Off-season moves or lack thereof…
A new year, but the same quiet off-season in the Bronx despite the acquisitions of Starlin Castro and Aroldis Chapman. January has introduced names like Kirby Yates, Donovan Solano, and Jonathan Diaz. Although all three have some major league experience, I can’t really say that I was aware of any of them.
Yates, as a fly ball pitcher, scares me. We already have Masahiro Tanaka who loves to give up the long ball. Granted, Yates is a reliever, but 10 home runs in 20 innings for his 2015 work with the Tampa Bay Rays doesn’t exactly instill confidence. I know, it has been said that it was an aberration and his minor league numbers reflected much better performance. I recognize that he is just another body for spring training, and if something shakes out from these low level signings, the Yankees have captured lightning in a bottle.
If any of these guys make the opening day roster, it’s going to be a long season at Yankee Stadium.
I still hold the opinion that Wei-Yin Chen would be a terrific addition. He would provide a stabilizing force in the starting rotation, and he’s left-handed which makes him a good fit for the hitting friendly Yankee Stadium. There is no way the quartet of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, and Ivan Nova stays healthy for the duration of the year. At some point, one or more will be lost for extended periods of time. Of course Nathan Eovaldi carries some injury risk as well. With Chen, you could easily slot him for his 200 innings and worry about the other guys.
Credit: Joe Nicholson, USA Today Sports
At this point, it doesn’t seem like the Yankees are going to be able to make a trade for a young, controllable pitcher. The team, as presently constructed, carries much risk in many areas. If Jacoby Ellsbury and/or Carlos Beltran spend any significant time on the DL, Aaron Hicks and one or more of the young AAA outfielders (like Slade Heathcott or Mason Williams) will be exposed to much playing time.
What if Chase Headley continues his defensive slump? Who is going to back him up? If Greg Bird starts the year at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, who spells Mark Teixeira? If the Yankees need to do anything, they need to limit Teixeira as much as possible. So perhaps it does make sense to carry Bird on the roster so that he can take the occasional start at first and provide late inning relief. But sadly, he doesn’t play third.
Starlin Castro rebounded nicely last season after he became the Chicago Cubs starting second baseman but what if he struggles in the American League and shows a return to the player that struggled and was benched? Dustin Ackley certainly looks to be a key reserve so I am sure he’ll get a lot of time at second during spring, as well as other positions. Too bad he can’t pitch…
Sounds like we’ll know whether Chapman faces any suspension by spring. At this point, I have to believe the Yankees are planning to start the season with incumbent closer Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances covering the 8th and 9th innings. I’d like to see Chasen Shreve step up and into the departed Justin Wilson’s 7th inning role, along with James Pazos. How the bullpen will look when Chapman returns is a decision for another day.
I seriously doubt the Yankees will be able to trade Ivan Nova. He’ll need to show something in spring training to represent any type of trade chip. Of the other players mentioned as possible trade chips, I really do not want to lose Andrew Miller. I would prefer to see Brett Gardner go if one of them departs. But that would leave the outfield very thin. So the best bet is probably for both Miller and Gardner to stay.
Top NL Closers don’t die, they move to the AL East…
While I hate to see Drew Storen join the Toronto Blue Jays (at best, as their closer or at worst, a key setup guy), he is the single player that most needed a change in scenery. Things got ugly for him last season in Washington after the Nationals acquired closer Jonathan Papelbon. I think he’s a talented pitcher and he does deserve the opportunity to close again. I just wish it wasn’t in the AL East.
Credit: Joe McDonnell, The Washington Post
Taking their rightful place in the Hall of Fame…
Congratulations to both Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza for making the Hall of Fame. They are the two players that I had felt were most deserving. I would like to see Mike Mussina eventually make it, but it’s not his time yet. Tim Raines most likely set himself up for induction next year with his strong performance in the results. I admire Piazza’s choice to go into the Hall as a New York Met rather than the team he came up with, the Los Angeles Dodgers. While Griffey hated the Yankees, I enjoyed him as a player and really wish that we could have seen a healthy Junior when he reached his 30’s. There’s no telling where his final numbers would have ended up had he stayed healthy.
I have absolutely no problem with the poor support for the PED users, like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. I don’t know if I would go as far as to say they should never get in, but not today…or tomorrow.
Only 40 days until pitchers and catchers report? Nice…