Monday, January 11, 2016

Joe Girardi Confirms What We Already Knew

Joe Girardi confirmed that Aroldis Chapman will be the Yankees closer in 2016. Basically what the Yankees manager is saying is the sky is still blue, the grass is still green and I'm still not going to win the Powerball on Wednesday. We all knew Chapman was going to be the closer, it was basically announced weeks ago when Andrew Miller told the media he was willing to pitch the 7th or 8th. Anyway the news is slow so people are latching onto this so I felt compelled to post it. Enjoy?

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 1999 World Series Game One HERE

Game One of the 1999 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves.

ICYMI: The Huge One-Year Deal for Justin Upton That Needs to Happen ASAP

The New York Yankees have been hiding in the dark corners and murky alley's all offseason long while they do their work in relative secret and with stealth. No one saw the Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy trade coming and no one saw the Jose Pirela for Ronald Herrera trade with the San Diego Padres coming either. The Starlin Castro trade was mentioned in passing, although nothing was considered to be close, while the Yankees absolutely shocked the world with the Aroldis Chapman trade. Brian Cashman earned the name Ninja Cashman because many of his deals come together without you reading about it on MLB Trade Rumors for six weeks in advance and Cashman should be thinking about landing his next target, Justin Upton.

Upton is attached to a draft pick after declining a qualifying offer from the San Diego Padres this offseason and the Yankees should do whatever they can to hold onto that pick, unless it's worth it. Who is worth it? Jason Heyward was, David Price was too and Justin Upton likely is too. Upton is so unbelievably underrated it's not even funny. Upton is just 28-years old and is coming off a 26 home run season in 2015 while playing half his games in the MLB equivalent of Yellowstone Park, Petco. Upton is a former first overall pick, ahead of Alex Gordon, and he actually has the best WRC+ over the last three years. Upton has a higher WRC+ than Jason Heyward did, than Yoenis Cespedes has and more so than Alex Gordon as well. Upton steals bases, 113 stolen bases in the last eight season, he's durable, he's played in at least 149 games in each of the last five seasons, and he's great defensively, he's finished third in the NL Gold Glove race in each of the last two seasons.

The market for Upton has been remarkably quiet, this should give the Yankees the opportunity to pounce. This free agent market is absolutely stacked and the next two offseason's are pretty thin following this season, Upton and the Yankees can take advantage of this. New York should offer Upton a one-year deal, maybe even add a player option or second year to the deal, and give him an incredible AAV. Pay the man $30 million for one season or $25 million for each of the next two season's, who cares? The plan is to wait until after the 2017 season to get under the luxury tax anyway and this makes the team exponentially better with another right-handed power bat being added to a thin lineup.

Upton can take advantage of a weak free agent market in a season or two as the top free agent and the Yankees can get his best seasons on a small risk. It makes sense, but will it happen?

Most Popular Article of the Week: Jacob Lindgren the Forgotten One

Major League Baseball is a thankless job, isn’t it? It’s almost like parenting, you work your tail off and you’re still expected to do a little more. Give a little more. Do a little better. It’s a large weight to carry on your shoulders every day but like parents MLB ball players do it. Again, much like parenting, there are times that you succeed but the first time you fail it’s all washed away. I said all that to bring to light exactly what is happening right now to a Yankees prospect, a Yankees prospect that is being severely overlooked this offseason. Jacob Lindgren.

Lindgren was taken with the first pick the Yankees had in the 2014 MLB Draft and was expected to move through the Yankees system rather quickly. Lindgren made his MLB debut early on in 2015 but an elbow injury derailed the beginning of his MLB career. Lindgren has bone spurs removed from his left elbow and missed the remainder of the 2015 season with surgery. While in the majors Lindgren did well and seemed to be slipping his way into Joe Girardi’s Circle of Trust but now it seems like no one remembers the name or mentions him anymore. Jacob Lindgren, the forgotten one.

Lindgren was not listed on either of Baseball America’s or Baseball Prospectus’s Top Yankees prospects list, although he did make my personal list, and was not listed in the Top 10 on’s Pipeline list of prospects either. Lindgren is not being mentioned anywhere but here on The Greedy Pinstripes and that may be a good thing for him.

Lindgren went into the 2015 season with high hopes and expectations, entering the 2016 season he is the forgotten one. That’s a lot of weight off his shoulder and his left elbow and that may allow Lindgren to relax and do his thing like he did for Mississippi State or for the Yankees farm affiliates.

Don’t forget Jacob Lindgren ladies and gents or he’s going to make you regret it.

If Not Justin Upton then Who?

The New York Yankees are in a bit of a unique situation this offseason. The team has needs, every team does, but the team lacks a true position where they can upgrade the offense and team easily. There are at least seven players vying for the starting rotation and another 10+ vying for the final bullpen slots on the team. The offense is seemingly full and will see breakout rookies like Greg Bird and Robert Refsnyder starting the season in Triple-A while there’s little to no room to improve the defense without a chain reaction of trades. I have said many times this offseason that the team should be at least willing to discuss a potential trade of an outfielder to make room for Justin Upton with little traction coming from my blog posts, if not Upton then who else would make sense for the Yankees this offseason? 

If not Upton then what Yoenis Cespedes? This is the obvious answer if the Yankees are looking for some right-handed pop in the lineup and another outfielder that can play in all three outfield positions. Cespedes, unlike Upton, would not require the forfeit of a first round draft pick though as he was not linked to a qualifying offer this offseason. The list of teams said to be interested in Cespedes is dwindling, especially after San Francisco signed Denard Span to a three-year deal, so you have to wonder if the one or two year pillow contract we discussed for Upton earlier last week would apply to Cespedes as well and whether he would take it or not. All signs point to no since teams like the Chicago White Sox and others have been willing to give Cespedes a three-year deal but you would have to think the window to win in New York is better than that of Chicago.  

If the Yankees want to go back to #TooManyDamnHrs they could always shock the baseball world and go after Chris Davis as well. Davis, although better suited as a DH at this point in his career, has played at first base, third base and the outfield although none were considered to be adequate attempts defensively. You don’t acquire a player like Davis for his defense or his batting average though you acquire him for his 50+ home run power, which may translate to 60 home run power inside Yankee Stadium, and the Yankees may decide his bat is worth finding at bats for. New York would presumably have to beat Baltimore’s $154 million offer they have left on the table for Davis though which may be the biggest obstacle.  

The final piece could bring a pitcher back to New York and that pitcher could be Wei-Yin Chen. I would hate to lose the draft pick for a pitcher that’s not an ace but Chen has a proven track record not only in the American League but in the AL East, which counts for more than people realize I think. Chen is just 30-years old and has a career 3.72 ERA pitching in the East while throwing in at least 185 innings in three of his first four seasons. Chen, like former teammate Davis, won’t come cheap making him unlikely to ever don pinstripes under this current regime but he’s the only pitcher out there that may be actually worth the risk and worth the reward. 

Meet a Prospect: Donovan Solano

The New York Yankees found themselves this winter pretty thin at the middle infield positions in Triple-A forcing Brian Cashman to look outside the organization for help. Despite already signing Pete Kozma to a minor league deal and Robert Refsnyder destined for second base in Scranton the Yankees were looking for depth up the middle after trading Brendan Ryan and Jose Pirela this winter. In an attempt to fill the depth chart back up the team made a minor league signing with an invite to spring training and offered it to former St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins product Donovan Solano. Today we meet him and officially welcome him to the New York Yankees family and organization. This is Meet a Prospect: The Donovan Solano Edition. 

Donovan Solano Preciado was born on December 17, 1987 in Columbia along with his brother and fellow Major League player Jhonatan Solano. It was in Columbia that Donovan caught the eye of the St. Louis Cardinals leading the team to sign him as an international free agent in 2005. Solano spent the next seven seasons inside the Cardinals organization as a backup infielder before his eventual release from the only professional organization he’s ever known. The Miami Marlins came calling in 2012 and invited Solano to spring training camp as a non-roster invitee after signing him to a minor league deal and this is where Solano’s MLB career began. 

In 2012 Solano made his MLB debut with the Marlins after losing out on the spring competition to Donnie Murphy. Solano began the season in Triple-A with the New Orleans Zephyrs before getting the call to the majors on May 20, 2012. Solano became just the 12th Columbian-born player to reach the Major Leagues and he singled in his first career at-bat. His brother Jhonatan, also with the Marlins, became the 13th Columbian-born player to make his MLB debut in that same magical 2012 season. 

Some highlights from Solano’s 2012 campaign included a 2-4 night against the San Francisco Giants in his first career MLB start on May 26. This was also the season that Hanley Ramirez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July giving Solano, Murphy and Greg Dobbs ample playing time at third base for the fish. Solano finished his rookie campaign with a .295 average in 285 at-bats with a pair of home runs, 11 doubles, three triples, 28 RBI, 21 walks and seven stolen bases. Solano followed up his rookie campaign with three more average seasons with Miami before becoming a free agent this winter.

The Yankees scooped up Solano and will give him a shot to win the last bench spot for the team in 2016. If he doesn’t win the spot, and the odds are not forever in his favor here in my opinion, he will presumably begin the season in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. Either way he’s part of the Yankees organization and the Yankees family so Donovan, welcome! Enjoy your stay. ---

Quick Hit: Mike Piazza vs. the Yankees

The newest members of the Hall of Fame according to the Baseball Writers Association of America are Seattle Mariners center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. and New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza. We have taken a disheartening look at how Griffey Jr. terrorized the Yankees during his career so it feels only right to do the same with Piazza. Piazza played his entire career in the National League with the Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers so the amount of times he saw the Yankees were limited but there was the Subway Series in Interleague play and the 2000 World Series matchup between the Yankees and Mets. Did Piazza make Yankees fans tremble before every interleague season?

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Roger Clemens sure didn’t fear Piazza, he threw a splintered bat “in his general direction” in the 2000 World Series but it did look like many of the Yankees pitchers were scared of him. Piazza finished his career against the Yankees with a .300 average with eight home runs and 26 RBI in just 41 games. Multiply that by four for roughly a full season total and you have 32 home runs and 108 RBI with 80 walks, 40 doubles and 184 hits. Ouch.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/11: ARod Suspended 162 Games

On this day in 2014 arbitrator Frederic Horowitz reduced Alex Rodriguez's doping suspension from 211 games to 162 games. Rodriguez had appealed the suspension handed down by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig that included any potential postseason games.

On this day in 2001 David Cone agrees to a one year contract with the Boston Red Sox leaving a $500 K guaranteed offer by the Yankees. Cone would make between $4 million to $5 million with Boston with incentives so who could blame him for being a traitor.

On this day in 1983 Billy Martin was hired as the manager of the New York Yankees for the third time. The third time will not be the charm as he would be replaced by Yogi Berra in 1985. Martin would be moved to the front office though so it was not a total loss for Billy.

On this day in 1915 Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Colonel Tillinghast L. Huston buy the New York Yankees from Frank Farrell and Bill Devery for $460,000. Ruppert considers renaming the Yankees the "knickerbockers" to promote his product from his brewery but thankfully doesn't after pressure from newspaper men.