Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/1

So what happened today in Yankees Spring Training camp?

Aroldis Chapman got suspended for 30 games. Much more on this later but spoiler alert, I don't like it. This sends a scary precedence that the league is a better police nation than the actual police. The police found zero evidence of domestic violence in this case but MLB found enough to warrant a suspension? And don't give me the jazz about him firing a weapon, a registered weapon, in his own home. That's a second amendment right, an anger management discussion and an idiotic move in my opinion. Especially with a kid in the house. It's still not domestic violence.

There was no workout today, just a team bonding event like we hear about ever year. Here is the exact quote from manager Joe Girardi thanks to Chad Jennings of Lohud:

“They’re communication activities, in a sense,” Joe Girardi said. “You play games to learn how to do different things as players and get to know each other. I think that’s important. We had 31 pitchers in camp last year and we used 31 pitchers during the course of the season. The big thing that I want is, when the players come up – because obviously at some point you’re going to need more players than what you leave with on the 2nd — that they’re comfortable and that they know their teammates. That they feel good in their surroundings and feel safe, know they can trust the guys next to them. That’s the important thing.”

Other Than Babe Ruth the Potential Milestones for Alex Rodriguez in 2016

Alex Rodriguez has the opportunity to tie and pass a Yankees legend this summer if he can replicate the production and successes that he had in 2015. Alex sits just 27 home runs behind former Yankees, Red Sox and Boston Braves icon and legend Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list which we spoke about earlier today but that's not the only milestone he could potentially reach in 2016.

Alex tied Hank Aaron for the most 30-home run seasons in MLB history last year with 14. If he can do that again in 2016 he would not only pass Aaron in that category but absolutely pass Ruth as well.

Alex is also just 40 hits away from 20th place on the all-time hits list. The 40 hits gives him 3,110 for his career and ties him with former Yankee Dave Winfield.

The final milestone Alex could reach in 2016 is the runs scored milestone after passing a couple of legends in 2015 in Derek Jeter, Stan Musial and Cap Anson. Rodriguez finished the season sitting on 2002 career runs scored with the next three in front of Rodriguez being Willie Mays (60 behind), Pete Rose (163 behind) and the Babe Ruth/Hank Aaron combo who both sit at 2174 runs scored.

Well he could also strike out 86 more times and tie Sammy Sosa for fourth all-time but we don't need or want to talk about that, do we?

What If Chase Headley Cannot Remember How to Play Defense?

Continuing our “What If” series for the 2016 season we head out to Yankees camp to see what the team has in store and what the team has planned if Chase Headley cannot remember how to play defense in 2016.

It is not out of the realm of possibilities that Chase Headley can 100% forget how to play defense next season, we’ve seen it before in New York and there is no reason we won’t see it again in New York on a long enough time line. Headley was an elite defender at third base during his time in San Diego but when he came to New York he seemingly forgot how to make the routine plays and throws to first base. We’ve seen it before, remember Chuck Knoblauch in the late-90’s with the Yankees for a reference point, and the Yankees failed miserably at snapping Knoblauch out of his funk so what do they do if the same happens to Headley?

The Yankees plan to snap Knoblauch out of his defensive funk was to move him from second base to left field which proved to be an act in futility. The difference between Headley and Knoblauch though is that Headley has experience at other positions, the outfield, first base and even at shortstop as an amateur, where Knoblauch had none. Headley could conceivably be moved elsewhere but the only position you would truly want him at would be first base. If the Yankees have a healthy Mark Teixeira that’s not an option so what is Plan B?

Do you bench Headley thus opening the door for Starlin Castro at third and Robert Refsnyder at second? Ideally that’s not ideal but it’s a Plan B for a reason. Castro has about as much experience at third base in his professional career as I have a professional career in Major League Baseball, I don’t, so you would think having him take reps there in real game experiences would be somewhere down the priority list for the Yankees and Joe Girardi. You can’t play Refsnyder there either because he has less experience than Castro or you can’t call up a prospect unless it’s Tyler Austin, who hasn’t played third in quite some time, after trading away Rob Segedin and Eric Jagielo.

So what do the Yankees do if Headley can’t play defense, and keep in mind his bat isn’t going to carry him or justify his place in the lineup and on the field either, and they feel like they need to make a move? Are we ready for the Ronald Torreyes era at third base? The Donovan Solano era? Do we make a trade for Martin Prado, again, and hope for the best, again? I truly don’t know but I know one thing, I truly am worried. Hopefully Headley used the offseason to clear his head and get out of his own way because if he can’t play defense in 2016 then the entire team is in a world of hurt. 

MLB, Rookies and Fantasy Baseball

Have you had your Fantasy Baseball Draft yet? If not we have a couple more tips, tricks and potential sleepers to send your way before you do. We slacked off a bit last month on the Fantasy baseball discussion only because I had so much prospects related content to use as a part of Prospects Month that something had to give and these posts got the axe temporarily. Have no fear though as they are back and keeping with the prospect spirit we will bring you a handful of rookies and prospects to keep on your watch list as you prepare for your draft. Some can help on Opening Day and some won’t likely help before July so keep this post bookmarked all season long just in case, you might need it.

Corey Seager is expected to be the Los Angeles Dodgers starting shortstop on Day One in 2016 and like I say with any National League player he should see what I like to refer to as some “cupcake” competition next season. The NL will boast two or three of the worst teams in MLB next season with the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers while teams in the Dodgers own division, the Padres especially, are planning on tearing things down and building back up slowly. Get Seager if you can because he is going to be a great shortstop for you in 2016.

The same can be said for fellow shortstop Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals. While Seager will see enough of those teams much of the NL expects to beat up on Turner will see them around 20 times per season each. Turner made a nice debut with Washington in 2015 batting .322/.370/.458 and he possesses 30 stolen base potential as well making him a potential bargain for fantasy owners.

Everything I said about Seager can be applied to the Minnesota Twins future center fielder and top prospect Byron Buxton with the exception of the fact that Buxton will play in the American League in one of the tougher divisions in baseball. Buxton is lightning quick though and you don’t get named top prospect in all of baseball twice if you’re a slouch everywhere else, Buxton is going to be special.

Is Steven Matz still considered a prospect? If so you have to have him on your radar as he fits in with the rest of those aces and #2’s in the New York Mets rotation. He’s finally back and healthy from Tommy John surgery and is primed to make a huge impact in 2016 both in fantasy and in the NL East Division.

I guess the same could be said for Byung-Ho Park of the Minnesota Twins and Hyun-soo Kim of the Baltimore Orioles. They are both technically rookies but at 29-years old and 28-years old respectively Park hit 50 home runs in back-to-back seasons in Korea before coming over to the states and is expected to be either the every day first baseman or DH while Kim will showcase his keen batting eye and outrageous contact skills to channel his inner Ichiro Suzuki.

The final prospect we cover today will miss at least 50 games this season with a drug suspension, the St. Louis Cardinals top pitching prospect Alex Reyes. Reyes is already overpowering hitters with a 95+ MPH fastball that can reach as high as 100 MPH when he really reaches back for it. Reyes failed a test for marijuana and not steroids but either way he could be a bargain and an absolute steal in your fantasy draft.

What if Alex Rodriguez Ties and/or Passes Babe Ruth in 2016?

This time last year every media outlet, every camera, every microphone and every person’s full attention was on Alex Rodriguez for all the wrong reasons. Alex was preparing for his first full season in the Major Leagues since missing all of 2014 with a steroids related drug suspension and was also preparing to not only tie but pass Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time home runs list for MLB. The drama only started in March of 2015 but this time around the attention will be on Alex for a different set of reasons. Can he be a leader in the Yankees clubhouse? Can he mentor the young guns the Yankees are currently stockpiling on the roster and can he come close to matching the production he put out in 2015? And in the same breathe what will happen if and when Alex ties and passes former Yankees great Babe Ruth?

I pose the question because the Yankees and Alex had a bit of a debate, let’s call it a debate anyway, over his $6 million home run trigger bonus when he tied Mays on the all-time list. The Yankees refused to pay Alex the money for reasons that have been beat into the ground more times than we’d all like to remember or admit and in the end the team and Alex decided to donate a portion of the money to a charity of Alex’s choice to settle the discussion. Will there be a peaceful resolution this time around or will Alex want the money that was written into his contract?

I don’t pretend to know the current financial situation that Alex is in after all the legal fees he accumulated and such but you would have to think that he could still “use” an easy $6 million in his bank account. The problem here, and I mentioned this last year as well, is that he set a precedence last season when he agreed to donate the money. In the eye of an outsider that seems like Alex admitted at least some wrongdoing or guilt in the situation while allowing himself to forfeit the money. What makes him any less “wrong” or “guilty” or any more “worthy” of the money this time around just because he seemingly turned his life around and his career both on and off the field?

For all I know the Yankees may simply write the check and not bat an eye lash but if the history of the situation is any indicator of the future I just can’t see that happening. I may be exaggerating a little bit but it seems like the whole organization would stop and bend down in front of you to pick up a nickel so imagine what they would do for $6 million in change? I can see another fight on the way and it’s going to come down to whether the Yankees want to get out “Yankee Way’d” by Alex Rodriguez again or not. 

Quick Hit: Mark Teixeira a Yankee Until He’s 40?!?

Good morning Yankees family and welcome to March baseball here on The Greedy Pinstripes. Prospects Month 2016 was an overwhelming success that everyone seemingly enjoyed but now it’s back to the grind as we now prepare for Spring Training and the beginning of the 2016 season and beyond. I say beyond because in my research this morning I saw an interesting post on the Latin Post, seen here, that stated that Mark Teixeira wanted to stay with the New York Yankees until he was at least 40-years old. I had to double take but it is true, 40-years old. FYI he’s currently 35.

Teixeira enters the 2016 season in the final year of an eight-year contract worth $180 million and enters the season fresh off a fractured shin that cost him much of the final two-plus months of the season. Teixeira says the fracture is healed and he feels good and is ready to play this season. Teixeira feels so good he feels like he could play until he’s 40.

"I would love to play until I am 40. My body feels good. Why not play until I am 40? Being the kind of hitter I am, I could be a DH the last few years of my career. I would love to play that long."

But will it be in the Bronx?

"I would love to stay here, but we will see what happens. For me to be in a productive position and help our team win maybe in my last year is all you can ask for,"

The Yankees are trying to get younger so that has one strike against Teixeira immediately. Secondly the Yankees DH position will be clogged up once again in 2017 with Alex Rodriguez in his final season in pinstripes before the position truly becomes available in 2018. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to see Teixeira sign a one-year deal to give the Yankees some insurance and Greg Bird enough time to truly heal and mend his shoulder injury but four more years after that? I don’t know about all that…

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/1: The Boss is Back

On this day in 1993, two and a half years after accepting a lifelong ban from being involved with the day to day operations of the Yankees, owner George Steinbrenner is reinstated. The Boss had been exiled by then commissioner Fay Vincent in 1990 for hiring Howie Spira, a known gambler, to snoop into the life of recently signed Dave Winfield.

Also on this day in 1969 Mickey Mantle announced his retirement and ended his Hall of Fame career. Mantle said "I can't hit when I need to" even though he ranked third at the time on the All Time home run list behind Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. Mantle finished with 536 home runs and finished his 18 year career with a .298 batting average.