Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Recap: Yankees 4, Twins 3

Greg Bird hit a pair of two-run homers and the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Twins,
4-3, on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

Bird is the Word: The surging rookie clubbed a no-doubter to right in the fourth to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead, but perhaps his best highlight of the day came later on. Facing Ervin Santana with the Yanks trailing 3-2 in the sixth, Bird lined another one into the New York bullpen to re-take the advantage -- earning himself a curtain call and unsurprisingly upsetting the Twins' starter.

Lucky Number 13: It might be hard to believe considering he had just 15 in his career prior to the season, but Nathan Eovaldi's win count has reached a baker's dozen. Not in a spectacular way, admittedly -- Eovaldi yielded three earned runs on four hits over seven innings -- but as usual, the righty was good enough.

A Couple of Costly Mistakes: In fact, Eovaldi was perfect through 16 batters, but his chance for a gem disappeared after a rough top of the sixth. Eovaldi walked two and allowed each of the Twins' three runs in that frame, Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe having done damage with a two-run single and a bases-loaded infield knock, respectively.

More Help From the Bullpen: Eovaldi's one bad inning indeed made things interesting, but truthfully, the Yankees were still heavy favorites once their bullpen entered the contest. Granted, the team was without two of its better arms in Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson, but with Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances ready to go instead, the Yankees were nonetheless able to get the final six outs.

That's a lot of K's: Speaking of Betances, how many strikeouts do you think he has right now? 80? 90? Nope, try 101. That's just 34 off his total from last year, and we're only in mid-August.

Next Up: The Yankees will look to continue riding high when they kickoff a home series with the Indians on Thursday night, sending the confident Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.57 ERA) to the mound versus Cleveland's Josh Tomlin (0-1, 2.84 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET, with YES and WFAN calling the action.

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Chuck Knoblauch

Edward Charles “Chuck” Knoblauch was born on July 7, 1968 and spent much of his career with the Minnesota Twins before coming to the New York Yankees. Chuck was a Twin from 1991 until 1997 when he became a Yankee from 1998-2001. Knoblauch would finish his career in Kansas City in 2002 playing second base and left field in his final two seasons of his big league career. Knoblauch was a huge part of the Yankees World Series championship teams in 1998, 1999, 2000, and the team that almost won it all in 2001. Let’s remember Yankees of the past, Chuck Knoblauch.

Knoblauch would join the Yankees just in time in 1998 and drew praise from Buster Olney right away. Olney wrote that Knoblauch and Derek Jeter would form the greatest double play combination in history. Knoblauch struggled early in 1998 but would hit a career high 17 home runs on a team that won a then American League record 114 games. While Knoblauch will be more remembered for his 1998 postseason error that ensued into an argument with the umpire while the play was still live in the end he still received his first World Series ring with New York to cap off a successful season. “Blauch-head” had his first World Series ring and won his second beating the Atlanta Braves in 1999 and his third consecutive in 2000 when the Yankees beat the Mets in the Subway World Series.

The Yankees won the American League pennant every year Knoblauch was on the team. Knoblauch was one of the more premier defenders in the game until joining New York when he was his own worst enemy in the field. Knoblauch struggled to throw to first base, known as Steve San Syndrome among other things, and by the year 2000 he was moved to designated hitter more than he was in the field. By June of 2000 the Yankees had moved Knoblauch to left field after Chuck made three throwing errors in six innings on June 16. Knoblauch threw one ball so wide of the first baseman that it went into the stand and hit ESPN sportscaster Keith Olbermann’s mother in the head. Knoblauch would voluntarily leave that game and would never return to second base. Joe Torre had moved the struggling infielder to the outfield. Knoblauch would recover in left and ended up scored the game winning run after leading off Game 5 of the 2001 World Series with a single after being knocked in by his replacement at second base in Alfonso Soriano.

Knoblauch may have had his throwing issues, and lord knows he continues to struggle with his legal troubles, but he was a Yankee and an integral part of three World Series titles. Knoblauch was included in the Mitchell Report in 2007 and Knoblauch has always done his time and manned up to his mistakes and you have to respect that. Knoblauch’s most recent legal troubles cost him an induction into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame but you know what, he is still a Yankee and I thank him for that.

Jose Reyes to the Yankees: Warming Up to a Trade

You guys and girls saw my rant this morning and now you know that I have the same “attitude problem” that Robert Refsnyder has. I’ve officially given up on any idea or chance that the Yankees will call up possibly their best minor league hitter and their best hitter with a control and eye for the strike zone, I’m done. New York isn’t going to call up Rob Refsnyder, period, so let’s instead focus on making the team better rather than complaining and crying about the non-move when the move that needs to be made is so blatantly obvious. Taking Refsnyder out of the equation sucks, and I take it personally but I digress, but adding a comparable or better piece can make things better. Depending on the contract situation when (if) the trade is finalized I believe I am beginning to warm up to a trade involving Jose Reyes to the Yankees.

We all know the back story, Reyes was sent to the Colorado Rockies along with a package of prospects for Troy Tulowitzki with the thoughts that Colorado would flip their new shortstop. Reyes is owed an absolute ton of money for a long, long time, $66 million for three more years to be exact not including his team option for the 2018 season, and for that reason alone a deal may be struck this month for his services. When you have mega-contracts like that it is not uncommon for a player to clear revocable waivers like Reyes did this month, remember the Rockies could always stick the claiming team with his contract and basically give him up for free. This way, now that Reyes has cleared waivers unclaimed, the Yankees and their GM Brian Cashman can do what they do best and that’s absorb salary in order to give up less in terms of prospects.

If Colorado is willing to eat at least half of Reyes’ remaining $66 million in salary making him essentially an $11 million player AAV wise I think you make the deal. $11 million annually for a player of Reyes’ caliber is an absolute bargain on the free agent market, especially when you move him, his defense and his bat to an offensively anemic position like second base. Refsnyder would be nice at the position and so would his presumed $500-ish K salary but the team can’t do that due to “attitude problems.”

Taking on half of the salary and contract for Reyes would allow the team to keep the likes of Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Jorge Mateo and possibly Gary Sanchez but it would likely cost them Refsnyder in the deal. That’s okay, New York isn’t going to play him anyway in my opinion and it gives the team a second baseman for quite some time. It also gives the team a few years to potentially shift Jorge Mateo and/or Tyler Wade from shortstop to second base to replace Reyes assuming the Didi Gregorius we have seen over the past few months is the Didi Gregorius we will see throughout his contract that runs through the 2019 season.

Trade Refsnyder for Reyes and kill two birds with one stone. Refsnyder finally gets a chance to play every day and the Yankees upgrade their biggest black hole in the lineup with yet another leadoff hitter at the bottom of the order. Reyes can handle New York and he can help lead this team to a World Series championship without hitting .190 in the playoffs. Play Refsnyder or make the trade, I frankly don’t even care anymore. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 8/19

The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins will finish off their three game series this afternoon in the Bronx with the Yankees looking for yet another victory against a team that has essentially become like their little brothers over the past decade or so. New York has always done well against the Minnesota Twins in recent memory, especially in the postseason, and that has not changed much despite a much better team in Minnesota in 2015 than in years past. The Yankees will send their winningest pitcher to the mound this afternoon in Nathan Eovaldi looking for lucky win #13 while the Twins counter with Ervin Santana. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees have this game, a four game series with the Cleveland Indians throughout the weekend and a three game set at home with the Houston Astros before setting back out onto the road so you have plenty of time left to click that Yankees Tickets button on the top of the blog and head to the Bronx with your tickets in hand. If you can’t make it live then that’s not a problem, just jump on Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow to interact with us and root for the Yankees during each and every game this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury and company are ready to step into the box and do work once again and I’m ready to watch it. Go Evo and Go Yankees!

Looking Back At The Trade Deadline

It would have been great if the Yankees traded for an ace-like pitcher like Johnny Cueto, David Price, or Cole Hamels. But I think we all agree that the asking price for those guys, which likely would have included one or more of Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Jorge Mateo, was a bit high. 
However, pitchers such as Dan Haren (traded to the Cubs), Mat Latos (traded to the Dodgers), and Mike Leake (traded to the Giants), were available for a much more reasonable price. Yet the Yankees were never truly in on those guys. 

Instead of making a move to acquire a pitcher from outside the organization, the only move the Yankees made to improve the rotation was to promote Luis Severino. Even though a lot of fans wanted to see Severino promoted, many weren't satisfied with Brian Cashman's lack of action at the trade deadline (the non-waiver one, that is). But how has that worked out?

"I'll give you a clue... not bad."

Here are some stats since the trade deadline...

Dan Haren - GS: 3, ERA: 5.40, WHIP: 1.467, FIP: 7.17
Mat Latos - GS: 3, ERA: 6.75, WHIP: 1.432, FIP: 4.40
Mike Leake* - GS: 1, ERA: 2.84, WHIP: 1.579, FIP: 4.53
*Leake was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain after just one start with San Francisco.

Luis Severino - GS: 3, ERA: 3.18, WHIP: 1.059, FIP: 3.40

I won't go as far as to say Severino will be the better pitcher for the rest of the season, but it's certainly possible. And one thing is certain, and that's the fact Luis has been the best pitcher out of the four since the deadline. 

Now, some may say the Yankees should have gone harder after a pitcher once they found out that Michael Pineda was headed to the disabled list, especially since it looked like it would be for longer than 15 days. However, Latos and Leake were dealt at about the same time it was learned that that's where Pineda was headed. And as for Dan Haren, I think the Yankees would have been better off with Bryan Mitchell and the bullpen, anyway.

In fact, especially if CC Sabathia can build on his last few starts (3.38 ERA and a .647 OPS against), Joe Girardi will have some tough decisions surrounding the rotation to make in a couple of weeks.

Extend Trading Deadline, End Non-Waiver Trade Deadline

All around Major League Baseball every team is seemingly scrambling to either sell off their players or add players to their team before the July 31st trading deadline. With the addition of a second Wild Card playoff spot in the both the American and National League’s many have been clamoring to extend the July 31st trading deadline to give teams more time to determine whether they are contenders or pretenders and while this could easily be done on paper I personally believe something else would have to change. What I am suggesting here in this post is to push back the July 31st trading deadline to August 15th but I would also push to completely eliminate the August non-waiver trade deadline of August 31st.

The August trade deadline is redundant in my opinion with not many notable trades get made during the month of August anyway. Pushing the non-waiver trade deadline back two weeks gives teams more than enough time to evaluate where they stand and evaluate which direction the team wants their organization to head in. Giving the team another month to try and pass players through waivers and unload hefty contracts does not add much to the sport and would likely spice up things before the new August 15th trade deadline.

If a team knows they can’t simply wait to pass a Jose Reyes, a James Shields or a Chase Utley through waivers and trade them in August it will force the team to be more active before the deadline that counts. It also allows teams to evaluate what they have and where they are going before September call ups and before post season rosters and eligibility needs to be set. In my opinion this is a win, win for Major League Baseball all around.

This may never happen in my lifetime but I think it is something that Major League Baseball at least needs to consider. It brings more attention to the game for a longer period of time and may even get more people to watch and pay attention for longer, who knows. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 8/19

The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins will finish off their three game set this afternoon in a day game at Yankee Stadium. This series has been fun to watch but it’s been costly for the Yankees after the team lost Bryan Mitchell to a nasal fracture and Mark Teixeira for a few days with a leg bruise while the entire bullpen has been spent and overworked once again. The Yankees need length and they need a laugher and unfortunately the team is only likely to get one of those two scenarios this afternoon with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound. Eovaldi has pitched well lately and the Yankees give him almost seven runs of support per game but length is not his specialty. Opposing Eovaldi in the Bronx this afternoon is Ervin Santana for the Twins. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

  • Eovaldi has received amazing run support this season and has given the Yankees 12 victories in return to just two losses. Eovaldi has not given the Yankees much length this season but his longest start of the year came back on July 26th against these same Minnesota Twins where he pitched eight innings allowing just two runs and eight hits.

  • Santana has not looked stellar in many of his eight starts since returning from his 80-game steroid suspension. Santana has allowed five or more runs in four of those starts causing his ERA to rise all the way to 5.66. Santana will knock the rust off eventually, I just hope that it isn’t this afternoon against the Yankees.

The Yankees will stay home tomorrow to begin a four game series with those pesky Cleveland Indians in the Bronx. New York also continues HOPE Week this week thus proving that the team truly is the “Evil Empire,” a moniker given to them by the Boston Red Sox in the mid-2000’s. I just want to take a second before the game to attempt to put into words how proud I am to be a fan of this team, especially during HOPE Week. Anyway, Go Yankees!

So Robert Refsnyder Has An Attitude Problem, Huh?

"Uh, yeah... Stephen Drew sucks."

Brian Cashman’s new name is officially ‘The Reacher” so remember where you heard it first. Cashman reaches his hands into the bargain basement bin year in and year out and pulls out players like Esmil Rogers, Chris Capuano, Andruw Jones, Brendan Ryan and Stephen Drew to name a few while ignoring the obvious talents that he has at his disposal in the minor leagues. He also reaches for excuse after excuse when it comes to not calling up players, Chris Dickerson was a great example of this in 2013 and Robert Refsnyder is a perfect example of this now. The latest reason, because they can’t bag on his defense as much as they used to be able to, is that he has an attitude problem. Really? Say it isn’t so.

Would you have an attitude problem if you hit your ass off in 2014 and got generally ignored while the team rolled out Brian Roberts, Yangervis Solarte, Dean Anna, Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson and others at the second base position? Wouldn’t you have an attitude if the team’s offense was a wreck in 2014 and you rotted away in Scranton/Wilkes Barre because of “defensive concerns.” Wouldn’t you have an attitude problem if you shored up the hole that was keeping you from the Major Leagues, his defense, and still got ignored for the most part while the incumbent battled with the .175 Stephen Drew Line for much of the season? Wouldn’t you have an attitude if you were called up and showed confidence by the manager only to be sent back down and ignored once again by the GM? I know I would, I do have an attitude about it and I’m not even Refsnyder.

I have mentioned multiple times this season that the Yankees organization is doing more harm than good by sending Refsnyder down to rot in Triple-A. There is such thing as “over-grooming” a prospect forcing reverse development. We saw it with Austin Romine and we’re seeing it now with Refsnyder, it’s damning and potentially career ending in most cases and it’s not something you want to mess around with. New York has to call him up or they have to trade him, bottom line. Refsnyder has attitude problems, that’s why you’re not calling him up? I have an attitude problem too, maybe I should stop buying your tickets, wearing your jerseys and hats and paying my YES Network and MLB TV subscriptions. You’re hitting Refsnyder in the heart and right in the gut and maybe it’s time for the fans to start hitting you in the wallet. Let’s see the Yankees be able to afford another three year contract at an enormous salary for a GM when the people stop coming out to the ballpark or watching on television. Attitude? Attitude reflects leadership Mr. Cashman and your attitude sucks!

Weekly Check In: Greg Bird

It looks like Greg Bird is here to stay, at least for a little while, so this may be the last check in of Bird we do for a while. Bird collected his first Major League hit over the weekend against the Toronto Blue Jays and looks to get a few days of playing time with Mark Teixeira’s leg bothering him. Teixeira fouled a ball off his leg and will avoid a DL stint opening the door this week for Bird.

Bird is expected to get some playing time going forward as both Teixeira and DH Alex Rodriguez will need days off to stay fresh and stay healthy. Bird had a big double in the Monday night game against the Twins and looks like he has all the makings of someone who is going to stick in the Bronx.

Minor League Numbers:
Major League Numbers (before Tuesday night’s game):
2015 NYY 3 11 1 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 .200 .273 .300 .573 61

Vince Conde Named SAL Player of the Week

Conde Crushes His Way to Player of the Week Award

Infielder goes 15-for-25 (.600) with 8 doubles, 4 homers, 15 RBI in six games

CHARLESTON, SC - Charleston RiverDogs infielder Vince Conde received the South Atlantic League Player of the Week Award on Monday, for games played August 10-16. For the week, Conde went 15-for-25 (.600) with 12 extra-base hits, 8 doubles and 4 home runs, 11 runs scored, 15 RBI and 35 total bases. He walked four times and did not strike out once in the six games. His slash line was an incredible .600/.633/1.400.

Conde, a native of Oviedo, Florida, and former Vanderbilt University standout, began the week 1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in the August 11thgame against the Lexington Legends. In the next tilt he tallied a single and double, before his career night against the Legends. Conde went a career-high 4-for-5 with three doubles and a career-high five RBI.

The RiverDogs took to the road and Conde stayed red-hot against the Greenville Drive at Fluor Field. In the first game, he went 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, and two RBI. Saturday night saw the former Commodore go 3-for-5 with two homers and four RBI. In the sixth and final game of the week, Conde crushed another three doubles and picked up an RBI and three runs scored. The RiverDogs won both their series during the week and finished 4-2 in the six contests.

The streak has raised Conde’s average 35-points over the last six games and has moved him to first on the team in doubles (25), first in slugging percentage (.464), second in home runs (6), fifth in RBI (29), fourth in average (.290), and fourth in hits (72).

Conde was drafted by the New York Yankees in the ninth round of the 2014 draft out of Vanderbilt University. The 6’0” 195-pound infielder is the second RiverDog to be honored by the South Atlantic League with a pitcher/player of the week award, joining lefty Jordan Montgomery who took home Pitcher of the Week for the week of May 18-25. Conde is the first Charleston player to win Player of the Week since Dustin Fowler took home the honor for the week of June 9-16, 2014.

The RiverDogs return from the road and are set to open up a seven-game homestand with the first of three games against the Rome Braves tonight at7:05 p.m. Tickets for all remaining home games may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away worldwide on and locally on 1250 WTMA, the radio home for RiverDogs baseball.

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/19: Wade Boggs the Knuckelballer

Only three times in major league history have we witnessed three sacrifice flies in one inning and we were treated with the Yankees doing it twice during the 2000 season.One of the rarities happened on a warm night in the Bronx when Jorge Posada, Scott Brosius and Clay Bellinger each had sacrifice flies in one inning. Earlier in the season on June 29, 2000 Jose Vizcaino, Tino Martinez, and Bernie Williams also accomplished the feat.

In case you were wondering the first trio to ever accomplish the feat was the Chicago White Sox teammates Juan Pizarro, Nellie Fox, and Al Smith who accomplished this on July 1, 1962.

Finally on this day in 1997 Wade Boggs made his major league pitching debut throwing 16 knuckleballs and one fastball in a 12-4 Yankees loss to the Angels. Boggs would throw a scoreless eight inning giving up not hits, walking a batter, and striking out Todd Greene to end the inning.