Monday, March 14, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/14

This space was left intentionally blank to drive home a point of emphasis.

What happened down at Yankees spring training camp today? Let's get caught up!

There is nothing to get caught up on. Nobody worked out, nobody was optioned to the minor leagues and no games were played. Carry on. Full day off for the Yankees.

2016 Predictions - AL East

    The 2016 MLB season is almost upon us. With that in mind, it's time to make some predictions. Over the next several days I will offer my predictions for the upcoming season, division by division. So, let us begin with the AL East:

5. Baltimore Orioles
     The Baltimore Orioles went into the off-season with a considerable number of question marks,  most notably their rotation.  Though they did sign Yovanni Gallardo, they still do not have a true number one. They might not have noticed, but that strategy did not work out so well for the Boston Red Sox last season . And yes, they did re-sign Chris Davis, but, I don't believe it's going to be enough to land them any higher than dead last.

4.  Tampa Bay Rays
     As is the case for most offseasons, the Rays made a myriad of moves in order to fill spots and address needs. I love the additions of Corey Dickerson, Brad Miller and Logan Morrison, although they did have to give up quite a bit, Nate Karnes & Jake McGee, to get them.  Chris Archer is one of the top 10 starters in all of Major League Baseball, but, the back end of the rotation and bullpen could be the reason they may come up short.

3. Toronto Blue Jays
     Although, like the Baltimore Orioles, the Jays do not have a true ace.  Marcus Stroman may be one of the best up and coming pitchers in the game, at least, that is what David Price said of the 24-year-old before he departed for Bean Town.  The jury is still out on how effective Toronto's new rotation additions, J.A. Happ, Jesse Chavez & Gavin Floyd, will be.  However, they still have former Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, the afore mentioned Stroman, and Marco Estrada, who had a pretty spectacular season last year. Not to mention, one of the most daunting lineups in all of baseball.  With their ability to bash their way back in to any game, they should be in the hunt all season.

2. New York Yankees
     Health is the primary focus for this team in 2016. If they can keep Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Elsbury, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda from any major stints on the DL, this team could be electric. After his breakout season, Nathan Eovaldi looks like he is ready to pick up right where he left off, before departing from last year's season with an injury.  Aaron Hicks appears to be ready to fill in the shoes left by Chris Young and Starlin Castro is poised to have a monster year now that he no longer has to worry about his playing time being in jeopardy.  Oh, and by the way, five words:  back end of the bullpen.  If healthy, we could see some special things from this team this year.

1. Boston Red Sox
     Although it kills me to do it, I have to go against my Yankee loving gut. The addition of David Price provides that number one that Boston so desperately needed.  As he has done in the prior three cities for which he has pitched, he makes everyone around him better. Bucholtz is as good a number two as there is, and, Porcello has shown some signs of brilliance, even if he is the highest-paid number three in all of baseball.  The transition to first base will be much more seamless to Hanley Ramirez than most think.  And, even if that doesn't work out, the plethora of talent they have in their outfield and at the Triple-A level is more than enough to make a move for whatever they find themselves lacking.  Craig Kimbrel forces Koji to a set up role, which, when you say it out loud, is pretty unfair.  In the swan song of David Ortiz's career, Boston seems poised to make a run at another title.

 Let the debating begin!

ICYMI: Hey, Corey Hart... The Future's So Bright Shades Won't Help You

From Bryan Van Dusen originally seen HERE.

Earlier today I wrote on Twitter about how excited I am about this team's future. Daniel has written about how things today remind him of the pre-1996/dynasty Yankees. We've already seen young players Didi Gregorious Greg Bird, and Luis Severino have an impact in Major League Baseball. This season we may very well see Aaron Judge, Rob Refsnyder, Gary Sanchez, and James Kaprielian join them in Yankee pinstripes. Not long after this season we'll see Jorge Mateo bring his game to the big leagues.

"I'm getting ready to steal your hearts."

That list of young players here or on their way up is impressive enough, and I haven't even brought up others such as Ian Clarkin, Dustin Fowler, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams.

Although I gave up on the payroll stuff a while back, I couldn't help but think about it again when it came to what this team could look like in 2019.

Why did I think about 2019? Well, the offseason before that one just happens to have a few good players that are currently scheduled to become free agents. Off the top of my head I can think of Bryce Harper and Jose Fernandez.

You may have heard of them.

I want to point out that some of the players scheduled to be free agents by 2019 may very well not be there. Clayton Kershaw could  be a free agent, but that would mean having to opt-out of his current deal with the Dodgers. Manny Machado is also a possible free agent at that time, but there's a solid chance Baltimore and him come to agreement on an extension. And you can never ignore the fact that injuries can happen.

Furthermore, we're talking about a season three years away. We can all predict what the Yankees of 2017 and 2018 will look like, but if you're doing so for anything other than entertainment then you may very well be out of your mind.

Speaking of 2017 and 2018, if what you're about to read were to happen, then be prepared for two more boring offseasons. Brian McCann and/or Gary Sanchez are there to catch, Mark Teixiera (if re-signed) and/or Greg Bird can cover first, Starlin Castro is there at second, Didi Gregorious is looking like the shortstop of the future, Chase Headley and/or Rob Refsnyder can hold down third, and the outfield could be held down by a combination of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Aaron Hicks.

The pitching situation is pretty much good for the next two years as well, assuming the Yankees re-sign Masahiro Tanaka should he opt-out of his current contract after the 2017 season. Personally, I believe that he will, and the Yankees will bring him back. 'Hiro will be entering his age 29 season in 2018, and after leaving three years on the table (what would remain if he hadn't opted out) he could be given a seven-year deal and only be under contract through his age 35 season.

So the rotation for 2017 could consist of Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and CC Sabathia (aka "the same rotation as this coming season"). The 2018 season will see some changes as that could include Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, James Kaprielian, Ian Clarkin, and... I don't know... Bryan Mitchell.

Now for what you're all reading this for... 2019!

Let's say that the Yankees sign Bryce Harper and Jose Fernandez.

We'll give Bryce a 14 year contract, which will take him through his age 40 season, for a grand total of $500 million (AAV of $35.71 million). That may seem a bit high, but keep in mind that Giancarlo Stanton was signed for 13 years and going into his age 25 season.

Meanwhile, Fernandez will be signed for eight years and $264 million (AAV of $33 million), eclipsing the current largest contract for a pitcher by David Price and his seven year/$217 million deal (AAV of $31 million).

This would mean the Yankees have signed three free agents between now and the 2019 season. "Only three free agents between now and then?" you ask? Yep. Just three.

But before I show you the entire starting lineup and rotation that I can see for the 2019 season, including how much those starters would cost, I want to show you what this season's starters look like and how much they will cost.

"This is going to hurt."

Catcher - Brian McCann $17 million
1st Base - Mark Teixeira $23.125 million
2nd Base - Starlin Castro $7.857 million
Shortstop - Didi Gregorious $2.425 million
3rd Base - Chase Headley $13 million
Left Field - Brett Gardner $13.5 million
Center Field - Jacoby Ellsbury $21.143 million
Right Field - Carlos Beltran $15 million
Designated Hitter - Alex Rodriguez $21 million

Starting Pitchers
- Masahiro Tanaka $22 million
- Luis Severino $.6 million
- CC Sabathia $25 million
- Michael Pineda $4.3 million
- Nathan Eovaldi $5.6 million

The grand total for those 14 players is $191.55 million.

Now for what the 2019 New York Yankees could look like, along with the players age that season in parenthesis, and my horrible predictions for the arbitration cases...

Catcher - Gary Sanchez (26) $5 million (arbitration eligible)
1st Base - Greg Bird (26) $8 million (arbitration eligible)
2nd Base - Jorge Mateo (24) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)
Shortstop - Didi Gregorious (29) $5 million (arbitration eligible)
3rd Base - Rob Refsnyder (28) $3 million (arbitration eligible)
Left Field - Bryce Harper (26) $35.71 million
Center Field - Dustin Fowler (24) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)
Right Field - Aaron Judge (27) $8 million (arbitration eligible)
Designated Hitter - Jacoby Ellsbury (36) $21.143 million

Starting Pitchers
- Jose Fernandez (26) $33 million
- Luis Severino (25) $6 million (arbitration eligible)
- Masahiro Tanaka (30) $27 million
- James Kaprielian (25) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)
- Ian Clarkin (24) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)

The grand total cost for these 14 players clocks in at $153.653 million. If you're like me and can't do that type of math in your head, and don't feel like pulling out a calculator, this team would cost $37.897 million less than the 2016 team. That's enough to re-sign Andrew Miller to pair again with Dellin Betances (he will be in his final arbitration year), sign Craig Kimbrel (another huge free agent) to create another three-headed monster, and still be under $190 million.

Will all of this happen? Probably not. Heck, Starlin Castro would actually still be around for the 2019 season, and in my scenario he'd be a bench player, which is something I don't see happening. So Rob Refsnyder could end up being traded, meaning you'd just slot Castro into third base instead of Ref (which would cost the team about $8 million more to do). One of Mason Williams or Slade Heathcott could take Dustin Fowler's spot, although that wouldn't really change the total payroll at all.

Like I said, this is just for fun. But isn't it eerie how this isn't that far-fetched?

Most Popular Article of the Week: Bloomberg: 1% Share of New York Yankees is For Sale!

According to Bloomberg you, anyone reading this, can be a part-owner in the New York Yankees for the low-low price of just $24 million. The team is worth anywhere from $2.75 billion to $3.25 billion depending on where you read and a minority owner is selling their share, 1% to be exact, on the open market right now. At this time it is not known who is selling their stake in the company but Hal Steinbrenner has once again shot down any rumors of it being anyone in the Steinbrenner family. The Steinbrenner’s are not selling the Yankees anytime soon. Hal’s lips to my blog.

Club 9 is the company handling the sale and for their paperwork purposes they have the team valued at $3 billion. The company then applies a 20% discount to the average cost per percent of the team’s value to come up with their $24 million price tag. Time to cash in your piggie banks Yankees family, let’s buy us some Yankees!

2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement Negotiations Officially Underway

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have a big hump to overcome before December of 2016 as the current labor agreement and collective bargaining agreement is set to expire. The MLBPA and MLB met for the first time to discuss the potential renewal of the CBA and any potential changes this week in Florida for the first of presumably many meetings between the two sides before the year is out.

Reportedly around 20 players joined the union for the dialogue with MLB as they look to extend the current 21 consecutive years of labor peace. This time around the league and the union has much to discuss including a potential overhaul of the free agent and qualifying offer system that is hampering some veteran players and players that decline the initial offer from their original club.

This will be the first set of CBA negotiations for both Union head Tony Clark and Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the end. I have to assume that neither want a work stoppage on their resume though so I assume both sides will do whatever bending and budging they have to do in order to get this done, I’m far from worried personally.

All signs point to this getting done eventually but it’s still good news to hear that the discussion has begun. This is something we will monitor closely all season long here at The Greedy Pinstripes and I hope you join us in it!

A Different Sense of the Game: Baseball Through the Eyes of the Blind

I would like to introduce you to our newest writer, his name is Benny Tomko. This is his introductory article. He would have posted it himself but we had some issues with getting him signed up, Google can make things awfully difficult at times. So without further delay I introduce you to the latest writer in the stable of writers we are building here, Mr. Benny Tomko. 

Please comment and welcome him to the site and if you want to follow him on Twitter folloe @BennyTomko.

The crack of the bat, the smell of fresh cut grass. These are things that baseball fans with eyesight tend to take for granted. I should know, I was a part of that demographic at one point in my life. I played baseball, catcher, and all I ever wanted to do was wear the pinstripes of the Bronx Bombers. But, the Man upstairs had different ideas. On October 31, 1996, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the portion of the brain that controls eyesight (occipital lobe). Ultimately, I was blessed enough to be cancer free, but, would lose my eyesight as a result. This, however, would not remove my passion for the game

The last game that I attended with 20/15 vision was game two of the 1996 World Series. Greg Maddux pitched an absolute gem against my boys, in route to a 4-0 shout out. All told, he threw 86 pitches, and, gave up four hits, none of which were particularly hit hard. I remember being so frustrated with the outcome that I was unable to appreciate my surroundings. It took the gleamy eyes of my grandfather, Sparky, to remind me just exactly where we were; Yankee Stadium. If I knew then what I know now, I would have soaked it up just a little bit more.

These days, going to the ballpark is a bit different then it used to be, but that's OK. Now, I take my cane, radio and headphones, and attend the game with someone that I can communicate throughout the game, as to not be "in the dark". I always used to tease others when I saw them at a major-league baseball game with a radio and headphones. I thought, "the game is right in front of you, why do you need someone to tell you what's going on?" Now, I completely understand, and, feel kind of bad about the Smack I used to talk about others. I guess it's the same sense of humor that is used when I used to tease people about going bald, and now, I am. Karma is a funny, funny beast.

Now, I am a degree holder, husband, father and still head over heels for my New York Yankees. I have been able to convey my passion for baseball upon those closest to me. My wife never gave a second thought to the game of baseball, but since she has met me, it's a completely different story. I am so blessed to still be able to appreciate the game that I so love. And now, I get to write about it every day.

I look forward to providing a unique commentary on the game that is the backbone of our great nation. Thank you, Daniel. Put me in, coach, I'm ready to play 

Happy Birthday to My Boy, My Heart & “Mine Evan”

Today is a big day for me Yankees family and I wanted to share it with you. Today my son, my first born son, Evan turns six-years old. Six years ago today at 1:41 AM I welcome this little bundle of joy into the world three weeks earlier than we had planned. His room wasn’t finished, his bags weren’t packed and mom and dad didn’t think we were ready. We were ready, we just didn’t know it yet. The room came along quickly after he was born, the bag wasn’t as important as everyone made it out to be and after a few days we were home to begin our journey.

Our journey has taken us through highs and lows, valley’s and peaks, tears and smiles but we’ve made it. He’s in school now and too damn smart for his own good. Really. He gets a letter sent home once a month at least for having “too much” energy but at the same point his teacher, which we love by the way, sends home first grade reading and homework and he knows it like he’s been doing it all his life. He’s sweet, he’s kind, he’s gentle, he’s a smart butt but he’s mine and I love him.

The whole “mine Evan” thing started when he was learning how to talk, he was “mine Evan” and I was “mine dada” to him and it kind of stuck. Anyway I wanted to share this little bit of myself and my family with you this morning and I also wanted to wish my big boy a very Happy Birthday. I hope you get everything you want out of this world and then some Evan, and I’ll be right here beside you for every bump in the road and every bit of it along the way.

Happy birthday!

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/14: YES Network for Free!

On this day in 2003 Cablevision agreed to a one year interim deal to offer the Yankees YES Network to New York Yankees fans for a fee, ending a bitter and costly year long feud. This essentially made the YES Network a premium channel instead of a basic cable channel preventing the company from forcing every subscriber to pay for the channel whether they wanted it or not. The rest, my friends, is history.

Also on this day in 1961 the New York Mets landed former Yankee general manager George Weiss out of retirement to become the team’s first president. Weiss had been the Yankees' general manager from 1947-1960 before retiring.