Monday, April 27, 2015
1. David DeJesus (L) DH: (.353/.436/.500)
2. Steven Souza Jr. (R) RF: (.254/.347/.492)
3. Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS: (.208/.250/.278)
4. Evan Longoria (R) 3B: (.306/.413/.468)
5. James Loney (L) 1B: (.333/.385/.750)
6. Brandon Guyer (R) LF: (.250/.380/.425)
7. Kevin Kiermaier (L) CF: (.294/.321/.549)
8. Tim Beckham (R) 2B: (.302/.354/.581)
9. Rene Rivera (R) C: (.150/.190/.233)
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.282/.370/.352)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.302/.393/.396)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) 3B: (.267/.405/.583)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.242/.351/.694)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.232/.286/.357)
6. Carlos Beltran (S) DH: (.161/.226/.268)
7. Chris Young (R) RF: (.320/.382/.660)
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.167/.254/.426)
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.212/.263/.250)
A scintillating battle for first place in the AL East!
NEW YORK—Alex Rodriguez homered and drove in a pair of runs to pace the Yankees’ attack against Jon Niese, helping to secure the first leg of the Subway Series with a 6-4 victory over the Mets on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Bombers took two of three games in the weekend set as Niese was thumped for six runs (four earned) and eight hits over five innings, including a four-run second inning in which the Yankees stroked four doubles. The Mets didn’t help their cause defensively, committing four errors in the field.
“Our goal is to win series, and we’ve done that in the last three,” Rodriguez said. “It’s especially sweet in the Subway Series, to win the series, and especially against a team that’s playing so well.”
Sunday, April 26, 2015
1. Curtis Granderson (L) RF: (.220/.370/.254)
2. Juan Lagares (R) CF: (.296/.311/.338)
3. Lucas Duda (L) 1B: (.323/.400/.523)
4. Michael Cuddyer (R) LF: (.250/.324/.375)
5. Daniel Murphy (L) 2B: (.145/.217/.242)
6. Eric Campbell (R) 3B: (.267/.400/.433)
7. Wilmer Flores (R) SS: (.291/.328/.473)
8. Danny Muno (S) DH: (.333/.333/.333)
9. Kevin Plawecki (R) C: (.286/.333/.500)
1. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.286/.386/.367)
2. Chris Young (R) CF: (.326/.392/.696)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.250/.400/.518)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.254/.356/.729)
5. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.173/.241/.288)
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.232/.293/.362)
7. John Ryan Murphy (R) C: (.231/.353/.385)
8. Stephen Drew (L) SS: (.176/.267/.451)
9. Gregorio Petit (R) 2B: (.190/.280/.286)
Saturday, April 25, 2015
NEW YORK—Matt Harvey finished one out shy of a complete game and the Mets swatted three homers off CC Sabathia, evening the Subway Series with an 8-2 victory over the Yankees on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Lucas Duda hit a first-inning solo shot, Kevin Plawecki notched his first Major League homer with a two-run blast in the fourth and Eric Campbell cleared the right-field wall in the sixth off Sabathia, who was battered for seven runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. Juan Lagares had four hits, tying a career high.
Friday, April 24, 2015
NEW YORK—Mark Teixeira homered twice off Jacob deGrom and Jacoby Ellsbury also cleared the fence in Friday night’s Subway Series opener, helping the Yankees snap the Mets’ 11-game winning streak with a 6-1 victory at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees won for the seventh time in eight games behind a strong performance from Michael Pineda, who limited the Mets to Lucas Duda’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly to notch his third consecutive victory. Pineda scattered five hits over 7 2/3 innings, striking out seven.
deGrom was charged with six runs on eight hits over five innings. Teixeira’s first-inning homer snapped his 18 1/3 innings scoreless streak.
1. Curtis Granderson (L) RF: (.200/.375/.220)
2. Juan Lagares (R) CF: (.270/.288/.286)
3. Lucas Duda (L) 1B: (.351/.439/.526)
4. Michael Cuddyer (R) DH: (.273/.355/.418)
5. Daniel Murphy (L) 2B: (.170/.250/.283)
6. Eric Campbell (R) 3B: (.250/.394/.292)
7. Wilmer Flores (R) SS: (.271/.314/.479)
8. Kevin Plawecki (R) C: (.286/.375/.286)
9. Kirk Nieuwenhuis (L) LF: (.000/.143/.000)
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.286/.384/.317)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.286/.388/.381)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.265/.419/.571)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.196/.323/.569)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.224/.273/.367)
6. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.184/.241/.306)
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.242/.309/.387)
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.178/.283/.467)
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.200/.260/.222)
Pitcher A vs. Pitcher B
Given these two lines, which one would you assume would be more effective going forward?
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Who says the Subway Series has run out of gas?
The New York Mets are “sizzling hot,” in the words of Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, having won 11 straight games and on the verge of setting a franchise record. Meanwhile, the crosstown Bombers have shrugged off a slow start to win six of seven, including three straight in Detroit.
Now both teams will meet in a battle for Big Apple bragging rights. The three-game set kicks off Friday night at Yankee Stadium with reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom (2-1, 0.93 ERA) on the hill against Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda (2-0, 5.00).
“It’s going to be awesome,” Rodriguez said Thursday. “The Stadium should be rocking. Our fans are ready and their fans are ready, too. It’s fun for the players and even more fun for the fans.”
Thursday, April 23, 2015
DETROIT – One week ago, the Yankees were a lost team, having opened the season with a 3-6 record and three straight series losses to division foes.
Now, after six wins in their last seven games, the Yankees return home as one of the hottest teams in the American League, ready to take on the crosstown rival Mets – also known as the hottest team in baseball.
The Yankees pulled out a 2-1 win Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park, taking three of four from the Tigers despite dropping Monday’s season-opener.
“We did not play well those first five games,” Girardi said of the Yankees’ 1-4 start. “But we’ve seemed to turn it around and kind of have everything in order now.”
Masahiro Tanaka posted his second strong start in a row, holding the Tigers to one run on three hits and two walks, striking out six over 6.1 innings.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.279/.362/.295)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.308/.413/.410)
3. Carlos Beltran (S) DH: (.196/.240/.326)
4. Brian McCann (L) C: (.244/.294/.400)
5. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.254/.313/.407)
6. Chris Young (R) RF: (.368/.442/.816)
7. Garrett Jones (L) 1B: (.263/.300/.421)
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.190/.286/.500)
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.205/.250/.227)
1. Anthony Gose (L) CF: (.361/.378/.556)
2. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B: (.279/.318/.361)
3. Miguel Cabrera (R) 1B: (.386/.453/.579)
4. Victor Martinez (S) DH: (.250/.400/.278)
5. J.D. Martinez (R) RF: (.267/.302/.550)
6. Yoenis Cespedes (R) LF: (.322/.328/.593)
7. Alex Avila (L) C: (.241/.405/.379)
8. Nick Castellanos (R) 3B: (.275/.356/.431)
9. Hernan Perez (R) SS: (.167/.167/.167)
Detroit - Jacoby Ellsbury turned as if to start his swing and then crumpled to the ground after David Price’s pitch caught him square in the chest.
With temperatures in the 30s in downtown Detroit, this was no way to begin the game.
‘‘It felt like a frozen snowball or something, going at 93,’’ Ellsbury said.
Ellsbury shook off the pain and went to first base, and Price’s problems were only beginning. The New York Yankees scored six runs off him in the first inning amid swirling snow flurries, and they went on to a 13-4 rout of the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.
Price (1-1) allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 2 1/3 innings, his second straight terrible start against the Yankees. Detroit has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.263/.344/.281)
2. Chris Young (R) LF: (.344/.432/.844)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.267/.411/.600)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.200/.328/.556)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.225/.283/.400)
6. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.171/.222/.268)
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.241/.305/.370)
8. Gregorio Petit (R) 2B: (.111/.150/.111)
9. Stephen Drew (L) SS: (.190/.286/.500)
1. Anthony Gose (L) CF: (.406/.406/.625)
2. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B: (.298/.339/.386)
3. Miguel Cabrera (R) 1B: (.389/.450/.593)
4. Victor Martinez (S) DH: (.265/.405/.294)
5. J.D. Martinez (R) RF: (.281/.305/.579)
6. Yoenis Cespedes (R) LF: (.304/.310/.589)
7. Nick Castellanos (R) 3B: (.298/.382/.468)
8. Alex Avila (L) C: (.240/.424/.400)
9. Jose Iglesias (R) SS: (.400/.449/.489)
Cashman’s lust for power arms paid big dividends when Eovaldi muted the Tigers’ bats en route to a 5-2 win that was witnessed by 27,031 customers who sat through intense wind, a hard rain at times and temperatures that dropped from 50 degrees at first pitch to 42 for the final out.
“I changed my arm angle a bit,’’ said Eovaldi, who was very pedestrian in his first two Yankees starts. “My slider had depth and I made pitches when it needed to.’’
Eovaldi said the adjustment dealt with keeping his right hand closer to the body when he moved it backward at the beginning of the windup.
“His slider was good and the curveball was good,’’ manager Joe Girardi said of his starter, who had enough juice on the fastball that he reached 98 mph in the seventh inning after sitting for 30 minutes in the top of the frame when the Yankees scored three runs and sent nine batters to the plate.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.283/.356/.302)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.286/.390/.400)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.286/.412/.643)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.190/.302/.548)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.257/.317/.457)
6. Chris Young (R) RF: (.276/.344/.690)
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.260/.315/.400)
8. Stephen Drew (L) SS: (.158/.267/.421)
9. Gregorio Petit (R) 2B: (.143/.188/.143)
1. Anthony Gose (L) CF: (.393/.393/.643)
2. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B: (.321/.362/.415)
3. Miguel Cabrera (R) 1B: (.400/.464/.620)
4. Victor Martinez (S) DH: (.290/.421/.323)
5. J.D. Martinez (R) RF: (.245/.273/.547)
6. Yoenis Cespedes (R) LF: (.302/.315/.585)
7. Nick Castellanos (R) 3B: (.295/.373/.477)
8. Alex Avila (L) C: (.182/.400/.318)
9. Jose Iglesias (R) SS: (.439/.489/.537)
DETROIT—CC Sabathia on Monday night put together his best start of the season in terms of stuff, he said, and his final pitching line. But Sabathia’s first complete game since July 9, 2013, wasn’t enough as the Yankees lost to the Tigers, 2-1.
“I’ve been getting better every time out,” Sabathia said. “Obviously that’s not equating to wins or helping us, but hopefully I can put it together, start putting some starts like this together and help us win some games.”
Sabathia did his part. The left-hander allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five, needing only 98 pitches to get through eight innings.
Monday, April 20, 2015
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.286/.364/.306)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.290/.405/.419)
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.316/.447/.711)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.184/.306/.500)
5. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.184/.238/.289)
6. Brian McCann (L) C: (.250/.316/.438)
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.234/.294/.383)
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.167/.279/.444)
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.189/.225/.189)
1. Rajai Davis (R) CF: (.250/.364/.393)
2. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B: (.306/.352/.408)
3. Miguel Cabrera (R) 1B: (.426/.491/.660)
4. Victor Martinez (S) DH: (.310/.429/.345)
5. J.D. Martinez (R) RF: (.240/.269/.560)
6. Yoenis Cespedes (R) LF: (.300/.314/.600)
7. Nick Castellanos (R) 3B: (.286/.354/.476)
8. James McCann (R) C: (.158/.200/.263)
9. Jose Iglesias (R) SS: (.436/.476/.538)
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Chase Headley and Mark Teixeira each drove in a pair of runs to support another solid effort from Michael Pineda, helping the Yankees complete a series sweep of the Rays with a 5-3 victory on Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Headley followed Teixeira’s third-inning RBI groundout with a go-ahead run-scoring single, highlighting the attack against Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese, who took his first big league loss after permitting four runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.
“The best part about that is that it’s coming from different guys,” Headley said. “It’s not just one guy who’s carrying us every night, it’s coming from different guys. And that bodes well for us going forward.”
Steven Souza Jr. hit a two-run home run in the first inning and connected for a fifth-inning RBI double as part of a three-hit performance against Pineda, who recovered to fire 5 2/3 innings of three-run, seven-hit ball and earn his second win of the season. Dellin Betances recorded five outs and Andrew Miller worked the ninth for his fourth save.
Two things stood out for me about today’s game [EDITED TO ADD: And dakranker pointed out an excellent third thing that I felt was so notable that I added it to the list].
1. Once again, the offense showed up and
2. Betances is really looking like he’s rounding into form. It is beginning to look like he and Miller might very well be the impressive tandem we were expecting when the season started. Not only that, but by making Miller the closer (which seems to have happened almost by accident), it has allowed Betances to be used more efficiently, throwing more than an inning in prettty much every game he’s pitched this season. Can you imagine if Andrew Bailey heals to the point where he can be a reliable late-inning reliever? They could have Bailey close and have Betances and Miller available to pitch multiple innings and, well, that would be very effective.
3. After being unremarkable to poor for the first eleven games, the defense was excellent today. Stephen Drew, in particular, was outstanding. Good to see it.
Michael Pineda was far from great today, but he was decent enough. Souza just kind of owned him today. The lineup looks a lot better with current A-Rod batting third instead of current Beltran. Hopefully A-Rod maintains his third spot even when Beltran returns, but Girardi has already pretty much said otherwise (he’s correct that it it not a lot of sample size still). A-Rod just looks locked in and not only that, but the Tampa Bay pitchers seem to legitimately fear him now. Some of his walks seemed to be of the “I’m not giving you a good pitch to hit” variety. Garrett Jones and Brian McCann are now tied for the team lead in triples, with one apiece. I’m sure we all knew that that would happen.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner continue to play well. Did you know Ellsbury is 3-4 in RISP but has not had a ribbie yet this season? Nuts, no?
CC pitches tomorrow in Detroit, so, well, the good times are likely going to take a bit of a detour. At least the Yankees won’t face Cy Greene in the Detroit series.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.286/.375/.314)
2. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.229/.289/.400)
3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.171/.211/.286)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.241/.361/.655)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.200/.241/.360)
6. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.286/.394/.571)
7. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.148/.200/.370)
8. Chris Young (R) LF: (.318/.375/.727)
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.172/.219/.172)
1. Kevin Kiermaier (L) CF: (.344/.382/.750)
2. Steven Souza Jr. (R) RF: (.250/.368/.469)
3. Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS: (.190/.227/.262)
4. Evan Longoria (R) DH: (.226/.400/.452)
5. Desmond Jennings (R) LF: (.235/.341/.235)
6. Allan Dykstra (L) 1B: (.071/.350/.071)
7. Logan Forsythe (R) 3B: (.242/.342/.424)
8. Tim Beckham (R) 2B: (.304/.320/.652)
9. Bobby Wilson (R) C: (.333/.400/.333)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Late Wednesday night in a near-empty Yankees clubhouse at Camden Yards, Carlos Beltran was talking about the team’s current situation.
“We need to get going, no doubt about that. It’s only nine games and we have to find a way to turn the page and concentrate on Tampa,’’ Beltran said after the Yankees’ record dipped to 3-6 following dropping two of three to the Orioles. “Every team in baseball is going to go through this. We have to pick it up and start playing better baseball.’’
As the words spilled out of Beltran’s mouth, they sounded like they could have been about himself because he takes a .171 (6-for-35) batting average, a .211 on-base percentage and a .497 OPS into Friday night’s series opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Asked if he was including himself in those words, Beltran confirmed it.
I was certain that a 37-39 year old Beltran would hit to the back of his baseball card. That’s what 37-39 year old players do, right?
Thursday, April 16, 2015
The replacement for Derek Jeter is playing horribly and the main guy traded for Didi Gregorius is performing like a Cy Young candidate, thus the Yankees’ most important move of the offseason — and arguably one of their most vital in years — is a Di-minus one week into the schedule.
The key words in the previous sentence were “one week,” and Shane Greene is unlikely to remain the best pitcher in his own rotation, much less the league.
But there is a little more than an early read to this. Historically, when Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Detroit counterpart Dave Dombrowski have traded with each other, the results have greatly favored Dombrowski.
Eh. It’s one week. I don’t think Gregorius is any good or will be any good at any point in the future, but I’m not sure that Greene is all that good either.
Look at this way. If the Yankees would have won three of the six games they’ve lost, they’d be 6-3 and tied for first place.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.290/.371/.290)
2. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.226/.273/.419)
3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.156/.176/.250)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.240/.375/.680)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.227/.280/.409)
6. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.240/.345/.440)
7. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.174/.231/.435)
8. Chris Young (R) LF: (.333/.400/.778)
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.154/.207/.154)
1. Alejandro De Aza (L) RF: (.300/.323/.533)
2. Everth Cabrera (S) SS: (.261/.280/.261)
3. Adam Jones (R) CF: (.429/.469/.929)
4. Travis Snider (L) DH: (.333/.481/.524)
5. Chris Davis (L) 1B: (.192/.250/.346)
6. Manny Machado (R) 3B: (.148/.226/.185)
7. Caleb Joseph (R) C: (.300/.391/.500)
8. David Lough (L) LF: (—-/—-/—-)
9. Jonathan Schoop (R) 2B: (.238/.273/.571)
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
The O’s got a pair of RBIs—including another homer—from a red-hot Adam Jones and used a stellar seven-inning start from Miguel Gonzalez to top the Yankees, 4-3, in Tuesday’s series-evening win.
Gonzalez (1-1) set a new career high with 10 strikeouts and held New York to just one run. The righty has pitched to a 1.42 ERA in his first two starts this season.
“He was incredible,” catcher Caleb Joseph said. “We’ve been talking about the split-finger for a while now, trying to get it down. It showed up tonight, didn’t it? He’s great. He mixed all of his pitches there, really stayed in the count. The thing about Miggy is he’s got a lot of weapons, and when he gets ahead, he’s dangerous.”
Yankees starter CC Sabathia went seven innings in the loss, with Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran driving in runs. New York closed the gap to one run on left fielder Alejandro De Aza’s eighth-inning fielding error, but Zach Britton came on to record his second save of the year.
CC is one of the weirdest starters out there - it’s like he’s guaranteed to give up 4 runs, but he will also give you 7 innings. And that does have value, but it’s pretty odd.
So far this year, the Yankees have at least been pretty resilient. Have to give them some credit for that.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.296/.387/.296)
2. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.222/.276/.444)
3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.143/.167/.214)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.238/.393/.714)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.278/.333/.500)
6. Garrett Jones (L) DH: (.200/.273/.300)
7. Chris Young (R) LF: (.357/.438/.857)
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.190/.217/.476)
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.130/.192/.130)
1. Everth Cabrera (S) SS: (.238/.238/.238)
2. Manny Machado (R) 3B: (.130/.222/.174)
3. Adam Jones (R) CF: (.440/.500/.880)
4. Steve Pearce (R) 1B: (.185/.313/.407)
5. Delmon Young (R) RF: (.111/.200/.111)
6. Chris Davis (L) DH: (.217/.280/.391)
7. Jonathan Schoop (R) 2B: (.278/.316/.667)
8. Caleb Joseph (R) C: (.235/.350/.353)
9. Alejandro De Aza (L) LF: (.333/.357/.593)
BALTIMORE — It was just how the Yankees Drew it up, right?
When the Yankees sent Stephen Drew to the plate to pinch-hit for Brett Gardner in the seventh inning Monday night, it raised some immediate concern over the left fielder’s health.
Gardner had been hit by a pitch on the right wrist in the first inning, struck in that spot for the second time in less than a week. He had remained in the game for five more innings, but with the bases loaded and the Yankees trailing by two runs, Gardner told Joe Girardi he might want to find another hitter.
I guess Drew’s already paid for his contract.
Monday, April 13, 2015
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.261/.370/.261)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.273/.385/.455)
3. Carlos Beltran (S) DH: (.167/.192/.250)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.222/.375/.611)
5. Alex Rodriguez (R) 3B: (.300/.417/.550)
6. Chris Young (R) RF: (.300/.417/.700)
7. John Ryan Murphy (R) C: (.286/.375/.571)
8. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.158/.227/.158)
9. Gregorio Petit (R) 2B: (.286/.375/.286)
1. Alejandro De Aza (L) LF: (.304/.333/.565)
2. Steve Pearce (R) RF: (.217/.333/.478)
3. Chris Davis (L) 1B: (.263/.333/.474)
4. Adam Jones (R) CF: (.381/.458/.762)
5. Travis Snider (L) DH: (.389/.522/.611)
6. Manny Machado (R) 3B: (.053/.174/.053)
7. Jonathan Schoop (R) 2B: (.286/.333/.714)
8. Everth Cabrera (S) SS: (.235/.235/.235)
9. Caleb Joseph (R) C: (.154/.313/.308)
NEW YORK—Alex Rodriguez ripped a bases-clearing double, Chase Headley and Stephen Drew slugged back-to-back homers, and the Yankees celebrated their biggest thumping of a Red Sox starter in nearly 70 years in a 14-4 victory on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees grabbed their first lead of the weekend with a seven-run first inning off Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, who hung around to absorb a career-high 10 runs (nine earned) over 3 1/3 innings. New York hadn’t hung a 10-spot on a Boston starter since June 21, 1945, when it knocked around Dave “Boo” Ferriss.
“It just takes the burden off,” Headley said. “We had been grinding for runs, so to get up there and really pour some on in the first inning kind of lets you go. You’re not on cruise control, but you can enjoy the at-bats, you can enjoy the game, and really let the game come to you at that point.”
What’s next? Cats and dogs living together?
Sunday, April 12, 2015
1. Mookie Betts (R) CF: (.190/.250/.381)
2. Dustin Pedroia (R) 2B: (.240/.345/.520)
3. David Ortiz (L) DH: (.150/.261/.300)
4. Hanley Ramirez (R) LF: (.318/.348/.591)
5. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B: (.269/.321/.269)
6. Mike Napoli (R) 1B: (.000/.150/.000)
7. Shane Victorino (R) RF: (.167/.333/.167)
8. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS: (.391/.462/.478)
9. Ryan Hanigan (R) C: (.091/.421/.091)
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.250/.318/.250)
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF: (.235/.381/.471)
3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.100/.136/.200)
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B: (.188/.350/.625)
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.231/.313/.308)
6. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.278/.350/.500)
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.136/.208/.273)
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B: (.118/.118/.118)
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.133/.222/.133)
The good news is that after tonight there will be only 156 games remaining in the Yankees’ 2015 season.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
NEW YORK—Joe Kelly permitted just one hit over seven sterling innings, retiring his final 17 batters faced, and the Red Sox pounced on a fatigued Yankees bullpen to post an 8-4 victory on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Activated from the disabled list before Saturday’s game, Kelly cruised through an efficient first start of the season, permitting only Alex Rodriguez’s second-inning single. The right-hander started his first full season with the Sox by striking out eight and issuing two walks to go with a wild pitch.
I realize I don’t really follow the Yankees like I used to but I have literally never heard of Matt Tracy, who pitched the final two innings in this game, until today.
1. Brock Holt (L) CF
2. Dustin Pedroia (R) 2B
3. David Ortiz (L) DH
4. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
5. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
6. Allen Craig (R) RF
7. Daniel Nava (L) LF
8. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
9. Ryan Hanigan (R) C
1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. Chris Young (R) CF
3. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
4. Alex Rodriguez (R) 1B
5. Chase Headley (S) 3B
6. Garrett Jones (L) RF
7. John Ryan Murphy (R) C
8. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
9. Gregorio Petit (R) 2B
Mookie Betts lifted a sacrifice fly to center field in the 19th inning off Esmil Rogers, sending Xander Bogaerts home with the deciding run as the Red Sox defeated the Yankees, 6-5, in the longest game played at the current Yankee Stadium.
Chase Headley’s ninth-inning homer off Edward Mujica erased the first of four Boston leads in the contest. David Ortiz gave Boston back the lead in 16th with a solo shot off Rogers, but with the clock having moved past midnight, Mark Teixeira celebrated his 35th birthday in the home half of the 16th with a game-tying homer off Steven Wright.
In the 18th, Pablo Sandoval knocked a run-scoring single off Rogers to put the Red Sox back on top, but the Yankees again wiped out that lead as Carlos Beltran doubled to deep left off Wright, scoring pinch-runner John Ryan Murphy.
It was certainly an exciting game. The Yankee bullpen is excellent. Two things stood out to me tonight…
1. Girardi pinch-running Garrett Jones for A-Rod in the 11th inning after A-Rod doubled with one out. Jones cannot be that much faster than A-Rod, so the slight upside of having him run for A-Rod did not seem to make up for the risk of taking A-Rod out in a tie game. It seemed like a bad idea at the time and only looked worse when Jones ended up having four at-bats in the game. Would have been nice to have had A-Rod still in there.
2. Didi Gregorius made the third out of the inning with the winning run on third twice in extra innings. Having two automatic outs in the bottom two spots of the lineup just kills this already pathetic offense.
Oh well, this was a horrible loss, but at least there was some good dramatic moments and at least the bullpen looked phenomenal. Let’s hope Adam Warren can pitch well tomorrow.
Friday, April 10, 2015
1. Mookie Betts (R) CF
2. Dustin Pedroia (R) 2B
3. David Ortiz (L) DH
4. Hanley Ramirez (R) LF
5. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
6. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
7. Daniel Nava (L) RF
8. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
9. Sandy Leon (S) C
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B
7. Chris Young (R) RF
8. Stephen Drew (L) SS
9. Gregorio Petit (R) 2B
First Place visits Last Place!
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Daniel Norris worked 5 2/3 solid innings to pick up his first big league win and Edwin Encarnacion homered late as the Blue Jays spoiled CC Sabathia’s return to the big league mound, posting a 6-3 victory over the Yankees on Thursday evening at Yankee Stadium.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 655th career home run, a solo shot to left field in the sixth inning, and Mark Teixeira also cleared the fence to highlight the Yanks’ production off the 21-year-old Norris, who was making just his second career start. The left-hander permitted three runs and six hits, walking two and striking out five.
It’s pretty funny that right after we were having a big discussion about how people always write about CC Sabathia being better than his results, we got tonight, where he gave up four earned runs and yet looked pretty damn good. Eight strikeouts is very nice. And even the one bad inning was a lot of fairly weak hits and RBI groundouts. He also gave up another run in his final inning, but that was on a Carlos Beltran error.
The offense was not great, but Toronto’s starter Daniel Norris looked very good out there, so three runs is not that bad. The Yankees actually had the possible tying runs on second and third with two outs against righthanded reliever Roberto Osuna in the sixth inning, but with the righthanded Gregorio Petit due up, Joe Girardi inexplicably pinch-hit Stephen Drew for Petit instead of Brian McCann or Garrett Jones, who (like Drew) are both lefthanded batters, except actually decent enough hitters. Why is Garrett Jones on the team if he’s not going to pinch-hit there?
Also, while not exactly a big deal, Didi Gregorius got his first hit as a Yankee, driving in a run but idiotically getting thrown out while taking a big turn at first. So far he has made Jorge Posada look like a good baserunner.
Nathan Eovaldi goes tomorrow night against the Red Sox. I’m really curious as to how he will look.
Blue Jays: Daniel Norris (L) vs. Yankees: CC Sabathia (L)
1. Jose Reyes (S) SS
2. Russell Martin (R) C
3. Jose Bautista (R) RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH
5. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
6. Danny Valencia (R) 1B
7. Kevin Pillar (R) CF
8. Steve Tolleson (R) LF
9. Devon Travis (R) 2B
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
2. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH
3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
5. Chase Headley (S) 3B
6. Chris Young (R) LF
7. John Ryan Murphy (R) C
8. Gregorio Petit (R) 2B
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
No Gardner = no reason to watch.
Chase Headley’s infield single ticked off Blue Jays closer Brett Cecil’s glove and pushed home Brett Gardner with the go-ahead run as the Yankees rallied for three runs in the eighth inning, posting a 4-3 victory on a raw and rainy Wednesday evening at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees accepted some help from Toronto’s bullpen in erasing the late deficit. Cecil’s wild pitch allowed Chris Young to score their second run, and with the bases loaded by a single, hit-by-pitch and intentional walk, Cecil plunked Brian McCann in the back to force home the tying run.
“A little bit unconventional, but guys did what they had to do to get on and we fought and clawed,” Headley said. “It turned out in our favor.”
That was one of the most embarrassing three run rallies in recent history. Even the initial double to start the inning was a pop-up that was caught up in the wind. But a win is a win is a win is a win, so I’ll certainly take it!
The good news from the game is that Michael Pineda and Andrew Miller were just as good as their hype suggested.
The bad news is that the Yankee offense is putrid and their defense has not been very good, either (although Brett Gardner made an awesome catch in the sixth inning that likely saved a run, and Stephen Drew did make a good play in the ninth inning).
CC Sabathia makes his season debut tomorrow. How he looks will play a huge part in how good this starting rotation will be this season (although I dare say that Nathan Eovaldi’s start might be even more important). Didi Gregorius will be sitting against the lefthander Daniel Norris. I really don’t agree with that move. I don’t mind giving him the occasional rest against lefties, but they really need to see if Gregorius can hit through his struggles with lefties. They invested a lot in getting him, they should give him a real shot to become the everyday shortstop.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey (R) vs. Yankees: Michael Pineda (R)
1. Jose Reyes (S) SS
2. Russell Martin (R) C
3. Jose Bautista (R) RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH
5. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
6. Dalton Pompey (S) CF
7. Kevin Pillar (R) LF
8. Justin Smoak (S) 1B
9. Devon Travis (R) 2B
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF
3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B
7. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
No team has ever gone 0-2 to start the season and won the World Series, I don’t think.
With Masahiro Tanaka looking so shaky on Opening Day, maybe the Yankees’ actual ace is the guy starting Wednesday night against Toronto — Michael Pineda.
The Yanks certainly need Pineda, who thrived when healthy last year, to soar at the Stadium. At the very least, it would wash away the bad taste of the club’s first-day flop.
But it could also give a lift of sorts to a team already facing doubts because of Tanaka’s poor performance and vulnerable elbow. A sparkling outing by Pineda would also be a first step toward proving right those in the Yankee organization who believe Pineda is headed for a breakout season.
I’m looking forward to watching Pineda this season for as long as he holds up.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
An unusual offseason and spring training for the Yankees have brought us to this juncture: Their long-term future looks more encouraging than it has in, let’s say, 10 years. And their short-term future looks more discouraging than it has in, let’s say, 23 years.
So what if those looks come to fruition and we’re left with a micro-bad, macro-good campaign? One in which the Yankees not only miss the playoffs for a third straight year but also finish under .500 for the first time since 1992, while also developing a promising core at both the major-league and minor-league levels?
Are the Yankees allowed to have one of those years?
“We’re not allowed to have a bad month,” said Brian Cashman, the team’s longtime general manager, “let alone six months.”
And yet you’ve had 24 bad months and counting…
Monday, April 6, 2015
NEW YORK—Edwin Encarnacion homered and Russell Martin drove in a pair of runs as the Blue Jays knocked around Masahiro Tanaka and celebrated a 6-1 Opening Day victory on Monday at Yankee Stadium.
Toronto hung a five-run third inning on Tanaka, who leaned heavily on his offspeed pitches as he attempts to pitch through a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament. The right-hander needed 82 pitches to get through four frames, forcing the Yankees to go to the bullpen early.
Blue Jays: Drew Hutchison (R) vs. Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (R)
1. Jose Reyes (S) SS
2. Russell Martin (R) C
3. Jose Bautista (R) RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion (R) 1B
5. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
6. Dioner Navarro (S) DH
7. Dalton Pompey (S) CF
8. Kevin Pillar (R) LF
9. Devon Travis (R) 2B
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF
3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B
7. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH
8. Stephen Drew (L) 2B
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS
Sunday, April 5, 2015
2015 CAIRO v1.0 Final Player Projections and Standings
I know that technically the season has started, but here’s the final version of the 2015 CAIRO projections as well as my final projected standings.
Here’s a link to the spreadsheet of the individual projections.
And here are the final projected standings.
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
Nothing really stands out here, aside from the fact that even the notoriously biased CAIRO can’t make the Yankees look very good. They can contend if they have a bunch of players exceed expectations, but that’s an optimistic outcome and not a particularly realistic one.
Maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow, but I don’t really care that the season is starting. I didn’t watch a pitch of spring training, and if the Yankees are playing a day game tomorrow I haven’t made up an excuse to work from home to watch it.
I hope they do well this year, but I don’t think they will. Poor us…
Friday, April 3, 2015
Alex Rodriguez handled first base so well against the Pirates on Thursday at Steinbrenner Field that Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would be confident using him in a real game.
“I’m glad he’s confident. Yeah, I think I can manage. Everything to help the team win,’’ said Rodriguez, who scooped two Stephen Drew throws from shortstop out of the dirt for outs and just missed turning a 3-6 double play at second. “I thought it was a play I could have made. But I didn’t make it.”
In his second stint at first, Rodriguez played six innings, recorded seven putouts and one assist.
I’d rather see Rodriguez at first every day over Teixeira, honestly.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
“Tanaka is not healthy right now because I believe Tanaka is hesitant to let it go,” said Martinez, an analyst for TBS and MLB Network. “Tanaka is hanging all those breaking balls that he is throwing.
“The only pitch he is committing to is the split finger, and his problems are actually in a place where you don’t need to put any more stress, which is the elbow. And he’s hesitant. He’s hesitating to throw his fastball, and he’s hanging every breaking ball he’s throwing out there. Plus his velocity is not there yet.”
Please. What would Pedro Martinez know about pitching?
In need of another healthy infielder by Opening Day, the New York Yankees have acquired Gregorio Petit from the Houston Astros for cash.
The teams announced the deal Wednesday night. New York says Petit will report to major league camp.
Petit batted .278 with two homers and nine RBI in 37 games with the Astros last season. He played in 85 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting .297 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI.
Petit has also played for Oakland (2008-09) and is a .278 career hitter in 62 big league games.
Four days after Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius got hurt, backup Brendan Ryan strained his right calf during Wednesday’s spring training game against Tampa Bay. He is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.
All signs point to Petit making the Big League squad as the back-up at short and second base. There is a reason he didn’t play in the Majors between 2009 and 2014, so don’t expect much from the guy, but he is clearly a good defender and his bat has a little tiny bit of pop in it (plus, he’s a righthanded hitter, which gives Girardi the option to sit either Gregarious or Drew late in a game against a lefty). Plus, he’s so disposable that he can be cut easily when Ryan returns.
However, there is also the slight chance that Nick Noonan makes the team over him and Petit goes to AAA as the back-up plan. Hell, there’s even a theoretical scenario where Refsynder still gets the call and Petit and Noonan go to AAA if Refsnyder can’t hack it at second base.
But the most likely scenario is Petit breaks camp as the Yankees backup shortstop and second baseman. He’s a pretty good defender, so this move is fine, as it wasn’t like Ryan was going to be a great hitter, either.
EDITED TO ADD: Well, Noonan and Refsnyder were both sent down (along with Chase Whitley, surprisingly enough), so it looks like the job belongs to Petit (unless someone interesting gets cut by another team right before the season begins. You just know Cashman is dying for a return of former Yankee MVP*, Jayson Nix).
*As voted on by John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Ellsbury has no worries about being ready for the April 6 season opener against Toronto.
“I don’t have any issues,” he said, adding: “I’m ready now.”
Monday, March 30, 2015
After Sunday’s 7-0 victory over the Astros, the Yankees optioned outfielder Ramon Flores to Triple-A and re-assigned seven players—catchers Francisco Arcia and Kyle Higashioka, infielders Cole Figueroa and Jonathan Galvez, outfielder Slade Heathcott, left-hander Jacob Lindgren and right-hander Nick Rumbelow—to Minor League camp.
Lindgren had enjoyed a strong spring, posting a 1.23 ERA in eight appearances spanning 7 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old was a long shot to make the club, with just 25 professional innings under his belt, but Cashman said earlier on Sunday that Lindgren had made a good impression in camp.
“Obviously, we’ve kept him this long for a reason—because he’s continued to open people’s eyes,” Cashman said.
Like a lot of you, I was surprised by the move, as Lindgren has looked so good and when he was drafted, everyone pointed out at the time that it seemed like the plan was to get him to the Majors as soon as he showed that he could pitch there, and he certainly seems to have shown he can pitch in the Majors. Chad Jennings, though, had an interesting take on the situation at LoHud...
I have no idea what the Yankees are going to do about those final two spots in the bullpen. I think Chase Whitley is a favorite for one of those spots, if only because I think they’ll want another long man other than Esmil Rogers (and all the other long relief candidates have been sent away). What I can’t figure out is who the favorites might be for that last spot in the pen. I do think it’s worth noting that Chris Martin and Chasen Shreve are on the 40-man and have options, and I think that final bullpen spot might be very flexible early in the season. For that reason — because the 12th reliever might have to go up and down to Triple-A a few times — I’m not surprised the Yankees steered away from Jacob Lindgren. He’s looked great, but I imagine that once he’s on the big league roster, the Yankees want him to stay there. Why not carry Martin or Shreve out of camp, send him down for a sixth starter in late April, and then think about adding either Lindgren or Andrew Bailey?
I think he’s probably correct that both Lindgren and Bailey (presuming Bailey remains healthy) will return to the Majors, so whoever makes the roster now will likely be a placeholder.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
TAMPA — Nine and two-thirds inning of game work for CC Sabathia this spring, the last five of those coming Saturday at the Yankees’ minor league complex for Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against the Pirates’ affiliate Indianapolis. Five home runs allowed.
A reporter asked the veteran lefty how much stock anyone should put in the results we’ve seen so far.
“I don’t give a [expletive] what stock they put in it,” Sabathia said, as the Yankees were losing a 10-2 game to the Orioles at Steinbrenner Field. “It is what it is. I’ve had spring trainings where I’ve given up a lot of runs and went out and had a good season. I’ve had spring trainings like last year where I didn’t give up [any] runs and I gave up [six] in the first game [April 1 at Houston]. So you all can put stock in whatever you want. I’m not really worried about it.”
So this was new: a defiant Sabathia. We haven’t seen much of this before. Nor had we heard him drop an F-bomb in a formal interview.
I haven’t seen any spring training so I have no idea how Sabathia’s stuff looks. But that’s more important to me than his actual results.
In other pitching news, the Yankees have released Scott Baker and re-assigned Kyle Davies. They will be missed.
Friday, March 27, 2015
It’s official: Masahiro Tanaka will make the Opening Day start for the New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 6 at Yankee Stadium, ending the six-year Opening Day run of the former ace, CC Sabathia.
The announcement from manager Joe Girardi on Friday morning was hardly a surprise, since it was clear last season that Tanaka had assumed the role of ace from Sabathia, whose effectiveness has been compromised by elbow and knee injuries and a significant loss of fastball velocity over the past two seasons.
. With the exception of Tanaka’s last outing against the New York Mets, he has pitched well this spring, showing virtually no ill effects from the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament he suffered last July that cost him two months of his rookie season.
I admire the fact that this clearly WAS a tough call for Girardi to make, just based on sentimental reasons. He’s a real softie. Let’s hope this is the first of six straight Opening Day starts for Tanaka with the Yankees!
Thursday, March 26, 2015
It looks like Adam Warren has a spot in the Yankees rotation going into the season. And, according to our depth charts, he has a chance to hold that spot until at least Ivan Nova‘s mid-season return. Given the health histories of some of the veterans ahead of him, that means he could start all year.
Could he start all year? What might we expect from him, given his arsenal and transition from the bullpen to the rotation?
Warren seems well suited for the transition. He regularly threw five pitches last year, as you might expect from a college starter coming out of a good program like University of North Carolina’s. It’s those five pitches, with examples all thrown in one five-out appearance last September 21st, that can give us a structure for this introduction.
Interesting article by Eno Sarris where he looks at the odds of Warren’s strong bullpen performance transitioning to being a good starting pitcher, and one of the key aspects is that Warren did not do the traditional reduction of his pitch arsenal in relief that many relievers do, so he’s particularly well-suited for the transition to starting. The article paints a pretty optimistic case for Warren as a starter.
Tip of the hat to keith for the link!
“Didi is unbelievable, as good a shortstop as I’ve seen,” first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “And I’m not overexaggerating.”
Keep in mind that Teixeira is a 12-year veteran, and was teammates in Texas with Rodriguez in 2003 when A-Rod was still one of the top defensive shortstops in the game.
I had to ask Rodriguez if he shared Teixeira’s opinion on Gregorius, whom the Yankees acquired from the Diamondbacks last Dec. 5 in a three-team deal in which they sent right-hander Shane Greene to the Tigers.
Say what you want about A-Rod, but few players match his passion and knowledge for the game. He even talks in scouting shorthand, using single digits (2 to 8) when referring to the 20-to-80 scouting scale, in which 50 is considered major-league average.
When I informed Rodriguez of what Teixeira had said about Gregorius, he replied, “That’s a helluva compliment.”
And then A-Rod broke down Gregorius like a scout.
“He has a rare combination of speed and explosiveness. But what you don’t see is an incredibly strong arm that is so accurate. That combination is lethal,” Rodriguez said.
“What you see in a lot of young players are 6 or 7 arms, but then their accuracy is 3 or 4. Which is normal, par for the course. As they get older, they go from a 7-1/2 arm to about a 5-1/2 or 6-1/2 and their accuracy goes to about 6. But when you have that combination at 25 years old of crazy range, 7-plus arm, 7-plus accuracy ... even Ozzie [Smith], he had 7 accuracy but he didn’t have 7 arm strength.
“[Gregorius] has made plays from the hole, from his back foot, throwing the ball 90 mph across the diamond from his back foot. You don’t see that. It also makes it a lot easier for your third baseman to play third base.”
Man, it is kind of crazy how interesting Alex Rodriguez is when he just talks shop. There is a great sidebar to the article where A-Rod talks about the game is so different now due to the shift, that things have dramatically changed in just the year he was away.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
TAMPA — Delin Betances didn’t know his fastball topped out at 94 mph on Tuesday night against the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
All the Yankees’ giant right-handed closer candidate understood was that it was short of the gas he hurled last season when he lived in the high 90s and reached 100 mph a few times.
“I haven’t asked about it, but it’s nowhere near where it should be,’’ Betances said after a rocky frame in which his first eight pitches were out of the strike zone. “The more I pitch, that will come. Last year in spring training I trusted it more. This year I am trying to do too much instead of trusting what I have. The more I pitch the better I feel. I have always been like that.’’
Since Betances won’t have to protect any leads for a team that will score roughly zero runs this season, I don’t think this is much of a problem.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
TAMPA — Dellin Betances’ lone major league save came on July 7, and as the right-hander pointed out Monday, it was a two-inning outing.
With the way Joe Girardi is talking this spring, the Yankees may have more non-traditional saves in the works, so the manager can take advantage of having both Betances and lefty Andrew Miller in the back of the bullpen.
“In years past we had a clearly defined closer,’’ the manager said of Mariano Rivera and David Robertson. “There was never a question. In looking at the candidates we have, neither one of them has ever really closed. I know David Robertson hadn’t closed, but he was an eighth-inning guy for five years.’’
The uncertainty doesn’t seem to bother Betances or Miller.
The Yankees are collecting potential closers like the Red Sox used to collect aces.
Monday, March 23, 2015
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Joe Girardi wanted to see versatile Yankees spring sensation Jose Pirela in centerfield. But he certainly didn’t want to see this.
Pirela suffered a concussion and was taken by ambulance to Tradition Medical Center after crashing into the centerfield wall on what turned into an inside-the-park home run for leadoff batter Juan Lagares of the Mets in the first inning.
The Yankees announced Sunday night that Pirela had been discharged from the hospital and that all tests came back normal.
Hopefully he’ll be fine.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
TAMPA − Hal Steinbrenner is fully aware of the lack of customary buzz for this coming Yankee season. He doesn’t have to be told he’s got a lot of bloated contracts on his payroll and that he hasn’t been getting nearly enough bang for his buck from his biggest stars. The Yankee owner and managing general partner knows the days of a consistently sold-out Yankee Stadium are over until further notice — and what a third straight season out of the postseason money will do to his season-ticket fan base. He gets it.
Monday, March 16, 2015
TAMPA — Watching Nathan Eovaldi dominate the Phillies on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, a question couldn’t be ignored: How does a pitcher with his type of electric stuff take a 15-35 career record into his first Yankees season?
Yes, it was spring training against a split squad of Phillies who had maybe two regulars in the lineup. Yet his fastball danced on the black of the plate at 95 to 98 mph and a hard slider was clocked at 89.
With health questions attached to Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda, Eovaldi didn’t bring that issue with him from the Marlins when the Yankees figured his age (25) and durability were worth sacrificing Martin Prado.
Still, 15-35 in parts of four pitcher-friendly NL seasons certainly drew red flags concerning the right-hander’s ability to win in the AL East.
That remains a question, but Sunday’s electrifying outing can’t be ignored.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Unsung Yankee History: How a Dramatic Phone Call Saved the 1996 Offseason From Going to the Birds
This is the second in a series of examinations (second in three years, so don’t hold your breath for the third) into different games, events and decisions that impacted Yankees history in some way, shape or form. Stories that are not as famous as, say, “The Flip” or Babe Ruth calling his own shot, but still have a place in Yankees history, especially for die-hard fans.
Today we look at how the Yankees nearly lost David Cone to the Baltimore Orioles before the 1996 season.
Going into the 1996 offseason, the Yankees were in a curious position in the world of baseball payrolls. After a brief period in the late 1980s/early 1990s where they fell as far back in overall payroll as 9th in 1991, the Yankees had steadily climbed their way back up the charts and by 1994 once again had the highest payroll in baseball. However, unlike the 2000s, the difference between the Yankees and the rest of the pack wasn’t nearly as pronounced. The Yankees finished the 1995 season with a $10 million payroll advantage over the second-place Baltimore Orioles ($58 million to $48 million). However, the Orioles and their billionaire owner Peter Angelos were well-prepared to duke it out with the Yankees during the offseason. In fact, after closing the gap in 1996 and 1997, the Orioles actually ended up with a higher payroll than the Yankees in 1998, the last time that happened until 2014, when the Los Angeles Dodgers passed the Yankees (the Dodgers are set to finish with the highest payroll this season, as well).
The Orioles and the Yankees went after a number of the same players that offeason. In many of the instances, the Orioles came away with their man. Both teams wanted All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar. The Orioles nailed him down with a three-year/$18 million deal ($6 million annually was a lot back then). They also vied for BJ Surhoff, who signed with the Orioles on a three-year deal for roughly $4 million. Both teams tried to trade for Cincinnati’s impending free agent lefthander David Wells. The Orioles succeeded (the Yankees, of course, then signed Wells when he became a free agent at the end of the season). The biggest prize of the offseason, though, was star pitcher David Cone. Both teams wanted him badly and it was quite a battle to see where he would end up (a battle where the Yankees shot themselves in the foot a few times).
After coming over to the New York Mets in 1987 (in a horrible trade by Cone’s hometown team, the Kansas City Royals, a trade Cone’s then-teammate, Hal McCrae, later recalled as “I still remember that day, March 28, 1987, when Cone was traded. My initial reaction was not good. It got a whole lot worse after that”), Cone became one of the top pitchers in the National League for a number of years. With free agency looming after the 1992 season (a season that ended in disaster for the Mets, leading them to be known as “The Worst Team Money Could Buy”), the Mets dealt him to the Toronto Blue Jays. After helping them win their first World Series in franchise history, Cone returned to the Royals as a free agent on a rather large deal for its day (3 years/$18 million). After winning the Cy Young for the Royals in the strike-shortened 1994 season, it was clear to everyone that Cone would have to be traded, as the Royals were drastically shedding payroll between the 1994 and 1995 seasons. Right before the 1995 season started, Cone was dealt back to the Blue Jays (still ostensibly the defending World Champions due to the 1994 World Series being canceled).
The Blue Jays woefully overestimated how good they were and entered the 1995 trade deadline thirteen games under .500. Cone was a key trade asset, but since he was an impending free agent, that lowered the number of teams willing to part with substantial assets (as few teams felt that they would be able to re-sign Cone). The Blue Jays at first were looking to get a number of impact players but in the end found themselves haggling with the Yankees over just one such player. Marty Janzen was the Yankees’ top pitching prospect and they were refusing to include him in a deal for Cone. Ultimately, after the Indians traded for Ken Hill, the Yankees felt that they had to counter, so they gave in and traded Mike Gordon, Jason Jarvis and the aforementioned Janzen for Cone. Don Mattingly, still well known for how much he enjoys young players, noted about the deal, “What’s not to like? I don’t even know the other three guys … It’s kind of like with John Wetteland. We got him for nothing.”
Cone went 9-2 with a 3.82 ERA as the Yankees made the playoffs for the first time since 1981. Cone then won Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Seattle Mariners. However, after going up 2-0, the Yankees lost two in a row heading into the make-or-break Game 5. Cone started the game and clung to a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs and the bases loaded. The immortal Doug Strange pinch-hit for catcher Dan Wilson. On Cone’s 4.456th pitch (okay, just 147th), Cone walked in the tying run in the game. In defense of Yankee Manager Buck Showalter sticking with the gassed David Cone, it was not as if Showalter had Mariano Rivera ready in the bullpe…oh, what’s that? He did? Rivera came in and quickly ended the inning by striking out the next batter. The Yankees lost the game in the eleventh inning. Still, even with the disappointing end to their season, it seemed like the Yankees wanted to resign Cone and Cone wanted to resign with the Yankees.
Then a little problem happened. The Orioles were very public in their interest in Cone and offered him three years/$15 million. However, on December 15th, 1995, Cone flew to Tampa with the intent on signing a three year deal worth $18 million, plus two $5.5 million options for 1998 and 1999 that had $1.5 buyouts, making the total guaranteed value of the deal three years/$19.5 million. That was the highest guaranteed yearly average value for a pitcher in baseball history (the options were tied in to incentive clauses where if Cone reached the incentives, the options would go from team options to two player options). However, as Cone made his way down to Tampa, the Orioles made it known that they were now out of the running for Cone. When he arrived, the Yankees, presumably feeling that he no longer had any other suitors, bizarrely changed the terms of the deal. Now the buyouts were only $1 million and not $1.5 million. Cone later recalled, “The money was on the table and then it was taken off, and that’s when the talks broke down. I hate to give a general response as to why this happened, but I chalk it up to a miscommunication.” Cone left Tampa fuming over the Yankees’ choice of negotiating tactics. The Orioles were now very much back in the hunt.
The Orioles could only go as high as three years/$17.7 million, but they were offering something that the Yankees were not, a no-trade clause for the first two years of the deal. For a guy who had just been traded twice in a single season, stability meant a lot to Cone. However, he was now using his leverage to make other demands, as well. The Orioles had just signed All-Star closer Randy Myers as well as well-regarded set-up man, Roger McDowell. Cone told the Yankees that they had best retain the services of John Wetteland if they wanted him to re-sign with them. The Yankees had been flirting with not offering Wetteland arbitration because he was looking to get nearly $5 million in arbitration. The Yankees ended up settling with Wetteland for $4 million (plus a $4.6 million player option). It is very possible that they would have re-signed Wetteland anyways, but surely it helped that it made Cone feel better about the Yankees’ chances in 1996.
Another way that the Yankees were having trouble with the negotiations was that, due to an illness of a family friend and some health problems of his own, George Steinbrenner was M.I.A. during the heart of the process. Cone was feeling neglected. He was so close to signing with Baltimore that he actually took a physical for them! However, before the day was saved by the Yankees, a third team surprisingly got involved. Cone’s old team, the Mets, tried to convince him to return to them for three years/$15 million, using Mets closer John Franco to really sell Cone on the idea that if he bailed on New York for Baltimore, the fans would never forgive him. Cone later noted, “There was a four-hour span where I really considered the Mets. I saw how Knick fans treated Pat Riley (the Knick GM who had recently surreptitiously quit on the Knicks to go become the Coach and President of the Miami Heat), and I tried to imagine what it might’ve been like around here.” Still, Cone was ultimately ready to sign with Baltimore. The only thing holding up the deal was some debate between his agent and the Orioles over some deferred money. Cone later pointed out:
I probably would have signed if it wasn’t for those guys in the front office haggling over deferred money at zero percent interest. I’m telling you, when I talked to my financial guys they said it may be a couple hundred grand they were haggling over at that point. Not to piss on a couple hundred grand, but in the grand scope of things, a couple hundred grand shouldn’t hold things up.
Luckily, at seemingly the last possible moment, Steinbrenner called Cone from a pay phone outside a Tampa hospital. Not only was he restoring the full $1.5 million buyouts, he was offering Cone a full no-trade clause throughout the length of the contract (and not just the first two years like Baltimore). Cone related the situation:
“It was that dramatic call from Mr. Steinbrenner, when he told me he wasn’t signing me to trade me, that got the deal done. That cleared everything up. . . . All along I was looking more for a reason to stay than a reason to leave. In the end, it came down to a chance to control my future and know if I do my job, I won’t get traded. I don’t have to wonder anymore which eight or nine teams are coming after me before July 31(the trade deadline).
Cone was the Opening Day starter for the Yankees in 1996, but after beginning the season 4-1 with a 2.02 ERA, he suffered an aneurysm in his pitching arm. He missed most of the season, but returned in August. In his first game back, he did not allow a hit until he was forced to come out of the game due to being on a pitch limit. Rivera came in and gave up a hit to take away the committee no-hitee. The Yankees made the playoffs and after trailing 2-0 in the World Series, Cone won Game 3 of the Series and the Yankees went on to sweep the series.
Perhaps Cone’s finest season was his 20-7 1998 season where he came in fourth in the Cy Young balloting. He had met the incentives in his contract so the 1999 option for $5.5 million was now his. Instead of exploring free agency, though, Cone worked out a one-year deal with the Yankees for $8 million (plus $1.75 million in incentives - Cone got all of the money in 1999). Cone looked to get a two-year deal after a less than impressive 1999 season (although he did throw a perfect game during the season) but ultimately had to settle for one last one-year deal from the Yankees for $12 million. Cone ended up winning four World Series titles in his five and a half seasons in New York, and that number would have been a big ol’ zero if it weren’t’ for that dramatic phone call from George Steinbrenner back on December 20th, 1995.
Thanks to John Giannone and the New York Daily News for the great Cone quotes!
If anyone has a suggestion for a future Unsung Yankee History piece (which, at this rate, will be in 2018), drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a condensed version of a piece I wrote a few days ago that I lost due to getting logged out of the system.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
TAMPA — For top Yankees hitting prospect Aaron Judge, the miracle already has happened.
No matter what baseball has in store for the massive Judge, who is just 22, grace has touched his life.
Judge knows that, and so do his parents, Patty and Wayne Judge, two recently retired teachers from Linden, Calif.
Walk through the Yankees clubhouse and you will notice Judge quickly has made an impact — not only with his ability and his disciplined yet powerful approach to hitting, but with the way he carries himself.
Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, a man who knows something about the gift of being able to launch a baseball, said this about Judge: “He’s got power like [Willie] Stargell. He’s got outstanding plate discipline. It’s nice to see him at home plate with a 3-1 count.’’
Judge, 6-foot-7, 275 pounds, is ticketed for Double-A Trenton to start the year. Whenever the outfielder gets to The Bronx, you can be sure his parents will be there to enjoy the moment. Patty retired two years ago. Wayne retired this year. Both were physical education teachers.
Monday, March 9, 2015
Hidden by his ubiquitous shades and his Joe McCool manner, Girardi, the Yankees’ 50-year-old manager, runs a team that has more bruised and broken — not to mention decrepit — parts than any man could be expected to keep track of.
He has a coterie of aging stars in possession of spectacular, yes-I’ll-sign-that! long-term contracts. All are in various states of disrepair and hoped-for repair.
His amiable onetime ace C. C. Sabathia, 34, is rehabbing from an operation on a degenerative knee. His new ace, Masahiro Tanaka, has a partially torn elbow ligament. His No. 2 pitcher, Ivan Nova, had a fully torn elbow ligament and is expected back by the summer.
There are promising kids wending their way up through the minor leagues. There is a formidable bullpen, as well as professional hitters and a sweet-fielding new shortstop. But Yankees management has embraced the mausoleum marketing phase of team decline: Unable to flog more retirement tours, they have turned to retiring numbers, planning days to celebrate Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams.
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Garrett Jones 1B
Chris Young RF
Jose Pirela 2B
Nick Noonan SS
RHP Adam Warren
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Didi Gregorius SS
Brian McCann C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew 2B
Tyler Austin RF
Ramon Flores LF
Mason Williams CF
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
Watch as The Bronx Bombers continue their UNDEFEATED Spring Training campaign!
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
The team just announced that minor league catcher Luis Torrens has been diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He will undergo surgery tomorrow performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
I was really looking forward to see what Torrens did this year. Tough loss for the system.
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Chris Young RF
Garrett Jones 1B
Jose Pirela 2B
Austin Romine C
Kyle Roller DH
Jonathan Galvez 3B
Nick Noonan SS
RHP Adam Warren
The Yankees are probably going to be less than good this year, but it’s Spring Training! Severino! Bird! Judge! Refsnyder!
First Spring Training observation: Matt Stairs the player kind of intimidated me, Matt Stairs the announcer looks like Louis CK.
Top of the 1st:
It has to feel awful to give up a single to Chris Young the day after he struck out against a pitching machine.
Chris Young single. Garrett Jones single. Jose Pirela single. Bronx Bombers on the board!!!
Hooters ball girls are a thing?
Bottom of the 1st:
Gotta love the Phillies broadcast team highlighting that Howard was 4th in RBI in the NL last year. Keep the phaith.
The Phillies, according to their broadcast…have 5 hitting coaches this Spring. Is lack of hitting coaches a market inefficiency? Are the Phillies more analytical than ESPN thought?
I don’t think Adam Warren is good enough to be a capable starting pitcher because he doesn’t get a lot of ground balls or whiffs at the major league level. However, he used to get a lot of ground balls in the minors. I am of the opinion that the ground balls disappeared because the hitters were better, but if he can get guys to ground out his role gets more interesting. Especially considering Tanaka and Pineda are due for the DL any minute.
Top of the 2nd:
Kyle Roller is better than Garrett Jones. Not as veteran though.
Bottom of the 2nd:
Every foul ball near a Hooters ball girl on this broadcast makes me fear for Matt Stairs’ job security.
Pirela gets his first error of the Spring attempting to make the barehanded turn on a DP ball. Did not have a clean grip.
Warren should be done. Nice start to the Spring for him as he kept the ball low. The pitch for the final out was a meatball that wasn’t squared up though.
Top of the 3rd:
6 pitches. 3 outs on the ground. WOE.
Bottom of the 3rd:
Severino strikes out his first batter of Spring Training on a slider away, looking.
Severino strikes out his second batter of Spring Training on a fastball, swinging.
Groundout to 3B after Severino shatters the bat with a fastball in. Can’t wait for his first Dr. Andrews appointment.
Top of the 4th:
Romine swings at everything and doesn’t have a ton of power. It’s extremely frustrating.
Bottom of the 4th:
Severino is human. Hard single up the middle. If he was an inch taller it would have been an out. This is why short right handed starting pitchers can’t be trusted.
Single up the middle off of a slider that moved like a curveball. Is Severino a product of Yankee hype?
Severino gives up his first run of the Spring on a Ryan Howard single. Tried to tie him up inside with a fastball, but Howard was able to pull his hands in and muscle a single to RF.
A lot of sliders from Severino today. Thought we would see more of his change-up. Gardner catches a pop up to LF for the first out of the inning.
Bloop single to LF and Severino’s day is done. At this point you have to wonder whether you should deal him now because he doesn’t look good enough to help out the Flat Ground Squad.
Top of the 5th:
Bottom of the 5th:
Pretty much every reliever in the Yankee system throws hard and has good stuff + Joe Girardi is sort of a bullpen wizard = There’s no reason to ever worry about the Yankee bullpen*
*-They still should have given Robertson a blank check
Top of the 6th:
Aaron Judge grounds out to shortstop after a solid AB.
Greg Bird pops out to left field after a short, for him, 4 pitch AB. He was extremely impressive when I saw him in AA last year.
Rob Refsnyder works a walk in his first Spring AB. Can’t wait for Stephen Drew to be our starting 2B.
Bottom of the 6th:
I badly want JR Murphy to win the backup C battleso that throw into CF pains me way more than it should.
Top of the 7th:
Mason Williams pops out to left on pitch 3 of the at bat after taking the first two pitches. He looked slimmer in the upper body than the last time I saw him.
Watching Cito Culver hit and having Luis Sojo flashbacks.
Bottom of the 7th:
Lindgren’s slider is ridiculous. Just filthy. I’m just curious about the velocity on his fastball
Refsnyder with the throwing error on a routine groundball to 2B. Tied with Pirela for the Spring lead. Stephen Drew nods silently.
Lindgren struggling with the strike zone a bit. Either his control needs to get better or his fastball needs to sit in the mid 90s in order for him to be effective at the Major League level.
Top of the 8th:
Jake Cave, who I kind of like, quickly grounds out to first.
Slade Heathcott, whose bandwagon I left a long time ago, doubles to right center field after working a 3 ball count.
Judge works a walk. Coming out of the draft there was a lot of talk about how raw Judge was, so his patience at the plate has been pleasantly surprising.
I love watching Greg Bird hit. Can’t wait to hear the amount of times he gets called “a professional hitter.”
Bottom of the 8th:
A hard throwing RHP did things.
Top of the 9th:
Mason Williams rips a double to RF. Nicely hit.
Slade Heathcott with a nice RBI single. He’s made it through half a game without injury.
Aaron Judge game tying True Yankee Moment time?
CALLED IT!!! THE VERDICT IS IN, JUDGE HOMERS TO LEFT!!!!
Greg Bird is just the best. I love him so much.
Refsnyder looks anxious.
Bottom of the 9th:
WE DIDN’T LOSE!!!
The website FanGraphs features a pair of projections systems, Steamer and ZiPS, which have spit out their anticipated 2015 statistics. Collectively, they have the Yankees finishing 82-80 by scoring 669 runs and allowing 664.
The 2014 Yankees permitted exactly 664 runs. For this group to produce the same pitching effort, it must overcome the departures of Shane Greene, Hiroki Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy and David Robertson, all of whom pitched very effectively last year. As The Post’s Joel Sherman wrote on Sunday, the Yankees’ bullpen will need to step up its already impressive effort of recent years. It also should help on the defensive side to have Gregorius and Stephen Drew occupying the middle of the infield for an entire season, assuming Drew rebounds offensively.
Let’s talk offensive rebounds. The 2014 Yankees scored 633 runs, so 669 runs would represent a 5.2 percent increase. The projection systems assert that Drew, Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Gregorius, Chase Headley, Garrett Jones, Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira will hit better than they did, relative to the rest of the American League, in 2014. The numbers point south for Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez (working off his 2013 stats, since he missed all of last year due to suspension).
You don’t need a doctorate in math to see the origin of these estimations. For instance, you’d expect Beltran’s production to dwindle with age, and he’s turning 38 in April. However, his plummet from 2013 with St. Louis (.830 OPS) to 2014 with the Yankees (.703) was so precipitous that you’d forecast a jump back toward his career norms.
I’ll take the under on runs scored and the over on runs allowed. I’ll take the under on wins and the over on losses.
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.