Thursday, December 15, 2016

Donovan Solano is Back, Now What?

The New York Yankees outrighted infielder Donovan Solano off their 40-man roster following the 2016 regular season but the team has now brought the former Miami Marlins product back to the organization with a new minor league deal. The Solano signing, along with the minor league deal for Ruben Tejada, should give the Yankees plenty of minor league depth and insurance for their middle infielders but much like yesterday I am left feeling “now what?” when it comes to the rest of the middle infielders in the organization, specifically Rob Refsnyder and Ronald Torreyes.

Solano is still somehow just 28-years old so he has his youth on his side and his prime in front of him after leading the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders to a Triple-A Championship in 2016 batting .319/.349/.436 in 546 at-bats. New York is obviously high on him, it was Solano who was called up last season during the stretch run to replace an injured Starlin Castro at second base, and will give him a shot to fight for a job once again this spring down in Tampa.

Solano will join Torreyes, Refsnyder and Tejada this spring as the four men competing for no more than two roster spots this spring. Unless of course a trade comes up and Refsnyder or Torreyes, or conceivably although less likely Solano or Tejada as well, come up in trade discussions. I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

Brett Gardner, San Francisco Giants & the Trade Rumor That Just Won’t Go Away

So earlier on the blog, if you were paying attention anyway, you saw that the New York Yankees are “tapped out” according to reports and if any deals are to be made for the remainder of this winter that the team would have to clear out some payroll first so sticking with that as a theme here is an idea that involves the Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner and a potential trade partner. The San Francisco Giants seemingly love the Brett Gardner type, speedy outfielder that plays defense and can hit at the top of the order, and they may be the best and most logical fit for a trade if a trade were to go down so who would the Yankees be interested in and could both teams make it happen?

Now while Gardner is not going to be the teams saving grace when it comes to payroll he is owed $12.5 million in 2017, $11.5 million in 2018 and the team has an option on the left fielder worth $12.5 million for the 2019 season with a $2 million buyout option. That’s not nothing so they say, although I hate to use the double negative here on the blog. That’s not much to the Yankees in the grand scheme of things but that also works both ways, it’s presumably not much to the San Francisco Giants either who are in “win now” mode after signing Mark Melancon to a free agent deal.

The Giants everyday left fielder Angel Pagan is officially a free agent causing the team to, as it stands today of course, to go with either Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker in the spacious left field grass at AT&T Park in San Francisco. If the Giants are truly desperate to win in 2017, and they should be as every year that passes is another year off of Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner’s prime while Johnny Cueto can opt-out of his deal after this season if he so chooses, the team might be willing to part with a few intriguing prospects for Gardner.

I don’t pretend to be all-knowing in terms of anyone else’s farm system but from a quick look at’s top Giants prospects list the names Chris Shaw (left-handed power-hitting first baseman) quickly stood out from above the rest. Obviously Christian Arroyo, an infielder and the Giants top prospect, did as well but you are definitely not fetching him for Gardner in my opinion. Not alone anyway.

The deal makes sense for both sides. Gardner’s gap power, speed and defense would fit the Giants roster well while the prospects the Giants would presumably send back would fit in with the Yankees newly found austerity and youth movement. So what are you waiting for? Make the deal already. 

Now the Yankees Want to Cut Payroll?

The New York Yankees are officially “tapped out” after adding both Matt Holliday and Aroldis Chapman to Major League deals this winter and now the team, and the New York Mets as well, are looking for ways to cut payroll. The Yankees payroll is already over the luxury tax threshold for the 2017 season and as the team looks to get under the $197 million cap for the 2018 season the team will look to trade away some expensive veterans before making any sort of moves.

The Detroit Tigers have discussed moving former Yankees reliever Justin Wilson in a move and New York is said to be at least somewhat interested in his services but as it stands now a team like the Houston Astros or the Chicago Cubs may move in and swoop up Wilson before the Yankees can if a trade is not made or the budget is not stretched in the Bronx.

This also does not bode well, assuming this is not just posturing on the Yankees side, for the team’s search for a starting pitcher. Last season while the team did not sign a single MLB free agent in the offseason the team did acquire young and talented players in Aroldis Chapman and Starlin Castro while taking on money in both deals, something that seems nearly impossible this season if you believe the reports.

Stay tuned but it seems like the Yankees heavy lifting is all but done and we, the fans, are in for a long, long winter ahead. Stay warm!

Rest in Peace Alexander Figueredo

This is not exactly the way we wanted to start out our day but I am just reading about the 20-year old left-handed Yankees pitching prospect that was killed on November 27th. His name was Alexander Figueredo and he was in his native Venezuela when he was shot and killed.

Figueredo is not a name that likely many of us know unfortunately as he never made it above the Dominican Summer League and missed the entire 2016 season due to injury. Figueredo was on the suspended/restricted list at the time of his death according to Yankees sources but no details were given that I have found yet.

At 18-years old Figueredo went 5-0 in the DSL with a 1.89 ERA in 12 games, 11 of them starts. Figueredo was 20-years old. Rest in peace. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/15: Ron Guidry

On this day in 1981 the Yankees continued their spending ways when they signed Ron Guidry to a four year deal worth $3.6 million to keep him in New York. Gator averaged nearly 17 wins per season during the four year contract for perennial terrible Yankees teams.

Also on this day in 1980 Dave Winfield became the highest paid player in Major League history and the history of sports at the time when the New York Yankees handed him a 10 year deal worth $16 million. Makes Robinson Cano turning down $175 million into perspective on where the game has come from in the last 30 years.