Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Yankees have too many outfielders, therefore...

The Yankees have too much depth in the outfield. Of course, having too much depth is not really a bad thing, because inevitably something's going to go wrong with one or more of those guys. There could be an injury or two, one or more prospects could fail, or that depth has to be used to fill holes at other positions through trades. And that leads me to this article.

What we have is the baseball version of this.

I'll break it down the easiest way I can, with bullet points (coincidentally it's an easy way to write, too)....
  • The chances of trading Jacoby Ellsbury are not good. While he's been effective this season, the people that run the other 29 teams in Major League Baseball are not stupid. They can see his below average output the previous two years. They can see that he's currently dealing with a concussion and neck sprain. And they sure as hell see that he's still owed around $80 million through 2020 (if you assume his team option for 2021 is bought out). Not impossible to trade, but not likely either.
  • Brett Gardner is having his best season with the bat, thanks to power output that's never been seen out of him before. His highest home run total for a season is 17 in 2014, and his total so far this season is already at 12. And therein lies the problem. Without that power he's just another good to great defensive outfielder with an average bat, which is not at all hard to come by in the league. So if you were running a team, would you make a trade for Gardy? Did you have to think about it? Even as a Yankees fan? Yeah... exactly.
  • Then we have Aaron Judge. I don't have to tell you that this guy is a future star, because he is a star. This is a guy the team should build around, not use as trade bait. And I don't think Brian Cashman and Company need me to tell them that.
  • Has Aaron Hicks finally reached the potential that so many have seen in him since he was drafted by the Twins in the 1st round of the 2008 Draft? Possibly. Am I going to keep asking questions and then answering them? Yep. Will other MLB teams offer the Yankees enough in a trade that it's worth dealing Hicks away? I seriously doubt it. Not that other teams wouldn't be interested in acquiring Aaron, I just think he's worth more to the Yankees being on their roster compared to what they would fetch in dealing him away.
  • Clint Frazier, Dustin Fowler, and Tyler Austin are in AAA and could be called upon by the Yankees at a moment's notice. Blake Rutherford is just a couple of years away from being ready for the big leagues. And Estevan Florial has been impressive down in Charleston. Simply put, the Yankees are not hurting for minor league outfield prospects.
Taking all of that information into account, I don't believe it's a question of "will the Yankees trade away an outfielder or two?" No, the question is "when will the Yankees trade away an outfielder or two?" And that will lead to the question "who will the Yankees trade away?" 

Unless the Yankees take a nosedive in the standings, which I don't see happening (for the record I can see them losing their grip on 1st place in the AL East, but they won't be "out of it" towards the end of July, either), the answer to the question of "when" is easy. 

The starting rotation needs help. While Luis Severino looks like a guy we can count on, I'm less than confident in the other four guys. CC Sabathia has been the second best starter since the beginning of May, and if the Yankees need him to start a postseason game I'm going to be concerned. Jordan Montgomery has done a good job, but I get the feeling every start of his could be the beginning of a downfall. Micheal Pineda has won eight games this year, but the question of which Mike will show up when he takes the mound is getting old. And although I still think Masahiro Tanaka will figure things out I'm still a little worried.

Now, it's true that the Yankees can call up highly touted prospect Chance Adams, and he could help stabilize the rotation. But I think the rotation could use more certainty than even the best prospect could provide. And speaking of Adams, even with the rotation's future up in the air, the organization still has a couple of other nice prospects in Albert Abreu and Justus Sheffield. 

So there it is... I see the Yankees trading away at least two of their outfield prospects for a starter. Big surprise hearing that from me? Huh? I've probably already wrote about trading for a starter dozens of times since the offseason started. But hear me out...

I can already hear some people yelling "what about third base?" 

Well, for starters, Gleyber Torres has been getting a lot of work at the hot corner, and people from both inside and outside the Yankees see him getting a call to the Majors sooner rather than later. The second reason I don't see a significant trade for a third baseman is the fact that the Yankee offense has been second best in the league (fWAR of 11, only trailing the Astros at 12.3), and well ahead of their biggest competitor in the AL East (the Red Sox have an fWAR of 7.4). Third, the Sox have a damn good rotation, which bests the Yankees starters in fWAR 9.5 to 8.2. 

So here's another question... where do the Yankees need to improve the most in order to compete for the division and beyond? The starting rotation.

That's not to say the Yanks can't improve in the bullpen. But with Aroldis Chapman returning to pair with Dellin Betances, along with a handful of right-handed relievers that can hold things down, their needs in the 'pen are not within the definition of "big".

Okay, so back to outfielders plus others for a starter. Here's the package I see being offered...

Brett Gardner - while the power may not seem legit, he certainly has value. 

Michael Pineda - if a team deals away a starter they're going to need somebody to throw those lost innings for them the rest of the season. At the same time, the acquiring team may not want this guy to cost them beyond this season. This guy is basically just a rental in order to eat innings.

Clint Frazier - with the way both Aarons have broken out, along with Dustin Fowler looking like a soon-to-be MLB player, Clint is expendable. Furthermore, he is somebody that would be a key piece in acquiring a young stud starter.

Justus Sheffield - With Pineda being a free agent after this season, the acquiring team may want somebody that could fill the rotation spot opened up by the trade for next year and beyond. But not just any old arm, an arm with high upside that is under team control for many years. That's where Sheffield fits. I suppose this could be Chance Adams, but I think the Yankees would rather keep the guy that could contribute to their postseason push right now.

I can also see one more piece being added to this package, and sadly it wouldn't be just a "toss in". This guy could be one of Jorge Mateo, Miguel Andujar, or Tyler Wade. Or possibly another pitcher such as Albert Abreu or Dillon Tate.

That's a pretty good package of players, isn't it? So what would the Yankees get in return? How about this man?

Gerrit Cole finished 4th in Cy Young voting a couple of years ago at the age of 24, and I believe his poor August and September last year are much more an anomaly than the norm (outside of those two months his ERA was 2.78). Even better is the fact that Cole isn't scheduled to be a free agent until after the 2020 season, keeping the team from having to spend big for another pitcher to fill the top of the rotation (and no free agent pitcher worth a damn comes cheap). Which would allow the team to sign Bryce Harper, joining Judge and Fowler, Hicks, or Ellsbury in the outfield.

By the way, as to why Pittsburgh would agree to this, the trade would free up room for them to trade away Andrew McCutchen (who they've been interested in trading away for a while now), leaving them with an outfield of Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Gardner, and Frazier. Not to mention that they'd have a future starting rotation that includes Ivan Nova, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, and Justus Sheffield. 

That would give the Yankees a starting rotation next year of Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Chance Adams, along with re-signing one of  Masahiro Tanaka or CC Sabathia. This with an outfield of Aaron Judge, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Aaron Hicks, before they sign the aforementioned Bryce Harper after the season.

For the sake of being complete, the Yankees infield would include Greg Bird at first, Starlin Castro at second, Didi Gregorius at short, Gleyber Torres at third, and Gary Sanchez behind the plate.

Phew. This article was meant to be a small piece about the Yankees trading from their biggest area of strength, the outfield, and turned into something much larger. I don't know about you, but I think the end result is pretty darn interesting.

I wonder if this thing works.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 6/8

It is that time once again ladies and gentleman as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will square off for the third and final time this week as a part of their three-game series. In the finale, and boy what a finale this is shaping up to be, the New York Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound to square off with a perennial thorn in the Yankees side in David Price for the Red Sox. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN, NESN and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio by tuning into WFAN.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes. Enjoy the game, speak fluent English or Jerry Remy will want to make something that you do illegal, and as always… Go Yankees!

Chase Headley Sucks But These Guys Do Not

The New York Yankees have a huge problem on their hands when it comes to the current situation over at third base and the team, in my opinion of course, needs to fix it sooner rather than later. Chase Headley, in a word, sucks but these potential trade targets for the team at the July 31st trading deadline definitely do not. Not at all actually so if the team is serious about competing not only in 2018 but in 2017 as well it is time to start getting to know these potentially available third baseman from across the league before the deadline. 

Would the Toronto Blue Jays trade Josh Donaldson within the division and to one of their biggest rivals in the New York Yankees? Not likely, unfortunately, but how much of an impact would Donaldson be in the Yankees lineup? He’s great and I’d take him in a heartbeat but Donaldson has been injured this season and would be yet another right-handed power bat. The Yankees may need a lefty, although that could be difficult to come by at third base. 

Todd Frazier is another name that could be traded this summer. Frazier is a free agent at the end of the season so the price in terms of prospects could stay low, or lower than Donaldson anyway, while also fitting into the Yankees long-term plans. Frazier is struggling hitting below the Mendoza line but Frazier, like Headley when he was traded from San Diego to the Bronx, could benefit from a change of scenery at least in the short-term. You never know. 

If the Yankees want a stop gap for a year or two beyond the 2017 season while they wait on Miguel Andujar then David Freese may be an option. Freese is having a solid season and has found this uncanny knack for hitting in the big spots in the postseason, something the Yankees will need along with some veteran leadership with such a young squad. 

The final option as it stands today would be the Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Moustakas is represented by Scott Boras so it seems unlikely that the man they call Moose in Kansas City would negotiate a contract extension so it may be best for a team like the Royals to get something for sure out of him now rather than potentially nothing for the 28-year old later. Moustakas will be a free agent at the end of the season and is in the midst of a strong season that could see the right-handed surpass 30 home runs on a struggling Royals squad. 

I mean, or the team could just call up Gleyber Torres. I’m just saying. That’s my choice, what’s yours?

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 6/8

For the third and final time this week the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will make the trip to the Bronx to square off head-to-head inside Yankee Stadium. In the finale of the three-game set each team will send one of their best pitchers to the mound as the Yankees send Michael Pineda to square off against David Price. Even though it was years ago what do you think the over/under is on how long before the NESN broadcast fills time with “Pine Tar Gate” mentioning Michael Pineda having pine tar on his palm and neck? Two innings? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section.

Pineda has been easily one of the Yankees best starters this season although you couldn’t tell it in his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays. In the start Pineda allowed five runs on ten hits in five-plus innings of work snapping a nine start streak Pineda had allowing three earned runs or fewer. Time for a new streak.

Price will be making just his third start of the season tonight after starting the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury. Price was not great against the Yankees last season posting a 1-3 record with a 7.89 ERA in five starts. Meanwhile Price has been decent inside Yankee Stadium throughout his career posting an 8-5 record with a 3.98 ERA. Which Price will we see tonight? Who knows?

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN, NESN if you’re behind enemy lines and MLB TV wherever you and your device are. You can also tune in on the radio and in your cars by giving John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman’s WFAN broadcast a listen.

Enjoy the game, renew the rivalry and as always… Go Yankees!

CC and the Backdoor Slider...

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press
Yankees 8, Red Sox 0...

Much better!

When CC Sabathia was named the #2 starter at the beginning of the year, I thought it was comical.  Now, he's probably the ace.  This vintage run of excellent starts by Sabathia has been tremendous and much needed.  I know that he has benefited from his talks with Andy Pettitte about transitioning to an older pitcher but after a few starts to forget earlier this year, I had given him up for dead.  Then, suddenly he has re-emerged as a dominant pitcher.  I am not sure how long this will last, but I'm lovin' the ride.

Credit:  Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for
A night after a disappointing loss, Sabathia (7-2) shut the Red Sox down with eight solid innings.  He held the Sox to 5 hits and struck out 5 in the shutout.  He did not walk anyone.  When he wasn't pitching great, he was making excellent bare-handed defensive plays, like stopping the Jackie Bradley, Jr chopper in the fifth and throwing the runner out at first with a runner at third.  It was a critical play as Josh Rutledge had opened the inning with a triple.  The runner was eventually left stranded, thanks in very large part to CC's great play on JBJ.

All of CC's pitches were working, but it was the deadly slider that left the Sox batters shaking their heads.  It's an interesting stat that it was the first time CC has shutout an opponent with at least eight innings pitched since September 2012.  

I expected Sabathia to tire in the later innings but he was still cruising in the eighth (retiring the final 12 batters he faced).  Manager Joe Girardi made the right decision to pull CC after eight innings and 95 pitches.  Jonathan Holder finished up in relief.  

I wonder if we can get Pettitte to come to New York to talk to Masahiro Tanaka.  I don't know but it's cool to write Pettitte's name in a blog post again.  He would make a good replacement for pitching coach Larry Rothschild one day.  

As for the offense, it came from a very unlikely source.  The forgotten man and the guy on almost everybody's list for roster reduction when Greg Bird returns delivered in a big way.  Chris Carter, who entered the game with a .183 batting average, blasted a three-run homer to left-center in the Yankees' four-run fourth inning that gave the Yankees some breathing room in a game, which up to that point, had been a pitcher's duel.  The Yankees tacked on three more runs late, including a RBI single from Carter in the eighth.  Carter was 3-for-4 on the night, with 4 RBI's.  He raised his batting average by 19 points to .202.  

Credit:  Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for
Carter should have had two home runs, but Mookie Betts was aided by a Yankees fan to make a leaping catch to rob Carter in the sixth.  The ball seemingly was over the wall but landed in the fan's hands and rolled back into Betts' glove.  Girardi tried to challenge but the umps ruled that he was outside of the 30-second window to appeal.  I'm glad that play didn't factor into the outcome of the game.

Didi Gregorius got the scoring started in the third with a solo shot off Red Sox starter and AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello.  Porcello has not been the same pitcher he was last year (he is now 3-8) but when he started the game strong, I had been concerned that he was finding the success he had enjoyed last year.  Thankfully, it was not meant to be as Carter and Company gave CC an abundance of runs, one night after they fell one short.

With the win, the Yankees (33-23) moved back up to two games ahead of the Red Sox.  The Baltimore Orioles came up with another extra inning win over the Pittsburgh Pirates to remain 2 1/2 games back.

Odds & Ends...

It is being reported that Masahiro Tanaka will make his next start as scheduled.  I think this is a mistake.  Something is clearly wrong and to allow the pitcher to work out his issues in-game is not a smart move in my opinion.  This seems to be psychological as best I can tell.  I think Tanaka needs to get his head straight first, then work on the pitches.  That's why I would give him time away from the rotation.  If I owned the Yankees, I'd send Tanaka back home to Japan for a week or two.  Let him regroup, and then have him try to find what he had during spring training.  Chad Green is capable of a spot start or even Adam Warren.  Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell are also available for call-up.  Any of the four are capable of doing better than the recent Tanaka performances.  I'd love a spot start by Chance Adams but I agree that he's not ready and then there's the small issue of finding room on the 40-man roster.  

I was going to rip NESN's Jerry Remy for his comments that Tanaka should not be allowed to have a translator during mound visits, but then he owned up to his mistake and apologized.  

Joe Giglio of NJ Advance Media for reported yesterday that an anonymous GM has indicated he would give 2018 free agent-to-be Bryce Harper a 15-year deal for $600 million. If that's the price tag, I have no problem with an outfield of Aaron Judge, Dustin Fowler, Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks.  

Oddly, the Yankees and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders have identical win-loss records at 33-23.  The RailRiders won their 33rd game with a 5-1 win over the Rochester Red Wings.  Gleyber Torres had the go-ahead two-run double in the 7th inning and scored on a wild pitch in the 9th.  Torres was 2-for-4.  Tyler Austin also had a run-scoring double in the 9th.  

I love Yankees prospects but I saw that the St Louis Cardinals have assigned a young outfielder by the name of Matt Fiedler to the State College Spikes (High A).  A 9th round pick in the 2016 Draft, the 22 year old right-handed leftfielder hit .325 with 4 homers and 31 RBI's last year for Johnson City Cardinals (the 2016 Appalachian League Champions).  I hope the Eagan, MN native continues his upward climb in the Cardinals organization.  I'd buy his jersey if he makes it to the Show.  I haven't been this excited since, well, Jay Fiedler was a Miami Dolphin although Vernon Fiddler in the Stanley Cup Finals for the Nashville Predators is kinda neat...

Credit:  University of Minnesota
Have a great Thursday!  I don't want much today...just a Yankees win!

So it Seems Greg Bird May Be Back Soon Too!

So Aroldis Chapman could be back next week and Yankees first baseman of the now and of the future may not be far behind him. Bird has played in a total of six rehab games with the Single-A Tampa Yankees as of Tuesday and has moved his rehab to Triple-A Scranton leaving him one step away from the Bronx. Bird is expected to be in the lineup tonight when the RailRiders take on Lehigh Valley, weather permitting of course.

Bird has yet to play nine innings in the field and has yet to play in back-to-back games according to an interview done by Joe Girardi after the Yankees 5-4 loss to Boston on Tuesday night so the Yankees first baseman will have to clear those two hurdles before thinking about a return to the Bronx. Presumably you would have to think those two milestones will come while the lefty is in Triple-A.

Bird has struggled ever since fouling a ball off of his foot back in spring training so hopefully taking the time to let it rest and heal on the disabled list can be beneficial to Bird. Bird will undoubtedly have some rust to knock off once he returns but once he does we could be in for a true show at the plate in the Bronx with Bird, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge.

I will end this by saying that, and this hurts coming from me because I have been one of the biggest Brian Cashman apologists in the world, but Brian Cashman is an idiot. Cashman was quoted as saying the following when asked about the possibility of bringing up Tyler Austin from Triple-A when he was activated off the disabled list this week:

“We talked about whether he should go here or go there, but having him and Carter on the same team doesn’t make sense.”

Yeah, and water is wet and the sky is blue. Of course it doesn’t make sense dummy that is why you get rid of Chris Carter. Designate him for assignment! Ugh. Have a great day everyone. 

So it Seems Aroldis Chapman Could Be Back Next Week

But can he start?

The New York Yankees are set to get their close back potentially as soon as next week as Aroldis Chapman is close to a return to the Bronx. Again, but can he start?

Chapman said in an interview before the Yankees loss on Tuesday that he could be back before the team’s series at Oakland starting on June 15th. This would obviously move Dellin Betances back to the 8th inning role and everyone back into their natural and intended positions thus making the entire Yankees bullpen stronger.

But again… can he start? Have a great day and good morning everyone. Especially you. Hey you. Feel better my love.

This Day In New York Yankees History 6/8: Mickey Mantle Day

On this day in 2015 the New York Yankees and the rest of MLB took par in the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft. The Yankees had a pair of first round picks and took James Kaprielian, a RHP, and Kyle Holder, a shortstop.

Also on this day in 1969 the Yankees held Mickey Mantle Day at Yankee Stadium and retired the #7 uniform number in front of a crowd of 60,096. This would mark the first sellout for the Yankees at Yankee Stadium since the 1964 World Series. Mantle also received a plaque for Monument Park that Joe DiMaggio hung in center field right before Mantle reciprocates the gesture to the Yankee Clipper.

On this day in 1939 the New York Yankees really earned the Bronx Bomber nickname as they set a franchise record for home runs in a single game with eight against the Athletics. The mark the Yankees set will not be tied for 68 years as the Yankees beat the A's 22-3 on this day.

On this day in 1934 the Reds become the first team to travel in an airplane when the Cincinnati General Manager Larry MacPhail flew 19 of his players to Chicago to play the Chicago Cubs. In 1946 the New York Yankees will become the first team to fly on a regular basis using the "Yankee Mainliner" for team travel.

On this day in 1927 the New York Yankees Tony Lazzeri becomes the first Bronx Bomber to hit three home runs in one game. The last home run came in the ninth inning and tied what was a five run deficit for the Yankees at the hands of the White Sox. The Yankees would beat Chicago 12-11 in 11 innings.