Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Johnny Cueto Wanted to go to the Boston Red Sox

According to Peter Gammons, the same man who said that David Price wanted to hit in the National League and didn't care about the money before signing a deal with the Boston Red Sox for $30-$40 million more than the St. Louis Cardinals offered him, Johnny Cueto really wanted to join the AL East this season before ultimately signing with the San Francisco Giants. Cueto, according to his agent, wanted to join the starting rotation with the Boston Red Sox before Price landed the largest deal ever for a starting pitcher. Would that have been a blessing in disguise for the New York Yankees?

*stats according to

The sample sizes are small, obviously, but it seems like much of the New York Yankees offense has seen the ball well out of Cueto's hand. Oh well, I guess we'll never know.

The 2016 Yankees Defense According to "FIELDING"

The New York Yankees have the potential to do something they haven't done since the 1998 season. Be a really great defensive team. No infield in Major League history may ever reach the 2009 Yankees level according to WAR the 2016 Yankees may match the 1998 Yankees infield defense according to Fangraph's fielding stat(formerly known as bWAR).

In 1998 the Yankees trotted out slick fielding Tino Martinez (4.0) at first base, Chuck Knoblauch (-4.0) at second base, Derek Jeter (2.0) at shortstop and Scott Brosius (12.0) at third base. Their defensive WAR’s combined for the 1998 season, considered to be arguably the greatest Yankees team and greatest baseball teams of all-time in case you forgot, was 14.0 dWAR. Let that sink in and think about that for a second. The team may not out-slug anyone but I don’t see many flares or ground balls getting through either which brings us to the 2016 Yankees infield.

In 2015 Mark Teixeira had another great season at first base was 0.4 but his career fielding is 61.5 showing you that Teixeira is due for a bigger defensive season in 2016. The metrics may not show it but Teixeira saved about 50 errors at first base this season. Starlin Castro's fielding stat was 0.2 but he was much better as a second baseman than a shortstop last season. Speaking of much improved defense Didi Gregorius probably should have won a Gold Glove at the shortstop position last year after posting a 7.4 fielding stat in 2015. Without a terrible month and a half to two months of the 2016 season like the 2015 season began and Gregorius could push an 8.0 fielding stat in 2016. Finally Chase Headley, the Headley that was horrible in 2015. Headley posted a -3.0 fielding stat in 2015 but had a 20.4 fielding stat just the previous year in 2014 meaning that the throwing errors that plagued Headley last season was likely a blip on the radar and not a trend. 

The potential to be an absolutely fantastic infield defense in there for the Yankees in 2016. If you throw in the throwing game and pitch framing of Brian McCann and you may have the best infield defense in the Yankees storied history. All they have to do is do it. 

The Yankees & the Cubs New Television Network

This isn't really New York Yankees news per se but this has all the makings of affecting the Yankees and their ability to acquire players down the line. The Chicago Cubs are looking to start their own television network by the 2020 season, if not sooner. Currently the Cubs are part of an agreement with Comcast and that deal expires after the 2019 season with an opt-out clause written into the contract. How does this affect the Yankees though? Remember what happened when the Yankees started the YES Network? They became the cash cow that they were during the mid-2000's and the network allowed George Steinbrenner to sign anyone and everyone he wanted. The Cubs network will begin right around the time the Yankees have all their money coming off the books and right around the time, if all things work out the way Chicago hopes, a certain someone named Bryce Harper becomes a free agent.

The Cubs Network is projected to be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 billion. That likely makes the organization more valuable than most clubs in Major League Baseball, maybe even the New York Yankees. Chicago has also signed John Lackey and Jason Heyward this offseason after signing Jon Lester last offseason showing the fans that the team is not afraid to spend money. Add another $300 billion into the pockets of the Cubs organization and no free agent would be out of their grasps potentially. Even Bryce Harper who could receive the first ever $400 million salary  when he hits free agency after the 2018 season. Even if Chicago doesn't have their network up and running by then they will want a big name and face to sell that network and Harper is that guy which could be bad news for the New York Yankees.

The Yankees are no longer 100% reliant on the free agency market which is encouraging for the franchise. The team is finally producing prospects who can compete at the Major League level and their GM Brian Cashman remains heavily active in the trade market in his search for young, cheap and controllable players but when free agents like Harper come around, which is about once or twice in a lifetime, you bid and you bid heavy. Yankees fans are not used to being outbid by other teams when they want a guy but they may be outbid for Harper, and it may be all because of the Chicago Cubs television network.

The Bartolo Colon Reunion Tour

This offseason the Yankees have not entered the free agent market and as of the writing of this article have completed three trades. The have dealt from positions of strength in dealing J.R. Murphy, Justin Wilson, and Adam Warren. The Wilson and Warren trades have caused some fans to worry as they weakened arguably the Yankees greatest strength, their bullpen. While the backend of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller is still intact, there are legitimate concerns about the bridge that will lead to them.

The Yankees minor league system has done a good job of churning out serviceable relievers in the past few years, and they will likely turn to the minors again to replace Wilson. Wilson was a hard throwing lefty and some combination of Tyler Webb, James Pazos, and Jacob Lindgren will probably replace him.

Warren, however, might not be so easy to replace. He served as the 5th starter at the beginning of the season then transitioned to a swingman role. Looking at the Yankees current roster, only Bryan Mitchell seems to fit the bill as a possible replacement. There are some players in the minors such as Brady Lail and the recently acquired Luis Cessa and Chad Green who could make the jump to the majors this year but by Warren's admission, it took him years to get the hang of going back and forth multiple times a year between starter and reliever.

If the Yankees are forced to go outside the organization to fill the swingman role there are intriguing options on the free-agent market like Doug Fister and Henderson Alvarez. While they have proven track records they come with injury concerns, performance concerns and will likely find starting opportunities elsewhere.
You knew this was coming

Another intriguing option is old friend Bartolo Colon. Colon demonstrated in the playoffs that he could go days without pitching and then pitch multiple innings effectively. While he'll be 43 during the season his statistics have not faltered. In 2014, he pitched 200+ innings for the first time since 2005 and in 2015 he was only short by 5.1 innings. His projections on rotochamp think he'll have a better season in 2016 though 3 of the 4 say with fewer innings. 

He has production, experience and anticipated contract demands going for him. It is unlikely he'll get guaranteed multiple years on his next contract. Take the $5 million that was spent on Chris Capuano last year and give it to Colon and everyone will be a lot happier.

I can think of only three downsides to going after Colon.

  1. His age could lead to a swift drop in production.
  2. Younger pitchers who could be with the team longer are blocked.
  3. In the AL, he won't get to hit as often depriving us of amazing photos like the one below.
One of the few times you'll be okay with seeing a Mets photo on a Yankees blog

 What do you think of a reunion with Bartolo Colon?

Best of What's Left on the Free Agency Market

The big names and the huge checks are being written this winter and the run on the second tier players is probably going to begin soon. Who is the best of what's left on the free agency market at every position?

C: Hector Sanchez
1B: Chris Davis
2B: Howie Kendrick
SS: Ian Desmond
3B: Daniel Murphy
OF: Dexter Fowler
OF: Alex Gordon
OF: Yoenis Cespedes
DH: Justin Upton

SP: Kenta Maeda
SP: Mike Leake
SP: Wei-Yin Chen
SP: Scott Kazmir

CP: Tyler Clippard
RP: Antonio Bastardo
RP: Fernando Rodney
RP: Ryan Cook

MLB Pipeline's Updates Yankees Top 30 Prospects List

The New York Yankees made an addition to their prospects stable recently with their trade of relief pitcher Justin Wilson to the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees acquired RHP's Chad Green and Luis Cessa and Cessa immediately made the Yankees Top 30 prospects list according to Cessa was ranked as the Yankees 18th best prospect after being ranked as high as the Tigers 6th best prospect, albeit in a very weak system. Here is the updated list from

1. Aaron Judge
2. Jorge Mateo
3. James Kaprielian
4. Robert Refsnyder
5. Gary Sanchez
6. Eric Jagielo
7. Ian Clarkin
8. Jacob Lindgren
9. Tyler Wade
10. Rookie Davis
11. Kyle Holder
12. Brady Lail
13. Drew Finley
14. Mason Williams
15. Bryan Mitchell
16. Hoy Jun Park
17. Dustin Fowler
18. Luis Cessa
19. Luis Torrens
20. Miguel Andjuar
21. Juan De Leon
22. Dermis Garcia
23. Abiatal Avelino
24. Slade Heathcott
25. Jordan Montgomery
26. Cale Coshow
27. Domingo Acevedo
28. Leonardo Molina
29. Thairo Estrada
30. Ben Gamel

Zack Greinke to Donate 1% of Salary to Charity

Thank you to MSN Sports who bring us a little motivation and "feel good" to start out our Wednesday morning. Zack Greinke recently signed a monster deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks worth $206 million over the next six years. For those without a calculator that's roughly $34 million per season thanks to Tony LaRussa, DBacks GM Dave Stewart and Greinke's right arm. Greinke is set for life but that doesn't mean he is done giving back.

Greinke has agreed to give 1% of his salary to the Arizona Diamondbacks charity every single season he is with the team. If I did the math right that will be a $343,000 donation to the charity annually.

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/16: The Day John Wetteland Would Have Broken Twitter if There Were a Twitter in 1996

On this day in 2009 the Yankees World Series MVP Hideki Matsui signed a one year deal worth $6.5 million with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Yankees were not interested in bringing back their DH due to his knee concerns.

Also on this day in 2002 the Yankees lost their relief pitcher Mike Stanton to a three year deal worth $9 million including a no trade contract with the New York Mets. The Yankees offered Stanton a two year deal worth $4.6 million on December 7, but Stanton was only allowed 15 minutes to consider the deal after a season where Mike went 7-1 with a 3.00 ERA and six saves.

Also on this day in 1996 the Yankees lost the 1996 World Series MVP John Wetteland to free agency to the Texas Rangers. Wetteland signed a four year deal worth $23 million to close games for the Rangers. Wetteland was only 29 years old when the Yankees let him walk to let Mariano Rivera close games.

Also on this day in 1983 the Yankees hired Yogi Berra for the second time to manage the team replacing Billy Martin. Martin was coming off of a season where he posted a 91-71 record which was good enough for third place, which is not good enough for George Steinbrenner. This tenure as manager would end in 1985 after 16 games and multiple assurances from Steinbrenner that he would not be fired. Yogi would not come back to Yankee Stadium for nearly 15 seasons after this.

Finally on this day in 1953 the Yankees and the Philadelphia A's completed an 11 player trade where the Yankees traded then top prospect Vic Power. Vic was a powerful first basemen who has hoped to be the first black player to play for the Yankees enjoyed three great seasons in the minor leagues including a .331 batting average and 109 RBI's the season before for the Newark Bears. The Bears were the equivalent of the AAA Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders today.