Sunday, March 15, 2015

Recap: Yankees 3, Phillies 2

Nathan Eovaldi pitched four shutout innings and Chase Headley hit his first home run of the spring Sunday as the Yankees snuck past the Phillies, 3-2, in a nail-biter at Steinbrenner Field.

Nate the Great: Eovaldi struck out three and faced the minimum in his four frames, giving up just two soft singles in the third and fourth. He retired seven straight to kickoff the afternoon, and never let the Phillies reach second.

Chase-ing a Victory: With the score even at one in the bottom of the seventh, Headley drilled a Kevin Slowey offering over the right-center field wall -- Headley's only knock in three at-bats. It was one of two runs for the Yankees in the inning, the other coming on a Slade Heathcott RBI single.

A Good Start: Leading off the Yankees' half of the first against Sean O'Sullivan, Jacoby Ellsbury laced a stand-up triple to the left-center field gap -- nicely setting up Brian McCann for a run-scoring sac fly three batters later. Ellsbury's knock was the only extra-base one the Yankees had besides Headley's homer, and represented one of the few offensive highlights on the day for their lineup.

Bad Carpentry: David Carpenter entered the contest in the seventh with the Yankees still up 1-0, the Phillies having been kept off the bases since the fourth. Carpenter quickly surrendered a walk and a wild pitch, though, and once Dominic Brown connected on a one-out single to right, the former Brave had blown New York's advantage.

Wilson to the Rescue: After Carpenter allowed another single to get the top of the eighth going and Justin Wilson hit Cesar Hernandez in the foot, the Phillies had the tying runs on with no outs -- a situation that seemed to favor them highly. Following a big strikeout of Cameron Rupp, a weak RBI groundout from Andres Blanco and a routine fly ball from Darin Mastroianni, however, Wilson had forced Philadelphia to settle for just one in the inning -- maintaining for the Yankees the 3-2 lead with which they would ultimately win.

Next Up: The Yankees will have their first off-day since March 2 on Monday before hosting the Blue Jays Tuesday night in Tampa -- beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET. CC Sabathia is expected to make his preseason debut for the Pinstripes when they go head-to-head with Toronto's Drew Hutchison, a matchup set to air on both YES and MLB Network. 

Yankees Send 10 Back to Minor League Camps

The New York Yankees have announced that they have sent down a total of ten prospects down to minor league camp as a part of their first spring cuts. Among the prospects were the Yankees top two prospects in Luis Severino and Aaron Judge.

The remaining eight prospects the Yankees sent down were C Trent Garrison, RHP Nick Goody, C Juan Graterol, LHP James Pazos, RHP Diego Moreno, LHP Tyler Webb, OF Jake Cave and SS Cito Culver.

None of these players expected to make the team out of spring training but I honestly thought the team would take a longer look at Goody, Pazos, Webb and Culver specifically. Goody is as close to MLB ready as they get and Pazos and Webb figured to fight with Justin Wilson for a little longer. Culver is running out of time and was left unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft but all can benefit from regular at bats and playing time in minor league camp so it's good for them in the long run.

David Robertson is Talking About the Yankees Again

David, we get it. You're a member of the Chicago White Sox now and you didn't want to come back to the Yankees because Chicago has a better chance of winning. You didn't necessarily agree with all the rules the Yankees threw down, apparently the facial hair policy irked you a bit, we get it. I love you D Rob and I really loved watching you play in the Bronx but it's over. You know you can refuse to answer a question or just turn the question around to talk about your current team? Right?

Anyway the point of this article was to inform you guys what Robertson had to say about the Yankees admittedly outdated facial hair policy. Here is the quote from his ESPN interview:

"This is nice, not to have to shave every three days. I think it's kind of ridiculous, but that was the Yankees' rule — they wanted to have you clean-shaven. Here you can just let it grow. Obviously, they don't want me to get it to that point. But I won't let it get out of control."

Joba Chamberlain didn't rip the Yankees facial hair policy and neither did Robinson Cano. Be better, because we know you can be and we know that you are.

The Yankees Are Not Run By Imbeciles

There are a lot of very intelligent Yankees fans, some of which regularly comment right here at The Greedy Pinstripes. Their concerns involving decisions made by front office members and management tend to be justified, and their solutions well thought-out.

However, there are also a lot of Yankees fans whose intelligence seems to be on par with the mulch millions of people will soon use for their gardens. And very few of them will concede to the fact that they know little to nothing about the Yankees and/or the game of baseball. They just like to use comment sections and other avenues to rant and rave, even though doing that just makes their lack of knowledge more apparent.

"According to YankeezzFan1981, as well as many others, we have a combined IQ of 82... which is also how many games he thinks we'll win this season." - Girardi

"That seems kind of low, don't ya think?" - Cashman

"How should I know? I'm not smart enough to remember to breathe." - Girardi

It wouldn't take me long to repeat some of their idiotic comments, and debunk them. You can go to Twitter, search "Yankees", and see enough moronic comments to make you lose faith in humanity. However, I want to concentrate on the two men within the Yankees organization that get the most flak, and don't deserve it.

"What's in a rum and coke? It's a shot of vodka and a splash of cranberry juice, right?"

While some people may think that he was just some nerd that lucked his way into his position with the team, allow me to point out that Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman started all four years at the Catholic University of America, where he played second base. Brian is not an example of somebody that studied statistics and just happened to like baseball enough to take a job as some type of assistant (a la Jonah Hill's character in Moneyball). Cashman was a player first.

In 1986, three years before graduating from college, he was an intern for the Yankees. From 1986 through 1994, he worked under general managers Clyde King, Woody Woodward, Lou Piniella, Bob Quinn, Harding "Pete" Peterson, and Gene Michael. He then spent the next couple years as the assistant general manager for Bob Watson.

Finally, in 1998, Brian Cashman was named the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Yankees. Due to his inexperience at the position (some teams would just hire GMs from other teams, as opposed to giving a newbie the job), many believe that Brian's time at the position would be short-lived. However, he not only lasted longer than expected, but he is currently the second-longest tenured GM in Yankee history (Ed Barrow, the original GM of the Yankees, spent 24 years at the position).

In 2005, when it looked like Brian may leave the Yankees due to being unhappy with ownership, the Washington Nationals were primed to hire him to be their General Manager. But Cashman and the Yankees were able to work out a new deal, in which the GM was given more power over the team.

Cashman was selected as the MLB Executive of the Year in 2009 by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writer's Association of America. Speaking of awards earned, back in 1999 Brian was named to Crain's New York Business 40 under 40 list. Furthermore, he was involved in the development of the video game MLB Front Office Manager.

See, Brian Cashman is not some dumb schlub that's been able to hold onto his position thanks to the team's deep pockets. He's a very intelligent person that's seen baseball from the field and from the front office, and thus earned his spot in the game.

"I just have one question for you, Mr. Umpire! Who should I bring in from the bullpen, because I've been told over and over again that I'm a damn fool?!?!"

The other guy that gets more hate than he deserves, as if you couldn't tell by the above picture, is Joe Girardi.

Girardi attended Northwestern University, and earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering. While some kids get into colleges, that they don't deserve, due to them being athletes, Northwestern is not known for pushing athletics over academics. From Wikipedia...
Consistently ranked as a top national and global university, Northwestern is classified as a leading research institution, attracting over $550 million in sponsored research each year. In addition, Northwestern has one of the largest university endowments in the United States, currently valued at $9.8 billion. In 2014, the university accepted 12.9% of undergraduate applicants, making Northwestern one of the most selective universities in the country.
But Joe isn't another example of a geek that happened to be in the right place at the right time, as he played 15 seasons in MLB as a catcher.

By the way, if you've ever played baseball you'll know that the catcher is basically the quarterback of the game. He will guide pitchers by not only selecting what pitch they throw, but where they throw it, and will talk them through issues they may be having. Furthermore, the catcher will also check and make sure his team mates are properly aligned in the field, and call things such as pick-off plays. 

If the catching position weren't so freakin' important, guys like Jose Molina, with their career batting line of .233/.282/.327, wouldn't have appeared in 947 MLB games.

So Girardi's playing days make his resume look a little better, right? But what about his coaching experience? Okay...

In 2006, Joe Girardi was named the National League Manager of the Year, while he guided the Florida Marlins and their league-low $15 million payroll to a 78-win season. I'd like to take this time to point out that a dozen players made more than the entire Marlins' team that year (five of them played for the Yankees that season). So Joe certainly didn't succeed thanks to high-paid superstars.

And the Yankees aren't the only team that's been interested in Girardi as their manager. The Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and Baltimore Orioles have all either had strong interest and/or offered Joe a contract to run their teams. 

And let's not forget that Joe hasn't always had it easy. In 2011, with the team plagued by injuries to a number of key players, Girardi was still able to guide the team to an AL East crown.

Finally, I'd like to point out that Joe Girardi is not somebody that necessarily wants to lean on veterans, while young players get the shaft.

In 2004, before becoming the manager of the Yankees, Girardi hosted the youth-oriented Yankees on Deck, which received good reviews. Joe actually turned down a larger role on the YES Network the following season, as well as a bench coaching spot and a guarantee to become the manager with the Marlins, in order to take a bench coach spot with the Yanks. By the way, during Spring Training, Girardi continued to host of Kids on Deck. So keep that in mind the next time you want to bash Girardi for playing Stephen Drew ahead of Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela. Perhaps there's another reason for doing so.


I don't mean to say these two guys never make mistakes. Like any of us in our jobs, they certainly do mess up. But they are not "incredibly stupid" or "embarrassingly incompetent". While it's subjective, I can accept that they aren't tops at their respective jobs. But I'm not about to call for either man's removal while acting like I should be running the team. Nor do I think you'd be any better.

Spring Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies 3/15

The New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies are back at it again in the Grapefruit League as the New York Yankees play host to the Phillies inside George M. Steinbrenner Field. On the mound for the Yankees will be Nathan Eovaldi and facing off with him is Sean O'Sullivan for Philadelphia.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and will not be televised anywhere unfortunately. Enjoy your Sunday Yankees family and go Eovaldi!

MLBTR: Yankees Offseason in Review

Offseason In Review: New York Yankees
The Yankees rebuilt their infield and bullpen this winter, yet depth could still be an issue given their several veterans with injury histories.
Major League Signings
Notable Minor League Signings
Trades And Claims
Notable Losses
Needs Addressed
While there was some question as to whether or not the Yankees would be willing to go to four years to re-sign Chase Headley, the team indeed brought him back on a four-year, $52MM contract to solidify the hot corner.  Headley will provide New York with outstanding third base defense, and the team obviously hopes that playing in Yankee Stadium will get his bat back on track — the .262/.371/.398 slash line and 119 OPS+ that Headley posted over 224 PA as a Yankee last season is a good step in that direction.MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees
In Didi Gregorius, the Yankees have addressed their hole at shortstop while still giving themselves flexibility for a future move should they feel Gregorius isn’t a long-term solution.  Gregorius hasn’t shown all that much either at the plate (career 84 wRC+) or in the field (-3.3 UZR/150 at shortstop) during his brief career, yet it’s important to note that he’s had only 724 MLB plate appearances and he’s entering his age-25 season.  He isn’t even arbitration-eligible until next winter, though assuming he accumulates a full year of Major League service time this season, Gregorius will have an extra year of arbitration eligibility due to him as a Super Two player.
Going into the offseason, the consensus was that the Yankees would address their infield by acquiring an everyday second or third baseman, with the versatileMartin Prado then playing the other position.  Instead, Prado was shipped out to the Marlins as part of the multi-player deal that brought Garrett Jones andNathan Eovaldi to the Bronx.  Jones has an .811 OPS against right-handed pitching over his career, and with Yankee Stadium’s infamous short right field porch, Jones could provide some nice pop off the bench and also spell Mark Teixeira at first or Carlos Beltran in right field.
Eovaldi injects some youth and, perhaps just as importantly, durability into New York’s rotation, as the 25-year-old righty tossed 199 2/3 innings for Miami last season.  Almost any hurler would be challenged by moving from pitcher-friendly Marlins Park to hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, especially one who doesn’t strike out many batters like Eovaldi (career 6.28 K/9), though he’s working on a splitter to try to miss more bats.
With David Robertson off to the White Sox, the Yankees replaced one ace reliever with another as they signed Andrew Miller.  It remains to be seen whether he or Dellin Betances will get the lion’s share of saves (or if they split the job), but however it shakes out, New York owns one of the most imposing one-two bullpen punches in the game.  Miller was the most high-profile of several bullpen acquisitions for the Yankees, as they also added right-hander David Carpenter and lefties Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson in separate deals with the Braves and Pirates.  Between Miller, Shreve and Wilson, the Yankees greatly improved their left-handed relief depth, which has been an issue in recent years.
Questions Remaining
Between Masahiro Tanaka‘s slightly torn UCL, Michael Pineda‘s long history of shoulder problems and C.C. Sabathia‘s recent knee injuries, the Yankees are going into the season crossing their fingers for good health from the top of their rotation.  Compounding the problem, the re-signed Chris Capuano will start the year on the DL, robbing the club of its favorite for the fifth starter role.
Despite all these durability issues, the Yankees did little to address their rotation’s depth.  Eovaldi will essentially serve as a replacement for Shane Greene, who enjoyed a nice breakout year in 2014 but was sent to the Tigers as part of the Gregorius deal.  SwingmanDavid Phelps was traded to Miami, and the Yankees didn’t re-sign either Hiroki Kuroda orBrandon McCarthy (though they looked into bringing McCarthy back, albeit only on a two-year deal).
This isn’t to say, however, that GM Brian Cashman hasn’t been actively looking for rotation upgrades.  The Yankees have seemingly come the closest of any team to acquiring Cole Hamels from the Phillies, though as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman subsequently reported, the two sides weren’t actually very close to working out a deal.  Since the chance remains that any of all of Tanaka/Pineda/Sabathia could be healthy and productive, the Yankees will likely continue to play the waiting game until a move becomes essential.  I would expect the Yankees to eventually aggressively pursue Hamels or any other high-priced aces (especially those who are pending free agents) at midseason in order to fill any clear holes that might emerge in the rotation.
Second base remains an unsettled position for New York, as while Stephen Drew was re-signed on a one-year, $5MM deal, it’s hard to know what to expect from the veteran given his sub-replacement level performance in 2014.  Drew’s lengthy free agent stint and lack of a Spring Training could certainly be extenuating circumstances, yet as Drew enters his age-32 season, it’s unclear to what extent he’ll be able to bounce back.  Drew may not get a lot of time to prove himself, as prospects Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder are waiting in the wings if Drew continues to struggle.  Prado’s trade was something of a surprise given that he hit so well for the Yankees last season and his versatility was a boon on a team with so many injury and depth concerns.  If Drew or the rookies can’t handle second base and/or Eovaldi struggles, questions will be asked about why Prado had to be moved.
Prado’s departure could be an even bigger issue if Headley struggles.  While he did well in his short time in the Bronx, the Yankees have now committed $52MM to a player entering his age-31 season who has battled some recent injuries and been showing signs of declineat the plate.  I can’t be too critical of the Headley deal given his solid track record or the lack of other available third base options this offseason, yet his signing doesn’t exactly make third base a worry-free zone for the team.
Like third base, shortstop is also still far from a certainty.  Gregorius hasn’t been able to hit left-handed pitching at all, and it’s worth noting that two teams (the D-Backs and Reds) have to some extent already passed on Gregorius as their “shortstop of the future.”  If Gregorius doesn’t play well, the Yankees don’t have much depth at short aside fromBrendan Ryan, barring a scenario where Drew moves back to shortstop and Pirela or Refsnyder takes over at second.
No discussion of the 2015 Yankees is complete without the obligatory mention of Alex Rodriguez‘s return.  Even if Headley falters, it’s hard to see A-Rod getting significant time back at third given that he’s been slated for (at best) a part-time role as a DH and backup first baseman.  Between Jones and the several full-time veterans the Yankees can rotate through the DH spot on rest days, the team has already protected itself against the possibility that Rodriguez may not be productive given his age, injury history and long absence from the game.
The Yankees signed 10 of Baseball America’s top 28 international prospects from the 2014-15 signing class, far exceeding their signing bonus limit and resulting in a punishment of not being allowed to sign any international prospect for more than a $300K bonus over each of the next two signing periods.  With this looming restriction in mind, it may come back to haunt New York that the club was unable to land two of the higher-profile international prospects of the last few months — Yoan Lopez and Yoan Moncada, who respectivelysigned with the Diamondbacks and Red Sox.  Missing out on Moncada was particularly hurtful for the Yankees, given that they were one of the finalists for the Cuban phenom and that he signed with their Boston arch-rivals.
Deal Of Note
While Miller will likely end up getting some save opportunities this season, he can still boast about landing the largest contract ever given to a reliever without any closing experience.  It’s no surprise that the Yankees had to go to four years and $36MM to land the southpaw given that he had perhaps the widest market of any free agent this winter — a reported 23 teams showed some degree of interest in Miller’s services.  In fact, the Yankees had only the second-largest deal on the table, as Miller turned down a four-year/$40MM offer from the Astros.
Committing four years to any reliever is a risk, especially since Miller has only been an effective bullpen arm since 2012 (as a lefty specialist) and he’d never posted a BB/9 of less than 4.5 prior to last season.  This said, Miller was so dominant in 2014 that if he has turned the corner, he’s as good as any reliever in baseball.
It could be argued that the Yankees didn’t need to spend so much on a big bullpen arm given Betances’ presence, though Betances himself has less than two seasons as a full-time reliever.  In a way, Betances and Miller are acting as each other’s security blankets; if one takes a step back this season, the Yankees will still have the other to stabilize the closer’s job.
After spending over $500MM on free agents in the 2013-14 offseason, this winter was a much quieter one for New York (though spending “only” $100MM on free agents counts as quiet only by Yankees standards).  There was speculation that the Yankees would pursue one of the major free agent starters — Max ScherzerJon LesterJames Shields — this winter, though nothing much developed on that front.
It’s worth noting that signing Scherzer or Shields would’ve cost the Yankees a first round draft pick, and after their free agent splurge last year, the team didn’t seem keen on again limiting its draft pool.  In fact, the Pinstripers are now up an extra pick for the 2015 draft due to the compensatory pick they’ll receive for Robertson signing elsewhere and saw the fourth-largest increase in their draft pool of any team from 2014 to 2015.
In my Yankees Offseason Outlook piece from last October, I predicted the team could be more active on the trade market than in free agency this winter, under the logic that the Yankees could use their financial resources more wisely by acquiring high-priced veterans (i.e. their midseason deals for Prado, McCarthy and Headley last year) from rebuilding teams.  In some ways, that proved to be correct since the team filled more holes via trades than they did via free agents, though most of New York’s trade acquisitions weren’t veterans, but rather younger players like Gregorius, Eovaldi, Wilson, Carpenter and Shreve who all carry several years of team control.
As noted earlier about Gregorius, having controllable players gives the Yankees the flexibility to rather easily move on in the case of a downturn in performance.  These players could also possibly become trade chips themselves should the Bombers pursue more high-profile upgrades later in the season.
These kinds of moves for young talent are necessary given how much money New York has tied up in expensive veterans.  Between Teixeira, Sabathia, Rodriguez, McCann and Beltran, the Yankees will pay $100.125MM in 2015 to five players who combined for 2.7 fWAR in 2014.  Various injuries (and, in A-Rod’s case, his suspension) obviously played a role in that low fWAR total, yet it’s almost impossible to imagine that all five will be totally healthy and productive this season.  The Yankees are accounting for this to some extent, though even they can only plug so many holes; if Tanaka’s UCL issues worsen, or Pineda’s shoulder acts up, or if injuries strike Headley, Drew, Miller, etc., then the season will start to resemble a war of attrition with the disabled list, much like the team’s 2013-14 campaigns.
The lack of a clear favorite in the AL East certainly gives the Yankees a path to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.  They’ll just need to rely on a lot of good health, a few breakout performances and a few returns to form from established players to manage it.

Would the Red Sox Trade Dustin Pedroia?

The Boston Red Sox made me sick this weekend when the team officially announced the signing of Yoan Moncada. The team will essentially pay $31.5 million to Moncada and $31.5 million in penalties and taxes for a second baseman that they announced would start his professional career in A-Ball. Moncada could move through the system quickly but it is important to temper expectations since he is just 19 years old. If Moncada did fly through the system like many expect him to would the Red Sox be willing to trade Dustin Pedroia?

Pedroia's contract runs through the 2021 season and has $96.5 million remaining on the contract. Pedroia never makes more than $16 million a season for the remainder of the contract and has limited no trade protection on the deal. Pedroia was the first second baseman ever to get more than $100 million on a contract. Let's say the Red Sox can delay Moncada's Major League debut for two seasons that still leaves five seasons of Pedroia on a contract where the player hasn't hit less than .278 since his rookie campaign in 2006.

Pedroia has been extremely durable in his career for the most part and has showcased 20 home run power, albeit in Fenway Park, but the problem in after the 2016 season Pedroia will be in his age 33 season. Not many people are going to want to trade for the 33-37 seasons for an AAV over $12 million per season. Basically, unless Pedroia is Derek Jeter and Pete Rose and can contribute late into his career, the Red Sox will be stuck with Pedroia and force Moncada to learn a new position. This all leads me to believe that the Red Sox more wanted to block the Yankees on this one then they actually wanted Moncada because there is no way they are going to be able to unload Pedroia, whether they wanted to or not.

TGP Daily Poll: Nathan Eovaldi Gets Four More K's

Nathan Eovaldi's biggest issue he faced coming over to the New York Yankees was his lack of strikeouts for such a high velocity. Eovaldi has either changed something this spring or has gotten lucky but either way that trend continues with four more strikeouts against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Austin Romine Throws Dirt on Tigers Player Saturday

Austin Romine was caught on camera throwing dirt on a Tigers play during the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers Grapefruit League game. Too bad it was his brother Andrew Romine. Sibling rivalry and baseball, gotta love it. Happy Sunday Yankees family.

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/15: Yankees Honor Mo Rivera in Panama

On this day in 2014 the New York Yankees and the Miami Marlins began a two game spring training series at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama to honor the legacy of the great Mariano Rivera. Rivera was born in a fishing village in Puerto Caimito and was honored by the Yankees show of respect. These two games were the first to be played in Panama since the Yankees and the Dodgers played in an exhibition game in 1947. 

Also on this day in 1999 the Yankees named Don Zimmer the team's interim manager while then manager Joe Torre received treatments for prostate cancer. Zimmer was the Yankees bench coach at thew time and recorded a 885-858 (.508) record during his time as a manager in San Diego, Boston, Texas, and Chicago.

Finally on this day in 1960 the Southern Association announced that the New Orleans Pelicans, for the first time since 1901, will not be part of any AA affiliates inside Major League Baseball. The Pelicans were an affiliate of the New York Yankees in 1958 and were essentially replaces by the Little Rock Travelers.