Ford yesterday had a performance that basically said, “hey, don’t forget about me”, especially if Bruce doesn’t cut it.
Ford had a great 2019 for the Yankees, hitting 12 HR in just 143 at bats, and having an OPS+ of 136. His 2020 was lousy, as he hit just .135 in 74 at bats, OPS+ just 38. So which Mike Ford is it? Probably somewhere in between.
Yesterday Ford went 4 for 4 with a solo HR.
On top of that, Gleyber Torres went 3 for 3 with a double, two home runs, and 3 RBI in the Yanks’ (14-10-2 in spring training) 5-1 win over Toronto on Saturday.
Estevan Florial had 2 hits and an RBI.
A couple of cuts: Robinson Chirinos, who has a fractured wrist from a HBP a few weeks ago, and Derek Dietrich.
Chacin 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. L. Garcia 1 1/3, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. Luetge 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. Barraclough 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. Abreu 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. Lyons 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.
This was a covid-shortened, 8 inning game. 7 1/2 because the Yanks didn’t have to bat in the bottom of the eighth.
And yes, our old buddy Didi Gregorius tortured his old club again with another HR.
Any remote chance Michael King had to be the #5 starter—or even on the team heading north—probably disappeared with his showing last night. With the spring training rules of letting a pitcher off the mound because of too many pitches in an inning, then to have the pitcher go back out for the next inning to complete his work after he got some rest, all to protect the pitcher, it is embarrassing for a pitcher to actually have that happen to him.
It has happened to several pitchers this spring, and last night King was one of them, and it had to happen twice. The same thing happened with Matt Moore, the Phillies starter. King hasn’t had a good spring training.
King hit not one, not two, but THREE batters. Meanwhile, a Phillies pitcher threw not one, not two, but THREE wild pitches.
Ugly game if you were a pitcher.
Right now, I’d say German is the #5 starter behind Cole, Kluber, Taillon and Montgomery. Not necessarily in that order, but we do know Cole is #1.
King 2 1/3 IP, 7 R, 5 H, 2 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. Hit THREE batters. Lane 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. Loaisiga 3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. L. Garcia 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. Lyons 1 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 1 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. Cortes (L) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K.
There were fifteen walks in the game, and Yankees’ pitchers gave up nine of those. They also had 2 WP, and a HBP—all in the ninth inning, as well as a missed catch error on a ball thrown back to the pitcher by the catcher that let a run score. Embarrassing.
Aaron Hicks doubled for the Yanks, leading to a SF by Luke Voit for their only run.
Starter Deivi Garcia walked four in his three innings of work, including three in the first to load the bases, but didn’t give up any runs.
Not so with Kyle Barraclough in the ninth.
Ex-Yankee Ivan Nova started for the Phils, giving up 1 run in three innings. The Phils didn’t get a hit until ex-Yankee Ronald Torreyes singled leading off the eighth.
D. Garcia 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 4 W, 2 K. Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. O’Day (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. Wilson (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. Green (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. L. Garcia (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. Barraclough (L; BS) 2/3 IP, 3 R, 0 H, 3 W, 2 K. 1 WP. McClain 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 WP, 1 HBP.
The Yanks sent four down to the minors yesterday. Mike Ford (which could mean Jay Bruce makes the team?), Thairo Estrada (meaning Tyler Wade makes the team?) , Albert Abreu and Brooks Kriske.
Some good and some bad yesterday as the Yankees (4-4-1) lost 6-5 to Detroit due to a late Tigers’ rally off a minor league pitcher.
Some bad news, as Zack Britton has a bone chip in his pitching elbow that requires surgery. It looks like he will be out until May June. This may open the door for Lucas Luetge, another lefty who has looked sharp this spring.
As for the youngsters, Deivi Garcia looked great yesterday, pitching three scoreless innings and striking out five as he tries to get that #5 rotation slot. I think it is between him and Domingo German. Garcia’s age (21) works against him since the Yankees may decide to send him down for more seasoning. You never know though. Nick Nelson also pitched well with two scoreless innings.
Luis Garcia didn’t however, and the Tigers got three runs off of him in the bottom of the eighth which is why the Yankees lost. Also, veteran Luis Cessa struggled again, giving up a 3-run HR.
Two Yankees having hot spring trainings both homered… Jay Bruce and Gary Sanchez. Bruce, signed to a minor league deal, is trying to make the team. Sanchez is trying to redeem himself after a horrendous 2020 that saw him hit just .147.
A scary moment in the game came when Clint Frazier tried to catch that HR that Cessa gave up and hit the fence. It brought back bad memories of a few years ago when Frazier hit the fence in spring training and suffered a concussion that affected him for a long time. Luckily he was ok this time.
D. Garcia 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 5 K. Cessa (BS) 1 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K. Gave up a 3-run HR. Nelson (H) 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. A WP. Cortes (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. L. Garcia (L, BS) 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K. Lyons 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. A WP.
The Yankees are bringing back Brett Gardner. The sides agreed to a 1 year, $4MM deal with options for 2022.
Frankly, there is a large part of me that is NOT in favor of the move. I like Gardy, who has been with the Yankees since 2008 and is the last one left from the 2009 WS Champs–the last Yankee WS Championship team.
But at some point, you have to reassess and let go. Gardner is 37, turns 38 in August.He hit .223 last season. He did have an OPS+ of 108. But at what point are the skills gone? You can’t go on sentiment. You think with your head, not your heart.
It appears that Gardner would serve as bench depth, since Clint Frazier has been named the starting LF. Gardner, of course, can also pinch-run or be used as a defensive replacement. If Gardner does make the team, Mike Tauchman, who is out of options, could be DFA’d. With Frazier starting in left, there is no room for both Gardner and Tauchman (or, maybe for that matter, Jay Bruce, who was recently signed to a minor league deal. Unless Bruce replaces Mike Ford as a backup 1B).
Gardner’s 162 game average is .259-14-56 with 28 SB, OPS+ 101. But he hasn’t stolen 15 or more bases since 2018. The legs eventually go. The age worries me. Also that .223 of last year. And before you blame it on Covid and the strange 60 game season, Gardy only hit .236 in 2018. He did pick it up to .251 in 2019.
Baseball-reference.com has Gardy ranked #41 in best LF of all-time. By way of comparison, Roy White is listed at #28.
The Yankees did sign Derek Dietrich to a deal recently. He is in camp as a non-roster invitee. Dietrich, a lefty bat as well, has played for Miami (2013-2018), Cincinnati (2019) and Texas (2020). He hit .197-5-8 for the Rangers last year, and .187-19-43 for the Reds in 2019. Ugly batting average, has pop. Mostly plays 2B, LF and 3B. Gets a lot of HBP. 162 game average .245-18-55, OPS+ 107. He is 31.
Looking to add some catching depth, the Yankees signed Robinson Chirinos, 36, to a minor league deal.
Chirinos has played for Tampa Bay (2011), Texas (2013-2018), Houston (2019) and last year split it between Texas and the Mets. He only hit .162-1-7 in 74 AB last season, but did hit 17-18-17 HR 2017-2019.
He also teamed up well catching Gerrit Cole with Houston in 2019, and that may have played into the Yankees’ decision to sign him to a minor league deal.
For his career, Chirinos is a .231 hitter, OPS+ 99. His 162 game average is .231-23-72. In 18 postseason games, he has hit .173-4-7 in 52 at bats.
Lefty reliever Justin Wilson, 33, who pitched for the Yankees in 2015, is returning to the Bronx.
Wilson went 5-0, 3.10 for the Yankees in 2015, ERA+ 132, and helped the Yanks get into the wild card playoff game that year. He was traded to Detroit after that year in a trade which brought Luis Cessa and Chad Green to the Bronx. Now Wilson joins them in the Yankees bullpen.
Wilson has pitched for the Pirates (2012-2014), Yankees (2015), Tigers (2016-2017), Cubs (2017-2018) and Mets (2019-2020). He is 32-22 in his MLB career with an ERA of 3.27 (ERA+ 123). His 162 game average is 5-3, 3.27.
He has pitched in six postseason games, going 0-0 with an ERA of 1.69.
The deal is for one year and $4MM. If the Yankees have seven relievers, it appears the bullpen is set. You have the lefties, Wilson, Britton and Chapman, and the righties Green, Cessa, Loaisiga and O’Day. Looks solid.
This signing puts the Yanks only about $6MM away from the salary cap, and they want to stay under it. Therefore, unless there is some kind of trade freeing up $$$$, it doesn’t appear that there is room for Brett Gardner to return.