M

A year longer than I’d have preferred, but the terms seem fair overall.

--Posted at 11:03 am by SG / 69 Comments | - (0)

NYDN: Max Scherzer not likely to end up with Yankees, Brian Cashman says

Yankee fans hoping to see Max Scherzer in pinstripes probably won’t like what GM Brian Cashman said in a television appearance late Sunday night.

Asked by NBC’s Bruce Beck about Scherzer, the best free agent starter available this winter, Cashman said, “I think that’s a lot higher level than we’re willing to play in right now.

“I don’t think Yankee fans will be looking at Max Scherzer.”

Of course, Cashman could be posturing and the Yankees’ wants and needs could evolve over the off-season. But the club has been saying that it is unlikely to pursue a long-term contract for a pitcher that probably soars toward $200 million.

--Posted at 8:28 am by SG / 17 Comments | - (0)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Projecting the 2015 Yankees on December 12, 2014

In yesterday’s thread, there was some discussion about FanGraphs’ depth charts pegging the Yankees at around 82 wins.  Quickly eyeballing their depth charts told me that their playing time estimates are way off.  So I figured I’d take a shot at my own version of this and see how good the 2015 Yankees appear to be as of today, using the latest version of CAIRO which I just uploaded.


Fair warning before I start, it’s not pretty.

Let’s start with the position players.

Lineup Player Pos PA avg/obp/slg wOBA Outs BR BRAR Def WAR
1 Brett Gardner LF 525 .259/.337/.408 .320 353 65 14 5 1.9
2 Martin Prado 3B 575 .277/.331/.413 .318 404 67 20 5 2.5
3 Jacoby Ellsbury CF 575 .275/.337/.419 .323 391 75 28 4 3.2
4 Brian McCann C 500 .237/.307/.426 .307 360 57 23 0 2.3
5 Carlos Beltran RF 500 .264/.334/.455 .330 343 66 18 -5 1.3
6 Mark Teixeira 1B 415 .223/.319/.425 .313 292 50 6 4 1.1
7 Alex Rodriguez DH 300 .252/.333/.399 .315 207 35 2 0 0.2
8 Robert Refsnyder 2B 475 .251/.320/.385 .303 338 49 9 0 0.9
9 Didi Gregorius SS 500 .239/.307/.357 .289 354 48 10 -2 0.8
Starters 4365 .255/.325/.410 .313 3044 512 130 12 14.2
Bench Player Pos PA avg/obp/slg wOBA Outs BR BRAR Def WAR
John Ryan Murphy C 250 .224/.277/.356 .269 187 22 5 0 0.5
Austin Romine C 100 .224/.278/.340 .266 76 8 1 0 0.1
Chris Young OF 375 .228/.312/.420 .307 263 45 10 0 1.0
Eury Perez OF 200 .254/.296/.336 .276 144 18 -1 0 -0.1
Jose Pirela IF 150 .251/.305/.362 .288 107 14 2 0 0.2
Greg Bird 1B 100 .218/.311/.374 .296 71 11 0 0 0.0
Brendan Ryan SS 210 .209/.278/.290 .253 156 15 -1 3 0.2
Jonathan Galvez IF 50 .229/.286/.350 .273 37 4 0 0 0.0
Nick Noonan IF 20 .215/.263/.293 .244 15 1 0 0 0.0
Bench 1455 .230/.294/.359 .281 1056 137 16 3 1.9
Team Total 5820 .248/.318/.397 .305 4100 649 146 15 16.1

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
Outs: Estimated outs made at bat (including DPs)
Def: Estimated runs saved compared to average at position, pro-rated for playing time
WAR: BRAR + Def divided by 9.5

Although I have WAR listed for comparative purposes, we only really care about runs.  With this depth chart and these projections and based on the league average of about 4100 outs made at the plate in a typical season, the Yankees do figure to have a slightly better offense than last year according to linear weights, although they only pick up about 16 runs over last year’s meager 633.  Obviously, there are some assumptions here that may have a big impact on what they actually end up doing.  Robert Refsnyder may not make the team at all if they end up signing Chase Headley.  Or he could hit so well in spring training that he breaks camp as the starter and gets 600 or more PA and exceeds his projection while doing it.  But based on injury history and ages, I think these depth charts are realistic as of right now, although I am always open to suggestions.  We could even do a community playing time forecast if people are so inclined.

So that’s half of the team.  What about the other half? 

SP1 Masahiro Tanaka 165 150 64 20 32 161 3.61 3.25 3.33 3.5
SP2 Michael Pineda 165 142 62 17 38 137 3.55 3.29 3.45 3.6
SP3 CC Sabathia 150 155 84 22 42 134 4.86 4.29 4.10 1.1
SP4 David Phelps 150 149 79 20 61 126 4.79 4.39 4.42 1.2
SP5 Bryan Mitchell 100 113 63 15 54 72 5.65 5.25 5.21 -0.2
SP6 Ivan Nova 100 107 51 14 32 78 4.63 4.38 4.38 1.0
SP7 Luis Severino 50 54 25 5 17 41 4.38 3.96 3.81 0.6
SP8 Jaron Long 40 46 19 3 11 25 4.31 3.70 3.66 0.5
SP9 Jose De Paula 40 47 29 5 15 26 6.04 5.00 4.51 -0.2
SP10 Manny Banuelos 20 23 14 4 13 15 6.72 6.08 6.55 -0.3
Starters 980 985 492 127 315 817 4.52 4.09 4.09 10.8
CL Andrew Miller 70 51 26 6 31 96 3.26 2.88 2.80 1.4
SU Dellin Betances 70 60 29 6 36 83 3.77 3.41 3.46 1.0
SU Shawn Kelley 60 54 29 7 24 71 4.01 3.77 3.49 0.7
MR Adam Warren 60 58 26 6 23 49 4.04 3.88 3.95 0.7
MR Justin Wilson 50 46 27 5 26 41 4.82 4.49 4.43 0.1
MR Preston Claiborne 50 54 26 4 24 40 4.65 3.98 3.90 0.2
MR Esmil Rogers 50 55 29 7 20 40 4.99 4.83 4.65 0.1
MR Jacob Lindgren 30 30 19 2 21 30 5.11 4.55 4.05 0.0
LR Danny Burawa 30 34 19 2 23 27 5.39 4.89 4.55 -0.1
Relievers 470 442 230 45 229 476 4.41 3.93 3.81 4.2
Total 1450 1428 723 172 543 1294 4.49 4.04 4.00 14.9

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RAR: Runs saved above replacement level using RA
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RAR divided by 9.5)

Again, even though WAR is listed here, we only care about runs.  In an ideal world, the Yankees get 200 innings out of Tanaka and Pineda and Sabathia can stay healthy and pitch to that projection and give them another 180-200 innings.  In the world I live in, it’s not a question of if Tanaka’s elbow will go, it’s a question of when.  I’m also not sanguine on a full and healthy season out of Pineda.  I can’t imagine Sabathia’s knee will ever allow him to make 30 starts again in a season, and I’m also not sure that projection is not a pipe dream and his days of being a better than replacement level pitcher are gone.  Phelps should be a fairly reliable back of the rotation guy.  You can flip Warren and Mitchell if you like, but Warren doesn’t project much better as a starter.  And Nova may not be able to pitch at all, or may not be any good if he does.

CAIRO LOVES Luis Severino and Jaron Long, but that’s just minor league translations and I’m not sure either is a good bet to reach their projections.  It doesn’t particularly like anyone of the other potential starters.  It has never like Manny Banuelos and I’m not sure why.

The bullpen looks a little better, particularly if you think Betances is better than his projection.  I think most of the lower depth relievers can exceed their projections if used appropriately by Joe Girardi, but adding another strong reliever would be a big help.

But the most glaring weakness on this team right now looks like the rotation.  And as much as I didn’t want the Yankees to get involved in the Max Scherzer sweepstakes, I can’t see how they can go into the season even pretending to be “A Championship Caliber Team™” without him.

If the Yankees don’t make any other moves, here’s the net.

 RS 649 
 Def 15 
 RA 723 
 wpct .460 
 p162 75 

I figure out estimated winning percentage using PythagenPat, and remove the estimated defensive runs saved from the projected pitcher runs allowed.  Even with all that, the Yankees look like a 75 win team.  Maybe you can pretend they will exceed their run differential again like they have the last two seasons and get to 77 or 78 wins.

Adding Scherzer and Headly might give them 6-7 more wins.  That might make them a fringy contender.  And if I’m pessimistic on the health of Tanaka/Pineda, they can obviously be better than that.  But a middle of the road guess without lots of hopeful assumptions pegs them as a bad team right now.

Imagine what they would look like if CAIRO wasn’t designed to make the Yankees look super-awesome!

--Posted at 9:26 am by SG / 91 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

MLB Trade Rumors: Dodgers Sign Brandon McCarthy

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers signed Brandon McCarthy for 4 years/$48 million. That’s a lot, but not unreasonable.

It’s getting late early this offseason. They could really use Headley a lot, but they really need two starting pitchers. I like Brandon McCarthy for 4 years/$48 million a heck of a lot better than Max Scherzer for whatever it is he is asking for (I think 50% of the moon) or Edinson Volquez for any sort of deal. Hiroki Kuroda, please don’t retire!

If the Yankees have budgetary problems, why in the world did they give Andrew Miller 4 years/$36 million?

The Yankees seem to excel the last few years at having confusing offseasons.

--Posted at 1:53 am by Brian Cronin / 80 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NY Post: Brian Cashman’s complicated Yankees wish list

SAN DIEGO — While the likelihood of the Yankees seducing Max Scherzer or James Shields remains small, general maanger Brian Cashman failed to shut the door on the possibility the club will sign one of the free-agent starters.

“It’s not in my best interest to say,’’ Cashman said when asked if the Yankees were going to get in on the high-end starters after not spending money to retain closer David Robertson, to whom they didn’t make an offer.

So one day after watching Robertson sign a four-year deal for $46 million with the White Sox and leave the Yankees’ closer job vacant, the Bombers continue their search for a third baseman, a starter and bullpen help.

The hardest part of projecting what the Yankees could do this year is figuring out their mess of a rotation.  While a front three of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia could be very good, they could also be hurt and/or ineffective.  And who the hell is the fifth starter now after David Phelps, Adam Warren?  Waiting for Ivan Nova to come back from ligament replacement surgery is probably not going to be a panacea as it takes time to get back to full strength, and we don’t necessarily even know exactly what a full-strength Ivan Nova actually is.

The Yankees probably need at least two starting pitchers, because their organization depth in the rotation is pretty crappy.  Where will they find them?  Who knows…

--Posted at 8:25 am by SG / 53 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

MLB Trade Rumors: White Sox to Sign David Robertson

The White Sox have agreed to sign David Robertson to a four-year deal worth more than $40MM, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).  Robertson has been zeroed in on landing a four-year deal this winter and he found a team happy to give him one with a solid average annual value.

I guess the Yankees’ leverage wasn’t as good as they thought (by the way, when they say “in excess of $40 million,” they better mean close to $50, but I think it might very well be that the Yankees felt that Miller and Robertson were interchangeable and Miller didn’t cost a draft pick).

I get the logic behind this move, I really do, but man, it still is not a fun feeling.

It also sort of kills me that the White Sox are going for it so big right now (this signing, trading for Shark, signing LaRoche) in large part due to the fact that they have three star players signed to super affordable contracts, allowing them a lot of room to expand payroll - Chris Sale is one.

The other two, though, are 1. Jose Abreu, who the Yankees didn’t go after because, what? They wanted to keep DH open to rest guys? I seriously don’t know their motivation in not at least giving Abreu a look to drive his price up at the very least. The dude ended up signing for less than $12 million a year and the Yankees paid Carlos Beltran $45 million over 3 years at the same time and
2. Jose Quintana, who the Yankees cut (to be fair, unlike Abreu, no one here was saying, “No, not Jose Quintana!” And we complain about, like, David Adams being DFAed, so I’m not really saying that the Yankees screwed up so much as it was just an annoyingly bad break). .

Robertson always had trouble for some reason with the White Sox, so it is kind of funny to see him go pitch for them.

The Yankees are now down to just four players still on the team from the 2009 World Series Champions.

Thanks for a good Yankee career, David! I wish they had extended you before it got to this!

--Posted at 12:46 am by Brian Cronin / 83 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 8, 2014

NY Post: Yankees bought leverage for Robertson, Headley talks

SAN DIEGO — The acquisitions of Martin Prado in July and Andrew Miller last week were, of course, designed to improve the Yankees.

But in each case the Yankees also saw players who would create depth to withstand defections and, perhaps, give them leverage in negotiations.

One of Brian Cashman’s selling points to ownership on taking on Prado not just for the rest of 2014, but also the two years at $22 million he is owed through 2016 was that players of Prado’s skill level would cost far more in free agency.

Prado does give the Yankees a lot of flexibility in how they go about filling the gaping holes they have on their roster.  The more I think about it, the more I am ok with letting Headley go and giving Robert Refsnyder first crack at 2B, with Prado at 3B.  On paper, it might cost the Yankees about two wins, but I just don’t like the idea of committing to Headley for four years given his age, his known back issues and his good but not great track record.

As for Robertson, I would love to see him back, but if the Yankees decide he’s not worth what it will take to sign him I’d be fine with them finding a stop-gap type like Jason Grilli to pitch the ninth so they can leverage Betances and Miller more optimally.  I’m not sure I’d be as good with them anointing Miller or Betances as ‘the closer.’

--Posted at 11:53 am by SG / 37 Comments | - (0)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Yankees Starting Pitching - The Now (briefly), The Near Future and the Distant Future

We’ve been telling ourselves that the Yankees rotation is a strength all offseason. It very well could be, but it’s tenuous, especially following the Gregorious-Greene trade (and I’m not a huge fan of Greene). Even with CC relegated to a mid/end of the rotation starter, the Yankees rotation has serious elite level potential. When they were healthy, Tanaka and Pineda were top tier pitchers, Tanaka was arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball when he was actually pitching.

Unfortunately, they were not healthy. Pineda still carries concerns over the sturdiness of his shoulder and Tanaka is pitching with a compromised elbow. Phelps is OK as a back end starter, he might even be an above average 4th starter. No one is really sure what CC is anymore, It’s possible that he could pull a Mussina and reinvent himself as a crafty (actual) lefty. But he’s likely going to be more of a left-handed Phelps.

Even though I didn’t have a ton of faith in Greene’s ability to repeat his 2014 success, moving him opened up a huge hole in the rotation, not just in the fact that he was one of the 5 projected rotation members, but that he was also the only dedicated starter without any recent or pertinent health issues.

Nova will return at some point to bolster the rotation, and he could be anywhere from the #2 he has teased in the past to the AAAA starter he has confounded us with as well. Where it was important that the Yankees sign an established MLB starter before, it is now nearly as important that they sign 2. They have Whitley, Warren, Esmil Rogers and Jose De Paula but (spoiler) none of them are guys you want making a ton of starts.

Even if they do, with the health question marks surrounding the rotation, it is nearly certain that the Yankees will have to dip into their MiL depth. So let’s take a look at what’s available:


Let’s start with the only guy on this list who received any MLB time in 2014: Bryan Mitchell. Mitchell has been a Yankees top prospect for years. He’s always had huge stuff, a big fastball matched with a great curve and good tertiary pitches. The problem has always been his control/command. Despite his suspect ability to locate the ball, he’s steadily progressed through the Yankees MiL system and ended 2014 at AAA. In many ways he’s similar to Nova who also always had huge stuff, but never was able to parlay said stuff into dominant MiL results.

Here’s the general scouting report on Mitchell. He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball with movement. He actually has the ability to consistently throw strikes, but he does not have the ability to reliably spot it within the zone. Backing that up is an incredible hard curve that represents his clear #2 pitch. But, he’s not a 2 pitch guy, he also boasts a change up and a cutter, both of which have shown plus potential. Mitchell is a mirage of potential, if everything can come together you have a top of the line pitcher on your hands, maybe even an Ace. But he still needs to learn to aggressively throw strikes and trust in the dominance of his raw stuff. If he doesn’t it’s pretty easy to see the CAIRO projection below being very accurate.
CAIRO - 5.65 RA/ 5.21 FIP in 93 innings for -0.4 WAR (-0.9 WAR over 200 innings)

With Mitchell out of the way, Manny Banuelos looms large. This is a guy who has been on the verge of making the ML since 2012. However, since then he’s been injured and slightly underwhelming. One commenter on this board foolishly predicted that Banuelos would have a significant impact on the Yankees rotation in 2014 (I won’t name names). Instead, Banuelos reasonably spent the year shaking off rust and relearning how to pitch after basically 2 years off of pitching. In some ways, Banuelos is similar to Mitchell. He’s got big stuff but big questions. As a lefty, Banuelos sits in the low to mid-90s with his fastball and boasts a plus changeup and flashes a plus curve to complement his heat. Since his big 2010, Banuelos has struggled some with throwing strikes, partially because of an uptick and stuff and partially due to an elbow injury that culminated in TJS. However, in his innings limited return in 2014, he showed improved control with the same stuff he displayed before his injury.

Banuelos’ size is a small concern, he stands only 5’10,” but regaining his standing as an elite prospect by showing he can pitch deep into games is far more important. In 2014, he rarely breached 3 innings in a start, primarily because the Yankees wanted to limit his workload in a return season after nearly 2 full years off. With 3 plus pitches and ability to throw strikes and command all 3 from the left side, he’s still a potential front-end starter. But he has to regain his stamina before he is a ML option. Since the bulk of his upper minor numbers are a bit uninspiring due to his issues with control related to his injury, CAIRO is not particularly optimistic, I don’t think Banuelos will have an issue out performing his projections if he is called upon.
CAIRO - 6.72 RA/6.55 FIP in 65 innings for -0.8 WAR (-2.5 WAR over 200 innings)

We’ve already hit two guys with long standing hype, with those two out of the way, it’s hard to ignore the Yankees prospect with the most helium: Luis Severino. Severino has had two exemplary season in the Yankees system, dominating the low minors and broaching the high minors across two years from 2013 to 2014. Realistically, there’s no reason to expect Severino until 2016, but things could go really poorly for the Yankees, or more optimistically, really, really well for Severino. He has the ability to blast through AA and AAA and force a promotion to the ML if everything really clicks and the Yankees have a need.

In some ways, Severino is the right handed version of Banuelos. He’s a bit undersized (6’ flat), but boasts a big fastball and plus secondary pitches. He sits in the low to mid 90s, but can vary his fastball from the low 90s to the mid-90s with an easy motion that provides deception and good movement. As for secondary pitches, he boasts a slider and a changeup, giving him good weapons against both sides of the plate. While he boasts good stuff across the board like Banuelos and Mitchell, he doesn’t carry any major questions, consistently showing the ability to throw his pitches for strikes deep into games.
CAIRO - 4.38 RA/ 3.81 FIP in 52 innings for 0.5 WAR (1.9 WAR over 200 innings)

Other potential 2015 contributors: Zach Nuding, Jaron Long

But, the future doesn’t end at the end of 2015. The Yankees have other pitching prospects who will be ready sometime after 2015:


Ian Clarkin was one of the Yankees 3 first round/compensation round picks in 2013. He’s a lefty with a fastball in the low 90s and a very good curveball. He rounds out his repertoire with a changeup that still needs work, but is a viable pitch now. Long term, he has a chance to develop a bit more velocity and have his changeup develop into a 3rd plus pitch. As it is he looks like he could be a solid mid to front of the rotation starter combining his mature approach to pitching with 3 solid to plus pitches. Clarkin could break in sometime during 2016 if the Yankees are aggressive with him, but 2017 is a more likely date for him to make the MLB as a regular.

Ty Hensley is a big, powerful righty, basically your prototypical power pitcher. He sits in the low to mid 90s from the right side with the ability to hit the upper 90s. His fastball isn’t just velocity, also showing late movement to help prevent solid contact against it. A 12-6 power curve is his clear second pitch, grading out as a plus, he has the ability to throw is in the zone for strikes and out of the zone for swings and misses. His changeup is still developing and is the most important pitch for him to develop into the frontline starter he has the potential to be. Sadly, he’s been sidelined by a series of injuries to his core, including surgery for a sports hernia. During limited time in 2014 Hensley displayed the ability to limit hits while striking out plenty of batters. The potential is there, Hensley just needs to stay healthy and build up some stamina on his arm. Due to his injuries, he’s probably about a half season behind Clarkin, despite being drafted a year earlier. Look for him sometime in 2017.

Austin DeCarr was the top starter taken by the Yankees in the 2014 draft (3rd round). He has an interesting back ground and is a guy worth keeping an eye on. He was drafted out of HS, but was really in a “post-grad” year, so he’s around a year older than a normal HS pick. Unlike most high school picks, there’s not a ton of projection for DeCarr, he’s already as big as you’d like to see him, 6’3” 220. He throws reasonably hard, sitting in the low 90s, but there’s not really any hope of any improvement. Fortunately, he backs that up with a hard, hammer curve that is fearsome. His changeup still needs work, and his whole package is a bit raw (coming from a Northern state). But he could move quickly and looks like potentially a solid, if unspectacular starter. He has an outside chance to make the MLB in 2017, but 2018 is more likely.

Other guys to keep an eye on: Rookie Davis (2016), Brady Lail (2016/17), Caleb Smith (2017), Domingo Acevedo (?)

--Posted at 6:28 pm by Snuggles T. Porcupine / 32 Comments | - (0)

Friday, December 5, 2014

MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees To Sign Andrew Miller

The Yankees and Andrew Miller have agreed to a four-year, $36MM contract, tweets Jack Curry of the YES Network. Miller is a client of Frontline Athlete Management.

The 29-year-old Miller (30 next May) broke out in a huge way in 2014, pitching to a 2.02 ERA with an eye-popping 14.9 K/9 (an AL record), 2.5 BB/9 and a 46.9 percent ground-ball rate in 62 1/2 innings for the Red Sox and Orioles. He went on to throw another 7 1/3 shutout innings with an 8-to-1 K/BB ratio in the postseason as well. Miller will pair with Dellin Betances — an electric breakout story himself — at the back of the Yankee bullpen, giving manager Joe Girardi a pair of dominant late-inning options.

This probably means David Robertson is gone, which sort of stinks, but CAIRO projects them almost identically for next year.

Robertson 68 67 53 22 21 7 24 2 88 2.97 2.83 2.84 14 1.4
Miller 62 60 46 22 19 5 26 4 82 3.26 2.88 2.80 11 1.1

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RAR: Runs saved above replacement level using RA
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RAR divided by 10)

When you see that, and you factor in that the Yankees will likely be spending less on Miller and will gain a compensation pick when Robertson signs elsewhere, this is a pretty solid move.  If they do bring back Robertson as well, they could have a really nasty back-end of the bullpen, but I can’t see that happening at this point.

It was a treat to see Robertson come up as a non-prospect and become a truly magnificent reliever, and I’m sad that he’s likely gone, but it’s pretty hard to justify paying him what he’s looking for.  I wish the Yankees had tried to extend him prior to the season when they may have been able to keep him at a more reasonable committment, but they didn’t and here’s where we are now.

Last year was Miller’s first truly dominant season, but his stuff is top-shelf, and he’s got a great prospect pedigree.  He’s also a completely different pitcher now as a reliever than he was when he was a struggling starter.  I don’t know that he carries more risk to be ineffective than any other pitcher, really.  So I’ll give the Yankees a lukewarm thumbs up here, only because of my emotional attachment to Robertson.  As a pure baseball move, I can’t find fault with this if this is the going rate for a high-end free agent reliever.

--Posted at 3:57 pm by SG / 54 Comments | - (0)

CBS New York: Report: Yankees Acquire Didi Gregorius, Trade Shane Greene In 3-Team Deal

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees have traded for Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius.
It’s a three-team deal with the Tigers and D-backs. Detroit is getting starting pitcher Shane Greene from the Yankees and Arizona is getting starting pitcher Robbie Ray and a minor leaguer from Detroit.
According to WFAN’s Sweeny Murti, general manager Brian Cashman tried to acquire Gregorius at last year’s Winter Meetings but was unsuccessful.

This trade really doesn’t make sense for Detroit, as they specifically targeted Robbie Ray in the Doug Fister trade just last year and now they’re flipping him for Shane Greene? Weeeeird.

As for the Yankees, this is getting a very strong value for Shane Greene, who had a great rookie season but whose minor league numbers never suggested that he would be as good as he was in his first year as a Yankee, suggesting perhaps that there was a crash coming. Gregorius is a very good defender with such good range that it should help whoever the Yankees pair him with at second. In addition, there are signs that Gregorius’ is not as bad of a hitter as he has shown in the Majors so far. As Marc Simon pointed out, Gregorius was one of just 34 Major Leaguers with a hard hit rate of 20% or greater last season. That’s a good sign for a hitter (he was right behind Giancarlo Stanton). Plus, as a lefty he should do well with the short porch at Yankee Stadium (his first Major League at-bat was a home run at Yankee Stadium).

Good move by Cashman, although it highlights that the Yankees now really need another starting pitcher, possibly two even.

--Posted at 10:47 am by Brian Cronin / 74 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

TGS NY: Source: Yankees cooling on Chase Headley, high on Rob Refsnyder

Now, however, the Headley fever seems to have cooled, especially since the Pablo Sandoval deal with the Red Sox—five years, $95 million—seems to have stiffened Headley’s resolve to get a five-year deal of his own. According to a baseball source I spoke with Tuesday, the Yankees are not willing to give Headley five years, considering his age (31 in May), so-so offensive production the past two seasons, and lingering lower back problems, which could lead to surgery at some point over the length of a five-year contract.

This could all be posturing, of course, in the hopes that Headley will back off on his demands. Or it could be that the Yankees are seriously considering an influx of youth in their infield.

The source, who has intimate knowledge of the team’s inner workings, said the Yankees are exploring the possibility of using Martin Prado at third, where he has played most of his big league games, and giving young Rob Refsnyder every opportunity to win the second-base job in spring training.

“There are a lot of people in [the Yankees’] organization who want to give Refsnyder a shot,” the source said. “They think he’s [their] best hitter.”

No way in hell I go to five years on Headley.  Refsnyder does appear to deserve a chance, and CAIRO thinks he’s ready to hit passably well at the MLB level in 2015 (.251/.320/.385).  Sadly, that line may actually make him the Yankees’ best hitter.  If he hits his 65% CAIRO forecast of .261/.337/.412 he is almost at Headley’s baseline.

Even if Refsnyder’s not their best hitter (and it’s not fair to ask a rookie to provide the kind of dynamic game-changing offense that TPBG™ provides), Refsnyder at least provides some intrigue and is a player I would find interesting to watch on a team that has become increasingly difficult to watch.  His glove is likely still a work in progress and he may not hit right out of the chute, but I would be fine with the Yankees taking a chance on him. 

Hopefully if they do so, they’re willing to be patient with him if he exhibits any growing pains.

--Posted at 2:31 pm by SG / 91 Comments | - (0)

CBS Sports: Yankees non-tender Slade Heathcott, Jose Campos, David Huff

The Yankees non-tendered outfielder Slade Heathcott, and pitchers Jose Campos and David Huff prior to Tuesday’s deadline, making them free agents, reports the New York Post.

I’m a bit surprised that the Yankees non-tendered Heathcott and Campos, but without knowing what their medical reports look like I’ll assume they know what they’re doing.  I’ll ignore the fact that they could have kept them both for less than one-fourth of what they will be paying Esmil Rogers to provide replacement level innings, because that makes it harder to assume that they know what they’re doing.

As for Huff, I expect him to be in pinstripes again at some point during the 2015 season.

--Posted at 9:34 am by SG / 17 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 Yankees Avoid Arbitration With Esmil Rogers

I was on the fence with whether the Yankees would non-tender Esmil Rogers, as they definitely seemed to be a fan of him after they picked him up and he certainly has some talent, so it is not a huge shock that they avoided arbitration with him and re-signed him to a deal for $1.48 million (roughly half of which is guaranteed), but it is still a bit of a surprise, especially since that means that there is one less 40-man roster spot available for other moves.

Ben-Nicholson Smith reported it first. Jon Heyman was the first one to get the $1.48 million figure.

--Posted at 7:58 pm by Brian Cronin / 17 Comments | - (0) Stay or go? Yankees must decide on 6 arbitration-eligible players

The Yankees have a bunch of decisions to make today.

Teams have until midnight to offer new deals to unsigned players. The Yankees six players eligible for salary arbitration. If it doesn’t offer one of them a contract, he would become a free agent.

Some of the Yankees’ decisions are easy — of course they’ll offer Michael Pineda a contract. But what about relievers David Huff and Esmil Rogers, two players they might consider replaceable?

The six Yankees eligible for arbitration are:

David Phelps
Shawn Kelley
Ivan Nova

I am guessing they will tender everyone but Huff and Rogers.

--Posted at 9:23 am by SG / 35 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 1, 2014

MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees In “Serious Pursuit” Of Andrew Miller

The Yankees are in “serious pursuit” of lefty Andrew Miller, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). Olney adds that given the teams that are showing the most interest in Miller, a four-year deal is likely, as others have indicated.

Miller was said last week to have multiple three-year offers already in hand, leading to further speculation that four years was the likely outcome. Over the weekend, reports indicated that he’d pared his list of possible destinations down to eight clubs, with AL East rivals Boston and Baltimore among the teams to have shown interest. On Saturday, Miller’s agent, Mark Rodgers, told the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo that the lefty was advancing toward a decision.

So as I read this, I wonder to myself if I would rather have Miller for the next four years at let’s say $10M or Robertson at $12M?  Luckily, I can just ask CAIRO.  Here’s how it compares the two for 2015 as Yankees.

Miller: 60 IP, 46 H,  22 R, 19 ER, 5 HR, 26 BB, 82 K, 3.26 RA, 2.88 ERA, 2.80 FIP
Robertson: 67 IP, 53 H, 22 R, 21 ER, 7 HR, 24 BB, 88 K, 2.97 RA, 2.83 ERA, 2.84 FIP

I’d rather have both honestly, but that’s not very likely.  I suppose you can make the case that you’d rather have Miller, the difference in salary (if there is one) and the draft pick over Robertson.  But Robertson has been better for longer and Miller has never been as good as he was last year.  They are the same age so that’s not an issue.

Give me one and I suppose I’m happy.  Well, not happy.  Less unhappy.

--Posted at 9:16 am by SG / 47 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

NYDN: Yankees rule out Jimmy Rollins for shortstop

The Yankees must find a replacement for Derek Jeter, but apparently it’s unlikely to be Philadelphia star Jimmy Rollins.

The Yanks found the price tag for a potential trade for Rollins too high when they called the Phillies to broach the subject, a baseball official with knowledge of the conversation confirmed. ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported via Twitter Wednesday that the Yankees offered a “utility player” and the Phillies had much more in mind because of how much they value their shortstop.

Plus, Stark reported, Phils GM Ruben Amaro described Rollins as “somebody we want on our club” who would be “very hard to replace.”

Amaro seems like a serious pain in the ass to deal with, doesn’t he?

Rollins would have been a nice stop-gap pick up at the right price.  CAIRO projects that Rollins would hit .247/.323/.385 in 637 PA as a Yankee, which would be worth about 2.6 offensive WAR.  But he only would have been a temporary solution to what currently looks like a long-term need.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful that Amaro is not the Yankees’ GM.  And I am thankful for the readers here.  Enjoy your meals!

--Posted at 8:06 am by SG / 55 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NYDN: Yankees won’t get into bidding war for Chase Headley, according to source

Pablo Sandoval collected a payday of nearly $100 million from the Red Sox. Now Chase Headley is primed to cash in with a meaty contract of his own.

No, Headley won’t be looking at a deal approaching nine figures like the Panda did, but with Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez both headed to Boston, the 30-year-old now represents the best −only? − third baseman available on the free-agent market this winter.

The Yankees remain interested in bringing Headley back to the Bronx, where he hit .268/.371/.398 in 58 games, a stark improvement from the .229/.296/.355 slash line he posted in 77 games with the Padres before being traded to the Bombers.

Headley was believed to be seeking a three-year deal when the offseason began, but now that Sandoval and Ramirez have scored deals of five and four years, respectively, Headley − a better defender than Sandoval, although a slightly lesser offensive weapon − is likely to land himself a four-year deal worth $56 million-$60 million according to two industry sources.

I finally got around to starting my 2015 CAIRO projections, which are probably not ready for release quite yet, but they peg Headley to hit something like .254/.348/.414 with 18 HRs over 594 PA as a Yankee in 2015, which would be worth about 2.5 wins above a replacement level 3B.  If you believe DRS, he projects to save about seven runs over an average 3B defensively.  If you lean more towards UZR, he’s closer to 10 runs above average defensively. 

Let’s say he’s a 3.5 win 3B right now, and would likely lose about 0.6 wins per year.  A four year deal for Headley gets you about 10 WAR.  What’s the fair market rate for that?  Apparently it’s $56-60 million which seems reasonable.  I think I’d do it if I were the Yankees, although if I were the Yankees there’s a whole bunch of other crap I’d be doing as well. 

--Posted at 8:03 am by SG / 42 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NY Times: This Time, the Yankees Shrug as the Red Sox Spend

In years past, if the Boston Red Sox made a high-profile acquisition in the off-season, the Yankees sometimes reacted with one of their own.

When Boston signed Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Yankees went and picked up Kei Igawa. When the Red Sox were close to signing Mark Teixeira, the Yankees swept in at the last moment and stole him away. And when the Red Sox wanted Jose Contreras, the Yankees opened the vault for him, too.

But those days have been over for a long time. On Monday, the Red Sox committed nearly $200 million to sign Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez in a surprising combination of moves that resembled Yankees tactics of the past. But the Yankees barely flinched.

They remained quiet, sticking to their off-season plan to add specific and moderate pieces without spending nearly as lavishly as they did a year ago. Back then, the additions of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Beltran, Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson came at a cost of roughly half a billion dollars over the length of all the deals, and the Yankees still did not make the playoffs.

The hope is that the contracts will still pay off, particularly with Ellsbury, McCann and Tanaka.

Yeah, keep hoping.

--Posted at 10:16 am by SG / 26 Comments | - (0)

Monday, November 24, 2014

CBS Sports: Sweeny’s Yankees Notes: D-Rob, ‘Replacing Jeter,’ Finding A Lefty Pitcher

I spoke to an MLB executive this week who believes David Robertson will get a three-year deal for $39 million or a four-year deal for $52 million. Some pretty good neighborhoods to occupy.

I would think the three-year deal is one the Yankees would easily do, but the four-year deal is something they might have to think more about. Consider that in two years Dellin Betances will hit arbitration and start to make more significant money, too.
But the more I think about it, the more I’m fascinated by Jimmy Rollins. He turns 36 next week, but has only one year left on his contract in Philadelphia for $11 million. He’s realistically only slightly above average at this stage, both offensively and defensively. But Rollins is also a veteran with leadership skills and some swagger. Those qualities will serve him well as the guy “replacing Derek Jeter.” It’s not a long-term commitment, and if the Yankees are willing to take on the entire salary it might not take a lot in prospect cost to get him.

Robertson’s gone.  I guarantee it.  It bothers me that the Yankees didn’t try to extend him before last season when they could have probably kept him for a more reasonable price.  Then again, it’s not like closer is going to really matter with the team looking like a mid 70s win team, maybe high 70s if things break just right.

As for Rollins, sure, why not?

--Posted at 9:24 am by SG / 73 Comments | - (0)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Baseball America: Yankees Sign No. 23 International Prospect Bryan Emery

Colombian outfielder Bryan Emery, the No. 23 international prospect for July 2, has signed with the Yankees.

Emery, 16, was the last available player from Baseball America’s Top 30 international prospects list for July 2, and the signing gives the Yankees 10 of those top 30 players.

Emery is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds with a loose swing from the left side. He had been switch-hitting, though he’s hit exclusively lefthanded in recent months. He’s strong and generates easy, explosive power, though leading up to July 2, there were mixed reviews about his game hitting, partly because of his environment.

Adding young and talented players is certainly a good thing.  And Emery’s young enough that he should be hitting his peak age of 27 by the time the Yankees are relevant again.

--Posted at 9:25 am by SG / 47 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, November 20, 2014 Which Yankees will get Rule 5 Draft protection today?

Today is the deadline for teams to add Rule 5 Draft eligible players to their 40-man rosters. Any players who are eligible, but aren’t added to a roster, can be plucked away by other teams during the Dec. 11 selection.

Players eligible for the draft mostly include high school and international players signed in 2010 and college players signed in 2010.

The Yankees currently have 36 spots filled on their 40-man roster. Here’s a look at the notable players they will consider protecting.

I’ll save you the pain of watching the slide show and list the 10 players the article runs through:

1. Tyler Austin, OF
2. Mason Williams, OF
3. Kyle Roller, 1B
4. Mark Montgomery, RHP
5. Branden Pinder, RHP
6. Cito Culver, SS
7. Zach Nuding, RHP
8. Matt Tracy, LHP
9. Nik Turley, LHP
10. Danny Burawa, RHP

I think Burawa and Austin are just about locks to be added to the 40 man roster.  That leaves two spots for the other eight, although they could also free up spots being held by some of the more fringy players on the roster, like David Huff, Eury Perez, Zelous Wheeler, or Jacoby Ellsbury.

Update: Per Mark Feinsand on Twitter:

The Yankees added OF Tyler Austin, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Branden Pinder & OF Mason Williams to 40-man roster to protect them from Rule 5.

--Posted at 9:39 am by SG / 46 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fangraphs:  Yoan Moncada Is Affecting All of International Baseball

I point all of this out because this international bonus pool penalty fund had about $10 million in it through the first two signing periods under the new roles.  After the Yankees obliterated bonus records this year, along with less extreme overages by the Red Sox, Rays and Angels, another roughly $23 million was added to the fund.  Given the runaway hype train that is Moncada’s projected bonus, I’d estimate his upcoming deal will add another $40 million to the fund.  That means that a fund that was probably never intended to have much more than $10 million in it will soon have over $70 million in it.  In effect, the leeway around MLB’s international rules will net them over $70 million that some argue should be going to these kids, but instead will presumably be going toward creating an international draft, the one thing nearly no one involved in this market wants to happen.

Another excellent article by Kiley McDaniel about the world of international baseball, specifically about the fund where the penalty money on whichever team bids on Moncada will go - it really does sort of sound like the Yankees will almost single-handedly destroy the current international free agent system. Although, it sure looks like they’re just playing the game as presented to them. Make sure to read the article - there’s also a really good section where McDaniel explains how an international draft wouldn’t really work for anyone.

Tip of the hat to Snuggles for the link.

--Posted at 1:33 pm by Brian Cronin / 27 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NY Post: How Elvis Andrus fits into Yankees’ winter juggling act

Everything the Yankees have their prints on comes with a catch.

How much of Elvis Andrus’ money will the Rangers swallow if they are serious about moving the 26-year-old shortstop who begins an eight-year deal worth $118 million in 2015 that houses a $23 million vesting option for 2023?

With the Yankees looking for Derek Jeter’s replacement, they are intrigued about adding a young player with six years of big league experience and a two-time All Star. Yet, several talent evaluators doubt the Yankees have what the Rangers are looking for — starting pitching and/or a corner outfielder — unless the Rangers go into full salary dump mode.

The Rangers also are interested in seeing how much interest there is in 32-year-old outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who has six years and $116 million left on his pact. But the Yankees are set with Brett Gardner in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center and have their fingers firmly crossed that Carlos Beltran will be able to play right field.

There’s been a lot of recent murmuring about the Yankees and Andrus, so there might actually be a fire to go with all of that smoke. If that’s the case, I do appreciate that the narrative is already about the Rangers eating money on the deal.

By the way, yesterday I made a joke about Jon Heyman articles and how they always seem to end up with stuff like “This Scott Boras client is undervalued” or “A mystery team is interested in this Scott Boras client.” Well, shockingly enough, Heyman has a new article out - “Might Yanks revisit their low-key winter plan and shoot for Scherzer?” Here’s a choice quote, “Scherzer looks like such a standout as a free agent—a 30-year-old pitcher with a dynamic fastball, stellar change-up and slider, and an emerging curve—that it’s been shocking to see such abject silence to this point.” Boy, I wonder who Scherzer’s agent is?

--Posted at 4:07 am by Brian Cronin / 33 Comments | - (0)

Monday, November 17, 2014

NY Daily News: Yankees bullpen Brian Cashman’s top priority, following model of Kansas City Royals

It’s a changing game where, as both the Royals and the Giants demonstrated, the bullpen is everything now. As Cashman discovered last year when CC Sabathia went down and was hardly missed, and the subsequent loss of Masahiro Tanaka was likewise barely felt, you don’t need a 250-inning, 20-win horse to compete. It’s nice if you have one (or two, if you’re the Los Angeles Dodgers), but the vast majority of starting pitchers now are out of the games after six innings and/or 100 pitches, and if you don’t have the relievers who can consistently get you those last nine outs, you’re sunk.

This is why re-signing David Robertson is Cashman’s absolute top priority and why, if Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy get above-market, four-year offers elsewhere, the Yankees will simply move on.

With Robertson in tow, and Dellin Betances supported by Wilson and emerging system lefty Jacob Lindgren, plus Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren, the Yankees could have one of the deepest bullpens in the AL.

The Yankees would like to re-sign McCarthy, but as much as they were impressed by how his ability to produce ground balls played to Yankee Stadium, they aren’t allowing themselves to overlook his entire career — which is essentially that of an under-.500 pitcher, with an ERA of over 4.00 and more hits allowed than innings.

Much like Peter Gammons, while I disagree with most of Bill Madden’s positions on baseball-related matters, I do respect him as one of the top baseball insiders out there (and unlike say, Jon Heyman, Madden doesn’t seem to have a particular angle with his insider information. No “Sources say that this Scott Boras client has multiple big offers out there” or “The most undervalued free agent out there right now is this Scott Boras client”). So when Bill Madden says that the Yankees’ top priority is re-signing David Robertson, I tend to believe him. However, that information conflicts with other insiders who say that Headley is the Yankees’ top priority. It will be interesting to see which insider is correct.

By the way, speaking of issues I have with Madden, check out this quote:

Meanwhile, with or without Headley, Cashman knows he’s going to need a backup first baseman but that could be anyone, from free agent Mike Carp to unsung, non-roster system guy Kyle Roller, who hit 26 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this past season. Did somebody say Alex Rodriguez? Only in Fantasyland.

Out of nowhere Alex Rodriguez insults? You know you’re reading the Daily News!

--Posted at 5:57 am by Brian Cronin / 45 Comments | - (0)

Friday, November 14, 2014

NY Post: Yankees’ offseason strategy is like high-stakes game of chicken

The Yankees have unleashed their July strategy in November.

So often the stalking horse of the offseason, including last year when they spent nearly half-a-billion dollars on four major free agents, the Yanks are deploying a more deliberate strategy this time.
It is the ploy general manager Brian Cashman so often uses during the season in trade discussion: 1) Aggressively make clear what you want. 2) Define a price in dollars or player return that you are willing to pay. 3) Do not budge much, if at all, from that price. 4) Be able to walk away if the price is not acceptable and move on to the next option.

This is essentially high-stakes chicken, seeing who will blink. The Yankees gamble that regardless of what the other side says, they really do not have other good options and eventually will come back to the Yanks. Often it is because teams are looking to move dollars, and the Yankees correctly surmise they are the only ones willing to accept it.

We saw this, for example, play out twice during last season with the Diamondbacks. The Yankees offered Vidal Nuno for Brandon McCarthy and waited more than a month until Arizona eventually accepted that.
Then, in the few weeks before the July 31 trade deadline, the Yankees offered Pete O’Brien for Martin Prado. Arizona was fixated on catcher John Ryan Murphy. The Yanks actually became convinced the D’backs would not blink in that request. Then, with less than an hour to go until the deadline, Arizona called to say it would accept O’Brien.

And we already have seen this strategy shifted to this offseason.

Interesting info from Sherman about the Diamondbacks asking for Murphy. What I also found interesting today was reading somewhere else that Cashman had tried to trade Cervelli for Justin Wilson two years ago. I remember him trying to trade Cervelli for a Pittsburgh reliever, but I didn’t know it was Wilson.

--Posted at 3:48 pm by Brian Cronin / 39 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, November 13, 2014 Yankees working on multiyear deal for Robertson

The Yankees have opened negotiations on a multiyear deal with free-agent closer David Robertson only days after the right-hander turned down a $15.3 million qualifying offer, general manager Brian Cashman said on Wednesday as the annual General Managers Meetings at the Arizona Biltmore went into their second full day.

“I met with Robertson’s guy yesterday,” Cashman said, referring to Robertson’s California-based agent Scott Leventhal, during his media availability. “We had our first post-qualifying offer turndown discussion. There’s really nothing to report, but yeah, we met with him for a while.”

Man, what is up with these headlines? First the Yankees “land” Justin Wilson and now this headline, which sure makes it sound like the Yankees and Robertson are working out a deal while the actual article itself makes it sound like Cashman and Robertson’s agent are only barely touching base with each other and not actually coming together to do a deal as of yet. I don’t think there is anything here to really report about, but since they were so willing to go with this headline I figured I couldn’t pass up posting it here in case they actually are a lot closer to a deal than we think.

--Posted at 4:52 am by Brian Cronin / 37 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 Yankees land reliever Wilson from Pirates

he Yankees have acquired left-hander Justin Wilson from the Pirates in exchange for catcher Francisco Cervelli, both clubs announced on Wednesday evening.

Wilson, 27, was 3-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 70 appearances with Pittsburgh in 2014, and he projects to compete for a bullpen role with the Yankees this coming spring. In three Major League seasons, the lefty is 9-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 136 appearances.

“Thank you Pittsburgh!” Wilson said on his Twitter account. “Will never forget the great time I had with the Pirates. Going to miss the organization and my teammates, but excited to join the Yankees! Tradition and a first class organization. Can’t wait for Yankee baseball. Hope I look good in pinstripes!”

You have to love that headline. “No way, they didn’t land THE Justin Wilson!” How do you title it “Yankees land Wilson”? Wilson is a legitimately talented pitcher and has room to grow and might become a top notch reliever (he’s already a good one) but you don’t “land” guys like him.

Silly rhetorical semantics aside, I don’t like the deal but I don’t hate it either. I’d like to believe that Cervello had more trade value than a decent reliever, but maybe he didn’t. I sort of trust Cashman to know what Cervello’s trade market was. And between Murphy and Romine, the Yankees should have enough at backup catcher, especially considering Cervello’s penchant for getting injured. It’s hilarious that the Pirates will be going with a Cervello/Chris Stewart catching platoon next season. They are apparently following up a repeat of the 2012 Yankee catching platoon (Martin/Stewart) with a repeat of the 2013 Yankee catching platoon (Cervello/Stewart)!

Anyhow, good luck to Cervello. He was a fave of mine, so I hope he does well (but not too well, of course).

--Posted at 11:23 pm by Brian Cronin / 8 Comments | - (0)

NY Post: Yankees potential future 1B hitting moonshots in desert

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.

--Posted at 2:20 pm by SG / 25 Comments | - (0)

ESPN: Robertson seeks ‘Papelbon money’

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

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).

--Posted at 1:44 pm by Brian Cronin / 11 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TGS NY: Betances places third in Rookie of Year vote

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.

--Posted at 10:29 am by SG / 38 Comments | - (0)

Monday, November 10, 2014 MLB hot stove: Yankees interested in Jimmy Rollins, Elvis Andrus?

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.

--Posted at 9:46 am by SG / 49 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

CBS: Yankees Reach 1-Year Deal With Chris Young

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.

--Posted at 7:57 pm by Brian Cronin / 30 Comments | - (0)

Friday, November 7, 2014 Yankees sign reliever Andrew Bailey

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.

--Posted at 1:55 pm by Brian Cronin / 33 Comments | - (0) After minor surgery, Gardner close to 100 percent

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.

--Posted at 9:29 am by Brian Cronin / 10 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fangraphs: The Yankees Found Another Way To Outspend Every Other Team

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.

--Posted at 2:18 pm by Brian Cronin / 11 Comments | - (0)

CBS Sports: Yankees early rotation targets: McCarthy, Hammel and Capuano

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.

--Posted at 1:21 pm by Brian Cronin / 8 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 Former big league lefty Halsey dies at 33

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.

--Posted at 12:58 pm by Brian Cronin / 1 Comment | - (0)

ESPN: A-Rod confessed in DEA meeting

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.

--Posted at 12:20 pm by Brian Cronin / 17 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NYDN: Yankees have no plans to pursue free agents Pablo Sandoval, Jon Lester or Max Scherzer

Put the Panda heads away, Yankees fans; Pablo Sandoval isn’t coming to the Bronx. And you can add Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields to that list while you’re at it.

According to a source, the Yankees have no plans to pursue either Scherzer or Lester, the top two free agents on the market this winter. Shields, the third-best free-agent starter, is also off the Bombers’ radar, as is Sandoval, the Giants’ postseason hero who was given a $15.3 million qualifying offer by San Francisco before Monday’s deadline.

Instead, the Yankees are interested in bringing back two of their own, free agents Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley, neither of whom was eligible to receive a qualifying offer after being traded to the Bronx this past July. A source said the Yankees would engage the pair aggressively in an attempt to lock them up.

In many ways, I think that this is very much the smart thing to do, especially as it would assure that the Yankees would have a first round draft pick. The Yankees’ second half record was 37-31 after finishing the first half with a .500 record at 47-47. That suggests that the additions the Yankees made in the second half changed the team fairly noticeably. And that record was produced without the services of Mashiro Tanaka, so it is not even like you can say, “Yeah, but if Tanaka gets hurt they’re screwed.” So I think just simply re-signing all of their own free agents would put the Yankees into contention next season.

However, that’s the rub - this current plan does not sound like they plan on re-signing two notable free agents from their current squad - neither Hiroki Kuroda nor David Robertson, which would mean that they’re relying on CC Sabathia and no injuries to Tanaka or Pineda (and, I guess, a return to health by Ivan Nova eventually) for the rotation to continue to be strong and relying on…I really don’t know who for the bullpen to continue to be strong. Maybe they plan on signing Andrew Miller to replace Robertson? I don’t know, but I think that they need at least one more starter on top of McCarthy (whether it be Kuroda or Jon Lester, who would not cost the Yankees a first round draft pick) and I think they need one more reliever. I’d prefer Lester and Robertson. Otherwise, I’m okay with going into next season with the same offense as last season (just with A-Rod DH-ing, Beltran playing right field, Drew playing short, Headley playing third, Prado playing second and Chris Young returning as a fourth outfielder who will inevitably play every day at times). I think that is a contending team. Just a full season of Prado and Headley alone will help.

--Posted at 12:57 pm by Brian Cronin / 50 Comments | - (0)

Monday, November 3, 2014

CBS Sports: Yankees begin talks to bring back third baseman Chase Headley

The Yankees may check in on World Series hero Pablo Sandoval, but with his asking price over $100 million, they are focusing on bringing back Chase Headley for third base and have already begun those negotiations.

The Yankees like Sandoval, of course, but they are also quite comfortable with Headley, who played well for them after coming over from San Diego. Headley also found New York much more to his liking than he expected, according to people around the team.

Alex Rodriguez is eligible to return this year, but the pursuit of Headley suggests the Yankees see A-Rod as more of a DH or part-time first baseman, assuming he’s able to make it back after a year off due to his Biogenesis ban.

I approve of this, but boy, I wonder if he’ll just become too expensive for this to be a realistic fit. With Aramis Ramirez surprisingly opting in to his $14 million player option with the Brewers (he had an interesting, if noble, reason for not seeking out a multi-year deal, which is that he A. Loves playing in Milwaukee and B. Isn’t sure if he will want to play after this season but would feel morally obligated to finish out his contract if he signed a two or three year deal), there are only two major third basemen on the open market (three if you count Hanley Ramirez) - Headley and the aforementioned Sandoval. I could see the Yankees and the Red Sox getting into a bit of a bidding war over Headley (or the Giants and the Yankees if Sandoval goes elsewhere), so I hope that they can re-sign him for a reasonable amount of money. I’d be fine with 3 years/$39 million, but I fear he’s going to get more than that. More like the deal that Jhonny Peralta got (4 years/$53 million).

--Posted at 1:51 pm by Brian Cronin / 18 Comments | - (0) Cuban prospect Moncada petitioning for free agency

Scouts believe Yoan Moncada could be the best teenage prospect to come from Cuba in years.

Now, Moncada is one step closer to making his Major League dream a reality.

Moncada, 19, a switch-hitting infielder from the city of Cienfuegos, has established residency in Guatemala and is petitioning for free agency with Major League Baseball, according to an industry source. He must still be unblocked by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control before he can come into a final agreement with a club.

Moncada has a showcase tentatively scheduled for Nov. 12 in Guatemala.

Because he is under 23 and has not played in a Cuban professional league for at least five seasons, Moncada will be subjected to the international signing guidelines, but it’s unclear if he would be eligible to sign during the 2014-15 international signing period, which started July 2 and ends June 15, 2015, or during the 2015-16 signing period, which starts on July 2, 2015.

Obviously, he sure sounds like he would fit in well with the Yankees, right? The dude is faster than Rusney Castillo and Rusney Castillo is FAST.

An interesting issue, though, is the international free agent rules. Not only will the Yankees (and Red Sox and Rays) be unable to sign him if he doesn’t become eligible before June 15, 2015 (why he wouldn’t become eligible by then is beyond me, though), if they sign him now they will have to pay a 100% tax on whatever bonus they sign him for. Considering the recent increase in how much Cuban free agents are making, that could get crazy expensive. How much can you realistically give him if you have to pay the same amount as a tax? However, his market might be surprisingly light if he comes out this year, since likely it would only be teams that were already over their draft limit that would be willing to sign him, since teams that planned on going over their allotted pool money next year would not be willing to “blow their wad,” so to speak, on Moncada without the ability to ALSO sign a bunch of July 2nd guys, like the Yankees and the Red Sox did. So we might be just talking about the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and one or two other teams (granted, just getting the Yankees and Red Sox involved is typically enough on its own to get a bidding war going).

Should be very interesting to see how this all plays out.

--Posted at 1:29 pm by Brian Cronin / 4 Comments | - (0)

CBS Sports: Yankees’ Robertson likely to get qualifying offer, Kuroda iffy to get one

We already knew about the Yankees almost certainly extending David Robertson a qualifying offer, but Jon Heyman has some new news about the possibility of Hiroki Kuroda receiving one, as well:

The Yankees appear to be leaning strongly toward extending the $15.3 million qualifying offer to star closer David Robertson, and while they haven’t made the ultimate call on veteran starter Hiroki Kuroda, they don’t seem especially likely to make him the same offer.

He notes later in the piece…

There is some belief Kuroda could retire, anyway, but it is hard to see anyone signing him to his usual one-year deal for more than $15.3 million and being willing to give up the draft choice. The $15.3 million salary probably isn’t too far above Kuroda’s value, though, making the choice difficult. He was 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA this past year.

I really don’t see much of a downside of offering Kuroda the qualifying offer. If he accepts it, so be it. That’d actually be a pay cut for him and he’s likely worth $15 for one more year. He had his worst year in years and obviously has a major possibility for collapse, seeing as how he’d be 40 years old next season, but he still delivered a 2.4 bWAR and a 3.5 fWAR, so he should be worth the money. And if he turns it down, then he either retires or the Yankees get a pick. Retirement is most likely, but why risk it?

EDITED TO ADD: The Yankees have now officially offered Robertson a qualifying offer and not Kuroda.

--Posted at 1:18 pm by Brian Cronin / 5 Comments | - (0)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Newsday: Yankees expected to extend $15.3M qualifying offer to David Robertson

The first significant move of what will be a busy offseason for the Yankees comes Monday when the club is expected to extend a qualifying offer to closer David Robertson.

Robertson will have a week to accept or decline the offer, which this year is $15.3 million. He and 120 others in the sport officially became free agents on Thursday.

No free agent to date has accepted a qualifying offer since its origin in 2012, but Robertson might be tempted to become the first. Although he is likely to command a good deal of attention as a free agent—the righthander is by far the best reliever available—Robertson is unlikely to get a deal with an average annual value approaching the $15.3 million he would make by accepting the offer.

If Robertson, 29, declines the offer, he and the Yankees still could work out some kind of long-term deal. If he signs elsewhere—such as with free-spending Detroit, which has had closer issues in recent seasons—the Yankees will receive a draft pick as compensation.

This has long been seen as a bit of a fait accompli, and it is one of the more interesting decisions among all of the free agents destined to be offered qualifying offers this year. For most players it is a no-brainer to turn down the qualifying offer, from Max Scherzer to Pablo Sandoval to Hanley Ramirez. They’ll all either match or beat their qualifying offer on the open market (or get a long term deal close enough to the qualifying offer for it to be worth their while to turn down the qualifying offer). It remains to be seen if Robertson can do the same. The largest contract ever given to a free agent pitcher (that didn’t re-sign with his own team) was the four-year/$50 million deal Papelbon got a few years back. Robertson is in roughly the same position, results-wise, that Pabelbon was when he signed that deal and Robertson is a year younger. However, contracts for closers have generally trended downward since then. On the other hand, there have been very very few closers on the open market as good and as young as Robertson. There have been a lot of guys in their mid to late 30s. Robertson will play next season at age 30.

So whether he accepts the qualifying offer will depend on whether he thinks he can get a deal similar to Papelbon’s. If he can, then yeah, he should turn down the deal. If he can’t, then $15 million in a single season is such a huge chunk of change, especially for a guy who could just enter the market again next season at 31 years of age.

I suspect that he turns it down and gets a deal similar to Pabelbon’s, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he just takes the qualifying offer. The one result that I would be mildly surprised be at this time is Robertson signing a long-term deal with the Yankees. They really seem to be in on Betances as the next closer. So they’ll be happy to go year-to-year on Robertson if he’ll be willing to be “just” the highest paid closer in baseball in annual salary for the next year or two.

--Posted at 10:19 am by Brian Cronin / 22 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Baseball America: 2015 New York Yankees Top 10 Prospects With Scouting Reports

The article is well worth reading on its own, but if you’re just interested in the list itself, here it is:

1. Luis Severino, rhp
2. Aaron Judge, of
3. Jorge Mateo, ss
4. Greg Bird, 1b
5. Gary Sanchez, c
6. Ian Clarkin, lhp
7. Rob Refsnyder, 2b/of
8. Jacob Lindgren, lhp
9. Luis Torrens, c
10. Miguel Andujar, 3b

Seems fair to me. Although I would probably flip Judge and Severino.

EDITED TO ADD: And I meant to also note that I found their ranking of Mateo to be a bit too premature. He has crazy upside but so much of that is theoretical at this point.

--Posted at 11:48 am by Brian Cronin / 19 Comments | - (0)

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Player’s Tribune: Jeter: The Cleanup

Cleaning out my locker on my final day at Yankee Stadium was harder than I thought. Not for any emotional reason—although it was definitely a little sad—it’s just that I had never really done it before. Even when we moved from the old Yankee Stadium to the new one before the 2009 season, someone packed everything for us.

So about a week after the season was over I took one last trip to the clubhouse, and spent a long time staring at everything in and around my locker. I wasn’t sure where to start or what to do. I gave a bunch of stuff to the clubhouse guys and then just started throwing things out. Someone finally moved the garbage can closer to me so I didn’t have to keep walking over to it.

There were a few special items I knew I wanted to take home: The two bats I used for my last hits in Yankee Stadium and last hit at Fenway Park, the bases the Red Sox gave me from my final game. There were other items, too. But more than any one thing, I know what I’ll miss most of all is the people. So after spending way too long trying to figure out what to take, I just decided to box it all up and ship it to my house in Tampa. I wanted to spend my last afternoon hanging out with the clubhouse guys.

It’s the end of an era, and a damn fine era it was.

--Posted at 7:04 am by SG / 17 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

McCovey Chronicles: Madison Bumgarner, World Series legend

What was Bumgarner good for? Two innings, maybe. If the Giants have a lead and he’s pitching well, maybe three. It was hard to see him doing more than that. It was also easy to see this whole endeavor not working out. His first pitch was 85 and away from the target by a bunch. He fell behind, 2-0. He gave up a hit to the first batter he faced. If the next three hitters doubled, who here would blame Bumgarner?

It was the situation that was a jerk. It was a team with no better choice than a 39-year-old with an ailing hip and floating sinker, with the backup plan being a young pitcher on two day’s rest. A young pitcher who was going to set a postseason record for innings pitched.

Bumgarner threw 34.4% of his team’s World Series innings.  That’s pretty damn impressive on its own.  It’s even more impressive when you consider the quality of those innings as well.

And thus the 2014 MLB season is officially over.  And we can commence all our focus to the Yankees and their enthralling pursuit of a new scapegoat hitting coach.

--Posted at 6:55 am by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Giants (88-74) @ Royals (89-73), World Series Game 7, Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 8:00pm

SFG: Tim Hudson (#17, 38, RHP, 9-13, 3.57) vs. KCR: Jeremy Guthrie (#11, 35, RHP, 13-11, 4.13)

1. Gregor Blanco (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) C
4. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
7. Michael Morse (R) DH
8. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
9. Juan Perez (R) LF

1. Alcides Escobar (R) SS
2. Nori Aoki (L) RF
3. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
4. Eric Hosmer (L) 1B
5. Billy Butler (R) DH
6. Alex Gordon (L) LF
7. Salvador Perez (R) C
8. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
9. Omar Infante (R) 2B

Congratulations to the Giants on their dynasty.

--Posted at 5:59 pm by SG / 80 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Giants (88-74) @ Royals (89-73), World Series Game 6, Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 8:00pm

SFG: Jake Peavy (#22, 33, RHP, 7-13, 3.73) vs. KCR: Yordano Ventura (#30, 23, RHP, 14-10, 3.20)

1. Gregor Blanco (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Buster Posey (R) C
4. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
7. Michael Morse (R) DH
8. Travis Ishikawa (L) LF
9. Brandon Crawford (L) SS

1. Alcides Escobar (R) SS
2. Nori Aoki (L) RF
3. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
4. Eric Hosmer (L) 1B
5. Billy Butler (R) DH
6. Alex Gordon (L) LF
7. Salvador Perez (R) C
8. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
9. Omar Infante (R) 2B

Congratulations to the Giants on their dynasty.

--Posted at 5:38 pm by SG / 26 Comments | - (0)

Monday, October 27, 2014 Eric Hinske doesn’t want to be Yankees batting coach

Eric Hinske, the Cubs’ first base coach this season, turned down interest from the Yankees about becoming their next hitting coach, according to a New York Post report.

The Yankees reached out to Hinske, a former player on the team, after their options became limited. Chili Davis took the same job with the Red Sox and the club passed on Dave Magadan.

There has to be a farm director somewhere that could be hired to be the hitting coach, no?

--Posted at 1:11 pm by SG / 20 Comments | - (0)

USA Today: Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras dies in car accident

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and one of the top prospects of the past several seasons, died today in an auto accident in his native Dominican Republic, Dominican police confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.

Taveras’ girlfriend also died in the crash, according to police in Puerto Plata.

Terribly sad news out of the Dominican Republic.

--Posted at 6:43 am by SG / No Comments | - (0)

Friday, October 24, 2014 Yankees’ CC Sabathia: I could still dominate

Despite a pair of down seasons, a loss of fastball velocity and a serious knee injury, CC Sabathia said still believes he can regain his Cy Young-caliber form.

Asked on ESPN Radio Wednesday whether he could come back in 2015 and pitch the way he did in 2009 — when his 19-8 record and 3.37 ERA helped lead the Yankees to a World Series title — Sabathia said he could.

“I think so,” he said. “It’s obviously six, seven years later now. But, yeah, I think I can definitely get back to being able to go out and dominate a game and just be myself.”

Sabathia added that he expects to have fully recovered from a serious right knee injury that cut his 2014 season to just eight starts. The 34-year-old said he feels “100 percent” now. He’s been playing catch at Yankee Stadium twice a week and working out at home.

I can’t shake the feeling that Sabathia is done accruing positive bWAR over the rest of his career.  But I’m sure his fWAR will continue to be good.

--Posted at 9:25 am by SG / 82 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

TGS: Hunter Strickland’s explosive October

Poor Hunter Strickland. Two months ago, pretty much nobody outside of the San Francisco Giants’ scouting department knew about him. He was pitching in Double-A Richmond when the Giants called him up at the end of August. He pitched all of seven innings in the majors before the postseason began. And there he was on the field in the World Series on Wednesday night, shouting at the Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez, clearing the dugouts and exploding the Twitter-verse.

Hunter Strickland has now pitched 5.1 postseason innings and allowed five home runs.  Mariano Rivera pitched 141 postseason innings and allowed two.

--Posted at 11:08 am by SG / 16 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MLB Trade Rumors: Offseason Outlook: New York Yankees

The biggest issue facing the Yankees is that many of their highest-paid players can’t be counted on to stay healthy or play up to their usual standard in 2015.  C.C. Sabathia is returning from knee surgery and has already suffered a decline in performance in recent years.  Mark Teixeira managed to play in 123 games last year but his wrist problems will always require a backup option.  McCann and Beltran could’ve just had off-years, or they could possibly be on the decline as well.

And then there’s Alex Rodriguez, returning from his year-long suspension as a complete mystery in terms of what he’ll be able to contribute.  The plan for A-Rod seems to be a rotation between DH, third base and possibly first base, to spell Teixeira.  Until the Yankees know if Rodriguez can handle regular time at third, however, it will somewhat hamstring their other winter plans.  They have an interest in bringing back Chase Headley, though obviously Headley will want to play every day, and limiting Rodriguez to a 1B/DH role will cut down on the DH at-bats that might be needed for another aging players like Beltran or McCann.

Yes, finding plate appearances for aging and declining players is a serious problem that needs resolving.

--Posted at 8:05 am by SG / 37 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Newsday: Gary Denbo expected to replace Mark Newman in Yankees’ front office

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Gary Denbo will assume many, though not all, of the responsibilities that had been held by Mark Newman, sources confirmed Monday, as the Yankees’ organizational overhaul continues. Newman, the club’s senior vice president of baseball operations, announced in September he is retiring after 26 years with the team, the last 15 in his current role.

Denbo, 53, formerly a hitting coach for the club who in recent years has been in player development and scouting, will oversee the farm system, which has received a good deal of criticism in recent years for not producing enough major league-caliber players, particularly position players.

I was thinking, the Yankees really should put a hitting coach in charge of their minor league system.

To be fair, Denbo has been working in a capacity more suited to directing the farm system over the least few seasons, and may end up being a good hire.  I’m willing to wait and see.

As if I had a choice.

--Posted at 8:03 am by SG / 43 Comments | - (0)

Monday, October 20, 2014

NY Post: With Chili Davis off market, Yankees turn to Dave Magadan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the Red Sox hiring Chili Davis as their hitting coach Sunday, it could mean Dave Magadan will be Kevin Long’s replacement as the Yankees’ hitting coach.

Magadan interviewed with Yankees brass Wednesday and Davis followed on Thursday. They were considered strong candidates for the job.

Chili Davis is a trader.

--Posted at 6:56 am by SG / 27 Comments | - (0)

Friday, October 17, 2014

TGS NY: Can McCann help lead the Bombers back?


--Posted at 8:36 am by SG / 42 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NYDN: Dave Magadan, Chili Davis are early frontrunners for Yankees hitting coach job

The Yankees have interviewed or will talk to Magadan, 52, and ex-Yankee Chili Davis for the job that became open last week when Kevin Long was fired with a year left on his contract. Other candidates are likely to emerge as well.

If the Yankees are expecting better results just by changing hitting coaches, they are being foolish.  But hey, it should trick enough people into thinking they’re being pro-active.

I don’t think hitting coaches really can have that much impact on players that are already established major leaguers, but Magadan and Davis had strong MLB careers and have received praise for their coaching so I think both are good candidates.  Plus I always feel indebted to Davis for ruining what would have been a Pedro Martinez 17 strikeout no-walk no-hitter with a solo homer back in 1999.

--Posted at 1:02 pm by SG / 34 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

TGS NY: Eleven young Yankees on the rise in 2015

The Yankees’ farm system improved in 2014. While it’s still not great, there are a handful of players in the minors who could make a difference.

Let’s take a look at 11 who could make a direct impact on the Yankees in 2015, be a big part of their future, or be traded to fill holes.

The list starts with Luis Severino and runs through most of the names that any one who follows the minors at least loosely should be cognizant of.  I am excited about a few of the players on this list, particularly Aaron Judge and Rob Refsnyder.  Judge is still probably a couple of years away, but we should see Refsnyder in the majors in some capacity at some point in 2015.

--Posted at 8:11 am by SG / 76 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Newsday: Sources: Yankees considering Omar Minaya for high-ranking position in front office

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - As the Yankees reorganize their baseball operations staff this offseason, a familiar name in New York is getting strong consideration for a high-ranking position with the team.

Several club sources said there has been serious dialogue about hiring former Mets general manager Omar Minaya, now a senior vice president of baseball operations with the Padres.

Minaya, who served as Mets GM from 2005-10, is close with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. It was not immediately clear in what capacity he would serve.

Minaya’s track record as a general manager isn’t particularly great, but he’s got a reputation as a pretty good scout.  So I think in the right role he can help the Yankees.

--Posted at 8:41 am by SG / 75 Comments | - (0)

Monday, October 13, 2014

NY Post: Yankees make to-do list: Third base, shortstop, rotation, closer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Equipped with a new three-year contract, general manager Brian Cashman will chair a week-long meeting of scouts and other members of the organization this week at Yankee Stadium as the club attempts to make sure 2015 isn’t the third straight year without a playoff appearance.

Starting Monday, the Yankees will begin to pore over scouting reports on possible free agents and players they have targeted as potential trades.

With plenty of holes to fill and other positions that need reinforcing, there is a lot of work to do.

I’d be surprised if the 2015 Yankees are any better than the 2014 Yankees, but I am mildy interested in seeing how the Yankees approach this offseason.

--Posted at 10:31 am by SG / 63 Comments | - (0)

Friday, October 10, 2014

CBS Local: Yankees, General Manager Brian Cashman Agree To 3-Year Extension

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — As expected, he’s coming back.

The Yankees have re-signed general manager Brian Cashman to a three-year contract.

Cashman has been New York’s GM since 1998, when the Yankees won the World Series in his first season. He has built three more championship teams, most recently in 2009.

The #Yankees have re-signed Brian Cashman to a three-year contract to serve as Senior Vice President and General Manager.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 10, 2014

I’m apathetic to this, much like I am apathetic to the team I used to care about.

Below, Brian [Cronin not Cashman]‘s more thoughtful take:

Brian Cashman is one of the most intriguing figures in baseball. I think he is one of the best general managers in the game, but there is always the question of whether he is actually good or if he just happens to be the General Manager of the team that is willing to outspend nearly every other team out there. The Yankees have done a poor job of team-building these past four seasons or so, but there’s always the question of who is to blame for it - Cashman or his higher-ups? It seems clear that he was given a strict payroll to work with in every offseason from 2010-2012 and then suddenly had that strict payroll lifted in the 2013 offseason. That strict cap, coupled with the changing face of Major League Baseball free agency (where young talented position players simply do not make it to free agency any more), was the biggest problem the Yankees had these past few seasons and that was not Cashman’s fault. However, once given freer reign this offseason, he handed out two terrible contracts to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran while choosing not to give Robinson Cano (a player who is single-handedly better than Ellsbury and Beltran combined) a bad contract that certainly seemed to still be a better idea than the contracts handed out to Ellsbury and Beltran. So that’s on Cashman. As was the bad decision to sign Brian Roberts.

But then, during the regular season, he made astute trades that netted the Yankees some of their best players during the regular season - Brandon McCarthy, Martin Prado and Chase Headley. Those three helped keep the Yankees far more competitive than they had any reason to expect to be. And he gave up basically nobody in the deals (Pete O’Brien, a catcher who can’t catch, being the only one player traded who seemed to be actually part of the Yankees’ possible future plans).

So I think Cashman has still got “it,” but at the same time, there is a very good argument to be made that the Yankees should make a fresh start. I don’t really have a problem with that, except for the facts that:

1. The front office is going to remain no matter what
2. The front office would clearly either hire…
a. Cashman’s top assistant, Billy Eppler, in which case things won’t change since Eppler is very similar to Cashman
b. Some terrible outside GM who will be much worse than Cashman

With those two facts agreed on, I think they might as well stick with Cashman.

Another Update: Sources: Yankees fire well-respected hitting coach Kevin Long

Kevin Long, the well-respected hitting coach who presided over a couple record-setting Yankees hitting seasons, was fired by the team after its failure to make the playoffs, sources said.

Long helped guide the team to a couple of its greatest offensive seasons but was a victim of disappointing veteran performance this past season, as a few of their older players struggled. Long, an extremely well-respected hitting coach throughout baseball, is paying for the underachievement of some established veteran hitters in 2014, including Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira.

Makes sense.  When a 38 year old outfielder with bad knees shows up out of shape and has a shitty year, it’s the hitting coach’s fault.  When you let your best offensive player go and replace him with a bunch of garbage, it’s also the hitting coach’s fault.

--Posted at 1:51 pm by SG / 120 Comments | - (0) Cashman signs three-year deal to continue as GM

The Yankees signed Brian Cashman on Friday to a new three-year contract to continue in his role as senior vice president and general manager.

Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner recently stated that the organization was in discussions about an extension with Cashman, 47, who has been the Yankees’ GM since February 1998.
Cashman’s re-signing is the first piece of business in what promises to be a busy offseason for the Yankees, who missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, winning 84 games to finish in second place in the American League East.

Steinbrenner has said that the Yankees will pursue a shortstop to replace retired captain Derek Jeter and are also in need of a starting pitcher, with right-hander Ivan Nova recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery and not expected to be ready to start the season.

In evaluating Cashman’s construction of the 2014 roster, Steinbrenner stood by the signings of free agents Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Masahiro Tanaka, stating that he approved those deals and believes they will work out in the future.

Steinbrenner also has noted that Cashman was able to rebuild the Yankees on the fly in midseason after several injuries, triggering deals to import right-hander Brandon McCarthy and infielders Martin Prado and Chase Headley, among others.

Brian Cashman is one of the most intriguing figures in baseball. I think he is one of the best general managers in the game, but there is always the question of whether he is actually good or if he just happens to be the General Manager of the team that is willing to outspend nearly every other team out there. The Yankees have done a poor job of team-building these past four seasons or so, but there’s always the question of who is to blame for it - Cashman or his higher-ups? It seems clear that he was given a strict payroll to work with in every offseason from 2010-2012 and then suddenly had that strict payroll lifted in the 2013 offseason. That strict cap, coupled with the changing face of Major League Baseball free agency (where young talented position players simply do not make it to free agency any more), was the biggest problem the Yankees had these past few seasons and that was not Cashman’s fault. However, once given freer reign this offseason, he handed out two terrible contracts to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran while choosing not to give Robinson Cano (a player who is single-handedly better than Ellsbury and Beltran combined) a bad contract that certainly seemed to still be a better idea than the contracts handed out to Ellsbury and Beltran. So that’s on Cashman. As was the bad decision to sign Brian Roberts.

But then, during the regular season, he made astute trades that netted the Yankees some of their best players during the regular season - Brandon McCarthy, Martin Prado and Chase Headley. Those three helped keep the Yankees far more competitive than they had any reason to expect to be. And he gave up basically nobody in the deals (Pete O’Brien, a catcher who can’t catch, being the only one player traded who seemed to be actually part of the Yankees’ possible future plans).

So I think Cashman has still got “it,” but at the same time, there is a very good argument to be made that the Yankees should make a fresh start. I don’t really have a problem with that, except for the facts that:

1. The front office is going to remain no matter what
2. The front office would clearly either hire…
a. Cashman’s top assistant, Billy Eppler, in which case things won’t change since Eppler is very similar to Cashman
b. Some terrible outside GM who will be much worse than Cashman

With those two facts agreed on, I think they might as well stick with Cashman.

--Posted at 1:48 pm by Brian Cronin / 1 Comment | - (0)

NY Post: Why David Robertson likely will remain a Yankee in 2015

The qualifying offer figure has been established at $15.3 million, and I think there is a strong likelihood the Yankees use it on David Robertson, and a pretty compelling case the right-handed reliever will become the first player ever to accept a qualifying offer.

Quick background: The qualifying offer figure comes from averaging the top 125 contracts. Teams must notify their free agents within five days after the World Series if they are putting the qualifying offer on them. Players have an additional week to accept or reject.

If rejected, the player becomes a free agent, but when he signs elsewhere his old team gets a sandwich pick between the first and second round of June’s draft while the signing team loses either its first-round pick (if it has one of the top 20 2014 records) or a second-round pick (worse 10 records).

$15.3M for one season for a closer no matter how good he may be is pretty obviously an overpay.  But it probably makes sense for the Yankees to extend the offer to Robertson and either keep him for one more year or try and negotiate a more reasonable long-term deal (or gain a draft pick if Ruben Amaro Jr. comes calling). 

I don’t know what would qualify as reasonable, but I’d probably be willing to do something like 3 years, $36M, maybe 4/$40M.  Robertson’s very good, and while the Yankees have managed to build bullpens pretty well under Joe Girardi, I’m not sure they are in a position where they can let very good players leave over money.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if they bring back Robertson and also make a play for Andrew Miller in an effort to build a super bullpen, in lieu of going after someone like Max Scherzer or Jon Lester. 

--Posted at 8:21 am by SG / 15 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, October 9, 2014 Yankees games get 15% increase in viewership on YES Network; Derek Jeter to thank?

The YES Network announced today that the television station saw a 15 percent increase in viewership for Yankees games this season despite another lukewarm year for the team. The Yankees went 84-78 this year, finishing second in the AL East, and missed the playoffs.

But the network averaged 223,000 households per game, a 15 percent bump from the 194,000 it averaged last season, it said in a press release. Even the pre-game show audience grew by 25 percent this season.

I find this shocking, honestly.  I found this year’s team dull and largely unwatchable, and I probably missed at least 3/4 of the games.  It’ll be interesting to see what ratings look like next year, with no more Jeter and with what I imagine will be yet another dull and largely unwatchable team.

--Posted at 8:53 am by SG / 47 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

NY Post: The two reasons Yankees will likely pass on Cuban slugger

Before reading the article, I’d have assumed that it was because:

1. He is young.
2. He has power.

“He is a good player, but for $100 million? I don’t know,’’ a baseball official said of the 6-foot-1, 230-pound right-handed hitting outfielder who batted .375 (6-for-16) with two homers and five RBIs for Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. “He is better than [Castillo], but that doesn’t mean he is worth $100 million.’’

Castillo’s contract topped the $68 million Jose Abreu got from the White Sox. Abreu is the favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year. The Dodgers gave Yasiel Puig $42 million and current Red Sox Yoenis Cespedes got $32 million from the A’s.

The Yankees’ disinterest in Tomas likely isn’t only financial. They hope Carlos Beltran can play right field if Alex Rodriguez needs to DH. That means there isn’t room for Tomas.

Yes, why would you pursue a young player who could be a potential source of power for a lineup that needs power badly when you have Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez?

Seriously, I can see Tomas being a bust.  And a $100M bust is a major one.  But the Yankees have pissed away lots more money on other busts, and their avenues for improving their anemic offense are becoming narrower and narrower.  If their scouts think Tomas can be a productive bat at the major league level but they aren’t pursuing him because he’ll cost a bit more than they are comfortable paying and because they need to keep spots in the lineup for Carlos F’ing Beltran and Alex F’ing Rodriguez, I really think I’m done with this team.

--Posted at 8:05 am by SG / 52 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

NYDN: Yankees’ Mark Teixeira looking to play 150 games season next year

Mark Teixeira spoke Monday about exchanging text messages with Alex Rodriguez, but it’s a different kind of message – one delivered by Hal Steinbrenner last Wednesday – is the one that seems to be making an impact on the Yankees’ first baseman.

Teixeira is once again talking about playing 150 games in a season.

On Sept. 22, when he was sidelined for the third time by his surgically-repaired right wrist, he said 150 games was something he could no longer promise. Steinbrenner didn’t like the sound of that and said last Wednesday on the Michael Kay Show that the club would be more “forceful” with him.

Good luck with all that.

--Posted at 8:58 am by SG / 69 Comments | - (0)

Monday, October 6, 2014

NYDN: Even with aging, overpriced sluggers and empty farm, Yankees have shot to win AL East in 2015

To hear Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman tell it, a second straight season of missing the playoffs was a freak occurrence and a product of injuries — and all the impending gloom about the post-Derek Jeter Yankees is ill-conceived.

“I honestly believe if you repeated this season 100 times, you would not get this result,” is the way Cashman put it to the Daily News’ John Harper last week, and a couple of days later, Son of Boss Hal cited the injuries, “especially to the pitchers” and added: “We did invest a lot of money ($283 million in Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann) into upgrading the offense and I don’t think anybody would have seen some of the performances we wound up having.”

It’s funny, because I played this season out 100,000 times before it started and got the same result most of the time.

--Posted at 8:12 am by SG / 74 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

ALDS Day 1 - Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gameday Link: 5:30 PM ET: DET: Max Scherzer (#37, 29, RHP, 18-5, 3.15) vs. BAL: Chris Tillman (#30, 26, RHP, 13-6, 3.34)

Gameday Link: 9:00 PM ET: KC: Jason Vargas (#51, 31, LHP, 11-10, 3.71) vs. LAA: Jered Weaver (#36, 31, RHP, 18-9, 3.59)

I pretty much have reasons to dislike all these teams except Kansas City, which is unfortunately the worst of the four.  But go Royals anyway.

--Posted at 3:48 pm by SG / 119 Comments | - (0)

NY Post: Hal Steinbrenner reveals a very un-Boss-like agenda for Yankees

Hal Steinbrenner expressed “frustration” and “disappointment” in a second straight playoff-less season for the Yankees. However, in yet another example of how he will boss rather than Boss this franchise, the Yankees’ managing general partner praised the work of Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi, expressed confidence that disappointing veterans will do better in 2015, insisted the team’s player development is pointed in the right direction and even opened his arms for Alex Rodriguez.

Amid the worst phase in two decades for the Yankees, Steinbrenner responded Wednesday not only with the dispassionate logic we are now coming to expect from him, but hopefulness.

In a State of the Yankees interview after the 2014 season, Steinbrenner told The Post, “I am as disappointed as the fans are. They expect better of us and me. We will work very hard in the offseason to put together a team to win it all. It is a new slate. We need to be optimistic about our young players and believe that our veterans will be healthy and better next year.”

When Hal speaks, i fall asleep…

Is it true that Steinbrenner didn’t show up for Jeter’s last game at DNYS?  And is it time to drop the N and just call it DYS?

--Posted at 8:05 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)

Page 1 of 34 pages:  1 2 3 >  Last »