Saturday, December 13, 2014

Betances Prepared to be Yankees' Closer if Needed

Now that David Robertson's playing for the White Sox, the Yankees have a decision to make with their closing role.

Robertson was set to be the team's successor to Mariano Rivera at this point last year, but his sudden departure has seemingly exposed a hole in its bullpen. The Yankees signed Andrew Miller last Friday, but he's never been much more than a set-up man.

So who will pitch ninth innings for them next season? Dellin Betances is always an option, and he says he's up for it.

"For me, I think I would just try to treat everything the same, no matter what happens," Betances told's Bryan Hoch Friday. "I know obviously it's a different role, but I'm just looking forward to helping the team win, no matter what situation they want me in."

Last year that situation largely consisted of throwing eighths, where Betances thrived. He struck out 135 hitters while maintaining a 1.40 ERA in 70 appearances, putting him in the running for AL Rookie of the Year.

Yet he's confident any of the guys in the current group could succeed if chosen to replace Robertson, referring to many by name. 

"I believe in the guys we have down there, especially getting [Andrew] Miller," Betances said. "He's a guy that is a high strikeout guy and can get both lefties and righties out. We still have [Adam] Warren, [Shawn] Kelley and a bunch of guys down there that can help us out as well."

Warren and Kelley were certainly solid in 2014, and when Kelley temporarily took over Robertson's duties in May, he recorded four saves. As for Warren, his sub-three ERA can't hurt his chances either, though he tended to struggle under pressure.

Nonetheless, it appears the two primary candidates for the job right now are Miller and Betances, both of whom had five wins last season.

Yankees 2015 Opening Day Countdown - 114 (Year 2)

It is officially 114 days until Opening Day so 114 years ago in New York Yankees history the team looked a little something like this:

In the Yankees second season their team name was the Baltimore Orioles and they played their first games during the 1902 season. Let’s take a quick snapshot of that historic team as we countdown to Opening Day.

Team overall record: 50-88
Place finished: 8th in American League
Wins leader:Joe McGinnity (13-10)
Home runs leader: Jimmy Williams (8)
Manager: John McGraw & Wilbert Robinson

Is There a Bigger Emphasis on Expiring Contracts in MLB?

In the NBA you always hear about a rebuilding team either dealing or dealing for expiring contracts and that never really registered why they were so important being a MLB fan. Why would a team want to acquire a player with just one year left, unless you’re mid-season and trying to make a playoff run, unless you have a window to negotiate? There is no salary cap in MLB so there isn’t as much of an emphasis on the salary relief, not until this offseason anyway.

The Red Sox and the Tigers swapped a pair of expiring contracts at the Winter Meetings when the teams basically traded Yoenis Cespedes for Rick Porcello but that’s not the only instance where one year of team control has come up in trades this week. Boston also added one year deals on the free agent market with Justin Masterson and on the trade market with Wade Miley. The Miami Marlins alone added two pitchers in Mat Latos and Dan Haren with one year left each on their contracts, although if Haren retires the Marlins get to keep his $10 million in salary for free. The Dodgers, Haren’s former team, added one year of Howie Kendrick for a top pitching prospect and one year of Jimmy Rollins during the meetings in San Diego as well.

For a long time the scale tipped in favor of the players who used the media and teams like the New York Yankees to get an extra few million bucks or an extra season on their contracts. Now we’re seeing these teams acquiring one season and expiring contracts to remain flexible in their spending and roster constructions. Teams don’t want to be hamstrung by the contracts of CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran anymore and the game has finally caught up to the powerful union and the players.

Expiring contracts with roster and fiscal responsibility are in and trading veterans and rentals for top prospects seem to be out. The emphasis has moved on from high priced 30 something’s and is moving towards locking up kids early and building from within. It makes for a boring offseason sometimes but the times are a changing and the Yankees are way behind. 

Max Scherzer Won’t Save the Season

Max Scherzer was the best available free agent on this year’s market and being a Scott Boras client is still available on the market. Many around the Yankees team and their fan base think that signing Scherzer is the obvious, and only, option for New York this season. While having Mad Max in the rotation in 2015 and beyond would really help many believe, including myself, that it wouldn’t be enough to propel the team even into the playoffs, let alone the World Series.

Scherzer would top a rotation that includes CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, David Phelps, Michael Pineda and a mixture of David Phelps, Manny Banuelos and Bryan Mitchell. The problem with the team last season was not the pitching though it was the inability to score runs consistently. New York could have about five Scherzer’s in the rotation but the team, without big bounce back seasons and contributions from the likes of Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann, would still lose far too many 1-0 and 2-1 games.

New York has done a bit in the run prevention game adding Didi Gregorius to take over for Derek Jeter and the possibility of having young and fresh legs at second base in either Jose Pirela or Robert Refsnyder can only help. Martin Prado is slated to be the team’s third baseman right now barring a Chase Headley signing and that being Prado’s best position also helps with the infield run prevention but I don’t think it would be enough. Adding Scherzer won’t be enough. This team still has a lot to do and they are running out of time to do it in. In closing I don’t think lighting candles and beating drums for Max Scherzer will do much good in the short term or in the long run without a whole lot of help. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Will Take a Chance on Brett Anderson

The New York Yankees are getting desperate for starting pitching and without many viable, and affordable, options left on the board I see New York going after the Rockies Brett Anderson on a one year deal.

Vote in our poll!

Quick Hit: Yankees Sign Nick Noonan

The New York Yankees have announced that the team has signed Triple-A infielder Nick Noonan away from the San Francisco Giants. Noonan is listed as a second baseman but has spent time at shortstop in the past and that's where the Yankees see the most value. Noonan is 25 years old and is expected to get an extended look in Spring Training this season for New York. Welcome to the family, Nick!

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/13: A Rod and Giambi

On this day in 2007 the New York Yankees and recently opted out free agent Alex Rodriguez agreed on a 10 year deal worth $275 million with incentives that could bring the deal to $320 million. A Rod now owns the two richest deals in Major League history.

Also on this day in 2001 the New York Yankees signed free agent first basemen Jason Giambi to a seven year deal worth $120 million to steal him from the Oakland Athletics. Giambi was the 2000 American League MVP and the runner up in 2001 before coming to New York. Giambi led the A's to a Wild Card berth after driving in 120 runs, hitting 38 home runs, and batting .342.