Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 1996 World Series Game Three HERE

Game Three of the 1996 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves. Adds an "Aroldis Chapman Filter"

If you haven't heard by now check out the video above, Aroldis Chapman throws absolute heat out of the bullpen. Chapman, depending on where you get your information from, threw each of the fastest 62 (or 77 I've seen on USA Today) pitches in Major League Baseball last year while topping out at 103.9 MPH on a pitch he threw to the Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. With Chapman dominating the fastest pitch thrown stat MLB and has come up with a filter for their stat page, we'll call it the Aroldis Chapman Filter.

Using the MLB Statcast pitch velocity program you can activate the Chapman Filter leaving the Cuban-born left-hander out which shows every other pitcher in MLB and their fastest thrown pitches. Just as an FYI if you use the Chapman Filter and the MLB Statcast program the pitcher who threw the fastest pitch last season was a familiar face for us Yankees fan, Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi actually threw the top six fastest pitches and nine out of the Top 12, all of which topped 101 MPH.

Between Chapman, Eovaldi and Dellin Betances the Yankees and their fans can see a ton of 100+ MPH pitches during the 2016 season. Speed kills.

Former Yankees Update: Kyle Roller

The New York Yankees lack many first base options in the minor leagues other than Greg Bird which made many scratch their heads when the team decided to release 27-year old Kyle Roller. The Yankees had one more year of team control of Roller but they decided to move on from the longtime farm hand this season leaving their loss as another team's gain. That other team was the Tampa Bay Rays who signed Roller to a minor league deal this week with a presumed invitation to Spring Training.

Roller had a big 2014 season with the club leaving many to wonder, including myself, whether he would be called up when Mark Teixeira was injured or not. Roller was named the International League's MVP last season and even made an appearance in the Triple-A All Star Game representing the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. Roller took a bit of a step back in 2015 hitting just .232 with 14 home runs and 59 RBI in 123 games in Triple-A.

Good luck Kyle!

If the San Diego Padres Start Selling.... Part II

We have done quite a few of these "If the fill in the blank team starts selling" posts this offseason including one for the San Diego Padres already. The thing about the offseason is this though, you have to constantly keep up on these things. Things are constantly changing and so are team's directions and plans as moves are done and plans are revealed. Many probably thought the San Diego Padres would go for it again in 2016 much like they did in 2015 but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. The Padres have already traded Yonder Alonso and others while the team is also losing Ian Kennedy, presumably, to free agency leaving many to wonder who is next?

We've already written a post wondering if James Shields would make sense for the Yankees but honestly I cannot see that happening anymore. The Yankees have added payroll in the Aroldis Chapman trade and the Starlin Castro trade meaning that Hal Steinbrenner's checkbook is tucked away in his purse for the winter making the deal unlikely. The good news for New York is that San Diego has the young pitching that the Yankees desire this winter, and they may be selling.

It would make sense for San Diego to sell. They aren't a complete team, far from it in fact, and teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks have surpassed them in the division. San Diego should look at trading the likes of Yangervis Solarte, Dustin Norris, Matt Kemp, Will Myers, James Shields, Odrisamer Despaigne and the two that would interest New York the most, Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross.

New York would not be able to pull off a four "C" type prospects for either Cashner or Ross but I don't believe they would cost the team Jorge Mateo, Aaron Judge or Luis Severino types either. Ross is just 28-years old and would be under team control for the 2016 and 2017 seasons while Cashner enters the 2016 season in his age 29 season with just one year left of team control. Cashner would come cheaper for obvious reasons and could be offered a qualifying offer after the season to counteract the price tag but Ross is obviously the more ideal candidate. He's under team control for longer, he's younger and truth be told he's probably the better pitcher of the two.

Cashner is coming off a 16 loss season to be honest, although his peripherals are much better than his traditional stats, while Ross continued to struggle with his command. Ross walks a lot of guys and throws a lot of wild pitches but with a 2.98 FIP (in 2015) and 212 strikeouts you can live with that. If the Yankees give up a lot they should also find a way to get the once promising Brett Wallace in the deal as well. Wallace was once a top prospect that can play both first base and third base, both needs for the Yankees, despite the fact that he hits left-handed.

San Diego is probably selling, maybe not as aggressively as they were buying at this time last season, and the Yankees need to take advantage of that. They want young and cheap starting pitchers that can be controlled beyond this season and San Diego has at least one of them. Make the call, get the job done and don't give up too much. Sounds easy, right?

The Yankees & Their Threesomes

Did the title get your attention? Good! It was supposed to. The New York Yankees assembled a hell of a potential threesome in their bullpen last week when they "sold their souls" to acquire Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds for Eric Jagielo, Rookie Davis and kitchen scraps in terms of top prospects, no disrespect intended. This got me wondering how this particular threesome compares to some great Yankees threesomes of the past.

We'll start with the Yankees dynasty years of 1996-2004-ish and we'll start with the 1996 season. Yes I realize the Yankees only had two reliable relief pitchers that season, Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland, but Rivera pitched so often he practically counted as two people. Rivera finished third in the AL Cy Young Award vote that season after striking out 130 batters in a whopping 107.2 innings pitched. Rivera pitched sometimes for two or three innings at a time setting up Wetteland who finished the season with an American League leading 43 saves and an All Star Game appearance.

Wetteland was gone in 1997 and Rivera was slid into the closers role. The Yankees were without their fireman while looking to defend their World Series championship so the team went out and added a pair of arms to essentially replace Rivera. In the Yankees bullpen was Mike Stanton and Jeff Nelson creating a threesome that was one of the best for the better parts of four seasons. From 1997-2000 these three led the Yankees to three World Series titles holding any and almost every lead the offense and the starting pitching gave them. Rivera had 160 saves in that span and led the league in 1999 with 45 saves. Stanton appeared in 273 games during that span which equates to a 69.1 innings pitched per season. Workhorse.

The final threesome in recent memory for the Yankees was when the team went back to a three headed monster in the bullpen for the 2004 season when Joe Torre had Rivera, Tom Gordon and Paul Quantrill at his disposal. Rivera was an All Star again and finished third in the AL Cy Young Award vote again pitching in 74 games while saving 53 games for the Bombers. Gordon was also an All Star and finished pitching in a whopping 80 games that season while Quantrill led the league with 84 appearances. It's a shame the World Series and season was cancelled after the Yankees went up 3-0 over the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS due to a strike.. these men deserved a World Series Championship.

Looking at the Yankees Bullpen w/ Aroldis Chapman

This time last week the New York Yankees bullpen was suspect, thin and for the first time in a long time a question mark. What a difference a week makes now that Aroldis Chapman was acquired to give the Yankees a three-headed monster at the back end of the bullpen. The Yankees went from having just two trusted bullpen arms to having one of the best bullpens in the league and potentially in Major League history. How does that bullpen look now that Chapman is anchoring it? So glad you asked:

CP: Aroldis Chapman
SU: Andrew Miller
SU: Dellin Betances
RP: Chasen Shreve
RP: Nick Rumbelow / Nick Goody / James Pazos / Branden Pinder / Jacob Lindgren
RP: Bryan Mitchell
LR: Ivan Nova

The Yankees once again have a ton of legitimate options and not enough spots to fill them all. Chapman, Miller, Betances, Mitchell and Nova almost seem like locks at this point although Mitchell could begin the season I Triple-A getting stretched out in case the Yankees need another starter. That leaves a laundry list of options for one (potentially two) spots in the bullpen that is headed by Nick Rumbelow, Nick Goody, James Pazos, Branden Pinder and the forgotten one Jacob Lindgren. 

The Rehab Report: Dustin Ackley- DAMAGED GOODS?

The Rehab Report: Dustin Ackley- DAMAGED GOODS?: Dustin Ackley was placed on the DL with back pain after appearing in just 2 games and 3 AB for the Yankees following his acquisition from t...

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/3: Nick Swisher Starring in Gone Girl

On this day in 2013 the Yankees lost a fan favorite in Nick Swisher to the Cleveland Indians via free agency. Swish was let walk and signed a four year deal worth $56 million that included a $14 million option for a fifth season with the tribe.

Also on this day in 2005 Bud Selig approves the trade of Randy Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the New York Yankees for Javier Vazquez, Dioner Navarro, Brad Halsey, and $9 million in cash. This trade came about three or four years too late and would lead to Arizona then flipping Navarro and the cash to acquire Shawn Green from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Also on this day in 1974 the Yankees sign Bill Virdon as the team's manager. The former Pittsburgh Pirates manager will manager for two years in New York but will finish his tenure never winning a game at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are playing their home games at Shea Stadium these days due to the renovations happening in the Bronx.

Also on this day in 1973 Lester Crown, John DeLorean, Nelson Bunker Hunt, and George Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees from CBS. The Boss will become a well known owner due to his pursuit of talent at any cost, feuds with players and managers that were well documented in the media, and his frequency of firing his employees. He is also the reason this blog was started so thanks are in order.

Also on this day in 1943 Yankees 37 year old pitcher Red Ruffing is drafted into the Army. As a 15 year old the future Hall of Famer lost four toes on his left foot in a mining accident in Illinois.

Finally on this day in 1920 the secret deal made on December 26 to sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000 is announced to the public. This amount was twice the amount every paid previously for a player when Harry Frazee made the sale. Frazee also put up Fenway Park as collateral on a $300,000 loan.