Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Minnesota Twins 7/18

The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins are ready to do battle for the second time during this three-game set tonight inside Minnesota’s Target Field. In the middle contest of this series the Yankees will send Luis Cessa to the mound still searching for his first victory of the season while the Twins will counter with Bartolo Colon who hasn’t had a victory in the American League and for an AL team in a long, long time. The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Target Field and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11, ESPN and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

I just want to take a quick second to pat ourselves on the back as we recently surpassed 5,000 Twitter followers on our @GreedyStripes account. That may not be much to many but it means the world to us and we appreciate it. Let’s get to 6,000 now! Enjoy the game and go Yankees!

Yankees Scouting Todd Frazier & Houdini

I, Daniel Burch, personally think that the New York Yankees should be focusing on starting pitching in their search for trade partners before the July 31st trade deadline but Brian Cashman and company obviously think otherwise. The Yankees haven’t been publicly linked to many starting pitchers as of late but there have been a plethora of bullpen arms that New York has shown a public interest in including a former member of the team and a current member of the Chicago White Sox, David Robertson. Along with Mr. Houdini himself the Yankees have also at least scouted and discussed the White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier with Rick Hahn the Chicago GM leaving me wondering if the Yankees are about to pull off a major deal.

Both the Yankees and the Red Sox has scouts at the White Sox and Seattle Mariners game over the weekend and both teams were said to be interested in Frazier for their third base holes. The Yankees are also said to be interested in David Robertson while the Red Sox would love to have Houdini as their setup man for Craig Kimbrel. Do you smell two players that are going to fetch an absolute ton of prospects when this inevitably becomes a game of “keep away” for both Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski and Yankees GM Brian Cashman? Because I do.

As of the weekend series with the Red Sox the former Yankee closer Robertson was sporting a 4-2 record with a 2.70 ERA and 13 saves in 31 appearances in his age-32 season. Robertson would be an immediate upgrade in a Yankees bullpen that has blown 18 saves already this season and in a bullpen that doesn’t have a pitcher with double-digit saves thus far this season. Robertson is the inconsistent model of consistency as he still walks a few more batters than you would like and still works his way in and out of trouble but over the last three seasons the righty has posted 39, 34 and 47 saves respectively. Say what you will about Robertson but who do you want coming out of that Yankees bullpen right now, Robertson or Tyler Clippard? I rest my case.

Frazier has struggled mightily this season offensively but he still has power and still displays strong defense at third base. Again, Headley or Frazier? Take your pick. Ji-Man Choi at first base or Frazier who can play both hot corners in the Bronx? Your choice. I’m sorry but if the prospect cost is right I am going Frazier every single time. 

Michael Pineda Out, Sonny Gray In?

EDIT: This was written before news broke that Michael Pineda would indeed be having Tommy John surgery today.

It has all been decided that Yankees right-handed starter Michael Pineda is having Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right throwing elbow. It’s a huge blow to the Yankees in 2017 and an even bigger blow to Pineda who was set to hit free agency at the end of the 2017 campaign. When you have a torn UCL and you head for a second opinion you can generally get a second, third and fourth opinion and you usually will still need the season-ending surgery so the sooner it gets done the sooner Pineda can return to the mound. That’s the 2018 season at the earliest and the Yankees cannot afford to think about 2018 or even 2019 while the team is still in the thick of things here in 2017 so it’s time to start thinking about a replacement. How about Sonny Gray?

Now I know I have been wishy-washy on Gray in the past and I know I have been quick to point out his injury history and inconsistencies over the past few seasons but that was before Pineda was lost for the season with the ulnar collateral ligament tear. This changes everything. Well, it doesn’t change everything. Let me explain.

The Yankees still shouldn’t and still shouldn’t have to part with top prospects like Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield for Gray. I wouldn’t give the Oakland Athletics Chance Adams for Gray either, not with Adams so close to the Major Leagues. Who would I give up for Gray you ask? I’d give the Athletics their choice of prospects, maybe three or four, and I would include Jake Cave, Jorge Mateo, Billy McKinney, Domingo Acevedo, Jorge Guzman, Albert Abreu, Domingo German, Tyler Wade and many of the prospects in Double-A or below along with Luis Cessa who isn’t technically a prospect anymore.

Would this be enough? I’m not sure, only Brian Cashman knows that at this point. It is encouraging that Cashman seemingly and openly has a good working relationship with the A’s general manager as well as Billy Beane so anything is possible. The Athletics have not been shy about trading starting pitching at the deadline, see Rich Hill and Scott Kazmir as recent examples of this, so there’s no reason to believe the team won’t do so again this July. Whether the Yankees be willing to pony up the prospects for Gray who not only protects the team in 2017 but beyond 2017 as well, something Michael Pineda sis not, is anyone’s guess. I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Minnesota Twins 7/18

The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins will continue their three-game set this week in Minnesota with the middle game of the series. In the start tonight the Yankees will send Luis Cessa to the mound to take on a former Yankee in Bartolo Colon. Seeing Colon back in the American League could be fun, well fun if you’re named Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez or any of the other Yankees offensive players. Colon and his mid-to-high 80 MPH fastball may be just what the doctor ordered for the Bronx Bombers if I don’t say so myself.

Cessa will be making his fourth start of the season and is still in search of his first victory here in 2017. To date Cessa has posted an 0-3 record with an ugly 5.93 ERA against the Oakland Athletics, the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox which is alarming given those three teams current records and places in the standings.

Colon will be making his debut with the Twins tonight after being designated by assignment by the Atlanta Braves earlier in the season. The Twins signed the right-hander to a minor league deal back on July 7 and the 44-year old made one start in Triple-A, a clunker that saw him allow four runs in 3.2 innings pitched, before making his way back to the show.

The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Target Field and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 in the Bronx, ESPN and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars by tuning into John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN. Enjoy the game, beat up on Colon and always shot Go Yankees!!

Slightly Off-Target in Downtown Minneapolis...

Credit:  Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Twins 4, Yankees 2...

The Baby Bombers tried but without too much help from the veteran leadership, the Yankees fell to the Twins in Minneapolis.

New first baseman Garrett Cooper finally had his coming out party with three hits (two doubles) and his first Major League RBI.  Clint Frazier, penciled in at #2 in the lineup, contributed two speed-earned doubles.  

The Twins struck first, picking up a run in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  Kennys Vargas walked and scored when Eddie Rosario lined a double to the center field wall.  They added another run the next inning.  Brian Dozier and Zack Granite both singled, and Joe Mauer walked to load the bases.  In one of the game's great plays, Miguel Sano hit a fly ball to Aaron Judge in right.  Dozier attempted to score on the fly ball, but was nailed at the plate by an exceptional throw from Judge to catcher Austin Romine.  

Credit:  Bruce Kluckhohn/AP
The Yankees nearly escaped the inning without any damage, but starter Bryan Mitchell, covering first base, botched a catch from second baseman Starlin Castro which allowed Max Kepler to reach base with Granite scoring the Twins' second run.

The Yankees finally got on the board in the 5th.  The inning opened with a challenge play that was ruled in Minnesota's favor.  Didi Gregorius was initially ruled safe at first on an infield hit and headfirst slide, but replay subsequently showed that he was late to the bag as Adalberto Mejia's foot touched base just before Didi's hands. With two outs, Garrett Cooper doubled to right center, a smash to the wall.  He scored on Austin Romine's double over the head of right fielder Max Kepler.  2-1, Twins.

The game was tied in the top of the 7th when Chase Headley doubled to left center between the outfielders.  He scored on Garrett Cooper's second double of the game, a solid line drive to left.

Then the game fell apart for the Yankees.  In the top of 8th, it looked to have the potential of a big inning that could have given the Yankees the lead.  Clint Frazier hit a double to left, motoring around to second without hesitation.  Twins reliever Taylor Rogers intentionally walked Aaron Judge to face Matt Holliday.  It proved to be the right decision by Twins manager Paul Molitor when Holliday hit into a 6-4-3 double play which erased Judge at second.  Frazier moved to third.  After taking a big swing for a strike, Didi Gregorius attempted an awful bunt which just bounced up and down at home plate.  Twins catcher Jason Castro was able to easily throw out Gregorius for the final out.    

In the bottom of the 8th, Yankees manager Joe Girardi opted to stick with Caleb Smith.  Smith had entered the game in the 6th inning in relief of Bryan Mitchell.  For two innings, he was tremendous in retiring 6 batters with 3 strikeouts.  I know it is easy to second guess Girardi after-the-fact, but I felt that Girardi should have brought in one of his veteran relievers for the pressure-packed 8th.  Smith's brilliant two-inning work would have been a great confidence booster in making his MLB debut so it would have been a good place to pull him, especially with the Twins' 3-4-5 hitters coming up.  But Girardi elected to stay with the hot hand.  Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano opened the bottom of the 8th with singles off Smith.  Mauer's hit fell just short of Aaron Judge's sliding glove and Sano's seeing-eye single made it to left past a sliding Didi Gregorius.  After striking out Max Kepler, Smith gave up a single to left by pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar which scored Mauer.  Sano moved to third on the play, beating a throw from Austin Romine to Gregorius, and scored when Eddie Rosario doubled, a rolling liner, to right.  The Twins had taken a 4-2 lead which would prove to be the game's final runs.  To Smith's credit, with the bases loaded after an intentional walk, retired the next two batters get out of the inning.

Credit:  Bruce Kluckhohn/AP
The Yankees were unable to muster any offense in the top of the 9th in the rain against Twins closer Brandon Kintzler and went down 1-2-3.  

Credit:  Star Tribune
Doing the little things right could have won this game but it was not meant to be.

The Yankees (47-44) remained 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox with the loss.  The Sox fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3.  The second place Tampa Bay Rays moved 1 1/2 games in front of the Yankees and 2 games behind Boston with their 3-2 victory over the Oakland A's.

Caleb Smith (0-1) took his first loss of the season after his 8-0 start at Triple A.  Bryan Mitchell's final line wasn't bad.  5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 run unearned thanks to his own error), 2 BB, and 2 SO.  Aaron Judge's post All-Star Game slump continued with his 0-for-3 performance which dropped him to 1-for-21 for the second half.  He struck out once.

Odds & Ends...

Michael Pineda's consultation with Dr Timothy Kremchek for a second opinion has confirmed the need for Tommy John surgery.  Dr Kremchek will perform the surgery today in Cincinnati.  Although I doubt Michael ever pitches for the Yankees again, I wish him much success with the surgery and a speedy recovery.

Greg Bird will also have surgery on his ankle today.  He is expected to be out for six weeks.  While it is projected that he could be back in September, I'd find it highly unlikely given he has missed so much time the past two years.  Even more unlikely if the Yankees swing a trade for someone like Yonder Alonso or Justin Bour.  I hope this surgery puts Bird back on the path to be a contributing member for the Yankees.

Have a great Tuesday!  Time to get back in the win column.  Let's Go Yankees!

Yankees Potential Trade Partners This July

The heat has been turned up and the month of July is now beyond the halfway point meaning the July 31st trading deadline is drawing closer and closer by the minute. Surely the New York Yankees have done their homework and have identified the potential sellers already at this year’s July 31st trading deadline but just in case they haven’t I have compiled what is probably an incomplete list. Also, since some still wonder if the team will buy or sell before the deadline, I will also include some potential buyers for the team as well. You know, because they read my content and I know it. Enjoy Cash and make sure to bookmark this for safe keeping. 

If you need any more proof that the Chicago White Sox are sellers than the team unloading Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs for four prospects then I don’t know what to tell you. The White Sox have more they may unload including, but not limited to, third baseman Todd Frazier and first baseman Jose Abreu. The Detroit Tigers will also be sellers along with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Oakland Athletics. Sonny Gray is still being seen as a gamble which is keeping his price tag low for the Athletics while the asking price for Gerrit Cole of the Pirates is said to be “enormous.” The San Diego Padres have a couple relief pitchers that are likely to be traded this July including Brad Hand while the San Francisco Giants are already said to be fielding calls for third baseman and former Yankee Eduardo Nunez. The Phillies will trade Pat Neshek before the end of the trading deadline while they may also trade first baseman Tommy Joseph to really jumpstart the rebuild in Philadelphia. 

The Chicago Cubs are obvious buyers after getting Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox but after the four prospect haul they already sent off they may not be serious buyers. The Cubs may buy-low on some players but I think their heavy lifting is done. The Washington Nationals also look to be buyers at this year’s trade deadline and will once again be in the market for a closer after losing Mark Melancon to the San Francisco Giants this offseason. Sean Kelley isn’t cutting it and I could have told you guys that was going to happen. The Miami Marlins have also told teams that they are open for business so expect Justin Bour and basically anyone not named Giancarlo Stanton to at least be available. 

The Yankees lead the “undecided” vote as the team may be waiting to see how this weekend series with the Boston Red Sox goes while the Milwaukee Brewers may also look to stand relatively still at the trade deadline despite their strong first half and lead in the NL Central Division. The Arizona Diamondbacks are also unlikely to do much as the team seems unwilling to trade key prospects out of the farm system while the Colorado Rockies may make a trade for the Reds Zack Cozart and call it a day. The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays are unlikely to do much at this year’s trading deadline while I also, and this is my pure speculation, cannot see the Minnesota Twins dipping their feet into the deep end of the trade market either. 

The next couple weeks are going to be fun and I truly can’t wait to watch it all unfold. 

So it Seems …And It All Comes Down to This

Good morning everyone and Happy Tuesday to you all. As bad as Tuesday’s can suck at least it’s not a Monday, right? So here we are one step closer to the July 31st trading deadline. One step closer to the end of the season. One step closer to the postseason. One step closer to the World Series. One step closer to the postseason. One step closer to forever.

I apologize for being so quiet this weekend but I had a lot of things going on. A lot of things in my head, a lot of things in my life and a lot of things on my heart. I had business I had to take care of and I took care of it. Hopefully I’m back now, clear head and open heart in toe, and I am ready to jump start this thing. Now. Today. Let’s go.

So good morning everyone and I hope everyone is waking up with the smile on their face that I am. This is actually going to happen. I love you Kari, and hey you!

This Day in New York Yankees History 7/18: CC is Done for the Year

On this day in 2014 the New York Yankees learned that their ace starting pitcher CC Sabathia’s season would be over after undergoing knee surgery. CC had attempted previously to rest and rehab the knee but the degenerative knee condition was too far gone to be fixed without going under the knife.

The New York Yankees, without looking, have probably had the most players play for them than any other team in major league baseball. Not only has the team been around forever they also have never shied away from acquiring new players, even rentals, for a postseason run. The Yankees did just this on this day in 2008 when the recently released Richie Sexson signed with the Yankees. Sexson was the perfect platoon partner for Jason Giambi.

Also on this day in 1999 the Yankees showed once again that they could put on a show with Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium. When the Yankees put on a show they put one on right as David Cone became the 16th pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game beating the Montreal Expos 6-0. Before the game Don Larsen, the only player to throw a perfect game in the World Series, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Finally on this day in 1921 Babe Ruth became the all-time home run leader when he connected for his 139th home run in Detroit. Ruth's 36th home run of the season went over 500 feet and put him ahead of Roger Connor's previous mark. It took Connor 18 seasons in the National League to reach the plateau.