Category Archives: The Front Office

Game 33. Yanks beat Twins (4-1) and the elements.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

I was at Yankee Stadium today for the game with the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club, and can honestly say that it was the first time as an adult that I was at a baseball game and didn’t have a beer.

What I had—and needed—was three hot chocolates.

It was a miserable day in the Bronx, cold, drizzly and windy. The weather was RAW, RAW, RAW.

The game was called in the bottom of the eighth with the Yanks (19-14, 2nd in AL East, 2 back) leading 4-1. They get the win. The game was called after a 61 minute rain delay and in my opinion, should have been called much earlier.

Before the game, GM Brian Cashman told the media that Luis Severino won’t be expected back until after the All-Star break.

Domingo German has so far picked up the baton from Severino and has become the staff ace in Severino’s absence. He picked up his sixth win of the season against just one loss, and lowered his ERA to 2.35.

The Yanks scored twice in the second inning. Gleyber Torres led off the inning with a single and Brett Gardner walked. After Gio Urshela struck out, Cameron Maybin walked to load the bases. Mike Tauchman struck out, but D.J. LeMahieu got an infield single to score Torres, and when SS Jorge Polanco of the Twins tried to make a play on LeMahieu, he threw the ball away, enabling Gardner to score and Maybin to go to third. Luke Voit flied out to end the inning.

With two out in the fourth inning, German had his only blip of the game. An infield single, walk and another single cut the Yanks’ lead to 2-1.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Urshela singled, and an out later, Tauchman hit a 2-run HR (4) to make it 4-1. The losing pitcher for the Twins was ex-Yankee Michael Pineda.

The game ended with Torres, the leadoff batter in the eighth, on third with no one out and Gardner up.

German (W, 6-1, 2.35) 6 2/3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 W, 7 K.
Kahnle (H, 3) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.   1.38
Ottavino (H, 5) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1 HBP.  2.12
Chapman (S, 7) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K  2.13  1 WP

The WP by Chapman was probably caused by a wet and muddy mound which caused the Twins pitcher to have a PB and WP shortly before the game was delayed and then called. Like I mentioned above, the game should have been called way before it actually was.

The attendance of 38.603 was probably sold tickets, because the crowd actually IN the Stadium freezing its butts off was considerably less. It said 51 degrees but a strong wind (19 MPH, blowing in from LF) and drizzle made it feel like it was in the 30s.

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Game 26. Yanks beat SF, 7-3. Voit continues to roll.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

When I first saw the lineup, I didn’t have too much confidence in the Yanks last night.

It looked like the worst lineup I had seen since the Horace Clarke years of the late 1960s/early 1970s.

For one thing, no DH in a NL park.

Gio Urshela hitting cleanup? Thairo Estrada in LF? Sanchez and Gardner on the bench?

This against Madison Bumgarner? Even though Bumgarner isn’t what he was?

As Gomer Pyle would say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

The first four hitters in the Yanks’ (15-11, 2nd in AL East, 1 1/2 back) lineup went 10 for 18, scored 6 runs and had 5 RBI in the Yanks’ 7-3 win over the Giants last night.

The Yanks jumped on Bumgarner right away with two runs in the first. D.J. LeMahieu led off the game with a double, went to third on a flyout by Luke Voit and scored on a double by Gleyber Torres. Urshela singled Torres to third, and Cameron Maybin in his first AB as a Yankee, singled in Torres to make it 2-0.

James Paxton gave a run back in a shaky first inning, but then settled down the rest of the night.

In the third, Luke Voit, who is having a great road trip, singled and was bunted over to second by Torres (when is the last time you saw the #3 batter in the lineup lay down a sac bunt?). Urshela, a .232 career hitter with 9 career HR in 517 at bats, singled Voit in to make it 3-1. Urshela, known for his glove and not his bat, has been swinging the bat well in subbing for the injured Andujar at 3B.

In the fifth, the Yanks made it 4-1 when LeMahieu singled and Voit doubled him home.

Consecutive singles by Austin Romine, Mike Tauchman and Thairo Estrada made it 5-1 in the sixth. For Estrada, his first MLB RBI.

Paxton tired in the sixth, giving up two runs before Tommy Kahnle came in to get the final out of the inning. 5-3 Yanks.

With two out in the seventh, Zack Britton gave Yankees fans a scare by walking three batters in a row to load the bases. Manager Aaron Boone then pulled a double switch, bringing in Adam Ottavino to replace Britton, and getting Brett Gardner in the OF (Tauchman going from CF to RF, replacing Maybin). In the key moment of the game, Ottavino struck out Buster Posey to get out of the inning.

Luke Voit hit a 2-run HR (8) in the ninth to give the Yanks some insurance runs. 7-3.

Voit has been a real steal for the Yanks. Since Brian Cashman went out and got him, Voit has played in 65 games for the Yanks, hitting .309-22-55, OPS+ 170. Keep that up over 162 games and you are talking MVP-type numbers.

LeMahieu 3 hits, scored 3x
Voit 3 hits, 2 runs scored, 3 RBI. 2-run HR.
Torres 2 hits, RBI
Urshela 2 hits, RBI

Paxton (W, 3-2, 3.38) 5 2/3 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 2 W, 8 K
Kahnle (H, 2) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1 WP.  1.86  Looking like he did in 2017, not 2018.
Britton (H, 4) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 3 W, 1 K.  2.45
Ottavino (H, 4) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.  2.51
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.  2.45

The bullpen: 3 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 5 W, 6 K.  A bit wild, but no hits or runs. Combined, the Yanks’ pitchers struck out 14, walked 7.

 

 

 

Game 7. Yanks hit 4 HR (2 by Gleyber) to win 8-4.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

After the first inning, it didn’t look good. James Paxton gave up 3 runs in the first, and one run scored on a balk, another via a WP.

Gleyber Torres homered in the third, but after five innings, it was 4-1 Orioles and you feared the worst.

But in the fifth, Sanchez homered (3) to make it 4-2 and later that inning, Torres homered (2) to give the Yanks a 5-4 lead.

Luke Voit, who was slumping, hit a 3-run HR (2) in the top of the ninth for the cushion and the final score of 8-4.

The win puts the Yanks at 3-4 on the season. Tampa Bay is off to a good start, but take a look at Boston, 2-6.

Paxton did settle in after the first inning to get the win.

Torres 4 for 4. Single, double, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Voit HR, 3 RBI
Sanchez HR
Gardner 2 hits

Tough day for Aaron Judge, who may be trying to do too much to carry the team with all the injuries. 0 for 5, 4 strikeouts.

Paxton (W, 1-1, 4.09)  5 1/3 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 2 W, 9 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Kahnle (H, 1) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 0.00
Britton (H, 2) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 0.00
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.50.

Greg Booker, a setup man who pitched for the Padres in the 1984 WS, passed away, age 58.  1983-1989 SD, Twins 1989, Giants 1990. 5-7, 3.89 in MLB career, ERA+ 95.

HOF manager Bobby Cox, mostly known for his managerial work for the Braves, but a Yankees’ 3B 1968-1969, is in the hospital after what appears to be a stroke. Prayers go out to him.

The Yanks are off Friday.

The Yanks did make a move, acquiring Jake Barrett from the Pirates and he will go to AAA SWB.

From Pinstripe Alley

In order to make room on the 40-man roster, the Yankees moved pitcher Ben Heller to the 60-day injured list.

Barrett has just 93.1 major-league innings to his name, all out of the bullpen with the Diamondbacks, along with a 4.05 ERA. The 27-year-old posted his best season in 2016, when he ran a 3.49 ERA, good for a 129 ERA+, across 59.1 innings. He’s spent little time in the majors since, making just seven appearances in 2018, allowing four runs in seven innings in the process.

He did play well in the minors last season, maintaining a 2.87 ERA in 53.1 innings for Triple-A Reno. Barrett struck out 11.3 batters per nine, but also ran a 4.9 BB/9 rate. According to Statcast, during Barrett’s brief time in the bigs last year, he relied heavily on his fastball, throwing his four-seamer 60% of the time. His slider made up 35% of his repertoire, while a splitter served as more of a show-me pitch with 5% usage. He averaged just over 94 mph on his fastball.

Now that the minor league season has started, I’ll be posting reports on the Yanks’ farm teams.

Spoiler alert: Gio Gonzalez sucked for SWB in their opener Thursday. Minor league Report coming tomorrow morning.

 

Possible mid-season move?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Now, just to be sure, I do want Brett Gardner to have a great year.

FROM START TO FINISH.

Unfortunately, Gardner does seem to flame out in the second half of the season. It’s been that way his whole career.

Gardner hits .274 in the first half of the season, OPS .771
2nd half? .243, with an OPS of .685.

It is one reason why he didn’t not play much down the stretch last year. It’s why the Yanks picked up Lawrence McCutchen (now with the Phils). Another reason is the broken wrist that Aaron Judge suffered late last year. Last year, Gardy hit .254 in the first half, but only .209 in the second half.

But Gardner turns 36 in August this year, and is on a one year deal (this year). Given his history of 2nd half fades, don’t be surprised if Clint Frazier takes over from Gardner in mid-season this year, or if the Yanks make a deal involving Gardner and/or Frazier for an OF at the trade deadline this year.

If Frazier didn’t suffer that concussion that cost him most of 2018, he might be taking Gardner’s place already.

Of course, with Hicks out for a time, Gardy is the CF for now.

But given Gardner’s 2nd half struggles, I would not be surprised at all, if, given Gardy’s 2nd half troubles, that Frazier (given a good 1st half at SWB) or someone else is taking over for Gardy in the second half of the season (much like McCutchen in 2018).

Extensions galore.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

You wonder what future free agent classes will look like.

Maybe not that hot.

Recently we’ve seen extensions given out to Severino, Hicks, Trout, Verlander, Sale, DeGrom, Snell, Nola, Goldschmidt, ….

More probably to come, but like I said, you wonder how poor future free agent classes will look like.

Recent passings:

Randy Jackson, 2x All Star 3B for the Cubs in the mid=1950s. A .261 hitter, OPS+ 94, he hit 21 HR for the 1955 Cubs (19 in 1953 and also in 1954) and was an All-Star in 1954 and 1955. Cubs 1950-1955, Dodgers 1956-1958, Indians 1958-1959, back with the Cubs 1959. Played in the 1956 WS with the Dodgers. He was 93.

Chuck Harmon, a utility player for the Reds (1954-1956), Cardinals (1956-1957) and Phillies 1957. Hit .238 in 289 games, OPS+ 62.

 

S.T. Game 29. Yanks lose, Gio rusty. Roster set? Trade made.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

You may be working out on the side, but until you get that game experience ….

Newly signed Gio Gonzalez showed his rust as the Yanks lost to Toronto Saturday afternoon, 7-3.

The loss puts the Yanks S.T. record at 16-9-4.

Gleyber Torres had a 3-run HR for the Yanks in the first inning.

Masahiro Tanaka only worked two innings in preparing for his Opening Day start this coming Thursday and looked sharp. We can only hope he’s like this on Thursday. Two scoreless innings.

Besides Gonzalez’ rust, Aroldis Chapman had a rough outing. His velo is down and I am a bit concerned about him.

Tanaka 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K.
Chapman (H) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 1 K.
Green (H) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Holder (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Gonzalez (BS, L) 2 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 H, 2 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Kriske 1 1/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 2 W, 2 K
Bristo 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.

I had to look up who Kriske was. Never heard of him. Brooks Kriske, 25, RHP, 2-2, 1.09 at short season Staten Island last year. 33 K in 24 2/3 IP. 2 games for Low A Charleston. 0-0, 4.50 in four innings. Far down on the “totem pole”. But had to see who was this guy? Was with Staten Island a bit in 2016, missed all of 2017. My guess is Charleston (low A) bound.

The Yanks basically set the 25 man opening roster today, but there could be a minor move yet.

C Sanchez and Romine
IF Bird (could still make a move here to put him on DL if elbow (HBP recently) problem lingers. If he is on DL, Wade AND Tauchman could make team? See below), Voit, Torres, LeMahieu, Andujar, Tulowitzki
UT Wade? See below.
OF Gardner, Judge, Stanton (Tauchman? See below).

The ? is Wade. I mentioned in my this blog earlier today that the Yanks could pick up an OF via someone getting cut by another team or by trade. I nailed that one. Just a few hours after I wrote that, the Yankees made a deal today for an OF.

The Yanks sent LHP Phillip Diehl to Colorado for OF Mike Tauchman. I was concerned about Wade’s lack of OF experience and the Yanks apparently are too.

So that final spot could come down to Wade or Tauchman.

UPDATE: Bird makes team, is OK. Wade sent down. Tauchman is backup OF.

First off, Diehl. 24. LHP. Goes to Colorado. Last year 2-3, 2.51 between High A Tampa and AA Trenton. Probably going back to AA. Boone was impressed with him in S.T.

Wade, mostly an IF (2B/SS/3B) has been used in the OF to increase his versatility, but is not a true OF. In 124 MLB at bats for the Yanks in 2017 and 2018, has hit only .161-1-7, 42 strikeouts, OPS+ 25. In 176 AAA games, .282-11-58 with 37 SB. He hasn’t taken that to the majors yet, and the 24 year old lefty hitter, although possessing great speed, hasn’t had a lot of OF experience.

Hence the trade for Tauchman. That last spot on the team for now (position player) is between Wade and Tauchman (unless Bird has to go on the DL, then both may make the team). Tauchman, a lefty bat, is 28, and is only 9 for 59 in his MLB career (.153-0-2, OPS+ 20). Like Wade, he needs his skills to translate from AAA to a major league level. While Wade has the speed, Tauchman could show the power, and is a true OF, which Wade isn’t. In 112 games at AA in 2018, Tauchman hit .323-20-81 with 12 SB. In 2017 at AAA, Tauchman hit .331-16-80 in 110 games with 16 SB.

Unlike Wade, Tauchman has a lot of experience in all three OF positions.

Whether it is Wade or Tauchman, expect neither to be there long. He’ll be gone once Hicks is ready.

As for what happens if or when Ellsbury is ready? We won’t go there.

The 13 ptichers are:

Tanaka
Paxton
Happ
Cessa (starter? Middle relief?)
CC (to start year w/suspension, then go on DL)
Chapman
Tarpley (I told you not to overlook him…. made team)
Britton
Green
Ottavino
Holder
German (starter? relief?)
Kahnle

When CC goes on the DL, Loaisiga, who was sent down, will replace him temporarily.

As for room for Gio (rusty today, see above) or Severino when ready, who knows. Same with Betances, and same with Montgomery this summer.

But you can never have enough pitching.

As I said in my prior post, sometimes you have to make tough decisions, and sometimes due to poor performance and/or injury, they are made for you.

Some decisions you just have to wait on. Cross that bridge when we get to it.

But also, don’t be surprised if, until Seve and CC are ready, Boone goes with an “opener” in a couple of games.

Who will be the final cuts?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

As the Yanks head into their final weekend of spring training baseball, we await the final cuts to see what the 25-man Opening Day roster will look like.

With one possible exception, the 12 position players are set.

C Sanchez & Romine
IF Bird, Voit, Torres, LeMahieu, Tulowitzki, Andujar
UT-IF/OF Wade

OF Gardner, Judge, Stanton (after I wrote this, Yanks traded for Mike Tauchman and sent Tyler Wade down) Tauchman

Hicks starts the year on the DL. When he comes back, then the Yanks have to decide who goes—they’ve said that they only want to carry one 1B, so either Bird or Voit would be sent down and Wade would stay. (Update see below. Keep Tauchman, Bird or Voit would go? )

If the Yanks are concerned about Wade’s OF play, since he isn’t a natural OF, they could see what OF gets cut from another team, pick him up, have him on the team, and then cut him themselves once Hicks is ready. This would mean Wade goes down to AAA. (Update: exactly what happened)

I don’t see it, but it could happen. Wade’s versatility and speed make him a nice bench piece. Now to hit MLB pitching.

The pitching staff isn’t as clear cut.

They’ll carry 13 pitchers.

The givens are Tanaka, Happ, Paxton, Chapman, Britton, Green, Holder and Ottavino. So that is eight.

Severino and Betances start the year on the DL.

CC has that 5 game suspension. They’ll probably put him on the team, have it served right away, then to the DL for a while until he’s ready, so for now CC would be 9, replaced by someone when he goes to the DL.

Kahnle is out of options, so he is probably #10 (UPDATE YES). Cessa had a great spring training, and with Severino out, will replace him. #11. (UPDATE YES)

So three more. I really do think Stephen Tarpley will be #12. A great spring and a third lefty out of the bullpen. (Update: He made it)

That leaves (and I hope I ain’t forgetting anyone) Loaisiga and German. It’s looking like German makes it (Update: Yes), and Loaisiga goes down (to come back up when CC goes on the DL and back down when CC comes off of it). (YES HERE TOO).

Then there is Gio Gonzalez, who if he is put on the team, probably takes German’s spot.

As to what happens when Severino and Betances are ready to come back? Who knows. Release Cessa (out of options)? Move Cessa to BP and send down Tarpley? Gio has the April 20 opt-out.

Then you have Jordan Montgomery at the end of the year when he comes back from TJ surgery (and, regarding position players, when Didi comes back from HIS TJ surgery. And we won’t discuss Ellsbury).

Interesting decisions are to be made regarding the pitching staff, and we’ll find out this weekend.

You can never have enough pitching.

And remember, sometimes you don’t have to make a decision. Sometimes, due to poor performance or injury, the decision is made for you.

Spring training instructor Lee Mazzilli was released from the hospital yesterday after being kept there for observation after being struck in the head by a line drive during Yankees’ BP the other day.