Category Archives: The Front Office

Minor League Report. Torres needs TJ surgery, done for year.

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Yankees’ top prospect, INF Gleyber Torres, needs TJ surgery and is done for the year. He injured his non-throwing elbow sliding into home the other day and hyperextended the elbow, injuring ligaments as well.

The Yanks were possibly grooming Torres to take over at 3B for Chase Headley later this year. They also now have promoted 3B Miguel Andujar to AAA. Andujar is an option for the future at 3B, also the Yanks may look at the trade deadline for a 3B. They aren’t happy with Headley’s performance so far.

Besides 3B, the Yanks may also look to upgrade at starting pitching and 1B. With CC out until early August and Tanaka struggling, an upgrade in the rotation, via Chance Adams being called up,Fo or a trade, looks imminent.

Also, 1B has been a problem with Greg Bird hurt and shut down, and the disappointing performance of Chris Carter. Here, the Yanks could look at a promotion (Tyler Austin, Mike Ford, Ji-Man Choi) or look to trade.

These are three positions that bear watching over the next month. How do the Yanks upgrade here? Is there a big deal brewing?

AAA: SWB (42-26) won 6-1. CF Dustin Fowler double, HR, 2 RBI. 3 hits, HR, 2 RBI LF Jake Cave. 3 hits, RBI 2B Donovan Solano. RF Clint Frazier 2 hits.

Lail (W, 4-2, 4.78) 6 2/3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 2 W, 3 K.
Layne (H, 1) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 0.00
Heller 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.48.

AA: Trenton off.

High A:   Tampa (37-31) won 4-2. 2B Nick Solak 2 hits, solo HR. LF Tito Polo 2 hits, rbi. C Sharif Othman 2 hits.

Widener (w, 4-6, 3.94) 6 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 W, 4 K.
Foley (H, 1) 1 2/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 3 K. 1.59
Gomez (S, 2) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K. 2.55

Low A: Charleston off.

UPDATE: Yanks’ minor league pitcher Matt Marsh has been suspended 50 games for using a banned substance.

Game 67. Road trip from hell ends with 6-game losing streak. Yanks fall, 4-3.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Ugh. The Road trip from hell ends with the Yanks going 1-6, losing six in a row, four by one run, two in extra innings.

It is not for me to figure out how the 40 man roster works, who gets  put on and off, but I kind of wish Chance Adams and Dustin Fowler, both not on the 40 man who would have had to be put on at the expense of others, were brought up instead of Mason Williams and Luis Cessa. Just my opinion b/c I think Adams and Fowler were and are doing better at AAA and deserved it more.

Cessa gave up four runs in one inning and it was enough to doom the Yanks, 4-3. The loss drops the Yanks to 38-29 and into a virtual tie for first with 39-30 Boston.

The Yanks are off today. Travel day back home.

The Yanks went up 1-0 in the second on Matt Holliday’s 14th HR of the year. They got another run in the third when Brett Gardner doubled and Aaron Judge singled him in.

Then Cessa gave up 4 runs in the bottom of the third.

Didi Gregorius homered (7) in the fourth to cut it to 4-3 but that was it.

The Yanks got the tying run to second (2-base error) in the ninth but Headley and Carter couldn’t get him in.

Gardner 2 hits. Gregorius 2 hits, inc. HR. Holliday HR.

Chapman came off the DL and got an inning of work.

Cessa (L, 0-1, 7.36) 4 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 1 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.45
Clippard 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K. 2.22
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.29

Game 61. Judge’s late HR lifts Yanks, 5-3.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Aaron Judge’s 2-run HR  (22), a 438-ft. shot in the top of the eighth, broke a 3-3 tie and lifted the 38-23 Yankees to a 5-3 win over the Angels Monday night.

With the win, the Yankees maintain a 4-gm. lead in the AL East.

Masahiro Tanaka gave up a HR to the second batter he faced, and you thought, here we go again. But he settled down after that to pitch a decent game.

The Yanks tied the game in the third when with two out, Holliday and Castro walked and Didi Gregorius singled in a run.

Didi singled in another run in the fifth to put the Yanks up 2-1.

Chase Headley singled in a run in the seventh to put the Yanks up 3-1 but the Angels tied it in the bottom of the seventh. Both Angels’ runs were unearned due to a Headley error.

Judge then hit his 2-run HR in the eighth to win it.

Judge 2 for 4, scored 3 runs, HR, 2 RBI  .347
Castro 2 hits. .328
Gregorius 4 for 4, 2 RBI. .344

Tanaka 6 2/3 IP, 3 R, 1 earned, 2 W, 8 K. Gave 1 HR. 6.07
Clippard (BS, 3; W, 1-3, 1.73) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Betances (S, 6) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 0.45.

The Yanks’ first round pick in the MLB draft was Clarke Schmidt, a RHP from South Carolina. Great numbers this year but it seems high risk, high reward. Schmidt had Tommy John surgery done last month so the Yanks will be showing a lot of patience with the pick.

 

 

Game 55. Trouble for Tanaka again in Yanks’ 5-4 loss.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The disturbing and troubling season of Masahiro Tanaka continued last night when he gave up 5 runs, including 3 HR in 5 IP as the Yanks lost to Boston 5-4.

Tanaka had such a great spring training. His fall from ace to Kei-Igawa-like performances has been shocking.

The loss decreases the Yanks’ lead over Boston to one game. The Yankees are 32-23.

That 32-23 has been built strangely. They started 1-4, went 20-5 over the next 25, and are 11-14 in their last 25.

Even though they are still in first place, there are a couple of problem areas that need to be addressed, and let’s start with Tanaka.

With the Yanks 10-11 in their last 21 games (stats via Joel Sherman’s NY Post article), Tanaka is 0-5, 10.72 in that span. If Tanaka was his old ace-like self, he would have gone, say 4-1. Now the Yanks would be 14-7 in this span and we wouldn’t be as concerned.

The season is just over 1/3 over, and Tanaka has already given up 17 HR.

They need to get him straightened out. But how? He is earning so much $$ and $$ talks. Can they just pull him from the rotation? Who would replace him? Chad Green, who was fabulous in relief last night? Chance Adams? They would need to create a roster spot for Adams (who pitched last night also, see my minor league report) who isn’t on the 40-man roster.

Boston got a run right away in the first inning on a couple of singles and an RBI forceout. The Yanks tied it in the second on a walk to Hicks, single by Didi, and Hicks scored on a throwing error by Boston RF Mookie Betts.

But in the fourth, Tanaka gave up three runs on back-to-back homers. He gave up another HR in the fifth and Boston was up 5-1. The Yanks couldn’t come all the way back.

Chris Carter (a problem we’ll get to in a bit) hit his fifth HR of the year in the bottom of the fifth to cut Boston’s lead to 5-2.

Castro and Hicks singled in the sixth, and Castro scored when Didi GIDP.

The Yanks got a break in the eighth that made you think maybe the gods were with them and they’d pull it out. Matt Holliday doubled and went to third on a groundout. After Hicks popped up, Didi Gregorius struck out for what should have been the third out, but the ball was a wild pitch and Didi reached, Holliday scoring to cut the lead to 5-4. You thought with a break like that, maybe…

But no…

Tanaka (L, 5-6, 6.55) 5 IP, 5 R, 5 H, 1 W, 2 K. Gave up 3 HR.
Layne 0 IP, 0 r, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K. 7.50. More on him in a bit.
Green 3 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 5 K. 1.62. See above. Replacement for Tanaka? Did great.
Shreve 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 w, 1 K. 0.57.

Judge, Hicks and Gregorius each had two hits. Carter had the HR.

But even with Carter’s HR, 1B is a position that the Yanks need improvement on. Bird was 6 for 60 (.100-1-3) and Carter is 21 for 115 (.183-5-15). So that is a combined 27 for 175, which comes out to .154-6-18. Somehow, the Yanks are in first place despite getting the worst production in MLB from their first basemen.

3B also is a problem. Chase Headley is down to .225, and rumors are that the Yanks are shopping for a 3B. Rumors also are that if Gleyber Torres starts adjusting to AAA pitching, that the Yanks may bring him up to play 3B, with Headley moving to a backup 1B/3B role, which would mean cutting Carter (Carter $3.5 MM left for this year, Headley is owed the rest of $13MM this year and $13MM for 2018).

Headley is at .225-3-23, but since April 18, has hit .168-1-19 in his last 37 games. When you take what he is doing at 3B, and the lack of production at 1B, it’s like the Yanks are playing with a 7-man lineup. That can’t continue if they want to stay in first place. Headley hasn’t homered since April 19.

So the Yanks desperately need to get better production from 1B, 3B and Tanaka. We’ll see how and if that happens.

The final thing may be minor. Tommy Layne hasn’t performed that well, and the Yanks do have a solution there if necessary. Tyler Webb has been doing well at SWB and could be a replacement for Layne. LOOGY for LOOGY.

 

Game 36. CC back on track. Yanks win 7-1 behind Sanchez, Carter HRs.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

CC Sabathia got off the tracks the last few starts, but righted himself tonight in the Yanks’ 7-1 win over KC.

In his first 3 starts of the season, CC had an ERA of 1.47. But in his next four starts, he went 0-2 with an ERA of 9.58, raising that ERA from 1.47 to 5.77.

Good to see him get back on track tonight with 6 2/3 shutout innings.

Gary Sanchez gave him all the runs he would need with a 3-run HR (3) in the third inning.

The struggling Chris Carter made it 5-0 in the fourth with a 2-run HR (2).

In the seventh, singles by Castro, Judge and Ellsbury made it 6-0.

In the eighth, Didi walked and Carter singled. With one out, Sanchez walked to load the bases. A run scored on a forceout by Holliday.

KC scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to avoid the shutout.

Chase Headley made a couple of tough grabs off some liners that were smoked.

Sanchez 2 h, HR, 3 RBI.
Castro 2 hits, .340
Judge 2 hits, .320
Gregorius 2 hits, .313
Carter 3 hits, HR, 2 RBI. Good to see him finally break out. The way he was going, his job was on the line, be it being replaced by Tyler Austin, or Ji-Man Choi even with Greg Bird coming back from injury, whenever that could be.

Austin may begin rehab games this weekend.

Sabathia (w, 3-2, 4.93) 6 2/3 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 2 W, 4 K.
Clippard 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1.08
Holder 1 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.16

Gee, after cutting down Dellin Betances in arbitration, now Yankees president Randy Levine is praising him saying he could do the job for Chapman as the closer now that Chapman is hurt. What a disgusting hypocrite. Chop him up and shoot your mouth off bragging about winning arbitration in February, and kiss his ass now.

Shut up and go away, Randy.

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.

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.