Saturday, March 12, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/12

So what happened today down at Yankees spring training camp? Let's catch up!

Luis Severino made the start for New York this afternoon and threw 3.2 innings while striking out for without giving up a run.

Dustin Ackley has a tight quad and he missed today's matchup. Luis Severino is not hurt contrary to what many people are speculating.

The Yankees offense stunk up the place with just four hits and one RBI from Ronald Torreyes.

The New York Yankees lost the game to the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1.

The New York Yankees & Their 2016 Starting Pitching

Earlier today we discussed my presumption that the window may be closing with “this” team to win it all and/or go deep into the postseason. A ton of free agents are hitting the free agency market before the winter of 2018 and potentially 4/5 of the Yankees starting rotation may be joining them. I went as far this morning to say it’s put up or shut up time for these pitchers and the organization and I meant it so I decided to take the time, because that post felt a bit incomplete to be honest after reading it live, to go over what these Yankees starters will and can potentially bring to the club during the 2016 season. This is all opinion based obviously as I have limited to zero access to the team and players so remember that while reading, oh and enjoy.

There are technically seven candidates fighting it out for presumably five spots with Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Bryan Mitchell all fighting it out this spring. Tanaka, if healthy and he should be, seems like an obvious nod for Opening Day honors while Sabathia, due to his contract, Eovaldi and Pineda seem like virtual locks for the rotation. Severino looks to possibly be the best of the bunch but innings pitched concerns may send him back to Scranton while one or both of Nova and Mitchell may have to settle for a bullpen slot to start the season.

Out of the three pitchers vying for a spot none of them had much success in 2016 aside from Severino in a small sample size. Severino had a 2.89 ERA in just 62.1 innings while Sabathia, Nova and Mitchell struggled for various reasons including a degenerative knee condition, a recent Tommy John surgery and because one took a line drive to the face and never seemed to be the same afterwards. Sabathia had a 4.73 ERA last season while Nova finished with an ugly 5.07 ERA leaving much to be desired for New York. While the ERA’s and peripheral stats aren’t pretty neither is the injury and injury question mark list we could all put together. The tommy John surgeries, former, and the Tommy John surgery potential, future, and the degenerative knee condition, the cortisone shots, the forearm inflammation’s, the shoulder issues and the innings cap.

Things could go really wrong or they could go really well for New York this season. That is why we play the games, nobody knows for sure. Especially me. There are a lot of “ifs” and a lot of scenarios that could either doom the Yankees or rise them up back into power in the American League. Stay tuned as we take this ride together called the 2016 MLB season. 

Rebound Players, Fantasy Baseball & the New York Yankees

There’s good things about being on the rebound and there is bad things about being on the rebound. Some of the bad things could be you make stupid decisions in life and questionable hookups in search of affection and a feeling of being wanted while some of the good things, as they pertain to baseball and fantasy baseball specifically, is when you can buy low on a player and maximize his value that season. Here are a few rebound hookups that you should actually consider this season if you haven’t already done your draft and if you need the other rebound hookup advice, well I’m probably not the one you need to be talking to. Have fun and enjoy.  

We have a couple members of the New York Yankees who made the list so it only seems fitting that we start there. Both Starlin Castro and Michael Pineda have talent oozing out of their pores but neither had an exceptional 2015 campaign. Both may fall down lower than they should be drafted leaving you with a few diamonds in the rough in the later rounds. Pineda showed complete and utter dominance at times last season and at other times he looked completely lost. Pineda has shown up to camp ready and in shape and it has shown thus far in his pitching and his workouts according to his coaches. He may be the best pitcher on the Yankees staff and many people won’t even know it until you’ve already drafted him. Castro meanwhile struggled in Chicago and was benched as a shortstop due to his defensive concerns but turned things around in the latter part of the season as a second baseman. A change a scenery, a new team and a new position can do wonders for some and Castro may be in line for an offensive spike this season, especially at an offensively anemic position like second base. 

Garrett Richards is likely the ace of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but he definitely did not pitch like it at times last season. Richards finished the 2014 season with a 2.61 ERA and a8.75 K/9 ratio before following that season up last year with a 3.65 ERA and 7.64 K/9. While his 2015 stats were far from terrible he has shown to be a much better pitcher, an ace actually, and he may show those numbers again given some offensive run support in 2016. 

Matt Wieters is in his second year removed from Tommy John surgery and that alone should help. Sure there have been plenty of offensive players to come back without any ill-effects of the surgery a year later but every surgery is different and every recovery is different, especially in such a complicated surgery. Wieters should be much better both offensively and defensively than he was last season and at a position like catcher that is extremely top heavy Wieters could slip into that second tier but still give you first tier production if he’s finally healthy. 

The final piece that could be set for a bounce back season is Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija was pretty much the worst pitcher, stats wise, among qualifying pitchers in 2015 with Chicago but a move to the West Coast should help. Instead of pitching in Chicago the man they call “Shark” will be pitching inside the spacious AT&T Park in San Francisco and should benefit from it. Samardzija will have speed, defense, an actual offense that can score runs and a team that wins the World Series every other year (and this is the “other” year of every other year) behind him giving you huge win and strikeout totals. 

Yankees ST: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 3/12

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays will face off this afternoon as a part of their spring training and Grapefruit League schedules. The Yankees haven't had the best time in the win/loss column this season but you know what they say about spring training stats and how meaningless they are in the grand scheme of things. With that in mind the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound looking to turn things around while the Rays will counter with Matt Moore.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on MLB TV and heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN. Go Yankees!

Alex Rodriguez & the Idea of Being a Hitting Coach after Retirement

Across the career of one Alex Rodriguez everywhere he has gone and every stop he has made he has always garnered the attention of the room. Whether that be the fans, the women that surrounded him, his teammates or his coaches he always had all eyes on him. What Alex did with that attention rubbed many the wrong way in the past but it seems like Alex has turned a new life, maybe matured a little and turned his life around and now where he used to receive criticism he is receiving great praise all around. Alex has always been a student of the game and a virtual baseball genius so it seems like a no-brainer that he may want to get into coaching and/or managing one day when he decides to hang up his playing cleats, glove and bat.

Why wouldn’t he? Some of the greatest sluggers and hitters in the game are managers and coaches around the league. Mark McGwire is a coach in San Diego, Barry Bonds is a hitting coach with the Miami Marlins and Paul Molitor is a manager in Minnesota but it’s the strategy and the science behind the game that truly intrigues Rodriguez. A Rod’s coach and a former member of the New York Yankees as a player Joe Girardi has stated many times he could see Alex in a managerial job when he retires because he likes all the strategy and such that goes with the day-to-day process of playing the game and managing the team.

For what it’s worth Rodriguez was asked about a potential managerial job after he retires when he arrived at Yankees spring training camp and he was quoted as saying “I’ll be managing, but I’ll probably be managing my girls’ teams or volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, but I won’t be managing. You can quote me on that.” Well Alex, I just did. I don’t buy it though. Some players you can tell left it all out there on the field and won’t miss the game all that much every spring when it comes around, Derek Jeter for example, and others you can tell after a year or two they will miss it. Alex is a student and a prodigy of the game and he loves it, we don’t need teammate and coaches testimonies to tell us that, and I truly think he will miss it. I’ve been wrong before though. 

It May Time to Step Up or Ship Out in Yankees Rotation

The heading and title of the article may sound harsher than I wanted it to be but the fact remains the same, judgement day is coming soon for the New York Yankees and specifically in their starting rotation. The team is in the middle of a transitional phase where the aging and expensive veterans see their contracts run out while the budding and thriving prospects of the system salivate and wait impatiently at their chance to make the big leagues. While there is going to be a ton of turnover you would think in the lineup, most notably with Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez all with two-or-less years left on their contracts, free agency may hit the Yankees the hardest in the coming years in the starting pitching department.

Looking at the Yankees rotation as it stands today the team is built for the long haul with a lot of youth and upside but things may not be as good as they seem on paper. Masahiro Tanaka is the ace of the staff at just 27 years but he faces a potential opt-out decision after the 2017 season that could leave him a free agency and leave a huge gaping hole at the top of the Yankees rotation. Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda anchor the middle of the Yankees staff at 26-years old and 27-years old respectively but both pitchers have just two years left of team control also potentially putting them on the free agent market after the 2017 season. Ivan Nova has one year remaining on his contract, the 2016 season, as the 29-year old looks to come all the way back from Tommy John surgery while health and CC Sabathia’s willpower will decide if 2016, 2017 or beyond are his final years in pinstripes.

CC has a clause in his contract that triggers if he does not land on the DL with left shoulder issues this season. Theoretically Sabathia’s knee could fall off tomorrow and his contract for the 2017 season, a hefty one at that just as an FYI, would automatically trigger. Sabathia will likely be a Yankee through the 2017 season as well leaving four potential Yankees starters out there on the free agent market all in the winter before 2018. Thank goodness for Luis Severino and James Kaprielian, no?

So it may be put up or shut up time for the Yankees and these pitchers. You always hear about a “window” to win with the current team, well that window may close in two more seasons. If these pitchers pitch well then you would think the Yankees would re-sign them and keep their core together for a long time but if not…. It may be judgement day in the Bronx and the Bronx may be burning once again. Just my speculation though as a lot can happen between then and now. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/12: Spring Training Brawl

On this day in 2008 the benches cleared in a rare spring training brawl between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees. New York's Shelley Duncan slid into second base with his spikes aimed at Rays infielder Akinori Iwamura after being thrown out by a wide margin. Four days earlier the Rays played aggressively and injured Francisco Cervelli with a home plate collision.

Also on this day in 1903 the New York Highlanders, soon to be renamed the Yankees in 1913, were approved to be admitted into the American League.