Saturday, December 26, 2015

So I Guess My “Brace Yourselves, a Robert Refsnyder Trade is Coming” Article Was a Bit Unpopular…

For an article that drew more clicks and attention than many of the posts I’ve put up this year I believe it was popular for all the wrong reasons. When I posted this article it blew my mind at the number of views it got. I got more attention for writing an opinion article on a potential Robert Refsnyder trade than I did for breaking the Mike Leake to the St. Louis Cardinals a good three days before Chris Cotillo “broke the news.” I have received many emails stating that Refsnyder was not going to be traded because Jack Curry and Jon Heyman haven’t reported it yet but I think you’re missing the point here, I never said it was breaking news.

I am wanting to put this out here instead of replying to nine different emails saying pretty much the same thing. I know all nine of you are reading and I appreciate your continued readership and support. This article was not meant to be breaking news, it’s an opinion. This is a fan blog and these are my opinions. When they are facts I quote the person who broke the news. I apologize if there was any confusion on this.

The facts of the article still remain though. Refsnyder is still blocked by Starlin Castro for the next four or five seasons and he is still one of the most attractive trade pieces on a team full of question marks, holes and needs. Other teams are like hawks and they will pounce when they think a team will “sell low” or undervalue their own prospects since they are blocked. This was my reasoning behind my OPINION that Refsnyder will be traded. Will he ultimately be traded? Only Brian Cashman knows. Not Curry, not Heyman and definitely not myself. 

The Curious Case of No One Wanting Ivan Nova

The New York Yankees have been dangling anyone and everyone currently in the organization out on the trade wire this offseason and the team’s GM Brian Cashman has received a few nibbles. You know the names of the men who have been traded thus far so I won’t list them again but three names in particular that Cashman named specifically still remain in pinstripes. Those names are Brett Gardner, Andrew Miller and Ivan Nova. I can understand why some teams may be weary of a 32-year old outfielder who is becoming more and more oft-injured than ever and I can understand teams not wanting to pay the price the Yankees are asking for the reigning Mariano Rivera Award winner but I am pretty baffled why no one has taken the bait yet on Ivan Nova.

Nova turns just 29-years old next month and is under team control on a team friendly deal through the 2015 season. Nova is expected to command about $4.5 million through arbitration according to MLB Trade Rumors, who are generally spot on with their predictions, before hitting free agency and yet no teams have even been linked to the right-hander. Why? Nova was woeful in 2015 but this was his first year removed from Tommy John surgery. Nova had suspect command at times with the Yankees before his Tommy John surgery and they say with the surgery one of the last things to come back is command, well command and velocity, so it’s unclear whether this season can be chalked up to growing pains and a blip on the radar or a sign for the future.

This isn’t the first time New York has dangled Nova out there either, the team also made him available before the July 31st trading deadline and his name was linked to the Cincinnati Reds in a potential Johnny Cueto deal. We all know how that story ends, Nova stayed with the Yankees and Cueto won a ring with the Kansas City Royals, but it’s still puzzling to see why no other teams have shown any interest since.

Nova started the season in late June and finished with a 6-11 record and a 5.07 ERA in 17 starts including a stretch where he finished the season with four straight losses and a 7.20 ERA. Whether he gets traded or not remains to be seen but judging by the interested other teams have in him and judging by the available free agents still left on the board it’s looking less and less likely every single day. 

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Wade Boggs

The Boston Red Sox announced that they would be retiring the #26 formerly worn by one of their greatest players, Mr. Wade Boggs. Boggs made his name as a member of the Boston Red Sox but despite that and the fact that he hit his 3000th hit as a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays I will personally always remember him as a New York Yankee. Boggs came over to man third base, eat chicken, win World Series rings and flips cars. The good news for the Bronx Bombers was that Boggs was all out of cars. So in honor of the Red Sox retiring the chicken man’s number we remember a Yankee of the past, we remember Wade Boggs.

In 1992 Wade Boggs slumped to a .259 batting average which was only one of three times in his career that he failed to reach the .300 mark. Boggs left Boston at the end of that season and was heavily recruited by both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Yankees. We wouldn’t be here speaking about him if he hadn’t chose the Yankees as New York added a third year to a contract offer that Los Angeles would not. Boggs rewarded the Yankees with three straight All Star appearances, four straight seasons of hitting .300 or better, and won a Gold Glove award while in New York.

Boggs helped the Yankees win their first World Series championship in 18 years in 1996, Boggs’ only World Series title of his career. Boggs was asked to pinch hit in the tenth inning of Game 4 against the Atlanta Braves and drew a bases loaded walk against Steve Avery that gave the Yankees the lead and eventually led to an 8-6 victory. The Yankees came back from six runs in that game and the Yankees won in six games. Boggs most memorable moment was when he was celebrating the victory by riding a on the back of a horse with an NYPD officer touring the field with one finger raised in the air. Boggs was scared of horses but Boggs was a champion.

Boggs finished his career by collecting his 3,000th hit in a Tampa Bay Devil Rays uniform. What could have been though if he had been at third base in that 1996 World Series Game 6 six and not Charlie Hayes. Boggs may never get a plaque in Monument Park and won’t get much recognition at all as a member of the Yankees but we thank him anyway, have some chicken on us.

CC Sabathia Could Be Primed for a Major Comeback in 2016

CC Sabathia has a monkey off his back, the weight of the world off his shoulders and thanks to a new knee brace he has the weight of his body off his right knee for the most part. The offseason is the time to think big and dream big and I am dreaming really big right here because in my heart of heart’s I truly believe that CC is primed for a major comeback season in 2016.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves let us define the term “major comeback” in terms of CC. Alex Rodriguez had a major comeback in 2015 and so did Mark Teixeira, that doesn’t mean they were necessarily MVP candidates and such. The same goes for CC, he can have a major comeback season without returning to ace form or being dominant again at 95 MPH. If CC stays healthy and actually keeps the Yankees in games while winning more than he’s losing, that’s a major step forward and a major comeback for Sabathia.

I don’t pretend to know what it’s like battling alcoholism and I don’t pretend to know whether he was drinking before starts, whether it affected his endurance or product on the field or anything like that. I do know that, based of comments he has made, he is light years ahead in his conditioning and with his arm this season and his head is clear. A pitcher can be their own worst enemy and on days when your curveball isn’t working or your fastball won’t go where you place it the difference between a disaster of a start or a good start is mostly mental.

The physical should improve. You would think without the alcohol CC would have more cardio, more endurance and more stamina heading into 2016. The new knee brace he tried out at the end of 2015 also seemed to help significantly, although getting on and off the mound quickly will still be a struggle for Sabathia.

Sabathia is a leader, he doesn’t need to be an ace. The Yankees have a ton of young pitchers and players coming up and down from the team all the time. CC is primed to lead and not only lead by example but lead with his words. He’s a warrior and I commend him while I look forward to his major comeback season in 2016. I’m rooting for you big man!

Quick Hit: Juan Uribe for the Yankees Bench?

The New York Yankees are getting younger and their getting more versatile this offseason thanks to a plan put in place by the team’s GM Brian Cashman. Cashman has added Starlin Castro to the Yankees infield to seemingly shore up the starting infield but the trade also created a bit of a hole on the bench. The Yankees included infielder Brendan Ryan in the deal as a player to be named later leaving the Yankees without a suitable third base option off the bench. I know this doesn’t make the team any younger but it does make the team more versatile and much better in my opinion, would it make sense for New York to sign Juan Uribe?

Uribe can hold his own at third base, especially when it comes to just an occasional day off the bench to give Chase Headley a breather, and can also play the outfield adequately. Uribe can play second base or first base as well but that would be a Plan C or below option only, he’s not great there. Last season between three teams Uribe hit 14 home runs as a part-time player and was part of that New York Mets squad that went all the way to the World Series in 2015. He’s clutch, he can play the positions the Yankees need, and he can hit for right-handed power off the Yankees bench thus improving the team’s lineup against left-handed starting pitching.

The Yankees could always use Castro at third but that mindset is less than ideal since he has only played in seven games there, all in the minor leagues. Playing in the minor leagues is a lot different than playing in the Major Leagues and not that I don’t think Castro could handle it but having an option you know you can trust that can also fill in the gaps elsewhere is ideal for any team, especially this team.

Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Sign Juan Uribe to a one-year deal and put him on the Yankees bench. He wouldn’t command much money and the Yankees already have a 40 man roster spot open.

Baseball Prospectus Top 10 Yankees Prospects

Baseball America started the domino effect of postseason top prospects lists and Baseball Prospectus was not far behind. Recently they released their Top 10 Prospects list for the New York Yankees and there were a few familiar faces and a few new faces from the Baseball America list. Check it out!

1. Aaron Judge
2. Jorge Mateo
3. Gary Sanchez
4. James Kaprielian
5. Dustin Fowler
6. Robert Refsnyder
7. Drew Finley
8. Eric Jagielo
9. Brady Lail
10. Ian Clarkin

I love Fowler and Finley as much as the next guy but not nearly as much as Baseball Prospectus does. I can't say I think Fowler is a Top 5 prospect in what I consider to be a pretty underrated system. Also including Lail and not Rookie Davis is a whiff if you ask me. I rank Rookie above Ian Clarkin at this point but that's just personal preference, I am higher on Davis than most me thinks. Jagielo, despite having a strong season before injuries derailed his campaign, has fallen out of my Top 10 probably while Drew Finley is probably more like an 11 or 12 in my opinion.

Nothing really to argue about here though, the list is solid.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/26: George Herman Ruth

On this day in 1919, although not official until January, the Yankees purchased pitcher in outfielder Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox. Ruth would end up costing the Yankees $100,000 with a $300,000 loan with Fenway Park as collateral. Too bad they didn't default on that huh?