Category Archives: The Front Office

Are teams dumping players/salaries? Can Yankees take advantage? GG winners announced tonight.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Recently the Arizona Diamondbacks picked up the $14.5MM option on 1B Paul Goldschmidt, but rumors still abound that Arizona may have a sell-off, and could look to deal him since he becomes a free agent after the 2019 season.

There are also rumors that Cleveland may look to unload some players that it won’t be able to afford, and ace pitcher Corey Kluber, 33 next April (20-7, 2.89 in 2018) could be on that list, along with  P Carlos Carrasco, 32 next March (17-10, 3.38). Could the Yanks not only use free agency to get a starter (Patrick Corbin from Arizona, (29, 11-7, 3.15) for example), retain one of their own (J.A. Happ, (36, 17-6, 3.65 combined Tor/NYY) currently a free agent) and ALSO get a third via the trade market like Kluber or Carrasco?

Kluber, a 2x CYA winner (who is a strong candidate again this year) obviously wouldn’t come cheap. Neither would Carrasco. Justus Sheffield, who the Yanks GOT from Cleveland in the Andrew Miller deal, could conceivably be a target for the Indians to get him back. It might be interesting to see if the Indians think that they could resuscitate Sonny Gray’s career as well.  If Kluber or Carrasco are available, what would it take to get one of them? Gray, Sheffield and a Estevan Florial? What other top prospect could be dangled?

It’s worthy to note the 2019 salaries of Kluber ($17MM) and Carrasco ($9.75MM). Getting Happ and or Corbin would cost more for one of those than Kluber alone, and twice that of Carrasco.

It is interesting to note what other prospects are available to be dealt. The Yanks did deal a lot of prospects away recently, like Billy McKinney, Jorge Mateo, Jake Cave, Dustin Fowler, Blake Rutherford, James Kaprielian, Tyler Austin …. so what is left?

But if the Yanks really want to go all out and get a killer rotation to go along with an offense that set a MLB record of 267 HR this year, maybe they could do something like this if Cleveland is in fact dealing.

Trade for Carrasco, the lesser of the two salaries between Kluber and Carrasco.

Sign Happ and Corbin. Let CC go (he’s 39 next July, and doesn’t go deep into games anymore).

Get starters who go into the seventh and beyond. Only Tanaka gave you even five innings in the postseason.

A rotation of Severino, Corbin, Carrasco, Happ and Tanaka looks awfully good. And …. two lefties, never a bad thing at Yankee Stadium.

or,  go big and have Kluber, Corbin, Severino, Happ and Tanaka.

Tanaka as a #5?

The postseason is for dreaming.

Gold Gloves are to be announced tonight. Tanaka, Gardner and Judge are finalists.

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Gardner back; Classless Cora; RIP Willie McCovey, Hall of Famer.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks will have Brett Gardner back in 2019, and it was a good move in how they are bringing him back.

The Yanks declined his $12.5MM contract, buying him out at $2.5MM. They then turned around and brought him back for 2019 at $7MM, saving $3MM in the process.

A good move on both ends. Gardner remains with the only MLB team he has ever been with, the Yankees. The Yankees don’t have to pay as much next year for a 35 year old coming off a bad season (.236-12-45, 16 SB, OPS+ just 86, 14% BELOW league average). Not only that, in the final couple of months, Gardner lost his job to Andrew McCutchen, expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent.

If Gardner can revert back to form in 2019, a good deal for the Yanks. Cost-effective production. If not, it is a 1-year deal, and the Yanks could trade or cut Gardner mid-2019, it won’t cost too much to do, and maybe Clint Frazier or Jacoby Ellsbury can do something in place of Gardner. Of course, both Frazier (concussion) and Ellsbury (various incidents inc. hip surgery) are question marks right now.

(Updated 11/4: I can see a platoon of Gardner/Frazier in LF if Frazier is healthy, and perhaps Frazier takes over. As for Ellsbury, who knows? At 35, Gardner’s playing time will probably be, and would have to be, reduced. Gardner hit .260 up until July 9, .206 thereafter.)

Alex Cora, manager of the WS Champion Red Sox, proved he has absolutely NO class. In the postseason celebration today, he said something that even if I were a Red Sox fan, I would be quite upset about it if I had a young child with me at that celebration. I won’t repeat it. He mentioned about how the Red Sox scored 16 runs in Game 3 of the ALDS and used a profanity afterward. No class. Hey Alex, congratulations on winning 108 and then the WS. Need I remind you that you were a great manager this year (I don’t know about the future) but that you were NOT that great a player? Really, I wonder how you lasted 14 years in the majors with a 162 G. average of .243-4-36, OPS+ 72 (28% below league average), and in only 5 of those 14 years did you play in 100 or more games. Pick up a lot of splinters in your ass while riding the pine? Anyway, can you imagine someone like Joe McCarthy or Joe Torre using those words to denigrate an opponent? And you wonder why the world is like it is in a lot of ways today. NO CLASS CORA.

Hall of Famer Willie McCovey died today at the age of 80. With two out and men on second and third in the bottom of the ninth of game 7 of the 1962 WS, McCovey scorched a liner right at Yankee 2B Bobby Richardson to end the game. If that ball were hit six feet to either side of Richardson, the Giants win the game 2-1 instead of the Yanks winning 1-0. Especially since the runner on second was Willie Mays. It was the last title of the Yanks’ great dynasty era. They lost the WS in 1963 and 1964 then the dynasty collapsed in 1965.

McCovey hit 521 HR in his career, the same total as Ted Williams and Frank Thomas. He won the ROY award in 1959,  when despite playing in just 52 games, he hit .354-13-38.

In his very first MLB game, he went 4 for 4 (single, triple, single, triple) against HOF pitcher Robin Roberts in 1959.

McCovey played in 4 decades, 1959-1980. SF Giants, 1959-1973, San Diego Padres 1974-1976, and back with the Giants 1977-1980.

He won the 1969 MVP Award, hitting .320-45-126, OPS+ 209 that year, leading the NL in HR, RBI, and the majors in OBP, SA, OPS, OPS+ and intentional walks. The runnerup for MVP that year was Tom Seaver of the Amazin’ Mets.

Three other times he finished Top 10 for MVP, inc. 3rd in 1968, when he also led the NL in HR and RBI.

He led the NL in HR 3X. RBI 2X. The majors in walks, once. He hit 2 HR in the 1969 All Star Game.

He was a 6x All-Star. He hit 18 grand slams.

McCovey Cove, the bay behind the RF wall at the Giants new ballpark, is named for him.

He played in 2 postseasons, the 1962 WS and the 1971 NLCS. In 8 games, he hit .310-3-7.

He was the 1977 Comeback POY at the age of 39.

Mostly a 1B, he did play some LF in his career.

His 162 g. average was .270-33-97, OPS+ 147.

After a rough 2018 in which he only hit .212-7-23, OPS+ just 79 in 63 games for Houston in 63 games, the Astros declined the option on Ex-Yankee Brian McCann. McCann did win a WS ring with them in 2017 when he hit .241-18-62 in 97 games, OPS+ 106. While with the Yanks 2014-2016, he was average. Had some pop, averaging 23 HR and 76 RBI / yr, but the shift killed him, as he only averaged a .235 batting average.

It appears his future (he turns 35 next year) is as a backup.

 

 

 

Dodgers go 1 up, Boston 2 up in LCS’s. Didi has successful surgery; Machado

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Dodgers went up 3 games to 2 over Milwaukee and are one game away from returning to the WS with a 5-2 win yesterday in Game 5 on the NLCS. Clayton Kershaw, who has had postseason trouble in the past, pitched like the ace he usually is.

Boston took a 3 games to 1 lead over defending WS champ Houston in the ALCS, beating them 8-6 Wednesday night. Jackie Bradley, who hit a grand slam in Game 3, hit a 2-run HR in Game 4. Closer Craig Kimbrel has been shaky this postseason, but with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth, LF Andrew Benintendi made a diving catch to save the game for Boston. If the ball drops and gets past him, Houston at least ties, and probably wins, the game. Also, fans interfered earlier with a ball that went for an out instead of a HR, and that too, cost Houston. Was the call correct? Who knows, but there is a good article by Joel Sherman in the NY Post today criticizing MLB for continuing to use overweight, 66-yr. old umpires as the OF umps down the line.

Didi Gregorius of the Yankees had successful Tommy John surgery on his right (throwing) elbow. Once again, he’s expected to miss at least half of the 2019 season.

Meanwhile, one possible replacement for Didi, Manny Machado, isn’t helping his free agent cause. As talented as Machado is, his lack of hustle and sometimes dirty play is turning a lot of people off.

In an interview on the Michael Kay show, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman states that teams have inquired about Gary Sanchez, but that Sanchez is unavailable, even after his disappointing 2018 season.

 

Game 154. Yanks clinch playoff spot with 3-2 win. Stay 1 1/2 up on A’s.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (95-59) clinched a wild card spot in the playoffs with a 3-2, 11-inning, win over the Bad News Bears (oops, 44-110 Baltimore Orioles) yesterday, but whether the Yanks will be playing that one-game, sudden-death wild card game in the Bronx is very much still up in the air.

Oakland scored in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to a Minnesota error and a passed ball (hmm, Twins imitating Sanchez) that let in the winning run, and won 3-2. The A’s remain 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the top wild card spot.

The Yanks’ magic # over the A’s to ensure that the wild card game will be played in the Bronx is 6. Any combination of Yanks’ wins and A’s losses adding up to 6 and the game will be in the Bronx. The Yanks own the tiebreaker.

The Yanks got two runs in the second on homers by Aaron Hicks (26) and Luke Voit (12, 11 as a Yankee). They now have 251 HR on the season, on pace to tie the 1997 Seattle Mariners for the all-time single season record by a team (264).

Gary Sanchez continued his defensive woes, committing a PB and a throwing error in the third inning that allowed the Orioles to score a run. Besides a PB and an error, Sanchez also went 0 for 4, striking out twice, and his batting average dropped to .182. He was dropped to eighth in the lineup, and you really wonder if it’s just best right now to have Romine in there instead.

The Yanks could really have been in trouble except that Steve Wilkerson was twice thrown out at home.

Baltimore tied it in the fifth, and would have had more except for one of those times Wilkerson was thrown out at home (by Judge) and the fact they left the bases loaded.

After the Voit HR, the Yanks didn’t do too much offensively, and it became a battle of the bullpens.

Jonathan Holder got out of a huge jam in the top of the 10th. The Orioles left the bases loaded.

Finally, in the bottom of the 11th, Didi Gregorius singled, and Aaron Hicks double drove in Didi with the winning run.

Hicks 2 hits, HR, 2 RBI
Andujar 2 hits
Voit HR

Lynn 5 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 H, 2 W, 4 K.  4.80 (Min/NYY)
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.  2.60
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  2.59  Encouraging outing since just off DL
Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K.   2.64
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.  3.26 (Balt/NYY)
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 0 K.  2.97
Kahnle (W, 2-0, 6.75) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.

MLBTR states that CC wants to return in 2019, even if not to the Yanks. Tough call. Questionable knee, doesn’t go too deep into games. 39 next July. Yanks may want to cut the cord, so to speak.

Also, MLBTR reporting that Yanks have interest in bringing back McCutchen (a free agent) if the price is right, but that probably means buying out Brett Gardner’s option at $2MM instead of bringing him back at $12.5MM. Also, you have Clint Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury (both of whom missed most or all of this year due to injuries) to think about…

Then again, Bryce Harper is a free agent….

Minor League Report. SWB continues bid for playoffs.

cropped-the-stadium-facade.jpg

AAA: SWB (71-64) won 3-1.  C Francisco Diaz 2 hits, RBI. SWB has a 1/2 game lead for the WC spot. Only 3 more games are scheduled before the playoffs start next Wednesday.

Swanson (W, 3-2, 3.86) 6 1/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 8 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Espinal (H, 4) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 4 k.  3.12
J. Harvey (S, 8) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  1.70

AA: Trenton (76-61) won 3-2. They’ve already clinched a playoff spot. I don’t know if there was an injury with Nelson, or just ineffectiveness.

Nelson 2/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 2 W, 0 K.  5.19   2 WP
Foley (W, 4-4, 2.98) 4 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 5 K
Diehl (H, 4) 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 4 K.  1.35
Wivinis (S, 4) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.  5.40

Tampa and Charlestown, listed below, will not be in the playoffs.

High A: Tampa (69-66) won 19-2 in a game that was started on August 12th and completed yesterday. The regularly scheduled game was rained out.  DH Estevan Florial 4 hits. LF Clint Frazier 2 RBI. CF Dom Thompson-Williams 2 Hits, HR, 3 RBI.  RF Isiah Gilliam 3 hits. LF-2B-LF Ben Ruta 4 hits. 1B Steven Sensley 3 hits, HR, 5 RBI. 2b/SS Angel Aguilar 2 HR, 5 RBI. C Chace Numata 3 hits, HR, 2 RBI. Tampa had 19 runs, 22 hits, and hit 5 HR.

Deivi Garcia 0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  0.77
R. Garcia (W, 1-3, 3.34) 7 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 0 W, 8 K. Gave up 1 HR.
A. Severino 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 3 K.  0.00

Low A: Charleston (62-71) scored two in the bottom of the 10th to win 4-3. SS Oswaldo Cabrera 2 hits. DH Welfrin Mateo 2 hits. CF Leonardo Molina 2 hits, RBI.

Contreras 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 W, 6 K.  3.38
Kriske (BS, 1) 2 Ip, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 3 K.  4.50
C. Espinal (W, 1-2, 2.51) 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.

Juan DePaula was the second minor leaguer going to SF in the McCutchen deal. He was a pitcher for short-season Staten Island.

 

 

Game 135. Yanks comeback to win, 7-5. Boone tossed, faces suspension.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (85-50) scored 3 in the bottom of the eighth and survived a 9th inning care to beat Detroit 7-5 Friday night.

Manager Aaron Boone was ejected in the fifth inning, apparently touched the home plate umpire in pointing his finger to make a point about the strike zone and faces a suspension. His arguing was great, however, and humorous. In making his point, he squatted behind home plate, and held out his arm like a catcher in two positions, as if to say “this is a strike, and this is too low.” The look on the ump’s face as Boone left was priceless, as if he wanted to cry because he was shown up in front of 40,000+ people.

If you think what I wrote was cruel or biased, consider this. Detroit’s manager, Ron Gardenhire, was also tossed from the game for arguing a checked swing call on Luke Voit, who drew a crucial walk late in the game.

Anyway, Boone’s tirade might have fired up the Yanks and may have won the game.

Detroit got a run in the fourth when Luis Severino gave up a HR, and the Tigers got two more off of Seve in the fifth.

Meanwhile, after five innings, the Yanks had no hits. In the bottom of the fifth, Boone put on his show.

In the bottom of the sixth, down 3-0, Romine reached on an error, and after an out, Brett Gardner finally got the Yanks’ first hit of the game, a 2-run HR (12) to make it 3-2. It appeared that a couple of pitches previously called strikes were now called balls, so maybe Boone’s outburst made a difference. After another out, Aaron Hicks (23) and Miguel Andujar (23) hit back-to-back HRs to put the Yanks up 4-3.

I still don’t know why the Yanks keep trusting Jonathan Holder in the middle innings of close games. I think they are placing too much trust in him. But then, with Adam Warren gone, there isn’t that cushion. In the seventh, Holder gave up a couple of hits, albeit bloopers. With two out and two on, in came Zach Britton who continued to struggle, giving up a hit to tie the game.

Britton then gave up another run in the eighth to put Detroit up 5-4.

In the bottom of the eighth, Gardner doubled, and after an out, Hicks walked. Another out. Voit walked to load the bases, after which Detroit manager Gardenhire was tossed from the game. Gleyber Torres singled in two runs, moved up on the throw. 2nd and 3rd, two out and Neil Walker was intentionally walked. Austin Romine singled to make it 7-5.

David Robertson made things hairy in the 9th, with a single, PB and a walk, but escaped.

Boston had a rain delay and was still playing and losing as I wrote this. It looks like the Yanks’ deficit will be cut to 7 1/2, but with just 27 games to go. Oakland and Seattle are playing each other late, too.

Gardner 2 hits, HR (12) 2 RBI
Hicks solo HR (23)
Andujar solo HR (23)
Torres 2 hits, 2 RBI

Severino 6 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 0 W, 10 K. Gave up 1 HR.   3.32
Holder (H, 6) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K.  3.18
Britton (BS, 3; W, 2-0, 4.06 Balt/NYY) 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Robertson (S, 5 ) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K.  2.90

From Twitter: Moves.

Jack CurryVerified account @JackCurryYES 9m9 minutes ago

Stephen Tarpley, a lefty reliever, will join the Yankees when rosters expand on Saturday, says @ByDJEberle. Also, Cessa and Wade will be recalled. Boone said Sheffield wouldn’t be called up on Saturday, but that’s inevitable.

My note: Tarpley before tonight, AA/AAA 7-2, 1.94, 2 saves, 25.

 

The have acquired SS Adeiny Hechavarria and cash considerations from Pittsburgh in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. To make room on the 40-man roster, the have designated LHP Ryan Bollinger for assignment.

Bollinger ,27, was 8-6, 3.87 AA/AAA

Hecavarria 29, hit .254-4-29 for Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh this year, OPS+ 75. For his MLB career, the righty hitter has a 162 g. average of .255-5-48, OPS+ 76.

Game 135. Yanks blow game in 9th, make deal for McCutchen

Yankee Stadium Frieze

There will be no major minor league report because of typing up about the Andrew McCutchen deal.

With concern about Aaron Judge’s return, and also with possible concern over Brett Gardner’s .237 batting average as well, the Yanks traded for Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen will be postseason eligible. To get McCutchen from the Giants, the Yanks traded two prospects, Abiatal Avelino and another who hasn’t been named yet.

Another concern could be Giancarlo Stanton’s hamstring and the probable need to try to keep him off the field and just DH him. As for Clint Frazier, he just started rehab.

McCutchen will be a free agent at the end of the season. He’s 31 and hit .255-15-55 with 13 SB, OPS+ 110 for SF this season. He won the NL MVP in 2013 for the Pirates, and finished third, first, third and fifth in NL MVP voting from 2012-2015. McCutchen’s 162 g. average is .288-24-86 with 20 SB, OPS+ 134. He’s a 5x All-Star. 1x Gold Glove winner and 4x Silver Slugger. While not what he was, he helps. The Yanks were playing Neil Walker out of position in RF and also using Shane Robinson, whose bat (.143) is virtually non-existent. McCutchen provides relief until the Yanks get Judge back this season, if at all.

It’s a move the Yanks had to make with the uncertainty over Judge.

To get him, Abiatal Avelino is one player going to SF. Avelino, a 23 yr. old infielder, mostly 2B/SS, was hitting .287-15-66 between AA/AAA this season, with 25 SB. Both McCutchen and Avelino are righty bats.

That’s the good news. The trade. The bad news is that the Yanks (84-50) blew a 7-5 lead in the ninth when Dellin Betances gave up 3 runs on back-to-back homers as the Yanks lost 8-7 to Detroit.

J.A. Happ had his worst game as a Yankee, giving up 3 HR, one to the first batter of the game.

The Yanks went up 2-1 in the third on Stanton’s 33rd HR of the year, and #300 of his career.

But Happ gave up a 2-run HR in the top of the fourth. 3-2 Tigers.

The Yanks came back with 2 in the bottom of the fourth on a 2-run HR by Gleyber Torres (21). The ball was flying out of Yankee Stadium last night. Detroit hit 5 HR, the Yanks 3.

Happ gave up another HR in the fifth, and was knocked out of the game. 5-4 Detroit. The Yanks tied it in the bottom of the fifth when Hicks singled, Stanton walked and Andujar got an infield hit. Hicks scored on an error on the play.

Luke Voit put the Yanks up 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh with a 2-run HR (5), but in the top of the ninth, Betances, after getting an out, gave up a walk, then the back-to-back HRs to lose the game. Victor Martinez hit 2 HR for the Tigers, and Niko Goodrum had 4 hits, inc. the GW HR.

Hicks 2 hits
Stanton 2 hits, 2-run HR (33, #300 career), 2 RBI
Voit 2 hits, HR (5, 4th as Yankee), 2 RBI
Torres 3 hits, 2 RBI, HR (21)

Happ 4 1/3 IP, 5 R, 10 H, 0 W, 3 K. Gave up 3 HR.  4.00 (Tor/NYY)
Green 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K.  2.66
Robertson 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  2.95
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  3.94 (Balt/NYY)
Betances (BS, 2; L, 4-4, 2.59) 1 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 3 K.  Gave up 2 HR.

The loss drops the 84-50 Yanks 8 1/2 back of Boston in the AL East. They are still 4 1/2 up on Oakland for the top wild card spot, and 9 up on Seattle for a playoff spot. The magic # over Seattle to clinch a playoff spot is 20.

Very brief minor league recap:

SWB (70-64) got 2 in the bottom of the 9th to win 3-2 and keep their playoff hopes alive. C Gary Sanchez 0 for 4 on rehab. Justus Sheffield pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

AA Trenton (75-61) lost 5-1 despite getting 11 hits.

High A Tampa (68-66) won 3-1 in 6 1/2 innings. The other game of the scheduled DH was rained out. DH Clint Frazier 1 for 3 on rehab. Domingo German on rehab 3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER.

Low A: Charleston (61-71) lost 7-3.