Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Yankees Considered Moving Tyler Austin To Third Base

The Yankees originally drafted now super prospect Tyler Austin to be a catcher but quickly moved him to the hot corner for his first professional season with the team. Last season, Austin's breakout season that saw him get all the way to AA Trenton, the Yankees moved him to right field where he played a lot of in high school and college. With the Alex Rodriguez hip injury, Dante Bichette Jr's disappointing sophmore season, and nobody else really worth talking about besides David Adams and Corban Joseph down the pipe line the Yankees have considered moving Tyler back to the hot corner. Austin, entering his age 21 season, is coming off of a break out season where he saw a .322/.400/.559 triple slash over three minor league affiliates. Personally I would like to leave him in the outfield for a while and not have him switching positions every year as he also has to adjust to better pitching but I guess Mark Newman and company knows better then I do.

Jim Miller Designated For Assignment For Ichiro

As predicted here on The Greedy Pinstripes the Ichiro Suzuki deal became official today and the Yankees designated Jim Miller for assignment to make room for him on the 40 man roster. There is a very small chance in my eyes that Jim Miller is NOT claimed this time but I was frankly shocked that he fell to us last time too so we will just have to watch and see.

The Yankees Are Speaking With Ibanez

I'm probably not the only Yankee fan that has reacted like this often this offseason.

Day by day I grow more frustrated this offseason. It started off just fine, with the Yankees picking up the options on Cano, Granderson, and Aardsma. Then things moved right along the way I'd expected and hoped, as the team brought back Kuroda, Pettitte, and Rivera on one year deals. However, at this point things went south.

The team found out that Alex Rodriguez was going to miss a large chunk of the season, so they were left scrambling to find somebody to fill in. ARod may not be the MVP-caliber player he was years back, but his loss still stings quite a bit, so it was important to make a move. Kevin Youkilis is not the most ideal fill-in, but I don't really have a problem with the signing. $12 million is a bit much, though, especially when I see that Fangraphs had him worth less than half of that ($5.7 million). It is only a one year deal, so it doesn't bother me much at all.

Looking at Kevin's face, I don't think Jorge whispered sweet nothings into his ear.

One move that does bother me is the signing of Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro turned 39 this past October, and the last 418 games he played for Seattle were far from impressive (his OPS+ during those 2+ years was below 90). The .322/.340/.454 he put up for the Yankees after the trade was great, and Suzuki can still play pretty good defense, but you'd have to be a fool to believe he could hit like that all season long. I suppose it wouldn't bother me if Ichiro was looked at as the 4th outfielder, but as of right now he's penciled into the starting lineup.

And what do I hear now? The Yankees may want to bring back Raul Ibanez, who will turn 41 next June. The same man that hit .248/.319/.492 vs. right-handed pitchers, and only .197/.246/.246 against lefties. Hardly numbers one should be drooling over going into 2013. On top of that the Yankees already have a bit of an issue with all three current outfield starters batting from the left side, so adding another left-handed bat seems dumb. Lastly, although Raul played quite a bit of left field in 2012, with some right field thrown in there, he's a below average fielder.

The team does need a designated hitter, so Raul must be looked at as a DH against RHP. But why? Chris Dickerson is not only a much better defender, but outside of Raul having a bit more power, Dickerson's career line vs. RHP of .269/.354/.424 is more attractive. Add on the fact that outside of a loss of power, Chris hits just as well versus same-sided pitching (.253/.344/.316). Finally, that doesn't take into account that Ibanez would likely make twice as much money as Dickerson would.

"Mr. Ibanez and I may look alike, but I could probably hit better than him."

It's not surprising that the Yankees would want to bring back another aging player who's well past his prime, but frankly I'm getting tired of it. I still believe Cashman has a trick or two up his sleeve, but already being an impatient man doesn't help one bit.

Injury Updates

My current feelings on the Yankees isn't too optimistic, so going over a few injured Yankee players doesn't make me feel much better. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel for these guys.

Jose Campos, perhaps better known as the lesser half of the two players the Yankees received for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi, made only 5 starts in low-A Charleston last year before being shut down with an elbow injury. Luckily, unlike Manny Banuelos, Campos will evidently not need surgery. He's currently throwing off of flat ground, and is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

The "greater" half of that trade, Michael Pineda, didn't throw a single pitch for the Bombers last season after a tear was found in his right/throwing shoulder. He's also throwing on flat ground, but at long distances, and the belief is that he'll be ready sometime around May. Keep in mind that he'll have to be stretched out at that point, so I wouldn't expect Pineda to contribute until at least June.

Finally... Mason Williams. Mason tried to make a diving catch last season, and ended up hyper-extending his non-throwing shoulder. He'd been promoted to high-A Tampa not too long before the injury, and was shut down the rest of the season. Vice President of Baseball Operations, Mark Newman, said that Mason is swinging the bat, which tells me he'll be ready to go by Spring Training.

Kevin Youkilis Added To "Wives & Girlfriends" Section

Newly acquired Kevin Youkilis has been added to the Wives and Girlfriends section of The Greedy Pinstripes, seen HERE, so go over and check out him and his wife Enza Sombataro. I am personally a big fan of this one, although she is not as hot as Russell Martin's girlfriend. Welcome to the WAG section Youk!

Prospects : Top 10 Yankees Relief Prospects

Greg Corcoran over at Bronx Baseball Daily is at it again this time posting his top 10 Yankees relief prospects. Go see the original post HERE and give him some love and some views but with his permission here is the post for your reading enjoyment! For the full write up head over to BBD!

BBPD: Top 10 relief prospects

Amongst the craziness of the Winter meetings, A-Rod’s injury, and all of the rumors that have been circulating, it’s time to take a break from all of the insanity and talk about the farm system. Relievers in the minor leagues are not the most glamorous players. They don’t get a lot of love in the rankings, they can fall off at any level, and they are often passed up for promotions to the major leagues for converted starters. The Yankees are one team, however, who has had some recent success with relief prospects, most notably David Robertson.

Since the D-Rob success story, they have used the draft to pick up some later round guys who end up being excellent relief prospects. Here I will highlight a few of the players who I think could make an impact in the major leagues. The system has never been so deep in relief pitching, and this could be the season where we start to benefit from a cheap, homegrown, phenomenal bullpen. Only 5 of these guys made the top 50 prospects.

10. RHP Manuel Barreda

9. RHP Dan Burawa

8. LHP James Pazos

7. RHP Preston Claiborne

6. RHP Kelvin Perez

5. RHP Tom Kahnle

4. RHP Chase Whitley

3. RHP Branden Pinder

2. RHP Nick Goody

1. RHP Mark Montgomery

With Barreda, Kahnle, Pinder, and Montgomery possibly starting in Double-A, the Thunder aren’t going to lose many close games. With Claiborne, Perez, and Whitley in Triple-A, the Yankees won’t be hurting for relief pitching depth either. That’s seven relief pitchers in the top two levels of this system. The bolus of talent is coming, and it could save the Yankees significant money in 2014 and beyond. One thing is for sure. The Yankees shouldn’t need to hand out any contracts to players like Rafael Soriano anymore.