Friday, April 1, 2016

New York Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 4/1

So what happened down at Yankees spring training camp today? Let's get caught back up!

CC Sabathia was officially named the team's 5th starter. His contract told us that.

Andrew Miller has been cleared to pitch through his wrist fracture in his non-throwing hand.

More to come after the Marlins and Yankees game that is set to kick off here in about 10 minutes.

Predicting the AL & NL Relief Pitcher Award Winners

The Mariano Rivera Award for the American League and the Trevor Hoffman Award for the National League go out to the best relief pitchers from each league every single season. Last year it was one of the Yankees winning the award in Andrew Miller, could it be either Miller, Dellin Betances or Aroldis Chapman again this season or will we see a new American League arm grab the award? And with Craig Kimbrel out of the National League who will step up and grab the horse by the reigns for the National League Award? I have no concrete idea but I do have a prediction anyway. 

Andrew Miller is the reigning Mariano Rivera Award winner but I can’t see him winning the award once again in 2016. Aroldis Chapman will get the bulk of the saves opportunities in the Bronx once he returns from suspension keeping Miller more in the 7th and 8th innings then in the 9th in New York. It may finally be Wade Davis’s time to shine. The Royals will likely have one of the best teams in the American League this year and Davis may get the most opportunities for saves than any other. Kelvin Herrera will likely pitch the 8th and is little-to-no competition for Davis and I believe the award is his for the taking barring any sort of injury.

In the National League I’m going to go with another former New York Yankee that never should have been traded away, Mark Melancon of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Melancon will have one of the best outfield defense’s behind him, a great catcher in Francisco Cervelli and an offense that should net him a ton of leads and save opportunities. All he has to do is keep the ball down, cut down on the walks and steal those saves from the other team. Simple as that. 

Breaking: Yankees Trade Rob Refsnyder to Chicago for David Robertson

Breaking news out of Yankees camp, the Greedy Pinstripes and Ninja Cashman have done it again. According to sources the Yankees have traded second baseman Robert Refsnyder to the Chicago White Sox for their closer and former Yankee David Robertson. This comes just days after the news that Andrew Miller took a line drive off his right wrist and has a chip fracture. This is not Miller’s throwing wrist but with Aroldis Chapman already out of commission for the first 30 days New York obviously felt the need to have another closer and relief pitcher in the arsenal.

Doubt me if you will but I had the Curtis Granderson to the New York Mets story before Joel Sherman did, although we never got the credit for it, and we also had the Mike Leake to the St. Louis Cardinals story before anyone, and no we didn’t get the credit for that one either. We won’t get the credit for this one either and that’s okay, April Fool’s Day and all. No really, April Fools.  

More news to come as it breaks. 

Yankees ST: New York Yankees @ Miami Marlins 4/1

As the calendar turns to April, as we try and fend off April Fools Jokes and as the Yankees play their penultimate game in their spring training schedule today we reminisce. Robert Refsnyder has gone down and so has Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Gary Sanchez and other top Yankees prospects but one constant has been today's starter for New York, Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi's final tuneup before the season comes today inside Marlins Park in the first of a two-game exhibition between the two clubs. Opposing Eovaldi tonight will be Jose Fernandez, the Marlins ace.

The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET and for whatever reason no major, national or local media outlet has picked up the game. That sucks. Enjoy and go Yankees!

The Nick Swisher Reunion Question You All Knew Was Coming

When the news broke that the Atlanta Braves, despite owing him $15 million in salary for this upcoming season, flat out released Nick Swisher making him a free agent I warned the Yankees GM (jokingly of course) on Twitter not to even think about signing him. This was done very tongue-in-cheek and it was a knee jerk reaction, now that I have had a couple days to bide my time and do my research this is the question you all knew was probably coming, should the New York Yankees make a run at Nick Swisher for a second time in his career?

The New York Yankees are seemingly stacked at the outfield position with their three regulars, Aaron Hicks, Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Ben Gamel and Aaron Judge among the prospects right behind him but where Swisher’s value comes is as a backup first baseman. Swisher has played first base before and has played first base in the Bronx before I his first tenure as a New York Yankee, could he do it again? Of course he theoretically could, but will the Yankees pay the league minimum $525K while the Braves pay his $15 million on the whim that the team might need a backup for Mark Teixeira? I honestly can’t see it happening but here’s what I came up with.

Sure Swisher stole the hearts of Yankees fans in 2009 after hitting 29 home runs, driving in 82 RBI and hitting for a .249 average in that World Series season but it has been a steady decline for Swisher since that campaign. His power remained steady on New York but his strikeouts increased while his average declined as his knees began to give out. Swisher missed the end of the 2014 season and the beginning of the 2015 season after having surgery on both his knees but the saving grace for Swisher is that they wouldn’t need him to be the guy that led the team to a 2009 World Series championship. They wouldn’t need him to be the guy that got a contract in excess of $50 million from the Cleveland Indians either, they would just need him to be a better first baseman than Dustin Ackley, which he is, and a better hitter than Chris Parmelee, which he is and so am I for that matter.

Swisher has played his best baseball in the brightest of the bright lights, the biggest of the big stages and in the Bronx so why not? Because he isn’t versatile, he isn’t young or an especially good hitter and he simply clogs up the 40 man roster even further while blocking young talent like Robert Refsnyder. That’s why. Swish, I love you dude but I just don’t love you that much unless you’re coming on a minor league deal. 

Predicting the AL & NL Managers of the Year for 2016

I love those questions that have a totally different answer depending on who you ask. I am a big believer that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that no opinion can be wrong unless otherwise backed up by fact. That leads me to the actual bearing that a MLB manager has on a game and the whole idea behind the MLB Manager of the Year Award. Can a team loaded with All-Star players win more games, less games or roughly the same amount of games with a mediocre manager as opposed to a great manager? I think the 1996-2007 Yankees showed that with Joe Torre at the helm that talent won out more times than not but again, that’s my opinion. With that said here are my picks for the Manager of the Year Awards for 2016.

In the American League I have to go with a team that under-achieved for much of the 2015 campaign, especially in the pitching department, in the Cleveland Indians. Corey Kluber was a Cy Young Award pitcher in 2014 before taking a true step back in 2015 but like I said earlier I believe that talent will win out on a long enough timeline. Kluber should be better and so should Danny Salazar and others which will make Terry Francona’s job a whole lot easier. Without the bulky contracts of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher weighing the organization down I truly believe the team can compete and add pieces at the deadline if they are close giving Francona a true shot at winning the award for the American League.

And in the National League I had to go with Don Mattingly only because I think his team will be much improved in 2016. I don’t believe the team will be better because of his managing, although I do think he is a better manager than what Miami had last season, but I do believe a full year of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Jose Fernandez can’t hurt a guy’s chances. The Marlins may not win the division by any stretch of the imagination but they should be much better than the third place losing team they put out there last season. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/1: No News is Good News So They Say

You know what they say, no news is good news. I don’t see how that is grammatically possible because how can nothing be something, you know? Anyway I digress, apparently nothing of note happened on this day in Yankees history so you get the day off from your "learnings."