Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veterans Day

My apologies for this being up so late, I had this scheduled on the Blogger dashboard and I hit 7:00 PM instead of 7:00 AM. My apologies once again.

I want to take the time to thank everyone and tell everyone Happy Veterans Day. Whether you have served domestically, abroad or are the family member or friend of member who has I applaud you for your sacrifice and your strength. Some may not appreciate the things you do and the hardships you endure but I certainly do.

And an extra Thank You to Mr. Ken Reed and Mr. patrick (always with a little “p”) Walsh for their service and continued support and efforts on the site and in the comments section of the site. Thank you!

Breaking Again: Yankees Trade Catcher John Ryan Murphy to Minnesota for OF Aaron Hicks

The New York Yankees and Brian Cashman were not done trading today as the Yankees GM sent his backup catcher John Ryan Murphy to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Aaron Hicks.

John Ryan Murphy has been the Yankees backup catcher to Brian McCann for two seasons now while Hicks has been on and off the Twins bench since the beginning of the 2013 season.

Gary Sanchez is now your backup catcher and Aaron Hicks is your fourth outfielder. Decisions. 

BREAKING: Jose Pirela Traded to San Diego for Ronald Herrera

Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees have struck their first trade of the offseason today as Jose Pirela was sent to the San Diego Padres for a minor league pitcher. That minor league pitcher is Ronald Herrera.

Pirela has been groomed as a utility guy for the Yankees, although his best and most natural position is second base, but the soon-to-be 26 year old is now headed west to San Diego to join former teammate Yangervis Solarte.

It is interesting to think about where San Diego will play Pirela and how they will use him. The most glaring hole the team has is at shortstop, a position Pirela has not played in the upper levels of the minor leagues, but the team seemingly enjoyed what they saw out of Jedd Gyorko there as recently as the 2015 season so who knows. He may become a super utility player for the Padres with the ability to play third base, second base and the outfield with ease while Herrera could potentially join a long train of potential Yankees right-handed relief pitchers they will be inviting to Spring Training camp this season.

Herrera is just 20-years old and finished the season in Double-A last season throwing 145.2 innings between High-A and Double-A. Herrera pitched to a 4.08 ERA, 6.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 and is known, like Luis Severino, as a polished but undersized right-handed pitcher who could struggle to hold down a long-term job in a Major League starting rotation. Herrera may be destined for the bullpen or he may defy the odds much like Severino, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez and many others have done. Either way we will miss Pirela in pinstripes and welcome Herrera to the club with open arms. 

Yankees & Mariners in Talks for Brett Gardner

According to reports the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners are having preliminary talks regarding New York’s left fielder Brett Gardner. Jerry Dipoto, the former Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim GM and current Seattle Mariners GM, and Yankees GM Brian Cashman have a history of working together meaning that a deal could be struck if the right players are offered up by both sides. Dipoto has reportedly been interested in Gardner’s services for quite some time and now has a plethora of options to offer Cashman for his left fielder, will Cashman bite on any of them?

No more is known other than what was posted in the above paragraph. There are no reports or even speculation of the players that could potentially join Gardner in a trade nor are there any reports of what Seattle may be offering in exchange for the Yankees left fielder. One name that has been thrown around by beat writers and bloggers though is left-handed pitcher James Paxton.

If the Yankees can grab Paxton for Gardner you have to think that New York pulls the trigger every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Gardner is owed roughly $38 million over the next three seasons including a buyout of his 2019 option while Paxton is still arbitration eligible and under team control until the 2020 season. Seattle has expressed a willingness to trade Paxton as recently as this winter so a deal could be in the makings.

If New York was to acquire Paxton they would be acquiring a 27-year old left-handed starting pitcher who has averaged a 3.16 ERA, 3.70 FIP and 1.255 WHIP in his three partial seasons in the big leagues. Paxton has never pitched more than 74.0 innings in the Major Leagues in any season so he’s still a relative unknown with a small sample size, which is why I am basically ignoring his 1.1 HR/9 ratio in 2015, but for New York you would have to think the risk is worth the potential reward, especially with a Yoenis Cespedes, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton still out there on the free agent market…

Sean Rodriguez the 2016 Version of Garrett Jones?

When the New York Yankees went into the 2015 season Brian Cashman had to presumably feel pretty good about his team. Mark Teixeira was two years removed from wrist surgery and was gluten free with the hopes of staying healthy all season. The team had a young and rangy shortstop in Didi Gregorius and a big arm in the rotation in Nathan Eovaldi to matchup with Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and the Tommy John recovering Ivan Nova. Cashman had all the makings of his super bullpen and he had Carlos Beltran back in the fold after getting the bone spur removed that hindered his right fielder for much of the 2015 season. The final pieces of the Yankees squad was the bench, a bench that included John Ryan Murphy, Brendan Ryan, Chris Young and Garrett Jones. The latter, Jones, was slated to be a fifth outfielder of sorts while also allowing manager Joe Girardi to give Mark Teixeira the days off he needed to stay healthy. Jones didn't work out in 2015 unfortunately and was designated for assignment twice, could the Yankees try to emulate that plan in 2016 with former Pirates water cooler abuser Sean Rodriguez?

S-Rod is listed as a second baseman, first baseman and outfielder according to Baseball Reference but let it be known, Rodriguez is not especially good at any of those positions. He's marginal at best when it comes to his defense but truth be told, Jones was too. Rodriguez, like Jones, would essentially be the 25th man on the roster just with more versatility. There is no guarantee that New York is sold on the Dustin Ackley and Robert Refsnyder platoon at second base so adding as many options and as much depth as they can is advisable in my opinion. Rodriguez fits that mold, gives the Yankees another option in the outfield and they give the team another true first base option (not that they especially need it with Greg Bird still with the club).

Rodriguez is right handed, a need, and he'll be just 31-years old for most of the 2016 season. The biggest issue may be that Rodriguez would not be willing to take a part-time role with the Yankees over a full-time role for a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates or another National League team. Rodriguez played in 139 games last season with the Pirates and slashed .246/.281/.362 with just four home runs and 17 RBI for the Wild Card winning Pittsburgh team. Rodriguez made a name for himself in the American League though with another AL East team in the Tampa Bay Rays so if he's be willing to come back to the East and take a part-time role knowing that he would eventually see playing time with a manager like Joe Girardi and a veteran team like the Yankees then this may be a great find for the Bronx Bombers for 2016.

Interested in Some Invaluable Yankees Memorabilia?

Displaying Yankees.jpg

You guys know us by now here at TGP. We're humble and we are the first ones to lend a helping hand when someone needs it or asks for it. I was checking my email yesterday when the group over at reached out to us and asked if we would be willing to inform our readers about an MLB memorabilia auction that goes live on November 14th and of course we were willing to help. This isn't the first time we've worked with the crew over at invaluable and we received some nice feedback from the first post so I am bringing you a second post this afternoon here on the blog. is an online marketplace that brings your rare baseball memorabilia live from the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. The auction will be live on November 14th at 11:00 am ET. There will be something for everyone from baseball bats from Yankees legends like Yogi Berra to 19th century baseball artifacts. The range of pricing for these bats and memorabilia range anywhere from $100-$250,000.

We receive nothing if you check out the auction and we still receive nothing if you buy. We truly wanted to just bring this to your attention because we thought you may be interested, it's not like we have baseball to watch or prepare for anytime soon, right?

Here are a few examples of what is up for auction on November 14th from

Lot 289: Fine Lou Gehrig professional model baseball bat c. 1930-31 (PSA/DNA graded "GU 8")

Estimated Price: $75,000 - $100,000

The bat originates from a primary source descendant of a former Washington area bat boy whom is believed to have spent time with several teams inclusive of the Washington Senators. According to family history, the young bat boy had the occasion to meet several notable individuals during this period and one particularly special encounter was with Lou Gehrig. The 1930-31 time period was particularly productive for Gehrig who turned in numbers that would have been career years for nearly any other player conceivable. A fresh to market Gehrig game bat is always noteworthy and an example with strong provenance and usage characteristics is an exceedingly rare find.

Lot 293: Fine 1931 New York Yankees team signed baseball

Estimated Price: $10,000 - $15,000

Red and blue stitched Reach W.Harridge Official American League baseball has been signed by (25) incl. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, George Pipgras, Cy Perkins, Herb Pennock, Sam Byrd, and others. Joe Sewell and Dusty Cooke are clubhouse signed. All are done in period fountain pen rating 7-8 out of 10. Ball displays some mild toning and light evident usage wear with faded but well defined stampings. A choice example dating to this highly desirable period.

Lot 288: Rare 1929 New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Athletics panoramic photograph

Estimated price: $1,500-$2,500

Original sepia tone image taken from the right/center field vantage point at New York’s Yankee Stadium during a game played between the Yankees and the Philadelphia Athletics. Beautiful image shows a full crowd watching the game played on June 22, 1929 with Babe Ruth clearly visible at bat under magnification. Image itself measures 8"x25" on original cabinet mount in three sectional images as commonly seen of the era. First such example we have handled or encountered with period Yankee Stadium panoramic photography seldom offered at auction.

Here's a few other items, there's definitely several more in the auction but these are top bids. Babe Ruth signed bat, 1956 signed Yankees baseball, and this Joe DiMaggio signed jersey. As always, feel free to check out the other sports memorabilia Invaluable has up for auction. You can share any of the information as well as the pictures attached on your site! We're excited about this auction, it's in its 12th year.

Meet a Prospect: Tommy Hanson

Tommy Hanson passed away this week at age 29 after what the doctors called catastrophic organ failure. Hanson was in a coma before passing away at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. We send our thoughts, prayers and well wishes to Hanson’s family, friends and loved ones and we leave everyone with the best tribute we can think of, a special edition Meet a Prospect for Mr. Tommy Hanson.

Thomas J. Hanson Jr. was born on August 28, 1986 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hanson and his family moved to California at a very young age where Tommy spent his high school years and graduated from Redlands East Valley High School in 2004. Tommy took his baseball talents to Riverside Community College and the Corvallis Knights of the West Coast League where he caught the attention of the Atlanta Braves before the 2005 MLB First Year Players Draft. Atlanta took Hanson with the 677th pick overall and their 22nd round pick out of Riverside Community College. Hanson’s professional career had begun.

Hanson impressed in the Appalachian League in 2006 as a relief pitcher winning the Appalachian League Championship Series and thus being named the best pitching prospect in the South Atlantic League before the 2007 season. Hanson had skyrocketed to the 9th best prospect in a deep Braves system by the time he reached A-Ball in 2007 with the Rome Braves and was moved to the starting rotation. Hanson made 15 appearances, 14 starts, for the Rome Braves before being called up to the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans where he finished his 2007 season. Hanson lasted seven starts in Myrtle Beach in 2008 before getting the promotion to the Double-A Mississippi Braves. Hanson threw a no-hitter with Mississippi in his ninth start and also set a new career high in the game with 14 K’s. Hanson was named Pitcher of the Year in the Braves system in 2008 and was invited to the Arizona Fall League.

In the 2008 Arizona Dall League Hanson won MVP honors for the league becoming the first pitcher to do so after compiling a 5-0 record with a 0.63 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched. Hanson was on the map for Atlanta and he was coming up fast. Hanson, after dodging trade talks for the San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy, began the 2009 season in Triple-A and was named the number one prospect in Minor League Baseball by Minor League News. Hanson stayed in Triple-A with the Gwinnett Braves until June 3, 2009 when he was called up to replace future Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine. Hanson made his MLB debut on June 7 against the Milwaukee Brewers and eventually went on to win the NL Rookie of the Month Award for the month of June after compiling a 4-0 record with a 2.48 ERA. Hanson would finish third in the NL’s Rookie of the Year vote that season but was with Atlanta in the big leagues to stay.

Hanson’s win and loss record was less than impressive in his Sophomore season as he posted a 10-11 record but his ERA and peripherals, 3.33 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, were encouraging alongside his career-high 202.2 innings pitched and 173 strikeouts. Hanson continued to pitch well, improve and grow as a starter in 2011 and was given the honor of starting on Opening Day for the Braves in 2012. Hanson had another first though in 2012, one that he would want to forget, as he was placed on the 15 day disabled list with a lower back strain. The Braves ended up trading Hanson at the end of the 2012 season to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for closer Jordan Walden. Hanson’s tenure with the Angels was short-lived though as after 15 appearances the Angels non-tendered the right-hander making him a free agent for the first time in his career.

Hanson was not a free agent for long as the Texas Rangers signed him to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Hanson did not make the team out of spring camp though and found himself a free agent once again before the 2014 season began. The Chicago White Sox were the next team to come calling looking for Hanson’s services after also signing Tommy to a minor league deal. Hanson spent the season in Triple-A with the Charlotte Knights before another disabled list trip ended his season. Hanson attempted one last comeback in 2015 with the San Francisco Giants, another minor league deal, but Hanson would never reach the Major Leagues again in his short Major League career and tenure.

Hanson was a fastball, slider and curveball type pitcher that occasionally threw a changeup to keep left-handed hitters off balance.  Tommy was a special talent and one that I can remember watching pitching and mature over the years as an Atlanta residence myself. I am a Yankees fan through-and-through but it’s hard to not root for the Braves and their players while living down here since it’s your only source of live MLB action. This one hurt me and I’m sad to see Tommy go… just a year younger than I am… too soon. RIP Tommy. 

Ryan Raburn vs. Chris Young for 2016

The New York Yankees Hot Stove is already heating up with Brian Cashman telling reporters that he's already gone to work. Cashman, in his words, is "open to anything" and is looking to be aggressive and get creative this offseason to improve the team in 2016. The issue with Cashman and the 2016 team is that most of the positions and roster spots on the team are already filled on paper, but not Chris Young's spot from 2015. Young basically played against left-handed pitching in 2015 while giving Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran days off but could the Yankees actually improve on that in 2016?

Enter the Cleveland Indians outfielder and infielder Ryan Raburn. Raburn, while he isn't the defensive wizard and Ben Zobrist type player that he used to be, would give the Yankees the left-handed masher they need that would be used as a late game defensive replacement and pinch runner for Beltran while also giving some infield depth. Raburn is listed as an outfielder, second baseman and third baseman according to Baseball Reference but the problem for New York may be his age. Raburn is 34-years old and will be 25-years old shortly after Opening Day 2016 but playing a bench role and a part-time role may eliminate those concerns for the Yankees.

The biggest question for New York would be this. Would Raburn be worth the contract or should the Yankees simply bring back Young for a third season? Well according to the Baseball Reference projections for 2016 Young would get more chances in New York and would put up better stats overall:

2016 Proj. 35 322 36 72 18 11 43 1 28 74 .252 .325 .437 .762

2016 Proj. 32 415 52 86 21 14 45 7 35 89 .232 .303 .414 .717

Both smashed lefties once again in 2015 with Young slashing .327/.397/.575/.972 with seven home runs and 24 RBI while Raburn slashed .325/.415/.589/1.004 with eight home runs and 25 RBI but Raburn gives the Yankees some versatility that Young does not provide. Young cannot back up Chase Headley giving the Yankees opportunities to keep him fresh and healthy and Young does not give the Yankees yet another option at the second base position if Dustin Ackley and Robert Refsnyder proves to not be enough in New York. I love Chris Young and I appreciate everything he has done for the team over parts of the last two seasons but if Raburn is willing to accept a one-year deal as a part-time player I think I have to give him the job. Then again I'm not Brian Cashman.

Weekly AFL Check In: Domingo Acevedo

Domingo Acevedo represented the New York Yankees all season long with an impressive breakout season and has continued to do so with the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League. Acevedo did not represent the Yankees in the AFL Stars Game, Chaz Hebert did, but Acevedo is knocking on the door to the Bronx and to everyone's Top Prospects list. Acevedo has put everyone on notice in 2016 with another great performance this week in Arizona.

Domingo Acevedo:

G: 4
GS: 0
IP: 6.1
W/L: 1-0
ERA: 4.26
K: 5
BB: 1
WHIP: 0.95

This Day in New York Yankees History 11/11: Joe DiMaggio

On this day in 1941 Joltin' Joe DiMaggio won the American League Most Valuable Player award for the second time in his career. The Yankee Clipper edges Ted Williams in his season in which he hit .406 when a Red Sox writer leaves Williams off the ballot. The Curse of the Bambino continues...

Speaking of Joe DiMaggio on this day in 1948 the Yankee Clipper was put into John Hopkins Hospital in New York to remove bone spurs on his right heel. DiMaggio would not make his debut for the Yankees in 1949 until June, 28 of that season and would debut by hitting a single and a two run home run in his first two at bats in a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox in Fenway.