Category Archives: The Front Office

S.T. Game 21. Yanks are shut out, 2-0 by Astros. Yanks trade Cave to Twins.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Sorry for a bit of a late report. Feeling achy and my neck, shoulders and back are killing me. My one shoulder especially. I didn’t do anything but wonder if there is some tendonitis. The last time it felt like this there was a hairline fracture in it. I don’t have the $$$ or time for a massage, but boy could I use one.

The Yankees only got two hits on Friday night in losing to Houston 2-0. Jordan Montgomery gave up a solo HR in the first and another in the fourth. The loss drops the Yanks’ spring training record to 12-8-1.

The Yanks traded OF Jake Cave to the Twins for RHP Luis Gil. Gil, 19, has pitched only in the Dominican Summer League.

Montgomery (L) 4 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 4 K. Gave up 2 HR.
Robertson 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K.
Green 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 4 K.
Gallegos 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Lail 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.

On an aside, wow. For the first time ever, a #16 seed has knocked off a #1 seed (Virginia) in the first round of the NCAA tournament. March Madness indeed! and by 20 points!


Yanks sign 2B Neil Walker to 1 yr. $4MM deal.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

This free agent market and the bargains out there are ridiculous.

The Yanks signed veteran 2B Neil Walker to a 1-yr., $4MM deal.

Walker, 32, a switch-hitter, made $17.2 MM last year (took the qualifying offer), and 10.5 MM the year before that. MLB trade rumors had him projected to get a two-year, $20MM deal. The Yanks get him for a year at $4MM? (Plus incentives that could make him more $$).


This Yankees’ lineup is getting downright scary.

Walker has battled some injuries the past two years, but his 162 g. average is .272-20-80 with an OPS+ of 113. In this lineup he could be batting 8th or 9th.

20 HR/80 RBI from a guy hitting 8th or 9th? That reminds me of Scott Brosius in 1998 when he hit .300-19-98, OPS+ 121 batting at the bottom of the lineup, and we all know how good that 1998 team was.

Last year, Walker missed some 45 games but between the Mets and Brewers, hit .265-14-49, OPS+ 111.

Can you imagine a lineup something like Gardner/Judge (batting 2nd because of his AL leading 127 walks and an OBP of .422 last year) Stanton (so Judge and Stanton both bat in the first inning, putting that much pressure on the starting pitcher) Didi (to break up the righty bats) Sanchez, Bird, Hicks, Walker and Drury?


OK, you have an OPS+ of 100 that is average. Here is what the OPS+ was last year, with that lineup, in the order I gave you.

104/171/165/106/126/84 (Bird was hurt most of last year, but was 135 when he came up at the end of 2015 let’s hope it’s that)/ 122/111 and 89. Drury, who hit .267-13-63 is the low guy there at the end.

Let’s repeat that, and give Bird the 135.


100 is league average.


Walker has played for the Pirates (2009-2015), Mets (2016-2017) and Brewers (2017). He has that NY experience with the Mets.

Twice he has popped 20 or more HR in a season. He has one Silver Slugger Award.

It’s a one-year deal, so what it means for Gleyber Torres and/or Tyler Wade remains to be seen. For now, it probably sends them both to the minors and buys more time. SWB should have one killer team this year. How it also affects say, a Thairo Estrada or Abiatal Avelino is to be determined also, not to mention Tyler Austin or Adam Lind if Walker is slated to backup at 1B.

I wonder if some prospects could be moved in a blockbuster for a top-notch pitcher.

Primarily a 2B, Walker has a little experience at 3B and 1B also. Hopefully he does better for the Yanks in the postseason than he did for Pittsburgh. In 8 postseason games, he is 2 for 31.

To clear roster space, the Yanks DFA’d OF Jake Cave, released INF Danny Espinosa and sent INF Kyle Holder down to minor league camp.

Yankees’ advisor Reggie Jackson is scheduled for knee surgery after a fall.


Decisions, Decisions….

Yankee Stadium Frieze

On a recent broadcast of the Michael Kay show, the Yankees’ announcer addressed a pleasant problem the Yanks will be facing.

They have a lot of young talented kids. You can’t squeeze 35 players onto a 25 man roster.

Some won’t make it. Some will have to be traded away. You can’t just stash someone at AAA for years.

In other words, the Yanks will have some players at AAA who could be starting for other teams.

It looks like right now, there is one position spot available, and it’s between Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade and Gleyber Torres.

Torres is a bit rusty after missing half of last season due to an injury. Also, keeping him in the minors for a short period of time delays his arbitration and free agency by a year. I expect him to begin at AAA.

Andujar is an interesting story. The Yanks got Drury (only 25 himself) to play 3B. Could they keep Andujar at 3B and play Drury at 2B? Sure. But I don’t see it happening. And you can’t let Andujar rot on the bench.

It looks like Tyler Wade then, will make the team and platoon with Ronald Torreyes at 2B until Torres is ready. As for Andujar, who knows?

You have a logjam. A nice problem, since you have depth in case of an injury. But just in looking at the infield, you have Bird, Austin, Lind (who probably will opt-out at the end of spring training if he doesn’t make the team), Torres, Wade, Torreyes, Didi, Drury, Andujar, and the recovering-from-a-gunshot-wound Thairo Estrada.  Then you have Danny Espinosa and Jaci Peterson, experienced veterans. That is 12 people for what would be six players for four positions. Four starters, one backup who can play 2B-SS-3B and one backup to Bird at 1B. So six players are left, and that is more than you’d need at AAA when you throw in 1B/OF Billy McKinney at AAA. I don’t see Lind going to AAA. Torres needs playing time at AAA, as would Andujar. And I didn’t mention Kyle Holder yet either.

So a dilemma there. You look at OF where, if everyone is healthy (Ellsbury has a oblique issue and Clint Frazier is recovering from a concussion) Clint Frazier is at AAA because he has five outfielders in front of him, Jake Cave and McKinney are at AAA along with Mark Payton, and Estevan Florial is a level or two below and rising fast.

Then you have the pitchers. If you have a rotation of Tanaka, Gray, Severino, Montgomery and CC, there is no room for now for Sheffield, Adams, German, Acevedo, Tate…. and forgive me if I miss anyone.

Then to the bullpen. You have Green, Warren, Kahnle, Shreve, Betances, Robertson and Chapman, leaving no room for now for Gallegos, Heller, Holder, Carroll, Coshow, Feyereisen and some other good young arms.

Some things will take care of themselves. Injuries and bad performance will whittle some players away. Some just don’t make it.

But there is a plethora of talent here. Some will be traded away for need. Already we have seen the Yanks have to trade players like Mateo, Fowler, Kaprielian, Solak, Widener, Rutherford….

It’s sad to see some young talent will have to go. But it shows how well-stocked the minor league system is.

And that is a nice problem to have, as opposed to the system being barren.



S.T. Game 8. Austin’s walk-off HR gives Yanks 5-4 win.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Sorry for the late report. High winds in the northeast have knocked out power off and on.

As for Friday’s game, there is something about getting someone who may take your job that puts a bug up your butt and makes you work harder, and in the case of a couple of Yankees, better.

We’ve seen what Miguel Andujar has done since the Yankees traded for Brandon Drury.

Yesterday the Yanks signed Adam Lind to a minor league contract to have insurance for Greg Bird. Tyler Austin responded by hitting a 2-run walk off HR in the bottom of the ninth to give the Yanks a 5-4 win and better their record to 7-1 in this exhibition season.

This has been a strange free agent off-season. I mean, Lind is forced to accept a minor league deal? It has an opt-out at the end of spring training, so Lind may not be here long. But if anything happens to Bird or Austin between now and then…. Lind, 34, is a lefty hitter who, in a platoon role with Washington last year, hit .303-14- 59, OPS+ 123. He has hit 20 or more HR in six different seasons, and in 2009 had a .305-35-114, OPS+ 141 season for Toronto, for whom he has spent most of his MLB career. His 162 game average is .272-24-87, OPS+ 112. A professional hitter who has exactly 200 HR in his career. You think someone would have picked him up by now.

The only thing about Lind is his splits, and why he platooned last year. A .288 hitter vs. righties, just .217 against lefties in his career. Primarily a 1B or DH, he can play LF, but it isn’t advised.

Speaking of LF, manager Aaron Boone stated that Jacoby Ellsbury would get some playing time there (a nice decision if Gardner is hurt or needs a day, because you are getting the same type of player there), but Ellsbury then strained an oblique so he’s out for a while.

Clint Frazier is still having problems after getting that concussion a week ago.

As for the game, you don’t know what to make of Masahiro Tanaka. He had a bad outing yesterday, but you don’t know how spring training carries over to the regular season. In 2016, Tanaka had a rough spring training, but a 14-4, 3.07 regular season. Last spring, he only gave up one run all spring training long, but then struggled most of the year to a 13-12, 4.74 year before his great postseason. So who knows? Anyway, he couldn’t make it through two innings and gave up four runs.

Down 4-0 early, the Yanks got two in the fourth on a double by the red-hot Andujar, and another in the fifth on an RBI single by Didi Gregorius, who went 3 for 3.

Austin then hit his two-run walkoff HR in the ninth for the 5-4 win. Tyler Wade got the inning going by beating out a bunt. Nice to see.

Giancarlo Stanton had two doubles.

Seattle Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson had a pinch-hit appearance, and struck out. He did take a couple good rips, though.

Jordan Montgomery had a nice outing.

Tanaka 1 1/3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 1 W, 1 K. Gave up HR to top Atlanta prospect, maybe the best young prospect in the game today.
Shreve 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Montgomery 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 5 K.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Loaisiga 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Feyereisen (W) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.



Yanks get Drury from AZ, give up 2 prospects in 3-team trade

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Apparently the Yanks weren’t comfortable in going with two rookies in the lineup, one at 2B, the other at 3B.

They made a 3-team trade on Tuesday, getting Brandon Drury from Arizona and giving up two prospects in the deal.

Drury, 25, a righty hitter, is versatile, having played 136 games at 2B, 41 at 3B (where he is projected to play), 62 in LF and 32 in RF. He provides insurance in case youngsters Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres aren’t ready yet, and if they are ready, Drury could fill a super-utility role.

Even though only 25, Drury has two full seasons of MLB experience under his belt.

Drury hit .267-13-63, OPS+ 89 in 2017 and hit .282-16-53, OPS+ 101 in 2016. He was 1 for 6, 1 HR, 3 RBI in the postseason last year. He is under team control for a couple of years, is expected to make only $600K to $700K this year, so is quite affordable and won’t hurt the Yanks against the cap.

If he does what he’s done so far, expect .270-15-60 or thereabouts, OPS+ 94. He needs to work on walk/strikeout ratio and since he is just 25, could develop more power.

His acquisition leaves him, Torreyes, Andujar, Wade, Torres, Espinosa, Estrada and Peterson all vying for 2B/3B and utility roles. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of that bunch gets dealt for a starting pitcher. There are eight guys for three spots.

To make room for Drury on the 40-man roster, Jabari Blash was DFA’d.

Going in the deal were two prospects. Nick Solak, 2B, went to the Rays. Solak was stuck behind some of the guys listed above, Solak, a 23 yr. old righty hitter, spent 2017 between High-A Tampa and AA Trenton, hitting a combined .297-12-53 with 14 SB. He is said to have a good bat but needs work on his D (much like Andujar). He was ranked the Yanks’ #8 prospect.

Going from the Yanks to Arizona is RHP Taylor Widener, ranked the Yanks’ #14 prospect. The 23 yr. old RHP was 7-8, 3.39 in 27 starts for High A Tampa in 2017.


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.

News on two former Yankees’ pitchers….

Yankee Stadium Frieze

An interesting, and sad, day regarding two former Yankees’ pitchers.

Esteban Loaiza, who was briefly with the Yankees in 2004 (but long enough to lose Game 5 of the ALCS to Boston), was caught with 44 pounds of cocaine or heroin, worth $500K.

According to Fox News,

the two-time All-Star is being held on $200,000 bail. He was booked into the South Bay Detention Center (San Diego) just before 6 p.m. Friday. Loaiza was first stopped for a traffic infraction after leaving an Imperial Beach home. His car is believed to be used in a drug smuggling operation.

Loaiza, a Mexican-born pitcher, won 126 games during his career. He played for eight teams in 14 seasons: Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, Oakland A’s, Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

He capped off his career pitching in 10 games for the White Sox and Dodgers in 2008. His had his best season in 2003 when he won 21 games and finished second in American League Cy Young voting while with the White Sox.

He made $43.7 million during his career, Baseball Reference reported.

Loaiza was the husband of singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a Mexico plane crash in 2012.

Loaiza is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.

Meanwhile, HOF pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage is not welcome at the Yankees’ spring training. Gossage would be a guest instructor in prior years, but his general grumpiness about the game today, in which he would rant about one-inning guys like Rivera and Chapman, must have gotten under GM Brian Cashman’s skin, among others.

Cashman had no comment, but Gossage ranted today about Cashman, and nothing he had to say about the GM was very good.

Goose may have a plaque in Monument Park, but there seem to be plenty of bridges that are burned here.