Sunday, February 23, 2014

Early Spring Rotation & The Derek Jeter Debut

Just a quick couple of hits while The Walking Dead is on a commercial concering the Yankees spring training rotation for next week and when we should expect to see Derek Jeter on a baseball diamond in a "real" game again. 

Jeter is not expected to play in the Tuesday exhibition opener against the Florida State Seminoles baseball team. Jeter is also not expected to travel on Wednesday's road game in Bradenton. Thursday is looking like the debut day for Jeter when the Yankees host the Pirates on a game on YES and WFAN. 

Here is the early spring training rotation:

Tuesday: Vidal Nuno
Wednesday: Ivan Nova
Thursday: David Phelps
Friday: Adam Warren

What Gardner's Extension Means For David Robertson

The archaic policy of not negotiating contracts with players currently under contract has bit the Yankees in the butt time after time and has finally come to an end with the Brett Gardner extension. What does this mean for now Yankees closer David Robertson, is he next? If he's not he should be, especially before he starts racking up saves under his belt.

Let's use the Craig Kimbrel contract as a starting point for David Robertson. Atlanta gave Kimbrel a four year deal worth $42 million for an AAV of $10.5 million. After his first four seasons in the majors Kimbrel averaged 41 saves a season with a 1.39 ERA and 0.902 WHIP, those are Mariano Rivera type numbers. All this and Kimbrel is only 25 years old, which helps because this bought out arbitration years mainly and not free agency.

Robertson on the other hand has pitched for six seasons and will be a free agent after the 2014 season. Robertson is in his age 29 season and his age 30 season in his first year of free agency. In his six seasons D Rob has averaged a 2.76 ERA, a 1.246 WHIP, and over 30 holds in each of the last three seasons.

While I agree that the Yankees should extend the best set up man in all of baseball the last three seasons before he hits free agency I don't think he will get as much as Kimbrel did if we extend him now. D Rob avoided arbitration with the Yankees this season on a one year deal worth $5.22 million. If the Yankees were to, for example, give Robertson four years at $40 million I think he eats that up in a heartbeat and we have the back end of the bullpen locked up for the foreseeable future.

Yankees To Extend Gardner 4 Years $52 Million

Maybe times are changing here in Yankeeland as for the first time since the first Robinson Cano extension the Yankees have extended one of their homegrown players before hitting free agency. Gardner signed a four year deal worth $52 million with an option for a fifth year. The fifth year is a $12.5 million club option with a $2 million buyout and apparently it kicks in next season.

A few weeks ago the Yankees and Gardner agreed on a one year deal worth $5.6 million avoiding arbitration for the 2014 season so I guess you could say technically this is a five year deal with a sixth year club option. For the next five seasons after 2014, including the option, Gardner will be paid $12.5 million annually and will get an extra $1 million if traded during the deal, which means he doesn't have a no trade clause.

Law Ranks Three Yankees In Top 100 Prospects List

The other day we learned that the New York Yankees did not have a great farm system when Keith Law released his rankings by team of the farm systems across the league. Today we got to read Law's Top 100 Prospects list and three Yankees made the cut, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Mason Williams. Once again, even though he is eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award this year, Masahiro Tanaka was not eligible due to his time in Japan and the NPB.

Sanchez was ranked #68, Austin was ranked #85, and Williams came in at #87 on the list that requires subscriptions to read unfortunately. Law says of Sanchez:

“[Sanchez] has huge upside as a hitter, with plus-plus raw power and very hard contact.” His defense behind the plate, while improved, continues to need work. “Even a grade-45 defender [on the 20-80 scouting scale] back there with Sanchez’s potential offensive upside will be an MVP candidate, and if he continues to work at receiving and on his plate discipline he’ll be ready to take over and make a real impact for the Yankees by 2016.”

Law also touched on maybe a surprising pick in Austin:

“When healthy, Austin has a very sound swing that is geared both toward contact and power and is short to contact with good extension. He rotates his hips well to generate power, all with enough patience to keep his OBP in the .350 range,” he wrote. “He’ll be only about average in right field — making the necessary plays but not much more — so he needs to hit and hit for power to be a regular.”

Law didn't leave out Mason Williams and was quoted as saying:

“He is a potential Gold Glove defender in center, a future 70 on the 20-80 scale with good reads off the bat and bursting speed to chase down balls in the gaps … His ultimate outcome should be a high-average, doubles-power guy who might hit 15 homers in his best season, but even .290-plus with 50-60 walks and 10 homers with great defense is an above-average regular.”

Meet A Prospect: Brian Roberts

Brian Michael Roberts was born on October 9, 1977 in Durham, North Carolina. Roberts has not had the easiest path to the majors and through life as he underwent open heart surgery at the age of 5 years old to repair an atrial septal defect. Thankfully the surgery was a success and Roberts went on to graduate from Chapel Hill High School healthy as a horse. Roberts spent his college years at the University of North Carolina playing on the Tarheels baseball team and the University of South Carolina. Roberts has been in Major League Baseball since 2001 spending his entire professional career with the Baltimore Orioles before signing a free agent contract with the New York Yankees this offseason. Let’s meet the man that has some enormous shoes to fill, those of Robinson Cano. 

Roberts batting .427, which was good for the second highest batting average in the ACC that year,  with 102 hits, 24 doubles, and 47 stolen bases in his freshman year at UNC while being named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s Second Team and the Collegiate Baseball Third team. He followed that performance up in his sophomore year hitting .353 with 13 home runs, 49 RBI’s, 21 doubles, 63 stolen bases, and was named to the NCBWA First Team, The Sporting News Second Team, and the Collegiate Baseball Second Team. His 63 stolen bases were more than any other college baseball player that season. Roberts also became the fifth player in UNC’s history to be named the ACC Player of the Year and was a first team All American. Mike Roberts was fired after the 1998 season which prompted Brian to transfer to the University of South Carolina to continue his baseball dreams as a South Carolina Gamecock. Roberts was a short stop for South Carolina and was named the best defensive college player by Baseball America. Roberts had the bat to go with it while posting a .353 average with 12 home runs and 36 RBI and still owns the school and SEC record for stolen bases in a single season with 67. Roberts was once again named an All American and was awarded with being a member of the All SEC Team. Roberts entered the MLB First Year Players Draft in 1999 and was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles.

Roberts wasted no time making his Major League debut as he got all the way to the show by 2001, playing in 75 games for the Orioles that season. Roberts only batted .253 but the Orioles knew they had something special in him. Roberts spent much of the 2002 season in AAA but did play in 38 games for the big league club in 2002 and started the 2003 season back in the minor leagues as well before getting a call up when Jerry Hairston, Jr. suffered an injury. Roberts responded by hitting a grand slam in his second game and finished the 2003 season with a  .270 average in 112 games with 23 stolen bases.  Hairston and Roberts were both on the Orioles roster when 2004 came along but Hairston started the season on the DL after fracturing a finger and Roberts was named the Opening Day starter and was the second basemen for the now and the future. Even when Hairston returned he was moved to right field so Roberts could stay at second base.  Roberts played in 159 games in 2004 and collected a .273 batting average with 175 hits and 50 doubles. The 50 doubles led the American League and was third best in the majors and also broke the Orioles single season record for doubles previously held by Cal Ripken, Jr. This was also the single season American League record for doubles by a switch hitter. The Orioles loved what they had in Roberts and traded Hairston to the Chicago Cubs before the 2005 season for Sammy Sosa thus passing the torch for Roberts to be the starting second basemen for the O’s no questions asked.

Roberts was named the starting second basemen for the All Star Game in 2005, his first appearance, after leading the AL in batting average for the first several months of the season. Roberts then began to slump, and so did the Orioles in the standings, and Roberts dislocated his elbow after colliding with Yankees player Bubba Crosby at first base which ended his season.  Roberts healed well and rebounded well also playing in 138 games in 2006 posting a .286 batting average with 85 runs scored. 36 stolen bases, 55 RBI’s and another DL trip in May of that season. Roberts played in over 150 games in 2007 and earned his second All Star game appearance with 50 more stolen bases while setting career marks in hits and walks. In 2008 Roberts saw himself collect his 1,000th hit, his 250th career double, and saw him ground out into the final out of the history of the Old Yankee Stadium. Roberts 2009 season was one of ups and downs as he signed a new four year deal with the Orioles and was named to Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, replacing injured Red Sox infielder Dustin Pedroia, and batted .438 with a home run in an eventual loss to Team Japan. The injury bug started to hit Roberts in 2010 as he missed much of Spring Training with a herniated disc in his lower back but did recover in time for Opening Day.  16 games into the season though Roberts suffered an abdominal strain and was placed on the 15 day DL until July. Roberts returned to the lineup and made it all the way until the end of September before suffering a concussion, a self-induced concussion after he hit himself in the head with a baseball bat out of frustration. This would not be his first concussion as he had another on May 16 of 2011 and did not return for the remainder of that season. Through the beginning of the 2012 season Roberts was still on the DL with that concussion but finally made it back to the team on June 12 of that season only to strain his groin on July 3 and land right back on the DL. Roberts had season ending hip surgery on July 29th of 2012 and missed the remainder of the season.  

The injuries did not stop in 2013 as Roberts ruptured a tendon behind in right knee in only the third game of the season and was placed on the 15 day DL. Roberts went into the offseason of 2014 as a free agent and signed with the New York Yankees with a deal worth $2 million plus incentives.  Ignoring the 2007 admission of using steroids by Brian Roberts and his obvious injury history I think, if used correctly, he could really help out the squad. Let’s go out there and prove them all wrong Brian. Welcome to the family.

New York Yankees Spring Training News & Notes 2/24

Michael Pineda threw early live batting practice this morning at Yankees camp this morning and was followed by Jose Ramirez. These two guys can both impact the Yankees big league club big time this season so this is an exciting duo to watch.

Vidal Nuno is going to be the starting pitcher for the Yankees on Tuesday when they open their exhibition schedule against the Florida State baseball team.

We'll be back with more later but here are the assignments for the day once again brought to you by Chad Jennings:

Early morning live batting practice:
Group 1 (with Ramon Flores and Jose Pirela hitting)
Dellin Betances (to Austin Romine)
Chase Whitley (to Jose Gil)
Robert Coello (to Francisco Arcia)
Michael Pineda (to John Ryan Murphy)
Group 2 (with Corban Joseph, Adonis Garcia and Yangervis Solarte hitting)
Jose Ramirez (to Gary Sanchez)
Fred Lewis (to Francisco Cervelli)
Dan Burawa (to Pete O’Brien)
Yoshinori Tateyama (to Jose Gil)
· Bullpens:
Ivan Nova (to Brian McCann)
Bruce Billings (to Roman Rodriguez)
· Fielding drills
Group 1: Russ Canzler (1B), Corban Joseph (1B/2B), Brian Roberts (2B), Derek Jeter (SS), Scott Sizemore (3B/2B), Dean Anna (3B/SS), Zealous Wheeler (3B/2B)
Group 2: Mark Teixeira (1B), Jose Pirela (2B/3B), Yangervis Solarte (2B/3B), Brendan Ryan (SS), Eduardo Nunez (3B/SS), Kelly Johnson (3B)
· Batting practice:
Same as yesterday
Group 1: Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, Brian Roberts, Jose Gil
Group 2: Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan, Mark Teixeira, Francisco Cervelli
Group 3: Dean Anna, Russ Canzler, Scott Sizemore, Brian McCann
Group 4: Corban Joseph, Yangervis Solarte, Zealous Wheeler, John Ryan Murphy
Group 5: Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ichiro Suzuki, Gary Sanchez
Group 6: Zoilo Almonte, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Pete O’Brien
Group 7: Tyler Austin, Antoan Richardson, Mason Williams, Austin Romine
Group 8: Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia, Jose Pirela, Francisco Arcia

Yankees Sign Columbian Juan Escorcia

The New York Yankees have signed 17 year old prospect out of Columbia Juan Escorcia. This comes on the heels of the news that the Yankees plan on spending big this summer on the international market when the new season opens on July 2. The Yankees are also in talks with Aledmys Diaz and are considered to be the front runners for the latest Cuban defector to come to the states. The plan is there and it seems to be getting into place sooner rather than later.

Escorcia is a right handed pitcher who is clocked around 90 MPH and is a smaller framed pitcher listed at 5' 10". Since he is only 17 years old the Yankees are hoping for him to add some weight, some muscle and some power to his repertoire. Escorcia will make his debut in the Dominican Summer League before coming stateside sometime in 2015.

Escorcia's brother Kevin is a member of the Chicago White Sox after signing last season. Juan Escorcia is a long way away from being a household name or even in consideration to help out the big league club but it's still kind of cool to look ahead to the future.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #36 Tony Kubek

Tony Kubek was the Yankees shortstop during the first half of the 1960's and helped the club win each of the first five American League pennants of the decade. In 1961 Kubek set a then Yankees record with 38 doubles by a shortstop and was also chosen to start the MLB All Star Game for the American League. This would be the defensive wizards third of his four All Star Game selections of his career.

36 days until Yankees Opening Day

Prospects Month: Top 28 Yankees Prospects List #6

Continuing our look at The Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 prospects list as a part of Prospects Month we name our #6 prospect, Mason Williams!

Here is the complete up to date list. Check back every day as the list fills out and we continue our look at the prospects in the New York Yankees system during Prospects Month here on TGP.

6. Mason Williams
7. Ian Clarkin
8. Eric Jagielo
9. Greg Bird
10. Manny Banuelos
11. Jose Campos
12. Gosuke Katoh
13. Shane Greene
14. Jose Ramirez
15. Peter O'Brien
16. Aaron Judge
17. Ty Hensley
18. Luis Severino
19. Abiatal Avelino
20. Rob Refsnyder
21. Nik Turley
22. Cito Culver
23. Ramon Flores
24. Mark Montgomery
25. Rookie Davis
26. Jake Cave
27. Ben Gamel
28. Angelo Gumbs

Exclusive Interview w/ Yankees Brandon Thomas

I am extremely excited about this interview with former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket and current Yankees farm hand Brandon Thomas. I did not watch much college football when I lived in New York, although I did root for the Syracuse Orangemen in March Madness, but when I moved down here I got into CFB. Everyone in my town roots for the rival Georgia Bulldogs so, me being the different guy I am, started following the Yellow Jackets. It started in football, was followed by basketball, and ended up watching their baseball team. Now I am interviewing former GT players and current Yankees players and I am stoked, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it. 

The Greedy Pinstripes: Brandon Thomas, former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket (my favorite college team), how are you today sir? How is your offseason going?

My offseason has been great. I've been able to work on some things and am getting ready to get started.

TGP:  How do you plan to follow up a 2013 season in which you were named the Yankees Best Athlete coming out of the draft?

I plan on continuing to work hard, improving all areas of my game, and having a great first full pro season.

TGP: Do you miss anything about the whole college experience or anything specifically at Georgia Tech?

I really enjoyed my college career at GT.

TGP: Do you keep up with the Georgia Tech baseball and/or football teams? Another tough season and bowl loss. How much longer does Coach Paul Johnson have left?

I keep in touch with a lot of the GT Baseball players and coaches. I have a lot of great relationships from my 4 years there.

TGP: How many Varsity hot dogs or chili cheese burgers do you think you have eaten in your life?


TGP:  What were you doing when you found out that you became a member of the New York Yankees?

Waiting in the kitchen with my Mom to find out where I would be going.

TGP:  What teams and sports did you root for and watch growing up?

I've always liked watching baseball, basketball, and football. No specific professional teams though.

TGP: Favorite restaurant to eat at?


TGP: What current Major League player do you think you compare to the most?

Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran are two of my favorite players

TGP: How important is family to you in your life and in your career?

Faith and family are the two most important things to me in my life.

TGP: Speaking of embarrassing please explain the picture on your Twitter of you and a bunch of your teammates half naked on a bus. I'm not judging though. 

Haha! The AC on our bus this summer broke... Not a fun 8 hours

TGP: Any parting words you would like to express to all those Georgia Bulldogs fans?

Proud that we had a winning record against the bulldogs in my GT career!

TGP: We'll finish with this one, where do you see yourself in life and your career in five years?

I see myself a few years in to my big league career in 5 years.

Thank you again to Brandon for doing this interview for us, I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can follow Brandon on Twitter by following @brandonthomas6.

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/23

While you have to love these February days with baseball back after a long winter, a few more free agents that you can lust over because they can be had for cheap, and there are games right around the corner. The bad thing is there is no news at all to speak of. Nothing happened on this day in New York Yankees history so maybe the Yankees will sign an Ervin Santana or someone and make this easier next year.