Saturday, December 16, 2017

Baby, It's Cole Outside...

Credit:  Daniel Decker Photography
What’s Next?…

After two successive weekends starting with a bang (first the word about Aaron Boone’s hiring as the replacement for Joe Girardi and then the stunning deal that brought the great Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx), we enter this weekend on a quiet note.

There have been rumors for days (actually the ongoing discussions have lasted for years) the Yankees have been talking to the Pittsburgh Pirates about starter Gerrit Cole. Personally, I am in favor of Cole’s acquisition. I know, he basically sucked last year. 12-12, 4.26 ERA. 31 home runs allowed. It was easily his worst season and he is now a couple of seasons removed from his dominant 19-win 2015 season. You’d be bringing him into the pressurized AL East which isn’t going to help anybody’s ERA, particularly for a pitcher prone to give up the long ball. But maybe I continue to see the upside of the pitcher and feel that he can be an effective middle-of-the-rotation starter. There’s the intangible that he was a childhood Yankees fan so it’s possible that he could have the reverse Ivan Nova effect (pitching much better in New York than Pittsburgh). I know, that one is a stretch but I’d really like to see what pitching coach Larry Rothschild could do with Cole’s arm.  

Credit:  Charles Wenzelberg, NY Post
The issue, of course, is cost. Any trade is almost certain to be headlined by outfielder Clint Frazier. The Pirates will also demand a top pitching prospect in a deal that would most likely cost the Yankees at least four young promising players. Many believe that Chance Adams may be better suited for relief and I’ve heard concerns about the at-times violent delivery of Justus Sheffield (and concerns about his durability). Between the two, I’d probably be more willing to sacrifice Adams although I have enjoyed his progression through the Yankees farm system. I saw one Pirates blog clamoring for Jordan Montgomery.  That’s a deal-breaker for me. I would not include Montgomery under any circumstances with the concerns that accompany Cole. I have a tough time justifying Frazier but the Yankees have an abundance of outfielders and Frazier is better suited for left field than center. Until they can clear out room by trading Jacoby Ellsbury (please!) or Brett Gardner, there’s simply no room for Frazier. The job of fourth or fifth outfielder can easily be handled by Jake Cave or Billy McKinney, with Estevan Florial a season or two away. Pittsburgh wants to contend again by 2019 so they are not going to settle for Single-A prospects or guys with no potential to reach the bigs until after 2020. This is a dilemma and I am sure that’s a primary reason the talks have gone on for so long with no resolution.  

I know everyone prefers Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers but there’s no indication that the Tigers are willing to trade Fulmer. Even if Fulmer was available, I think the cost would be substantially greater than what it would or should take to get Cole.  

We know that the Boston Red Sox will respond to the Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton. They’ve been rumored for weeks to be the possible destination for both first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder J.D. Martinez. With their pitching staff (assuming that David Price can return to ace status), they will be strong contenders for the AL East championship next season. I was glad to see one possible fallback option eliminated yesterday when former Cleveland Indians slugger Carlos Santana signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Martinez has indicated he wants to play the outfield and at the moment, the Red Sox outfield is full with Mookie Betts (arguably one of the best players in MLB), Jackie Bradley Jr, and Andrew Benintendi. It’s possible the Sox could trade JBJ but he’s one of the best defensive centerfielders in the league. Neither Benintendi nor Betts are going anywhere. Therefore, I hope Martinez continues to take a stand against becoming a full-time DH.  

The trades of Chase Headley and Starlin Castro opened starting roles for the Yankees at second and third. At the moment, Gleyber Torres is destined to take second. However, there is greater value in starting him at Triple A to open the season for a few weeks to delay his free agency by a year so it makes more sense to use the combo of Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade to man the position until Torres is ready. At third, Miguel Andujar is presently at the front of the line although I still suspect the Yankees will acquire a short-term veteran. This one is tough. I’d love to see the Yankees bring Todd Frazier back on a two-year deal, but the Yankees are probably looking at no more than one year which is not in sync with the player. One possible destination for Frazier was eliminated yesterday when the Los Angeles Angels signed Zack Cozart, former shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds, to play third (Andrelton Simmons is entrenched at short and the Angels just acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers).  I keep hoping that the price tag for Frazier drops low enough for the Yankees to grab him but that’s not something that I am counting on. I guess the Yankees need to find their next Scott Brosius off some unsuspecting MLB roster.

If anything is going to happen, it will probably be next week. Otherwise, I don’t see any significant baseball activity until after the first of the year.  

I am sure that GM Brian Cashman and company are hard at work as I type this post.

Hopefully there is a quality starting pitcher out there who dreams of joining Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery. Run support may not have been Gray’s friend in 2017 but in 2018, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. As a pitcher, I’d love to be backed by a lineup that features Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner and others. They’ll just have to get used to the extended wait between innings while the Yankees are batting.

Oakland A’s Outfielder Sues the White Sox…

Former Yankees outfielder Dustin Fowler has sued the Chicago White Sox and the state agency that manages Guaranteed Rate Field (Illinois Sports Facilities Authority) as a result of the devastating knee injury he suffered in his Yankees debut last summer in Chicago. The suit, filed in the Cook County Circuit Court, claims the White Sox and the state agency acted negligently by not securing the knee-level electrical box that Fowler collided against when he hit the low side of the wall chasing a fly ball in foul territory. The suit indicates by failing to pad, guard or cover the electrical box, the defendants showed “an utter indifference to or conscious disregard” for Fowler’s safety.

Credit:  Pete Caldera,
Fowler, part of the trade that brought Sonny Gray to New York, is expected to be ready for A’s training camp next spring but time will tell if the knee injury has lasting ramifications on the former Yankee’s career. I agree that the parties at Guaranteed Rate Field should be held liable. At the time of the injury, then Yankees manager Joe Girardi was very critical of the exposed electrical box. It is a hazard that could have been prevented. 

I wish Fowler the best with his suit and hope that he is able to reach the potential and stardom that he seemed destined for prior to the injury.   

The Tampa Yankees are no more…

I will miss the “TY” logo as the Yankees’ High-A affiliate have changed their name to the Tampa Tarpons. I immediately saw tweets about tampons after the announcement of the name change, but the Tarpons name has history in Tampa. It was the name of a previous Florida State League team for over thirty years. The old Tarpons club was sold and relocated in 1988. The new team was placed in Tampa by the Yankees in 1994. Welcome back, Tarpons!

I am sure the Tampa Bay Rays are glad to see the removal of “Yankees” from the Tampa name even if the minor league team remains affiliated with the Pinstripes.  

Speaking of the Tampa Tarpons, I continue to hope that their manager, Jay Bell, is named as Al Pedrique’s replacement at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre although former Yankees coach Tony Pena would probably be a very solid option too.

59 days to Spring Training. Go Yankees!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Minor League Ball’s Top 20 Yankees Prospects!!

My apologies for the completely unprofessional “!!” at the end of the post title but I can’t help it, I’m me and I love Yankees prospects. Who needs professionalism anyway? I highly doubt you’re here reading my work because I am the most professional writer, you are here because you like my work and you like the way I do things. When I started this blog I always said I would do things my way and if that meant never making it “big” or being well-known that I would be okay with that, and those words still ring true today. So, without further ado, Minor League Ball’s Top 20 Yankees Prospects List!!! There, I did three exclamation points that time. Ban professionalism.

1.       Gleyber Torres
2.       Chance Adams
3.       Estevan Florial
4.       Justus Sheffield
5.       Miguel Andujar
6.       Domingo Acevedo
7.       Jorge Guzman (not updated since the trade)
8.       Albert Abreu
9.       Freicer Perez
10.   Thairo Estrada
11.   Nick Solak
12.   Dillon Tate
13.   Domingo German
14.   Billy McKinney
15.   Luis Medina
16.   Matt Sauer
17.   Trevor Stephan
18.   Taylor Widener
19.   Nolan Martinez
20.   Nestor Cortes (TAKEN IN RULE 5 DRAFT)

For the complete write-ups on the prospects and such head over to Minor League Ball and check out their post. They put in a lot of work over there and provide a ton of great content and they deserve all the views they get and many more. Head over there, be the good guy, and give them some clicks for their awesome content. Thanks in advance guys and girls. Go Yankees!!

Gleyber Torres is Your Opening Day 2nd Baseman, Deal With It

I think I was just one of many that either stayed up late the night the news broke that Giancarlo Stanton was coming to the Yankees via trade or one that woke up to utter shock that the reigning National League MVP was Bronx-bound. We all as a fan base waited anxiously to see what the Yankees would be giving up, how much of the Stanton contract they would be paying etc. but while most waited I began to brainstorm. I am always looking ahead and when we learned that Starlin Castro was going to be involved in the deal my immediate thought was not whether the Yankees would set an MLB record for home runs by a team in 2018, but who would play second base replacing Castro? I’m weird, I know. My immediate thought went to Ronald Torreyes or Tyler Wade as they finished the 2018 season healthy, are both on the 40-man roster and with Torreyes specifically had success at the MLB level in a small sample size. Torreyes filled in admirably for an injured Didi Gregorius at the beginning of the 2017 season but I don’t see him doing it again here in 2018, not with a healthy Gleyber Torres on the roster that some inside the Yankees organization wanted to start the season at the MLB level last season. Those same personnel members will push for Torres being in the Bronx on Opening Day 2018 assuming the Yankees still need a second baseman then and this time I think they will get their wish.

Gleyber Torres will be the Yankees Opening Day second baseman in 2018, deal with it. I said “deal with it” because to my surprise I was roasted on Twitter the day of the Stanton trade for saying so. You would be surprised to read some of the responses that I got to that tweet. Many said I was crazy, that Torres was still injured (no he’s not), not ready (yes he is, he was last season), or that it just wasn’t going to happen but I am not buying it just because you said so. Not many had Aaron Judge starting in right field at the beginning of the 2017 season because of his strikeouts, his inexperience and because of his lack of a blockbuster September call-up the season prior. How did that work out? The Yankees have the offense and the veteran leadership in the infield with Didi Gregorius to deal with and survive the growing pains for Gleyber, and they should. Don’t wait until June, don’t wait to save a few dollars. We are the New York Yankees and we are back to being the New York Yankees again, after 2018 I don’t want to hear about money or the budget or the luxury tax ever again. Ever.  

Stop babying prospects and stop coddling the young guys. Let them play with the young guys around them and figure it out on their own. Derek Jeter wasn’t handled like a porcelain doll, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte weren’t either. Robinson Cano wasn’t. Chein-Ming Wang wasn’t. Aaron Judge wasn’t. I can keep going but I think you get my ultimate point, that Gleyber Torres shouldn’t be either so say hello to your Opening Day starting second baseman and also wish him a Happy belated Birthday as well.


Is Jabari Blash a Part of a Bigger Plan/Deal for New York?

When the New York Yankees traded away Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Jabari Blash I think most thought that this was simply a salary dump for the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees sent $500,000 in cash considerations along with Mitchell, Headley and the former Yankees third baseman’s $13 million in salary but I don’t think this was simply a salary dump. Why would Cashman take on ANOTHER outfielder, especially an outfielder that is 28-years old and hasn’t excelled at the Major League level to date? I think Blash is part of a much bigger plan and deal and I am wondering if that bigger plan and deal has anything to do with the Chicago White Sox and their presumable acquisition of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.  

George A. King III reported this week that the Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos would never trade Manny Machado to the New York Yankees, but the Chicago White Sox owner and GM would. The White Sox have been one of the most aggressive suitors for Machado’s services despite being in the middle of a total rebuild. This deal doesn’t make sense for the White Sox as Machado is just one year away from free agency unless one of two things happens, Machado signs an extension, or the White Sox ultimately flip Machado either now or in July before the trade deadline for prospects to speed up the rebuild. I am personally leaning towards the latter being more likely than the former, you have to think Machado wants to hit the free agent market at just 26-years old, and with that thought process and the Yankees need for a third baseman the stars may be aligning.  

Why does it make sense for the Yankees? I mean, besides the obvious as Machado is an incredible talent. Machado is still under a team friendly deal that will pay him an estimated $17.3 million in his final year of arbitration according to Baseball Reference and their estimations. Adding Machado, CC Sabathia for $10 - $12 million on a one-year deal, and Gleyber Torres to second base and the Yankees can still get under the luxury tax threshold while calling it an offseason before Christmas. Not bad for a team that couldn’t seemingly find a suitable manager just a few weeks ago.  

Blash would be just one of the many prospects the Yankees could trade to the White Sox if they were to acquire and then flip Machado to the Bronx. Clint Frazier could be another. I am not an expert on the Chicago White Sox and I am not sure of their needs, but you have to think they will at least ask for Frazier, Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield and others. If the White Sox give up some of their elite prospects to acquire Machado, and they would likely have to give up at least one, then the Yankees would have to compensate them for that in the deal. Would Frazier, Blash and Adams be enough? That’s a good question, I would hope so. I know one thing though, Machado won’t come cheap like Giancarlo Stanton did.   

The kicker here? The Yankees could conceivably trade Machado in July for even better prospects then they will theoretically and hypothetically give up to the Chicago White Sox in a deal while sliding Miguel Andujar into the third base position. This screams Aroldis Chapman all over again and if it happens, especially if the Yankees then turned around and signed Machado via free agency next winter, I will be the first person in line to kiss the feet of Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Something is brewing here; the Yankees didn’t just acquire Blash because they liked him. Stay tuned. 

So it Seems… Brian Cashman the Hall of Famer

Good morning everyone and what a Winter Meetings week this has been for the New York Yankees. With the Winter Meetings now done, and maybe the majority of the Yankees heavy lifting done, you have to look ahead and wonder what this means for the future of Brian Cashman. Cashman took over for Al Watson back before the 1998 season essentially walking into a dynasty and now has all the pieces to start another dynasty, this time all on his own. Cashman, even now in my opinion, has to be a Hall of Fame General Manager, doesn’t he?

Cashman’s led 1998 Yankees, again he didn’t really build this team and I totally understand that, won an American League record 114 games en route to their second World Series Championship in two seasons. Cashman and his Yankees would then win the 1999, 2000 and 2009 World Series Championships while also winning the American League Pennant in 2001 and 2003. Cashman also put the team on the field that made it to the AL Championship Series multiple times including the 2012 and 2017 seasons.

Sure, Cashman has had the money to throw at players and sure, talent can overcome a lot of bad decision making sometimes but no one can deny that the Yankees GM has been an absolute wizard in the trade arena. I mean, come on. Cashman essentially turned Brendan Ryan into Giancarlo Stanton player wise and turned Chase Headley and Starlin Castro into Giancarlo Stanton money wise. That’s genius and the scary part is after signing a new five-year deal, Cashman is far from done.

Cashman is a Hall of Fame GM right now, in five years we may be talking about possibly the best GM in the history of Major League Baseball. Especially if he can swing a trade for Manny Machado from the Chicago White Sox, but more on that later and so much more.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, you my Kari are definitely a Hall of Famer. No woman has ever been more beautiful, more awesome, more caring, more kind or more generally awesome as you. And somehow, someway, you are mine. I thank God every day for you multiple times a day, usually after looking into those gorgeous blue eyes. I loves you, always have and always will.

Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The End of the Winter Meetings...

Lots of Sun in Florida for the Yankees…

The Baseball Winter Meetings are always my favorite time of the off-season and this year did not disappoint.  

I just returned from a trip (hence, my silence on the site for the past few days). As I was departing on Saturday morning, I first read some tweets that the Yankees had been talking aggressively overnight with the Miami Marlins. By the time, I reached the airport, Twitter was exploding with tweets that the Yankees had pulled off the trade that brought the great Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx. 

Credit:  Willie J Allen, Jr, Associated Press 
I hadn’t really thought about Stanton in pinstripes until recently when Bryan Van Dusen had  raised the possibility on The Greedy Pinstripes website. At first, I dismissed the idea, thinking there was no way to fit Giancarlo into Hal Steinbrenner’s budget for 2018. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Still, I thought either the San Francisco Giants or the St Louis Cardinals, with negotiated trades in place with the Marlins, would be successful in their talks with the slugger to get him to waive his no-trade clause. I also kept thinking the Los Angeles Dodgers were waiting in the weeds to make their strike.  Much to my surprise, Stanton’s representatives announced on Friday that the Cardinals were out, followed later that he would not be going to San Francisco. We didn’t know it at the time, but the Yankees had already been making headway in their talks with Miami and Stanton had rejected St Louis and San Francisco because he had knowledge that he would be headed to one of his original four desired destinations.  

I had a strong feeling that the Yankees were going to trade Starlin Castro this winter based on some reports that I had heard. Perhaps he would have stayed in Pinstripes if Stanton hadn’t fallen into GM Brian Cashman’s lap. But regardless of his faults, I am sorry to see Castro go. There were a lot of jokes about how the Yankees fleeced the Marlins and got Stanton for nothing, but I disagree. The Marlins landed an All-Star second baseman and an all-around good guy in All-Starlin. The two prospects acquired by the Marlins were lower level but we’ve all heard about the 100 mph arm of Jorge Guzman (one half of the return, along with Albert Abreu, for former Yankees catcher Brian McCann from the Houston Astros last winter).  Guzman has a chance to be a quality Major League arm. The other, infielder Jose Devers, is only 18, and is a cousin of Rafael Devers, the young Boston Red Sox third baseman. Granted, the Yankees didn’t relinquish any of their top prospects but they still paid a good price to take Stanton’s contract. If Stanton doesn’t exercise his opt-out in three years (his agent has already said that he will not), the Marlins will send $30 million to the Yankees to help pay down the contract. There’s no doubt this was a trade the Yankees had to make and any of us would have pulled the trigger on it, but it does carry a sense of loss for those players the Yankees sent to South Beach. So, I am tired of hearing that the Yankees acquired Stanton for nothing. 

Credit:  Joseph D Sullivan
From a roster standpoint, I really like that it opened second base for super prospect Gleyber Torres. I’ve felt that second or short would be a much better fit for Torres than the previously projected third base. Shortstop Didi Gregorius is not going anywhere anytime soon so second is the next best spot. There’s no doubt that Torres could have been special at third base but I like him better as the team’s second baseman. I doubt we see Torres at the start of the season as the Yankees will delay his service time for a few weeks to gain an extra year of control. This means we’ll have patchwork at second until Torres arrives…most likely some combination of Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade.  

It’s probably too early to speculate how the Yankees will use Stanton and Aaron Judge. At first, I thought Judge would probably be moved to left to make room for Stanton in right, but Judge’s defense is too valuable. There’s the speculation that the outfield will be a rotation with the DH spot which makes sense, but I think we’ll have better clarity in the coming days and weeks.  Both Stanton and Judge are too young to be used exclusively at DH. It would be huge if the Yankees could somehow find a way to move Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract along with oodles of the cash it will take. 

Tuesday’s trade that sent Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell to the San Diego Padres surprised me. The biggest surprise was San Diego’s willingness to take Headley’s contract. The Yankees paid half the assignment bonus (or $500,000 in this case) but did not have to ship cash to accompany the monies still owed to Headley. I figured that Mitchell’s time was coming to an end. I really like the pitcher but he’s been very inconsistent in his limited opportunities in the Bronx. If he hadn’t been traded, he was probably a candidate to be designated for assignment at some point in the upcoming season to free up room on the 40-man roster. I think Mitchell will thrive in San Diego and will achieve the potential we had projected for him (which is obviously the reason that the Padres were willing to take Headley’s contract). Last night, there were strong reports that the Padres could possibly trade Headley to the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels had acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Detroit Tigers earlier in the evening as they attempt to rebuild the talent around Mike Trout and newly signed two-way Japanese star Shohei Otani. Angels GM Billy Eppler was behind the Yankees’ acquisition of Headley from San Diego a few years ago so he’s a Headley fan.   

Coming to the Yankees organization from San Diego is outfielder Jabari Blash.  Blash hit .213 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 164 at-bats for the Padres last year.  His numbers at Triple A were much better (.285, 20 HR, 62 RBI in 235 at-bats).  Outfield is a position of redundancy in the Yankees organization so this leads me to believe that some of the congestion will be relieved in a future trade.  

The Yankees now have openings on both sides of Didi Gregorius. I find it unlikely they’d go with rookies at both second and third, but stranger things have happened. Ideally, it would be great if the Yankees and Todd Frazier could come together on a short time deal. However, the Toddfather has earned a multi-year deal opportunity which probably removes the Yankees from the equation.   

The Yankees are expected to make a play for a starting pitcher but I hope that it doesn’t result in the loss of free agent CC Sabathia. There’s room to add a starting pitcher and bring back CC, the team’s leader.  Sabathia’s camp has talked with the Angels and the Toronto Blue Jays. It would be difficult to watch Sabathia go to either of those teams. The longer the Yankees put off Sabathia, the greater the chance he goes elsewhere. If one of the Bay Area teams came calling, it would probably be hard for Sabathia to pass up the chance to go home to play for his final season(s).  

Regardless of Josh Bard’s qualifications, I was disappointed with his selection as the Yankees new bench coach. Last year, the Yankees had a wealth of experience with Rob Thomson sitting next to Joe Girardi. When Thomson left after not getting the manager’s job, I was hoping that the Yankees would find someone with commensurate experience. The toughest part for new Yankees manager Aaron Boone to master will be in-game action and I was hopeful that he’d have someone who has served time on the battle lines to help his learning curve.  Granted, Boone has managerial experience with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and new third base coach Phil Nevin but Bard will be the chief lieutenant on the bench. I hope that ‘smart’ and ‘confident’ help yield the right in-game decisions. As expected, the Yankees promoted minor league coaches Reggie Willets and Carlos Mendoza.  Willets will take first base (replacing long-time Yankees coach Tony Pena), while Mendoza will serve as infield coach/quality control and will be in uniform during games. Marcus Thames (hitting coach) and Mike Harkey (bullpen coach) are expected to return.  

I knew the Rule 5 Draft was going to be difficult in terms of potential losses and it was.  In the first round of the Major League Phase, the Yankees lost RHP Anyelo Gomez (Atlanta Braves), LHP Nestor Cortes (Baltimore Orioles) and 1B Mike Ford (Seattle Mariners). In the third round, the Orioles grabbed RHP Jose Mesa, Jr. I don’t think any of the names are a surprise as  all of them had been cited as potential losses. Of course, they have to stick on their new team’s MLB roster for the entire year or they must be offered back to the Yankees. Last year, the Yankees lost C Luis Torrens to the San Diego Padres when he stuck the entire year on their active MLB roster. I am expecting at least one of this year’s draftees to stick. Nestor Cortes is probably the one that I wanted to keep the most as quality left-handers are hard to find. I thought RHP J.P. Feyereisen would be taken but he was not. In the Minor League Phase, the Yankees lost RHP Yancarlos Baez (Minnesota Twins) and C Sharif Othman (Miami Marlins). These are permanent losses. The Yankees grabbed a Single-A outfielder, Junior Soto, from the Cleveland Indians. In 2017 for Single A-Lake County Captains, Soto hit 9 home runs and 17 RBI’s in 52 games while batting .172.  He struck out 61 times in 174 at-bats, while taking only 6 walks.

The Winter Meetings have come to an end but the Yankees still have much work to do. There are rumors that the Orioles have Manny Machado in play but I seriously doubt the O’s would trade him intra-division. To me, it would make sense. The O’s will lose Machado at some point and why not grab top prospects from a key division rival. But O’s owner Peter Angelos is 88 and I am sure that he does not want to spend his final years watching Machado star for the Yankees. All things considered, I’d rather use the prospects to grab another frontline starter and then potentially sign Machado after next season when he is a free agent. But of course, the “greedy” side of me would love to march both Machado and Stanton out onto the field at Yankee Stadium next year for simultaneous debuts along with another quality starter to join the rotation.

I wonder what Joe Girardi thinks about all this?…

Go Yankees!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell Traded to San Diego

The Yankees have traded Chase Headley back to the San Diego Padres, along with Bryan Mitchell. In return the Yankees will receive outfielder Jabari Blash. Also, the Padres will be taking on all of Headley's salary, which is $13 million. Making it clear that Brian Cashman is not done spending this offseason.

While Blash put up an impressive batting line of .285/.419/.617, with 20 home runs, last year at AAA El Paso, I don't see him as a regular in Major League Baseball. Jabari is 28 years old, and did appear in 61 games for the Padres last season, so he isn't a "nobody".

But another outfielder?

It's already been speculated that Jabari will be designated for assignment, but I can't help but wonder if there's more going on behind the scenes. Was Blash taken to keep outfield depth since Cashman has something in place to ship out Brett Gardner and/or Jacoby Ellsbury?

We shall see what's to come in what looks to be a very interesting offseason for the Yankees.

Solving The Logjam In The Outfield

There are a lot of ways Aaron Boone can fill the outfield and designated hitter spots in the lineup in 2018.

Mind you, I'm sure some of these guys could play the other positions. For example, Judge or Stanton may be able to pick up left field just fine. I'm just listing guys in those places based on where they've played recently, and fairly often.

When it comes to left field we have Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, or Aaron Hicks.

In center field there's Jacoby Ellsbury (did you know he hasn't played any other outfield position besides center field since 2010?), Brett Gardner, or Aaron Hicks.

And in right field there's Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Clint Frazier, or Aaron Hicks.

Furthermore, with his injury history, Boone will probably slot Stanton into the DH spot at least a couple of times a week. We'll also likely see Aaron Judge batting out of the DH spot at times, too, as this not only allows Judge to get a half day of rest, but it also allows Stanton to play right field (his normal position).

Having options when filling out a lineup card is great, but there is such a thing as too many.

First of all, it would leave Boone to constantly second guess himself, and be second guessed by others. He's already a first-time manager, so there's no need to make his job tougher. Every single day he'd hear something along the lines of "why didn't you start (insert name) instead of (insert name)?"

Secondly, the Yankees are not going to carry six outfielders on their active roster. With only three or four bench spots available to them, usually depending on bullpen needs at the time, chances are only one of them will go to somebody that exclusively plays in the outfield.

We've been hearing about ways the Yankees could trade Jacoby Ellsbury for a long time, but I just don't see it happening. Ellsbury has already said he doesn't want to leave the Yankees (damn that no-trade clause), and with three straight years of being a below average hitter, I don't see why anybody would want him... no matter how much of his contract the Yankees pay.

There's also been talk of trading Brett Gardner. I think the possibility of this is better than with Ellsbury, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for news of a deal to happen. Brett's OPS+ the last three years is exactly 100, which means he's an average hitter. His ability to not only play a strong left field, but center field as well, is great. However, with only one more year on his contract, he doesn't come off as a guy teams are looking to "rent".

Aaron Hicks would draw some interest, but I don't think the return would be enough that Cashman would seriously consider this possibility. Don't get me wrong, I like Hicks, as I believe what we saw in 2017 is more like the hitter he can be. And this Aaron can play any outfield position, and play them well. But would you trade anything significant for him? I don't think so. Perhaps if he has another season with the bat like he just had, but you can't forget 77 OPS+ he hit overall in his previous 1289 plate appearances.

That leaves Clint Frazier.

No... I'm not going to bother saying why neither Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge would be traded.

Clint didn't blow anybody away in his first taste of the Majors, but we're talking about a very good prospect (Keith Law ranked him 20th back in April). Frazier was actually the centerpiece of the group of players the Yankees received when they dealt Andrew Miller to Cleveland. At 22 years old he has plenty of prime years in front of him, and five of them will be under team control.

So there's no doubt that a large handful of teams would try and get him from Cashman.

To be clear, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are not what makes me say the following. The fact that Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks should play regularly, coupled with the fact that Clint Frazier is better than a fourth outfielder, is why I say this...

Trade Clint Frazier.

The Yankees starting rotation currently includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery. Severino looked like an ace last season, and isn't set to be a free agent until the 2022 offseason. Masahiro Tanaka had an up and down 2017, but he's closer to the 2016 guy we saw (when he finished 7th in Cy Young voting) than the one we saw last year, and he won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season. Sonny Gray is pretty darn good, especially when he gets some run support, and he's signed through the 2019 season. And while Jordan Montgomery would be one of the better pitchers on pretty much every other MLB team, he's currently the fourth best with the Yankees, and will not be a free agent until after the 2023 season.

So the Yankees do not need another starter. They could easily just sign CC Sabathia, sit back, and smile at a pretty awesome starting rotation. But why do that when you can do something better? Why "settle" for Sabathia as the team's final piece to the rotation? Trade a nice asset, at a position overflowing with possibilities, and get another good to great young starter.

Recently Gerrit Cole's name has popped up as a trade target. The Diamondbacks could use some offensive help, and have pitching to spare. The Brewers and Rockies also have some good starters but lack a bit offensively.

The fact of the matter is Clint Frazier is more valuable to the team as a trade chip than he is as a player. If Clint could play center field then we are not having this conversation. And if Stanton or Judge were not any good in the field, and thus should be relegated to DH, then we're not having this conversation.

In fact, the only reason I can see holding onto Frazier is if the Yankees either can not get a good return in a trade, or they are convinced neither Judge nor Stanton can play left field. I don't believe that first part, but if that second part is true then hold onto Frazier to take over left regularly either this year after Gardner is traded or next year when Gardy's contract is up.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Did Giancarlo Stanton "Rip" The Miami Marlins Today?

Giancarlo Stanton took to social media to say his goodbye's to Miami an hour before being introduced officially as a member of the New York Yankees. In his statement some think that Stanton intentionally took a shot at the Miami Marlins organization while others simply think many are looking too far into his words. What say you? Here is the text from his social media account, leave your thoughts on it below in the comments section and let's get this conversation started.

“Thank you to the Marlins Organization & the amazing city of Miami! The city that adopted me at 17 with open arms. I’ve loved this place over the years and it will always be special to me,” Stanton wrote. “I appreciate All my teammates & coaching Staff that battled day in and day out

"I feel for u fans, you’ve stuck with me as we’ve shared some roller coaster years. I’ve always tried to be as professional as possible during the unprofessional , circus times there! Regardless of the Ups&downs, I’ve grown n learned a lot as a Person/Player. So for that I give thanks, I hope there are better days in Miami . The city & the people are too great not to be! Stay positive & much love!.”

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Imagining a Lineup w/ Giancarlo Stanton

The deal that will bring Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx is all but done pending a physical so it is time to dream here in the Bronx. Here is the lineup I would throw out there on Opening Day in Toronto had I been chosen over that Aaron Boone guy.

Brett Gardner
Aaron Judge
Didi Gregorius
Giancarlo Stanton
Gary Sanchez
Greg Bird
Aaron Hicks/Clint Frazier
Chase Headley
Gleyber Torres/Tyler Wade/ Ronald Torreyes


The New York Yankees and the Miami Marlins have agreed to a deal that would send Starlin Castro and a package of "lower level prospects" to the Marlins for outfielder and reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton.

Yankees expected to take on ALL of Stanton's contract while holding onto top prospects like Gleyber Torres and others.

More as this develops.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Dawn of the Baseball Winter Meetings...

If you are going to dream, dream BIG…

Giancarlo Stanton.

Such a tease! For the last month, Yankees fans have dreamt of the idea of Giancarlo Stanton wearing Pinstripes. But with Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner’s budget and his drive to reset luxury tax penalties this year, the likelihood of Stanton coming to the Bronx appears to be about as strong as Shohei Otani changing his mind and deciding that he loves New York after all. 

Still, it’s tough to hear that the Yankees are one of four teams that Giancarlo Stanton would openly waive his no-trade clause for. The list includes the Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers (his hometown team and favorite growing up), the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs. I am mildly surprised that the Los Angeles Angels didn’t make the cut for the LA native (I know, they are not really in Los Angeles). It’s hard because the timing isn’t right for a team that is trying desperately to stay under $197 million for the payroll this year.

It’s possible that Stanton eventually accepts a trade to either the San Francisco Giants or the St Louis Cardinals but the longer this drags out, the more likely it is those teams will move on. If the Giants land Otani, it would seemingly improve their chances for getting Stanton to accept the already negotiated trade to the Giants. I tend to side with the majority that believe Otani will end up in Seattle, particularly now that they’ve gained an edge in international bonus pool money. Could this help the Yankees snag Stanton?  I guess time will tell as it often does.

For the Yankees, the decision to sign Jacoby Ellsbury four years ago yesterday to the seven-year, $153 million contract is the gift that keeps giving (in a negative way). Ellsbury, now Baseball’s highest-paid pinch-runner, is an albatross for Team Hal. As long as Ellsbury’s contract hangs around the neck of the Yankees, it will be difficult for them to find the creative way to bring Stanton to the Bronx even though they have the resources to pull it off.

The Seattle Mariners had looked like a strong potential trade partner for the Yankees depending upon how much of Ellsbury’s contract the Yankees were willing to eat. But the Mariners removed themselves from the conversation with their trade acquisition yesterday of second baseman Dee Gordon, whom they intend to move to center field. The Boston Red Sox just look at the Yankees, stuck with Ellsbury, and laugh. There were no tears shed in Boston when Ellsbury signed with the Yankees. My closest Red Sox friends were glad to be free of the King of the DL four years ago.      

It’s incredible to imagine Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge in the same lineup. It will never happen (will it?) but the protection in the batting order the Yankees could offer Stanton would be immense. It would be fun to watch all of those balls flying out of Yankee Stadium.

I keep hoping that GM Brian Cashman and his team, against all odds, can find a way to get creative while staying in line with Hal Steinbrenner’s budget. By self-admission, Cashman is paid to think outside of the box. Here is his latest opportunity. Make it happen! The realist in me knows that it will not come to fruition but it is fun to dream about. Taking on Stanton’s contract would be far better than paying over a half-billion dollars to Bryce Harper next off-season.

I feel bad for Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly who now gets to watch as his team is stripped of its best Major League talent. Donnie Baseball deserves better. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter is obviously finding that it is not so easy sitting on the other side of the table with a strict budget in hand.

The Bronx Coaching Staff…

Now that the Yankees have their manager (Aaron Boone) and the return of the pitching coach (Larry Rothschild), the focus is on the remainder of the coaching staff. I have not heard Tony Pena’s name at all. He is a valuable coach and I’d like to see his return. We’ve heard the names of Yankees ‘thirty-something’ minor league coaches Reggie Willits and Carlos Mendoza as possibilities.  We know that Rob Thomson, Josh Paul and Al Pedrique are no longer options, having found MLB employment elsewhere.  It was odd that the first name drawing attention is current Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen coach Josh Bard. A former catcher, the possibility of adding Bard leads me to believe that there is no interest in bringing back Pena.  Bard and Boone played together briefly in Cleveland. I seriously hope that Bard is not under consideration for Bench Coach. At Boone’s press conference, when asked if managerial experience was a prerequisite for the bench coach, Boone responded that he wanted smart and confident sitting next to him. Sounds like a possible setup for Bard. I guess it’s not like there is no managerial experience on the bench. Larry Rothschild was the original manager for the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays when they entered the league in 1998. But regardless of Rothschild’s presence, I personally would prefer to see experience sitting with smart and confident to offer suggestions to the new first-time manager.

Bard played for five teams over 10 seasons during his pedestrian career as a backup catcher, yet I think of him as a Red Sock. That’s kind of funny considering that he only played 7 games in 2006 for the Red Sox. The intent was for Bard to catch knuckle baller Tim Wakefield, who ironically gave up Boone’s 2003 ALCS Game 7 home run. But 10 passed balls in those 7 games ended his time in Boston. 

Credit:  Jim Davis, Boston Globe
Based on GM Brian Cashman’s words, they’ve provided a list of names to Boone and Boone has provided names to them and they are going through the vetting process. So, it’s highly probable that other guys, beyond Bard, have been or will soon be interviewed. Boone talks about having a world-class coaching staff, but it’s tough when we’ve seen a few world class guys like Thomson, Paul and Pedrique walk away from the organization. I hope that Boonie is right. The team’s leadership will be very instrumental in the success of the young Baby Bombers as we move forward.

Note to Brian Cashman…

Please re-sign CC Sabathia. What are you waiting for?...

I am always anxious to see what the Baseball Winter Meetings will bring. Those few days bring the most excitement of the off-season. It’s very possible that nothing happens for the Yankees but it should be a fun week anyway. With such a large concentration of media gathered in Orlando, Florida beginning this weekend, rumors of trades and signings should soon start flying fast and furiously.

I’d love to be working on a post next week entitled ‘How the Yankees Made the Stanton Dream a Reality’…

Go Yankees!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It was this day in 1941 that the Japanese bombed the port in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. With that act of war the United States was forced into a war they didn’t really want to be a part of, World War II. We all know the stories, the movies and the history behind Pearl Harbor and the war and I don’t know about you but I’d like to not remember the day. Let’s remember the people, the people that died, the people that lived and shot those Japanese planes into the Pacific Ocean and the people who were survived by the decease.

I can’t say it enough, thank you. Remember the people, remember the day, just don’t remember the event.

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/7: Enter Jacoby Ellsbury

On this day in 2013 the New York Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven year deal worth $153 million to join Brian McCann as the second new member of the Yankees this week. Ellsbury turned down offers from his former team the Red Sox, the Tigers and the Mariners to patrol center field in the Bronx.

Also on this day in 2001 the Yankees and the Mets made a rare trade as the Yankees acquired third basemen Robin Ventura for outfielder David Justice. This is only the sixth time these two teams have made a trade in the 40 years the Mets have been around and the first time since the 1992 trade of Kenny Tanaka to the Yankees for Kenny Greer.

Also on this day in 1995 the Yankees acquired a couple former Seattle Mariners players. First New York signed Tino Martinez to a deal worth $20.25 million on the same day his wife gave birth to replace Don Mattingly at first base. Also the Yankees swung a trade to acquire relief pitcher Jeff Nelson for Sterling Hitchcock and Russell Davis.

Also on this day in 1973 the Yankees acquire outfielder Lou Piniella from the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Ken Wright and pitcher Lindy McDaniel. The Yankees definitely won this trade as Piniella would hit .295 in 11 seasons as a Yankee including four trips to the World Series. McDaniel would only win six games in his two seasons in Kansas City

Also on this day in 1962 the Yankees rookie short stop and left fielder Tom Tresh would win the Rookie of the Year award from the BBWAA. The 24 year old got 13 of the 20 votes from the voters to win the award

Also on this day in 1939 the owners voted on a new rule that would prevent the team who won the pennant the previous year from buying, selling, or trading players the next season. Boy the efforts to hold the Yankees down have been going on forever. The Yankees would finish in third place the next season due to this winter meetings decision.

Finally on this day in 1939 the Yankees Iron Horse Lou Gehrig was elected into the Hall of Fame. The five year waiting period was waved for Gehrig, who played his final game on June 30th of 1939, because of Gehrig's diagnosis of ALS.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Hey everyone after a crazy couple weeks death in family.   I should be here now without any Interruptions and I want to hear from you questions and comments are welcome. Send them in to JamesCPalma at gmail dot com. 

Let’s go Yankees ! 

The Changing of the Guard...

Thoughts While We Wait for the Press Conference…

Aaron John Boone officially takes the reins as the 33rd Manager of the New York Yankees today at Noon ET. I continue to see so many opinions, both strongly tilted toward the pros and the cons. Being upset or taking a strong position that Boone is not the right guy serves no purpose. Regardless of how you feel, Boone will be the guy delivering the lineup card on Opening Day, March 29th, at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. There is nothing that you can do or say that will change Boone from taking that walk. So, it is in our best interests to unite and support the next manager of the Yankees.  

Credit:  Sporting News Archive/Getty Images
Personally, I am excited to see what Boone can do. Admittedly, I wasn’t crazy about the lack of managerial or coaching experience but Boone has so many other positive attributes.  We’ve heard about his unique ability to relate with everyone, his sense of humor, his immersion into Major League Baseball as a youngster due to his grandfather, Ray Boone, and father, Bob Boone, both Major Leaguers.  Boone has said that he has prepared for 44 years for this job. Boone’s predecessor, Joe Girardi, won a Manager of the Year Award in his first season as a manager with no coaching or managing experience (2006 with the then-Florida Marlins). Granted, he was fired after the season, but still, there’s no reason that Boone can’t reach the same accomplishments (excluding the end of the year firing).  

The immediate decisions that face Boone is the composition of his coaching staff. Larry Rothschild is returning as the team’s Pitching Coach but so far, that’s the only official announcement. The bench coach will be a critical hire and needs to be someone with strong managerial experience. The Yankees lost very strong in-house candidates when Josh Paul, Rob Thomson, and Al Pedrique left to join the coaching staffs of other MLB teams. Eric Wedge’s name has been thrown out as a possibility but so far, there have been no strong indications who might take the role. Yankees minor league coaches Reggie Willits and Carlos Mendoza have been cited as possibilities for the staff but neither has the experience to serve as bench coach. I am expecting the return of Alan Cockrell, Hitting Coach, and Marcus Thames, Assistant Hitting Coach, although they could just as easily walk away. It’s been mentioned that Mike Harkey, the bullpen coach and a Girardi buddy, could return. That one does surprise me a little since he was a Girardi friend and hire. Tony Pena is someone the Yankees should bring back. He’s certainly qualified to serve as bench coach despite his years as the first base coach.  

Perhaps Boone addresses the coaching staff during today’s press conference or the staff is assembled over the next few weeks. Either way, I will be watching and listening with interest.  

Al Pedrique’s departure (to join the Oakland A’s as first base coach) creates an opening at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. A replacement has not been named but I could easily see the elevation of High A-Tampa Yankees Manager Jay Bell to the position. I really hated to see Pedrique go. I felt he would have been the ideal bench coach…an experienced manager who has strong relationships with the younger Yankees. The A’s denied the Yankees permission to talk to their manager, Bob Melvin, but then stole one of the Yankees’ best coaches. Almost immediately, the A’s fans talked about the excitement of a coach who could help mold Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian based on his past experiences with them. Ouch!  He could have been doing that with the Baby Bombers.

Credit:  Jason Farmer, Scranton Times-Tribune
It was sad to see Rob Thomson take a lateral position with the Philadelphia Phillies, leaving the Yankees after 28 years in the organization. He will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge for Phillies rookie manager Gabe Kapler. Thomson must like sitting next to very physically-fit managers. It’s too bad he won’t be there for Aaron Boone but it’s probably hard to stay with an organization when you are passed over for a job you felt should be yours.  

It’s a tough time to fill a coaching staff considering most other teams have finalized their respective staffs. I keep half-expecting Bret Boone to added. No idea what qualifications he has other than being a former Major Leaguer but like Aaron, he obviously grew up in a baseball family. His recent jokes about sexual harassment probably nixed the possibility he’d join his brother’s team.  

Credit:  Alan Berner, The Seattle Times
The Yankees have cash to spend on the international market ($3.5 million) with the rejection by Shohei Otani but so far, the Yankees have been idle while Billy Eppler and the Los Angeles Angels have been very aggressive. Yesterday, the Angels signed two former Braves prospects including the top-rated shortstop Kevin Maitan and another shortstop, Livan Soto. The Yankees need to bring in more catching prospects but the Phillies grabbed former Braves catching prospect Abrahan Gutierrez.  

Baseball activity seems to be picking up in general. The minor free agent signings are picking up so there should be major movement with the free agent market over the coming days.  The Baseball Winter Meetings start Sunday in Orlando, Florida so next week should be a wild ride. Clint Frazier’s latest tweet (@clintfrazier) was “my cat has been staring at my shower drain for three straight hours and i’m freaking out”. We really need more excitement with the Yankees!  

Today should be a fun day. Welcome (back) to the Bronx, Aaron Boone! Go Yankees!