Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tyler Wade And The Opening Day Shortstop

The final two spots in the starting rotation and shortstop. Those are really the only two questions that remain for the Yankees when it comes to the active roster for Opening Day. And although I'd say the question about the bottom of the rotation is far more important than shortstop, seeing as how Didi may only miss a few weeks of the regular season, I'm going to give a few thoughts on what the team should do at that position.

"I have an idea."

There have been a number of people that want to see Tyler Wade given an opportunity to see what he could do. And I totally understand that. The team is in a position where they should see what they have, not necessarily for this season but more-so for the future. And even though the team has other options at short, you can simply never have too much talent.

I mentioned on Twitter not long ago that Wade should stay in the minors to continue his development. I may be guilty of holding him back, though, as he did play all of the 2016 season in AA, and was also in Trenton for 29 games at the end of 2015. And it's not like he'd be the first player to skip
AAA on his way to becoming a good player in the show.

But while experience at higher levels in the minors is a good thing, that doesn't make up for a batting line of .249/.331/.333 at AA. It certainly doesn't instill a ton of confidence that he can keep hitting at the MLB level like he has in Spring Training.

Now it's true that Tyler has the potential to steal plenty of bases, as evidenced by the 27 he stole for Trenton last year, and the 33 he had between Trenton and Tampa in 2015. But if he's only getting on base 30% of the time, to go along with better catchers in MLB than in minor league baseball, then that potential is quite limited.

It's also true that Wade's defense is top notch. However, it's not like Ronald Torreyes is a bad defender.

And as for Torreyes, he did hit .258/.305/.374 for the Yankees last season, and looking back at Tyler's AA stats there's a decent chance their overall production both on offense and defense would be fairly even.

The final nail in the coffin for me is the 40-man roster, which doesn't have the name "Tyler Wade" on it. Sure, there are ways to clear a spot without losing much or anything at all (for example, Tyler Austin could be moved to the 60-Day DL), but it doesn't make sense to me to drop anybody to take a chance on getting a little more production out of one player for one month.

That final nail is a killer, too.

If Wade could be the team's super utility player, taking Torreyes' spot, then I'd be more inclined to agree with giving him the SS gig while Didi is out. Actually, I'd be screaming for just that in this very article. Unfortunately Tyler has very limited experience at 3B (7.2 innings), while Torreyes played there for 245 innings just last year, making Wade less than idea for that role.

The fact of the matter is Tyler Wade's stock has never been higher.

If you take into account that Wade's future as a Yankee is far from open thanks to Didi Gregorius looking like the team's shortstop for years to come (he's not eligible for free agency until 2020), having one of the best prospects in baseball in Gleyber Torres also at shortstop, and Starlin Castro's ability to slide back into his natural position of SS, it's safe to say that Tyler Wade's future in MLB is not with the Yankees.

Therefore, it makes sense to look at Tyler Wade as trade bait. So the question becomes "how do we make sure he has the most trade value?" Well, there's a better chance that he continues to hit well in AAA, making him more intriguing to other teams than if he played in MLB for a month and hit worse than he did in AA last season... which is a safe bet.

So there it is... let Ronald Torreyes take care of short for a month, or maybe even move Castro over there so that Refsnyder can play 2B for a month (remember that Girardi is likely to only need 4 starters for a while, giving the team the ability to carry an extra hitter on the bench). I'd like to see what Tyler Wade can do, but from a team standpoint it just doesn't make enough sense.

"My choice in fashion doesn't make much sense, either. But trust me on this."

Don’t Worry, Jon Niese Will Be Back

The New York Yankees released former New York Mets relief pitcher Jon Niese over the weekend in a bit of a surprising move…. Or was it a surprising move? According to that guy that has us blocked over at the New York Post because we broke a news story before he did and simply asked for credit the New York Yankees organization feels like Niese is a bit behind after having knee surgery and may pull the old “bait and switch” like they have in years past with their prospects and minor league players. Many times over the years the Yankees have signed players to deals or had these players on their 40 man roster only to release them or designate them for assignment late in the spring. A week later these players are right back on the roster and in the organization on a new minor league deal. It’s a new Meta and the Yankees are doing it again with Niese in my opinion.

The need for Niese on the Yankees roster is obvious as the former Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates product has spent time almost exclusively as a starter in his career although he does have some experience as a relief pitcher as well. Both positions are areas that the Yankees have obvious and glaring needs and the Yankees will undoubtedly want him back but the ultimate decision comes down to Niese. He already stated he was shocked this offseason that he could not find an MLB deal this winter so I wouldn’t be surprised to at least see him weigh his options. Undoubtedly that’s why the Yankees released him now rather than in two weeks as a good faith gesture and to give him a shot at finding a guaranteed deal elsewhere, because you know… evil empire and all.

Good luck Jon even though I have a sneaking suspicion that we will be seeing you again real soon…

Predictions on the Rotation, Right Field, Shortstop & Bench Spring Competitions

Ladies and gentleman, good morning first and foremost, we are now just six days away from Opening Day including today which means the spring training competitions will soon be coming to an end. Who will man right field and who will be on the bench to start the season? Who will fill in for the injured DIdi Gregorius and who will fill out the remainder of the Yankees bench? Who wins the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation and who ends up in the bullpen or the minor leagues? Well unfortunately I don’t know but I have an idea and a set of predictions that I will bring to you this morning for better or worse. We all know, if you’ve been reading for a while anyway, how my predictions usually go though so keep that in mind while reading. Thanks.

The biggest elephant in the room I think is the Yankees starting rotation so let’s start there. Now what I think the Yankees should do and what the Yankees will do are likely two different things unfortunately. What I think the Yankees will do is they will have Luis Severino act as the team’s 4th starter while Bryan Mitchell heads down to the bullpen until the Yankees need a 5th starter around the mid-April timeframe. What I think the Yankees should do though is reward Jordan Montgomery for an amazing spring and a great 2016 season and give the job to him. He has been working as a reliever all spring anyway so the transition to the bullpen to start the season would be a relatively easy one and it would also limit his innings a bit which could help in August and September of this season. The thing is though the Yankees don’t tend to burn minor league options until they have to or unless they have to and as long as a combination of Mitchell, Severino, Chas Green and Luis Cessa are healthy they just don’t have to yet, and they won’t. Even if it is for the betterment of the team.

The future is now but the future also involves the New York Yankees at least fighting it out in the AL Wild Card race this fall, at least that’s the plan anyway, so those who say Aaron Judge has the right field job on lockdown may be in for a surprise here in a few days. Honestly I personally think Judge will be in right field to start the season on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays but this competition is going to go down to the wire for no other reason other than Joe Girardi’s seemingly infatuation with having Hicks in his every day lineup. Hicks is a switch-hitter and he does bring more experience and leadership to the role, a role that Judge seemingly struggled with in his first taste of MLB pitching, but the future is now in the Bronx and Judge is the future in right field, not Hicks. Hicks had a full campaign last season to showcase his abilities and skills and he didn’t by any stretch of the imagination. Judge had a few weeks before going down with an oblique injury and should be given a much longer leash than that in my opinion, and he will I think starting on Opening Day, April 2nd.

The final and one of the biggest decisions the Yankees have to make before they break camp this spring is which one of their many options will be manning the recently vacated shortstop position in the Bronx while Didi Gregorius heals from his right shoulder strain. New York has basically already said that Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade will not win the job, and they shouldn’t based on New York’s 40 man roster crunch and the need for minor league options and such, but who should “win” the job is Robert Refsnyder. What the Yankees can do is have Starlin Castro take the bulk of the responsibility at shortstop with Ronald Torreyes also filling in while either Torreyes or Refsnyder take turns at second base in some sort of revolving door. Obviously some days Torreyes could simply play shortstop while Castro plays second base while the next day Castro plays shortstop and Refsnyder plays second base and so on and so forth. The Yankees have some versatility though with these three and they should use it to their advantage as much as possible.

The idea of having Pete Kozma on the roster only to be designated for assignment in a month has also been floated around but I’m not sure how much I like the idea. It seems like making a move or three (adding him to the 40 man roster only to DFA him in a month and hope he passes through waivers) but it seems like the ultimate Yankees move so I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens. Whatever screws over the development of Refsnyder and gets him back in Triple-A I guess. That’s the way it seems anyway but I digress.

So there are my predictions, what are yours? Leave them below in the comments section. Thanks again!

The Yankees 2017 Everyday Batting Order

Good morning Yankees family! I know we’ve already done one of these posts already this spring but a lot has changed since then leaving me curious if the Yankees batting order would change as well. The last time we did this post I left it at my prediction for what I thought the Yankees manager Joe Girardi would put out there on Opening Day while leaving out my own personal opinion but we don’t do that here anymore. We are trying to put more of ourselves into our work as writers here at The Greedy Pinstripes so I will be posting what I think Joe Girardi’s lineup is going forward as well as my own thoughts on the lineup if I were filling it out on a daily basis. Spoiler alert, Jacoby Ellsbury Sucks is going to become a thing in 2017.

Joe Girardi’s Lineup

Brett Gardner
Jacoby Ellsbury
Matt Holliday
Gary Sanchez
Greg Bird
Starlin Castro
Didi Gregorius
Aaron Judge
Chase Headley

Daniel Burch’s Lineup

Brett Gardner
Starlin Castro
Matt Holliday
Gary Sanchez
Greg Bird
Aaron Judge
Didi Gregiorius
Chase Headley
Jacoby Ellsbury

Agree’s and disagree’s (yes I know neither are grammatically speaking a word but just run with it) in the comments section please. 

Kill the Quintana rumors once and for all…

Just when you think the Jose Quintana rumors are finished, they raise their ugly head once again.  Even Peter Gammons on Saturday was tweeting that a package led by Clint Frazier for Quintana is “intriguing”.  At this point, I’d prefer to let the Atlanta Braves, the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Houston Astros overpay for Quintana.  I have reconciled myself to the fact that the cost is not worth the reward.

Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media floated a package consisting of Frazier, Jorge Mateo, Chance Adams and Dustin Fowler for Quintana.  I wouldn’t do it. 

There will be other Jose Quintana’s on down the road and perhaps a Chris Sale-type or two.  Who really knows?  There are surprises every year.  If all players simply played to their season prediction, it would be a very boring sport.  New diamonds in the rough will appear and it is GM Brian Cashman’s job to uncover the gems.   Life under owner Hal Steinbrenner is to maximize the return while minimizing the cost. 

It is time for the Yankees to see what they have with the young arms.  It is very possible that the Yankees will lose the top two pitchers in their rotation this fall.  Masahiro Tanaka could opt out of his deal and CC Sabathia is at the end of his long contract.  Another inconsistent season by Michael Pineda could signal the end of his time in the Bronx.  So, at this point, Luis Severino, Adam Warren, Chad Green, Bryan Mitchell, and Jordan Montgomery are not only fighting for the last two spots in the rotation, they’re fighting for the future of the entire rotation.  Converting Johnny Barbato to a starter is not the answer.

The day will come when the Yankees have to move a truckload of top prospects for pitching but let’s get closer to the potential arrival of Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado after the 2019 season.     

As much as I would love for Jordan Montgomery to make the Opening Day roster, the realist in me believes that the Yankees will go with Luis Severino and Chad Green for the final two spots in the rotation.  If someone is removed from the 40-man roster to open a spot, I feel that it’s more likely it would be taken by someone such as Pete Kozma to temporarily replace Didi Gregorius.  Kozma can be jettisoned after Didi returns with no loss in value for the organization.  It would be terrific if I am wrong about Montgomery but I do not see the opportunity with the 40-man roster at this point given the stronger immediate need at short. 

Chad Green worked four innings on Sunday for Single-A Tampa in a game against Bradenton.  He gave up four hits and three runs, walking one, in four innings of work.  But he did strike out 8 batters, even if they were A-ballers. 

Manager Joe Girardi has stated his job is “to win now” which also leads me to believe that he fill the open spots with guys who have major league experience. 

This has to be a stressful week for the manager and the players, particularly those on the bubble.  Girardi will be faced with some difficult decisions and conversations.  I certainly do not envy his job. 

The Opening Day dream ended for three Yankee hopefuls yesterday, leaving ten men remaining to await the guillotine in the march to 25.  SS Ruben Tejada will probably exercise an opt-out after being re-assigned to minor league camp.  Also re-assigned to minor league camp were C/1B Wilkin Castillo and infielder Donovan Solano.  

Congrats to Gleyber Torres for receiving the 2017 James P. Dawson Award,  an  award given to the most outstanding rookie in training camp every year.  Veni, vidi, vici…

Interesting stat that this season’s 22-7-1 Spring record is the best since the Yankees went 24-10 in the World Series championship year of 2009.  I am not trying to draw any parallels and certainly do not mean to imply that we’re headed to the World Series.  But it’s been a fun Training Camp.  We have seen exciting performances from younger players like Gleyber Torres, James Kaprielian, Billy McKinney, Dustin Fowler and others.  Greg Bird has removed any doubts about his recovery from shoulder surgery.  Aaron Judge has reduced his strikeouts.  Aaron Hicks is showing signs that he might actually help this year.  Masahiro Tanaka and Aroldis Chapman have proved, again, the aces they are.  And Gary Sanchez is the face of a new era.

I am ready and excited for the new season.  The 2017 Yankees will give us a team to be proud of and one that puts a strong foot forward down the path to the eventual 28th World Championship. 

Have a great Tuesday!

So it Seems This Week is Going to be Crazy Busy

Just a heads up before I go missing for another week and then have to come back and apologize that this week is potentially going to get really, really busy for me. See I am in a transition period at my job where I am slowly being trained to learn a new job (and as you may or may not know I do the vast majority of my writing at work… so if work is busy the writing doesn’t get done unfortunately) but now we can no longer afford the luxury of taking our time with the training. Now the envelope is being pushed and I am essentially being rushed into the learning the new job as the need for me to be there may become a reality here in the near future. I obviously can’t go into detail for obvious reasons.

So if I’m quiet that’s why. I do everything I can to write but sometimes life just doesn’t have that in the cards for me right now. But I am trying, I promise you that. Stay well and I hope you have the most amazing Tuesday ever.

And to that special person in my life… I love you!

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/28: YES Network Pulls the Plug

On this day in 2003, just three days prior to Opening Day, the YES Network claims Cablevision has pulled out of a deal signed 17 days ago that would have provided televised Yankee games to three million cable subscribers in the New York City area. According to the YES Network Cablevision failed to sign a finalized version of the hand-written document that both parties exchanged on March 12.

Also on this day in 1988 the Yankees decided to waive pitcher Phil Niekro just four days shy of his 47th birthday.

Finally on this day in 1986 the Boston Red Sox traded designated hitter Mike Easler to the New York Yankees for designated hitter Don Baylor in a rare trade between the two rivals.