Monday, October 26, 2015

One Year Ago Today: Oscar Tavares Passes Away

On this day in 2014 the St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras and girlfriend Edilia Arvelo passed away in a car accident in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Taveras was 22-years old and taken far too young from this world. RIP to him and once again let's watch the St. Louis Cardinals tribute to him by clicking the video above. 

Yankees Replace Billy Eppler, Sort Of

The New York Yankees lost their assistant GM to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Billy Eppler this offseason but the team has wasted zero time in replacing him, sort of. Eppler was the assistant GM to Yankees GM Brian Cashman and will be replaced by former Major League player Tim Naehring. Naehring will likely sit at the same desk that Eppler sat at but he will not have the fancy plaque with the title of assistant GM attached to his name.

Naehring was hired as a scout by the team in 2007 and has been one of Cashman’s most trusted advisors on players the Yankees should look at acquiring. Naehring recommended Didi Gregorius to Cashman this winter and has been involved in other top tier signings and trades for the Yankees in his nine seasons with the team.

Naehring, 48-years old, played eight Major League seasons with the Boston Red Sox from 1990-1997 and retired at only 30-years old due to injury. Naehring entered the Cincinnati Reds organization after retiring as a director of player development before being moved to minor league field coordinator. Naehring was let go after a shakeup in Cincinnati following the 2007 season and has been with the Yankees ever since. Now he’s taking the next step to the top, congratulations to him. 

MLB Hot Stove 7 Worst Yankees Contracts

MLB Network's show Hot Stove named their seven worst contracts in New York Yankees history and unfortunately this was pretty hard to look at. Of course we all knew, and agree, that Alex Rodriguez's contract was going to top the list but the rest of the list is pretty interesting, take a look.

7. Jose Contreras four years $32 million
6. Jaret Wright three years $21 million
5. Hideki Irabu four years $12.8 million plus $3 million sent to the San Diego Padres
4. Roger Clemens one year (prorated, worked out to be four months) $18.7 million
3. Carl Pavano four years $40 million
2. Kei Igawa five years $20 million plus $26 million posting fee
1. Alex Rodriguez ten years $275 million

ICYMI: Were They Worth It?

From Bryan Van Dusen:

For a while after The Greedy Pinstripes opened, I would constantly write about salaries. I pretty much became obsessed with the team's total payroll, and how their players fit into it. I would write about how much money was allegedly on the books, and whether they would or would not sign one player or another. It took me a while to realize what many others already knew... it was a waste of time. Not only did I not know how much the team was willing to spend, but it ultimately didn't matter to me as a fan because I was not the one writing the payroll checks.
"There are people that still write checks? Hello! It's called a debit card!"

I don't mean to say that I've completely abandoned the idea of player salaries and the team's payroll. I'm not going to waste my time saying the team could sign Jason Heyward, David Price, and others, while putting big money players like Carlos Beltran on the bench. Major League Baseball is a business, which means the league and its teams are out to make money, therefore team owners are going to treat it as such.

One thing I bring up often when talking about money is the Dollar Values done at Fangraphs. No, I don't think it's a perfect formula, but I do believe it's a good way to measure a player's worth. For example, Fangraphs lists Bryce Harper as being worth $75.9 million last season. You may say he's probably only worth like $70 million, but the fact is he's one of... if not the most valuable hitter in MLB.

So I decided to take a look at the Dollar Values placed on players from the 2015 Yankees. You're probably going to notice that the following chart doesn't include every player that spent time on the team's Active Roster this season, but it does cover those that spent a significant amount of time on it.

Let's start with those that actually cost the team money last season.

Sabathia was the biggest waste for the Yankees in 2015, giving the team nearly $15 million less on the field than they gave him on his paycheck. Ellsbury wasn't much better, as the Yankees spent a little over $14 million more on him than he gave to the team. Drew was another waste for the team, as his salary was $3.7 million higher than what he gave the team in performance. While Tanaka is on the list of players that under-performed their salaries, if he could have made five or six more starts he would have likely covered his salary and then some. The teams loss with Headley was minimal, however I believe he'll make up for that during the last three years of his contract. Oh, and as for ARod, many would have taken him as a $64 million loss spread out over his final three years, so a loss of only $600,000 this season was fantastic.

Now for those that gave the Yankees more than the team gave them.

Take another look at that chart above. That list of "plusses" is pretty nice. Pineda (+26.1), Gregorius (+24.146), and Eovaldi (+21.9) would have been welcome by any owner in baseball. And, although a number of Yankees fans feel otherwise, Yankees brass has to love using young players. Just look at what young guys like Gregorius did... Betances (+18.692), Warren (+16.528), Wilson (+11.244), Bird (+6.9), Murphy (+4.981), Severino (+4.8), Heathcott (+2.1), and Refsnyder (+.7). Finally, you can add another $29 million for the Yankees, thanks to Gardner (+7.9), Miller (+6.9), Young (+6.9), McCann (+6.5), Nova (+.4), and Beltran (+.4) all outperforming their salaries.

You may have noticed that I haven't talked about Mark Teixeira. Even though he was technically a "loss" for the Yankees last season, if it wasn't for an injury he would have outplayed his salary by quite a bit.

In summary, how about that total? The team's total payroll for 2015 was a little under $218 million. The total for the players in that chart ($332.9 million) means the Yankees got around $115 million more out of their team than they had to pay. I would call that a big win for Hal and friends.

So if anybody brings up the Yankees eating a player's contract, or at least part of it in order to facilitate a trade (*cough*Ellsbury*cough*), you don't have to feel bad for Hal, Brian, Joe or anybody else employed by the New York Yankees.

"Yeah, we're all doing just fine."

Jim Hendry & Jeff Samardzija Could Be on the Way Out of New York

I won't leave you hanging for long because I know you're probably all a little confused by the title of the post. Jeff Samardzija is not a member of the New York Yankees so how could he possibly be on his way out of New York, right? You are right but it is also worth mentioning that Yankees special assistant and adviser to Brian Cashman and former Cubs front office member Jim Hendry was the man that signed Samardzija to his first Major League deal pulling him away from football and Notre Dame University and Hendry may also be on his way out of New York.

Cashman has already lost one of his top generals this season when his assistant GM Billy Eppler took the general manager position with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Hendry may be the next one on the way out. Hendry recently interviewed with the Philadelphia Phillies about a potential adviser role with the team. Hendry also interviewed with new team president Andy MacPhail for the vacant GM job left open by Ruben Amaro Jr. but the team eventually hired Matt Klentak for that position.

If Hendry leaves does he take the possibility of signing Samardzija with him? At the end of the day, maybe.

New York Yankees in the Awards

According to Major League Baseball there are 10 instances this season where the New York Yankees were considered to be award worthy. It's almost award season time, one more series stands between the players and a long offseason, and the Yankees are up for 10 awards. Should they win it and do they have a shot? Check them out below and decide for yourself.

The first Award is the Best Breakout Player where the Yankees Andrew Miller is nominated after his first full season as a closer in his career. Miller joins other hopefuls Chris Archer, Nolan Arenado, Jake Arrieta, Jeurys Familia and others.

Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are both up for Best Comeback Player after strong 2015 seasons for the New York Yankees. Teixeira spent most of 2014 injured and ineffective while Rodriguez was suspended for the entire season with a steroid suspension. ARod and Teixeira join Chris Davis, Prince Fielder, Matt Harvey, Ryan Madson and others in the running for the award.

Joe Girardi is up for best manager after leading the Yankees to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Other managers up for consideration are Jeff Bannister of the Texas Rangers and both World Series managers Terry Collins of the Mets and Ned Yost of the Royals.

Brian Cashman is also under consideration for the Best Executive of the Year in 2015 but will face stiff competition with Alex Anthopoulos of the Toronto Blue Jays, Sandy Alderson of the Mets, Theo Epstein of the Cubs, Andrew Friedman of the Dodgers and others.

The Yankees Twitter account, @Yankees, is actually up for the best social media account believe it or not. I can't get those guys to acknowledge I exist for anything but hey, they must be being social with someone to be up for the award.

Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit is under consideration for the Best Moment of 2015, Jimmy Fallon is up for Best Team Celebrity Fan for his fandom of the Yankees and so is a kid who stole a foul ball away from Carlos Beltran on September, 24 against the Chicago White Sox. John Sterling could win Best Call on the radio for Greg Bird's home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 22 in the finale of the potential award ceremonies for the Yankees.

CLICK HERE to vote. 

Weekly AFL Check In: Tyler Austin

We did the Weekly Check In series throughout the season checking in on various Yankees minor league players and I thought with a couple weeks in the books down in the Arizona Fall League we could do the same with the Yankees down there playing for the Surprise Saguaros. Who better to start off with in this series than the player that needs the Arizona Fall League the most, Mr. Tyler Austin.

Austin was designated for assignment and sent off the 40 man roster before the 2015 season came to a close but ultimately returned to the club when all was said and done on a new minor league deal. Austin is running out of time in a Yankees and the AFL may be his last chance to prove to the team that he belongs.

Tyler Austin:

Games: 5
At Bats: 17
AVG: .353
OBP: .450
SLG: .471
OPS: .921
H: 6
HR: 0
RBI: 2
BB: 3
K: 4

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/26: Don Zimmer Retires

On this day in 2003 Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer resigns from the position. The reason given was George Steinbrenner, which is enough said in that department no? Zimmer would join the Tampa Bay Rays as a Senior Baseball Adviser for the 2004 season.

Joe Torre would become the fifth manager in World Series history to win four World Series championships on this day in 2000 as well joining Casey Stengel (7), Joe McCarthy (7), Connie Mack (5), and Walter Alston(4). The Yankees would win their fourth World Series in five seasons on this day when they beat the Mets 4-2. This would be the Yankees 26th championship in their storied history. Luis Sojo had a ninth inning two out hit off Mets pitcher and former Yankee Al Leiter to win the series after Mariano Rivera closed the door. On this day in 2000 Derek Jeter became the first player to ever win the All Star Game MVP and the World Series MVP in the same season. Jeter finished the World Series with a .409 average and had nine hits including two doubles, a triple, and two home runs. The Yankees beat the Mets in the Subway World Series in five games.

Also on this day in 1999 Chad Curtis hit a home run leading off the 10th inning in Game 3 of the World Series with the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees would take a commanding 3-0 lead and would finish off the sweep the next day. Curtis would become only the 11th player in World Series history to end a game with a home run.

Also on this day in 1996 the Commissioner's Trophy finally came back to where it belongs in the Bronx for the first time since the 1978 season as the Yankees beat the Braves in Game 6 to capture the title. This will be the first of four titles in five years under Joe Torre and the Cour Four.

Finally on this day in 1950 Phil Rizzuto would win the American League MVP as a member of the New York Yankees. Scooter would take home 16 of the 23 first place votes beating out Boston's Billy Goodman for the award. Just as an FYI on what stat line got you the MVP award back in 1950 Rizzuto finished the season with a .324 batting average with seven home runs and 66 RBI's.