Monday, December 9, 2013

Yankees Interested In Trading For Cubs Jeff Samardzija

The New York Yankees seem willing to enter the Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes if the Chicago Cubs are going to trade him this offseason. Acquiring Samardzija would cost a ton, let's not equivocate, and I am not sure how he would translate into the AL East or Yankee Stadium. Samardzija strikes out enough guys, over nine guys per nine innings, and has seen his ground ball rate inch closer and closer towards a 50% rate every season while throwing nearly at an average of 95 MPH on his fastball.

Pitching for the Cubs, especially as an Opening Day starter, along with being a big time wide receiver at Notre Dame in college shows you that the big stage in New York probably would not bother him as much as most, which is worth a lot more than most people think. Samardzija is under team control for the 2014 and 2015 seasons and only made $2.64 million in 2013 making him very cheap and affordable for a team, like say the Yankees, looking to cut costs in all areas with the Hal Cap looming.

The problem with Samardzija is he gave up over a home run per game in Chicago and I cannot see that improving in New York. Granted it may stay the same or get worse but no way he improves on that in Yankee Stadium, I don't need to tell me that. Samardzija has also yet to reach 200 innings which is something to think about with a team that needs to add "400 innings" to the rotation.

I don't think the Yankees have the pieces to acquire Samardzija anyway but if we did I think I would be more likely to be looking at Phil Hughes part two and less of the ace we would be paying for. At the end of the day I think I have to pass.

Yankees To Honor Nelson Mandela In Monument Park

The New York Yankees, being the class act that they are, announced plans to honor recently deceased South African leader Nelson Mandela in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium next season. The plaque will be unveiled on Jackie Robinson Day on April, 15 2014. The plaque will celebrate the life of Mandela, including his June, 21 1990 visit to Yankee Stadium. On that day Mandela addressed the fans donning a Yankees hat and jacket and was quoted as saying "You know who I am. I am a Yankee!"

On that day in June of 1990 Mandela was just four months removed from spending 27 years in a South African jail. If this event is anything like any other event the Yankees hold this will be one of those can't miss events.

Roy Halladay Retires As A Toronto Blue Jay

Anyone thinking, myself included, that the Yankees could and should sign the 36 year old Roy Halladay should be making other plans as he retired today. Halladay signed a one day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays to retire with the team where he made his name, Doc.

Much respect to Roy for going out while he was still somewhat on top and going out on his own terms rather than dragging it out for one more season. Halladay retires as one of the two men in Major League history to ever have a no hitter in the postseason, the other being Don Larsen with his perfect game in the World Series.

A tip of the cap to Halladay for both his on the field and off the field product and being a class act that represented the game of Major League Baseball so well. Good luck in everything you do post baseball and thank you again for everything that you have done, it is appreciated.

Baseball America's Top 10 Yankees Prospects

Baseball America has released their annual top 10 list of Yankees prospects and scouting reports for the players. The list is free for all, seen HERE, but you will need a subscription to read the scouting reports unfortunately. To save you the click here is the list from BA:

1. C Gary Sanchez
2. OF Slade Heathcott
3. OF Mason Williams
4. C JR Murphy
5. 3B Eric Jagielo
6. OF Aaron Judge
7. LHP Ian Clarkin
8. 1B Greg Bird
9. RHP Luis Severino
10. 2B Gosuke Katoh

First off I have some serious issues with this list and I do not agree whatsoever. The fact that Tyler Austin, taking a step back or not, is not even in the top 10 is a disgrace. Also the fact that Rafael DePaula did not make the top 10 is also a pretty serious snub in my eyes. Greg Bird is also a lot higher on my list, at least ahead of Aaron Judge and Ian Clarkin who I have later in my top 10. Oh well what can you do, to each their own right?

BA also released their list of top 15 players under 25 years old for the Yankees and the list, unsurprisingly, contains no current major league players. The top 10 on this list are identical to the top 10 listed above and are followed, in order, by LHP Manny Banuelos, SS Abiatal Avelino, RHP Jose Ramirez, RHP Jose Campos, and RHP Rafael DePaula.

Torre, Cox, & LaRussa Elected To Hall of Fame

It's not every day that you see a manager the caliber of a Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, or a Tony LaRussa which really puts today into perspective. All three of these legendary managers are being inducted into the Hall of Fame at the same time which is really amazing if you think about it.

The 16 person Expansion Era committee unanimously elected Torre into the hall, the long time Yankees manager from 1996-2007.  Cox and LaRussa were also unanimously elected and that is the way it should be, all three of these gentleman are special.

Former Yankees manager Billy Martin, former Yankees pitcher Tommy John, and the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner were not elected to the hall. Former MLB Players Association head Marvin Miller was also not elected into Cooperstown today in case you were wondering.

Chase Headley May Or May Not Improve In New York

With all the talks surrounding the Yankees possibly trading Brett Gardner this week at the Winter Meetings on the heels of signing free agent outfielders Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury the question has been raised what could we get for Gardner one year from free agency? First and foremost I do not want to trade away Gardner I am a huge advocate for the "speed kills" option and playing "Billy Ball" whenever it is applicable but I understand the premise. Gardner is the only chip we really have to trade that can fetch anything of use for us, I get it, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it. Anyway one name that popped up was long time Yankees target Chase Headley.

The tweets about how he would absolutely rake in Yankee Stadium when moving from Petco Park got me thinking of the new tool that I found on where it shows a players balls in play (BIP) locations from one stadium to another. Prepare to be disappointed as we look at Headley's 2013 BIP's from Petco to Yankee Stadium:

The dark blue dots, as usual, are your home run balls and as we see Headley actually benefited from Petco for one additional home run than he would have in Yankee Stadium. The light blue dots are his doubles and as you can see not a single one of those would have left Yankee Stadium, he actually may have lost three of four of them depending on the wind and all those factors that cannot be inputted into a computer. All his fly outs are still fly outs in New York, not even warning track power on a single one, so the reports of Headley destroying the ball in Yankee Stadium may be a bit exaggerated. 

Now I know what you are thinking, or should be thinking anyway, that Headley had a down year in 2013 and we should consider 2012 more so then him most recent season. Fine, here is 2012 which does look a lot better then 2013. Same colors apply and as you can see if we were trading for Headley two seasons ago we would have something to be excited about, but we're not. Granted he could come back to those type of numbers and production as he is still on the right side of 30 years old but I just hate banking on that. See below:

That is more or less what everyone was expecting, right? Headley actually loses another home run that went out of Petco that would not have gone out of Yankee Stadium in 2012 without the help of some wind, elevation, fan interference, or Pedro Cerrano voodoo magic. Six of his doubles leave Yankee Stadium, though he loses another with the foul ball dimensions being different, and even adds a home run with a fly out in the stadium. Adding six home runs or more to Headley's 2012 total of 31 home runs and you have a monster season. 

I want to reiterate that I do not want to trade Brett Gardner but if we can make this trade work with the addition of come prospects that I have barely heard of then I have to say go for it. Headley is 29 years old, and will be 30 in May, and one year away from free agency and so is Gardner while also being in his age 30 season. Both play premium positions, play exceptional defense, and would help the Yankees in 2013. Headley adds another right handed power bat to the lineup and Gardner could replace the disappointing Cameron Maybin in San Diego so the deal makes sense but it doesn't mean I have to like it. I do understand though that we need a starting third basemen right now worse then we need a starting left fielder.  

Yankees Believe They Will Get Matt Daley Back

In a world where the Yankees are spending like this current administration New York is not wasting any time getting depth either in the minor league to go with the spending spree and according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post that will likely include Matt Daley. Daley is one of the three guys that the Yankees non tendered in order to clear a 40 man roster spot last week before the deadline. The Yankees feel confident that they will get the 31 year old back on a minor league deal and stash him in Scranton.

Daley was used in limited action last season but impressed including being the guy that pitched that 9th inning after Mariano Rivera was taken out for the final time. Daley pitched to a 2.02 ERA in 53.1 innings in the Yankees system last season and New York seems to really like the Queens native so a deal is likely to get done.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/9

On this day in 1988 the New York Yankees signed a twelve year television deal with the Madison Square Garden television network. The Yankees would stay with the MSG network until 2002 when they would start their own network, the YES Network. This move is generally accredited with starting the trend of getting more games on regional sports networks.

On this day in 2008 Tony Kubek would become the first person to ever receive the Ford C. Frick Award which honors broadcast members in the Hall of Fame. The former Yankee and Blue Jays broadcast personality has not watched a single game on television since he signed off in 1994.

On this day in 2009 Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte receives a one year deal worth $11.75 million to return for one more season. This is fresh off of winning all three clinching games in the playoffs including the World Series at age 37. Pettitte finished with a 4-0 record in five postseason starts against the Phillies, Twins, and Angels.