Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 3/27

The New York Yankees have almost wrapped up their Grapefruit League schedule this spring training and it gets one step closer tonight when the Yankees travel to face off against the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees will send David Phelps to the mound which would conveniently line him up for Phil Hughes April 6th start in the Yankees 5th game of the season. The game will be televised on MLB TV and on MLB Network at 7:05 pm ET.

Phil Hughes To Start Season On The DL

Joe Girardi has confimed what many of us felt would happen, which is that Phil Hughes will start the season on the DL. This means that the starting rotation on Opening Day will consist of Ivan Nova and David Phelps, instead of the original plan of starting one, and the other going to the bullpen as in the long relief role.

Speaking of plans, it was said before that while Hughes would likely open the season on the DL, he'd still make his first scheduled start on April 6th. However, that may not happen anymore, as the Yankees are thinking of giving Hughes a couple more minor league starts before re-joining the Yankees. That means Philthy may not make his 2013 MLB debut until April 11th.

Yankees Claim Sam Demel, DFA Dan Otero

I just caught wind of some interesting news.

It turns out that the Yankees have claimed Sam Demel from the Astros. Sam is a right-handed pitcher whose career starting with the Oakland Athletics system, before spending a couple of years with Arizona, and moving onto Houston this year.

Demel has only thrown 2.1 innings this spring, but my God were they awful ones. In that time he's given up four... yes 4... home runs. On top of those 4 bombs were 6 more hits and 3 walks, while striking out just one batter. Sam threw 66.1 innings for AAA Reno last season, putting up a 4.07 ERA. However his K/9 of 10.2 is quite intriguing. He did have some shoulder issues in 2011, which cost him 37 games, so perhaps he hasn't quite gotten over that. I guess we'll see.

Along with this news comes the fact that the team has already DFAd Dan Otero, who they claimed yesterday. Which makes me wonder if releasing David Adams made any sense at all. I'm guessing "no", and that somebody within the Yankee organization is getting a lot of "you're an idiot" looks around the office.

Alex Rodriguez,Mark Teixeira, The Astros, And AAV

We have all heard the term "AAV" used a lot since the new collective bargaining agreement changed the ways we look at salary. Instead of a yearly salary in a contract that can be back loaded or front loaded the new CBA simply looks at the average annual value of the contract and this AAV is the actual number that is counted against the luxury tax and such. Now that we have that out of the way I thought this little tidbit was interesting concerning Alex Rodriguez and the Houston Astros.

The highest paid Astros player in 2013 will be Wandy Rodriguez at $5 million, which is very inconvenient for the Astros because he is now a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. With that said the Astros team salary is sitting at a little less than $25 million this season including Wandy's salary. There are twenty players, including two Yankees Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, making more in one season than the entire Houston Astros team. Here is the complete list if you do not include Wandy Rodriguez's salary.

Alex Rodriguez, $29M
Johan Santana, $25.5M
Cliff Lee, $25M
Mark Teixeira, $23.25M
C.C. Sabathia, $23M
Prince Fielder, $23M
Joe Mauer, $23M
Tim Lincecum, $22.25M
Adrian Gonzalez, $21.86M
Miguel Cabrera, $21M
Vernon Wells, $21M
Carl Crawford, $20.86M
Matt Cain, $20.83M
Cole Hamels, $20.5M
Matt Kemp, $20.25M
Felix Hernandez, $20.2M
Justin Verlander, $20.1M
Roy Halladay, $20M
Ryan Howard, $20M
Barry Zito, $20M

Spring Training 3/27/13 Lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Lyle Overbay 1B
Brennan Boesch RF
Ben Francisco LF
Jayson Nix 2B
Thomas Neal DH
Ronnier Mustelier 3B
Bobby Wilson C

RHP David Phelps

Comparing Apples & Oranges

Would you trust this man to tell you the truth?

Yesterday Ken Rosenthal wrote an article that covered the Yankees trade for Vernon Wells. Normally I'd read an article like that and move on, but this particular piece was something I wanted to respond to.

Before I get to the main reason I'm responding to Rosenthal's article, I wanted to pass along some information regarding how Vernon Wells' contract will affect the Yankees payroll in terms of avoiding the Luxury Tax in 2014.

I had written that the Yankees would actually get a credit, since the average annual value of Vernon's contract was $18 million, while the Angels would be giving the Yankees about $20 million according to the terms of the trade, meaning the effect on payroll would be -$2 million. Well that's not true. It turns out that the MLB labor agreement makes it so a team can not receive a credit like that. Instead, Vernon Wells' salary will be zero in 2014. I still like what the Wells deal does for the team next season, as it'll give the team an outfield option that is essentially free, but an extra couple million bucks would have been nice.

On to the main reason I'm responding to Rosenthal's article...

A number of Yankee fans have been up-in-arms over the Yankees taking on about $13 million of Vernon Wells' contract, saying the team could have used that money to sign somebody else. That "somebody else", in this case, being Russell Martin.

This has bugged the hell out of me, and for one simple reason...

The Yankees didn't know they'd be in this situation on November 30th, when Martin's deal with Pittsburgh became official.

I really don't think Brian Cashman, nor anybody else for that matter, has a crystal ball or other device that tells the future. If you had told Cash in November that he should re-sign Martin because Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson would all be starting the 2013 season on the Disabled List, he probably would have patted you on the head and told you not to be so pessimistic.

Sure, injuries happen. The Yankees are hardly the only team that's suffered injuries during Spring Training. Just look at the Angels, who are dealing with Albert Pujols and his surgically repaired knee. Or look at the Mets and their situation with David Wright, who strained an abdominal muscle diving for a ground ball. But if you really thought the Yankees would be without four of their eight starting positional players for Opening Day then you're a liar. 

In summary, the acquisition of Vernon Wells, and the team not bringing back Russell Martin, are not related. If you want to get upset over the Yankees refusing to offer Martin a one year deal... that's fine. I find it odd myself. But don't try and call out Brian Cashman for spending on Wells and not somebody like Martin. All you do is end up sounding like a hater that simply wants something else to piss and moan about.

Could We All Be Wrong On Vernon Wells?

The overwhelming reaction to the Yankees’ acquisition of Vernon Wells was highly negative and with very good reason. When I first heard the reports that the Yankees were acquiring Wells, and were paying him $13 million over two seasons, I was floored. I thought that either the salary number was wrong or that the Yankees would be getting an useful piece in return. Alas, that was obviously not the case, but who knows there is a chance that Wells could work out for the Yankees.

The part of the trade that I was the most confused about was why would the Yankees sacrifice space on the 2014 $189 million budget for a guy that has been completely useless the last two seasons? However, that appears not to be the case, as the Yankees are paying the majority of the $13 million to Wells this year and may actually get a luxury tax credit worth as much as $2 million for 2014.

Part of the reason the Yankees say they were willing to pay Wells this much is because the WBC will be picking up a portion of Mark Teixeira’s contract this season due to his injury on Team USA. Now, I think they could have put those extra savings to better use, but we will see on that. What paying Wells this money does now is it brings up issues about why they didn't pay certain players this offseason. There were tons of much better players than Wells that they could have given that money to this offseason, and using the Teixeira savings as an excuse as to why they didn't is really insulting to everyone’s intelligence. The whole trade completely reeks of desperation.

However, Wells is here and the offseason is over, so there really is no point in looking back anymore. Despite me and the majority of Yankees fans hating this trade; could it possibly work out? Maybe. Like I said, the money effecting the 2014 budget doesn't seem to be the issue that it looked like it was originally, so it will come down to what Wells does on the field.

Yankees scouts clearly saw something they liked about Wells this spring. Wells has changed his swing this spring, and has hit .333/.364.667/1.030 with four home runs in spring training. Mike Eder over at It’s About The Money, has a good piece on Wells’ swing changes, noting that he is standing farther off the plate this spring. Watching Wells last night, it seems like his bat speed was still there, as he hit two rockets that he got unlucky on and they were turned into outs.

While Wells has been brutal the last two seasons, he did have a solid year in 2010 (.273/.331/.515/.847). What happened in 2011 and 2012 is anybody’s guess. Wells was so miserable that his on-base percentage’s those years of .248 and .279 were actually lower than Chris Stewart’s, which is what makes the deal seems so puzzling. Wells didn't even have good platoon splits last season, as he had a slash line of 227/.298/.373/.671 vs. lefties.

The Yankees have had great success recently at taking players off the scrap heap and having them perform well. Some recent examples  include Ichiro, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones for a season, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Cory Wade, Derek Lowe for a short time last year, Eric Chavez, Kerry Wood, and Marcus Thames.

Wells could surprise a lot of people and join that list this season. This trade will either make Cashman and his scouts look like geniuses or dopes. While, I for one would have never made this deal, it certainly is not impossible that Wells turns out to be an asset to the Yankees this season.

Yankees Opening Day Tickets Still Available

As you know The Greedy Pinstripes have a partnership with TiqIQ to bring you the cheapest Yankees tickets as well as a place for you to sell your tickets. Surprisingly the Yankees Opening Day game April 1st against the rival Boston Red Sox is not sold out yet. Go to the side bar on the blog or the navigation bar on the top and buy your Yankees tickets now while they are still available.

2013 Predictions : The American League East

The 2013 season is right around the corner so I wanted to take the chance to look at what the standings will look like, in my opinion, at the end of the 2013 season. How often are these things pre-season ever even close to right? Here goes:

1. New York Yankees 93-69
2. Tampa Bay Rays 92-70
3. Toronto Blue Jays 91-71
4. Boston Red Sox 90-72
5. Baltimore Orioles 88-74

I really think the Yankees dominance of the division continues in 2013. Whether that is more because of what happened this off season, my unwillingness to acknowledge that Derek Jeter WILL in fact age, or the fact that I am just a huge homer with a Yankees blog I have not figured that part out yet. Either way the Yankees will finish at the top of their division once again, miss the Wild Card playoff game, and march towards the ultimate goal of our 28th World Championship.