Monday, March 2, 2015
If the Yankees like to imagine they do things bigger and better than anyone else, they approach retiring numbers with the same gusto.
They have retired 18 numbers, and by the end of this summer, another three will be decommissioned: the No. 20 belonging to catcher Jorge Posada, pitcher Andy Pettitte’s 46 and the 51 worn by center fielder Bernie Williams. And it will not be long before Derek Jeter’s 2 joins them.
In addition, 21, which belonged to right fielder Paul O’Neill, seems to have been given an off-the-books retirement. In the 14 years since O’Neill retired, it has been awarded only briefly, in 2008, to LaTroy Hawkins and Morgan Ensberg, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Throw in No. 0, which has never been worn by a Yankee, and that makes 23 numbers that are unavailable.
“They’re going to have to go to triple digits pretty soon,” said Ryan, a backup shortstop. “I don’t think they want to have to go to negative numbers.”
It would be nice if the Yankees could put a team on the field that would pull in attendance which wouldn’t have to be artificially propped up by these days honoring good (but in many instances not great) players. Yeah, you retire Derek Jeter’s number. Do you really retire Tino Martinez’s?
I guess it’s not going to be a big deal going forward since they won’t extend or re-sign any of their drafted/developed players once they hit free agency so it’s not like we have to worry about Robinson Cano day or David Robertson Day.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
But the problem here isn’t whether Yoan Moncada alone is plying his trade in New York or Boston. He may be a superstar, he may flop, he may get injured. Adding that kind of prospect to a farm system and major league team largely bereft of high-ceiling middle infielders made a ton of sense, but the Yankees should have other similar opportunities.
The real worry out of the Moncada incident is this: Just how much will the gap between what Hal Steinbrenner thinks he knows about the baseball business, and what he actually knows, cost the New York Yankees? Increasingly, it looks like it could be quite a bit.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
But while the early start may have lessened the media boom, it also caught the Yankees by surprise, leaving Brian Cashman and the team’s media relations staff scrambling for answers when asked about Rodriguez’s rumored arrival.
The Yankees had no issues with A-Rod arriving on Monday, but team officials were fuming that he hadn’t alerted them to his plans.
“He’s learned nothing,” said one baseball executive. “He’s the same old guy. He just did what he wanted to do.”
This team is run by a bunch of jackasses. I’m not sure I’m even a fan anymore.
Monday, February 23, 2015
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Yoan Moncada, a 19-year-old star from Cuba, has agreed to sign with the Red Sox according to a report by MLB.com.
Moncada is a switch-hitting infielder with power and speed who left Cuba in June and quickly became the subject of an intense bidding war. The Sox, according to the report, will give Moncada a $30 million bonus.
At that price, I find if awfully disappointing the Yankees were not the winning bidder. Sure, he may turn out to be a bust, but how often do you have a chance to add a 19 year old with tons of physical promise whom scouts seem to like (including the Yankees’ own scouts) for money and nothing else?
I’m not surprised, because this is the way Hal Steinbrenner runs the team now. But I am annoyed.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
An offseason an a knee surgery later, Sabathia’s back. Back with the Yankees. And back to being among baseball’s largest hurlers, weighing 305 pounds this spring, he told reporters at George M. Steinbrenner Field Saturday, the first day of pitchers and catchers workouts this spring.
Manager Joe Girardi, however, said he’s not even thinking about Sabathia’s weight.
“Whether he’s 2 pounds heavier or 2 pounds less, I’m not worried about it,” the manager said. “That’s not my concern.”
Sabathia doesn’t appear concerned with his waistline, either.
Instead, he’s more concentrated on his knee, which didn’t appear to give him any problems during a 25-pitch bullpen session Saturday morning. Mixing fastballs with change ups to catcher John Ryan Murphy, Sabathia completed the workout having hardly broken a sweat. It was the first time he’d thrown off a mound since a minor league rehab start in the middle of last season.
I’m not sure how to feel about this.
Friday, February 20, 2015
There was a time, between his Tampa tent revival and Biogenesis, when Yankees voices were not drilling down into Alex Rodriguez’s performance enhanced past. When it came to pinstriped cheaters, like Andy Pettitte and Jason (The Giambalco) Giambi, this was also standard operating procedure.
This is not to say the performance-enhancing stylings of these players were never mentioned. They were — briefly, before voices moved on to real baseball matters. There was every reason to believe orders, er, suggestions about ignoring, er, dealing with Yankees PED issues were passed directly down to the broadcast booths from the Yankees’ high command.
What little common sense we have tells us this is all about to change. Does anyone really believe Yankee poohbahs, like prez Randy Levine, whom Team A-Rod figuratively defecated on, are going to mind if any Bombers broadcasters direct verbal heat at Rodriguez?
And if you can cleverly eviscerate A-Rod in the process, you too may be next in line for a Monument Park ceremony.
Balanced commentary coming out of the booths concerning A-Rod will be brief and fleeting. Your Yankees world has been officially turned upside down. Suzyn (Ma Pinstripe) Waldman is torn. She knows the stain on Rodriguez’s career is indelible.
“But I find him impossible to dislike,” Waldman, the Yankees radio analyst, told me during a telephone conversation. “I’m not defending him. I think what he did was stupid more than anything else. I know he’s lied. He’s made every wrong decision. He says things and does things and you just want to say ‘Why?’ I also know you can’t go wrong for dumping on Alex. This is what its become. What’s he supposed to do?”
Suzyn, let me introduce you to Mel Hall.
Seriously, I don’t think Rodriguez is an evil person. He may be an unusual person and I think he’s done some stupid things and made some very bad decisions. In my opinion that doesn’t warrant the level of venom he has received and likely will receive over the rest of his time in the spotlight.
Do I wish the Yankees were not on the hook for the contract that they signed him to? Yeah. It was a terrible contract the moment it was signed, even without any knowledge of Rodriguez’s PED use. But it did bring us 2009, and it’s not to blame for the rest of the team being in the shape they are in now. We can blame the dummies that signed that contract for that.
I have no idea if Rodriguez will ever have another regular season PA as a Yankee. I am certain that the Yankees would do everything legally possible to avoid that from happening if they could recoup the sunk cost that they likely assess Rodriguez as right now. And I’m sure Rodriguez is aware of that, and for that reason I am sympathetic to him trying to fight back against that happening. I also think some lawyers took advantage of that and gave him horrific legal advice to swindle him out of millions of dollars, and as a desperate person he fell for it. Again, that doesn’t make him the devil incarnate in my opinion.
I’m rooting for Rodriguez and I’m not really 100% sure why. I guess part of it is the common theme in the prior thread that he’s not as bad as MLB and the Yankees. Part of it is the absurdity of him somehow becoming an underdog of sorts. And I’m sure a large part of it is because watching him in 2005 and 2007 and 2009 was watching true greatness on the field and I’d love to see a few more glimpses of that before he goes.
I have no problem with people who feel Rodriguez is scum and who wish he would go away forever.
But I am not one of those people.
In other news.
“This offseason, I got to go back to working out and getting strong,” Teixeira told reporters, including the Times-Tribune. “That’s who I am. I’m a big, power-hitting first baseman and I have to be strong. Last year I wasn’t.”
TAMPA — Nothing the Yankees saw in a second private viewing of Yoan Moncada at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday evening changed their mind about his talent.
Nevertheless, if the price tag is as high as some people believe, the Yankees likely will pass on the 19-year-old, switch-hitting second baseman from Cuba.
“It would be a surprise if he got $40 [million] to $50 million,’’ said an executive with a team not interested in Moncada.
To me this reads as much as a negotiating ploy as anything. But there is a certain price point where Moncada would not be a good investment. I just don’t know what that is.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The Yankees announced today that they have come to terms with RHP Jared Burton on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Burton, 33, had spent the last three seasons with Minnesota, where he was 3-5 with a 4.36 ERA and three saves in 68 relief appearances in 2014. For his major league career, Burton is 18-19 with a 3.44 ERA and 10 saves in 367 relief outings over eight seasons with the Twins and Reds.
Burton had an excellent 2012 season out of the bullpen after doing little up until that point in his career and followed that with a decent 2013. But his 2014 was bad enough that the Twins did not pick up his 2015 option. He will play next season at 34, so I doubt he makes it on to the roster to start the season and is more likely to serve as organizational fodder. Sort of like the similar Scott Baker signing (although Baker had more sustained success in the Majors).
CLEVELAND—Jason Giambi spent this offseason weighing whether to step away from baseball after a Major League career that spanned two decades. The veteran slugger maintained a media silence throughout the winter months, choosing to consider the decision in private with his family.
On Monday, the 44-year-old Giambi took the final step in a storied career, announcing his retirement from the game of baseball. The former designated hitter and first baseman had stints with the A’s, Yankees, Rockies and Indians, evolving from an MVP-caliber slugger in his prime to a clubhouse leader and bench player in his final two seasons in Cleveland.
Giambi was one of the more interesting players I’ve had the opportunity to write about during my time blogging. One of my favorite posts was this one on the last version of this site, where I wondered if Giambi was cooked. It was a reasonable question at the time, considering he was hitting .109/.288/.283 on the day it was posted. He hit .262/.383/.527 with 30 HRs in 506 PA over the remainder of that season.
It wasn’t the first time Giambi had made a Lazarus-like return from the dead. In 2005 he was hitting .198/.381/.321 on May 9 and there was talk about sending him to the minors. My memory says he was benched for a few days to work on his swing and perhaps to clear his head, then returned to the lineup in a road series against Oakland. He hit a go-ahead double in the seventh inning against lefty Ricardo Rincon in the May 15 game of that series and then hit .290/.456/.591 over the final 430 PA of 2005.
2008 was his last really useful season, and although he hung on for another six seasons he was replacement level during that stretch. He probably won’t get a Hall of Fame vote because of the PED taint and his relative lack of counting stats, but his performance from 1999-2002 (OPS+ of 177, bWAR of 29.9 and a slash line of 326/.452/.612) was sublime.
Giambi made blogging easier, because he was engrossing. Even if you didn’t like Giambi, which a lot of Yankee fans didn’t, he was compelling. In hindsight his contract wasn’t the disaster a lot of people expected as the Yankees paid him $120M and got 22 bWAR out it, which works out to about $5.5M per WAR.
I always wished that Giambi and Mike Mussina would have had a chance to play on the 2009 World Series winning Yankees but it wasn’t meant to be. But Giambi was a very entertaining player to watch in pinstripes and I’ll remember his career with fondness.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Andy Pettitte will have his No. 46 retired by the New York Yankees and receive a plaque in Monument Park, a source confirmed to ESPN.com.
Pettitte will become the 18th member of the Yankees to have his number retired. Pettitte was known for his big-game performance, helping the Yankees win five championships during his career.
The news of the honor was first tweeted by Pettitte’s son, Josh. The Yankees are also likely to retire Bernie Williams’ No. 51 and Jorge Posada’s No. 20 in the future, according to a source.
Good for Pettitte. He deserves the honor (plus, let’s be honest, it was unlikely people were going to choose #46 anyways, even if it wasn’t officially retired).
I imagine that the Yankees will parcel these things out depending on how attendance is doing.
Friday, February 13, 2015
The Yankees couldn’t help having that conversation with me, because I barged in on the middle of it. The week before my first day, a group lunch at Sheppard’s Place, the cafeteria attached to the press box, had led to an exciting discovery. Half the front office sat together and spitballed: director of pro scouting Billy Eppler, director of quantitative analysis Michael Fishman, pro scouting manager Will Kuntz, baseball operations assistant Steve Martone, and Alex Rubin, an intern who had started the previous season.
The night before, backup catcher Jose Molina had guided Phil Hughes through six scoreless innings in Detroit, and the conversation turned to Molina’s defensive edge over regular starter Jorge Posada, who often frustrated observers by catching pitches so awkwardly that he cost his pitchers strikes. Could it be, someone wondered, that the gulf between Molina’s and Posada’s gloves could make up the difference on offense between one of baseball’s worst-hitting catchers and one of its best? The consensus was that it wasn’t possible, and the group tabled the idea.
But Rubin — who would eventually2 be hired as a full-time analyst before leaving to work for the MTA as a self-described “transportation sabermetrician”3 — had gotten curious. He was on Team Posada, and he wanted to be proven right. After lunch, while he was supposed to be doing data cleanup, he started researching the size of the strike zone with Molina and Posada behind the plate.
I thought this was an interesting read about some of the stuff we aren’t necessarily aware of that teams do behind the scenes. Pitch framing has obviously become more widely discussed, but this takes place in 2009 when it was still relatively un-quantified.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
So there’s hardly a guarantee Eovaldi can duplicate his durability from a year ago, but if he does, the Yankees would like to harness his talent into becoming a better pitcher.
His ERA was significantly higher at home last season than on the road (4.66 to 4.06), which is somewhat surprising considering Marlins Park is typically considered a pitcher’s park. And despite the fact he can flirt with 100 mph on the radar gun, he struck out just 142 batters.
He already has begun working with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Eovaldi said his primary focus will be to work on his off-speed pitches.
You know who else flirted with 100 mph? Kyle Farnsworth…
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
1) Luis Severino, RHP, Grade B+/Borderline A-
2) Aaron Judge, OF, Grade B+/Borderline A-
3) Greg Bird, 1B, Grade B+/Borderline B
4) Rob Refsnyder, 2B, Grade B
5) Gary Sanchez, C, Grade B
6) Jacob Lindgren, LHP, Grade B
7) Ian Clarkin, LHP, Grade B/Borderline B-
8) Luis Torrens, C, Grade B-/Borderline B
9) Miguel Andujar, 3B, Grade B-
10) Jorge Mateo, SS, Grade B-
11) Tyler Austin, OF, Grade B-/Borderline C+
12) Eric Jagielo, 3B, Grade B-/Borderline C+
13) Domingo German, RHP, Grade C+/Borderline B-
14) Jose Ramirez, RHP, Grade C+
15) Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Grade C+
16) Jake Cave, OF, Grade C+
17) Angel Aguilar, SS, Grade C+
18) Alexander Palma, OF, Grade C+
19) Ty Hensley, RHP, Grade C+
20) Austin DeCarr, RHP, Grade C+
While the Yankees farm system is not at the very top of the organization rankings,it has improved over the last couple of years, should continue to improve, and certainly rates as an upper-tier system. The large amount of Grade C+ talent gives depth and since much of that talent is quite young and projectable with potentially higher grades to come, there is a lot to look forward to.
Are things finally looking up? Most of their talent is still a bit too far away, but a few leaps forward in 2015 and this could be one of the top ten farm systems in baseball. That doesn’t really mean much in and of itself, but I think it’s an encouraging trend and points to a team that will be a lot more interesting to follow in the near future.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
TAMPA, Fla.—New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild says offseason reports on Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka’s right elbow have been positive.
“So far he’s felt good,” Rothschild said Monday at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “He’s had a good winter.”
Tanaka is throwing and doing his normal conditioning program in Japan. Signed to a $155 million, seven-year contract in January 2014, Tanaka went 13-5 with a .277 ERA over 20 starts. He missed 2½ months while rehabilitating a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow and returned for two late-September starts. Boston chased him with an eight-run second inning in his finale on Sept. 27.
Tanaka’s .277 ERA has to be one of the most amazing feats in baseball history. That he did it with a shredded elbow is even more awe-inspiring.
I’m not going to say the Yankees’ season hinges on Tanaka’s elbow. He could go 35-0 with a .276 ERA this year and they still might not make the postseason. But a healthy Tanaka is almost imperative for them (in addition to a lot of other stuff) if they are going to get to the 90 or so wins they would need to get into the postseason.
Monday, February 9, 2015
If the Yankees plan on contending in 2015, they will need significant bounce-back years from high-profile players like CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, something general manager Brian Cashman conceded on Friday.
But for the Yankees to get back to the top of the AL East on a consistent basis, it won’t necessarily be up to Sabathia and Teixeira or Carlos Beltran, who the Yankees also hope is healthy and productive after he was neither last season.
Instead, their future success likely will rely more on some names fans may hardly know right now, but who will be in major league spring training for the first time this season.
And perhaps at the top of the list is right-hander Luis Severino, who has bolted up the Yankees’ farm system and become one of their top prospects.
“He’s made a lot of progress,” said Gil Patterson, who has worked with Severino as the Yankees’ minor league pitching coordinator. “It’s hard to believe he isn’t even 21 yet.”
Severino might be the one of the best five starting pitchers in the Yankees organization right now but I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see him in the majors this year. He’s coming off a season where he threw a career-high 113 innings, and he will be 21 years old. The Yankees’ offseason points to an unusual (for them) patience, and I don’t think they will disrupt that unless they turn out to be better than I expect them to be and Severino is the difference between making a run at a postseason spot or not.
Friday, February 6, 2015
At the end of all those baseball showcases in Orange County, Calif., the format would often be the same. Few of the coaches and children who had come together for the day knew one another. The director would stand in front of the players and call out the names of those who had excelled that day: the best fielder, the best arm, the best hitter.
The name Robert Refsnyder was called out frequently, and as the Korean-born boy rose to accept his award, the people looked at him almost in bewilderment. The face did not match the name.
“Yeah, that’s me,” he would say, laughing to himself. “I’m Rob Refsnyder.”
At some point this year, whether in spring training, on opening day or later in the regular season, Refsnyder is likely to be introduced to Yankees fans for the first time, and some of them may look at him with the same bemused expression that the players and coaches at those California showcases wore.
Amy Mihyang Ginther with her birth mother, Park Jeong-hee, at Park’s home in Gimcheon, South Korea.Why a Generation of Adoptees Is Returning to South KoreaJAN. 14, 2015
Refsnyder is a top Yankees prospect, a gifted hitter who has been invited to his first major league spring training this month and hopes to soon become the team’s starting second baseman. He was adopted from South Korea by parents with German and Irish backgrounds, as was his older sister, Elizabeth, who was a talented softball player in college.
In 2012 Refsnyder was selected out of the University of Arizona in the fifth round of the amateur draft — adopted, in a sense, by the Yankees. He raced through the ranks of the minor league system, batting .297 with a .389 on-base percentage and 508 total bases in two and a half seasons, and now provides hope to fans who have been waiting for the Yankees’ farm system to produce the next Robinson Cano or Brett Gardner.
Very nice article in the Times on Refsnyder and how he has become a sort of spokesperson for adoption, even if that was not what he would have wanted for himself growing up. It’d be nice if Refsnyder stuck on this team.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
The Yankees offseason checklist looked something like this:
1. Find a shortstop – priority one.
2. Improve the defense.
3. Deepen the bullpen.
4. Get younger.
5. Avoid further risky, long-term investment.
6. Protect the best of the farm system and add to it when possible.
7. Create roster depth and flexibility.
8. Put safety nets in place for the rotation.
The Yankees accomplished seven of the eight objectives – everything but creating a better security blanket for their fragile rotation. Yet, even while checking off so many items on their list, the success of the Yankees’ offseason is, at best, to be determined.
The most encouraging thing about the Yankees accomplishing their objectives is that they did it without mortgaging their future in any significant way. I don’t think they are going to be any good in 2015, but I can see a scenario where they are pretty good in 2-3 years now, and I couldn’t see that last year.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Star prospect Yoan Moncada is a free agent after Major League Baseball overhauled its rules regarding Cuban players, paving the way for a bidding war to sign the 19-year-old infielder, sources familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports.
Players who present sworn affidavits to Major League Baseball stating they are residents of another country, have no intention of returning to Cuba and are not Cuban government officials can sign with major league teams immediately, sources said. MLB distributed a memo to teams Tuesday afternoon outlining the changes.
I’m not sure why we would care, since he’s going to sign with Boston.
So now, we could be at or nearing the point where Shields’ best contractual hopes are in line with the Yanks’ most logical levels of commitment. In fact, with so many teams locked into their current budget parameters, it’s not inconceivable that Shields might be dropping into Ubaldo Jimenez (four years, $50 million) and Ervin Santana (four years, $55 million) territory. And if that’s the case, the Yankees have the need and resources to pounce.
The need, actually, is obvious. Shields wouldn’t make the Yankees a clear favorite in the AL East, but is a player who, if we believe the sabermetricians, made a four-win difference for the Royals in 2014. And for whatever it’s worth, Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections see the Yankees as an 80-win team. Another four wins could be the difference between contention and mediocrity.
If you can get Shields for anything in the four year, $60M range, I think you’d have to do it. Even with the potential loss of a first round pick. Of course if the choice is Yoan Moncada or Shields, give me Moncada.
Monday, February 2, 2015
As spring training nears, the Yankees seemingly continue to formulate a plan on how to best use the returning Alex Rodriguez.
It seems the way they’ve chosen is to use him in a few places.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi plans to use Rodriguez at third base, designated hitter and will also see if he can play first base as well. Third baseman Chase Headley was re-signed to a four-year deal this offseason and Mark Teixeira remains ensconced at first.
“I think it’s only fair to see where he’s at physically,” Girardi told the New York Post. “We have to take our time and not make an evaluation too early in spring training, because he hasn’t played a lot in the last year-and-a-half.”
They should play him at shortstop so he can set the career record for homers by a shortstop. Then maybe they can throw him a $6M milestone bonus for the achievement..
Friday, January 30, 2015
The Yankees have signed journeyman pitcher Scott Baker to a minor league deal, according to a Baseball America report.
Baker pitched for the Rangers last season, going 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA in 17 relief appearances and eight starts. He had a 1.19 WHIP.
Baker spent the first seven years of his career with the Twins. There he went 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA as a starting pitcher.
Baker underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012. He missed the entire 2012 season and made just three starts in 2013.
Baker had an excellent stretch there for Minnesota from 2008-2011 before he required Tommy John Surgery in 2011 (4.4 WAR in 2008, 3.3 in 2009, 1.7 in 2010 and 4.3 in 2011), but he missed all of 2012 and nearly all of 2013 recovering from the surgery. He is a good warning that not every pitcher recovers fine from Tommy John Surgery. He was awful last year for Texas, but I assume that the Yankees are willing to bet that perhaps a little bit of that 2008-2011 talent resurfaces and he might be able to help in the rotation at some point this season.
The most likely scenario, though, is that he doesn’t start a single game for the Yankees this season.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
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.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
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.
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.
Monday, January 26, 2015
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).
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.”
Thursday, January 22, 2015
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.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
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.
Monday, January 19, 2015
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 CBSsports.com. 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.
Friday, January 16, 2015
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.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
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!
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
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?
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.
Monday, January 12, 2015
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.
Friday, January 9, 2015
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.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
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…
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
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.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
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.
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.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
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.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
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.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
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.
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.”
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.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Hiroki Kuroda is returning to Japan to pitch for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, an official with knowledge of the move told ESPNNewYork.com, 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 ESPNNewYork.com. 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!
Thursday, December 25, 2014
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.
Monday, December 22, 2014
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.
Friday, December 19, 2014
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.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
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 ESPNNewYork.com 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.
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.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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?
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
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.
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.
Monday, December 15, 2014
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.
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.
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.
|John Ryan Murphy||C||250||.224/.277/.356||.269||187||22||5||0||0.5|
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?
|SP9||Jose De Paula||40||47||29||5||15||26||6.04||5.00||4.51||-0.2|
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.
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!
Thursday, December 11, 2014
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.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
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…
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
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!
Monday, December 8, 2014
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.’
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:
THE NEAR FUTURE
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)
But, the future doesn’t end at the end of 2015. The Yankees have other pitching prospects who will be ready sometime after 2015:
THE LESS NEAR FUTURE
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.
Friday, December 5, 2014
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
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.
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.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Sportsnet.ca: 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.
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:
I am guessing they will tender everyone but Huff and Rogers.
Monday, December 1, 2014
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.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
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!
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
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.
Monday, November 24, 2014
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?
Friday, November 21, 2014
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.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
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.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
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.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
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?
Monday, November 17, 2014
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!
Friday, November 14, 2014
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.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
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 Yankees.com 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.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
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).
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Greg Bird hasn’t made it to the major leagues yet — not even to Triple-A, for that matter — yet the Yankees minor-league first baseman enjoyed a taste of big-league exposure earlier this month.
He trended on Twitter.
“I don’t have Twitter. I don’t do any of that,” Bird said Monday, at Salt River Fields, before his Scottsdale Scorpions played the Salt River Rafters in Arizona Fall League action. “But I heard. Later on, people started texting me and stuff.”
I haven’t been this excited about a Yankee hitting prospect since Jesus Montero!
Bird is interesting, at least.
In other news, the Yankees have signed Jose DePaula. If you’re like me, your first thought was, “Who?”
An executive familiar with De Paula said, “He is a hard-throwing lefty. He can be a starter if he stays healthy. He has been a Four-A guy to this point, but he does have upside.”
Seems like a reasonable type to take a flier on.
New York Yankees free-agent closer David Robertson turned down the chance to have the highest closer salary for one season in baseball history. Now he has his eyes on the largest contract ever given to a reliever.
Robertson is looking for “Papelbon money” in initial talks with teams, a baseball official with knowledge of the discussions told ESPNNewYork.com.
In 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to the richest overall reliever contract, a four-year, $50 million deal. If Papelbon finishes 15 games in 2015, his contract will vest for a fifth year at $13 million more, making it a total of five years and $63 million.
If Robertson and his agent, Scott Leventhal, can persuade one team to offer “Papelbon money,” it is doubtful the Yankees would match. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is not a big believer in paying relievers not named Mariano Rivera such large amounts on a multiyear deal.
I understand seeking Papelbon money is a significant difference from getting Papelbon money, but it sure does look like Robertson’s time as a Yankee is coming to a close. I suppose if they replaced him with, say, Andrew Miller, there would not be much of a drop-off in the bullpen, but man, I continue to think that they handled Robertson’s contract fairly poorly. There is no way in the world that he would not have signed an extension after 2012, and it likely would have been seven figures per year and not eight (probably about $8 million a year). I personally tend to think that it was the fault of their ill-fated plan to get under $189 million in 2014, but it is also possible that it is just another example of them playing the extension market poorly (even after doing a great job with Cano’s extension, which you’d think would make them question their extension philosophy - although you could easily argue that their philosophy did not change, that they continue to only consider extensions for superstar level talents like Cano).
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Betances, whose career record is 5-0, came in third place in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He finished behind Jose Abreu, who was the unanimous choice.
The Angels’ Matt Shoemaker (16-4, 3.04 ERA) was second. Shoemaker had 12 second-place votes to Betances’ seven.
The third-place finish is still a nice exclamation mark on Betances’ incredible run. A year ago, Betances appeared as if he might be a big bust, one who might be stuck in the minors another year. Around this time last year, the Yankees found out that Betances had another minor league option, meaning they could potentially stash him away at Triple-A in 2014.
Instead, from the beginning of spring training until the end of the year, Betances was the Yankees’ best reliever and one of the most dominant in all of baseball. Of his 270 outs, half were from strikeouts. The 135 broke Mariano Rivera’s rookie record.
With David Robertson declining the Yankees’ qualifying offer and free to sign with any team, Betances could enter next spring as the Yankees’ closer.
You wonder how the Yankees will replace Betances when he ascends to closer after their failure to re-sign David Robertson. I’m not sure more Adam Warren in high-leverage situations is a good thing.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Add a couple more names to the list of shortstops who could replace Derek Jeter for the Yankees in 2015.
The Yankees are discussing trades that could net them the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus and the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan.
Rollins, 35, has a full no-trade clause and is due $11 million next year. Andrus, a 26-year-old, has a no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until 2016, but he’s due $120 million over the next eight seasons
I’d be fine with either, although wouldn’t really want to see the Yankees trading any of their better prospects for them. There’s a very good chance that neither Rollins nor Andrus will be provide value commensurate to the amount of money still owed to them over the remainders of their contracts. In the case of Rollins, the risk is minimal, but Andrus has a pretty big commitment remaining and hasn’t shown the type of improvement you’d hope to see in a player who debuted in the majors at the age of 20 (82 OPS+ at 20, career OPS+ of 84 after five full years in MLB).
Still, either will likely be better than Derek Jeter was in 2014. The Yankees still need more than that, but every little bit helps.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
The New York Yankees are bringing back outfielder Chris Young on a 1-year contract, according to WFAN’s Sweeny Murti.
The deal is pending a physical.
Young batted .222 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs last season for the Mets and Yankees.
The 31-year old was released by the Mets in August. He hit .282 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 23 games after being picked up by the Bombers.
The deal is for a base salary of $2.5 million with plenty of incentives.
Wow, that is a great deal. I would have been cool with this deal at twice that price (the incentives might be so easy to hit, though, that it might be closer to $5 million realistically).
On a less good note, Jon Heyman tweeted today that the Yankees also tried to lock Brandon McCarthy down but he told them that he wanted to wait to see what happens when the Big Three sign, as he seems to think that the teams that miss out on Scherzer, Lester and Shields will all come a-runnin’ to him. He’s probably right, too, which is worrisome.
Friday, November 7, 2014
The Yankees have signed Andrew Bailey to a minor-league contract, a team source told NJ Advance Media Friday afternoon.
The source requested anonymity because the club hadn’t officially announced the agreement yet.
Bailey hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 2013. He’s been rehabbing a labrum tear in his right shoulder.
The Yankees declined Bailey’s team option for 2015. They paid him $2.5 million in 2014, during which he saw setbacks in his rehabilitation program after initially hoping to join the big-league club by August.
I like this move. They clearly had to decline their 2015 team option (especially because I believe it involved a guaranteed 40-man roster spot), but now they get to keep him for less money. It will probably not end up helping them in 2015, but it is a worthwhile gamble. Also, I have to admit, I at least partially like this move because it would irritate me if he ended up making the Majors in 2015 for another club after the Yankees basically just paid him to rehab all of 2014.
Brett Gardner had a minor surgical procedure in October to address a core muscle injury and expects to be ready for Spring Training, the Yankees outfielder said in a radio interview on Wednesday.
Gardner told MLB Network Radio that he is completing his physical therapy following the surgery, which he hopes will correct an injury that affected Gardner in both July and September of this past season.
The Yankees said that Gardner had the procedure performed on his right rectus abdominis muscle on Oct. 16. The surgery was performed by Dr. William Meyers at the Philadelphia Vincera Institute in Philadelphia.
“I’m just about feeling 90 to 95 percent from that,” Gardner said. “I should be back to 100 percent here in about a week or so and pretty much have my normal offseason from here on out, and get ready for 2015.”
Man, in the future, Yankee players, just get medical help instead of playing hurt. Carlos Beltran was pretty much useless after getting injured (which needed offseason surgery), CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Masahiro Tanaka all lost games that they pitched while hurt. And now Gardner tries to gut out a muscle injury. Just sit out the games! The team is better off playing a healthy mediocre guy than it is playing a hurt good player, and playing hurt tends to just make the injury even worse. The Yankees are (tentatively) extremely lucky that Tanaka’s hare-brained idea to pitch in pain didn’t lead to a full tear of his elbow ligament.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
The Yankees saw these two market opportunities dry up while their revenues stayed high and they pinpointed the international market as a target. As a result of spending nearly $30 million dollars on teenagers last summer, the Yankees now cannot sign a player for over $300,000 for the next two summers. If they get lucky with some timing, they may still be able to make this one-year international blowout even more advantageous, but their competitive advantage has mostly passed in these three markets for the time being.
An Under-The-Radar Market
With limited avenues to spend their money, where have the Yankees turned now? Minor league free agents. Starting today, free agents can sign with any club and most fans will focus on the splashy big money major league signings. Sometimes, a former standout major leaguer that’s past him prime will sign a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite and fans may hold out hope this player can regain past form. Below even this radar are the often first time free agents with little to no big league service that are signed to minor league deals with Spring Training invites and little fanfare. This is where the Yankees have been frustrating most of baseball.
I swear, Kiley McDaniel is such a great sportswriter. He’s the one who broke the story about the Yankees’ international free agent signing spree and now he has another fascinating piece about how the Yankees are using their financial clout to get an advantage on the Yangervis Solartes of the world. One area where I would slightly differ from McDaniel is that I think he’s taking the league sources a bit too much at their word as to why the Yankees are the only team going beyond what teams normally pay minor league free agents. I don’t think it’s simply a matter of other teams being more fiscally conservative, I think it is a matter of the other teams effectively colluding with each other to keep minor league salaries low (as the minor leaguers have no union to stick up for them) and the Yankees just don’t care about following the collusion efforts of the other teams. In either event, it’s a great article and well worth reading.
A really fascinating line in the piece is where McDaniel cites a Yankee source who claims that the Yankees could break even even if they spent $500 million on salary and tax. Seems hard to believe.
The Yankees are targeting Brandon McCarthy, Jason Hammel and others in that mid-rotation category for their staff.
They also have interest in bringing back left-hander Chris Capuano, who pitched decently as a spot starter after being acquired from the Rockies last year..
At least for the moment, sources connected to the team suggest they have “zero” plans to pursue either of the top two starting pitchers on the free-agent market—Max Scherzer and Jon Lester—and will instead concentrate on a mid-rotation guy.
I think the headline is a bit misleading, because while I believe that the information is generally correct, I think it is more like this - They are targeting McCarthy as a top priority. Once they get him, though, they also want to add another back of the rotation pitcher as security in case CC comes back done or if Pineda or Tanaka get hurt (someone who can fill in until Ivan Nova returns from Tommy John Surgery). So Capuano fits that profile. Someone who can eat innings and not suck.
One interesting line was the following:
However, Yankees people are telling others at present that they don’t see the wisdom in going “seven or eight years” for a top starting pitcher. The Daily News first suggested Lester and Scherzer were unlikely for the Yankees.
That does sound like their current thinking. It’s bad enough to go seven years to Jacoby Ellsbury, someone like Lester might very well age even worse.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Former Major League left-hander Brad Halsey died on Tuesday at the age of 33, according to a tweet by Halsey’s agency, O’Connell Sports.
Halsey spent three years in the Majors from 2004-06, pitching one season each with the Yankees, D-backs and Athletics. The lefty appeared in 88 career games, making 40 starts, and went 14-19 with a 4.84 ERA.
Daaaang, that is messed up. Our condolences to Halsey’s friends and family.
Halsey was involved in two distinctive moments in Yankee history.
1. He was traded along with Javy Vazquez and Dioner Navarro for Randy Johnson after the 2004 season.
2. He started the famous “Jeter dives into the stand” game for the Yankees against Pedro Martinez in July of 2004.
After being traded from Arizona to Oakland, he had two infamous incidents…
1. He gave up Barry Bonds’ 714th home run
2. He went off on the Oakland Athletics when they decided not to call him up from the minors in 2007 to replace an injured starter. He felt that they were about to call him up before they learned he was scheduled to get an MRI exam because they feared that if he were injured while on the Major League roster, they’d have to pay him the Major League Disabled List salary and not the Minor League Disabled List salary. He went off on them in a dramatic rant: “I kept going in and saying, ‘My arm is bothering me, it’s not right,’ and they said, ‘Oh, it’s just biceps tendinitis, you’ll be fine.’ Then they send you down and screw you. I’m grinding it out, trying to be a team guy, and I get fucked . It’s all just a business decision, because if I came up and pitched Tuesday and then had an MRI and had to go on the DL, they’d have to pay me major-league DL money. It’s such a mom-and-pop organization.” He did, indeed, have a problem that required surgery. The Athletics released him after the season.
Reinstated New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez admitted to use of performance-enhancing drugs during a meeting with the Drug Enforcement Administration in January, according to a report from the Miami Herald.
Two sources confirmed details of the Herald’s report to ESPN.
The Herald, citing a written “report of investigation,” says Rodriguez told the DEA that he paid Biogenesis doctor Anthony Bosch for testosterone cream, testosterone gummies and HGH injections. According to the report, one such injection took place in the men’s room of a Miami nightclub.
“Rodriguez injected the HGH into his stomach,” the DEA report stated, according to the newspaper. “Rodriguez said Bosch told him the HGH would help with sleep, weight, hair growth, eyesight and muscle recovery.”
According to the report, Rodriguez was also trained in tricks to beat a urine test.
“Bosch advised him to only use mid-stream urine for MLB drug testing,” the DEA report stated, according to the newspaper. “Bosch told Rodriguez not to use the beginning or the end urine stream.”
This marks the first time Rodriguez has admitted to using PEDs between late 2010 and 2012. In 2009, the Yankees third baseman admitted to using PEDs while with the Texas Rangers in 2001.
So, A-Rod just admitted to doing the thing that he had already been suspended a year for doing? I know we have to keep the news cycle going, but was there a single person around who did not think A-Rod used steroids in 2010-2012? His whole case seemed to revolve less around “I am innocent of this claim” and more around “You don’t have nearly enough proof to ‘convict’ me.” And after they ‘convicted’ him anyways, he decided to help the DEA in their case against his cousin after his cousin decided to blackmail him for $900,000 (is it too difficult to write $900,000? Why do all the headlines involving the blackmail say “a million dollars?”) using information that turned out to not mattter since A-Rod got ‘convicted’ even without it going public.
So sure, I guess any news is news, but this really doesn’t seem to change the narrative much.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
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.
Monday, November 3, 2014
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).
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.
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.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
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.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
The article is well worth reading on its own, but if you’re just interested in the list itself, here it is:
TOP 10 PROSPECTS
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.
Friday, October 31, 2014
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.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
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.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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.
Monday, October 27, 2014
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?