Friday, September 27, 2013

Yankees add to their win column; beat Astros 3-2

Thanks to 5 shutout innings from Adam Warren, an RBI Single from Mark Reynolds, and a Two-run Double from David Adams, the Yankees were able to win their 83rd game of the year tonight over the Astros, 3-2. Now technically, this game and the next two over the weekend don't matter, but it's still fun to see them win. And if they lose, it doesn't hurt anything. 

In the ninth inning tonight, my favorite player and the man who will likely be the Yankees closer next season, David Robertson, retired all three men he faced, earning him his 3rd save of the season. Obviously, tonight he just threw against the Astros, so you can't exactly throw a party for this performance. But if he pitches like this next season, it's a safe bet the fans will like him. Despite the lead he was given being just a single run, he was able to dominate. That's definitely a Rivera quality.  

Game Thread: Yankees @ Astros 9/27

The New York Yankees travel to Minute Maid Park in Houston to take on the Houston Astros in the final series of the 2013 season for both teams. Neither of these two teams are heading to October baseball so this is the grand finale for both squads. The pitching match up is Adam Warren for the Yankees and Brett Oberholtzer for the Astros and it can be seen at 8:10 pm ET on the YES Network and MLB TV. Andy Pettitte was originally slated to pitch this game but he has been pushed back to tomorrow nights game for whatever reason. Let's hope the Yankees do not just lay down right here at the end since these games are meaningless.

Here is the Game 160 lineup:

Curtis Granderson CF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Robinson Cano DH
Alfonso Soriano LF
Mark Reynolds 1B
David Adams 2B
Zoilo Almonte RF
Brendan Ryan SS
J.R. Murphy C

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New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 9/27

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros play Game 160 of the season at Minute Maid Park in Houston tonight in the first of the final three games of the season for both teams. The Yankees will send Adam Warren to the mound to face off with Brett Oberholtzer for the Astros. Warren is definitely auditioning for the 2014 season so this is a big opportunity for the young right hander. The game will be televised at 8:10 pm ET on the YES Network and MLB TV. Go Yankees!

Phil Hughes New York Yankees Career Is All But Over

Phil Hughes did not have the contract season that he was expecting or wanting as 2013 can be chalked up in one word, disastrous. Hughes was drafted out of the first round in the 2004 draft by the New York Yankees and worked his way all the way through the system as their #1 prospect before making his debut in the majors. Hughes had his share of ups and downs as he went from being demoted to the bullpen to having an 18 win season. Hughes went from having a perfect game against the Texas Rangers to having a season ending injury in one pitch. To say that Hughes had a roller coaster up and down Yankees career is probably an understatement and now, unless Hughes has naked pictures of Brian Cashman's wife or girlfriend, his Yankees career is over. Here is what Hughes finished with, stat wise, in his Yankees career and his 2013 season.


4-14 W/L
5.19 ERA
145.2 IP
24 HR's Allowed
121 K's
1.455 WHIP
7.5 K/9 Ratio
1.5 HR/9 Ratio


4.54 ERA
780.2 IP
112 HR's Allowed
656 K's
1.322 WHIP
7.6 K/9 Ratio
1.3 HR/9 Ratio

As you can see Hughes has a win and loss record over .500 for his career which suggests that he has been better in the past then he has in 2013 and at age 27 can get back to that level. His ERA should also come down if he went to a  non hitting friendly park along with his home runs allowed stats. I think his home run allowed numbers are a little overblown because in his 18 win campaign in 2010 Hughes has a 1.3 HR/9 ratio and only had a 1.5 HR/9 ratio this season where it seemed like every other fastball was hit over the fence. His K's numbers, walk numbers, velocity, etc are all on par with his career numbers so I think whoever signs Hughes for 2014 is likely to get a better product out of Hughes for next season and beyond.


Phil Hughes will sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks for three years and $26,000,000.

Free Agent Profile: Brian McCann

Anyone who has read this blog in the last six months or so know that I want Brian McCann in Pinstripes next season and I want it bad. As we head into the final series of the season before the playoffs Tim Dierkes from MLB Trade Rumors showcased Mr. McCann and even took a shot at his free agent contract he is expected to get this winter. Take a look by clicking the link to give Mr. Dierkes a view or two. Here is the article below as we post this as a part of Syndicated Sunday, except it's Friday. Enjoy.

If you're looking for a power-hitting catcher, there's no better choice than Brian McCann.  McCann has played eight full seasons in the Majors, ranking worse than third in home runs at the position only one time.  He's averaged 21 bombs per year, and he has 20 this year even though his season didn't begin until May.

McCann is a bona fide middle of the order bat, at a position for which a .246/.311/.390 line qualifies as average.  His career batting line is .277/.350/.474, which is not far from what he's accomplished in 2013.  Along with the big-time power, McCann can also draw a walk, with a career rate of 9.5%.

How many free agents will hit the market coming off a 20 home run campaign?  Assuming club options are picked up on Coco Crisp and Adam Lind, just 11 players including McCann will manage the feat.  Of those 11, only McCann and Robinson Cano play an up-the-middle position, if we don't consider Shin-Soo Choo a center fielder.  Like Cano, McCann provides offense at a position not known for it.
McCann won't turn 30 until February, so he's the youngest prominent free agent bat. 

Defensively, FanGraphs has numbers calculated by The Fielding Bible, as well as Hardball Times contributor Bojan Koprivica, suggesting McCann is about league average at throwing out potential base stealers and preventing them from trying, and he is above average at blocking pitches.  McCann appears to add significant value by virtue of his pitch framing ability.  In May, Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus wrote, "McCann’s framing skill has saved the Braves almost 125 runs over the past five seasons."  McCann's ability to handle a pitching staff is hard to quantify, but reports are positive.

The big concern heading into this season was McCann's shoulder.  He played through shoulder pain in 2012, receiving cortisone shots in August and September.  McCann had surgery in October to repair a torn labrum, and the Braves had enough faith to pick up his $12MM option for 2013 a few days later.  He made his season debut on May 6th and would hit six home runs that month.  McCann's continued health and strong play seems to have quieted concerns about the shoulder, as he garnered his seventh All-Star nod this year.

A left-handed hitter, McCann hasn't done much against southpaws recently.  Since 2012, he's batting .234/.271/.379 against lefties.

McCann has caught over 8,800 regular season innings in his career, and caution is required when throwing big money at a catcher in his 30s.  Former Marlins catcher Charles Johnsonrates high on McCann's list of Baseball Reference comparables, and Johnson also caught over 7,000 innings before age 30.  Once he reached 30, Johnson had only 300 games left in the Majors.  Johnson did not have the luxury of the designated hitter, as McCann might, but the offensive bar to be an above average DH or first baseman is higher than at catcher.  McCann's market won't be limited to American League teams, but he'll be a much easier sell if DH is an option in the latter part of the contract.

McCann is likely to receive and turn down a qualifying offer, in which case he will come with the added cost of a first or second round draft pick.

Brian married his high school sweetheart Ashley, and they reside in Suwanee, Georgia with their son and new baby girl.  Brian is known as a family man.  The family supports the Rally Foundation, which aims to find better treatments of childhood cancer.  Brian's older brother Brad reached Double-A in the Marlins organization, and their father, Howard, coached baseball at Marshall University.  In the clubhouse, Brian is a team leader who is beloved by teammates and fans. 

There is sentiment among baseball executives and agents that McCann will be best served going to the American League, allowing him to spend an increasing number of games at designated hitter as the contract progresses.  On the other hand, free agent signings are about short-term gain, and McCann is a capable backstop at present.  For NL teams, there's always the option of McCann learning first base if catching becomes untenable.  I imagine an NL team would seek a shorter term at a higher average annual value.

The Rangers have tried to acquire McCann via trade in the past, and they're the early speculative favorite.  The Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Tigers, Phillies, and Dodgers also seem like viable options.

What are the odds McCann signs a new deal with his hometown Braves, the only organization he's ever known?  If the slugger tells agent B.B. Abbott to get him the best possible contract, I think he's likely to move on.

In terms of other starting catchers on the free agent market, there's Saltalamacchia, A.J. PierzynskiCarlos Ruiz, and maybe Dioner Navarro.  That's actually a better selection than in recent years.  As far as power bats in general, there's Cano, Nelson CruzMike NapoliMarlon ByrdRaul IbanezHunter PenceCarlos BeltranCurtis Granderson,Kendrys Morales, and Choo.

Expected Contract
It's difficult to determine whether McCann will get a fifth guaranteed year.  In recent offseasons, position players B.J. UptonJosh HamiltonJose ReyesPrince Fielder,Albert PujolsAdrian BeltreJayson Werth, and Carl Crawford managed the feat.  None of those players are catchers, nor is McCann a superstar like some of them were.  A team could plan to move him off catcher at the tail end of the deal, but the wear of nearly 9,000 innings behind the dish has already been exacted on McCann's body, and raises durability questions for the future. 
The Werth contract aside, I think a fair average annual value for a very good player who is not a superstar is around $16-17MM.  Ultimately I expect McCann to sign a five-year, $80MM deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mariano Rivera Says Goodbye Meme

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/27

On this day in 1923 Lou Gehrig hit his first major league home run of his career for the New York Yankees.

Also on this day in 1938 Yankees first basemen Lou Gehrig will hit his 493rd and final home run of his storied major league career off the Senators pitcher Dutch Leonard.

On this day in 1998 the Yankees won their seventh consecutive game to bring their winning percentage above the .700 mark. The Yankees are the first team to play .700 or more baseball for an entire season since the 1954 Indians. The Yankees would finish with a 114-48 record in 1998.

On this day in 2006 the Yankees draw over 4,000,000 fans for the second straight season in only 77 home games.  The Yankees join the 1991-1993 Toronto Blue Jays as the only other team to draw over 4,000,000 fans in consecutive seasons.