Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Shohei Says No Way to New York, Now What?

The Shohei Otani ship has sailed Yankees fans but that does not mean this offseason has to be a disaster for Brian Cashman and company. The Yankees have a plan and a young stable of starting pitchers ready to start the 2018 season including Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery with the likes of Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams and others waiting in the wings down in the minor leagues. The Yankees need one more starter, if at all, next season and that one starter will likely be CC Sabathia. Just for fun though, and for the sake of not assuming that it will simply be Sabathia just because of old loyalties and such, let’s take a look at the free agent class of starting pitchers to see if any other arms should entice the Yankees.

First and foremost, you can erase any ideas of expensive arms like Jake Arrieta, Jeremy Hellickson or Yu Darvish joining the Yankees staff in 2017. Those three arms will look to cash in big time this offseason via free agency and neither will likely fit into the austerity plans the New York Yankees have going forward leaving a lackluster list of potential arms. Just some of the arms available for New York include Anibal Sanchez, John Lackey, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Tillman, Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas, Hector Santiago, Lance Lynn, Clay Buchholz, Jaime Garcia, Miguel Gonzalez, Alex Cobb and Bud Norris to name a few.

Out of that group of names obviously Alex Cobb is the most intriguing, the problem with Cobb though is that he is tied to draft pick compensation after being offered a qualifying offer this winter by Tampa Bay. That should in itself rule him out in my book, although the Yankees do have a great farm system and may be willing to part with a first-round pick for Cobb’s services. Who knows. All I know is I want no part of any other name on that list. It is either Cobb and the first-round draft pick, CC Sabathia or bust if you’re asking me. If not, then I would be more than comfortable with letting the Yankees ride with who they currently have and bringing up another young kid from the minor leagues to battle it out during spring training camp.

Also, don’t forget about Michael Pineda even though he is likely to miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in June of 2017. He may be back in August or September of this coming season but to bank on that would be foolish for New York. Pineda may be an absolute steal for the 2018 season though, so a two-year deal is and should always be on the table in my opinion. 

Matt Adams the 2018 Version of Matt Holliday?

Earlier I teased a Matt Adams to the Yankees post after the former St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves first baseman was non-tendered recently and here it is. Could Matt Adams be the Yankees version of his former teammate Matt Holliday here in 2017? What about Adams becoming the 2018 version of Chris Carter in the Bronx if the budget would allow? Would it make sense for the Yankees and would Adams likely get a better free agent offer elsewhere? Let’s take a look.

Adams played 100 games for the Braves after being acquired from the Cardinals last season hitting .271 with 19 home runs. Adams bats left-handed and throws right-handed which might make him redundant on a Yankees roster that already has an oft-injured Greg Bird so I wanted to take a look at his splits to see how Adams handled left-handed pitching to see if he could be a decent compliment to Bird on the bench. The splits were not favorable for Adams who hit .180/.206/.377/.583 with just three home runs and 12 RBI in 63 plate appearances. That, in the now immortal words of former Yankees manager Joe Girardi, is not what you want.

If you’re looking for a silver lining, and when I say “you” I mean all the people who have tweeted and emailed us about the possible addition of Adams to the Yankees this offseason which prompted this extended post, Adams is almost a .300 hitter against right-handed pitching which makes me wonder if he is worth signing for the designated hitter position. The Yankees are pretty right-handed hitting heavy with the bats of Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge in the middle of the lineup and Adams may be a decent compliment and way to break up those two along with Didi Gregorius, Bird, Brett Gardner and others.

Adams wouldn’t come with a huge price tag presumably and would likely be signed on a one-year deal which at least intrigues me as the Yankees look to fill their DH position next season. Adams won’t offer much in the way of defense, although having him as the DH would allow New York to play him at first if and when something was to happen to Bird next season, but the lefty could add some pop to the lineup that Holliday was supposed to offer in 2017. If the price tag is low and the amount of years that Adams is looking for fits in with the Yankees future plans, then I am all for signing the former Cardinal and Brave. If Adams wants two years or more or if Adams wants an astronomical amount of money, then I am leaning towards a hard pass on the first baseman. What are your thoughts? 

26 New Free Agents Enter the Fold, Any of Them Interest the Yankees?

The deadline to tender or non-tender contracts to players has come and gone this offseason and while the New York Yankees tendered contracts to all their arbitration eligible players there were 26 players who were not as lucky. These 26 players now enter the free agent pool, should the Yankees be interested in any of them for the 2018 season?

Here is the complete list of new free agents thanks to the USA Today:

CHICAGO (4) — Al Alburquerque, rhp; Alen Hanson, ss; Jake Petricka, rhp; Zach Putnam, rhp.
DETROIT (1) — Bruce Rondon, rhp.
HOUSTON (1) — Mike Fiers, rhp.
KANSAS CITY (1) — Terrance Gore, of.
SEATTLE (2) — Shae Simmons, rhp; Drew Smyly, lhp.
TAMPA BAY (1) — Xavier Cedeno, lhp.
TEXAS (4) — Hanser Alberto, ss; Alex Gonzalez, rhp; A.J. Griffin, rhp; Nick Martinez, rhp.
TORONTO (2) — Ryan Goins, 2b; Tom Koehler, rhp.

ARIZONA (2) — J.J. Hoover, rhp; T.J. McFarland, lhp.
ATLANTA (3) — Matt Adams, 1b; Jace Peterson, inf-of; Danny Santana, of.
CHICAGO (2) — Taylor Davis, c; Hector Rondon, rhp.
CINCINNATI (1) — Kyle Crockett, lhp.
MILWAUKEE (1) — Jared Hughes, rhp.
SAN FRANCISCO (1) — Albert Suarez, rhp.

Obviously the most notable names on the list are Hector Rondon formerly of the Chicago Cubs, Ryan Goins formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays, Mike Fiers of the Houston Astros, Matt Adams formerly of the Atlanta Braves and Bruce Rondon formerly of the Detroit Tigers. Honestly I feel like it is highly unlikely that the Yankees add any sort of relief pitching this offseason automatically taking the Rondon twins, they aren’t really twins just as an FYI, off the list leaving Fiers, a right-handed starting pitcher, Adams, a first baseman/designated hitter and Goins, a second baseman by trade who needs to work on his hidden ball trick. You’re killing me smalls!!

I want to focus on Adams in depth and give him his own post so for the sake of that I will leave him out of this post, look out for the Adams post later on today if you’re interested!

The Yankees need for a second baseman, or a middle infielder in general, is probably pretty small with Starlin Castro manning the position, Ronald Torreyes on the bench and Gleyber Torres knocking at the door but Fiers may be an interesting one to look at for New York. Fiers was part of the World Series champion Astros last season posting an 8-10 record with a 5.22 ERA. If the pitching starving Astros don’t want you, isn’t that your sign if you are Brian Cashman? Could CC Sabathia not give you that and more for a presumable fraction of the cost? The answer is yes to both questions, so it looks like the newly added free agents won’t make an impact for the Yankees this season. It is nice to look around, but just don’t buy. My opinion only, leave yours below in the comments section. Thanks in advance.

By the way, I am well aware that Terrence Gore has since signed a minor league deal with his former club but I wanted to include him on the list anyway since he was one of the 26 that were technically non-tendered by their former teams. Thanks again. 

Meet a Prospect Special Edition: Aaron Boone

Watch the entire Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS above

The hiring of Aaron Boone as the new manager of the New York Yankees has not been a smooth one or a popular one among fans as all sides have very strong opinions on the matter. Me personally, I couldn’t care less which may come off as shocking, but it shouldn’t. None of the managerial options stood out above the rest and I got the sense of “six of one, half dozen of the other” while looking over the candidates and while following the interview process. Aaron Boone has no managerial or coaching experience but neither did Carlos Beltran. Hensley Meulens would have been nice but honestly how much impact does a manager really have? Especially on a team loaded with talent. How many times have we seen the talent bail out Joe Girardi over the past 10 years? More than once, so Yankees fans need not panic. Boone will be fine, the Yankees will be fine and we as a fan base and as an organization will survive this. Let’s meet the man that may already be more hated than Clueless Joe 1.0 and Clueless Joe 2.0, Mr. Aaron Boone. I guess we should be calling this Meet a Manager and not Meet a Prospect but regardless here we go, this is Meet a Prospect Special Edition: The Aaron Boone Edition.

Aaron John Boone was born on March 9, 1973 into the world of Major League Baseball. Aaron was the son of former Major League player Bob Boone, the grandson of Ray Boone and the brother of eventual Seattle Mariners star Bret Boone. Aaron spent time with the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians, the Florida Marlins, the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros from 1997 through 2009 before eventually retiring and heading into the Broadcast booth with ESPN as a part of their Sunday Night Baseball crew as well as a contributor to Baseball Tonight, also on ESPN.

Boone’s amateur career started at Villa Park High School in Villa Park, California where he played for the school’s baseball team. During Boone’s senior season the right-hander was named the Century League’s co-player of the year, catching the eye of the then California Angels who selected Boone on the third day of the 1991 MLB First Year Players Draft. Boone did not sign and instead went to the University of South California where he played baseball for the USC Trojans. In 1993 Boone also played collegiate summer baseball for the Orleans Cardinals of the Cape Cod Baseball League leading his team to the league’s championship. Once again Boone’s name was called during the MLB Draft in 1994 but this time it was the Cincinnati Reds doing the selecting, and this time it was Boone who was signing the contract thus starting his professional career.

Boone toiled around in the Reds minor league system until making his debut in June of 1997 for the Reds. On the final day of the 1998 season Boone was a part of history with the Reds as on the last day of the season Cincinnati became the only team to every start two sets of brothers in their infield starting Stephen and Barry Larkin beside Bret and Aaron Boone. Boone started to become a household name in 2002 hitting 26 home runs and playing in all 162 games but the third baseman really began to catch the eye of the league when he was named to the 2003 All-Star Game for the National League. One team in particular took notice of Boone’s accomplishments that season and that team was the New York Yankees who traded three prospects to Cincinnati that summer for Boone’s services and Boone was worth every penny and every prospect. Why? The new shot heard round the world.

During Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series Boone hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of the Boston Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield to give the Yankees a dramatic 6-5 victory while also punching the team’s ticket to the World Series. Boone will forever be known for this home run as the Yankees prolonged the Curse of the Bambino for at least one more season. Boone was on top of the world after the 2003 season and the only thing that could bring him back down was a pick-up basketball game of all things. Boone was playing basketball, something that was specifically written into his contract that he was not supposed to be doing, and tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee prompting the Yankees to release Boone on February 27, 2004. The Yankees later acquired Alex Rodriguez in a trade with the Texas Rangers while Boone went on to sign a two-year deal with the Cleveland Indians in June of 2004.

Boone missed the entire 2004 season with the knee injury before spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons with the Indians. Boone signed a one-year deal with the Marlins before the 2007, another one-year deal with the Washington Nationals before the 2008 season and a final one-year deal with the Houston Astros for the 2009 season before officially retiring in 2009. Boone underwent open-heart surgery to replace a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart missing most of the 2009 season. Boone made his return to baseball on August 10 playing for the Astros Double-A minor league team before being activated by the big-league club on September 1 when rosters expanded. Boone played the final month of the season with Houston before retiring at the end of the 2009 season.

Boone went on to become a guest analyst for MLB Network in 2009 covering the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before joining the ESPN crew for Baseball Tonight and Monday Night Baseball in 2010. Boone also called the 2014 and 2015 and 2017 World Series for ESPN Radio with Dan Schulman.

Even if things don’t work out for Aaron as the manager of the New York Yankees don’t feel bad, Boone married Laura Cover and has her shoulder to cry on when he goes home every night. If that name sounds familiar Cover was a Playboy Playmate and was Miss October 1998. Boone is doing just fine. Welcome back Boonie!

Shohei Otani, the Braves Loss and the Yankees Gain

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to Get Greedy, pillage the Atlanta Braves and move on and get past the fact that Shohei Otani made the biggest mistake of his life not joining the New York Yankees. The Yankees allocated $3.5 million in international free agent money with the hopes of luring Japanese phenom Shohei Otani away from the Japanese League and to the Bronx. Now that New York has learned that they will not be the team employing Mr. Otani in 2018 and beyond the Yankees still have that boatload of IFA cash just sitting around while a team like the Atlanta Braves just lost 13 of their prospects after circumventing the international signing rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Coincidence? Well I personally don’t believe in coincidences, but I do believe in taking advantage of other misfortunes when those who are being harmed have brought it upon themselves so let’s take a look at the prospects the Braves lost and the prospects that the Yankees should pounce on and sign immediately.

The best and most notable prospect the Braves signed and lost is switch-hitting Kevin Maitan who is currently a restricted free agent out of Venezuela. Maitan was a consensus top-100 prospect heading into the 2017 at just 17-years old after signing with the Braves for $4.25 million in 2016. Maitan was the Braves 9th best prospect at the time of the investigation in a pretty well stacked Atlanta farm system so all attention will likely be on Maitan now that he is available for all. Maitan hit .241/.290/.340 with two home runs in 176 plate appearances between the Gulf Coast League and the advanced rookie league in 2017 at just 17-years old, although he did strike out a lot more than one would probably like. Maitan is 17-years old though and that is to be expected. What is important is that Maitan did not look overmatched in 2017 and should only get better as he matures both physically and mentally. Sign him now.

Atlanta also lost another 17-year old prospect in catcher Abrahan Guitierrez. Guitierrez played 35 games in the Gulf Coast League here in 2017 after signing with Atlanta for $3.53 million in 2016. Abrahan, now 18-years old, slashed .264/.319/.357/.676 in the Gulf Coast League with one home run and 12 RBI in 129 plate appearances last season while striking out over two times as many times as he drew a walk. Again, like Maitan, he was just 17-years old and showed promise while not looking completely overmatched. Also, he is a catcher which instantly makes his stock and value all the more important as an offensive piece. Guitierrez showed gap power in his small sample size and may have all the makings of being the next Gary Sanchez is properly groomed.

Infielder Yunior Severino is another prospect that the Yankees should be looking at with their IFA money. Severino spent time with the Dominican Summer League Braves and the Gulf Coast League Braves slashing a combined .270/.345/.420/.765 with three home runs and 29 RBI. Most of Severino’s damage came after his promotion to the GCL in 189 plate appearances after just 37 at-bats in the DSL. Severino has worse strikeout numbers than either of the two prospects mentioned previously after striking out a whopping 67 times in 2017 to just 24 walks, again though Severino is just 17-years old. Severino actually had the most success of the three offensive prospects, albeit all three were in a small sample size.

Right-handed pitcher Juan Contreras is the last prospect the Yankees should keep their eye on as the team shifts its international spending focus from Otani to others after signing with the Braves as well in 2016. Contreras only threw 19.1 innings in 2017 for the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League Braves so it is hard to get a gauge on how the right-hander will handle advanced talent but with a 6’2” frame at 180 lbs. Contreras has all the makings of being an MLB-caliber starting pitcher and could be an absolute steal after the Braves IFA debacle.

Baseball American ranked these Braves prospects within the 2016 class of international free agents as so:

Maitan: #1 overall
Severino: #8 overall
Guitierrez: #15 overall
Contreras: #41 overall

Can the Yankees sign all of these prospects? Well I guess they could while blowing past the international spending limitations set by the league, but should they? No, as the farm system is already stacked while there is already a young core in place at the big-league level. Should the Yankees try to sign one or two of these prospects though? Absolutely, do it now. The sooner the better. Sorry, Atlanta. 

So it Seems… Breaking the Silence

Good morning everyone, it’s time I break the silence. The MLB offseason is a frustrating one at times, a boring one at other times, while sometimes it is merely too much for one person to keep up with as a writer. It is a good problem to have because I thoroughly enjoy writing but at one point in my life, for whatever reason, it got to the point where I forced content. I wrote just to have something on the blog every single day and at first it was fun. Before long it became tiresome, staying up until 2:00 am just so things were on the blog for the next day. Those days, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, are over as I have refocused and reprioritized what was truly important in my life, my lovely wife Kari and my family.

I just wanted to get that out there in case people begin to wonder where I am during the long, cold and boring winter ahead. I’m around, I am always reading and I am always thinking of new and hopefully exciting content to bring you guys and girls reading. I just won’t force it anymore, and I think my work will be better for it anyway when I don’t. So it’s time to break the silence as Shohei Otani checked the “NO” box on the love letter from Brian Cashman and company, Aaron Boone has been hired as the new Yankees manager, 26 new free agents have entered the fold, 13 new international free agents hit the market this winter, and another former St. Louis Cardinals “Matt” may be finding his way in the Bronx if I get my way. So without further ado and delay from me, let’s get to it.

And you… my love, my soulmate, my arm candy, my everything. I loves you. I hope you have the very best day, I know I will… because you’re mine. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/5: Yankee Stadium and Citi Field

On this day in 2001 mayor Rudy Giuliani announced that he wanted to get new stadium deals in place for both the New York Yankees and the New York Mets before he left office. This was coming off the heels of the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington and was thought to boost morale and finances for New York.

Also n this day in 1984 the Yankees acquired Rickey Henderson and pitcher Bert Bradley from the Athletics for pitchers Jay Howell and Jose Rijo along with outfielder Stan Javier and minor league players Tim Birtsas and Eric Plunk. The Yankees, in a separate deal, also acquired pitcher Brian Fisher for catcher Rick Cerone.

Finally on this day in 1975 the Yankees hired Yogi Berra as their manager after he was fired unexpectedly by New York in 1964 following a 99-63 record and an American League pennant. Billy Martin was also hired to be Yogi's bench coach this season.