Tuesday, December 1, 2015

If the Braves Keep Selling...

Nobody knows what the Atlanta Braves are doing over there these days. Living in Atlanta, and owning a baseball related blog, I'm often asked what I think the direction is for the organization. For a long time I would say something along the lines of the team is rebuilding towards the 2017 season when their new stadium in metro Atlanta opens but now I'm not so sure. I don't think Atlanta is going towards the 2017 season, it seems like it's going to take a lot longer to recover from this. After trading Andrelton Simmons and anything and everything not tied down should the Yankees make the phone call to Atlanta and see what they can work out?

What names would the Braves be willing to trade that would interest the Yankees? Shelby Miller, despite his stat line in 2015, is the first name that comes to mind followed by Julio Teheran. Freddie Freeman is likely going to be traded as well, despite what they say, although the Yankees don't need another left-handed hitting first baseman on a long-term deal. Well unless a potential blockbuster could be in the works that includes Greg Bird for both Freeman and Miller.

Miller is entering arbitration eligibility for the first time in his career in 2016 and will not be a free agent until the 2019 season at the earliest. Miller, statistically speaking, had his best season in 2013 when he went 15-9 with the St. Louis Cardinals and possibly had his worst season in 2015 leading the league with 17 losses. If you look at the peripherals though stats like his FIP, WHIP, ERA+, ERA, H/9, HR/9, BB/9 and K/9 among others were either comparable or better in 2015 than 2013. Miller is the ultimate buy-low candidate and could fit the mold for what Brian Cashman is trying to build right now in the rotation.

Freeman and Teheran are likely long shots without giving up Aaron Judge, Bird, Robert Refsnyder and others but I will say this, I would at least considering giving up Bird in a deal that brought Freeman AND one of those pitchers. I would. Would you?

Yankees Pay $26 Million in Luxury Tax for 2015

It’s that time of the year folks, time to do your patriotic duties and pay your taxes. I never understood why companies want to wait until Christmas time to collect taxes, I mean my property taxes were due the day after Thanksgiving. How’s that for bringing in the Christmas spirit, but anyway I digress. I’m not the only one paying a significant tax bill right before Christmas, the New York Yankees and the rest of Major League Baseball is as well. The luxury tax and revenue sharing numbers are in and for four teams, they aren’t pretty.

The good news for the Yankees is they didn’t have to pay the highest luxury tax bill but the second highest. New York ended up paying $26 million in luxury tax penalties in 2015 while the Los Angeles Dodgers blew everyone out of the water with a $43.7 million luxury tax hit. Los Angeles did finish the season with a $298.3 million payroll so that had to be expected.

The other two teams in the league to pay luxury tax penalties were the Boston Red Sox (1.87 million) and the San Francisco Giants ($1.33 million). None of the four teams that paid in luxury tax dollars made it to the World Series or even won a playoff series while two of the teams didn’t even make the postseason, Boston finished in last place in the AL East. Simply outspending everyone isn’t working anymore ladies and gentleman, Bud Selig got his way.

BREAKING: David Price to the Boston Red Sox

EDIT: Price can opt-out after three seasons.

Breaking news, for the next seven years David Price will continue to be a thorn in the side of the New York Yankees. The Boston Red Sox have agreed to sign Price to a seven year deal worth a whopping $217 million. Price and his $31 million AAV will be in the AL East for the next seven seasons. Joy.

More to come when more details are released.

Yasiel Puig Just Got Cheaper/More Available?

The offseason is the time for all fans and all teams to dream. Anything can happen and it doesn't have to just come via free agency. The trade market is becoming just as, if not more, important in this new era of Major League Baseball that we're ushering in and that may work in the Yankees favor. The Yankees are making a habit of acquiring other teams struggling young, yet once promising, talent and making them their own with the right coaching and teammates around them. We saw Didi Gregorius flourish in New York and Nathan Eovaldi begin to harness some of his potential many of us think he has, could Yasiel Puig be next?

The difference between Didi, Eovaldi and Puig is that Puig is an established part of a World Series contending team. Puig is immature though, reportedly, and we reported here on the blog that Clayton Kershaw suggested that he be traded to another club. I don't know about you but I would welcome a trade for Puig to New York and he may have just gotten a little cheaper and a little more available. Puig is now under fire for a reported domestic violence/scuffle with his sister and a bouncer in a bar that left Puig with a shiner. Reportedly. I hate that term.

Here is the write up from MLB Trade Rumors:

The MLB commissioner’s office will investigate Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig under its new domestic violence policy for his role in a reported barroom altercation on Wednesday night, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports. Renato Bermudez of ESPN Deportes first reported the incident on Twitter.
report from TMZ Sports suggested that Puig “pushed” his sister at the bar, precipitating a larger conflict and apparently bringing the matter within the purview of the investigatory provisions of the still-untested policy. The account given by a Miami police spokesperson, via the Associated Press, refers only to an “argument” between Puig and his sister and a scuffle between the outfielder and a bouncer. Commissioner Rob Manfred is tasked with investigating “all allegations of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse in the Baseball community.”

What do you think? I don't worry about Puig's maturity or behavior in a place like New York. There are plenty of veteran teammates and people to keep Puig in line. As ironic as this will sound to some CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez immediately come to mind. I worry about his production and whether he could play left field in the Bronx. His bat and that rocket arm would be nice if the deal were right though... wouldn't it?

Larry Rothschild and the Next Nathan “Eovolving” Eovaldi

Larry Rothschild and the New York Yankees have drawn rave reviews from their fans and from notable opinions around the league for their work with Nathan Eovaldi in 2015.  After leading the league in hits allowed in 2014 while with the Miami Marlins Eovaldi came back and actually gave up more hits per nine innings, although the length of his starts were significantly reduced skewing this stat a bit, and despite giving up more hits not only did his ground balls and strike out numbers go up but so did his win total. The Yankees may be looking at striking gold once again this offseason or relatively soon by adding another “project” type starter with youth and upside on his side so could the next Nathan “Eovolving” Eovaldi be for the New York Yankees?

If you’re going to fit the mold of a Yankees starter and Eovaldi you’re going to have to keep your walks down, your strikeouts high and your groundballs even higher. Sounds simple enough on paper but not as many pitchers do it as you would expect. When a pitcher does this consistently they are called aces and they are generally not young, controllable or even available. See David Price or Jordan Zimmermann for an example. So who is young, controllable, said to be available and fits the starting pitching molds set above?

Carlos Carrasco is one and is signed through the 2020 season. There have already been rumors of Carrasco being traded this winter by Cleveland and New York is said to be dangling Brett Gardner to the Indians. Danny Salazar also fits this most, just don’t trade them Aaron Judge.

Jose Quintana also fits the most and is also signed through the 2020 season with the Chicago White Sox. The problem is the two most attractive trade pieces the Yankees have, Gardner and Andrew Miller, do not presumable interest the White Sox.

Just like Eovaldi the Yankees could buy low on a struggling National League East pitcher with a bad stat sheet and record for the previous season. Enter Shelby Miller of the Atlanta Braves. They are in total rebuild, make the call.

New York reportedly talked to Seattle about a deal involving Brett Gardner which could have brought back left-hander James Paxton to the Bronx. Paxton has an injury history that scares me but a delivery, motion and repertoire that reminds me, and others, of Andy Pettitte. That is intriguing enough on its own.

The Houston Astros like Andrew Miller and still need a bullpen, would that come at the cost of either Collin McHugh or Lance McCuller Jr.? If I’m the Yankees I certainly hope so.

Cincinnati is rebuilding and I would love for the Yankees to take Raisel Iglesias off the Reds hands. I can remember clamoring for him when he defected from Cuba and Cashman has the opportunity to right a wrong. Some are calling Iglesias “El Duque II.” They sure know how to intrigue me, don’t they?

Tyson Ross of the San Diego Padres would be nice, so would Andrew Cashner truth be told, but AJ Preller is unlikely to make them available. Would the next best thing be Tyson’s brother and current Washington Nationals starter Joe Ross? Washington would love Andrew Miller and may even be interested in Gardner to replace Denard Span. This deal could work, although I could see Cashman acquiring Gio Gonzalez before Ross unfortunately.

Keep in mind, at least as far as I know, that New York is not linked to any of these starting pitchers and in most cases these pitchers are not openly being shopped by their teams. I was merely looking to get together a list of comparable pitchers to Nathan Eovaldi to present to Mr. Cashman, who you all know reads my work, just in case he wants to find lightning in a bottle one more time. 

Defending My “Yankees vs. Toronto Lineups” Blog

So apparently I wrote a pretty unpopular article over the weekend comparing the lineups of the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. I had the Yankees winning seven of the nine head-to-head matchups and apparently that means the cheese has slid off my cracker. Without actually looking at the stats or doing the research I was attacked, and that’s fine, but at least give me the opportunity to defend myself.

The first position that likely turned some heads was the shortstop position. I picked Didi Gregorius as the better shortstop over Troy Tulowitzki and if you look at the stats you know that it’s true. Didi’s start to his Yankees tenure was slow and forgettable but so was Tulowitzki’s. The difference is that Didi improved, Tulo got hurt again and never did. Didi had a WAR of 3.3 with the Yankees with Tulo managed just a 1.4 WAR with Toronto. If we’re playing Playstation is Tulo the better shortstop? Sure, but we’d also win every World Series there ever was as well. I don't see how a .239 hitter with five home runs and 17 RBI manages a 1.4 WAR anyway, just saying. Oh any by the way Tulo had a 1.5 WAR in Colorado in 2015 so his 2.9 WAR combined is still less than Didi's and Didi almost, and should have, won a Gold Glove at shortstop. 

Speaking of getting hurt that’s what was used as reasoning to think that Chris Colabello will be better than Mark Teixeira in 2016. One word comes to mind, LOL. Teixeira was hurt in 2015 and still managed to hit 31 home runs and drive in 79 RBI with a 3.8 WAR. Colabello? 15 HRs, 54 RBI and a 0.7 WAR. I rest my case. If it works for one, Tulo, then it works for the other.

The Blue Jays lost their second baseman Devon Travis and are forced to go with Ryan Goins, currently, at second base. This may have been a homer pick, we all know how I feel about Robert Refsnyder and his development, but Goins is not exactly putting the fear of God into opposing pitchers himself. It’s just a personal preference, hell a push would have been more accurate but this is a Yankees blog. Sue me. Also, REFSNYDER is projected to have a better season than GOINS according to Baseball Reference and they are usually pretty damn accurate. 

The final instance is Jacoby Ellsbury against Kevin Pillar. We’re talking a lineup here, an offense. If we are counting Web Gems on Baseball Tonight then Pillar wins every time. If we’re talking about a table setters and someone who can hit for not only average but power as well that’s Ellsbury. Sure he’s been injured and could be injured again, you don’t think Pillar’s all out play can get him injured at any time? Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean that it won’t. Pillar and Ellsbury could go either way though, I do admit that. Pillar is no slouch offensively, I just like a healthy Ellsbury better. Pillar had a 5.2 WAR in 2015 but much of that was his defense, Ellsbury had a relatively healthy season in 2014 and posted a 3.3 WAR. Pillar is allowed to steal bases, the Yankees don't want to take the bat out of their middle of the order hitters as they wait on the three run home run. If you want to go Pillar here I'm not against admitting I'm wrong, it's close though. 

Then you have the no brainers. Brian McCann is a better offensive catcher than Russell Martin is. I don’t need to put out the stats on that one. Same can be said for Brett Gardner over Ben Revere, Josh Donaldson over Chase Headley and Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion over anyone and everyone in the Yankees lineup.

These projections and my picks are all on paper. Just because Ellsbury is the better offensive weapon it doesn’t mean that he will be. It doesn’t mean that Mark Teixeira won’t re-break his leg in Spring Training and miss the entire season. It doesn’t mean that Bautista will continue to dominate the world with his annoying bat flips and home run trots. It’s on paper and it is how it stands today. If you disagree then I apologize, and I do appreciate your readership and comments, but this is how I feel and I’m not going to change it. 

Leftover Cyber Monday Deals for Yankees Fans

Rather spend Thanksgiving night with your family then hit the "Black Friday" deals? Actually have a job where you have to go to work to work, what a concept, a miss out on many of the cyber Monday deals? Don't fret, especially if you're still looking for the perfect gift for the Yankees fans on your list. Thanks to Pinstripe Alley, a friend of The Greedy Pinstripes, you can buy any of these cool or quirky Yankees gifts for Christmas. Enjoy.  

A Yankees flag, always a nice gesture. And during losing streaks you can fly it upside down for ultimate irony. 

Not sure I get this... but okay. 

Nor do I get this.... and that's just creepy. 

I'm glad they caption who these are... because yeah. 

And what's a Christmas morning without opening one of the ugliest Yankees hats on the planet?

Win Your "Ugly Sweater" Contest

If this doesn't win your ugly sweater contest at work or during your Christmas parties this year then I don't know what will. Well unless one of the two below would work better. You're welcome!

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/1: Larsen and Turley Come to New York

It was this day in 1954 that we could thank the Baltimore Orioles for giving us two great starting pitchers in Don Larsen and Bob Turley. This was the largest trade in major league history where 17 players changed hands including Turley and Larsen coming to New York. This deal was so complex it was not completed until the day after the MLB Draft even though it began way back on November, 18.