Friday, January 16, 2015

Yankees' Girardi content with Stephen Drew's return

The Yankees' re-signing of Stephen Drew last week might have been a surprise to some, but team Manager Joe Girardi thinks it will help out the youngsters.

"It's nice having a veteran shortstop presence with him and Brendan [Ryan] for a young kid like Didi [Gregorius]," Girardi recently told's Bryan Hoch. "Guys that have played the position. You look at Stephen Drew, he has played on a world championship team. He understands what it's like to play in the American League East, and so does Brendan Ryan. I think it's going to be really helpful to Didi."

The Yankees finalized a one-year/$5-million deal with Drew Friday, likely clinching a spot for him on their 2015 roster. In response to the move, the Yankees designated OF Eury Perez for assignment, seeing as they already have four capable outfielders available.

The Yankees' starting infield is expected to consist of Drew at second base and Gregorius at shortstop this season, with the defensively-talented Ryan platooning with both. Chances are prospects Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela will also get their shot at a major-league job come spring training, though the odds of either one of them being in the Opening Day lineup don't seem to be high now that Drew's back.

Still, Girardi made it clear the duo will be considered.

"They're still going to have an opportunity to show me a lot, because our roster could change between now and Opening Day," he said. "Sometimes there's injuries to deal with, as we've seen in the past. They're going to have a chance to make the team."

Pirela impressed during his seven-game stint with the Yankees last September, collecting eight hits in 24 at-bats while driving in three runs. As for Refsnyder, he is yet to appear above Triple-A, but did bat .300 in 77 contests there last year.

The pair is bound for success at some point, according to Girardi.

"Obviously, when you put someone like Stephen Drew in front of them," the skipper said," I understand that's probably extremely frustrating. But [they need to] just continue to work extremely hard and their opportunity is going to come."

Yankees, Pineda, Eovaldi and Carpenter avoid Arbitration

The New York Yankees have avoided arbitration with all three of their remaining arbitration eligible players Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and David Carpenter. Pineda signed a one year deal worth $2.1 million while Eovaldi got $3.3 million and Carpenter got $1.3 million.

The Yankees once again have zero players that will see the inside of a court room in an arbitration hearing.

Hal Steinbrenner, MLB Owners Say Goodbye to Bud Selig

On Wednesday MLB owners, including the Yankees Hal Steinbrenner, gathers in Arizona to honor the retiring and longtime MLB Commissioner Allan Bud Selig. About 250 people were in attendance at the dinner at the Sanctuary Resort in Camelback Mountain to honor the 80 year old Selig after 22 plus years at the helm of Major League Baseball. Selig’s final day as the job will be January 25th when new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred takes over the position.

Among the speakers at the dinner were former Senator and report writing George Mitchell, Selig’s daughter Wendy and Joe Torre. Hal was interviewed and quoted as saying:

"He wasn't a small-market guy, not a big-market guy," Steinbrenner said. "He did what he thought was best for baseball. Sometime that went a particular owner's way, and sometimes it went against a particular owner."
Steinbrenner mentioned two of Selig's major accomplishments.
"I think the drug policies have come a long way under him," Steinbrenner said. "We have one of the best in the business now. And I think another thing you've got to look at is, when you run a company that deals with a union and for 20 years you don't have a work stoppage, that's a significant accomplishment. And I think that's going to be a big part of his legacy, the relative labor peace that we've had."

Could Cashman Have Acquired Tyler Clippard?

Billy Beane continued to shake up his roster this week when he traded away recently acquired shortstop Yunel Escobar to the Washington Nationals for relief pitcher Tyler Clippard. First and foremost this goes to show you how valuable shortstops are these days, even average ones at best in Escobar, as Clippard even in a down season is still one of the better set up men in the National League. This acquisition was a good one for Beane in my opinion and it solves the Nationals second base job but it also begs the question, could the Yankees have landed Clippard?

As many of you know Clippard was originally drafted by the New York Yankees and was the Phil Hughes of the farm system before Phil Hughes was. Clippard was supposed to be the next big thing to come to New York, win 20 games and blow the competition away. A trade to the Nationals for Jonathan Albaladejo and a move to the bullpen later T-Clip, as I used to call him, finally found his niche and enjoyed a nice stretch setting up games in Washington’s bullpen.

You have to wonder if Brian Cashman could have flipped Jose Pirela or even Brendan Ryan, plus others, to Washington for Clippard. Pirela and Ryan come with more team control than Escobar at a much lower price tag. Ryan has two years left on his contract including his $1 million option for the 2016 season and Pirela has all six years of team control left to just two years and $13 million of Escobar. Shoulda, woulda coulda I guess but you have to think the Yankees could have pulled this trade off and really solidified the bullpen for good with a trade for Clippard. Oh well, what could have been….. 

Lower the Years, Increase the Money & Sign a Pitcher

As we all continue to wait on the Max Scherzer and James Shields sweepstakes to come to an end I had an epiphany, albeit probably not an original epiphany but an epiphany nonetheless, about how New York could sign one or both of these pitchers to truly “Get Greedy.” What if New York, like the title of the post says, lowered the amount of years and increased the AAV to land either one or both of these arms?

Let’s just throw some rough estimates out there and say the team offers Max Scherzer anywhere from a three to four year deal worth either $95 or $125 million. Scherzer would make his money and be the highest paid pitcher in baseball, AAV wise, while getting one more crack at free agency at the end of his prime. This is obviously a far cry from eight years and $200 million plus but that is still a hard amount of money to walk away from looking at his market.

James Shields is said to be asking for a deal in the four to five year range and in excess of $100 million but would he take a one year deal worth $26 million or a two year deal worth $50 million? Again, looking at this market and his reported preference to play for specific teams this may be enough to land Shields on a short term deal and give him one more opportunity to land a bigger contract at the end of his prime. Shields and his market may be suffering from his lackluster postseason performance and if he could lead New York back to the Promised Land that may increase his salary the next time around.

It’s unlikely that either of these deals happen but it’s no longer early in the offseason and time is ticking away. Scherzer and Shields may have to come off their demands and take, for lack of a better term, pillow contracts and go at it again in a few years when teams like the Dodgers and the Yankees have loads of money coming off their books. Or they could simply continue to sit around and wait for that phone to ring, their choice. 

The 2014 Yankees vs. the 2015 Yankees - Offense

We have seen a lot of turnover on this team since the beginning of the 2014 season to now and we still are likely to see some change between now and Opening Day. There are two types of change in this world with the first being change just for the sake of change. Sure you changed but you didn’t really gain anything and now things may be worse. The second type of change is change for the better, which is harder of the two to accomplish obviously. Which one have the Yankees accomplished since the beginning of 2014?

2014 1B: Mark Teixeira
2015 1B: Mark Teixeira

2014 2B: Brian Roberts
2015 2B: Stephen Drew

2014 SS: Derek Jeter
2015 SS: Didi Gregorius

2014 3B: Yangervis Solarte
2015 3B: Chase Headley

2014 LF: Brett Gardner
2015 LF: Brett Gardner

2014 CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
2015 CF: Jacoby Ellsbury

2014 RF: Carlos Beltran
2015 RF: Carlos Beltran

2014 C: Brian McCann
2015 C: Brian McCann

2014 DH: Alfonso Soriano
2015 DH: Alex Rodriguez

As you can see the Yankees have a push at five different positions because the same player donned the position last year. While I am banking on, even if marginal, improvements from all five of those players in 2015 but you cannot really analyze “banking” on players. What you can bank on, with stats like WAR to back you up, are the improvements at second base, shortstop, third base and probably the DH position. If you wanted to take it one step further you can probably count on the Yankees bench being better and more productive in 2015 with power options like Garrett Jones and Chris Young after losing out on the likes of Ichiro Suzuki, Dean Anna and Francisco Cervelli in 2014. This team won’t win 100 games by any stretch of the imagination but the team definitely has a chance for improvement in 2015. 

TGP Daily Poll: Bud Selig Has One More in Him

As we all know Bud Selig’s final day as Commissioner of Major League Baseball is January 25, 2015 and on his way out I predict he will do SOMETHING. Pardon Pete Rose, give Alex Rodriguez a hug, something significant.

Vote in our poll!

Hal Steinbrenner Won’t Rule out Scherzer to Yankees

And why would he? Tickets still need to be sold, jerseys still need to be bought and YES Network subscriptions still need to be ordered. So why would Hal Steinbrenner, who is not the GM of the New York Yankees, say that the team was out on the best free agent available on the market? He wouldn’t. This is really not news to me but since things are so slow since the Winter Meetings and such I figured why the heck not.

Anyway, apparently Hal knows what the fans and the city wants and expect and is not ready to rule out Scherzer coming to the Bronx. Talk is cheap, show me the money. That’s what I expect. I expect as a fan and a blogger of the team to see the results and write about them, not speculate about them and feed you ideas on how to make it work (to be seen later in the day).

I’ll file this right next to the “World Series caliber team every single year” line. Thanks. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/16: Nothing, Again

Nothing, again. I didn't forget you guys and I'm not dead, just nothing happening today on this day in Yankees history. Maybe Brian Cashman can make this day worth my while next season by signing a free agent or making a trade or breaking his leg sky diving or something. 

Happy Friday Yankees family.