Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/9

What happened down in Yankees Spring Training camp today? Let's catch up!

Ivan Nova started today looking to add more ground balls to his spring resume and an improved curveball and he got a bit of both this afternoon. Nova pitched three innings and induced a ton of ground balls, five to be exact, and walked none against the New York Mets.

Donovan Solano is injured and doesn't seem close to resuming baseball activities. Solano has been diagnosed with a sore back. This is unfortunate for someone with something to prove this spring.

The Yankees trailed entering the 9th inning before Kyle Higashioka and Sebastian Valle, don't feel bad if you don't know either of these minor league Yankees catchers, hit home runs to tie the game and send it to extra innings.

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets tied 4-4.

Jenrry Mejia, Steroids & Technicalities

I have to preface this article with a little semi-discussion about something. While reading the “You’re a Tool” post by Bryan Van Dusen here on the blog I just had to shake my head and almost snicker at Jenrry Mejia and his blatant ignorance to what he did wrong. Mejia used a well-known and “old school” steroid that was easily detectable and didn’t even bother to cover it up or try and mask it causing his third and possibly final failed steroid test in his Major League career. Mejia then had the audacity to complain about the fact that the MLB Players Union didn’t defend him through the entire process. Seriously? Anyway the failed drug test resulted in a permanent ban from MLB with an open door to appeal in one year making him the first to ever be banned permanently from the game, well technically anyway.

Remember a thorn in the Yankees side named Manny Ramirez that was suspended not once, not twice but three times after failing various drug and steroid tests? Well Ramirez never truly got the permanent ban because he simply retired from the game rather than facing his punishment. Back then it was a 100-game suspension for his positive test but the suspension became permanent when Ramirez chose to retire rather than sit out the 100 games.

Ramirez later latched on with the Chicago Cubs as a minor league hitting instructor and seemingly turned his life around for the better. Ramirez credited the turnaround with finding God and a renewed faith and is now a staple in the Cubs clubhouse and in their organization. There is no reason that Mejia cannot do the same but Jenrry has to show some accountability, unlike what Ramirez did initially. Stand up, admit what you did was wrong and face your punishment. Sit out a year, appeal and possibly come back after two seasons. I know this sounds crazy coming out of a Yankees fans mouth but I am urging Mejia to be like Manny. Be like Manny Ramirez, not like the tool that Bryan Van Dusen thinks that you are. 

Hey, Corey Hart... The Future's So Bright Shades Won't Help You

Earlier today I wrote on Twitter about how excited I am about this team's future. Daniel has written about how things today remind him of the pre-1996/dynasty Yankees. We've already seen young players Didi Gregorious Greg Bird, and Luis Severino have an impact in Major League Baseball. This season we may very well see Aaron Judge, Rob Refsnyder, Gary Sanchez, and James Kaprielian join them in Yankee pinstripes. Not long after this season we'll see Jorge Mateo bring his game to the big leagues.

"I'm getting ready to steal your hearts."

That list of young players here or on their way up is impressive enough, and I haven't even brought up others such as Ian Clarkin, Dustin Fowler, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams.

Although I gave up on the payroll stuff a while back, I couldn't help but think about it again when it came to what this team could look like in 2019.

Why did I think about 2019? Well, the offseason before that one just happens to have a few good players that are currently scheduled to become free agents. Off the top of my head I can think of Bryce Harper and Jose Fernandez.

You may have heard of them.

I want to point out that some of the players scheduled to be free agents by 2019 may very well not be there. Clayton Kershaw could  be a free agent, but that would mean having to opt-out of his current deal with the Dodgers. Manny Machado is also a possible free agent at that time, but there's a solid chance Baltimore and him come to agreement on an extension. And you can never ignore the fact that injuries can happen.

Furthermore, we're talking about a season three years away. We can all predict what the Yankees of 2017 and 2018 will look like, but if you're doing so for anything other than entertainment then you may very well be out of your mind.

Speaking of 2017 and 2018, if what you're about to read were to happen, then be prepared for two more boring offseasons. Brian McCann and/or Gary Sanchez are there to catch, Mark Teixiera (if re-signed) and/or Greg Bird can cover first, Starlin Castro is there at second, Didi Gregorious is looking like the shortstop of the future, Chase Headley and/or Rob Refsnyder can hold down third, and the outfield could be held down by a combination of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Aaron Hicks.

The pitching situation is pretty much good for the next two years as well, assuming the Yankees re-sign Masahiro Tanaka should he opt-out of his current contract after the 2017 season. Personally, I believe that he will, and the Yankees will bring him back. 'Hiro will be entering his age 29 season in 2018, and after leaving three years on the table (what would remain if he hadn't opted out) he could be given a seven-year deal and only be under contract through his age 35 season.

So the rotation for 2017 could consist of Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and CC Sabathia (aka "the same rotation as this coming season"). The 2018 season will see some changes as that could include Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, James Kaprielian, Ian Clarkin, and... I don't know... Bryan Mitchell.

Now for what you're all reading this for... 2019!

Let's say that the Yankees sign Bryce Harper and Jose Fernandez.

We'll give Bryce a 14 year contract, which will take him through his age 40 season, for a grand total of $500 million (AAV of $35.71 million). That may seem a bit high, but keep in mind that Giancarlo Stanton was signed for 13 years and going into his age 25 season.

Meanwhile, Fernandez will be signed for eight years and $264 million (AAV of $33 million), eclipsing the current largest contract for a pitcher by David Price and his seven year/$217 million deal (AAV of $31 million).

This would mean the Yankees have signed three free agents between now and the 2019 season. "Only three free agents between now and then?" you ask? Yep. Just three.

But before I show you the entire starting lineup and rotation that I can see for the 2019 season, including how much those starters would cost, I want to show you what this season's starters look like and how much they will cost.

"This is going to hurt."

Catcher - Brian McCann $17 million
1st Base - Mark Teixeira $23.125 million
2nd Base - Starlin Castro $7.857 million
Shortstop - Didi Gregorious $2.425 million
3rd Base - Chase Headley $13 million
Left Field - Brett Gardner $13.5 million
Center Field - Jacoby Ellsbury $21.143 million
Right Field - Carlos Beltran $15 million
Designated Hitter - Alex Rodriguez $21 million

Starting Pitchers
- Masahiro Tanaka $22 million
- Luis Severino $.6 million
- CC Sabathia $25 million
- Michael Pineda $4.3 million
- Nathan Eovaldi $5.6 million

The grand total for those 14 players is $191.55 million.

Now for what the 2019 New York Yankees could look like, along with the players age that season in parenthesis, and my horrible predictions for the arbitration cases...

Catcher - Gary Sanchez (26) $5 million (arbitration eligible)
1st Base - Greg Bird (26) $8 million (arbitration eligible)
2nd Base - Jorge Mateo (24) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)
Shortstop - Didi Gregorious (29) $5 million (arbitration eligible)
3rd Base - Rob Refsnyder (28) $3 million (arbitration eligible)
Left Field - Bryce Harper (26) $35.71 million
Center Field - Dustin Fowler (24) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)
Right Field - Aaron Judge (27) $8 million (arbitration eligible)
Designated Hitter - Jacoby Ellsbury (36) $21.143 million

Starting Pitchers
- Jose Fernandez (26) $33 million
- Luis Severino (25) $6 million (arbitration eligible)
- Masahiro Tanaka (30) $27 million
- James Kaprielian (25) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)
- Ian Clarkin (24) $.7 million (pre-arbitration)

The grand total cost for these 14 players clocks in at $153.653 million. If you're like me and can't do that type of math in your head, and don't feel like pulling out a calculator, this team would cost $37.897 million less than the 2016 team. That's enough to re-sign Andrew Miller to pair again with Dellin Betances (he will be in his final arbitration year), sign Craig Kimbrel (another huge free agent) to create another three-headed monster, and still be under $190 million.

Will all of this happen? Probably not. Heck, Starlin Castro would actually still be around for the 2019 season, and in my scenario he'd be a bench player, which is something I don't see happening. So Rob Refsnyder could end up being traded, meaning you'd just slot Castro into third base instead of Ref (which would cost the team about $8 million more to do). One of Mason Williams or Slade Heathcott could take Dustin Fowler's spot, although that wouldn't really change the total payroll at all.

Like I said, this is just for fun. But isn't it eerie how this isn't that far-fetched?

So Far So Good on the Robert Refsndyer at Third Base Experiment

Early on in the winter I was told to let it go. The Yankees know more than me and (a general use of the word) you trust the Yankees organization. There’s no way Robert Refsnyder could or should learn the third base position let alone have the starting second base position. No way no how. Trade Refsnyder! What a difference a couple months makes though as before I was hounded for wanting to try Refsnyder at third base or in a super utility role because the idea was “dumb.” Now that the Yankees and their coaches that you (again, a general use of the word and aimed at no one in specific) trust so much used him there and the idea is actually working out it’s a marvel idea. Say what?

The whole me vs. them thing and the whole “TGP vs. Everybody” t-shirt idea aside Refsnyder was given a shot at third base this spring and in a Grapefruit League game and the results have been so far, so good for the Yankees second baseman. Refsnyder made his first career appearance at third on Sunday behind Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka and he was tested early and often at the position. Refsnyder fielded a rocket hit to his left and started a double play that got the Yankees out of trouble in the game but more importantly he looked comfortable at the position, he looked like he belonged there.

Refsnyder’s bat was never questioned by anyone who watched him actively at the University of Arizona and in the minor leagues (and I say watched him, not read the box scores or read what the doubters had to say) and it’s always been the defense that was the main concern. If Refsnyder could simply make the plays he can get to and the plays he is supposed to that would be a great addition to the Yankees bench and would help fill the lack of depth problem New York currently has at third base.

The Yankees manager Joe Girardi has already stated that he preferred to fill the last bench spot with someone who could back up Headley at third base next season and right now, as it stands at the beginning of March anyway, that man may be Robert Refsnyder. So far so good for Refsnyder but we still have a long way to go, just know that I’m rooting for you Rob like I always do. Good luck and more importantly, have fun. 

Yankees ST: New York Yankees @ New York Mets 3/9

The Subway Series just a few months early! Get hyped!! The New York Yankees and the New York Mets will face off for the first time this spring as a part of the Grapefruit League this afternoon inside Tradition Field, home of the Metropolitans. The Mets will send Jacob deGrom to the mound this afternoon to face off with Ivan Nova who is making his second start of the spring.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on MLB Network and MLB TV. Enjoy!

My Early Spring Predictions of the Bullpen

It’s early, really early in fact, in the season and in the spring but I like to make predictions. With that said I wanted to take the extremely small spring sample size that I have and I wanted to see if I could take a stab at predicting the Yankees bullpen come Opening Day. This post will likely change and be updated before the calendar turns to April but as it stands right now this is what I am coming up with, for better or worse and for right or for wrong.

CP: Aroldis Chapman
SU: Andrew Miller
SU: Dellin Betances
RP: Chasen Shreve
RP: Nick Rumbelow
RP: Bryan Mitchell
RP: Ivan Nova
RP: James Pazos (while Aroldis is suspended)

This is where much of the post and prediction is going to change before Opening Day. Right now both Jacob Lindgren and James Pazos are struggling but the sample size is extremely small. I can see the Yankees, although I will specify that I know no more than you, sending Lindgren down to Triple-A to make sure he’s right and healthy before making him the conductor of the Scranton Shuttle in 2016. Other than that the list is pretty straight forward and should contain little to no surprises or eye-turners. The big three, Shreve Mitchell and Nova are almost locks while a combination of Pazos, Rumbelow, Lindgren, Nick Goody and Branden Pinder lead the way for one of the final spots in the Yankees bullpen.

Check in a little over a month from now to see how my predictions went when the New York Yankees face off with Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros on Opening Day in the Bronx. 

Quick Hit: Aroldis Chapman Seeks US Citizenship

The New York Yankees closer was recently suspended for 30 games under MLB and Commissioner Rob Manfred’s new domestic violence policy but that is not stopping Aroldis Chapman from seeing his ultimate goal come to fruition, to become a legal citizen of the United States of America.

According to the New York Post Chapman has begun the long process of becoming a US citizen and started down that road last year. Chapman told the Post “I am in the process right now. Eventually, when I become a citizen, if it happens, it’s going to be something great. It’s a nice opportunity for me to become a U.S. citizen.”

This is in my very humble yet very bias opinion the greatest country in the world and I love it when people live out and fulfill the American dream. Good for Chapman on his potential citizenship and good for anyone else who does or tries, it’s just a small part of what makes this country great.

Single Game Trenton Thunder Tickets on Sale Now!

Single Game Tickets on Sale Tomorrow, Free Hot Dogs and Free Pork Roll Added to Promo Schedule
Free Food Press Release

The 2016 season at ARM & HAMMER Park is just 34 days away and single-game tickets for every Thunder home game will go on sale Saturday, March 5. The Thunder also announced the four dates in which free food will be made available to fans at the game.

"This is shaping up to be the most fun season in our history," said Thunder COO/GM Jeff Hurley. "Our first annual Pork Roll Celebration on August 12will be one of the most unique nights in all of minor league baseball."

Fans can purchase tickets at beginning at 12:01am on Saturday, March 5, by phone at 609-394-3300 x101 and in-person at the Thunder Box Office on Saturday from 9:30am-2:00pm. During the season, the Thunder box office will be open 9:30am - 5:00pm on weekdays, 9:30am-2:00pm on Saturday's during the month of March.

The Thunder also announce four additions to the promotional schedule. On Friday, April 8 free hot dogs will be made available to all fans at ARM & HAMMER Park.

On Sunday, July 17, when the Thunder host the Reading Fightin Phils at 5:00pm, all fans will have the opportunity to enjoy free soft serve ice cream on National Ice Cream Day. On Sunday July 31, when the Thunder host the Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates) at 5:00pm, fans ages 12 and under, will enjoy free ice cream, because it's good to be a kid.

The team's inaugural Pork Roll Celebration, presented by Case's Pork Roll, will take place on Friday, August 12 when the Thunder host the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays). The first 2,000 fans, ages 14 and up, will receive Joey Chestnut Bobblehead Dolls and all fans can enjoy free pork roll sandwiches.

Distribution of promotional items is for guests in attendance only, while supplies last. All promotions, dates and giveaways are subject to change and/or cancellation.

The 2016 season, the 23rd in franchise history, will begin at ARM & HAMMER Park on April 7 when the Thunder host the Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers) at 7:00 p.m. For more information on the Thunder and to purchase tickets, visit or call 609-394-3300.


This Day In New York Yankees History 3/9: A Rod's Hip Surgery V1

On this day in 2009 Alex Rodriguez had an 80 minute arthroscopic surgical procedure to repair torn cartilage in his right hip. The Yankees third basemen expects to return to the lineup in May and will need a more extensive operation in the offseason and would have another surgery, this time on his left hip, before the 2013 season.

Also on this day in 1961 the New York Yankees announced that they would be leaving their spring training home in St. Petersburg, Florida to move to Fort Lauderdale by 1963. The Yankees owners also encouraged the new yet to be named New York National League franchise, now known as the Mets, to play its home games at the Polo Grounds and to not consider Yankee Stadium.