Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Recent, Notable & Yankees Related August Trades in MLB

Just because the July 31st trade deadline has come and gone does not mean that the trades are done around the league. Trades can still happen, in fact trades can happen until the very last day of the season, but they get a little more complicated from here on out. Players must now pass through revocable waivers and can be claimed, and ultimately pulled back, or they can pass through waivers and be traded to any team. It gets complicated but it's not impossible so here are some of the more recent and notable August trades in Major League Baseball history. I even included a Yankees-related trade just because we are The Greedy Pinstripes after all and we need to see trades happen no matter what the calendar says. Don’t judge us. Love us.

In 2003 the Pittsburgh Pirates sent one of their best players on the team, Brian Giles, to the San Diego Padres for a pair of prospects. You may recognize some of the names that were traded for Giles, Oliver Perez and Jason Bay.

On this day in 2008 the Toronto Blue Jays acquired a player who was not even on the Major League roster at the time. The most notable player at the time of the trade was the Pittsburgh Pirates newest player Robinson Diaz but the clear cut winner was Toronto who acquired some dude named Jose Bautista.

In 2000 the New York Yankees acquired a familiar face to complete their dynasty years, the team sent a prospect to the Pittsburgh Pirates for infielder Luis Sojo. Sojo was a big member of the 1996-1999 Yankees before leaving for Pittsburgh via free agency. Sojo was acquired for the playoff and World Series run and did just that with a four-hit game and the game winning hit to clinch the 2000 World Series over the New York Mets. This isn't exactly a notable trade as much as it was a stretch to include the Yankees on the post but it what it is. We're a Yankees blog after all.

And who could forget the mega-deal between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox where over $250,000,000 in dollars changed hands overnight. The Dodgers sent James Loney, Allen Webster, Ivan De Jesus, Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands to the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.

Will there be any notable or Yankees related trades in August of 2017 to speak about next season? I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers 8/2

Afternoon baseball in the Bronx, it truly doesn’t get much better than this. Happy Wednesday and Happy Tanaka Day ladies and gentleman. The New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers will cap off their three-game series this afternoon in the Bronx with what should be an entertaining pitching matchup that includes Masahiro Tanaka taking the mound for the Yankees and Jordan Zimmermann toeing the rubber for the Tigers. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also put in a headphone at work or follow along in your cars by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. I know I will be.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Work needs to understand that this is the year for New York and the prospect of the playoffs is much more important than anything they can possibly be needing you to do right now. Tell them Daniel Burch said so. Also tell them I said “Go Yankees!!!”

Meet a Prospect Special Edition: OMG IT’S SONNY GRAY

Ladies and gentleman for the foreseeable future it is always going to be Sonny here in the Bronx after the New York Yankees acquired the Oakland Athletics right-hander before the July 31st trading deadline. As we all know by now the Yankees sent center fielder Dustin Fowler, shortstop/center fielder Jorge Mateo and right-handed starting pitcher James Kaprielian back in the deal for Gray and cash considerations but do we as a fan base really know what we are getting back in Gray? The problem with players who play on the West Coast like Gray has with the Oakland Athletics is I don’t believe they get truly appreciated since a lot of the country is asleep when they are doing their best work. Thank goodness for the internet, for MLB Network and Sportscenter and for Meet a Prospect Special Editions here on The Greedy Pinstripes. This is Meet a Prospect: The Sonny Gray Special Edition.

Sonny Douglas Gray was born on November 7, 1989 in Nashville, Tennessee to Cindy and Jesse Gray and lived in Nashville until his family moved to Smyrna, Tennessee before Sonny’s eight grade year. Sonny attended Smyrna High School while in Smyrna, Tennessee but his high school career started out with a tragedy. Sonny lost his father in a car accident during his freshman year of high school. Gray did not let that deter him on the field and may have even used baseball as a coping mechanism as the right-hander was named Freshman of the Year in District 9AAA as a left fielder and pitcher. Gray battled injuries during his sophomore season, a sign of what was to come unfortunately, but came back strong to close out his high school career posting an 11-2 record and a 0.95 ERA as a junior followed up by a 4-0 record and 0.79 ERA as a senior before once again succumbing to injury. Some of the injuries may have come while Gray was also the high school’s starting quarterback in football as he guided the team to back-to-back 5A State titles in 2006 and 2007.

Gray was drafted out of High School by the Chicago Cubs in the 27th round of the 2008 MLB Draft but opted to go through with his commitment to Vanderbilt University where he began his collegiate career. Gray started out at Vanderbilt as a relief pitcher where the righty collected four saves before the team moved him to their starting rotation. Gray excelled as the team’s ace going 10-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 2010 followed by a dominating 12-4 record and 2.43 ERA with 132 strikeouts in 2011. In 2011, Gray’s junior season, the right-hander led Vanderbilt to their first-ever College World Series berth reaching the semifinals before losing to national runner-up Florida. Gray did enough during that junior season and in the College World Series to catch the attention and the eyes of scouts in the Oakland Athletics organization who drafted him 18th overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. Gray decided to forego his senior season and signed with Oakland for a $1.54 million signing bonus.

Gray dominated the Athletics minor league system from 2011 – 2013 before ultimately getting called up to the Major Leagues on July 10, 2013 to replace Dan Straily. Gray made his MLB the same day out of the Oakland bullpen pitching two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates giving up just one hit while not allowing a run or a walk. Gray had three strikeouts in the performance which would net him a second appearance with the team before being sent back down to the minors. Gray would return on August 10 to make his first MLB start against the Toronto Blue Jays and Mark Buehrle and the right-hander did enough to never get sent back down. Gray helped lead Oakland to the postseason in 2013 and even started Game 2 of the American League Division Series against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers. In that playoff start Gray pitched eight shutout innings before the Athletics walked off in the bottom of the ninth to win the game. With that start the Athletics had the confidence to start Gray in Game 5 of that series once again facing off with Verlander for Detroit. Gray was not as sharp this time allowing three runs in 5+ innings resulting in a 3-0 loss for Oakland and an elimination from the American League playoffs.  

Gray started on Opening Day for the Athletics in 2014 against the Cleveland Indians and after a couple AL Pitcher of the Month Awards the Oakland right-hander led the Athletics right back to the playoffs in 2014. The A’s would once again see their season end earlier than they wanted as the team lost the AL Wild Card Game to the Kansas City Royals in extra innings. Gray was back on the mound in 2015 for Opening Day and continued to pitch well enough that the righty made his first All-Star Game appearance for the American League. Gray finished the season with a 14-7 record and a 2.73 ERA which placed him third in the AL Cy Young Award voting behind Dallas Keuchel and David Price. Gray came into the 2016 looking to build on that successful 2015 season but injuries hampered the right-hander and landed him on the disabled list twice that season. Gray finished with an underwhelming 5-11 record and a 5.69 ERA which may have led to him falling out of grace with the A’s.

Gray pitched well in 2017 for Oakland and more importantly he stayed healthy until the July 31st trading deadline when the New York Yankees and their GM Brian Cashman came calling. Gray will now don Yankees pinstripes for the next three seasons or longer and will look to be the future and the ace of the staff here in the Bronx. Gray brings along with him a four-seam fastball that sits around the 92-93 MPH but can also touch as high as 95 MPH, a high-80’s MPH slider, a curveball that sits in the low 80’s MPH, a cutter that sits around 92 MPH and a changeup that usually sits around 88 MPH.

Welcome to the family Sonny! It’s always going to be Sonny in the Bronx from now on thanks to you. 

90 Feet: So Close, Yet So Far Away...

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
Tigers 4, Yankees 3...

On a night when the Boston Red Sox refused to lose, the Yankees meekly fell to the Detroit Tigers and a collection of underwhelming pitchers.  It was a very disappointing loss as the Yankees fell out of first place.  The Yankees had the tying run at third and the winning run at second in the bottom of the 9th but Clint Frazier failed to deliver in the clutch against former Yankee Shane Greene.

For CC Sabathia, it really came down to one bad pitch.  With runners at first and second with two outs in the top of the 2nd inning, CC got into an extended battle with Tigers first baseman John Hicks, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him.  On the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Hicks deposited a poorly thrown backdoor slider into the right field stands (just beyond the glove of a leaping Aaron Judge), giving the Tigers a lead they would not relinquish.  

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-New York Post
Justin Upton homered off Sabathia in the 3rd inning, also with two outs, to give the Tigers the necessary insurance run they would need to win.  The Yankees wasted an opportunity to chip away in the bottom of the 3rd when Tyler Wade led off with a double to center.  A wild pitch by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez moved Wade to third with no outs.  But Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge all failed to bring Wade home.

In the bottom of the 4th, the Yankees finally got on the board when Gary Sanchez opened with a double to left.  Didi Gregorius homered to right to bring the Yankees within two runs, 4-2.  But those were the only runs the Yankees would be able to get off Anibal Sanchez.

The Yankees picked up their final run in the bottom of the 8th against the Tigers bullpen.  With Alex Wilson pitching, Gary Sanchez singled to left and advanced to second on a throwing error by left fielder Justin Upton.  The Tigers replaced Wilson with Daniel Stumpf and he was greeted by a run-scoring single from Didi Gregorius to make it a one-run game. Matt Holliday grounded into a double play to end the inning.  

The Tigers almost added to their lead in the top of the 9th.  David Robertson had been brought in to start the inning, in relief of Adam Warren.  Thanks to two singles, the Tigers had runners at first and second with two outs.  Austin Romine's brother Andrew singled to center but Brett Gardner gunned down the lead runner (James McCann) at the plate.  

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images
In the bottom of the 9th, Jacoby Ellsbury walked with two outs.  A throwing error by Tigers reliever Shane Greene on a pick-off attempt allowed Ellsbury to race to third.  The Tigers chose to intentionally walk Brett Gardner to face Clint Frazier.  Gardner stole second to put the winning run in scoring position.  The stage was set for Frazier to be the hero.  Unfortunately, he took two called strikes without moving his bat and then popped out on the third pitch from Greene to end the game.  It was a disappointing loss and another game of missed opportunities.  

The Yankees (57-48) dropped a half game behind the Boston Red Sox with the loss.  Boston battled the Cleveland Indians all night long, with the lead constantly changing hands.  The Indians scored 7 runs off Red Sox ace Chris Sale in the game.  They also scored two runs in the top of the 9th against Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, including a solo homer by Francisco Lindor which tied the game.  The Indians took a 10-9 lead into the bottom of the 9th with closer Cody Allen on the mound, but Boston's Christian Vasquez hit a three-run homer for the 12-10 walk-off win.  The Tampa Bay Rays also won.  They beat the Houston Astros, 6-4, behind Chris Archer.  They are 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  The Baltimore Orioles won their fourth consecutive game (7-2 over the Kansas City Royals) so they moved within 5 1/2 games of the Yankees.  

Credit:  John Wilcox-Boston Herald

Matt Holliday was 2-for-4 with a double so there's hope he is finally coming around, but he continues to be a disappointment in clutch situations.  Getting his bat right is a key for the Yankees as long as Manager Joe Girardi keeps penciling his name into the lineup.  Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge were a combined 0-for-9.  CC Sabathia (9-4) took the loss. He did rebound to give the Yankees six innings.  He allowed 6 hits, 4 runs, and 1 walk while striking out 3.  The Yankees could have taken him off the hook but offense from Didi Gregorius alone was not enough.  

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
Brett Gardner stole two bases during the game and moved into fifth place tie with Roy White on the Yankees all-time list with 233 steals.  Next on the list is Hal Chase with 248 steals and Willie Randolph at 251.  The top leaders are Derek Jeter (358) and Rickey Henderson (326).

The Yankees can take the series this afternoon with a win on getaway day. Hopefully, the cold bats from yesterday have thawed overnight.

The Great Thurman Munson...

I always think of Thurman Munson on this day.  I can still remember where I was when I heard the news that my favorite player had died in a plane crash in Akron, Ohio on August 2, 1979.  It ripped the heart and soul out of the 1979 team.  The late Bobby Murcer, who had been reacquired by the Yankees a little more than a month before the plane crash, was the spiritual leader through this very difficult time.  "The life of a soul on earth lasts longer than his departure. He lives on in your life and the life of all others who knew him." 

Odds & Ends...

The newcomers have chosen their new numbers.  Sonny Gray will take #55, most recently occupied by Bryan Mitchell, and Jaime Garcia will don #34, worn the last few years by Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann.  When it was obvious that neither player would be able to get their same preferred number (54), I thought the selections of 34 and 55 were the most obvious.  

Credit:  Robert Sabo-New York Post
The history of 55, in recent years, has resided with Hideki Matsui and Ramiro Mendoza, but lately it's been available for Mitchell whenever he's been called up.  I guess he'll finally have to choose a new number when he gets his next Bronx phone call.  I think 55 is a great number for Gray.  I've long associated the number, pitching-wise, to the "Bulldog"...former Los Angeles Dodgers hurler Orel Hershiser.  I am sure there are plenty of other prominent players that have worn the number, but for some reason, I've always just thought of the Bulldog.  

Credit:  Getty Images
Jaime Garcia, in a pre-game interview, told the story how his late grandfather had told him as a boy he would play for the Yankees.  The Yankees are his family's favorite team, and they were Jaime's favorite team as a kid.  Great story.  I am looking forward to watching Jaime pitch in pinstripes.  Based on Joe Girardi's comments, it appears that Sonny Gray will start in Cleveland on Thursday and Garcia will take the mound the next day.  I hate to be guilty of looking ahead, but I can't wait for Thursday and Friday.  They should be fun and exciting games.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
It has been said that the Gray trade has the potential to be a steal for the Yankees.  While I am glad Gray is a Yankee, the potential also exists for the trade to be a steal for the A's.  I still believe that James Kaprielian can be a top of the rotation starter.  Jorge Mateo and Dustin Fowler can be very dangerous players for a future A's squad.  Best case, the trade is a win/win for both organizations.  

It was another win for Chance Adams (7-3, 2.32 ERA).  The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders defeated the Buffalo Bisons, 5-1, on Tuesday behind Adams but the usual problem surfaced with too many walks (four).  He went 6 innings (101 pitches), giving up 8 hits and 3 runs to the Bisons.  He struck out 3.  Billy McKinney, one of the players that will need to be placed on the 40-man roster before December's Rule 5 Draft, hit a three-run homer to back Adams.

Have a great Wednesday!  Let's grab a win before the guys hop a plane to Cleveland.  Go Yankees!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers 8/2

Good morning Yankees family and happy Wednesday to you all. If it feels like the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers just played a game it is because, well, they did. The good ole day game after a night game here in the Bronx, you have to love it. In the series finale between these two clubs the Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the Yankee Stadium mound while the Tigers will counter with Jordan Zimmermann. Dare I say Happy Tanaka Day Yankees family? Ask me again in a few hours and I’ll tell you. Enjoy the game.

Tanaka set a career high in strikeouts last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays when he struck out 14 opposing batters. Tanaka went eight innings in the start allowing just one run on two hits setting the tone for a huge series win for New York. Is Tanaka finally back to being Tanaka?

Zimmermann was the subject of many trade rumors before the July 31st trading deadline which may have explained why he was pulled after just 80 pitches and seven innings pitched in his last start against the Houston Astros on Friday. Zimmermann did allow three runs in the contest but ultimately made it through the deadline still a member of the Tigers.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along with the game in your cars, on the radio and at work (SHHHHH) by tuning into John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN. Enjoy the game, the hell with work and Go Yankees!!!

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/2: That's a lot of Teix Messages and RIP Thurman Munson

Many switch hitters have played this game of baseball but none have had more games in which they hit a home run from both sides of the plate than Mark Teixeira. Teixeira sent a Teix message on this day in 2011 from both sides of the plate for the 12th time in his career. The amazing part was that the two home runs game in a rain shortened victory in Chicago. Teixeira passed Eddie Murray and Chili Davis for the record.

Also on this day in 2007 the Yankees started an inning by giving up eight runs to the Chicago White Sox in a single frame. The Yankees would answer in the bottom of the inning by scoring eight runs of their own to tie the game in an eventual 13-9 loss. This marks only the second time in major league history that eight or more runs were scored in the same inning by each team.

Finally on this day in 1979 the Yankees captain Thurman Munson is killed when the Cessna Citation I/SP jet he is learning to fly crashes near a Canton-Akron airport. The Yankees catcher had been learning to fly for over two years so he could get home to his family in Ohio during off days. Munson was 32.