Monday, February 20, 2017

Yankees Add Jon Niese on Minor League Deal

The New York Yankees added another arm into the mix this spring when they signed former New York Mets product Jon Niese to a minor league deal Sunday night. Naturally the minor league deal comes with an invitation to spring training as Niese will look to latch on with the Yankees either as a starting pitcher or as a reliever.

We were just saying the other day on the blog that the Yankees needed a left-handed relief pitcher in their bullpen just in case Chasen Shreve were to struggle and it seems like the team got their man. Niese, who told the New York Daily News that he was surprised he could not find a Major League deal this winter, struggled in 2016 with the Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates posting a 5.50 ERA while giving up 25 home runs in 121 innings pitched.

Will Neise make the team and will it be as a starter or a reliever? Who knows… stay tuned.

ICYMI: Top 10 Prospects for 2017

So for the first time in the history of The Greedy Pinstripes we did not hold Prospects Month here on the blog. Well we kind of like to turn every month into prospects month as I could talk about prospects all day and half the night but we didn’t do it up all fancy like we have in the past. Instead of a daily countdown filling out my prospect list I am just going to give it to you straight, right here and right now, before the beginning of the 2017 regular season.

10. Albert Abreu
9. Dustin Fowler
8. Chance Adams
7. Aaron Judge
6. Justus Sheffield
5. Jorge Mateo
4. James Kaprielian
3. Blake Rutherford
2. Clint Frazier
1. Gleyber Torres

And there it is. That’s my list. What’s yours? Leave it below in the comments section. Let’s get this discussion going on here again.

Most Popular Article of the Week: The Return!!!

Predicting and Projecting the Yankees 2017 Opening Day Lineup

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays will kick off the 2017 Major League season with a game inside Tropicana Field on Sunday, April 2nd. While the Opening Day starters have yet to be announced and while a lot can go down between then and now I wanted to take a stab at predicting the Yankees Opening Day lineup anyway. Keep in mind this may not necessarily be my lineup but this is the lineup that I believe manager Joe Girardi will throw out there here in a couple months. So keep that in mind when directing the hate mail, friends. Thanks.

LF. Brett Gardner
CF. Jacoby Ellsbury
DH. Matt Holliday
C. Gary Sanchez
1B. Chris Carter
SS. Didi Gregorius
2B. Starlin Castro
3B. Chase Headley
RF. Aaron Judge

Meet a Prospect: Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees are going through top prospects in their system like most people go through underwear, they have a new one every day or every other day it seems. I joke about people changing their underwear every other day, at least I hope that I am, but not about the Yankees top prospects in their system. For the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons it was Jorge Mateo who occupied the top spot until Aroldis Chapman was sent to the Chicago Cubs and Gleyber Torres was brought in to dethrone the Yankees shortstop. Now like many transitions and power struggles there is a new king already after the Andrew Miller trade and his name is Clint Frazier. Don’t let the red hair fool you, Frazier is the real deal. Let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Clint Frazier Edition.

Clint Frazier was born on September 6, 1994 in the Atlanta, Georgia area where he attended high school at Loganville High School in Loganville, George. Frazier was a top prospect entering the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft and caught the attention of the Cleveland Indians who took the outfielder with the fifth pick overall that season. Frazier had committed to the University of Georgia but the Indians offer was too good to pass up thus beginning his professional career.

Frazier is a former third baseman and pitcher which shows you that he has a strong throwing arm but it is center field where he is making his mark at these days and he played at that position for most of his Cleveland Indians tenure. While in the Indians system Frazier cemented himself as a powerful prospect that has 30 home run potential in his future while stealing an absolute ton of bases as a potential five-tool player. Frazier is an aggressive hitter but he has worked on that in recent years and has seen his strikeout numbers go down while his contact and walk numbers go up which is always encouraging for a prospect. It shows maturity at the plate which Frazier definitely has.

ETA for Frazier to the Major Leagues: 2017

Frazier was recently part of the 2016 XM All-Star Futures Game where he went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a stolen base for Team USA while also earning a promotion to Triple-A with the Columbus Clippers. Frazier went on to join the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders where he struggled a bit. Not to worry though, 99% of the time talent wins over all and Frazier is one hell of talented player. We may finally get to see how talented he is this upcoming season.

Rummaging through the Bargain Bin...

So, the Yankees are finally bringing a veteran pitcher into camp to compete with the kids…  

Yesterday, reports circulated that the Yankees have signed former Mets starter Jon Niese pending a physical.  I had long anticipated a move as I didn’t really expect the Yankees to hold the audition for two open spots in the rotation with only guys barely old enough to legally drink.  

Back in the days of George Steinbrenner, the veteran pitcher would have been a big name, someone who had reached the height of his glory and was now being over-compensated as performance was on a rapid downward slide.  Under Hal Steinbrenner, Niese represents a low-cost, under the radar signing.  I do not really expect Niese to win a spot in the rotation but he certainly brings healthy competition to the mix.  Still only 30 years old, Niese has seen major league success.  His presence should have a positive impact on guys like Luis Severino, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, and Bryan Mitchell.  

I am not sure how Niese fits with the 2017 Yankees.  With a number of left-handers in camp, I expect Tommy Layne and Chasen Shreve are the favorites for LOOGY.  Perhaps Niese slots in long relief if he fails to win a spot in the rotation.  My early prediction is that he’ll be a camp casualty when the team pares down its roster for Opening Day unless Bryan Mitchell or Adam Warren fail miserably this spring.

Niese was traded from the New York Mets to the Pittsburgh Pirates in late 2015 for second baseman Neil Walker when the Mets surprisingly let Daniel Murphy walk.  Niese ended up back with the Mets on August 1st, but 2016 was a miserable year for him.  He finished 8-7 with a 5.50 ERA.  For the Mets, it was a disaster as he finished with a 11.45 ERA and 0-1 record in 6 games.  He hasn’t been good for a few years, and his best year was 2012 when he was 13-9, 3.40 ERA in 190 innings.  

The Mets moved on when they opted against exercising Niese’s $10 million option in the off-season, and instead paid $500K to buyout the contract.

Niese’s departure from the Mets the year before was rather comical.  He was critical of the Met’s defensive play after his trade to the Pirates.  When he returned, he had to scramble to explain his words and was met (no pun intended) with boos when he made his first appearance at Citi Field in relief of Jacob DeGrom against, ironically, the Yankees.  While the Mets won the game, Niese did ruin DeGrom’s shutout by allowing a homer to Didi Gregorius.  

At this point, I’d prefer to take the inexperience of the younger arms over Niese.  He is not going to suddenly become the next Jake Arrieta at this point in his career.  He is what he is, and that’s not a good pitcher.


Rob Refsnyder the Third Baseman?

Hey guys, remember like just last year when I said that the New York Yankees should try Robert Refsnyder out at third base? Well this was originally stated before the Yankees acquired Starlin Castro and before Chase Headley had yet another down season at third base in 2016. So here I am once again putting the most obvious of situations down on paper because apparently the New York Yankees organization cannot see it themselves. So here it is, as slow as I can type it, one last time for you. The Yankees need a third baseman of the future and a third baseman for the now and that third baseman should be Robert Refsnyder.

Some will say that the Yankees aren’t high on Refsnyder or that they don’t trust his defense but those same people are ignoring the fact that the team called him up not once, but twice during the 2015 season while keeping him in the show for much of the 2016 season. The second call-up also resulted in him starting at second base in the AL Wild Card Playoff Round against the Houston Astros, an eventual 3-0 loss to Dallas Keuchel. The bat looked like it could stick, albeit in a short sample size, as he batted .355 in September and .302 overall in both call-ups while his defense looked to be adequate. Refsnyder got to the balls he was supposed to and he made the plays he was supposed to, anyone who doesn’t think that’s sufficient at 25-years old and with just two years of experience at second base professionally should just turn in their Derek Jeter jersey’s now.

The possibility of Refsnyder learning and playing the third base position is still up in the air. Brian Cashman seems adamant that the team will keep him at second base only while Refsnyder is said to be open to the idea. Then again Refsnyder is “up for anything” as long as it means he is sticking with the MLB squad. We already know that Starlin will be playing some third base this spring but keep your eyes out for Refsnyder, if he starts playing third base some then you know the plan is in motion. The plan I originally set forward and the plan Joel Sherman will once again get all the credit for. And that’s okay.

So it Seems the Grass isn't Always Greener...

So we meet again members of my extended family. Not the family I was born into but the family that I choose. Feel special, because you are. So we meet again on just another manic Monday but hopefully where it lacks in some departments it makes up for it in another. While waking up early in the morning sucks it's the good mornings that make it all worth it. While we have to wake up and go to work we'll always have lunch breaks and down time that get us through the day or simply keep us going. And there's always 4:30.

So while we have another manic Monday on our hands there's always a way to turn a negative into a positive, you just have to look for it. As the Yankees prepare to take the field again this morning for spring training workouts I leave you with this last word of knowledge and positive thinking, the grass is not always greener on the other side but it's always green where you water it.

Have a great Monday everyone.

This Day in New York Yankees History 2/20: Just Another Manic Monday

There is surprisingly no notable news that has happened on this day in Yankees history. Not much to talk about here. Pitchers and catchers have reported and they've even had their first workouts together. Today is just another day unfortunately. Maybe caption this picture for fun?