Sunday, January 4, 2015

Yankees 101 Writer Explains Why Yankees Won't Trade For Hamels

The idea of acquiring Cole Hamels from the Phillies might be a fun one to think about for Yankees fans, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's realistic.

Yankees 101's Michael Moraitis appeared to prove so Sunday, arguing in this article the Phillies' asking price will be too high for New York to reach. As evidence for his claim, Moraitis looked to the Phillies' treatment of Marlon Byrd back in July, when they reportedly demanded the Yankees give them either pitching prospect Luis Severino or outfield prospect Aaron Judge in exchange for the veteran bat. 

"So, if [Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.] thought to ask for those two top prospects for Byrd," Moraitis wrote,"can you imagine what he'd be asking for in return for an impact starter like Hamels?"

The Yankees certainly don't seem to be looking for another rotation piece right now, and probably won't change that anytime soon. They already have five respectable arms on their staff, including two they've made deals with in the last month.

Indeed, the Yankees feel they have enough guys to compete at the moment, and Hamels may just be too expensive to make them change their minds. 

"The price [for Hamels] would be through the roof and the Yanks' GM has made it perfectly clear he won't clean out the farm for almost anyone," Moraitis continued. "Any combination of the two between Severino, Judge and/or [Greg] Bird would qualify as doing just that."

Hamels' current contract runs through 2018, so it's a safe bet the Yankees weren't planning to pursue him anyway. The team has maintained a stance of staying away from longterm deals so far this offseason, something clearly shown by their reluctance to re-sign David Robertson and Brandon McCarthy in December.

And Hamels' annual salary of approximately $24 million isn't too consistent with that attitude either, especially since he would cost the Yankees even more once the luxury tax is enforced.

Cole Hamels or Jordan Zimmerman Ready to Don Pinstripes?

During the Winter Meetings many Yankees fans were upset while New York and Brian Cashman sat on their hands and watched the rest of the league throw money around like they were printing it themselves. Before the meetings and ever since Cashman has been making moves and additions including adding Nathan Eovaldi, David Carpenter, Didi Gregorius, Chasen Shreve, Johnny Barbato and others that could potentially be a part of bigger deal for a starting pitcher. The Yankees don't seem interested in free agent RHP Max Scherzer but the Washington Nationals do and may need to unload Jordan Zimmerman to do so. The Philadelphia Phillies also need to rebuild and the only way that's done right is to trade Cole Hamels.

Enter the Yankees who now have, if there is such a thing, too many arms for too little spots in the bullpen and in the minor leagues. Just the LHP options alone include Jamez Pazos, Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, Justin Wilson and now Shreve. The RHP options include Barbatos, Jose Ramirez, Chase Whitley, Bryan Mitchell, Branden Pinder, Danny Burawa and a ton of others I could list. The infield depth is materializing with Cole Figueroa, Robert Refsnyder, Jose Pirela and others while the catching and outfield depth has always been pretty present.

Are the Yankees lining themselves up for a trade or are they simply stockpiling and cornering the market? Who knows but if the Yankees want to send Refsnyder, Eovaldi, Wilson and a throw in for Zimmerman I think they are lined up to do just that. If the Yankees want to unload the farm with Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and a combination of the above including Eovaldi for Hamels then they could. That's all due to Brian Cashman and his inactivity at the Winter Meetings, not that he will ever get the recognition he deserves.

Ignoring the $$ Arruebarrena is Better Than Ryan

Jeff Levin and I had a lengthy discussion in the comments section of the site, which by the way I personally recommend you check out because some of the best minds across the web that don't write for a blog are in there in my very humble and bias opinion, about Erisbel Arruebarrena, Brendan Ryan and the last Yankees bench spot. I was on the side of the 24 year old Cuban defecting shortstop that still has four years and $20 million on his contract that the Dodgers gave him in 2014. On the other side Mr. Levin had a combination of Cito Culver and Ryan as suitable options. While I respect and thoroughly enjoy talking to Jeff, and this is in no way mean't to bash him, call him out etc., I think a lot of the information was missed by many since it was not in a formal blog post. I am basically going to go over the information from both sides here and leave you, the reader, to make your decision on who your pick would be.

Jeff mentioned the Yankees have Ryan and Culver who could hit for the low batting average and play a slick defense in the minor leagues that won't cost $4 million a season. Agree. My response was by playing Devil's advocate and asking who we would rather see on the field 81 times a year (if a platoon were to happen while using an even number for simplicity sake) or on the field if Didi Gregorius were to go down, Ryan, Culver or Arruebarrena.

Jeff replied with the fact that like Arruebarrena, Culver is just 24 years old and has upside and room to grow offensively although I quickly dismissed that Arruebarrena cleared as many minor league stops, four, in one season than Culver has since being signed out of High School. Culver's offensive upside has stalled if that term is even applicable with the amount of production that Culver has provided. Jeff replied by mentioning Ryan's minor league stats which immediately made me think of Arruebarrena's numbers in Cuba (which was a much larger sample size then his time in the USA's minor leagues since he was being rushed by LA). Many consider Cuba to be the USA's equivalent to Triple-A or AAAA so I thought it was fair to make the comparison, maybe it wasn't though.

Ryan hit .300 multiple seasons in the minors, sure, but never did above A Ball. Ryan's career minor league average in Double-A in parts of four seasons is .291 which is still good but falls off dramatically when he hit Triple-A. Again in parts of four seasons Ryan has managed just .252./303/.341 in Triple-A while it also worth mentioning that Ryan's career A and AA numbers are skewed however slightly by his rehab assignment with New York in 2014. Arruebarrena's numbers looked a little something like this in Cuba:

2010-2011 - .280/.314/.484

2011-2012 - .320/.367/.520

2012-2013 season cut in half due to WBC - 

first half: .275/.324/.366 

second half: .317/.415/.495

.375/.444/.375 in the latest WBC

With numbers like this I personally believe it's a lot easier to take Arruebarrena's upside and age on the Yankees bench while ignoring his 41 MLB at bat sample size and $4 million price tag then the "sure thing" in Ryan or the relative unknown in Culver. What say you?

Join us in the comments section and we can do a lot more posts and banter like this here on the blog. I thank Jeff for his opinion and for him sharing it here on a daily basis. I'm not saying I am right or he is wrong or vice versa with this post, we're all opinionated and none of us would know until the season played itself out. I just want the information out there because it was a fun and respectful debate and I hope it leads to more here on the blog with some new blood.

Previewing the 2015 Yankees bullpen

The Yankees' bullpen seemed to keep the club alive last season, but now that David Robertson and Shawn Kelley have gone elsewhere, what can we expect it to look like on Opening Day?
At this point in the off-season, really, it's tough to be too sure, seeing as not many in the group will have their roles decided until spring training. Either Dellin Betances or Andrew Miller will succeed Robertson in the closer role and David Carpenter should be somewhere in the mix as well, but besides that, the futures of everyone from Adam Warren to Esmil Rogers aren't too clear.
Indeed, many questions exist when it comes to the Yankees' collection of relievers, but that doesn't mean we can't still take a look at the current candidates. There's about eight of them, each of whom has been listed below.
1. Dellin Betances: Betances is coming off a great rookie year with the Yankees, having struck out 135 hitters while recording a 1.40 ERA in 90 IP. However, it was just his first full season, and he did that as a setup man, not a closer. So while it seems likely that his skills would translate to the ninth inning, it remains to be known for certain.
2. Andrew Miller: Miller signed a four-year, $36-million deal with the Yankees earlier this winter, and is no doubt a likable newcomer. His ERA the last two seasons has been sub-three, reaching as low as 2.02 last year. Again, though, he's never closed, so like Betances it'll be interesting to see how he adjusts if promoted.
3. David CarpenterCarpenter came over from the Braves in exchange for Manny Banuelos on Thursday, and is expected to be one of the Yankees' setup men next season. He should be an upgrade over the aforementioned Kelley, with opponents having batted just .198 off of him in 2013 and .256 last year. Then again, Kelley's ERA with the Yankees was never lower than 4.39, so that's not exactly saying much.
4. Adam Warren: Warren started strongly but had a rocky finish last year, resulting in his ERA being a still-good 2.97. It's been speculated recently he'll be in the rotation next spring, but considering that Chris Capuano was signed to a one-year deal last month, that probably won't happen. He'll probably work seventh innings next season instead, in front of Carpenter but behind the long relievers.
5. Justin WilsonWilson, like Warren, primarily pitches sevenths, and that doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon. Wilson's numbers with the Pirates have been consistently solid since 2012, so don't expect the Yankees to alter his role much now that he's with them.
6. Esmil Rogers: After being acquired from the Blue Jays, Rogers was good with a handful of ugly outings during his time with the Yankees last year, resulting in a 4.68 ERA in 25 IP. He's a long reliever for sure, unless he really struggles in spring training and gets cut.
7. Andrew BaileyBailey won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2009 with the A's, but has struggled to stay healthy since. He'll be with the Yankees on a minor-league deal this March, and, if able to prove himself, should have some role with them come April.
8. Jacob Lindgren: Lindgren's a can't-miss prospect, but that doesn't mean he's going to be handed anything. He falls into the same category as Bailey: the perform-in-spring-training-or-stay-where-you-are category. 
The team is likely to take seven relievers north when it leaves Tampa, so not everyone mentioned above will make it. Leave your own thoughts on the bullpen below.

Meet a Prospect: Johnny Barbato

When the New York Yankees traded Shawn Kelley to the San Diego Padres for prospect Johnny Barbato many around Yankeesland were up in arms, in a good way. Kelley didn't have many fans in New York, especially around the hardcore fans, even though all he did was pitch to the back of his baseball card while with the Yankees. New York fans are the best in the world in my very humble and bias opinion but we also tend to be a tough crowd, comes with the territory I guess. That same uproar came when Jack Curry reported that Barbato may need Tommy John surgery before throwing a single pitch in a Trenton Thunder or Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders uniform.

Barbato is just 22 years old and destined to start the season in Double-A if the elbow injury that shut him down in June does not require the surgery. 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 on the depth chart and side by side or right behind Danny Burawa and Branden Pinder as far as right handed pitchers go.

Yankees Prospects & Something to Think About

Pictures borrow from It is High....

What The Hell is the BYB Hub?

Every once in a while I get a Tweet from Mr. Robert Casey asking me and others "what the hell is the BYB Hub?" I know what the BYB Hub is but if you don't know what the Hub is then this post is for you. The Hub was designed by Mr. Casey and Bleeding Yankee Blue to get the up and coming blogs the recognition, views and exposure that so many of us didn't have when we were coming up. We came up here at The Greedy Pinstripes almost three years ago and we didn't have a BYB Hub to help us out. We had to write our asses off, plug the hell out of the articles on Twitter and simply hope for the best. Three years later and here we are.

Luckily for the 16 blogs showcased on the BYB Hub they don't have to endure that. The Hub alone has gotten over 2500 views in a time when baseball blog views are generally down. If you want to join the Hub then contact Mr. Casey on Twitter (@BleednYankeeBlu) and if you want to check out the Hub then click RIGHT HERE.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/4: Sunday Games at Ridgewood Park

On this day in 1904 the New York Highlanders, soon to be the Yankees, announce plans to play Sunday home games at Long Island's Ridgewood Park. This will be overruled in March by National Commission chairman August Herrman since the park is so close to the home of the Brooklyn Superbas, soon to be the Dodgers.