Monday, November 30, 2015

Everyone Likes A Good Trade

The first pot has boiled on the hot stove with Jordan Zimmermann reportedly signing with the Detroit Tigers. With the Winter Meetings starting December 6th, other signings and trades are bound to take place soon. I played GM and examined the Yankees Major League and Minor League rosters for players that I think could be traded during the offseason. Not included on this list are the big three prospects of Luis Severino, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge. I have not included them because I consider the chances of them being traded extremely slight. Let's get started.

  1. Andrew Miller He is coming off a season in which he won the Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award. He has three years left on his contract at a salary below that of the going market rate for closers.
  2. Brett Gardner - The Yankees have already discussed trading him with multiple teams. As detailed in my previous post he could be traded because of age, contract duration and salary.
  3. Ivan Nova - He is a proven back-end to mid-rotation starter who would be appealing to teams that are looking to upgrade their pitching staff but aren't in the market for an ace.
  4. Jorge Mateo - One of the Yankees top prospects they already have shown a willingness to deal him. He is young and could make an impact soon. Scouting reports indicate that he could stick at shortstop or make the seamless transition to second base in the future.
  5. Gary Sanchez - His Arizona Fall League performance opened up some eyes, and he had a solid rebound season in the minors. Currently, he is number two on the catching depth chart after the John Ryan Murphy - Aaron Hicks trade but he would make an intriguing trade piece.
  6. Rob Refsnyder - His late season audition was short but successful. His success in September put himself in a position to start the 2016 season on a Major League roster. Middle infielders who can hit are hard to come by which could make him a nice trade piece as part of a bigger deal.
  7. Ian Clarkin - He missed the 2015 season due to a mysterious elbow injury but he is 21, and scouting reports peg him as having the upside of the number two starter with two plus pitches including a fastball and 12-6 changeup. He might not be the centerpiece of a trade but would make an excellent complimentary piece in a larger trade.
  8. Eric Jagielo - Still one of the Yankees top prospects despite some setbacks he'll be appealing to teams looking to buy low on a third baseman or first baseman.
  9. Bryan Mitchell - He'll be 25 during the 2016 season and has great velocity. His command needs improvement, but a team looking for young pitching with high upside could target him.
  10. Jacoby Ellsbury - He has been productive when healthy, and the Yankees would likely kick in some money to get out of the contract so teams in need of centerfield help would at least check in.

Now that I've put together my list of tradeable assets I pose the question to you, who is on your list of players that Yankees could be traded during the offseason?

Most Popular Article of the Week: Could the Yankees Take a Prospect in Rule 5 Draft?

The 2015 version of the Rule 5 Draft goes down on December, 10 and the New York Yankees recently added three of their own prospects to the 40 man roster to protect them from the draft. Adding Johnny Barbato, Ben Gamel and Rookie Davis to the roster filled up the 40 man roster but the Yankees have plenty of time to make a trade and plenty of players they can potentially outright off the 40 man roster or designate for assignment. Long story short the Yankees could make a move and actually take a player in the Rule 5 Draft... but who would that be?

Corey Black is the right-handed pitcher that the Yankees sent to the Chicago Cubs in the deal that brought Alfonso Soriano back to the Bronx. Now the circle can complete after Chicago left Black unprotected and off the 40 man. Black throws hard and is a big strikeout guy, which the Yankees like, but his walk totals are troubling.

Reymin Guduan is another mid-to-high 90's heat thrower that struggles with command and was left unprotected by the Houston Astros. The Yankees have so many left-handed relief pitching options though so I can't see this happening.

Throw Sam Selman of the Kansas City Royals into that category as well as he can hit 97 MPH on the gun.... he just doesn't always know where it's going.

The final piece, and one of the more notable pieces in my opinion, is the New York Mets shortstop prospect T.J. Rivera. Rivera has hit well in the minor leagues but has yet to reach the Major Leagues. The issue that intrigued me most is that Rivera is that he has experience at all four infield positions and plays them all well. Upgrade over Brendan Ryan?

ICYMI:Torii Hunter Gives Advice to Aaron Hicks

The New York Yankees acquired a young and talented center fielder by the name of Aaron Hicks this offseason in the trade that sent John Ryan Murphy to the Minnesota Twins. Already we’ve heard rave reviews of Hicks in regards to his defense, his speed and his up-and-coming back. Hicks credits his turnaround season in 2015 to a phone call from one Hall of Fame player, Rod Carew, and now the young switch-hitter may be able to look back and credit his 2016 season success to a discussion with a potential future Hall of Fame player, Torii Hunter.

Hunter, a longtime Twins player, revealed this winter some advice that he gave who he called an “immature” Hicks in hopes of helping him for the remainder of his career. Hicks has played in the majors for three seasons now and it is likely not a coincidence that his best and breakout season came in 2015 with Hunter as a teammate.

Torii signed a one year deal with the Twins knowing that 2015 was his final season and opened himself up to any and all questions that the young Minnesota players may have had. Hunter notes that no player was more receptive to the advice and help than Hicks. Hunter took Hicks under his wing and in an interview with the New York Post Twins manager Paul Molitor even noted that Torri “took it personally to help Aaron.”

Hunter focused more on the mental side of the game rather than the physical side with Hicks. The tools are there are Aaron, Hunter thought the mental aspect needed some help. Hunter would tell Hicks to “be warm before it was time to be warm” and “be loose before it was time to be loose” so he could pay attention to who was pitching and look at the game with a “third eye.”

Hicks is trying to be the 2016 version of both Nathan Eovaldi and Didi Gregorius. With all the Yankees coaching staff, trainers, staff and teammates by his side and the wisdom of a Torii Hunter and a Rod Carew in his head how could he not succeed?

Yankees and Red Sox Two Worst Run Organizations in MLB?

I don't tend to read much about other teams, I'm a Yankees fan and they eat up a significant amount of my reading time and I prefer it that way, but for whatever reason when I saw an article on "Chowder Champions" I decided to give it a read. The title of the post intrigued me, it stated that the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox were the two worst run organizations in all of Major League Baseball. Here is my review of this post SEEN HERE.

The general gist of this article is comparing teams like Boston and New York to the teams that have won the World Series over the last six seasons and, of course, comparing their payrolls to the Yankees and Red Sox. Naturally the homegrown talent argument was made as well as the author of the article pointed out that these teams that won the World Series (Royals-2015, Giants- 2010, 2012, 2014, Red Sox-2013, and the Cardinals in 2011) relied heavily on prospects while New York and Boston traded all their away. What seems to be most important to the author here is who won the World Series MVP during those years and points out that all were homegrown but two, David Ortiz in 2013 who was a product of the Minnesota Twins system, David Freese in 2011 and Edgar Renteria when he won the award with San Francisco in 2010.

I'm not seeing a direct correlation here. Comparing the markets and how the organizations are run in Kansas City to New York and Boston is foolish. Comparing smaller and mid-level market teams to huge markets are foolish because of the demand of the fan base. The Yankees are not the Kansas City Royals and the fan base is not going to settle for 30 seasons of losing. New York and Boston are not the financial juggernauts by losing for 30 seasons. Also Boston and New York are not drafting first overall and at the top of the draft year in and year out thanks to 30 years of losing. Boston and New York are the "worst run" because they win, overall, year in and year out? Um, no?

Also the article states letting Robinson Cano was a huge mistake. Why? Because he was homegrown? Ignoring the fact that he was 31-years old and wanted a 10 year deal worth $240 million? Signing him to that deal, a similar deal the Yankees are often criticized for that Alex Rodriguez is finally finishing up, would make the team one of the worst run organizations in all of Major League Baseball.

This article mentions money and thinks its a direct correlation to winning. That's not the way Major League Baseball is anymore. MLB is now known for its parity and their young guns. Both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are in the midst of rebuilds and re-tooling of the organization and the big league club. Also when you mention two badly run organizations due to payroll and subsequent World Series victories and fail to mention the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, both Chicago teams, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers you fail. Fail on many levels.

You had something here and you got me to read you work, probably your ultimate goal, so good work with that. You also cemented the fact that I won't be reading another any time soon. You're an obvious Yankees hater and that's okay if you make your case, you didn't.

Miami Is Shopping Marcell Ozuna?

I've been reluctant to write about this only because I haven't seen any concrete evidence that Miami is willing to sell. This is the offseason though, the time to dream, so for the sake of this blog post let's say that the Miami Marlins and Jeffrey Loria are willing to sell off a major young piece in Marcell Ozuna, should the Yankees be interested?

I like to keep this blog "PG" so excuse me for this, but HELL YES. Ozuna is a right-handed center fielder that projects to have 30 home run power in his Major League career. Ozuna is just 25-years old and has four years of team control including all of his arbitration years. Why would the Marlins, a team that handed outfielder Giancarlo Stanton a huge contract with a promise to compete for the life of it, want to trade Ozuna? Apparently there is some bad blood between owner Jeffrey Loria and their stud center fielder.

I'm not sure if you guys heard about it or not but the Marlins sent Ozuna down this season with the reasoning that they were hoping the demotion could turn around slumping season. Coincidentally the Marlins could delay his arbitration by a season if Ozuna spent at least five weeks in the minors in 2015 and Ozuna spent six weeks in Triple-A, just to be sure. That's all speculation until the recorded phone call between owner Loria and team president David Samson  hit the internet. SEE HERE for the actual audio but the important piece is below:

Female voice: “Scott Boras is on the line.”
Male voice: “Let me tell ya, tell Boras that his client is getting demoted, and that his client is a fat, [unintelligible] lazy, Dominican fuck.”

Wow if true, and wow if it's about Ozuna. No wonder Scott Boras and Ozuna are unhappy with the Marlins organization and no wonder why the Marlins want to trade him. Miami is doing this all wrong though, rather than waiting for all this to hit the internet thus lowering Ozuna's trade value they waited too long. Miami's screw up can be New York's gain.

Miami wants young starting pitching back for Ozuna and the Yankees have some, maybe not enough. I wouldn't give up Luis Severino for Ozuna but truth be told I would allow Nathan Eovaldi to head back to Miami and I would also lead a package with Michael Pineda. If the team is interested is Bryan Mitchell or Rookie Davis then let them go, Ozuna is a special talent. The problem is Seattle is said to be offering Taijuan Walker for Ozuna as we speak, New York may not be willing to bite that bullet and match.

Either way adding Ozuna to the Yankees continues to make the team younger, cheaper and absolutely leads to a Brett Gardner trade. The lineup is balanced, power is added and overall I think the team is exponentially better. It's a dream, every team is going to be interested in Ozuna, but Cashman hasn't worn his ninja costume in a while either... so maybe.

Jose Reyes: Pros and Cons to a Trade

The New York Yankees may or may not be happy with the idea of a Robert Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley platoon at second base this season. We all watched last offseason as Martin Prado was essentially written in stone at the position before the team traded the utility man to Miami in the Nathan Eovaldi trade. Refsnyder fans everywhere rejoiced thinking the Korean-born rookie would receive the starting job only to see the team sign Stephen Drew to a one-year deal worth $5 million. I said all that to say this, Refsnyder starting is no guarantee and will be no guarantee until I see it with my own two eyes on Opening Day. Until then Cashman could do anything to fill the position including a trade for the Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes.


Defensive upgrade over the platoon
Likely an offensive upgrade over the platoon as well
Can handle the New York market and media
Would come CHEAP after domestic violence suit
Averages an annual 3.0 WAR throughout his career


$22 million AAV through the 2018 season including team options
Reyes is 32 years old and will be 33 by mid-season
Deal runs through Reyes' age 35 season
Injury prone in 2013 and 2015 combining for just 219 games played
Did you say domestic violence suit... in Hawaii?

You decide. Is it worth? Leave it below in the comments section.

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/30: Jeter Wins Another Award

On this day in 2009 the Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. The Yankees captain would be the first Yankee to ever be named the winner of the award since SI started giving out the award in 1954.

Also on this day in 2000 the New York Yankees signed Mike Mussina to a six year deal worth $88.5 million stealing him from the rival Baltimore Orioles. Mussina would stay with the Yankees through the 2008 season and finally get his 20 win season in pinstripes before riding off into the sunset.
Finally on this day in 1952 Jackie Robinson went on a New York television show accusing the Yankees of being racist for not having a black player on their team. The Yankees would not sign a black baseball player until three years later when they signed Elston Howard, nine years after Jackie broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Meet a Prospect: Ben Gamel

Ben Gamel has seemingly finally put it all together for the New York Yankees. Gamel enjoyed a spectacular season in 2015 spending much of it in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. Gamel led off for the eventual playoff bound RailRiders and played center field for the club in a strong season that eventually led to a Minor League Player of the Year Award. Gamel was finally rewarded for his hard work and dedication to the sport and now the Yankees rewarded him with a 40 man roster spot and protection from the Rule 5 Draft, let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: Ben Gamel Edition. 

Gamel fits the Brett Gardner mold. He has a small frame at just 5'11" and 185 lbs. and Gamel lives and dies on his speed and defense. Gamel played center field and led off for much of the 2015 season with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders and is a left-handed hitter, again just like Gardner.

Gamel began adding extra-base hits and stolen bases to his repertoire in 2012 while with the Double-A Trenton Thunder and ended up leading the club to a Eastern League championship that season. Any scout will tell you that the power tool will be the last to develop and that has definitely been the case with Gamel. Gamel can put on an absolute show in batting practice though so and feels like it may finally be translating into the games.

Gamel is a very patient hitter and is never going to be a 30-home run guy, that's not his game. What Gamel will bring you is singles, singles turned into double with his legs and aggressiveness, doubles turned into triples for the same reasons and a constant presence on the base-paths that opposing starting pitchers are forced to pay attention to at all times. Gamel expects to play left field in the Major Leagues due to an average arm although he could survive at center field if needed to. In a lot of ways Gamel compares to Angel Pagan of the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants and comes with an ETA of 2016. One injury and Gamel is there. 

Comparing the Yankees & Blue Jays Lineups As it Stands Today

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays are expected to go at it head-to-head all season long again in 2016. As it stands today these are still the top two teams in the American League East, hands down, in my opinion. The Red Sox got a new closer but a closer is useless if you don't have the offense and the pitching staff to get the lead after eight innings. The Orioles lost basically any and all recognizable names not named Adam Jones this offseason (yes I realize they got Matt Wieters back but he wasn't what you would call "great" in 2015) and the Rays are continuing to sell off pieces. The Blue Jays will pound the crap out of opposing pitchers once again in 2016 with much of their offense coming back next season, can the Yankees keep up?


Brian McCann/ Russell Martin

First Base:

Mark Teixeira/Chris Colabello

Second Base:

Robert Refsnyder/Ryan Goins


Didi Gregorius/Troy Tulowitzki

Third Base:

Chase Headley/Josh Donaldson

Left Field:

Brett Gardner/Ben Revere

Center Field: 

Jacoby Ellsbury/Kevin Pillar

Right Field:

Carlos Beltran/Jose Bautista

Designated Hitter:

Alex Rodriguez/Edwin Encarnacion

Bolded player wins.

Arizona Fall League Top 10 Prospects

The Arizona Fall League is in the books for the 2015 season and the Scottsdale Scorpions are the champions, congratulations to them. We saw an absolute ton of talent head down to Arizona this season including eight members of the New York Yankees. One of those Baby Bombers made the list that Baseball America released this week, the Top 10 Prospects from the AFL. That one prospect is Gary Sanchez who was named the 2nd best prospect in the league.

The top prospect distinction went to, and this is a shock to nobody, the St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes who also pitched with Sanchez on the Surprise Saguaros. Here is the Baseball American write up for Sanchez: 

Sanchez proved that he’s ready to make the jump to the big leagues with a very good Fall League season in which he led the AFL in home runs (seven) during a .295/.357/.625 campaign and earned MVP honors in the Fall Stars game. Sanchez consistently showed off his plus-plus power, with scouts believing the bat will play despite some pitch recognition issues. Most importantly, he showed better actions behind the plate than expected, and his arm strength remains a plus tool albeit sometimes lacking in accuracy. Sanchez’s performance in the early weeks of the AFL season perhaps made the Yankees more comfortable in dealing backup catcher John Ryan Murphy to Minnesota in early November.
To finish out the rest of the Top 10 prospects list you have (in order) Texas Rangers outfielder Lewis Brinson, Oakland Athletics LHP Sean Manaea, Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, Milwaukee Brewers LHP Josh Hader, New York Mets 1B Dominic Smith, Cleveland Indians OF Clint Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates OF Clint Meadows and the San Francisco Giants SS prospect Christian Arroyo.

David Price and "GG" to the Division Race

Excuse me as I use lingo my son and his friends are using in the title, first let me explain. My son likes online gaming (at 5-years old.... I'm in trouble) and loves to watch Youtube. After every game the players all say "GG" which means good game but they also use it in the future context as well. For example, "If I get that sword before he does it's GG." Well with that new-found knowledge if the Boston Red Sox and Dave Dombrowski get David Price, and they are supposedly "all in" on the lefty ace, then the AL East Division is GG. It's over. Boston wins.

David Price has had his struggles in the postseason, they are well documented and we all know about it. I didn't suggest we start etching the World Series trophy now but I think that division, barring a big free agent pitching signing by the Toronto Blue Jays or a ton of work by Brian Cashman in the Yankees, would be essentially over. Price is the final missing piece to a young, hungry and exciting Boston Red Sox team.

Boston had two major issues in 2015 that led to another season without the postseason in Bean Town. The lack of an ace starting pitcher and the lack of a shutdown closer/ relief pitcher. The Red Sox have already acquired Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres in an over-pay in my opinion and have now turned their attention to Price, an ace that no one is denying.

Price has a lot of innings on that left arm and he will likely break down eventually much like CC Sabathia has in the latter years of his contract and career but that is unlikely to be for the next three to five seasons, if that soon. Price also allows everyone in that Red Sox rotation to take a step back. Clay Buchholz has all the makings of being a very solid #2 starter while Rick Porcello, stuff wise, may be the best, and most overpaid with an AAV above $20 million, third starter in all of the league.

Dombrowski was the man that traded Price to the Toronto Blue Jays for that substantial haul that was led by Daniel Norris and may want his ace back. Imagine if Dombrowski got Yoenis Cespedes back too? That's GG.

Ivan Nova is Available But Does Anyone Want Him?

The New York Yankees are going to have to get aggressive this offseason if they want to revamp the team and compete in 2016. The Yankees are not likely to enter the deep water of the free agency bin and may be stuck upgrading the team via trade. Brian Cashman has already pulled off a couple trades this offseason and has made it know that he's willing to do at least one more deal, a deal that includes the Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova.

Nova is available but is anyone going to really want him? We all know the Yankees rotation is crowded with possibilities right now and no one, not even Masahiro Tanaka, has their name etched in stone for the rotation in 2016. Nova is under team control through the 2017 season and will be entering his second year removed from Tommy John surgery next season. The second season removed is always the true indicator of how the arm and the UCL reacted from the surgery but will another team bank on that?

Nova struggled with his command in 2015 and was bumped to the rotation during the month of September where he finished the season with a 6-11 record with a 5.07 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 94 innings. That's the bad. The good is that Nova is just 28-years old and prior to the TJS the right-hander had a career 40-22 record with a 4.20 ERA in 537 innings pitched.

So could the Yankees trade him? Absolutely, there will be a team that needs a durable innings eater like Nova at the back end of their rotation. The problem is the Yankees are going to want something useful for Nova but unless it's part of a bigger deal I just can't see that happening. Nova is a #3 starter at best and you have to give something to get something, and the Yankees won't get much for Nova in my opinion.

Meet a Prospect: Rookie Davis

Rookie Davis was one of the three lucky and fortunate Yankees farm hands to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft this winter after New York added the right-hander to their 40 man roster. Davis has a bit of a breakout season in 2015 but hasn’t pitched much above the Double-A level in his career. Davis may have gone right through the Rule 5 Draft untouched but he was the closest to a no-brainer the Yankees had this season so the move made sense on many levels. Now Davis is here so we may as well meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Rookie Davis Edition. 

William "Rookie" Davis is another one of those big-framed right-handed pitchers that the New York Yankees absolutely love. Davis stands at 6'4" and weighs in at 234 lbs. and will be 23-years old for much of the 2016 season, a season that likely begins back in Double-A with the Trenton Thunder. Davis throws a 92-96 MPH fastball with a "tight" and plus power curveball with a changeup and cutter that he used to keep opposing hitters off balance.

Davis is still relatively new to pitching after being a two-way player in High School and after missing the 2011 season, the season where he signed his first professional contract with the Yankees, due to signing too late. Despite it all Davis is expected to hit the big leagues, either as a reliever or as a starting pitcher, in 2016. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/29: Drinks, Prepared to be Stirred

On this day in 1976 the Yankees got their drink stirred when they signed Reggie Jackson to a free agent contract worth five years and $3.5 million. Reggie would help the Yankees win four division titles, three American League pennants, and two World Series championships in his tenure thus becoming Mr. October.

Also on this day in 1966 the Yankees traded third basemen Clete Boyer to the Braves for outfielder Bill Robinson and a player to be named later.

Finally on this day in 1965 the New York Yankees traded Phil Linz to the Phillies for infielder Ruben Amaro. Over the next three seasons Amaro got famous for playing the harmonica on the team bus and playing in only 165 games before retiring after seven major league seasons.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Potential Rookie Impacts in 2016

Many people including myself have referred to the 2015 season as the Year of the Rookie. Now in years past there have been the Year of the Pitcher and the year of the this and the year of the that but the Yankees tend to not get involved in many of these. New York was very much involved with the Year of the Rookie as they set the Major League record for the team with the most Major League debut's in 2015(18). Most notably the Yankees watched as their development, hard work and patience was rewarded by Luis Severino, Greg Bird and others. What Yankees farm hands could potentially make their impact in 2016?

Believe it or not Bryan Mitchell is still considered to be a rookie so like I have each of the past two offseasons I will start with him. Mitchell has not made me look like I know very much about baseball last year as I have predicted him to be the breakout player for the team in each of the past two years. You know what? Third time is the charm. Mitchell is 24 years old and has struggled with his command due to an insane amount of movement on all of his pitches. Whether the line drive to the face had much to do with his confidence or not last season, and coming from a person who has been hit in the face with a baseball in a game trust me when I say that it does, remains to be seen but I truly think he can put it behind him and finish his development in 2016.

Mitchell contains a mid-to-high 90's fastball with what is considered to be a plus curveball and a developing cutter. The time is now for the right-hander. It almost has to be. Prospect Fatigue will be setting in soon.

The Yankees need a right-handed power bat to balance out their lineup and unfortunately, without a bit of maneuvering by GM Brian Cashman, there doesn't look like there is a roster spot for an impact position player this season. Between Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner an injury is going to happen and the clamoring for the Yankees top prospect, Aaron Judge, will begin.

Judge is a former first round draft pick in the 2013 draft and finished the season struggling a bit in Triple-A this season. Beltran did a fine job leading the Yankees offense in 2015 but his defense left much to be desired, Judge can give you that. Remember, Judge played center field a bit in Scranton to increase his versatility (or maybe it was his trade value at the time) and would be an immediate impact in right. He has a cannon for an arm and can mash at the plate. Judge won't win a job out of Spring Training, much like Greg Bird in 2015, but by mid-season you have to think if the Yankees need an outfielder or some DH help that Judge is coming, and coming fast. 

Ask me in a month and this opinion might change but right now Robert Refsnyder is your starting second baseman on Opening Day 2016. The Yankees seem like they are comfortable enough with a platoon of Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley to get by in 2016 and with a left-handed starting pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, on the mound on Opening Day Refsnyder likely gets the call.

Refsnyder had a down season in Scranton in 2015 hitting "just" .271 after posting an impressive .318 total in 2014 and his defense was once again on full display. As "bad" of a defender as Refsnyder is and as "down" as his bat has been that doesn't mean the Yankees should go out and sign a second base, a 2B like Daniel Murphy who Refsnyder has been compared to often as a rookie. Ask any scout about Murphy's bat and defense at 25-years old and compare it to Refsnyder's. Refsnyder has a comparable bat at their same age and is far better defensively than Murphy was. Refsnyder was drafted as an outfielder and moved to second base by the Yankees. He's still learning the position, patience is the key here.
Gary Sanchez is the final piece that could make an immediate impact in 2016. After John Ryan Murphy was traded to the Minnesota Twins the back up catcher job was left wide open for the Yankees and the rest of their roster. While immediately after the trade many handed the job to Sanchez but I don't see it going down like that, not after 35 games in Triple-A in his career, but Sanchez, like Judge, should be ready by mid-season.

Sanchez was having yet another Sanchez type season in Double-A hitting .270 with 12 home runs before an injury forced what was meant to be a temporary call-up to Triple-A. Sanchez made the most of the new opportunity hitting .294 with six home runs making it impossible to send him back down to Trenton. Sanchez made his MLB debut in 2015 and turned enough heads to warrant a trip to the Arizona Fall League with the Surprise Saguaros. Let this sink in. Sanchez is just 22-years old and hit 18 home runs. How much more progression and development does he have left? Plus he's right-handed, a huge need for the Yankees lineup.

Why Would We Want Ian Kinsler?

The latest and “greatest” trade rumor surrounding the New York Yankees and their second base situation suggests that the team pull off a trade with the Detroit Tigers for their second baseman Ian Kinsler. The longtime Texas Rangers second baseman was sent to Detroit in the deal that sent first baseman Prince Fielder back to Arlington and has quietly continued his strong career both offensively and defensively in the Motor City. Kinsler is solid but why would the New York Yankees truly want Kinsler over what they already have in Robert Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley?

Kinsler is solid but is 33 years old, something the Yankees are trying to get away from, and comes attached to a $9.65 million AAV over the next three seasons if you include his 2018 team option. On paper the Yankees probably get an upgrade during the 2016 season, although that is not set in stone as Kinsler slips another year past 30 while the fans get a full season glimpse of Refsnyder and Ackley, but in the long term I cannot see a trade being beneficial for New York.

First and foremost the second base position, especially for offensive minded second baseman, is anemic meaning the Tigers are going to want a substantial amount for Kinsler. Again, why give up prospects for a guy that is only going to block your prospects and give you a boost for a season at best? If at all. Why is everyone, and when I say everyone I mean the beat writers, bloggers and journalist that have the Yankees down as “interested” in every middle infielder on the market this offseason, so down on Refsnyder anyway? Give the kid a shot!

So in closing the Yankees need to hold onto their prospects and hold onto the plan they have right now. Platoon Ackley and Refsnyder and see it through until at least June or July before doing anything drastic. There may be better available at the deadline, the only way you’re going to know is if you’re patient. So be patient and don’t go shopping for any Ian Kinsler’s. 

Yankees Tickets Buy 2 Get 2 Free NOVEMBER ONLY!

Kenta Maeda Wants to Come to MLB... Again

Kenta Maeda attempted to come over to the Major Leagues before the 2015 season and ended up spending the entire season back in Japan with the Hiroshima Carp. Maeda used his additional Japanese League season to post a 15-8 season and 2.09 ERA in 206.1 innings pitched and now wants to make a second run at the big leagues. There was talks last year that Maeda would warrant a $20 million AAV over five or six seasons and had multiple teams interested, if he comes stateside he may get more than that this time around.

Maeda's stats in Japan are good, but not overwhelming, and in no way should warrant that sort of contract. Maeda has thrown 1,509 IP in eight seasons in Japan and totaled under 175 IP just once in his career, his rookie season. Maeda tops out at 92 MPH on his fastball and like most Japanese pitchers offers multiple off speed and breaking pitches. Maeda went 11-8 for the Hiroshima Carp this season posting a 2.56 ERA with 154 K's in 179 IP. Maeda sounds like a right handed present day CC Sabathia, less velocity and more need for pinpoint control and pitching... not throwing.

Maeda's only saving grace is that he will be just 28-years old for the majority of 2016 and could be entering his prime just in the nick of time. I'm not saying I wouldn't take Maeda but he wouldn't be my Plan A or even my Plan D. He would rank behind David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto and many others at least.

Starlin Castro vs. the Robert Refsnyder/Dustin Ackley Platoon

I tend to make it a habit of staying out of trade rumors and such that I find to be 100% fabricated, made up and generated to simply get you to click on an article. I’m not about that and honestly it hurts the site overall. Clicks are down overall, and maybe that’s just because it’s the offseason and none of the big name free agents aren’t signing yet, but I’m not going to sell my soul to get a few clicks. I don’t hold any ill will towards those who do it because it’s their job, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with it, but it’s just a personal preference of mine to not do it. With that said you now know why I have yet to touch on the reported “Starlin Castro for Brett Gardner” rumors that were on again, and then off again and then never truly on at all. Well, not until now.

Let’s just have a little fun and say that the Yankees were indeed talking to the Chicago Cubs about acquiring Starlin Castro and let’s just assume that it would cost the Yankees left fielder straight up in the deal. No money thrown in and no prospects. Would the trade be worth it to New York and would Castro really put up better numbers in New York than the current platoon option the Yankees have at second base in Robert Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley?

The stats don’t lie. Starlin Castro is a career .281 hitter but has hit .265, .292 and .245 in each of the last three seasons in Chicago. Castro is a shortstop by trade but has fallen out of grace due to his defense in Chicago and moved to second base in an effort to try to recoup at least some value out of that contract. Speaking of that contract, the eight years and $60.57 million deal, Castro has four years and roughly $30 million left on the deal while both Refsnyder and Ackley are either pre-arbitration eligible or still arbitration eligible. Refsnyder will make the Major League minimum of $525,500 this season while MLB Trade Rumors has Ackley projected to earn $3.1 million. Based on salary alone this discussion is over, especially for a team that is trying to get under the luxury tax threshold in an offseason or two, but if the production is there to warrant it than who am I to judge?

That’s the issue, the production. We touched on Castro’s batting average but what about his WAR over the last three seasons? Castro has a WAR, according to Baseball Reference, of 2.7 over the last three seasons including a 0.6 WAR in 2015. Combined, albeit in an extremely small sample size, Refsnyder and Ackley combined for a 0.5 WAR using Ackley's Yankees tenure only. The difference here is Castro played in 151 games and took 578 at bats while the combination of Refsnyder and Ackley played in just 124 games and took just 313 plate appearances combined. If you look at just their Yankees numbers, specifically for Ackley, those numbers drop to 39 games and 104 at bats. So how do you work around an extremely small sample size? Projections?

Again a hat tip to Baseball Reference for their projections for the 2016 season.

2016 Proj. 546 510 53 138 26 12 57 5 28 95 .271 .313 .400 .713
2016 Proj. 224 202 24 54 11 7 25 4 17 43 .267 .329 .436 .764
2016 Proj. 386 351 43 87 18 10 42 4 27 68 .248 .303 .402 .705
As you can see the Yankees would get much more bang for their buck with the platoon of Ackley and Refsnyder over having just Castro alone. New York can optimize their lineup every single night depending on the opposing team’s starting pitcher while not sacrificing much, if anything at all, on the defensive side. If this trade was being talked about three years ago you make it 10 times out of 10. The bad news for the Cubs, Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman if these “rumors” are true is that this is the year 2015 and we’re talking about playing Major League Baseball in the year 2016. It would take much more than a Starlin Castro to take away Brett Gardner if I’m in charge of these trades.

What say you? Leave a comment in the comments section!

Top Rookie Disappointments in 2015

Major League Baseball's 2015 season was quickly donned as the Year of the Rookie and the rookies that were called up did not disappoint. From Carlos Correa to Kris Bryant down to the 18 rookies that made their Major League debut in 2015 for the New York Yankees every rookie had an impact, some impacts a ton bigger than others. This is great for baseball, the future of the brand and the future of the game. Not every prospect made the immediate impact that they would have hoped and not every prospect, especially in the Yankees system, had a great 2015 season. The most disappointing prospect seasons are detailed here below.

Tyler Austin had the biggest disappointing season. Austin was thought to be knocking on the door to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and instead ended the season being demoted to Double-A with the Trenton Thunder. Austin did turn heads back in his direction with a strong Arizona Fall League showing but that all came after he was designated for assignment and went unclaimed after being sent off the 4 man roster.

Dante Bichette Jr. was another big draft signing for the New York Yankees and the team has not been rewarded for their patience with Bichette Jr. as of yet. Bichette finished with a .226 batting average and just three home runs in 112 games. Bichette finished in Trenton alongside Austin.

Angel Aguilar (SS) had a great 2014 season with the club hitting .311 with seven home runs in the GCL but injuries hampered much of his 2015 season. Aguilar did not make his debut until April and was forced to learn new positions, second base and third base specifically, which along with the injuries may have led to his .229 batting average in 2015.

Juan De Leon was one of those big international free agent signings out of the Dominican Republic and he did not immediately live up to the hype. It was his first professional season but he did hit just .226 in the Dominican Summer League. De Leon was signed as a "polished" hitter and looked anything but that in 2015. The good news for him though, and the Yankees, is that he's just 18-years old.

This Day in New York Yankees History 11/28: Steinbrenner Suspended

Just one short tidbit of news on this day in Yankees history as on this day in 1974 George Steinbrenner was suspended from Major League Baseball for two years. Then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn made the controversial decision after Steinbrenner was caught and convicted of making illegal contributions to the re-elect Nixon campaign. Whoops.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Meet a Prospect: Johnny Barbato

Johnny Barbato was the young man that the San Diego Padres sent to the New York Yankees in the offseason trade that sent relief pitcher Shawn Kelley, and his horse mask I can confirm, to the West Coast a couple offseasons ago. It was originally thought that Barbato would need Tommy John surgery immediately following the deal but those reports turned out to be false leaving Barbato healthy and available to pitch well in both Double-A and Triple-A this season. Barbato pitched well enough to catch the eye of many people inside the Yankees organization, and probably a few of the scouts outside the Yankees organization as well, this season and was added to the 40 man roster this week in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft. Barbato is now a Yankee for the long haul so now is as good of a time as any to meet him. Let’s Meet a Prospect: The Johnny Barbato Edition.

Barbato stands 6'2" and throws right handed from a 185 lbs. frame with a 94-97 MPH fastball, a knuckle curve which he uses as a strike out pitch and an average changeup. The best part of Barbato is his control that saw him strikeout almost two for every one walk in his career. Barbato likely sits ahead of Nick Rumbelow and Nick Goody on the depth chart and is currently side by side or right behind Caleb Cotham and Branden Pinder as far as right handed pitchers go.


In 2015 Barbato split time between the Double-A Trenton Thunder and the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders and posted this overall pitching line. This was well enough to warrant being added to the 40 man roster despite a slew of other candidates seemingly ahead of him on the depth chart. I don’t pretend to know more than the Yankees and their advisers that watch players like Barbato every day, I was quite vocal about the protection of Mason Williams in 2014 and I am still cleaning egg off my face for that, so if the Yankees protected him then I agree that it was a good move. Welcome to the family Mr. Barbato, officially.