Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Yankees Pitcher Eovaldi Excited to Join Team

At first glance, new Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi may not look like much of a star.
The 24-year-old right-hander, who was traded from the Marlins to the Yankees Friday, is coming off a pretty unimpressive 2014 season, one in which he went just 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA.
Nonetheless, the Yankees really like him, dealing star utility man Martin Prado and developing reliever David Phelps just to get a hold of his services. Their plan for his future appears to be a job in the back of the rotation, and needless to say, Eovaldi is thankful for the opportunity.
"I've been fortunate enough that now I'll be able to say I've played for the two biggest franchises in baseball, the Dodgers and the Yankees," Eovaldi told The New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron Saturday. "I'm real excited and I'm getting ready. The offseason has been going great and I'm looking forward to helping the Yankees out."
The Yankees will likely need notable contributions from Eovaldi in order to contend in 2015, as few starters currently on their roster can be relied on to perform to their potential. Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova were injury-riddled last season, with Nova having to undergo Tommy John Surgury.
But Eovaldi is confident he'll be able to do just that when he puts on pinstripes next spring, breaking down his pitch selection plan during the phone interview.
"I want to throw first-pitch strikes with off-speed stuff, even use it on a 2-1 count or 1-and-2," he said. "I'm working on my changeup a lot more this offseason, just mixing it into my repertoire. Last year, toward the end, it helped me out a lot. I want to keep locating the fastball, then use my slider and curve more and have a better mix."
He's right about finishing off the year strong, having allowed just four earned runs over 13 innings in his last two outings of 2014. However, for the most part, Eovaldi still struggled in September, recording a 5.53 ERA while going 0-4.
It'll be interesting to see how quickly he's able to better/worsen those numbers when he's throwing in the American League next season, the first time he'll do so in his short career. 

Alex Rodriguez Might Not Get 200 At Bats in 2015

Every time the New York Yankees add a player it seems like the team is specifically adding that player to take at bats away from Alex Rodriguez. New York added Chase Headley to be their every day third baseman which essentially forced Rodriguez to a DH and bench role. Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi did mention that A Rod would also see some time at first base to try and get something out of the three years and $61 million remaining on his contract. Then Cashman went and added a few more pieces.

At this rate Rodriguez may not see 200 at bats in 2015. Currently on the depth chart the Yankees have Garrett Jones, Chase Headley, Brendan Ryan and Brian McCann in front of Rodriguez at the first base backup position. Headley is your every day third baseman while Ryan could conceivably backup at third base if he had to. Rodriguez figures to see many of his at bats in the DH spot but will now have to split time not only with Carlos Beltran, Teixeira, and McCann but Jones as well.

Cashman had a plan to pretty much obsolete Rodriguez and he just may have done that in 2015.

Meet a Prospect: Garrett Jones

Garrett Jones was acquired along with Nathan Eovaldi and prospect Domingo German from the Miami Marlins in the deal that sent Martin Prado and David Phelps to Miami. Garrett has spent time with the Minnesota Twins, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Marlins before coming to New York so let’s take the time to meet Mr. Garrett Thomas Jones.

Jones was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 14th round of the 1999 MLB First Year Players Draft out of High School and played in the Braves system through April of 2002 before being released in May of that year. Jones almost immediately latched on with the Minnesota Twins and stayed in their system through the 2008 season. Jones did have a cup of coffee in the major leagues appearing in 31 games with the Twins in 2007 and making his major league debut on May 15, 2007 but the Twins were not impressed enough. Jones became a free agent after the 2008 season and signed on with the Pittsburgh Pirates early in the offseason and earned an invitation to Spring Training. Although he did not win a job out of camp he stuck it out with the team and finally got that chance on June 30, 2009 when his contract was finally purchased by Pittsburgh.

Jones was called up to replace the recently traded Eric Hinske on the Pirates roster in 2009 and 18 days later hit his first major league home run off Tim Lincecum. He wouldn’t wait around long for his second as it came later in the game to end a 14 inning affair between the Giants and the Pirates. Jones hit 10 home runs in his first month and was named the Nationa l League’ Rookie of the Month for July 2009. Jones power bat continued to impress on Opening Day 2010 against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he became just the sixth Pirates player to hit two home runs on Opening Day. Jones took the momentum he created on Opening Day 2010 to push towards a 21 home run, 86 RBI and 145 hit season slashing .247/.306/.414 in 592 at bats. It was all downhill from there leading up to being designated for assignment by the Pirates on November 25, 2013.

Jones latched on with Miami for the 2014 season after signing a two year deal worth $7.5 million and will spend the 2015 season, his final season of that contract, in pinstripes in New York. Good luck Garrett and welcome to the family.

Meet a Prospect: Domingo German

Domingo German was the fifth piece to move in the trade between the New York Yankees and the Miami Marlins on Friday that saw the Yankees David Phelps and Martin Prado and the Marlins Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones change teams. German is an intriguing prospect, although is likely to start in High A Ball in 2015, after coming out of the Marlins and Mariners systems as a highly touted right hander.

When Seattle traded him to Miami he was their 6th best prospect in their system and when Miami let him go to New York he was considered to be their 8th best prospect in the system. German, a native of the Dominican Republic, showcased his talent's in this years Futures Game where he threw a perfect frame as he continued to build on a strong season in Low-A as a starting pitcher. German is 21 years old and entering his age 22 season is likely headed to Tampa with the Tampa Yankees.

German hits 94 MPH with his sinking fastball and compliments it with a slider he is working on and what is considered to be an above average changeup. German posted a 9-3 record last season with a 2.48 ERA in 25 starts and 123.1 IP while striking out 113 and only surrendering 25 walks.

Why the Yankees have a chance to win the AL East 2015

Over the years we remember the great Red Sox- Yankees battles for first place. Since 2012 it hasn't been that way. 2012 was the year the Red Sox were no where near the postseason that year the Yankees made the ALCS. In 2013 the Red Sox finished in first place and won the World Series with the Yankees with just 85 wins. In the most recent season 2014 the Red Sox had a repeat of 2012 and finished last with the Yankees winning 84 games.

Every year it seems this division is becoming weaker and weaker. This may be good for the Yankees though. My prediction is that the AL East leader in 2015 will need minimum 85 wins. The Yankees could easily fit that rule. Are they going to win 95 games absolutely not. In this article I'll go over all the AL East teams and why the Yankees have a better chance than them

Rays- It seems this offseason that it's a rebuild for the Rays. Not only will we not seem them in the postseason this year, but probably not for years to come. The Rays will probably finish last in the AL East in 2014.

Orioles- The Orioles had a magical season in 2014. They lost to the Royals in the ALCS and that was it for them in 2014. They lost their two best outfielders in Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz to the Braves and Mariners. Markakis was a pretty solid hitter but Cruz had an amazing season leading the MLB in home runs. You can see them finishing in fourth place.

Blue Jays- The Blue Jays made a few moves but not enough to catch up to the Yankees and Red Sox. The lineup was very productive last year and with the help of Russell Martin and others the lineup should get better. Similar to their 2014 season I predict the Blue Jays will finish third in 2015.

Red Sox- The Red Sox had bad years in 2014 and 2012. With the signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval they should be better again. The bats will produce more runs and that will be the key to win games. Their rotation is a bit unknown but we do know that they have Rick Porcello who I think will be ace of that squad. The Red Sox will probably finish in second place.

Yankees- All the previous teams that we have listed are good but not good enough. In 2015 the AL East will be very weak and that is very unusual. The Yankees won't have a fantastic season in 2015 but still enough to win the division and make the playoffs in 2015. The new moves the Yankees made this offseason and last offseason are the difference makers in where the Yankees will finish in 2015. The Andrew Miller signing was great and will really tighten the bullpen. The Yankees made other moves some I agree with and some I don't.
                                                  My predicted AL East standings:
                                                   1st Yankees
                                                   2nd Red Sox
                                                   3rd Blue Jays
                                                   4th Orioles
                                                   5th Rays


The New Yankees Infield & Lineup After Friday

The New York Yankees were busy on Friday adding Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones while sacrificing David Phelps and Martin Prado so let's take a quick look at the defensive alignment and lineup. We are assuming that Brian Cashman is not in on Asdrubral Cabrera or Stephen Drew at second base and are willing to give the job to either Robert Refsnyder or Jose Pirela.

C: Brian McCann
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Refsnyder/Pirela
SS: Didi Gregorius
3B: Chase Headley
LF: Brett Gardner
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
RF: Carlos Beltran
DH: Alex Rodriguez

BN: Brendan Ryan
BN: John Ryan Murphy
BN: Garrett Jones
BN: Chris Young

It is worth mentioning that now Jones is on the bench backing up Mark Teixeira at first base, Carlos Beltran in right field and Alex Rodriguez at DH there will not be enough room for both Pirela and Refsnyder. Like it or not this is what we are likely looking at on Opening Day 2015. On to that lineup:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Brett Gardner
3. Carlos Beltran
4. Brian McCann
5. Mark Teixeira
6. Chase Headley
7. Alex Rodriguez
8. Didi Gregorius
9. Refsnyder/Pirela

Are the Yankees Going to Release Alex Rodriguez in 2015?

It's perfectly clear the Yankees and third baseman Alex Rodriguez aren't on the best of terms right now, but could the club really go as far as to release him?
Forbes Magazine's David Lariviere thinks it's possible, writing Saturday the Yankees' recent moves may be designed to limit Rodriguez's role on the team. Lariviere believes the re-signing of Chase Headley and trading for Garrett Jones this week will take away at-bats from the 39-year-old, who was suspended for all of last season due to steroid use.
"It makes you wonder if the Yankees really expect, or want, Rodriguez, who'll turn 40 in July, to play for them at all," Lariviere argued. "It's almost as if they are giving him a good-faith gesture in allowing him an opportunity to show he can still hit after a year-long suspension for PEDS. However, if he's hitting .220 with a homer and 10 RBI in the middle of May, the real plan is to hand him his walking papers by Memorial Day."
Rodriguez definitely doesn't appear to be the Yankees' top choice for anything as spring training grows nearer, something no doubt shown by what New York general manager Brian Cashman revealed Monday. Cashman said during an appearance on NBC New York's Sports Final "expecting the least and hoping for the most" is the approach the Yankees will take with Rodriguez in 2015, adding they also plan to use him as a DH instead of a defender.
So where does the three-time MVP fit into their future?
"If A-Rod's bat is slow and he's striking out a lot against young flamethrowers, the Yanks can say to their fans 'hey, we gave him a shot but it just didn't work out," Lariviere speculated. "The leash will not be a long one and most of their fans will not be sad to see him go."
That statement's probably true, but since Rodriguez is owed a lot of money the next three years, it's certainly possible the Yankees will still keep him. They're set to hand him $21 million next season and $20 million in 2016 and 2017, so it's not absurd to consider they may just hang onto him for the sake of somewhat making that price worth paying.
Then again, if Rodriguez struggles the way Lariviere suggests, cutting him would likely be the Yankees' only option, seeing as they're currently more interested in youngsters than veterans.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/21:

On this day in 2009 the Yankees got hit with a luxury tax penalty bill of $25.69 million after winning the World Series just a month and a half ago. New York was the only team to go over the cap and get the penalty bill in the mail and has been the only team to be penalized in the seven years of the luxury tax's existence.

Also on this day in 1995 the Yankees resigned David Cone to a three year deal worth $18 million. Cone and the Toronto Blue Jays flirted around before George Steinbrenner got his man back in pinstripes.

Finally on this day in 1927 the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox made a trade that saw pitchers Ernie Shore and Dutch Leonard with outfielder Duffy Lewis go to the Yankees for "relatively unknown players" and $15,000 cash. The group of players included Frank Gilhooley, Slim Love, Ray Caldwell, and Roxy Walters.