Thursday, May 18, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals 5/18

It’s been a busy day here on the blog and we have been all over the place. Yankees international free agent signings, Yankees plucking pitchers out of the Frontier League, game previews, so it seems and now a game thread between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals. In the contest the Yankees will send rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery to the mound to square off with fellow lefty Danny Duffy for the Royals. The game will be played at 8:15 pm ET inside Kauffman Stadium and can be seen on FOX Sports One and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast.

Follow us on Twitter by giving @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. As always, Go Yankees!

Where in the World in Roy White Day at Yankee Stadium?

Every time the New York Yankees organization holds a “day” at Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter Day being the most recent ceremony in the Bronx of course, there is also a clamoring from the fans for a day for this player or that player from the past. No player is brought up more so than Roy White and he was brought up again on the blog this past week by one of the members of the Greedy Pinstripes family, Rev LGMofield, and I have to say that I 100% absolutely and completely agree with his post. His comment was that if the Yankees can hold a Tino Martinez Day and a Paul O’Neill Day that they should be able to have a Roy White Day and Mr. Mofield couldn’t be more correct in that statement. Here’s just a few of the reasons why Mr. White has been snubbed in my opinion.

Tino Martinez played a whole seven seasons for the Yankees amassing 1,054 games and 4,244 plate appearances for the pinstripes. Tino slashed .276/.347/.484/.831 during that time with 192 home runs and 739 RBI. Tino had a 16.6 WAR while with the New York Yankees but most importantly he replaced a legend and fan favorite in Don Mattingly.

Paul O’Neill meanwhile played a whole nine seasons in the Bronx which included 1,254 games and 5,368 plate appearances. During his tenure as the Yankees right fielder O’Neill slashed .303/.377/.492/.869 with 185 home runs and 858 RBI. O’Neill had an amazing 26.6 WAR during his time with New York and quickly became one of the most beloved Yankees during the dynasty era. Remember him walking off the field in Yankee Stadium during the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks? Just thinking about that crowd chanting his name gives me chills and it’s been 16 years later now.

Roy White on the other hand played his entire 15- season career with the Yankees from 1965 to 1979 appearing in 1,881 games while taking 7,735 chances at the plate for the Yankees. White hit 160 home runs in an era where there wasn’t many hitting 30 home runs a season let alone more, unlike the time that both O’Neill and Martinez played, and drove in 758 RBI while slashing .271/.360/.404/.764. It’s nearly impossible, and a bit redundant in my opinion, to compare eras and the game of baseball 30 seasons later but that stat line looks an awful lot like Tino Martinez’s stat line, doesn’t it? Well until you look at WAR and see that White had a 46.7 WAR in his 15 seasons. One could argue he was more valuable than both O’Neill and Martinez combined, he just didn’t have the help behind him and beside him that the other two did.

Now I get the whole sentiment that both Martinez and O’Neill were part of the “Dynasty Years” that brought the Yankees four World Series championships and such but are the Yankees using Monument Park to honor and commemorate the player or the team? Because if it is the player then White is getting the short end of the stick here by the Yankees. White cannot help the fact that he played with the Yankees during 60’s and 70’s when the Yankees were terrible, that’s on management and ownership and namely George Steinbrenner. When White did make the postseason (1976, 1977 and 1978) he did slash .278/.387/.430/.817 reaching the World Series in all three seasons and winning two of them alongside Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson and others.

Tino Martinez Yankees Stat Line:

NYY NYY 105442445661039192739.276.347.484.831113
Paul O’Neill Yankees Stat Line:

NYY NYY 125453687201426185858.303.377.492.869125
Roy White Yankees Stat Line:

15 Y15 Y188177359641803300160758.271.360.404.764121
162 162 16266683155261465.271.360.404.764121
Now while I understand that this goes far beyond just a simple look at the stats. I know it has a lot to do with what the player did for the team and what the team meant to the game at the time and all that but still, the stats go hand-in-hand with that in my opinion. You have to be a big part of the city and the team on and off the field in my opinion to find yourself in Monument Park, and honestly I wasn’t alive when Roy White was in his prime so I don’t know what kind of character he was in the clubhouse and on the field, but the stats back up the claims.

Now where’s my Roy White Day at the Stadium?

Again, a big shout out to Rev LGMofield for the idea for the article and the great comment. Enjoy the day.

*stats and stat lines courtesy of Baseball Reference

How Far Away Is The Trade Deadline?

"My wallet's in my pocket, why do you ask?"

Recently Hal Steinbrenner has made comments that lead us to believe the Yankees be buyers at the trade deadline, which is not really a surprise. Any team that's in contention for a postseason berth is going to try and improve. But I'm not 100% sure where the team will look to get better.

Sure, Chase Headley is not going to get any All Star votes, at least outside of those Yankees fans that will simply vote for Yankees players. But Headley is not that bad. His OPS+ of 98 this season tells us he's pretty much average at the plate, and he's basically average in the field too. So the team could certainly improve here, but I just don't see it happening.

The team has also gotten below average production from the first base spot. But with Greg Bird healing up I doubt we see anything happen there, either.

The only place I can see the Yankees looking to improve would be in the starting rotation. And when I say that I'm not talking about them looking to acquire a starter that's simply "good". Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, and Jordan Montgomery are "good". At the same time I still believe Masahiro Tanaka will turn things around and be ace-like. CC Sabathia? Meh, he can at least eat innings.

Keep in mind, too, that the Yankees are not going to get under the Luxury Tax threshold this season. Therefore, it's quite possible they acquire a fairly expensive rental at the deadline. But seeing what Cashman and Co. have done lately I believe they will look at this season as well as the future.

The Yankees starting rotation after this season will, yet again, be a big question. Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia will be free agents, while Masahiro Tanaka will likely opt-out of his contract and join the free agent market as well. I suppose Tanaka could be re-signed if the Yankees don't have another top of the rotation starter going into 2018. Pineda may be re-signed if he continues to be as effective as he's been. CC Sabathia? Again... "meh". To be blunt, I wouldn't count on any of those three wearing Yankees pinstripes in '18.

When it comes to free agency the Yankees will have nearly $95 million come off the books after this season (joining the aforementioned three in free agency will be Alex Rodriguez, Matt Holliday, and Tyler Clippard), so the team can actually spend without worrying about going over the Luxury Tax threshold again. But Tanaka and Pineda may actually be the best two starters on the market, seeing as how Jake Arrieta looks lost on the mound anymore and Yu Darvish has battled injuries lately (most notably having Tommy John surgery in 2015).

Even though the starting rotation for the Yankees seems just fine for now, I think they'll look to deal for a starter to pair with 'Hiro at the top of the rotation to make a strong postseason push. Of course that leaves the question of which of the five starters would be removed from the rotation, but that stuff tends to work itself out.

Looking at teams that may very well be selling at the trade deadline, five pitchers stuck out to me. Now, I'll admit ahead of time that some of the names listed are far from surprises or bold predictions, but I believe they are real possibilities so I wanted to put it out there.

1. Jose Quintana - Chicago White Sox
Yeah, yeah, yeah... We've all read and heard all there is to know about Mr. Quintana.

2. Gerrit Cole - Pittsburgh Pirates
Gerrit is just 26 years old and won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season. Even with the elbow issues he faced last season, Gerrit still posted a sub-4.00 ERA thanks to nice strikeout and walk rates. I felt stronger about Cole being dealt before Jameson Taillon was diagnosed with testicular cancer, as Jameson would be the Pirates' new ace. But it's not like Pittsburgh doesn't have other nice pitching prospects like Tyler Glasnow and Mitch Keller.

"Okay, I'll become a Yankee this time, but I'm still not going to cut my hair."

3. Sonny Gray - Oakland Athletics
Gray is a year older than Gerrit Cole, but he too won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season. Between his debut in 2013 and 2015 Sonny's ERA+ was an outstanding 133. Unfortunately his 2016 season was riddled with injuries to his trapezius muscle and forearm, leading to him starting this season on the disabled list as well. But if Gray can get healthy I could easily see him earning "ace" status in MLB.

Plus, Oakland is stacked with young pitching talent in Jharel Cotton, Sean Manaea, Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, and Andrew Triggs. So it's not like they should feel the need to hang onto Sonny Gray.

4. Julio Teheran - Atlanta Braves
We've heard Julio's name come up in trade rumors before, and I'm guessing we'll hear that name come up just as much this time around as well. Teheran is 26 years old, and like Cole and Gray won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season (that's shaping up to be a very nice starting pitcher class).

The fact is Julio is as dependable as they come. He's started 30 or more games in each of the past four seasons, posting solid strikeout and walk rates, while also limiting the long ball.

The Braves may be willing to deal Teheran away, thanks to them having some top of the line pitching prospects coming up. Sean Newcomb is killing it at AAA, while the team also has Koly Allard, Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson, and Max Fried in the pipeline too.

But Atlanta would likely want a dependable starter for 2018, as they are set to lose three of their current starters to free agency (Bartolo Colon, RA Dickey, and Jaime Garcia). That could mean at least including guys like Luis Cessa or Bryan Mitchell in a trade. Then again, those losses wouldn't be a real problem IMO.

5. James Paxton - Seattle Mariners
Paxton is a little older than others on this list, but at 28 he's not what I'd call "over the hill". And even though he's older, James won't be a free agent until after the 2021 season. I'm not sure Seattle would be willing to deal Paxton, but he will be arbitration eligible for the first time next season so they may want to save money. If so, the Yankees should take a hard look here.

James Paxton's strikeout rate of 9.2 per 9 innings in 158.2 innings since last season shows he's very good at missing bats, and he is good at limiting the home run too. Mind you, his ground ball rate has dropped this season, but that seems to be more of an anomaly than a trend.

And the Mariners may be open to trading away Paxton thanks to a handful of good to very good pitching prospects that includes Andrew Moore and Ryan Yarbrough, both of whom are in AAA and could join the big league rotation as early as this year.

Okay, seeing that it's only May 18th it's probably way too early to even be thinking about the trade deadline, but after hearing Hal Steinbrenner I couldn't help myself. I should note, too, that Hal has said he isn't looking to trade away any top prospects. That means Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres should still be in the Yankee farm system come August.

"Yes! I love those guys!"

I'd love to hear about other pitchers, or hell... anybody for that matter, that you think the Yankees could acquire to make a strong run in the postseason. If anything, we can say we mentioned certain players first. And who doesn't like to brag?

Pinstriped Prospects: Yankees Sign Three International Free Agents

Pinstriped Prospects is a great Yankees site if you’re into the Minor League aspect of the game and if you like to follow the Yankees and their prospects like I do. Robert Pimpsner is the owner of the site and I like to consider him a good friend of mine so any time I can plug his site and help him out, and trust me he and that great crew over there don’t need the help by any means because they do an amazing job of it on their own, I do. Robert has done interviews for me on my site during Prospects Month so it’s the very least I can do which brings me to the Yankees and their recent international free agent signings.

According to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, although I found the information on Robert’s Pinstriped Prospects site, the Yankees have signed three IFA’s over the last few weeks. New York has signed right-handed pitchers Wilser Barrios and Daison Manazano along with shortstop Starlin Paulino. Barrios and Manazano were assigned to the Gulf Coast League Yankees after signing while Paulino, although speculated to be joining them, has not been assigned as of the time of this writing.

Barrios is 19-years old and bring a 6’2” and 160 lbs. frame to the GCL Yankees while Manazano, just 18-years old, is 6’0” and 180 lbs. Just based off frames alone Manazano sounds like another Luis Severino to me although again I will say that is just based off him small frame. I know absolutely nothing about his pitching mechanics or repertoire at this time unfortunately.

Paulino is 17-years old and is fresh off being named on the World Showcase Top Prospects List according to Perfect Game. Perfect Game goes on to say that the 6’0” 165 lb. shortstop has a “medium, athletic build with square shoulders and a lean and projectable build with room to fill out with additional strength.” See below for the complete scouting report from Perfect Game:

 “Starlin Paulino is a 2018 SS with a 6-0 165 lb. frame from Santo Domingo, SD who is Home Schooled. Medium, athletic build with square shoulders and a lean and projectable build with room to fill out with additional strength. Primary middle infielder, hands play very well at the ball, sure and clean actions, fields the ball out front, quick hands with a very accurate arm and present strength across the diamond, moves well on feet and quick to the ball. Righthanded hitter, begins with an upright stance a high back elbow in the box. Small leg lift trigger for timing, quick hands with a direct path to the ball, sound swing plane and creates line drive contact to pull side. Short and compact swing with a strong feel for the barrel, comes off well and projects for more with additional strength. Strong all around tool set that project nicely all around. Named to World Showcase Top Prospect List.”

Paulino sure sounds like a good pickup for the Yanks. Stay tuned. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals 5/18

For the final time this series the New York Yankees will make the trip back to Kansas City to take on the Kansas City Royals. In this third game of their three-game set the Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound to square off with a tough left-hander in Danny Duffy for the Royals. Both teams need a win so let’s get a win, shall we Yankees?

Montgomery has never faced the Royals in his short rookie campaign in 2017 and heads into his first start against Kansas City fresh off a tough loss to the Houston Astros. Montgomery limited his walks in the start walking just one batter while striking out seven but it wasn’t enough to hold down the high flying Astros offense. Don’t feel bad though Jordan because nobody is slowing down that offense right now, it’s not just you.

Duffy faced the Baltimore Orioles in his last start and pitched well allowing eight hits and two runs with six strikeouts in seven innings of work. Duffy has always been a strong pitcher and a thorn in the Yankees side although the amount of right-handed power hitters that New York has as opposed to previous seasons is like night and day. Hopefully New York can get to him early and often tonight in Kansas City.

The game will be played at 8:15 pm ET inside Kauffman Stadium and can be seen on Fox Sports One and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Mr. and Mrs. Baseball. Enjoy the game and Go Yankees!

Looking Ahead to 14 Days in July...

Credit:  Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press
Team Prospect-Hugger could get a new look the last two weeks of July.  In an interview, Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner indicated that he’ll look at any deal that crosses his desk during the final two weeks of July.  He’ll read the scouting reports, talk to GM Brian Cashman and the Scouting Department and tap into other resources to determine the best moves for the Yankees organization moving forward.  He said that he’ll divert all of his attention to any one deal that comes across his desk as he has always done in the couple of weeks leading up to the trading deadline.  It doesn’t mean that he’ll approve a deal but he’ll certainly give more than a passing thought to any deal that makes sense.

Steinbrenner sees the value in holding onto the team’s prospects as they have done for the last three or four years, much to the delight of Ken Reed.  

With significant dollars coming off the payroll at the end of the year ($59 million alone with the expiring contracts of CC Sabathia, Matt Holliday, and Alex Rodriguez), Steinbrenner feels the Yankees will be active in the free agent market.  “To what degree, and in what areas remains to be seen”, said Steinbrenner, in talking with reporters.

I am probably somewhere in between Hal and his father, George.  I’d be more inclined to make moves to strengthen weaker areas.  But I’d also be trying to find ways to unload dead weight off the roster.  Spending $46 million for CC Sabathia’s unreliable performances and Alex Rodriguez’s "consulting services" is a bad return on investment in a statement of the obvious.  Why don’t they just increase it to $47 million and toss me the difference? I would certainly have a more company-aligned outlook and they would be no worse for the wear.  I am looking forward to next year when a greater percentage of the payroll goes to active, contributing members of the team’s 25-man roster.  

Even though Steinbrenner may not be open to considering any deals until mid-July, there’s no doubt that Cashman and Company have already begin dialing other teams to open dialogue for potential trades involving targeted players.  If the Yankees do prove that they are for real this year, it should be a very fun and active July.  I am certainly not expecting a Bryce Harper or Manny Machado type trade, but reinforcements to stay the upward course would be very much appreciated.  

I am glad to hear that one of my favorite prospects, pitcher Albert Abreu, will be coming off the DL for High-A Tampa on Friday.  Abreu has been on the DL since May 2nd with elbow inflammation.  Abreu will start in Friday’s game against the Dayton Tortugas in place of Domingo Acevedo, who was promoted to AA-Trenton.  

Last summer, the two best outfield prospects in the Cleveland Indians organization were Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer.  Zimmer received his call to join the Show this week, and looks to be a long-term fixture in Cleveland as an Andrew Miller teammate.  On Wednesday, with his parents in attendance, Zimmer had a run-scoring double and a home run.  Zimmer, two years older than Frazier, looks to be one of the game's superior talents for years to come.  I know it's not Yankees-related but it is great to see good young players flourish in the Major Leagues.  There's no doubt he received a congratulatory text from Frazier.

The Yankees were victorious in baseball action last night with an 11-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals.  With the final game of the series to be played today, the Yankees have already taken the series by winning the first two games of the three-game set.  

Of the three Royals pitchers that we would be facing, I was most concerned about Jason Vargas.  The veteran pitcher had gotten off to a great start at 5-1 with a 1.01 ERA.  But four innings and six runs later, the ERA had more than doubled to 2.03.  Michael Pineda (4-2) was the winner, but he did give up two home runs.  For six innings of work, he gave up six hits, four runs (three earned), and two walks.  He also registered 5 K’s.  I would have liked to have seen better work but with the Yankees racing out to a 10-2 lead by the fifth inning, Pineda was guilty somewhat of letting up on the gas.  

Every Yankee in the starting lineup got a hit in the 16-hit attack.  Aaron Hicks, filling in for Jacoby Ellsbury, hit a three run homer in the fourth inning on a 2-for-4 night.

Credit:  John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS
The Royals scored three runs with two outs in the ninth inning against Yankees reliever Giovanny Gallegos.  With two runners on base and the potential tying run on deck, Dellin Betances came in for one out, a soft grounder back to the pitcher, to end the game, recording his first save of the season with just four pitches. 

The Yankees (24-13) took advantage of a loss by the Baltimore Orioles to move 1 1/2 games up in the AL East.  The O’s lost to the Detroit Tigers in a close game, 5-4.  Former Yankee Justin Wilson, recently named closer for the Tigers, picked up his third save.  It could have been a great night but the Boston Red Sox pulled out a 5-4 win in 13 innings against the St Louis Cardinals.  

Have a great Thursday!  Hopefully the Yankees grab another “W” before racing to Kansas City International Airport for the flight to Tampa later this evening.