Sunday, November 15, 2015

Aaron Hicks Glove & Defensive Highlights From 2013

They are from 2013 but they will do.... for now. Aaron Hicks 2013 Highlights.

MLB European Games to Come (Hopefully) Within Five Years

Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred were pushed to the aside a bit at the GM Meetings in Boca Raton recently by the GM of the New York Yankees, Brian Cashman. Cashman sent two of his young talents in separate trades for Aaron Hicks and Ronald Herrera forcing me to miss the news that Major League Baseball wants to play regular season games in Europe within the next five years while also returning to Mexico for the first time since the 1999 season. Rob Manfred wants to grow the brand and especially grow the bran internationally and it seems like all hands are currently on deck to make that happen.

The line of thinking from Manfred, MLB’s chief legal officer Dan Halem and the rest of the representatives from the league is that the more you play and showcase the game in these countries on a continual basis, rather than a sporadic basis, the more development and interest you will subsequently see from that particular country.

You also cannot forget about MLB’s plans and efforts to at least get spring training games played inside the country of Cuba as well which is a significant part of growing and expanding the brand as well. The last time baseball was played in Mexico was August of 1999 when the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets played a three-game series at Monterrey, Mexico after the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres opened the 1999 season there as well in Monterrey.

MLB is looking to add these countries and possibly more to the list of places where they have played regular season games. That list includes Tokyo and San Juan, Puerto Rico to name a few. Europe, specifically London, Cuba and Mexico may all see Major League Baseball coming to a town near them very, very soon. 

Ranking Brian Cashman's November Trade/Acquisition History

Brian Cashman wasted no time preparing for the 2016 season as the Yankees GM pulled off two trades and counting this week down in Boca Raton. Cashman started the trade season off by sending infielder Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres for, who I am comparing to Luis Severino just as an FYI, 20-year old Ronald Herrera but Cashman didn't stop there. Just hours later Cashman was back at it again sending his backup catcher John Ryan Murphy to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Aaron Hicks. The November trade is not uncommon for Cashman, he's had a lot of them actually in his tenure as the Yankees GM, and I will do my best to rank them here. If you disagree please leave a comment below in our comments section.

2008 - Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquex and Jhonny Nunez to the Chicago White Sox for Nick Swisher and Kanekoa Teixeira.

2014 - The Justin Wilson for Francisco Cervelli trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates definitely benefited both teams as both teams traded from a position of depth and power to fill a need. The way trades are designed to be.

2007 - Cashman sent Gary Sheffield to the Detroit Tigers for Humberto Sanchez, Anthony Claggett and Kevin Whelan. None of these prospects ever made the roster but Sheffield wasn't conspiring with Kenny Lofton about the "racist" Joe Torre either. Win/win.

2001- Cashman signs Melky Cabrera as a 16-year old out of Venezuela.

John Ryan Murphy and Jose Pirela for Aaron Hicks and Ronald Herrera respectively? TBA

Roster Changes Bring New Predictions & Lineups

The New York Yankees acquired two players this week at the initial GM Meetings down in Florida. Brian Cashman did his best to essentially corner the trade market when he sent John Ryan Murphy to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Aaron Hicks and in a separate deal sent utility player Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres for 20-year old right-handed Double-A pitcher Ronald Herrera. The Yankees have had their fair share of roster changes already this winter and that change brings new lineups to salivate over and predictions to make. We make some here today, starting with the 25 man roster.

Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley and a combination of Dustin Ackley and Robert Refsnyder will likely fill out your infield while Alex Rodriguez spends another season at the DH position. In the outfield, as it stands today anyway, Brett Gardner is your left fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury is your center fielder and Carlos Beltran will man right field one last time before setting off into the sunset and calling it a career.

On the bench it looks like the newly acquired Aaron Hicks will occupy the fourth outfielder spot while Gary Sanchez (the team will sell the whole spring training competition with Austin Romine thing but it’s going to be Gary Sanchez), Dustin Ackley/Robert Refsnyder and Brendan Ryan ride the bench for New York.

That’s the hard part, the pitching should be easy. For the starting rotation five of Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi and Ivan Nova will throw every 5th day while one man, likely Nova or Sabathia, will join Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, Adam Warren and one of Bryan Mitchell, Caleb Cotham, Branden Pinder, James Pazos, Jacob Lindgren and a slew of other candidates from the minor leagues.

That’s as it stands today, ask me again tomorrow and I may give you an entirely different answer. That’s what makes the offseason and the hot stove season so great. 

Stephen Strasburg’s Non-Cancerous Growth and was it Cancerous to his Pitching?

Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals had surgery to remove a non-cancerous growth from his back this week. Scott Boras, the agent of the Nationals right-hander, told reporters at the general manager’s meetings that the growth bothered Strasburg while he pitched leaving many to wonder if that could account for some of his struggles and bouts with ineffectiveness, at least in 2015. The surgery is said to have gone well and Strasburg is “fine now” according to his agent but what does this mean to the Yankees? It means if the deal we talked about yesterday, Andrew Miller for Strasburg straight up, ever came to fruition the Yankees may be receiving more in return for their closer than the stat sheet said for this season.

Strasburg posted an 11-7 record in 2015 with a career-high 3.46 ERA. That sounds bad on paper but when you look at the Yankees starters ERA’s you have Masahiro Tanaka’s at 3.51, Michael Pineda’s at 4.37, Nathan Eovaldi’s at 4.20, CC Sabathia’s at 4.73 and Ivan Nova’s at 5.07. Sure you have Luis Severino’s 2.89 to counteract that high ERA but Strasburg’s ERA, even at 3.46, would still look good in the Yankees rotation. That’s before you counter in his WHIP, FIP, ERA+ and all the other metrics we commonly use to judge a pitcher by these days.

Strasburg is set to enter his age 27 season in 2016 and will be pitching in what is commonly referred to as a contract year. Strasburg will be a free agent after the 2016 season ends, what uniform he wears when that season comes to a close remains to be seen. If you believe Boras and Strasburg that the growth bothered him while he pitched then New York may be able to buy low on him, and yes selling a 30-year old closer for a 27-year old former first overall pick and potential ace is buying low on him, and may be able to make sure he’s wearing pinstripes when that season ends and when many more seasons end in the future. If you don’t believe them, and it’s pretty hard to take Boras at face value, then you may be inclined to pass.

You decide. Leave it below in the comments section of the site. 

Weekly AFL Check In: Tyler Austin

Tyler Austin’s opportunities and time with the New York Yankees may be drying up unfortunately so no one is watching all the activity that Brian Cashman is creating more than Austin. It seems, at least today, that Greg Bird is slated to start the season back in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. It seems like New York wants Austin to learn the first base position to give Mark Teixeira, and eventually Bird in 2017, a right-handed option and compliment in the minor leagues. With Bird in Scranton that leaves one less position and one less roster spot for Austin, who was removed from the 40 man roster after being designated for assignment, to take.

Austin started off strong in the AFL and has done well, but probably not well enough to really open up some eyes. I’m rooting for Tyler, I really am, and I’m a huge fan. Hopefully he can go on a tear, improve these stats and begin to open some eyes up again in New York.

Tyler Austin:

Games: 17
At Bats: 64
AVG: .266
OBP: .347
SLG: .422
OPS: .769
H: 17
HR: 2
RBI: 6
BB: 8
K: 15

This Day in New York Yankees History 11/15: A Rod wins 2nd Yankee MVP

On this day in 2005 the Yankees Alex Rodriguez won his second MVP award in three seasons edging out the Red Sox David Ortiz in the vote. Ortiz may have won the award had he played a position and not been a full time DH, sparking a heated debate and controversy, but the Yankees and Alex will take it either way.

Also on this day in 2001 Roger Clemens won the American League Cy Young award with a 20-3 record with a 3.51 ERA. Roger would become the first player to win this award for the sixth time in his career and the first Yankees player to win the award since Ron Guidry won it in 1978.

Also on this day in 1961 Roger Maris won his second consecutive Most Valuable Player award after setting the single season home run record with 61 round trippers. Maris only beat the second place finisher, his teammate Mickey Mantle, by four votes with a 202-198 vote.

Finally on this day in 1951 the Yankees Gil McDougald won the American League Rookie of the Year Award. It is worth noting that Willie Mays won the award in the National League on the same day. It is also worth noting that neither player were listed on their team’s original Spring Training rosters.