To Buy or Not to Buy…
The MLB Trading Deadline is just a mere 24 days away. At 4 pm ET on Tuesday, July 31st, we’ll know the answer if the Yankees will be buyers or sellers. If the freefall continues, the odds are stronger toward the latter. However, none of the current Yankee veterans potentially available fall into the ‘sell high’ category like Aroldis Chapman, Carlos Beltran, and Andrew Miller did last summer. If the Yankees indeed become sellers, I would look at Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Austin Romine, Chase Headley, Rob Refsnyder, Jacoby Ellsbury (yeah, right…we’re stuck with this one), and Brett Gardner. Depending upon the return, I could be coerced into others. There are really no untouchables outside of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. I don’t think Aroldis Chapman is going anywhere, but otherwise, I think everyone else could be had for the right price.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently 58-29 and are on pace to win 108 games with their current winning percentage (.667). They have the best pitcher in baseball (Clayton Kershaw) but he might not even the best pitcher on their staff if you look purely at stats. Alex Wood is 10-0 with a very low 1.67 ERA in 13 starts. Kershaw has 3 more wins but with 5 more starts. Wood has given the Dodgers the second starter they’ve been missing since Zack Greinke left. As the Dodgers march toward a potential historic season, they have the inconsistent Kenta Maeda (6-4, 4.56 ERA) and the injury-plagued Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 3.25 ERA) to go with Kershaw, Wood and Rich Hill. The rotation would look so much better with Masahiro Tanaka, based on his last three starts, than either Maeda or McCarthy.
Brett Gardner to the San Francisco Giants has long made sense to me. He’d easily fit into Bruce Bochy’s lineup and give them the left-fielder that they’ve literally been waiting years for.
I honestly hope the Yankees regain their magical step from earlier in the season. My clear preference is to buy at the trading deadline. But the realist in me recognizes there is the strong possibility we’ll be sellers if the team continues on its current path so we must be prepared. It hurt to lose Andrew Miller last summer and it still does. Regardless of how Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield perform as Yankees, our fondness for Miller will never be replaced. But moves have to be made to better the team for the long run. The Boston Red Sox are showing signs of potentially running away with the AL East. The Yankees soon will have to make the decision to go all in for a Wild Card spot or chalk this year up to development.
Since June 13th, when the Los Angeles Angels ended the Yankees’ six-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory in Anaheim, the Yankees are a meager 6-16. The top three guys in the bullpen, excluding Adam Warren at this point, are unreliable at best. Aroldis Chapman has struggled with control issues that would be magnified if not for the horrific performances by Tyler Clippard and more recently Dellin Betances. Clearly, this group has the potential…and the history…to be dominant but continued struggles only help push the Yankees further into the downward spiral.
Credit: John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The July schedule, simply put, is tough. After the All-Star Game break, the team heads to Boston for a four-game series with the Red Sox. It concludes with a day/night double-header on Sunday, July 16th. Following the second game, the Yankees have to jump on a plane to fly to Minneapolis, MN to play the Minnesota Twins the next night. The Twins are no slouch, holding a 44-41 record and just a game and a half out in the AL Central, entering games today. After three days in the Twin Cities, the Yanks hop a westbound plane for Seattle to face Robinson Cano and the Mariners with no break. The Mariners currently have a losing record but the Yankees always seem to bring out the best in Cano. This year he’ll be joined by another player with incentive to beat the Yankees in young outfielder Ben Gamel, a former Yankees farmhand. Flying home to NYC following the three-game series with the M’s, the Yanks get one day off before a two-game set against the Cincinnati Reds which rolls over into a four-game stand with the Tampa Bay Rays, the team currently nipping at the Yanks’ heels. July 31st, while we sit and wait for the trading deadline dust to settle in the afternoon, the Yankees will begin a three-game with the Detroit Tigers. August doesn’t get any easier with the Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners on tap. In other words, the schedule is a bitch.
The Yankees have to find a way to win the one-run games now, not later. They need to resolve the bullpen failures and they need to significantly upgrade at least one of the infield corners. Otherwise, even making it to .500 by year’s end will be a challenge.
I hate to say it but it is my current opinion (which could easily be changed by a winning streak) that the Yankees will be sellers at the deadline as we await bigger and better things in 2018 and 2019.
Will Today be a Holliday?…
All signs are pointing to the return of DH Matt Holliday today. Diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the most common viral infection in humans, Holliday is feeling better and getting ready to return. Many people afflicted by EBV don’t even know they have it since they do not feel sick. I am glad to hear that they finally have a handle on what has ailed Holliday. The Yankees have missed his stick in the lineup. Plus, his occasional starts at first base have helped get production out of the team’s biggest black hole. I hope he is able to make a successful return today or if not, this weekend.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees created some organizational depth when they acquired infielder Jonathan Diaz this week from the Toronto Blue Jays. Diaz, 32, was having a subpar year in the Blue Jays farm system, but he was with the RailRiders last season and will provide them with infield depth again this year. Billy Fleming was sent from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to Double-A Trenton to make room. We’ll never see Diaz at the MLB level but he helps the RailRiders who have suffered multiple recent losses due to Baby Bomber promotions. In his first game with the RailRiders, Diaz hit a single that started their winning rally, a 4-3 victory in extra innings over Diaz’s former club, the Buffalo Bisons. Meanwhile, at Trenton, Fleming hit a two-run homer off MLB pitcher (on rehab assignment) Vince Velasquez to power the Thunder to a 6-3 victory over the Reading Fightin Phils.
Speaking of organizational depth, Mason Williams has cleared waivers and was outrighted to SWB. It is a chance for Williams to make a case for redemption. The one dude who I hope isn’t outrighted to SWB is Chris Carter. I am ready for him to collect a paycheck elsewhere although the Yankees will be paying him good money for the rest of the year to do whatever he desires. Maybe some time at a batting cage, mixed in with some fielding lessons might be a good idea.
Justus Sheffield has been placed on the DL by the Double-A Trenton Thunder. Sheffield is dealing with a strained oblique and adds to the number of medically-impaired Yankees. Mike Ford, the next first baseman on the food chain (Triple A), is dealing with a hamstring injury and hoping to avoid the DL.
Of the trade possibilities, I am very intrigued at the prospect Marcus Stroman may be available if the Blue Jays become sellers at the trading deadline. Trading within the division is always very difficult (although the Yankees do not seem to have a problem giving relievers to the Baltimore Orioles). But if GM Brian Cashman could pull it off, Stroman would be a very popular guy in the Bronx. The 26-year-old righty is not too much bigger than Ronald Torreyes at 5’8″ but he is one of the best arms in the AL East. This year, he is 8-5 with 3.42 ERA. He has averaged slightly more than 6 innings per start, and has struck out 87 batters in 105 1/3 innings. The Long Island native would easily become a fan favorite if he added pinstripes to his wardrobe.
Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-Getty Images
No All-Star Game for Didi Gregorius. Despite his awesome campaign for the AL Final Vote, the winner was Mike Moustakas of the Kansas City Royals. Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers was the NL Final Vote winner. I tried. I submitted multiple text and internet votes for Sir Didi. There’s no doubt he’s an All-Star. On the bright side for him, he now gets a few days off to prepare for the Red Sox on the other side.
Didi with his Mom
Have a great Friday! Let’s kick this weekend off right with a win! Let’s Go Yankees!
The dawn of a new day…
This is tough for me. I started my blogging on MLBlogs and consistently ranked in the Top 20 during my two year association with the site (for fan blogs). I’ve decided it is time to go to a stand-alone site, and just enjoy doing what I like to do…talk about the Yankees and whatever other sports topic that might cross my mind. This is not about trying to seduce other bloggers to visit your site to boost the popularity numbers. Hopefully, there will be key words or tags that lead people to my new site (http://scofid23.blogspot.com/).
I have truly enjoyed the blogging community regardless of what service you subscribe to. People who like to write are a very passionate crew, and there is definitely a strong camaraderie that exists among the “family”. Maybe nobody ever reads this blog, but is that really the point? Everyone has an opinion. I am no different than anyone else. I like to write, and this is my release.
Well, this is a sports-related blog so let’s get it going…
A huge week ahead…
This is a very crucial week for the Yankees as the trading deadline approaches. Of course, I always feel like there needs to be a caveat attached to the July trading deadline as teams still have to the end of August to make trades albeit subject to the waivers process. Yeah, like Evan Longoria is going to clear waivers. Granted, there’s no way the Rays would be foolish enough to trade Longoria but you get the picture.
I still think if the Yankees make a move for a frontline pitcher, it will be a potential trade that we’ve heard nothing about. There is no way that Ubaldo Jimenez is going to find his way to the Bronx. I really don’t think the Colorado Rockies are motivated to make the move, plus I don’t think the Yankees would be willing to part with the talent that would be necessary to swing the deal. At this point, I am not expected a frontline pitcher although I realize that is probably the only hope for the Yankees chances to compete for their 28th World Championship. They have a good team, but not good enough to advance past the Boston Red Sox or the Texas Rangers in a short series.
You could say that this week will determine the fate of GM Brian Cashman, who’s contract expires at the end of the season. He is in a tough spot as no team is going to hand him an ace, and if he fails to advance in October, there will be a press conference to announce him as some other team’s new GM in the off-season.
I am glad to hear that 3B Eric Chavez is about to come off the DL. With Alex Rodriguez still a few weeks away, it will be nice to have Chavez in the lineup…even on a part time basis with Eduardo Nunez. I like Brandon Laird but his day will come. For now, it’s time for him to go back down to Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
Down, set, 244, 244, hut, hut…
I am glad the NFL has finally settled their differences with the Players Association. Granted, there was no way that either side was going to pass up huge pay days, but it sucks for us fans that they put us through the lockout for the past few months. As a Vikings fan, it is the end of July and I don’t know if WR Sidney Rice will be wearing purple or catching TD passes from some other team’s QB this fall. The most experienced QB on the roster is a one year veteran (Joe Webb) who was originally drafted as a WR after playing QB in college. I am a Christian Ponder fan but I don’t want Ponder to start until he is ready. I would definitely prefer a stopgap at QB until Ponder is ready to take over, so I am okay with a signing of Matt Hasselbeck or a trade for Donovan McNabb. But, as Brett Favre rumors re-surface, I really don’t want to see #4 back on the sidelines for a third season.
I am excited about this football season. I’ve been a Vikings fan all my life, but I’ve never attended a home game. I’ve seen the Vikings play on the road over the years, but I wasn’t raised in Minnesota and hadn’t lived in the state until last week. Work brought me to Minneapolis, so I am now within walking distance of the Metrodome. Rest assured that I’ll be attending my first Vikings home game this fall. Skol Vikings!
Have a great week, everyone!