Friday, January 4, 2013
You heard it here first on The Greedy Pinstripes and now it is official as the Yankees have designated Chris Dickerson for assignment to make room for newly acquired Russ Canzler. There is absolutely no way that he will clear waivers so this is the official goodbye to C Dick! I really wish you had those same pictures of Girardi's wife that Andruw Jones seemed to have had last season and got to see more playing time.
The New York Yankees announced today that they have claimed first basemen and corner outfielder Russ Canzler off waivers from the Cleveland Indians. Russ is a right handed bat that will compete with Matt Diaz to win the right field platoon job. Russ is only 27 years old and held his own in AAA and in a short stint with the Indians so I am excited for this signing. The Yankees will have to make a 40 man roster move to make room for Russ and unfortuntely I see that move being Chris Dickerson. Check back later for updates.
Over at the LoHud Yankees blog, Chad Jennings wrote about a meeting Jack Curry had with the Yankees amateur scouting director, Damon Oppenheimer. Curry was specifically asking about Slade Heathcott and Mark Montgomery, two guys that Damon drafted a few years ago. Surprisingly, Oppenheimer said that he could see both men playing for the Yankees by the end of the season.
Now, it isn't very surprising in terms of Montgomery, a 22 year old that was drafted out of college in 2011. Mark has been climbing the minor league ladder quickly, ending last season in AA Trenton, due to having a good fastball and... in the words of Oppenheimer... a "really slick" slider. He's been compared to David Robertson for having the ability to strike out quite a few hitters with that fastball and breaking ball combo.
When it comes to Slade Heathcott, though, that's when my eyebrow raised. Although, like Montgomery, Slade is 22 years old, Heathcott's rise through the system hasn't been quite as fast. He played 60 games in High A Tampa last season, and was great in the Arizona Fall League, but no matter how well he's recovering from shoulder surgery I don't see him making any sort of impact in MLB in 2013.
If Damon had spoken about each man separately then I wouldn't make a big deal about it. He'd be talking realistically about Montgomery at one point, then at some other time he'd simply be talking-up Heathcott like any team would with their prospects. But to act two different ways towards those players at the same time strikes me as odd.
I'm sure Brian Cashman consults Oppenheimer whenever a prospect is being discussed for a trade, so could there be one in the works that involves Heathcott and Montgomery? Was this little interview with Jack Curry a way for the Yankees to make their side of a proposed deal look better? You know, make the team that would receive Slade believe he was further along than he actually is. It's no secret that the Yankees are overly cautious, and players rise through the minors slower than they normally would on other teams. I mean, if Bryce Harper were in the Yankees organization, I wouldn't be surprised if he were still in AA after having been drafted out of high school in 2010. So even though Heathcott wasn't likely to jump into MLB anytime soon with the Yankees, perhaps he would be able to with another club. Like say... the Diamondbacks?
I think anybody would be interested in Mark Montgomery, as all teams seem to be on the lookout for bullpen help. Especially bullpen help that would come as cheaply, in terms of money, and be under team control for a while. Looking at Arizona's bullpen, it could get thinner after this season when JJ Putz's contract is up, leaving the closer spot open for the D-Backs. David Hernandez could be the new closer for them in 2014, while Brad Ziegler would be a fine candidate although he's a free agent in 2015. So it makes sense that the Diamondbacks would like Montgomery.
It's fairly well known that Arizona currently has an extra outfielder, as they have Justin Upton, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra, and the newly signed Cody Ross. Not to mention that Adam Eaton hit well after being called up in early September, putting up a batting line of .259/.382/.412. And don't forget somebody like AJ Pollock, who Mike Axisa touched on earlier in a post at River Avenue Blues. With Kubel possibly being a free agent after this season (there is a mutual option for 2014), there's a very good chance that they'd like to move him. A package that includes Mark Montgomery and Slade Heathcott should be enough to get a deal done. However... is that too much?
Jason Kubel had a good 2012, having put up 30 homers, but his batting average was a not-so-impressive .253, to go with an OBP of only .327. So while somebody with that kind of power would be nice to help make up for the loss of 45 home runs from last season (Swisher had 24 while Martin had 21), I don't like the idea of having another player with a low average and OBP. Heck, they'll likely have Cervelli or Stewart start at catcher. Not to mention that Kubel's strikeout rate spiked last season, going from a career high of 21.5% in 2011 to 26.4% in 2012.
You probably know where this is going... could Montgomery and Heathcott be part of a bigger package for Justin Upton?
With the loss of Joe Saunders, who started 21 games for the D-Backs last season, and Patrick Corbin having started 17 games and putting up a not-great 4.54 ERA, it would make sense that they would want to acquire another starter. Meanwhile, the Yankees have more than enough arms for their starting rotation in 2013, with Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte, Hughes, Nova, Pineda (for part of the season), and youngsters such as David Phelps ready to step in.
Perhaps I'm being more naive than usual, thinking Brian Cashman and Co. have a big trade up their sleeve. However, Ninja Cashman did mention that they're still working on making some bigger moves this offseason. So I wouldn't be surprised if we have a new outfielder in New York within the next couple of weeks.
Brian Cashman has informed the media that he fully expects Yankees catching prospect Austin Romine to start the 2013 season down in AAA for Scranton. This makes sense after missing much of the 2012 season with a back injury and did not exactly knock the cover off the ball in the Arizona Fall League. He could always impress and win the job out of Spring Training but as it stands right now it looks like the Yankees will send out some combination of Francisco Cervelli and Christ Stewart next season behind the dish.
ESPN has announced their early television schedule for the 2013 Major League Baseball season and the Yankees opener at home against the Boston Red Sox will be televised on ESPN. The game will be played on April 1st at 1:00 pm ET. The MLB season will officially kick off with the Astros and the Rangers playing a game on March 31st which will also be televised on ESPN at 8:00 pm ET as the Astros play their first game in the American League.