Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 7/29

Tonight for the third time already this week the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers will face off inside the Ball Park in Arlington. The Yankees have been red hot since the All-Star break and so has the thermometer needles inside of the great state of Texas and neither should be any different tonight. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound looking for some length out of their ace while the Rangers counter with Colby Lewis. The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees have one more game in Texas, three games in Chicago and an off day on Monday before returning home to the Bronx, New York and Yankee Stadium. This gives you a little under a week to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to grab your tickets for the upcoming series with David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox. Until then head over to twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow to root for the home team while they play outside the Eastern Time Zone.

Happy Tanaka Day everybody and Go Yankees!

July 31st Trade Rumors Catch Up Post

The July 31st trading deadline is now just two days away, less than two days technically, and the rumors are flying around like crazy. Let's get caught back up:

  • Mat Latos has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, or he hasn't depending on what you read and where you're reading it. The initial deal had Mat Latos and Michel Morse leaving Miami for Los Angeles in exchange for prospects. The deal may fall through though due to medical concerns over an unnamed player. 

  • The Tigers are ready to hit CTRL+ALT+DEL and reset. David Price and Yoenis Cespedes are officially on the market. 

  • The Reds are officially fielding offers for Aroldis Chapman. 

  • The Yankees and Padres talked about a trade bringin Criag Kimbrel and all $28 million of his salary to the Bronx for Jorge Mateo but the Yankees rejected the deal. 

  • Cole Hamels will not be traded today but it could come tomorrow or Friday. 

  • The Phillies are scouting Ivan Nova like the Reds did before rejecting a deal bringing Johnny Cueto to New York and shipping Nova to Cincinnati. He could be in play for Cole Hamels as well. 

Chris Capuano DFA'd

The New York Yankees have designated Chris Capuano for assignment after his disaster of a start last night. Caleb Cotham has been called up for a fresh arm in the bullpen while, at least for now, Diego Moreno is sticking around.

Standing Pat Means Getting Worse

The New York Yankees have what many believe to be a comfortable lead in the American League East Division race with the July 31st trading deadline looming in a couple of days. The Toronto Blue Jays have already made the most significant trade to date when the team sent Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects to the Colorado Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki while teams like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, New York Mets, the Kansas City Royals and others seem to be going all in. The window for the New York Yankees to win with this team is extremely small, it may be 2015 or bust with all the aging veterans on the team, and standing pat at the deadline is not an option. In a seller’s market where all the teams behind the Yankees are getting better standing pat means getting worse for New York.

Truth be told, as we looked at earlier this morning, the Toronto Blue Jays only marginally improved as a team with their acquisition of Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins while the Boston Red Sox are making moves towards the future. The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are the real dark horses in the division though, in my opinion of course, as Baltimore has already had discussions regarding Justin Upton of the San Diego Padres while the Rays have the farm system to go and get any player they want within reason. The division is not what worries me the most, it is the postseason. The postseason is an entirely new season and the two teams that are legitimate threats to the Yankees in the American League are improving as well.

The Kansas City Royals sent three left-handed starting pitchers including Brandon Finnegan to the Cincinnati Reds for ace RHP Johnny Cueto to begin the final countdown to the trading deadline. The Royals really had one weakness on this team and they shored that up a bit with their acquisition of Cueto. In Cueto the team has a real threat that could win three games in a seven game series or two games in a five game series. Cueto isn’t exactly playoff tested nor is he tested in the American League where he won’t see much small ball or pitchers hitting but you have to think for what Kansas City gave up the team is much better. 

The Angels are seemingly strapped for cash but have been able to solidify their outfield position and their weakest link with the acquisition of Shane Victorino from the Boston Red Sox. The cost of infielder Josh Rutledge was minimal while Boston chipped in some cash to make the deal worth it for both sides. The Angels have a good pitching staff, a filthy bullpen and an offense to match and one of their only “automatic outs” in the lineup, Matt Joyce, has now been platooned.

The Yankees are falling farther and farther behind with every acquisition another team makes. Standing pat is not an option, standing pat is getting worse and opening the door for the rest of the American League to steal #28 away from the team, the city and the franchise.

Twitter Poll: Who Lands Cole Hamels?

The Philadelphia Phillies have told teams to have their best offers in today if they wish to acquire left-handed starter Cole Hamels. Hamels starts tomorrow, whether that start comes for the Philadelphia Phillies or not remains to be seen, and the team would like to move him before that start if possible. There are many teams in the mix for Hamels including the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers, the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees to name a few but who will ultimately land Hamels when it’s all said and done is yet to be determined. This sounds like all the makings of a Twitter poll if you ask me.

Personally I can see a team like the Boston Red Sox building for 2016 and acquiring Hamels in the old “keep him away from the Yankees” line of thinking. Boston has the pieces to make a move and I don’t like picking the “obvious” choices like the Dodgers or the Rangers simply because it feels like a cop out. Honestly the Phillies could decide to hold onto Hamels, although they likely will trade him, and wait until the offseason when the competition is much stiffer and the pool of “contenders” is larger. Who knows, stay tuned because this should come to an end any minute now.

To be a part of our next Twitter Poll blog post head on over to Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow. Then be on the lookout for out next Twitter Poll tweet where we will not use your responses without your permission first.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 7/29

The New York Yankees are fresh off their bullpen game last night and could really use a long outing from their starters the next two nights. Adam Warren and Chris Capuano are likely unavailable for tonight’s third contest of this four game set along with other key Yankees relievers. The good news for New York is that they have their ace Masahiro Tanaka on the mound facing off with Colby Lewis for the Rangers. The game will be played at 8:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Tanaka heads into this start fresh off his third straight victory of the season despite becoming seemingly home run prone in the same three start span. Tanaka gave up three solo home runs in 7.2 innings of work last time out against the Baltimore Orioles in a series sweep for New York. Tanaka has not pitched on just four days rest since he came off the disabled list with a right forearm strain on April 23.

  • Lewis has been one of the most consistent starters this season for Texas and has been especially good in his last ten starts. Lewis is 6-1 with a 4.30 ERA in his last ten starts and looks to improve on his 3-1 record and 4.95 ERA at home this season in nine starts. Lewis is making his fourth start against the Yankees since 2010 tonight and looks to improve on his 2-1 record and 4.50 ERA.

The good news for the Yankees is that Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller are both available tonight and tomorrow for the finale in Texas so if New York has a lead they are likely to get another pair of victories. First thing is first though and that is tonight’s contest as the Yankees look to get yet another series victory and win another game or two after the All-Star break. Go Yankees!

Are the Blue Jays Better w/ Troy Tulowitzki?

As we all either saw very late Monday night and early Tuesday morning the Toronto Blue Jays and the Colorado Rockies shook up the trading market with a deal involving Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki, various prospects and an absolute butt-ton of money. The Blue Jays will acquire Tulowitzki and closer LaTroy Hawkins in a deal that sent Reyes and three prospects back to Colorado. No money will change hands despite Colorado saving around $50 million overall in the deal but did the deal really make Toronto all that much better and should the Yankees be worried?

Tulowitzki was slashing .300/.348/.471/.818 at the time of the trade with 12 home runs and 53 RBI in a very hitting friendly Coors Field while Reyes was slashing .285/.322/.385/.708 with four home runs and 34 RBI. It is hard to compare the two since Reyes is primarily a leadoff type hitter while Tulowtizki is a middle of the order type bat but Tulo seemingly has Reyes beat in almost every standard category and statistic as well as in the peripheral department. The question is not whether Tulo is the better hitter than Reyes, anyone who has watched a game the past two or three seasons can tell you that he is, but it is whether this is a better match for the Jays.

Toronto now has Tulo as long as Tulo wants to play his home games inside Rogers Centre after a full no-trade clause triggered in his deal with the trade. Toronto is taking on more years and more money, around $50 million to be exact, to take on Hawkins and Tulo and Tulo alone doesn’t really help the team. Toronto’s biggest issue this season has been with the pitching, it’s definitely not been the offense, and while Tulo helps the offense and probably helps on the defensive side of the ball, although with his recent hip surgery and injury history playing on turf may not be the best idea for Tulo, I’m not entirely sure he helps the team much this season.

Hawkins was also acquired in the deal and although he’s 42 years old and likely to retire at the end of the season making him a pure rental he may help a Toronto bullpen that is in dire need of some help. Hawkins was no longer the closer in Colorado, although he has loads of closing experience, and was pitching to a 3.63 ERA in a very hitting friendly ballpark at the time of the trade. Hawkins was pitching to a 123 ERA+ and 1.164 WHIP, although his 1.2 HR/9 and 8.9 H/9 aren’t anything to write home about. Hawkins still misses enough bats to survive and doesn’t walk many batters at all giving the Blue Jays an upgrade in their bullpen. Is it enough of an upgrade to make up 6.5 games in the American League East? Probably not even close, but then again its only July 29th

Quick Hit: Imagining a Bullpen w/ Craig Kimbrel

There is no better way than to start a Wednesday morning then to salivate at what could easily be the best bullpen in all of Major League Baseball history. John Heyman reported it and Jack Niemuth brought it to the readers, the New York Yankees have at least entertained the idea of acquiring the San Diego Padres closer Craig Kimbrel this season. Kimbrel is signed through the 2017 season for major money and would likely command a top prospect in return, something the Yankees are not willing to do reportedly. New York has made Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Jorge Mateo untouchable but if somehow the Yankees could make a deal for Kimbrel I think you have to start etching the World Series title trophy now, don’t you?

LR: Chris Capuano
RP: Adam Warren
RP: Justin Wilson (5th inning)
RP: Chasen Shreve (6th inning)
RP: Craig Kimbrel (7th inning)
SU: Dellin Betances
CP: Andrew Miller

New York could even take that one step further inserting Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Branden Pinder, Jacob Lindgren when he returns from injury or any of the cast of characters that have seemingly out-performed Capuano this season into the bullpen for maximum efficiency. That’s not shortening a game that is making every single game unfair, and I like unfair when it’s slanted towards the house. It may be a pipe dream but I can honestly say I’ve had much worse dreams in my life. 

Weekly Check In: Greg Bird

Greg Bird got a bit of a shot in the arm as far as confidence goes this week when the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman announced that Bird was one of the four “untouchable” prospects at this year’s July 31st trading deadline. Bird joined the ranks of fellow RailRIders Aaron Judge and Luis Severino as well as Charleston Riverdogs standout Jorge Mateo in the untouchable department. Bird is likely thought to be as the first baseman of the future in the Bronx with the massive and lengthy Mark Teixeira contract nearing its conclusion.

Bird has done well in every stop in the minor leagues during his Yankees career with 2015 being no exception. His batting average is a little lower than you would like it to be for Triple-A and Double-A but when you look at his power numbers, RBI numbers and on base percentage he gets a pass. I hate to say this out loud, although I feel confident enough to since he was deemed untouchable, Bird would be the perfect player for Billy Beane to acquire in a potential Ben Zobrist trade. Luckily, or unluckily depending on how you look at it, we won’t have to worry about that this season.


The Yogi Berra Presidential Medal of Freedom Response

We got a response to our signatures on the petition to get Yogi Berra a Presidential Medal of Freedom Award, sort of anyway. Here's the email we all presumably got yesterday afternoon.

We the People
A Response to Your Petition on Yogi Berra and the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Thanks for signing this petition about considering Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra for the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- America's highest civilian honor.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established more than 50 years ago by President John F. Kennedy through Executive Order 11085. The Presidential Medal of Freedom has been presented to more than 500 individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

Each year, a new round of honorees are presented with the award. Recipients have ranged from world leaders like President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Mother Teresa, to pop culture and sports icons like Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, and Ernie Banks. President Obama has described Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients as having "lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place."

You can learn more about the award's history and its past recipients

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded at the President's sole discretion, and therefore our response to this petition cannot comment on whether any individual will receive the award in the future. We can, however, say that throughout his career as a Hall-of-Fame catcher for the New York Yankees and beyond, Yogi Berra has done a lot more than hit and think at the same time. He demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship and character on his way to winning 13 World Series championships as a player and manager, with each new title feeling like déjà vu all over again. He served our country in the U.S. Navy during World War II -- including the D-Day invasion, and has established himself as an advocate for civil rights, education, and inclusion of the LGBT community in sports.

He's demonstrated many of the qualities of past Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, so -- as he might say -- it ain't over 'til it's over.

This Day in New York Yankees History 7/29: Billy Martin Back for Old Timers Day

The New York Yankees won a World Series championship in 1977 under then manager Billy Martin and before Martin could try and defend his title he resigned and was replace by Bob Lemon as manager. The Yankees would repeat as World Series champions in 1978 under Lemon but before that Martin made one more trip to Yankee Stadium. The trip was made on this day in 1978 when Martin returned to the Yankees on Old Timer's Day.

Martin couldn't stay away from New York and George Steinbrenner as he would be the Yankees manager once again in 1980.

Finally on this day in 1969 Joe DiMaggio was named the greatest living player in Major League Baseball by a group of sportswriters. A poll was taken to coincide with the centennial of professional baseball and DiMaggio was given the honor. DiMaggio proudly embraced the title until his death in 1999. Not bad for a guy that took four times to get into the Hall of Fame.