Category Archives: Mike’s Musings

Yanks name Judge RF, Severino #4 and send down Refsnyder.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

According to the blog River Avenue Blues and some other sources, the Yanks have made a couple of decisions.

Aaron Judge has won the RF job, and Aaron Hicks will be the fourth OF.

Rob Refsnyder has been sent down to AAA. Pete Kozma will be the utility infielder, with Ronald Torreyes manning SS until Didi Gregorius returns.

Luis Severino has been named the #4 starter. #5 is still up in the air between Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell and Jordan Montgomery. The Yanks won’t need Severino until the home opener April 10 and the #5 until April 16th.

Remember that next week I’ll resume postings for not only the major league games but for the minor leaguers too, that way you can keep track of the prospects like Gleyber Torres.

S.T. Game 33. Montgomery and Judge state their cases.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The case for the #4 and #5 starter just got more interesting, not to mention the RF job.

Jordan Montgomery pitched five strong innings today to further his case to make the starting rotation, giving up just one run in a 3-1 Yankees’ win over Toronto.

Aaron Judge went 2 for 3 with an RBI, is hitting .345 for spring training, and shockingly, may still be sent down to AAA.

The Yanks scored a run in the second when Starlin Castro tripled and Judge singled him home.

Toronto tied it in the fourth.

The Yanks got two in the fifth. Hicks walked and Judge singled. After a double steal, Austin Romine singled in a run. One out later, Brett Gardner singled in another.

I am one among many who are stupefied that the Yanks would go with Hicks in RF over Judge. Hicks may cover a bit more ground and have a better arm, but Judge has hit .345 this spring! If that can’t get you on the team, what will? I understand the Yanks want him playing every day, but I and many Yankees fans I talk to feel that Hicks, after hitting .217 last year, has a LONG way to go to gain our confidence. If this is indeed a youth movement, then why not go with Judge?

If anyone shouldn’t play, it’s Gardner, who’s had a bad spring. If anything, the OF should be Hicks, Ellsbury and Judge based on spring training results.

Needless to say, we want Judge over Hicks.

As for Ellsbury batting fifth, I only think it lasts until Didi is ready. Then Didi #5 and Ellsbury…. 8th? It sure looks that way.

We’ll see what Severino does tomorrow, but Montgomery, despite just six starts in AAA, laid down the gauntlet. Big, lefty, looking good. I’d go with the kid in the rotation.

Montgomery (w) 5 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 1 walk, 4 K.
Heller (Josh’s boy, he loves him) (H) 2 IP, 0 r, 2 H, 1 walk, 1 K.
Shreve (H) 1 Ip, 0 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 1 K.
Graham (S) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K.

Just two spring training games left. Thurs vs. Phillies with Severino starting, and an exhibition game in Atlanta on Friday at the Braves’ new stadium. Saturday is an off day and the regular season starts Sunday.

The Yanks go to 24-8-1 on the spring.

Random thoughts as we head to Opening Day.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

I don’t mind the Sanchez 2 Bird 3 lineup. Girardi wants to be certain that both get up in the first inning where if they weren’t 2-3 one of them wouldn’t get up in the first in the event of a 1-2-3 inning. Also more at bats for when the lineup turns over.  Basically it’s subbing Bird in the first inning for Ellsbury (as well as splitting lefty/righty hitters).

I do wonder about Ellsbury fifth, and also have to wonder how temporary that would be and how much lower Ellsbury goes down in the lineup.

For don’t you think that when Didi Gregorius is back, that HE will be hitting fifth, not Ellsbury, and that Ellsbury would then be hitting, say, eighth? Especially since Didi had 20 HR last year and was showing power again in the WBC and in spring training before his injury?

Gardner-Sanchez-Bird-Holliday-Didi-Castro-Headley-Ellsbury-Judge/Hicks when Didi gets healthy?

More random thoughts. It depends on how long Tyler Austin takes to heal, but if Chris Carter continues to be a whiff machine, should he be looking over his shoulder when Austin finally is ready to play?

The coaching staff wanted to bring Gleyber Torres north, even though he has never played above AA. Says a lot. The front office wants him to get more experience in the minors, at least in AA before coming up to the majors. Could be bypass AAA altogether? It just shows how fast he is coming.

I also think Gardner and Ellsbury should be looking over their shoulders. Gardner would be the easiest one to move because of Ellsbury’s prohibitive salary. But with both starting to hit the age of 33 and showing some decline, and with some promising outfielders coming (Fowler, Rutherford, Frazier, McKinney, Mason Williams), I wouldn’t be surprised to see one moved.

In fact, Gardner hasn’t had too good of a spring training. If the Yanks wanted to play their best outfield based on spring training results, the argument wouldn’t be over RF (Hicks or Judge) but CENTER field (Gardner or Ellsbury). They would have Hicks in LF and Judge in RF, for both have done better than Gardner or Ellsbury this spring. Just saying.

Jon Niese re-signed with the Yanks after being released the other day. He’ll stay in Tampa in extended spring training to build up more arm strength. A surgery late last year has him behind.

The next two days are huge in filling out the rotation. Jordan Montgomery starts today vs. Toronto and Luis Severino starts tomorrow vs. the Phillies. It will be very interesting to see how they do and if their performances make them or break them as far as being in the rotation. The Yanks won’t need a fifth starter until April 16.

Pete Kozma (good field/can’t hit water if he fell out of a boat) may make the team with Didi out, then get DFA’d when Didi is ready.  I’d like to see Tyler Wade there instead of Kozma, though.

UPDATE: Wade and Kyle Higashioka were sent down to minor league camp last night.

We’ll see what happens. A lot of decisions on the 25 man roster have to be made in the next few days. The season starts Sunday.

S.T. Game 32. Yanks reveal lineup in 6-3 loss?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Masahiro Tanaka finally gave up a spring training run as the Yanks lost to the Tigers in spring training action today, 6-3.

Tanaka was still sharp however, despite taking the loss. He went 5 innings, and of the two runs he gave up, 1 was unearned.

Of note was the Yankees’ lineup, which Joe Girardi said could be the Opening Day lineup. It featured Gary Sanchez hitting second, Jacoby Ellsbury fifth (!) and Aaron Hicks 8th and in RF. (I would prefer Judge, myself). Ronald Torreyes would be the SS, batting 9th.

Earlier in the day, it was confirmed that Adam Warren is heading to the bullpen, leaving four candidates for the #4 and #5 spots in the Yankees’ rotation—Severino, Mitchell, Green and Montgomery.

The Tigers scored two in the top of the first, with help by two errors, one by Bird and another by Sanchez.

Ellsbury got an RBI groundout in the first.

Dellin Betances gave up a 2-run HR in the sixth. 4-1 Tigers.

The Yanks got two in the seventh to cut it to 4-3. Judge hit a solo HR. Tyler Wade singled and went to third on a two-base error and scored on a SF by Rob Refsnyder.

Apparently the Rays were interested in trading for Refsnyder earlier this week, but instead they made a deal with the White Sox for Peter Bourjos.

Ernesto Frieri gave up a 2-run HR in the eighth for the final score of 6-3 Tigers.

The Yanks are apparently going to try out Johnny Barbato as a starter at AAA SWB.

Tanaka (L) 5 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 walks, 6 K. Looks ready to go Opening Day (Sunday).
Betances 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 walks, 3 K. Gave up HR. Struck out the side but the 2-run HR.
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Frieri 1 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 walk, 2 K. Gave up a 2-run HR.
Feyereisen 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 2 k.

Torres wins award, Yanks cut 3.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks were off as far as playing today, but some Yankees news.

Gleyber Torres won the Jack Dawson award as the best rookie in camp.

The Yanks cut 3. Ruben Tejada, the former Met, Donovan Solano, and Wilkin Castillo.

S.T. Game 31. Yanks win, but concerns about Mitchell, Carter.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks beat the Rays 7-4 today in spring training action to go to 23-7-1 on the spring, but concerns linger after this game.

Chris Carter, signed for $3.5 MM by the Yanks to be an insurance policy in case Greg Bird struggled, is struggling mightily himself, going 0 for 3 with 3 more strikeouts today (he did walk and score a run). In some 48 spring training at bats, he has struck out 23x and is hitting .128. When Tyler Austin heals and is ready, and if Carter keeps doing this, could Carter face an early release?

Jon Niese was released by the Yanks and has 24-48 hours to decide if he’ll accept a minor league assignment. He likes the Yanks, liked the routine, so it may be that he re-signs and goes to extended spring training.

Besides Carter, the other concern today is that Bryan Mitchell did not step up and claim a starting rotation spot. He struggled, much like Adam Warren did yesterday. This is the time of spring training where you want to see someone step up, be dominant and claim that #4 or #5 starter spot. Wednesday and Thursday, when Severino & Montgomery start in games (I forget in which order; Yanks are off Monday, Tanaka’s last outing before Opening Day is Tuesday), could be huge in determining who gets those spots.

The Yanks scored one in the second on a SF by Ronald Torreyes on a play in which Aaron Judge was thrown out at third.

Mitchell gave back two runs in the top of the third.

The Yanks got three in the third on RBI singles by Hicks, Bird and Romine. 4-2 Yanks.

After the Rays got another run in the fourth off Mitchell, the Yanks came back with two in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run HR by Aaron Hicks, who is giving Judge a battle for that RF spot. 6-3 Yanks.

Ruben Tejada homered in the sixth. 7-3 Yanks.

The Rays got the final run of the game in the eighth.

Mitchell (w) 3 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 2 walks, 3 K.
Chapman (H) 2/3 IP, 0 r, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Heller (H) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 walk, 3 K. My friend Josh really likes him. Could make the team.
Shreve (H) 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 2 K.
Frieri 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Graham (S) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K.

Hicks 2 for 3, HR, 3 RBI. Judge 2 for 3.

S.T. Game 30. Yanks get two in bottom of 9th to win. Rotation battle continues.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees took advantage of a couple of Blue Jays’ errors to score two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 win that raised their spring training record to 22-7-1 (if only they can start the regular season 22-7!).

To me, the story of the game isn’t the win. It is that Adam Warren didn’t pitch well in starting the  game, and thus, the battle for the #4 and #5 starter spots is still wide open.

A few days ago, Luis Cessa was sent to minor league camp.

A #5 starter may not be needed until Game 13 or so. In fact, because of off days, a #4 starter may only be needed once in the first 13 or so games.

So manager Joe Girardi may have extra time to make a decision. With Warren not stepping up today, he may be going back to the swing man role. Spot starter/Long relief.

Which would leave four others for the two spots (unless the Yanks make a trade). Those four are Luis Severino, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell and the surprise, Jordan Montgomery.

Severino I talked about yesterday. Big difference in him between starting and relieving.

Mitchell may have won one of the spots.

Could Montgomery surprisingly win the other?

Toronto got a run in the first and two in the second to go up 3-0, Warren giving up a 2-run HR in the second.

The Yanks got two in the second when Greg Bird continued his phenomenal spring with yet another HR (7) and Austin Romine singled in a run.

The Yanks tied it in the third on an RBI single by Matt Holliday.

Warren gave up another HR in the fourth and Toronto went up 4-3. The Blue Jays got a run in the seventh off of Jon Niese to make it 5-3.

I like Mason Williams, who is overlooked when talking about Yankees’ outfield prospects. It seems like he is always hurt. He singled in a run in the bottom of the seventh to cut Toronto’s lead to 5-4.

In the bottom of the ninth, Zach Zehner singled and after Wilkin Castillo struck out, Ronald Torreyes reached on an error. Rob Refsnyder flied out but Williams reached on a two-base error that tied the game and put runners on second and third. Pete Kozma singled to win the game.

Opening Day is just over a week away. The first three starters are Tanaka, CC, then Pineda. But who gets #4 and #5? It seems like no one is stepping up to outright claim it.

And that is why Montgomery has a chance.

Warren 3 1/3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 2 walks, 4 K. Gave up 2 HR.
Layne 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Holder 2 Ip, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Niese 1 IP, 1 r, 2 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Feyereisen 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk, 2 K.
Marsh (w) 1 Ip, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 1 K.