Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 2000 World Series Game Five HERE

Game Five of the 2000 World Series between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets.

Why Game Five? Well I couldn't find games three or four on Youtube. Spoiler alert, the Yankees and Mets split the two games and the Yankees went into Game Five with a 3-1 lead. You'll have to watch to see if they close it out. Hint. They do. 

Meet a Prospect: Ronald Torreyes

YES I know he was designated for assignment. NO I don't like wasting posts, my time and my energy. PLUS he's still technically part of the team he is just in limbo, he could still head back down to Scranton. With that said HERE WE GO.

The New York Yankees are stockpiling all the young talent they can while taking full advantage of their minor league system and their 40 man roster. It’s a sight for sore eyes to be completely honest and frank and it’s been a long time coming. This was on display this week when the New York Yankees took advantage of the numbers game and their two free places on their 40 man roster to snatch up two players from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization that were recently designated for assignment after losing out on that same numbers game. One was a left-handed pitcher who we met a little earlier today, Tyler Olson, and the other was an infielder that we will meet right now. This is Meet a Prospect: The Ronaldo Torreyes Edition.

Ronaldo Alcides Torreyes Solorsano (say that five times fast) was born on September 2, 1992 in Venezuela where he learned and fell in love with the game of baseball. Torreyes worked hard in his native country before catching the eyes of the Major Leagues and the Cincinnati Reds specifically who signed him to his first professional contract as an international free agent in February of 2010. Torreyes was 18 years old at the time and was immediately assigned to the Reds Venezuelan Summer League team. Torreyes was not long for the Summer League though as he was called up to A-Ball where he played in 91 games for the Reds hitting .370 with five home runs, 46 RBI and 25 stolen bases. Torreyes repeated A-Ball in 2011 before being traded to the Chicago Cubs in early 2012 alongside Dave Sappelt and Travis Wood for Sean Marshall. 

Torreyes did well in High-A Ball for the Cubs in 2012 hittig .264 with six home runs and 47 RBI before being promoted to Double-A for the 2013 season. That 2013 season did not last long for Torreyes in Chicago though as he found himself on the move again, this time to the Houston Astros on July 2 for two international signing bonus slots. Torreyes had a typical season in 2013 which earned him a promotion to Triple-A in 2014. Torreyes repeated Triple-A in 2015 but it wasn’t as a member of the Fresno Grizzlies, the Astros Triple-A affiliate, but it was as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Another year and another trade for Torreyes. 

Torreyes was traded to Toronto on May 15 of 2015 for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The Blue Jays stuck him in Double-A before once again trading him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in another cash considerations or PTBNL trade. Five years in the league professionally and five trades. This trade may have finally worked out for Torreyes though as he finally got the call he has been waiting for his entire life, Torreyes was called up to the Major Leagues on September 13 of 2015. Torreyes only got eight at-bats with the big club but he has two hits while being used primarily as a pinch runner and late inning defensive replacement. Just when Torreyes got his feet wet in the Major Leagues the season was over and it was time for yet another
trade. This time the Dodgers, after designating him for assignment, traded him to the New York Yankees.

Torreyes is now on the Yankees 40 man roster and will presumably fight for a roster spot and the final bench piece out of Spring Training in the Bronx. Let me be the first to welcome you not only to the organization and the team but the to the Yankees family as well.

ICYMH: Rob Segedin

This may be a new thing we start here on the blog, it all depends on how much you guys enjoy it. We have done one of these already this winter when the New York Yankees lost outfielder Jake Cave to the Cincinnati Reds in the Rule 5 Draft so I thought it may be a good time to do another for another Yankee lost to the numbers game. In case you missed it, or ICYMI, the Yankees sent Segedin and cash or a player to be named later to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two players that were recently designated for assignment, infielder Ronald Torreyes and left-handed pitcher Tyler Olson. In case you miss him, or ICYMH, here is a snapshot of what the Yankees gave up in the trade. 

Rob Segedin was drafted by the New York Yankees in the third round of the 2010 MLB Draft signing 112th overall after a monster season in the Cape Cod League. Segedin used the Cape Cod League to build his draft status after going undrafted out of High School in the 2007 Draft. At Tulane Segedin hit .322 with 75 hits, 18 of them doubles, and 59 RBI while also doubling as a relief pitcher as a freshman before coming back with a monster year in 2010. Segedin slashed .434/.516/.788 with 92 hits, 29 home runs and 54 RBI before signing an above-slot deal worth $377,500 with the Yankees. 

Segedin was immediately moved to third base full time and grew into his 6’3” and 220 lb. frame. Segedin packed a powerful line drive swing from the right side of the plate that produced an absolute ton of contact. Segedin is a contact guy with a good batter’s eye, he rarely swung and missed or struck out, and at the same time was an aggressive hitter. Segedin had over the fence power in College but that translated more to gap power professionally, although he did smack 27 home runs between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre in 2015. 

Segedin’s biggest issue was his ability to play the third base position. He was never considered to be fluid there and was even seen tinkering at first base some because of the defensive concerns. Some think Segedin may be destined to play the outfield before it’s all said and done but it would have to be a corner spot because he does not offer much speed on the bases or in the field. Segedin has also had issues with his back and shoulder not only in his professional career but in College as well leaving many to wonder if these will bounce back up eventually down the road. 

Segedin was one of those prospects I truly liked as a fan and I never had a true reason why. He wasn’t the big name or the sexy hyped player like an Aaron Judge or a Luis Severino were but he always got the job done. I tend to root for the guys that many won’t, my favorite pitcher of all-time was AJ Burnett followed closely by Mike Mussina so that should tell you something, and Segedin was always that guy. I’m kind of shocked to see the Yankees let him go after trading Eric Jagielo and Jose Pirela this winter but the GM admittedly knows more about these guys than I do. If he says it’s a good trade for New York, and ultimately two MLB ready players for one (looking like a) career minor league player should be considered a good trade every time. 

So in case you miss him here he is in all his glory. Also check out the Youtube video I found of him from the 2011 Arizona Fall League. Dude was a monster!

Ian Kennedy Signs With Royals

Ian Kennedy didn't exactly "kill it" for the Yankees. Mind you, he didn't get much of a shot a the MLB level during his time in pinstripes, but in those 59.2 innings his ERA was 6.03 and WHIP was 1.676.

So some people may be surprised to find out that IPK just signed a five year contract, worth $70 million, with the Kansas City Royals.

Ian has thrown better since leaving New York, putting up an ERA of 4.25 and WHIP of 1.326, but this contract goes to show you how much pitching is worth these days. So any Yankees fan out there upset that Brian Cashman has yet to make a deal for a young starter should chill out.

Quick List of Yankees DFA Candidates

The New York Yankees 40 man roster is now full to capacity after the trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers that sent Rob Segedin out west and two recently designated for assignment players, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Olson, back to the Bronx. It seems unlikely that New York would but if the Yankees want to add another arm to the squad or a final bench piece to the team before Spring Training that means they are going to have to clear out a roster space. Now that roster space can either come via trade, for instance a Brett Gardner for Gio Gonzalez trade with the Nationals where they swap 40 man roster spots, or it can come via the DFA.

Luckily for the Yankees they have a few options that they can DFA if the need for a 40 man roster spot comes up. Here is a quick list that I personally compiled so if I missed someone or if I’m completely off base with another please leave it below in the comments section. Thank you.

Mason Williams
Slade Heathcott
Kirby Yates
Nick Rumbelow
Nick Goody
Branden Pinder
Austin Romine

Having both Heathcott and Williams on the 40 man may seem redundant to some when you consider that Ben Gamel, Dustin Ackley and Aaron Hicks are there as well, so one if not both could conceivably be DFA’d if necessary. Neither would be likely to return. The same redundancy, for lack of a better term, can be seen in the pitching department. I would hate to lose Nick Rumbelow, Branden Pinder, Nick Goody or one of those bullpen arms but this is now becoming a numbers game. Plus these guys have a better chance of clearing and coming back than say Heathcott or Williams. Austin Romine may also lose to out to the numbers game since New York does not need three catchers on the roster and have plenty of depth behind him. Romine may actually be the least likely to return on the list because of his MLB readiness but it is worth mentioning that the young Yankees catcher is also out of minor league options meaning he has to make the team, which seems unlikely, or face waiver and a DFA for the second straight season. 

Baseball Rules Can Be Nit-Picky

The vast majority of the time instant replay is a good thing. As a former umpire, and current basketball official, I would never say that any one call during a game directly affects the final score. Whether that call is made on the very first play of the game, or the very last play of the game, there's just way too much that goes on for that one call to be the cause of anyone's win or loss.

Also, being an official, I've been taught to go strictly by the rules. It doesn't matter whether I agree with a ruling or not, I have to call the game the way the rules say to. Just like the cop that gives you a speeding ticket for only going a couple miles per hour over the limit.. it's nit-picky, but that's the law.

Which brings us to a controversial call...

This call in particular is obvious, but you get the idea.

A runner is going from first to second base, and beats the tag. However, when he pops up after the slide, it's found on instant replay that for a split-second he was no longer in contact with the bag, and since the fielder kept his glove on the runner he's ruled to be out.

It's a nit-picky call, but according to the rules, the runner is out. And I don't see how you can change the rule to avoid such calls, without making it so complicated that it's bound to get screwed up anyway. But there is one way to help avoid it, and that's to make it un-reviewable.

If the umpire can see the player come off the bag and get tagged out, then that's fine. But if it takes HD quality video, slowed down frame-by-frame, and seen from a few different angles to find, then forget it.

Unfortunately, as Jon Morosi tweeted yesterday, it doesn't look like the instant replay rule on overslides will change. At least not this coming season. It's a shame, but honestly... it's not a big deal. There are many rules, in just about every sport, that are strange or downright stupid. But as long as the rules are the same for everybody, then so be it.

Meet a Prospect: Tyler Olson

The New York Yankees were in a pretty unique situation up until this week that gave the team the freedom to basically do as it pleased this offseason. The team had two empty slots on their 40 man roster meaning they could sign free agents, make trades or whatever else they wanted to do without having to worry about designating someone for assignment or making room on the roster. Now the Yankees 40 man roster is at full capacity after such a trade that brought both Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Olson from the Dodgers to the New York Yankees for Rob Segedin. We will meet a prospect, Ronald Torreyes, a little later in the day and we may even take a look at what the Dodgers got back in Segedin but for right now we meet the left-handed arm that will presumably look to break camp in the Yankees bullpen. This is Meet a Prospect: The Tyler Olson Edition.

Tyler Ray Olson was born on October, 2 1989 in the state of Washington where he spent his High School days attending University High School in Spokane Valley, Washington. Olson then went to Gonzaga University and pitched for the Gonzaga Bulldogs baseball team pitching five years there including a redshirt season in 2010 due to a shoulder subluxation. Olson did enough to catch the attention of the Oakland Athletics in the 2012 MLB First Year Players Draft as the A’s drafted him in the 17th round. Olson did not sign and returned to Gonzaga for his senior year at Gonzaga posting a9-4 record with a 2.48 ERA in 101.2 innings. Olson won the West Coast Conference’s Pitcher of the Year Award which led the Seattle Mariners to draft him 207th overall in the 2013 MLB Draft with their seventh round pick. Olson almost immediately signed and began his professional career inside the Mariners organization and farm system.

Olson stayed in the Mariners farm system for two years before being invited to Spring Training camp in 2015 where he made Seattle’s Opening Day roster. Olson would injure his knee in May and land on the disabled list and when he came back he found himself without a spot in the Mariners bullpen. Olson was optioned back to Triple-A when he was activated and that’s where he stayed for the remainder of the season before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on December 18, 2015 for cash considerations. Olson lasted all of three weeks with the Dodgers before being designated again and traded again, this time to the Yankees.

Let me be the first to welcome you not only to the team but to the organization and most importantly to the family as well. Enjoy your stay Tyler!

Quick Hit: All 30 MLB Teams to Have Spanish Interpreter by 2016

This game that we all love and call Major League Baseball is growing more and more by the day. As the game continues to stretch all across the continental United States we are also witnessing the growth of the game and the sport worldwide. MLB is already spreading its wings into Cuba, China, and all across Latin America which could cause a challenge when it comes to the language barrier. Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred has a plan and he has the solution to this little bump in the road and his plan is to have full-time Latin translators for the 2016 season and for all 30 MLB teams, and it’s a mandatory joint effort between MLB and the Player’s Union.

The move is designed to bring uniformity and peace of mind to the Spanish speaking players in the game today. Certain accommodations have been made for Asian players, see Hiroki Kuroda and his full-time translator the Yankees paid for during his three year tenure with the club and Masahiro Tanaka's current sidekick, but the same has not been afforded players from Latin speaking countries. Well until now.

Some will say “well let them all learn English if they want to live here” and that’s hard to agree with personally. English is not the official language of the United States, the melting pot doesn’t have one, and these players aren’t paid to learn English they are here to hit home runs and win games. Sure it would be nice for them to be able to at least hold their own in a post-game interview but I’m not one to push my beliefs, thoughts and agendas on anyone. This is still a free country for the time being.

This will probably bother some people but it’s ultimately better for the game and the brand in my opinion and that’s okay with me. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/16: Nothing, Again

Nothing, again. I didn't forget you guys and I'm not dead, just nothing happening today on this day in Yankees history. Maybe Brian Cashman can make this day worth my while next season by signing a free agent or making a trade or breaking his leg sky diving or something.