Category Archives: The Front Office

Game 15. 13-4 rout of Tigers puts Yanks over. 500

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After a 3-6 start, the Yanks have won five out of six to put themselves over .500 at 8-7 with a 13-4 rout of the Tigers tonight in a game played in snow showers. Yup, April 22 and snow showers in Detroit.

The Yanks scored six in the first but Adam Warren was shaky early, giving up 4 in the bottom of the inning. In that top of the first, the big blow was a bases-clearing 3-run double by Gregorio Petit.

Warren hurt himself by walking four in that first inning.

The Yanks got two in the second on back-to-back triples by Beltran and Headley.

In the fourth, Didi Gregorious got his first extra-base it of the season, doubling in two.

Mark Teixeira’s 3-run HR (5, 368 career) later on,Young capped the scoring.

Warren (W, 1-1, 5.40) 5 2/3 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 4 walks (all in the 1st), 3 K.
Wilson 1 1/3, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and 2 K. 5.40
Carpenter 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 2 K.  3.52
Shreve 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K.   1.59

The Yanks banged out 15 hits. Chris Young had 3. Teix and Petit each had 3 RBI.

Matt Tracy, who was DFA’d by the Yanks after his MLB debut then claimed by the Marlins, was DFA’d by the Marlins and claimed by the Yanks who sent him back to SWB. That MLB debut is the only game he has pitched in all season.

Minor league news.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Hmmm…. could the Yanks be losing faith in either Didi Gregorious or Rob Refsnyder so early into the season? What about even Stephen Drew?

Gregorious is just 25, but has had a disappointing nine games with the Yanks so far. See this link:

http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2015/04/16/disappointment/

 

He isn’t hitting (5 for 29, all singles, OPS+ 13), and has made some physical and mental mistakes. It’s early, but…

Meanwhile, Refsnyder, 24, raked in spring training but made six errors. Eight games into the AAA season, he has four errors already.

Come to think of it, outside of the 2 HR, one of which was the PH grand slam, Stephen Drew has gone just 4 for 27.

The reason I wonder about this is because of reports that the Yanks may be interested in Jose Peraza, a soon-to-be 21-year-old 2B/SS in the Braves system. Peraza doesn’t have power, but the righty hitter has plenty of speed. In 2013, he hit .288-1-47 with 64 SB in 114 games at A ball. Last year, between A+ and AAA, he hit .339-2-44 with 60 SB in 110 games. Peraza just began at AAA. Rumors are the Yanks may dangle Gary Sanchez for Peraza. Sanchez is at AA right now. Sanchez, 22, hit .270-13-65 at AA last year. There are concerns about his attitude and work ethic. Besides, the Yanks are more enamored with John Ryan Murphy right now (and since 2011, big free agent signing Brian McCann, 31, has hit only .237—McCann has three years and an option for a fourth after this this season. Get that batting average, up, Brian. )

AAA: Refsnyder made his fourth error in eight games as the SWB Railriders lost 10-2 today to drop their record to 2-6. I don’t know if Refsnyder’s fielding woes are starting to affect his hitting, but he is at .222. Eric Wooten 4 R in 4 IP, Jose De La Cruz, just sent down, 5 R, 3 ER in 2 IP.

AA:   Trenton scored a run in the bottom of the 9th to tie, and another in the bottom of the 10th to win 3-2. Aaron Judge 2 hits, walk-off HR. Mason Williams two hits, rbi. Miguel Sulbaran is a guy no one talks about much, but he went 5 2/3, 0 R, 2 H, 1 walk and 1 K. Sulbaran is a lefty who is just 21 and who has a nice minor league record so far.

High A: Tampa scored in the top of the 10th to win 7-6. 3B Vincente Conde a 3-run HR.

A: Charleston lost 8-3. 1B Connor Spencer 2 hits, RF Austin Aune 2 RBI.

 

S.T. Game 30. Ryan hurt in 3-0 Yanks’ loss. Yanks make deal for IF depth.

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Brendan Ryan injured a calf muscle today in the Yanks’ 3-0 loss to the Rays, and shortly afterward the Yanks made a minor deal with Houston to get some infield depth.

The Yanks picked up IF Gregorio Petit, 30, RHB, from Houston for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Petit can play 2B, SS or 3B. He has 156 at bats in the majors, .278-2-10, OPS+ 91. Small sample size. The one thing I don’t like is only 3 walks in 156 at bats, with 40 strikeouts. A stopgap until Ryan gets healthy again.

Chase Whitley probably nailed down a spot on the team as a long man with a solid outing today.

Whitley 4 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 0 walks and 6 K.

Esmiel Rogers 1 1/3 IP, 1 R (unearned), 2 H, 1 walk and 3 K.

Chasen Shreve 2/3 IP, 1 R (unearned), 1 H, 0 walks and 1 K.

Andrew Bailey 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 walk and 1 K.

Nick Rumbelow 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and 3 K.

Nice job by Rumbelow even though he has been optioned to the minors.

Bailey was nice again, but so far hasn’t pitched in back-to-back games, which may keep him from the Opening Day Roster. He appears ready to really help soon. If he can regain his 2X All-Star form….

The Yanks only managed four hits today.

The S.T. record fell to 15-14-1.

 

Al Rosen dies at age 91.

Al Rosen, the 4x All-Star and 1953 AL MVP who barely missed the Triple Crown that year, died Friday night at the age of 91.

Rosen’s career was abbreviated due to a bad back. He had to retire at the age of 32, just three years after his MVP season. He played for the Cleveland Indians from 1947-1956, sparingly from 1947-1949 (35 games total), then taking over full-time from Kenny Keltner at 3B in 1950.

He went 0-1 in the 1948 WS. Although Cleveland won the WS in 1948, Rosen was just 1 for 5 that year in five games.

In that 1950 season, Rosen led the AL with 37 HR (also in getting HBP 10x) while finishing 17th in the MVP voting. The 37 HR stood as the AL rookie record until Mark McGwire broke it in 1987.

He was an All-Star and finished 10th in MVP voting in 1952 when he led the AL with 105 RBI. He also led the league in total bases.

In that 1953 season, he was the unanimous MVP, hitting .336-43-145. He led the majors in RBI, the AL in HR and was just one point short of Mickey Vernon of Washington for the AL batting title. He missed the Triple Crown by one point. He also led the league in runs scored, slugging average, OPS, the majors in OPS+ (180), and the league in total bases.

He hit .300-24-102 in 1954 as the Indians won the pennant. He was 3 for 12 in the WS, which Cleveland lost to the NY Giants in a four game sweep. He was on first base when Willie Mays made his famous over-the-shoulder catch in Game 1.

1955 saw Rosen become an All-Star for the fourth consecutive year, but his numbers fell to .244-21-81 as he started to have back problems. He led the league is SF with 11.

After a .267-15-61 season in 1956, Rosen retired.

He hit .285 with 192 HR in his career. His 162 game average was .285-30-111 with an OPS+ of 137. HOF numbers had he been able to be a full-time player for longer than just seven seasons.

A “leap baby”, Rosen was born on February 29, 1924. Rosen, being Jewish, refused to play on the High Holy Days. He spent four years in the Navy during WWII, fighting in the Pacific.

After his playing career was over, Rosen become involved in the front office. He became President and CEO of the Yankees (1978-1979). When you see clips of Bucky Dent’s famous HR in that playoff game at Fenway Park on October 2, 1978, it is Rosen you see seated next to George Steinbrenner.

Rosen left the Yankees to become President and CEO of the Houston Astros (1980-1985) and President/GM of the San Francisco Giants (1985-1992).  In that timeframe, the Yankees won the 1978 WS, the Astros won the NL West in 1980, and the Giants won the NL West in 1987 and the NL pennant in 1989.

 

S.T. Game 9. Yanks lose, 3-1.

Chase Headley went 3 for 3 and C prospect Gary Sanchez hit a HR, but the Yanks managed just two other hits in a 3-1 loss to Baltimore on Tuesday.

Also in the day, it was announced that Hideki Matsui was hired by the Yanks to be a special assistant. Great move.

The loss puts the Yanks spring training record at 5-3-1.

The pitching line:

Chase Whitley 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 walks and 1 K. In and out of trouble.
Esmiel Rogers 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K.
Brandon Pinder 1 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 walks and 1 K.
Jose Ramirez 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 1 K.
Chasen Shreve 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 1 K.
Jacob Lindgren 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K.

 

 

S.T. Game 7. Yanks edge Nationals, 3-2.

The Yanks improved their S.T. record to 4-2-1 with a 3-2 win over Washington today. (MLB.com, I think, is broadcasting the game at 8 tonight (Sunday)).

A-Rod got his first action in the field, fielding one sharply hit grounder. As he himself stated, don’t expect an Ozzie Smith-type year. Meaning not great fielding or range, just make the routine play. Of course, we don’t expect to see A-Rod at 3B too much this year, mostly at DH. Chase Headley should be the regular 3B, barring injury.  A-Rod did get a Texas-league bloop double in the game, and also struck out.

After Washington scored in the top of the first on a first-pitch-of-the-game HR off of Adam Warren, the Yanks tied it in the fourth on a Brett Gardner single.

The Yanks went up 2-1 in the fourth on a single by Jose Pirela. It is starting to look like Brendan Ryan (abdominal injury) may not be ready for Opening Day, so Pirela and Refsnyder could be battling for a spot on the Opening Day Roster. Neither is the backup SS you would want, but Drew could slide over. The problem is that Drew, like Gregorious, is a lefty hitter. While considered more of a utilty man, and especially at 2B/3B/OF, Pirela, a righty bat, has played most of his minor league games at SS (364 games, as opposed to 300 at 2B), although he really isn’t considered a SS prospect. Still, his versatility (Refsnyder isn’t a SS) and SS experience could help him make the team if Ryan isn’t ready. Pirela was 2 for 3 today.

The Nationals tied the game in the top of the seventh, but the Yanks pushed ahead the winning run in the eighth on a single by infielder Cole Figueroa. Figueroa has played 2B/SS/3B in his minor league career. He is a lefty bat, however. He is 10 for 43 in his MLB career, 0 HR, 6 RBI, all with Tampa Bay last year. Nick Noonan is also a possibility as a backup infielder, but he also is a lefty hitter (.219-0-5 in 105 AB with SF last year). He has mostly 2B/SS experience.

I don’t know who the prospects would be, but a report on MLB Trade Rumors says that the Yankees have put together the best package as far as trying to lure Cole Hamels away from the Phillies. No word on what prospects would be given up for Hamels. The Red Sox were seeking a top catching prospect that Boston didn’t want to give up, so you wonder if the Phils would want a Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine or John Ryan Murphy as part of the package. The Phils would love to dump Ryan Howard and his salary (could they be interested in Greg Bird?). Chase Utley isn’t getting younger and if the Phils want to dump him to anyone (of course, we have to consider no-trade clauses here) they could be interested in a Refsnyder. MLBTR reports that in addition to the prospects, the Phils would want the other team to pick up ALL of Hamels’ salary. That, to me, is unrealistic for the 31 year old Hamels, who is due $23.5 MM through 2018 with a big 2019 option. Could or would Hamels fit in with the Yanks? Of course. A very good lefty, and could you imagine a rotation of Tanaka-Hamels-Pineda-CC and Eovaldi (with Nova in reserve)? Pushing Capuano out and replacing him with Hamels? With Luis Severino in reserve? Actually, I don’t think Severino would be in reserve. I think the Phils would insist on Severino as part of the package. But that rotation, if healthy, could be one good rotation. Tanaka-Hamels-Pineda-CC and Eovaldi. With Nova in reserve. R-L-R-L-R.

Hamels, 108-83, 3.27, has been the victim of poor run support in Philadelphia. His ERA+ is 125, but his 162 g. average is 13-10, 3.27. With a 3.27 career ERA, you’d expect better. He was both the NLCS and WS MVP in 2008. To show how little run support he got, last year he was just 9-9 despite an ERA of 2.46. Despite that, he finished 6th in the NL CYA voting.

As for getting Hamels, I have mixed emotions. I need to see how much the Yanks would have to give up and how much salary they would have to take on.

But maybe Texas now goes full bore for Hamels because it appears as if Yu Darvish will be out for the year due to probably needing Tommy John surgery.

Not only that, but apparently Cliff Lee’s elbow is barking again. Not good news for the Phils, who want to dump aging players that are making too much money (sound familiar, Yankees fans?) but are finding it tough to find takers and who are probably asking for too much of a return.

Good news regarding the question marks of Tanaka, Pineda and CC. All are progressing nicely (fingers crossed) and all should see spring training action soon. None of the three is reporting any concerns on recent injuries (Tanaka elbow, Pineda shoulder and CC knee).

The pitching line today.

Adam Warren 3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 0 walks and 1 K. His first pitch was hit for a HR.
Adam Miller 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K.
Dellin Betances 1 IP, 0 R 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K.
Luis Severino 1 1/3 IP, 1 R (UNEARNED) 2 H, 1 walk and 3 K. The Yanks’ top pitching prospect was hitting 96/97 today.
Jeff Pazos 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and 0 k.
Wilkin Rodriguez 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K.
Jared Burton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K.

One reason I don’t put too much credence in games this early—Adam Miller will not be pitching in the 4th inning in the regular season this year, nor will Dellin Betances be pitching in the 5th.

 

 

 

 

Moncada, and looking at 2020

Ok, here are some things from MLB Trade Rumors (see italics) concerning the Moncada to Boston deal. Boston gave him $31.5MM (which with the penalty is $63MM). The Yanks liked Moncada, Cashman wanted him, but upper management bid $25MM ($50MM with the penalty) and would go no higher than $27MM/$54MM with the penalty.

 

  • The Padres made an approximately $25MM offer to Moncada, MLB.com’s Corey Brock reports on Twitter. Meanwhile, the Brewers‘ were interested only to the $12MM to $15MM range, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets. Milwaukee came in early with an offer, learned it would not be competitive, and then bowed out, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
  • Though the Giants were interested in Moncada, but not at his price tag, GM Brian Sabean tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). “We were involved, not as much as other teams,” said Sabean. “We’re not built for that. Nor is most of baseball.” That sounds similar to the fate of the Tigers, who as Chris Iott of MLive.com writes had legitimate interest but bowed out fairly early on. “We scouted him,” said assistant GM Al Avila. “We had him here for a private workout. Once we knew where the money was going, it was just a point that we had our money invested in other areas.”
  • ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Insider link) writes that Moncada would have been the first or second player taken in this year’s relatively weak draft, and profiles as a top-ten talent in any year. As Law notes, the signing could be a piece of a push for change, as the league looks to hold down the bonuses going to young Cuban ballplayers.

Now Moncada projects to a 2B (and Pedroia is already there) or 3B (Boston just signed Sandoval). My gut feeling is that Boston may want to move the heavyset Kung Fu Panda (Sandoval) to DH once the 39-year-old Ortiz retires, opening 3B up for Moncada. The Moncada signing also would lessen the blow should Boston put together a package of prospects and get Cole Hamels from the Phillies.

Earlier this morning, the Red Sox reportedly struck an agreement with Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada, landing the 19-year-old switch-hitter with a $31.5MM signing bonus that will cost the team $63MM due to the 100 percent luxury tax it faces for exceeding its international bonus pool. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted shortly after the agreement was struck that the Yankees offered $25MM with a willingness to go to $27MM. Here are some more details on the tail end of a free agency that resulted in the largest signing bonus an international amateur has ever received…

  • The Dodgers never actually made a formal offer for Moncada, GM Farhan Zaidi tells Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register (Twitter links). Though general terms were discussed, the GM explained that Los Angeles weighed other considerations that tempered its interest: “There’s a lot of talent coming July 2. The calculus of that was a big part of our equation.”
  • Steinbrenner was “not the reason” that the Yankees didn’t go higher for Moncada, Matthews tweets, reversing his earlier report (see below).

Earlier Updates

  • The Yankees, Red Sox and Brewers were the three finalists for Moncada, tweets Sherman. However, the Dodgers may have offered the most money, but it came with a price; L.A. was willing to go to $35MM on the condition that Moncada wait until July 2 in order to sign. Doing so would have given the Dodgers unrestricted spending next period, giving them a shot at all the top prospects on the market without the Yankees and Red Sox to compete against. It’s also been reported that Yadier Alvares can’t sign before July 2, so the Dodgers likely could have made a run at both.
  • Indeed, Sherman tweets that the Dodgers are waiting until the new signing period begins on July 2 to spend significantly, and they plan to be very aggressive when that time comes.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman badly wanted to sign Moncada, tweets Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, but he couldn’t convince owner Hal Steinbrenner to spend any more than the reported $27MM figure. The GM told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link), that New York was asked to make its best offer yesterday. He was subsequently informed that it was not sufficient.
  • There was “a feeling from some” that Moncada wanted to end up with the Yankees, but the team simply viewed it as too risky to spend $60-70MM on a prospect, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York (All Twitter links). The Yankees feel that they can buy a proven Major Leaguer with that type of money in the future, and the Red Sox ultimately valued him more, Marchand adds.
  • Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes that the Padres were also considered finalists along with the four teams mentioned by Sherman. One team involved in the bidding, Passan adds, was so confident in Moncada’s abilities that they believed him to be capable of jumping directly into the Majors. Instead, he’ll head to the lower levels of Boston’s minor league system.
  • Via MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy and Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links), the Brewers‘ interest in Moncada was sincere. GM Doug Melvin believes that he was the first of any GM to submit a formal offer, but the team learned quickly that they wouldn’t be able to sign Moncada
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America notes (Twitter links) that some of the biggest winners in this scenario are Hector Olivera and next signing period’s crop of international amateurs. As Badlery points out, Olivera is being pursued by a number of teams who were also interested in Moncada, but the Red Sox aren’t involved in his market. Moncada signing with Boston means that Olivera didn’t lose a suitor. As for the rest of the international amateurs, they and their trainers are rejoicing, Badler says. The Red Sox were already over their bonus pool, so Moncada signing with them prevents another team (e.g. the Dodgers or Brewers) from going over their pool, giving the next wave of players another suitor.
Ok, we know that the Yanks are in a transition period, and their hands are really kind of tied until some people come off the books. I was hoping that Moncada would be signed with the Yanks as we look five years down the road. What could the Yanks be looking at in 2020 (20/20 vision?)? Best yet, these guys would be in their primes at that time. There is no guarantee any will make it or who may be traded away before then, but…
C Gary Sanchez, righty bat.  Brian McCann is signed through 2018 and has a $15MM team option for 2019. In 2020, McCann will turn 36, and if still with the team, may project better as a DH. Sanchez will be in his prime in 2020 at the age of 27. Sanchez will probably start this year at AAA SWB. Last year at AA Trenton, in 110 games, Sanchez hit .270-13-65.
1B Greg Bird, lefty bat. Mark Teixeira’s last year on his deal is next year, 2016. Teix, if he is still in baseball in 2020, would be 40 that year. I expect him not to be with the Yanks, if he is even in baseball in 2020. Bird would be 27 in 2020. He played in 102 games in 2014 between High-A Tampa and AA Trenton, hitting .271-14-43. In low A Charleston in 2013, he hit .288-20-84 and drew 107 walks. In 264 minor league games, well let’s divide by two. That gives 132…. and if we do that, he has averaged .283-18-70 and 94 walks. He had a great Arizona Fall League, and hopefully the power will develop further. That plate discipline is impressive.
2B Rob Refsnyder, righty bat. With a good spring, he could steal the job from Stephen Drew and open the season as the Yanks’ 2B. If Drew stinks like he did last year, and Refsnyder continues to rake, Refsnyder could take the job in midseason after starting the year at AAA. A converted OF, he may need some more work defensively at 2B, but his bat is impressive. He hit .318-14-63 between AA/AAA in 2014, 137 games. Refsnyder would be 29 in 2020.
SS Didi Gregorious, lefty bat. The just acquired SS would be only 30 in 2020. A defensive whiz, it still has to be proven whether he can hit. In 191 MLB games, he is at .243-13-57, which translates to a .243-11-48 162 g. average, OPS+ 88.
3B. Here is where it gets tricky. Here is where I wanted Moncada, a switch-hitter who would be 24 in 2020. So who COULD be here? Chase Headley is signed through 2018. He’d be 36 in 2020, so he, along with McCann, could be still on the team, and one, say McCann, could DH, and Headley could be backing up at 1B and 3B. But who would be at 3B? Two contenders:
Eric Jagielo, lefty bat. Would be 28 in 2020. In 146 minor league games, has 24 HR, 85 RBI but only a .259 average. .256-18-58 in 2014, 92 games, mostly at High-A Tampa.
Dante Bichette, Jr.  righty bat, would be 27 (28 at the end of the year).  .264-10-68 between High A Tampa and AA Trenton in 2014 in 127 games.
Both have shown some pop, Jagielo more so. But the batting averages haven’t been too impressive so far.
Brett Gardner has an option for 2019. He’d be 36, going on 37 in 2020. Somehow I don’t think he’ll be there in 2020.
Jacoby Ellsbury will be 36 going on 37 and he is still under contract for 2020. Somehow I think he will be there, but no longer in CF. I don’t see him in CF at that age. Maybe a move to LF.
Meaning the Yanks need to find a CF from a current minor leaguer, sign one, trade for one or sign a free agent CF.
RF. Aaron Judge, righty bat. Beltran will surely be gone by then, and Judge would be 28 (see all these players who would be in their primes?). Judge played in 131 games in 2014 between A and High A, hitting .308-17-78.
Looking at the starting rotation, the one thing lacking is a lefty. But Tanaka would be 30, Pineda 30, Nathan Eovaldi 30, Ivan Nova 33, Adam Warren 32 going on 33, Luis Severino 26.
As for the bullpen, Dellin Betances would be 32, and lefty stud prospect Jacob Lindgren 27.
So there is youth there that you hope develops, because they would be in their primes in 2020. The question is who will make it, who develops.
We don’t know who may be traded away. We don’t know what free agents may be signed between now and 2020. We don’t know whose careers get derailed because of injury.
But it would be refreshing to see a team where most of the players are in their prime years, not a team where most of the players have seen their better days.
You hope these prime years would be GOOD years and the players can develop into stars and not mediocrities.
Time will tell.