Category Archives: Offseason Moves

Yanks to sign Jon Niese.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Pending passing a physical tomorrow, the Yanks are expected to sign Jon Niese to a minor league contract.

Niese has spent most of his career for the other NY team, the Mets.

The lefty pitcher is 30, and had a rough 2016 for the Pirates and Mets. From 2010-2015, he averaged 10-10, 3.86 per year for the Mets but last year saw 8-7, 5.50 for the Pirates and Mets before he needed knee surgery.

Niese will battle Adam Warren, Luis Severino, Chad Green, Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell for a spot in the rotation as a #4 or #5 starter behind Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia and Michael Pineda. Of those five guys battling for two spots, Niese is the only lefty and if he wins a spot would join C.C. as the lefties in the rotation.

Niese could also go to the bullpen if he doesn’t make the rotation.

He pitched for the Mets in the 2015 postseason when the Mets went to the World Series. In six postseason games, he was 0-0, 5.06.

For his career, Niese is 69-68, 4.07, ERA+ 93. His 162 g. average is 12-11, 4.07, ERA+ 93. Average ERA+ is 100.

UPDATE: The Yanks announced that they are considering him solely for relief.

Eovaldi officially gone. What does ST mean for Refsnyder, Williams, Austin?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Nathan Eovaldi wouldn’t have pitched for the Yankees this year anyway, being as he had Tommy John surgery (for the second time) last August and won’t be ready until 2018. Which is why he was released by the Yankees. Any chance of re-signing Eovaldi went out the window when Tampa Bay signed him yesterday.

As spring training begins with pitchers and catchers reporting tomorrow, I can’t help but wonder what this spring training means for a couple of Yankees on the cusp, so to speak. It may be their last spring training to make an impression or stick with the club because of some prospects breathing down their necks.

Rob Refsnyder. With Ronald Torreyes expected to be the utility man in the majors, Tyler Wade being groomed as a utility man, and other infielders in the system like veterans Pete Kozma and Ruben Tejada, and prospects Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo, and Kyle Holder, not to mention Miguel Andujar at 3B, I wonder what the future holds for Refsnyder and others listed below. Trade bait? If sent to AAA, there are those other infielders (and outfielders, see below) he would be battling just to get minor league playing time.

Tyler Austin and Mason Williams. With Aaron Judge expected to win the right field job and Aaron Hicks as his backup, and Chris Carter signed as an insurance policy for Greg Bird at 1B, not to mention Matt Holliday as 1b/DH/OF, what happens with Austin and Williams, especially since if they are sent back to AAA, where Clint Frazier and Dustin Fowler will also be there for OF playing time?

For these players, I wonder if the window of oppotunity could be closing fast, what with prospects on the come.

In any case, there is going to be some serious competition for playing time soon. Not only in the majors, but in AAA and AA too.

It could mean freeing up some room by making a deal.

Yanks sign Chris Carter. The good, the bad.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees signed Chris Carter, 1B/OF/DH, to a 1 yr., $3MM contract today. There are good things and bad things about this. I will try to be fair in listing both.

Good. Comes cheap. How many defending league home run champs come at that price? Carter shared the NL HR lead in 2016 with 41.

Bad. Despite the 41 HR, he only hit .222 and struck out 206 times, leading the NL. .222-41-94, 206 strikeouts, OPS+ 114.

Good. He has averaged 33 HR per year over the last 4 years. 29-37-24-41.

Bad. He has also averaged a .219 batting average over that same period, with 188 strikeouts per year.

Good. He is an insurance policy for 1B/LF/RF/ DH if Bird, Austin, Judge aren’t ready or Holliday shows his age (Carter is 30), also if Gardner needs a rest against a lefty pitcher (Carter is a righty bat). He also can spell Bird against a tough lefty.

Bad. He isn’t a good fielder or baserunner. Will he impede the progress of Bird, Austin or Judge? How much does this move show a lack of confidence in Bird, Austin or Judge?

Good or Bad. Does this move signal that another move is imminent? If so, who goes and for whom?

Carter has a 162 g. average of .218-35-88, OPS+ 112. The power is good, but the batting average and strikeouts (206) are awful. All or nothing.

I don’t know how the Yanks plan on using him. It all depends on how the kids do in spring training. If Bird and Austin fail, he could play 1B. If Judge fails but Bird is Ok, then maybe Holliday plays RF and Carter DH’s. There are various scenarios that could play out.

As an insurance policy, ok… but I don’t want to see him impede the youngsters. I have mixed feelings about this. Power, yes. Versatility as far as baserunning, defense, hitting for average, making contact, no. Cheap, yes, especially for someone who hit 41 HR last year.

Can he cut down on the strikeouts and make better contact?

Full time player or platooned?

Let’s see what spring training brings…. and it isn’t too far away.

 

 

Yanks send Goody to Indians

Yankee Stadium Frieze

In a minor move, the Yankees sent Nick Goody to the Indians for a PTBNL or cash considerations.

Goody was DFA’d to make room on the 40 man roster when the Yanks re-signed Aroldis Chapman.

Goody, 25,  was 0-0, 4.66, 0 saves in 27 games with the Yanks in 2016. He was 0-0, 0 saves, 4.76 in 7 games with the Yanks in 2015.

This is one of several minor moves the Yanks have made this offseason to streamline their 40 man roster, such as releasing Dustin Ackley, who missed almost all of 2016 due to injury, releasing Nathan Eovaldi, who’ll miss all of 2017 following TJ surgery, and releasing Nick Rumbelow, who missed almost all of 2016 due to injury.

Rumors have the Yanks interested in Jose Quintana now that the White Sox are apparently in fire sale mode.

The Yanks once had Quintana. The soon-to-be 28 year old was in the Yankees’ system from 2008-2011. In 2011, he went 10-2, 2.91 at High A Tampa (30 games, 12 starts). He made the majors in 2012 and has gone 46-46, 3.41, ERA+ 118 since and in 2016 made the All-Star team. He was 13-12, 3.20 last season, finishing 10th in the CYA voting. With that ERA, you wonder what his record would be like on a better team.

The Yanks let him get away as a free agent after the 2011 season to make room for David Adams and Greg Golson on the roster. Ouch. Before even coming to the Yanks, Quintana was released by the Mets. Early in his career, he was suspended 50 games for violating drug policy.

So if the Yanks do get Quintana back, it’ll be to rectify a mistake they made five years ago. He is very affordable and will just be 28 in 2017. But it’ll cost. After acquiring a bunch of front-line prospects, do they really want to give up several now to get him?

Welcome Back Chapman! Aroldis back for 5 years, $86MM and we get Torres for a loaner!

Yankee Stadium Frieze

How desperate were the Cubs to get a WS win after 108 years? So desperate they gave up someone that is being called the next Derek Jeter (Gleyber Torres, who hit .403 in the AFL at age 19 and was the Arizona Fall  League MVP) for just a few months of Aroldis Chapman.

Chapman is bringing his 104 MPH fastball back to the Yanks, signing a 5 year, $86 MM deal to return to the Bronx.

This will move Dellin Betances back to the 8th inning and set up Tyler Clippard for the 7th. The two setup guys are righty pitchers, so don’t be surprised if the Yanks make a play to bring lefty Boone Logan back (even though I did like the job Tommy Layne did after the Yanks acquired him last year).

Chapman was 3-0, 2.01 in his limited time with the Yanks in 2016, with 20 saves.

Best of all, he doesn’t cost the Yanks a draft pick, and for “loaning” him out to the Cubs for a few months and a WS title, the Yanks get Torres, and reacquire Adam Warren.

Yankees to retire Jeter’s #2 on 50th anniversary of Mantle’s 500th HR.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

On Mother’s Day, May 14, 1967, a Sunday, Mickey Mantle hit his 500th HR off of Baltimore’s Stu Miller at the original Yankee Stadium.

Exactly 50 years later, on another Sunday and Mother’s Day, the new Yankee Stadium across the street will see another historic event: the retirement of #2 for Derek Jeter.

With the retirement, all single digits will be retired, unless someone decides to shine in #0 or #00 or so.

You wonder if #13 (A-Rod) could be next….

Big move by Boston today, trading 4 prospects, Moncada being the top one, to the White Sox for Chris Sale.

A big deal is brewing, as the Cubs are close to trading OF Jorge Soler to KC for reliever Wade Davis. Well, now that Chapman is probably leaving….

Baseball Winter Meetings.

Yankee Stadium Frieze
No more action on the Yankees front since the signing of Matt Holliday.

They are rumored to be in discussions with Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Chapman is said to want a six-year deal, which is probably a bit much for a closer, although the Yanks did give a six-year deal to the Goose (1978-1983).

There also have been rumors of reuniting with Boone Logan for the bullpen, and of maybe going after Luis Valbuena as a utility man.

There are other relievers the Yanks are looking at also.

A couple of teams did make some moves.

Mark Melancon to SF. 4 yrs., $62MM.

Joaquin Benoit to the Phillies on a 1 yr. deal. $7.5MM

Steve Pearce to Toronto.2 yr. $12.5MM

Washington is still a rumor hotbed regarding them getting Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale or both.