Thursday, October 22, 2015

Interesting Mickey Mantle Injury Picture

Mickey Mantle was a man known for his towering home run and his World Series resume but should he have been known more so for his injuries? Maybe so... Have a good evening Yankees family.

The Inevitable “Stephen Strasburg to the Yankees” Blog Post

The Washington Nationals made a bit of news this week when the team announced that they would at least be willing to listen to offers on right-handed starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg, a former first overall pick in the MLB Draft, was supposed to be the future and the ace of the Washington Nationals staff but inconsistencies and injuries have forced him closer to mediocre than the God status he was expected to garner inside Nationals Park. With just one year left on his current deal the Nationals may be looking to get whatever they can out of him in a trade so you knew this post was coming, should the New York Yankees be interested?

When I first heard the news I was ecstatic. This seems like the type of deal that Brian Cashman pulls off recently. Cashman stays away from the high priced free agents, pitching wise anyway, and has either built his rotation from within, from Japan or via trade. The first thing that popped into my head when it was announced that Strasburg was said to be available was a similar deal to the deal that brought Nathan Eovaldi to the Bronx. Obviously there would probably need to be better pieces than David Phelps and Martin Prado, whether Strasburg is worth more than Eovaldi with all that team control and 100 MPH fastball or not, but a similar deal nonetheless with Major League talent heading to and from both clubs in the deal. Then I started to do my research.

Strasburg is an injury concern, no one can deny that, and we haven’t been able to see his true potential because of it. Those injury concerns, mixed in with the fact that he will be a free agent at the end of the 2016 season, would likely keep the price for Strasburg down, but only by a little. Washington would still likely command a substantial haul for him, especially after the Tigers snatched the Blue Jays top prospect and others for half a season of David Price. If we’re talking Gary Sanchez and filler for Strasburg then you make the deal, anything more I might not be so sure. The only saving grace for the Yankees would be that they could offer him a qualifying offer at the end of the season since he wasn’t traded during the middle of the season and recoup some of that prospect package back in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Strasburg has missed close to two years of games due to injury in his career, obviously much of that coming from his Tommy John surgery, which has seriously affected his career pitching line. His regular season numbers are straddling the mediocre line and his postseason numbers are worse than that but one thing is important here, his age. Strasburg is just 27-years old and has plenty of time to figure it out, he just has to have the coaching and has to put the work in. Larry Rothschild is the coach, I just worry about whether he will be worth it even if he puts the work in. I’m on the fence, and of course it depends on the deal, but at the end of the day I think I may still want him wearing Yankees pinstripes on Opening Day 2016.

What About Ian Desmond?

You guys know me by now and know where I have stood on the Yankees second base situation for the past two seasons now, I believe the job belongs to Robert Refsnyder. Refsnyder, when given the opportunity, has done nothing but hit the ball and improve defensively in his time with the Yankees yet the team continued to give the bulk of the playing time to Stephen Drew, Brendan Ryan and Dustin Ackley. The talk for the 2016 season, however premature, if that Ackley and Refsnyder will platoon at second base to begin the season if Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn’t bring in an alternative at the position, could that alternative be Ian Desmond?

Desmond struggled mightily for the Washington Nationals in 2015 but honestly outside of Bryce Harper, who didn’t? The team was hit by the injury bug harder than any team in the league and just had a down year overall as a collective unit. While I don’t feel like their manager Matt Williams was to blame I can’t say anything for sure since I am not in the clubhouse. If Williams was the issue then you should expect a resurgence from the team and its players in 2016, including free agent shortstop Desmond.

Desmond is a right-handed shortstop that could be moved to second base to fill the 2016 position that Stephen Drew was meant to fill in 2015. Desmond could play second base for the most part while acting as a suitable backup at shortstop and third base whenever needed. Desmond would add power and versatility to a team that is desperately needing both heading into the 2016 season and would likely come “at a bargain” considering the back of his baseball card. It seems unlikely that he would come back to Washington in 2016 and it seems even less likely that the team would risk extending him a qualifying offer meaning Desmond could be had for salary alone and would not come attached to any sort of draft pick compensation.

It’s hard to find an offensively productive everyday shortstop and if the Yankees signed Desmond to a relatively small pillow type contract to rebuild his value at second base then I would honestly have to be all for it. I want Refsnyder to get the job, everyone knows that by now, but I am coming to terms with the fact that the team does not think as highly about him as I do, and that’s okay. If the team fills the position with a player that makes sense then it’s hard to argue the logic, even if it is a 30-year old shortstop who struggled in 2015. 

If Gary Sanchez = John Ryan Murphy Then Why Keep Them Both?

This is going to be a tough sell and this would require a lot of roster shuffling but if it could work would the Yankees consider calling up top catching prospect Gary Sanchez to fix the offense? The Yankees could make it work but it would probably be ill advised to be completely honest because it would likely have to come at the expense of backup catcher John Ryan Murphy. With the two players being similar as both are catchers, both are right-handed, both have shown pop and are productive at the plate while both hold their own behind the dish (although Murphy is far superior defensively to Sanchez at this point in their careers) could one of them be traded this offseason?

I personally love Murphy and what he brings to the team. He is a wizard behind the plate controlling the running game, with his game calling and with his defense while he isn’t exactly a slouch when he’s standing at the plate either. I like Murphy because he is a line drive hitter and he never saw a good fastball that he didn’t like and he didn’t drive. Over the course of a 162-game schedule Murphy may put up 15 home runs and 50 RBI, he’s that good, so why would the Yankees call up Sanchez to replace him? To be frank, they won’t barring an injury so does that mean Sanchez is the more likely of the two to be traded?

I’m honestly surprised that Sanchez is still on the team to be completely honest. New York has a ton of depth in the minor leagues at the catcher position with Austin Romine, Sanchez, Luis Torrens and others leaving many to speculate that New York would trade from a position of strength to fill a position that was lacking, middle infield for example. After a standout season for Sanchez in Triple-A and an amazingly hot start to his Arizona Fall League Sanchez’s trade value has never been higher and it may be time for Brian Cashman to strike a deal.

Much like Cashman traded Ramon Flores, who could easily be replaced by Taylor Dugas, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, Jake Cave and others, this July he may do the same this winter with Sanchez. As much as I’d love to see Sanchez be everything that Jesus Montero was supposed to be for the team before his trade to Seattle if the deal makes sense it would be ill-advised to pass it up. We may be seeing Sanchez wear a Yankees hat and/or uniform for the final time down in Arizona with the Surprise.

Is Mike Leake the Answer for 2016?

With all the talk surrounding the New York Yankees and their offseason plans before the 2016 season many names are being thrown around like the team is playing with house money. Unfortunately for the fans of the Yankees the team is not playing  with house money, they are playing with Hal’s money and no matter how many times he stands at a podium and tells the fans that he’s not cheap I don’t think he is convincing many fans otherwise. In a free agent market where his father would snatch up David Price, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Jordan Zimmerman Hal may, or he may not, only open up the strings for Mike Leake.

Leake was said to be a trade target for the New York Yankees at this past July 31st trading deadline before the Cincinnati Reds traded the right-hander to the San Francisco Giants for a couple of prospects that I have never heard of and that San Francisco fans are not losing any sleep over. New York, in my opinion with hindsight being 20/20 like it is, dropped the ball in acquiring Leake and a wrong, for lack of a better word, could be righted this winter with just a paycheck.

Leake will not qualify for a qualifying offer since he was traded during the season meaning the Yankees could hold onto their first round draft pick for the 2016 season. Leake will also not command the salary or the years that many of this year’s free agent crop will command. Leake will not touch the $30 million AAV that Zack Greinke is expected to ask for and he will not come anywhere near the six or seven years that David Price is said to be requesting this offseason. Leake could end up signing for three years or so with a modest $12 million AAV, although that is simply my estimation and I could be wrong.

Leake doesn’t solve the Yankees “lack of an ace” problem the team has but if the club feels like that ace could be either Masahiro Tanaka or Luis Severino then having a potential #2, but likely solid #3, starter in Leake would be ideal for the club. Leake will eat innings and keep you in almost every single ball game which is huge for a team that is built around a solid offense and a juggernaut of a bullpen. 

Major League Baseball’s Newest Sponsorship & How it Affects YOU, the Fan!

Major League Baseball is a business first and foremost so all the time you and I, the fans, see the official this of Major League Baseball or the official that of Major League Baseball but we, again as fans, never really get anything out of it. Okay sure I am wearing the official deodorant of Major League Baseball with the official tires of Major League Baseball on my car eating the official fast food chain of Major League Baseball while listening to the official radio station of Major League Baseball but what does that get me personally? Well until now, nothing. MLB is hooking up with Sheraton Hotels & Resorts and Starwood Preferred Guests to make the hotel chain the “Official Hotel of Major League Baseball” and to make Starwood the “Official Hotel Loyalty Program of Major League Baseball” and they are giving back to the “Official Fans of Major League Baseball.”

Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred negotiated the deal that, starting in 2016, would allow guests of Sheraton Hotels and SPG members to receive complimentary access to MLB.TV and MLB Network in all of their hotel rooms. Of course us, the fans, have to deal with seeing Starwood booking widgets when we head to and your respective team’s schedule pages but everything is a give and take relationship in business I suppose.

I don’t travel much but I think, especially during baseball season, the easiest decision I will make in traveling is what hotel brand I am going to be using. Free MLB.TV and free MLB Network? Yes please. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/22: Damn You Jeff Weaver

Watch the entire Game 4 of the 2003 World Series by clicking above. FREE!

On this day in 2003 the Yankees Jeff Weaver gave up a home run to the Marlins Alex Gonzalez to tie the series up at two games each and give the Marlins a 4-3 victory in 12 innings. This game also ended the Yankees consecutive games winning streak in extra innings at seven games.

Also on this day in 2000 in Game 2 of the Subway World Series the Yankees extended their World Series consecutive games winning streak to 14 games. The Yankees beat the Mets 6-5, not that anyone really remembers the score. This game will always be remembered for Roger Clemens innocently, yes I am completely biased and humble, throwing a bat in the general direction of Mike Piazza. This came on the heels of Clemens drilling Piazza in July which resulted in the benches clearing before cooler heads prevailed.

Also on this day in 1974 the Yankees and a Giants pulled off a trade that saw Bobby Bonds come to New York and Bobby Murcer head to San Francisco. This, at the time of course, was considered to be the biggest one for one trade in the history of baseball. Both players made over $600,000 marking the first time two players making that much money were traded in the same deal. Murcer was donned the next Mickey Mantle while Bonds was donned the next Willie Mays so this was a huge trade at the time.

Finally on this day in 1967 Joe DiMaggio was named the Athletics executive vice president and consultant for the team. DiMaggio was also named a part time hitting coach and a public relations advocate for the club although Joe would leave the A's after just two years with the organization.