Sunday, July 22, 2018

Implosion of the Cuban Missile...

Photo Credit: AP (Julie Jacobson)
Yanks avert loss despite ‘outta control’ Chapman…

Let me get this straight. The Yankees take a four-run lead into the ninth inning, bring in closer Aroldis Chapman to finish off the Mets, nearly lose the game, and Chappy has to be “saved” by Chasen Shreve? You’re kidding me, right?  

Chapman’s very forgettable (maybe not so forgettable for us) ninth inning was directly attributable to his inability to throw strikes. Only 3 of 19 pitches were strikes and the last 11 pitches he threw were outside of the strike zone. In order, Chapman walked a batter, gave up an infield single, walked two more batters and then plunked a hitter before giving way to the bullpen’s weakest link. Shreve inherited the bases loaded situation with no outs and the Yankees clinging to a two-run lead. In other words, he had to walk a high wire without a net.  Fortunately, Shreve and the Yankees held on to beat the New York Mets, 7-6, to even up the series at a game apiece.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Hopefully it was “just a bad day” as Chapman described to the media after the game. Health-wise, Chapman seemed fine, balky knee and all. His meltdown nearly deprived Sonny Gray (7-7) of his first win at Yankee Stadium since May 5th.  

The game didn’t start out well when Sonny Gray gave up a homer to Michael Conforto, a solo shot to right, in the second inning for the game’s first run. Michael Kay of the YES Network was quick to point out that Gray has an 8.25 ERA at home compared to a road ERA of 3.62 to illustrate how challenging Yankee Stadium is for the Tennessean.  

The Mets’ Steven Matz, a favorite of TGP’s Daniel Burch, kept the Yankees off the board until the fourth inning. The Yankees were able to victimize Mets center fielder Matt den Dekker, who probably wished he was still playing Triple A ball in Las Vegas, for a few runs. Or perhaps it was the Mets fans wished he was still in Vegas. Giancarlo Stanton opened the bottom of the inning with an infield single. Matz had thrown three consecutive balls to give Stanton the perfect hitter’s count but he hit a soft grounder to third instead of one of his tailor-made homers. Oh well, no matter. Stanton was safe at first. After Gary Sanchez struck out (of course), Didi Gregorius laced a triple to deep center that den Dekker dived for but couldn’t reach. Stanton scored and the game was tied. Miguel Andujar followed with a fly to right that was caught by a fan. Miggy was awarded second with a ground-rule double, while Gregorius scored the go-ahead run. Greg Bird’s double to deep center, a ball that bounced off the side of den Dekker’s outstretched glove, scored Andujar. After Brandon Drury flied out, Austin Romine singled to, who else, a diving den Dekker who couldn’t make the catch and Bird scored to make it a 4-1 game.

There was a little drama in the top of the fifth for the Mets when Asdrubal Cabrera was tossed for throwing his bat down after a called strikeout on a checked swing (looked like his wrists broke on the replay to support the call). Cabrera continued barking at the third base umpire (Hunter Wendelstedt), throwing his batting helmet and gloves, before he eventually departed. Cabrera was the second Met to get tossed after hitting coach Pat Roessler was ejected earlier in the game for arguing balls and strikes.  

Sonny Gray took the three-run lead into the sixth inning but it unraveled for him. After getting Wilmer Flores to pop out, he walked the next two batters (Michael Conforto and Jose Bautista) to earn his exit from the game. David Robertson came in, striking out Kevin Plawecki after working the count full. He was not so lucky when the next batter, Amed Rosario, drilled a single to right center to score Conforto. Joey Bats slid safely into third. With Matt den Dekker batting, D-Rob was charged with an error on a throw to first to check the runner. The bad throw hit Rosario, sliding back to first base, in the foot with the ball bouncing away, and Joey Bats scored to close the gap to 4-3. 

Gray deserved better than his final line…5 1/3 innings, three hits, three runs (two earned), three walks, and six strikeouts…but it put him in position for the win even though the two Mets runs had scored to make it a one-run game.

Photo Credit: NY Post (Paul J Bereswill)
The Yankees picked up a run in the bottom of the sixth inning while Steven Matz was still on the mound for the Mets. Miguel Andujar led off for the Yanks with a double to right. Miggy was seemingly in the heart of every scoring opportunity on this day. Greg Bird ended Matz’s day with a single to right, scoring Andujar.  It was 5-3 Yankees.  

Aaron Judge homered leading off the bottom of the seventh inning against Mets reliever Tim Peterson. The line drive which fought against the wind landed in the Mets bullpen in left field.  It was Judge’s 26th home run of the year to make it a three-run game again.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees scored what would prove to be the decisive run. With former Yankee Anthony Swarzak pitching for the Mets, Miguel Andujar led off with a single to center, a ground ball that got past Amed Rosario. After Greg Bird struck out, Brandon Drury singled to right center, advancing Andujar to third. Drury took second on the throw when the ball, over the head of the cutoff man, bounced off third baseman Jose Bautista on a short hop. Austin Romine hit a grounder to second with the infield drawn but the play scored Andujar. The Yankees were up, 7-3.

Michael Kay asked the question “does Aaron Boone bring in Chapman to keep him fresh?” while the Yankees were still batting in the eighth. The answer would soon be provided but it was not the Chapman we wanted to see.

The YES Network illustrated a grand shot of Chapman entering the game from center field (ala Mariano Rivera style) but the effort would not match the entrance. Kevin Plawecki, walk.  Amed Rosario, infield single under the glove of the diving Miguel Andujar. Ty Kelly, pinch-hitting for Matt den Dekker, walk. Bases loaded, no outs. With Michael Kay repeatedly saying Chapman had no control, he stayed in the game.  Jose Reyes, walk, which pushed Plawecki across home plate for a run. A visit to the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Rothchild’s visit didn’t help. Brandon Nimmo was hit by a pitch on his upper arm and the Mets had their second run to make it 7-5. Finally, Aaron Boone had seen enough (not sure what took so long) and made the call to the pen for Chasen Shreve, my favorite DFA candidate.  Devin Mesoraco hit a grounder to Brandon Drury who stepped on second and completed the double play with a throw to first. The Mets scored to make it a one-run game, but the DP was huge. It brought Wilmer Flores to the plate as the last hope for the Mets. Flores hit a slow roller back to the mound but Shreve picked up the ball and fired it to first to end the game. Yankees win, 7-6. Credit to Shreve for outperforming my expectations. It was his first save of the season and might have been one of the biggest saves of the year for the Yankees.   

It was not a great game for Gary Sanchez who finished the day hitless in four at-bats. He struck out twice. I saw one Twitter post that asked how you strike out Sanchez. You throw him a pitch outside the strike zone. Sadly, there is some truth to it.

Despite the horrific outing for Aroldis Chapman, credit to Jonathan Holder and Dellin Betances for their combined two innings of hitless relief with three K’s. If they had failed, the Mets most likely would have won this game.  

The Yankees (63-34) picked up a game on the Red Sox. They are back to four and a half games behind the AL East leaders after Boston fell to the Detroit Tigers and rumored trade candidate Mike Fiers, 5-0.  

Domingo Acevedo’s stay in the Big Leagues was short-lived. After getting to dress for Saturday’s game (but not pitching), Acevedo was returned to Double-A Trenton after the game. The demotion was not a surprise. Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media for had speculated prior to the game that Acevedo was called up as insurance for Sonny Gray. With job complete and no need for his long relief services, Acevedo was sent “home”. Giovanny Gallegos is expected to take Acevedo’s place. I am not quite sure what Tommy Kahnle has to do to get back as he is a Major Leaguer stuck in Triple A like Drury was until recently.

In other Yankees transaction news, Clint Frazier was moved from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 7-day DL to the Yankees 10-day DL for his concussion protocol.  

In an interview with the Seattle Times on Friday, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said second base belongs to Dee Gordon with the impending return of former Yankee Robinson Cano. Cano, who is eligible to return from his 80-game suspension on August 14th, is expected to see time at first base and designated hitter. It makes sense for the Mariners given Cano is not eligible for post-season play and they’ll need Gordon in top form at second base. But admittedly, it will be weird to see Cano playing first base even if he has the athleticism and bat to play the position.

Mets closer Jeurys Familia, who sat out the first two games of the Mets series with the Yankees, was traded to the Oakland A’s yesterday. The A’s are unexpectedly in the Wild Card hunt and even though Blake Treinen has had a breakout year as their closer, Familia deepens their pen. After the Padres grabbed one of the best prospects in baseball for their closer, I was surprised the best the Mets could do was land the A’s 17th best prospect among the two players they received along with international bonus pool money. But then again, they’re the Mets.

Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe is reporting Brandon Drury was the headliner in the Yankees offer for Manny Machado. I suppose that’s not a great surprise. Cafardo also mentioned that the general feeling around Baseball is that the Yankees are trying to move Sonny Gray. The thinking is Gray would be better served in a smaller market. Despite his win on Saturday, I can’t say I am in disagreement. But of course it is all dependent upon the level of pitching talent GM Brian Cashman can secure by the trading deadline. If Cash is unable to land at least two quality starters, they’d be foolish to move Gray.

The Yankees and Mets conclude their three-game series tonight. Jacob deGrom (5-4, 1.68 ERA), a pitcher most Yankees fans covet even if a trade with the Mets is improbable, will take on Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.54 ERA). deGrom would like great in Pinstripes, I’m just sayin’.  I don’t think it will happen but until the trading deadline passes, it’s nice to think about. I’d love to charge into October with Sevy and deGrom leading the way. Anyway, I hope deGrom pitches great but not too great.  

Go Yankees!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. New York Mets 7/21

And just like that it is game time here in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Subway Series Part 2, version 2018. Let’s do this. In the start this afternoon the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the mound to face off with Steven Matz for the Mets, a trade target I wish Brian Cashman would look at acquiring. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the team all season long. Enjoy the game, hurt Matz’s trade value only to make our GM pay less after the game, and go Yankees!!

Thud! Starts the Second Half...

Yankees fall to the lowly Mets in Series Opener…

Well, that was disappointing. I can’t say I met the news the Yankees would start Domingo German and Sonny Gray to open the second half with great optimism. Still, I had hoped for a better performance from German on Friday but it was not to be. From the time German walked the lead-off hitter with four consecutive balls to start the game, it felt like it wasn’t going to be his night.  

The Mets had a 3-0 lead before the Yankees had even come to bat, and German was headed for the showers after 3 2/3 innings and four runs. He somehow made the pathetic Mets offense look like a juggernaut. The Yankees tried to rally but the hole dug by German and reliever Adam Warren was too great as the Yankees fell to the Mets, 7-5. German’s season record dropped to 2-6 with the loss, paired with a 5.68 ERA. After the game, German was given a ticket to catch up with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in Columbus, Ohio to work on his mechanics. I can’t say that I am sorry to see him go.

Photo Credit: NY Post (Charles Wenzelberg)

This really underscores the inability of GM Brian Cashman to secure much-needed reinforcements for the starting rotation. We’ve known for a long time the team needed help. I know Jordan Montgomery’s Tommy John surgery was unforeseen but Cashman was openly talking about the need for another quality starter last winter (an obvious need that everyone saw). German and Jonathan Loaisiga may turn out to be great middle-of-the-rotation arms but for a team in contention, we don’t have the luxury of learning with their bumps and bruises. Last start excluded, I don’t think anyone thought Sonny Gray would be this bad and that has magnified Cashman’s inability to find adequate help. If the deal-breaker to acquire former Pittsburgh Pirate Gerrit Cole last winter was Clint Frazier, it was a huge error on Cashman’s part.  Cole (10-2, 2.52 ERA for the Houston Astros) would look great in the Yankees rotation right now.  

After last night’s game when German was demoted, manager Aaron Boone said Luis Cessa would make German’s next start. The Yankees were expected to temporarily call up a reliever until it was time for Cessa to make his start and today they promoted Domingo Acevedo to take German’s spot. Acevedo, a starter for Double-A Trenton, is expected to provide long relief for the Yankees until it is time for Cessa to make his start. He provides Boone with another power arm in the pen for now. I think Acevedo’s long term future is the bullpen so this is his moment to impress.  

Photo Credit: Martin Griff

Cessa pitched fine his last time out for the Yankees but I am starting to join the crowd that wants to see top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield. I don’t think Sheffield will be a starter for a pennant-chasing team as we head toward the stretch run, at least not this year particularly given he’ll be bumping up against an innings limit, but I am intrigued to see what he can do.  It can’t be any worse than German has already given us. The downside with the promotion of Sheffield is the need to create room on the 40-man roster, which is not a factor for either Cessa or Acevedo. The Yanks have to place Sheff on the 40-man roster prior to December’s Rule 5 Draft, but that’s a move for later.  

Prior to yesterday’s game, the Yankees recalled infielder Brandon Drury to fill the spot vacated when they optioned Clint Frazier to Triple A prior to the All-Star break. By spend ing more time in the Minors, the Yankees secured an extra year of control on Drury. I hope he’s here to stay. It remains my opinion that I’d be very comfortable with Drury at third should the Yankees find it necessary to include Miguel Andujar for a top starting pitcher. Andujar is a very nice young player but there’s no doubt this team’s greater need is starting pitching. 

The Yankees apparently lost out on reliever Brad Hand when they refused to include Andujar in a potential trade with the San Diego Padres before he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians. As much as I would have liked to have given the bullpen a Hand, I agree if Andujar is moved, it should be for a top starter (not guys like Cole Hamels or J.A. Happ) and certainly not for relievers. I really like Baltimore’s Zach Britton but Andujar should not be part of the discussion despite the O’s obvious need for a third baseman now that Tim Beckham has moved back to short.  

Drury is penciled in to play second base today against the Mets and Steven Matz. The two ribbies last night by Neil Walker was nice but I’ll gladly take Drury over Walker any day of the week. “Yankees DFA Walker” remains the headline that I am most anxious to see. Well, maybe “Yankees acquire elite starting pitcher…” but the elimination of Walker is not far behind.

The most painful aspect of last night’s loss was the win by the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox made a solo first inning run hold up in the 1-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers behind former Tiger David Price. The win allowed the Red Sox to increase their lead in the AL East to 5 1/2 games. If the Yankees can’t shake this tailspin, the Red Sox are going to run away with the division as they’ve shown no signs of losing anytime soon. The Red Sox continue to show that they can do what the Yankees cannot, beat the teams you are supposed to.  

Gary Sanchez, who struck out to end the eighth inning last night with the bases loaded, remains a disappointment.  His batting line stands at .191/.289/.428. Entering the season, I felt Sanchez was the Yankees best hitter but clearly I was wrong. I saw one random Twitter post suggest the Yankees should include Sanchez in a trade for Jacob deGrom and then swing a deal with the Miami Marlins for their catcher, J.T. Realmuto. A few months ago, I would have laughed at the thought but today it is one that gives you pause. I remain hopeful that El Gary starts hitting like 2017 and there’s still time. We need his bat.  

Manny Machado’s debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers was a successful one. He singled in his first at bat against the Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee, and finished the game with two hits and a couple of walks. The Dodgers used a three-run homer by Kike Hernandez to hold off the Brewers for a 6-4 win to make Machado’s first game as a Dodger a winning one. Machado was met with boos from the Milwaukee crowd. Milwaukee had fallen short in their quest to acquire Machado. As if it was Manny’s fault Orioles GM Dan Duquette made the decision to send him to sunny LA rather than the Beer Capital of the World. I enjoyed how seamlessly Manny fit in with the Dodgers on his first day, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I hope he doesn’t like it well enough to prevent him from signing with the Yankees in the off-season. 

When it was speculated that Manny had chosen #8 with the Dodgers out of respect for Orioles great Cal Ripken, Jr, he should have run with it even if it wasn’t the case. 

During his press conference for his Dodgers introduction, he stated that he was a fan of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant (even has a dog named after him) and chose the number for Kobe. I know that Kobe won more titles with #8, but I tend to remember him as #24. Machado also stated the number 8 was symbolic of “new beginnings”. Orioles fans are grieving about the loss of Machado and I think it would have been very soothing for them to hear that he had chosen the number for Ripken rather than Bryant. But on the other hand, you can’t blame Manny for wanting to turn the page. Hopefully he’ll be turning the page on the Dodgers in a few months and making plans for finding a new home in Manhattan.

I remain hopeful Brian Cashman surprises us all with a golden stealth move to strengthen starting pitching and help give the Yankees the necessary weapons to take down the Boston Red Sox. We’re ten days away from the non-waiver trading deadline so there’s time. Personally, I am feeling the urgency, especially considering starts like German last night, but I am optimistic that Cash will not let us down. There is too much potential for the 2018 Yankees to let it slip away.  

Sonny Gray, please man up today. I know you’re pitching at Yankee Stadium, a venue you do not seem to appreciate if your pitching stats are any indication, but today is a new day. And these are the Mets. Just win, that’s all I ask.

Go Yankees! 

Brad Hand, Adam Cimber, and Would You Have Given Up Estevan Florial to Have Acquired Them?

The Cleveland Indians shocked the league a bit on Thursday night when the team acquired not one, but two top relievers from the San Diego Padres for the low, low price of one of their top prospects in their farm system. The Indians acquired both closer Brad Hand and his setup man Adam Cimber from the Padres for their top prospect and one of the top prospects in all of Major League Baseball in Francisco Mejia. New York had been linked to Hand in recent weeks with varying degrees of interest, so I always wonder when a deal is made if the Yankees could have met or exceeded the prospects package that the receiving team had given up. The closest the Yankees could have come to matching this deal is if they offered their own top prospect in Estevan Florial, would you have made the move? Here is whether I would have made the deal or not if I were the Yankees GM.

Mejia is listed as a catcher and an outfielder on MLB Pipeline and is the 15th best prospect in all of MLB. Mejia is also the top catching prospect in all of baseball with experience at both corner outfield spots and third base as well. Florial, meanwhile, is the 37th best prospect in the game according to MLB Pipeline and the best prospect in the Yankees system. While the Yankees may have had to add another piece to sweeten the pot I truly think these two teams could have come to a deal, and both Hand and Cimber would have likely been worth the price, even at the cost of their top prospect.

Hand is on a very team-friendly deal that will keep him in Cleveland through the 2020 season, a deal that will earn him $3.5 million in 2018, $6.5 million in 2019 and $7.5 million in 2020. Hand also has a team option for the 2021 season with $10 million with a $1 million buyout. As a member of the Padres since 2016, Hand has put together a 2.66 ERA, 11.8 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 and a 46.5 percent groundball rate in 213 innings pitched, albeit inside the spacious Petco Park for his home games. Meanwhile Cimber is a 27-year old set-up man that has pitched to a 3.17 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, and a 52.3 groundball percentage in 48.1 innings pitched with the Padres. Both men would have been a huge upgrade over Chasen Shreve, or possibly a lot of the Yankees bullpen right now not named Betances or Chapman. Cimber has held right-handed batters to a .207/.221/.261 triple slash this season which would immediately make him the Yankees left-handed specialist going forward if a deal was to be made.

Cimber and Hand would have been great for the Yankees, and I truly believe the team could have matched or exceeded the deal the Cleveland Indians gave San Diego before the end of the All-Star break. Oh well, while these posts are fun to look at an analyze, unfortunately they do not change a thing. Cashman, still waiting on you. You’re up.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. New York Mets 7/21

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets will continue the second part of the Subway Series for the 2018 season with another game played in front of the Bronx faithful here inside Yankee Stadium. In the second of this three-game set the Yankees will send out Sonny Gray to the mound to face off with Steven Matz for the Mets. Oi Vey. Let’s get to it here in the Bronx.

Gray heads into the second half fresh off a great start last time out against the Baltimore Orioles where he allowed zero runs on three hits in six innings of work inside Camden Yards. Prior to that start and a few tweaks to his mechanics with pitching coach Larry Rothschild the Yankees right-hander had been hammered for 11 runs over 4.1 innings of work in his last two starts.

Matz has been great for the Mets lately posting a 2.91 ERA over his last 13 starts and will look to keep that rolling into the second half tonight in the Bronx. Matz has made just one start inside Yankee Stadium in his career where he allowed six runs in six innings of work in a loss for the Mets. Here’s to letting history repeat itself again.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Enjoy the game, save some runs for deGrom’s start tomorrow, and go Yankees!!

This Day In New York Yankees History 7/21: "How Could You Have Traded Buhner For Ken Phelps?"

How many milestones and special moments have we seen as fans of the New York Yankees? It seems like every year I am writing a "potential milestones" post for the blog naming All Star and sure fire Hall of Fame players and their accomplishments. It's a gift and a curse but anyway we were all treated to this exact thing on this day in 2006 with Alex Rodriguez. The 30 year old Rodriguez would hit a home run in the third inning giving him his 2,000th hit of his career. A Rod also became the youngest player to reach 450 home runs.

Anyone ever watch Seinfeld? Dumb question, I know, but do you guys remember when George Costanza asked about the extremely one sided deal by saying "How could you have traded Buhner for Ken Phelps?". Well that came from this day in 1988 when the Yankees traded Jay Buhner and minor league prospect Rich Balabon with a player to be named later (Troy Evers) to the Seattle Mariners for 33 year old Ken Phelps. The rest is history.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. New York Mets 7/20

And just like that it is game time here in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Subway Series, Part Two. Let’s do this. In the game tonight the Yankees will send Domingo German out to the mound to face off with Noah Syndergaard for the Mets. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the team all season long. Enjoy the game, possibly an audition of sorts for Syndergaard in the Bronx tonight, and go Yankees!!

Comparing the Dodgers Prospects Package for Manny Machado to the Equivalent Yankees Prospects

My apologies for kind of a long title to the thread but I didn’t know how else to word it. The focus of this post will be to dissect the package of five prospects the Los Angeles Dodgers gave up in the deal for Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles and compare those prospects to the Yankees prospects and try to find a similar deal. The deal is done for Machado and this won’t change a thing, but I think it would be fun to look at an equivalent, or as close as we can get to anyway, package that the Yankees would have had to surrender if they were to have matched the deal for Machado.

The Dodgers surrendered 21-year old outfielder Yusniel Diaz, 22-year old infielder Rylan Bannon, 22-year old RHP Dean Kremer, 21-year old RHP Zach Pop, and 26-year old second baseman Breyvic Valera. According to MLB Pipeline Diaz was the 84th best prospect in all of Major League Baseball and the team’s 4th best prospect overall. Meanwhile Bannon was the team 27th best prospect while Kremer was ranked 28th by MLB Pipeline here in 2018. Pop and Valera were not ranked previously. Before we truly assess which Yankees prospects compare to these Dodgers prospects we have to meet the young men that are now wearing various uniforms within the Baltimore Orioles organization and minor league affiliates.

Diaz was the headliner of the deal and immediately becomes the top prospect in the Orioles farm system. Diaz earned a grade of 55 across the board with his hitting, speed, arm and defense tools according to scouts while his power keeps him from being a true five-tool player. Diaz has played center field throughout the majority of his minor league career, but many scouts suggest that his future is in a corner outfield spot, namely right field. At the time of the trade Diaz was hitting .314/.428/.477 with six home runs, eight stolen bases and more walks than strikeouts at the Double-A level.

If I were to take a stab at a comparison prospect for the Yankees I would have to go with Billy McKinney. I know many compared Diaz to Estevan Florial, but I cannot make that leap of faith. Florial is the top prospect in a much better Yankees farm system (6th overall by MLB Pipeline) whereas Diaz was just the fourth best within the Dodgers organization (10th overall in MLB according to MLB Pipeline). Also, Florial is ranked 37th overall in baseball according to while Diaz was just 84th. McKinney is more MLB-ready than either man and was ranked as the Yankees 16th best prospect overall in a very top-heavy system. To be honest I would be willing to swap out Florial for comparisons purposes over McKinney, but I stand by my thought process that McKinney is a closer comparison to Diaz than Florial at this point in their young careers.

Pinstriped Prospects credit image

Bannon profiles as a defensive third baseman at the Major League level that could have enough of a bat to keep him on a major league roster. At the time of the trade Bannon was batting .296/.402/.559 in Double-A but comes with a troubling strikeout total at the plate. Bannon does walk a lot though which is evident by his 14.6% walk rate, which is sometimes enough in the era of sabermetrics. Bannon was the 250th pick overall in the 2017 MLB First Year Players Draft for the Dodgers and in my opinion would closely compare to the Yankees Dermis Garcia. Garcia is listed as a third baseman and a first baseman by MLB Pipeline and is currently residing in Charleston with the Riverdogs.

Kremer was the Dodgers 28th best prospect right behind Bannon according to MLB Pipeline and heads into Baltimore with a 94 MPH fastball with horizontal movement, a curveball and a developing slider and changeup. Kremer had issues in the past but has enjoyed a breakout 2018 season of sorts posting a 3.30 ERA and a 12.99 K/9 ratio in High-A Rancho Cucamonga this season. Many scouts believe that he will be able to stick as a starter with his recent success which warranted him a promotion to Double-A with the trade. Kremer reminds me a lot of a RHP the team took in the 2017 MLB First Year Players Draft who also recently reached Double-A, Garrett Whitlock. Whitlock is the Yankees 26th best prospect according to MLB Pipeline and seems to be on the fast track after being drafted a little over a calendar year ago.

Pop profiles more as a reliever at the Major League level due to a low strikeout rate throughout his minor league career. Despite having a 7.67 K/9 ratio with the Dodgers he has managed to post a 0.33 ERA in 27 innings at High-A in 2018. Pop has been lucky, his BABIP and 95% strand rate suggests that, but he also commands a sinker that can hit 97 MPH that shows at least a bit of upside. The Yankees have another arm that may profile as a reliever if he were to reach the Major League level that I believe is comparable to Pop, his name is Giovanny Gallegos. Gallegos probably ranks a lot higher than Pop, Gallegos is on the Yankees 40-man roster and is their 19th best prospect in the farm system but is unlikely to stick with the MLB any time soon with many top-level arms ahead of him on the depth chart. If the team could move him now while clearing a 40-man roster spot for Machado in the process I think it truly makes sense for both clubs.

The final piece, Valera, is a journeyman who has spent seven years in the minor leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals alone before coming over to the Dodgers. While in St. Louis, Valera made his MLB debut with the team spanning 11 plate appearances before being traded to Los Angeles for Johan Mieses. Valera made 34 plate appearances with Los Angeles this season amassing just five hits while striking out and walking four times each. Valera is an MLB-ready infielder that compares a lot to Tyler Wade, although again like the instance with Gallegos I believe the Yankees would actually be overpaying with Wade over what the Dodgers sent to the Orioles in this deal.

It is worth mentioning that Valera was immediately assigned to Triple-A after the deal was made official while the remaining four prospects were all assigned to the Orioles Double-A affiliate. Keeping that in mind the closest I could come up with for a comparison package for the Yankees would be Billy McKinney, Garrett Whitlock, Dermis Garcia, Giovanny Gallegos, and Tyler Wade.

Would I make this deal for a true rental in Machado? Honestly, I probably would, but that goes against everything I have ever done in my prospect humping career. Although, it is the greediest thing the Yankees could have done, to date, this hot stove season. I’m torn, but if Baltimore asked for that package for Machado and I were the Yankees GM, well Machado would be wearing pinstripes and Alex Rodriguez’s #13 tonight. Oh well, water under the bridge.

Mission: Take Down Boston...

2nd Best Winning % in MLB but 2nd in the AL East...

It’s Friday and Baseball is back! Thanks to the All-Star Break, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen the Yankees on the field. Okay, any one not named Aaron Judge or Luis Severino. They’re back in the Bronx and ready to take on the not-so-high flyin’ Mets. One thing is sure, we’ll be seeing plenty of ink about Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom and their potential connection to the Yankees over the next few days.  

Syndergaard takes the mound tonight against Domingo German, while deGrom matches up against Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday. As much as I’d love to have either pitcher, the realist in me knows that the likelihood either pitcher is traded to the Yankees is non-existent. The Mets are not going to send any of their top players to the Yankees regardless of the return.  

The Yankees begin the second half four-and-a-half games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.  Hats off to the Red Sox for their brilliant first half.  They beat the teams they were supposed to. Mookie Betts has showed why he is one of the best players in Major League Baseball, and J.D. Martinez has proven to be the best off-season addition for any team (sorry, Giancarlo).  But it's a new day and plenty of time for the Yankees to catch the Red Sox and put them in their rearview mirror.  The Yankees have 67 games remaining or three more than the Red Sox.  I think as long as the Yankees can keep winning series, they'll be in great shape come September, or better yet, October.  The Red Sox have an easy start to the second half with the Detroit Tigers and Manny Machado-less Baltimore Orioles, a team that they already owned this season winning nine of ten games played.  However, there's a big showdown with the Yankees at Fenway Park looming the first week of August.  This is a great chance for the Yankees to keep it close for the next couple of weeks and then make a huge statement in Boston with hopefully a win of the four-game series.  

I think it was tough for Yankees fans to see Manny Machado traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers this week. Many of us, myself included, envisioned what it would look like to see Manny in pinstripes. I know, it was a 'want' and not a 'need' but how beautiful would it have looked to insert Machado's name into the Yankees lineup? It may still come to fruition after the season when Manny hits the open market, but of course that doesn’t help us today. The best part about Manny going to Los Angeles is that Yankees pitchers won’t have to face him again unless the Yankees and Dodgers meet in the World Series (a very nice problem to have). Manny destroyed the Yankees this year with six home runs. It’ll be nice to play the Baltimore Orioles for the remainder of the year without the  threat of Manny at bat. Hopefully the next home run he hits at Yankee Stadium will be while wearing Pinstripes. We’ll see.

Nice job by Machado in picking his new number for the Dodgers. His beloved #13 was already taken by this year’s breakout player, Max Muncy. Closer Kenley Jansen offered to pay Muncy to relinquish the number, but in the end, Manny chose a different number. Like Don Mattingly, who took #8 as a tribute for Yogi Berra when he joined the Dodgers coaching staff under Joe Torre a few years ago and later served as their manager, Machado has acquired the same number in honor of Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. A very classy move by Machado and a gesture I am sure the heartbroken O's fans appreciate.  

The Yankees lost another trade target yesterday when the Cleveland Indians abruptly acquired San Diego closer Brad Hand yesterday. I was surprised at the high cost the Indians paid (top catching prospect Francisco Mejia) but Cleveland’s bullpen was a mess. Once they get Andrew Miller back on the field, the Indians bullpen, with Hand, Miller, closer Cody Allen, and newcomer Adam Cimber, appears to be very formidable, especially in the post-season. Former Yankees pitcher, and now Padres reliever, Phil Hughes had the best Twitter quote following the Hand trade:  "Just a few more trades and I'll be the closer. Too soon?"  Former Yankee Kirby Yates is expected to take Hand's place as San Diego's closer, but even he has been the subject of trade speculation. Hughes, while clearly jesting, may in fact get his wish.  

Photo Credit: The San Diego Union-Tribune (K.C. Alfred)

Yankees fans are growing impatient but we’re still eleven days away from the non-waiver trading deadline. There’s time. GM Brian Cashman and his staff are working diligently behind the scenes. At this point, I am not really expecting a big splash but I do fully anticipate reinforcements in the not-so-distant future.  It was a year ago yesterday the Yankees acquired relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle and third baseman Todd Frazier from the Chicago White Sox. If I had my wish, I’d probably prefer the acquisition of Orioles reliever Zach Britton who seems to be rounding back into form after his recovery from injuries. It’s not that I don’t feel the Yankees shouldn’t acquire a starter but the names of Michael Fulmer, J.A. Happ, and Cole Hamels are not inspiring to me. Dan O'Dowd of the MLB Network feels that Hamels would be re-energized with the chance to play in a pennant race, but c'mon, he clearly is not the pitcher he once was. The Yankees had scouts at Wrigley Field in Chicago yesterday to watch St Louis Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez. I’d love to have Martinez, 26, but his Yankees audition didn’t go so well as he took the loss against the Cubs, giving up six runs (five earned) over five innings, in the 9-6 defeat. Still, Martinez would be an upgrade if the Yankees can entice the Cardinals to part with the talented righty.  

Photo Credit: AP (Charles Rex Arbogast)

The Yankees may have lost a valuable trading chip yesterday when outfielder Clint Frazier was pulled from a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre game for possible concussion symptoms after a failed diving attempt to catch a fly ball in the first inning. Frazier’s concussion in Spring Training cost him the first couple months of the season.  

There will be one “newcomer” when the Yankees take the field tonight. Well, he is not quite a newcomer but Gary Sanchez will be back in  action behind the plate following his activation off the disabled list yesterday. If El Gary starts to hit like he did last summer, it’s scary to think what the Yankees offense is capable of. With no offense to either Austin Romine or Kyle Higashioka, Sanchez’s presence improves the team. Higgy was optioned to Triple A to make room for Sanchez. Now, we just need to get Gleyber Torres back.

ESPN's Keith Law released his Mid-Season Top 50 Prospect Update yesterday and has Yankees LHP Justus Sheffield listed at #12.  I loved his last line about Top Sheff:  "He's very close to major league-ready, however, has all the elements of a future No. 2 starter".  I wouldn't want to put the pressure of a pennant chase on Sheff as a starter for the Yankees this year plus he'll be nearing an innings limit at some point, but you gotta love the thought of Sheffield pitching out of the pen, perhaps as soon as next month or September at the latest.  

Well, let's begin Operation Beat Boston.  Yankees, welcome back.  We've missed you.  Let's make this a victorious Friday.  Send Thor to the showers early, and bring us a win.  

Go Yankees!

Update:  At his press conference today with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Manny Machado indicated his choice to wear #8 was out of respect for Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant and new beginnings.  In other words, f**k you, Orioles fans!  ;)

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. New York Mets 7/20

The Subway Series Part II begins tonight in the Bronx as the New York Yankees play host to the New York Mets for the next three games in the Bronx. In the opener of the second half the Yankees will send Domingo German out to the mound to face off with Noah Syndergaard of the Mets. I find it interesting that both Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, two potential trade targets for the Yankees, are pitching in the series this weekend in the Bronx, so let’s get to it.

German will open up the second half for the Yankees due in large part to the fact that New York wants to save Luis Severino and CC Sabathia for the looming series with the Boston Red Sox. German struggled in his last start against the Cleveland Indians where he allowed six runs in just four innings of work and will head into the start tonight looking for his first win since June 19th.

Syndergaard has made one start since returning off the disabled list and will make his second start since his seven-week stint on the DL tonight in the Bronx. In his first start since his injury the Mets right-hander allowed one run in five innings of work against the Washington Nationals. If the Mets look to trade Syndergaard before the deadline he will have to prove his health over the next two weeks.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Enjoy the game, continue the dominance in the Subway Series, and go Yankees!