Sunday, October 5, 2014

Right a Wrong, Sign Jose Tabata

So many times over the past two or three seasons the New York Yankees have released or designated a player for assignment only for the Pittsburgh Pirates to pick him up and stash the player in their minor league system. It may be time for the Yankees to finally return the favor and right a wrong at the same time. Pittsburgh designated outfielder Jose Tabata for assignment after the Wild Card game loss to the San Francisco Giants. Should the Yankees be interested?

Tabata was outrighted once already this season and worked his way back onto the team later in the season posting a .266/.325/.375 slash over the last three seasons combined. Tabata signed a six year extension with the Pirates worth $15 million that placed him under team control through the 2016 season with two team options for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Since the Pirates are on the hook for $9 million in salary over the next four seasons, $8.75 million in guaranteed money for 2015 and 2016 and a $250K buyout of the 2017 and 2018 options, I say why not. With Zoilo Almonte off the 40 man roster and the closest outfield options being Ramon Flores and Adonis Garcia, neither hit for power, I don't see how it could hurt. Sign him as a fourth or fifth outfielder.

Sabathia: "Time Off Has Gotten the Fire Back in Me"

Yankees' Pitcher CC Sabathia revealed that he misses pitching for the team.

Sabathia, 34, started just eight games for it this season due to a knee injury. In the last one of those contests, which came May 11 in Milwaukee, the veteran suffered the seemingly-minor-at-first-glance wound, one that'd ultimately end his campaign after it was found to be more serious.

“Having almost a year off has gotten the fire back in me,’’ Sabathia recently told The New York Post. “Having baseball taken away from me stunk. I am excited to get going.’’

Sabathia said that his knee feels better and that expects to be back next spring. At one point this year, as you probably remember, it was thought that the issue might end his career, a scenario that was thankfully avoided July 23 when Sabathia underwent successful arthroscopic surgery.

“It feels good after the stem cell,’’ he said. “It’s been feeling great. I am definitely coming back.’’

In his limited playing time this year, Sabathia struggled mightily, going just 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA. Of his aforementioned eight outings, which were split between home and the road, just two were of quality, with the left-hander easily winning the pair thanks to solid performances against the Rays and Red Sox.

A Look At The Yankees 2015 Free Agents

The New York Yankees technically have ten major league free agents heading to the open market after the 2014 World Series concludes. This does not count the Yankees minor league free agents that will also be hitting the open market this winter, some for the first time. Here is the list of the Yankees available free agents. I have bolded the names that I believe the Yankees will or should re-sign.

Starting Pitchers:

Hiroki Kuroda
Brandon McCarthy
Chris Capuano

Relief Pitchers:

Rich Hill
Heath Bell (This is where the "technically" comes in as he was still getting paid by New York)
David Robertson

Positional Players:

Ichiro Suzuki
Chase Headley
Chris Young
Stephen Drew

Yankees Rule 5 Draft Eligible Players

The New York Yankees have eight players that will need to be added to the 40 man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft this winter. The list includes Tyler Austin, Jose Pirela, Kyle Roller, Branden Pinder, Pat Venditte, Nik Turley, Danny Burawa, and Mark Montgomery.

I cannot see a scenario where Austin is not protected this winter. It is unlikely that he would stick on a 40 man roster in a normal scenario but a team like the Miami Marlins, Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, etc. would easily stash him away on the bench to get his talent on the team.

Burawa was left unprotected last season and nobody took the right hander and may not be protected this season either. Burawa's very inconsistent and has bounced back and forth between Triple-A and Double-A this season. Pirela looks to be no better at this point in his career than Zelous Wheeler which may keep him off the 40 man and may force him to head to free agency for the first time in his career. Turley spent most of the season on the disabled list and has not looked great since coming off the disabled list which means he will likely be unprotected as well.

Players on the fence are Mark Montgomery who has been demoted to Double-A to try and cut down on his walks and work on mechanics. I can't see a scenario where Montgomery could stick on a 25 man roster all season in 2015. Pinder is heading to the Arizona Fall League and has basically jumped Montgomery and Burawa both but still may be left unprotected this winter if his AFL numbers don't shine. Roller is 27 years old so he should be leading the Yankees minor league players in home runs but will his home run numbers alone garner some interest from other clubs? Honestly I can't tell since Roller does strike out a little more than you would like and also has defensive question marks.

Finally, I can see the Yankees letting Venditte go unprotected and get taken. Venditte has pitched well in the second half and has held left handers down at an impressive rate but the Yankees don't seem to take the switch pitcher seriously. If the team did then we would have never seen Rich Hill or Josh Outman.

Scout That Signed Cano Leaves For Atlanta

I am a couple days late on this news unfortunately but real life happens to everyone every once in a while, even me, so you have my apologies. Long time Yankees scout Gordon Blakeley has left his job with New York for a new job with the Atlanta Braves. Blakeley will be a special assistant to the new GM in Atlanta, whether that be John Hart on a permanent basis or when a new GM is hired, after spending 21 seasons with the Yankees.

Blakeley had various jobs inside the Yankees organization including VP of Baseball Operations, Head Professional VP of Scouting, and other jobs. Blakeley was the scout that originally signed notable players like Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Orlando Hernandez, and other Latin American players and now he is a member of the Atlanta Braves organization.

Congratulations to him and good luck in his newest ventures.

TGP Daily Poll: Cashman To Re-Sign By End of Weekend

This is a pure guess in my eyes but I have a feeling that New York and Brian Cashman will agree on a new deal that will keep the GM with the Yankees by the end of the weekend. New York and owner Hal Steinbrenner seem to want to get this done as quickly as possible so why not this weekend?

Vote in our poll.

Jeter Declines Invite To Play In Japan Exhibition Series

Major League Baseball will send a team of players to play in a five game exhibition series in Japan in November and extended an offer to the retired Derek Jeter. Jeter ultimately declined the offer and will not join Adam Jones, Albert Pujols, Yasiel Puig, Jose Altuve, Bryce Harper, and Justin Morneau in Japan.

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/5: Billy Ball in the World Series

On this day in 1949 Tommy Henrich hit the first walk off home run in the history of the World Series when he led off the bottom of the 9th with a homer off of the Dodgers Don Newcombe. Allie Reynolds would get the complete game victory and manager Casey Stengel would get his first post season victory of his career.

On this day in 1951 Mickey Mantle's season ended in game two of the World Series as he injured his knee when his cleat got caught in a drainage cap at Yankees Stadium, really? The injury was initially blamed on Joe DiMaggio as he called off Mantle at the last second on a fly ball off of Willie Mays bat causing the 19 year old rookie to stop awkwardly.

On this day in 1953 the Yankees would win their fifth consecutive World Series title in dramatic fashion as Billy Martin would get a walk off hit against the Dodgers. Martin would be named the World Series MVP as he collected 12 hits in the series.

On this day in 1957 in the first World Series game to ever be played in Milwaukee the Yankees rookie short stop Tony Kubek became the second rookie ever to hit two home runs in a World Series game. Kubek would join Charlie Keller who also hit two in the 1939 World Series.

On this day in 1960 Roger Maris became the seventh player in Major League history to hit a home run in his first World Series at bat.

On this day in 1963 Mickey Mantle tied Babe Ruth's home run record in the World Series when the Mick blasted his 15th fall classic home run of his career. This homer would tie the score in game four against Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers but it would not be enough as Los Angeles would sweep the Yankees for the title.

On this day in 1980 the New York Yankees broke the American League regular season attendance record of the time by passing the 1948 Indians with their 2,627,417 fans through the gates.