Category Archives: The Front Office

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.

Advertisements

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.

 

S.T. Game 24. Tanaka good as Yanks win 7-4. Yanks sign Gio for insurance.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Masahiro Tanaka looked good today as the Yanks beat the Braves 7-4 to improve their spring training record to 14-6-4.

Tanaka gave up just 1 run on 2 hits in 5 IP in preparing for his Opening Day assignment.

Aaron Judge continued his hot spring with a 2-run triple. He has 11 hits this spring, and ALL are extra base hits. 4 doubles, 1 triple and 6 HR.

Luke Voit is continuing to make you think he isn’t last year’s flash in the pan. He hit a solo HR, his fourth of spring training.

Austin Romine had 3 hits and 2 RBI.

Ryan Lavarnway had 2 hits and 2 RBI.

Tanaka (W) 5 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 W, 7 K.
Ottavino 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 2 W, 2 K. Free agent signing struggling a bit.
Tarpley (H) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Don’t sleep on this kid.
Diehl (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 3 K.
Alvarez (S) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.

Yanks pitchers combined for 15K.

It’s just spring training, but some encouraging things, esp. from Tanaka, Voit, Judge, and Tarpley. And tonight, Romine.

The Yanks made a low-risk, high-reward signing tonight by signing Gio Gonzalez to a minor league deal. He has an April 20 opt-out. He gets $3MM if he makes the major league roster, with incentives.

It is an insurance move in case of a worst-case scenario regarding Severino and CC.

A lefty, but I don’t mind having a lot of lefties (Happ, Gio, CC, Paxton).

UPDATE: And Jordan Montgomery when he gets healthy.

I remember that the 1980  Dick Howser led Yankees, who went 103-59 before getting swept in the ALCS by KC, had four lefty starters in Guidry, John, Rudy May and Tommy Underwood.

Remember that lefties, hitters and pitchers, are what has made Yankee Stadium and the Yankees over the years.

Gio was predicted by MLBTR to get a 2-yr., $24MM deal. Quite a come-down from that prediction, and along with Tulowitzki, a possible steal.

Gonzalez, 33, was 10-11, 4.21 (ERA+ 100, right on league average) between Washington and Milwaukee last year. In 2017, he won 15 games, had an ERA of 2.96 and finished 6th in CYA voting.

A 2x All-Star (2011 and 2012) he led the majors in wins with 21 in 2012, when he finished 3rd in CYA voting and 20th in MVP voting.

Since 2010, he’s pitched 170 or more innings in every year except one. So he eats innings. His career mark is 127-97, 3.69, mostly in the NL. ERA+ 111.

From 2008-2011 he was with the A’s. 2012-2018 Nationals, end of 2018 Brewers.

In 8 postseason starts, 0-0, 4.91.

Average 162 g. season 14-11, 3.69 (ERA+ 111). Average last six years, 11-10, 3.72.

I’d expect a decent back of the rotation starter, 11-10, ERA around 4 or low 4’s (taking into account AL vs. his recent no-DH NL years) if he is there all year long.

He is a low cost insurance policy, esp. against injury (Severino and CC now, maybe injury prone Paxton/Tanaka later) and youth/inexperience (Cessa, German, Loaisiga).

But a surprise in that he fell to such a low cost, minor league deal after earning some $12MM/year or close to it the last four seasons.

S.T. Game 11. Yanks fall 9-5. Besides Seve, CC to miss start of season too. Would Yanks use “opener”?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks lost to the Cardinals, 9-5 today, to drop the spring training record to 5-5-1.

We know that Seve will miss time, and now the Yanks have said that because of the knee surgery and stent put in, that CC will begin the season on the injured list. Remember that once activated, CC has a five-game suspension to serve.

So two of the five starters will NOT be starting the season. As of now, GM Brian Cashman wants to plug from within, meaning no Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez or Edwin Jackson.

Gonzalez has been rumored to be someone the Yanks might consider, but he’d have to agree to a bullpen move once Severino and CC are ready.

I like Loaisiga, and he shows great potential to step in as a spot starter now, and to replace CC in the rotation in 2020, but he is a raw talent. 5 out of his 7 outs today K’s, but gave up 5 Runs in 2 1/3.

With both Severino and CC out, we are looking at Cessa, German and/or Loaisiga filling those two spots unless the Yanks sign someone.

Loaisiga (Johnny Lasagna) had mixed results today. Good: 5 K in 2 1/3 IP. Bad: 5 runs given up.

Austin Romine had a 3-run HR today, Gleyber Torres 2 hits. Prospect Trey Amburgey had 2 RBI.

Loaisiga (L) 2 1/3 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 2 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR
Harvey (BS) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R , 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Coulombe 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Diehl 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Coshow 2/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR
Reeves 1 2/3 IP, 0 R , 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.

With Seve out until maybe late April, and CC out until about that time, could the Yanks, with their strong bullpen, consider an “opener” for a game or two in April?

Steven Wright of Boston drew an 80 game suspension (and would miss the postseason) for HGH ban. Hmm, why would a knuckleballer need HGH?

Jacoby Ellsbury (the Nowhere Man) is expected to join the Yanks in Tampa around March 17.

Hicks is still recovering from back pain.

The Yanks sent Domingo Acevedo down to Trenton, and sent Trevor Stephan and Brady Lail to minor league camp.

 

 

 

S.T. Game 10. Yanks win but now have worries about Severino.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks beat the Braves 5-1 today to go to 5-4-1 on the spring but the game is of secondary importance.

In the game, Aaron Judge had a double and a 3-run HR.

But Luis Severino was supposed to start and did not, because of problems with his throwing shoulder. An MRI showed inflammation in the rotator cuff, (thankfully nothing worse) and Seve will be shut down for two weeks, given an injection, and also anti-inflammatory medication.

It also means that he is 99.9999999999% out as far as starting Opening Day.

Worrisome news, indeed. Thank goodness not worse, but the concern is there.

If the news WAS worse, Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez are free agents but you know the asking price would then go up.

Tarpley 1 IP,  0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Happ  (w) 3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 0 W, 3 K.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Betances 1 IP, 0 r, 0 H, 0 W. 0 K.
Cortes 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.

CC Sabathia will be working for ESPN as his final year progresses. Expect to see some reports from him on SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight.

Former Yanks’ broadcaster Al Leiter will be working in the Mets’ front office. ESPN announcer Jessica Mendoza will also be a special advisor for the Mets as well as keeping her Sunday night baseball gig.

S.T. Game 3. Tulo homers, Yanks one-hit Jays 3-0 and Andy joins front office.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Troy Tulowitzki and Kyle Higashioka homered, and the Yankees one-hit Toronto 3-0 to go to 2-1 on the spring training schedule. Aaron Judge added a double.

Tulo, who was let go by Toronto and picked up for minimum wage by the Yankees, so far looks good after missing all of 2018 and after playing just 66 games in 2017. We’ll see if it continues. The Yanks are only picking up half a million of his $20MM contract, with the Blue Jays paying the rest.

If Tulo can get anywhere close to where he was before the injuries, the Yanks may have a steal to fill in at SS until Didi Gregorius returns from his injury. Tulo is a 5x All-Star, 2x Gold Glove winner and 2x Silver Slugger winner. He got MVP votes in six different seasons and finished in the top 10 3x (2009-2011).

He’s 34 and after having missed all of 2018 and most of 2017, will need to be monitored carefully. But people are being blown away by how good he looks. Hopefully it isn’t a mirage, and Tulo puts a good bid in for Comeback Player of the Year.

He is a .290 career hitter (granted, most in Colorado) but has hit 20 or more HR in seven different seasons, and has a career OPS+ of 118.

Like I said, if he can come somewhat close to what he used to be, the Yanks got a steal.

The Yanks’ pitching was great today.

Paxton (w) 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K
German 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K.
Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Chad Green 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Diehl 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.

Combined one-hitter, 2 walks, 10 K.  Cessa and German are battling for one of the few bullpen spots available. Betances, Chapman, Britton, Ottavino and Holder more or less have spots sewn up. You also have Loaisiga (who I think will continue to start, but at AAA), Farquhar, Colombe, etc. battling for those few spots also.

Andy Pettitte has agreed to join the Yankees’ front office as a special advisor, and yes, the Yankees’ great was approached by Derek Jeter to do the same for Jeter with the Marlins. At least the Yanks kept Andy. Just recently, Jorge Posada agreed to help out his old buddy Derek.

 

 

Posada to work for Marlins and Jeter. Yanks’ pitchers and catchers report today.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Jorge Posada will be working for Derek Jeter and the Marlins. The former Yankees’ great will work as a special adviser to CEO Jeter. Just like with Jeter last year, it’ll feel funny to see a Yankees’ great working for another team.

Pitchers and catchers report today for the Yanks.