Monday, September 30, 2013

New York Yankees Farm System Update

With the recent report that GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees brass will begin to look at why the New York Yankees farm system has been less than stellar lately I found this as the perfect time to get a general prospects update. This is just weeks after Hal Steinbrenner called a board meeting asking the same questions on why the Yankees have not produced impact players, the farm system is lacking in depth, etc. This sounds like bad news for the scouting director Damon Oppenheimer, Vice President of Baseball Operations Mark Newman, and maybe even a Nardi Contreras after the Killer B's debacle.

Here is the latest news and musings from around the Yankees farm:

Mark Montgomery, the Yankees best relief pitching prospect by far, has started throwing off of a mound recently after a couple bouts with shoulder fatigue and other various shoulder related issues. Snap Dragon Monty continued his missing bats ways with an 11.03 K/9 ration in 40 IP's for the Scranton Wilkes Barre Railriders. Seems to me like he would be a good winter league candidate to build back his arm strength and stamina while getting the shoulder healthy.

Dellin Betances has asked the Yankees for permission to pitch in Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic this year to remain sharp and work on mechanics in preparation for his make or break 2014 season. Dellin is out of options so he will either be in the Yankees bullpen next season or on another team because, right now, there is no way he is clearing waivers to get off the 40 man roster.

Eduardo Nunez is also planning on playing Winter Ball this year as well to work on his defense and gain some more at bats. Nunez was hit harder than any Yankee not named Derek Jeter this year, in my opinion, so he could use the work to continue his development. The problem is do you work him at short stop, third base, or somewhere else? Personally he is my starting third basemen on Opening Day if Alex Rodriguez's suspension is held up but that is just me.

Gosuke Katoh has a tear in a finger ligament in his hand during the Instructional League down in Tampa. He has seen a specialist in New York and is expected to sit out at least four weeks to let the finger heal. Katoh will head to the Instructional League in the Dominican Republic assuming his finger is healed in time.

2012 first round pick in the MLB First Year Player's Draft Ty Hensley has started a throwing program since a hip surgery that made him miss the entire 2013 season. Hensley has finished with physical therapy but is not quite ready to start throwing off a mound yet.

Slade Heathcott, Tommy Kahnle, and Chase Whitley lead a pretty signifcant group of Yankees players that will need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft or be left unprotected for the draft. Protection for the Rule 5 draft requires the Yankees adding these players to the 40 man roster. Heathcott seems like the obvious choice to be added to the 40 man roster especially after the Yankees let go of Melky Mesa late in the season. Whitley is a AAA right handed reliever that the Yankees have a dime a dozen of so he may get left unprotected and ultimately end up elsewhere after a strong 2013 season.

Omar Luis is considered to be a top ten sleeper pick this year in the Rookie Gulf Coast League and is a prospect to watch in 2014. Luis is a right handed pitcher that can already touch 95 MPH comfortably with swing and miss stuff with a slider and a change up to go with his heater. Luis finished the season with a 12.2 K/9 ratio although he did walk a few too many batters for comfort.

New York Yankees Secure 18th Pick In 2014 Draft

The New York Yankees finished their 2013 campaign with a 85-77 record which will secure them the 18th pick in next June's MLB First Year Player's Draft for the 2014 season. It is worth noting that the Baltimore Orioles finished with an identical record but the tie break goes to whichever team had the worst record the previous season, which was Baltimore, so they will get the 17th pick in the 2014 draft. The first ten picks go, in order, to the Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays, and the New York Mets.

Slot recommended money for the 18th overall pick was $2,109,900 in 2013 and with that number expected to increase for the 2014 season the Yankees could land a legitimate stud in that spot. The Yankees have not picked this high since the 2005 season when they selected CJ Henry with a compensation pick, who was included in the Bobby Abreu trade if you remember, with the 17th pick overall.

The Yankees could obviously lose that pick if they signed a Matt Garza, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Ervin Santana, or any other player that will presumably be offered a qualifying offer so that will have to come into the thought process. We can also gain some picks like we did last season if we offer qualifying offers to and lose the likes of Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes (lol), etc.

There are no power rankings, well let me rephrase no good rankings, for the 2014 draft so this is just some information to keep in your back pocket this winter and for next June.

Boone Logan Will Have Elbow Surgery Thursday

Boone Logan has been pitching with bone spurs in his left throwing elbow and will get the surgery to fix those spurs this Thursday before officially becoming a free agent for the first time in his career. Boone is expected to be ready for Spring Training for 2014 and does not think the surgery will affect his free agent market whatsoever. I disagree with Boone, especially after CC Sabathia has elbow surgery to clean up a few things and struggled for whatever reason all season long, but I like his confidence so we will leave it at that.

Logan will be entering his age 30 season in 2014 and is coming off of a year in which he pitched to a 3.23 ERA in 39 innings with a 3.81 FIP. Logan was considered to be a LOOGY coming into the season holding same side hitters to a .215/.274/.377 with a 40% strike out rate.

We have not heard whether the Yankees would be interested in bringing back Boone for what would probably be a three or four year deal or would rather roll the dice on a Oliver Perez, Eric O'Flaherty, Matt Thornton, etc so this will be filed under the "wait and see" category.

Announcement Regarding Commenting On The Site

The Greedy Pinstripes and myself  just wanted to take the time to let everyone know what was going on with our comments on the blog. The short and sweet of it is that ever since our merger with Yankees Fans Unite we have seen comments on the blog go way up over 1000% and not just from YFU guys but from others as well. The problem with that is when you bring more attention and such to a certain part of the blog you also bring the spammers and the bots and all that which generally just disrupt things. Luckily I wrote some code that has been catching most of the spam so you guys do not have to see it but it is very tedious to have to go in and clear all that stuff out daily, weekly, whatever so we have decided to disable anonymous posting for now. I know we have a few anonymous posters that we hope will not be pushed away because they have to sign up with a name, I know it can be a hassle sometimes, but we think this is best for everyone on the site, whether commenting or just reading. We appreciate every one of our readers and our fans commenting on the blog and we hope that this does not cause too much hassle for everyone and hope that everyone who is using an anonymous tag will decide to sign up and join the discussions. We have a great thing going on the blog and we have turned our attentions to attracting more comments to make it more enjoyable for everyone and all of us at the staff believe that this is the next step in bettering the blog. Please join us, if you haven’t already, in the comments section after each post or in our forum located at the top of the blog in the menu bar. Thank you again to everybody for their understanding, patience, and everything that they do to make this site what it is today.

We Can Improve & Get Under The Luxury Tax In 2014

The New York Yankees can absolutely improve their team and take a legit shot at getting under the 2014 luxury tax threshold that could give us a reset on the penalties we pay to other teams. It will not be easy mind you and we will have to rely on some of our homegrown guys that did not exactly install much confidence in us this season but it can be done. The free agent market is one of the lighter ones in recent history with guys like Jose Dariel Abreu and Brian McCann towards the top of the offensive free agent rankings and Matt Garza and Masahiro Tanaka leading the charge for the pitchers. Let's take a look at what the Yankees would look like if I were running the show, trying to improve on 2013, and get under the 2014 luxury tax threshold.

C: Brian McCann
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Eduardo Nunez
LF: Alfonso Soriano
CF: Brett Gardner
RF: Zoilo Almonte
DH: Jose Dariel Abreu

BN: Francisco Cervelli
BN: Brendan Ryan
BN: Jayson Nix
BN: Ichiro Suzuki
BN: David Adams

While we are making a serious run at the $189,000,000 luxury tax thresh hold some guys had to be cut off the roster that I have been originally clamoring for. The Yankees will not see a Michael Young on the team because he is aging, declining, and probably too expensive for us. Mark Reynolds did well as a Yankee under Kevin Long's watch but I think we should ultimately cut ties while we are ahead. I originally wanted him to play at third base and first base when Mark Texeira needed a day off but David Adams could do that in a pinch as well and comes about $7-$8 million cheaper. Also I am pretty impressed by what Eduardo Nunez did the last month or so of the season both at the plate and on the field at third base. I think if we stick Nunez at third and third only he can get comfortable and be the plus defender that he was in the minor leagues. Chris Stewart has to go as we have four catchers on the 40 man roster and he should be the lowest on the totem pole. The fact that Austin Romine and JR Murphy both have options remaining either has them being sent down or in a potential trade as both have some potential trade value. Vernon Wells costs us nothing against the luxury tax so he could easily be cut, released, or traded while we give Zoilo's switch hitting bat a shot in right field. The Yankees have some serious infield depth with the likes of Brendan Ryan, Jayson Nix, and David Adams all being able to play in multiple positions each including every infield spot but catcher.

SP: CC Sabathia
SP: Matt Garza/Masahiro Tanaka/ Hiroki Kuroda/ Free Agent
SP: Ivan Nova
SP: Michael Pineda
SP: Adam Warren

CL: David Robertson
RP: Dellin Betances
RP: Shawn Kelley
RP: Preston Claiborne
RP: Cesar Cabral
RP: David Phelps

Obviously I do not expect the Yankees to go into the season with Ivan Nova as their number two starter with two guys coming off of an injury and someone who has never been a starter in the majors full time but this is what we have now. I think Adam Warren has pretty much solidified, barring an injury or disastrous Spring Training, at least a 5th starter spot next season after a strong 2013 season in the bullpen and as a spot starter. If we sign a veteran starter or two then obviously Vidal Nuno would be the first to go down to the pen or the minor leagues. After that it would get interesting because I think the Yankees almost have to send Pineda out at this point and get something for him.That pretty much looks like the bullpen that we will send out there. If Nuno, Warren, or a veteran middle reliever get signed them David Huff would get designated for assignment followed by a tough David Phelps decision.

This team would probably be just as good as the 2013 team and a whole lot cheaper. Now I know we missed the playoffs this season for the first time since 2008 and we want to get better, not stand pat, but think about it if we can lose Mariano Rivera, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis, Alex Rodriguez, and Hiroki Kuroda and still be just as good by building from within I cannot think of anymore that we can ask for. Especially considering that we would have plenty of trade chips for the July 31st trade deadline. This is going to be the most interesting off season that we have ever seen as Yankees fans and it may be a slow and boring one for us but as long as we take care of our own, namely Robinson Cano, and fill in big offensive upgrades where we can, namely Jose Dariel Abreu and Brian McCann, we should be just fine if not better in 2014 while still getting under the 2014 luxury tax threshold.

Looking Back At My 2013 Standings Predictions

2013 Predictions : The Playoffs Teams

The 2013 season is right around the corner and this time Major League Baseball is going to do the playoffs and it's scheduling the right way. No more hanging by a thread because of a rain delay, a potential tie breaker, etc this time around. Here are the teams that I expect to win their respected divisions and the wild cards while fight their way to a World Series trophy.

American League East Champion
New York Yankees

American League Central Champion
Cleveland Indians

American League West Champion
Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

Wild Card #1 Winner
Tampa Bay Rays

Wild Card #2 Winner
Detroit Tigers

National League East Champion
Washington Nationals

National League Central Champion
Pittsburgh Pirates

National League West Champion
Los Angeles Dodgers

Wild Card #1 Winner
Philadelphia Phillies

Wild Card #2 Winner
Atlanta Braves

Here is a reluctant thumbs up for me on my preseason predictions on the divisions. The Yankees, Angels, and Indians did not win their divisions but the Indians did make the playoffs in a wild card. The Tigers won the division and the Tampa Bay Rays won the wild card so I predicted three of the five playoff teams in the American League. 

The Nationals and Pirates did not win their divisions but the Pirates did win one of the wild card spots. The Dodgers won the NL West division and the Atlanta Braves did win their division, not the wild card, so I predicted three of the five playoff spots in the National League as well. 

Six out of 10 ain't bad?

Alex Rodriguez Steroid Suspension Appeal Hearings

The talk of the day will not be all the teams heading into post season baseball but will, in my opinion, be the hearings that begin today for Alex Rodriguez regarding his steroid suspension. As we all know and have had crammed down our throats all season long A Rod is facing up to a 211 game suspension for his ties to the Miami based clinic Biogenesis, subsequent steroid use, and various other allegations. The meetings and such would have been pushed back had the Yankees made the playoffs but they did not so the Yankees off season really begins today as they will soon know how much of A Rod's salary will be off the books, if any, in 2014.

Are Joe Girardi's Days As Yankees Manager Over?

There's speculation that Joe Girardi, whose contract as the Yankees manager was over with as of last night, may not return to the team. But that doesn't necessarily mean he'll manage the Chicago Cubs, who Girardi played for for seven seasons. Oh, and Joe is also from the Chicago area.

Could he stay or could he go?

The Cubs currently have Dale Sveum under contract to manage the team through next season. Don't expect that to be a big problem for Theo Epstein, though. Especially when you consider the fact that the Cubs, under Sveum, have gone 127-197 the past two seasons (.392 Winning Percentage), while finishing 5th in the National League Central division both times (thanks to the Astros still being in the NL Central in 2012, the Cubs only finished in last place in 2013).

Not only has Sveum not been getting the job done for the Cubbies, but it's worth pointing out that while one of Girardi's strong points is his use of the bullpen, the National League Chicago club finished 29th out of 30 MLB clubs in terms of relievers WAR (Baseball Reference).

Joe's response to questions concerning his management future was this..
"It comes down to family. They are first. Whatever is best for the group of us, not one individual, not me or just my wife, or just one of my children, whatever is best for us as a group, that’s what we’ll decide to do. And that’s something I put some thought into, and I’m going to have to think about a lot over the next few days, obviously."
For those that think Girardi may just follow the money, Joe also pointed out that dollars won't factor into the decision. So, yet again, the financial might of the Yankees could fail them.

Then again, if that financial might doesn't keep Joe around, some fans would be quite happy about that.

The Off Season Begins For The New York Yankees

Thew New York Yankees 2013 season is now officially over and the off season begins and boy is it shaping up to be an interesting one. It all begins with the qualifying offers and whether our free agents Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner, etc will or will not be offered one. We also need to know who will be calling the shot on the Yankees bench for 2014 as Joe Girardi is set to be a free agent as well. Then you have the whole Alex Rodriguez and the Bronx is Burning II saga surrounding his steroid suspension and appeal that is sure to soak up most of the head lines this off season. All that on top of the Yankees trying to get under the $189 million thresh hold to avoid luxury tax penalties while filling a ton of holes on the field. It is definitely shaping up to be one of the most interesting winters for the Yankees in my lifetime and I am cautiously optimistic while shaking in my boots.

The Yankees never take a day off, even in the off season, and us here at The Greedy Pinstripes vow to not take a day off either. We have tons of stuff planned for you guys reading pleasure and hope you continue to stop by daily to see all our hard work. Go Yankees!!!

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/30

On this day in 1927 Babe Ruth would break his own record for home runs in a single season when he hit his 60th of the season off of Senators starter Tom Zachary. In a side note Hall of Famer Walter Johnson would make his final appearance of his major league career when he pinch hit in this game.

On this day in 1962 Mickey mantle belted his 30th home run of the season off of the White Sox's Ray Herbet. This would be the Mick's eight consecutive season of hitting at least 30 home runs in a season. This was amazing considering Mantle missed a month of the season with a leg injury.

On this day in 1966 Roger Maris blasted a two run home run in his final at bat as a member of the New York Yankees. Maris would be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the season for utility man Charley Smith.

On this day in 1973 the Yankees played, and lost, their final game played at the old Yankees Stadium before George Steinbrenner had the field renovated. The 50 year old Cathedral of Baseball would take two years to renovate while the Yankees played their home games at Shea Stadium.

On this day in 2004 the Yankees won their 100th game, something they have done in three straight seasons, and their seventh consecutive American League Eastern Division championship. The Yankees join only the Braves from 1997-1999, the Orioles from 1969-1971, and the A's from 1929-1931 as the fourth team to win 100 games in three straight seasons.