Monday, May 2, 2016

The Aroldis Chapman Countdown Has Officially Begun Yankees Open Thread

The countdown has officially begun for the return of the Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman was suspended for 30 games after agreeing to not appeal any suspension levied under the new domestic violence policy in Major League Baseball. I'll save you the trouble of getting out your pocket schedules or looking it up on Google, the Yankees 31st game comes on May 9th against the Kansas City Royals, meaning we are one week away from Chapman's 103 MPH fastball debuting in Yankees pinstripes.

So with yet another off day tonight I leave you with some Aroldis Chapman highlight reels to salivate over rather than our normal musical recommendation. Enjoy and anticipate Dellin Betances becoming the best 7th inning man in the history of baseball, Andrew Miller pitching in the 8th and Aroldis Chapman nailing down the final three outs of every game.

Herrera Named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week

Herrera Named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week 

The Thunder and the Eastern League announced that RHP Ronald Herrera was named the Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 25th - May 1st.

Herrera's recognition comes after he threw eight no-hit innings as part of the second nine-inning no-hitter in franchise history on Tuesdaynight. He allowed two walks, hit one batter, and struck out five against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in his lone start of the week.

The 20-year-old right-hander, acquired in the off-season by the Yankees in exchange for INF Jose Pirela, is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA this season. He's allowed seven hits and four walks in 21 innings with the Thunder this season, striking out 20 Eastern League batters.

Your Thunder open a four-game series with the Akron RubberDucks tonight at 6:35pm at Canal Park. RHP Cale Coshow (0-1) will go for the Thunder, RHP Adam Plutko (1-2) will start for Akron. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:20 on 91.3 WTSR and online at

Tim Lincecum Showcase Finally Happens Friday

For much of the winter we here in Yankee-Land salivated over the idea of adding some of the top tier free agents that hit the free agent market. When the top tiered players came off many of us salivated over much of the second tiered players until they all came off the board as well. What we were left with were minor league deals and reclamation projects, none more noteworthy than Tim Lincecum formerly of the San Francisco Giants. Lincecum was coming off of hip surgery and many times this winter it was teased that Lincecum would throw and showcase for teams as he looked to sign a deal before Opening Day. January came, February came as did March and April but we are happy to report that the Tim Lincecum showcase is finally scheduled and it’s scheduled for this Friday, May 6th.

Lincecum will throw Friday in Arizona although a time and place has not been announced to the public thus far. The San Francisco Giants will be there along with anywhere from 15-25 teams but you have to wonder if one of those teams will be the New York Yankees. Lincecum is somehow still just 31-years old and is coming off a season where he missed half the year due to degenerative hips. Those hips were operated on in September of last year although with the pain and discomfort Lincecum still managed to pitch to a 7-4 record with a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts.

This is almost a must sign for the Yankees if he looks ready and healthy. If they manage to turn things around they can have a proven arm not only for the rotation but for the bullpen as well and a right arm that has seen his fair share of playoff and World Series games. If the team does not manage to turn things around they have a trade chip that could help speed along the rebuilding phase currently going down in the Bronx. It’s truly a win-win situation for any team that signs him as it’s just money, and a pro-rated salary at that, so here’ to hoping that Brian Cashman makes the trip this Friday. If not, well I can’t say I’ll be surprised anymore. 

Minnesota Attempted to Acquire Justin Wilson

The New York Yankees had all hands on deck this winter and had all their players available via trade for the right price. At the end of the day the Yankees sent a Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham package to the Cincinnati Reds for Aroldis Chapman and also sent an Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan package to the Chicago Cubs for Starlin Castro. Those deals we know, they were the big ones, but Brian Cashman pulled off a couple smaller ones as well including the trade for Ronald Herrera that sent Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres and the deal that sent Justin Wilson to the Detroit Tigers for Luis Cessa and Chad Green.

The biggest shocker trade of them all was probably the Aroldis Chapman trade, although I suggested it a good month before it actually happened, but coming in with the close second place prize had to be the Justin Wilson to Detroit trade. Wilson was a huge part of the Yankees bullpen in 2015 but Cashman and company felt the team needed more starting pitching depth at the Triple-A level while the team thought they could fill his spot from within, and they have thus far. What I found was interesting though was that Detroit was not the only team to go after Wilson this winter, apparently the Minnesota Twins did as well.

According to Mike Bernadino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press the Minnesota Twins made an offer for Wilson that the Yankees eventually turned down. The Twins GM Terry Ryan wouldn't go into details on what was offered for Wilson but he seemed genuinely shocked when the Yankees turned down the deal that was offered. Ultimately the Tigers got their man in Wilson, the Yankees used Cessa in their Opening Day bullpen and the Minnesota Twins found Fernando Abad on the free agent market. Everything works out for a reason, and some teams will make out better than the others in the long run, but I'd still like to see what Minnesota offered for Wilson.

Yankee Stadium Off Day Walk Up Music Recommendation

The New York Yankees just had a day off on Thursday before making the trip to Fenway Park over the weekend and they have another day off today before traveling to Oriole Park and Camden Yards for another big three game set. With every off day I kind of take a step back from the year long, not season long like some other blogs, grind here and I like to have a little bit of fun. Sometimes we post full-length baseball movies on the blog so you actually have something to do at work besides work and sometimes we bring you the walk up music from our favorite Yankee stars. And then sometimes we bring you Chase Headley's walk up music.

I know I've been especially hard on Headley thus far this season but that's only because I expected more and because I'm frustrated. It's nothing personal really, I actually kind of like the guy from what I see during HOPE Week and interviews and such, but I let my passion and my fandom get in the way sometimes. We're all guilty of it so I can't discriminate against him in these features so without further ado here is the song we hear right before Headley is going to strike out, or single, every time in Yankee Stadium.

The name of the song is "Surrender" and it's by the Christian band Third Day. Enjoy and pray for better days in Yankees-land.

ICYMI: Brian Cashman CANNOT Rely Solely on Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira

I hate being right but dammit, when I am right I am usually right. Thus far, again it's only May 2nd, it looks like I was right back in November when I wrote this little article below. In the article it stated that the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman could not solely rely on Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in the middle of their lineup if they plan on competing in 2016. Long story short the Yankees didn't make any significant moves to the offense other than Starlin Castro, who has been hitting at the bottom of the order for much of the season, and the Yankees offense in struggling. Can't say I didn't warn you although I'm not ready to say I told you so... yet.

The New York Yankees made the postseason for the first time since their 2012 loss in the ALCS to the Detroit Tigers this past season and if the team wants to return improvements will need to be made. Much of why the team made the postseason as the first Wild Card winner in 2015 was the returns of a healthy Mark Teixiera and an effective Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees were flying high until the month of August when Rodriguez’s production, undoubtedly due to fatigue after basically missing the last two seasons with injuries and a suspension, and Teixeira’s health, he fractured his shin and missed the remainder of the season, reared their ugly heads. I’ll say it again, if New York wants to return to the Promised Land in 2016 they absolutely cannot rely solely on the returns of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in the middle of the lineup.

In 2015 Rodriguez finished with a .50/.356/.486 triple slash playing in 151 games. Rodriguez hit 33 home runs but it was obvious that the fatigue had set in by the month of August. Rodriguez disappeared in the months of August and September slashing just .215/.313/.454 since August 18th. Speaking of August 18th, this was the day after Teixeira fouled a ball off his shin and it was also the day after Teixeira’s season ended. Teix played again on the 15th and 26th of August before ending his season at .255/.357/.548 and 32 home runs in just 111 games. If Cashman thinks he is going to get another productive season like this out of Rodriguez as he creeps towards 41-years old, even as a full-time DH, and a healthy season of 140+ games out of Teixeira, he hasn’t played in more than 123 games since 2011, then the Yankees are in for another long season.

According to Fangraphs and their Steamer projections system Teixeira is projected to play in 126 games in 2016 and will slash .233/.328/.451 while hitting 27 home runs while Rodriguez projects to hit .240/.335/.415 with 21 home runs in 128 games. To be fair the Steamer projections usually underbid a lot of these projections, the 2015 versions had Teixeira hitting 20 home runs and Rodriguez only hitting nine home runs, but the fact of the matter is this cannot be the middle of your lineup in 2016. The consensus around sabermetric based franchises is that your best hitter is supposed to hit third in the lineup, if Alex is hitting .240 and hits 21 home runs and is the Yankees best hitter in 2016 I think this team is truly in trouble.

New York won’t have the weak Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays to pick on for at least half of the season this time around. Tampa will be better, they always are, and Baltimore could be better as well even if they lose many of their big free agents. Boston will definitely be better, I have the utmost faith in Dave Dombrowski unfortunately, and the Blue Jays will have full seasons with Troy Tulowitzki and their newly revamped offense in 2016. Aaron Hicks is a nice move that compliments the team and the bench well but if another bat isn’t added somewhere that can help the team I truly worry about this team’s chances in 2016. Another year older, another year out of their primes and another year closer to the twilight's of their careers.

Most Popular Article of the Week: If Miami Needs a Second Baseman…..

Well the most popular article of the week was a posting wondering why Drew Bridges was shown on the Yankees 40 man roster and shown as being called up from Charleston  despite a .205 batting average in Low-A Ball. This was eventually discovered to be a "glitch" or "clerical error"  so I wouldn't feel right putting an inaccurate story up as the Most Popular Article of the Week so we go with the second most popular article of the week, the post that asked the question whether Miami needed a second baseman and would be willing to give up some starting pitching after losing Dee Gordon to suspension for 80 days.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that reigning National League batting champion and current Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon has been suspended for 80 games due to “unknowingly” taking steroids and/or performance enhancing drugs. If you haven’t then more on that later. One position that the Yankees seem to be absolutely stacked at is the middle infield leaving me to wonder if Miami needs a second baseman and the Yankees need some pitching help could these two teams hook up for a trade later on this season?

Just off the top of my head without doing too much research I can name you at least 10 middle infielders that the Yankees could deem as trade bait to send to the Marlins in a potential trade. The list starts with Robert Refsnyder, continues with Ronald Torreyes, wraps around Jorge Mateo and ends with some combination of Wilkerman Garcia, Chase Headley (move Martin Prado to second and Headley to third), Kyle Holder, Tyler Wade and a slew of others I could name but you likely already know by name anyway at this point.

What does Miami potentially have to offer in return? Well I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Miami Marlins and I’m especially not well versed in their farm system but I know a guy named Jose Fernandez! A guy can dream anyway, right? But in all seriousness the Marlins have to have something to match up with the Yankees. Maybe a Justin Nicolino? I really don't know, maybe someone can fill me in.

You get what you pay for, remember that, but if the Marlins need a second baseman and the Yankees need some pitching I think these two sides could work something out. Miami will likely ride things out without Gordon, it is only for 80 games, but this may be the perfect opportunity for Cashman to do what he does best. Sell from a strength and take advantage of what is going on around him to maximize the deal. He did it with Aroldis Chapman and gave up peanuts in terms of the return and he can do so again with Dee Gordon. But will he? Stay tuned.

Prospects Weekly Check In: James Kaprielian

The New York Yankees organization has been excited about seeing James Kaprielian get on the mound in the Bronx since drafting him out of UCLA. Kaprielian has added velocity and has added a demeanor on the mound that cannot simply be taught. Unfortunately when a pitcher goes from throwing around 92 MPH to closer to 95 MPH and as high as 99 MPH you can get some elbow problems as the joint and ligaments get used to the spike in velocity.

While I'm not personally worried about a little bout of elbow inflammation, Nathan Eovaldi had some last season as well and has shown no ill effects from it, you still hold your breathe a little when a top guy like Kaprielian gets added to the DL. This will be the final check in with Kaprielian until he returns from the DL, just as an FYI, so enjoy.


This Day in New York Yankees History 5/2: Iron Man Streak Ends at 2,130

On this day in 2001 Paul O'Neill joined the 2,000 hit club as the 215th member when he hit a single in the ninth inning off of Twins relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins.

Also on this day in 1984 Don Mattingly had the only Yankee hit breaking up a perfect game bid for LaMarr Hoyt. Hoyt faced the minimum of 27 batters in a Chicago White Sox victory 3-0 over the Yankees.

Also on this day in 1958 the New York Yankees threatened to broadcast their games nationwide if the National League went ahead with its plans to broadcast Los Angeles Dodger and San Francisco Giant games in New York City. This was obviously just the beginning.

Finally on this day in 1939 Lou Gehrig told the Yankees manager Joe McCarthy that he was benching himself "for the good of the team" ending his iron man streak. The streak began in 1925 and ended at 2,130 consecutive games.