Saturday, February 2, 2019

A Look At.......

Welp not much going on in Yankee Land right now. So I have decided to showcase a player that don’t get as much attention as others. He is on the Yanks top 30 prospects list, and are all in their teens :) The Man is Devi Garcia, currently assigned to Double A Trenton Thunder. Garcia is a RHP at Age: 19, listed at 5' 10" and 163 lb. Devi was signed: July 2, 2015, for $200,000. Though their international spending spree during the previous signing period meant they couldn't pay any more than $300,000 to anyone in 2015-16, the Yankees found a pair of potential impact arms in the Dominican Luis Medina and Garcia. Garcia is some what small but has a quick arm and possesses some of the best spin rates in the Yankees’s organization. He spent his first two pro seasons in three different Rookie leagues, logging a 2.99 ERA with 146 strikeouts in 108 1/3 innings. Garcia generates tremendous spin on his fastball and a devastating one with his curveball. The curve has good depth, generates plus grades on a regular basis and is most likely his best pitch. He works in the low 90s but can hit 96 mph with his heater which can ride at times. Garcia also throws a changeup that fades and should develop into an average to good third offering. If his size becomes an issue as a starter, and or he's not durable enough to stay in the rotation, his fastball/curveball combination could make him a dynamic reliever. Time will tell, hopefully he is one of the next wave of many baby bombers.   

Sorry for the Lack of Pictures lately fans the Blogger App has been having issues for a few weeks now, and I have not had access to my Laptop.  

Hey Google Fix Your App!!!!! 


No Harper? Fine, Then What About...?

I don't like talking about trading players because it always seems so unlikely. That's particularly true when I'm not talking about a trade candidate that teams would knock each other over for, like when I mentioned trading Miguel Andujar if the team were to sign Manny Machado. But if this idea were to happen, then somebody has to go.

Honestly, I'm not sure a position player would have to go, but it seems unlikely that the Yankees would go with only seven pitchers in the bullpen. That seems even more clear to me when I look at the bullpen and I don't see a good option for the long man out there.

Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton, Dellin Betances, Adam Ottavino, Chad Green, and Jonathan Holder are pretty much locks. But I wouldn't trust any of those pitchers to go more than two innings. Could they do it? Yeah... possibly. But if I'm Aaron Boone I'm not feeling good about asking any of them to do so. And unfortunately there are going to be times when you're starter gives you next to nothing, and you have to turn to your bullpen for long relief.

As things currently stand when it comes to a long reliever the best bet seems to be Luis Cessa.

Yeah... yeah... I can hear your groans from my couch. Cessa has thrown 151 innings in MLB with an ERA of 4.71. Last season, in 44 innings, Luis had an ERA of 5.24. To be blunt, whenever I saw Cessa come into a game I felt the Yankees chances of winning go way down. He could be described as the human "white flag".

A lot of talk lately has revolved around the Yankees signing a swingman. Guys like Gio Gonzalez, Francisco Liriano, James Shields, and Brett Anderson. Not one of those guys excites me in the least. Hell, I don't see why the Yankees shouldn't just go with Cessa over any of those four pitchers. Especially since those four would end up costing a lot more than Luis would (Cessa is not arbitration eligible until 2021).

So here's my idea... trade either Greg Bird or Luke Voit.

Neither of those guys is going to get the Yankees anyone that's going to make fans stand up and cheer over acquiring. But remember that I'm not talking about someone that's going to be leaned on to start 120+ games as a hitter, or start 24+ games as a starting pitcher. Chances are the guy Bird or Voit is traded for appears in no more than ten games.

Trade Greg or Luke for that swingman for the bullpen. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular, just someone that Yankees fans believe should be better than Luis Cessa. And frankly, I don't think that's asking much.

At this point you must be thinking "so the Yankees are left with just Bird or Voit for first base... yuck". And if I was done then you'd be absolutely right.

Before you roll your eyes thinking I'm going to once again whine about signing Bryce Harper I've got something else in mind. However, this is a guy that I've talked about before too. Not nearly as often, but this isn't the first time I've typed his name...

Marwin Gonzalez.

The Yankees haven't had a guy they could pencil into first base with confidence since Mark Teixeira, and I don't mean to say Gonzalez is that guy. After all, Marwin was merely solid as a hitter last year with a batting line of .247/.324/.409. Steamer projections have him hitting slightly better (.260/.327/.428), but it's still nothing that should make you pump your fist over.

But the fact Marwin wouldn't be a negative as a hitter makes his three best features stand out to me even more.

First, Gonzalez is extremely versatile. In 2018 not only did Marwin play 176 innings at first, but he also played 183.1 innings at second, 269.2 innings at shortstop, and 533 innings in left field. I will note that Marwin is not very good at short or second, but I only see him playing there every once in a while when Boone wants to squeeze another left-handed hitter or two into the lineup. But Gonzalez is a solid first baseman, and that's where he'd see most of his playing time (barring injuries).

Secondly, Gonzalez is a switch hitter, which would be a very welcome addition to the Yankees' righty-heavy lineup. Mind you, he's not going to hit like Bryce Harper as a lefty (or a righty for that matter), but he's a solid bat from that side of the plate. It would be nice if he could get closer to his 2017 numbers as a left-handed batter versus right-handed pitchers (.322/.394/.552), but as long as he doesn't get any worse I think we'd all be happy.

And lastly, Gonzalez is a very healthy guy. Last season he played in 145 games, in 2017 Marwin appeared in 134 games, and in 2016 it was 141 games. Injury history is hard to find (why is that?), but the only disabled list stint I could find for the guy was back in 2012 when he suffered a bruised heel in his right foot. That type of injury history makes me believe the Yankees could hold onto Greg Bird if they want, as they would likely be okay with his injury issues.

By the way, I vote to keep Bird. Not so much because I believe in him more than Voit, but the team could use another left-handed hitter on the roster.

I always like to take a final look at the lineup with a guy in it. I can't say for sure why, but seeing the whole picture always makes me feel better. So here goes...

Regular Starting Lineup
1. Hicks# CF
2. Judge RF
3. Andujar DH (I'm getting on the Miguel to DH train)
4. Stanton LF
5. Sanchez C
6. Torres SS
7. Gonzalez# 1B
8. Tulowitski 3B
9. LeMahieu 2B

Romine C
Gardner* OF
Bird* 1B

* - denotes left-handed hitter
# - denotes switch-hitter

For the record, I can't wait until Didi Gregorius returns. Not only to add a very good hitter to the lineup, but a very good left-handed hitter to the lineup.

It's Only A Number...

Shortage: Available Yankee Jersey Numbers…

The Yankees announced a few number assignments and reassignments yesterday so I thought I’d take the liberty of putting all the numbers together on one list.  

I thought it was interesting that Greg Bird’s number is shared with Billy Burns, a non-roster invitee, assuming the information on the Yankees website is correct. There are a few other duplications but Bird stood out the most. I don’t think it means anything but it is a message to Bird that he had better bring his “A” game to Spring Training if he intends to keep the number.  

Not that it is our concern but I worry about how many numbers will be available a hundred or two hundred years down the road. Personally, I think they should make it mandatory for coaches to wear numbers in the eighties to free up the lower numbers for players. Phil Nevin and I seem to be in agreement on this topic although his choice of numbers makes me think of Dallas Cowboys’ greats Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin (even though I am not a Cowboys fan).  

I am assuming 35 is out of circulation for Mike Mussina due to his recent induction into the MLB Hall of Fame. The number has been assigned out since Moose’s retirement, primarily held by Michael Pineda during his stay. I think Phil Nevin wore it last year after he gave up 53 to Zach Britton. But there are other retired numbers that were worn by subsequent players, like Graig Nettles with 9 or Chris Chambliss with 10, before they were taken out of circulation. A couple of other numbers are open but not in circulation (13 for Alex Rodriguez and 21 for Paul O’Neill). If, by chance, Manny Machado were to become a Yankee (unlikely), it would be interesting to see if A-Rod would consent to giving up his number. I think he would but the way the market is playing out, we may never know.  

Frankly, I am not a big fan of retired numbers. I think it becomes more of a popularity contest and numbers get retired for good, not great, players when retiring numbers should be reserved for those truly special once-in-a-lifetime players like Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig.

Adam Ottavino, LHP
Reggie Willits, First Base Coach
Billy Martin
Bernie Williams
Derek Jeter 
CC Sabathia, LHP
Babe Ruth 
Zach Britton, LHP
Lou Gehrig
Aroldis Chapman, LHP
Joe DiMaggio
Rex Brothers, LHP (NRI)
Joe Torre
Jonathan Holder, RHP
Mickey Mantle
Chad Green, RHP
Bill Dickey
Yogi Berra
Larry Rothschild, Pitching Coach
Roger Maris
Josh Bard, Bench Coach
Phil Rizzuto
Mike Harkey, Bullpen Coach
Brett Gardner, LF
Ben Heller, RHP
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Danny Coulombe, LHP (NRI)
Marcus Thames, Hitting Coach
Domingo German, RHP
P.J. Pilittere, Asst Hitting Coach
Tyler Wade, 2B/SS
Carlos Mendoza, QC Coach/Infield Instructor
Thurman Munson
James Paxton, LHP
Whitey Ford
Kyle Higashioka, C
Aaron Boone, Manager
Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP
Didi Gregorius, SS
Dellin Betances, RHP
Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
No Comment
Jorge Posada
Giovanny Urshela, 3B (NRI)
Stephen Tarpley, LHP
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Kyle Holder, SS (NRI)
Don Mattingly
Gary Sanchez, C
Joe Harvey, RHP
Gleyber Torres, 2B
David Hale, RHP (NRI)
DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Nestor Cortes, Jr, LHP (NRI)
Giancarlo Stanton, DH/OF
Clint Frazier, LF
Austin Romine, C
Kellin Deglan, C (NRI)
Francisco Diaz, C (NRI)
Ryan Lavarnway, C (NRI)
Jorge Saez, C (NRI)
Aaron Hicks, CF
Elston Howard
Greg Bird, 1B
Billy Burns, OF (NRI)
J.A. Happ, LHP
Brady Lail, RHP (NRI)
Luis Cessa, RHP
Danny Farquhar, RHP (NRI)
Domingo Acevedo, RHP
Casey Stengel
Albert Abreu, RHP
Phil Nevin, Third Base Coach
Drew Hutchison, RHP (NRI)
Luis Severino, RHP
Thairo Estrada, 2B/SS
Miguel Andujar, 3B
Cale Coshow, LHP (NRI)
Jackie Robinson
Mariano Rivera
Estevan Florial, CF (NRI)
Chance Adams, RHP
Michael King, RHP (NRI)
Reggie Jackson
Trey Amburgey, OF (NRI)
Luke Voit, 1B
Mike Ford, 1B (NRI)
Andy Pettitte
Matt Lipka, OF (NRI)
Jordan Montgomery, LHP
Tommy Kahnle, RHP
Raynel Espinal, RHP (NRI)
Ron Guidry
Aaron Judge, RF

Bold/Italicized = Retired Numbers
NRI = Non-Roster Invitee

The Boston Red Sox seem to be scavenger hunting for bullpen help. In the last couple of days, they’ve added RHP Brian Ellington and LHP Dan Runzler. Who? Exactly…

The ping pong match between the Chicago Cubs and White Sox with former Yankees prospect LHP Ian Clarkin has finally come to an end. One team would place the player on waivers and the other would claim him. It started when the White Sox placed him on waivers this off-season, claimed by the Cubs, waivers and claimed by the White Sox, waivers and reclaimed by the Cubs. He was placed on waivers again by the Cubs but went unclaimed and was sent outright yesterday to Triple A Iowa. I’ve always liked Clarkin and hope he can find success in Chicago (one park or the other). I would love to see Clarkin back in the Yankees organization but not at the expense of a 40-man roster spot.

It is Groundhog’s Day but this is one day that I’d never want to repeat. This off-season has been brutal and I would not want to extend it one more day. February 13th, when pitchers and catchers report, cannot get here fast enough. The first workout for the pitchers and catchers will be Valentine’s Day, while the position players must show up by Monday, February 18th. Full squad workout the next day, and then the first exhibition game on Saturday, February 23rd when the Yankees travel to Fort Myers, FL to play the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park. 

I am so ready to talk about the players on the field and not the hypotheticals about certain 26-year-old free agent superstars. Soon, very soon…

As always, Go Yankees!