Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yankees hoping to see Drew improve in 2015

The Yankees' re-signing of Stephen Drew earlier this month certainly didn't seem to be their most popular move, but that doesn't mean they're backtracking on it. 

"Hopefully, he can put last year behind him and be the player he was before then," Yankees GM Brian Cashman recently told The New York Daily News. "He has a history of being a really good player prior to a season that didn't play out the way anybody expected."

Drew indeed had what was likely the worst year of his career in 2014, batting just .162/.237/.299 with seven home runs and 26 RBI in 85 games with the Red Sox and Yankees. He wasn't even acquired by Boston until May 21, and struggled well through his July 31 trade to the Pinstripes. 

But he has shown the ability to produce in the past, hitting .253 in 2012 and above .260 each year from 2008-2010. 

"[Last year] was just something that's so far out of the norm for his capabilities," Cashman said. "The contract refllects that and we're certainly hopeful he can revert back."

The Yankees inked Drew to a one-year/$5-million deal January 5, probably clinching for him the 2015 starting second base job. Before New York decided to give Drew another shot, it was assumed by many a youngster like Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela would get the role instead, seeing as the team had already rid itself of its other veteran candidate in Martin Prado. 

Still, the Yankees are confident Drew will contribute for them this season, in one way or another.

"At very least, he can play multiple positions and he's a hell of a defender," Cashman said. 

Keith Law Talks Yankees Farm System

Keith Law had a lot to say about the New York Yankees farm system and their players but unfortunately it is all insider material. I personally do not have the subscription to be an insider, and I apologize for that, so I will try and do my best to recap what went down today.

First and foremost Law posted his Top 100 Prospects list and two members of the Yankees made the list in Aaron Judge and Greg Bird. Law is apparently very high on Judge as he was ranked #23 while Bird clocked in at the #80 slot. I am pretty surprised at least Luis Severino did not make the list and it makes me question Law's knowledge of the Yankees farm, especially when he ranked the farm.

Here is what Law had to say about these two Yankees prospects:


“He showed outstanding plate discipline and ability to make contact in his first full year in pro ball while giving glimpses of the huge raw power you’d expect from someone of his build…
… He’s an above-average defender in right, faster than you’d expect, with the arm to profile there and the potential to post strong triple-slash numbers if he can make that one big adjustment.”


“Bird’s swing is very short to the ball, and he accelerates his hands quickly for hard contact to all fields, rarely putting the ball on the ground because he squares it up so frequently. He’s a high-IQ hitter with outstanding plate discipline and understanding of how to work a pitcher, giving reason to think he’ll continue to post high OBPs even though he’ll probably hit only .250-260 with a lot of strikeouts.”

Remember Kylie McDaniel ranked the Yankees farm the 10th best in the league but Law had a much different opinion ranking the farm in the #20 slot.

Tanaka's elbow feeling good with spring training less than a month away

When Masahiro Tanaka went down with a partial tear in his right UCL last season, the entire Yankees' universe seemed to hold its breath.

Tanaka, the team's most consistent starter, was in danger of having to undergo Tommy John surgery, not to mention experiencing recurring issues throughout the remainder of his career. Tanaka's impressive numbers alone probably should have been enough to cause a significant stir amongst the Yankees' fanbase, but when one remembers his $22 million annual salary, the need for him to stay on the field becomes that much more dire. 

So the news Thursday that Tanaka's elbow is doing alright should definitely be welcomed by the club's followers, especially considering that pitchers and catchers are set to report to Spring Training in less than a month. 

"So far so good, including (the elbow)," Tanaka told The Japan Times during a visit to the country. 

Prior to suffering the injury last July, Tanaka had been cruising with the Yankees, going 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 129 1/3 IP. He didn't record a non-quality start until July 3, and had six outings in which he surrendered no more than two earned runs while lasting 7+ innings. 

But Tanaka isn't reflecting on what could've been last year, instead looking forward to contributing to the Yankees however he can in the future. 

"Whether I'm the ace or I'm used in different roles within games, I'm thinking I'm going to win," he said. "So I'm not going to change anything I do."

Tanaka will likely serve as the Yankees' no.1 hurler again this season, but should have a healthier group behind him than he did in 2014. After spending most of last year on the disabled list, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda are all expected to return, joined by newcomer Nathan Eovaldi. 

Tanaka, staying consistent with his past statements, is hoping that group will be enough to get the Yankees to the World Series. 

"This year I hope to have the shortest offseason among all 30 big league clubs," the 26-year-old, referring to the Yankees' missing the playoffs last season, said.

BOOKMARK ME: Late Additions to Your Fantasy Draft

Baseball season is right around the corner so that means Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball is as well. I say it every year, and I will say it again this year, I really expect and intend to actually pay attention to my team(s) this year. I have been doing some research and I wanted to bring you guys a couple primers and bookmarks for the draft. I have specifically been looking at getting that top notch talent in the last five or so rounds to put your team over the edge in certain categories. I hope this helps and I hope you all enjoy the post.

If you need speed Alcides Escobar, BJ Upton, Dalton Pompey, Norichika Aoki, Anthony Gose and Emilion Bonifacio should add plenty of stolen bases to your team in 2015.

If you need a closer it may be wise to pick up one of Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria from Detroit along with Ken Giles, Tyler Clippard and Luke Gregerson.

Speaking of pitching there is usually an abundance at the end of a draft and the names of Marcus Stroman, Drew Smyly, Carlos Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi, Kevin Gausman, Tony Cingrani, Jake Odorizzi, Trevor Bauer and Yusmeiro Petit will likely be left on the board this time around.

If you need hitting late look at Javier Baez, Adam Lind, Allen Craig, Yasmany Tomas and Gregory Polanco. I have seen Joc Pederson make a lot of these lists but I cannot see him making THAT much of an impact in LA at the bottom of the order. I was wrong once though.

If you need power you should definitely take a look at Ryan Howard, Jedd Gyorko, Josh Reddick, Khris Davis, Travis d’Arnaud and bigger seasons from Josh Hamilton and Pedro Alvarez. 

Don’t Get Your Hopes Up for David Price

When Max Scherzer signed his seven year deal worth $210 million he may have essentially set the market for the 2016 season already. There is a nice batch of starting pitchers set to hit the market including Jordan Zimmerman, Doug Fister and Scherzer’s former teammate David Price. I have heard rumblings and comparisons of New York passing on Johan Santana before the 2008 season only to acquire CC Sabathia before the 2009 season and ride his left arm to the Promised Land. Many think New York passed on Scherzer this offseason and will instead go after two of the three top free agent starting pitchers in 2016, especially Price. Wrong.

Price was essentially acquired last trading deadline to be insurance if and when Scherzer left Detroit and much like his predecessor Price may become too expensive to keep around beyond 2015. Scherzer won the American League Cy Young Award in 2013, a year after Price won his in 2012, and may become too expensive for Dave Dombrowski to keep around past this season. Naturally Detroit will try and lock up Price to a long term deal but after what Scherzer turned down and what Scherzer got in free agency who expects him to stay in Detroit? Nobody.

So what does this mean for New York? Unless the team is willing to push their payroll to $250 million or so it doesn’t mean much. The only free agents New York currently has entering the 2016 season is Stephen Drew, Chris Capuano and Chris Young. The money is not coming off the books after this season and if you believe Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman the money is not there to add any more. Price is already making $19.75 million for the 2015 season and with another year of being a left handed workhorse he is going to want much more than that in 2016. As much as I hate to say it don’t get your hopes up on Price in pinstripes Yankees family, he may be a little too rich for our blood. 

Updated MLB First Year Players Draft Order

First Round

  1. Diamondbacks
  2. Astros 
  3. Rockies
  4. Rangers
  5. Astros
  6. Twins
  7. Red Sox
  8. White Sox
  9. Cubs
  10. Phillies
  11. Reds
  12. Marlins
  13. Padres
  14. Rays
  15. Braves
  16. Brewers
  17. Yankees
  18. Indians
  19. Giants
  20. Pirates
  21. Athletics
  22. Royals
  23. Tigers
  24. Cardinals
  25. Dodgers
  26. Orioles
  27. Angels

Supplemental First Round

Rockies (for losing Michael Cuddyer)
Braves (for losing Ervin Santana)
Blue Jays (for losing Melky Cabrera)
Yankees (for losing David Robertson)
Giants (for losing Pablo Sandoval)
Pirates (for losing Russell Martin)
Tigers (for losing Max Scherzer)
Dodgers (for losing Hanley Ramirez)
Orioles (for losing Nelson Cruz)

Second Round

  1. Diamondbacks
  2. Rockies
  3. Rangers
  4. Astros
  5. Cubs
  6. Phillies
  7. Reds
  8. Marlins
  9. Padres
  10. Rays
  11. Mets
  12. Braves
  13. Brewers
  14. Blue Jays
  15. Yankees
  16. Indians
  17. Mariners
  18. Giants
  19. Pirates
  20. Athletics
  21. Royals
  22. Tigers
  23. Cardinals
  24. Dodgers
  25. Orioles
  26. Nationals
  27. Angels

Predicting the Non-Roster Invitees

Any day now the New York Yankees should be announcing the list they compiled of all the non-roster invitees that are coming to Spring Training camp 2015. I’m bored, the news is slow and there is not much going on so I figured I would take a stab at it and see how close I can get to the completed list.

Catchers- John Ryan Murphy and Gary Sanchez are on the 40 man roster along with Austin Romine so those three are locks along with Eddy Rodriguez who signed a minor league deal this month. No other catcher is considered especially close although I could see a fifth or sixth catcher brought along simply to catch those early spring workouts like Francisco Arcia and Juan Graterol

Infielders- Nick Noonan and Cole Figueroa have already been announced as minor league deals with invites to Spring Training and joining them of course will be Robert Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, Rob Segedin, Jonathan Galvez, Greg Bird and maybe Kyle Roller. I cannot see anyone like Eric Jagielo getting the call just yet in the infield.

Outfielders – The Yankees system is stocked with outfielders so it should be crowded out there this spring with possibly Aaron Judge joining Ramon Flores, Tyler Austin, Taylor Dugas, Robert Hernandez, Ben Gamel, Jake Cave and Slade Heathcott to name a few. Adonis Garcia and Mason Williams are likely to be heading to spring as well since Garcia was there last year and Williams was added to the 40 man roster this winter.

Pitching – There is only one mound and there will be a slew of pitching including, but not limited to, Branden Pinder, Danny Burawa, Bryan Mitchell, Domingo Germen, Jose Campos, Joel De La Cruz, Caleb Cotham, Nik Goody, Nick Rumbelow, Jaron Long, Matt Tracy, Zach Nuding, James Pazos, Tyler Webb, Chase Whitley, Chasen Shreve, Jose De Paula, Johnny Barbato and Luis Severino.

TGP Daily Poll: Another Loss in Fantasy Baseball

I have been playing Fantasy Baseball on Yahoo! Since around the 2005 season and I have never once won my league. That streak will continue in 2015.

Vote in our prediction poll on knoda. 


Here is the press release from the team:

Second extension of ballpark naming rights demonstrates commitment to the development of the St. George Community

Who: Michael F. Manzulli, Chairman, Richmond County Savings Bank Division of NYCB

Guy V. Molinari, Director, Richmond County Savings Bank Division

Joseph Masi, First Senior Vice President, CMO- New York Community Bancorp

Gina Laine, First Vice President, Marketing Director - New York Community Bancorp

Glenn Reicin, Co-owner, Staten Island Yankees

Nick Tiller, Co-owner, Staten Island Yankees

Steven Violetta, CEO, Staten Island Yankees

Jane M. Rogers, President and General Manager, Staten Island Yankees

Richmond County Savings Bank will continue its relationship with the Staten Island Yankees as it extends the agreement for the naming rights of the ballpark located in St. George, Staten Island.            

Richmond County Savings Bank has been the only naming rights partner of the ballpark and the Staten Island Yankees.  This new agreement will mark 20 years (1999 – 2019) of the stadium being called “Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George”.   

Said Michael F. Manzulli, Chairman of Richmond County Savings Bank Division of NYCB, “The extension of this agreement represents our continuing commitment to the SI Yanks and the development of the St. George community. We are proud to have been the first and only naming rights partner for the Staten Island Yankees and the Ballpark. The fact that we will be able to continue this relationship in the coming years and participate in the exciting development of the St. George area is particularly gratifying

Said Guy V. Molinari, Director, Richmond County Savings Bank Division and former Borough President of Staten Island, “Bringing the Staten Island Yankees to St. George was a proud moment for me.  Working closely with the NY Yankees, the Mayor of the City of NY and Richmond County Savings Bank we were able to make this happen. Helping to form a relationship between the Staten Island Yankees and Richmond County Savings Bank just made sense.  I am happy to see this partnership continue and flourish as well as to see the continuing development of the St George community. 

Said Steven Violetta, CEO, Staten Island Yankees, “I want to thank the leadership of the Richmond County Savings Bank for their continued support of the Staten Island Yankees.  In this era of ever   changing alliances, it is truly special for two organizations to have a relationship that spans twenty    years.  The Staten Island Yankees and Richmond County Savings Bank are a perfect fit.  I look forward to all the wonderful things we will do together in the coming years.” 

Where:  Richmond County Bank Ballpark Suite 19 – 75 Richmond Terrace, St. George, Staten Island

When: January 30, 2015  Noon

About Richmond County Savings Bank:
Richmond County Savings Bank - a division of New York Community Bank (NYCB) - Member FDIC has been serving the needs of the Staten Island Community since 1886. Today, as the Island’s most convenient bank, they operate 22 full service branches on Staten Island.  

The NYCB Family of Banks is comprised of the following community banking leaders; Queens County Saving Bank, Roslyn Savings Bank, Richmond County Savings Bank, Roosevelt Savings Bank, Garden State Community Bank, Ohio Savings Bank and AmTrust Bank, as well as New York Commercial Bank and it’s Atlantic Bank Division.

Operating in 5 states with over 270 branches, NYCB ranks among the largest thrift institutions in the nation.

As a true community bank, NYCB recognizes its commitment to its communities and has provided millions of dollars in donations and thousands of hours of community service to local civic, social and charitable causes.

For more information about Richmond County Savings Bank and NYCB visit 

About the Staten Island Yankees:     
The Staten Island Yankees are the Single A-Short Season Affiliate the New York Yankees and play at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. The Staten Island Yankees are six-time New York-Penn League Champions (2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011). For more information, visit

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/29: Jimmy Key hangs it up

On this day in 1999 Jimmy Key decided to call it a career after suffering from multiple shoulder injuries. The 37 year old appeared in the playoffs with every team he played for including the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees, and the Baltimore Orioles.