Saturday, November 7, 2015

YES Network: Exit Interview with Chase Headley

The latest exit interview from Lou DiPietro and the YES Network, this time with the Yankees third baseman Chase Headley. CLICK HERE for the entire interview and see below for a short excerpt. I know I keep saying this but it's only because I mean it, DiPietro is a friend of the blog and he does great work. Please click the link and give him a view or two for his hard work. Thank you and enjoy.

The New York Yankees' 2015 season ended at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night, thanks to a 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros in the American League Wild Card Game.

Following the game, many Yankees players, coaches, and officials were in a reflective mood, beginning both the look back on this year and the look ahead to 2016 - so much so that the team was able to conduct a series of "exit interviews" on the subjects.

Here now is the brief exit interview with third baseman Chase Headley.

Q. You posted your highest batting average since 2012. How do you evaluate your 2015 at the plate?

HEADLEY: Offensively, I thought I did some good things, and I felt like I swung the bat better than sometimes it showed. I think there's more power in me, so I'd like to see a few more homers or doubles, but there's a lot of variables that come with that. Obviously, there's room for improvement; it's not exactly how I would've liked it to go, but it never is, so I'll work on it and try to get better at some things this offseason.

Q. On the other side, it was a down season defensively. How do you evaluate your play in the field?

HEADLEY: Yeah, defensively, especially early on, it didn't go anywhere close to how I expect to play. I thought I cleaned it up as the season went on, but obviously you're judged by the overall body of work, so I expect to do better than that.

Q. When it comes to the infield as a whole, the left side had a rocky start, and then there was a lot of flux on the right side late in the season. How do you feel about the way you evolved as a group?

HEADLEY: I thought we did a good job. Obviously, Didi (Gregorius) and I played together most of the year, and I saw a lot of growth out of him. He had a bumpy start as I did, but I'm really impressed with his season and how he got better both offensively and defensively. With (Rob) Refsnyder, it was awesome to see what he came up and did late, and (Greg) Bird was incredible in his time here; there's a lot to be excited about with him.

Taking a Stab at the 2018 Yankees Starting Lineup

We’re back taking a stab at predicting the 2018 starting lineup for the New York Yankees. After the 2017 season the contracts of Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and others come off the books the New York Yankees will no longer have a player under contract that was with the team when George Steinbrenner was alive. Let that sink in for a second before we begin. 

Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million without incentives, $32 million with incentives)

Best available DH position players on the free agent market: Ryan Howard, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Holliday, Curtis Granderson, Melky Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Billy Butler, Carlos Santana, Jhonny Peralta, Seth Smith, Todd Frazier, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Brandon Belt.
The doors are wide open here for the New York Yankees. An absolute ton of money is coming off the books and so are the players that are hindering the team the most in terms of versatility and flexibility. New York could also sign a catcher like Kurt Suzuki or let John Ryan Murphy and Gary Sanchez handle the duties while Brian McCann transitions into a full-time DH role. The team could also rotate the likes of McCann, Chase Headley and others into the DH slot while signing a full-time infielder like New Jersey boy Todd Frazier. New York does seem to enjoy having a full-time DH though and have for years (Raul Ibanez, Hidek Matsui and Alex Rodriguez come to mind in recent memory) so I can see the team signing a younger Jayson Werth or even a Ryan Howard to a deal, although I’d put my money on the man that actually WANTS to be a Yankee. Mr. Matt Holliday.

CC Sabathia ($25 million)

Nathan Eovaldi (arbitration eligible so we will go with $5 million)

Michael Pineda (arbitration eligible so we will go with $5 million)

Masahiro Tanaka (if he opts out he walks away from $22 million)

Best available SP position players on the free agent market : Francisco Liriano, Ubaldo Jimenez, Clay Buchholz, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Danny Duffy, Jarrod Parker, Tyson Ross, Drew Smyly, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Henderson Alvarez and Tyler Chatwood.

This is a big hit to the New York Yankees with potentially four members of their starting rotation hitting free agency at the same time. Truth be told I can see both Eovaldi and Pineda either being extended (the more likely of the two scenarios) or traded (Pineda more so than Eovaldi at this point) but just for fun let's assume they both walk. Without these four on paper the Yankees are left with just Luis Severino on the roster unless the likes of Brady Lail, Rookie Davis, Adam Warren or Bryan Mitchell make the move to the rotation. If the Yankees are in the market for a starting pitcher or two you have to think Tyson Ross, Jake Arrieta or Danny Duffy would be the most attractive. The problem is the Yankees don't often get the biggest names on the free agent market so expect Francisco Liriano or a trade. Again, I can only see Sabathia being a true free agent and Tanaka opting out and ultimately being re-signed assuming health.  

Dustin Ackley (arbitration eligible so we will go with $5 million)

Best available 2B position players on the free agent market: Brandon Phillips, Danny Espinosa, Scott Sizemore, Ryan Flaherty, Logan Forsythe, Trevor Plouffe and Eric Sogard.

I listed Ackley as a second basemen for simplicity purposes but really I believe the 27-year old will be used in the infield as well as the outfield in New York. The only player that really fits the mold as far as versatility goes is Logan Forsythe who is listed as a first baseman, second baseman and third baseman according to Baseball Reference. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities to see Forsythe learn a corner outfield spot for New York, or the team could go in an entirely different direction and get another outfielder elsewhere, maybe in a Jose Pirela.

Total number of players hitting free agency: 6
Total number of dollars coming off the books: Roughly $92 million with partial incentives

Adding Matt Holliday to a lineup and Logan Forsythe to a bench that already includes Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge (from our 2017 post), Robert Refsnyder, Greg Bird, Brian McCann, Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius you have a lineup that looks like it can mash with the best of them. A lineup that looks similar to the one below.


This is not the 1929 Yankees as we see it today but two years of seasoning and work from the likes of Refsnyder, Judge and Bird with a familiar face in Marcus Thames as their hitting coach and each and every man on the roster can come a long way. The team will be versatile, flexible and the offense has the potential to be downright unfair at times. The way the Yankees offense used to be when the team was winning World Series championships. 

MLBTR Predicts Jason Heyward Will Be A Yankee

You're going to see somewhere around a million free agent lists and predictions, and Tim Dierkes, the creator and owner of MLB Trade Rumors, released his annual list last night.

Along with predicting that David Price would sign seven year, $217 million, deal with the Chicago Cubs, Tim believes Jason Heyward will sign a 10 year, $200 million, contract with the Yankees.

Here's his write-up about Heyward...
Since his 2010 rookie season, Heyward has quietly been one of the game’s best outfielders. He’s an excellent defender and baserunner with a solid on-base percentage and some pop. Heyward hit a career-high 27 home runs in 2012, but only 38 in the three seasons since. He doesn’t have the typical power output of a $200MM player, but his all-around game makes him a sabermetric darling with six wins above replacement this year. A very long term and an opt-out clause are on the table for Heyward because he broke into the Majors at age 20, and is now just 26. The Cardinals will try to convince Heyward to stay, but teams like the Angels, Yankees, White Sox, and Astros could make a play. For more on Heyward, click here.
When I first read that Dierkes thought Heyward would be a Yankee I was excited, as I'd love to see him in pinstripes, but I was more interested in how it would happen.

Does he think the Yankees will trade away Brett Gardner? Does he believe Beltran will become the 4th outfielder, along with seeing time as the team's designated hitter? Would Joe Girardi somehow rotate Heyward, Gardner, Beltran, and Ellsbury? 

Unfortunately, as you can see, Tim didn't answer any of those questions. So while I take what Tim says with more than a grain of salt, for the time being, I can't take his prediction seriously.

*Edit: Tim replied to me on Twitter, and told me he thinks the Yankees would trade Gardner or Beltran to open a spot for Heyward. 

Cliff Lee & There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Minor League Deal

The Philadelphia Phillies, as expected, declined their team option worth $27.5 million for the 2016 season on Cliff Lee and will instead pay him $12.5 million to buyout his contract and hit free agency. Lee missed the entire 2015 regular season and the left-hander has been limited to just 13 starts over the past two seasons due to reoccurring pain in the flexor tendon in his elbow but there is no such thing as a bad minor league deal. Should that deal come from the New York Yankees?

The Yankees have plenty of names that can be listed as pitching depth as we head into the 2016 season but does New York have enough real depth in case of an injury? The problem with the Yankees rotation entering the 2015 season will be the same problem and questions that the team faces in 2016. Will CC Sabathia’s knee hold up, Michael Pineda’s shoulder, Masahiro Tanaka and Nathan Eovaldi’s elbow, Luis Severino’s innings and Ivan Nova’s Tommy John surgery and struggles with his command and efficiency. Lee would not fix any of those question marks but he would add to a list of minor league options that is looking seriously deficient at the moment with just Bryan Mitchell and Rookie Davis as suitable options for the rotation aside from Adam Warren.

The Yankees usually sign one or two reclamation projects every season and hand out one or two minor league deals to veterans, see Andrew Bailey, Jared Burton and Kyle Davies as recent examples of this, and Lee could be the latest example of that. Obviously this all hinges on Lee’s willingness to come to New York, he and his wife were weary of it once before already during his career, and Lee’s health and the health of his elbow. If Lee is willing and Mother Nature is willing to cooperate then Lee makes the most sense for a minor league deal for the team this offseason.

Come on Mother Nature…. Help the Yankees out for once. 

Deciphering & Predicting the MLB Qualifying Offers

SD - Ian Kennedy

Kennedy is no longer the 20 game winner he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks but he's a good enough pitcher to decline the is qualifying offer and not think twice about it. Kennedy, the former Yankees prospect, will not regret it either. 

SD - Justin Upton

Upton fits the same mold as Kennedy in my opinion. He isn't a 30 home run threat anymore but he's an essential lock for 20-25 home runs and 100 RBI in the right lineup. Upton is on the right side of 30-years old and will likely receive the biggest contract of his career to date this offseason. That all starts with the decline of the qualifying offer. 

TEX - Yovani Gallardo

Gallardo fits the borderline mold of accepting or declining the qualifying offer, although I'm leaning towards him declining. Gallardo isn't an ace but he is an essential lock for 180+ innings and at least a 2.0+ WAR. That's not one-year deal material, he declines ultimately. 

SEA - Hisashi Iwakuma

Iwakuma actually wants to stay in Seattle, reportedly, or at least on the West Coast as close to his home land of Japan as possible. At 34-years old, 35-years old shortly after the 2016 season begins, Iwakuma may opt to take the almost double amount of salary on a one-year deal to stick in Seattle and close to home. ACCEPT. 

WAS - Ian Desmond

Desmond struggled for much of the 2015 season but he has the ability to be a plus offensive weapon at shortstop, traditionally an offensive anemic position. Desmond will reject the offer and some team will give Desmond a good contract, either as a shortstop or a second baseman. 

WAS - Jordan Zimmermann

Zimmermann is likely the best pitcher on the market, he denies it and cashes in huge. 

TOR – Marco Estrada

Estrada had a breakout season in 2015 and seems unlikely to accept a contract offer. Truth be told I’m not sure if anyone expects Estrada to replicate his 2015 season in 2016 and beyond, looking at his stat page it looks to be more of the exception than the rule, but there will be a few teams willing to go three years or longer on him leaving the decision to decline the offer an easy one to make.

CHW – Jeff Samardzija

Samardzija will most definitely decline the offer. When teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox desperately need top of the rotation type pitchers and are willing to bank on his live arm while ignoring the stats you will sign more than one year and $15.8 million.

KC – Alex Gordon

Alex is fresh off a World Series victory and is coming from a team where he could boast that he was one of the main and better offensive contributors on the team. Gordon, along with Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, led the Royals offense to two consecutive World Series trips and to one World Series title making his decision to decline the offer an obvious one in my opinion.

STL – Jayson Heyward

Heyward is potentially looking at 10-years and $200 million or more. He’s the most obvious player to decline the offer in my opinion.

STL – John Lackey

Lackey is a man of his word and pitched without making trouble for only $500K this season with the St. Louis Cardinals. The raise from $500K to $15.8 million is a substantial one and I think it is one that Lackey will make when he is the first ever to accept a qualifying offer.

CHC- Dexter Fowler

This one I am truly on the fence about. I want to say that Fowler declines the offer but a part of me, maybe a gut feeling, believes he accepts the offer. The other 29 teams won’t be exactly beating down his door to sign him, not that he’s a bad player by any means, especially at an AAV approaching $16 million. Am I allowed to call for a push?

NYM- Daniel Murphy

Murphy went from the goat of the New York Mets to the G.O.A.T of the Mets in about eight at bats this postseason. He’s declining that offer and some sucker will sign him expecting similar results, look at the regular season and postseason splits for Pablo Sandoval and look at the contract the Boston Red Sox gave him. He declines.

BAL – Matt Wieters

Wieters is an interesting case. Wieters missed a significant chunk of time in 2014 and 2015 after having Tommy John surgery and never truly recovered from it in my opinion. His defense and specifically his ability to limit would-be base stealers has decreased along with his offensive production. About the only thing working in Wieters favor though is the fact that the catching position is basically anemic offensively across the league with a few obvious exceptions. Wieters will likely decline the offer and will likely land a modest deal in the neighborhood of three years but one thing we know for 100% fact, Wieters will not go to the New York Yankees as Buck Showalter predicted. I just love bringing up instances of Showalter being wrong, don’t mind me.

BAL – Chris Davis

Chris Davis led the world in home runs in 2015 putting to sleep all the rumors, allegations and questions regarding his power and output after being suspended for illegal drug use in 2014. Davis was suspended for Adderall use in 2014 and responded in a big way in 2015. No way he accepts it, Davis is going to get paid for every single one of those home runs he hit this season and then some.

BAL – Wei-Yin Chen

Chen is not an ace. Chen is left-handed and likely a middle-of-the-rotation type starter for most American League teams. The thing working in Chen’s favor though is that he’s been the ace for the Baltimore Orioles for two seasons now and is American League East and postseason tested. That alone will net him more than one year and $15.8 million. He’ll likely get a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-years and $85 million in my opinion so he will decline.

HOU- Colby Rasmus

When I predicted the qualifying offers on the blog before the season officially ended one of my Twitter followers actually called me an idiot for saying that Rasmus would get one. He didn’t use those exact words, and I’m not going to quote it because they don’t deserve the attention for being a douche bag but I didn’t delete the tweet so it’s out there somewhere if you want to look hard enough, but it was something along the lines of “only an idiot would think Rasmus deserves a qualifying offer.” Well there’s at least two idiots in the world, me and the owner of the Astros. Rasmus would be an idiot to decline it, but he’s an idiot and will (he’s not an idiot, I was being tongue in cheek to stick with the “idiot” theme).

LAD – Zack Greinke

So let me get this straight, he opts out of his deal worth three years and $71 million to accept a qualifying offer? No one really thought that, did they? He declines and receives a Clayton Kershaw-esque deal. Just not from the Yankees.

LAD – Howie Kendrick

Kendrick plays a position that is dryer than the Nevada desert in the middle of the day in July offensively. Kendrick, as far as this free agent class goes anyway, is the Babe Ruth of second baseman so there is no way he accepts the qualifying offer. No way.

LAD- Brett Anderson

Another one I caught flak about when I predicted him receiving a qualifying offer and another one notched in the victory belt for the Greedy Pinstripes. Anderson has a live arm, he always has, and finally put it all together on the mound and in the training room. Anderson will try and bank on the fact, literally, that he had a contract season and he absolutely should. Anderson declines and some team, maybe even the Dodgers, signs him to a longer term deal around three years or so. 

Taking a Stab at the 2017 Yankees Starting Lineup

When someone comes to me on Twitter and asks me to write an article about something I usually don’t decline. I’m a people person, a people person that is extremely appreciative of the following he has and the readers that interact with him, and I’m a person who likes to put the social aspect back into social media. I’m no different than you, I just have a blog. A friend of the blog, Rooney, came to me on twitter and asked me to take a stab at predicting the 2017 starting lineup for the New York Yankees. I’ll do him one better, I’ll take a stab at the 2017 starting lineups and the 2018 starting lineups (in a separate post later today). Rooney loves to throw these hypotheticals my way, he was the man who inspired my post detailing my plan ifRobinson Cano left via free agency, Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season and if Derek Jeter retired (which at the time we were only sure of the Jeter retirement), and frankly I enjoy doing them so here we go.

As we know the Yankees have a ton of money and contracts coming off the books after the 2016 and 2017 season including these major contracts (with their AAV’s in parenthesis) that will have to be replaced before 2017. For the sake of simplicity we are going to assume here that CC Sabathia does not retire and that his vesting option for the 2017 season triggers making him a warm body on the roster in 2016. Let’s take a look:

1B: Mark Teixeira ($22.5 million)

Best 1B available on free agent market: Michael Cuddyer, Kendrys Morales, Edwin Encarnacion, James Loney, Adam Lind, Pedro Alvarez and Michael Morse.

First baseman Mark Teixeira is easy to replace, barring a catastrophic injury or moronic (in my opinion) trade of Greg Bird you have to think that Bird will be the word in New York for the foreseeable future. The Yankees already began priming Bird for the position this season and will call him up at the first sign of trouble next season in my opinion. He showed he can slow the game down and not only handle Major League caliber pitching but dominate it at times. Exit Teixeira, Enter Bird.

RF: Carlos Beltran ($15 million)

Best RF available on free agent market: Jose Bautista, Josh Reddick, Mark Trumbo, Michael Saunders and Gregor Blanco.

The New York Yankees as a whole have changed, haven’t they? I’ve been asked to predict a lineup for the 2017 season and with big money coming off the books I’m not predicting major free agent signings. No, I’m predicting that players coming through the Yankees farm system and are given a shot to succeed with the club. Enter Aaron Judge. Yes, he struggled for much of the second half of the 2015 season in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders but if you look at the stats and match them up with the timeline of the season you can see that his stats went down after his mystery back injury that was “no big deal” was reported. Back injuries can be scary, especially for big guys like Judge, and they can affect your swing immensely. Judge has all offseason to rest and rehab the back and has all of 2016 to prove he belongs, but he doesn’t have to prove it to me. He’s starting in right field for me on Opening Day 2017.

SS: Brendan Ryan ($2 million)

Best SS available on free agent market: Alexei Ramirez, Erick Aybar, Daniel Descalso, Ruben Tejada, Justin Turner and Chris Volstad.

Ryan is listed as a shortstop but really he’s a bench piece and the backup to Didi Gregorius. I could predict that a Jorge Mateo, Tyler Wade, Abi Avelino or even Jose Pirela could take the spot and keep with the theme of this post but there’s too many question marks there. Instead I’ll take a wild pick of Alexei Ramirez, a veteran right-handed bat with some pop coming towards the end of his career, to take Ryan’s spot. I expect a trade to fill the position before I expect a Ramirez signing but for the sake of this post we will go with Ramirez on a modest $3 million base salary and AAV.

SP: Ivan Nova (arbitration eligible until 2017 but we’ll go with $4 million for an even numbers sake)

Best SP available on free agent market: Jered Weaver, John Danks, Jorge De La Rosa, RA Dickey, Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, Scott Feldman, Andrew Cashner, Jesse Chavez, Stephen Strasburg and Dillon Gee. 

Honestly I can see Nova being off the club before the 2017 season and his first shot at free agency comes around. Since that’s too hard to predict we’ll assume he makes it all season in pinstripes in 2016 and tests the free agency waters in 2017. Looking at the starting rotation I see Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, Nathan Eovaldi and CC Sabathia still under contract so I can’t see the Yankees spending heavily on a starter here. Andrew Cashner is the most attractive piece of the bunch in my opinion but the problem with that is you pay for that. Stephen Strasburg is more hype than promise at this point in his career but he has a full season to turn those thoughts around. Jesse Chavez is the most likely signing for the Yankees because he is quietly a great pitcher that won’t command the huge deal that many others would but in the end I can see the Yankees signing no one and, for lack of a better term, pocket the roughly $4 million from Nova and allocate it elsewhere.

Total players coming off the books: 4
Total money coming off the books: $43.5 million

Adding the likes of Bird, Judge and Ramirez to the already existing contracts of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Brian McCann, Robert Refsnyder (I’m assuming he takes over and keeps the second base job), Alex Rodriguez and Chase Headley gives you a lineup that looks a little something like this.


I cannot see the Yankees eating the contract of Alex Rodriguez, especially after his comeback season of 2015, and I can’t see Alex walking away from his final season of his monster contract. Brett Gardner may be traded this offseason, that’s the trouble with doing these prediction posts so early in the offseason, and so could Refsnyder eventually but this is how it stands today. What are your predictions? Leave them below in the comments section or shoot us a tweet on Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow. Just don't hit the like button on Twitter, this isn't Facebook. 

Weekly AFL Check In: Tyler Webb

The Tyler Convention continues down in Arizona but no, it's not a Fight Club convention and there are no Tyler Durden's here. This is the Tyler Trio that the New York Yankees sent to the Surprise Saguaros down in the Arizona Fall League.

Webb is a Triple-A relief pitcher that pitches from the left side that may be knocking on the door to the Bronx in 2016. Webb is making the name for himself and his case down in Arizona for the Yankees and could get an extended and legitimate look in spring training next year.

Tyler Webb:

G: 6
GS: 0
IP: 7.2
W/L: 1-0
ERA: 8.22
K: 5
BB: 3
WHIP: 1.57

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/7: Elston Howard the MVP

On this day in 1963 Elston Howard is named the American League's Most Valuable Player becoming the first African American to win the award. Roger Maris won the award in 1960 and 1961, Mickey Mantle won it in 1962, so Elston became the third consecutive Yankee to win the award.