Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mark Teixeira's Wrist Acts Up Again

Well, it looks as though Mark Teixeira's wrist wasn't healthy after all.

David Adams came into the game for Tex in the bottom of the 4th inning tonight, after Mark felt some soreness in his wrist. During a quick interview with FOX, who is broadcasting tonight's game, Joe Girardi said that "he doesn’t have the snap in his swing".

It's expected that the Teixeira will get a few days off before they re-evaluate things, and decide whether another DL stint is necessary. Keep in mind that it was thought Mark would need season-ending surgery to fix his wrist, a la Jose Bautista last year.

Good thing the team decided to keep Lyle Overbay around, I guess.

2013 Yankees Draft Signings Update For 6/15

The Yankees have signed a bunch of their lower round selections in the 2013 MLB First Year Players draft and will assign them to minor league camps and teams soon. The list includes RHP Andy Beresford their 19th round pick, RHP Alex Polanco their 23rd round pick, RHP Dillon McNamara their 27th round pick, and 3B Chauncey Sumner their 32nd round pick.

In other news the Yankees also signed the top Ivy League free agent to go undrafted Tim Giel. Tim is a right handed pitcher with big upside that is expected to sign for less than the $100,000 slot recommendation for all undrafted free agents. The four pitch right handed control pitcher relies more on his command than his pure stuff but for the price it is worth the shot for the Yankees and for Giel.

Game Thread NYY @ LAA 6/15

The Yankees are coming off of a fourth straight loss and look to get back to the winning ways tonight on FOX as they take on Tommy Hanson and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Yankees will send David Phelps to the mound to get the victory and lead the Yanks back to the winners circle. Thomas Neal is getting his second start, this time against a right handed pitcher, instead of Travis Hafner which is a bit surprising until you look at how much Hafner has struggled lately.

Here is the Yankees lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Lyle Overbay DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Thomas Neal LF
Reid Brignac SS
Chris Stewart C

Follow us on Twitter @GreedyStripes all season long 

Michael Pineda Strong In 5.2 IP In Latest Rehab Game

Michael Pineda threw in his latest rehab game on Friday and looked strong in his 74 pitch outing that last 5.2 innings. Pineda did not allow a run and scattered three hits while striking out five and walking one in his rehab assignment. Pineda has 23 days left, give or take, on his 30 day rehab assignment so I expect Pineda to move on from extended Spring Training games and on to High A Tampa or even AA Trenton with the Thunder. The shoulder looks good and came through healthy and that is all that matters. Pineda is set to throw around 80-85 pitches in his next rehab start so everybody watch out for that.

New York Yankees @ LA Angels Of Anaheim 6/15

The Yankees are losers of four in a row to the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim so they need to start their winning ways tonight on FOX. The Yankees will send David Phelps to the mound to try and be our stopper while the Angels will counter with Tommy Hanson. The game will be televised on FOX at 7:15 pm ET so check it out.

Kendall Coleman Signs An Above Slot Deal

Kendall Coleman, it was reported here earlier in the week, signed a deal with the New York Yankees after being drafted in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft. Kendall's slot recommendation, like everyone drafted in rounds 11-40, is $100,000 so he will require an extra $50,000 coming from the Yankees surplus. As reported earlier when David Palladino signed an above slot deal as well, by my math, the Yankees had an extra $172,000 to play with roughly. With this hit against the surplus the Yankees now have $122,000 to give to Ian Clarkin or other draftees over slot.

Assigning Blame To The Wrong Guys

"I wonder what would happen if I grabbed a bat."

Although it's not surprising that some Yankees fans are unfairly placing the blame for the team's poor hitting on Kevin Long, the team's hitting coach, that doesn't mean I'm going to sit back and accept it. Coaches or managers, whether it be for negative or positive reasons, tend to get too much credit.

For example, I think Joe Torre got a little too much credit for the Yankees winning ways during his tenure as their manger. I don't mean to say he wasn't any good. You don't spend 18 years as a player in Major League Baseball, then another 33 years as a coach or manager, and finally 2-plus years in the commissioners office, without knowing a thing or two about the game. But Scott Proctor isn't the only person that believes Torre wasn't the best at using his bullpen. And it's not like the Yankees didn't have some pretty incredible players between 1996 and 2007.

The most recent example of a coach or manager receiving too much credit, in this case in a negative way, comes from Kevin Long.

On the surface the criticism seems legit. So far this season the Yankees are hitting .241/.304/.385, numbers that are good for 11th, 12th, and 10th among the 15 teams in the American League. In terms of team fWAR, the Yankees are only doing better than the Astros and White Sox... who are a combined 25 games out of first place (Chicago is 8.5 games back in the AL Central, while Houston is 16.5 games back in the AL West).

But is it really poor coaching that's the issue here? Or could these be contributing factors...?

  • Chris Stewart has 122 of the 239 plate appearances by Yankee catchers, while Austin Romine has 56 of them. Stewart's career OPS is .607, while Romine's is .329.
  • Kevin Youkilis has been having lower back trouble for most of the season, which could be the reason he's on his way to having his worst MLB season. Not only did Long have nothing to do with that injury in 2013, but that back has been an issue for the past five years.
  • Jayson Nix has played the most at shortstop this season, and his current OPS is .610. Has he hit better in the past? Sure. But I don't think a career .648 OPS hitter is somebody the Yankees could lean on.
  • Vernon Wells, who has spent the most time in LF for the Yankees this season, may be having his worst offensive season since his rookie year. But seeing as how his average OPS+ the previous two years is under 90, it's not like people should be pointing fingers away from Vernon himself.
  • Outside of surprising everybody after being traded to the Yankees late last season, you can pretty much say the exact same thing for Ichiro Suzuki as we did for Wells. Oh, except that Ichiro's OPS+ the previous two seasons was just a touch over 90. 
  • Kevin Long did not let 45 home runs from 2012 walk away (Nick Swisher and Russell Martin), only to replace them with players that have either averaged 9 home runs a year (Ichiro) or have 8 in their entire MLB career (Cervelli).
  • Except for 31 plate appearances, the Yankees have been without Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez all season. If you don't think that hurts, allow me to point out that the average OPS+ among those three players in 2012 was 115. The team's current OPS+ this year is 88.
If you're thinking of pointing the blame at Joe Girardi for the team's woes this season, instead of Kevin Long, you can re-read those 7 bullet points. 

It's time to face the facts... the Yankee lineup, as it's currently built, is not good. What they did in April is not normal, and the chances of them doing it again are caught somewhere between "slim" and "none". Our best hope, which I mentioned earlier today in another article, is that the team can avoid falling much further behind first place until after the All Star break. At that point, with Granderson, Jeter, and Rodriguez possibly returning, the team may have a good shot at winning the AL East.

Oh, and if you really want to point the finger of blame at somebody, a better idea might be this guy...

 "What's that, now?"

Game 68 Lineup: Yankees @ Angels

Lineup vs. Angels:

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Lyle Overbay DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Thomas Neal LF
Reid Brignac SS
Chris Stewart C

RHP David Phelps

Hitting Ain't Easy... At Least Not For The Yankees

I've been quiet this week, and it doesn't take an FBI investigation to figure out why.

These guys know.

While the pitching was pretty darn good yet again (9.6 fWAR over the last week, 5th best in MLB), despite a couple of poor starts from CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, the hitting has been atrocious.

As a team, the Yankees have hit .206/.289/.254 over the past 7 days, which includes only one home run and a total of 15 runs. All of which was good enough for an fWAR of -0.7, which is the 2nd worst in Major League Baseball (the Astros had an fWAR of -1.5).

Breaking down the team's fWAR over the past week you'll see that Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano are the only players that have fWARs above 0.0 (.5 and .4, respectively). Of the other four players to play each of the Yankees six games during that stretch, Jayson Nix and Ichiro Suzuki have fWARs of 0.0, while Vernon Wells and Mark Teixeira's fWARs are -0.3 each.

Oh, I take that back. There is another player with a positive fWAR over the past week. It's only a 0.1, but that comes from a guy that just got called up before last night's game... Thomas Neal.

And if you think this is a case of a small sample size making things look a whole lot worse than they actually are, consider the fact that on the season the Yankees have hit .241/.304/.385 with an fWAR of 3.8 (25th in MLB). Taking Neal's game out of the equation again, I found that only 5 Yankee batters have a wRC+ at or above 100. However one of them is currently on the DL (Cervelli, who leads the team with a 142), another is in the minors right now (Boesch, who has a 123), and a third guy can't hit left-handed pitching (Hafner has a wRC+ of 109, but has only hit .194 against LHP). To nobody's surprise, the other two are Robinson Cano (132) and Brett Gardner (117).

Like this, only there's just two Yankees, and they don't look anything like these guys.

I know that things should change if and when the team is healthy, but patience is not one of my better traits.

Despite his great April, Vernon Wells has hit only .229/.273/.383 this season, so having Curtis Granderson take most of his at bats away will be a definite plus. Chris Stewart is hitting .275 /.328/.358, while Austin Romine's line is .132/.148/.170, so a healthy Francisco Cervelli is another big plus. Although I don't expect Derek Jeter to come back and hit well enough to finish 7th in MVP voting like he did last year, it's not hard to imagine he can do better than the combined fWAR of -0.7 Yankee shortstops have managed in 2013 without him. And hate him all you want, while pointing out how overpaid he is, but Alex Rodriguez could still make a big difference in the lineup.

Thankfully, the only team in the AL East that's done much better than the Yankees over their previous 10 games is the Blue Jays (won 7 of 10 games), yet they are still 9.5 games out of first. Like the Bombers, the division-leading Red Sox are 5-5 in their last 10 games, the Orioles are 6-4, and the Rays are 4-6. So things could have been a whole lot worse.

The real question for the Yankees, and it's hardly a small one, is this... "Can they keep things from getting out of hand for another month, at which point Granderson, Cervelli, Jeter, and possible ARod should be back?"

No, this has nothing to do with the article, but I was on a movie kick and wanted to include it.

Happy Birthday To A Pair Of New York Yankees

A very Happy Birthday goes out to a pair of New York Yankees players. Today Andy Pettitte turns 41 years old today so happy birthday to him. Also Eduardo Nunez has a birthday today and he turns 26 years old today. Happy birthday to both and let's hope the Yankees can break this funk that they are in and give them both a win on their special days.

Yankees Sign David Palladino To Above Slot Deal

The Yankees have announced that they have signed their fifth round pick David Palladino to an above slot deal. David was taken 164th overall in the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft and came with a slot recommendation of $278,100 but ended up signing for  $371,000. The $93,000 extra will have to come from other guys who have signed for less like Brandon Thomas who signed for half his slot recommendation when he signed for $75,000 saving the Yankees $75,000. John Murphy also signed for $20,000 which is $190,000 less than the slot recommendation so the Yankees, even after signing Palladino, still have an extra $172,000 to give to players like Ian Clarkin without paying penalties.

Jose Ramirez Promoted To AAA Scranton Railriders

The Yankees have announced that Jose Ramirez has been promoted from AA Trenton to AAA Scranton Wilkes Barre. Supposedly it is just for one start to fill in for Chris Bootcheck but I am not buying it. With the call up of Corey Black, unless his promotion to the Thunder is also temporary, the Trenton team now has seven starting pitchers and no obvious guys that will be send to the bullpen. I think Jose Ramirez will somehow stick with the Railriders team.

We Can't Expect To Win When Things Like This Happen

I feel like we had this title and subject yesterday.. oh yeah that is because we did when the heart of the Yankees order went 0-28 in an 18 inning loss at Oakland. Now last night Reid Brignac and David Adams are letting routine fly ball outs turn into runs and this is absolutely unacceptable. This is the big leagues boys time to start acting like it because the cavalry is on the way and so is the trade deadline. 

Did The Yanks Mess Up Not Drafting Jonathan Denney?

The Boston Red Sox drafted catcher Jonathan Denney with the 81st overall pick on the second day of the 2013 MLB First Year Players draft last week. Denney was expected to go on day one and shocked the world when he was not drafted due to sign-ability issues. The Yankees "need" a big time catcher in their system to with Gary Sanchez and JR Murphy but instead passed on Denney in favor of Eric Jagielo, Aaron Judge, Ian Clarkin, Gosuke Katoh, and Michael O'Neill to name a few. The sign-ability issues had to be the reason that the Yankees continuously passed on Denney one would think but the Red Sox sort of shocked us all, well they shocked me anyway, when they signed Denney. Denney signed for $875,000 which is above the recommended slot of $671,200 in the 81st overall pick slot. Did the Yankees miss a huge opportunity to sign a big time catcher that would make an immediate impact in their farm system?

Denney was ranked in the low 20's around the internet when the lists of the best prospects in the draft would come out so it was a shock to everyone when Denney was not picked on day one and fell to the Red Sox on day two. This seemed like a no brainer for the Yankees, especially into the second round, with Denney's power hitting right handed bat behind the plate with a power arm. The Yankees tend to jump all over guys like this but for some reason passed on Denney. His footwork and mechanics are not great behind the plate and has drawn comparisons to Jesus Montero but he is also a high school catcher who would have plenty of time to work on these things.

What could have and probably should have been.... Oh well.

Morning Bits

Good morning everyone!

The Yankees lost their fourth straight game last night by a score of 5-2 to the Angels.

Andy Pettitte allowed four earned runs on eleven hits in a sub-par outing.

The Yankees offense was the culprit again, managing only six hits.

Tonight's game begins at 7:15 ET and will be broadcast by Fox.

David Phelps(4-3, 3.90 ERA) will face Tommy Hanson(3-2, 4.12 ERA).

Now on to today's news and links:

Wally Matthews of ESPNNY discusses Kevin Youkilis heading back to the DL

David Waldstein of the New York Times says the Yankees may need A-Rod back after all.

Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal wonders if Yankee fans just want star players.

Have a great day everyone!

This Day In Yankees History 6/15

On this day in 2005 owner George Steinbrenner, with the support of Governer George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced that the Yankees would be building a new Yankees Stadium. The Yankees would initially finance the entire building which was originally slated to be $800 million but went over that after everything was said and done. The new stadium as we all know would mirror the old stadium and would house over 51,000 people.