Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 8/8

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays are just about set to kick off their three-game set this week after the off day for travel yesterday for the Bombers. In the opener of the series the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound looking to turn around his recent struggles against Jose Bautista and the Toronto offense while the Blue Jays will counter JA Happ. A battle of the southpaws commences here in about seven minutes. The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside Rogers Centre and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along with the game on the radio and in your cars by tuning into WFAN.

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

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Don Baylor

The New York Yankees and Major League Baseball lost a former member of their families yesterday when Don Baylor lost a long battle with cancer, he was 68-years old. Baylor played 19 seasons in professional baseball with the Angels, Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics and Twins and won one MVP award in 1979 with the Angels before beginning a long coaching career with various teams. Baylor was actually the first manager of the Colorado Rockies in their short tenure as a Major League franchise and Baylor was also a coach for the New York Mets to name a few examples.

Baylor signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent before the 1983 season and immediately won his first of three Silver Slugger Awards as a designated hitter that season. Baylor spent three years in New York posting the below career stat line before the team traded him to the Boston Red Sox before the 1986 season.

Standard Batting
162 162 162 162579871512624905776.260.342.436.777118
NYY NYY NYY 42015042364018671265130211.267.345.472.817126

Baylor finished his career after the 1988 season with a .260 career batting average, 338 home runs and 1,276 RBI in 2,292 career games. Baylor led the league in hit by pitches in seven different seasons and his 267 career HBP’s, which is good for the fourth highest total in MLB history, is softened by his one World Series victory with the Minnesota Twins.

Baylor is survived by his wife, son Don Jr. and his two granddaughters. RIP Don. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to his friends, family and whoever was affected by this tragedy. Also the same thoughts, respect and condolences go out to the family and friends of Darren Daulton who also passed away over the weekend after losing a battle with cancer. Heaven can field a hell of a team right now.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 8/8

The New York Yankees used yesterday to travel and rest and now the team finds themselves visiting our neighbors to the north and the Toronto Blue Jays for the next three games. In the opener of the three-game set we the fans will be treated to a battle of the southpaws as the Yankees send CC Sabathia to the mound to face off with JA Happ for the Blue Jays. These are games that New York must win if they are serious about making a run at the American League East Division crown, no exceptions. Good teams and playoff teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat on their path there and the Blue Jays definitely qualify as a team that the Yankees should beat.

Sabathia heads into his start tonight fresh off a loss to the Detroit tigers back on August 1. In the start Sabathia allowed a pair of home runs over six innings of work in the Yankees 4-3 loss. Sabathia will look to turn that around and his recent struggles against the Blue Jays around tonight in the Rogers Centre as the Yankees big lefty comes in with a 1-1 record and 7.62 ERA in three starts against Toronto in 2017.

Happ has been a quality pitcher for the Blue Jays in his last ten starts tossing seven quality starts during that span including his last start where he went seven innings while striking out 10. Happ is always tough against left-handed batters as he tends to pitch inside so hopefully the Yankees offense is aware and ready for that tonight.

The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto and can be seen on the YES 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 as always, go Yankees!

52 Games To Go, Let's Do This!...

Credit:  Jeff Chevrier-Icon Sportswire
Enjoyed An Off Day...

Monday, Monday.  I am glad it's in the books but it was nice having an off-day while the Yankees enjoyed their free time in Toronto.  But it's now Tuesday and back to work.

Last month, I was in favor of a trade for a proven first baseman like Yonder Alonso (then with the Oakland A’s) or Lucas Duda (then with the New York Mets).  Alonso’s bat cooled about the time Chase Headley started heating up so Headley probably blocked any potential deal that would have brought Alonso to New York as either part of the Sonny Gray trade or a separate trade.  There’s also speculation that the Mets had a similar offer from the Yankees to one they accepted from the Tampa Bay Rays for Duda which showed the only way the Mets would work with the Yankees would be in an “overpay” situation.  

So, where does that leave us with the latest speculation that Jay Bruce would be a good fit for the Yankees?  Primarily an outfielder, he has played 11 games at first base this year making him at least as experienced at the position as Headley.  He is left-handed and has mashed 29 homers this year to go with 75 RBI’s.  He is batting .260/.324/.528.  The 30-year-old is a free agent at the end of the year so he’d be a true rental.  Admittedly, I’ve never been a big fan of Bruce as he has seemed too much like a feast-or-famine type of hitter.  But, like Duda, he might have the swing for Yankee Stadium.   So, I’d have to say that I am intrigued by this one to say the least.  With so much uncertainty around Matt Holliday and Greg Bird, Bruce would bring a big stick to first base/DH for the rest of the year. 

Credit:  Laurence Kesterson-Associated Press
Nevertheless, if the Mets insist an overpay because it’s the Yankees, then it is not worth it.  The Yankees are also included in Bruce's limited no-trade clause but that's nothing $$$ couldn't solve.  I am skeptical that the Mets would ever give the Yankees a player that could potentially help them make the play-offs and risk losing market share as a result.  

I am not sure what I think about rumors the Yankees should pursue Mike Napoli.  He is a proven winner.  His numbers in his age 35 year are down from last year but he still has some thump in his bat with 22 HR's albeit with a batting average that is south of the Todd Frazier line.  Napoli's contract carries a 2018 club option that can be bought out for $2.5 million.  A costly measure, unless the Texas Rangers pay some or all the freight, to add the potential for a few late season bombs.  If only Chris Carter had done what he was paid to do.

Credit:  Ashley Landis-The Dallas Morning News
I hate to see any more prospects shipped away for a six-week need unless it is for someone that can truly be the difference-maker at this point in the season (a player with the potential to help for an October push).  I want to see what Aaron Hicks and Tyler Austin can do, and then there's, hold your breath, Greg Bird at the end of the month.  Okay, maybe don't hold your breath.  I suspect that unless Matt Holliday is able to come back after his DL stint to resemble the player we saw in the first half (unlikely), the DH position is going to be very fluid on a day to day basis with player rotation.

More than anything, the Yankees need Gary Sanchez to step up and deliver the promise he showed us last August and September.  At the moment, he's the most maligned Yankee.  The key will be how he responds to the criticism.  The Yankees are a better team with El Gary in the lineup but he needs to make the defensive plays and wait for his pitches at the plate.  The Yankees play 6 of the next 13 games against the Boston Red Sox and will face Chris Sale twice.  Between the two Red Sox series, the Yankees play a home and away set against the New York Mets for four games.  This is a very crucial two weeks that could go a long way toward deciding the eventual AL East winner.   

According to Baseball America, the Los Angeles Dodgers have released former Yankees LOOGY Tommy Layne.  The Dodgers also removed former Yankees prospect Peter O'Brien from the 40-man roster and outrighted him to Triple A.  The Los Angeles Angels signed former Yankees reliever Branden Pinder, who was released earlier this summer by the Bombers.  I am sure that Angels GM Billy Eppler is relying upon past information about Pinder to take a chance.  I hope it works out for Pinder.  

Next Up:  Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada...

The Toronto Blue Jays may be the AL East cellar dwellers but they always play the Yankees very tough.  The Yankees will see old friend Rob Refsnyder who is currently on the Blue Jays active roster as a backup infielder.

Credit:  Richard Lautens-Toronto Star
The scheduled pitching match-ups are:


Yankees:  CC Sabathia (9-4, 3.81 ERA)
Blue Jays:  J.A. Happ (4-8, 3.92 ERA)


Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (8-10, 4.93 ERA)
Blue Jays:  Cesar Valdez (1-1, 7.63 ERA)


Yankees:  Sonny Gray (6-6, 3.41 ERA)
Blue Jays:  Marco Estrada (4-7, 5.12 ERA)

I am not trying to look ahead but it's a bummer that we won't have Sonny Gray for this weekend's series against Boston at Yankee Stadium.  The Red Sox have gone out of their way to ensure that Chris Sale gets three starts against the Yankees in the coming weeks.  

Farewell to #25...

Former Yankee Don Baylor died Monday at age 68 from cancer.  Baylor was American League MVP for the then California Angels in 1979 and he won a World Series with the Minnesota Twins at the end of his 19-year playing career, but I remember his toughness as the Yankees DH from 1983 to 1985, playing along side Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield. He was a magnet for baseballs with 267 HBP's.  I wasn't a fan of the March 1986 trade that sent Baylor to the Boston Red Sox for Mike Easler.  Rest in peace, Mr Baylor...

Have a great Tuesday!  Let's turn a two-game win streak into three!  Go Yankees!

Could the Yankees Have Acquired Yonder Alonso? Should They Have?

Over the weekend we all got a bit of an education on the August 31st waiver wire trade deadline and how it all works. The Oakland Athletics placed first baseman and soon-to-be free agent Yonder Alonso on the waiver wire and the Seattle Mariners claimed him. The Athletics could have pulled Alonso back and placed him on waivers again, they could have simply dumped Alonso on Seattle and his remaining salary or the two teams could have worked out a trade. The A’s and Mariners did the latter as Seattle agreed to send minor league outfielder Boog Powell to Oakland for Alonso. Could the Yankees have made a similar deal with Oakland, and should they have? 

When I say “should the Yankees have made a similar deal” I want to be clear in saying that I mean as a part of the Sonny Gray deal or in a separate deal before the July 31st trade deadline. I fully understand that the Seattle Mariners had a chance to claim Alonso before the Yankees did and I fully understand how the whole August waiver wire trade deadline works. Just to clarify and just to be clear since this is all hypothetical anyway. 

When I run these posts looking at if the Yankees could have conceivably pulled off a similar trade it all comes down to who the other team gave up, this time Boog Powell formerly of the Mariners. If the name Boog Powell is familiar to you it may be because he was suspended 50 games for amphetamine use by Major League Baseball back in 2014 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays organization. John Sickels has since called Powell a “prototype reserve outfielder” on Minor League Ball before Powell was suspended for 80 games for a second failed drug/PED test in 2016. Before the 2017 season Powell was listed as a “C” grade prospect and was not one of the Mariners Top 20 prospects in their farm system, again according to Minor League Ball. 

So who would the equivalent be to Powell in the Yankees organization? Think Jake Cave or Billy McKinney, and even then that may leave the Yankees paying too much. Powell hit .194 in 23 games with the Mariners big league club this season in three different stints while he has also hit .340 in 58 games in Triple-A with Tacoma. 

At the time of the trade Alonso, 30-years old, was hitting .266 with 17 doubles, 22 home runs and 49 RBI along with his .527 slugging percentage which is second best among qualifying American League first baseman. So should the Yankees have made this trade? Absolutely. Chase Headley is hot right now but we know it likely won’t last if history is any indicator of the future. Meanwhile Alonso has been consistent throughout much of his career and is a free agent at the end of the season. I was not involved in the negotiations obviously but this one seems like a no-brainer to me. Oh well. Maybe next time. 

So it Seems a Rough Week is Ahead

Well this past weekend didn’t go according to plan but here lately when does it ever? Life is so frustrating sometimes. Why can’t everything just fall into place and work for once? Ugh. Anyway, no doom and gloom and minimal sadness. We don’t have time for that and we don’t have room for that right now.

I hope everyone had a great start to their week and a great weekend. Remember this, it’s always going to rain. You can live with the rain but you can’t live without the rain. You have to get through the rain to get back to the sunshine. Same thing goes for life. It’s just a bump in the road.

HEY YOU. Good morning, and I love you. You are my rock, my constant and my heart. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/8: The New Yankee Stadium

The 2000 edition of the New York Yankees consistently showed a ton of heart and a never say die attitude. This was on display once again on this day in 2000 when the Yankees went into the bottom of the ninth inning down 3-2 to the Oakland Athletics with the Oakland closer Jason Isringhausen on the mound. Isringhausen would throw just two pitches on this day allowing a home run to Bernie Williams on the first pitch he saw and another home run to David Justice on the first pitch he saw. Just like that the Yankees went from being down 3-2 to walking off with a 4-3 victory in the Bronx.

Also on this day in 1972 the Yankees put to sleep the rumors that the Yankees may be leaving Yankee Stadium as they signed a new 30 year lease to play in the "new" Yankee Stadium starting in 1976. The Yankees would honor the 50th birthday of Yankee Stadium in 1973 and would play their home games in the Mets Shea Stadium for the next two seasons while the House that Ruth Built was remodeled.

Finally on this day in 1970 the Yankees held Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium where Casey Stengel was honored before the game. The Yankees honored Stengel by retiring his #37 uniform number since he led the team to seven World Series championships during his 12 year tenure with the Yankees from 1949-1960.