Thursday, July 26, 2018

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals 7/26

And just like that it is game time here in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals. In the first of a four-game set between these two teams this week and into the weekend the Yankees will send Sonny Gray out to the mound looking to keep the good times rolling while the Royals will counter with Jakob Junis. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the team all season long. Enjoy the game, bash out something like 16 runs against the rookie, and go Yankees!!

Updated 2019 Rule 5 Draft List & 2018 Trade Targets

Earlier in the month I wrote a piece about how the 2019 Rule 5 Draft could affect the New York Yankees and their strategy not only before the actual draft this December, but in the 2018 July 31st trading deadline as well. A bit of that post and my predictions within it came to fruition on Tuesday night when the Yankees agreed to trade RHP Dillon Tate, LHP Josh Rogers and RHP Cody Carroll to the Baltimore Orioles for LHP Zach Britton. All three of these men were on my list and were predicted to at least be discussed in trades leaving just these men on the list of potential prospects that will need protecting from the Rule 5 Draft, could more of these men be on the way out before the deadline next week?

LHP Justus Sheffield
RHP Dillon Tate
RHP Chance Adams
RHP Cody Carroll
LHP Josh Rogers
LHP Stephen Tarpley
RHP Juan De Paula
3B/1B Dermis Garcia
C Donny Sands
INF Kyle Holder

Again, this is not a complete list, but instead I tried to more-or-less hit the high spots from within the system. All of these men have the potential to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft this winter, while others are too far from being MLB-ready and have been left off of the list. Could the Yankees be preparing to package one-or-two of these players, or more, for a JA Happ of the Toronto Blue Jays or a Cole Hamels of the Texas Rangers? I think so but stay tuned to find out. Tick tock Mr. Cashman. Tick tock, indeed.

See the original post describing the Rule 5 potential draft picks and the trading deadline here:

Yankees Get JA Happ for Drury, McKInney

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a deal that would send left-handed starter JA Happ to the Bronx for third baseman Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney. Man, starting pitchers are expensive right now before the trading deadline. Drury, despite his struggles, has shown versatility and has three years of team control remaining and is being traded for a rental. I get the logistics of it, both players are expendable on the roster and both players have struggled with the team at the Major League level... but man.. for a rental?

Meet a Prospect Special Edition: Zach Britton

The New York Yankees not only bolstered their bullpen for the stretch and postseason run on Tuesday, but they also kept two of their biggest rivals in the American League from doing the same all in one big move acquiring Zach Britton from the Baltimore Orioles for three prospects. While many may have thought that giving up a trio of young pitchers up in the deal others would argue that the fact that the acquisition kept Britton out of the bullpen for the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros make the cost worth it. Will Britton, a true rental, be worth the cost of RHP Dillon Tate, RHP Cody Carroll and LHP Josh Rogers? Before we begin to even think about answering that question we first have to meet the man, so let’s do it. This is Meet a Prospect Special Edition: The Zach Britton Edition.

Zachary Grant Britton was born on December 22, 1987 in California and was raised as the youngest of three brothers in Santa Clarita, California. Britton attended Canyon High School before his family moved to Texas. It was in Texas where the left-hander attended Weatherford High School and played as an outfielder and a pitcher for the school’s team. While pitching there the Baltimore Orioles drafted him as a starting pitcher in the third round of the 2006 MLB First Year Player’s Draft, 86th overall. Britton had offer sheets for scholarships from Texas A&M University but ultimately decided to forego his commitment and begin his professional career with the Orioles immediately by accepting a $200,000 signing bonus.

Britton spent parts of the 2006 – 2010 seasons in the minor league system for the Orioles before finally getting a true shot with the club in 2011. Britton was sent down to Triple-A to start the 2011 season but an injury to starter Brian Matusz led the team to call up Britton to fill in for him. Britton spent time down in Triple-A later in the season, many wondered if it was because the Orioles were trying to manipulate his service time in order to gain an extra season of team control before he hit free agency but ended his season with 28 starts with the Orioles amassing a 4.61 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP and an 11-11 record.

Britton had to wait until July of 2012 before he could begin his sophomore season after heading to the disabled list with a left shoulder impingement. Britton suffered a bit of a sophomore slump in 2012 posting a 5.07 ERA in 12 games, 11 as a starter, with a 5-3 record. The Orioles optioned Britton back down to Triple-A to begin the 2013 season and would only pitch in eight games for the Orioles Major League club, seven of them starts, pitching to a 2-3 record in just 40 innings of work. The Orioles begun the process of converting Britton to a bullpen arm rather than a starter after another tough campaign for the young left-hander.

Britton made the Orioles Opening Day roster in 2014 as a relief pitcher and eventually as their closer where he converted 37 of 41 save opportunities while pitching to a 1.65 ERA. Britton would help the Orioles sweep the Detroit Tigers in the 2014 American League Division Series before losing in the American League Championship Series. After a strong 2014 season the Orioles and Britton agreed to a $3.2 million deal for the 2015 season thus avoiding an arbitration hearing. Britton rewarded the Orioles that season with 36 saves in 40 opportunities, a 1.92 ERA and his first MLB All-Star Game selection.

Britton once again avoided arbitration with the Orioles in 2016 after signing a one-year deal worth $6.75 million and once again earned a trip to the All-Star Game with Baltimore that season as well. Britton converted his first 33 saves to start the season setting a new MLB record for the most consecutives saves to start a season by a left-handed pitcher and matched the seventh longest stretch of all-time to start a season. Later that season Britton set the MLB record for the most consecutive relief appearances without allowing an earned run, 39 appearances at that point. Britton pitched in 43 straight appearances without giving up a run that season before allowing a run to the Washington Nationals on August 24. Britton pitched in 69 games that season and allowed just four runs all season, which equated to a 0.54 ERA. This mark broke the MLB record for the lowest single-season ERA by a pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched and helped the Orioles lefty convert all 47 of his save opportunities on the season.

In 2017 Britton saved his first game that season, a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, which gave him his 50th straight save dating back to October of the 2015 season. Britton would end up converting 55 straight saves to set an American League record before blowing a save on August 23rd against the Oakland Athletics. Britton would only make 38 appearances in 2018 due to spending time on the disabled list with left forearm tightness twice and would ultimately suffer a ruptured Achilles tendon after the season which kept him out of action for six months.

Elite Sports Network NY credit image

Britton would ultimately sign a one-year deal worth $12 million to avoid arbitration in his final season of eligibility before beginning the season on the 60-day DL due to the Achilles tendon. Britton made his debut off the disabled list on June 12 and notched his first save 11 days later on June 23. Now Britton, a left-handed closer that possesses a 99 MPH sinker, a four-seam fastball that sits around 96 MPH, and a curveball that ranges in the 82-83 MPH range, is a member of the New York Yankees after being acquired by the team late on Tuesday night.

Welcome to the organization Zach and welcome to the family… even if it is temporary!

Did the Yankees Miss an Opportunity w/ Nathan Eovaldi?

The Boston Red Sox have done thus far this trade season what the New York Yankees could not, they acquired a starting pitcher. In a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays the Boston Red Sox acquired RHP and former Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi for prospect Jalen Beeks, did the Yankees miss an opportunity to acquire the flame throwing right-hander?

I think every Yankees fan already knows what to expect out of Eovaldi, even after his second Tommy John surgery. Eovaldi has shown he can still reach back and touch 97MPH or faster with his fastball but has also shown a tendency to give up runs which is evident by his 4.26 ERA at the time of the trade. Eovaldi is sporting a 20.1 K/BB ratio, the best of his career, and has generated more swings and misses, 11.0%, than he ever has (a huge issue for him during his tenure as a Yankee), and in my opinion would have been a great upgrade over Luis Cessa, Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga and whomever the team decides to throw out there not named Justus Sheffield between now and October.

Beeks is a left-handed arm that has seen the MLB level here in 2018, although both appearances left much to be desired. Over 16 starts at Triple-A this season Beeks has pitched to a 2.89 ERA with a 12.1 K/9 ratio and a 2.6 BB/9 ratio over 87.1 innings at the time of the trade. Beeks was the Red Sox’ sixth-best prospect in their system, a thin system at that, due to his four-pitch mix. Beeks is projected to be a 4th or 5th starter at the Major League level by many scouts which makes you wonder if the Rays see something that the rest of the league doesn’t see in Beeks, or if New York couldn’t have matched or exceeded the cost to acquire Eovaldi.

Would the Rays have taken Chance Adams plus a lower-level minor league player to sweeten the pot for Eovaldi? Not likely, Adams has not had the type of season down in Triple-A that Beeks has had, but I truly believe the Rays would have been intrigued by one of Luis Medina, Freicer Perez, Matt Sauer, Domingo Acevedo, Clarke Schmidt or Trevor Stephan… and honestly, I would have traded any of them for Eovaldi, although I would prefer to hold onto Medina and Perez if at all possible.

Eovaldi would have been perfect for the Yankees given that the righty is a pure rental that is making just $2 million this season, plus incentives. Unless the Yankees and their GM Brian Cashman have something else in the works or up their sleeves to spend their remaining (estimated) $11.5 million they have to spend while still staying under the luxury tax threshold I think they absolutely missed out on a huge chance here.

It Might Happ-en Today...

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports (David Butler II)

Yankees at Home Seeking Reinforcements…

If you believe the rumors, the Toronto Blue Jays are closing to dealing free agent-to-be LHP J.A. Happ and the frontrunners are the New York Yankees and the pitching-starved Milwaukee Brewers. Until a deal is consummated, there is always the potential for a mystery team to strike and nab Happ at the eleventh hour.

I am not trying to prospect-hug, but the Yankees should not move any of their highest prospects or Clint Frazier for a two-month rental. It is said the Blue Jays like Brandon Drury. Great, I like Drury too and so does Baltimore Orioles GM Dan Duquette, but it doesn’t mean he should be included in a rental trade. 

As it stands, I am not interested in Happ if the cost is too high so I appreciate Brian Cashman’s commitment to retaining his best prospects. I do think Happ would be an upgrade for the starting rotation. A better option than Luis Cessa (despite some good starts recently), Domingo German or Jonathan Loaisiga.  So if the Yankees do make the trade, I’ll be supportive. If not, so be it. Happ is not the great savior that Justin Verlander turned out to be last year for the Houston Astros.    

Cole Hamels is available but the guy hasn’t pitched a quality start since mid-June. He also makes too much damn money for a team trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold, even if the Texas Rangers pitch in a few dollars. There is not really anything that appeals to me about Hamels other than once upon a team he was a part of a World Series championship but c’mon, he was 25 at the time. At 34, he is not exactly the same pitcher anymore and more times than not makes Sonny Gray’s stats look legendary. 

TGP’s Daniel Burch recently mentioned Zack Wheeler (4-6, 4.33 ERA) as a good target. When I first heard it, I was very skeptical. But the more I think about it and if the New York Mets are not willing to move Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, Wheeler actually makes some sense. Who knows, maybe Daniel likes Wheeler because he is from Georgia but Zack’s numbers are as good as those for Happ or Hamels. Plus, the righty is on the right side of 30 (28) as opposed to the other two.  In his last start this week against the San Diego Padres, Wheeler held the Padres to two runs on four hits over seven innings, picking up the win.  Granted, I’d get confused with names like Zach and Zack on the roster, but Wheeler represents more than a rental and his contract this year was only for $1.9 million (the prorated portion would fit easily into the Yankees budget and still allow room for another major acquisition). Wheeler enters his final year of arbitration eligibility for next year and will be a free agent after the 2019 season. I think Daniel may have been on to something when he called out Wheeler as a possibility. I know that I’d prefer him over Happ or Hamels if the price is right.

One potential name fell off the board yesterday morning when the Boston Red Sox acquired former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston has been plagued by injuries on the back half of their rotation so Nasty Nate fills a void for them.  In the post-season, Eovaldi can be flipped to the bullpen to provide Red Sox manager Alex Cora with another weapon. The cost was high (25 year old lefty Jalen Beeks). Beeks was winless in two starts for the Red Sox this year, but he has good 2018 minor league numbers (5-5, 2.89 ERA, 16 games started, 117 strikeouts in 87 1/3 innings). I think it was a solid move for the Rays but Eovaldi certainly makes the Red Sox pitching staff better. I do hate it when former Yankees end up in Boston. I still haven’t really forgiven David Cone or David Wells for putting on that uniform. 

As much as I like Brandon Drury, I would flip him to Baltimore for RHP Kevin Gausman, Greg Bird’s high school buddy. Gausman, 27, has been a Crown Prince of Underachievement since he was the fourth overall selection in the 2012 MLB Draft, but I like his potential.  If someone could unlock his talent, he has the potential to be a very good Major League starter. This year for the O’s, Gausman is 4-8 with 4.54 ERA in 20 starts. I heard a rumor (fake news) yesterday that the Colorado Rockies were going to send their top prospect (infielder Brendan Rogers) to the O’s for the Colorado native. Gausman doesn’t warrant that level of return. If Duquette can land Rogers, he’d be foolish not to send Gausman home to the Mile High City. Gausman is only making $5.6 million this year and won’t be a free agent until after the 2020 season. If Cash is able to package Drury with a couple of prospects, he should make the move to acquire Gausman before the Rockies can pounce on him.    

Today should bring more trade speculation and maybe another deal or two. Yesterday saw two pitchers changing their uniforms. We already talked about Eovaldi moving to Beantown, but the Tampa Bay Rays also sent another pitcher (Matt Andriese) to the Arizona Diamondbacks. I like the move for the D-Backs. The right-handed Andriese, 28, has the ability to start or relieve. 

Brian Cashman could have us all fooled and pulls an ace out of his sleeve before next Tuesday. But if not, he has good options without having to part with talent that represents our future to secure a middle-of-the-rotation arm. I am sure that sleep has been a very limited resource for Cash and his team this week while they work the phones and turn every stone. He has already brought us a great left-handed reliever for three Rule 5 eligible prospects who are easily replaceable in the Yankees farm system. No reason that Cashman’s run of good luck (or rather, judgment) should stop now. My only fear with Cashman right now is sleep deprivation. 

Every time I see a headline that says the Yankees are the frontrunners for this guy or that guy, it seems like the player’s team is just trolling to see if they can raise the price for others. When Cashman wants his guy, you generally do not hear about it until it happens. So, in the case of J.A. Happ, I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, I think he’ll be pitching in Milwaukee or Philadelphia or some other location this time next month.

Yesterday was not so great for the Yankees as they dropped yet another series to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees need to figure out how to drive home runners in scoring position and beat the poorer teams.  These narrow losses with high RISP are aggravating. The Yankees have lost their swagger and now look more like the team that stumbled out of the gate with a 9-9 mark. After their 3-2 loss yesterday, the Yankees are 5 ½ games behind the Red Sox in the AL East Standings. It could have been six if not for the rainout of Boston’s game. The Sox used dingers to build a 5-0 lead on the Orioles in the first two innings, only to see them wiped out for the postponement. When the game is made up, they’ll restart the scoreboard at 0-0.  Bummer, sucks for them. 

The Yankees will have a new teammate when they take the field today. The Yankees will need to make a roster move on the active roster to make way for LHP Zach Britton. No word (at least not what I’ve seen) on Britton’s new number although I expect third base coach Phil Nevin to relinquish his #53. No move on the 40-man roster is needed since Britton slid into the spot vacated when David Hale was released. Sounds like Britton had a tough time leaving Baltimore and he had a long talk with Orioles manager Buck Showalter following the news of his trade which lasted into the wee hours of Thursday morning. There’s always the potential for Britton to return to Baltimore in the off-season through free agency, but I am hopeful that he adapts to his new surroundings and teammates very quickly. The Yankees Clubhouse seems to be a very fun and close knit group and I see no reason why Britton cannot be a part of it.

Britton’s post on Twitter yesterday portrayed his high character: “Well, 12 years went by pretty fast. I remember my first day in the Orioles organization, wide eyed and anxious to pursue my childhood dream. Through Bluefield, Aberdeen, Delmarva, Frederick, Bowie, Norfolk and ultimately Baltimore. I’ve met people that forever impacted me as a player and a person. I’m sad to leave those memories behind but beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to be an Oriole for this long. Birdland – thank you for your support throughout my entire career, through the ups and downs you were always there. I SALUTE YOU!”

Britton’s road now leads him to the Bronx and new memories. Let’s help him close the door on Baltimore and begin his new journey in Pinstripes. I am sure when he pulls on his Pinstriped jersey today, he will experience the pride that goes with the history and tradition of Baseball’s most storied franchise. Welcome, Zach! We are glad you are here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Elsa)
The Yankees are back home today and begin a four-game set against the Kansas City Royals. Sonny Gray (7-7, 5.34 ERA) looks to build upon the positive vibes from his last start. For the Royals, they’ll start the only pitcher that I’ve ever heard of for this series (Jakob Junis, 5-10, 5.03 ERA). For the rest of the games, the Royals will throw out Brad Keller, Heath Fillmyer, and Burch Smith. In other words, who? The Yankees need to win these games. The Royals are a beatable team. I know the Yankees have struggled against teams with losing records this year but past performance does not have to equal future results (or so they say). Today is a new day, a day which needs a Yankees victory. Guys, please make it happen even if you don’t make it “Happ-en”. 

Go Yankees! 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals 7/26

The New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals will begin a four-game extended weekend set tonight in the Bronx with an interesting pitching matchup. The Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the mound looking to build on another impressive start last time out while the Royals will counter with potentially the future of their rotation in Jakob Junis. Let’s get to it here in the Bronx in what is not considered to be a must win, but a win that would certainly help propel the team back to the top of the American League East before the end of the season.

Gray has won in consecutive starts for the first time since being acquired by the Yankees in August of 2017 and both wins come after working on his mechanics with Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild. In those two starts that resulted in victories for the Yankees right-hander Gray has permitted just two earned runs with six hits and 14 strikeouts in 11.1 innings combined.

Junis will make just his second start since coming off the disabled list against the Yankees inside Yankee Stadium. In his first start fresh off the DL he allowed just one run in four innings of work against the Minnesota Twins before departing due to being on a limited pitch count by the team.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Enjoy the game, I am bored and greedy…let’s acquire another arm… and go Yankees!!

Hello… Phantom DL Gate

Good morning everyone and welcome back to the blog. Let’s put the final nail in this coffin and beat this dead horse one last time here on this beautiful Thursday morning. Gary Sanchez is injured. There are rules, regulations and processes put in place to keep a team from getting pissed off at a player for his lack of performance and simply placing him on the disabled list. Gary Sanchez may be lazy, or he may not be, but he is not on the disabled list because of it and he is not on the disabled list because of his lack of hustle on a passed ball and a ground ball that subsequently ended the game and gave the Yankees a loss earlier in the week. This is not Phantom DL Gate.

Also, I want to apologize for my lack of a presence on the blog. North Georgia had some major weather come through the area over the weekend that knocked out power in some places for five days due to rain, heavy wind and confirmed tornados. We were fortunate enough to not sustain any damage to our home, our vehicles or our families but some were not so lucky. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them with hopes and wishes of a speedy recovery.

And you, I love you and hope that you know that every single second of every single day.

This Day In New York Yankees History 7/26: Yankees Acquire Alfonso Soriano

Saying that the New York Yankees offense struggled in 2014 is probably the understatement of the year so New York needed a savior. On this day they got one when they acquired Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs for minor league relief pitcher Corey Black. The 37 year old came back to New York with come cash from Cubs after making his major league debut with the Yankees way back in 1999. The Yankees ultimately traded him to the Texas Rangers before the 2004 season for Alex Rodriguez. Soriano would go on a tear and almost brought the Yankees all the way back to the postseason before falling just short in late September.

Also on this day in 1961 the Yankees made some history with the home run ball but it had nothing to do with Roger Maris surprisingly. Instead it was the Yankees Johnny Blanchard as he hit his fourth consecutive home run over three games to set a new major league record. The backup catcher of the Yankees hit two home runs on this day to help New York beat the White Sox 5-2.

Also on this day in 1939 the Bronx Bombers earned their names by scoring in every inning to beat the St. Louis Browns 14-1. This is only the second time in franchise history that the Yankees have achieved this feat.

Finally on this day in 1933 Joe DiMaggio showed the Yankees brass that he was made for long hitting streaks. As a minor league player Joe D saw his 61 game hitting streak come to an end in a PCL game against the Oakland Oaks. DiMaggio played for the San Francisco Seals as a 19 year old when he set a new minor league record destroying the mark of 49 consecutive games with a hit set by Jack Ness in 1914.