Saturday, March 4, 2017

Give up on Aaron Hicks, Sign Angel Pagan

Here’s a quick hit to end your Saturday and something to think about. This is not something that I think the New York Yankees are necessarily thinking about but, all bias side of course, I think it’s something that should at least be considered by the organization. Why? Because Aaron Hicks sucks. Who do you replace him with? A veteran fourth outfielder who could mentor Aaron Judge alongside Matt Holiday. When do you replace him? Preferably now but as soon as possible works too. Just saying.

Before you scoff at the name Angel Pagan let’s take a closer look at what he did last season in an extremely pitcher-friendly ballpark in 2016. Pagan put up a .277/.331/.418 triple slash with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases while playing a very serviceable left field. Pagan was also a very serviceable center fielder as recently as 2015 which leads you to believe he could be again in a much smaller ballpark in the Bronx if needed once or twice a week, tops.

Pagan is 35-years old so he spits in the face of this recent youth movement by the Yankees but anyone who has ever watched a rebuild knows that any and all rebuilds rely heavily on young prospects and players with a veteran player sprinkled in here or there for good measure. Pagan could be that veteran that rides the bench or plays more than he should much like Hicks did last season. Pagan played in 129 games last season so durability is not a concern and neither is production while production has been a constant concern for Hicks.

Pagan would be an incredible insurance policy for Jacoby Ellsbury as well as the current Yankees center fielder is always one pitch away from yet another season-ending injury so keep this guy in your back pocket and/or give him a minor league deal with an invite to spring training camp. You know, before someone else does. 

Finally, Something Yankees Related Today!!!

Yes, what a concept. A Yankees blog talking about something Yankees related. Weird, I know but we finally got there today as we will look at the remaining free agents that are still left out there on the market and see if any of them matchup with the Yankees this season. I will primarily focus on the bullpen and pitching department as a whole because I feel like those are the most wide open positions on the team but if you feel there is a positional player and/or bench piece that needs some extra love and attention then leave that below in the comments section. Thanks.

I was a bit disappointed when I saw that Joe Blanton went to the Washington Nationals. Not that I wanted to give the right a guaranteed $4 million deal but part of me had hoped that the more spring training dragged on the more likely that Blanton was to sign a smaller guaranteed deal or even a non-guaranteed deal. The same thought process is going through my mind with former Kansas City Royals bullpen arm Luke Hochevar. Over the last two seasons, and keep in mind these were his first two seasons removed from Tommy John surgery so he should theoretically get stronger and better the farther away from the surgery that he gets, Hochevar has posted a 3.78 ERA with strong and impressive strikeout and walk rates that should play well inside Yankee Stadium.

I was also a bit disappointed last season when the Yankees did not solidify their starting rotation with a Doug Fister signing so why not right a wrong in 2017 by signing the right-hander. Now before you scroll down to send hate mail in the comments section I am merely suggest Fister on a minor league deal. While Fister’s ERA continues to climb while the MPH on his fastball and sinker continue to fall I still feel like he would make for incredible depth at Triple-A at the very least. I would slide Colby Lewis into this mold as well but for some odd reason I cannot see Lewis pulling a Jon Niese and signing a minor league deal. It doesn’t hurt to ask though, hint hint Brian Cashman.

There’s others out there that are worth waivers including Henderson Alvarez, Jordan Walden, Alfredo Simon and Charlie Furbush but only on minor league deals because there’s no such thing as a bad minor league deal so they say. Well so I say anyway. 

Now Chalk is Even Banned by MLB… Sort Of

People don’t like change. Hell to put it bluntly, people are terrified of change. I am terrified of change but I am learning more and more every day that change is not only necessary but it’s good as well. Change can be good but change just for change’s sake is borderline annoying and that is seemingly what Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred are doing right now in the game. Again, some change is good. The additions to instant replay and the pace of play rules that don’t drastically change the game I think are good but some rules are just downright silly… and here is the perfect example of that.

We’ve already heard of the intentional walk rule that will see batters simply take their base rather than watching the pitcher soft toss four balls outside the zone but a few more rules were announced this week. Baseball now has just two minutes for instant replays and of all things teams cannot use chalk or markers to better position its fielders. Whatever that means. See below for the complete rule list.

Spring Training Around the AL East: The Boston Red Sox and David Price’s Elbow

So if covering the New York Mets and David Wright is fair game on the site this morning then I think covering the Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price and his ailing elbow also should get at least a mention, don’t you? Price, the Red Sox and his elbow have direct implications to the Yankees since they play in the same division while the Mets third baseman simply shares the spotlight in the same busy city as the Bronx Bombers. Again, new rules. More me. Here we go!

Price was scratched from his first start of the spring with elbow soreness and a sore forearm and has consulted with specialists regarding the elbow including, dun dun dun, Dr. James Andrews and Neil ElAttrache. I don’t have to tell you that it’s probably not great news for the Red Sox or for Price, who just got done saying earlier in the week that the 2017 season was going to be his “best yet” for the Boston Red Sox, if he is having his elbow looked at by Tommy John surgery specialist Dr. Andrews.

Price is coming off a season in which he made 35 starts while posting a 17-9 record with a 3.99 ERA in his first season with Boston after signing a mega deal worth $210 million for seven years. Losing Price for any amount of time would be significant for Boston despite them already having the reigning American league Cy Young Award winner in Rick Porcello and Chris Sale who they acquired from the Chicago White Sox for four top prospects including Yoan Moncada. Not that the Red Sox likely wouldn’t still win what is considered to be a weaker American League East this season with or without Price but still, this can only help the Yankees chances.

Let me be clear. I am not wishing an injury on ANY player no matter what uniform they wear. I don’t want Price to be injured, I am just speaking of the implications that would happen if he were to be injured. Remember that before furiously typing out your hate email that, if I’m being honest, I will likely ignore anyway. I am flushing all negativity out of my life or as close to all as I can... so fair warning. Have a great Saturday everyone.

And the winner is...

Yesterday, Bryan Van Dusen wrote a very compelling argument (an excellent post) for why the Yankees should not sign Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper in a couple of years when he hits free agency.  I totally get what he is saying.  The Yankees have a number of young talented players that could break through to provide the Bronx Bombers with its best outfield trio in years.  

It’s easy to envision a World Series caliber team featuring Aaron Judge in right, Jorge Mateo in center, and Clint Frazier in left.  That’s giving no credit for other guys like Dustin Fowler, Mason Williams, or Blake Rutherford who I personally think is going to be a star in Bronx.  

Many columnists are predicting the Yankees will sign Harper, and I saw one yesterday that listed the Yankees and Phillies as the current favorites.  John Giglio of wrote a great piece this morning for why the Yankees should sign Harper.

Bryan cites cost as one reason to avoid Harper.  There’s no question Harper will break the bank.  He is going to make Giancarlo Stanton’s contract look like chump change.  He may be baseball’s first Half-Billion Dollar Man.  

I am not going to cite long reasons for why the Yankees should or should not sign Harper.  Bottomline, I feel that Daniel Burch is right in this argument.  He’s Bryce friggin’ Harper.  At the end of the day, this is about selling tickets.  Harper, with his personality and ability to frequently exploit the left porch at Yankee Stadium, would be a colossal favorite at 161st Street and River Avenue.  He’d bring fans in droves to that location.

Baseball decisions are not always made for logical reasons.  Daniel Burch has thrown the winning punch in this debate.  Now, if only the Steinbrenners are listening…  

The better Greg Bird hits this spring, the more useless the Chris Carter signing appears to be.  A guy who can’t hit for average and is lousy defensively is not going to make a productive part-time bench performer.  All he can do is hit home home runs.  Of course, when I hear that, I can hear former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan saying “All he can do is catch damn touchdowns” when he released NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.  But still, Chris, not Cris, needs at-bats.  With Matt Holliday occupying DH most days and the need to rotate others through the slot, at-bats will be hard for Carter to get unless there’s a slew of injuries.

Every year, I try to give Jacoby Ellsbury the benefit of the doubt and every year he disappoints.  The end of his contract seems so far away.  How many more years before the Yankees just say ‘f**k this’?  Whomever in the Yankees organization that can figure out a way to unload Ellsbury and his behemoth contract would be the team’s true superstar.

The Yankees lost their spring game yesterday against the division rival Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2.  Although Luis Severino gave up the home run to Jose Bautista, I thought he recovered well and gave a positive overall performance.  Catcher Austin Romine blamed himself for Bautista’s homer, calling for a fastball that Sevy didn’t shake off.  I thought it was a meaningful learning situation for Severino and will help him in the long run.  

The Yankees dropped to 7-2 with the loss.  Today, the Yankees face the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Florida, with Big Mike taking the mound for the first time.

Have a great Saturday!

Spring Training Around New York: Could David Wright Retire?

Good morning everyone and Happy Saturday to you all. The New York Yankees aren’t giving me much to talk about in all honesty so this morning I wanted to broaden my horizons a bit and expand at least to another borough of New York and talk about the “other” captain in the city, David Wright. Wright injured his shoulder again this spring a shoulder that has nagged him for a few seasons now, leaving many to wonder if the 34-year old New York Mets third basemen would retire. This caught my attention and I wanted to talk about it… so I will. New rules and such, putting more of “me” into this site. .

Wright’s shoulder was sore after his first throwing session of the spring which is concerning for both Wright and the Mets given his recent injury history with his right throwing shoulder. Talks of moving Wright to first base had even been made public due to the severity of the shoulder injury but he had to prove he could throw before any of those talks came to fruition. One throwing session and two visits to two different doctors later and Wright was once again shut down with a serious shoulder impingement.

Wright claims to be working out at the team’s minor league complex as he tries to keep his body in shape but at some point the team, and Wright, are going to have to make a decision on this thing. Wright played in just two games as a designated hitter for the Mets before a neck surgery ended his season prematurely in 2016 and all signs point to him missing a huge chunk of time again in 2017. At 34-years old you have to start wondering if it’s worth trying to come back or if it’s better to ride off in the sunset while you can still presumably life your arms above your head. The future may be now for Wright and it may be time to walk away. His body is presumably trying to tell him to walk away… but will he listen?

Wright seems to still enjoy and love the game of Major League Baseball so I truly doubt that he will retire, and he is definitely saying all the right things about the whole situation, but like the New York Lottery…. Hey, you never know.

So It Seems.... Raid Me Bro!

That's it. Race is on. Raid me bro! I love you!!!!!

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/4: Yankees Fans, We’re Sorry!

On this day in 2006 The Yankees played an exhibition game at Legends Field in Tampa and had to post a sign outside the stadium apologizing to the fans. The sign apologized because the Yankees were without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, and Bernie Williams due to the World Baseball Classic.

Also on this day in 1913 the New York Yankees became the first team to train outside the Unites States when they started their spring training in Bermuda. The team's island ballpark in Hamilton is a converted cricket field. The Yankees would tune up for the regular season by playing a local New Jersey team, the Skeeters.