Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Help Wanted: Writers Needed

We here at The Greedy Pinstripes are always looking for new and interesting ideas and opinions to bring to our readers because I know you get tired of hearing from me over and over day after day. It’s that time of the year again when we cast a net out to see if anyone is interested in writing for the blog. Unfortunately it’s not a paying gig, I wish it was truly, and no experience is necessarily needed but it does help. Get your start with us, continue your career path with us and work with us by joining the Greedy Pinstripes family.

Contact us on Twitter by tweeting @greedystripes or shoot us an email at the greedy pinstripes at gmail to apply. Please include any samples or links to samples of your work with your submission to speed up the process for us all. Thank you all!

The Best of What’s Left via Free Agency

As we inch closer to the Christmas and winter holidays now is a great time to look at what is left on the free agency market and determine the “best of what’s left.” This post will be more of a general MLB-related post and less of a Yankees-related post I warn you, although I will always put that Yankees-related spin in when I can or when it’s relevant, so without further ado…. Let’s get to it.

Edwin Encarnacion is probably the best hitter still on the available market at first base and DH. Formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays the right-hander, who will be 34 when the season begins, is better suited as a DH at this part of his career. Encarnacion did play 74 games at first base in 2016 but you have to think that was out of necessity more so than because of his defensive prowess.

Encarnacion’ s former teammate Jose Bautista is also still on the free agent market despite eye-popping home run numbers over the past five years or so. Bautista is 36-years old though and coming off a down-year offensively that saw him hit just 22 home runs and take 87 walks for Toronto. Bautista can still play the field adequately enough that he shouldn’t be held to the “DH only” type thought process that is or isn’t keeping Encarnacion from finding a new home currently.

Mark Trumbo led the world in home runs in 2016 yet still finds himself without a job as we inch towards Christmas. Trumbo is tied to draft pick compensation after the Baltimore Orioles handed him a qualifying offer sheet which may be slowing down his progress towards finding a home for the 2017 as well. Trumbo can play first base, the outfield and play some DH so he’s attractive in a lot of ways but the fact that he wants at least a four-year deal may be scaring some teams away.

Ivan Nova, the former Yankee, may somehow be one of the best pitchers available via free agency at this point and time. Nova turns 30-years old later next month and hits the free agent market for the first time in his career after posting a 3.06 ERA in 11 starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. The Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros may be interested and Pittsburgh may be as well depending on the price tag.

Yankees Should Still Get Greg Holland

Okay, so the apologies are done. The luxury tax threshold and penalties are paid and Brian Cashman is (should be) frantically working the phones to fix the starting rotation after reading my article earlier in the day. Now it’s time to finish off the bullpen. Enter Greg Holland. Yes, the Yankees should still get Greg Holland. Even after acquiring Aroldis Chapman and even after having Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and Tyler Clippard in the fold. It’s time to go old school, get greedy and get Holland. Now.

The New York Yankees were one of 18 teams that sent representatives and scouts to watch Greg Holland throw in early November at the winter meetings and the former Kansas City closer was thought to be New York’s back up plan if they didn’t sign Chapman to a new deal. But why not get Plan A and Plan B? It’s not like Holland would cost anything but money and it’s not like, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, teams are going to be bidding against themselves to give him any sort of financial package like the Yankees just did to Chapman. Holland would likely come on a one-or-two year deal with a lower base salary and a load of incentives attached to his contract. Something very manageable and doable for the Yankees in my opinion.

Holland is still building arm strength, at last check in the righty was still just throwing around 90 MPH with his fastball, but he looked healthy from all accounts that I’ve read online from people who saw his showcase. Holland should be much stronger and much more ready once spring training comes along and should be as close to 100% as he is going to get when the 2017 season starts later on next season. Holland is willing to pitch in a non-closer role according to his agent Scott Boras, which is great news to hear since the Yankees have Chapman, and if healthy could be the best 8th inning man in baseball once again.

The Yankees had a great bullpen in 2016 with “No Runs DMC” but somehow as a whole the bullpen could be even better this year with Chapman, Betances, Holland, Clippard, Warren and the rest of the crew down in manager Joe Girardi’s Circle of Trust. All Cashman has to do is get it done. It’s a one-year deal, what’s the harm?

For My Next Trick, Upgrading the Yankees Rotation

The New York Yankees starting rotation is in trouble if the team decides they want to compete in 2017. This is obviously my opinion but I think I’m not alone in that way of thinking heading into the season, especially on paper. A rotation of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chad Green, CC Sabathia and Luis Cessa (speculation of course) doesn’t really scare many teams in a series anymore so for my next trick I want to try and address the Yankees starting rotation and see what I can do to fix it both fiscally and realistically. We all know someone in the Yankees organization reads my material, or I’m a Messiah and I’m far too humble to say that without my tongue placed far inside my cheek, so let’s give them some reading material for this afternoon. Shall we?

The Yankees are already said to be interested in acquiring a former farm hand that they allowed to hit free agency in Jose Quintana. Quintana looks great but I don’t think he is a realistic option for the Yankees. Why? Well Quintana comes with four years of team control and the Chicago White Sox are not in the business, especially lately, of “losing” trades. For that reason you can kiss probably two or three of the Yankees top 10 prospects goodbye plus more. Does Brian Cashman have the gonads to pull off a trade like that? Is the past is any indicator of the future I’d say probably not. Don’t get me wrong, give up Jorge Mateo and Miguel Andujar in a package and get the deal done. That’s what I would do if I were the GM but I just can’t see Cashman pulling the trigger, sorry but I can’t.

The Kansas City Royals are in a tough spot. They have basically a one-year window before some of their young studs begin hitting free agency but at the same time the team also needs to cut payroll to improve the team in order to compete. It’s a Catch 22. The Royals do have a couple of pitchers that might make sense for the Yankees and none more so, and more realistic, then Danny Duffy. Duffy is in the final year of his arbitration and will hit free agency next season at 28-years old. Duffy pitched to a 12-3 record with a 3.51 ERA in 2016 and while he only managed 179.2 innings he did strike out 188 batters next to just 42 walks all season long. He doesn’t fit into the long term goals of the Yankees but he would come at a reasonable price in terms of both prospects and salary while giving the team the option to compete in 2017. My only concern is Duffy’s ability to keep the ball down and out of the right field bleachers inside of Yankee Stadium. That could get ugly, and fast.

The Yankees could also look a short-term reunion with a familiar face who was traded to a different place this past season in Ivan Nova. Nova is not ideal in any sense of the word but he has shown flashes of brilliance and would cost the Yankees nothing but money in terms of acquiring him. Nova pitched much better for the Pirates than he did for the Yankees after being traded before the deadline last season and has seemingly bounced back from adversity to pitch well before which may suggest a trend. Remember when Nova was demoted to the bullpen only to come back to the rotation and put up a 16-win season for the Bombers? Maybe he’s bored? I don’t know but if someone else finds out and keeps him occupied he could be a legitimate buy-low candidate, if there is such a thing in this market.

The final suggestion for the Yankees starting rotation is a suggestion that I made right around this time last year, Doug Fister. Now Fister would have made me look like a fool after posting a career worst 4.64 ERA in 2016 at age 32 but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to give up on the now 33-year old. Fister is a ground ball pitcher and him coming to New York would remind me a lot of Brandon McCarthy and others who came to the Bronx as ground ball pitchers and seemingly figured it all out or put it all together under pitching coach Larry Rothschild. While Fister will not win the Yankees a World Series in 2017 he allows the Yankees to continue to straddle the line between competing and rebuilding as he likely comes on a one-year deal and he also keeps innings off the arms of the Yankees bullpen.

The Yankees, unless they go big for a Quintana or an equivalent, will not substantially upgrade their starting rotation this winter. I believe they need to just hold on and stay afloat until James Kaprielian and others are ready to contribute and Fister, Nova and/or Duffy can do that. Again, these arms will not bring the Yankees a division title by themselves let alone a World Series championship but I believe them to be the best and most realistic options for the New York Yankees as we stand today. Tomorrow, that may change. I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to that to find out.

Yankees One of Six Teams to Pay Luxury Tax in 2016

The New York Yankees have been hit with the luxury tax threshold for the 14th straight season, and as an FYI the luxury tax penalties have been in existence for 14 straight years now, in 2016 along with five other teams. That’s a record for Major League Baseball.

The Los Angeles Dodgers paid $31. 8 million in luxury tax penalties while the New York Yankees paid the second highest at $27.4 million. The Boston Red Sox paid $4.5 million, the Detroit Tigers paid $4 million, the San Francisco Giants paid $3.4 million and the Chicago Cubs earned their first World Series since 1908 at the expense of $2.96 million.

The Yankees have paid a total of $325 million since the luxury tax began. 

The Greedy Pinstripes… My Apology

Good morning Greedy Pinstripes family. I want to, no I need to, start this morning off with an apology. I haven’t been around. I haven’t wanted to be around. I didn’t even say why, so here is my explanation and my apology.

When we started this blog however many years ago it’s been now I had these vast dreams and hopes of toppling the big boys in the blog world. I wanted to be linked as a source on MLB Trade Rumors. I wanted Joel Sherman and Sweeny Murti and the likes to know me by name. For that reason I went hard, every single day I went hard, and while I never forced content I was a content machine for a long, long time.

That grind began to get to me this season. When the playoffs and offseason hit… I hit a wall. I’ve tried to work around that wall and it’s been a constant struggle. Until recently I tried to fight it but over the last week or so I’ve completely thrown my hands up. This time off has been good though, I feel the batteries recharging but I still feel bad leaving you guys and girls hanging. For that I apologize.

I can’t promise I’m back but I feel better today as I write this than I have in about six months as far as my writing is concerned. I may not be known, I may not be the next Chris Cotillo and although David Cone, Michael Kay and others follow me on Twitter I may not be well known in the blogging world but finally I know… that’s okay.

Burned out. Discouraged. Whatever adjective you want to use, I prefer to just be over it. Finally. Thank you for your patience and your continued support of me, the writers here, the community that has turned into a family (as dysfunctional as we are) and the blog as a whole.

Back to work. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/21: Yankees Pay Their Taxes

On this day in 2009 the Yankees got hit with a luxury tax penalty bill of $25.69 million after winning the World Series just a month and a half ago. New York was the only team to go over the cap and get the penalty bill in the mail and has been the only team to be penalized in the seven years of the luxury tax's existence.

Also on this day in 1995 the Yankees resigned David Cone to a three year deal worth $18 million. Cone and the Toronto Blue Jays flirted around before George Steinbrenner got his man back in pinstripes.

Finally on this day in 1927 the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox made a trade that saw pitchers Ernie Shore and Dutch Leonard with outfielder Duffy Lewis go to the Yankees for "relatively unknown players" and $15,000 cash. The group of players included Frank Gilhooley, Slim Love, Ray Caldwell, and Roxy Walters.