Wednesday, December 12, 2018

What About The Other Side Of The Infield?

This offseason has been all about free agents Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Patrick Corbin. And to a lesser extent free agents J.A. Happ, Marwin Gonzalez, Josh Harrison, Mike Moustakas, Lance Lynn, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson, and Zach Britton. And then there are trade targets Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Robbie Ray, and Noah Syndergaard.

And I get it.

The focus this offseason, from the mouth of Brian Cashman himself, is solidifying the starting rotation. And not just with anybody, but with top starters. And when it comes to offense, while the Yankees are not hurting in that department, you can't dismiss the young elite talent of Harper and Machado.

Then there's the hole left by Didi Gregorius getting Tommy John surgery, which has naturally led people to wonder how the Yankees could fill that hole.

But one position that has been almost entirely ignored is one that I think is a very big question mark... first base.

Greg Bird still hasn't had anything close to a full season in Major League Baseball so it may not be fair to say he's a bust. But at the same time how much longer can we sit back and wait for the guy to get healthy and possibly produce?

Luke Voit was huge for the Yankees last season and a big reason why they were even able to get to the American League Division Series, but how many Yankees fans can seriously say they are confident that he'd be anything better than average for an entire season?

Which is why I talked about acquiring Justin Bour to at least platoon with Luke Voit at first base. Since his first full season in MLB Bour has averaged 117 games a season, with an OPS+ of 124. And while Citizen's Bank Ballpark is not hard on power hitters, Yankee Stadium is better for left-handed power-hitters, meaning Bour could easily swat 25-30 home runs a season there. My only concern about Justin is that awful batting average he put up last season (.227). But seeing that he'd be a cheap option, then banking on him being able to get that batting average back up to the .260-.270 range would not be that hard to swallow.

You know what, though? I'm not married to the idea of Justin Bour. What about Marwin Gonzalez? Gonzalez has been talked about as a way to fill in on the left side of the infield, but we shouldn't forget that he can play first base as well. Or what about the trade route? For the record, I didn't want to pay the high price for Paul Goldschmidt, especially since he's set to be a free agent after next season. I haven't heard of any trade rumors for first baseman outside of Goldy and Jose Abreu (still too expensive, and also a free agent after next season), but I'm sure there is something out there.

The point is that we can't ignore the question marks at first base, and hopefully Brian Cashman already plans on addressing that position. If not, I firmly believe the Yankees are making a mistake leaning on Bird and/or Voit going into 2019.

Is Happ Back? 

Alright so J.A. Happ is about to resign with the Yankees. Personally I do like this move. Happ was awesome for the Yankees down the stretch after they acquired him in a trade with the Blue Jays in late July. He went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 regular-season starts, although he had a rocky postseason outing against the Red Sox, which happens to the best of them. Happ is a solid middle of the rotation stater, who could give you Ace like performances from time to time. Now I’m not saying this should be the last starter added as I don’t believe C.C. Should be counted on as anything more then a 6th starter. At the moment the Yanks will have a rotation of Sevi, Paxton, Tanaka, and the soon to be signed Happ.  

Leaving the staff short the Ace I believe me need. Whether it’s a trade for Kluber or maybe even Thor the Yankees need to add the Ace. However we can be very happy that Happ is back in the fold. Now Mr. Cashman go sign Manny , trade for the Ace we need, and sure up the Pen. 

I can be reached at JamesCPalma@Yahoo.Com Always look forward to hearing from you.    

Changing The Plan Surrounding Miguel Andujar

When writing my postseason plan I had originally written that the Yankees should trade Andujar for a pitcher and sign Manny Machado. But I changed my mind and decided that the lineup with Andujar in it, especially after I said I wanted the Yankees to sign Bryce Harper, was just too good to pass up.

Of course, at the time, I thought signing Patrick Corbin was a foregone conclusion. But now that Corbin will pitch for the Nationals, and other free agent pitchers are good but don't really do it for me, I believe the Yankees should go with my first plan.

As I've said, the Yankees would have to bring in Manny Machado if Andujar were traded. The offense is very good, but I do not want to see the offense hurt by replacing Andujar with anyone else. Sure, Mike Moustakas would be interesting as a power-hitting left-handed batter at Yankee Stadium, but the bottom line is the offense would get worse.

So what do you do? Sign Manny Machado before working out a trade involving Andujar, or trade away Andujar and then sign Manny Machado?

I think the answer is clear.

Sure, if the Yankees signed Machado first, I understand that other teams may demand more since Andujar is an obvious trade candidate. But not making sure you have Manny on the team first could create a much bigger, and a very real, problem.

There's no guarantee that Manny would sign with the Yankees after Miguel was dealt. Let's say the Yankees have a backroom deal in place with Machado before the trade for 9 years and $288 million (AAV of $32m). But after the trade, and before Manny officially signs, the Phillies call up Dan Lozano and offer 10 years and $350 million (AAV of $35m). I don't see Machado giving up that extra guaranteed year, as well as $62 million, to live up to a backroom deal. And I wouldn't blame him. Sure, it's kind of a shitty thing to do as you're going back on your word, but that's a huge chunk of change.

Furthermore, I don't buy the argument against signing Machado first, which is that another team would want more as they see Miguel Andujar as expendable. We see it all the time where it's clear a team is willing to trade a player, but the return for said player is still good. In 2016, with Aroldis Chapman set to become a free agent after the season, it was no surprise when the Yankees were willing to trade their closer. But did the fact the Yankees were willing to trade Chapman make them have to accept less? Seeing that Gleyber Torres has become a star, and Billy McKinney was key in trading for J.A. Happ last season, I'd say they still got a pretty good return.

So if this is Brian Cashman's plan then I firmly believe he has to have Manny Machado in the fold before trading Miguel Andujar. Otherwise, while the team's starting rotation would greatly improve, the hit they take on offense could make the overall team worse. Because while the offense will affect every game, a new starter would only directly affect 32 or 33 (his indirect effect on the rotation would certainly not change much about the other 129 or 130 games).

Yankees Re-Sign JA Happ for 3-Years

The Yankees have struck a deal with LHP JA Happ on a three-year deal. Details coming.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The “There’s No Room For Bryce Harper” Rant

Good morning Yankees family, except for you Brian Cashman. Are you kidding me right now? Posturing is one thing, but to come out and say that the reason you aren’t going after Bryce Harper via free agency is because “there’s no room” is not only asinine, but it is also downright ridiculous. No cute introductions here, so let’s get right into this thing.

The Yankees allegedly have six outfielders and cannot make room for Harper on the team. Well, yes and no. The Yankees have Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Brett Gardner, and one of them are going to be playing the designated hitter more times than not this season. Jacoby Ellsbury is not an outfielder and should not be counted on as one. Clint Frazier, until he proves that he is healthy, is not an option and should not be counted on as one. Let’s just say both Ellsbury and Frazier are healthy, neither are better than Harper. Not by a long shot. Brett Gardner isn’t either and should be on the bench for Harper. The fact that he isn’t is insulting.

The Yankees are not a Bryce Harper away from a World Series, some may say, and the focus should be on pitching. A lot of people need to realize and remember that the team can get a Harper or Machado, and still acquire pitching. This is a once-in-a-generation type talent that is hitting free agency at 26-years old. He wants to play for the Yankees, he is a fit (left-handed, big-name star for Hal to pocket more money off of, can play left field, etc.) and he makes the team better no matter what anyone says.

We were sold the idea of getting under the luxury tax threshold last season to reset the penalties levied on the team for spending with the assumption (and maybe that’s on us) that the team would spend in this historic free agent class. Revenue is up, payroll is down. Spend the money or lower the ticket/food/concessions/merchandise/parking/etc. prices.

I’m sick of the frugal Yankees. I want the return of the Greedy Pinstripes. I have sat through lineups with Vernon Wells and Kevin Youkilis, Ichiro Suzuki well past his prime and Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and others anchoring the starting rotation. I paid my dues, we all did. We watched need after need and star after star getting passed over while we got under the luxury tax threshold and now it’s time for the Yankees organization to pay back the fans and give us what we want. Whether that be Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, or whomever becomes available (within reason of course) between then and now. We, the fans, did our part and now it’s time for Cashman, Hal, and company to do theirs.

No excuses, just checks being written.

Can it be TRUE? 

Was crusing Facebook and came across a shared post from a friend of mine who is a very well respected fellow blogger.  Anyway the post he shared reads....... 

🚨 🚨🚨Sources confirmed there is a deal being discussed between Miami, the Mets and Yankees that sends Thor to the Yankees, Realmuto to the Mets and Miami gets major prospects. #27rings 🚨🚨🚨

Let’s G⚾️ Yankees!!!

James C Palma 

Monday, December 10, 2018

BREAKING: Sonny Gray Traded

We have been talking about it for most of the afternoon on twitter, but my source has finally come through and confirmed that Sonny Gray is on the move. I don't know where yet, or who is acquiring him just yet, but when I do I will have it here first.

Friday, December 7, 2018

New York Yankees 2019 Spring Training Schedule

Mr Corbin Goes to Washington...

Photo Credit: Associated Press (Matt York)
Yankees Search for Another Starter Continues…

I was probably leading the parade for Patrick Corbin and there’s no doubt I was disappointed when the Washington Nationals signed him earlier this week. After days and weeks of anticipation, it is a letdown when a player you thought you could get goes with another team but I am not going to rip Corbin. He had to make the best decision for his family. So many people posted that the Yankees whiffed out on Corbin or that he snubbed the team. Neither of these are true.

God Bless the Washington Nationals for giving Corbin $140 million over six years. Pay him like he is an elite pitcher even though he isn’t.  His family is set for the rest of their lives.  It’s been reported the Yankees were willing to go 5 years and $100 million, maybe slightly more if they had felt the player was seriously considering them, but no formal offer was ever made. Not quite sure how that means the Yankees “whiffed” or that by accepting $40 million more dollars, Corbin “snubbed” the team. No offense to the Yankees but if another team offered to pay me $1 million to be their fan, I’m gone. $1 million times 40? Where do I sign? I’ll drive to you. 

The Corbin ordeal shows that we, as fans, placed greater value on Corbin than the Yankees, and their analytics department, did. I am not sure it was the “shiny new toy” that has been described. I liked the idea of inserting Corbin and James Paxton into the starting rotation with Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia. Quality lefty who induces groundballs would have been a nice fit in Yankee Stadium. But I also know Red Sox fans were excited about potentially feasting on Corbin if he came to the AL East so there are differing opinions for how he would have fared in the competitive AL East. So, Corbin goes to Washington, I lose out on the guy I wanted most, and life moves on.

I like J.A. Happ and I thought he did a very fine job for the Yankees down the stretch, but I am not in favor of giving him a three-year deal at age 36. If he can get three years from the Philadelphia Phillies, one of his former teams, good for him. Let him go hang out at the Liberty Bell.  For a promising young team like the Yankees, adding another aging veteran with no real upside at this point does not appeal to me. We have CC Sabathia so I’d prefer to keep only one rotation spot for an age-challenged pitcher. I am not trying to discriminate against the elderly, but the fact is Happ has already been the best he is ever going to be. At this point, he’ll only get worse with age. He brings consistency but there’s a greater chance he begins the downward slide that comes with age. Maybe he is the thin version of Bartolo Colon and can keep going like the Energizer Bunny. But for me, there are still too many other (and better options) available.

Photo Credit: New York Post (Paul J Bereswill)

Another pitcher the Yankees apparently “whiffed” on was former Yank Nathan Eovaldi who signed a four-year deal for $68 million with the Boston Red Sox. How do you whiff if you never take a swing? By all accounts, there was no way the Yankees were going to offer Eovaldi four years. I am glad they did not. I like Nasty Nate and, overall, I enjoyed his time with the Yankees. But for a guy who has had two Tommy John surgeries and throws with maximum velocity, the risk is too great for the arm to blow out again. Maybe he stays healthy for Boston over the next four years. Fine, I hope he plays out best case scenario for them. Not that I want Boston to win more championships, but I am not going to wish any ill will toward Eovaldi. Nevertheless, I am glad the risk is on the Red Sox and not the Yankees. It’s like Jacoby Ellsbury in reverse. Let the injury risk reside in Boston this time around.   

At the moment, the best free agent options appear to Happ, Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel. If the Yankees are unsuccessful in trading for another starting pitcher, I suppose that’s the order I would rank them for my preference. Now that the Cleveland Indians have locked up Carlos Carrasco on an extension, the talk they will trade either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer is escalating again. There’s no doubt either Kluber or Bauer would be better options than Happ, Morton or Keuchel. Kluber would give the Yankees a top of the rotation ace but he’s a little older (will be 33 in early April). Bauer will be 28 next month and really took his game to the next level last season before a comebacker fractured his leg.  For Bauer, there’s no doubt his best years are ahead. There’s also something about the mental toughness of Bauer that I like which would probably make him my preference even though Kluber is the more accomplished pitcher of the two at this moment in time. But regardless, if the Yankees can get either Kluber or Bauer, they WILL be a better team. I really hope GM Brian Cashman can put together a package with Cleveland to grab one of their aces. No prospect hugging for me.  If it takes Estevan Florial, among other highly rated prospects, to make this happen, do it. I’d move quickly to extend Aaron Hicks as a result but there are options. Hey, we have Jacoby Ellsbury coming back for center field, right? Yikes! Throw that one away, but seriously, how fantastic would a rotation of Severino, Kluber/Bauer, Paxton, Tanaka, and Sabathia look? World Series-quality to me. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

I suspect Brian Cashman has been working hard behind the scenes and we’ll soon see the fruits of his labor. So many people have ripped the Yankees for their off-season work so far despite the acquisition of one of the American League’s best lefties but we really need to see how this month plays out. By Christmas, we should have a solid handle on what the 2019 Yankees will look like. Another starter, a couple of late inning bullpen options to help Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, and a solution to cover the months we’ll be missing Didi Gregorius as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. All of these questions should be answered over the course of the next couple of weeks.  Dammit Hal, GET GREEDY!  Now is the time to strike!

I was saddened to wake up to the news that former Major Leaguers Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed overnight in a car accident in Venezuela. It was just a couple of years ago I thought Valbuena would have been a great third base option for the Yankees (back during the frustrating Chase Headley days). Valbuena was released by the Los Angeles Angels in August, but at 33, he still had time to find his way back. I am sorry for the loss of both men and the devastating effect it will have on their families. May they rest in peace.

I think the Minnesota Twins have figured out if you can’t beat them, join them. By joining “them”, I mean adding former Yankee players to their team in the on-going attempt to find a way to finally beat the Yankees. Yesterday, when news broke the Twins had signed a one-year deal with former Baltimore/Milwaukee second baseman Jonathan Schoop, it was almost immediately announced they had also signed former Yankee utilityman Ronald Torreyes. Aaron Judge’s little buddy was recently non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs shortly after his acquisition from the Yankees. Toe should have opportunities for playing time in Minnesota. Good for him.  He’ll join a variety of former Yankees…Michael Pineda, Tyler Austin and Jake Cave. Former Yankee prospect Zack Littell, acquired last year in the deal that brought Jaime Garcia to New York, is also on Minnesota’s 40-man roster. 

Congratulations to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders!  The Yankees’ top affiliate, in conjunction of the International and Pacific Coast Leagues, announced last night that they will host the 2020 Triple-A All Star Game at PNC Field in Moosic, PA. The game will be played on July 15, 2020.   

Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins announced their coaching staff for 2019 under manager, and former Yankee great, Don Mattingly.  There are clearly a few very strong Yankee connections on the staff.  Mike Pagliarulo returns as the team’s hitting coach and he’ll be assisted by Jeff Livesey, son of former Yankee executive and scout Bill Livesey. Trey Hillman, a former minor league manager in the Yankees farm system and a member of Joe Torre’s staff in 2004, was named the First Base/Infield Coach. The pitching coach will be Mel Stottlemyre, Jr., son of the former Yankee pitcher and later pitching coach under Joe Torre. 

It’s hard to believe the Winter Meetings are almost upon us. Everybody has been waiting for the action to start.  We’ve certainly seen it this week with the Corbin and Eovaldi signings, along with a couple others, and the trade of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the St Louis Cardinals but the party is just getting started. It looks like we are in for one helluva ride in the coming days. Who wants to be a Yankee?  Let’s do this.

As always, Go Yankees!

They Got away...but it’s OK! 

I wake up Thursday morning log in to my MLB news app which is set to The New York Yankees. (Even our blog goes here) Yes that’s right more ways to view The Greedy Pinstripes. πŸ‘πŸΌ. Any way a few outlets including the NY Post headlines read Yankees Whiff Again, this is in regards to Nathan Eovaldi resigning with the Red Sox. Maybe it’s the Red Sox that whiffed, or maybe even the Nationals. Yes Corbin, and Evo are two of the top 3 or 4 Free Agents this year, but that doesn’t mean the Bombers whiffed. Maybe just maybe the are right for not over spending on what they didn’t need. Don’t get me wrong everybody needs good pitching, but the Yanks need a Ace. Corbin and Evo while good are not Aces. I applaud Brian Cashman for not going overboard in signing either one of the two. 

Yes I was big on Corbin but not at 140 mil for 6 years. Evo would have been nice, but I think the Sox over paid. Now it’s up to Cash to go get what we Ace!!! Trade Trade Trade ....... stay tuned more to come after I get back from my vacation in Maine.