Saturday, September 2, 2017

Gleyber Torres signs with Topps

New York Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres signs with Topps Authentics

The Topps Company has added Gleyber Torres to its Topps Authentics lineup. The New York Yankees' top prospect has signed an exclusive deal for autographed memorabilia with Topps Authentics.

Topps Authentics, the memorabilia arm of The Topps Company, will offer signed baseballs and bats by Torres, who is rated in the top three of all MLB prospects, on
“I’m happy to be part of this big family,” said Torres, who has appeared on Topps’ Bowman line of baseball cards. “I’m happy to be here and everything Topps has done for me.”
Look for Torres’ signed memorabilia on 
Topps Authentics is also the exclusive home for signed memorabilia for MLB standouts Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Luis Severino, prospect Mickey Moniak and more.

Yankees Will “Consider” Re-Signing CC Sabathia, But Should They?

The New York Yankees have some decisions to make regarding the 2018 season and while the team cannot admit to looking ahead to next season in the midst of a pennant and playoff race, I can. The 2018 season has been on my mind all season long and will remain their all winter long as well as the team positions itself to get under the luxury tax threshold while also competing with their stable of young stars and prospects. Every young team that wants to compete needs that veteran piece to help them along the way though and the New York Yankees announced this week that left-handed starter CC Sabathia may be that veteran piece for the club next season. Sabathia is a free agent at the end of the season and the Yankees are said to be “willing to consider” bringing back the veteran for the 2018 season on a one-year deal, but should they?

In my opinion I don’t see why the team wouldn’t want to extend at least a one-year deal out to Sabathia. Sabathia has 11 victories currently after beating the Boston Red Sox for the fifth straight time on Thursday night and despite a couple disabled list stints has remained relatively healthy, durable and effective throughout the 2017 season. It seems as though Sabathia has learned to pitch, not throw, with his reduced velocity and has seemingly worked on his control and command of all his pitches on both sides of the plate. Sabathia has learned how to “Andy Pettitte” this thing and it has been a sight for sore eyes within the Yankees organization here in 2017.

Sabathia leads all active MLB pitchers with 2,816 strikeouts, 38 complete games and 299 quality starts and ranks second in wins with 233, innings pitched with 3,283.2 and starts with 503. How awesome would it be as a fan to watch Sabathia get to 3,000 strikeouts in a Yankees uniform? Here’s an even better question, how awesome would it be to watch Sabathia mentor the young guns in the Yankees starting rotation like Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Chance Adams and others for one more season while giving the Yankees presumably 12-13 wins and an ERA under 4.00. Don’t scoff, his ERA is under 4.00 this season and he is seemingly getting stronger and better as the season is wearing on.

Bringing back Sabathia, assuming it doesn’t break the bank or the plan for austerity, is a no-brainer if you ask me. Having Masahiro Tanaka back next season is no guarantee and Michael Pineda is likely gone for the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery leaving the Yankees with potentially two slots to fill. One of those slots could and should be filled by Sabathia. If he’s great next season, awesome. If he’s not, it’s a lot easier to eat or trade a one-year deal worth a reasonable amount of money than the $25 million that Sabathia is currently making here in 2017. Make it happen, Cash. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 9/2

Afternoon baseball in the Bronx and one of the biggest rivalries in all of the four major sports. How does it get any better than this? Oh yeah, sprinkle in a pennant race and both teams vying for a playoff spot and an American League East Division title and you have all the makings of an entertaining and interesting afternoon between these two ball clubs. In the start this afternoon the New York Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound looking to reclaim his “ace” status while the Red Sox will counter with an ace of their own in Drew Pomeranz. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network, NESN 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, Mr. and Ms. Baseball.

Folow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, get a win all while being a thorn in the side of the Red Sox. That’s more like need a win, get a win-win if you ask me. But that’s only if you ask me. Go Yankees!!

Meet a Prospect Special Edition: Erik Kratz

With suspensions looming and being handed down to both of the Yankees catcher on the 40 man roster the New York Yankees added a catcher form the Cleveland Indians organization. His name is Erik Kratz and despite being 37-years old and ironic let’s Meet a Prospect: The Erik Kratz Special Edition.

Erik Floyd Kratz was born on Jun 15, 1980 and attended High School at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Kratz later went on to attend college at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia where the catcher caught the attention of the Toronto Blue Jays who drafted him in the 29th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft. Kratz toiled around in the minor league system for the Blue Jays until the Pittsburgh Pirates needed a primary catcher for their Triple-A affiliate in 2009 leading the Pirates to sign Kratz as a minor league free agent.

Kratz was a Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star for the Indianapolis Indians and followed that strong season up with another Mid-Season All-Star appearance for the Pirates Triple-A affiliate in 2010. Kratz had finally done enough to warrant a call up to the Major Leagues with those consecutive All-Star appearances and was added to the 40 man roster and active roster on July 12, 2010 replacing the struggling Jason Jaramillo. Seven days later Kratz made his Major League debut against the Houston Astros and collected his first hit off Astros pitcher Bud Norris. Kratz appeared in nine games for the remainder of that season hitting just .118.

Kratz spent the 2011 season with the Philadelphia Phillies minor league affiliate before garnering a September call up on September 16. Kratz appeared in two games recording two hits in six at-bats. Kratz bounced back and forth between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the Phillies Major League club in 2012 and the right-hander even hit his first MLB home run off Washington Nationals pitcher Tom Gorzelanny. Kratz played so well in 2012 that the team named him to their Opening Day roster on 2013 and made him their primary starting catcher while Carlos Ruiz spent 25 days suspended with a drug suspension. Kratz spent the entire season with the MLB club in 2013 with the exception of the time spent on the disabled list with a torn medical meniscus which required surgery.

Kratz was traded back to the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2014 season and had a strong spring training camp for them before being sent down to Triple-A in favor of Josh Thole. Kratz was back at the Major League level on March 30 though and appeared in six games before heading back down to the Minor Leagues when the team needed a roster spot for left-handed starter JA Happ. Kratz played a total of 34 games with the Blue Jays before once again being traded, this time to the Kansas City Royals on July 28, 2014. Kratz spent almost a full calendar year with the Royals before being designated for assignment by the club on June 11, 2015.

The Boston Red Sox claimed Kratz off waiver on June 21, 2015 but designated him for assignment again just four days later. Krats elected free agency on June 29, 2015 and ultimately signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners on July 2, 2015. 13 days later on July 15 the Mariners released him leading to his second stint with the Philadelphia Phillies. Kratz signed a new minor league deal with the club and was added to their active roster on September 1 as a part of September call-ups. Kratz finished the 2015 seasons with the Phillies before moving on to the San Diego Padres for the 2016 season after signing another minor league deal.

The Padres almost immediately traded Kratz after spring training 2016 to the Houston Astros for pitcher Dan Straily which once again sent Kratz on a roller coaster ride as he searched for a new home. Kratz was designated for assignment and released in Mid-May after pitching for the team against the Astros on April 26, 2016 and almost immediately signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Two weeks into his stint with the Halos the team traded him back to the Pittsburgh Pirates where once again he became a pitcher as well as a catcher. For the first time since 1879 a single player was a pitcher and a catcher for two different Major League teams in the same season and his name was Erik Kratz. All that got him was designated for assignment once again on July 19, 2016 but it did allow for a third trip to the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Kratz signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays on July 28, 2016 where he would finish out the season hitting .155 with one RBI. After the season Kratz elected free agency and signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians where he remained for the entirety of the 2017 until the New York Yankees came calling on August 31. The Yankees acquired Kratz for cash considerations and will likely add another “DFA” to his career total here in about a week or so unfortunately. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, Erik, and welcome to the family!

Seriously? It Was Only Doug Friggin' Fister...

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

Red Sox 4, Yankees 1...

For Friday's starters, the Yankees previously sent three of their top prospects to the Oakland A's for their ace while the Boston Red Sox picked up their's off the scrap heap.  Nothing against Doug Fister but there's no way he should look like Corey Kluber or Chris Sale on the mound.  However, for yesterday's game, the listless Yankees made him appear to be one of the game's aces as the Red Sox easily got past the Yankees.

Credit:  Corey Perrine-Getty Images

When the Yankees scored first, on Aaron Judge's first RBI against the Red Sox since April, it looked like it might be the start of something good with Sonny Gray on the mound.  But after that point, the Yankees didn't have to worry about their problem with runners in scoring position because they couldn't get any.  

After Gray breezed through the Red Sox in the top of the first, the Yankees got to business in the bottom of the inning.  Brett Gardner led off with a double to deep center, bouncing on the warning track and off the wall.  Aaron Judge followed him with another double to the wall in left center to score Gardy with the game's first run.  Sadly, at that moment, the Yankees forgot that it was only Doug Fister on the mound.  The next three hitters grounded out and the Yankees had seen their last RISP when Judge was left standing at second.

The Red Sox erased the Yankees' lead in the top of the 3rd.  After striking out Sandy Leon, Gray walked Brock Holt.  Eduardo Nunez made him pay for it with a two-run shot to left. Brett Gardner could only watch as the ball sail into the stands.  From there, the Red Sox tacked on a couple of unnecessary insurance runs in the form of solo home runs.

Andrew Benintendi, doing to the Yankees what I can only wish Aaron Judge would do to the Red Sox, pounded a Gray pitch into the right field stands (nearly into the Judge's Chambers) in the top of the 5th.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-Associated Press

Hanley Ramirez, having a down year against any team not called the Yankees, drilled a shot to right center in the top of the 7th.  

I'd like to find a positive in the game but unfortunately I can't.  Both Gray and Fister went seven innings with 98 pitches.  Gray only gave up one more hit than Fister (five to four) but the three home runs were the difference maker.  We needed Gray to have his finest moment in Pinstripes but instead it was the Red Sox partying on the field after the game.  

Credit:  Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Aroldis Chapman pitched the eighth inning.  He gave a hit (a single to Mookie Betts) but recorded all three outs by strikeout. Velocity didn't seem to be a problem with Chapman hitting nearly 105 mph on a pitch that Dustin Pedroia fouled off.  Adam Warren also pitched an inning of one-hit, scoreless relief.  

I'm sorry, there was one positive in the game.  Bernie Williams did a great job of playing the National Anthem on his guitar during pre-game ceremonies.  I will always appreciate #51.  

This was a very winnable game.  Instead, the Yankees (71-63) are back to 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings.  The Baltimore Orioles won, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0 in extra innings, so they are just 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  New York maintained its one game lead in the Wild Card standings thanks to the Minnesota Twins' 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals, but there are seven AL teams within striking distance (3 1/2 games or less).  

The Yankees need to take care of business. If they go down fighting, it's one thing.  When they go down meekly, it is unacceptable.  

Odds & Ends...

The Yankees made the first of their September call-ups with names you'd expect to see:  DH Matt Holliday, C Erik Kratz (acquired solely to back up Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine while they serve their staggered suspensions), RHP Bryan Mitchell, LHP Jordan Montgomery, and RHP Ben Heller.  To make room for Kratz on the 40-man roster, the Yankees moved RHP Luis Cessa (ribcage injury) to the 60-day DL.  I am glad to see that the Kratz move didn't result in a "forced" DFA.  I didn't see an easy candidate to dump.  There will be other names to follow but the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders will begin play in the International League play-offs next week so it may be a few weeks before we see guys like Miguel Andujar or Jake Cave.  

I thought CC Sabathia getting upset about Eduardo Nunez's bunt in the first inning of Thursday's game was a little over-reactionary (why not exploit an opponent's weakness?).  But Hall of Famer Jim Rice's comments about CC's weight were, in my opinion, out of line.  

Tyler Clippard must think he won the lottery.  A couple of months ago, he was pitching like the worst reliever in baseball for the Yankees.  Now, he finds himself with a vital role in the bullpen for a team poised to make a World Series run with starting pitchers led by Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel.  

Credit:  Christian Petersen-Getty Images

Have a great Saturday!  Here's hoping that Masa washes those dirty Sox.  Go Yankees!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 9/2

Good morning everyone. If it seems like we just did one of these for these two teams there’s probably a good reason for it. You have to love the day game after a night game, especially in September, but it what it is so let’s get to it. In the third game of this big four-game set the Yankees will be out for blood as they send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to square off with Drew Pomeranz for the Red Sox. Yankees and Red Sox games are always interesting but when there is something to play for like these two teams have this season the intensity level intensifies by a million. Enjoy the game!

Tanaka has made two starts since coming off the disabled list with an inflamed shoulder and if the right-hander pitches the way he has in those two starts for the remainder of the season the Yankees will be just fine heading into the postseason. In Tanaka’s last start the Japanese-born righty struck out 10 Seattle Mariners in a victory on Sunday. Tanaka has not been as successful against Boston though this season posting a 1-2 record with a 3.32 ERA against New York’s biggest rivals.

Pomeranz has been quite the story for the Red Sox in 2017 after barely making the team out of spring training camp. In his last 14 starts Pomeranz has posted an 8-0 record with a 2.31 ERA helping the Red Sox not only pull away but begin to run away with the American League East Division title.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network, NESN 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. Say what you will about these two, and I know I have said this a bunch this season, but there is no more beautiful call than a Yankee like Greg Bird, who hit a monster home run on Friday, or Gary Sanchez hitting a home run and hearing Michael Kay and John Sterling call it. Nothing. Better. Need a win, get a win. Go Yankees!

So it Seems… Enjoy Your Long Weekend But Remember What It’s For

Good morning everyone and welcome to the weekend. Some people don’t consider the weekend actually being the weekend until Saturday since most have to work on Friday so if you’re one of those people then this post is for you. The great news about this weekend is that it is a long weekend for most as the United States celebrates Labor Day on Monday, September 4.

Labor Day was created and is celebrated for the working class hero who goes to work every day and keeps their companies and this country’s economy moving. This is a day to celebrate you. You could work for McDonalds, cut grass for a living, be a CEO of a major company or you could be in the military (because that is one hell of a job and we wouldn’t have this freedom to have holidays without you and your sacrifice and service) and this day is for you. So remember that on Monday, remember what the holiday is for.

I will enjoy the day with my family and my reason for getting up every day and working so hard and I hope that everyone reading this does the same. If you can’t be with family or loved ones I at least wish for you to be doing what makes you happy.

With that said, Happy Saturday! Enjoy your long weekend. Especially you. HEY YOU. I love you. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/2: Mussina's Perfect Game Ends w/ 2 Outs In 9th

Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox, Mike Mussina on the mound, all the makings for a great pitcher's duel and a great game. Mussina takes a perfect game into the ninth inning with two outs and two strikes before Red Sox pinch hitter Carl Everett singled in the bottom on the inning. Mussina would beat the Red Sox 1-0 for his fourth career one hitter.

Interestingly enough this 1-0 Yankees victory was one of four games on the day that ended 1-0, a major league record. New York beat Boston, San Diego beat Arizona, Houston beat Milwaukee, and Toronto beat Detroit all by the score of 1-0.

Finally on this day in 1996 David Cone made his return to the mound from his May operation to remove an aneurysm in his right throwing arm and pitches seven no hit innings. The Yankees would beat the Oakland Athletics 5-0 with Mariano Rivera giving up the first and only hit of the ball game to Jose Herrera in the bottom of the eight inning on an infield single.