Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Joaquin Benoit Comes Off The Yankees Board

If the Yankees had any interest in signing Joaquin Benoit that boat has sailed after he signed a two year deal worth $15.5 million with the San Diego Padres. Boy the right handed relief pitcher market is drying up awfully quick.

Is seeming more and more likely that David Robertson will be our closer for 2014. 

Yankees Moving Closer To Deal With Mark Reynolds

According to multiple sources, which I will link and quote when I am not sitting in the waiting room at my sons doctor, the Yankees are moving closer to a deal with Mark Reynolds. Reynolds would give us another right handed option at the plate who can play both third base and first base. Reynolds did well for us in limited opportunities and would be a welcomed addition to the team that is becoming more and more left handed friendly. 

I would not expect Reynolds to get any more than a one year deal and a salary at or around $8 million. 

Yankees Tried To Land Shin Soo Choo

The New York Yankees tried to land Shin Soo Choo after they signed Jacoby Ellsbury with an attractive seven year deal worth $140 million. Choo declined the deal obviously and the Yankees moved on to Carlos Beltran but how nice would it have been to have that OBP at the top or bottom of the lineup?

I know I am probably in the minority here but if we could still acquire Choo and move Gardner for a piece that we actually need or can use I think it makes too much sense not to. Again, I don't want to move Gardner I just said that it would make sense. Even if it took "Ellsbury" money.

Here is a quote from Yahoo's Jeff Passan:

In the aftermath of Robinson Cano’s defection to Seattle, New York presented Choo a seven-year, $140 million deal, three sources outside the Yankees’ organization told Yahoo Sports. When Boras countered asking for more money – one source indicated he wanted “Ellsbury money,” or $153 million over seven years – the Yankees pulled the offer and signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million deal.

The Yankees Really, Really Shouldn't Trade Brett Gardner

With the arrival of Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner has apparently become expendable. With the amount of holes the New York Yankees have, it would seem logical for them to trade the scrappy outfielder, as he’s one of their most valuable assets and can help them find a replacement for Robinson Cano or much-needed pitching. (However, Yankees team president Randy Levine has gone on record to say they have "no intention" of trading the 30 year-old.

There have already been rumors of Gardner going elsewhere. New York recently rejected a trade offer from the Cincinnati Reds for 2B Brandon Phillips. Second base is obviously a huge need with Robinson Cano gone. But the 32 year-old Phillips is owed $50 million over the next four years, and his numbers are declining (96 OPS+ last two years, don’t let the RBIs fool you).

But is trading Gardner really the best option for the Yankees? Maybe not. There are actually quite a few reasons why they should hold onto him for next season.

1. He’s very productive and cheap.
Gardner he is a very undervalued player. In his last three healthy seasons, he’s been worth 15.6 WAR. He’s put up a slash line of .270/.358/.389/.747 with a 102 OPS+ since 2010. He’s stolen 148 bases since 2009, among the game’s leaders (if not the highest amount). He’s done all this by making no more than $3 million a year. He’s going into his final season of arbitration, possibly becoming a free agent next winter. With the Yankees trying to avoid going over the luxury tax, trading Gardner wouldn’t make much sense.

2. He is perfect as a third or fourth outfielder.
Currently the starting outfield for the New York Yankees in 2014 is Alfonso Soriano in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center, and Carlos Beltran in right. Ellsbury has a long injury history with the Red Sox and may end up missing his fair share of games next year. Soriano and Beltran are both 37 and can’t play the outfield every single day, especially together. If the Yankees trade Gardner, they will need to find a reliable fourth outfielder (because Vernon Wells and Ichiro ain’t cutting it) to play a significant amount of playing time.

Gardner has a career 23.0 UZR/150, playing left and center very well enough to win two Fielding Bible Awards in 2010 and 2011. Keeping him as a full-time player will limit the amount of time Beltran and Soriano will be in the outfield together, allowing either to settle into a DH role and be fresh for most of the season. If Ellsbury gets hurt, you still have a centerfielder in Brett the Jet.

3. He will form a dynamic 1-2 punch with Ellsbury
General manager Brian Cashman admits that Ellsbury and Gardner are very similar players. As a matter of fact, they are, just Ellsbury is just better. It’s highly likely with Derek Jeter staying in the top of the order, Gardner will be moved down to #9 in the lineup. That’s ok, actually. Perfect table setting for the heart of the order would be for both to get on and wreck total havoc on the base-paths. It will be much easier for the Yankees to score runs this year compared to last.

Speed kills
Let’s not also forget having both Brett and Jacoby, both all-world centerfielders, in the outfield. How many balls are going to go into the gap for extra bases? Not many. Keep Gardner in left, as it’s much deeper than right at Yankee Stadium. That’s really going to help a questionable pitching staff.

4. He’s one of the youngest (and healthiest) players on the Yankees
The Yankees’ kryptonite, even still, is their age and health. It all went to Hell in 2013, with several regular players missing significant playing time as the Yankees missed the postseason for only the second time in 19 seasons. Everyone missed time except for Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner. Gardner in fact has been relatively healthy in his career minus a freak wrist injury in 2012. They’ll need him, with the injury risk coming with Ellsbury and Beltran. Just 30 years old, he’s still one of the youngest players left on a very old team.

Brian Roberts 2013 MLB Highlights

The newest Yankees player Brian Roberts and his highlights from the 2013 season. Enjoy!

Let The 40 Man Roster Crunch Begin

After the Yankees signed Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton yesterday, as well as still being unofficial with Carlos Beltran, they have 43 players by my unofficial count and only 40 roster spots. Let the 40 man roster crunch begin.

There are two solutions to clearing a sport for Beltran, cut Vernon Wells or designate Ramon Flores. The former obviously makes more sense and is more likely than the latter but both possibilities are there. Unless of course the Yankees move Brett Gardner or can move Ichiro Suzuki between then and now.

David Huff was always a non tender candidate and now that the Yankees have Thornton in the fold as well as Vidal Nuno and Cesar Cabral I think Huff gets the cut. He may come back on another minor league deal but I think he is definitely off the 40 man roster in the next week or two.

The last spot is a little less obvious than the other two as I am not 100% sure what the Yankees will do here. Roberts is an infielder so the obvious choice would be to cut or DFA'd are Eduardo Nunez. I think Nunez would probably clear waivers and if he didn't I don't think the Yankees have much confidence in him anyway.

A lot can happen between then and now, trades for example, but if you ask me right now this is what the Yankees will do to remedy their current 40 man roster crunch. I think it will be a mistake to let Nunez walk for nothing, he does have a minor league option, but you have to do what you have to do.

A Quick Thought Regarding Age

For years people, from Yankees fans to Yankees haters, have talked about the Yankees being too old. And they've been right. Last season there were four regular position players at or above the age of 34 (Wells, Overbay, Hafner, and Suzuki*), and two of their five starters were aged 38 (Kuroda) and 41 (Pettitte). You can go year by year and find more "old" teams.
*none of these guys are scheduled to be regulars for the 2014 Bombers

While I can't argue that the Yankees haven't had old teams, I can argue against the idea that they have to get younger.

There is not a single award in Major League Baseball that has an age requirement. Barry Bonds was 40 years-old when he won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 2004. I don't recall anybody calling Barry "too old" while he was bashing 45 home runs and batting .362 that season.

Do you think the Atlanta Braves put themselves in a great position to win the World Series in 2011, just because they had the youngest player in the National League on their team? By the way, that player was Julio Teheran, who had an ERA of 5.03. Then again, he only threw 19.2 innings. If Julio had thrown more, I guess he's so young that he would have learned more and gotten better. *shrugs*

I don't think the Boston Red Sox felt bad about winning the World Series this past season, seeing as how their best hitter was also their oldest (David Ortiz - 37). Did you know that their worst hitter, Will Middlebrooks, was also their youngest regular? The idea that "younger is better" doesn't apply here either.

The real fact in all of this is that age doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the answer to this question... "are they good?"

The reason it's nice to have young players is their cost. Typically, when somebody says "young" they are talking about cost-controlled players, or those that are in their pre-arbitration or arbitration years. And while it's true that having those "young" players is nice, as it allows a team to spend more on free agents like Jacoby Ellsbury or Brian McCann, it's not necessary as long as a team is able to stay competitive with what they do have.

The only thing that matters to me is that the 2014 Yankees do better than the 2013 Yankees, and so far it looks that way. Who cares if the Yankees have an average age of 32 or 22? Until the team with the lowest average age is given more wins, or some other advantage, then just give me the best team.

Yankees Release 16 Minor League Players

Not a huge bit of news here as I have only heard of maybe two of these players but the Yankees announced that they have released 16 minor league players off the team. Couple that with the five we lost in the Rule 5 draft and that is a lot of players to lose in one offseason. None of these guys are big impact or big loss type guys but I wanted to bring you the news anyway. Here is the complete list courtesy of Minor League Transactions from Baseball America:

RHP Joaquin Acuna, RHP Daury Aquino, RHP Erick Canela, RHP Edixon Mejia, RHP Edwin Rodriguez, RHP Wilton Rodriguez, LHP Hector Bello, LHP Jose Diaz, C Ignacio Chevalier, C Jose Lopez, 3B Fu-Lin Kuo, OF Wilson Agramonte, OF Jorge Alcantara, OF Sandy Brito, OF Freiter Marte, OF Eladio Moronta

Are The Yankees Serious With This Roberts Signing?

I really hope the Yankees are planning to do more then having switch hitting Brian Roberts at second base. I got looking at his stats the last couple of seasons, and now granted this is a small sample size only because Roberts is oft-injured, and I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Here are the stats for the last two seasons:

370 plate appearances
.236 batting average
.296 OBP
.350 SLG%
74 wRC+
-0.3 WAR

If this is the best we can do we might as well give the job to Kelly Johnson and/or Dean Anna, no?

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/18

On this day in 1973 the Yankees announced the signing of manager Dick Williams. The Yankees would keep their manager for two days before American League president Joe Cronin voided the deal since the Yankees were in the middle of a legal showdown with Charlie Finley.

On this day in 2001 Yankees legend Tino Martinez would leave New York after being replaced by free agent Jason Giambi when he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. Tino signed for three years and $21 million.

On this day in 2007 Roger Clemens went on the defensive when it came to his name being mentioned in the Boston Red Sox loving, Bud Selig loving Mitchell Report. As you probably remember Clemens trainer Brian McNamee stated in the report that he injected Roger with performance enhancing drugs at least 16 times from 1998 with the Blue Jays to 2000 and 2001 with the Yankees.