Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6/20

Last week when the Yankees were in Anaheim, or Orange County, or Los Angeles or wherever the heck they were I came up with this truly awesome and creative team name for the Angels. The problem is the game was played on the West Coast and I truly doubt many people saw it, at least not enough to truly appreciate the creativity and humbleness and sarcasm that I threw into it so I am going to sample my own work and do it again here tonight, you know since the world is awake and all to see it this time. In the opener of this three-game set the New York Yankees will play host to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Disney World of Disney Land (because who can remember which is which, am I right?) of Orange County of not San Francisco of Major League Baseball of Elm Street. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11, MLB network 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 a follow. Enjoy the game and as always… Go Yankees!

July 31st Trade Deadline Countdown: Starting Pitching

Now that we totally didn’t figure out that whole first base situation and very likely only left you with more questions than you had before… let’s tackle the starting pitching problem! The Yankees learned this weekend that CC Sabathia has a Grade II strain of his hamstring while Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda haven’t exactly been great this month leaving the team a little thin in the starting pitching department. Chance Adams, until I hear otherwise, is not deemed to be ready to make the big jump to the Major Leagues so here are a couple options that could stop gap for the team until Sabathia is healthy and until Adams is ready to make the jump. 

When Sonny Gray is healthy he is as dominant as they come, the problem for the Oakland Athletics is that he hasn’t been healthy or dominant in the last two seasons. For those reasons alone the A’s may be inclined to just hold onto their young righty but if the team does decide to sell him at the deadline he may come cheap, or “cheap.” The A’s are in need of a complete rebuild and the team isn’t dumb, they know Sonny Gray jumpstarts that rebuild… hurt in 2016 and struggling in 2017 or not.  The Yankees would have to give up three-or-four prospects for Gray but none of them would be named Clint, Gleyber, Jorge or Justus in my opinion. 

If the asking price for Gray becomes too rich for the Yankees liking they could always go after another young arm that has never seemingly put it together due to injuries. Low risk, and subsequently a low cost, and a high reward comes attached to the talented, but injury prone, right-arm of Michael Wacha and the Yankees may be ready to pounce on that. The Cardinals aren’t likely to reach the postseason in 2017 and Wacha has struggled, although Wacha struggling is still good for a 3.86 career ERA, leaving many to wonder and believe that he could be moved. If Wacha pitched like he did when he was an All-Star the Yankees may easily have one of the best starting rotations in all of the game. If not, what are the Bronx Bombers really out? A couple prospects that are either blocked or that had no real shot at making the Major Leagues anyway. That sounds like a risk worth taking if you ask me. The Cardinals have a ton of pitching talent coming through their farm system and Wacha is merely keeping a spot warm for them anyway, why not move him now for something rather than later for potentially nothing? Small and mid-market teams just don’t do the latter anymore. 

Finally, and before you laugh I am strictly talking as an inexpensive stopgap and not as a savior for the team, the Atlanta Braves have a couple pitchers that could be intriguing. Is it time for a Bartolo Colon reunion in the Bronx? Colon is 44-years old, making $12 million in salary that I would be willing to eat in order to keep all my prospects, and struggling with an ERA pushing 8.00 but one thing he has is experience. Is Colon the ideal choice? As it stand now, hell no. You have to remember though that Colon was an All-Star just last year so I find it hard to believe that Father Time caught up to him that quickly and all at once. I’ve been wrong before. Stay tuned. 

Meet a Prospect: Cody Brown

Every year we hear about these Cinderella type signings by teams in the days following the MLB First Year Players Draft. Players like Cody Brown are not totally unheard of in the league, players that get passed over by 30 MLB teams in all 40 rounds of the MLB Draft, but these players reaching the Major Leagues are more of a rarity. Well Brown has signed a minor league deal with the Yankees after going undrafted and will look to break the mold, defy the odds and reach the show…. so let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Cody Brown Edition.

If the Yankees hadn’t called Brown the former Mississippi State Bulldog was ready to register for final classes and prepare to become a physical therapist, he was that close to seeing his professional baseball dreams shattered in an instant. Instead Brown, who worked under former Yankee Andy Cannizaro, heard his phone buzz shortly after the draft ended. It was his coach informing Cody that he was going to do everything he could to get the ball rolling, and get the ball rolling he did.

Brown, a college senior, spent time at first base, second base, third base and in the outfield for the Bulldogs while posting a .323 average, nine home runs, 42 RBI, a .433 OBP, a .539 SLG% and 10 stolen bases. Brown only got better during the Hattiesburg Regional where he was named the Most Outstanding Player after going 10-for-10 in five games with a pair of home runs and seven RBI.

Brown credits Cannizaro with the lengthening of his baseball career and for turning his amateur career around so let’s how that translates now that he is a professional. Welcome to the organization and welcome to the family Cody. Let me be the first one to say on behalf of all Yankees fans that we are behind you and we are rooting for you. Put in the work, have fun and everything will fall where it is supposed to. Enjoy!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 6/20

The New York Yankees got spanked out on the West Coast last week. There’s no need to equivocate or mince words here. I’m not one to sugar coat things either, the team got spanked and they didn’t like it. The Yankees went 1-6 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Oakland Athletics last week, two teams they should have absolutely destroyed in my bias yet humble and informed opinion, but the good news about baseball is tomorrow is another game and another series in another town. Tonight the Yankees begin a three-game set with those same Angels but this time in the Bronx where the Yankees have been spectacular this season. In the opener the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound to square off with Parker Bridwell for the Angels. Someone wake the offense up, nap time is over.

Pineda was not sharp in his last start allowing five runs on 10 hits in a no-decision against these Angels. Pineda has had a rough month of June and has been especially troubled out on the road this month so hopefully a little home cooking will do the big right-hander some good.

Bridwell will make his second career MLB start tonight in the Bronx in place of Matt Shoemaker. Shoemaker was added to the disabled list with a strain in his right forearm extensor in his last start against the Yankees. Bridwell came into the game in relief tossing 3.2 innings against New York in the start on June 14.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN. Enjoy the game, turn the losing streak around and as always… Go Yankees! 

Wanted: Good News For A Change...

Credit:  MLB.com
A Collective Groan in the Yankees Universe...

On the tail of a six-game losing streak, how can things go from bad to worse?  Losing top prospect Gleyber Torres to Tommy John surgery certainly qualifies.  Thought to have only a hyperextended elbow, consultation with Yankees team physician Christopher Ahmad revealed that Torres has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.  Many were expecting the July call-up of Torres to the Major Leagues as a potential replacement for third baseman Chase Headley.  Now, Torres will undergo surgery, with eyes for Spring Training 2018.  Ouch, this one hurts. Well, him more than me but still, losing both the top pitching and the top hitting prospects to Tommy John surgery in the same year is difficult.  I suppose the news would have been much worse if Torres had injured his throwing arm (longer recuperation and rehabilitation period).  So, we should be grateful that this was not worse than it was.  Good things never happen with headfirst slides.

Like the ascension of Chance Adams to top pitching prospect status, Clint Frazier becomes the de facto top prospect in the organization pending Gleyber's successful return to good health.  As I try to comprehend this depressing news, I didn't really think that Torres was ready for the Big Leagues yet.  I had already viewed his timetable as next Spring.  With immediate projections that he'll be ready for Spring Training, nothing really changes except he'll lose valuable time learning the nuances of third base over the course of the next few months.  Manager Joe Girardi is already on record saying that if there is an infield need at second/short on the MLB roster, Tyler Wade would be the guy.  

Where do we go from here?  With first base surfacing as the greatest need, this probably enhances the chances for Chase Headley to remain as the third base starter (regardless of the consequences) unless the Yankees swing a less expensive deal for a guy like Howie Kendrick of the Philadelphia Phillies.  Without Major League ready third basemen in the Minor Leagues and greater needs at first base and left-handed relief in the bullpen, there's probably not much that can be done to upgrade third base at this point without costing an arm and leg (a few arms and legs, in fact).  Even the guy the Yankees traded to the San Diego Padres for Headley (Yangervis Solarte) would be a better option today in a side-by-side comparison. 

Credit:  Associated Press

The Yankees are competing against the Houston Astros in the pitching market and for third base, they face stiff competition from the Boston Red Sox who appear ready to flush the Pablo Sandoval disaster.  I believe this makes the possibility of Mike Moustakas calling Fenway Park "home" the more likely outcome.  This year's July Trading Deadline figures to be a very expensive one for the many teams looking to upgrade. 

The Yankees elevated 3B Miguel Andujar to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to replace Torres.  He was 1-for-4 last night in the RailRiders' 6-1 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs.  He also scored two runs.  The heroes of the game were Dustin Fowler, who had a two-run home run, and Brady Lail, who pitched 6 2/3 innings, surrendering only the one run and four hits, for the win.  Andujar is probably the best true third baseman right now but he's not close to taking his game to the next level yet.

In case you were sleeping last night...

Despite the day off, the Yankees are back in sole possession of first place in the AL East.  The Boston Red Sox lost to the Kansas City Royals, 4-2, to fall a 1/2 game off the pace.  Having played three more games than the Yankees, the Red Sox are two games behind in the loss column.  The third place Tampa Bay Rays slid to 4 games back, thanks to their loss to the Cincinnati Reds, 7-3.   The Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles sit 5 games back entering play today.  The Jays beat the Texas Rangers, 7-6, while the Orioles were de-feathered by the Cleveland Indians, 12-0.  

Preview of Upcoming Angels-Yankees Series:

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups for the series with the Los Angeles Angels which begins tonight at Yankee Stadium:

Tuesday, June 20th
Angels:  Parker Bridwell (1-0, 2.79 ERA)
Yankees:  Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.71 ERA)

Wednesday, June 21st
Angels:  Ricky Nolasco (2-8, 5.01 ERA)
Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (4-4, 3.78 ERA)

Thursday, June 22nd
Angels:  Jesse Chavez (5-7, 4.85 ERA)
Yankees:  Luis Severino (5-2, 2.99 ERA)

Odds & Ends...

Yankees RHP Matt Marsh, 25, has been suspended for 50 games for a second violation of Baseball's Minor League Drug Policy.  Marsh, a relief pitcher, has appeared in 15 games for High-A Tampa and AA-Trenton.  He is 3-2 with 2.49 ERA, and has held batters to .190 batting average while striking out 28 in 21 2/3 innings.  He did not allow a run in 7 innings pitched for Tampa.  Marsh was signed by the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2014.
Credit:  Josh Lefkowitz-Getty Images
Move over, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.  Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers is now the hottest young home run hitter in baseball.  Bellinger hit two more homers last night against Zack Wheeler and the New York Mets and now has 21 in 51 games.  It is the fifth multi-homer game for Bellinger.  He is just the fourth player 21 years or younger with 20 homers by the All-Star Break (joining Eddie Matthews, Albert Pujols, and Miguel Cabrera).  Do the Dodgers miss injured first baseman Adrian Gonzalez?  I think not...
Credit:  Harry How-Getty Images
Have a great Tuesday!  It's time to put the losing streak in the rearview mirror!

July 31st Trade Deadline Countdown: First Base

EDIT: The Gleyber Torres mention was written before his Tommy John surgery prognosis.

The countdown until the July 31st trading deadline in Major League Baseball has officially begun. Why? Because we said so. In years past, and this year will likely be no different, it seemed like teams were jumping the gun earlier and earlier thus grabbing the best talent before the hot stove even had time to reach its optimal baking temperature. With the news that Greg Bird is, according to Bryan Van Dusen anyway, not ready to fly the Yankees may look at first basemen before the deadline. Or they may not and may opt to stay within the organization to fill the void, we will touch on both possibilities in this blog post this morning.

Brian Cashman himself has said that the Yankees would stick with what they have while they wait on Greg Bird to return, which means more Rob Refsnyder, Matt Holliday and Chris Carter, but who really trusts anything that Brian Cashman says at this point? Remember when Bubba Crosby was the team’s starting center fielder? Johnny Damon does. I did find it interesting though that Cashman did not at least mention or seem to entertain the idea of bringing Tyler Austin back to the Major Leagues to give him a shot. Austin would be a defensive upgrade over any of the three players mentioned above and he can also play the outfield making him versatile and all the more useful in my opinion.

Obviously the Yankees aren’t going to sell the farm for a first baseman so maybe a rental that could easily be designated for assignment would be the best course of action for New York. The team is still sold on Bird, he is just taking longer to heal than expected and honestly the team probably didn’t truly believe they would be in first place right now either. Eric Hosmer is out there but he would be expensive, even as a rental, so it makes you wonder if a Pedro Alvarez, a James Loney or even a Ryan Howard could make sense. I’m not looking for a guy that is going to set the world on fire with a .300 average and 30 home runs in the second half but someone who will take his walks and man the position adequately. The Yankees first base defense is horrendous right now and with players like Chase Headley who already struggle with their throwing arms the team may give away more runs with a Chris Carter at first base than he will ever drive in.

This question is not easily answered in my opinion. It all depends on Bird and how he bounced back from fouling that ball off his knee and whether his bruised ankle is healthy. If it is then the Yankees can survive with Carter, Holliday and Refsnyder. If it isn’t healthy then the Yankees may need to make a move or three like, and here is something to think about as we end the post, moving Chase Headley to first and bringing up Gleyber Torres for third. Again, just a thought. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Chase Headley May Breath A Little Easier, But...

With Gleyber Torres getting Tommy John surgery Chase Headley may be breathing a little bit easier, as it was being said by a number of people that the Yankees were likely to call up their top prospect sooner or later this season to take over third base.

"No, don't cry little buddy. Things can still work out this season."

In terms of fWAR, Headley is ranked 8th among AL third basemen. By the way, two of the guys behind him have hit 11 and 17 home runs to Chase's 4 (Todd Frazier and Ryon Healy), and another guy (Yunel Escobar) is ahead of Chase in batting average and slugging percentage (only .003 points behind in on-base percentage). So it's easy to see why the Yankees would want to at least try an upgrade.

But that doesn't mean that we, as Yanks fans, have to settle for Headley for the rest of the season. Because of the team's depth on the farm, there's another possible upgrade now sitting in Scranton... Miguel Andujar.

I know that I don't have to tell you guys about Andujar, but allow me to point out a few things...

  1. Andujar is almost two years older than Torres.
  2. Torres may have more time in AAA with 23 games, but Andujar played 107 more games at AA.
  3. In 32 games at AA Trenton Gleyber batted .273/.367/.496, while Miguel was batting .312/.342/.494 in 67 games in Trenton this season.
Therefore, as long as Chase Headley keeps being Chase Headley on offense and defense (he's also ranked 10th in UZR/150 among AL third basemen), and Miguel Andujar looks good in AAA, I could see Andujar taking over third base for the Yankees by August.

So it Seems that Matt Sauer WILL Sign

Good morning everyone, I hope your Tuesday is starting out well. According to Matt Sauer himself the Yankees second round pick’s morning should be going well as he has confirmed his intention to sign with the club. Welcome to the club and the family Matt!

Matt, who was committed to the Arizona Wildcats baseball team, will take his $2.5 million signing bonus and begin his professional career. The $2.5 million signing bonus was first reported on Santa Monica News and then reported by us, take that Joel, and is basically double his $1.236 million slot value recommendation passed down by the league.

Now we know why the Yankees took Tommy John victim Clarke Schmidt and a few college seniors with their first ten picks of the draft, they wanted Sauer. The Yankees usually get their man and they did this time once again. Congratulations to the Yankees, to Matt and to his family.

And hey you. I hope you had a great weekend and I hope you have a better day today than you had yesterday. I love you.

This Day in New York Yankees History 6/20: Joe DiMaggio… Again

Okay so if this post looks familiar there is probably a good reason for that…. It was posted yesterday. For some reason I was a day ahead of myself and totally skipped “This Day in Yankees History” for 6/19, you have my apologies. You didn’t miss much, the Yankees signed Darryl Strawberry and some guy named Babe Ruth hit some home runs or something but regardless I do apologize and promise not to let it happen again.

On this day in 1950 Joe DiMaggio had a two hit day and collected his 2,000th hit of his career. DiMaggio had an RBI single in the third inning and had another RBI single in the seventh inning to reach the milestone. The Yankees would beat the Indians 8-2 in DiMaggio's 1,537th game of his career.

On this day in 1921 Babe Ruth vaulted himself into second place on the career list for home runs. Ruth would hit his 127th home run helping the Yankees beat the Red Sox in Fenway Park 7-6 in 10 innings. Ruth would pass Sam Thompson on the All-Time list and would find himself just 11 home runs away from the All-Time record holder Roger Connor.