Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2015 Yankees: Chase Headley Yankees Highlights

Chase Headley's highlights as a New York Yankee. Most are from 2015 but there are some mixed in from 2014 as well including his walk off hit from his first game in the Bronx. Spoiler alert and enjoy.

If 2015 Was Another 1995 Then Is 2016 Another 1996?

If 1995 had Don Mattingly did 2015 have Alex Rodriguez? If 1995 benched Derek Jeter for much of the September Wild Card push does that mean Robert Refsnyder is destined to be the next Yankees captain? If 1995 had Randy Johnson did 2015 have Dallas Keuchel? If 1995 had Alex Rodriguez, the Mariners edition, then did 2015 have Carlos Correa? I'm not comparing the players, not at all, but I am more comparing the situations. Both the 1995 and 2015 seasons came attached to moderate expectations and teams that were led by hungry veterans and young positional players that were finally starting to come through the farm system again. Both teams seasons ended with a Wild Card berth and a first round loss, albeit in five games to the Seattle Mariners in 1995 and in one game to the Houston Astros in 2015, but should we expect the same World Series in 2016 that the highly unlikely 1996 Yankees delivered?

The Yankees are already "leaning towards" having Dustin Ackley and Robert Refsnyder spend the 2016 season as the starting second baseman while the 1996 Yankees gave some kid named Derek Jeter a chance reluctantly. Again, not comparing the players merely comparing the situations. New York already has that young nucleus of homegrown talent including Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, Luis Severino, Greg Bird, Refsnyder, John Ryan Murphy, Brett Gardner and a slew of bench pieces and relievers that may start the 2016 season in Triple-A. The team also has a core group of veteran free agency and trade additions, and believe it or not both aspects are important to winning a World Series, in Brian McCann, Andrew Miller, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius, Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury.

The 2015 team never showed the heart that the 1995 team did, again merely comparing the situations and not the teams or the players, but with the finances the team has, the young core of prospects and the team already in place this team could win a World Series in 2016. I know Bryan Van Dusen wrote earlier in the week that he had a bad feeling about 2016, and if you ask me today I may have to agree with him, but if the team can make those key additions like the 1996 team did, the Cecil Fielders, the Darryl Strawberry's and others, then the 2016 team can be special as well. The team just has to believe it and the team just has to prove it.

My, oh my the Houston Astros win it?

Stealing Sonny Gray Away from the Oakland Athletics

The New York Yankees are out of the 2015 postseason and have already begun planning and meeting about the 2016 version and direction of the team. Joel Sherman was quick to throw his opinion into the pot, and his opinion means little to me since he has me blocked on Twitter for lord knows what… maybe getting the Curtis Granderson to the Mets news almost a week before him and informing him about it and asking for some accountability? maybe, but Sherman did have a good idea nonetheless. If the Yankees could pull off a deal with the Oakland Athletics to pry away right-handed starting pitcher Sonny Gray then the New York absolutely has to do it and they cannot take no for an answer.

What will be interesting to see if how new GM David Forst will handle trade talks and such with teams after Billy Beane was promoted inside the Athletics organization. Will Forst be willing to trade anyone and everyone on the team if the price is right or when he says a player is untouchable are they really untouchable? That’s the wild card here but if it’s the former and not the latter then I think the Yankees have to be all in on a deal, even if it costs the team Jorge Mateo and Gary Sanchez. The buck may stop at Luis Severino and Aaron Judge for me but that’s just if you ask me.

Right-handed starting pitchers of his caliber, age and amount of team control just don’t become available often and when they do you have to pay, or overpay. I know recently I have stated I would want the team to stay away from the likes of Jeff Samardzija if it meant one or two of the team’s current starters being traded along with the submission of a draft pick in the 2016 draft but that’s because Samardzija is not the sure fire ace that Gray is. Gray, especially with this offense, would be a perennial All-Star and as close to a sure thing for 15+ wins every single season. With Samardzija and others not named Jordan Zimmerman or David Price I honestly cannot bring myself to say that and truly believe it.

See how this works Sherman? When you have an idea or you break news first you get credited with it, not blocked on Twitter. I digress, have a great day. 

If Tejada Isn’t Injured is Utley Suspended?

We all know what happened by now, even the ones living under a rock and the ones that don’t watch baseball surely know by now, Chase Utley slid late into second base on a play that resulted in a season-ending injury for Ruben Tejada. Joe Torre immediately reviewed the play and decided to suspend Utley, maybe for his own safety, for Game 3 and Game 4 of the NLDS that were to be played inside Citi Field in New York while Utley almost immediately appealed the decision and suspension. We have seen our fair share of late slides and “dirty” slides in Major League Baseball in our lifetimes but I can’t recall anyone ever getting suspended for it, did the suspension only come down because of the fact that Tejada’s postseason is now over due to the injury?

Look, the Utley slide was not only late but it was illegal as well but it was far from unprecedented. Take for instance the American League Wild Card Game from this season between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros. Didi Gregorius was Chase Utley in this scenario sliding past the bag and making contact with Jose Altuve, or Ruben Tejada in this instance, but the difference here was that Altuve ate the contact and is still playing today. I couldn’t even find a link or a video to compare the two slides for you because that’s how insignificant the slide was to the general MLB fan base. Why? Because Altuve didn’t get hurt. The Yankees did the same thing just a week prior to the Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia without a comment made. Guess the rivalry gets a pass too.

I hate that Tejada broke his fibula and will miss what could be a deep and magical postseason run for the New York Mets, I do, but the rule is written pretty clear if you ask me. If you can make contact with the bag, which Utley did with his left hand, then the slide is legal. You’re allowed to disrupt the second baseman or shortstop to the point where you’re making “deliberate” interference, hence the whole touching the bag during the slide guidelines. The play was dirty, the slide was late and the injury was unfortunate but the suspension was complete and udder BS. If it works for one it works for all. If you suspend Utley you have to suspend everyone, and if you don’t suspend everybody then you can’t suspend Utley.

Just my two pennies, leave yours in the comments section. 

Is Jeff Samardzija Really Even Worth It?

While many are still watching the Cubs and Cardinals, the Dodgers and Mets, the Astros and Royals and the Blue Jays and Rangers go at it head-to-head I have turned almost all my attention over to the 2016 version of the New York Yankees. I can’t help it. The ink was barely dry on the Yankees walking papers for the 2015 season when speculation began about what, if any, free agents that New York would bring in and no name has been mentioned more than that of former Notre Dame standout and Chicago White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija to the Yankees almost seems like a done deal to many beat writers and fans but would Samardzija even really be worth it?

In no way is this meant to be a negative article about Samardzija and what his live arm could bring to the Yankees in 2016 as much as it’s just me, a fan, thinking out loud. Samardzija would join an already over-crowded list of names vying for a starting rotation spot in 2016 including Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi and Adam Warren. Adding Samardzija would almost 100% send Warren back to the pen, not that this is the worst thing that could happen to the team this offseason, while either forcing Severino back down to Triple-A at least to start the season or force at least two of Pineda, Nova, Eovaldi and Sabathia to be traded or designated for assignment. Sabathia has a full no-trade clause and 10/5 rights and a huge contract again in 2016 leaving that group conceivably down to three.

Samardzija would also likely come attached to draft pick compensation assuming the Chicago White Sox offer him a qualifying offer worth $15.8 million and he declines. Samardzija would be a great asset to have, especially after seeing what Larry Rothschild did with another live arm that was full of talent that just needed a little coaching in Eovaldi in 2015, but is the risk worth the reward? If you’re asking me and if you’re asking Brian Cashman that question the answer is likely yes. If you’re asking Hal Steinbrenner, who is a season or two removed from trying to get under the luxury tax threshold, then that answer will likely be no. 

Baseball America: Four Yankees In International League Top 20 Prospects List

Baseball American has covered every minor league affiliate and league but one this season, the International League. The International League is the home of many of the league's Triple-A Affiliates including the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. This is likely the toughest league to rank just 20 prospects in because so much talent spent time in Triple-A before graduating to the Major Leagues but somehow Baseball America did it, and the team over there did it with four members of the Yankees on the list.

CLICK HERE to see the entire list from Baseball America, it's free so no worries. 

The four members of the Yankees organization were #2 Luis Severino, #6 Greg Bird, #10 Aaron Judge and #18 Gary Sanchez. The top player on the list was the Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. The future is bright in New York, especially if you look at all these BA rankings, and it's definitely a sight for sore eyes.

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/14: Chris Chambliss Wins the Pennant

Chris Chambliss will forever be known and remembered for his home run that won the pennant in the America League for the New York Yankees in 1976. Chambliss won the Yankees 30th AL pennant with his bottom of the ninth walk off home run to beat the Kansas City Royals in Game Five of the ALCS 7-6. Fans rushed the field, security lost control, and the Yankees are headed to the World Series. My, oh my I don’t believe it.

Also on this day in 2000 Roger Clemens strikes out a record setting 15 Seattle Mariners in a 5-0 victory in Game Four of the ALCS. The Yankees would win the game behind Clemens’ one hitter.