Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yankees Release Ben Francisco

This goes to show you just how far and how fast Ben Francisco fell out of grace in a New York Yankees uniform. The Yankees designated him for assignment last week and Ben, unsurprisingly, cleared waivers today. The Yankees had the option to send Ben to AAA but decided to outright release him. Ben Francisco is now a free agent and will probably latch on with the Baltimore Orioles and wreak havoc over us for the rest of the season.

A Rod To Be Suspended For Link To Biogenesis

Major League Baseball has announced that they are prepared to suspend Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and others for their connections to the Biogenesis Lab down in Miami owned by Anthony Bosch. As many as 20 players could be suspended by the MLB with Anthony Bosch's help and cooperation into the matter. Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Jhonny Peralta, Nelson Cruz, Francisco Cervelli, and Bartolo Colon may also be suspended.

Game Thread CLE @ NYY 6/4

The Yankees look to start a winning streak tonight with their second straight win against the Cleveland Indians and Scott Kazmir. The Yankees will send David Phelps to the mound look to rebound from his worst start of his career tonight on YES and on MLB Network.

Here is the Yankees lineup

1. Ichiro Suzuki CF
2. Jayson Nix SS
3. Mark Teixeira 1B
4. Robinson Cano DH
5. Vernon Wells LF
6. Kevin Youkilis 3B
7. David Adams 2B
8. Lyle Overbay RF
9. Chris Stewart C

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes to chat with us during the game and keep up with the Yankees all season long. 

Cleveland Indians @ New York Yankees 6/4

The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians continue their series tonight at Yankees Stadium tonight with the Yankees sending David Phelps to the mound to face off with Scott Kazmir. Phelps is coming off the worst start of his young major league career after only recording one out and allowing five runs against the Mets. The game will be televised at 7:05 pm ET on YES, MLB Network, and MLB TV.

Eduardo Nunez Suffers Setback

I'm not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand I'm not a big Jayson Nix fan, so it would be nice to have Nunez back. But on the other hand Nunez was only hitting .200/.290/.275 in 27 games this season, and is a .261/.313/.367 in his career, so it's not like he'd be much of an improvement. 

Doug Melvin Says The Brewers Are Thinking About The Future

Milwaukee Brewers General Manager, Doug Melvin, had the following to say to Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel...
"If we make any more trades this year, it's going to be for two or three years from now instead of now. 
I'm not going to be trading any young players to win games."
Although Melvin didn't make it sound like the Brewers were just going to sit back and allow the Cardinals or Reds to run away with the National League Central division, it is clear that the Brew Crew are open to trades that can help the team in 2015 and beyond.

"Unlike last time, when we rebuild this time we're going to win."

Therefore Jean Segura, who is currently hitting .344/.382/.541 and is under team control through 2018 (arbitration eligible after 2015), is not available. Carlos Gomez, who is signed through 2016 and batting .323/.367/.577, is also most likely off the table. Although Ryan Braun is signed through 2020, his contract does get expensive starting in 2016 (it'll jump from $12 million in 2015 to $19 million in 2016), so he may be available for the right price. Although by "right price", that means he'd cost a ton.

But there are other Brewers that could pique the interest of teams looking to improve while making a run at the postseason and more this season. Players like Yovani Gallardo, Aramis Ramirez, Rickie Weeks, John Axford, and so on. I've heard some Yankees fans talk about Axford, as he could be brought in as the heir to Mo after saving 105 games between 2010 and 2012, but I'm not sure about that. He's having a rough 2013, as he's seen a drop in velocity (96.1 mph in 2012 to 94.9 mph in 2013), drop in strikeout rate (12.1 K/9 in 2012  to 9.9 K/9 in 2013), and big jump in home runs given up (1.3 HR/9 in 2012 to 2.2 HR/9 in 2013). And Milwaukee isn't even using him in their closer-by-committee while Jim Henderson is on the DL.

I might as well point out that the Yankees do not need Gallardo (full rotation, along with Pineda coming back), Weeks (Cano), or Ramirez (Youkilis/Adams). But one player on the Brewers that catches my eye is Corey Hart.

I first wrote about the Yankees trading for Hart back in January, as his power would be a welcome addition to the team. And that was before Curtis Granderson went down with a broken arm in his first Spring Training plate appearance, leaving the team with very little power in the outfield. In fact, the Yankees outfielders currently have hit 22 home runs, which is 21st in MLB. And that's with Vernon Wells blowing away expectations and having 10 home runs so far this season.

Of course, the team just got back Mark Teixeira, who has some pop in his bat (see last night's grand slam for evidence). But it's not like Lyle Overbay is a slap hitter, as he's hit 8 homers this season. David Adams showed a bit of power in the absence of Kevin Youkilis.

What I'm saying is, that even when the team is healthy (and seeing how things are going, they may not ever get healthy this season), they are still going to be missing the 45 combined home runs that left with Russell Martin and Nick Swisher during the offseason. That's where Hart could fit in.

"He said 'when the team is healthy'"

Although it's no guarantee that Corey will come back from knee surgery and be the hitter he was before (between 2010 and 2012 he hit .279/.343/.514 while averaging 29 home runs a season), I think it's worth the risk for a few reasons.

  1. Grady Sizemore had microfracture surgery on his left knee in June of 2010, and has not had any more issues with that knee since. Others in professional sports, such as Jason Kidd and Steve Yzerman, have also come back from microfracture surgery.
  2. Due to Hart coming off of surgery, and 2013 being his last season under contract, he shouldn't cost much. 
  3. Since Doug Melvin is looking for players that could contribute in 2-3 years, the Yankees would be a fine fit as most of their good prospects are 2-3 years away from being MLB-ready.
I was originally thinking Hart could fill the role currently held by Lyle Overbay (outfielder/first baseman), but I could see a bit of a log-jam when Granderson returns from his second broken bone, seeing as how the outfield would have Curtis, Brett Gardner, Vernon Wells, and Ichiro Suzuki in it already. But Hart could get some playing time when Teixeira either DHs or gets a full day off, thus opening up an OF spot then. 

But having too many hitters is not much of a problem. No, a problem would be not having enough of them. And if Hart could be had relatively cheaply, then sitting him every once in a while (particularly against right-handed pitchers, who he doesn't hit as well as lefties) would not be a huge deal. 

How long did it take you to realize that I wasn't talking about the "I Wear My Sunglasses At Night" guy?

I'd love to hear what you think, whether that was here or in our forums.

Michael Pineda To Begin Minor League Rehab

The only problem that Michael Pineda has had during his rehab from shoulder surgery was a split fingernail that he suffered last week. After a 65-pitch extended Spring Training start yesterday, in which he came through just fine, that's really not a problem anymore.

According to Dan Martin and Brian Lewis of the NY Post, Pineda will begin his 30-day minor league rehab assignment in high-A Tampa on Saturday. Brian Cashman said the team plans on using all 30 days before deciding whether to insert Michael into the big league rotation, or use an option to send him to AAA to get a little more work. Keep in mind that, if the team uses an option, they would delay his free agency by a year. Although the Yankees are never one to try and pinch pennies, this may be the best thing to do as the rotation is currently doing a fine job.

Game 58 Lineup: Indians vs. Yankees

Here's game two of this three game set! And here is your lineup!

Ichiro Suzuki CF
Jayson Nix SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano DH
Vernon Wells LF
Kevin Youkilis 3B
David Adams 2B
Lyle Overbay RF
Chris Stewart C

David Phelps RHP

Some Tweets to get you informed and bring up some conversations.




Finding Gems Late In The MLB Draft

With the MLB First Year Players Draft being held this week June 6th - June 8th the Yankees will once again look to find some gems  for cheap in the later rounds of the draft. The Yankees have made a killing, which we will highlight here, finding absolute gems in the later rounds of the MLB draft. Granted we haven't drafted a Albert Pujols type but who has besides the St. Louis Cardinals, you know? Let's hit the high spots of the gems in the rough that the Yankees have found in recent drafts.

This is more of a prospect hugging homer type beginning but the Yankees originally drafted outfielder Chris Dickerson back in the 2000 draft in the 32nd round. Dickerson did not sign but it makes you think what could have been (and what should be for that matter) had he signed and we had an extended look at him in our minor league system.

Phillip Humber was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the 29th round of the 2001 draft. This was all obviously before his perfect game with the Chicago White Sox, not that he has done much since. Still worth noting that the Yankees originally drafted a guy who has thrown a perfect game.

Tyler Clippard was drafted by the Yankees in the 9th round of the 2003 draft and quickly became the Yankees #1 prospect before Phil Hughes came along. Not given his fair shot in the majors until he made a name for himself in the Washington Nationals bullpen but has had quite the career since being traded for some guy named Jonathan Albaladejo. The Yankees also drafted David Purcey, Jeff Karstens, Daniel Bard, and Daniel McCutchen in this draft. Obviously Bard and Purcey did not sign but Karstens and McCutchen all had careers in the major leagues before falling victim to pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates and basically ending their careers.

Austin Jackson was taken in the 8th round of the 2005 draft and has become one of the best center fielders and lead off men in the game. Granted the Yankees also took Brett Gardner earlier in this draft but still I think I would rather have A Jax at this point in their careers. Another notable Yankees draft pick in this draft was Doug Fister in the 6th round before making his career in Detroit with the Tigers.

David Robertson was taken in the 17th round of the 2006 draft out of Alabama and has made a name for himself as the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera's closing job when he hangs up his cleats after 2013. Other notable picks in this draft were Daniel McCutchen (again), Zach McCallister who has pitched well in Cleveland, and Dellin Betances and Mark Melancon who once were considered to be big time Yankees prospects.

Pat Venditte, the ambidextrous pitcher we have stashed in AAA, was drafted in the 45th round of the 2007 draft. While Pat has not made the majors yet he has still drawn some attention to himself and the Yankees for throwing from both sides of the rubber and I thought that was worth mentioning. Most 45th round picks do not even make it for AAA so there is always that. The Yankees also got current minor league hitting coach Eric Thames in the 39th round in this draft as well as Nationals closer Drew Storen in the 34th round. Astros 3B Brandon Laird was drafted in the 27th round of this draft and current catcher Austin Romine in the second round.

David Phelps signed with the Yankees in 2008 after being drafted in the 14th round of the draft and that signing has worked out pretty well for the Yankees in the last two seasons. David Adams is the current Yankees 3B and has done nothing but impress since coming up and was drafted as well in this draft in the 3rd round.

The 2010 draft brought the Yankees a couple interesting pieces as we saw the Yankees grab current bullpen guy Preston Claiborne in the 17th round and current top prospect Tyler Austin in the 13th round.

The Yankees may have three picks in the first round in this years draft but it is the later rounds where it seems like Brian Cashman and crew really do their best work. Granted all of these were pre-draft slot recommendations and we could highly overpay high school players out of their commitment to colleges but still. The Yankees have shown that they and their scouts and recognize talent when a lot of teams obviously did not see it and they have really benefited from it. I do not expect this season to be any different and I may not know many of the names picked on day two or day three of the draft this week but I have a sneaking suspicion that in two or three seasons I probably will.

Swisher Missed Badly

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

What kind of player do the Yankees need the most right now? A switch hitting, patient and versatile outfielder who can backup first base would be a really good answer to that question. Didn't the Yankees used to have somebody like that for the last four seasons?

It was quite fitting that as Nick Swisher returned to the Bronx last night for the first as a Cleveland Indian the Yankees were experimenting with Lyle Overbay in right field.  Swisher signed a four-year contract worth $56 million with Cleveland this past winter, and he was one of the first casualties of the Yankees $189 million budget plan. The Yankees valued saving money over production in not bringing back Swisher and have paid for that decision in a big way this season.

The Yankees move to put Overbay in right field last night was a desperate attempt to get an average bat in the lineup. While Overbay performed as well as the Yankees could have hoped for with Mark Teixeira on the DL, he is not exactly lighting the world on fire this season with a slash line of .249/.294/.459/.752.

A lot of that has to do with his performance against lefties, but still Overbay is not the kind of bat the Yankees would have to go to this kind of lengths to get into the lineup in recent years. However, with the loss of Swisher, Ichiro Suzuki looking finished, and Vernon Wells regressing, it is hard to blame the Yankees for giving it a shot. Of course, if Swisher were still around it would not be an issue.

If the Yankees had adequately replaced Swisher his loss might not have been felt as hard as it has been this season. Giving a two-year contract to Suzuki was a disaster and it was mostly likely done for marketing reasons, as upper management thought Suzuki had a shot to get to 3,000 hits in a Yankees uniform. They willing took a lesser player in right field because of monetary reasons and are paying for it, which is something that would have been hard to imagine a few years ago with the Yankees. The same can be said for catcher as well, as Russell Martin is enjoying a very nice season in Pittsburgh.

Swisher was a model of consistency for the Yankees in his four years in the Bronx. He had an OPS+ ranging from 120 to 129 in all four years and wouldn't you know he is at 127 this year, which would rank second on the Yankees this season. Before Mark Teixeira returned last week the Yankees had not had an at-bat by a switch hitter all season. They often have had to run a bunch of lefties stacked in the lineup on most nights because they have  had no righties to balance their lineup out. Also, even with Teixeira and Youkilis back, their lineup only runs about six deep with black holes in right field, shortstop and catcher. The Yankees have always been known for having a balanced and circular lineup, which certainly has not been the case this season, and a lot of that is because of Swisher’s absence.

Swisher is a great example of fans not being able to appreciate a player until he is gone. The same way fans used to complain about how the Yankees scored runs, even though they had one of the best offenses in MLB. Obviously, Swisher’s postseason struggles were well documented, but how much will that matter if the Yankees do not even make it there this season? He loved being a Yankee and had a very positive influence on the clubhouse, which was evident in the joy he showed in his return last night.

“It’s super exciting to be back here a couple of days,” Swisher told Howie Kussoy of the New York Post. “Just that atmosphere, that was a great thing to be a part of. Just being part of the whole tradition, obviously winning the World Series in ’09 was pretty cool. I think the mystique of being a Yankee was so great and something I was so proud to be a part of.”

The Yankees only rank 11th in the AL in runs, 10th in OPS, 11th in wOBA, and 13th in wRC+ as a team. Obviously, a lot of that has to do with injuries, but also willing playing lesser players for financial reasons at catcher and right field is a huge reason as well. Yankees right fielders this year have a -.5 WAR, .116 ISO, .262 wOBA and 70 wRC+, which is simply pathetic. As, the Yankees try to experiment a career first baseman in right field they can look across the field the next two nights and wonder what if.

MLB Announced All Star Game Voting Thus Far

Major Leauge Baseball has announced their first set of updates in the All Star Game voting and Robinson Cano leads all second basemen in baseball. Cano has the second most votes behind only the Tigers Miguel Cabrera. Derek Jeter is also fifth among all short stops in baseball although he is obviously not going to be playing in the game. Kevin Youkilis is fifth among third basemen in the league although I cannot see him making the team either. Ichiro is ranked 15th in the outfield and is the highest rank Yankees outfielder.

Morning Bits

Good morning everyone! The Yankees finally shook themselves out of their offensive doldrums last night and defeated the Indians 7-4.  Mark Teixeira hit a grand slam off of Justin Masterson and Travis Hafner also homered to the lead the way for the Yankees.

Now on to today's news:

Wally Matthews of ESPNNY has this article on the Yankees being disappointed with Alex Rodriguez.

Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News talks about the Yankees keeping Overbay on the roster.

The Yankees host the Indians in the second game of their three games in the Bronx tonight.  Game time is 7:05 and it will be shown on YES.  Scott Kazmir(3-2 5.13) takes the mound for the Indians while David Phelps(3-3 4.65) tries to bounce back from a disastrous outing last time for the Yankees.

Have a great day everyone!

This Day In Yankees History 6/4

Not really Yankees news as much as it is a former Yankees update but on this day in 2009 Randy Johnson won his 300th game of his career. Randy Johnson beat the Washington Nationals as a member of the San Francisco Giants becoming only the second player to win his 300th victory in his first try. The other member of the 300 win club to do so was Tom Seaver when he beat the Yankees.