Friday, July 28, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 7/28

Friday night baseball here in the Bronx, let’s get to it. The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays will continue their four-game set tonight with the second game of the series inside Yankee Stadium. Last night the Rays watched as their ace Chris Archer flamed fastballs past the Yankees hitters while tonight the Yankees hope for some revenge with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound. Tonight the Rays will send Austin Pruitt to the mound to oppose Aaron Judge, Todd Frazier, Clint Frazier, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez and company. Good luck with that. The game will be played at 7:05 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.

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

Does the Team Really Need Justin Wilson? Or Are They Just Being Greedy?

Back before the 2009 season The Greedy Pinstripes was formed, unofficially of course as the blog came many years later, during the offseason. If you remember the New York Yankees signing CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and AJ Burnett to hefty free agent contracts and you remember the acquisition of Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox for essentially peanuts in the grand scheme of things then you remember the World Series the team won that season as well. The team “got greedy” and even though I as a fan wanted more, the “Get Greedy” campaign begun when I clamored for a month for the team to sign Manny Ramirez to a free agent contract, the team reached its ultimate goal. Is the team about to get greedy again and buy up all the available bullpen arms at this year’s July 31st trading deadline? The team already acquired David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, is Justin Wilson next? Also, does the team really need Justin Wilson?

Let’s answer the easy question first, no the team doesn’t necessarily need Wilson. Wilson would be joining a Yankees bullpen that already has Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Kahnle, Robertson, Adam Warren and Chad Green. Adding Wilson turns every game into essentially a four-or-five inning game, which is good, but also creates a huge logjam not only this season but for seasons to come, which isn’t necessarily good if you’re concerned with austerity.

Wilson does check a lot of boxes for the Yankees. He is just 29-years old so he is on the right side of 30 while he has also put up great numbers in 2017 as the setup man and closer for the Tigers. Wilson strikes out a ton of batters and maintains a WHIP under 1.00 consistently as a member of Detroit while also nailing down his first 12-of-14 save opportunities after taking over the job from Francisco Rodriguez in May. He’s a great pitcher, no one can deny that, but is he a need? I’m leaning towards no.

I am as greedy as they come when it comes to baseball and acquiring players so don’t take this as me not wanting New York to acquire him. It always has and always will come down to the price. If it costs a top ten prospect out of the Yankees system then I have to say no but if it costs a couple Low-A prospects that no one will ever blink an eye at then of course I want the Yankees to “Get Greedy, Get Justin Wilson.” Who wouldn’t?

Wilson is arbitration eligible for the 2018 season before reaching free agency before 2019. 

Too Much & Just Right

I've been all over Twitter for any bit of news about the trade deadline, specifically the Yankees pursuit of Sonny Gray. While I'd like the Yankees to acquire any good starter to shore up their rotation for a postseason run, Gray would be a top 2 or 3 starter not only this season, but for a couple more years as well.

However, my longing for them to deal for Gray came when the package being discussed for him included Jorge Mateo, Estevan Florial, and Domingo Acevedo.

As I wrote in a comment to a post from Daniel, I'm okay with this deal as I don't see those three players as being a big part of the team's future. Mateo and Florial, along with another top prospect in Dustin Fowler (he should be ready to play by Spring Training), are battling for one outfield spot thanks to Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge being locks out there already. And that's assuming the Yankees somehow rid themselves of Jacoby Ellsbury (I don't really buy that he'll be a $21 million bench player), don't sign Bryce Harper next off-season (I really want Harper, and why wouldn't anyone else?), and all they also wait for Brett Gardner's contract to expire or for him to be traded.

To be fair, Acevedo could be a part of the Yankees rotation soon. He's only had two starts in AAA, so I expect him to begin next season in Scranton before getting called up sometime during 2018. And with the rotation having two or three openings heading into next season, Acevedo may get a shot sooner rather than later.

But Sonny Gray could hold a rotation spot among the top two or three for the next two seasons behind this one. And having already had a ton of success in MLB, I'd put him above any minor leaguer on the planet, not just Domingo.

You may say that Ace could be a rotation part for six years, as opposed to Gray's two, and you'd be absolutely right. But keep in mind the Yankees would still have a great farm system even if they dealt away those three above, meaning they could trade for another top starter in the next couple of years. And the after the Yankees get under the Luxury Tax threshold next season (they'd have to spend big this offseason not to, and I don't see that happening or even necessary anyway), they could sign possible free agents like Clayton Kershaw or Dallas Keuchel. Or what about other pitching prospects like Justus Sheffield, Albert Abreu, and Chance Adams?

Now, there was something that came out last night that gave me big pause on trading for Sonny Gray. And that's Oakland's apparent desire for either Clint Frazier or Gleyber Torres to headline the package.

No. No, no, no.

Those two players have obvious spots for the future, and there's plenty of reason to believe they will be key members of the Yankees for a long time. Those type of players should not be traded away, which is why Brian Cashman has said those two are off limits.

If the Athletics will do Mateo, Florial, and Acevedo then deal should be made. Otherwise, do what Daniel mentioned and look at another pitcher such as Dan Straily.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 7/28

The weekend is almost upon us and so is the second game in the contest between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. If the Yankees are for real this season the team will have to prove that to not only themselves but to the Rays and the rest of the American League East this weekend with a strong showing against a strong team and rival. In the start tonight the Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound hoping he has figured it out after struggling for much of the 2017 season while the Rays will counter with Austin Pruitt. If the Yankees ever needed a strong outing from the right arm of Tanaka and an ace-like performance that time is now. Happy Tanaka Day, I hope it is anyway.

Tanaka, despite what you read on various blogs and on Twitter, has looked better since his slow start in the month of May. This hasn’t equated to many wins for the Japanese-born right-hander including losses in his last two starts against the Milwaukee Brewers and the Boston Red Sox before taking a no-decision against the Seattle Mariners. In the start against Seattle the Yankees ace allowed four runs in six innings of work. “It’s not what you want.”

Pruitt will switch from the Rays bullpen to their starting rotation to make his starting debut tonight in the Bronx. Pruitt won a spot in the Rays bullpen out of spring training and has made 18 appearances for Tampa Bay as a reliever despite spending most of his MiLB career as a starter. What’s your “welcome to the rotation” present? Aaron Judge. Congrats.

The game will be played at 7:05 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. Friday night baseball in the Bronx. Enjoy the game! Go Yankees!!

Game One Hundred: The Gardy Party...

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images
Yankees 6, Rays 5...

For the games that the Yankees have lost which they should have won, it's nice when they win a few that they probably should have lost.  It took extra innings but Brett Gardner ended the long night with a game-winning walk-off home run as the Yankees overcame the Tampa Bay Rays.

Early, it looked like it was going to be the Yankees way.  CC Sabathia was backed by a few runs while the Yankees took the early lead.  They scored first in the second inning.  With one out, Chase Headley singled to right and scored when Jacoby Ellsbury, the $153 million man making his second consecutive start, doubled to left.  Todd Frazier singled to right to score Ellsbury with the second run of the inning.  The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the 3rd when Gary Sanchez blasted his 15th homer of the season to left.  It was 3-0 Yankees.

But it started to unravel for CC Sabathia in the top of the 4th inning.  Evan Longoria led off and his numbers against Sabathia are ridiculous.  Prior to the game, Longoria had hit .405 with 7 home runs and 16 RBI's in 74 at-bats against CC and held a career .355 batting average against the Yankees.  While I was thinking it was probably best not to give Longoria anything to hit, he promptly parked in right center to draw the Rays within two runs, 3-1.  It was Longoria's 35th career home run against the Yankees. After striking out Tim Beckham in the top of the 5th (Sabathia's 2,800th career strikeout), Adeiny Hecchavaria and Peter Bourjos hit back-to-back doubles (down the third base and first base lines, respectively) to score another run.  After walking Stephen Souza, Jr, Manager Joe Girardi pulled a visibly disappointed Sabathia ("C'mon, man!")  and replaced him with Chad Green.  The move backfired as Brad Miller doubled to the right field wall, scoring Bourjos and Souza, Jr.  The Rays were up, 4-3.  

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images
With Green still on the mound in the top of the 6th, Corey Dickerson homered with a high fly ball to right center to increase the Rays' lead to 5-3.  The Yankees had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 6th inning.  Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with only one out.  But both Todd Frazier and Tyler Wade struck out against Rays starter Chris Archer to end the inning.  Maybe it was just me, but Tyler Wade looked very over-matched in this game.  

After Tommy Kahnle pitched a clean 7th inning, Dellin Betances came on in the 8th.  He struck out the first two batters but then allowed back-to-back singles.  Fortunately, he was able to retire Adeiny Hecchavarria to get out of the jam.  In the bottom of the 8th, Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley both singled off Rays reliever Dan Jennings (who was acquired earlier in the day from the Chicago White Sox).  The Rays replaced Jennings with Brad Boxberger with the runners at the corners.  Matt Holliday, pinch-hitting for Jacoby Ellsbury, hit into a fielder's choice that erased Headley at second.  Meanwhile, Gregorius scored to make it a one-run game, 5-4.  Ronald Torreyes was inserted as a pinch-runner for Holliday at first.  Todd Frazier followed with a single, but the Yankees were unable to add any runs when Tyler Wade hit into an inning-ending double play.  I didn't really understand the decision to pinch-hit for Ellsbury.  I would have pinch-hit for Wade and then used Torreyes to replace him at second.  It's easy to second guess but Wade seemed like such a little boy among men in the game.

Adam Warren kept the Rays off the board in the top of the 9th and then the Yankees were given a gift in the bottom of the inning.  With Rays closer Alex Colome taking over for Brad Boxberger, Brett Gardner led off with a triple to the left field wall, splitting the outfielders.  After both Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge failed to advance Gardy, Gary Sanchez hit a playable ball between shortstop Adeiny Hecchavarria and second Tim Beckham ("You take it"..."no, no, you take it") for the game-tying run.  Didi Gregorius grounded out and it was off to extra innings.

Aroldis Chapman took over for Adam Warren in the 10th and easily set down the Rays.  Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge replaced Alex Colome and walked Chase Headley to start the bottom of the 10th.  Ronald Torreyes successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Headley to scoring position at second, but Clint Frazier failed to advance the runner with a fly out.  Tyler Wade came up and it seemed like it would be an unsuccessful at-bat before it even got started.  He was swinging at balls outside of the strike zone and clearly had a death grip on his bat as he struck out to end the inning.

The 11th inning was the perfect scenario for Yankee fans.  Aroldis Chapman came out for his second consecutive inning and struck out the side.  Brett Gardner, the first batter up in the bottom of the 11th, sent the Andrew Kittredge pitch to the right field stands for the game-winner.  Yankees win!

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images
Manager Joe Girardi was ejected from the game in the bottom of the 7th for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Stu Sheurwater.  Girardi was right.  Sheurwater did a horrible job behind the plate and could have potentially altered this game away from the Yankees with his inconsistent calls.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-AP
Tyler Wade was 0-for-5, with three strikeouts.  He also left a game high 7 runners on base.

After the game, Aaron Judge suffered a broken tooth during the on-field celebration for the victory.  It is not believed that the injury will cause any lost playing time for Judge but it was not the way you want to end such a dramatic win.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-AP
The Yankees (54-46) picked up a 1/2 game on the idle Boston Red Sox in the AL East Standings so they only trail by a half game entering play today.  Boston begins a three-game set against the suddenly hot Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park tonight.  The Rays fell 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees.

Odds & Ends...

This seems to be the trading season for ex-Yankees.  We know that the Chicago White Sox traded former Yankees pitchers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle this month, but this week has seen Anthony Swarzak move from the White Sox to the Milwaukee Brewers; Eduardo Nunez go from the San Francisco Giants to the Boston Red Sox; and John Ryan Murphy traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Last week saw David Phelps travel from the Miami Marlins to the Seattle Mariners.  Justin Wilson is on the trading block, with the Yankees as a possible suitor, so he'll probably be the next one to move.  Get me an ex-Yankee, dammit!

Speaking of John Ryan Murphy, Twitter blew up today with Yankee fans celebrating the success of the trade that brought Aaron Hicks to New York.  While I appreciate the job Hicks did earlier this year, the fact remains that he was a disappointment in 2016 and his "success" lasted less than half a season before he went for an extended trip on the DL.  I know that Murphy didn't hit for the Twins or primarily their Triple A team this year, but I still like the player and I am hopeful that he can carve out a nice career in the Sonoran Desert.  I am also hopeful that Hicks hits the ground running when he is able to return and if Murphy continues to struggle, then you call the trade a Yankees win.  But for me, it's still too early to call.  I don't know anything about the player the Twins received for Murphy but he's a wild card in how the trade eventually shakes out.

The Tampa Bay Rays acquired one of the Yankees' potential targets yesterday when they acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the New York Mets.  This probably puts more pressure on the Yankees to swing a deal with Oakland for Yonder Alonzo if they want to upgrade first base and move Chase Headley to corner support.  The Rays have a solid first baseman in Logan Morrison so Duda probably slots in at DH with Corey Dickerson moving to the outfield.  It clearly strengthens their team offense and keeps Duda away from the Yankees who were the only other aggressive suitor for his services.  It was a busy day for the Rays as they also picked up reliever Dan Jennings from the Chicago White Sox.

Have a great Friday!  I hope this day goes my way!  Let's Go Yankees!

What About Dan Straily?

The New York Yankees are on the lookout for starting pitching before Monday’s July 31st trading deadline and while the hot stove is heating up involving the Athletics righty Sonny Gray and the Yankees it would be imperative for New York to have a Plan B in place. This such Plan B that I have in mind not only protects and improves the Yankees during the 2017 season but it could be made with the 2018 season and beyond in mind as well. Enter the Miami Marlins starter Dan Straily.

At the time of this writing Straily was posting a 7-6 record with a 3.84 ERA and 1.185 WHIP for the Miami Marlins, a team that is struggling in every aspect of the game in 2017 and looking to sell of pieces. Straily could be one of those pieces but unlike Gray who will cost some of the Yankees top prospects or pitchers like Yu Darvish who would be a true rental Straily would help the team beyond just the 2017 season. Straily is under team control through the 2020 season before hitting free agency for the first time in his professional career before the 2021 season.

Straily is 28-years old, the same age as Sonny Gray just as an FYI for those beating their chests about the Yankees and their youth movement, and comes with a repertoire that could be an instant upgrade in the rotation for New York. With every player you have pros and cons and one of the biggest cons for Straily is the fact that he is giving up 1.5 home runs per nine innings in 2017, that’s not going to play well inside Yankee Stadium. Period. If you’re looking for a bit of a shining light through the fog on this though Straily has also posted a 50.82 groundball rate this season along with a 17.62 whiff rate on his out-pitch, the slider.

Straily throws a fastball and a changeup along with his slider and could instantly solidify the back-end of the Yankees rotation for much less in terms of prospects than most starting pitchers out there currently. The Yankees have seemingly found an ace in Luis Severino and if Masahiro Tanaka figures it out soon the team will have probably the best #2 starter in the league at the top of the rotation. Adding in a Straily to pitch alongside Jordan Montgomery and CC Sabathia gives the Yankees a deeper rotation than they have had all season long in my opinion and, again, it protects the team when potentially 3/5 of their starting rotation leaves after the season.

Some deals are complicated and some are simple no-brainers and this one is leaning more towards the latter than the former to me. Leave your thoughts below in the comments section. 

So it Seems a Busy, Yet Productive, Weekend Lies Ahead

The title says it all. I have a busy, yet productive, weekend ahead of myself. School starts on August 4th down here in Georgia, which truly blows my mind as I can remember school not starting until the beginning of September when I was in New York, so school shopping will be done this weekend. I have two cars sitting in my driveway that are being sold this weekend. I’ll be moving soon and I plan on being proactive on my packing by packing up the stuff I don’t use or need right now this weekend. I have a whole slew of things to do and not enough hours to do it all but I will still peck away because as we learned this week failure is not an option. There’s no more remaining stagnant and there’s no more taking steps back. Only forward. No longer is there room for animosity and negativity, doubt or questions in my heart and in my mind. Nope, be gone.

I will also try and tune into as much of this series between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays because I truly think this series could be a make-or-break for both teams. I’m not saying that this could doom or propel a team in the standings after just three games (four games in the series but yesterday’s game is already in the books) but the confidence blow or gain from this series could be substantial. Plus it’s the final series before D-Day and the July 31st trading deadline on Monday so teams could really use this series to decide whether they are buying or selling before the deadline on Monday.

Either way it will be a fun, positive, busy and productive weekend and I hope everyone reading this has an equally fun, positive and productive weekend. Especially you. Hey you. Oh my God I love you. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 7/28: David Cone is a Yankee

David Cone had a very interesting tenure as a member of the New York Yankees that all started on this day in 1995 when the Yankees gave up Marty Janzen and two minor leaguers, Jason Jarvis and Mike Gordon, for his services. The trade was considered early to be one of the best deals in franchise history as Cone was an integral part of the dynasty and World Series championships in the late 90's.

Cone hit a wall in 2000 though and on this day was sent to the team's minor league camp in Tampa by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Cone was demoted after not being able to pick up a win in over four months. The struggling Cone was placed under the supervision of Billy Connors, the Yankees vice president of player personnel.

The Yankees grabbed David Cone on this day on 1995 and they also grabbed Ruben Sierra and Jason Beverlin from the Oakland Athletics for Danny Tartabull. The Tartabull era started when the Yankees signed him a deal worth over $5 million a season after the 1991 season but he never lived up to the hype like he did as a Kansas City Royal.

Finally on this day in 1983 the American League president Lee MacPhail decided that George Brett's "Pine Tar" home run should be allowed. The game will be finished on August 18 and the Royals would win the game 5-4.