Category Archives: Offseason Moves

Yanks trade Prado and Phelps to Marlins

When the Yanks re-signed Chase Headley, it appeared their infield was set. Teixeira at first, Prado at second, Gregorious/Ryan at SS and Headley at 3B.

Not so fast.

On Friday, the Yanks traded Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps to the Miami Marlins.

Prado was picked up by the Yanks in mid-season of 2014, and hit .316-7-16 in 37 games. Phelps went 5-5, 4.38 as a spot starter/long reliever in 2014.

In return, the Yanks got the following:

RHP Nathan Eovaldi, 24, who went 6-14, 4.37 (ERA+ 87) in 2014 for the Marlins. For his career, he is 15-35, 4.07, ERA+ 95. His 162 g. average is 6-15, 4.07. Not impressive, but he throws 96, is young and is a project for pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Upside is there, will he reach it? As of now, the Yanks #4 starter (when Nova returns, he’ll probably drop to #5, behind Nova. As of now, Capuano is the #5).

1b/of Garrett Jones, .246-15-53 in 2014 for the Marlins. OPS+ 98. Lefty hitter, and 33 years old. Can fill in at 1B for Teix, RF for Beltran or DH for A-Rod. 162 game average: .253-22-73, OPS+ 108. Has pop for the porch. Spent 2009-2013 with the Pirates. Has hit 20+HR 3x in his career, 15 or more each season 2009-2014.

Prospect Domingo German, 22, RHP. 9-3, 2.48 in A ball in 2014. 20-10, 2.33 in his minor league career.

It was thought that Prado would be the Yanks’ 3B in 2014, then 2B when Headley re-signed. His versatility (he can also play corner OF) will be missed. As for Phelps, it appears the Yanks like Eovaldi’s upside and experience over Phelps as far as a rotation spot is concerned.

Unless a deal is made, it looks like the second base job will be up for grabs between two rookies. They are:

Jose Pirela, 25, righty bat. Hit 8 for 24 (.333, with one double and two triples) in seven games with the Yanks last year after hitting .305-10-60 with 15 SB at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Rob Refsnyder, 23, righty bat who spent 2014 between AA/AAA, hitting a combined .318-14-63.

Refsnyder, a converted OF, is said to have a MLB-ready bat, but it’s his defense that scouts are questioning.

With Digregorious (24) at SS, one of the two listed above (Pirela/Refsnyder) at 2B, and Eovaldi as a #4 starter, it appears that even though none have done much, if anything, in the majors yet, that the Yanks are focusing on youth with potential upside. I do see, on other blogs, some complaining about their stats so far in their careers. It should be stated to these people to look at the ages. If (and yes, if is a big word) they reach potential (and potential means you haven’t done it yet), the Yanks have some players under team control financially whose best years are AHEAD of them, rather than (as they have often done) have players NOT under team control who are costing too much money whose best years are BEHIND them (Beltran, A-Rod, CC, Teixeira….).

In another move, the Yanks DFA’d Preston Claiborne, RHP, 26, who went 3-0, 3.00 for the Yanks last year when they gave cash considerations to the Mets for RHP Gonzalez Germen. Germen went 0-0, 4.75 for the Mets in 2014 and is 27 years old.  He is 1-2, 4.31 (ERA+ 83) in 54 MLB games.

 

 

 

 

 

Yanks re-sign Capuano

The Yanks re-signed Chris Capuano today to a 1 yr. deal worth $5MM. Capuano, 36, started 12 games for the Yanks in 2014, going 2-3, 4.25 (ERA+ 91). For the season, he was 3-4, 4.35, 12 starts and 28 relief appearances (Bos/NYY), ERA+ 89. GM  Brian Cashman stated that Capuano was signed to be a starter, probably in the 5 slot.

As of now, Yankees starters are Tanaka (coming off the elbow issue, missed 13 starts in 2014), CC (the knee surgery, only 8 starts in 2014) and Pineda (missed 20 starts in 2014) as the top 3. It’s anyone’s guess as to if Hiroki Kuroda returns or retires. Capuano, as for now, is the #4.

Capuano was an All-Star in 2006 for the Brewers, going 11-12, 4.03 (ERA+ 113). The year before, he was 18-12, 3.99 (ERA+ 107). He led the majors in starts in 2005 and the NL in starts in 2012.

His 162 g. average is 10-12, 4.28, ERA+ 96. Average, maybe a bit below.

It is possible that he is only a “placeholder” until Ivan Nova (coming off TJ surgery) is ready in May or June of 2015.

Other candidates (as of now) for the back of the rotation are Bryan Mitchell, Chase Whitley, David Phelps and Adam Warren. Manny Banuelos is deemed a long shot for now. Luis Severino probably needs seasoning at AAA before he is deemed ready, as would be the case for Jaron Long.

It remains to be seen if the Yanks are interested in someone like Edison Volquez, who is still on the free agent market, not to mention a true closer like Jason Grilli, Sergio Romo, Rafael Santana, or K-Rod.

 

Yankees re-sign Headley

The Yanks re-signed Chase Headley today to a 4-yr. deal worth $52MM. With the signing, the infield should be set with Teixeira at 1B, Prado at 2B, Gregorious (with Ryan) at SS and Headley at 3B. A-Rod appears to be the DH.

One thing is apparent. The infield defense should be better than last year. Last year, the Yanks had Solarte at 3b for half the year, a 36 year old Brian Roberts at 2B for most of the year, and the 40 year old Jeter at SS.

It appears as if Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela will either be on the bench or at AAA for depth in case of injury.

Headley, 30, is a switch-hitter who hit just .229-7-32, OPS+ 90 for SD for most of 2014 (77 games) but then did better with the Yanks, .262-6-17 in 58 games (OPS+ 119) to finish at .243-13-49, OPS+ 102. He had a dream year in 2012 for SD, .286-31-115 (led NL in RBI), OPS+ 145, GG, SS and 5th in MVP balloting.

His 162 g. average is .265-16-70, OPS+ 113. If he gives the Yanks that, fans should be happy.

The starting 9 appears set. C McCann, 1B Teixeira, 2b Prado, SS Gregorious (Ryan vs. lefty pitchers), 3B Headley, LF Gardner, CF Ellsbury and RF Beltran with DH A-Rod. Headley, Teix and Beltran are switch-hitters.

There are a couple of lineup scenarios. Here are three:

Ellsbury/Gardner/Beltran/Teixeira/McCann/A-Rod/Headley/Prado and Gregorious.

Ellsbury/Prado/Beltran/Teixeira/McCann/A-Rod/Headley/Gardner and Gregorious.

Gardner/Prado/Ellsbury/Teixeira/Beltran/McCann/A-Rod/Headley and Gregorious.

Just a couple of examples.

In other news, a couple of former Yanks may be suing to get back $$$$ they were bilked out of by their financial advisers. Jorge Posada apparently lost $11MM and Jose Contreras $2.4MM to these “advisers.”

Are the hands tied?

People are wondering why the Yanks haven’t done much so far, and a lot of blame is being placed on Brian Cashman.

I don’t fault Cashman as much as others do, but I do have to say, what can he do right now? He doesn’t control the $$$, Hal Steinbrenner, the owner, does.

The thing is, what kind of a budget are the Yanks looking for in 2015? For there isn’t much flexibility or maneuverability in that budget. That is why you aren’t seeing moves.

It’s one thing to say increase the payroll. It isn’t your money. But how much do you want to increase it to?

Let’s look at some numbers. The Yanks may not be able to do much for the next two or three years. BaseballReference.com has their budget right now at $179.4MM with an estimate of $193.4MM.

Now let’s look at 10 players and the quickest they would be gone from the Yankees (barring a trade, and let’s face it, a lot of these players would be difficult to move because of salary, age and the fact that the Yankees may need to eat a lot of the contract).

McCann $17MM for 2015. Signed through 2018 with a team option for 2019. He’s gonna be around for a while.

Teixeira $22.5MM for 2015. There again in 2016. I don’t expect the Yanks to bring him back for 2017 but you are stuck with him for 2015 and 2016. Honestly, who’d want his increasing injuries, declining production and that contract?

Prado $11MM. Contract through 2016. Could be tradeable.

Gardner $12.5 MM. signed though 2018. Team option of $12.5MM for 2019, $2MM buyout. Tradeable.

A-Rod $21 MM. Stuck with him through 2017. Really, who’d want him? 40 in July. 44 games played over the last two seasons, two hip surgeries, a PED suspension…. his nickname should be lightning rod (for trouble and controversy). Not only the salary, but a $6MM bonus if he gets the six homers he needs to tie Willie Mays on the all-time list.

Ellsbury $21.1MM. Signed through 2020, 2021 team option at $21MM, $5 MM buyout. Good player, but who’d take that salary?

Beltran $15MM signed for 2015 and 2016. He’s 38 and coming off a bad, injury-plagued year.

CC $23 MM. Signed 2015 and 2016. $25 MM vesting option for 2017, $5MM buyout, but that is based on shoulder, not the knee issue which cost him most of 2014. 17-17, 4,87 since 2012. Who’d take that contract now for a pitcher who has been below average over his last 40 starts, has knee issues, a diminishing fastball and who will be 35 this coming summer?

Tanaka $22MM, signed through 2020, player can opt out after 2017. An ace, and we hope his elbow holds up.

Miller $9 MM. Through 2018.

That is 10 players, $174.1 MM for 2015. Now let’s just say Hal put a limit of $205MM for his team, not the $193.mm listed above (which, as we know, will be unreasonable to match). Now you have 15 players left to fill out the 25 man roster, and you have just $30MM left for them.

Um, tough to do, isn’t it?

How can you bring back Robertson or McCarthy, or for that matter, sign a Shields or Scherzer? You can’t.

That is why Cashman’s hands are tied and why he has to bottom-feed right now—unless Hal increases the budget.

Those 10 are the core of the team—not only for 2015, but as you can see, for 2016 as well. Unless someone retires or you can trade one of them (and for a couple of them, that ain’t happening—-no takers) you are stuck with them. If they don’t produce, then…

and Beltran, McCann, Teix, CC all underproduced in 2014. Now we get a soon-to-be 40 year old A-Rod in 2015, who will probably underproduce.

Either this group finds past glory and steps up, or the next two years will be more of the same from 2013 and 2014.

But the thing is, there is only (even in Yankeeland) so much $$$ to go around, and most of it has been allocated.

Unless Hal wants to increase the payroll to $225 MM, or $250MM, or ….

but I don’t see it.

Which means maybe the next big move won’t be until after 2016, when you can take Teix and Beltran off the books. Maybe Prado, too. Probably not CC, since his vesting option (unless he has shoulder damage) kicks in. Maybe A-Rod won’t come back for 2017 but will retire because of diminishing skills/injury and to avoid himself the embarrasment of hanging on hitting less than .200.

But for now, what can one do? For those 10 players eat up most of your payroll. The Yanks have to hope that players under team control, who are making the major league minimum (or close to it) can step up in the next couple of years. This means a Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, Manny Banuelos, Jacob Lindgren, Bryan Mitchell, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, etc., and this comes down to scouting and player development—areas that have been lacking in recent years.

 

 

Robertson gone to White Sox

It wasn’t the four years and $50MM he wanted, but it was close, at four years and $46MM, and as a result, David Robertson is now an ex-Yankee.

Robertson signed a deal with the White Sox late last night.

Robertson was 4-5, 39 saves and an ERA of 3.08 (ERA+ 126) last year for the Yanks as he took over the closer role from the retired Mariano Rivera. In his time with the Yankees (2008-2014), Robertson was 25-19, 47 saves and an ERA of 2.81 (ERA+ 150). His 162 g. average was 4-3, 2.81, ERA+ 150 with 8 saves (most of his career was as a setup man to Mo).

So the Yankees have to decide which way they will now go. Have Betances and the newly acquired Andrew Miller share the closer role, or get someone in and have a three-headed monster? Jason Grilli, 38, is a free agent. Grilli was 0-2, 2.70, with 33 saves for the Pirates in 2013. Grilli went 1-5, 4.00 with 12 saves for the Pirates and Angels in 2014.

The Yanks could also go “back to the future” by bringing back Rafael Soriano. Soriano turns 35 next week. Soriano stepped in as the Yanks closer in 2012, saving 42 games that year after Mariano Rivera went down with a torn ACL. Soriano was 2-3, 4.12 and had 2 saves as Mo’s setup man in 2011, then went 2-1, 2.26 and 42 saves in 2012 after Mo got hurt. Soriano finished 20th in MVP balloting in 2012.

Soriano in 2014 went 4-1, 3.19 with 32 saves for Washington.

The Yanks may also look to make a trade. Time will tell if they stand pat, get Grilli or Soriano off the free agent market, or make a trade.

Yankees sign Andrew Miller

The Yankees signed lefty Andrew Miller to a 4-yr., $36MM deal today. What this means for David Robertson, who knows. It could be that free agent Robertson, who wants 4 years at $50mm (Papelbon money) will be gone.

Miller has had two careers. The first, as a starter, from 2006-2011, was a failure. He went 21-29, 5.79, ERA+ 76, in that timeframe. Since then,

2012 3-2, 3.35, ERA+ 127
2013 1-2, 2.64, ERA+ 158 (on a WS Champion, Boston)
2014 5-5, 2.02 ERA+ 193.

That is 9-9, 2.57, ERA+ 158 over the last three seasons.

Now it looks like Miller and Betances will be sharing the closer job, lefty (Miller) and righty (Betances).

Unless the Yanks do bring back Robertson. Then, you can have one killer bullpen with the three names mentioned (as well as Justin Wilson, just acquired from Pittsburgh, Warren, Kelley, as well as people like top prospect Jacob Lindgren…)

We’ll see what happens with Robertson. I expect him to be gone, but you don’t know…

Yanks trade Greene, get SS

The Yanks traded Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers today, and in a 3-way deal, got back SS Didi Gregorious from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Greene, a rookie last year, went 5-4, 3.78 (ERA+ 103) for the Yankees.

Gregorious is a lefty hitter who won’t turn 25 until February. He has basically platooned the past two seasons for the D-Backs, hitting .252-7-28, OPS+ 94 in 2013 in 103 games, and .226-6-27, OPS+ 81 this past season. He has played in less than 200 games in his career.

Gregorious’ 162 g. average is .243-11-48, OPS+ 88.

Offensively, it doesn’t appear to add much, but Gregorious has a good defensive reputation. Then again, he hasn’t turned 25 yet, so maybe his bat will pick up.

As a cost move, Gregorious is under team control (and with some of the Yanks’ big contracts, this is important) through 2019.

In other news, a Veterans Committee will be choosing from some 1950s-1970s players for the HOF on Monday. These are players who were very good, but weren’t voted in by the writers. Some names are Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant, Maury Wills and Reds GM Bob Howsam.

Dale Scott, umpire, came out as gay. It’ll may be interesting to see how boo-birds react from the stands next year, if at all.