Monday, July 27, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 7/27

All games should be started at either 1:05 pm ET or 7:05 pm ET. I am currently writing Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred a letter with the subject "East Coast Bias" although I doubt he's going to be reading it any time soon. This start is better than the west coast game starts that end sometime in the middle of the night. Tonight's start will kick off at 8:05 pm ET and will showcase Ivan Nova on the mound for the Yankees and Matt Harrison on the mound for the Rangers. The game can be seen on television on the YES Network, ESPN's Monday Night Baseball and MLB TV.

The Yankees play three more times inside the Ball Park in Arlington after tonight before traveling to Chicago to face off with the Chicago White Sox. You have about a week before the team returns home to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium so you have a week to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to get your Yankees tickets on the cheap. Until the team returns home we'll all have to settle for jumping on Twitter, giving @GreedyStripes a follow and rooting for the home team from afar.

Nova is ready to mow down some Rangers and the Yankees offense is ready to go in traditionally a hitting friendly ballpark, it should be fun. Go Yankees!

MLB July 31st Trade Deadline Updates for 7/27

The July 31st trade deadline comes to an end this Friday at 4:00 pm ET and the Hot Stove is currently on fire right now. Let's get caught up...

  • The New York Mets acquired Tyler Clippard and cash, around $1 million, for a pitcher that has never seen above High-A Advanced ball in the minor leagues. Why isn't he wearing Yankees pinstripes right now?

  • The Yankees talked to the Phillies about Cole Hamels but are still unwilling to give up Luis Severino or Aaron Judge while Ruben Amaro Jr. wants at least one of the two top prospects in the Yankees system for Hamels. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas Rangers seem like the most likely landing spots for Hamels. 

  • New York discussed a deal with the Cincinnati Reds that would have sent Ivan Nova to the Reds and Johnny Cueto to the Yankees but obviously no deal was struck before Cueto went to the Kansas City Royals. He will make his Royals debut on Friday. 

  • The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquired outfielder Shane Victorino from the Boston Red Sox for infielder Josh Rutledge. 

  • The Chicago Cubs released Edwin Jackson which means over/under two days before Jackson is the new Esmil Rogers in the Yankees bullpen. 

  • The Yankees continue to show varying degrees of interest in Ben Zobrist, Joaquin Benoit, Craig Kimbrel, Mat Latos, Aroldis Chapman and Ben Zobrist. David Price too if the Detroit Tigers decide to make him available. 

Most Popular Article of the Week: The Boston Red Sox are officially DEAD

This post was originally the post that would have seen Johnny Cueto coming to the New York Yankees in a trade with Brandon Phillips but since he was traded to the Kansas City Royals last night it seems redundant. So here is the second most popular article of the week, the Boston Red Sox are officially dead!

The Boston Red Sox were making their yearly run before the All-Star break and before they welcomed the New York Yankees and Robert Refsnyder to town. The Red Sox took the first game of the series with the Yankees taking the final two heading into the break and ever since then the bottom has fallen out of the Red Sox season. That escalated quickly.

After the All-Star break the Red Sox were still in last place in the American League East Division but were a good week or two away from being back in contention for a division title. Boston had their pitching looking the best it has been with Clay Buchholz at the top and their young core was performing as well as could be expected. That was then, this is now. Boston came out of the gate losing eight games in a row essentially ending the Red Sox season. If this losing streak came at the beginning of July or the beginning of August that would be a different story but this close to the July 31st trading deadline their season is essentially over and it is time to sell.

Ben Cherington, the Red Sox GM, is ready to sell, the fans are ready for players to be sold and the players are ready to go to a contender. Boston is not completely dead, they won’t be trading the likes of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Blake Swihart, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, David Ortiz or Eduardo Rodriguez, but players like Justin Masterson, Koji Uehara, Shane Victorino and others may be preparing their ways out of Boston as we speak.

Any day the Red Sox lose is a good day and any season that Boston finishes in last place is a good season so it looks like 2015 is shaping up to be a great season for Yankees fans.

Girardi denies Sabathia only in rotation due to contract

It might be a common belief amongst Yankees fans, but struggling pitcher CC Sabathia isn't only in the team's rotation due to his salary.

At least that's what manager Joe Girardi told on Sunday, voicing the unpopular opinion that Sabathia is most contributive in his current role.

"No it doesn't," Girardi told Ryan Hatch. "We talk about our team all the time, and we feel he best serves as a starter."

Sabathia is set to make $23 million this season, easily the highest income on the Yankees. His 5.38 ERA, however, is second-worst on the staff to Chris Capuano -- prompting many to believe Sabathia belongs in the bullpen.

Yet the Yankees have no plans for such a move in their future, even after again watching the veteran labor on Saturday.

"It's frustrating, yeah," Sabathia said following his rough outing against the Twins, in which he allowed five earned runs in just 5 2/3 innings.

If the Yankees were to turn Sabathia into a reliever, it's likely Adam Warren or a trade acquisition would replace him. Warren was a reliable starter throughout May and June, and someone like the Marlins' Mat Latos could be obtained at a reasonable cost.

But Sabathia remains convinced he's on the path to improvement, despite his inconsistency over the first 97 games.

"Earlier in the season I would just get pissed off and kind of throw the ball wherever I wanted," Sabathia said. "And [Saturday], I just tried to make pitches and be a pitcher."

ICYMI: The Mega-Deal That Will Never Happen

One of my personal favorite times of the year and one of my most hated times of the year comes in the final week in July. Major League Baseball’s hot stove is turned on full blast and so are the trade rumors, speculations and high hopes for the fans of the contenders. Unfortunately with those same trade rumors and speculations comes the false rumors, the click-baiting articles and the banter on social media but you take the good with the bad I guess. I have seen almost every notable trade target linked to the New York Yankees already this season including Brandon Phillips, Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels and Mike Leake but a pair of interesting names have come up recently in the Detroit Tigers ace David Price and power hitting outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The Yankees have the pieces to make a trade for these two, and when it all comes down to it I feel like they ultimately won’t, but could you imagine?

Adding Price to a starting rotation that already sports Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda at the top and some combination of Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia that’s not only a rotation that can go deep into the playoffs and win the whole thing but that is a starting rotation that should be feared by every team in Major League Baseball. An acquisition of Price, who is a free agent at the end of this season, would finally and presumably push Sabathia to the bullpen and Chris Capuano off the team for good making both pitching departments supremely better. The Yankees would have a true ace and an ace without innings or health question marks that would love to take the ball in Game One, Game Four and Game Seven of every playoff series the team would let him.

I’m not going to go over the multitude of ways the Yankees could make room for Cespedes in right field while eating, moving or delegating Carlos Beltran’s contract to a bench role because, again, I can’t see this happening but could you imagine? A starting lineup that goes something along the lines of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Yoenis Cespedes, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Robert Refsnyder (I’m still bitter dammit let me be) is not only the best offense in the American League that is as close to a murderer’s row as you’re going to get in this day and age. There is no breaks through the middle of that lineup and while McCann and Headley are far from in their primes they easily become arguably the best #6 and #7 hitters in the game right now.

So imagine this: a pitching rotation that can shut you out four times in a seven game series, a bullpen that can throw up four or five innings of shutout relief every single night and an offense that can score 10 runs a game. That’s 1998 Yankees right there. It won’t happen, but imagine if it did?

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 7/27

The New York Yankees are fresh off their three game weekend series with the Minnesota Twins and are now headed to Arlington, Texas to face off with the Texas Rangers. This will be a four game series in front of the Rangers fan base with the first game going down tonight. The Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound to face off against the Rangers starter Matt Harrison. The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN and MLB TV.

  • Nova has now made five starts since coming off the disabled list with Tommy John surgery and is fresh off his first quality start in his last outing. Nova limited the Baltimore Orioles in a victory while logging six innings or more of work in three of his five starts off the DL. 

  • Harrison is fresh off earning his first Major League victory since May 8, 2014 last time out against the Colorado Rockies. In the Rangers 9-0 victory Harrison pitched six innings allowing just seven hits and no runs while walking one and striking out two. 

The Yankees will have a spot starter take a turn tomorrow night against this same Rangers team pushing back the Yankees top two, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, back to Wednesday and Thursday starts. The Rangers could also be buying before the trade deadline, much like the Yankees could be, so it could be interesting to see how that affects this series going forward if at all. The goal is the same for New York no matter what goes down, another series and another series win. Go Yankees!

Trade Deadline Confusion

Scott Kazmir is now a member of the Houston Astros, Aramis Ramirez was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and yesterday Johnny Cueto joined the Kansas City Royals. I don't like reacting to what other teams do, but when I see an AL contender like Houston make a big move I can't help but feel like the Yankees can't just stay put.

The problem is I'm really torn on what to do. While the Yankees haven't had a problem scoring runs, they could always score more. The starting rotation has done a pretty good job, but every starter has at least one question surrounding them. The bullpen seems to be the one place we don't have to worry, but imagine building that three-headed monster I talked about before Spring Training?

All is well!

I want to see the Yankees do something to get better, but I need to figure out what that is. Actually, Brian Cashman needs to figure that out, but as a dedicated blogger I need to do my part. Besides, we all know Brian is a regular visitor to The Greedy Pinstripes.

*cough* sorry *cough*

Let's start with the rotation.

Two weeks ago I would have said the Yankees should get a strong starter. Not necessarily an ace like Cueto or Cole Hamels (I've always been afraid of the cost to deal for either of those two), but somebody they could slot into the second or third spot in the postseason rotation. That, or somebody the team could lean on should an injury occur.

What I was thinking is that if the team were to lose Masahiro Tanaka, they could start Michael Pineda in Game 1, then start newly acquired Jeff Samardzija in Game 2, followed by Nathan Eovaldi in Game 3. Or, if nobody is injured, then having Tanaka-Pineda-Samardzija would be incredible. Am I right?

However, while I was originally thinking that Eovaldi would be the odd man out of the rotation, unless a fourth starter was needed, things have certainly changed. In his last seven starts, Nathan is 5-0 with a 2.83 ERA, while opposing hitters have only managed a triple-slash of .245/.295/.265. Now, the problem with trading for a starter is that, unless there's a injury, it's really unnecessary.

So... *throws up his hands*.

Okay, how about a new hitter?

The Yankees are currently ranked 5th in Major League Baseball in team OPS+, and if the season ended today two of the teams in front of them wouldn't even make the postseason (Toronto and Detroit, who are currently ranked first and second in OPS+, respectively). So even with Stephen Drew acting like a black hole, and Didi Gregorius not doing much better, the offense could probably stay put and get the job done from here on out.

There has been a lot of talk about going after Ben Zobrist, and I'm a fan of his. I love players that are not only good hitters, but could play strong defense at a number of positions. It's the same reason why I was big on the Yankees dealing for Martin Prado a year before they actually did just that.

By the way, a number of Yankees fans would like to see a reunion with Prado, and for good reason.

But there's a problem with doing that...

"I'm coming!"

I, and many others, want Rob Refsnyder to be called up for good. It may not be a guarantee, but he wouldn't have to match his AAA batting numbers in order to improve on what Stephen Drew has done. Not only that, but Rob should be the Yankees 2016 Opening Day second baseman. It's not that we see him as the next Robinson Cano, or a perennial All Star, but Ref is somebody that could be a long-term solution at that position. This is why I've been spoken up against Martin Prado, as he has another year on his contract and I don't want to see him block Ref.

And yes... I understand that Refsnyder could still be the Opening Day second baseman next year, while Prado could play right field and the Yankees could release Carlos Beltran. But come on... we all know they aren't going to release Carlos. Besides, since June 1st (108 plate appearances) Beltran has hit .281/.361/.448. I wouldn't mind those numbers sticking around, would you?

So once again...

Alright, let's take another look at building that three-headed monster in the bullpen.

This isn't the first time anybody's mentioned that if a team can't improve their starters, they could always strengthen the bullpen to make up for it. I don't have any stats to prove or disprove that theory, but making your starters only have to go six innings tops, while handing it over to an unstoppable trio of relievers, does sound awfully appealing.

In innings seven through nine, Tanaka's OPS against jumps to .840, Pineda's jumps to .935, and Eovaldi's goes all the way up to .986. Imagine avoiding those three jumps, and handing the ball over to a trio of relievers who could very well not give up a single run. That's pretty awesome, huh?

But there's a problem...

Craig Kimbrel is signed through 2017 for $24 million (his contract has a team option for 2018 for another $13 million, or a $1 million buyout), and that's an awful lot of money to pay a guy to pitch in the 7th inning. I mean, are you really going to move Dellin Betances out of the 8th inning, or Andrew Miller out of the closer spot, with what those two are doing? I sure as heck wouldn't.

Jack Niemuth, on Twitter, brought up a good point about somebody being unhappy going from a great closer to a 7th inning pitcher. Like me, you might initially think "who cares what Kimbrel wants?", and you're right. It's not about any one player, it's about what's best for the Yankees. But if a guy isn't happy with his role, then he might become a detriment to the team.

That's why I'm not sold on the Yankees going after Aroldis Chapman, either. Sure, he wouldn't cost a ton of money next year, due to him being arbitration eligible next season. But how does he react to being the set-up man for the set-up man? And that doesn't factor in what should be a fairly high cost to acquire Chapman.

That's where I'm going to end this... the cost.

In order to land a "big" player by trade, it's likely going to cost quite a bit. You'd likely have to see the Yankees part with top prospects like Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and Gary Sanchez. The only two prospects that I really don't want to see the team deal away are Aaron Judge and Jorge Mateo. Judge, because I see him as that big middle-of-the-order bat the team could build around in the future. Mateo, because although I'm a Didi Gregorius fan, Didi may not be the team's long-term solution at shortstop.

That doesn't mean I'd be okay with losing Severino, Bird, Sanchez, or anybody else. Sure, if the Yankees could trade Refsnyder in a package for another good/young second baseman like Jason Kipnis, that would be great. But the chances of that happening are slim, as I haven't heard one word about Cleveland being willing to part with their young star. Furthermore, Greg Bird could take over for Mark Teixeira in a couple of years. Severino could be a strong starter for the team starting in 2016.

I'm just not convinced that the Yankees need to do anything. And when you factor in the cost to make a trade that might be deemed "huge", then I'd be perfectly fine standing pat. However, the way my thinking has gone lately, I may very well change my mind the moment I hit "publish" for this post. So don't be surprised if I change my tune very soon.

"You flip-flopping SOB!"

Meet a Prospect: Nick Goody

Nick Goody became the latest Yankees relif pitching prospect to get the call up to the major league bullpen this weekend as the revolving door continues to swing wide open. Goody is a product of the Yankees farm system, the Yankees development team and the Yankees draft team so naturally it immediately excites me to see a guy like him come up. He may only be up for a week or so with the spot-start coming up tomorrow night so let's not waste and time and Meet a Prospect, Nick Goody. 

Nicholas Gunnary Goody was born on July 6, 1991 in Orlando, Florida and a member of the New York Yankees MLB team. Goody attended the University High School in Orlando where he played for the school's baseball team as a shortstop. Goody's strong arm and defense earned him a spot with the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota's baseball team but not as a shortstop but as the pitcher we see him as today. Goody served as the team's closer in his freshman year before making the transition to the starting pitcher. Goody did well as a starter posting a 6-2 record with a 1.29 ERA while posting 114 K's in 84 IP including a 19 strikeout game before being named the Suncoast Conference Pitcher of the Year. 

Goody's arm was attractive enough that the New York Yankees came calling in the sixth round of the 2012 MLB First Year Players Draft making the right-hander the 217th overall selection. Goody was immediately assigned to the Staten Island Yankees but by the end of his first professional season he had made stops in Charleston with the Charleston Riverdogs and Tampa with the High-A Tampa Yankees. Goody saved seven games with posting a 1.12 ERA making an immediate impression with the team. 

Goody was invited to spring training in 2013 but had to undergo the dreaded Tommy John surgery essentially ending his season. Goody returned to the mound on May 6, 2014  where he earned a promotion to the Double-A Trenton Thunder. Goody earned another invitation to the Yankees spring training camp in 2015 after his comeback season in the minor leagues in 2014 although he did not make the team out of camp. Goody was back in Trenton to begin the 2015 season where he was named an Easter League All-Star. Goody was not able to participate in the game though because the Yankees were more concerned with him being promoted to the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. 

Now Goody finds himself spending his days in the bullpen with the New York Yankees and truth be told that is where he belongs. Goody is a great person, we've done interviews with him here and I have him as a friend on Facebook and follow him on Twitter, and deserves everything good that happens to him. Congratulations Nick and welcome to the family.

Happy 40th Birthday Alex Rodriguez

A big Happy Birthday goes out to the Yankees DH, Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. Alex Rodriguez gave himself a 40th birthday party a couple days early this weekend when he hit three home runs against the Minnesota Twins in a single game leading me to post this tweet:

Happy Birthday Alex

Weekly Check In: Gary Sanchez

The week of the Major League Baseball trading deadline has to be a terrifying time for prospects all around baseball and especially terrifying for those prospects inside the New York Yankees farm system. Gary Sanchez has seen his name thrown around various trade rumors for more than a couple seasons now but this year is a bit different, this year he is doing exceptionally well and this year he is in Triple-A. This year many teams have been asking about Sanchez and this year the Yankees are in contention for a playoff spot and a potential World Series. New York will likely add something at the deadline but will it come at the expense of Sanchez?

Sanchez was promoted to Triple-A after the injury to Austin Romine forced the Yankees catcher to the disabled list and he has seemingly made the best of a bad situation. Sanchez has hit for power, both home run power and double power, as a member of the RailRiders and even represented Team World in the MLB Futures Game. Will Sanchez survive the trade deadline?

Stay tuned...


This Day In New York Yankees History 7/27: Mariners Lose 17 Straight Against New York

This is not really New York Yankees history that we probably want to remember but on this day in 2011 the Seattle Mariners made history against us. The Mariners snapped a 17 game losing streak behind seven strong innings from Felix Hernandez and an offensive outburst. The M's would win 9-2 to get their first victory in three weeks.