Sunday, June 30, 2013

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles

We have to salvage a game tonight and avoid the sweep in this three game weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles tonight on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Hiroki Kuroda will be on the mound for the Yankees and he will face off with a  right hander for the Orioles, which helps, in Chris Tillman. 

Here is the Yankees lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Travis Hafner DH
Zoilo Almonte LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Jayson Nix SS
Chris Stewart C
David Adams 3B

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International Free Agent Spending Starts Tuesday 7/2

Starting on Tuesday July 2nd the International Free Agent spending free for all begins at midnight and the Yankees look to be busy on that day. We learned yesterday that the Yankees would not be interested in Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez but today we learned that the Yankees will be interested in Dominican third baseman Rafael Devers. We should also be interested in Dominican left fielder Leonardo Molina. 

Devers is only 16 years old but was ranked as the best international free agent in this pool by Baseball America. BA also calls him the most advanced left handed hitter in the pool thanks to his bat speed, power potential, and ability to hit and recognize off speed pitching. His only issue is that at age 16 he is already 6'1" and 215 lbs so he may grow himself out of the hot corner. 

Michael Pineda Roughed Up In Rehab Start

Of course Michael Pineda would get roughed up in what could be his last rehab start and make the decision a little bit harder for the Yankees. Of course I do not believe, by my unofficial count, his rehab assignment is up until July 8th so we could see one more start from Pineda but still. Pineda allowed four runs on four hits and allowed four walks and a hit by pitch in three innings for the Trenton Thunder. Pineda only was allowed to throw 67 pitches which is disappointing because we wanted and ultimately needed Pineda to be up to 100 pitches before we called him up to the majors.

If Pineda came out and blew everybody away I would have to say that the Yankees would have called him up and Phil Hughes would be moved in a deal but now I am not so sure. If the Yankees don't called Pineda up this season and option him to AAA when the rehab window is up they would still have four more years of team control left on Pineda instead of three and a half years.

New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 6/30

The Yankees and the Orioles are the ESPN Sunday Night baseball game of the week tonight as they finish up their three game set at Camden Yards. Hiroki Kuroda will be on the mound for the Yankees and Chris Tillman will be on the mound for the Orioles. This game will be on until after midnight so I will likely not see the end of it because believe it or not ESPN some of us have to work and actually have to work at work. The game will be televised at 8:15 pm ET on ESPN.

What If The Yankees Were Sellers?

Being posted as a part of Syndicated Sunday from Pinstripe Bible/Alley

The New York Yankees are in a strange situation at the moment. They're 42-38, which isn't bad at all. They're 5.5 games back of first, which isn't awful since it's just the end of June (and would put them either in the lead or under two games back in a pair of other divisions). The pitching hasn't been awful all the time, but not all that great either outside of Hiroko Kuroda and a few guys in the bullpen.
Everyone assumes, and usually rightfully so, that the Yankees will try to acquire talent before the trade deadline to bolster the roster for the inevitable playoff push.
Yes, the Yanks are getting a lot of people off the disabled list eventually (more on that in a minute). Yes, they've got more money than all of sports and Exxon combined. Yes, they're still competitive in a hotly contested division that is easily the best in MLB.
So what?
At this point, what will the trio of Curtis GrandersonAlex Rodriguez and Derek Jeterreally be able to provide that will get the Yankees over the hump and into first?
A-Rod was worth 2.3 bWAR over 122 games last year (all references to WAR will be to Baseball Reference's version). Let's say he comes back in a month at the end of July and plays for ~55 some games, providing oh... 1.5 wins to be on the generous side. In fact, I'll kick in another fraction because the people that have played 3B for the NYY this year have accumulated negative numbers, so lets say 1.8.
El Capitan was worth 2.2 over an almost full season. Let's call his return as three weeks away, so we'll go with 60 games for one win and another fraction because the current options suck. 1.4 for arguments sake.
Grandy provided 3 WAR on a full season, but is probably not coming back until after the All-Star break as well. Three weeks it is, so that'll be um... 1.3 but no "bonus" because Vernon Wells has actually provided a positive WAR this year. That's 4.5 wins better, which is certainly nice, but not enough to mean anything, assuming current trends stay true.
You can't predict baseball, Suzyn, so perhaps one of those folks returns to their previous form (or perhaps the 39 and 38 year old infielders don't produce like they did a decade ago). Perhaps the Red Sox stumble back to earth, and none of the other teams in the AL East (all at .500 or more) ascend the ladder (or they just keep playing well but maybe one of the other teams plays well, too). But let's just say current trends hold, which is certainly another option, and they do improve a bit from the end of July onward.
It still wouldn't be enough to get a wild card berth.
Let's say the Yankees take a different tack, and try to sell off some pieces to acquire some prospects and depth. What's sellable?
Going off the 40-man roster, there's a few pieces big and small that might entice someone to send over someone with a bit of potential:
Brennan Boesch - Had a 2.5 WAR season just a couple years ago, had a 121 OPS+ this year in a small sample size and makes next to nothing - he could easily be a piece in a trade.

Joba Chamberlain - Lord, please take this man from our team. He strikes people out. He also pitches with little movement and gets blasted when those strikeouts don't happen - 25 hits (4 HRs) and 9 walks in just 19 innings this year.We'll take a used wad of chew.

Brett Gardner - This pains me, because we all like GGBG. However, his game is based on speed, and speed is usually the first thing to go. The man turns 30 in a couple months and will probably start to decline soon. If the Yankees really want to blow stuff up, Gardner would get quite a bit back - one of the best defensive outfielders in the game and some pop at the plate? He's got one more arbitration year left, so teams won't be too shy about looking at him, and he could easily get a top 5 prospect out of a lot of teams. Perhaps Carlos Martinez from St. Louis or Michael Choice from Oakland.

Curtis Granderson - Pop in his bat, strikeouts everywhere. While they might not get Zack Wheeler for him, a healthy Granderson at the trade deadline could certainly haul in someone who has some baseball ability. Maybe the Diamonbacks want to add some pop to an outfield without a lot of it and would give up Matt Davidson if the Yanks threw in someone else?

Phil Hughes - Get the guy out of Yankees Stadium and he's good. Get him into a pitcher's park and he'll be a decent acquisition. Any of the NL West teams that might need another arm should look into acquiring Hughes.

Hiroki Kuroda - Ace for sale! Ace for sale! Who wants a guy with a 149 ERA+? Who wants a guy who doesn't get hurt and has a sub-3 ERA? Let's talk turkey.

Boone Logan - Boone's good. Having a strong bullpen is nice. Having a good bullpen is fairly easy to replicate. Some teams have been willing to overpay for bullpen arms. If someone's willing to give up something hot in let's say a trade for Boesch and Boone, then fare thee well, LOOGY.

David Robertson - Remember what I just said about Logan? Same thing applies. A good bullpen is pretty easy to get. People overpay. Mike Napoli was traded for Frank Francisco. If there's any person out here who wouldn't take Napoli over the drek masquerading as catchers on the team now, raise your hand so you make better targets to have shit thrown at you.

Ichiro Suzuki - More of a fill-in at this point given his salary and mere adequacy with a bat at this point in his career, he's still a player that a lot of teams wouldn't mind having on their roster.
Basically, should Brian Cashman et al decide to go in a direction they haven't been in before, there's a lot of movable parts on this ship. Let's go hog wild and say they trade all nine of the people I just listed - can you imagine what our suddenly below-average minor league system might look like? Can you imagine the organizational depth we might have without having to rely on people like Ben FranciscoReid Brignac and Alberto Gonzalez? They're probably stuck with the terrible contracts, but that's still over 20 million coming off the books in 2014 - allowing the sudden penny-pinchers to come in under budget while positioning the club for a resurgence for the rest of the decade.

New York Yankees Injury Updates

It seems as though lately we are getting more news to write about from the Tampa Yankees minor league complex then the big league club with the plethora of stars we have rehabbing down there and inching ever closer to the majors. Today is no different as we bring the latest Yankees injury updates.

Alex Rodriguez is still taking batting practice at the Yankees minor league complex down in Tampa and says he swing is coming into form. A Rod is also fielding ground balls and doing base running drills as well as running the bases during simulated at bats. Still no word on when the rehab assignment will start for A Rod.

Derek Jeter took five simulated at bats on Saturday and did some base running drills as well. Jeter ran from first to third four times and then ran from third to first four times on the grass just outside of the infield. Joe Girardi says the next step would be a rehab game for Jeter so apparently he is getting pretty close.

Curtis Granderson is playing catch but still not swinging a bat for some reason.

Francisco Cervelli caught a bullpen session on Saturday.

Eduardo Nunez will play another rehab game on Sunday for the Tampa Yankees.

Yankees Not Interested In Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez

The Yankees are said to not be interested in international free agent Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The Cuban right hander has been scouted by the Yankees, and a slew of other teams, recently in Mexico but the Yankees apparently walked away unimpressed. The 26 year old still needs to be unlocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control before he can negotiate and ultimately sign with a major league team but the Dodgers seem to be the front runners at this point, surprise surprise. George King expects the bidding to be in the $40,000,000 to $60,000,000 range and that is apparently too rich for the Yankees.

Yankees Not In On Ricky Nolasco

Unsurprisingly the Yankees are announcing that they are not in on trading for Ricky Nolasco this trading deadline. The Yankees are said to not be in on any starting pitcher given the offense woes we have been dealing with all season long. Nolasco would be more of an upgrade in the back of the rotation and considered to be a luxury right now and not necessarily a need.

Game 81 Lineup: Yankees @ Orioles

Yankees have one goal: They have to win or they're one game closer to the cellar. Here's the lineup.

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Travis Hafner DH
Zoilo Almonte LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Jayson Nix SS
Chris Stewart C
David Adams 3B

RHP Hiroki Kuroda

This Day In New York Yankees History 6/30

On this day in 1961 Whitey Ford becomes the first player in American League history to ever win eight games in one month.

On this day in 2002 the Yankees became the first team since the 1956 Chicago White Sox to have four infielders and a catcher on the All Star Game. Jason Giambi was the starting first basemen, Alfonso Soriano started at second base, Jorge Posada was the starting catcher, and manager Joe Torre hand picked shortstop Derek Jeter and third basemen Robin Ventura to play in the game too.