Thursday, March 16, 2017

Evan Longoria Manning Third for New York in 2017? Hmmm Maybe

When Pete Rose talks I have to say that I am not one that usually listens, not anymore lately. I am kind of bitter towards the “Hit Man” if I’m being completely honest after spending so many years defending him and his claim to a spot in the Hall of Fame eventually. Pete not only lied but made me look like a fool but one thing he knows maybe better than gambling and lying is baseball so when he talks about the sport I have to listen. Rose spoke about something Yankees related recently and I have to admit that it makes a ton of sense for New York, it involves making a trade for the Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria and plugging him in at the hot corner as soon as the 2017 season. That’s the ultimate “Get Greedy” move that spawned this blog and its name. Well done.

Why does this make sense for New York? The Yankees third basemen combined for an OPS of just .690 last season which ranked them 29th overall out of 30 teams in Major League Baseball. You don’t have to be a statmatician or a fan of Moneyball to know that 29th best out of 20 teams means the Yankees got little to no production out of their third basemen in 2016, or as I like to say “Chase Headley sucks.” Headley, who sucks in case you forgot, is set to make $13 million in 2017 and 2018 before finally hitting the free agency market just in time for Miguel Andujar to come up, well assuming the team doesn’t take the Pete Rose suggestion and acquire Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays first.

Now again this was just a suggestion by Rose as he stated he wanted to see great players like Longoria on bigger market teams who make the postseason and he simply used the Yankees and the Chicago Cubs as examples but the need is definitely there for New York. Longoria wouldn’t come cheap in terms of prospects or dollars as he is still owed $95 million on his current contract with Tampa Bay and presumably the Rays would expect a King’s Ransom for him whether they were trading him within the division or not.

Would Tampa Bay entertain it? Maybe. They traded away everyone else not named Chris Archer and Longoria, have recently traded Logan Forsythe and at least listened to offers for Archer as recently as last season so you never truly know what’s going to happen with the Rays. Stay tuned I guess because Pete Rose may finally be onto something good for the game of Major League Baseball. 

Joe Girardi’s Plan to Fix the World Baseball Classic

Joe Girardi has more important things to fix than the World Baseball Classic in my extremely invested, yet ultimately unimportant, opinion but that was just what he was talking about this week with the New York Times. Rather than spending time on who is going to take the fourth and fifth spots in the Yankees starting rotation or who is going to pitch in the middle innings each and every day the Yankees manager is discussing ways to improve the WBC so why not talk about it. If you can’t tell my sarcasm meter is going off the charts right now, let me reign that it. Be right back.

Okay, I’m back. Really though the Yankees manager has a plan and a few ideas to fix the World Baseball Classic. Let’s be real, the WBC needs fixing. Having these players play in games that are intense and as important as they are in the middle of March is simply irresponsible in my opinion and too many injuries are happening for a glorified exhibition tournament that represents your home land. Again, my opinion.

Girardi’s plan is simple, make the game that is loved worldwide and played in the warm weather months played in the warm weather months. Period. Girardi wants the WBC moved to the summer months instead of two or three weeks into Spring Training for many of these players that attend. Girardi suggests moving the first two rounds of the tournament back even a week or so to help players, and especially pitchers, have some work under their belts and on their arms before fulling letting it go in a WBC game. Girardi then suggests playing the semifinals and the finals during the downtime at the All Star Game every single season.

There’s some validity to the idea and the backlash of having the WBC played in early March. There are more elbow injuries that require Tommy John surgery in April than any other month and we’ve seen many injuries early in spring and during the WBC including Mark Teixeira’s wrist injury in 2013. Whether that will be taken into account after this WBC or not remains to be seen but what Girardi is saying, for once, makes sense. Let’s see if anyone is listening.

Do These Yankees Veterans Need to Watch Their Backs?

*In My Best Paul Revere Voice* The prospects are coming, the prospects are coming. The New York Yankees are in the midst of a rebuild and a youth movement and there may or may not be a few veterans currently on the team that have to watch their backs and their jobs going forward. Times are a changing here in the Bronx and it all starts and ends with these key Baby Bombers.

The leader of the pack known as the Baby Bombers is Gleyber Torres, the Yankees top prospect and the third best prospect in all of baseball according to, the shortstop the team acquired last summer from the Chicago Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade. Torres, who is fresh off an Arizona Fall League MVP Award at just 20-years old, has impressed many in Yankees camp this spring not only at the shortstop position but at second base as well which presumably has to have Starlin Castro at least thinking about how secure his job is going forward.

The man that Torres dethroned for the Yankees top prospect spot was Jorge Mateo and Mateo, after a down season in 2016, is well on his way down the path of rebuilding his prospect status and value in 2017 with a strong showing this spring. Mateo has been learning the center field position as of late due in large part to the strength of the Yankees farm system at the shortstop position right now. If Mateo can learn the position, and his athleticism and youth are both working to his advantage right now in that department, then Jacoby Ellsbury better be shaking in his boots after a couple of down seasons in the Bronx. If Mateo cannot fully grasp center field then he still has a ton of value at both shortstop and second base so the options are a plenty for the Yankees regarding the 21-year old Mateo.

The third man in the trio of top prospects for the Yankees that could make a huge impact as soon as 2017 is Clint Frazier. Frazier was the outfielder acquired from the Cleveland Indians last season in the Andrew Miller trade and after reaching Triple-A last season Frazier could be the outfielder that unseats one of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge or Aaron Hicks. Frazier, just 22-years old, will likely start the season back in Triple-A after a lackluster showing there in a small sample size in 2016 but after working with Matt Holliday this spring and with another year of work and maturity under his belt he may not be long for the affiliate in 2017.

The fourth and final prospect that could push his way onto the scene as soon as this season is a guy we discussed earlier in the week on the blog, Tyler Wade. Wade is a guy that can play all infield positions other than catcher and a player that can play all three outfield positons so name a player currently penciled into the Yankees bench not named Austin Romine that he couldn’t potentially replace. Aaron Hicks? Check. Aaron Judge? Check. Robert Refsnyder? Check. Ronald Torreyes? Check. Chris Carter? Check. The list just goes on and on and on.

You guys thought I was going to go a single prospect post without bringing up Chance Adams, James Kaprielian or Jordan Montgomery didn’t you? Maybe next time! Any of those three could and likely will make the majors at some point this season or next but I feel like I’ve beaten all three like a dead horse here on the blog so I’ll spare you from reading it again. Just know that I am extremely high on all three and I absolutely cannot wait until all three make their Major League debuts.

Predicting the Yankees Opening Day Roster Halfway Through Spring Training

The New York Yankees passed the halfway point of spring training this week according to their Grapefruit League schedule so halfway through I am going to make some roster predictions for Opening Day 2017. The Yankees recently cut down 11 players over the weekend dropping their roster to 53 players. New York has to have their roster down to 25 players by April 2nd and while there are some obvious cuts to be made with top prospects there are still some decisions to be made regarding the rotation, the bullpen and the bench. Here’s my decisions on those important positions as it stands today. Obviously these are subject to change in the next coming weeks. If you disagree with my assessment then please leave it below in the comments section or give us a follow on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) and we can discuss it there. Thank you.

The Offense:
C: Gary Sanchez
1B: Greg Bird
2B: Starlin Castro
SS: Didi Gregorius
3B: Chase Headley
LF: Brett Gardner
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
RF: Aaron Judge
DH: Matt Holliday

The Bench:
BN: Chris Carter
BN: Aaron Hicks
BN: Ronald Torreyes
BN: Austin Romine

The Rotation:
SP: Masahiro Tanaka
SP: Michael Pineda
SP: CC Sabathia
SP: Luis Severino
SP: Chad Green

The Bullpen:
LR: Bryan Mitchell
RP: Jon Niese
RP: Tommy Layne
RP: Adam Warren
RP: Tyler Clippard
SU: Dellin Betances
CP: Aroldis Chapman

A little Birdy told me…

Credit:  Getty Images

Actually, I have no friggin’ idea.  The question?  How will Greg Bird hit this year?  

‘With a bat’…alright, I set myself up for that one.  But seriously, what results will that bat produce this season for the Yankees new first baseman?

The Yankees have a long history of strong first basemen in recent memory.  Don Mattingly was beloved from beginning to end, but back problems reduced his effectiveness toward the end of his career.  I remain convinced that he would have had a Hall of Fame career if the back problems had not robbed him of crucial years.  

When Donnie Baseball retired after the excruciating loss to the Seattle Mariners in the 1995 play-offs, there was uncertainty over who would fill his shoes.  On December 7, 1995, the Yankees traded third baseman Russ Davis and pitcher Sterling Hitchcock to the Seattle Mariners to acquire first baseman Constantino “Tino” Martinez, along with relievers Jim Mecir and Jeff Nelson.  It set up the chain of successive great first basemen for New York.  

After collecting a truckload of World Series rings, Tino left as a free agent following the 2001 season.  To replace Martinez, the Yankees dipped into the free agent market and snagged the Oakland A’s slugging first baseman Jason Giambi.  After the PED issues and deteriorating performance, Giambi left as a free agent following the 2008 season.  To replace the Giambino, the Yankees dipped back into free agency to pick up Mark Teixeira (the same year they signed CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, which led to the 2009 World Series Championship).

Like Giambi, but unrelated to PEDs, Teixeira’s performance, as we sadly know, also deteriorated with time.  Injuries, age, his wife’s shopping habits, whatever the cause, it wasn’t pretty at the end.  Teixeira retired after the end of last season which leads us to our new first baseman, Gregory Paul Bird. 

It’s been a long and winding road to get here but nonetheless here we are.  

Since he missed most of last year due to injury, the Yankees haven’t seen Bird since he played 46 games in 2015, hitting 11 home runs and 31 RBI’s to go with a .261 batting average.  Bird represents the youngest first-time, full-time (at the beginning of the year) starting Yankees first baseman since Donnie Baseball.  Mattingly was 23 when he made his first major impact in 1983. He had played 91 games the year before but ’83 was the first full season as the team’s starting first baseman.  I remember when Mattingly was in the minors.  Steve “Bye-Bye” Balboni drew all the raves for his massive home runs.  Mattingly was viewed more as a singles hitter. Yet, Mattingly succeeded and Balboni went to Kansas City for the start of a journeyman career.  It would have been impossible to predict how Mattingly would perform at the major league level based on his minor league stats.  That’s where I am with Greg Bird.  

With Bird, I see a professional hitter.  I have no doubt that he’ll be successful.  I just don’t know how successful.  I clearly prefer Bird under trial and error versus handing the job to Chris “I only hit home runs” Carter or giving the job to Tyler Austin when he returns from the broken foot. 

Bird has big shoes to fill when you look at the inaugural year, as Yankees, for the above-referenced line of Yankees first basemen.

First full year as Yankees first baseman


First full year with original team


For the purposes of my analysis, I defined the first full year as the first with more than 100 games played.  

If Bird approaches these numbers (in the neighborhood), the Yankees will be very pleased.  My guess, which is absolutely worthless, is that Bird will hit about 20 homers and 70 RBI’s.  He should also hit for average (unlike his backup).  

Obviously, how Bird’s predecessors hit have nothing to do with how he will perform, but you would expect numbers comparable to those put up by Martinez and Giambi during the debut seasons with their original teams.  If he puts up Mattingly’s numbers, we might be talking about how the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox to take the AL East.   Okay, that statement might be a little overly aggressive but how wonderful it would be if he did.

When the season is done, I think the Yankees will be happy with Bird’s performance assuming he stays healthy.  

A trip down California’s Pacific Coast Highway through Pebble Beach might have been a prettier route to take than the one I just did to get to Bird’s forecast, but what do I know.  I am just a fan. has released their Top Ten Overall Farm System Rankings.  They have the Yankees at #2, citing Gleyber Torres of the “new face of the youth movement”.  They also referenced Clint Frazier, Blake Rutherford, Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, James Kaprielian, Justus Sheffield, and Albert Abreu as reasons for the high ranking.  The Atlanta Braves were the only team rated higher, thanks to a stronger pitching pipeline.

So much for the 53-man NFL roster, the Yankees sent 5 more down to minor league camp for re-assignment. Counting the players away at the WBC, that leaves 48 players in the march to 25. The latest departees are RHP Johnny Barbato, RHP Giovanny Gallegos, RHP Chance Adams, LHP Dietrich Enns, and 3B Miguel Andujar.  I can’t say that I am really surprised by any of the cuts, although I had expected Adams to get more looks during spring training.  He appeared in 3 games for a total of 4 innings, with 2.25 ERA.  However, more walks (6) than strikeouts (5) was troubling.  If he can solve his control issues, there’s a good chance we’ll see him again.  

Wow, that’s the Big Mike I want this year!  I know, I know, spring stats mean zilch (especially with numerous major leaguers away at the WBC), but Michael Pineda put up great numbers (or rather perfect numbers) last night against the Philadelphia Phillies.  5 innings, no hits, no runs, no walks, 8 strikeouts.  

After Aroldis Chapman contributed his usual scoreless inning, Chad Green finished up the game, allowing the only hit and run for the Phillies as the Yankees cruised 3-1.  The Yankees offense was completely Baby Bomber-powered.  A home run by Greg Bird, a run scoring single by Gary Sanchez (who was 2-for-2), and a sac fly by Dustin Fowler.  Phillies starter, and former Red Sock, Clay Buchholz took the loss (his second loss to the Bombers this month).  

Austin Romine left the game after being hit in the hand with a wild pitch from Green, but, fortunately, x-rays after the game proved negative.

Veteran reliever Ernesto Frieri was in the Yankees clubhouse prior to the game and it is speculated that he may sign a minor league contract with the team as soon as today.  Frieri recently pitched for Columbia in the WBC but hasn’t been in the major leagues since 2015.

The Yankees improved their spring record to 14-5.

James Kaprielian will make his long-anticipated first start in Grapefruit League action later today in Dunedin, FL against the Toronto Blue Jays.  

Have a great Thursday!

So it Seems Karma is the Key to the Kode

Everything happens for a reason. No good deed goes unpunished.

These are things we say but do we truly understand their meaning and their implications when we do? Maybe, maybe not. I know I do, or at least I am pretty damn sure that I do. Everything does happen for a reason whether you can see or understand the reason and whether you can see or understand the outcome and the bigger picture. One door gets blocked or closed but so another door can open or something else can come to its finality. A car gets wrecked so you can find an awesome deal on a newer, better and safer one. One relationship ends so you can finally find the one you’ve been searching for all your life. One hardship happens financially but it finally brings you your own piece of mind and independence…. You just can’t see it yet.

Life is one long and bumpy road and while you’re driving down this road you can’t always see the finish line but you have to keep in mind that the finish line is there. Everything has a beginning and everything has an end. Everything is a fight, you just have to know what you’re fighting for. I know what I am fighting for now and I am ready to scrap anytime, anywhere with anyone. So come on life, bring it. Keep throwing your jabs and I’ll keep ducking and weaving because I know what’s waiting for me and what’s important to me when the fight is over and the final bell has rung.

On a long enough timeline karma comes back to get everyone, for better or for worse, so I’m content just sitting here and waiting for everyone to get what they put into this world. I know where I stand, where do you stand?

Have a great day everyone…. And I mean that. I’m hungry and awfully thirsty and here at 7:00 am I am already thinking about lunch. Mmmm. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 3/16: A Blank Check to Babe Ruth

On this day in 1932 Babe Ruth signed a deal for $75,000 and a percentage of the exhibition gate. Ruth signed a blank contract with the amount filled in later by Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert. Talk about trust.