Monday, January 4, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 1996 World Series Game Four HERE

Game Four of the 1996 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves.

ICYMI: Predicting the Spring Training Invitees

It's just about that time of the year Yankees family, the time where we're still digesting Christmas both emotionally and physically and where we're approaching a brand new year. Some are making New Years resolutions, others are buying out their local liquor stores while some are preparing for a quiet night at the house with friends and family. The Yankees are no exceptions but they do have one major task left to do presumably this week or next and that is to announce who they are inviting to Spring Training this March.

We know the entire 40 man roster will be invited to camp but who else? Honestly, I don't know but I am going to take an educate guess at it. If I missed anyone leave it below in the comments section.

Pete Kozma
Vinnie Pestano
Domingo German
Luis Cessa
Chad Green
Diego Moreno
Kyle Higashioka
Ronald Herrera
Francisco Diaz
Sebastian Valle
Jorge Mateo
James Kaprielian
Cesar Puello
Tyler Austin
Aaron Judge
Brady Lail

Most Popular Article of the Week: Analyzing The Aroldis Chapman Trade

Bryan Van Dusen Analyzes the Aroldis Chapman Trade HERE:

When I started writing this I wanted to talk about the reports of Aroldis Chapman choking his girlfriend and pushing her into a wall. Not to mention shooting his gun eight times in his garage afterwards. I wanted to say that what happened doesn't make Aroldis into a horrible person, who shall be shunned forever. Good people are capable of doing horrible things. But it's impossible to put my thoughts into words when I really don't know what to think about the whole thing.

So... yeah...

Major League Baseball is investigating the incident, and Rob Manfred will make a decision on a possible suspension, fine, or whatever. And I believe Brian Cashman didn't just say "meh, whatever" and trade for Chapman. The New York Yankees are one of the most well-known sports entities in the World, and to believe Cashman doesn't know that and is willing to harm their "good" name is ridiculous.

So I'm going to stop there when it comes to the off the field stuff. And when looking beyond the off the field stuff this trade is a total steal.

According to Baseball America's Top 10 Prospect list, none of the prospects traded to Cincinnati are in the Top 5. Rookie Davis is actually the #6 prospect in the organization, But Davis has only thrown 33.1 innings above A-ball, and I wouldn't say he "killed it" in his short time at AA Trenton (he went 2-1 in five starts, with an ERA of 4.32).

I wasn't happy to see Eric Jagielo included in the trade, but I'm certainly not heartbroken over his loss. Jagielo is a third baseman, who some think is destined for first base, and corner infielders aren't that difficult to replace. Plus there's the fact that Miguel Andujar, who is a better fielder and finished strong at high A Tampa last season, could be a future third baseman. Meanwhile, Greg Bird looks to be the Yankees' first baseman of the future.

"Yep. I'm the man."

Caleb Cotham is the third prospect that the Yankee sent to the Reds. Cotham threw 9.2 innings for the Yankees this season, giving up 7 runs and 14 hits (four of which were home runs). Caleb could have possibly been a part of the Yanks bullpen in the future, but I don't think it would be a significant part at all.

The last part of the trade was Tony Renda, who the Yankees acquired when they traded David Carpenter to the Washington Nationals. Mind you, Carpenter had been designated for assignment, so Renda wasn't looked at as much more than minor league filler. Renda hit .269/.330/.358 in AA last season, and I have yet to hear anybody saying anything along the lines of "he'll be missed".

Now, I don't have to tell you what Aroldis Chapman can do for the Yankees. I begged for the Yankees to re-sign David Robertson, so that they could deploy the three-headed monster out of the bullpen. Unfortunately that didn't happen, but almost a year later Brian Cashman came through for me. Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller will scare the bejesus out of any and all Yankees opponents next season. If the Yankees have a two run lead going into the 7th inning you may as well say "game over". Heck, even having a one run lead will be pretty darn good.

But will the Yankee starters be able to hand a lead over to the killer threesome?

Although Masahiro Tanaka was the only starter to average at least six innings per start, I'm confident that Michael Pineda will have a better season than last knowing that his shoulder can hold up over an entire season.

Luis Severino is looking at pitching only around 150 innings, so he won't be totally let loose next year. But for the most part the team can count on him to hand over a lead to the three-headed monster.

Nathan Eovaldi averaged 5.7 innings a start in 2015, so I can see the bullpen needing a couple more outs from the bullpen when he starts. Chapman threw more than an inning four times last season (twice in the last month), Miller threw more than one inning eight times, and of course we all know Betances is capable of giving the team more than an inning at a time.

And then there's CC Sabathia. Daniel recently posted about Sabathia, and reasons to be optimistic about him next season, so I'll just direct you over there. If that's too much for you, let's say that he could be a fine starter next season, and hand over plenty of leads to the three-headed monster next season.

"I think you're a little too trusting."

When speaking of Nathan Eovaldi I mentioned that Dellin Betances is well-known for throwing more than one inning, which led to him throwing a ton of innings the previous two years. Many people rightfully see that as a problem, especially after seeing Dellin's effectiveness go down towards the end of last season. With Aroldis on board, chances are Dellin will not be leaned on nearly as much to giving the team more than an inning at a time.

It would be nice if Cashman could acquire a better starter, but I have a feeling it won't happen. I hope to be proven wrong, and it wouldn't be the first time, but after talking about those five above I just don't see a strong enough need to pay the price that a young/good starter would cost.

In fact, I'm not holding my breath for anything else "big" to happen this offseason. There are a few teams out there that would probably love to have Brett Gardner, but it doesn't seem like Cashman really wants to deal away Brett, and I don't see any team offering enough for acquire him.

It would be a shame if this was the last "big" thing to happen, but as things stand right now I kind of like this team's chances of making a run next year.

NY Yankees Bold Predictions for the 2016 Season

The New Year is for new resolutions, life changes and new plans. This applies for your real life but it applies for baseball as well. The New York Yankees made their resolutions already on the blog, see that fictional post if you missed it, and now I am making my bold predictions for the club this season. Last year I think I did pretty well with these for once. I predicted the comeback of Alex Rodriguez, an overall healthy season from Mark Teixeira and the emergence of Didi Gregorius at shortstop despite the monkey on his back named Derek Jeter. Who gets the good luck nod from Mr. Burch this season? Keep reading.

--Robinson Cano who? That's going to be something I feel like I'm going to be saying a lot this season. "Robinson Cano who" will be this season's "Stephen Drew sucks." Why? Starlin Castro and his .280 batting average and his 22 home runs in the second hole of the Yankees batting order.

--Speaking of second base I can see Chase Headley missing some time this season, he played in almost all 162 games last season, and will have at least one trip to the disabled list. That will allow Robert Refsnyder to force the issue from the bench, he'll still spend less than a month on the MLB roster though.

--Speaking of spending time on the MLB roster Refsnyder will spend about as much time on the roster as Greg Bird thanks to Mark Teixeira getting into 140+ games and having a hell of a contract season. 30 more home runs at least for Teixeira and he will finally drive in those 100 RBI.

--Alex Rodriguez will not be able to replicate his huge 2015 campaign, although he will stay healthy once again and hit over 20 home runs once again. The decline will be obvious but he will be kept out of the lineup more often with Gary Sanchez on the roster

--Quite possibly the biggest bold prediction will be one that has to do with the Yankees starting rotation. The health specifically of the starting rotation. None of Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Pineda or Luis Severino will head to the disabled list this season. Yeah, I said BOLD predictions.

--The final prediction is quite bold given the state of the division. The Yankees will make the playoffs once again as a Wild Card team.

Yankees & Dodgers May be Trade Partners

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost one of their best starting pitchers this offseason in Zack Greinke but the team replaces him the way they replace everything and everyone, by throwing money at free agents. The Dodgers gave $16 million a season for three years to left-hander Scott Kazmir giving the team an all left-handed starting rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood. The Dodgers needed a right-handed arm to add to their rotation and they went a long way to add one, all the way to Japan in fact. The Dodgers added Kenta Maeda to their already talented rotation leaving Los Angeles seemingly with too many pitchers and not enough rotation spots for them all, could that benefit the Yankees?

Kershaw, LOL, but Ryu, Anderson or Wood could be made available by Los Angeles. Then again the team could always convert one of them into a relief pitcher and add them to their bullpen but for the sake of this post let's assume Los Angeles makes one of them available. Which would interest the Yankees? New York is said to be interested in a left-handed pitcher that they consider cheap and controllable with two or three years of team control left as the ideal candidate.

Is that Ryu? No, not really. Ryu is only 28-years old so he is considered young but $7.833 million is considered expensive in many households whether it's for the next three seasons or not. Anderson is on a one-year deal after accepting a qualifying offer this winter and is a huge risk, the Yankees have enough risks and question marks in their rotation already, while Wood may be the most attractive piece of them all. Wood is 24-years old and is not a free agent until after the 2019 season. Wood is still going through the arbitration process and would likely be the most ideal for New York. Although there is something that comes hand-in-hand with being young, cheap and controllable. You get expensive.

I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system and I'm not an expert on their MLB team either to be honest so what the team would want in exchange for Wood is anyone's guess. Since the team attempted to sign Aroldis Chapman you would think the bullpen would be a concern for the Dodgers but I'm not sure I would be comfortable trading away Andrew Miller truth be told. The team may also need a second baseman to pair with Chase Utley so maybe a Robert Refsnyder would be attractive to them? I know one thing for sure though, they don't need any outfield help leaving Brett Gardner still in the Bronx for now.

I'm not sure if the Yankees have the pieces they are willing to give up for Wood and I'm not even sure that LA would make Wood available after signing Maeda, remember that, but if they did I think New York should be interested. Wood checks a lot of boxes for the Yankees and he likely makes the team a whole lot better than it is right now, and that's all that matters to me.

Yankees Asked for Lance McCullers Jr. from Houston

The New York Yankees made it clear that they were willing to move three key players from the Yankees 2015 squad, Brett Gardner, Ivan Nova and Andrew Miller. While the team's GM Brian Cashman was also more than willing to hold onto these three men, especially Miller, he acknowledged that the team could be blown away in a potential trade offer for a young starting pitcher with less than three years of service time. For a good example of this we look to MLB Trade Rumors who announced that the Yankees asked for Houston Astros rookie Lance McCullers Jr. in a potential trade for Andrew Miller.

Miller was the American League's best relief pitcher in 2015 which was evident by him winning the Mariano Rivera Award for the AL so it makes sense for the team to ask for the sky for Miller. He has three years remaining on a pretty team friendly deal at this point and is coming off a year where he was nearly perfect closing out games for the Yankees. Obviously the deal never went through and the Astros instead went to Ken Giles of the Philadelphia Phillies for their relief help but this goes to show you, and I'm speaking directly to those "Why isn't Brian Cashman doing anything" and the "sky is falling" fans, that Cashman IS trying to make the team better. He is.

McCullers is a 22-year old right-handed starting pitcher that would have looked especially good in Yankees pinstripes in 2016. He wouldn't be a free agent until after the 2021 season after going through the arbitration process and posted a 6-7 record with a 3.22 ERA (3.26 FIP) in 2015. The sky is the limit for McCullers and he would have been a welcomed addition to the Yankees young starting rotation. Maybe next time.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/4: Sunday Games at Ridgewood Park

On this day in 1904 the New York Highlanders, soon to be the Yankees, announce plans to play Sunday home games at Long Island's Ridgewood Park. This will be overruled in March by National Commission chairman August Herrman since the park is so close to the home of the Brooklyn Superbas, soon to be the Dodgers.