Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Getaway Day Open Thread

For the first time ever we are doing a getaway day open thread here on the blog because you asked for it. You asked for more open threads to talk about whatever you like and with the Yankees game in the books and a long flight out to California ahead of the team we should have plenty of time and plenty to talk about tonight. Anyone going to see any of the west coast games this week? Stephen Drew still sucks, that always makes for an entertaining conversation. Anything you guys and girls want, go!

For the open thread music recommendation today we’ll go with a classic that you probably never heard of. It’s called “The Crazy Ones” and it’s from a band formerly known as Stellar Revival. Enjoy!

Weekly Check In: Mason Williams

For some odd reason I am wanting to do two of these weekly check in's today because I apparently missed that Mason Williams was called up to Triple-A last week. In honor of his promotion, which is a bit shocking since he was in the same outfield as Aaron Judge, we will check in with him now. Maybe we can squeeze Mason in from time to time as well if he continues to hit and defend like this:


Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals 5/27

For the final time in a few weeks the New York Yankees will play host to a team in the Bronx and inside Yankee Stadium. That lucky team this afternoon is the Kansas City Royals as the Bronx Bombers look to secure a nice series win before setting out on the road. Michael Pineda is on the mound for the Yankees penned with that task while Chris Young looks to stop him for the Royals. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

It’s going to be a while before the Yankees return home for a home game in the Bronx so you have no excuse not to have your tickets in hand when they get back. With HOPE Week just around the corner have your Yankees tickets in hand by clicking the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog. If you are stuck on the east coast like the rest of us then join us on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) or in the comments section of the site as we will try and tweet as much as we can during this long west coast swing.

No matter what coast the Yankees are on we’re still root, root, rooting for the home team. Go Yankees!

The Problem With Slade Heathcott

Back in late March I wrote an article looking ahead at the possible 2017 Yankees, while pointing what they'll cost the team compared to this year's squad. That '17 team included youngsters like Greg Bird, Rob Refsnyder, and Aaron Judge. It's pretty exciting to think about, as that season could be the start of a new-look New York Yankees team... one which could lead them well into the future.

But there's another youngster that's been turning heads since being called up, and he throws a wrench into my future plans.

No, that's not him.

Yeah, there we go.

It's great to see somebody come up through the Yankees system and succeed in Major League Baseball. However, Slade Heathcott is one those cases where I see a problem, and the solution to that problem is sure to upset some people.

The Yankees currently have two outfielders under contract, both of whom are contributing quite a bit to a very inconsistent lineup. And the organizations top prospect looks to slide perfectly into the lineup and outfield. And then there's Carlos Beltran, who we will likely have to deal with through next season, thanks to a silly contract given to him a year and a half ago.

So what do we do? Well, here are four ideas, listed in order of likeliness...

1. Trade Jacoby Ellsbury - I listed this first, meaning it's the one that's least likely to happen, due to the time and money left on his contract. He's going to turn 32 in September, and will still have five years and over $105 million left on his deal. I'm not sure anybody would be willing to take on that contract, while at the same time giving up much in return. And that truth multiples by a thousand if his current knee injury turns out to be anything close to serious.

2. Trade Aaron Judge - Even though Aaron Judge is killing it at AA Trenton with a batting line of .291/.357/.479, with six home runs, we have to remember that he's still a prospect. And prospects do not always pan out. Ruzz Canzler was the International League (AAA) Most Valuable Player in 2011, after slashing .314/.401/.530. However, since 2012 he's only appeared in 26 MLB games (Russ actually played for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season). But Aaron could very well be that big bat in the middle of the Yankees lineup in a couple years, and he's also been praised for his defense in right field (where he has an obvious spot waiting for him on the Yankees), so I don't seem them willing to trade him away unless it's for a very good player.

3. Trade Brett Gardner - Gardner has a team friendly contract, is productive at the plate, and plays great defense. But his legs are probably what makes Brett valuable. If it wasn't for his speed he wouldn't cause as much havoc on the basepaths, which helps boost his offensive contributions. That same speed is what makes his defense great, too. Take away that speed and what do you get? Not a whole heck of a lot. And it's rare for a guy dependent on speed to retain his value heading into his mid-30s. For the time being he's very much outplaying his contract, and is a part of an extremely formidable one-two punch atop the Yankees' lineup. Along with Ellsbury in centerfield, opposing hitters have a very tough time being successful while hitting the ball anywhere around them in the outfield.

4. Trade Slade Heathcott - Let's face it... he's young, and you can never be sure of what you're going to get out a player like that (see my spiel on Aaron Judge). Will he continue to do well, or will MLB catch up to him and turn him into a bench player or worse? And we can't forget the problems he had with his left shoulder a few years ago, and the problems he had with his right knee just last season. When he's healthy he's been a good player, putting up a batting average of .285 this year at Scranton, and hitting well in his short stint so far in the Majors. But what makes him the most likely player to be traded is the fact that there is no spot for him in the future, as long as those other three guys I mentioned are healthy. There's a very good chance that the starting outfield in 2017 is Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Aaron Judge. That leaves Heathcott on the bench. And if he continues to hit well in MLB, what's the point of keeping him around with no clear future outside the dugout? Especially when a kid with MLB experience, especially as part of a package, could fetch a nice return in a trade?

Chances are some of you reading this said the word "no" aloud after reading each of those, and I don't blame you. I don't want to see any of those guys sent away. But facts are facts, and unless MLB adopts slow-pitch softball rules, then only three players will be allowed in the outfield, meaning somebody will be left out. And if somebody is going to be left out, then it's in the team's best interest to get as much out of them as possible, and a trade would be that way.

And keep in mind I'm not saying the Yankees have to do this before the trade deadline this season. During the season there are going to be teams that are "sellers" rather than "buyers", but during the offseason everybody is in "buy" mode. No team goes into a season thinking they don't have a chance, and therefore look to sell off players to build for the future. If that were true the Astros wouldn't be looking at their first postseason since Ronald Reagan was elected president... the first time.

USA Today Weekly Power Rankings

Wednesday morning means it’s that time of the week again where we bring you the weekly power rankings from USA After the Yankees slipped in last week’s polls they slipped once again this week after losing nine games out of their last ten to end the week. While we know the Yankees won’t top their season high #6 ranking and will likely fall below their #7 ranking they were at last week just how low will the Yankees go? Keep reading.

While the Yankees weren’t the biggest fallers, the Cincinnati Reds were falling nine spots to #25, they were close falling seven spots all the way down to the #14 position. Then rest of the American League East division can be rounded up with the Tampa Bay Rays coming in at #10, the Boston Red Sox sitting at #16, The Baltimore Orioles at #17 and the Toronto Blue Jays bringing up the rear at #24. The biggest riser this week was the Atlanta Braves who climbed seven spots all the way to the #15 spot one position after the New York Yankees.

The Top Five rankings in order have a new team at the top in the Kansas City Royals followed by, in order, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Houston Astros, the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The five worst rankings on the list, again in order, belong to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Miami Marlins, the Colorado Rockies, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Oakland Athletics.

These rankings go to show you just how weak the American League East is in 2015, it’s anybodies division right now and nobody seems to want it. The small sample size is over and we’re over 1/5th through with this season so these rankings are starting to mean more and more with each week’s set. Check in every week to see where the Yankees and the rest of the league stack up here on the blog and on USA Today. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals 5/27

This afternoon the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals play in the classic afternoon getaway game with the Yankees setting their sails to the west coast after the ballgame. In the finale of the three game series here inside Yankee Stadium the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound looking to bounce back from a couple bad starts while Chris Young starts for the Royals. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Pineda is coming off a pair of bad starts against these Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers after striking out 16 Baltimore Orioles on Mother’s Day three starts ago. Last time out against the Royals Pineda allowed five earned runs on 10 hits, both season highs, in a Yankees series loss.

  • Young has pitched well since coming into the Royals rotation from the bullpen allowing just one run across all four victories he has secured this season. One of those victories included a win over the Yankees on May 15.

This is quite possibly the worst part of any MLB season, and I touched on this a bit in this morning’s TGP Daily Poll, as the Yankees head out west to start a long road trip. I hate the West Coast games because they don’t start until 10:00 pm ET meaning with me having to be up at 5:00 am ET by the time the game starts the most sleep I am going to get is seven hours. If I stay up for even a Rob Manfred Special, three hours or less, I’m down to four hours of sleep. Now I am a huge “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” kind of person but I also have to keep in mind my children will want me to play, talk to them and be a living and breathing human being.. So yeah. I’m going to miss a few games. Anyway as long as we’re winning those games that is all that matters to me, go Yankees!!

TGP Daily Poll: Hate West Coast Games

I hate when the Yankees travel out west to play because 5:00 am ET comes awfully early for me. With the Yankees heading on an extended road trip to the West Coast I can expect myself to watch no more than one complete game this road trip.

Vote in our prediction poll on 

Weekly Check In: Bryan Mitchell

This is normally Greg Bird’s slot for the weekly prospect check in but with him still on the disabled list I figured we could have a bit of a revolving door here until he returns. This week we’ll check in with presumably the next in line in the starting pitching department, Mr. Bryan Mitchell. Mitchell was called up to the major leagues once already this season, although he was not used, so with his option burned for the year I expect to see the right hander go back and forth quite a bit this season if necessary. Mitchell’s stats mirror those of Shane Greene’s before he was called up and pitched much better in the major leagues and is my personal breakout candidate for the 2015 season.

Stat line looks a little something like this:

This Day in New York Yankees History 5/27: Knuckle Ball Glove is born Against Yankees

On this day in 1997 Luis Polonia of all people ruined the Oakland A's Steve Ontiveros bid for a no hitter with a two out sixth inning single. The single by Polonia would be the only hit that Ontiveros would give up in the A's 3-0 victory over the Yankees.

Also on this day in 1960 the knuckleball glove is born for catchers as Orioles catcher Clint Courtney became the first backstop to use the glove. Manager Paul Richards came up with the 45 inch glove that helped knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm go the distance in a 3-2 win at Yankee Stadium over the Yankees. Wilhelm did not throw a single wild pitch or passed ball in the game, amazing.