Friday, December 19, 2014

Yankees Felt They Had to Give Youngsters a Chance After Signing Headley

The Yankees' trading of Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Marlins in exchange for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, first baseman Garrett Jones and pitching prospect Domingo German Friday has some in the former's fanbase up in arms, but New York GM Brian Cashman says the deal is worth it.

Cashman, speaking about the swap Friday afternoon, thinks making it was necessary in order to give guys like Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela a chance to play in 2015, something that's consistent with the team's past statements. The Yankees often expressed their interest in carrying the duo on future rosters this summer, so it's unlikely they wanted to keep Prado after re-signing Chase Headley Monday. 

Still, it's possible sending Prado away will someday come back to hurt the Yankees, as the veteran solidly batted .316 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 37 contests for them last season. 

"After we signed Headley, we felt we had these young kids who could compete and take the job there at second," Cashman told's Paul Casella. "Only with the right deal would we move Prado, and we felt this was a deal worth taking a shot at."

It certainly may prove to be, with Eovaldi and Jones both seeming to have much potential. Eovaldi, despite going just 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 2014, is known to have a fastball in the upper-90s, while Jones has hit 94 homers over the last five years.

But that doesn't mean cutting ties with Prado was easy for Cashman, who praised the utility man for his personality. 

"It's not easy (trading Prado)," Cashman said. "Not just because of his versatility, but the type of player and person he is. The leadership qualities he possesses, the ability for him to play second, third and the outfield. Those are valuable assets for a manager."

They definitely were when the Yankees were vying for a playoff spot in August and September, a time period in which Prado excelled wherever he started. Originally acquired to man right field, Prado often impressed with his glove in the infield as well, particularly at second. 

Nonetheless, since they're trying to get younger this offseason, it's probable the Yankees just didn't want to hold onto an aging star like him any longer, good as he still appears to be at all aspects of the game.

Yankees Acquire Gonzalez Germen from Mets

Okay so this is about to get confusing. Hours after the Yankees acquired Domingo German from the Miami Marlins the team acquired relief pitcher Gonzalez Germen from the New York Mets. Preston Claiborne was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Germen, although I thought the roster was at 39 players anyway unless I missed something,  and the Yankees sent cash considerations back to their neighbors from Queens.

This marks the first time these two teams have swapped players since the Felix Heredia for Mike Stanton trade of 2004. Germen is basically a marginal upgrade over Claiborne and Claiborne will likely stick with the organization on a minor league deal anyway so the deal makes sense. Both players have one minor league option remaining as well if that counts for anything.

Germen strikes out a lot of guys, 22.7% of the time, but walks a lot of batter, 10.6 %, and gives up a ton of fly balls and home runs, think Phil Hughes, so who knows what to expect here.

BREAKING: Yankees Trade Prado & Phelps for Eovaldi & Jones

The New York Yankees have traded Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Miami Marlins for backup first baseman Garrett Jones, RHP Nathan Eovaldi and a pitching prospect Domingo German. German is intriguing after pitching over 120 innings last season with a sub three ERA but it was in Low A Ball making him at least two seasons away if not more.

The deal makes sense from a pitching standpoint long term as I personally believe Eovaldi will be better than Phelps but losing Prado for a true backup first baseman makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. While it opens the door for Robert Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, which I agree with, it makes the team worse and I cannot stand that.

The deal makes sense if we're rebuilding but signing Headley and Miller does not fit in to that philosophy. I'm confused. Stay tuned. 

The Cuban/USA Embargo and Cuban Born Yankees

The New York Yankees may or may not have really open the flood gates for Major League Baseball to sign an influx of Cuban talent to their rosters. Sure Minnie Minoso broke the barrier officially but things were not as wide spread until players like Jose Contreras were signed to lucrative contracts by Mr. George Steinbrenner. Let's take a quick look at some of the better Yankees players who called their native homes Cuba.

Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez wowed many Yankees fans with his clutch postseason performances and strong rookie campaign.

The aforementioned Contreras had an 11 season career that started in 2003 with New York. Contreras sported a nasty split fingered fastball that he made his way with in the Bronx before being shipped off to Chicago in 2004.

Jose Canseco was surprisingly Cuban born and spent time with the Yankees in 2000, getting a World Series ring, after New York got stuck with him after a waiver claim in August. Luis Tiant falls under the same category after spending the better part of his career with the Boston Red Sox before ending up in the Bronx.

Jake Peavy to the Yankees Rumor: Take w/ Grain of Salt

Edit: this was written before he re-signed with the Giants. Carry on.

Once or twice a year I get a text from a friend who is very low level inside the New York Mets organization about a potential signing, rumor etc. and truth be told he is either wrong or the rumor doesn’t come to fruition more times than not. When my guy is right though my guy is right. I had the Curtis Granderson signing to the Mets last year about a week and a half earlier than anyone else and received no credit for not only breaking the news but getting the dollars and years down EXACTLY. That’s fine though. My guy also told me about three hours before the Mark Teixeira signing, pre-blog years, although for every Teixeira and Granderson we have the news that the Yankees were close to a deal with Francisco Rodriguez last season for the bullpen.

Just to drive my point home here is when I REPORTED IT from my source on December 4th. Here is when Joel Sherman "FIRST" REPORTED IT according to MLB Trade Rumors. What a crock, this actually got the blog blocked from Mr. Sherman on Twitter when we disputed the "who had it first" concept. Childish. FYI This post was on December 9th, not December 4th, but Sherman had it

With this blog I am simply reporting and reiterating what I have been told. I’m not saying it’s true and I’m not saying it’s not but I am saying it comes from a guy that I trust that has been proven to be right in the past. I’m also not saying that a contract HAS been offered and I am not saying that a contract WILL be offered, again I am simply reporting what I have been told from my source.

The text said (beside the friendlies) “Yankees serious about Peavy.” To paraphrase subsequent texts followed about the Yankees liking his sinker ball, the fact that he was a veteran and the fact that he misses enough bats to survive in New York. I’ve also been told that the team likes him on a one year deal and all signs point to Peavy wanting to stay in San Francisco and get at least two seasons. Again, this is all paraphrasing and coming from the source. This is not confirmed, this is not reporting etc. it is what it is. Take it with a grain of salt.

I have been sitting on this information for a couple days now pondering whether to run with it or not. I went on twitter and asked out followers what they thought and the negativity surprised me. I could have responded with how Brandon McCarthy “sucked” or was “terrible” before he came to New York but I didn’t, I don’t like to fight losing battles. If something comes of this and I hear about it I’ll be sure to pass it along. If nothing comes of it I still stand by my source, before anyone asks, and I stand by this post. I can do that with confidence because it is what it is, it’s not confirmed and I’m not an insider, but if it does happen I would appreciate a little recognition this time around. Not sure my ego could withstand another Granderson situation. I kid, but really…

Also, notice that this text happened before the Chris Capuano signing. That could put this entire thing to bed. Again, stay tuned. 

Alex Rodriguez May Improve the 2015 DH Position

Believe it or not, and many out there reading this are leaning towards the “not” already after reading the title, Alex Rodriguez may improve the team by being the DH in 2015. Hear me out and remember that in 2014 New York’s DH’s combined to hit just .230/.290/.372 ranking 12th out of 15 teams in the American League. Alex Rodriguez’s worst two seasons as a major league player came in 2012 and an abbreviated 2013 where he batted .265/.352/.428. Those are not huge upgraded numbers, especially if he continues to decline despite the year off to rest, work out and rehab, but his presence alone from the right side of the plate may actually improve the team.

The last we saw Alex in 2013 when he was passing Lou Gehrig on the all-time grand slam’s list he was not hitting for much power. What was encouraging to me, using the eye test of course, was the fact that he hit so many of his hits and home runs to the opposite field. The power was still there and the extension was still there for A Rod and that’s something that cannot be taught or mended by a surgeon or doctor. Whether that’s still going to be there in 2015 remains to be seen…

The Yankees best case scenario here is to hope he is healthy and ready to improve on that ugly triple slash from 2014 from the DH’s or to hope that he is physically declared unable to play and perform which allows the team to collect insurance money (up to 80% of the $61 million still owed) and void his contract.

Stay tuned.

Posting Cuban Players May Take Years to Happen

Everyone around Major League Baseball was ecstatic when President Obama and President Raul Castro announced that the United States and Cuba would try to improve their diplomatic relationships with each other. There have been Cuban players defecting for years to the United States and there were five alone in the All Star Game this past season which has really put a strain on Cuba’s Serie Nacional. With the economy the league brings in and the struggles it’s already having I cannot see the Cuban government simply opening the gates for their players to come and go as they please.

Enter the posting system not unlike the system in place for Korean and Japanese players. While Korean players are still posted through the blind and private bidding system while the Japanese bidding system has been capped at $20 million per player. Cuba has been losing their players without compensation for years while the players are getting in excess of $60 million to play the game.

It won’t happen this year, next year or probably in the next five years but I truly think it is coming. The game will become even more of a national and global sport, the players can return home and not have to risk their lives getting here and worry about their families being labeled as traitors and the game of Major League Baseball gets better. This excites me and I can’t wait to see it all play out. 

Any of These Remaining Pitchers Intriguing?

Are any of these second and third tier starting pitchers intriguing to the New York Yankees as possible depth signings and potential free agent acquisitions? I hope not but let's take a look at the non James Shields and Max Scherzer's of the world to see if the Yankees are done singing starting pitching this winter.

- Kevin Correia, Aaron Harang, Chad Billingsley and Kyle Kendrick seem like National League only type pitchers at this point in his career.

- I wanted to mention Brandon Beachy as a possible Yankees option but after Kris Medlen got a two year deal from Kansas City with a guaranteed $8.5 million I think that kills any chances of that happening.

- Eric Stults = Chris Capuano

- Jake Peavy.... more on him later

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/19: Japanese Take Out

On this day in 2006, in an absolute knee jerk reaction to the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing with the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees signed Kei Igawa. The posting fee was $26 million and Igawa would sign a five year deal worth $20 million to become AAA's all time wins leader in the Yankees system. The Yankees later admitted to not even knowing what pitches Igawa threw at the time of the signing. Live and learn.

Also on this day in 2002 the New York Yankees signed 28 year old outfielder Hideki Matsui to a three year deal worth $21 million. Matsui is coming off a season in Japan where he posted a .334 with 50 home runs and 107 RBI's. Godzilla is a three time Japanese League MVP and turned down the Yomiuri Giants four year deal worth $33 million.