Friday, June 30, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 6/30

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros are set to kick off their three-game weekend set here in a minute inside Minute Maid Park. How ironic. In the opener of this huge series the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound looking to be "Big Mike" once again, at least for a night, while the Astros will counter with Lance McCullers Jr. The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars tonight by tuning into the WFAN broadcast featuring John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes a follow and enjoy the game. Go Yankees!

The Highly Unlikely Trade Acquisition of Johnny Cueto

edit: Written before the Dustin Fowler knee injury.

Yeah, I am way out in left field. Yeah, this is unlikely. Yeah, I may be a little off my rocker. So what? The New York Yankees need starting pitching help and will presumably be in the market for some at the July 31st trade deadline so why not ignore a big name and go after someone that actually makes sense? Why not make the phone call to the San Francisco Giants and why not make a trade offer for right-handed starter Johnny Cueto? 

Johnny Cueto has four years and $84 million left on his contract after the 2017 season but many people are forgetting that Cueto has an opt-out clause that can allow him to test the free agent market after the 2017 season. This is a huge risk but could be a huge reward for the Yankees if they acquire him because if Cueto does opt-out, and according to Jon Heyman at FanRag Sports he will, the Yankees cannot offer him a qualifying offer and could potentially lose him for “nothing.” On the other hand if he sticks around and decides not to opt-out the Yankees would have a $21 million pitcher on the books when the team is trying to get under the luxury tax threshold after the 2018 season.  

Of course you can play Devil’s advocate though and remember that Masahiro Tanaka also has a similar opt-out clause written into his contract so if Cueto did opt to remain with the Yankees at least the Yankees would have a reliable arm in the rotation. We could debate this and debate what could or is going to happen all day but you have to get the trade done first. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, could the Yankees get the trade done? Absolutely. They have the prospects to get ANY trade done, but should they? 

Again, more questions than answers. Cueto has postseason and World Series experience after leading the Kansas City Royals to the World Series in 2015 and the San Francisco Giants to the postseason in 2016 but his 2017 campaign leaves much to be desired. Cueto currently sports a 4.20 ERA pitching his home games in a very pitcher-friendly ballpark and has allowed 13 home runs away from AT&T Park in 2017. Imagine that inside Yankee Stadium on a Saturday afternoon with the wind blowing out. Cueto is a workhorse though and has a career 3.25 ERA so maybe, and I know everyone says this about every potential trade rumor, a change of scenery and a change of pitching coaches could turn Cueto back into what he once was. 

The Yankees have a surplus of outfield prospects and the Giants are seemingly always needing an outfielder so maybe a trade around Dustin Fowler could get the job done. I’m not sure what else the Giants need but the Yankees have a ton to choose from so these two teams could make it work. Whatever you do just don’t include any of Chance Adams, Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres and the other “blue-chip” Yankees prospects and this is a potential huge win for the pitching-hungry Yankees in 2017. 

Meet a Prospect: Jimmy Herron

In this crapshoot that is the Major League Baseball First year Players Draft you generally don’t know many of the players that get drafted outside of maybe the first three-to-four rounds. There are just too many schools and too many players to keep up with nationwide and it would literally be  full-time 80 hours per week job to try and keep up with it all so no one will hold it against you if you don’t know the name Jimmy Herron. The New York Yankees drafted Herron out of Duke University in this year’s 2017 MLB Draft as a sophomore in the 31st round, 932nd overall. Let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Jimmy Herron Edition.

During the 2016 collegiate season Herron was named a freshman All-American leaving a lot to live up to for Herron in 2017. Herron started every game for the Blue Devils in 2017, one of three players to do so this season at Duke, compiling an impressive .326 batting average with 17 doubles, 53 runs, 74 hits, 39 RBI, five home runs and 17 stolen bases. Herron’s impressive season led to the Yankees drafting him in the 31st round of the draft making Herron the third Duke University player to be drafted in 2017 including Justin Bellinger by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round and James Ziemba by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim also in the 22nd round.

In two seasons at Duke, Herron owns a .325 batting average which is 12th best all-time in Duke history. Herron also has 41 stolen bases in two seasons which is 13th best in school history. Not bad for a sophomore outfielder that many casual fans never heard of. The biggest question regarding Herron, which explains why he was taken in the 31st round, is whether or not the pros will entice him enough to walk away from his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility.

Will Herron sign or will he look to improve his draft status while making another attempt at a strong season for Duke in 2018 as a junior? Only time will tell so stay tuned. All drafted players have until July 15th to decide whether they will sign with the teams that drafted them or return to school so we are just over two weeks away from the decision.

If Herron signs we here at The Greedy Pinstripes wish him well next season and have total respect for his decision. If Herron decides to sign then we want to be the first to welcome him to the organization and more importantly we want to be the first to welcome him to the Yankees family. Welcome Jimmy, just in case. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 6/30

You know the world of Major League Baseball, much like your real life, has a funny way of figuring itself out sometimes. The last team the New York Yankees want to presumably see right now is the best team in the American League, the Houston Astros, but that is exactly who they will square off with this weekend inside Minute Maid Park. The Astros, like the Yankees, are injured right now across the board but Houston remains atop the power rankings among the league and atop the American League West Division so given the Yankees recent struggles this could be a tough weekend. Or the Yankees, on the flip side, could use this as motivation to bring their “A” games and sweep the Astros, because baseball. In the opener the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound looking to do just that while the Astros will counter with Lance McCullers Jr.

Pineda has been rocky to say the least in his last three starts putting up a combined 0-1 record with an ERA touching 7.47. Not a typo, 7.47 ERA in his last three starts. In those three starts Pineda has a combined 15.2 innings pitched as well showing that the Yankees righty isn't missing any bats and isn't going deep into games either. He will have to do both tonight against the Houston Astros.

McCullers Jr.  was sharp in his last start against the Seattle Mariners allowing just one run in five innings of work. That start marked the first time McCullers had been on the mound since coming off the disabled list while tonight will mark the second time that McCullers has seen the Yankees in 2017. In his first start against New York on May 12 the Astros right tossed six shutout innings in a victory for the Astros.

The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Minute Maid Park in Houston and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and go Yankees!!!

A Long, Hard Day Falls Short...

Credit:  USATSI
Brian Cashman on Line 3...

The Yankees were very busy on Thursday and that was before game time.  Normally, I lead with the day's prior game but today I wanted to catch my breath from the flurry of activity that took place yesterday.

On Wednesday night, Miguel Andujar, penciled in at DH as a fill-in for the DL'd Matt Holliday, had one of the greatest Major League debuts in franchise history.  For all I know, it may have been the best, outperforming many of the legends that have called Yankee Stadium home.  He went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI's and a stolen base.  Thursday rolls around and he's flying from Chicago to Syracuse, New York to catch up with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on the road.  

I get the logic.  The Yankees want Andujar to focus on third base with regular playing time.  There's no doubt he'll be back but it must have been tough celebrating Major League success for the first time, followed by a tap on the shoulder that the manager wanted to talk to you...and oh yeah, bring your bags.  

Coming the other way is first baseman Chris Carter.  I think @BronxPinstripes said it best on Twitter the other day when they said Carter would be back faster than you could say 'Strike 3'.  Sad but true.  With the placement of Tyler Austin on the disabled list (hamstring), the Yankees needed a true first baseman.  Austin Romine has done a good job and I'm sure he'll remain in the mix, but I guess we need to get prepared for more whiffs in big spots.  

To make room for Carter, the Yankees moved Greg Bird to the 60-Day Disabled List which is probably a light indication we may not see Bird again this year.  

The Yankees also recalled outfielder Dustin Fowler to replace Andujar.  I wondered what was up with Fowler.  Wednesday night, I was seeing tweets about how Fowler was a no-show for the RailRiders' double-header.  No reason was given and when Manager Al Pedrique was asked about it after the games, he said that there would be clarity on Thursday.  Early Thursday, the news was breaking that Fowler was on his way to Chicago to meet up with the Yankees.  Obviously, the Yankees must have called the RailRiders to tell them to pull Fowler from games.  It must be tough to be a Triple A manager.  Things are going great and out of nowhere, your best players get plucked off your roster so you're left to pillage Double A.  I don't dispute calling up Fowler.  There is a greater outfield need right now and there's no way I'd put all my chips on Jacoby Ellsbury.  It's unfortunate for Andujar but it would have been a good opportunity for Fowler.  More on Fowler later.

Since Fowler was not on the 40-man roster, someone had to be voted off the island.  Unfortunately, the loser was one-time top prospect Mason Williams.  As an older prospect that never took advantage of opportunities, he was deemed expendable in an organization filled with outstanding outfield prospects.  I know these moves are as much about preparing for the December Rule 5 Draft as they are for helping the team play the White Sox and the Astros.  It will be interesting to see if the Yankees can trade Williams or if they lose him for nothing.  I don't really see him accepting an outright assignment to Triple A but I could be wrong.  If it were me, I'd try to catch on with an organization running a little thin with outfielders.  Excuse me, Brian Sabean, can we talk?  Fowler represents the ninth Yankee making his MLB debut this year.  Gleyber Torres, why, oh why, did you make that slide?...

Busy, busy day.

White Sox 4, Yankees 3...

The exciting MLB debut for Dustin Fowler ended as horrifically as one could imagine.  On his first play in the first inning, Fowler ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee when he tried to make a running catch into foul territory to catch a fly ball and collided with the low right field foul wall.  I had been worried about Fowler going into this game.  Delayed by rain, the game didn't begin play until 10 pm Central (which would have been 11 pm for Fowler having just flown in from Syracuse, New York).  The late, wet conditions set a horrible stage for Fowler's debut.  I felt the game should have been called, particularly considering the Yankees had to fly to Houston, Texas to play another game today at 5:10 pm Central.  It was a very unfortunate situation for Fowler, who is out for the season.

Credit:  Patrick Gorski-AP
The Yankees are now faced with yet another roster move.  Rob Refsnyder, who replaced Fowler in right field, dropped a fly ball that should have been caught which allowed the White Sox to score a run in the bottom of the 2nd inning. No offense to Refsnyder but the Yankees need better help in the outfield.  It will be interesting to see if the Yankees make another adjustment with the 40-man roster to recall Clint Frazier.  

The Yankees scored first in the top of the first inning before the Fowler injury in the bottom half.  Following an infield single by Brett Gardner and a walk by Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius grounded into a fielder's choice to first but Jose Abreu's throw to second glanced off Judge's left shoulder and went into left field.  Gardner scored on the play.  

In the bottom of the second, the White Sox scored two runs to take the lead.  The first run, courtesy of Refsnyder's error.  Adam Engel, who hit the two-out fly ball that Refsnyder dropped, scored the go-ahead run when the next batter, Omar Narvaez, singled to left.  

The Yankees tied the game in the fourth.  Ronald Torreyes lined a single to deep left with runners at first and second, scoring the lead runner (Jacoby Ellsbury).  But the White Sox quickly answered in the bottom half of the inning.  Yolmer Sanchez walked to start the inning for the White Sox.  Adam Engel was hit by a pitch with one out to put runners at first and second.  Omar Narvaez grounded out to first, but the runners advanced a base.  Willy Garcia brought both runners home with a double to deep left and the White Sox led, 4-2. 

The Yankees scored their final run in the sixth when Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a triple.  He scored when Austin Romine hit into a ground out at short.  Unfortunately, the Yankees were unable to complete the rally.  They had the right opportunity in the ninth with Aaron Judge at the plate and Brett Gardner on first with two outs, but White Sox closer David Robertson struck out Judge to end the game.  

I am sure it was a very long flight from Chicago to Houston.

This was a sickening loss.  The long-term health of Dustin Fowler is the primary concern.  But these were very difficult circumstances for the Yankees to play and a game that I felt should not have been played.  The cost was far too great.  If the Yankees play sluggishly today, who can blame them.  With the loss, the Yankees (42-35) fell one game behind the Boston Red Sox.  The Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 6-3.  The Tampa Bay Rays lost 4-0 to the Pittsburgh Pirates so they are three games behind the Yankees.

Luis Cessa (0-3) was the hard luck loser.  He pitched 4 2/3 innings, with a whopping 89 pitches, allowing 5 hits, 4 runs (2 unearned thanks to the Refsnyder error), 3 walks, and struck out 1.  If there is a positive, the Yankees bullpen threw 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief which included an inning by Tyler Clippard.  The pitcher, who has been very erratic of late, struck out the side in the bottom of the 7th.  

I hope Brian Cashman gets to the office early today.  He has much work to do.

Oh well, on to Houston and MLB's best team, the Astros.  It doesn't get any easier.

Next Up:  Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas...

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

Yankees:  Michael Pineda (7-4, 4.12 ERA)
Astros:  Lance McCullers, Jr. (7-1, 2.53 ERA)

Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (6-4, 3.53 ERA)
Astros:  Francis Martes (2-0, 5.51 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Severino (5-3, 3.15 ERA)
Astros:  Mike Fiers (5-3, 3.98 ERA)

Odds & Ends...

Another former Yankee has found his way to the unemployment line.  The Atlanta Braves have designated 44-year-old Bartolo Colon for assignment.  I really hope the Yankees do not to take a flyer.  Let him go back to the Mets.

Have a great Friday!  Today has to be better than yesterday.  Let's Go Yankees!

Yankees in Talks w/ Marlins for Martin Prado and Justin Bour

Earlier this week The Greedy Pinstripes declared the Miami Marlins open for trades and even went as far as to predict a fire sale by the team in South Florida. Now I personally don’t have any inside information or sources that will back that up, although I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the “insiders” that claim to have those sources really don’t either to be honest, but instead of relying on click baits, false information and “sources” I personally prefer to rely on history as an indicator and common sense when laying out my plans and posts here on the blog. When the team traded shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to the Tampa Bay Rays in a weak National League East Division I knew more was to come and that “more” may include a Martin Prado reunion back in the Bronx.

According to reports that are circulating online the New York Yankees and the Miami Marlins are at least discussing and kicking the tires on a potential trade that would bring the third baseman and utility player back to the Bronx after the Yankees traded him three seasons back along with David Phelps for Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and prospects. For what it’s worth that same report stated that the Boston Red Sox have also called Miami to talk about Prado which could create an expensive bidding war between the two teams. It is also worth mentioning that the Yankees asked about first baseman Justin Bour as well although Bour doesn’t exactly make me want to jump up and down and do a happy dance at the thought of his acquisition, I’m just saying.

Through Prado’s first 83 at-bats this season the 33-year old is hitting .277 although the sample size is down due to the righty missing time with a hamstring injury. Prado hit .305/.359/.417 over 153 games for the Marlins in 2016 though and brings with him about 14 defensive gloves, a slight exaggeration but probably not by much, and an absolute ton of defensive versatility. Prado has played every position during his 12-year MLB career with the exception of center field and catcher, I think the Yankees have those two positions handled pretty well thankfully.

Bour, although I did state earlier that acquiring him doesn’t give me the biggest warm and fuzzy feeling, is having the best season of his young MLB career in 2017 hitting .298 with a .365 on-base percentage, 18 home runs and 50 RBI. Those numbers are great but Bour is a left-handed hitter, which makes having both him and Greg Bird on the same team a bit redundant to me, and has three-plus seasons of team control left making him potentially expensive. If Bour had more than 258 games of experience to base the decision off of, and around 70 games of experience this season where he is hitting so well, the decision may be a bit easier for New York but as it stands now there seems to be more questions than answers at this point.

This trade, like all trades, will come down to the price tag for the Yankees. Acquiring Prado and his two-years and $28 million will likely keep the price tag down for New York but Bour won’t reach free agency until the 2021 season. Not only would Bour block Greg Bird or potentially take at-bats away from him but I also can’t see Miami simply giving him away with that much team control left. Having Bour’s left-handed swing inside Yankee Stadium, yes I know every left-handed swing is just “made” for Yankee Stadium, and in the middle of the Yankees lineup would be a huge upgrade over what the team has gotten from first base though, I admit that, but at what cost? What does the team do with both Bour and Bird when Bird returns healthy in 2016 and beyond? Again, I go back to the word “redundant.”

Whatever the Yankees and their GM Brian Cashman do remains to be seen but it seems like we once again have proof that those guys are reading what I write. I suggest going after Prado, they go after Prado a couple days later. I suggest starting to look at the July 31st trading deadline and potential acquisitions early and here we are a month almost to the day in advance talking about New York already having discussions with other teams. They read me dammit, they really do! That may or may not be sarcasm, only time will tell.

Stay tuned and Happy Friday!

So it Seems… Resiliency

Resiliency. What is the definition of resiliency? Resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Resiliency is toughness. Resiliency is the ability to spring back into shape. Resiliency is elasticity. Resiliency is the ability to look the troubles that the world has given you or the troubles that you have created in the face and telling them to sit down and take a number. Resiliency is telling those monsters in your head to quiet down that you’re trying to watch Netflix and chill. Resiliency is to grow stronger and better when the going gets tough. Resiliency is how you grow an unstoppable force.

I see a lot of resiliency with this Yankees team this season. Masahiro Tanaka is struggling? No problem, plug in Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery and keep the good times rolling. Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday and Aaron Hicks get added to the disabled list? No problem, Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar it is your time to shine. Offense is struggling? Baseball, meet Aaron Judge. The outcome? The team just keeps on winning despite losing all these people or despite key players in key spots struggling so imagine what this team will look like when said players put it all together, come back healthy or finally begin to play to the back of their baseball cards? It is a scary thought for non-Yankees fans right now, I assure you of that.

You are resilient. You are amazing. You are strong. You are kind. You are special. You are truly one of a kind in the best possible way. You are loved. You are supported. You are adored. You are me and I am you. I love you.

Have a happy Friday everyone and a great weekend. Especially you. HEY YOU!

This Day in New York Yankees History 6/30: Yankees Pull a Kansas City in All-Star Game

On this day in 2002 the Yankees became the first team in the American League since the 1956 Chicago White Sox to have four infielders and a catcher on the All Star roster. Jason Giambi, Alfonso Soriano, and Jorge Posada were voted in by the fans and Derek Jeter and Robin Ventura were chosen by the AL manager Joe Torre.

Also on this day in 1961 Whitey Ford became the first American League pitcher to win eight games in one month. Ford would throw a complete game win over the Washington Senators as the Yankees would win 5-1. This would be the Yankees 22nd team victory in June, a great month.

Finally on this day Cy Young showed why Major League Baseball would soon name their prestigious pitchers award after him, well that and leading the majors in wins and losses in his career, on this day in 1908 as Young no-hit the Highlanders 8-0. The 41 year old Red Sox pitcher would pitch his third no hitter of his career against the team that would soon be the New York Yankees.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Chicago White Sox 6/29

And for the final time this week and this series the New York Yankees will make the trip to Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago to take on the Chicago White Sox, let’s get to it. In the finale the Yankees will send Luis Cessa to the mound making his third start in place of the injured CC Sabathia while the White Sox will counter with James Shields. Is this a big enough game for the right-hander to earn his nickname back? Stay tuned. The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Guaranteed Rate Field and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast.

Follow us on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Go Yankees!!!

Quick Hit: New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund and Shady Dealings

There’s be’s some shady dealings going on here in the Bronx and I don’t likes it. In all seriousness though and as close to grammatically correct as I can get there really are some shady dealings apparently happening and being exposed when it comes to the “New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund.” The Yankees created this charity after the organization caught heat for taking public park land to build the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with the promise of the team distributing millions of dollars in grants, sports equipment and tickets to the local community organizations in the Bronx. Apparently that isn’t what is happening in all reality.

The New York Times released a report this week stating that this fund has been lacking oversight since its creation and the money has not been distributed where it should be going. The word “corruption” wasn’t used but if it looks like a duck and it sounds like a duck… it’s corruption.

Between the years of 2008 and 2015 only 30% of the funding from the program has gone to an organization which is in the same ZIP code as Yankee Stadium or its four bordering zip codes. Instead the money has been allocated to wealthier and less affected areas of the Bronx.

This has nothing to do with the team really. The team itself and owner Hal Steinbrenner probably have little to nothing to do with the fund as it was merely a legal obligation for getting the stadium built but still. This looks terrible on the team and the organization, especially when almost 40% of the people living in the same zip code of the Bronx as the stadium resides in are under the poverty line. That money, if it went where it was intended, could do some real good in the Bronx and its surrounding areas.

Maybe something like this will make the money be allocated where it is supposed to go. One can only hope anyway. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Chicago White Sox 6/29

The New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox have played three times already this week so what’s one more, right? So these two teams will complete their four-game set this week with their contest today that will showcase Luis Cessa for the Yankees and James Shields for the White Sox as the pitching matchup. This leaves me wondering if today’s contest counts as a ‘big game” for Shields or if the fans have gone past that nickname in recent years, for obvious reasons.

Cessa will be making his third start of the season tonight in place of injured lefty CC Sabathia and will be looking for his first win of the 2017 season. Cessa hasn’t looked great in relief of Sabathia pitching to a 0-2 record and a 6.57 ERA that included his last start against the Texas Rangers where he struck out eight batters in five innings of work.

Shields has made two starts since coming off the 10-day disabled list and the right-hander has been hit hard in both of them. In Shields’ last start the righty gave up six runs in three-plus innings of work while allowing multiple home runs in a start for the first time all season.

The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast which features Mr. and Mrs. Baseball, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and go Yankees!!!

Tanaka + Baby Bombers + 99 = 1 for the Win Column!...

Credit:  Associated Press
Yankees 12, White Sox 3...

Two young Bombers collected their first Major League hits to help power Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees to the victory over the Chicago White Sox.  Throw in another Aaron Judge home run and it was a good night at the office (even if it was a slightly wet and windy one).

When I saw the lineup card, I was a little concerned when I saw that two "fresh" rookies would be starting.  But on this night, they were exactly what the doctor ordered.  The Yankees jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.  Brett Gardner walked to open the game.  Following outs by Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez and a passed ball that moved Gardy to second, Didi Gregorius reached first safely on a throwing error by White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson.  Gardy scored on the play.  Chase Headley and Austin Romine both walked to load the bases.  Miguel Andujar, a new arrival from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, stepped to the plate and chopped a single to center which scored Gregorius and Headley. 

Credit:  Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
Tanaka escaped a bases loaded jam in the 2nd but he wasn't so lucky in the 5th.  After the White Sox opened the inning by loading the bases with two hits and a walk, former Yankee Melky Cabrera lined a single to left, scoring two runs.  Fortunately, Tanaka was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.  3-2, Yankees.

The Yankees wasted no time in re-establishing a multiple run lead.  In the top of the 6th, against Sox reliever Jake Petricka, Austin Romine doubled with one out.  After Miguel Andujar hit a grounder for the second out, Tyler Wade followed with his first Major League hit, a fly ball that dropped in for a double to score Romine.  Ronald Torreyes then laced a sharp double to right, scoring Wade.  5-2, Yankees.  White Sox manager Rick Renteria came out to talk to Petricka and was thrown out when he began jarring with the Home Plate Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.  The Yankees two-out hit parade continued as Brett Gardner singled to center to score Torreyes.  Aaron Judge came up and lined "a bullet" to left for his 27th home run of the season.  8-2, Yanks.

Credit: Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
Tanaka (6-7) finished his day by striking out the side in the bottom of the 6th.  I really didn't know what to expect out of Tanaka for this start.  I didn't know if last week's stellar performance against Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers was an aberration or a sign that Tanaka was back on track.  Fortunately, it appears the turbulence may be a thing of the past...or at least I hope so.  Tanaka's final line was very solid.  6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 5 SO.  He threw 101 pitches, lowered his season ERA to 5.56 and most importantly, did not give up any home runs.  

It started to rain in the 7th inning.  It got a little tense in the bottom of the inning when Tyler Wade, playing left field, was charged with an error.  A fly ball that normally would have been destined for center field drifted toward left with the aid of the wind.  Brett Gardner, playing center field, was moving with the ball and attempted to catch it but so was the left-fielder Wade.  Their gloves collided causing the ball to bounce out of Gardy's glove.  The White Sox put a second runner on base on another wind-aided fly ball that Ronald Torreyes missed.  There was also a fly in foul territory that normally would have been caught if not for the wind.  Despite a subsequent walk that loaded the bases, Chad Green was able to strike out Todd Frazier to end the threat.  Whew!  I was very worried that the wind was going to help the White Sox get back in the game.  I guess there's a reason they call it the Windy City.

In the top of the 9th, Didi Gregorius hit a one-out two-run homer to increase the lead to 10-2. In a bit of deja vu from earlier in the game, both Chase Headley and Austin Romine walked in front of Miguel Andujar.  Like the first inning, Andujar didn't miss the opportunity.  He lined a double to center to score (again) both Headley and Romine.  Nice debut performance by Andujar with 4 RBI's on the night.  He finished 3-for-4 with a stolen base.  He was probably left wondering what's so hard about baseball at this level.

Chicago's Adam Engel homered off Tyler Webb in the bottom of the 9th to make it 12-3 but then Webb settled down and retired the next three batters (two by strikeout).  The Yankees win!

Then it was off to bed for the Baby Bombers...

After so many close games and disappointing losses, it was nice to have a blowout.  The Yankees (42-34) moved back into a first place tie in the AL East with the win.  The Boston Red Sox lost to the Minnesota Twins, 4-1.  The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-2, so they are three games back.  

Odds & Ends...

Former Yankees top prospect Jesus Montero, 27, is looking for a new team.  He was released on Tuesday by the Triple A Norfolk Tides, the top farm team for the Baltimore Orioles.  Montero recently completed a 50-game suspension for a banned substance and was only batting .143 in 49 at-bats with 14 strikeouts for the Tide. After Montero's trade to the Seattle Mariners in the 2012 deal that brought Michael Pineda to New York, he has spent time in the Toronto Blue Jays' organization in addition to his latest Minors stint with the O's.  I guess that means the Red Sox or the Rays are on tap next.  It's been a hard road for the player once billed to be the next greatest catcher for the Yankees.  Now he's struggling to just stay in the game at first base or DH.  Sad story for the guy who was supposed to be Gary Sanchez before Gary Sanchez was.   

News started breaking early on Wednesday about the promotion of third base prospect Miguel Andujar to the Yankees.  Andujar had just been promoted from Double A Trenton to Triple A Scranton on June 19th.  In 67 games for the Thunder, Andujar had a slash line of .312/.342/.494 with 7 HR's and 52 RBI's.  Out of 79 total hits, 23 went for doubles.  He also had a team-high 10 errors.  In 7 games for the RailRiders, Andujar was hitting .308 with 1 HR and 2 RBI's (8-for-26). It is a small sample size but he only committed one error at Triple A.  He hit well during Spring Training but his fielding was questionable. Nevertheless, he is known as an above-average defender.  He now has a golden opportunity to out-perform an over-priced, 33-year-old veteran.  Yesterday's debut, even if he was at DH and not third, was a great start.
To make room for Andujar, the Yankees placed DH Matt Holliday (viral infection) on the 10-Day DL retroactive to June 25th.  Holliday has been battling the symptoms of the allergic reaction he first encountered in Oakland.  He'll return to New York for further tests.  We wish Matt the best and hope to see him back on the  field in the near future.  

We thought the Chris Carter Experiment was over, but alas, it might not be.  The Yankees have announced that Carter, previously designated for assignment, has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple A. He now represents the next option should the Yankees decide it is necessary to place Tyler Austin on the disabled list (hamstring).  So, just when you thought it was safe to watch a Yankees game again...

Happy Thursday!  One final game in Chicago before the getaway to Houston, Texas.  Let's Go Yankees!

So it Seems the Yankees Could Have Had Clay Bellinger

Could you imagine a lineup that had some combination of the Los Angeles Dodgers star Cody Bellinger and the Yankees stars Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge hitting in the middle of it? Talk about that being the dream. Well according to a new report that was released this week that could have been a reality for the Yankees as the organization had a chance to draft Bellinger, son of former Yankee Clay Bellinger, during the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft.

Before the 2013 MLB Draft the Yankees had Bellinger inside Yankee Stadium after inviting him to a pre-draft workout for some of the top amateur players. During the workout they had a game for the players and Bellinger hit a three-run home run to right field, the first home run Bellinger would ever hit inside of a big league park. The Yankees instead took LHP Ian Clarkin and Aaron Judge with their pair of first round picks in that draft passing on Bellinger. Instead the Dodgers took Bellinger in the fourth round with the 124th overall pick with what might soon be the steal of the draft.

All told the Yankees drafted Clarkin, Judge, Eric Jagielo who is still in Double-A within the Cincinnati Reds organization at last check, center fielder Michael O’Neill and second baseman Gosuke Katoh. Yeah, looking at that list hurts when you see what Bellinger has done thus far for the Dodgers in 2017.

In the Yankees defense every team passed over Bellinger at least three times, sometimes four times, during that draft and for good reason. Bellinger had just one home run during his senior season and didn’t show the pop that he has at the big league level. As a first baseman with little-to-no power you can see why teams would be weary of using an early draft pick on him. The Dodgers took the chance and the Dodgers caught lightning in a bottle. Say what you will about the Dodgers scouts and system being better than the Yankees, and it very well may be but not because they drafted Bellinger, but any team that drafted Bellinger did not expect him to be lighting the world on fire and being among the league leaders in home runs before the All-Star Break. Nobody.

One last thing before we go. Kris Bryant was also drafted in that draft class, ahead of Bellinger obviously, leading me to wonder if that draft class may go down as one of the best in recent memory when all the dust settles and when this trio stops hitting home runs. Food for thought on this Thursday. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 6/29: David Justice the Yankee

On this day in 2000 the New York Yankees tried multiple times to bolster their offense in trades and failed to get Juan Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa before settling for David Justice from the Cleveland Indians for Ricky Ledee and two players to be named later. That trade kind of worked, no?

Also on this day in 1941 Joe DiMaggio and the Yankees played in a double header with the Washington Senators. The wins and losses didn't matter as much as the fact that DiMaggio tied and then broke the American League record for consecutive games with a hit, previously held by George Sisler with 41 straight games with a hit. DiMaggio had a seventh inning single off Walt Masteron to break the tie with Sisler.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Chicago White Sox 6/28

The New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox are set to kick off the third game of their four-game set here in a few minutes with what could be a very good pitching matchup. The fans in Chicago are finding their seats, getting their beer and hot dogs and settling in as the New York Yankees prepare to send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound, Happy Tanaka Day, to square off with Carlos Rodon who is making his season debut for the White Sox. The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Guaranteed Rate Field and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars by tuning into WFAN.

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game tonight. Go Yankees!!

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

You can always tell when a small sample size starts to become a large sample size, especially on something like these weekly MLB Power Rankings released by the USA Today, when you see little-to-no movement across the board. Some teams jumped and some teams fell but for the most part most teams stood pat this week on the rankings including the New York Yankees. Let’s check out the list from another week of MLB play.

As I said before the New York Yankees stood pat in the 6th position overall while the Boston Red Sox remained right on their heels at the #7 position. In fact the #8 Cleveland Indians and #9 Milwaukee Brewers also stood pat behind Boston while the Minnesota Twins snuck up three spots into the #10 position. The Tampa Bay Rays fell one spot to the #12 position while the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays fell one and two spots respectively to the #16 and #17 positions.

Meanwhile the Top 5 also remained pretty much the same with the Houston Astros remaining at the top spot followed by the Dodgers (climbed one spot), the Arizona Diamondbacks (climbed two spots), the Washington Nationals (unchanged from the 4th spot last week) and the Colorado Rockies (fell three spots).

Based on these rankings and my pure speculations I have come up with this potential list of sellers and buyers at the July 31st trade deadline. Enjoy, criticize and debate in the comments section.

Sellers: Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, Miami Marlins, Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Buyers:  Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers.

Undecided: Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves.

So it Seems Miguel Andujar is Learning First Base

The New York Yankees have a good problem on their hands, the team has too many good prospects and not enough positions to play them all at. The Yankees have Gleyber Torres scratching at the door of the Major Leagues presumably at third base leaving their next best third baseman to potentially learn a new position. Miguel Andujar, once thought to be the future in the Bronx at the hot corner, was seen last Friday taking reps at first base before his game with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders.

The Yankees have the third-worst production at first base this season and Andujar may be the Yankees answer to the potential problem rather than acquiring someone outside the organization. With prospects you have to make the organization see you and you have to force the organization’s hands by producing and Andujar has done just that as he crushed the ball in Double-A.

Let’s be real, the long term plan for Andujar can’t be first base. His arm and defense is just too strong and too good (eventually anyway since he does lack true consistency in the field) to be wasted at first base. I truly think Andujar would be traded before he was moved to first base full time. Part time first base? Maybe, especially given the Yankees dire needs this season. I guess we will all just have to stay tuned.

Meet a Prospect: Austin Crowson

If the name Austin Crowson doesn’t exactly ring a bell for you that’s okay, Crowson is used to it and he probably doesn’t mind. Crowson was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 26th round of the 2017 MLB First Year Players Draft out of Lane Community College. Crowson has a full baseball scholarship to play at the University of Nevada next season but he just may decide to forego that to begin his professional career with the organization. Just in case, let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Austin Crowson Edition.

Crowson stands 6’5” and 210 lbs. which is the typical build for a Yankees pitcher these days. I’m not sure if there is some insider trading going on here but the Yankees organization obviously knows that the NBA is going to buy out MLB soon or something and they are stocking pitchers that double as power forwards and centers or something. Crowson, funnily enough, did play basketball while at Monroe but mainly because at the time his fastball clocked in at about 82 MPH. After adding a weightlifting program into his routine Crowson saw his fastball touch 90-92 MPH as he grew which complements his curveball, changeup and slider.

In two seasons at Lane Community College Crowson put up a combined 12-3 record with a 2.36 ERA in 117 innings. Along the way the lefty struck out 122 batters while allowing just 81 hits and walking just 47 batters. As a freshman and sophomore those stats are impressive so the sky is the limit for Crowson with the Yankees, assuming he signs of course.

So if Crowson does sign I want to be the first to welcome him to the family and the organization. If Crowson doesn’t sign, no hard feelings kid. I’m still rooting for you anyway. Good luck and take your time making the decision, you have until July 15th regardless. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Chicago White Sox 6/28

The New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox are back at it again tonight in windy Chicago as these two clubs face off for the third time in their four-game set. In the third matchup of the series the Yankees will send their ace and stopper Masahiro Tanaka to the mound, Happy Tanaka Day Yankees family, while the White Sox will counter with Carlos Rodon. Even when he struggles I still enjoy watching Tanaka pitch, maybe I’m in the minority here, so this should be a fun one to watch.

Tanaka looked like vintage Tanaka in his last start which was a sight for sore eyes after losing six of his previous seven starts prior. Tanaka logged eight shutout innings last time out improving his overall record to 5-7 and his season ERA to 5.74. Those numbers still aren’t great but the good news for the righty and for the Yankees is that there is still plenty of season to go and the Yankees are still in first place despite his struggles.

Rodon will make his season debut tonight against the Yankees after starting the season on the disabled list with left biceps bursitis. Rodon isn’t expected to be on a pitch limit or innings limit tonight after a long rehab process so it’s time for Rodon to test out the bicep and his main out pitch, his slider.

The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Guaranteed Rate Field, seriously the name of this stadium really irks me, and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on the WFAN Network. Enjoy the game and, as always, Go Yankees!

The Tyler Clippard Award Goes To...

White Sox 4, Yankees 3...

Luis Severino pitched magnificently, Yankees took the lead, but the bullpen ingredients of Domingo German, Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances handed the Chicago White Sox the walk-off win.

Severino allowed just one run on six hits over seven innings.  He struck out a career high 12 batters, and issued no walks.  You could not have asked for better, but unfortunately, on the other side, it was a very strong night for White Sox starter, and oft speculated trade target, Jose Quintana as he held the Yankees to only two hits and no runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Credit:  Armando L Sanchez-AP
The White Sox scored the game's first run in the third inning when Jose Abreu laced a run-scoring double to right.  Chicago's 1-0 lead held up until the eighth inning.  Tyler Wade, making his Major League debut, pinch hit for Rob Refsnyder and walked against White Sox reliever Tommy Kahnle.  Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a single as Wade advanced to second.  After Chase Headley struck out, Aaron Judge singled to center, scoring Wade while Ellsbury moved to second.  Game tied.  Gary Sanchez doubled, bringing home both Ellsbury and Judge, as the Yankees took the 3-1 lead.

Credit:  Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
It felt like it was going to be a magical night for Severino with the stellar pitching and the late runs to potentially give him the win but thanks to the Yankees bullpen, it was not to be.  Manager Joe Girardi brought in Domingo German to pitch the eighth, but he had control problems and was lifted after walking the first two batters.  Tyler Clippard (Egads!) entered the game and was able to get three outs but not before two more walks had pushed another run across for the Sox.  3-2, Yankees.  All things considered, I guess, you'd have to say that this was a better Clippard than we've seen lately.  He escaped a bases-loaded situation with no outs, giving up only one run, so it could have been much worse.

Credit:  Associated Press
The Yankees had runners at second and third with two outs in the top of the 9th following a passed ball by White Sox reliever Dan Jennings, but Chase Headley struck out to leave the runners stranded.  As it turned out, the Yankees could have used those insurance runs.

The Yankees brought in Dellin Betances to pitch the ninth.  He had worked the previous two games but had thrown only a total of 25 pitches.  Aroldis Chapman was not available, having worked the preceding two days combined with his recent activation off the DL.  Betances (3-2) earned the Tyler Clippard Pitching Award of the night when he walked Kevan Smith and Alen Hanson, and hit Yolmer Sanchez with a pitch to load the bases.  He was able to retire former Yankee Melky Cabrera on a fly ball, but Jose Abreu came up and delivered a single to left, scoring the winning runs as the White Sox walked off with the 4-3 victory.

Credit:  Armando L Sanchez-Chicago Tribune
With the loss, the Yankees (41-34) fell one game behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.  The Red Sox, looking like a team that wants to win, beat the Minnesota Twins, 9-2.  The Tampa Bay Rays also won (4-2 in extra innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates) so they are just two games behind the Yankees.  I know it's only June and it is just one game, but right now the gulf between the Yankees and the Red Sox seems much, much greater.  The Red Sox are a team ready to kick it into another gear, whereas the Yankees just keep slip, sliding away.  It was difficult to watch a game that was freely given to the White Sox.  The final 3 of their 4 runs were walked batters that came around to score.  It was not pretty and Severino's gem was wasted.

Next up, Masahiro Tanaka.  If he pitches like he did against Yu Darvish, I like our chances.  If he pitches like the guy we saw prior to the All-Japanese confrontation, it is going to be a very long night.  

Trade Speculation Heats Up...

Trade speculation and theories are starting to heat up as the calendar prepares to turn to July.  Between now and the July trading deadline, I am sure that we'll be hearing plenty of possibilities for how the 2017 New York Yankees can make upgrades.

Mark Feinsand of posted "3 potential Yanks-Mets trades that make sense" yesterday.  In his column, he proposed the following trades:

1.  Lucas Duda for Austin Romine.
2.  Jerry Blevins and/or Addison Reed for Dustin Fowler.
3.  Curtis Granderson for Tyler Austin.

My immediate reaction was "I wouldn't trade my guys for them".  Later in the day, Feinsand tweeted:  Love the response to my trade column.  Yankees fans:  "I'd never trade those guys for that!", Mets fans:  "I'd never trade those guys for that!".  Seriously, and nothing against Kyle Higashioka, I wouldn't trade Romine for Duda.  With the belief that Greg Bird can still be a solid first baseman of the future, I'd take a less costly route to find an alternative for Tyler Austin if it comes to that.  I certainly wouldn't trade a valuable outfield prospect for a reliever that could have been had on the free agent market last off-season.  Curtis Granderson?  Been there, done that.  

In a column that appeared on (written by Joe Giglio), it was reported that MLB Network Radio Host Jim Bowden (former GM of the Cincinnati Reds and one-time Yankees employee during the brief reign of Syd Thrift) floated his idea of how to build a super rotation in the Bronx.  Bowden indicated that he'd trade for Gerrit Cole now and sign Yu Darvish as a free agent in the off-season.  His third and fourth starters would be Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, while the fifth spot would go to Yankees prospect Chance Adams.  With this rotation, Bowden believes "In 2018, it's about what kind of champagne we can put on ice".  I can't say that I disagree with this one.  I like both Cole and Darvish.  Severino and Montgomery have both proven they belong in 2018 and the "time is now" is rapidly approaching for Adams.  Sign me up for this possibility...I'm on board.

Odds & Ends...

The Attack of the Tylers.  It's hard to believe but 16% of the Yankees active roster is now loaded with dudes named Tyler.  With Tuesday's call-up of Tylers Webb and Wade, there are four Tyler's with Clippard and Austin already on the roster.  I wanted to name my son Tyler but given my last name ends in "ler", his mother didn't want a kid named "ler-ler" so I had to ditch any ideas of using the name.  I went with Kyle instead (as if there weren't enough Kyle's already in the world).  Making room for the two Tyler W's were the placement of Starlin Castro on the disabled list and the demotion of Jonathan Holder to Triple A.  It kind of feels like all of these Tylers should be using Aerosmith for their walk-up music...

The results of Castro's MRI came back with a Grade 1 strain of the  right hamstring.  He's expecting to be ready when his time on the 10-Day DL is up.  

Have a great Wednesday!  Hopefully Tanaka will help get us over the hump!  Let's Go Yankees!