|Credit: Charles Wenzelberg, New York Post|
The 40-Man Chess Match…
Yesterday figured to be a very busy day for the Yankees as MLB teams had to set their 40-man Rosters of Record for Rule 5 eligibility (draft to be held at the conclusion of next month’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL) and it was.
Before the past weekend, the Yankees only had two open spots on the 40-man. Then, a few trades later, the Yankees were able to protect six young prospects from becoming potential ex-Yankees. Granted, any player chosen in the Rule 5 Draft has to stick on a MLB roster for the entire year but it happened as recent as last year when the San Diego Padres held on to Yankees catching prospect Luis Torrens (even though the very young Torrens was over-matched at the Major League level).
RHP Nick Rumbelow
RHP Ronald Herrera
LHP Caleb Smith
1B Garrett Cooper
LHP Reiver Sanmartin
LHP J.P. Sears
RHP Juan Then
RHP Michael King
International Bonus Pool Money ($250,000)
ADDED TO THE 40-MAN ROSTER
RHP Domingo Acevedo
RHP Albert Abreu
RHP Jonathan Loaisiga
INF Gleyber Torres
INF Thairo Estrada
OF Billy McKinney
Trade: Nick Rumbelow to the Seattle Mariners for LHP J.P. Sears and RHP Juan Then. I thought this was the best trade. Sears, 21, fits the Yankees mold as a former collegiate player who could be useful in the bullpen. Even though his fastball tops out at 92 mph, he has been something of a strikeout machine. In his final year at The Citadel, he led NCAA Division I with 142 K’s in 95 1/3 innings. Then (not the pitcher), last year, in his first year in the Minors, he struck out 51 batters in 27 2/3 innings. Then (the pitcher), 17, a projected middle of the rotation starter, is the only new prospect to crack MLB’s Top 30 Prospects for the Yankees (his debut is at #28 in front of RHPs Giovanny Gallegos and Trevor Stephan).
Trade: Ronald Herrera to the Texas Rangers for LHP Reiver Sanmartin. Herrera provides the Rangers with an arm that is nearly ready while the Yankees buy some time with a lower level prospect. Sanmartin, 21, is a year younger than Herrera and has compiled a 14-4 record with 2.62 ERA over three minor league seasons.
Trade: Caleb Smith and Garrett Cooper to the Miami Marlins for Michael King and Shohei Otani Money. The Yankees lose a valuable lefty with Smith’s departure but I figured that his roster spot was the least secure. Cooper did a decent job when called upon last year, but it was inevitable that the Yankees would have to make a decision between Tyler Austin and Cooper despite the latter owning a name that recalls the late great actor Gary Cooper and the movie classic The Pride of the Yankees. The writing was on the wall when Billy McKinney started working out at first base in The Arizona Fall League. This trade is being advertised as Derek Jeter’s first even if he probably didn’t handle any of the negotiations. Marlins VP of Player Development and Scouting Gary Denbo knows a thing or two about Yankees prospects. Many were calling this trade a huge win for the Marlins but I thought it served a very useful purpose for the Yankees. They cleared two spots on the roster which ensured that Thairo Estrada and Jonathan Loaisiga (“Johnny Lasagna”) could be protected and added a lottery ticket with the 22-year-old King. Maybe King never realizes his dream, but the additional international bonus pool money gives the Yankees a total of $3.5 million to pursue Shohei Otani. If the Yankees are successful in signing Otani, it would be very hard to look at this trade as a failure for the Yankees regardless of how Smith or Cooper eventually perform for the Marlins.
The Yankees should gain better clarity about the availability of Otani later today. The MLBPA extended the posting agreement deadline, which had been scheduled to expire yesterday, by 24 hours. The new deadline is tonight at 8 pm ET. If the parties are able to agree on a new posting agreement, it ensures that Otani will be posted this off-season and will make his much anticipated trip to the United States to choose his next team (or as I prefer, sign with the Yankees).
|Credit: The Japan Times|
The Yankees will need to make additional roster moves should they sign Otani and/or re-sign CC Sabathia but for now, the Yankees are prepared for next month’s Rule 5 Draft. I am fearful of losing LHP Nestor Cortes, RHP Cale Coshow, and/or RHP J.P. Feyereisen, among others, but it speaks to the strength of the Yankees farm system that the potential losses will hurt.
I can’t end this post without mentioning another transaction that occurred yesterday even if it was non-Yankees news. The Toronto Blue Jays waived former Yankees fan favorite Rob Refsnyder and he was claimed by the Cleveland Indians. While I wish Refsnyder well in Cleveland, I kind of wish that he’d go somewhere like San Francisco where the Yankees wouldn’t have to routinely see him. I hold out hope that Refsnyder will achieve the promise he once held but admittedly his flame of potential is growing dimmer.
|Credit: Mark Lomoglio, Icon Sportswire|
Now that the 40-man roster maneuvering has been completed, I fully expect the next week to be very quiet. Perhaps there are more managerial interviews but most likely, we’ll be on the other side of the Thanksgiving Weekend before we see any notable Yankees news.
While I would have loved being able to protect every valuable prospect, I thought the Yankees did a very good job covering the best of the best. Project Next Dynasty continues on its very very bright and positive path. We are now accepting applications for Bandwagon Fans. Go Yankees!
Angels 7, Yankees 5…
Another tough loss for the Yankees despite fourteen hits.
The game started out well enough. The Yankees scored four runs in the first inning to give Michael Pineda the lead before he faced his first batter. Brett Gardner opened the game with a single off Angels’ starter Matt Shoemaker. After Aaron Hicks struck out, Aaron Judge singled to put runners at the corners. Judge stole second and Matt Holliday hit a sacrifice fly to score Gardy. The next batter, Starlin Castro, was hit by pitch, which brought up Gary Sanchez. The Sanchino homered to left and the Yankees looked like they were off to the races.
|Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports|
Sadly, this was not Michael Pineda’s night. The Angels came back in the bottom of the first with a run with they loaded the bases with singles from three of the first four Angels batters. Luis Valbuena then hit a fly to center that could have been a grand slam if not for a leaping catch by Aaron Hicks. Cameron Maybin scored on the sac fly. Pineda was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.
In the second inning, with one out, the Yankees wasted a triple by Rob Refsnyder when neither Brett Gardner nor Aaron Hicks were able to push the run across. When the Angels came to bat in the bottom of the inning, Eric Young Jr, the previous night’s hero, singled, and Danny Espinosa followed with a homer to right to bring the Angels within a run at 4-3.
The lead was lost in the third when Albert Pujols scored on a wild pitch with Young in the batter’s box. Young subsequently lined a run-scoring single to give the Angels a 5-4 advantage.
The Yankees tied the score in the sixth when Chase Headley singled home Gary Sanchez. Headley was thrown out trying to take two bases.
Manager Joe Girardi pulled Michael Pineda after six innings, and brought in Ronald Herrera to face the Angels in the 7th. It would not be a memorable debut for the rookie. He was able to get the first two batters (Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar) on ground-outs, but then he walked Valbuena. Andrelton Simmons came to the plate and rudely introduced Herrera (0-1) to life in the Big Leagues with a homer to center.
|Credit: Getty Images|
The Yankees had a chance in the 9th when Aaron Hicks doubled with two outs. The play was initially ruled as a game-ending out, but the call was overturned upon challenge by the Yankees. It didn’t matter as Aaron Judge hit a grounder to third for the final out.
The final line for Pineda was 6 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 SO. He allowed the one home run and his season ERA was pushed to 3.71.
|Credit: Sean M Haffey-Getty Images|
I felt bad for Herrera. He was in a difficult situation for his first Major League appearance, particularly for a pitcher who has yet to find success at the AAA Level. What works at AA does not necessarily work in the Major Leagues as Herrera found out.
This was a tough series. The Yankees were in all three games and could have easily won the series. Instead, the Angels took 2 of 3 and the Yankees left town on a bit of a downer.
The Boston Red Sox pulled to within two games of the Yankees (38-25) with a 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Tampa Bay Rays lost to remain 5 1/2 games back. Both the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays. They are 6 1/2 and 7 games back, respectively.
Odds & Ends…
RHP Ronald Herrera has been promoted to the Yankees prior to yesterday’s game in the aftermath of CC Sabathia’s strained hamstring. Herrera, 22, was acquired in 2015 from the San Diego Padres in the trade that sent infielder Jose Pirela to Southern CA. Herrera caught my attention this season, but I honestly didn’t expect the pitcher to make the jump from AA to the Majors even if he was already a member of the 40-man roster. Herrera combined with Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder to throw a no-hitter on April 26, 2016 for the Trenton Thunder. This season for the Thunder, Herrera is 7-0 with 1.07 ERA. In 8 games, he has pitched 50 1/3 innings, with 41 strikeouts and 9 walks. His WHIP is 0.7555. Herrera was born in Maracay, Venezuela, near the Caribbean Coast. Yankees utility infielder Ronald Torreyes is a fellow Venezuelan. Reliever Ben Heller was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room. Welcome to The Show, Ronald! I wish your first Major League decision could have been a victory but hopefully next time it is.
No roster decisions have yet been made regarding CC Sabathia, but it is speculated that he’ll be placed on the disabled list with a moderate (Grade 2) hamstring strain (expected to miss at least four weeks) with the recall of pitcher Domingo German.
The Yankees have acquired relief pitcher Matt Frawley (R) from the Pittsburgh Pirates to complete the trade that sent reliever Johnny Barbato to the Steel City. Frawley was drafted by the Pirates last year in the 17th Round out of Purdue University. He’ll be assigned to Class A Charleston. Turning 22 in August, Frawley (3-1) is an older prospect at the A Level but in 19 appearances and 33 1/3 innings, he has to pitched to an ERA of 1.62 with only 4 walks and 32 strikeouts (WHIP is an impressive 0.75). If Frawley continues to pitch as well as he did with the Class A West Virginia Power, he should soon find himself in AA with the Trenton Thunder.
In reviewing the draft choices on Day 3 of the MLB Draft, I have to say that I love the name of the 22nd pick. RHP Janson Junk. Now that’s a baseball name. Former Major League closer Brad Lidge’s cousin, Ryan Lidge, was chosen #20. Lidge is a senior catcher from Notre Dame. This helps offset the loss of catcher Luis Torrens who was taken in last year’s Rule 5 Draft by the San Diego Padres and is still on their Major League roster.
There were a couple of late names that stood out to me. In Round 29, the Yankees selected RHP Tristan Beck of Stanford. Beck is highly touted but missed the 2017 season due to a back injury. In some very early mock drafts, I saw Beck going as high as the first round. Without any knowledge of the situation, I suspect that he’ll return to Stanford for his junior year and attempt to rehabilitate his stock for higher placement in a future draft. In Round 37, the Yankees took high school pitcher Tanner Burns. Also highly touted, Burns’ father has said that it’s 100% his son will be attending Auburn University. It would be a great coup if the Yankees could sign one of these guys (or both) but I seriously doubt it. I suspect that we’ll see Burns as a much higher draft choice in a future draft.
The Yankees begin a four-game set tonight against the Athletics in Oakland, CA. Here are the pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (4-4, 3.55 ERA)
A’s: Sonny Gray (2-2, 4.37 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (5-2, 2.75 ERA)
A’s: Sean Manaea (6-3, 3.67 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.07 ERA)
A’s: Jesse Hahn (2-4, 3.56 ERA)
A’s: Jharel Cotton (3-7, 5.52 ERA)
Have a great Thursday! Here’s hoping for much better success in No-Cal than So-Cal…
Angels 3, Yankees 2…
After a weekend when runs came so easily, they were hard to find on Tuesday night as the Angels took down the Yankees in extra innings. The loss snapped the Yankees’ six-game winning streak. However, the bigger loss may have been CC Sabathia who strained his left hamstring and is probably headed for a DL stint. CC will undergo a MRI later today.
|Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports|
The feast or famine (with the emphasis on the latter) that surrounds Chris Carter was a primary ingredient for the loss. Carter was 1-for-5 (with a meaningless single), and he popped out with the bases loaded and only one out in the top of the 11th inning. He struck out 3 times, and committed an error at first in the fourth inning when he missed an accurate routine throw with two outs from Didi Gregorius, setting the stage for the first Angels’ run. The runner, Andrelton Simmons, advanced to second on the play, and scored on a single by C.J. Cron.
The Yankees tied the score in the 5th when Chase Headley doubled and Brett Gardner delivered a two-out run-scoring single. In the 7th, Headley hit a solo shot to center to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Headley, arguably the worst Yankees hitter not named Chris Carter, was the night’s best hitter. He finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.
From there, the Yankees were undone by a former Yankee, Eric Young, Jr. In the bottom of the 8th, with the Yankees nursing the one-run lead, the Yankees brought in Tyler Clippard to pitch and he was greeted by a Young home run which tied the game. As great a job as Clippard did last year after his acquisition last year at the trading deadline from the Arizona Diamondbacks, he’s been a weak link this year in the critical setup role. A healthy Aroldis Chapman would have meant Dellin Betances in that situation and the outcome may have been different. The homer denied the first Major League victory for Giovanny Gallegos who had relieved Sabathia in the fifth and pitched admirably for two innings, allowing only one hit and no runs.
The Yankees loaded the bases with one-out in the top of the 11th. Gary Sanchez walked and then advanced to third on a double by Didi Gregorius. Headley received an intentional walk, which brought Carter to the plate with a chance to bring runners home. He jumped on the first pitch from new reliever Keynan Middleton, who had just entered the game, but unfortunately, he popped out with an infield fly to third. Brett Gardner followed with another pop out which ended the Yankees’ threat and set the stage for the Angels’ walk-off in the bottom of the frame.
With Chasen Shreve pitching, Andrelton Simmons walked to open the bottom of the inning. Shreve got the next batter, C.J. Cron, on a fly out to left, but then Manager Joe Girardi pulled Shreve (he had thrown 38 pitches to that point in his 1 2/3 innings of work) to replace him with Ben Heller. Heller got the first batter he faced (Martin Maldonado) on a ground out, but Simmons stole second during the at-bat and advanced to third with the out. Eric Young, Jr, came to bat after Heller had walked Cliff Pennington and he hit an infield single that was deflected off the pitcher’s backside, scoring Simmons with the winning run.
|Credit: Sean M Haffey/Getty Images|
‘Woulda, coulda, shoulda’ was the story to this game. Losing is never fun, but losing games that should have been won are harder.
No word who will replace Sabathia in the rotation. Chad Green, Sunday’s starter, was limited to a pitch count of 50 (he was pulled after throwing 53 pitches). I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Luis Cessa or Bryan Mitchell recalled to be the interim starter. The less likely options would be Caleb Smith (who was the winning pitcher yesterday for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and is currently 4-0 with 2.71 ERA) or Chance Adams (3-2, 2.52 ERA) since neither one is on the 40-man roster.
The Boston Red Sox picked up a game on the Yankees, thanks to their second consecutive extra inning win over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Red Sox now trail the Yankees (38-24) by three games. The Tampa Bay Rays also won so they are 5.5 games behind. Both the Orioles and the Blue Jays lost.
Odds & Ends…
The MLB Draft completed Rounds 3 through 10 on Tuesday. Like the day before, the emphasis was high on right-handed pitchers. Only one position player was taken. High School catcher (who will be converted to the outfield) Canaan Smith (not to be confused with the country singer by the same name). Smith, a graduate of Rockwall-Heath (Texas) High School, was routinely pitched around with a Barry Bonds-like walk rate. He was selected in the 4th round.
The lone lefty taken was Dalton Lehnen of Augustana College in the 6th round. Otherwise, Day 2 was stacked with righties.
Here is the list of players taken on Day 2:
Round 3 (92): Trevor Stephan, Arkansas, RHP
Round 4 (122): Canaan Smith, Rockwall-Heath HS, RF
Round 5 (152): Glenn Otto, Rice, RHP
Round 6 (182): Dalton Lehnen, Augustana College, LHP
Round 7 (212): Dalton Higgins, Dallas Baptist, RHP
Round 8 (242): Kyle Zurak, Redford U, RHP
Round 9 (272): Austin Gardner, U Texas-Arlington, RHP
Round 10 (302): Chad Whitmer, Southern Illinois U Carbondale, RHP
The Baltimore Orioles are gushing about the fall of D.L. Hall to them. They didn’t expect him to be the board with the 21st pick on Monday. Nothing against Clarke Schmidt, but I hope this choice doesn’t come back to haunt the Yankees in future years.
Day 3 concludes today with Rounds 11 through 40. Start time is 12:00 pm Eastern.
LHP Tommy Layne, who was previously designated for assignment, has been outrighted to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
RHP Ronald Herrera has been named the Eastern League (AA) Pitcher of the Week. In his last start, Herrera pitched 6 2/3 innings while only allowing two hits in the Trenton Thunder’s 9-0 victory over the Hartford Yard Goats. After giving up a two-out single in the first inning, Herrera retired 16 consecutive Yard Goats before surrendering the second hit. He struck out 9 in picking up the win. Herrera is the fourth Thunder pitcher to win the weekly award this year, following Chance Adams, Yefry Ramirez, and Justus Sheffield.
Aroldis Chapman was scheduled to pitch yesterday for High-A Tampa, however, the game was rained out. Chapman will pitch one inning Friday for AA-Trenton and is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the Yankees on Sunday in Oakland.
Have a great Wednesday! Time to start a new winning streak!