Sunday, December 6, 2015

Domingo German and Signings Yet to Come?

The New York Yankees non-tendered right-handed starting pitcher Domingo German this week before the non-tender deadline officially making German a free agent. German is a 23-year old prospect originally out of the Dominican Republic that came to the New York Yankees via trade in the Miami Marlins deal that sent Nathan Eovaldi to the Bronx and Martin Prado to South Beach. German suffered a torn UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after the trade forcing him to miss the entire 2015 season. The Yankees are currently fighting a 40-man roster crunch and German got the axe to clear a roster spot, does this mean more moves are on the way for New York?

The Yankees didn’t necessarily have to open up a 40 man roster, and truth be told the team will likely bring back German much like they did with Slade Heathcott before 2015, so why did they? Just to have the flexibility of having an open 40 man roster spot? Honestly, and I think I know the Yankees and the way they operate pretty well, that’s not likely to be the case. Something is in the works. The trade front went awfully quiet on Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller and something is going down, call it a hunch.

If the Yankees do lose German on some off chance they would be losing a guy who has posted a 2.05 ERA as a reliever and a starter from 2010-2013 and a fire-baller that has a 142:66 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 170.1 innings. In layman’s terms, an up and coming relief pitcher that is going to be something special. 

Yankees Season Dependent on the Blue Jays Pitching

The New York Yankees are expected to stay relatively quiet this winter with any activity the team sees likely to come on the trade market. The Bronx Bombers, the former kings of free agency, will likely stay away from the top tier free agents and have already seen many names and plenty of dollars come off the board already. New York’s primary concern is waiting out these albatross contracts that expire after the 2016 and 2017 seasons without adding more albatross contracts as knee jerk reactions to what the other teams in the American League East have done. The Yankees, a playoff team in 2015, are also looking to at least compete for a Wild Card and playoff spot in 2016 while this is all going down, will they make it back to the promised land?

The Red Sox are going to be better undoubtedly, although the Yankees finished nine games ahead of them in 2015, and all signs point to the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays taking a step back next season but what about the Toronto Blue Jays? Toronto has already lost David Price to the rival Boston Red Sox but have added a couple complimentary pieces in Jesse Chavez and JA Happ, will that be enough to replace the production left behind by Price? Not likely but one thing is for certain, the Yankees postseason hopes depend on those two arms.

The Blue Jays, assuming the health and effectiveness of Marcus Stroman, are a better team than the Yankees if Chavez and Happ pitch better than they did in 2015. Happ was a big part of the impressive second half push the Pittsburgh Pirates made in the NL Central Division last year while Chavez continued to bounce back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation in Oakland. We’ve seen glimmers of hope from both pitchers in the past, and recently mind you, but we’ve also seen both pitcher fail. Fail hard. Toronto needs both of them to compete this season, RA Dickey is not a suitable #2 starter anymore and I can’t see Marco Estrada replicating his 2015 season although I could be wrong, and if they don’t they may be on the outside looking in at the postseason this year.

Sure the Blue Jays will have one of the best, if not the best, offense in all of Major League Baseball in 2016. Ask the Yankees how well that worked out in the 2000’s. For the most part that and 75 cents got you a can of Coke.

43 New Free Agents, Any Destined for Pinstripes?

The deadline has come and gone and now all 30 Major League teams have decided whether they are going to tender a contract to their non-tender candidates and players. When the smoke cleared 43 players were added to the free agency pool after being non-tendered and about half as many trades, signing and moves went down before the deadline. 43 more warm bodies for all 30 teams to choose from but will the Yankees take a waiver on any of them?

The field of 43 is highlighted by former Houston Astros slugger Chris Carter, former Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez and Kansas City Royals former closer Greg Holland. None of these three likely intrigue the Yankees much, Carter is a first baseman and hit just .199 with 24 home runs last season while Alvarez is a first baseman only out of necessity. He can’t field at third base and he’s barely marginal defensively at first base after falling out of grace with the Pirates. Holland had Tommy John surgery late in the 2015 season and will almost 100% miss the entire 2016 season as well while rehabbing the injury.

Other not-so-notable names to join the free agency frenzy includes Oakland A’s first baseman Ike Davis, former Giants World Series start Yusmeiro Petit, injured Miami Marlins pitchers Henderson Alvarez and Aaron Crow, relief pitcher Cesar Ramos, Padres third baseman and former Boston Red Sox player Will Middlebrooks, Neftali Feliz, Al Albuquerque, catcher Tyler Flowers, Jacob Turner and Atlanta Braves left-handed starter Mike Minor.

Minor league deals could be handed out to many of these players if they were willing to sign, especially Alvarez, Middlebrooks (the Yankees have almost zero insurance at third base for Chase Headley), and Minor (because, duh, he throws left-handed). Nothing really intrigues me on this roster although I do wonder if Cashman is intrigued by Tyler Flowers. Flowers could give Yankees backup catcher Gary Sanchez more time to fine-tune his development in Triple-A. No way to tell so you’re just going to have to stay tuned. 

Chris Young, Two Years $13 Million and Brian Cashman is a Genius

Imagine that, another unpopular article here on The Greedy Pinstripes. I can’t help it though. I like to go against the grain and I like to put my true thoughts, not the popular thoughts, into my articles. This brings me to Chris Young and his new contract with the all of a sudden extremely generous Boston Red Sox organization. Chris Young, the Yankees fourth outfielder and bench player, received $13 million from Boston over the next two years to fill the same role. Young is getting paid $6.5 million annually to play occasionally off the bench. Aaron Hicks, the man Brian Cashman deems as Young’s replacement, is making $525K. Let that sink in a minute. Brian Cashman is a genius.

Young enters the 2016 season at 32-years old. In a partial 2014 season and a full 2015 season Young batted .252 with 14 home runs and 42 RBI in 318 at bats with the Pinstripes. Young hit .327 against left-handed pitching and will presumably fill that platoon role in Boston. Imagine Young facing off against CC Sabathia inside Fenway Park with the Green Monster just 310 feet away. He’s going to pop it up and it still go over the wall. This is going to get annoying fast but I digress.

Hicks on the other hand is just 26 years old and is a former first round pick from the Minnesota Twins. Hicks, like Young, can play center field but Hicks is the better and faster base runner, base stealer and defensive wizard. Hicks is an obvious upgrade for the Yankees on the defensive side and the sky is the limit on the offensive side. Hicks is a much better hitter than his career .225 batting average would suggest and his career .272 average against left-handed pitching as a right-handed batter should also improve. All that and Hicks is a switch-hitter, just in case you forgot.

The Yankees got depth, versatility, speed, base stealing and youth with four years of team control left while the Red Sox got a 32-year old veteran for two years and $13 million. Enjoy that now, the Yankees will enjoy it later though.

Flurry of Backup Catchers off the Board Only Means One Thing

This has been a week of small milestones for Major League Baseball and for the New York Yankees specifically. The deadline to tender players a contract or not passed with a flurry of minor signings and trades while 43 players joined the free agency market while the Yankees sat back and lit some candles on a birthday cake. New York wished Gary Sanchez a very happy 23rd birthday this week while a flurry of back up catchers were being scooped up in free agency and acquired via trade. The fact that the Yankees were content to stay away, at least at the time of this writing, from the backup catcher suggest only one thing.

Gary Sanchez is going to be the Yankees backup catcher on Opening Day 2016. Many speculated, beat writers specifically, that Sanchez would begin the season in Triple-A after spending just 35 games with the Scranton RailRiders in 2015 but at least right now that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sanchez got an extended look in the Arizona Fall League as he faced off against some of the premier talent across the league and showcased his power and talents all the way through the AFL Stars Game. It seems like the Yankees and Brian Cashman specifically have seen enough to hand the reigns over to Sanchez after trading John Ryan Murphy earlier this offseason.

I love the idea of having Sanchez on the bench. He is a right-handed bat with a ton of power at just 23-years old. Sure his development may be slowed a bit as the backup catcher, Murphy didn’t play all that much in 2015, but New York can move him around if need be. The Yankees absolutely cannot played Alex Rodriguez 150+ games next season, even as a DH, and Sanchez can play a huge role in that department filling in for A Rod while still giving the team some right-handed pop in the lineup. The lineup against left-handed pitching would be better as well with Sanchez, in my opinion anyway, as a significant upgrade over Murphy at least offensively.

Maybe in a pinch Sanchez could learn first base as well. You never know. All we know right now is all signs point to Sanchez as the backup catcher for Brian McCann next season. 

Greg Bird Tells the Greg Bird Story

Greg Bird joined Twitter and the Yankees universe lost their minds. Dude got like 6,000 followers in less than a day, crazy stuff. Any way you can follow the Birdman of New York by following @_GBird33 and you can also see Greg Bird tell the Greg Bird story… in a few tweets that we will showcase below. Enjoy. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/6: Left Intentionally Blank

this was left intentionally blank to emphasize my point.

Surprisingly not a single bit of news, a single trade, a single free agent signing, nothing happened on this day in New York Yankees history. Maybe Brian Cashman can make some news today so we can write about it next year.