Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Is it time for the Yankees to make a move?

Okay, folks, the annual MLB trade deadline is upon us. What are the Yankees up to? Not much, if you are paying to attention to Brian Cashman, who has strongly indicated that the Yankees will stand pat, instead of making a move. But rival executives seem to believe the Yanks are working on something.

One Yankees target – Ben Zobrist – was traded to the Kansas City Royals today. The Yankees will not trade any of their untouchable prospects, so Cole Hamels won’t be in pinstripes.

As far as this observer is concerned, the Yankees have a need at starting pitching, as only Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda are sure things. The Yankees could upgrade their bullpen to make it a super pen by acquiring Craig Kimbrel and/or Aroldis Chapman.

More realistic targets would be acquiring David Price or Jeff Samardzija. Maybe reuniting with old friend Ian Kennedy is an idea. Even though the Yankees have a comfortable lead right now sin an uncharacteristically weak AL East, it would be wise for them to improve the team. The rigid New York Mets even made a couple of moves!

The baseball world was stunned last night when the Toronto Blue Jays and Colorado Rockies swapped shortstops. Let’s see if the Yankees have their own stunner in the works…

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 7/28

The New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers face off for the second time in a four game set this week in the great state of Texas. New York has their big guns going in this series and will look for another win and another series victory tonight in Arlington. Tonight the Yankees will use a spot starter and a six-man rotation temporarily to give Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and the rest of the staff a day off by inserting Adam Warren and Chris Capuano as the starter. Opposing Capuano and Warren will be Martin Perez for the Rangers. The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET and can be seen on Fox Sports 1 and MLB TV.

New York is coming home next week to Yankee Stadium to play host to David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox so be sure to have your tickets in hand when the team comes to town. By clicking the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog we can help you root for the home team against their most hated rivals for cheap. Until then head over to Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow to root for the Yankees while they are on the road in Texas and Chicago for the rest of the week.

Warren and Capuano are both ready and so are the Yankees and their bullpen, hopefully. Go Yankees!

Cole Hamels Just Got Super Expensive

The New York Yankees have acquired the Philadelphia Phillies ace left-handed starting pitcher Cole Hamels in a trade involving RHP Ivan Nova, catcher Gary Sanchez, 2B Robert Refsndyer and 1B Greg Bird. When I woke up from this dream I was obviously disappointed because I thought the Yankees had shocked the world and pulled a “George Steinbrenner” at the trading deadline but that proposed deal in my dream got me thinking, Hamels is going to be awfully expensive if he’s traded in 2015.

The Kansas City Royals set the bar pretty high when they acquired two months of Johnny Cueto for their #1 prospect in a deep system and two more left-handed starters meaning that any potential trade option with team control could cost a lot more than that. Add in the fact that Hamels threw a no hitter against a team in contention for a Wild Card spot, the Chicago Cubs, and a GM in Ruben Amaro Jr. that already asks for the sky with his players and this may get expensive pretty fast.

Think about the package my subconscious proposed to Amaro Jr. though because it makes sense. Nova is still young, controllable and would be a better pitcher in the National League then he is in the American League while he automatically gives Philadelphia a replacement in the rotation. Meanwhile Refsnyder, who I would absolutely hate to give up, gives the Phillies an immediate replacement for the aging Chase Utley while Bird essentially replaces Ryan Howard on the depth chart. Sanchez could step in as soon as 2016 behind the plate for the Phillies giving the team a nice head start in their rebuilding phase.

Will this be the deal that lands Hamels? Probably not, although if the Yankees could as reluctant as I am to give up Refsnyder I think you have to make this deal. One thing for certain though is that if Philadelphia does decide to sell Hamels and that huge deal he still has attached to him he is going to be awfully expensive. Maybe too expensive for the Yankees blood. If the team is going to sell of major pieces of the farm honestly I think I’d rather it be for Hamels then for a rental like Price or Cueto. 

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

The New York Yankees have been red hot since the All-Star break as the team continues to put space between them and the rest of the American League East Division. New York has swept the Baltimore Orioles this week and also took two games out of three in exciting fashion against the Minnesota Twins with an off day thrown in for good measure, will that mean a rise in the rankings? Will the St. Louis Cardinals remain in the top spot or will the acquisition of Aramis Ramirez for the Pittsburgh Pirates be enough to dethrone their top competitors in their division and in these rankings? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

We start off this week’s rankings the same way we start off every week’s rankings, the top spot. The St. Louis Cardinals came in at the #1 position this week while the Philadelphia Phillies finished in the last spot, lonely #30. The New York Yankees were 8th for the third consecutive week last week and this week they were able to jump two more spots to their season high, the #6 spot.

To round out the rest of the American League East Division we have the Toronto Blue Jays finishing with the #13 spot while the Baltimore Orioles finished at the #14 spot. The Tampa Bay Rays finished with the #16 spot while the Boston Red Sox continue to bring up the rear in the division at the #25 spot.

The biggest rise of the week goes to the San Diego Padres who rose five spots to the #20 position while the biggest fall goes to the Boston Red Sox who also fell five spots to the #25 position. The Top Five teams in the rankings in order are the #1 St. Louis Cardinals, the Kansas City Royals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The five worst teams according to the rankings are the #26 Cincinnati Reds, the #27 Miami Marlins, the #28 Colorado Rockies, the #29 Milwaukee Brewers and the #30 Philadelphia Phillies.

The July 31st trade deadline is looming and we may see some drastic changes in these rankings because of it. It may not be immediate, especially for those teams that look to acquire pitching before the deadline, but like most things this will work itself out in the end. These are exciting and fun times as a fan, especially if your team is rising in the rankings and buying at the trade deadline, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

Kimbrel to Yankees? Team reportedly contacts Padres about star closer

The phrase "you can never have too much pitching" is alive and well in the Yankees' front office.

The club recently engaged the Padres in talks for closer Craig Kimbrel, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports.

Kimbrel, 29-for-30 in save opportunities this year, currently wields a .204 opponents' batting average -- the worst of his six-year career. 

But with his 12.6 K/9 and knack for pitching in big spots, some have speculated Kimbrel would fit well with the Yanks' bullpen -- already one of the best in the league.

From Heyman: 

"The name of superstar closer Craig Kimbrel has at least surfaced in the Padres' talks with the Yankees. The chances for a deal aren't known, but at first blush it would not seem to be the most logical or likely landing spot.

The Yankees have said they have no intention of trading any of their top four prospects -- pitcher Luis Severino, outfielder Aaron Judge, first baseman Greg Bird and shortstop Jorge Mateo -- in any deals. And a person familiar with the Padres' thinking suggested the Yankees' stance would have to change for a deal to have any chance of happening."

ESPN's Buster Olney also contemplated such a trade in an appearance on Sportscenter earlier this month, ultimately reaching the same conclusion. Kimbrel is under contract through 2017, and the Padres are likely to have a high asking price because of it. 

Then again, the thought of Kimbrel joining the likes of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Chasen Shreve is an exciting one to say the least -- and the Yankees would be smart to consider it with the deadline nearing.

What do you think? Is a Kimbrel-Betances-Miller arrangement worth promising youngsters, or should the Yankees stick with what they have? 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 7/28

The New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers will play four games to kick this week off inside the Ball Park in Arlington with the second coming tonight. The Yankees are red hot right now while the Rangers are more or less looking towards the 2016 season at this point which is great news for New York. Tonight the Yankees will push back Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda a day while inserting Adam Warren and Chris Capuano into the rotation for a spot start. Opposing them will be Martin Perez who is fresh off the disabled list for the Rangers. The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET and can be seen on Fox Sports 1 and MLB TV.

  • Chris Capuano and Adam Warren will essentially piggy back this game in what is going to amount to a bullpen start. Capuano can go somewhere around five innings if needed while Warren could probably go two innings. 

  • Perez will be making just his third start tonight since coming off the disabled list and will be making his first start in front of his home crowd. Last time out Perez faced the Colorado Rockies and allowed four runs in six innings of work. Perez gave up six hits and four walks while only managing two strikeouts in the loss for Texas.

New York is riding high off a big weekend in Minnesota and a hot start to the second half of the season and will look to keep that going tonight in Texas. New York simply cannot be caught in the American League East Division if they keep winning every single series they play so that is seemingly the plan going forward for the Bombers. That continues tonight in Texas, another game, another series and another victory. Go Yankees!

Could New York Have Acquired Johnny Cueto

In case you missed it the Kansas City Royals, in my opinion the Yankees biggest competition in the American League in 2015, acquired Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds. Kansas City gave up three left-handed pitchers in Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed for basically two months of Cueto. Like every top trade target part of you as a fan, if it makes sense of course, wants to see a guy like Cueto in pinstripes and as a fan everyone gets a little disappointed when that doesn't work out. Rather than call for Cashman's head or rather than starting to etch the American League pennant rings for Kansas City I'd rather use my time looking at whether Kansas City overpaid and whether New York could have made the same trade.

According to minorleagueball.com neither Reed nor Lamb made Kansas City's Top 20 Prospect list, although Lamb just missed the list while there was no mention of Reed whatsoever, but I did not need to research anything to know that Finnegan was the prize of the deal. Finnegan was far and away the Royals top prospect, he proved last season that he is major league ready and not affected by the bright lights of the playoffs and the World Series and he proved that he was an absolute stud. He doesn't rival anything that is in the Yankees farm system in my opinion.

Honestly I don't think Luis Severino even rivals or would compare to Finnegan at this point in their careers. Finnegan is just 21 years old and looks to be an absolute steal in the 2014 MLB First Year Players Draft but Severino is no Finnegan and neither is any pitching prospect currently in the Yankees system. Cueto would have been nice but if that's the asking price New York is not topping that Kansas City deal. Sorry guys.

Quick Hit: Babe Ruth Returns to Yankee Stadium

George Herman Ruth, but you can call him The Babe, retired after the 1935 season with the Boston Braves. We all know he was once a member of the Boston Red Sox but will always be remembered as a member of the New York Yankees. Babe Ruth would return to the house that he built, Yankee Stadium, on this day in 1943 for an exhibition game marking the first time he set foot in the stadium since leaving the Yankees.

The exhibition game was played for the Red Cross between the Yank-Land Club, which was a combination of former Yankee and Indians players, against the Cloudbusters, a U.S. Navy team from the Chapel Hill Naval Pre-Flight School based at the University of North Carolina.

The retired Yankee outfielder appeared as a pinch hitter in his only plate appearance and was walked by 25 year old Navy pilot trainee and Boston Braves right-hander Johnny Sain. The servicemen would beat the former players 8-5.

Weekly Check In: Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge has basically missed a week's worth of baseball with the Scranton RailRiders with an undisclosed issue. The Yankees and General Manager Brian Cashman insisted that this was simply a "day-to-day" thing and is nothing serious while Judge was seen in the Scranton clubhouse with his lower back wrapped. Long story short is that Judge returned to the game on Sunday and thankfully avoided a disabled list trip.

The stat line for Judge won't look much different than it did in our last weekly check in because of that but thankfully the back injury or issue was relatively minor. The Yankees have stated that Judge is one of four prospects, along with Luis Severino, Greg Bird and Jorge Mateo, that are seemingly untouchable at this week's trading deadline meaning we should be seeing more and more of these posts every single week for Judge.


Recap: Yankees 6, Rangers 2

Didi Gregorius had a career-high four RBI and the Yankees cruised past the Rangers, 6-2, in the series opener tonight at Globe Life Park.

Yes InDidi: The Yankees' shortstop tied the game with a two-run shot in the third before adding an insurance two-run single in the seventh -- part of a 3-for-4 evening for him in which he also made a nice defensive play. With Shin-Soo Choo at the dish and one out in the fifth, Gregorius stopped a liner up the middle with a smooth slide and spin -- likely saving a run after the next two men reached base.

Somewhat Super Nova: Ivan Nova's performance tonight wasn't exactly amazing, but nonetheless, it deserved a passing grade. The right-hander limited the Rangers to just two earned runs over five solid innings, yielding a tolerable five hits while walking two and striking out three.

He's Unstoppable: Alex Rodriguez continued his incredible road trip with a solo blast in the sixth, a wall-scraper to right off Matt Harrison for his 24th big fly of the year. Rodriguez, who turned 40 today, is now tied with Mark Teixeira for the team lead in homers -- fifth in the league overrall. 

Chasen Recognition: He might not be well known outside of the Yankees' fanbase, but left-hander Chasen Shreve is truly a dominant reliever. The youngster threw two more scoreless frames and fanned four in this one, allowing just one baserunner when the aforementioned Choo walked.

Don't Judge the Mustache: Brendan Ryan again contributed offensively with a triple in the third, a fly ball off the left-field wall Josh Hamilton had a tough time fielding. The knock set up Chris Young for a go-ahead sac fly two batters later, giving the Yankees an advantage they'd never lose.

Next Up: The Yankees and Rangers resume this set tomorrow with a nationally-televised contest in Arlington -- beginning at 8:05 p.m. ET and airing live on Fox Sports 1. Chris Capuano (0-4, 5.64 ERA) will start for the Yanks hoping for his first victory, opposing recently-activated Rangers lefty Martin Perez (0-1, 4.91 ERA).

This Day in New York Yankees History 7/28: David Cone is a Yankee

David Cone had a very interesting tenure as a member of the New York Yankees that all started on this day in 1995 when the Yankees gave up Marty Janzen and two minor leaguers, Jason Jarvis and Mike Gordon, for his services. The trade was considered early to be one of the best deals in franchise history as Cone was an integral part of the dynasty and World Series championships in the late 90's.

Cone hit a wall in 2000 though and on this day was sent to the team's minor league camp in Tampa by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Cone was demoted after not being able to pick up a win in over four months. The struggling Cone was placed under the supervision of Billy Connors, the Yankees vice president of player personnel.

The Yankees grabbed David Cone on this day on 1995 and they also grabbed Ruben Sierra and Jason Beverlin from the Oakland Athletics for Danny Tartabull. The Tartabull era started when the Yankees signed him a deal worth over $5 million a season after the 1991 season but he never lived up to the hype like he did as a Kansas City Royal.

Finally on this day in 1983 the American League president Lee MacPhail decided that George Brett's "Pine Tar" home run should be allowed. The game will be finished on August 18 and the Royals would win the game 5-4.