Saturday, December 10, 2016

Explaining Matt Holliday’s No Trade Clause

Matt Holliday was signed almost a week ago to the day now by the New York Yankees to be the team’s everyday DH while also filling in at first base and left field whenever necessary. The team gave Holliday, the former St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics and Colorado Rockies product, a one-year deal worth $13 million and a very interesting no-trade clause that I want to discuss here tonight. Why? Because it’s interesting and I think it needs explaining.

Matt Holliday can block trades to a whopping ONE team with his limited no-trade clause. What team you say? The Oakland Athletics. What’s up with that? Is he bitter? Does he not believe the team can compete in 2017 and does he want to be on a contending team? What’s the deal? Maybe one day we’ll find out. I just thought it was interesting and I wanted to bring it to you this evening.


What About Danny Duffy and/or Eric Hosmer?

The New York Yankees are building towards the future while one other team in the American League has their future in mind for an entirely different set of reasons. While the Yankees don’t plan on putting the World Series or bust mantra back on the team’s shoulders until at least the 2018 or 2019 season the Kansas City Royals are headed in an entirely different direction. While one window opens, the Yankees window, another one closes and that closing window belongs to the Kansas City Royals. Can and should the Yankees take advantage of that?

After the 2017 season the Royals will have three integral parts of their team, barring extensions between then and now of course, hitting free agency in outfielder Lorenzo Cain, first baseman Eric Hosmer and LHP Danny Duffy. Kansas City, being the small market team that they are, presumably does not want to lose these guys for nothing in return so I wonder if it’s worth making the phone call to see if they could be had not rather than wait until July.

You are playing with fire the longer you wait to make a serious phone call and have a serious discussion with Dayton Moore and company in my opinion because Kansas City may actually compete in 2017. If the team competes and is in the hunt for an American League Central Division title, which will be likely with the Chicago White Sox selling off pieces and the Detroit Tigers at least vocal about their willingness to sell off pieces, they will not be trading these players before the July 31st trading deadline. If you ask their GM now though he may be willing to move one or two of them, preferably Hosmer and/or Duffy in the Yankees case, now rather than risk it later.

I don’t pretend to know what the exact needs of the Royals is when it comes to their minor league system and their farm teams but I know they would want salary relief and prospects in return and that is two things the Yankees have plenty of at this point in the game. Now would I give up Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier or anyone in the Top 10 for one year of either Hosmer or Duffy? I wouldn’t personally, Brian Cashman might, but would I give them one or two prospects from the #11 - #20 spots? Sure, in a heartbeat I would. I would also try and extend a guy like Duffy as well but that’s another discussion for another blog post.

So should the Yankees and Royals begin talking? In my opinion, yes. It doesn’t hurt to ask because like the New York Lottery “hey, you never know.”

What Did the Yankees Lose in the Rule 5 Draft?

This is the busiest and most stressful, and wonderful of course as the Christmas song states, time of the year for me and my family. For that I apologize because I am a bit behind on my news so this morning and for most of today I’ll be trying to play catch up a bit. We begin with the Rule 5 Draft that happened on Thursday which saw the Yankees lose seven of their players to other teams, four in the Major League phase and three in the Minor League phase.

In the Major League phase the Cincinnati Reds took catcher Luis Torrens second overall and immediately traded him to the San Diego Padres, the Arizona Diamondbacks took RHP Tyler Jones 7th, the Milwaukee Brewers took LHP Caleb Smith 9th and immediately traded him to the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates took LHP Tyler Webb 13th. Meanwhile in the minor league phase the Tampa Bay Rays took RHP Ty Hensley 4th, the Kansas City Royals took RHP Kelvin Magallanes 15th and the Chicago Cubs took infielder Kevin Cornelius.

Losing Torrens hurts a bit as he was once thought of to be the Yankees best catcher in the system, including Kyle Higashioka and Gary Sanchez. Torrens hasn’t hit much and he has missed parts or all of the last two seasons with shoulder injuries (torn labrum surgery) but he is still just 20-years old and was ranked as high as 17th on Yankees Top 20 Prospects lists by and Baseball America. I can’t see how a player who has played just 49 games in Low-A Ball can stick on a roster for an entire season, especially in the National League, and I can’t see why they would want him to as that would surely stunt his development in a huge way but there may be some sort of loophole or under-the-table type agreement where the Yankees are offered him back and refuse or something like that. Who knows?

Losing Webb, a MLB-ready left-handed relief pitcher, isn’t the biggest loss but that’s what I am saying now. Give the Yankees bullpen another injury or three and we may be all missing Webb here in a few months. He was almost a lock to be picked and he isn’t coming back without an injury or an implosion in Spring Training. Good luck to him in Pittsburgh.

Smith is also a left-handed reliever but he hasn’t pitched above Double-A during his minor league career. He is going to be a tough “stick” on the defending World Series champs roster but at this point in the game it doesn’t hurt to try. The Cubs obviously see something in him that other teams did not or they wouldn’t have used their selection on him.

Moving on to the minor league phase and the loss of Ty Hensley. As a fan and as a follower of his true determination, hard work and class this is crushing to me personally to lose him. I have the utmost respect for him and his family, especially his wonderful mother, but on the baseball side of things I don’t know whether to be upset or not. Since being drafted in 2012 Hensley has thrown just 42.1 professional innings and is not in the middle of rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery since the draft. Throw a few other injuries on that pile including a hip and a hernia surgery and Houston, well now Tampa, we have a problem.

Magallanes is in Rookie ball and admittedly a name I had never heard before the draft while Cornelius is an organizational depth player at this point for the Cubs. They aren’t huge losses yet I hope they prove me wrong and get the playing time they need while in Kansas City and Chicago respectively.

As a reminder the four players in the Major League phase have to stick on the team’s 25 man roster all season long or they have to be offered back to the New York Yankees. This is not the case obviously in the Minor League phase, Hensley and company are no longer members of the organization going forward.

My Thoughts Following the Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings are over and so is the Rule 5 Draft, more on the draft later as I wanted to focus on that in its own blog post today, so as I play catch up I want to leave you with my thoughts on the winter meetings as a whole. I have made it quite clear what I think about the pair of Yankees signings, although technically Matt Holliday was signed the night before the meetings kicked off but whatever, and the joy it brings my heart as a fan so this morning I will hit the high points and discuss the rest of the league and the signings that went down. Enjoy.

I find it shocking that Mark Trumbo, the Major League home run leader from 2016, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are still free agents while players like Dexter Fowler and Ian Desmond have come off the board for big money. I do not find it shocking that Kenley Jansen is still on the board as once again teams are reluctant to give up draft picks due to qualifying offers for pitchers who are only going to give you 50-70 innings a season. And I don’t blame them.

The Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox trade was huge. Huge for Boston, huge for the rest of the teams in the American League East and huge for the entire American League as a whole. The Boston Red Sox are all-in while the White Sox have to presumably be in full sell mode now. Sale was the first, yet the biggest, domino to fall. Adam Eaton is already gone and Jose Quintana, David Robertson and Todd Frazier aren’t likely far behind him. Just hopefully not to Boston.

I’m shocked to see that Andrew McCutchen is still a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I all but expected him to be traded last week. I guess Pittsburgh wanted him to make an appearance at PirateFest to boost sales and such first. And that was not a tongue-in-cheek type message, the Pirates are frugal like that.

Regardless of what anyone says, I’ve seen writers suggest the Cleveland Indians somehow won the Winter Meetings just by doing nothing at all, the Boston Red Sox won the meetings. Hands down. Yoan Moncada and a bunch of A-Ball players for one of the best pitchers in the American League? You do that ten times out of ten, no questions asked.

The Yankees? They did okay too. They improved for 2017 and beyond without mortgaging the future. Just what they said they were going to do. 

My IBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

Ladies and gentleman I know you have been waiting on the edge of your seats for me to release my Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) Hall of Fame ballot but wait no longer. What I lack in some areas I more than make up for with tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic answers and steroid users on my ballot. Please check it out and enjoy.

Keep in mind that the IBWAA has already inducted Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Edgar Martinez on our ballots in previous years so this is why they are not present on this ballot and why they are present on the BBWAA ballot.

Thoughts and arguments below in the comment section por favor. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/10: Carston Charles Sabathia

On this day in 2008 the Yankees went on a crazy spending spree and gave out the fourth richest contract in Major League history when they handed a seven year contract worth $181 million to left handed free agent starting pitcher CC Sabathia. This was the largest contract ever handed down to a starting pitcher and included an opt out clause after three seasons for the then 28 year old. This AAV of $25 million was just ahead of the Mets deal with Johan Santana that he had signed in February of 2008.