Thursday, August 1, 2013

ARod suspension is the key to offseason Reload

[caption id="attachment_16336" align="aligncenter" width="594"]Brian McCann is the type of player the yanks could look to sign if ARod is suspended in 2014 Brian McCann is the type of player the yanks could look to sign if ARod is suspended in 2014[/caption]

In 2012 the Boston RedSox were a last place team with a mountain of problems and a slew of bad contracts on their ledger that left them with few options to improve the talent of the team.   Miraculously, the Los Angeles Dodgers foolishly took 3 of the worst bad contracts off Boston's hands and sent some talented young players back.  In one fell swoop, the Red Sox cleared over $250 Million which changed the entire outlook of the organization and allowed them to go out and sign 8-9 Free Agents and later trade for 2 high-priced pitchers who have led the team to the best record in the American Lg this yr after losing 90+ games a year ago.

This year's Yankees team has a lot of parallels to the 2012 Red Sox - namely an old roster that is short on talent and a payroll with several bad long-term commitments that limit the club's ability to improve moving forward.  Unfortunately, there is no delusional team that is going to come along and trade the Yankees a group of talented young players in exchange for the contracts of ARod, Teixeira and CC. However, the impending PED suspension that is about to be levied on ARod could have a similar effect on the Yankees future and their ability to spend money and bring in much-needed fresh talent.

Best case scenario would be a lifetime ban that would net the Yankees around $100 Million in contract savings and even more in potential Luxury Tax savings.  But I believe a lifetime ban is unlikely, however a suspension for this season and the 2014 is a very real possibility and would be enough to help the franchise in a big way. They would save nearly $34 Million in salary but more important is WHEN that savings would take place.  A suspension for all of 2014 would allow the Yankees to reach their stated goal of getting under the $189M Luxury Tax threshold and still leave enough for them to add a handful of sizable contracts to the team similar to how Boston quickly rebuilt their lineup.  ARod's suspension would result in a $27.5 Million savings against the Tax in 2014 which could allow the team to sign 2 players in the $12-15 Million range.

Some quick math shows the team has roughly $140 Million in commitments next year when you add in salaries for the 40-man roster and benefit payments.  However remove ARod's $27.5M AAV and the team has roughly $76.5 Million under the Tax to spend.  That doesn't include re-signing Robinson Cano so if you allocate $22-25M per yr on him you are still left with some $51-55M to spend on the following 6 key positions: C, 3B, OF, SP, SP, RP.  Looking at what is available at those slots, here are some of the potential Free Agent options for the team to use that $ on:

C - Brian McCann, AJ Pierzynski, Jarrod Saltamalachia, Carlos Ruiz

3B - Michael Young, Eric Chavez, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Reynolds, Johnny Peralta

OF/DH - Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Granderson, Corey Hart, Mike Morse, Nate McLouth, Hunter Pence, DH - Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, Morneau, Konerko

2 SPs - Kuroda, Aroyyo, Garza, Feldman, Hammel, Hudson, Maholm, Lincecum, Nolasco, Vargas, Volquez

CL/RP - Balfour, Rodney, Gregg, Uehera, Mujica, Benoit

Offseason Plan

First priority is to re-sign Cano and for the sake of this exercise, I'm assuming it happens.  After that, the net most important move is to re-sign Kuroda.  He has not only overtaken CC as the team's best pitcher, he has become one of MLB's best starters andwith CC having his worst season ever, the team can't afford to lose Kuroda.  If he comes back for $15-16M the Yanks will be estatic because there aren't many pitchers on the market near his level.  Someone like Matt Garza could be an option but would require a massive 4-5 year commitment. Yanks  have to hope Hiro wants to return. If he does, he and CC will lead a rotation that would have Ivan Nova, David Phelps, Michael Pineda, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno fighting for spots.  They would likely need to bring in another mid-priced veteran on a 1-yr deal like Scott Feldman, Jason Vargas or Tim Hudson to play the Andy Pettite role, assuming Andy elects to retire.

In the bullpen, they'll have a massive hole left by Mariano.  They could promote Robertson to the closer role but would then need to fill his tremendous the inning performance.  It may be easier for the Yanks to sign a closer among the Rodney, Balfour, Gregg, Mujica class. They have enough in the system to fill the rest of the pen with the possible exception of a lefty specilist.  Boone Logan is a FA and may or may not be brought back....I'd say let him walk.

Then the attention turns to the lineup with C, 3B and  1 OF or DH spot open depending what is gettable.  Brian McCann is a perfect target for the Yankees.  An excellent leader and left-handed hitting Catcher who will still have  lot left turning 30 next February. McCann will command $13-14M per yr for about 4 yrs.  Saltalamachia is a poor-man's version of McCann who is still improving at 28 but is not great defensively which the Yankee brass won't like. If they miss on McCann a 1-yr deal for veteran Pierzynski or Ruiz would make sense to pair with and mentor JR Murphy or Romine.

In the OF, Ellsbury or Choo would be the top options as players still in their prime who hit LH and would be good fits at Yankee Stadium.  They'd command deals similar to what Swisher received last yr, at minimum a 4-yr deal at $13M plus.   Bringing back Granderson is also an option although I think the Yanks will only make the 1-yr qualifying offer of about $13-14M to ensure they receive a 1st round pick if he walks and Curtis will refuse to seek a multi-yr deal elsewhere.  They already have Gardner in CF, Ichiro in one corner and Soriano at DH or the other corner.  Wells will be the 4th OF.  Carlos Beltran would be a great fit as a switch-hitter who could split time between DH and LF with Soriano to keep both players fresh.  They could also go with a 1B who could be the everyday DH and also provide insurance in case Tex doesn't fully return from his wrist surgery.  Kendry Morales, Morneau or Napoli could fill that role.  Morales would be one of my top choices if they don't sign a big OF like Choo, Ellsbury or Beltran.  I think Morales will get better with another year of health and I love that he is a switch-hitter.  He may also be reasonably priced for the production he'd supply although signing an everyday DH isn't the best move considering Jeter, Soriano and possibly McCann would need time there.

The last big hole is at 3B and the pickings are very slim. Michael Young, Johnny Peralta and Eric Chavez are about all the FA market has to offer.  This is the position the team should be focusing its trade chips on. Chase Headley's name is always mentioned and SD may finally look to pull the trigger though I'd like to see Cashman get creative and find a young 3B....easier said than done.  I'd also like to see David Adams get to play everyday this yr as soon as the Yanks are out of contention.  Most players struggle in their first taste of the Majors and I think Adams has some talent and was just getting comfortable when foolishly replaced with Luis Cruz.  I'd like to give him a long look to see what we have,

Hypothetically, if all went perfect the Yanks could sign McCann (14M), Choo (14M) & Kuroda (15M) and use the remaining $9-12 Million to bring in a #4-type starter, a 8th or 9th inning RP and a 3B.  Ideally they'd have another $5-10 Million to spend on those spots so they could get say Vargas, Rodney or Benoit and M.Young.  But the team tied up $14.5 Million by giving Ichiro 2 yrs (6.5), and trading for Wells (2.4) and Soriano (5.5).  What they are paying them would cover McCann or Choo although this would all be posible only if ARod is suspended for all of 2014.  His $27.5M savings would basically cover the cost of McCann and Choo alone. The hypothetical lineup below with a rotation of Kuroda, CC, Nova, Vargas, Pineda/Phelps would have the team in contention again and pump some hope and excitement back into the fanbase........but it's all contingent on MLB liting the albatross off their books in 2014......stay tuned.  How would you spend the potential $50-55M the Yanks may have?

CF - Gardner

SS- Jeter

2B - Cano

LF - Choo

1B - Teixeira

C - McCann

DH - Soriano

RF- Ichiro

3B - Nix/Adams/M.Young?

Alex Rodriguez To Rehab In Trenton Friday & Saturday

(TRENTON, NJ) -  New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will participate in a rehabilitation assignment for the Trenton Thunder as they face the Reading Fightin Phils (Philadephia Phillies) on Friday, August 2 and Saturday, August 3 at 7:05pm at ARM & HAMMER Park in Trenton.
The Thunder expect a large crowd for the game and additional details regarding ballpark opening time and parking will be posted on soon.  
Rodriguez has been sidelined all season due to offseason hip surgery followed by a strained quad.

Rodriguez is a 14 time All-Star (1996–1998, 2000–2008, 2010, 2011), 10 time Silver Slugger Award winner (1996, 1998–2003, 2005, 2007, 2008), five time American League home run champion (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007), two time AL RBI leader (2002, 2007), two time Gold Glove Award winner (2002, 2003) and the 1996 AL batting champion.  He was a World Series champion with the Yankees in 2009. Last year with New York he hit .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs in 122 games.  


Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. 

Yankees Sign Leonardo Molina For $1,400,000

The Yankees have signed International Free Agent Leonardo Molina to a $1,400,000 deal to bring him into the Yankees organization. Today is his 16th birthday and the new CBA states that IFA's cannot sign before their 16th birthday so that is what caused the almost month delay on signing Molina. Molina was ranked as the fifth best IFA prospect by Baseball America and stand 6'2" and 165 lbs as a center fielder. Unfortunately he is not related to the catching trio Molina brothers but is still considered to be the best athlete in Central America so this is an exciting sign for the Yanks.

The Yankees have signed both Molina and Yonauris Rodriguez and find themselves $72,100 over their IFA cap set forth by MLB of $1,877,900. The Yankees have an opportunity to trade for IFA pool money but if they do not they will have to pay a 75% tax on the little over $72 K for an additional fee of $54,075.

Alex Rodriguez Has Six At Bats In First Simulated Game

Alex Rodriguez played his first simulated game today at George Steinbrenner Field, the Yankees spring training home, and had six at bats in what is probably a precursor to another rehab assignment. Alex saw 31 pitches in his six at bats, ran the bases and played third base in his first action since a quad muscle strain. A Rod could begin another rehab assignment as soon as tomorrow with the Trenton Thunder and could conceivably be back with the Yankees by the weekend or Monday if he does not get suspended first.

Thunder Announce 20th Season All-Time Team

(Trenton, NJ) –  On Friday, August 2, the Trenton Thunder will continue its 20th season celebration with the distribution of a commemorative All-Time Team card set, presented by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, for the first 1,500 fans ages 6 and older.

Online voting began on June 10 with fans being asked to select two players at each infield position, four outfielders, five pitchers, and one manager. 

The players selected to the Trenton Thunder's 20th Season All-Time Team are below. 


Dioner Navarro – In 128 games with the Thunder during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, Navarro hit .302 with 7 home runs and 66 RBI. He went on to become a 2008 American League All-Star with Tampa Bay and has spent more than ten years in the MLB.

Jesus Montero – Having spent only a partial season in Trenton, Montero posted 10 doubles, 9 home runs, and 33 RBI. He is currently in his 2nd season with the Seattle Mariners after playing 18 games for the Yankees in 2011.

First Base:

Tony Clark – During the 1994 season in Trenton, Tony Clark compiled 86 RBI, with 21 home runs, and a .279 batting average. When his 15 year Major League career came to an end in 2009, Clark finished with a career .262 batting average, 251 home runs, 824 RBI and was a member of the 2001 AL All-Star team. Tony Clark’s number 33 is one of four numbers retired by the Thunder.

Shelley Duncan – Duncan ranks second in Thunder history in both career home runs (53) and single-season home runs (34). He has since gone on to play seven years in the majors, playing for the Yankees, Indians, and Rays.

Second Base:

Robinson Cano – After batting .298 with 8 home runs and 59 RBI in 123 games for the Thunder during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, Cano made his debut with the Yankees in 2005. Since breaking into the big leagues, Cano has been named to the American League All-Star team six times and has been awarded two Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. Cano was a member of the Yankees’ 2009 World Series Championship team.

David Eckstein – During his only season with the Thunder in 1999, Eckstein recorded a .313 batting average, scored 109 runs, and stole 32 stolen bases. He finished his ten year career in the big leagues as a two time All-Star and two time World Series Champion. Eckstein’s number 2 was recently retired by the Thunder on May 8th, 2013

Third Base:

Kevin Youkilis – Youkilis compiled a .344 average with 5 home runs and 26 RBI during his time in Trenton during the 2003 season. Since making his major league debut in 2004 with the Boston Red Sox, Youkilis has won a Gold Glove and been named an American League All-Star three times. He was a member of both the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox World Series Championship teams.

Shea Hillenbrand – Prior to his seven year MLB career in which he was named an All-Star twice, Hillenbrand batted .301 with 50 doubles, 18 home runs, and 115 RBI in Trenton. In 2000, he became the Thunder’s all-time, single-season hits leader with 171.


Nomar Garciaparra – After spending the 1995 season in Trenton, Garciaparra would go on to have a 14 year major league career, spending time with the Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, and Athletics. He was named the 1997 AL-Rookie of the Year, won two batting titles, and was six time All-Star. Garciaparra’s number 5 is one of only four numbers retired by the Thunder.

Freddy Sanchez – During his tenure with the Thunder, Sanchez posted a .327 batting average with 43 doubles, 57 RBI and 22 stolen bases. Sanchez has been named an NL All-Star three times and won the 2006 NL batting title while with the Pirates.


Brett Gardner – In his 109 games with the Thunder during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, Gardner hit .286 with 84 runs scored. His 46 stolen bases rank fifth all-time in Thunder history. A 2009 World Series Champion, Gardner is currently in his sixth season as an outfielder with the Yankees.

Austin Jackson – Jackson spent the 2008 season with the Thunder. When the year came to a close, he compiled a .285 with 9 home runs and 69 RBI. He was the 2009 runner-up for AL-Rookie of the Year and is now in his fourth season with the Detroit Tigers.

Melky Cabrera – Cabrera posted a .275 average, with 10 home runs, and 60 RBI with the Thunder in 2005. He was named a National League All-Star in 2012 and was a part of the Yankee’s 2009 World Series Championship team. He is currently in his 9th season in the majors.

Trot Nixon – After batting .235 with 13 home runs and 71 RBI in his 148 games in Trenton, Nixon went on to have a successful twelve year MLB career. He was a member of the 2004 Red Sox that helped deliver the first championship to Boston in 86 years.


Phil Hughes - Currently in his seventh season with the Yankees, Hughes is a former American League All-Star and 2009 World Series Champion. He pitched over 130 innings during his time with the Thunder. Hughes compiled an 11-3 record with a 2.17 ERA and 160 strikeouts. He was also named to the 2006 Eastern League All-Star team as a member of the Thunder.

Tyler Clippard – Clippard played with the Thunder over the 2006 and 2007 seasons.   In those two seasons in Trenton, Clippard went 14-11 and posted a 3.64 ERA with 203 strikeouts in 193 innings. He also holds the Thunder’s single season record for strikeouts with 175 and threw the first no-hitter in Thunder history on August 9, 2006 against the Harrisburg Senators. He is now in his 7thyear in the majors and is currently playing for the Washington Nationals.

Joba Chamberlain – Following his career in Trenton, in which he tallied a 5-2 record with a 3.24 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 41.2 innings, Chamberlain has gone on to play seven years with the Yankees as both a starter and reliever. He was also a member of the 2009 World Champion Yankees.

Carl Pavano – During his three separate stints with the Thunder, Pavano compiled an 18-6 record with a 2.66 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 210 innings pitched. With his 16 wins in 1996, Pavano holds the Thunder’s all-time single-season wins record. He went on to pitch fourteen years in the major leagues and was named a NL All-Star in 2004 and was a key part of the Florida Marlins 2003 World Championship team.

Ian Kennedy – After going 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 48.2 innings during the 2007 campaign with the Thunder, Kennedy has pitched for the Yankees and Diamondbacks. With the Diamondbacks, Kennedy led the National League in wins in 2011 and finished the year in 4th place in Cy Young Award voting.

Tony Franklin – Reigning Eastern League Manager of the Year, Tony Franklin is in his seventh season as Thunder manager. He is the longest tenured manager in Thunder history. Franklin has led the Thunder to four 1st place playoff appearances, including two back to back Eastern League titles in 2007 and 2008.


Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. The original post can be seen HERE

Starting Pitcher Matt Tracy Activated From DL

The Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced Thursday that left-handed pitcher Matt Tracy has been activated from the team's disabled list.  He is expected to start Thursday night's contest against the Harrisburg Senators.  LHP Fred Lewis has been placed on the DL (retroactive to 7/30) with a finger blister.

Tracy, rated as the 26th-best prospect in the Yankees system before the season byBaseball America, has been out since June 13th with a lower body injury.  The southpaw has made 13 appearances (12 starts) with the Thunder this season and gone 4-4 with a 5.49 ERA.  


Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. Here is the Trenton Thunder roster

New York Yankees Off Day Youtube Video

On the day that Billy Martin was hired for the first time we take the time to share with you the Billy Martin memorial on WPIX. Enjoy the off day and enjoy the video. 

New York Yankees Off Day Music Recommendation

This about sums up my mood with this team lately, especially after the lack of action at the trading deadline. Enjoy the day off and we'll be back to work tomorrow in San Diego. Go Yankees!

Time To Play The Waiver Game Brian Cashman

Welcome to August baseball. What do I do if I am the GM of the Yankees today? I place Hiroki Kuroda, Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano, Vernon Wells, Ichiro Suzuki, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Lyle Overbay, Chris Stewart, Curtis Granderson, Boone Logan, and David Robertson on waivers. Most, if not all, of these men will clear waivers and will be available in trades with anyone. Why do I say this you ask?

We place the aformentioned guys on waivers because this may get out of hand in a hurry with 23 of our 49 games remaining against the three teams we are chasing in the AL East. Those teams, the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Tampa Bay Rays, have played us tough this season and are going to make or break the season and our playoff hopes. Brian Cashman, and you Yankees fans reading this, have to be prepared to blow this team up. In no way do I want to trade anyone listed above, before that even gets started, but it may have to happen in the end.

Brian Cashman has been trying to rebuild the farm system since 2005 and we have not had many impact guys come out of the system since. If Cashman really wants to rebuild the farm a trade of Hiroki Kuroda and Brett Gardner alone rebuilds the farm over night. Add in a David Robertson trade or a Robinson Cano trade and we have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. As much as I would hate to blow it up, hell let's be honest I refuse to blow it up, it may be done before the August 31st waiver trade deadline.

The Yankees Schedule The Rest Of The Way

The Yankees are within striking distance of a playoff shot via the Wild Card, although the AL East seems like a distant dream at this point, but that may change very quickly. The Yankees have a favorable schedule by facing the Padres for three games, the White Sox for six games, The Angels for four games, the Blue Jays ten times, the Giants three times, and the Astros three more times which could really help the playoff push. If the Yanks can go, and they really should especially if they are healthy, 18-8 in those 26 games against the "favorable" teams I think we have a very legit shot at the Wild Card.

The teams standing in our way are also scattered all over the remaining schedule for the Yankees. All in all we play the Boston Red Sox ten times, the first place Rays six times, The Orioles seven times, and the Detroit Tigers three more times before the 2013 season ends. In those 23 remaining games we would honestly be lucky to go 13-10 in those games. That will not be enough at all to cut into the AL East lead so it seems like Wild Card or bust.

If the Yankees can beat the teams that they are supposed to beat then there is no reason we cannot send this team to a Wild Card series. If the Yankees offense and pitching continues to be inconsistent or non existent than we may have trouble seeing October baseball this season.

David Robertson Unavailable With Arm Fatigue

Joe Girardi confirmed that David Robertson was not used today or for a second inning in Tuesday nights loss due to arm fatigue. Robertson came to Girardi and told him that he felt a little overworked with his recent workload so Girardi decided to give him some extra time off. Hopefully it is nothing more than that and the offense can give him an extra night or two off in San Diego as well. Get well David, we need you.

Today Is 80's Night In Trenton With Michael Jackson

The Trenton Thunder are hosting 80's night tonight featuring Michael Jackson! Yes I know that Michael Jackson is dead but it is still a cool feature and attraction. There will be post game fireworks after the game as well presented by Bucks County Courier Times. Pete Carter, the number one Michael Jackson impersonator on the East coast, will be there performing for the fans on Thirsty Thursday. You can buy your tickets HERE or at the gate.

Morning Bits

Good morning everyone!

The Yankees broke a scoreless tie in the top of the 9th inning last night and then held on to defeat the Dodgers.

Clayton Kershaw and Hiroki Kuroda were both brilliant in a true pitchers duel.

Lyle Overbay once again came through in the clutch with an RBI  hit in the 9th inning to give the Yankees the first run of the game.  A throwing error by Mark Ellis gave the Yankees two more runs to make it 3-0.

Mariano Rivera earned his 34th save this year for the Yankees.

The Yankees are off today and will resume their quest for a wildcard when they start a three-game series with the Padres in San Diego tomorrow night.  The Padres series will be the last West Coast series that the Yankees play this season.

Friday night's game will also be the last 10:10 PM ET start time game for the Yankees this year, something many fans will be pleased about as they read this with bleary eyes from staying up to watch the end of last night's game.

The trade deadline came and went with Brian Cashman once again displaying no creativity, imagination, guts, or the ability to get a trade done to help the Yankees.

The "genius" who has spent over two BILLION dollars in payroll the last 12 years and only won one title has been outperformed by the Red Sox, Giants, and Cardinals in the same time frame.  The last trade Cashman won was with Nick Swisher and that trade took place in 2008.  When your GM is "o-fer" the Obama Administration in trades, chances are your team may start to struggle sooner than later.

Now on to today's news links:

Billy Witz of the New York Times sums it up perfectly with this article about the Yankee management wasting a gallant effort by their aging core.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News has this piece about Cashman's inability to get anything done and failure to acquire Michael Young, who was exactly what the Yankees needed.

Mark Feinsand also has this article about Curtis Granderson's comeback, which is scheduled for Friday against the Padres.

Have a great day everyone!

Yankees offense breaks through in ninth for 3-0 win in LA

Thanks to seven shutout innings from Hiroki Kuroda, a scoreless eighth from Boone Logan, and a perfect ninth from Mariano Rivera, the Yankees were able to shutout the Dodgers tonight at Dodger Stadium for a 3-0 win and split in this two-game series. This one was tied heading into the top of the ninth, but in that inning Lyle Overbay gave the Bombers the lead with a pinch-hit single followed by an error that pushed through two more runs. With the win, the Yankees are 56-51 on the year, back to 2.5 games behind the Orioles in the Wild Card Race. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/1

On this day in 1975 Billy Martin was hired for the first of his five times as the Yankees manager replacing Bill Virdon. Virdon never won a game at Yankees Stadium in his two season tenure as the Yankees skipper since the Yankees played their games in Shea Stadium from 1974-1975 while Yankees Stadium was being renovated.