Category Archives: Spring Training

Is Torres ready? and thoughts on the Red Sox’ pickup…

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From MLB Trade Rumors:

The Yankees would buy themselves an extra year of control by having infield prospect Gleyber Torres spend at least 16 days in the minors this year, but that’s not going to factor into whether he earns a roster spot, according to GM Brian Cashman (via David Lennon of Newsday). “It’s not part of my evaluation process,” Cashman told Lennon. “We’re trying to win. If we feel that somebody could benefit from more time in the minors, we’ll make that decision at the end of camp. But I’ll take all the information from what I see and factor that into the evaluation. Every win for us is valuable.”

Meanwhile some thoughts on the Red Sox’ expected, just completed, (and long drawn out) signing of J.D. Martinez to a 5 yr. $110MM deal. It does have two opt-out opportunities after the second and third years of the deal. But where does he play?

Martinez is not a good defensive OF, and Boston already has Benintendi, Bradley and Betts in the OF. Hanley Ramirez was the DH last year, and the Red Sox re-signed 1B Mitch Moreland. They also re-signed Eduardo Nunez (Noon-E, because is D isn’t too hot, either) because Dustin Pedroia will miss the beginning of the season. So it appears like there are square pegs for round holes, that in order to fill some spots, some pieces don’t fit defensively. Offensively, ok, an upgrade, esp. in power, which the Red Sox needed, but …

Once again, according to MLBTR:

His (Martinez’) addition calls the role of Hanley Ramirez with the Red Sox into question, as Ramirez now appears to be, at best, a backup DH and a part-time first baseman that is on the short side of the platoon.

Therefore, I expect the Red Sox to make another move. We Yankees fans will have to see what it is and how it may affect the Yanks. By the way, guess who has the highest payroll in MLB? According to spotrac, it’s Boston. The Yanks are eighth, and Stanton, the Yanks’ highest paid player, is #13 in MLB.

Lastly, a new rule to speed up the game. Teams will be allowed just six non-pitching-change visits to the mound over the first nine innings of a game, one per inning in extra innings.

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First full squad workout today.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Position players had their physicals yesterday, and the first full squad workout will be held today. The first spring training game is scheduled for this Friday.

Aaron Judge, coming off shoulder surgery, will be taking it slow in the beginning.

A couple of prospects may miss a lot of spring training time as well, and maybe some of the beginning of the season, too.

I mentioned Thairo Estrada, shot in the hip during a botched robbery attempt in Venezuela in late January.

Just a few weeks ago, pitcher Albert Abreu had to undergo an emergency appendectomy. So he is recovering from that.

Gary Sanchez literally knocked the cover off of one ball in batting practice yesterday.

There is still talk and rumors of another deal, which I can’t see happening, especially in regards to 3B Mike Moustakas.

For one thing, Moustakas would put the Yanks over the cap, and the Yanks are adamant about not exceeding it.

For another, signing him would cost the Yanks a 2nd and 5th round pick in the draft, and $1MM in international bonus money.

For another, why sign him when all indications appear that the Yanks are going full bore for Machado next year, and that Machado wants to come to NY (but he also wants to play SS, and the Yanks already have Didi there)?

For another, what of young Miguel Andujar, currently considered untouchable?  Not only for this year, but for the future?

It does appear as if the Yanks will let it ride for now, and adjust later at the trade deadline.

For all the talk about Judge, Stanton, Didi, and Sanchez, don’t forget about Greg Bird. I’m just hoping he can stay healthy. Don’t forget about him and his potential.

As for Ellsbury, at least the Yanks still have him in case anything happens to Hicks. That contract of Ellsbury’s remains an albatross, however.

Waiting for some games to start!

 

Yankee prospect Estrada recovering from gunshot wound.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From ESPN.com:

New York Yankees minor league infielder Thairo Estrada was shot in the right hip in late January during a robbery attempt outside of a restaurant in Bejuma, Venezuela. He’s in big league camp and doing well, although limited to upper-body work at the moment. Manager Aaron Boone said the Yankees expect no long-term ramifications from the shooting.

Estrada, Keith Law’s No. 13 prospect in the Yankees’ system after hitting .301 with six home runs at Double-A Trenton in 2017, said …. he was with his wife when two teenagers asked for money or a phone and searched his pockets. When he said he had neither, they shot him in the hip. His wife was not hurt.

….

Boone said there’s no timetable on when Estrada will resume baseball activities. He will start riding an exercise bike next week and is expected to play the bulk of the season. Law wrote that Estrada “looks like a great utility player who can put the ball in play without any power, handle short or second without much trouble and can’t just be overpowered with velocity.”

Pitchers & Catchers report to Yanks’ camp today. Ex-Card & Dodger Wally Moon dies.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Pitchers and catchers report to Yankees’ camp today for physicals. Their first workout is tomorrow.

Position players’ physicals are Sunday, with the first full squad workout on the 19th. The first spring training game is Friday, Feb. 23.

Wally Moon passed away at the age of 87. Moon played for the Cardinals 1954-1958, Dodgers 1959-1965. He won the ROY with the Cards in 1954, hitting .304-12-76, 18 SB and an OPS+ of 110.

He was a 3x All-Star, won a Gold Glove, and was on the 1959, 1963 and 1965 WS winners.

A lefty batter, Moon changed his batting approach when he got to the Dodgers. Since the Dodgers played from 1958-1961 in the L.A. Coliseum, with a ridiculously short 251 to LF, 320 to LCF and a 40′ high screen, Moon would hit balls to the opposite field off or over the screen. These became known as “moonshots.”

The OF/1B finished 27th in MVP voting in 1956, was an All-Star in 1957. In 1959, he was an All-star and finished 4th in the MVP voting, hitting .302-19-74, leading the majors in triples with 11, and he also stole 15 bases. OPS+ 129. He won his Gold Glove in 1960 and finished 13th in MVP voting in 1961.

His career declined after the Dodgers moved out of the Coliseum and into Dodger Stadium in 1962.

For his career, he hit .289 with an OPS+ of 117. His 162 g. average was .289-16-73, 10 SB. He had three .300 seasons.

In WS play, he hit .250-1-2 in 8 games.

 

Toddfather to Mets; Yanks finalize coaching staff.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

To no one’s great surprise, NJ native Todd Frazier stayed home, but made the crosstown trek from the Bronx to Queens, signing a 2-yr., $17MM deal with the Mets.

The Mets need 3b help, since it appears increasingly likely that David Wright will not play again.

No offense to Wright, a great player who has spinal stenosis, but it’s time to call it a day.

The Yanks could have squeezed in the $8.5MM/per, but most likely could only offer 1 yr. A multi-year deal for the Toddfather doesn’t work because:

  1. Miguel Andujar may be ready at the major league minimum, and if he is, he helps the Yanks re-set the bar on the luxury tax. They really want under the cap.
  2. If Andujar is ready, great. If not, Manny Machado becomes a free agent next year. One reason not to sign the Toddfather to a multi-yr. deal. Why do that when Machado is available next year?
  3. If Andujar has a great rookie year, you can just keep and control Andujar, not worry about Machado and focus elsewhere.
  4. If Andujar has a great rookie year and you want Machado anyway, Andujar has increased his trade value, which even now is high because other teams are asking about him and the Yanks have him off the table.
  5.  If Andujar struggles, you may be able to get someone (Machado even?) at the trade deadline this year.

So the Yanks best option may be just to do what they are doing now, which appears (it isn’t official yet) to just hand the 3B job to Andujar (Torreyes, Torres, Wade and Estrada are still in the mix).

As for Frazier, MLBTR had him projected as 3 yr./$33MM so he’s getting less than that. They did have the right team (Mets) projected.

The Yanks formalized their coaching staff today. Joining manager Aaron Boone are Josh Bard bench coach, Phil Nevin 3B, Larry Rothschild Pitching coach, Marcus Thames hitting coach w/P.J. Pilletere asst., Reggie Willets 1B/OF, Harkey BP coach, Jason Brown catching coach, Carlos Mendoza Quality Control/Infield, Radley Haddad coaching asst./Bullpen c, Brett Weber Coaching asst/instant replay coordinator.

The way some cities “celebrate” championships are disgusting. I could NEVER root for a Philadelphia team, although I live about 60 miles from Philly. Some fans, including friends and relatives, are OK obviously. But some Philly fans are, to put it mildly, boorish. Celebrate, but celebrate in a civilized fashion.

Spring Training Trip.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

This trip, first offered to members of the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club, is now being offered to the general public.

From http://www.lvyankeefanclub.com/:

 

Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club, Inc.

Bus Trip To Sunny Florida

Yankee Spring Training Trip
Friday, March 16th to Friday, March 23rd , 2018

3 Games at George Steinbrenner Stadium
Sunday, March 18th – Yanks vs Marlins
Monday, March 19th – Yanks vs Rays
Wednesday, March 21st – Yanks vs Orioles

For more information contact Chuck Frantz @ 484-347-8331

The link to the reservation form can be found at:

http://www.lvyankeefanclub.com/forms/springtraining.pdf

 

S.T. Game 35. Yanks lose final spring training game, 8-5. Ex-SS Amaro dies.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks and Braves opened up the Braves’ new stadium (saw some of it on MLB, looked really nice) with the Braves winning 8-5 thanks to a Baltimore chop base hit, an error and a bloop 3-run double.

A little bad luck.

The Yanks finish spring training at 25-9-1. Now the regular season starts Sunday and the games count.

Greg Bird got the first HR in the place (albeit, an exhibition game) with a 2-run blow in the third inning.

Michael Pineda was, well, Michael Pineda. So much promise but that one big mistake. So often last year he gave up the big hit with two out, and in the third, with two out, he gave up a 3-run HR to Freddie Freeman. You really wonder if it’s a concentration issue. It’s something he has to correct.

Dustin Fowler doubled in two in the top of the sixth to put the Yanks up 4-3, but then Atlanta got five runs, all unearned, in the bottom half of the inning as manager Girardi sent in bullpen guys to just get them work. For example, Aroldis Chapman faced just one batter, and he struck him out. Tommy Layne faced one batter, and he got him out. Then the roof fell in between Betances, Holder, the error by 3B Miguel Andujar and the bloop 3-run double that fell between four fielders.

Chris Carter homered in the seventh for the final score of 8-5.

Gary Sanchez was 2 for 2, hitting a double that just missed going out. Greg Bird was also 2 for 2, with that 2-run HR mentioned earlier. Sanchez hit .373 for the spring, Bird .451.  They’ll cool off, obviously, but it shows how much potential these two youngsters have.

Some guys that had rough springs that you hope heat up are Gardner, Headley and Carter.

Pineda 5 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 walk, 6 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Chapman (H) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Layne (H) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K.
Betances (L) 0 IP, 2 R (both unearned), 2 H, 0 walks, 0 K.
Holder (BS) 1/3 IP, 3 R (all unearned), 1 H, 2 walks, 0 K.
Mitchell 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Shreve 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K.
Heller 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K.

Ruben Amaro, the main SS on the 1967 Yankees team, died yesterday at the age of 81. Your typical good field/no hit SS of the 1960s, he was also on the 1964 Phillies team that “Pholded” at the end of the season. He was with the Cardinals in 1958, the Phils from 1960-1965, the Yankees from 1966-1968, and finished his major league career with the Angels in 1969.

A .234 career hitter with eight major league home runs and an OPS+ of 71, his best year was in 1964 for the Phillies, when he hit .264-4-34, all career highs, OPS+ 84, and won a Gold Glove. He also finished 21st in MVP voting. He had 299 at bats in 129 games. Primarily a SS, Amaro played all infield positions and even one game in LF in his career.

His Yankees’ tenure consisted of 191 games, 130 of which were in 1967 when he was the team’s primary SS, hitting .223-1-17, OPS+ 70, in a career high 417 at bats.

After his playing career ended he worked for the Phillies for many years, and expressed his desire to be buried in his Phillies uniform.

His son, Ruben Amaro, Jr., became a major league player himself, later served as the Phillies’ GM, and is now the first base coach for the Red Sox.