Friday, November 18, 2016

Yankees Open to Dealing Gardner, Headley

Here’s a quick hit to end your day and a bit of a hot stove rumor that could be percolating. The New York Yankees are reportedly open to trade either one or both of outfielder Brett Gardner and third baseman Chase Headley. It seems as though the Yankees are at least comfortable with the idea of continuing their youth movement and cost cutting measures, at least temporarily, into this winter while continuing to build a strong farm system.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to report that the Yankees would be willing to trade these two veteran players over at Both players are over that 30-year old plateau and both have two years remaining on their current deals which may motivate the Yankees to move them now rather than later. New York has been open about their plans to try and get under the luxury tax threshold after the 2017 season and moving the contracts of Headley and Gardner can only accelerate that plan.

Neither deal has a no-trade clause written into it so moving them will not be the issue, finding a taker who is willing to pay Brian Cashman’s kinds ransom will be though in my opinion. Stay tuned ladies and gents. Stay tuned.

Chapman and Beltran Could Both Be Back in New York?

There is plenty to love about the hot stove and offseason in Major League Baseball and at the same time there is plenty that just frustrates you and makes you want to either just scratch your head or throw your phone through the wall. It’s rumors like the ones I am reading about not only Aroldis Chapman but Carlos Beltran as well returning to the Yankees that make me want to do a little bit of both…. And it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

The news that the New York Yankees could be interested in bringing back closer Aroldis Chapman excited me to no end for a few reasons. He’s dominant and he gives the Yankees the best chance to win each night he takes the ball but it also allows Dellin Betances to move back to a more familiar and comfortable role as set-up man and fire man. Chapman will command a lot in salary but the Yankees have around $56 million coming off the books this winter and a load of money coming off the books next offseason as well. What’s more important than money in the Chapman situation though is the lack of draft pick compensation and a qualifying offer since the Yankees traded Chapman to the Cubs just a few short months ago. If New York could pull Gleyber Torres from the Cubs in the trade only to get him back a few months later, well that’s just highway robbery right there.

Now to the news that makes me want to scratch my head and throw a phone through the wall, the news that the Yankees may be the favorites to land Carlos Beltran this winter. Why in the world would the Yankees want Beltran back in 2017? No offense to Carlos intended because what he did as a whole during his tenure with the Yankees was fantastic but the time is now to get younger, more flexible and less reliant on aging veterans well past their prime. All signing Beltran does, besides giving the Yankees their right fielder back in addition to RHP Dillon Tate, is block Mason Williams,  Aaron Hicks, Tyler Austin and most notably Aaron Judge from getting the necessary at bats they need to succeed in 2017 and going forward.

So could both players be headed back to New York? Well I guess it certainly is a possibility but it’s not a possibility that I necessarily agree with. Yes to Chapman. No to Beltran. Please?

I Have A Plan, A Better Plan, A Yuge Plan

Only I'm not just going to say I have a plan, I actually have one and will share it with you.

Did any of you seriously think the Yankees were a World Series contender last season?

What about the season before?

Or the season before that?

Before that?

The truth is the Yankees haven't been serious contenders since 2012. Do you realize that CC Sabathia was the only regular that was on that team and is still here, albeit in his final season? The only others that even wore Yankee pinstripes that season were Brett Gardner (was injured for majority of season) and Adam Warren (threw just 2.1 innings).

I know, there are millions of fans out there that have never experienced their team winning the World Series, and I sit here having lived through six of them. But I'm not trying to get you or anybody to say "poor Bryan". What I'm trying to point out is that this is a totally different team, and it's time for us all to accept that and move on.

And it's not just fans that need to move on, Yankee management has to move on too. Stop trying to hold onto past glory and start planning for a future. And none of this half-assed "rebuild on the fly" stuff, either.

It's time to let go of the past and go all-in on the future. That doesn't mean cutting everybody that we don't see as part of the future, as it would be nice to win a few games next season. It just means that the Yankees have to make developing their prospects the #1 priority. Not "1a" or "1b"... just "1".

It's not like the Yankees don't have a good core of players for the future, either. Gary Sanchez looks like a rising star. Aaron Judge, while he had some big-time strikeout issues last season, could very well be the next great power hitter for the Bombers. And then there's Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo, James Kaprielian, Blake Rutherford... I could go on.

"No, please, keeping going."

Therefore, I wanted to look through the roster and make some decisions on players. First up let's talk about Brian McCann.

I had originally thought the Yankees should hold onto Brian. I believe catchers are, in general, the smartest players on the diamond. They not only call pitches, they have to know their team's pitching staff, and they have to know opposing hitters. They don't just sit in the dugout and think about their next at bat, instead they are oftentimes seen talking with coaches to figure out strategy for the next inning.

Not to mention that McCann just finished his 12th season in Major League Baseball, while having spent a solid chunk of time in both the American and National Leagues.

So who better to help Gary Sanchez, and other young players, learn to play in the Majors? Who would be better to help develop young pitchers like Justus Sheffield?

The one problem I saw in keeping Brian McCann would be his bat. While he was among the better hitting catchers in the league (which isn't saying much), that would mean little next season when he was set to be the primary designated hitter. And the fact is McCann's bat would not play well at DH.

But, like I've said, 2017 should not be about winning as much as it's about building the future.

But my thoughts on McCann are moot now, anyway. Hopefully Austin Romine, who first appeared in MLB in 2012, can help Gary keep working to be better behind the plate. While veterans like Jacoby Ellsbury and CC Sabathia can take it from there (foreshadowing?).

But what about others, who are still part of the New York Yankees? Let's see...

Nathan Eovaldi - Cut

Nathan's not going to be available to pitch next year, due to having his second Tommy John surgery in August of last year. So when it comes to the "Water Pistol", it's about whether or not we believe he can help the team in 2018 and beyond.

I'm not betting on it.

While he was able to lower his hit rate from 9.7 hits per nine innings pitched to 8.9, it wasn't enough for me to breath easier. And it wasn't nice seeing him give up home runs at a higher clip than he ever has (0.6 to 1.7 HR/9IP), although that may be an anomaly.

He simply has not improved like we hoped he would, and looks to be a career bottom of the rotation starter. Which is something the Yankees do not need more of.

Michael Pineda-Keep

Perhaps this is a case of me being masochistic... I'm not sure. But seeing that he was able to make 32 starts last year, he can miss bats (career-best 10.6 K/9 in 2016), he'll only be 28 in January, and he'll only make around $8 million in 2017 (MLB Trade Rumors projects $7.8 million in arbitration), I suppose it's a case of "why not?".

While I don't see the Yankees having interest in CC Sabathia as a free agent (I'm going to get to him, hold on), I think there's an outside chance that Pineda has a solid season. And by keeping him around, hopefully he'd be willing to return on a more team-friendly contract than most starters are getting these days.

There's a part of me that thought maybe the Yankees should cut Michael, seeing as how they wouldn't be out much money. However, since there's a slim chance of him being a part of the team's future, unlike others, let's just keep him around. Besides, if he's a decent starter, there's a chance the Yankees could trade him to a contender at the deadline this season.

CC Sabathia - Wait & See

This one has been very difficult. On the one hand, I believe the Yankees should cut the guy and move on. Just give his rotation spot to somebody like Luis Cessa or Chad Green, and see what they can do with regular work. See, I do not believe CC is going to finish 2017 with another sub-4.00 ERA. And I'm not sure he'll start more than 25 games, let alone 30 like he did last season.

But on the other hand, the Yankees don't have a ton of depth at starting pitcher. Even if Brian Cashman is able to acquire Rich Hill, or some other starter, losing CC would leave seven guys. Seeing as how nine pitchers made at least five starts last year, that's simply not enough.

And what about what I said earlier in regards to Sabathia helping the development of young starters like Severino and Kaprielian? There is some value there, no?

The decision on CC comes down to options. If the Yankees are able to acquire a couple of starters, then let Sabathia go. But if their options are limited, along with having to fill in some bullpen spots, then keep CC around.

"Very good, CC, that is a baseball."

So what about the offense?

Chase Headley - Keep

I am not a Headley fan. Not that I despise the guy, but in his first two years under contract he's hit just .255/.326/.375. Out of 17 third baseman with at least 1,000 plate appearances over the past two years, Chase ranks dead last in both wOBA and wRC+.

So why in the World would I want to hold onto him? Well, like when it comes to deciding what to do with Sabathia, it comes down to options.

Who else do the Yankees have to play third base in 2017? Ronald Torreyes, he who hit .258/.305/.374? I don't think so. I like Torreyes, but the guy hasn't looked like anything special since 2011 when he played Class A ball for the Dayton Dragons. Miguel Andujar looks like he could be the team's future third baseman, but he's not only a couple years away from MLB, his name has come up in trade talks this offseason.

So it looks like we'll have to deal with Chase Headley for at least one more season. I don't necessarily like it, but I can live with it.

Brett Gardner - Trade

Unlike with Headley, I am a Brett Gardner fan. I've enjoyed watching him play ever since he first broke into the league about six years ago. So saying I'd trade Brett does not mean I don't like him. The thing is I'm a bigger Yankees fan than I am a Brett Gardner fan (that's true of any player, by the way).

But you can't deny that he's not the same player he was as a rookie in 2008. He doesn't steal bases like he used to, his batting average has dipped a bit, his power was nice in 2014 and 2015 but slipped last season, and his defense has gone from extraordinary to merely "good" (don't let Gold Glove awards fool you).

However, he still has value. He can likely still handle any outfield position. And although his bat isn't what it once was, he's certainly above "replacement level". So while he wouldn't fetch a "Clint Frazier" in a trade, we're not looking at receiving a "Dustin Ackley" either.

I guess the biggest issue with Brett Gardner is that he's a bit redundant. And that leads us to this guy...

Jacoby Ellsbury - Keep

Perhaps you've heard of this guy...

Bats around .260, will hit around 10 home runs, can steal around 20 bases a year, plays good but not great defense, and is 33 years old.

No, I'm not talking about Brett Gardner again. I'm talking about Jacoby Ellsbury.

In a vacuum it's a toss-up between keeping Brett Gardner or Ellsbury, but unfortunately MLB isn't played in a vacuum. It's played in an environment where some idiot decided to give Jacoby a seven-year contract worth $153 million. A contract that's all but immovable without basically giving the guy away.

That's why I'm about keeping Ellsbury and trading Gardner. We don't need both of these guys, and since the Yankees can get something out of Gardner, they might as well do it.

Within the next couple years I may be screaming for the Yankees to cut Ellsbury, but for right now I believe they should hold onto him.

That's the grin of a man that knows he's way overpaid.

I'm not going to do a full write-up on anybody else, but I thought I'd give you a few notes on them.

Tyler Austin - I like Tyler, and I can see him being a part of the future Yankees. Unfortunately, I don't see a spot for him on the 25-man roster on Opening Day. He's already spent a couple years in AAA, and I hope another year won't hurt him. However, I could easily see him getting the call back to New York due to the inevitable injury or two.

Bryan Mitchell - I could have very well put Luis Cessa or Chad Green into the starting rotation, but I'd really like to see Mitchell get a real chance there. Out of 123 game appearances in the minors, only five of them came out of the bullpen. And he looked nice in four of his five starts last season, particularly on September 28th against Boston, when he gave up just two hits and zero runs in seven innings of work.

Aroldis Chapman - I'm not sure if I'd rather the Yankees sign him or Kenley Jansen, but at this point it looks like it'll be Chapman. And I think that's the right decision, as we know what he can do in New York/American League, while Jansen has spent all of his 6+ years in the National League. Although Kenley has pitched just as well in interleague play. Oh well. Whatever. Just get one of them.

Mason Williams - Although he may not be long for New York due to Clint Frazier not being far away, and Jorge Mateo possibly getting moved to centerfield, Mason looks like the outfielder most ready to step into a regular role for the Yankees in 2017. I'm not his biggest fan, but I'd like to see what he could do with regular playing time. Will he hit .300 like he has in AAA? Probably not. But if there's a time to see what a guy can do, and not worry too much about the results, 2017 is the time to do it.

The Designated Hitter - I'm not sure what the Yankees will do, but I will tell you that I don't want them to commit a large contract here. For example, Edwin Encarnacion is a heck of a hitter, but he's in line to get a contract of 4-5 years. That's too much in my opinion. At least for the Yankees. Whereas Carlos Beltran could sign for one year, seeing as how he's about to turn 40 years-old.

The Bench - I not only looked at how good or bad a player was, but also at their versatility. For example, I went with Aaron Hicks because he can not only play everywhere in the outfield, but he's a switch-hitter as well. That versatility is one reason why Tyler Austin is not there, while Ronald Torreyes is.

Those decisions would leave the Yankees with the following Active Roster...

Starting Pitchers
Masahiro Tanaka
Michael Pineda
Luis Severino
CC Sabathia
Bryan Mitchell

Relief Pitchers
Aroldis Chapman
Dellin Betances
Adam Warren
Chad Green
Luis Cessa
Jacob Lindren
Chasen Shreve

Starting Batters
C - Gary Sanchez
1B - Greg Bird
2B - Starlin Castro
3B - Chase Headley
SS - Didi Gregorius
LF - Mason Williams
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury
RF - Aaron Judge
DH - ???

Bench Hitters
C - Austin Romine
1B, 2B, RF - Rob Refsnyder
3B, 2B, SS - Ronald Torreyes
RF, CF, LF - Aaron Hicks

So what do you think? Am I a genius? Am I an idiot? Should I go back into hiding, or perhaps stop writing entirely?  Although it's nice to feel inspired to write again, so I'd rather not give it up.

Either way, thanks for reading.

Mike Trout, the Yankees and a Quick Reminder

The Yankees world has absolutely lost its mind and it began when the Sweeny Murti of CBS mentioned the idea of the New York Yankees taking a stab at acquiring Mike Trout this offseason. Well, let’s be fair, the losing of the mind for the New York fan started long before Sweeny hit publish on this post but for dramatic effect just roll with it. I thought that was an awful cute and novel idea to acquire one of the best young hitters and all-around players in the game right now with this new-found farm system but the idea of it is not so unique if you think about it. You see, I already thought about it back on October 7th so in case you missed it, and want to lose your mind all over again, here is the post again in its entirety. The post is dates, so remember that, but the general gist remains the same. Use prospects, acquire Trout, win. Period.

This is a pipe dream but as the New York Yankees season ended abruptly on October 2nd the offseason is officially underway for the team and now is the time to dream. If you’re going to dream then you have to dream big and I don’t think it gets any bigger than thinking about the Yankees making a huge splash this offseason by acquiring Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. 

Now before you all simply roll your eyes and click off the post please hear me out. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were absolutely horrible again in 2016 and with now five seasons under the belt for Trout and Albert Pujols together the team has about as many playoff game victories as I had during my MLB career, zero. In fact the 2016 season was the worst season for the Angels since 1999 so why wouldn’t they at least entertain the thought of blowing it up and beginning a rebuild with a move of Trout and Pujols?

The Angels have a top-heavy payroll and no farm system in sight to bail the team out if and when they get hit by the injury bug like they did in 2016 and at some point the team has to either sacrifice winning now for a future or continue to live in mediocrity while wasting the best years of Mike Trout’s playing career. CJ Wilson made $20 million in 2016 and didn’t throw a pitch, Garrett Richards missed five months with an elbow ligament injury, Andrew Heaney and Andrew Tropeano will likely miss 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery and no one knows the status of Matt Shoemaker after taking a line drive to the head late in the 2016 season. With no arms, no prospects to replace them and no money to acquire any the Angels may have to make a trade. They don’t want to, they may have to though and that is where the Yankees should come in with their new-found Top 5 farm system they acquired this summer doing similar trades. 

Before we get too far into this you must remember that Brian Cashman’s former right-hand man Billy Eppler is now the GM in Anaheim so you have to think he is at least somewhat familiar with the bulk of the Yankees system. So what can the Yankees offer to make this deal work for both clubs? I honestly think there are two options that could work. One option is throwing prospects at the Angels and hoping for the best. Headlining a package for Trout could be Jorge Mateo, an outfielder (preferably not Clint Frazier but to acquire Trout it would likely have to be Aaron Judge), and a pitching arm like James Kaprielian or Chance Adams (or Justus Sheffield or Brady Lail or a slew of other names and prospects) and hope for the best or the New York Yankees could get creative and help Anaheim out in multiple ways. 

The Angels need prospects, salary relief and MLB ready talent so why don’t the Yankees give them all three? No I’m not suggesting taking on an aging Albert Pujols to play DH, he has five years left on his deal at $140 million and he is 36-years old, but instead I am suggesting “taking the Josh Hamilton contract” off the Angels books. I put that in parenthesis because Hamilton is not on the Angels anymore, he’s being paid over $26 million by the Angels to play for the Texas Rangers, so if the Yankees could send “cash considerations” over to Anaheim to essentially pay for the Hamilton contract while giving up significantly lesser prospects I think this could work for both sides. 

The Angels have CJ Wilson and Jered Weaver coming off their books which should help but having an extra $26 million, or even less depending on what the league would allow, could only help Anaheim rebuild and get better. Adding back some talent for Trout as well can only help speed up the impending rebuild in Anaheim. Is it unlikely? Yeah, sure is. Is it impossible? No, nothing is impossible. Well it’s only impossible if you don’t ask. So Cashman, ask. 

So I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’m either the biggest idiot you’ve ever read for even suggesting this or that they should make a Moneyball type movie about me and let me play myself in it since I am so much better looking than Brad Pitt. Whichever it is, leave it below in the comments section or Tweet me @GreedyStripes. 



Los Angeles – The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in its Most Valuable Player category Thursday, with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Mike Trout winning the group’s American League award, and Kris Bryant, of the Chicago Cubs, being selected in the National League.

Trout received 109 first-place votes (61.93%) and 1981 points while being named on 171 of 176 ballots (96.61%). Others receiving first-place votes include Mookie Betts (42), Jose Altuve (11), David Ortiz (10) and Josh Donaldson (2).

Bryant received 145 first-place votes (81.92%) and 2293 points while being named on 176 of 177 (99.44%) ballots. Others receiving first-place votes include Daniel Murphy (14), Nolan Arenado (10), Anthony Rizzo (4) and Corey Seager (3).

Election results are as follows:


1st Place: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 1981 points
2nd Place : Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox – 1686
3rd Place : Jose Altuve, Houston Astros – 1350
4th Place: Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays – 1027
5th Place: Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles – 768
6th Place: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox – 733
7th Place: Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners – 481
8th Place: Adrian Beltre , Texas Rangers – 447
9th Place: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers – 327
10th Place: Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins – 260


1st Place: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs – 2293 points
2nd Place: Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals – 1269
3rd Place: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers – 1258
4th Place: Nolan Arenado , Colorado Rockies – 1106
5th Place: Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs – 1079
6th Place: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves – 776
7th Place: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds – 536
8th Place: Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets – 249
9th Place: Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers – 215
10th Place: Paul Goldschmidt , Arizona Diamondbacks – 214

Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates, using the Borda Method.

The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.

Among approximately 460 others, IBWAA members include Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, Schoenfield and Mark A. Simon of; Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports Hardball Talk; Bill Chuck,; Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Jon Heyman, Today’s Knuckleball; Danny Knobler, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy; Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Will Leitch, Sports on Earth; Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder,; Tom Hoffarth and J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Pedro Moura, Los Angeles Times; Tracy Ringolsby,; Ken Rosenthal,; Eno Sarris, FanGraphs; Jesse Spector, Sporting News, and Bill Arnold.

Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a lifetime fee of $75. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

Reminder: The IBWAA is distinct from the BBWAA, which will announce the official MVP winners on the MLB Network at 3:00 p.m. PT today.

For more information please visit

Weekly AFL Check In: Dillon Tate

As the Arizona Fall League season draws to a close so does the season for one of the newest Yankees pitching prospects, Dillon Tate. Tate has had a successful season by all accounts and measures as the right-hander made the AFL All-Star team for the Scottsdale Scorpions and he may have finally found where all that old velocity went as a member of the Texas Rangers.

The finish line is in sight and here is the stat line that Tate is charging towards it with:

This Day in New York Yankees History 11/18: Clemens Edges Mattingly

On this day in 1986 the Yankees first basemen Don Mattingly misses out on winning back to back Most Valuable Player awards as the Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens would win the award. Clemens received 19 of the 28 first place votes and became the first pitcher to win the award since Vida Blue won the award in 1971. Mattingly won the award in 1985 and would have been one of the few to win back to back MVP awards had he won the award.