Saturday, July 8, 2017

Make Room For The Kids

My thinking when it comes to what the Yankees should do this season seems to change at a moment's notice. One minute I'm talking about trading away Clint Frazier in a package for Gerrit Cole, and here I am today saying "make room for the kids."

For starters, I do not believe the Yankees are World Series contenders this season. I would probably be saying the opposite if that were true, but it's not. I talked about going after a Wild Card spot, but why? Unless they are true World Series contenders, instead of simply having an outside chance to win it all, why possibly destroy what they've been building for years?

Sure, guys like Jorge Mateo and Blake Rutherford are currently blocked at their respective positions and seem to be expendable, but we have no idea what the future holds for them as players or for the team itself. Perhaps in 2019 the Yankees will suffer a key injury or two and need to make a big move at the trade deadline. But if they deal away all that depth now, will they have any bargain chips left?

Like I said, this is likely to change in the coming weeks, but as of right now this is my list of the only guys that should be traded, along with my predictions of what will actually happen with them...

1. Jacoby Ellsbury 

How scary is it that Ellsbury is owed a little over $63 million from 2018 through 2020? That contract along with his below average productivity, would make him a simple salary dump by the Yankees. That's because I don't think anybody would be willing to take on half the remaining money, and even the three remaining years would be difficult to swallow.

My Prediction: Since the Yankees don't seem keen on eating very much money these days, I don't think Ellsbury is going anywhere. Nobody is going to take him and that contract without a ton of money changing hands. However, at the end of next season, when all that money comes off the books and the team likely gets under the salary cap, I really think they will sign Bryce Harper for big money and deal away Jacoby while eating a ton of the money remaining on his deal.

2. Chase Headley 

I really don't even want to talk about Headley. The Yankees are not going to get anything for a guy that's signed for another season at $13 million, has been a below average batter since he signed that four year contract, and been average in the field as well. If another team even mentions his name Brian Cashman should say "he's yours" without asking for a single thing in return.

My Prediction: Headley remains a Yankee throughout the remainder of his contract. Not because he
deserves it, but because I don't see the team trading for somebody better nor spending any more money at that position. If anything, I can see the Yankees calling up Gleyber Torres some time next season making Chase a bench piece.

3. Michael Pineda 

Pineda's early season success did not fool me one bit. In the previous two seasons he's been a below average pitcher, with a tendency to throw gems every once in a while. Those few gems don't mean enough to me to re-sign the guy. Yeah... yeah, the starting rotation is going to be a big question mark next season, but it's not like bringing Michael back will solidify it.

My Prediction: Pineda stays a Yankee. Due to the fact Mike's ERA since his first start in June is 6.14, I don't see anybody making a playoff push trading for him. Maybe... just maybe... one of them would want him as their #5 starter, but since the Yankees are unlikely to get anything of value in return they may as well hold onto him in case they simply need somebody to eat innings.

"Brace yourself, you may not like the responses you will get."

4. Brett Gardner 

Gardner has one year remaining on his contract, and I don't see him as a future part of this team beyond that. With Judge, Frazier, Fowler, Rutherford, and so many other outfielders that could fill the Yankee outfield I see little to no reason to keep Gardy. I like the guy, and all he's done for the team, but at some point we have to move on. He is set to make just $11 million next season ($2 million buyout of his 2019 option of $12.5m), making him affordable for many teams. Furthermore, Brett's hitting for more power than he ever has, can get on base at a good clip, and can still steal around 25 bases. Trading Gardy has been talked about for a long time, but it really has to happen sooner or later.

My Prediction: We say good bye to Brett. I believe the Yankees want to give Clint Frazier regular at bats in MLB this season, in order for him to be ready to start next season. With Aaron Judge in right, and Jacoby Ellsbury in center, the only way for that to happen is to open up Gardner's spot (and don't forget Aaron Hicks will return soon too). I think Clint will go to AAA once Matt Holliday returns from the DL, but will get called back up when Gardner is gone. As for teams that may be interested there are the Diamondbacks, who just put Yasmany Tomas on the 60-Day DL, but are doing well in his absence. The Cardinals outfield could use a boost. The Cubs could use some OF help as well. With the trading partner up in the air, the return would is a question.

5. Matt Holliday 

I'm sure there are many teams around the Majors that would like to add a guy that can hit 25-30 home runs while putting up a nice on-base percentage. Especially if you add to that the fact he'd only be signed through the postseason, so the acquiring team wouldn't be on the hook for any more money. I like Matt, but as I've said many times we have to focus on the future, and Holliday is not part of that. He was brought in as a one year rental, and thanks to a stacked outfield, a handful of other options at first base (not great choices, but it's not like Holliday is anything special there anyway), and an open DH slot that would allow Girardi to give half days off to guys like Judge, Sanchez, and others, the Yankees need to see what they can get here.

My Prediction: Holliday is traded. The team that sticks out the most to me here is the Royals. Kansas City has gotten the worst production from the DH spot this season. But I'm not really sure what they'd get in return. Perhaps the Royals would part with Jake Junis, their #5 prospect (according to, who has already started a handful of games in the Majors, and could be a starter for the Yanks for years to come. Of course, that would mean packaging Holliday with a good prospect, but that's okay with me. Assuming that package doesn't include a top 10 prospect.

6. CC Sabathia 

In six starts before going on the disabled list CC had an ERA of 0.99 with a K:BB ratio of 5:1. There are few teams in all of baseball that wouldn't want a part of that. Will he continue pitching that well? Of course not, but the CC Sabathia of today is not the same CC Sabathia that threw for us from 2013-2015. His ERA so far this year (3.81) is only ten points lower than what he did in all of last season, making Sabathia a good bet to help a contender.

My Prediction: Sabathia will be wearing a different uniform in August. It's no secret that the Yankees need help in the bullpen, and I think this is where they can get it. I really don't know any obvious trade partners here, but a couple of teams stick out. The Houston Astros could use another good starter to fill out their rotation, and they may very well have the best bullpen in baseball. The Cleveland Indians also have a great bullpen, while only two of the six pitchers to have started ten or more games this season have an ERA below 5.24. 

Okay, it's not Bob some may think I'm forgetting, but I wanted to use this pic of a very funny movie.

Since there are likely some people wondering why I didn't include Masahiro Tanaka on this list, I'll explain why.

Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, and (assuming my trade above happens) Jake Junis. That's three starters for five spots. Now, I can see the Yankees giving Chance Adams a rotation spot on Opening Day 2018, too. But that still leaves the team needing one more starter. I don't like the fact that out of those four guys Luis Severino is the most dependable starter. Not that I don't like Sevy, I'm just not comfortable with him being the team's #1. Looking at the probable free agents after this season, and not wanting to deal away top prospects, I think 'Hiro is the Yankees' best bet to round things out.

Could the Yankees gamble on trading Tanaka, him opting out, and re-signing him in the offseason? Sure they could. But 1. I'm not a betting man, and 2. trading Tanaka would likely mean getting prospects in return and I think we're just fine in that department.

As bad as the Yankees played in June, I'm still excited about this season, and very excited about the future. I get so much pleasure watching every Aaron Judge at bat, and smile often thanks to other youngsters such as Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier, and Jordan Montgomery. Even their soon to be "veterans", like Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius, are not what anybody would call "old".

I came into this season expecting a 3rd of 4th place finish in the division. Playoffs? I would have laughed out loud before the season. So it's hard to see them making a postseason push but having to put on the breaks when it comes to going all in. This season, along with next season, is about building a dynasty. If we can do that, and win some games, it would be so awesome.

Yankees & Mets Have Discussed Lucas Duda Deal

It doesn’t happen often but it could happen in 2017. What am I talking about? The New York Yankees and the New York Mets hooking up for a deal before the July 31st trading deadline. This season it may happen as the Mets and the Yankees have been reportedly at least discussing a deal that would send first baseman Lucas Duda across town from Queens to the Bronx.

Since 1962, the Mets first season in Major League Baseball there have only been 16 transactions between the two clubs so what will need to happen for the 17th transaction to happen? The Mets will need to be reasonable in their asking price for the lefty-swinging Duda. Mets GM Sandy Alderson will have to understand that he is not going to get a Clint Frazier, a Chance Adams or a Gleyber Torres for a rental like Duda although a package involving one of Albert Abreu, Drew Finley or Zack Littell could be a good starting point for both clubs.

Sure, the Mets are likely moving him with the intention of rebuilding but Duda is not the type of player you trade to jumpstart a rebuild. That type of player is Yoenis Cespedes when healthy and effective. The Mets need to keep this in mind when sitting down at the negotiating table with Cashman.

At this point this is nothing more than a rumor and with that nothing more than speculation has occurred. Stay tuned as this develops, if it even develops. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Milwaukee Brewers 7/8

The New York Yankees and the Milwaukee Brewers are just about ready to kick off the second game of their three-game set this weekend in the Bronx. As we inch closer and closer to the All-Star break and the All-Star Game, we have just one more game left before the break tomorrow afternoon in the Bronx before five Yankees will make the trip to Miami to represent the team and the American League, the temperature is rising and the games are meaning more and more. The Yankees need a victory, they actually need two more victories before the end of the first half so let’s get to it. In the start this afternoon the New York Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound to square off with Brent Sutter for the Brewers. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars by tuning into the WFAN broadcast.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the afternoon game in the Bronx. Go Yankees!!!

Warning: Highly Flammable...

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
Brewers 9, Yankees 4…

In a game that should have been about young Aaron Judge shattering a mark long held by the great Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, Tyler Clippard  torched a chance at yet another win as the Yankees fell to the Milwaukee Brewers.

We have gone from hoping the starters can successfully get the game to the bullpen to “OMG Joe, don’t take ‘the starter’ (insert name) out!”.  

But first, Aaron Judge.  With his 30th home run of the season, Judge broke the Yankees season record for most home runs by a rookie which has been held by Joe DiMaggio since 1936.  The homer, a shot to center off Brewers reliever Josh Hader, traveled 432 feet.  Judge has reached base in 37 consecutive games that he started, the only blemish being a recent unsuccessful pinch hit appearance.  He is also only one of three Yankees to ever have 30 home runs by the All-Star Break (joining Roger Maris who had 33 in his historic 1961 season and Alex Rodriguez who had 30 in 2007).  

Credit:  Mike Stobe-Getty Images
As for the game, it was a bend and mostly not break performance for Jordan Montgomery.  He worked out of a potential run scoring opportunity for the Brewers when they had two on with no outs in the second inning and got out of the inning by striking out Keon Broxton with a runner at third.  

With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Didi Gregorius lined a sharp fly ball to right but right fielder Domingo Santana made a slight turn in the wrong direction that caused him to miss Didi’s ball as it glanced off his glove for an error.  Didi ended up at third on the play.  Clint Frazier followed with a sacrifice fly and it was 1-0 Yankees.

The Brewers finally got to Montgomery in the 4th inning when Ryan Braun opened with a double and Jesus Aguilar homered to right as the Brewers took the 2-1 lead.  The Yankees came right back in the bottom of the inning when Didi Gregorius reached first base on another fielding error and Ji-Man Choi, providing something that we have rarely seen from the team’s first basemen…production, homered in the rain to right.  “Track, Wall, See Ya!” courtesy of Michael Kay. The Yankees had re-taken the lead with the second deck towering blast, 3-2.  

The rain started coming down in buckets and the game moved into a delay.  When play resumed in the top of the 5th, Montgomery got into trouble again when Orlando Arcia and Jonathan Villar hit consecutive one-out singles.  I am sure the rain delay factored into his performance.  Tyler Webb was brought in to replace Monty and he induced Domingo Santana to hit into an inning-ending double play.  For the game, Monty went 4 1/3 innings, giving up 7 hits and the two-run homer.  He didn’t walk anyone and struck out 4 in the eventual no-decision.  In the bottom of the inning, Judge led off with his historic home run.  4-2, Yankees.

Webb was back out on the mound in the top of the 6th.  He walked Ryan Braun on a 3-2 count and former Red Sock Travis Shaw followed with a double to push Braun to third.  Then, in a move that brought a groan from me, Manager Joe Girardi pulled Webb and brought in the flammable Tyler Clippard.  A wild pitch allowed Braun to score and Shaw to move to third.  Jesus Aguilar lofted a fly to center that scored Shaw and the game was tied.  

The Yankees were unable to do anything in the bottom of the 6th as Josh Hader and the Brewers struck out the side.  

With another groan when I saw Clippard back out on the mound for the 7th, any optimism I had was quickly evaporating.  With one out, Clippard walked Jonathan Villar and Domingo Santana.  A fly out by Ryan Braun moved the runners to second and third.  Clippard issued an intentional pass to Travis Shaw and the bases were loaded for the only reliever who is worse than Dellin Betances right now.  Jesus Aguilar, loving every minute of Yankee Stadium, took advantage of the opportunity and destroyed the Clippard offering for a grand slam with a blast to center (his second homer of the night).  I know that Girardi was trying to avoid using Chad Green or Adam Warren, but Clippard should have never been the guy on the mound at that point in the game.  When I fire up the grill, I don’t use lighter fluid, I just throw pics of Clippard on the charcoal and flames erupt.

Girardi pulled Clippard at that point, but his replacement, Chasen Shreve, had the Clippard-Betances Syndrome and gave up another run with the first two men he faced.  A double by Hernan Perez and a single by Manny Pina (who?) which scored Perez.  The Brewers had the 9-4 lead and coasted to the four-hit victory.  Clippard (1-5) took the loss with his fifth blown game.  

The Yankees (44-40) are on the fast track for third place in the AL East.  The Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-3, to pad their lead by 4.5 games.  But even with the loss, the Rays are just a game behind the Yankees.

Brett Gardner had four walks in the game but wasn’t able to do anything with the free passes.  He was caught stealing third in the 3rd inning.  Clint Frazier, in addition to the sac fly RBI, had a triple in the 8th with one out, but was left stranded.

I remember back in the good old days when the Yankees bullpen meant a complete shutdown of the opposition’s offense.  I miss those days...  

Odds & Ends…

When an “unnamed Yankees insider” speaks, it always sounds exactly like the words are coming out of the mouth of Yankees Idiot...sorry I mean...President, Randy Levine.  The “insider” told The New York Daily News, speaking about Greg Bird, that “You have to wonder what’s with this guy.  You’d think with Judge and Sanchez, the guys he came up through the system with, doing so well up here, he’d want to be part of this.  Apparently not.”  I may be frustrated that Bird  has been unable to get back on the field with his ankle injury but I do not blame the player.  If he feels that he is not 100% and would be a liability on the field, I will not fault him for trying to find pain relief and good health before he returns.  Bird responded “I want to play.  I’ve always wanted to play since I can remember.  I love baseball.  For me, I’m doing everything I can to come back.  I love it and I want to be playing with these guys.  I would hope people see it”.  I see it and wish that Levine would shut the h*ll up…

Bird will consult with Dr Martin O’Malley, a foot and ankle surgeon, on Monday.  So, we should have clarity on whether or not he’s lost for the season soon.  This is shaping up to be two consecutive lost years for the young slugger. 

Credit:  Seth Wenig-AP
Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro are now expected to rejoin the Yankees when they open the second half next week in Boston.  Holliday is going to start a rehab assignment today.  Castro bowed out of the All-Star Game and in a move that was a little bittersweet (for me) to take, Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners was named as his replacement.  Nothing against Cano as I still think he’s a good player, but it’s a reminder of the sting I felt when he left in free agency.  

In a surprise move today, the Yankees have optioned Jordan Montgomery and Luis Cessa to Triple-A and have recalled relievers Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder.  I can only assume that the moves were made to strengthen the Yankees bullpen in light of Clippard's meltdown.  Montgomery will be back after the All-Star break.

Have a great Saturday!  A new day and a new opportunity to win a game.  Let’s Go Yankees!

Padres Ask for Gleyber Torres, Give Them Jorge Mateo Instead

The San Diego Padres are looking for their shortstop of the future and in their journey the team has found themselves knocking on the door of the New York Yankees. The San Diego Padres have made it clear that they want New York’s top prospect Gleyber Torres but as of the time of this writing Yankees GM Brian Cashman has been reluctant to give up any of his top prospects in any deal, period, especially Torres. If the Padres want to make a deal and need a shortstop of the future could the Yankees give them Jorge Mateo instead of Torres, who is injured and technically cannot be traded although the “player to be named later” route is always possible, and land a guy like Brad Hand?

The Padres are high on Hand and they have absolutely no reason they “have” to trade him but for a rebuilding team like San Diego they may see it as a way to accelerate the rebuild. Trading Hand for Mateo and maybe another prospect or two works for both sides as San Diego gets their shortstop and the Yankees get some much needed bullpen help not only for 2017 but for years to come.

At the time of his injury Torres was hitting .309 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 23 games at Triple-A Scranton after playing 32 games in Double-A as well in 2017. Hand is great and has pitched extremely well in 2017 but in no way, shape or form is he worth Torres. Torres looks to be a perennial All-Star and absolute beast in the making, you don’t trade that for a relief pitcher. Period. Mateo’s spot on the team in the future is not as clear as Torres’ spot so moving him for something useful makes much more sense for the Yankees and for Mateo who is seemingly blocked at second base and shortstop.

The Padres have reportedly asked for Torres but I wonder if Cashman thought to counter with Mateo. If he didn’t then maybe he should because the Yankees could use a guy like Hand going forward. Hand is a serviceable reliever and is under team control on a team-friendly deal for a few years making him fit into the plan to get under the luxury tax threshold after the 2017 season.

Get it done Cash.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Milwaukee Brewers 7/8

The New York Yankees and the Milwaukee Brewers are back at it again this afternoon with the second of their three-game set this weekend in the Bronx. This series will take us all into the All-Star break and all of its festivities including the Home Run Derby on Monday night. Speaking of the All-Star break a certain Yankees All-Star toes the rubber this afternoon in the matchup. The Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound in his final start of the first half while the Brewers will counter with Brent Suter in his final start before the break.

Severino will make his final start of the first half before making his first ever American League All-Star Game appearance this year. Severino struggled in his last outing posting six runs in just 5.1 innings of work taking the loss against the Houston Astros. To be fair though who hasn’t struggled against the Houston Astros this season?

Suter filled in for the injured Chase Anderson in his last start on Monday and will do the same again this afternoon in the Bronx. Suter struck out eight batters in the start en route to earning the first victory of his MLB career. Suter, have you met Aaron Judge?

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and as always, Go Yankees!!

So it Seems the Rest & Recovery is Coming

Rest, relaxation and letting those little nagging injuries and swollen body parts is key. The good news is rest is coming. Let those aching and swollen body parts rest up and recover because tomorrow is another day, another day filled with cardio and the very best kind of exercise. Baseball of course…

So as we head into these final two games before the All-Star break remember to rest up, relax and clear your head for the second half. Brace yourselves, the second half is coming. Enjoy your Saturday and your weekend, especially you. Hey you, and I love you. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 7/8: Yankees Sweep Mets

On this day in 2000 the Yankees swept the New York Mets in the first double ballpark doubleheader since 1903 with a pair of 4-2 victories. The first game was won by the Yankees 4-2 in Shea Stadium and the night cap was won in Yankee Stadium by that same 4-2 score. You can also remember this day as the day Mike Piazza was hospitalized after being hit by a pitch by the Yankees Roger Clemens. Dwight "Doc" Gooden also got his first win at Shea since 1994 in the first contest.

Also on this day in 1947 the Yankees rookie right hander Spec Shea becomes the first rookie to win an All Star Game. The 26 year old throws three innings in the American League's 2-1 victory in Chicago's Wrigley Field. Shea would deal with sore and dead arm issues after the game that would severely hamper his season and career with the Yankees.

Too many times in today's game we have seen Major League Baseball change their rules to negatively affect or even hurt the New York Yankees. You can look at things like the luxury tax, international spending caps, draft slot recommendations and penalties, the fact that the Kansas City Athletics couldn't trade any players to the Yankees for 18 months after trading one player to New York, and the limitation on innings pitched in an All Star Game as many cases. The latter came as a result of the Yankees Lefty Gomez throwing six outstanding innings in the 1935 All Star Game leading the American League to their third consecutive victory over the NL by the score of 4-1. After the game the rule that no pitcher can throw more than three innings unless the game goes to extra innings will be implemented.