Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Night Open Thread

Not only are the Yankees off tonight but so is the rest of Major League Baseball making these next two nights potentially really boring for the fans. It makes it especially hard for the writers and bloggers because we have little information that is being spoon fed for us to write about leaving us to dig deep into our heads for content. I’m not complaining, I’d rather express my opinions and lay out my plans and rant until certain Yankees prospects get called up than recycle and regurgitate the same old news that you can find on every other blog and news site. Maybe that’s what makes us different and separates us from the rest, for better or worse, who knows.

Either way this is your open thread for the night. I leave you with this song out of my own personal collection, “The Diary of Jane“ by Breaking Benjamin. Enjoy and have a good evening. 

Deadline to Sign James Kaprielian Ends FRIDAY


Scratch all that, James Kaprielian signed a deal with the Yankees worth $2.65 million this afternoon giving the Yankees a great draft haul overall. Welcome to the family James. 

The New York Yankees took UCLA Bruins junior James Kaprielian with their first pick, 16th overall, in the Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft and the deadline to sign him is coming up fast. Tomorrow, Friday the 17th, by 5:00 pm ET Kaprielian has to announce that he's either signed with the Yankees or decided not to sign and head back to UCLA for his senior season with the Bruins.

With the 16th overall pick the Yankees were given a $2,543,300 slot recommendation although Kaprielian, represented by Scott Boras, is said to be asking for closer to $3 million. The Yankees have gone over slot for a couple of picks this season including most recently for LHP Josh Rogers out of Louisville and has not cleared nearly that much cap space to give Kaprielian the full $3 million.

New York can go no more than 5% over their draft pool allotment without sacrificing future draft picks in the 2016 draft leaving the Yankees with a max of $2,738,565 according to River Ave Blues (and $2,676,450 according to Jim Callis) left to give to Kaprielian. For what it's worth the Yankees are saying the two sides are still negotiating while Jon Heyman thinks the two sides will get a deal done before the deadline tomorrow, guess we'll have to stay tuned.

My Plan for the Return of Brendan Ryan & Carlos Beltran

The New York Yankees, as we saw this morning in the TGP Daily Poll, face a bit of a roster crunch and a few roster decisions before Friday night’s game with the Seattle Mariners. Before the Yankees travel home to the Bronx to play host to Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano the team will have to make a pair of roster moves to accommodate the returning Carlos Beltran and Brendan Ryan from injury. I kind of gave away who I would send down in the poll, Gregorio Petit and Bryan Mitchell, but I didn’t get to explain why. has a character limit much like Twitter and I am far too long-winded for that so here is where I lay out my plan for the return of Beltran and more specifically the return of Brendan Ryan.

The Yankees currently have seven infielders on the 25 man roster including Garrett Jones who bounces around from first base to the outfield while the team only has Chris Young, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury as their regular outfielders right now meaning that one of the infielders will have to go to accommodate Beltran’s return. The obvious choice would be Gregorio Petit simply because he’s the weakest link and has seen his biggest asset, his ability to play the shortstop position, become less valuable with essentially having Stephen Drew available off the bench. If I were a betting man Petit getting sent back down to Scranton is one of the roster moves the Yankees will employ before Friday.

That move was easy but the other move will not be so simply to navigate. With the Yankees “source” that leaked the information that Robert Refsnyder will remain with the team after the All-Star Break fresh in our minds the team is left with a few viable options to accommodate the return of Ryan. The team could always designate Garrett Jones for assignment and allow Ryan to backup first base with Chase Headley and Brian McCann, the team could designate Drew for assignment although his value, power and defense off the bench at both the shortstop and second base position could make him too valuable to simply cut free, or the team could send down a relief pitcher and go with a short bullpen and a five man bench. That seems like a likely scenario here, the likeliest of them all, meaning that the end could be near for Bryan Mitchell, at least temporarily.

I think the end game here is to designate Ryan for assignment but the problem is he has to have a roster spot to accommodate him before that can happen. To DFA a player you must activate him first meaning the team could option Mitchell, activate and immediately DFA Ryan and then call up Branden Pinder to replace Mitchell for 10 days. If the Yankees decide they want to keep Ryan they could also make this work with an option of Mitchell as the team will come off the break well rested in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. The team plays a weekend series inside Yankee Stadium before an off day on Monday leaving the Yankees with a plethora of options on how they want to play this. The team could always skip one of their starters and allow them to pitch in long relief if needed or the team could simply go to Adam Warren, Chasen Shreve and Chris Capuano for multiple innings each if the need arose knowing they had an off day to rest on Monday.

The Yankees have a ton of options here to keep Refsnyder on the active roster and either keep Ryan or let him hit free agency, I just wish it was a little more clear as to what path the Yankees were leaning towards going down. Either way the end result keeps Refsnyder in the Bronx, assuming you believe the Yankees “source’ who asked to remain anonymous, and that alone makes me happy. 

Nuggets From Rob Manfred’s Press Conference

Rob Manfred met with the media and the Baseball Writers Association of American for a little question and answer session before last night’s 86th annual All-Star Game in Cincinnati and more than a few interesting nuggets came of the session.

  • First and foremost the most asked question was whether Manfred would reinstate Pete Rose from the permanently ineligible list and Manfred confirmed that no meeting had happened or is planned at this time regarding Rose and his reinstatement application. Manfred wants to first fully go over all the evidence from the 1989 investigation and all the information that has come to light since before meeting and making a decision.

  • No change to address the safety of the fans at ball parks and potentially adding nets to protect the fans have been discussed at this time. MLB plans to meet to address these concerns but no changes, if any, will be implemented before 2016. Around that same time the Commissioner’s domestic abuse policy should be finalized and ready to roll out as well.

  • Teams will not have medical information released about players before the MLB Draft. The fans aren’t likely to see any postseason expansion in MLB any time soon either according to Manfred. Manfred is, however, open to expanding MLB at some point in the future if the opportunity presented itself and mentioned bringing a team like the Montreal Expos back to Canada in specific.

International Spending Trend Showing Its Ugly Head

The New York Yankees flexed their financial muscle once again last year in the International free agent market spending anywhere from $18.1 million to $30 million depending on who you’re reading and who you’re asking which may be the beginning of a new trend in Major League Baseball. The Yankees brass felt that this was the best group of amateur free agents that the league has seen in a long, long time and will see for a long time so the Yankees blew past their international spending cap and will face harsh restrictions that include not being able to sign an IFA for more than $300K for each of the next two signing periods. Was it worth it and is this the beginning of a trend in Major League Baseball that may be addressed with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement when the current one expires after the 2016 season? Probably, yes.

Believe it or not it is not just the Yankees doing it, the Boston Red sox spent more than $38 million, the Arizona Diamondbacks spent over $10 million and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim came in around $9.7 million this past signing period. The Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs are coming off their two year ban and financial restrictions from doing the same in the 2012-2013 signing period and both are expected to blow past their signing allotments in 2015-2016 once again. The Los Angeles Dodgers are already over their spending allotment for 2015-2016 after handing out a $16 million contract to Cuban RHP Yadier Alvarez and the number of dollars shelled out is on a steady climb up every season.

From the beginning of the 2014-2015 signing period until the All-Star break 2015 teams have shelled out $160 million to 801 international free agents and the signing period for this year has just begun. All told thirteen teams went over their allotted pools in 2014-2015 resulting in $71.5 million in tax and if the trend continues it will be likely that all thirteen teams will go over again once their restrictions end on July 2nd, 2017.

All-Star Game History inside Yankee Stadium

The New York Yankees have hosted the Major League Baseball All Star Game four times in their storied history, the latest being in 2008. The city of New York has hosted a record nine All Star Games in the 86 games that have been played in the history of the game. With the 2015 version of the MLB All-Star Game officially in the books and nothing better to really talk about until Friday let’s go over the Yankee Stadium history with the All-Star Game and speculate when Yankee Stadium III could be hosting the Mid-Summer Classic.

The first Yankees hosted All Star Game happened on July 11, 1939 at Yankee Stadium followed by a wait until July 13, 1960. Back in 1960 two All Star Games were held, the other coming in Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, while the Yankees hosted the second game that year. The Yankees then again hosted in 1977 on July 19th and had to wait until Yankee Stadium II's final season in 2008 to host another. Yankee Stadium III, which opened in 2008, has yet to host an All Star Game. Interestingly enough the Yankees were the World Series champions in 1939 and were one “shot heard round the world” away from being the champions again in 1960. The Pittsburgh Pirates upset the Yankees in the 7th game of that World Series but New York would get its revenge in 1977 when they won another World Series in the same year as they hosted the All-Star Game in the Bronx. 2008, we don’t talk about 2008.

When the new Yankee Stadium will get to host its first World Series is going to be tough to answer but my best guess is not going to be a popular one with Yankees fans. In short, it's going to be a long, long time before the Yankees see another All Star Game at home if history is any indicator. The Los Angeles Dodgers have not hosted an All Star Game in 34 years and could not before at least 2017 while the Yankees held an All Star Game just six seasons ago. Obviously the difference between the Dodgers and the Yankees here is that the Yankees have a new stadium and the Dodgers do not but we’ve seen All-Star Games in recent memory at both Wrigley Field and Fenway Park so that probably won’t factor into the decision making much.

Even back in the 40's when there were not 30 stadiums to choose from Major League Baseball went at least 15 seasons in between All Star Games in the same venue. I couldn't see the Yankees getting an All Star Game before 2020 unfortunately, and that may be pushing it. Of course this is all speculations, with the new stadium in the Bronx Major League Baseball may want to jump on the newness of the building and host an All Star Game there sooner, but I doubt it. Stay tuned.. 

TGP Daily Poll: Bryan Mitchell Heading Down to AAA

The Yankees face a roster decision regarding Robert Refsnyder, Carlos Beltran and Brendan Ryan after the All-Star Break. It seems obvious that Gregorio Petit will go down but the final move will be Bryan Mitchell heading back to Triple-A.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Weekly Check In: Greg Bird

It has been so far so good in the month of July for Yankees first base prospect Greg Bird. In the last month or so he has come off the disabled list, hit some towering shots and bombs for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, got promoted to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre and has continued to hit some towering shots and bombs for the RailRiders. The Yankees have been uber-aggressive with their top prospects this year and Bird is included in this batch of prospects the Yankees now have knocking on their doors.

Bird will finish the season in Scranton unless a devastating injury to Garrett Jones or Mark Teixeira occurs and will presumably get a shot at a spring training “competition” in 2016 if all goes according to plan. Whatever the future holds for the former Arizona Fall League MVP has yet to be determined but Bird has taken the next step in his path to the major leagues and it has been so far so good. Bird is the word. 


This Day in New York Yankees History 7/15: Dan Uggla Makes Three Errors in All-Star Game

The last time the New York Yankees hosted an All Star Game was in 2008 when we said goodbye to Yankee Stadium II. The House that Ruth Built was torn down at the end of the season but not before the Yankees had one more All Star Game and one last hoorah. In true Yankee Stadium fashion history was made on this day as Dan Uggla became the first player in the history of the All Star Game to make three errors in a game.

The Marlins second baseman had two errors in the 10th inning and one in the 13th inning while helping the American League win the game 4-3 in 15 innings. Uggla wasn't any better at the plate as he went 0-4 with three strikeouts while grounding into a double play with runners on first and third in the 10th inning for his fourth at bat.

I believe Uggla was probably the first out of Yankee Stadium that night and it would suit him just fine if he never went back.