Monday, December 15, 2014

Yankees Bring Three Minor Leaguers In Including Jose Campos

New York has brought back minor league right handed pitcher Jose Campos after non tendering him last week before the deadline. You may remember Campos as the "other" guy the Yankees got in the Michael Pineda and Jesus Montero trade. Campos has had consecutive seasons with elbow injuries including a Tommy John surgery so a trip to the bullpen may be in store for the young right hander.
In other news the Yankees brought in some new blood in from the Tampa Bay Rays in infielder Cole Figueroa and catcher Juan Graterol formerly of the Kansas City Royals. 

Cashman: Using A-Rod as DH Yankees' 2015 Plan

That they signed Chase Headley to a four-year/$52 million deal Monday certainly makes it seem the Yankees don't want to start Alex Rodriguez at a defensive position next season, but apparently that's been their plan all along. 

Team GM Brian Cashman revealed so in an interview with NBC New York's Sports Final early Monday morning, hours before the Headley news broke. Cashman said the circumstances surrounding the 39-year-old has led the Yankees to prefer using him as a DH instead, a decision that appears to be smart considering Rodriguez hasn't played since 2013. 

And that wasn't everything Cashman talked about during the discussion, with the executive also elaborating on the club's expectations for him.

“You know,” Cashman said, per's Brendan Kuty, “I’m going to go into this thing looking at him less at third, more at DH, given his age, given his situation where he’s missed a full year. I think expecting the least and hoping for the most is the right approach for the general manager of the Yankees to take."

The Yankees are set to pay Rodriguez $21 million next year, so that's probably not something they want to do. Their offense already contains a few guys on the decline, namely Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira. 

Nonetheless, since Rodriguez hasn't spent more than a month on the field in three seasons, it doesn't look they have much of a choice, good as the veteran's been in the past. 

"The production we can get would be a benefit from him," Cashman said. "But in terms of what we can or should expect right now, I think we have to keep that bar low and hopefully he can surprise us."

It's currently unknown where the retaining of Headley puts Rodriguez in the Yankees' batting order, though he's likely near the bottom of it. 

Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Martin Prado are expected to occupy the first three spots, while Teixeira, Headley and Brian McCann fill out the middle ones. Therefore, it's a safe bet Rodriguez will be somewhere in the 7-9 region, possibly in between Beltran and Didi Gregorius.

Yankees 2015 Opening Day Countdown - 112 (Year 4)

It is officially 112 days until Opening Day so 112 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 New York Highlanders and they played their first games during the 1904 season. Let’s take a quick snapshot of that historic team as we countdown to Opening Day.

Team overall record: 92-59
Place finished: 2nd in American League
Wins leader:Jack Chesbro (41-12)
Home runs leader: John Ganzel & Patsy Dougherty (6)
Manager: Clark Griffith

Most Popular Article of the Week: The Yankees' Offseason So Far

The most popular article of the week comes from Bryan Van Dusen as he shares his thoughts on the Yankees offseason so far. Enjoy.

So far this offseason is like riding a roller coaster.

First there was the signing of Chris Young to be the team's fourth outfielder. I wasn't worked up one way or another by this signing, as it's just a bench player. However, I'd rather see that spot given to a youngster, since Young is hardly somebody that's going to be a difference maker. Speaking of which, I'm not fooled by his time with the team last season, as that type of output is way above what he's done in his nine year MLB career.

That signing was followed up by the signing of left-handed pitcher Jose De Paula. If I didn't care a whole lot about the signing of Chris Young, this acquisition certainly wasn't going to get me hot and bothered. My initial thought was that De Paula was going to be a 2nd lefty in the bullpen until Jacob Lindgren is brought up.

Finally came some fairly big news, as the Yankees traded Shane Greene to the Arizona Diamondbacks for shortstop Didi Gregorius. I was really happy with this move. Sure, it stunk seeing Shane Greene shipped off, but the deal made a ton of sense for a team in dire need of a shortstop to replace the retired Derek Jeter. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe Didi will be a star. However, the Yankees made a nice move to get younger and gear up for the future, rather than just shell out big money for somebody like Hanley Ramirez, or settle on a so-so veteran like Stephen Drew.

My smile got a little wider when I learned that we had signed Andrew Miller, a 29-year-old lefty reliever. Here we have a guy that's struck out 13.6 batters per 9 innings over the past three years, and should be an incredible compliment to Dellin Betances, a right-hander that stuck out 13.5 guys per 9 innings last season. Of course, I assumed the Yankees would bring back David Robertson to be their closer, and complete a vicious three-headed monster in the bullpen.

I understand that the Yankees have been able to build a strong bullpen year in and year out, so there's really no need to spend a lot of money on relievers. But why spend $36 million on Andrew Miller only to let David Robertson, a better reliever, sign elsewhere for just a couple million more dollars per season (Miller and Robertson both signed four year deals)? If they had only planned on signing one of them from the start, why not spend a few more dollars to get the better of the two? If Andrew were two years younger than David I could make sense of it, but Miller isn't even two months younger than Robertson.

Not surprisingly, my reaction was tame next to some of the hate spewed out towards the Yankees and Brian Cashman. But unlike some fans, who continue to be pessimistic about the teams chances to win in 2015 and beyond, I'm actually liking the way things are going.

The fact of the matter is the Yankees are getting younger, and they appear to be looking to the future.

Currently, the Yankees have young players like the aforementioned Didi Gregorius (25 years old, and under team control through 2018), Masahiro Tanaka (26, signed through at least 2017), Michael Pineda (25, under team control through 2017), Ivan Nova (27, under team control through 2016), Dellin Betances (26, under team control through 2019), Rob Refsnyder (23, under team control through at least 2021), Jose Pirela (25, under team control through at least 2021). And then there are other minor leaguers who could make an impact in MLB fairly soon, like Manny Banuelos, Jacob Lindgren, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Ian Clarkin, and Greg Bird.

I'm absolutely not saying that the team shouldn't look at some of the bigger names in free agency, either now or in the future. But by building a solid base of younger, cost-controlled, players the team can afford to give a big contract to a stud player without suffering due to it should an injury occur. So sprinkle in a guy like Max Scherzer this season, who could turn a good rotation into a great one. Or possibly sign Justin Upton a year from now, once he becomes a free agent.

What the Yankees should never do again is sign aging stars to big contracts like we saw in the mid-2000s. The Yankees signed 39 year old Kevin Brown in 2004, and paid him over $31 million for two years and barely over 200 innings of work. Then there was Randy Johnson, who got nearly $32 million for his age 41 and 42 seasons, and was an average pitcher despite winning 34 games. And who could forget the Yankees giving 44 year old Roger Clemens $17.4 million in 2007, and seeing average output along with the worst strikeout rate of his career?

The bottom line is that this isn't George Steinbrenner's Yankees, and while I certainly miss The Boss, I'm perfectly okay with that. No longer should we see knee-jerk reactions to poor play, or reactionary signings to what teams like the Red Sox do. Perhaps Cashman and the team will sometimes over-think things, and therefore miss out on players that would otherwise be good for them, but that's better than throwing out huge money to guys that just happen to be at the top of some experts top free agent rankings.

Yankees Sign Chase Headley

Why does all the good stuff happen at work when I can't talk about it? Anyway Chase Headley is back with the Yankees on a four year deal worth $52 million. Stay tuned. 

ICYMI: Something to be Excited About Regarding Didi Gregorius

I think we all expected the player to replace Derek Jeter to catch a little flak, even if he was Troy Tulowitzki, but the amount of negativity towards Didi Gregorius is mind boggling. First and foremost we posted the BIP locations from Chase Field in Arizona and transferred them to Yankee Stadium and saw over the course of a season Didi could be (in a perfect world of course) a 10-20 home run guy in New York or more. Let's remember the guy is 24 years old, will be 25 in 2015, and has plenty of room to grow into himself. That didn't do any good for fans apparently so here we are defending the signing again.

Let's remember first and foremost that Gregorius was a part time player in Arizona with Chris Owings getting the bulk of the every day at bats. Some players aren't simply made for sitting on the bench five days a week and coming up and getting a hit. This was evident by Gregorius' .204 average coming into the final three plus weeks of the season. Didi started to get more opportunities at the plate and raised his average to the .226 we have all been jumping around about. In his last 10 games Didi hit .342 showing you just how valuable regular playing time can be for a young player.

The Yankees either need to add run prevention or run production to the team, I can't see the team adding both this winter, and Didi does both even marginally. His defense and range is much better than Jeter's while his bat, if managed right, could far exceed Jeter's as well. Blasphemy I know but Didi could be better than Jeter was in his last five to seven seasons besides that monster 2012 season from the Captain. So calm down, Didi will be fine as long as you stay off his back after his first 0-4.

TGP Daily Poll: Hiroki Kuroda Will Retire

I think the Yankees may be waiting on Hiroki Kuroda to make up his mind and I think that's a mistake as I predict the 40 year old righty will retire from Major League Baseball before 2015.

Vote in our poll!

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/15: Locking Up Guidry

On this day in 1981 the Yankees continued their spending ways when they signed Ron Guidry to a four year deal worth $3.6 million to keep him in New York. Gator averaged nearly 17 wins per season during the four year contract for perennial terrible Yankees teams.

Also on this day in 1980 Dave Winfield became the highest paid player in Major League history and the history of sports at the time when the New York Yankees handed him a 10 year deal worth $16 million. Makes Robinson Cano turning down $175 million into perspective on where the game has come from in the last 30 years.