Saturday, February 16, 2019

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Anthony Seigler

Obviously, on most teams anyway, you won’t have more than two-or-three catchers on their 40-man roster, which makes things difficult when you are trying to meet all the Yankees here in 2019. We have already met or got reacquainted with Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine, and Kyle Higashioka, but I also want to introduce the Yankees first round draft pick, a catcher, from the 2018 MLB First Year Players Draft, and a man that was one of the first Yankees players to arrive at Yankees Spring Training camp this season, Mr. Anthony Seigler.

Anthony Seigler was born on June 20, 1999 in Cartersville, GA (which is about an hour away from where I currently live in Metro-Atlanta, GA). Seigler is a switching hitting, AND switch throwing, catcher in the New York Yankees organization.

image credit Pinstripes Prospects

As a senior at Carterville High School, Seigler posted a 1.09 ERA in 25 innings pitched while also batting .421 with 14 home runs as a catcher. Seigler committed to signing with the University of Florida, but ultimately the New York Yankees came calling 23rd overall in the first round of the 2018 MLB First Year Players Draft. Seigler quickly signed with the Yankees $2,815,900 and began his professional career with the GCL Yankees. After spending just 12 games in the Gulf Coast League, the Yankees promoted Seigler to the Pulaski Yankees. In 24 games combined between the two organizations, Seigler hit a combined .266 with one home run and nine RBI.

image credit Pinstripes Prospects

Seigler is still a good number of years away from the Major League level, but in my opinion that doesn’t make him any less exciting for the organization. Seigler has one of those addictive personalities, from what I can tell in various interviews and such since being drafted and has an incredible will to do well with the ball club, and that in itself is enough to make me a fan. We look forward to watching you progress and grow here in 2019, and we look forward to what the future may hold for you with the organization as well. Good luck in all of your endeavors.

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Chad Green

I have to admit, when the New York Yankees acquired Luis Cessa and the right-arm we are about to meet, Chad Green, in a trade with the Detroit Tigers for Justin Wilson, I was confused. I had never heard of either of them, and truth be told, neither of them seemed all that special. Three years later, and plenty of egg on my face and crow in my belly, Green is one of the key factors of the Yankees bullpen. Let’s get reacquainted with him. Meet the 2019 Yankees and meet Chad Green.

Chad Green, 27-years old, is a right-handed relief pitcher for the New York Yankees that was once used exclusively as a starter with the Detroit Tigers organization. For that reason, Green possesses a 97 MPH four-seam fastball, an 88 MPH slider, an 88 MPH splitter and a 88 MPH changeup making it hard for opposing batters to know which direction the ball will go once it leaves his hand.

Chad Keith Green was born on May 24, 1991 in Greenville, South Carolina to Howard and Sheena Green, along with a twin brother Chase Green. Green attended Effingham High School in Effingham, Illinois where he was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 37th round of the 2010 MLB First Year Players Draft. Green did not sign, and instead the right-handed attended the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Green pitched well for Louisville, leaving the school with the team’s best ERA in their history at 2.38, catching the eye of the Detroit Tigers along the way who selected Green in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Green signed with Detroit and would immediately begin his professional career with the GCL Tigers. By December of 2015 the Tigers sent Green and teammate Luis Cessa to the New York Yankees in exchange for left-handed relief pitcher Justin Wilson. Green was assigned to Triple-A to begin the 2016 season but was quickly called up to start in the Yankees starting rotation. Injuries led to Green being added to the 15-day disabled list after just four starts and saw his 2016 season at the Major League level limited to 42.2 innings pitched.

Green was used primarily as a reliever during the 2017 season and saw his career truly take off within the Yankees bullpen. Green was a dominant force for Joe Girardi and the Yankees in 2017, finishing the season with a 5-0 record and a 1.83 ERA with 103 strikeouts in just 69 innings pitched. Green helped the Yankees get within one game of the 2017 World Series and continued to pitch well for the 2018 Yankees, becoming an integral go-to man for new manager Aaron Boone. Green will be another familiar face anywhere from the 5th inning to the 9th inning for Boone and the Yankees here in 2019, and I look forward to every pitch that he throws.

Dismissing Arbitration, Everybody Wins...

Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky-Associated Press
Severino Signs 4-Year Extension w/One-Year Club Option…

It took until the final day of MLB arbitration hearings and the day Luis Severino was scheduled to debate his worth in front of a mediator but the Yankees did the right thing securing a four-year extension and club option for a fifth year with the very talented right-hander. The money reportedly is $40 million with the potential  for $12.25 million more if the club exercises the option.  

    • 2019: $4 million plus $2 million signing bonus for $6 million total
    • 2020: $10 million
    • 2021: $10.25 million
    • 2022: $11 million
    • 2023: $15 million if option exercised by club or $2.75 million buyout

I feel it is a very good deal for the Yankees and it provides certainty and financial security for Severino and his family even if he could have gotten more by going to arbitration every off-season until his free agent year. While many defend the arbitration process, I view it as the unfortunate opportunity to sit in a room while your employer basically tells you, “You suck!”. Not literally, but the employer is trying to show why the player is not worth the amount of money he is requesting so negatives are embellished to help build their case for the lower club-offered salary.  

Cleveland Indians Trevor Bauer won his arbitration case earlier in the week but he described it as a “character assassination”. It seems to me the negativity stemming from the arbitration hearing will have residual impact on the player. I’ve heard people say they (the players) get over it. Maybe some do but we’re all human and it probably affects everyone differently. It’s hard not to forget criticism (justified or not). Regardless of how Sevy may have dealt with it, I am glad that he didn’t get to that point. He’s young and he is the team’s ace. We need to do everything possible to build him up, not tear him down. The extension buys peace of mind for Sevy and that’s invaluable.  

Photo Credit: Bryan Hoch via Instagram

The urgency now moves to the primary three pending free agents: Aaron Hicks, Dellin Betances, and Didi Gregorius. I don’t really want to lose any of these guys.  I’d prefer to see the Yankees lock them up on extensions before they ever hit the open market. That’s probably wishful thinking on my part but I am hopeful. With Hicks, I’d probably feel better if Estevan Florial was closer to The Show but he’s still a couple of seasons away so the Yankees cannot afford to lose their current starting centerfielder. The Yankees obviously have other elite arms in the bullpen but losing Betances would still hurt. Didi, to me, is part of the heart of this team with the talent to match. He’s my shortstop and I want it to stay that way. Sorry Tulo.  

Photo Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

CC Sabathia will be holding a press conference today to formally announce his retirement at the end of the season. I guess I hadn’t really thought about it until someone mentioned it recently but CC is a Hall of Famer. In my mind, with no offense and regardless of whether or not you agree, he is a better pitcher than recently selected HOF-er Mike Mussina. Entering the year, he is 246-153 in 538 starts covering 3,470 innings. His K/9 is 7.67 and BB/9 is 2.75.  His career ERA is 3.70 with 67.8 WAR per FanGraphs. He currently sits at 2,986 strikeouts so he’ll notch a very significant milestone early in the season. His number 52 should be retired with a plaque in Monument Park when his playing days are finished. I am hopeful the Yankees find a way to keep Sabathia part of the organization when he hangs up his jersey. He’s been a great Yankee. It would be incredible for him to begin AND end his Yankees career with World Series championships. For his sake (and ours too), I hope it happens.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Congratulations to Dellin Betances and his wife, Janisa, on the birth of their son, Dellin Jr, this week (Wednesday). “With their first pick of the 2037 MLB Draft, the New York Yankees select…” The boy is certainly getting tremendous genes to start his life’s journey. Dellin is scheduled to arrive in Camp on Monday for the team’s first full team workout.  

Susan Slusser, a long-time and very respected beat writer for the Oakland A’s, caused a stir on Twitter yesterday when she reported that Chien-Ming Wang had a minor leg strain and would not be throwing today. After an avalanche of ‘what?’ from many people, Slusser acknowledged that she meant Wei-Chung Wang, a non-roster invitee in camp for the A’s. The 38-year-old former Yankee is not attempting a comeback, to the best of my knowledge, but it was funny to see his name in strong circulation yesterday. Wang was featured in a 2018 documentary called Late Life: The Chien-Ming Wang Story. I know I’ve never been a fan of pitchers hitting since Wang suffered the torn Lisfranc ligament in his right foot while running the bases against the Houston Astros during the 2008 season. I’ve always wondered what could have been if Wang had not suffered that freak injury.  

I love the story of Yankees hopeful Danny Farquhar. While I do not currently see a spot in the Yankees bullpen for Farquhar, it’s easy to root for a guy who had a life-threatening brain hemorrhage last summer yet has battled his way back to Major League Camp with Baseball’s greatest team. He is very appreciative of the opportunity with the Yankees and it shows. Barring injuries, it seems most likely that he’ll go to Triple A for depth or open eyes for another MLB team. Regardless of what happens, I wish him the best for much success in his journey back to the Major Leagues.  

Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg-The New York Post

The first exhibition game is a week from today. While the sights and sounds of the practice fields around Steinbrenner Field have been great, I am ready to see the guys playing some actual baseball. Of course, the starters will be guys like Matt Lipka but it will be fun to see the Yankees on the field against the hated Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, FL. Hopefully this is the year the Yankees end the Red Sox season prematurely.

Steinbrenner Field will be buzzing tomorrow with the formal arrival of position players in camp. Up to this point, the players in Tampa have had to work out at the minor league facilities so it will be good to see everybody together again. Nothing like an Aaron Judge smile to brighten the World. On a side note, it was so awesome yesterday to see Gleyber Torres greeting pitchers and catchers after the completion of their workouts. I am so excited to see what the new season has in store for Gleyber. Whether he is at second base or shortstop, he’s such a vital cog to the success of this team. He truly embodies the spirit of “there is no ‘I’ in team” and is becoming one of its leaders despite his youth.  

As always, Go Yankees!

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka

You want to know what a good thing is for the Yankees, but potentially a terrifying thing is for the rest of the American League? Give up? It is the fact that a guy like Masahiro Tanaka, with his skillset, could be technically a third starter for this Yankees team here in 2019. While Tanaka’s stuff and talent doesn’t suggest that he is a third starter, it is likely that Luis Severino will start on Opening Day and will be followed by James Paxton. That’s what I like to call an embarrassment of riches, and yet some Yankees “fans” are still screaming that the team needs more pitching. I don’t get it, but while I try to figure that out let’s meet the Yankees import from Japan, Mr. Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka, 30-yeard old, is a right-handed starter that the Yankees signed out of Japan back in 2013. What drew the Yankees, and almost every other team in the league, to Tanaka was his ability to throw and command his 84 MPH slider, his 87 MPH splitter, his 92 MPH four-seam fastball, his 90 MPH cutter and a sinker (91 MPH) and a curve (77 MPH) that he throws rarely. Tanaka uses his splitter to strike out opposing batters while his cutter, which has a natural rise to it, has also garnered more swings and misses the more that Tanaka uses it. Tanaka is prone to the home run ball, especially inside Yankee Stadium, and a good amount of those home runs come off of his slider, which lacks two-plane movement.

Masahiro Tanaka was born on November 1, 1988 in Itami, Japan where he began his baseball career way back in the first grade. Tanaka started out as a catcher for the Koyanosato Tigers, essentially a Little League team, and did not start pitching until he attended Itami Municipal Matsuzaki Junior High School. Tanaka would go on to pitch for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan and would quickly become one of the better pitchers in all of the league. Tanaka dominated Japanese League batters through the 2013 season, which included a perfect 24-0 record with a 1.27 ERA, before being posted by the Golden Eagles.

The New York Yankees, not without stiff competition after the new posting system was agreed to by Japan and MLB, eventually signed Tanaka to a seven-year deal worth $155 million, included in the deal was an opt-out clause after the fourth season and a full no-trade clause. Tanaka made his MLB debut against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 4, 2014 and promptly gave up a home run to the first batter he saw, ex-Yankees player Melky Cabrera. Tanaka would get the win in his debut and would pitch well for the Yankees until August of that season. In August, Tanaka was added to the 15-day disabled list with a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, a diagnosis that would normally be followed up with Tommy John surgery. Instead, on the recommendations of many doctors including Yankees team doctor Dr. Chris Ahmad, Tanaka instead opted for a PRP shot on the ligament. Tanaka, an All-Star in 2014 as a reserve, rested his elbow for six weeks instead of having Tommy John surgery and was able to return on September 21 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tanaka was given the nod as the Opening Day starter for the Yankees in 2015 after winning 13 games in 2014 as a rookie. Tanaka had a pair of trips to the disabled list in 2015, leading many to wonder if he should have opted for the Tommy John surgery the year prior, but eventually he put it all together and was chosen to start for the Yankees in the 2015 American League Wild Card Game. Tanaka and the Yankees would see their season end in this game at the hands of the Houston Astros in a 3-0 loss. Tanaka was once again named the Yankees Opening Day starter in 2016 and would go a long way in silencing the doubters about the health of his right ulnar collateral ligament. Tanaka was able to avoid the disabled list altogether in 2016 and finished the season with a 14-4 record and 199.2 innings pitched. Tanaka, fresh off a dominant spring, earned his third consecutive Opening Day nod for the Yankees in 2017. Tanaka struggled for much of the 2017 season, once again leading the doubters to believe that an ulnar collateral ligament surgery would have been the best thing for the Japanese-born right-hander, but then came the 2017 postseason. Tanaka pitched well during the 2017 playoffs for the Yankees, even beating Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros, thus giving the Yankees a 3-2 series lead. The Yankees would not win another game during that series, falling just one game short of a World Series.

Tanaka had an opt-out clause written into his contract that would have allowed him to opt out of the final three years with the Yankees, but instead he decided to stay with New York for the remaining three years and $67 million that was left on his deal. Tanaka would lose his Opening Day starts streak in 2018 to Luis Severino, but pitched well regardless in 2018, avoiding the disabled list with any arm and elbow related injuries.

Tanaka also pitched for Team Japan in the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics, while also pitching for the national team in the 2008 Olympics, held in Beijing, China. Now, Tanaka will look to lead the Yankees back to the Promised Land here in 2019 with his first World Series appearance and title. We’re rooting for you. Tank!

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for February 16th, 2019

Good morning Yankees family. It's the weekend, and we made it. As my five year old would say, "It's the weekend, yikes!!" Enjoy it, the weekends go by way too fast. How about some trivia and facts to start your day?

The New York Yankees visited the campus of Virginia Tech University on March 18, 2008 to honor the victims of the mass shooting at the university and to play an exhibition game against their baseball team. Because, Evil Empire.

And a special good morning to my amazing wife, Kari. I'm sorry you had to go to work this morning, but tax season has arrived. Hopefully it goes by quick for you babe, I love you.