|Photo by Noah K Murray, USA TODAY Sports|
Bummer, he’s still here…
Big Maple is a New York Yankee but sadly, at least as of right now, so is Sonny Gray. The deadline last night to finalize the 40-man rosters for next month’s Rule 5 Draft failed to provide any momentum for the inevitable relocation of Sonny “Not Made for NYC” Gray. So, we’ll have to wait a few more days or weeks until we can wish Sonny better luck in his new city.
I was a little surprised the Yankees added reliever Joe Harvey to the 40-man roster on Tuesday. Despite his solid statistics in the Yankees farm system, he is admittedly not a prospect I know very well. In fact, I think the first word I said when I saw that he had been added was, “Who?”.
I thought the Yankees would protect the defensively talented shortstop Kyle Holder but ‘strong glove, no bat’ will only get you so far. The Yankees also made a minor trade involving minor leaguers when they sent RHP Jordan Foley, 24, to the Colorado Rockies for RHP Jefry Valdez. At first glance, Valdez appears underwhelming (he had a 5.82 ERA in 27 relief appearances in Class I last year), but a deeper look shows he is a strikeout machine. He had 45 strikeouts last season in 34 innings. However, as one Rockies blog put it, he has never been a top prospect in the Rockies organization for one reason: he hasn’t pitched very well. The Rockies feel they got the better end of the deal, but truthfully, who really knows. Maybe the change of scenery and new collection of coaches and instructors will help Valdez. As for Foley, he’ll get an opportunity to help fill the void when Rockies reliever Adam Ottovino signs with the Yankees (my wish, I know).
With the addition of Harvey, the Yankees’ 40-man roster stands at 39. The open spot won’t sit vacant for long as the Yankees continue their roster enhancements in the coming weeks. Hey Bryce, Number 34 is available in case you were wondering…
Credit to Manny Machado for his interview comments that appeared this morning on MLB.com. Manny has taken a beating since the World Series over his comments that “I am not going to be the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’”. In the column posted by Mark Feinsand, Machado is quoted saying, “For me, I was trying to talk about how I’m not the guy who is eye watch. There’s a difference between fake hustle for show and being someone who tries hard to win. I’ve always been the guy who does whatever he can to win for his team”. I think Machado has done a very good job clarifying his earlier controversial remarks. I know many Yankee fans are against signing Machado, but I think any MLB team would be better with Manny on its roster. Feinsand’s column leads me to believe that Manny will say the right things when he gets an audience with GM Brian Cashman and Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner. C’mon, Hal, open the checkbook!
Of the moves made yesterday, I think the decision by the Miami Marlins to designate the versatile Derek Dietrich for assignment opens an opportunity for the Yankees. Dietrich can play second, third, and corner outfield. He is not necessarily known for his glove, but he is someone to consider if the Yankees choose not to bring back Neil Walker.
I was a little surprised by the Tampa Bay Rays decision to DFA slugging first baseman C.J. Cron, but I’d prefer to stick with the current first base duo of Luke Voit and Greg Bird even if Cron had 30 bombs last year. Now, if the Yankees want to acquire Joey Votto, as suggested by Daniel Burch yesterday, let’s go.
The San Diego Padres sold third baseman Christian Villaneuva to Hideki Matsui’s old team, the Yomiuri Giants. The only reason the name stood out to me was his blazing start last April which led to San Diego’s release of former Yankee third baseman Chase Headley. Villaneuva came back to earth and played like a guy who doesn’t really have a long-term future in the Bigs, hence, the “deportation” to Japan. Still, it’s sad the guy who forced Headley’s exit simply turned out to be another Mr. April. I was hoping for better results with Chase’s reunion with his original team, but it was not meant to be.
I really despise when former Yankees and Yankees prospects end up in Boston. It happened again yesterday when the Boston Red Sox acquired minor league reliever Colten Brewer from the San Diego Padres. Brewer spent the 2017 season in the Yankees system before departing via free agency last November. It’s not like Brewer did anything for the Yankees, but it just bothers me when “our” guys go to the Red Sox. Yeah, Nasty Nate, I am talking to you even if it wasn’t your decision.
Lastly, Tuesday also brought news of the retirement of great third baseman Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers. Man, I am glad his stay in Boston was so short. A Ranger for the last eight years, the guy is headed for the Hall of Fame one day. I couldn’t help but think it’s a shame he can’t leave his defensive skills behind for Miguel Andujar’s use. I wish Adrian the best as he moves into the next chapter of his life. If he is half as successful as he was on a baseball field, his future is incredibly bright. We’ll be seeing him in Cooperstown in, oh, about five years.
Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday, everyone! This is a beautiful time for love, family and friendship. May you be blessed with a memorable and pleasing abundance of all three.
As always, Go Yankees!
White Sox 4, Yankees 3…
Luis Severino pitched magnificently, Yankees took the lead, but the bullpen ingredients of Domingo German, Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances handed the Chicago White Sox the walk-off win.
Severino allowed just one run on six hits over seven innings. He struck out a career high 12 batters, and issued no walks. You could not have asked for better, but unfortunately, on the other side, it was a very strong night for White Sox starter, and oft speculated trade target, Jose Quintana as he held the Yankees to only two hits and no runs in 6 1/3 innings.
|Credit: Armando L Sanchez-AP|
The White Sox scored the game’s first run in the third inning when Jose Abreu laced a run-scoring double to right. Chicago’s 1-0 lead held up until the eighth inning. Tyler Wade, making his Major League debut, pinch hit for Rob Refsnyder and walked against White Sox reliever Tommy Kahnle. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a single as Wade advanced to second. After Chase Headley struck out, Aaron Judge singled to center, scoring Wade while Ellsbury moved to second. Game tied. Gary Sanchez doubled, bringing home both Ellsbury and Judge, as the Yankees took the 3-1 lead.
|Credit: Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images|
It felt like it was going to be a magical night for Severino with the stellar pitching and the late runs to potentially give him the win but thanks to the Yankees bullpen, it was not to be. Manager Joe Girardi brought in Domingo German to pitch the eighth, but he had control problems and was lifted after walking the first two batters. Tyler Clippard (Egads!) entered the game and was able to get three outs but not before two more walks had pushed another run across for the Sox. 3-2, Yankees. All things considered, I guess, you’d have to say that this was a better Clippard than we’ve seen lately. He escaped a bases-loaded situation with no outs, giving up only one run, so it could have been much worse.
|Credit: Associated Press|
The Yankees had runners at second and third with two outs in the top of the 9th following a passed ball by White Sox reliever Dan Jennings, but Chase Headley struck out to leave the runners stranded. As it turned out, the Yankees could have used those insurance runs.
The Yankees brought in Dellin Betances to pitch the ninth. He had worked the previous two games but had thrown only a total of 25 pitches. Aroldis Chapman was not available, having worked the preceding two days combined with his recent activation off the DL. Betances (3-2) earned the Tyler Clippard Pitching Award of the night when he walked Kevan Smith and Alen Hanson, and hit Yolmer Sanchez with a pitch to load the bases. He was able to retire former Yankee Melky Cabrera on a fly ball, but Jose Abreu came up and delivered a single to left, scoring the winning runs as the White Sox walked off with the 4-3 victory.
|Credit: Armando L Sanchez-Chicago Tribune|
With the loss, the Yankees (41-34) fell one game behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. The Red Sox, looking like a team that wants to win, beat the Minnesota Twins, 9-2. The Tampa Bay Rays also won (4-2 in extra innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates) so they are just two games behind the Yankees. I know it’s only June and it is just one game, but right now the gulf between the Yankees and the Red Sox seems much, much greater. The Red Sox are a team ready to kick it into another gear, whereas the Yankees just keep slip, sliding away. It was difficult to watch a game that was freely given to the White Sox. The final 3 of their 4 runs were walked batters that came around to score. It was not pretty and Severino’s gem was wasted.
Next up, Masahiro Tanaka. If he pitches like he did against Yu Darvish, I like our chances. If he pitches like the guy we saw prior to the All-Japanese confrontation, it is going to be a very long night.
Trade Speculation Heats Up…
Trade speculation and theories are starting to heat up as the calendar prepares to turn to July. Between now and the July trading deadline, I am sure that we’ll be hearing plenty of possibilities for how the 2017 New York Yankees can make upgrades.
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com posted “3 potential Yanks-Mets trades that make sense” yesterday. In his column, he proposed the following trades:
1. Lucas Duda for Austin Romine.
2. Jerry Blevins and/or Addison Reed for Dustin Fowler.
3. Curtis Granderson for Tyler Austin.
My immediate reaction was “I wouldn’t trade my guys for them”. Later in the day, Feinsand tweeted: Love the response to my trade column. Yankees fans: “I’d never trade those guys for that!”, Mets fans: “I’d never trade those guys for that!”. Seriously, and nothing against Kyle Higashioka, I wouldn’t trade Romine for Duda. With the belief that Greg Bird can still be a solid first baseman of the future, I’d take a less costly route to find an alternative for Tyler Austin if it comes to that. I certainly wouldn’t trade a valuable outfield prospect for a reliever that could have been had on the free agent market last off-season. Curtis Granderson? Been there, done that.
In a column that appeared on NJ.com (written by Joe Giglio), it was reported that MLB Network Radio Host Jim Bowden (former GM of the Cincinnati Reds and one-time Yankees employee during the brief reign of Syd Thrift) floated his idea of how to build a super rotation in the Bronx. Bowden indicated that he’d trade for Gerrit Cole now and sign Yu Darvish as a free agent in the off-season. His third and fourth starters would be Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, while the fifth spot would go to Yankees prospect Chance Adams. With this rotation, Bowden believes “In 2018, it’s about what kind of champagne we can put on ice”. I can’t say that I disagree with this one. I like both Cole and Darvish. Severino and Montgomery have both proven they belong in 2018 and the “time is now” is rapidly approaching for Adams. Sign me up for this possibility…I’m on board.
Odds & Ends…
The Attack of the Tylers. It’s hard to believe but 16% of the Yankees active roster is now loaded with dudes named Tyler. With Tuesday’s call-up of Tylers Webb and Wade, there are four Tyler’s with Clippard and Austin already on the roster. I wanted to name my son Tyler but given my last name ends in “ler”, his mother didn’t want a kid named “ler-ler” so I had to ditch any ideas of using the name. I went with Kyle instead (as if there weren’t enough Kyle’s already in the world). Making room for the two Tyler W’s were the placement of Starlin Castro on the disabled list and the demotion of Jonathan Holder to Triple A. It kind of feels like all of these Tylers should be using Aerosmith for their walk-up music…
The results of Castro’s MRI came back with a Grade 1 strain of the right hamstring. He’s expecting to be ready when his time on the 10-Day DL is up.
Have a great Wednesday! Hopefully Tanaka will help get us over the hump! Let’s Go Yankees!
The Hunger Games…
When the Yankees said they were going to be big spenders during the opening signing period for international prospects, I still didn’t imagine how aggressive they would be. Based on MLB.com’s list of top international prospects, the Yankees have apparently signed five of the top ten players:
• Dermis Garcia, SS, Dominican Republic, #1
• Nelson Gomes, 3B, Dominican Republic, #2
• Juan De Leon, OF, Dominican Republic, #5
• Jonathan Amundaray, OF, Venezuela, #7
• Antonio Arias, OF, Venezuela, #9
In the second ten (11-20), they grabbed three shortstops:
• Hyo-Jun Park, SS, Korea, #13
• Wilkerman Garcia, SS, Venezuela, #14
• Diego Castilla, SS, Venezuela, #16
They also signed the #25 player in catcher Miguel Flames, Venezuela.
At first pass, it seems like a number of shortstops but I’ve read that Dermis Garcia will eventually be a corner infielder and Wilkerman Garcia may be switched to second base.
Dermis Garcia, the prized signing, represents the most the Yankees have spent on the international market since they signed top catching prospect Gary Sanchez in 2009. Garcia received $3.2 million, while Sanchez received $3.0 million.
It’s interesting that Garcia was born in 1998, perhaps the greatest year of the modern Yankees era.
I can still remember when the Yankees selected an 18-year-old Derek Jeter out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Hopefully, the 16 year-old Garcia will be a presence in pinstripes for more than 20 years too.
Of course, while the Yankees were focused on position players, the Boston Red Sox quietly signed the top two pitchers in Christopher Acosta, Dominican Republic, and Anderson Espinoza, Venezuela.
I thought it was a telling choice in the selection of the catcher (Flames). The Yankees seems overloaded with catching prospects and the Flames arrival is probably the prelude to the inclusion of another catching prospect such as Sanchez or John Ryan Murphy in a potential trade this month. I would not want to lose Sanchez for a middle-of-the-road starting pitcher but if the return were say someone like David Price, then I am all in.
With the international signings at approximately $14 million, the cost could be as much as $30 million with penalties plus the Yankees will be non-players in the next two signing periods as they’ll be restricted to no more than $300,000 per player. But with their aggressive approach this year, the Yankees have infused significant future talent into the lower levels of the farm system.
The future is now…
I saw a reference that Park would be the first Korean-born Yankee but that’s unfair to AAA second baseman Rob Refsnyder. Although raised in CA since he was 3 months, he was born in Seoul, South Korea to Korean parents. So I’d say Refsnyder will be the first Korean Yankee. Speaking of Refsnyder, I seriously hope that his Bronx arrival is sooner rather than later. The Yankees need to upgrade second base. Brian Roberts was once a great player but he’ll never be that guy again. Why not go with a younger player who has upside potential? The sooner we can put Robinson Cano in the rear view mirror, the better.
What have you done for me lately?…
So much for the rags to riches story for career minor leaguer Yangervis Solarte. After a terrific start to the season, he has been non-existent for the past month and it earned him a free ride to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His replacement is actually an older career minor leaguer, Zelous Wheeler, so we’ll see how this goes. If it were me, I would have brought up Refsnyder. But there’s a reason that Brian Cashman is GM and I am not, so I’ll just have to have faith in the decision.
Too little, too late?…
Honestly, I am not sure there is anything the Yankees can do to save this season. They are a game under .500 entering play tonight and have played with virtually no offense. They only win if they can hold the opponent to a couple of runs or less. Robinson Cano is one player that could ignite the offense but obviously there’s no way the Seattle Mariners are going to give him up. In retrospect, the Yankees should have overpaid to keep Cano. Alfonso Soriano was that kind of player at times last year but he’s been in a season long slump that almost certainly means this is his final year in pinstripes. I thought that Brian McCann would be hitting by now but he is showing that he’s one of those guys who needs a long acclimation process to the Bronx. Carlos Beltran is merely showing that he is a 36-year-old outfielder. The other off-season right field option, Shin Choo-Soo, has fared no better in Texas.
At this moment, the Detroit Tigers stand as the team to beat in the American League. For the past couple of weeks, they’ve been invincible and easily handled the second best Oakland A’s this week. Joba Chamberlain is probably loving life at the top.
While I recognize the Yankees will make a move this month, I hope that they do not trade any top prospects unless the return is top shelf (i.e., David Price). I’d hate to lose Gary Sanchez and still finish 3rd or 4th in the AL East.
Oh well, tonight the Yankees play Phil Hughes in Minneapolis. Let’s hope the results are better than the last time they saw Hughes in the Bronx when he and the Minnesota Twins dominated the Yanks.