Thursday, July 20, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Seattle Mariners 7/20

If a game is played in the middle of the night for us East Coast people and no one is awake to see it because it’s a weekday…. Did the game really happen? Well we are about to find out as the New York Yankees are in Seattle about to kick off a four-game series with the Seattle Mariners inside Safeco Field. In the opener of the four-game extended weekend set the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound to square off with Felix Hernandez for the Mariners. The game will be played at 10:10 pm ET inside Safeco Field and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

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

Meet a Prospect Again: David Robertson

The New York Yankees got ahead of the curve this week acquiring three players from the Chicago White Sox including third baseman Todd Frazier and relievers Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson. We’ve already met Frazier today here on the blog and we have already been re-introduced to former Yankees prospect Kahnle let’s get reacquainted with another former Yankee. This is Meet a Prospect, Again: The David Robertson Special Edition.

David Alan Robertson was born on April 9, 1985 in Birmingham, Alabama where he spent his first three years at Central Tuscaloosa High School. While at the school Robertson played shortstop for the Falcons and was a pitcher as well leading his team to back-to-back area titles and back-to-back 6A State Playoffs as well. After Robertson’s junior season his school was split into three smaller high schools dropping Robertson to 5A ball with Paul W. Bryant High School. In his first season there and the first season of the school’s baseball team’s existence Robertson led the Stampede to an area title and to the Class 5A State Playoffs. Robertson’s winning attitude caught the attention of the University of Alabama who gave him a scholarship to play baseball for the Crimson Tide.

As a freshman Robertson was named Freshman All-SEC and Freshman All-American by Baseball America while also leading the SEC in batting average against as he held opposing hitters to just a .183 average. As a sophomore Robertson was even better leading the Crimson Tide to their 25th SEC Championship while appearing in 29 games and compiling a 4-4 record with a 3.02 ERA and a SEC-leading 10 saves. Robertson was 21-years old at the time of the draft leaving the right-hander eligible for the Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft a year earlier than most and the New York Yankees came calling in the 17th round.

Robertson was drafted by the Yankees and ultimately signed with the organization in 2006 beginning his professional career. Robertson was absolutely dominant for the Yankees in their minor league system including three different stops in 2007 and two more stops in 2008 before reaching the Major Leagues on June 28, 2008. Robertson’s MLB career did not start off as well as his minor league career leaving the right-hander optioned back to Triple-A after starting his career off with a 6.31 ERA but he was back in September as a part of September call ups where Robertson settled down and gained some much needed confidence at the MLB level.

Robertson started the 2009 season in the minor leagues but was called up multiple times for injuries and the right-hander made the most of his time here. Robertson pitched so well that the Yankees couldn’t send him down and the right-hander was a huge part of the Yankees success in 2009 and into the playoffs and their eventual World Series win. Robertson earned the title “Houdini” in those 2009 playoffs after entering two high-pressure situations with multiple runners on base in the ALDS and ALCS escaping both instances without earning a run. Robertson had a World Series ring and was officially a staple in the Yankees bullpen.

Robertson pitched well in 2010 and despite the Yankees best efforts to load down the bullpen in 2011 Robertson was one of the few arms left standing after injuries decimated Joba Chamberlain, Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano. Robertson was thrusted into the setup role for Mariano Rivers and ended up earning a spot on the 2011 American League All-Star roster replacing David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays. Robertson finished the season with 100 strikeouts becoming the first Yankee since Mariano Rivera in 1996 to finish the season with 100 or more strikeouts. Robertson finished his breakout 2011 season with a league leading 1.08 ERA and 34 holds earning him one point in the AL Cy Young Award and AL Most Valuable Player Award voting.

The Yankees gave Robertson a one-year deal worth $1.6 million for the 2012 season and Robertson was worth every penny of it for New York. Mariano Rivera went down with season-ending surgery in May of 2012 and Robertson was told he would share closing duties with Rafael Soriano. As we all know Soriano untucked his way to the closers role while Robertson settled in once again as the Yankees setup man having another successful season finishing with a 2.67 ERA. Robertson had one more season as the Yankees setup man in 2013 before Mariano Rivera retired at seasons end making Robertson the Yankees closer in 2014. Robertson saved 39 of 44 save attempts in 2014 with one of those blown saves coming on Derek Jeter’s final game inside Yankee Stadium giving the Yankees Captain an opportunity to finish his Yankees tenure the only way he knew how, dramatically, before hitting free agency after the season for the first time in his career.

New York offered Robertson a qualifying offer worth $15.3 million on a one-year deal but Robertson declined and ultimately signed a four-year deal with the Chicago White Sox worth $46 million. As a member of the White Sox the former Yankees closer saved 34 games in his first season for Chicago followed by 37 saves in 2016. The problem for Robertson and the White Sox is that much of the team struggled and it seemed like a rebuild was in order which leads us to the 2017 campaign. Robertson was almost traded to the Washington Nationals before the 2017 season but the deal fell through due to disagreements regarding finances leading him to start the season as the White Sox closer. The White Sox fell further and further out of contention leading the team to trade Robertson along with Frazier and Kahnle back to the Yankees for Tyler Clippard and a prospect package.

At the time of the trade Robertson was sporting a 4-2 record with a 2.70 ERA and 13 saves in 33.1 innings pitched. If you don’t remember Robertson’s pitching style the right-hander has an overhand delivery that allows his four-seam fastball to reach 92-93 MPH comfortably and 95-96 MPH when he really reaches back for some heat. Robertson also sports a curveball which he throws as a secondary pitch and an occasional circle changeup that he throws mainly to left-handed hitters.

Robertson and his wife, Erin, started the charitable foundation called “High Socks for Hope” back when he was with the Yankees with the hopes of helping the victim’s in Tuscaloosa, Alabama deal with the tornado strikes in 2011. Robertson agreed to donate $100 for every strikeout he recorded during that season and for his work was named the 2011 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. Now Robertson, his beautiful wife Erin and their two children Luke Joseph and Violet Grace are back in the Bronx and back in Yankees pinstripes and we couldn’t be any happier.

Welcome back to the team David and more importantly welcome back to the family!!!! We missed you. 

Meet a Prospect: Tommy Kahnle

The New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox pulled off a blockbuster of a trade on Tuesday night that brought three players from Chicago to New York and left four players turning in their Yankees pinstripes for White Sox uniforms. That much we know but how much does the average fan know about the former Yankees farmhand that was lost to the Colorado Rockies via the Rule 5 Draft that the team acquired in Tommy Kahnle? Now much? Well you’re in luck because this is Meet a Prospect: The Tommy Kahnle Special Edition!

Thomas Robert Kahnle was born on August 7, 1989 and has spent time in the Major Leagues with both the Colorado Rockies and the Chicago White Sox. First things first though and the first thing is High School baseball. Kahnle spent his high school years attending and playing baseball at Shaker High School in Latham, New York before heading to Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. It was in Boca Raton that Kahnle caught the attention of the New York Yankees who drafted the right-hander in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB First Year Players Draft.

Kahnle was assigned immediately to the Staten Island Yankees in the New York/Penn League where he made 11 appearances pitching to a 0.56 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched. That was enough to earn Kahnle a call up to the Charleston Riverdogs in Low-A Ball for the 2011 before progressing to the High-A Tampa Yankees and the Trenton Thunder in 2012. Kahnle was developing fast, pitching fast and progressing through the Yankees system faster than many probably imagined.

Kahnle was invited to Yankees spring training camp in 2013 but ultimately did not make the team out of spring training camp. Instead Kahnle earned an Eastern League All-Star bid finishing the season with a 2.85 ERA with 74 strikeouts in just 60 innings. The Yankees left Kahnle available and unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft that season and the Colorado Rockies chose him in the draft. Kahnle was placed in the Rockies bullpen for the 2014 season and the right-hander made his MLB debut on April 3. Kahnle spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons in Colorado before being designated for assignment following the 2015 season and before ultimately being traded to the Chicago White Sox for Yency Almonte.

Kahnle was then traded to the Yankees this week where his professional career all began. Some are left scratching their heads as to why the Yankees would want Kahnle back but others see his amazing strikeout numbers and number of years of team control and see a guy to build a bullpen around. I am definitely the latter and not the former so let me be the first to welcome you back not only to the organization but back to the family as well. Welcome back Tommy! Stay a while this time. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Seattle Mariners 7/20

I have said this many times before, truth be told I have probably said it every single time the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners square off but only because it’s true, but it doesn’t matter if these two teams match up for a one-game series or a four-game series there will always be a Felix Hernandez sighting for the Mariners. I’ve seen it, I believe it was a couple seasons back where the Yankees and Mariners made up a rained out game and had a short one-game series and Hernandez started the game for Seattle. It is ridiculous that the Yankees can never miss this guy, and that is only because he is such a Yankee-killer. In the start tonight the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound looking to match zeros with Hernandez. Should be a fun one, enjoy.

Severino will draw a tough opponent tonight with Hernandez going for the Mariners meaning that the All-Star will have to be at the top of his game tonight. Severino has struggled against some of these Mariners, albeit in an extremely small sample size, including against Robinson Cano who owns a .667 batting average against him in just three at-bats. Like I said, extremely small sample size.

Hernandez has made five starts since coming off the disabled list and has posted a 3-1 record with a 3.72 ERA including wins in his previous two starts. Hernandez missed two months with shoulder bursitis but has come off the DL just in time to pick on an old foe and be a thorn in the side of the Yankees. Hernandez has made 20 career starts against the Yankees and has a 10-6 record and a 3.13 ERA to show for it.

The game will be played at 10:10 pm ET inside Safeco Field in Seattle and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network 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. Enjoy the game and Go Yankees!!!

Monty & The Awful 2nd Inning...

Credit:  Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Twins 6, Yankees 1...

The new guys did not help as the Yankees got clobbered in losing the series to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.  I liked the tweet by Mike Axisa of CBS Sports-MLB:  "Frazier, Robertson and Kahnle for a starting pitcher".  Funny but also a bit truthful.  I realize that Jordan Montgomery bounced back after the disastrous 2nd inning to give the Yankees an otherwise strong six innings but those 6 runs in the 2nd proved to be insurmountable.  In the game of win or lose, Monty (6-5) sucked.  

The toughest part about the 6-run 2nd was that all of the runs were scored with two outs.  With runners at second and third, Zack Granite, a native New Yorker who was 2-for-22 in his MLB career to that point, singled up the middle to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  The dangerous Brian Dozier walked on a 3-2 count, pushing Granite to second.  A Larry Rothschild visit to the mound later, Eduardo Escobar hit a single to center field which scored Granite and moved Dozier to second.  Miguel Sano stepped up and decided to play a game of Home Run Derby with a blast to center off an 0-2 rolling curveball from Jordan Montgomery.  It was 6-0 Twins before the new guys, who had just shown up due to a flight delay, could shake hands with all of their new Yankees teammates.

Credit:  Bruce Kluckhohn/AP
The Yankees had their biggest chance to get back into the game in the 7th inning.  With Twins starter Jose Berrios still on the mound, Clint Frazier started the inning with a single to center.  Garrett Cooper hit a liner to left for the first out.  He was followed by Austin Romine who was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch.  Clint Frazier to second.  Todd Frazier then entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Ronald Torreyes but went down swinging for the second out.  Gardner singled to left center to score Clint Frazier and advanced to second on an error by the left fielder, Robbie Grossman (who mishandled the ball before firing it to third).  Romine moved to third.  The Twins pulled Berrios and brought in reliever Taylor Duffey to face Jacoby Ellsbury.  A single by Ellsbury could have brought the Yankees within striking distance but he struck out with the bat resting on his shoulder with a fastball down the middle to end the inning.  It was the second time the Yankees left the bases full with no runs as Ronald Torreyes had grounded out with bases full of Yanks in the top of the 2nd before the onslaught of runs by the Twins.  

Tommy Kahnle made his Yankees debut in the 8th in relief of Chad Green.  He gave a preview of coming attractions by retiring the three batters he faced including two by strikeout. His pitches were hitting up to 100 mph.  I liked Kahnle's quote after the game, "I always dreamed once they (the Yankees) drafted me I would pitch for them in the big leagues.  That day has come".  As a fan of Kahnle's who was very disappointed when he was lost in the Rule 5 Draft to the Colorado Rockies and has remained keenly aware of the pitcher, I share his sentiments.  Despite the loss, it was very good to see Kahnle in a Yankees uniform.  

Credit:  Associated Press
Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch on the right hand in the 9th but he is expected to be fine for today's game in Seattle.

Credit:  Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
The Yankees (48-45) need to forget this series and start with a clean slate today against the Mariners.  The time is now to make a move after weeks of sliding backwards. The Yankees lost ground to the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.  The Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays,  5-1, so the Yankees are now 4 1/2 games behind the leaders.  They remain 1 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays who lost to the Oakland A's, 7-2.  

Next Up:  Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle, WA...

The Yankees get a chance to catch up with Robinson Cano and Ben Gamel for four games in the Pacific Northwest.  

Here are the scheduled pitching matchups:

Yankees:  Luis Severino (5-4, 3.40 ERA)
Mariners:  Felix Hernandez (5-3, 4.20 ERA)

Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (7-9, 5.33 ERA)
Mariners:  Andrew Moore (1-1, 5.25 ERA)

Yankees:  CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.54 ERA)
Mariners:  Ariel Miranda (7-4, 4.35 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Cessa (0-3, 4.61 ERA)
Mariners:  Sam Gaviglio (3-5, 4.62 ERA)

I feel fairly confident about Thursday, even with King Felix on the mound, and Saturday, but as for Friday and Sunday...not so much.

Here's hoping the new guys bring some much needed magic and mojo back to our favorite team.

Odds & Ends...

As expected, the Yankees made a flurry of roster moves yesterday to make room for Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle.  Chasen Shreve was optioned to Triple A and Ji-Man Choi was designated for assignment.  Rob Refsnyder, on the 40-man roster, was also DFA'd as the Yankees needed to create the room on the 40-man roster even though Tyler Clippard vacated his spot with the trade to the White Sox.  I can't say that I am overly excited about Luis Cessa remaining on the active roster.  Given a choice between Cessa and Caleb Smith, I'd prefer to see Smith get the next start in place of Michael Pineda.  Frazier took Tyler Clippard's old number (29), Robertson reclaimed his own old number (30) with Clint Frazier switching to double-Mickey Mantle (77), and Kahnle's number with the White Sox was waiting for him thanks to the recent dismissal of Chris Carter (48).  

Speaking of poor starts, the Yankees are surely looking for rotation help after Jordan Montgomery's string of sub-par starts.  But being "careful buyers" probably means that the Yankees will not be players for guys like Sonny Gray or Gerrit Cole.  Now is the time for GM Brian Cashman to earn the dollars for his next contract.  

This is a hypothetical question considering that Aaron Hicks is not healthy, but if you have five outfielders (Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Hicks, and Clint Frazier), is Jacoby Ellsbury the sixth or seventh best outfielder?  Just wondering...

Credit:  Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Manager Joe Girardi has said that Todd Frazier will be the team's regular third baseman.  Chase Headley will move to first and platoon with Garrett Cooper.  If Frazier has a strong finish to the season, I'd have to believe it is more likely the team will attempt to re-sign him over Matt Holliday.  Frazier intends to talk to YES Network broadcaster Paul O'Neill about possibly switching his number from #29 to #21 before the team returns to the Bronx.  Frazier has always worn #21 because of O'Neill.  I think it would be appropriate and would not boo the move assuming that he gets O'Neill's blessing.

Former Yankee Chris Carter has signed with the Oakland A's, a team he played for from 2010 to 2012.  He'll report to the A's Triple A club, the Nashville Sounds.  I can still remember when the Sounds were a Double A team for the Yankees and Buck Showalter was a first baseman/outfielder for them.  

We'll probably be seeing another former Yankee soon (in the wrong uniform) as the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners have been identified as strong possibilities for David Phelps of the Miami Marlins.  The Red Sox are also still looking at Miami's Martin Prado, currently on the 10-Day DL, as well as Eduardo Nunez of the San Francisco Giants.  

Have a great Thursday!  Sevy can make it a truly awesome day.  Let's Go Yankees!

Meet a Prospect: Todd Frazier

The New York Yankees pulled off a bit of a blockbuster trade late Tuesday night as the Chicago White Sox agreed to trade third baseman Todd Frazier and right-handed relief pitchers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to New York for right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard and prospects Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo. As Yankees fans we should all be relatively familiar with David Robertson and if you paid attention to the farm system whatsoever you should know the former Rule 5 Draft loss Tommy Kahnle but many of us may not know Frazier, the Jersey-born kid with a picture on the field at Yankee Stadium with Derek Jeter. Let’s fix that and let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Todd Frazier Special Edition!

Todd Brian Frazier was born on February 12, 1986 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey as the youngest of three boys. Frazier grew up in Toms River, New Jersey and was a member of the 1996 Pee-Wee National Champions. At age 12 Frazier was on the Toms River East American Little League All-Star team that advances all the way to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Frazier and Toms River went undefeated in the tournament including the championship game against the Kashima Little League Team where Frazier broke out in a big way. Frazier went 4-for-4 in the game including a leadoff home run and the right-hander also pitched and earned the victory in the 12-9 victory for Toms River. This marked the first time an American Little League team won the world championship since 1993. To celebrate the championship the team was invited to Yankee Stadium before a game with the Oakland Athletics where each member of the team was publicly announced to the crowd and got to stand next to a Yankees player at their position. Frazier was Toms River’s shortstop so he stood next to Derek Jeter before attending and playing baseball at Toms River High School South. Talk about a talking point with the High School ladies.

Frazier attended college at the University of Rutgers and played baseball for the school’s Rutgers Scarlet Knights. In 2007 Frazier played in all 63 of the team’s games posting a .377 batting average and .502 on-base percentage en route to earning Big East Player of the Year honors. Frazier caught the eye of the Cincinnati Reds with his 42 career collegiate home runs leading the organization to draft him 34th overall in the 2007 MLB First Year Players Draft. Frazier toiled around in the Red system playing multiple positions until the 2011 season when Frazier was called up to the Major Leagues along with Matt Maloney while Edinson Volquez and Jordan Smith were optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Frazier quietly had solid season after solid season for Cincinnati until the 2014 season when the Reds third baseman was named a National League All-Star for the first time in his career. Frazier also elected to participate in the Home Run Derby in 2014 and Frazier won the National League bracket before falling to defending champion Yoenis Cespedes.

The Red extended Frazier after that 2014 campaign to a new two-year deal worth $12 million and once again Frazier was solid for Cincinnati. Frazier looked to avenge his loss in the Home Run Derby in 2014 by participating once again in 2015 and this time the right-hander won the derby in front of the home crowd in Cincinnati. Frazier beat out Prince Fielder, Josh Donaldson and Joc Pederson en route to the championship becoming the first hometown participant to win the Home Run Derby since Ryne Sandberg did it as a Chicago Cubs player in 1990. All that earned Frazier was a direct ticket out of town after the 2015 season though as the Reds, who were rebuilding, traded Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in a three-team trade that included the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Frazier represented the White Sox in the Home Run Derby in 2016 but once again Frazier came up short falling to Giancarlo Stanton who hit 20 in the final round to win the derby. Stanton’s 61 home runs during that derby and Frazier’s 42 home run were the two top totals of all-time in the event at the time. Frazier once again fell on hard times though as the White Sox struggled. Frazier once again found himself on a team rebuilding and once again found himself as the center of trade rumors. This time the New York Yankees came calling acquiring David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in the deal.

If Frazier wanted to always relive that moment standing at the shortstop position inside Yankee Stadium he now has that opportunity because he is now officially a member of the New York Yankees. Welcome to the family Todd!

So it Seems… I Love You

So usually I try to tie these posts into some sort of Yankees related material before I express some personal information out there for all to see. Sometimes it’s in kode (not a typo) and sometimes it’s not but this morning as I write this I just don’t feel like being cryptic. I don’t feel like being creative. I feel like my heart is absolutely overflowing with emotion in the best possible way and I feel like I just need to get it out. So you know what? I love you.

I love who you are and I love how you make me the best person I can be. I love that you love me. I love that you stick by my side no matter what and I love how you’re so patient and understanding with me. Forever will never be long enough to spend with you my sweet, sweet Kari.

Thank you for being you. HEY YOU. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 7/20: Don Mattingly Puts Out

On this day in 1987 Yankees first basemen Don Mattingly tied a major league mark when he was credited with 22 put outs in one game.

Also on this day in 1965 Yankees pitcher Mel Stottlemyer hit an inside the park grand slam against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees would win this game 6-3.