Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Quick Hit: Yankees Add Another Outfielder to Spring Camps

The New York Yankees have added another prospect into the fold for spring training camps and his name is Billy McKinney. If the name Billy McKinney seems familiar it is because McKinney was one of the four players that the Yankees acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade from last summer. McKinney, now 22-years old, will join the Yankees spring camps after spending time at Double-A Trenton with the Trenton Thunder after the trade.

McKinney is with the team because Jacoby Ellsbury is on leave while his wife gives birth to their child, because Mason Williams is currently shut down with left patellar tendinitis and because Tyler Austin will miss most or all of the spring training camp this season after fracturing the navicular bone in his left foot.

 McKinney hit .234 with three home runs and 13 RBI in 35 games with the Thunder last year and will likely begin the 2017 season back in Trenton assuming he does not make the team out of spring training, which he will not.

The Randy Levine Rant You All Knew Was Coming

If you’ve ever read one of my articles you would very likely know that I do not care for Randy Levine in any way, shape or form. I am not one to mince words, sugar coat my feelings or equivocate. I absolutely cannot stand that curly headed, arrogant, ignorant and moronic waste of freaking human flesh and the day he disappears and rides off into the sunset is the day the New York Yankees can return to the greatness that they once held in such high esteem. Yeah I don’t like the guy and I especially don’t like the guy after the entire Dellin Betances and New York going through arbitration thing. You knew this rant was coming and I intentionally waited to cool down for a few days before I did, mainly to keep the site at “PG-13” as I can, but I can’t keep it bottled up inside me any longer. Randy Levine better be hiding under his desk because I’m coming for him.

First, the quote. Levine stated that Dellin Betances, one of the best relievers in all of Major League Baseball and the man who turned down less money to give the Yankees some financial wiggle room just last season, and his request for $5 million through arbitration were “over-the top” and”based on very little sense of reality.” Betances then told reporters that he was taken into a room and “trashed for an hour and a half” by Levine and company for asking for “closer money” when he is just a set-up man.

If Dellin decides to walk after his current contract is up, and who the hell could blame him at this point, I am going to absolutely riot outside of Yankee Stadium and I won’t stop until Levine is relieved of his duties, effective immediately. Levine is a joke of a person and he’s even more of a joke of a President of Baseball Operations.

Quit, Randy. Quit talking, quit showing up to work every day and ruining what used to be the most honorable, recognizable and prestigious franchise in not only Major League Baseball but the world and just quit life if you can’t do any better than what you’re doing. We’re sick of it, I’m effing sick of it and I’m sick of you. Quit, but first… apologize. 

The Early Days of Spring...

After a day to think about it, I am warming up to the signing of former New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league deal.  With a base of only $1.25 million and incentives that could boost the overall compensation to $2 million, Niese represents a low risk signing and is a hedge if any of the young arms falter. 

Credit:  Jeff Roberson, AP

Per Manager Joe Girardi, Niese will compete for a bullpen spot but if healthy, he is also insurance for the rotation.  I ripped Niese yesterday, but admittedly, I am never too excited when a former Met shows up in Yankees gear (Darryl Strawberry excluded). 

Niese tried to play through an injury last year and finally succumbed to arthroscopic surgery (for a torn meniscus) in August.  Whether or not the injury was a factor in giving up 25 home runs last year remains to be seen.  He did give up 20 homers the year before.  Nevertheless, he has a history of being a dependable back-end starter.  If he can return to what he was, he’ll have value on this Yankees team.

The contract contains several opt out clauses.  If the team does not offer a $100,000 retention bonus by the end of spring training, he can opt out.  If the retention bonus is offered and accepted, Niese will have another opt-out in mid-May.

It was fun watching video of the new first base crew (Greg Bird and Chris Carter) smashing monster home runs at training camp yesterday even if the pitches were soft tosses down the middle of the plate. 

It was good to see that the Yankees added outfielder Billy McKinney (acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade) as a non-roster invitee to training camp.  Only 22, he’s already been traded for Chapman and veteran major league pitcher Jeff Samardzija in separate deals.  McKinney has hit in all levels of the minor leagues and could eventually, at worst, platoon in left field.  I had been surprised he was left off the original non-roster invitees list. 

Now that training camp is fully underway, I am looking forward to the first exhibition game which will be Friday at Steinbrenner Field against the Philadelphia Phillies.  Let’s get this 2017 season going, even if it is only fake box scores for now…

The Curious Case of the Yankees Outfield

The New York Yankees enter the 2017 season with a bit of a conundrum on their hands regarding their team, their focus and their overall goals for this upcoming season. Does the team want to compete in 2017 and if so will they be willing to trade off pieces that they have seemingly been unwilling to part with in the past before the trading deadline to make sure the team competes? Will the team, despite what the standings say, continue the youth movement and move pieces at the trading deadline? Do the Yankees even know what they are going to do or want to do? I’m leaning more towards the latter than the former and nothing gives me that feeling more than the current state of the New York Yankees outfield.

The Yankees outfield, on paper anyway as we are just beginning spring training this season, consists of Brett Gardner in left field, Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, Aaron Judge in right field and Aaron Hicks playing the fourth outfielder. Now excuse me if I’m confused but the team, as I said earlier, is in the middle of a rebuild and the team still currently employs overpaid and underperforming veterans like Ellsbury. I get holding onto Gardner, if it weren’t so soon after the retirement of Derek Jeter I would be beating the drum for Gardner to be the captain of the team right now if we’re being honest, but we didn’t even hear an inkling of news regarding Ellsbury this winter. Why? We see players with no-trade clauses who have underperformed and failed to live up to their outrageous contracts traded all the time, why don’t the Yankees ever do this?

Why don’t the Yankees ever eat half the salary and move their overpaid and underperforming players for mediocre and high upside prospects like the rest of the damn league does? Usually to us might I add, although not recently thank goodness. If the team is going to rebuild they need to rebuild, that includes trading Ellsbury to anyone who will take him and the bulk of his salary. If the team is going to compete in 2017 they need to trade Ellsbury to anyone who will take him and the bulk of his salary. Ellsbury does not make the team better, he doesn’t make the team younger and he doesn’t make the team more financially flexible going forward. He’s weighing the team down and he’s the next big contract that the Yankees will simply wait out rather than deal away, lick their wounds and move on.

Rebuild…. Compete…. Neither of them are being done right now with the current state and the curious case of the New York Yankees outfield. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, and in the case of Jacoby Ellsbury you wouldn’t even want to eat this cake if you could. It’s a bit… stale. 

So it Seems the Winds of Change Have Arrived

So it seems like the winds of change have arrived and they are blowing their winds like there is no tomorrow. I know that the only constant in this world is change and I know that change can be good but sometimes I am reluctant to the fact. Sometimes you get your “normal” and you get comfortable, even if it’s an incredibly unhealthy normal and comfort that you’re dealing with, and you just don’t like to get out of that routine. You stay in this rut for a long, long time until someone or something pulls you out of it, slaps you across the face and says “wake up!”

It’s a lot like the Major League Baseball offseason. The season ends and the playoffs begin, which is fun until the World Series concludes. Well not long after the World Series ends you get out of playoff baseball mode and you switch into offseason mode. Qualifying offers, free agent contracts and trade rumors swirl around and you have a new normal until all the major free agents are off the board and most everyone has their teams set. Then you get a new normal, the normal that has you scouring the internet for any source of news or information before you realize that there simply isn’t any to be had. You downshift, your new normal. But as we inch closer to the season it’s time for a new normal. Players are in spring training camps, the World Baseball Classic is just around the corner and so is the 2017 regular season.

As I sit here this morning on this Tuesday morning reflecting on my life and where I’ve been over the past two-to-three months I finally see that change is good. Change brings change and change is for the better sometimes, sometimes you just need someone to walk up and rock your world to make you see it.

Change, it is coming. Have a great Tuesday everyone. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 2/21: So About This Weather

Unfortunately this is the second day in a row without any notable major league history or specifically Yankees-related history to report. Maybe this day in Yankees history 2017 will be better? If so, something needs to happen today. Anyway, about this weather. I know I live in the south and Georgia weather is specifically and especially crazy, but I don't know whats going on right now.

Make up your mind before everyone gets pneumonia. Please.