Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2016 New York Yankees Spring Training Scheudle

The New York Yankees announced last week that pitchers and catchers would report to Yankees camp down in Tampa on February 18, 2016. The first workout for these players will be the next day, February 19, and position players will arrive on February 24. The team's spring training schedule begins on March 2 against the Detroit Tigers inside George M. Steinbrenner Field and ends with a pair of exhibition games inside Marlins Park against the Miami Marlins.

Spring schedule
photo and schedule courtesy of Lohud.com

Yankees Sign Francisco Diaz

The New York Yankees have added some minor league catching depth to help fill the gap left behind by the trade of John Ryan Murphy this week by signing former Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates product Francisco Diaz. Diaz is a switch-hitting catcher that is also listed as a left fielder on Baseball Reference and enters the 2016 season at 26-years of age.

Diaz played in High-A last season for the Pirates so there is no indication that this will be anything more than a depth signing much like the Eddy Rodriguez signing from earlier this winter. Kyle Higashioka was a catcher in the Yankees system at an advanced age for his affiliate and hit free agency this season so Diaz is likely to replace Higashioka in Tampa or Charleston.

Welcome to the family Francisco. 

If San Diego is Willing to Sell....

During the winter before the 2015 season I predicted, after a couple early offseason trades and moves, the Tampa Bay Rays were going to have a bit of a fire sale. Many, many trades later (although Evan Longoria, James Loney and Chris Archer did stick around so it wasn't a full-fledged fire sale) the Tampa Bay Rays had a fire sale. I see a similar trend forming this season with the San Diego Padres, especially after sending both Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit in separate trades to the American League, and if the Padres and their GM AJ Preller are willing to start selling I think Brian Cashman should start calling.

The Yankees and Padres have made one move already this season, a relatively minor one that sent 20-year old minor league pitcher Ronald Herrera to the Bronx for infielder Jose Pirela, and a second move could already be in the works for all we know. The trend for Brian Cashman during his tenure is when a trade is coming we will not hear about it, hence the nickname Ninja Cashman. Which players could intrigue the Yankees if another deal was already in the works?

Well you have to think the Yankees would like Yonder Alonso, Cory Spanenberg, Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner but all signs seem to point to San Diego holding on to that part of their core. Alonso is trade bait in my eyes but only in the right deal while the team was pleasantly surprised with Spanenberg at second base in 2015. Ross and Cashner are the anchors of that starting rotation and aren't going anywhere unless the team goes full blown fire sale, and they won't.

What about Matt Kemp? A right handed corner outfield with the speed and range to play center field. If the Yankees acquired Kemp it would have to come after a Brett Gardner trade in my opinion as there isn't room for "Beast Mode" currently on the roster, especially after the team acquired Aaron Hicks. San Diego would also have to likely kick in a significant amount of payroll to facilitate this trade, well that or take a bad trade back in the deal.

What about Jedd Gyorko? The Yankees were willing to take on his contract last season when the two teams discussed a Jorge Mateo (and others) for Craig Kimbrel trade and could be interested in his services again. The Yankees could especially be interested in Gyorko after proving to the Padres that he could at least hold his own at the shortstop position, although he is a second baseman by trade.

Finally, what about James Shields? Shields has seen the Yankees plenty in his career as a member of the Kansas City Royals and the Tampa Bay Rays and is no stranger to the AL East or Yankee Stadium. Shields bounced back with his switch to the NL and once again threw 200 innings, something the Yankees need desperately in their starting rotation, and led a rotation in San Diego that under achieved overall. Shields wouldn't have to be the ace and the anchor in New York, he'd have to keep the team in games for five or six innings and keep the ball on the ground. Shields can do that, but would Brian Cashman pull the trigger?

I don't have the answers to any of these questions or scenarios, stay tuned.

Brian Cashman’s Plan to Rebuild the Franchise

Disclaimer: I know going in that this article is not going to be a popular one. Brian Cashman could give 99% of his assets to charity and people would want him to give the other 1%. Cashman could win 160 games and some fans would wonder why the team lost the other two. Brian Cashman could be hounded to hold onto his prospects rather than trading them for 30-something’s (Ben Zobrist) and then when he does get hounded for standing pat and only acquiring Dustin Ackley. There is no winning for Cashman, it’s a tough crowd out here. With that said I believe I have deciphered Cashman’s master plan to not only rebuild the team but rebuild the franchise and I know going in that not many people are going to agree… and that’s okay.

One commenter here on the site specifically has said that the New York Yankees have no farm system to speak of. I disagree, New York just uses their farm system differently. For many years it was to simply acquire the next big thing on the trade market with all eye’s set on another World Series championship. Now that the system is actually beginning to produce talent, finally, Cashman is taking full advantage of that. Cashman is not a talent evaluator, and he’s not paid to be but if he were paid to be he would be terrible at his job, he is a GM that like almost any other GM relies on the scouting reports and the word of his scouts and trusted advisers. Those advisers have led to, just to name a few, the trades that sent Shane Greene out and brought Didi Gregorius in. Trades that sent David Phelps out and Nathan Eovaldi in. Trades that sent John Ryan Murphy out and sent Aaron Hicks in.

Do you see a trend developing here? Cashman cannot simply draft Top 10 talent in the first round so he is acquiring everyone else’s young talent with his young talent. Truth be told most people overvalue Yankees prospects simply because of the caliber of the team, an opposing GM will ask for the Yankees top prospects, get denied and then settle for a much lesser package(on paper) elsewhere. For the longest time that kept Cashman from making the right deals and forced him, if he wanted to keep his job and the “World Series or bust” mantra alive, to overpay thus emptying the farm. Not anymore.

Now Cashman is trading someone, Greene, who never projected to be above a #3 starter and got an everyday shortstop out of it. Go try and find an everyday shortstop on the free agent market or at the trade deadline and then try to get an, at best, #3 starter and see which is easier to acquire. Now Cashman is trading a backup catcher with marginal defense, not my words but from the scouting report and keyboard of Mike Axisa who analyzed the trade for about 5,000 words over at River Ave Blues, for what could be (keywords, could be) an everyday outfielder with speed, elite defense and occasional pop. Now Cashman is trading pitchers who were bounced around back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation and never projected to be more than a 5th starter or long relief pitcher for an evolving starting pitcher that could, my opinion, be a #2 starter at the current rate of development and projection.

With drafting high and acquiring players who were drafted high you’re always going to have a risk involved with any deal. You don’t want to whiff on high draft picks and when you do you don’t want to trade them too early before they realize their potential. When the team who drafted this high draft pick or acquired this high-end projected talent, most recently Hicks who was a first round talent for Minnesota, you’re also taking a risk. The risk is much less obviously after two or three subpar seasons but the risk is there nonetheless. What Cashman is doing is not just using the quote that is showcased on the Statue of Liberty to take your tired, your poor and your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Cashman is taking you’re high end talent that have played for bad teams and lost the drive to be great, the players that haven’t seen their true potential for whatever reason (late bloomer, no protection in the lineup, bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the Major Leagues, rushed in the minor leagues, small sample size etc.) and is giving them the freedom to breathe free…. Just in New York.

If you’re an opposing GM and you’re reading this, watch out. Brian Cashman is coming for your young talent and he’s going to make them his own. That’s the plan anyway, until someone else catches on. 


Los Angeles – The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in its Rookie of the Year category Monday, with the Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa winning the group’s American League award, and Kris Bryant, of the Chicago Cubs, being selected in the National League.
Correa received 105 first-place votes (58.66%) and 711 points while being named on 171 of 180 ballots (95%). Others receiving first-place votes include Francisco Lindor (57), Miguel Sano (7) and Billy Burns (4).
Bryant received 167 first-place votes (92.78%) and 864 points while being named on 178 of 180 ballots (98.89%). Others receiving first-place votes include Matt Duffy (8), Jung Ho Kang (3), Joc Pederson (1) and Noah Syndergaard (1).
Election results are as follows:
1st Place:                  Carlos Correa, Houston Astros – 711 points
nd Place:                 
Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians – 511 
3rd Place:                  
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins – 172
1st Place:                  Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs – 864 points
nd Place:                 
Matt Duffy, San Francisco Giants – 368 
3rd Place
:                  Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates – 166
Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates, using the Borda Method.
The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.
In 2010, the IBWAA began voting in its own relief pitcher category, establishing the Rollie Fingers American League Relief Pitcher of the Year and the Hoyt Wilhelm National League Relief Pitcher of the Year Awards.

Among approximately 400 others, IBWAA members include Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, David Schoenfield and Mark A. Simon of ESPN.com; Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports Hardball Talk; Bill Chuck, GammonsDaily.com; Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; King Kaufman, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy; Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Will Leitch, Sports on Earth; Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com; Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News; Tom Hoffarth and J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Pedro Moura, Orange County Register; Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com; Ken Rosenthal, FoxSports.com; Eno Sarris, FanGraphs; Dan Schlossberg, USA Today; Jesse Spector, Sporting News and Wendy Thurm.
Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a yearly fee of $20, or $35 lifetime. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

For more information please visit 


Howard Cole
Founding Director, IBWAA

Yankees Will Make a Run at Wei-Yin Chen

The New York Yankees will presumably be in the market for a starting pitcher this winter, not that this necessarily means that they will sign one, and one starting pitcher that is said to interest the team is former Baltimore Orioles ace Wei-Yin Chen. While I say that Chen was the Orioles ace, and he was, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I think he will be an ace on this team or for many teams. Chen is more of a middle-of-the-rotation type starter with #2 starting pitcher qualities and starts. Either way it looks like the Yankees are willing to give up the #22 pick overall (currently) in the 2016 MLB First Year Players Draft to potentially sign him.

Chen has pitched for the Baltimore Orioles for four seasons now and has posted a 46-32 record with a 3.72 ERA. Chen, now 30-years old, posted an 11-8 record with a 3.34 ERA in 31 starts last season. Chen is American League East tested, he’s left-handed which would balance out a right-handed heavy Yankees starting rotation and he’s durable. Chen, if signed, would be the only starting pitcher without a question mark attached to him heading into the 2016 season.

Chen is said to be seeking at least a five-year deal, although six years is not completely out of the question, and according to reports by Mark Feinsand New York feels comfortable giving him that this offseason.

Chen doesn’t pitch especially well inside Yankee Stadium sporting a career 4.50 ERA but he would be a good addition, in my opinion, to any rotation including the Yankees rotation. Chen wouldn’t be my Plan A but I’m not against him being a Plan B or even a Plan C. Then again, I’m not spending Hal’s money either.

Weekly AFL Check In: Ian Clarkin

Ian Clarkin is getting roughed up in the Arizona Fall League. It's no surprise and we won't beat around the bush or sugar coat it. The good news for the Yankees and the better news for Clarkin is that the big left-hander was sent down to the Surprise Saguaros to get work in, to get innings in and to not worry about the results. It's a good thing too.

Clarkin is getting the work in and we aren't hearing about anything other than your routine soreness or fatigue so it seems that Clarkin's elbow is back to being 100%. This is just a springboard to the 2016 season for Clarkin, four innings at a time.

Ian Clarkin:

G: 5
GS: 5
IP: 20.1
W/L: 2-1
ERA: 5.75
K: 12
BB: 13
WHIP: 1.92

This Day in New York Yankees History 11/17: MVP Munson

On this day in 1976 Yankees catcher Thurman Munson received 18 of the 24 first place votes to capture the American League MVP award.George Brett finished in second place and was no match for Munson's .302 average with 17 home runs and 105 RBI's. Munson is the first Bronx Bomber to be selected as the MVP and the Rookie of the Year, as Munson won the ROY in 1970.

Also on this day in 1964 the New York Mets signed former Yankees star Yogi Berra to a player/manager deal on a two year contract. The Yankees had recently just fired Yogi as a manager for them and will have to watch Yogi collect two more hits in nine National League at bats.