The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


After Hanley and Pablo, a look at the AL East

Hanley Ramirez

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and the Red Sox have most certainly stolen the baseball headlines heading into the holiday (we’ll see if that changes in the next 24 hours). Here’s a quick look at the state of the American League East at this point in the offseason. Two teams have made big additions, one seems to be going the other direction, and two are still waiting to make significant noise.

ph_592518 ph_430945ORIOLES
Last year: 96-66
Key players lost: Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz are free agents after playing key roles in what was an explosive offense. The Orioles have also lost Delmon Young, who was a useful part-timer.
Early additions: Shortstop J.J. Hardy signed a contract extension before he hit the market
Not exactly a transaction: Catcher Matt Wieters should be healthy after missing most of this season.
Money issue: The Orioles have a ton of used-to-be-young players who are hitting arbitration.
One key need: Reports indicate the Orioles are trying to bring back Markakis, but right now they have no set right fielder. They could use some power without Cruz and after Chris Davis had a down year.
Worth mentioning: Reliever Andrew Miller pitched in 23 games after coming to the Orioles in a mid-season trade. Not exactly a key part of their full season, but certainly a key piece down the stretch. That’s another free agent to replace.

Ellsbury TanakaYANKEES
Last year: 84-78
Key players lost: Derek Jeter’s retirement is the big-picture loss, but Dave Robertson’s free agency might be the bigger issue. The Yankees also came to rely on mid-season additions Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy. Oh, and Hiroki Kuroda might retire.
Early additions: Lefty Justin Wilson and fourth outfielder Chris Young are on board as role players.
Not exactly a transaction: Obviously the return of Alex Rodriguez will be among the most significant roster changes for next season. Also, Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia should return from injuries, but there’s no not-exactly-a-transaction player move quite like the return of A-Rod.
Money issue: The Yankees are indicating that they don’t plan to go after the biggest names on the market, but we’ll see if they have a big-money surprise up their sleeve for either Jon Lester or Max Scherzer?
One key need: The Yankees have been clear that shortstop is their priority, but a rotation full of uncertainty needs some help too.
Worth mentioning: Nothing to write that hasn’t been written on the blog many times before. If this were any other team, though, I’d probably point out that health and veteran performance will be a huge issue next season.

ph_431145 ph_430832BLUE JAYS
Last year: 83-79
Key players lost: Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus are free agents; Adam Lind and Anthony Gose were traded away.
Early additions: The big signing was the Russell Martin deal, but the Blue Jays have also traded for young infielder Devon Travis, traded for reliever Marco Estrada, and claimed both first baseman Justin Smoak and outfielder Andy Dirks off waivers.
Not exactly a transaction: He was already in place, but the Blue Jays now seem ready to give prospect Dalton Pompey at least a chance to win the everyday center field job. Pompey is Canadian, just like Martin and just like third baseman Brett Lawrie.
Money issue: The Blue Jays freed up some money by trading away Lind and declining a team option on Brandon Morrow. They obviously took on some money by signing Martin. They don’t have any massive arbitration cases to deal with.
One key need: The Blue Jays could use an upgrade at second base, but mostly they just need a bat. And there’s room to add one, even if he’s strictly a designated hitter.
Worth mentioning: Toronto’s been pretty active this winter, and the team wasn’t awful last year. Are they one big move away from contending?

ph_446334 ph_450314RAYS
Last year: 77-85
Key players lost: David Price was traded last season; Jeremy Hellickson and Joel Peralta were traded earlier this winter. They’re aren’t players necessarily, but it’s hard to ignore the fact the Rays also lost their manager and general manager.
Early additions: Mostly just some young guys in those Hellickson and Peralta trades.
Not exactly a transaction: Starting pitcher Matt Moore should come back from Tommy John surgery at some point next season. That surely makes up Hellickson, but it doesn’t make up for Price.
Money issue: Catcher Jose Molina has been released despite being owed more than $2 million next season.
One key need: Well, they need a manager for one thing. For years the Rays seemed to be defined by their manager and their crafty front office, but all of that has changed considerably this offseason.
Worth mentioning: After years of holding on and beating up on the big guys without spending a ton of money, the Rays to be in more of a rebuilding mode. They still have a core in place, but it’s clearly an organization in transition.

ph_467055 ph_456030RED SOX
Last year: 71-91
Key players lost: The Red Sox shipped away a bunch of key players at the trade deadline, including Jon Lester. Craig Breslow became a free agent this winter, but that’s nothing compared to the mid-season losses.
Early additions: The Red Sox signed Koji Uehara to a new two-year deal, but the bigger splash came this week with the one-two free agent punch of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.
Not exactly a transaction: The Red Sox have yet to see a full season from Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo or Allen Craig. They technically aren’t offseason moves, but those mid-season additions could have a real impact next year.
Money issue: It seems the Red Sox are ready and willing to spend. The only question is exactly how far are they willing to go with their payroll?
One key need: At this point, pitching is their only clear need. They’ve thoroughly reloaded their lineup, but their rotation is full of holes and uncertainty. Do they really still have the money to bring back Lester?
Worth mentioning: Right now, the Red Sox seem thoroughly overloaded in the outfield corners, setting up the very real possibility that they could make a fairly significant trade at some point.

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 8:58 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Kennedy: What’s DiMaggio’s value in today’s open market?

Joe DiMaggio Marilyn MonroeJust because I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing and reading about the Red Sox making a big splash on the free agent market, here’s something completely different.

On Sports Illustrated’s website, Kostya Kennedy — who’s written a book about Joe DiMaggio — tackles the question: What kind of contract would an in-his-prime DiMaggio get today?

Today would have been DiMaggio’s 100th birthday, which is what sparked the topic, and Kennedy a great writer for this sort of thing. From his piece:

Along with all that DiMaggio is known for — his all-around intensity and excellence on the field, his 10 World Series titles in 13 seasons, his marriage to Marilyn Monroe, his indomitable hitting streak—he’s also known, in SABR circles anyway, for putting together arguably the most impressive six-year start to a career for any position player of his time or since. Better than those of Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle or Hank Aaron, kind of like that of Albert Pujols, and better, by a long shot, than what the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton has done in his first five years.

Why are those six years important? Because by today’s rules, a player generally has six full years before reaching free agency. Three years before arbitration, three years of arbitration, and then the open market.

From there, Kennedy works to compare DiMaggio to some more modern superstars. He accounts for defense, for championships, and for the superstar-creating impact of the 56-game hitting streak. I won’t reveal the number, mostly because it’s a link worth clicking, but on Joe DiMaggio’s birthday, Kennedy’s story is a fun one to read.

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 5:54 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Finding a shortstop in a thin field of possibilities

Derek Jeter

Wanted: One major league shortstop. Should be a plus defender and able to drive in runs at the plate. Anyone older than 30 need not apply.

Good luck with that.

As the Yankees go searching for Derek Jeter’s replacement, it’s clear the shortstop glory days have passed. In his annual position-by-position player rankings, Buster Olney essentially points out the complications with the current crop of shortstops, all of whom come with obvious warts and wrinkles. Olney’s choice for No. 1 was Andrelton Simmons, a freakish defensive player who had a sub-.300 on-base percentage this year. Troy Tulowitzki — almost certainly the game’s most talented shortstop — fell to No. 4 because of constant injury problems. No. 5 on Olney’s list? J.J. Hardy, who’s a really nice player coming off a bad year at the plate. He just landed a new contract, but would you have pegged him as the fifth-best shortstop in the game?

Even aging Jimmy Rollins nearly cracked Olney’s top 10. Same for drastically underperforming Elvis Andrus. Starlin Castro made the top 10, despite an acknowledgement that his defense suggests he should move to another position (“only slightly higher than Hanley Ramirez in defensive runs saved,” Olney wrote).

It seems we’re a long way from the days of Jeter, A-Rod, Nomar and Tejada.

So in their search for a new shortstop, the Yankees really are forced to choose the lesser of several evils. Any temptation to roll the dice with Ramirez — praying for health and hoping for a lot of balls hit to second and third — is now off the table, and so the search continues. The Yankees could try to trade for a young guy, gamble on his ability to perform at the major-league level, and hope he becomes a long-term solution. They could bring in a short-term veteran, hope for one or two productive years, and consider it a stopgap. They could prioritize defense, they could prioritize offense, they could take on a bad contract, or they could shoot for a one-year deal and go through this process again next winter.

There’s not necessarily an ideal solution out there. The perfect shortstop doesn’t seem to exist these days, and there’s really no perfect solution for the Yankees.

Associated Press photo

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 3:01 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Top talent signing quickly, here’s the best of what’s left

Chase Headley

Each offseason, it’s pretty easy to find free agent rankings. And it’s just as easy to, one by one, cross those free agents off the list.

These are the the position players who ranked among the top 25 free agents according to MLB Trade Rumors. I’m choosing their list just because, I don’t know, it’s just the one I picked, and the point is the same regardless of the source: It’s not even Thanksgiving and a lot of the top hitters are already off the market.

Here, I’m listing only the positions players — with their overall ranking on the MLBTR list — because it’s the position market that’s seen the most movement this winter. The pitching market really hasn’t done much. It’s worth noting that guys who might interested the Yankees — guys like Stephen Drew, Rickie Weeks and recently re-signed Chris Young — did not fall within MLB Trade Rumors top 25.

Here are the names initially considered to be among the best position players available. The top tier has been chipped away. How many of the remaining hitters truly fit the Yankees roster?

4. Hanley Ramirezsigned with Red Sox
Top position player on the market; also one of the most significant injury risks.

5. Pablo Sandovalsigned with Red Sox
Top third baseman on the market; solves infield issue in Boston.

6. Victor Martinezre-signed with Tigers
Top pure hitter on the market; signed through his late-30s.

7. Melky Cabrerastill available
Coming off a bounce-back season; Yankees not in the market for an outfielder.

8. Russell Martin — signed with Blue Jays
Top catcher on the market; turned resurgent season into five-year deal.

9. Nelson Cruzstill available
Coming off career-high 40 homers; Yankees are committed at DH and right field.

10. Yasmany Tomasstill available
The top international free agent; another outfielder who doesn’t fit the current Yankees roster.

16. Chase Headleystill available
Yankees showed immediate interest; strong fit as mid-season addition in 2014.

19. Aramis Ramirez re-signed with Brewers
Never truly a free agent; mutual option exercised to keep Ramirez in Milwaukee.

20. Colby Rasmus still available
Inconsistent but still young; Yankees have no need for another left-handed center fielder.

21. Jed Lowriestill available
Could be an option at second or short; offensive power was down this season.

23. Asdrubal Cabrerastill avaiable
Could be an option at second or short; offense is down but still 29 years old.

24. Nick Markakis -- still available
Seemed close to re-signing with Orioles; another outfielder who doesn’t fit the Yankees roster.

25. Adam LaRochesigned with White Sox
Left-handed power hitter; should split time between first base and DH in Chicago.

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 11:55 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

How the Yankees responded to Boston’s last offseason splash

Cash and Soriano

As details of the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval deals filtered through the internet yesterday, a friend sent this text message: “Remember when the Red Sox went (overboard) in the winter 2010? Traded for Adrian Gonzalez? Got (Carl) Crawford? Yankees responded with…”

The ellipsis was his own, essentially a stand-in for a question mark. His point was this: What exactly did the Yankees do the last time the Red Sox got incredibly aggressive during an offseason?

So lets flash back to the winter of 2010-11…

GonzalezWhat the Red Sox did: Most notably, they traded young talent for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford to a seven-year deal. Those two additions were in place before the end of the Winter Meetings (kind of like the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval deals this offseason). The Red Sox also signed Jason Varitek to one last contract, and they brought in Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler to add bullpen depth (in a relatively minor move at the time, they also signed Andrew Miller).

What others thought: At the time, the Red Sox seemed to have built a powerhouse. They seemed deep in the lineup, in the rotation and in the bullpen. Sports Illustrated picked them to win the World Series. Of course, we now know that the end result was a total mess, but at the time, it looked like the Red Sox were building a juggernaut and the Yankees would have to keep up.

What the Yankees did: It was actually a pretty busy winter for the Yankees. Trading Juan Miranda to the Diamondbacks was only the beginning! The biggest moves, though, weren’t necessarily additions and it’s hard to classify any of these moves as direct reactions to the Red Sox (except maybe one unexpected splash for a player who seemed completely off the radar until he was suddenly on the roster).

These were the Yankees major moves in the winter of 2010-11, the last time the Red Sox went on an offseason spending spree:

Jeter1. Re-sign Derek Jeter — This was essentially The Captain’s final contract. It was a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year (rather than exercise that option, Jeter technically signed a new deal for 2014, but it comes down to the same thing). Coming off a bad 2010, Jeter was given four more seasons. He gave the Yankees a solid 2011, a very good 2012, an injured 2013 and a disappointing but memorable 2014.

2. Re-sign Mariano Rivera — This was supposed to be Rivera’s final contract. He signed a two-year deal that would take him through his age-42 season (which seemed perfect for the game’s final No. 42), but after injuring his knee in 2012, Rivera decided to come back for a farewell season. Without the injury, the two-year deal signed in December of 2010 would have been a success. Rivera was as good as ever in 2011 and was off to a strong start in 2012.

3. Sign Russell Martin — This was the initial one-year deal, with the Yankees having Martin under team control for a second year because of arbitration eligibility. Martin had an OK season. He was an all-star and hit for power, but his batting average was down. The Yankees brought him back for one more season, his average dipped even more, and Martin left for Pittsburgh.

4. Sign Pedro Feliciano — This was a total mess. Coming off three straight seasons in which he led the league in games pitched, Feliciano landed a two-year deal with the Yankees, who needed left-handed help in the bullpen. Feliciano was, of course, injured by the time the Yankees broke camp and he never pitched a single inning for the team. Boone Logan, instead, emerged as the go-to lefty.

5. Sign Rafael Soriano — I remember this one quite well because I’m the one who happened to be on the phone with Brian Cashman when he finally seemed to lose his patience with all of the questions about possibly signing Soriano. “I will not lose our No. 1 draft pick,” Cashman told me. “I would have for Cliff Lee. I won’t lose our No. 1 draft pick for anyone else.” Within a few days, Cashman was overruled, a draft pick was gone, and Soriano was in the Yankees bullpen.

6. Sign Bartolo Colon/Freddy Garcia — Two separate signings based on the same idea. The Yankees knew they needed additional rotation depth, and they went looking for it in unlikely places. Colon hadn’t pitched in the big leagues in more than a year, and Garcia had been extremely limited in three of the previous four seasons. Of course, both wound up pitching well that year, with Colon in particular launching a stunning career resurgence.

7. Sign Eric Chavez — Once a star player in Oakland, Chavez had been hurt so often that there were questions about whether he could even handle a part-time role at this point. The Yankees took a shot and got a decent but predictably injury shortened year off the bench. It was the next year that Chavez returned to the Yankees and delivered a truly impressive bounce-back season.

8. Sign Andruw Jones — His second year with the Yankees was kind of a mess, which makes it easy to forget that Jones was actually really good in his first year. The Yankees didn’t finalize their deal with Jones until spring training — he had a locker before he officially had a spot on the roster — and he delivered a .286/.384/.540 slash line against lefties.

Nine fairly significant signings — even if one of them never actually got on the field — but it’s hard to label any one of them a direct reaction to the Red Sox maneuvering. Certainly re-signing Jeter and Rivera had nothing to do with Boston, signing Martin had more to do with internal concerns about Jorge Posada, the Soriano signing didn’t happen until more than a month after the Red Sox big additions, and the other deals were basically attempts at bargain hunting. Seems likely we’ll see more of the same this offseason as the Yankees seem poised to stick with their original plan rather than spend recklessly based on the Red Sox signing two players the Yankees were never really after in the first place.

Associated Press and USA Today photos

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 at 9:00 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Not for everyone: MLB announces record playoff shares

Jacoby Ellsbury, Derek Jeter

Every year, teams that make the playoffs. Those that do, get to share a little extra cash. And in this case, “little” is a relative term. The Yankees, of course, missed out on playoff shares this year. Shame, too, because it’s a pretty solid little end-of-the-year bonus. Just to think of what might have been, here’s the MLB press release on this year’s player shares.

A full Postseason share for the 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants was worth a record high of $388,605.94, while a full share for the American League Champion Kansas City Royals totaled $230,699.73, Major League Baseball announced today.

The Giants’ average share this year eclipses the previous high – which also went to San Francisco following the Club’s 2012 World Championship – of $370,872.53. Last year’s share amounts were $307,322.68 for the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox and $228,300.17 for the 2013 National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Postseason PrimaryThe players’ pool was formed from 50 percent of the gate receipts from the Wild Card Games presented by Budweiser; 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series; 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the League Championship Series; and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the World Series. The players’ pool was divided among the 10 Postseason Clubs: the two World Series participants, the two League Championship Series runners-up, the four Division Series runners-up and the two runners-up in the Wild Card Games presented by Budweiser. The 2014 players’ pool was $62,026,461.86.

The breakdown by Club follows:

World Series Champions
San Francisco Giants (Share of Players’ Pool: $22,329,526.27; value of each of full share: $388,605.94) – The Giants issued 47 full shares, a total of 9.65 partial shares and 17 cash awards.

American League Champions
Kansas City Royals (Share of Players’ Pool: $14,886,350.85; value of each of full share: $230,699.73) – The Royals issued 54 full shares, a total of 9.77 partial shares and 25 cash awards.

League Championship Series Runners-Up
Baltimore Orioles (Share of Players’ Pool: $7,443,175.42; value of each of full share: $125,288.04) – The Orioles issued 52 full shares, a total of 6.25 partial shares and 36 cash awards.

St. Louis Cardinals (Share of Players’ Pool: $7,443,175.42; value of each of full share: $115,480.62) – The Cardinals issued 54 full shares, a total of 10.32 partial shares and two cash awards.

Division Series Runners-Up
Detroit Tigers (Share of Players’ Pool: $2,015,860.01; value of each of full share: $31,543.93) – The Tigers issued 55 full shares, a total of 8.21 partial shares and nine cash awards.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Share of Players’ Pool: $2,015,860.01; value of each of full share: $29,844.65) – The Angels issued 57 full shares, a total of 7.825 partial shares and 29 cash awards.

Los Angeles Dodgers (Share of Players’ Pool: $2,015,860.01; value of each of full share: $31,542.85) – The Dodgers issued 54 full shares, a total of 9.65 partial shares and four cash awards.

Washington Nationals (Share of Players’ Pool: $2,015,860.01; value of each of full share: $29,418.13) – The Nationals issued 58 full shares and a total of 10.52 partial shares.

Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser Runners-Up
Oakland Athletics (Share of Players’ Pool: $930,396.93; value of each of full share: $15,266.43) – The A’s issued 53 full shares, a total of 6.42 partial shares and 18 cash awards.

Pittsburgh Pirates (Share of Players’ Pool: $930,396.93; value of each of full share: $16,555.58) – The Pirates issued 47 full shares, a total of 8.92 partial shares and one cash award.

Associated Press photo

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 9:57 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Done deal: Sandoval joining Ramirez in Boston

It’s a done deal: The Red Sox have signed Pablo Sandoval. Late last night came word of Boston’s deal with free agent Hanley Ramirez, and tonight it’s been confirmed that Sandoval is also joining the ranks. Our old friend Pete Abraham cites a source who says the Red Sox might not be done, either. Pete says the latest signings will not necessarily keep the Red Sox from bringing back Jon Lester. Here’s Janie McCauley of The Associated Press on the newest Red Sox third baseman.

Pablo SandovalSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Kung Fu Panda is moving to Boston.

Free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a multiyear contract, and the switch-hitting slugger informed the San Francisco Giants he’s leaving.

“Got the call. He is going to the Red Sox,” Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans said Monday.

Sandoval, the 2012 World Series MVP, had pondered an offer from the Giants worth close to $100 million over five years, a person with knowledge of that proposal said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no deal had been announced by the Red Sox.

“Yes, we have an agreement with the Red Sox and we’re on our way to Boston,” Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vasquez, said by telephone from Florida while about to board a plane to Boston.

The Giants said they were in touch Monday morning Vasquez, who told the club Sandoval would make a decision by day’s end.

The burly switch-hitter was beloved in the Bay Area, where fans sported panda hats in his honor — including a quartet of oversized heads on a few fans during the franchise’s latest championship run. His lasting memory will likely be the moment he leaned back on bent knees and raised his arms in triumph after winning another World Series championship last month.

Sandoval, 28, met with the Red Sox last week. After winning his third World Series title in five years with San Francisco, he indicated he wanted to retire with the Giants. He is coming off a three-year deal that guaranteed him $17.15 million.

Sandoval joins a big-spending Boston team that finished last in the AL East, one year after winning the World Series. The Red Sox will not forfeit the No. 7 overall pick in June’s amateur draft but will give up a later selection.

San Francisco will receive an extra pick between the first and second rounds.

The Giants now are likely to show interest in free agent third baseman Chase Headley. Sabean said when the season ended that Sandoval was the No. 1 priority before anything else got done to build the 2015 roster.

Headley, acquired by the Yankees from San Diego in July, could be an option to take over from Alex Rodriguez as the primary third baseman if New York is able to re-sign him.

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 7:55 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Mattingly on HOF ballot for 15th and final time

Hall of Fame Ballots Baseball

This will be Don Mattingly’s final year on the Hall of Fame ballot. This year’s ballot was announced earlier today, and it’s headlined by an impressive group of first-year pitchers as well as holdover Craig Biggio, who was two votes away from induction a year ago. Here’s the full ballot, along with an Associated Press story on the candidates.

The ballot: Rich Aurilia, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Aaron Boone, Tony Clark, Roger Clemens, Carlos Delgado, Jermaine Dye, Darin Erstad, Cliff Floyd, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Randy Johnson, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Mike Mussina, Troy Percival, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Jason Schmidt, Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, John Smoltz, Sammy Sosa, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.

920x920NEW YORK (AP) — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are among 17 newcomers on baseball’s 2015 Hall of Fame ballot.

Craig Biggio, who fell two votes short of the 75 percent needed in the 2014 balloting, tops 17 holdovers on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot announced Monday. That group includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines.

Johnson went 303-166, won five Cy Young Awards. The Big Unit struck out 4,875, second only to Nolan Ryan’s 5,714.

Martinez, a two-time Cy Young winner, was 219-100, struck out 3,154 and led the major leagues in ERA five times.

Smoltz is vying to join former Atlanta teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who were inducted this year along with Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. Smoltz had a 213-155 record and 154 seasons, the only pitcher with 200 wins and 150 saves. He was 15-4 in the postseason.

Carlos Delgado, Nomar Garciaparra, Gary Sheffield and players’ association head Tony Clark also are among the first-time eligibles.

Don Mattingly will appear on the ballot for the 15th and final time after receiving 8 percent last year. The Hall’s board voted in July to cut a player’s eligibility from 15 years to 10 but grandfathered players in the 11-15 group, which also includes Alan Trammell (14th year) and Lee Smith (13th).

Players who have admitted steroids use or been tainted with accusations of use have fallen short.

McGwire, entering his next-to-last year of eligibility, received 11 percent last year, down from a peak of 25.6 in 2008.

Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, dropped from 38 percent to 35 in his second ballot appearance. Bonds, a seven-time MVP and baseball’s career home runs leader, fell from 36 percent to 35. Sosa, who hit 609 homers, dropped from 13 percent to 7 and is close to falling below the 5 percent threshold for remaining on the ballot.

Voters are the approximately 600 writers who have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years at any point. Ballots must be postmarked by Dec. 27. Results will be announced Jan. 6.

Players elected, along with choices announced Dec. 8 by the golden era committee (1947-72), will be inducted July 26 at Cooperstown.

Associated Press photos

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 6:30 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yankees minor addition: Infielder Jonathan Galvez

GalvezBaseball America’s latest minor league transactions are out, including what seems to be the Yankees first attempt to add some upper-level infield depth. They’ve signed former Padres prospect Jonathan Galvez to a minor league deal (the move actually popped up on MLB.com’s transactions over the weekend).

Still just 23 years old, Galvez has a career .280/.366/.427 slash line in the minors, and he slashed .280/.354/.449 in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League this season. He played shortstop in the past, but it seems telling that most of his upper-level experience has come at second base, third base and left field. I was told that the Yankees see him as someone who can move around the field.

However, a scout from outside the organization gave this scouting report:

“Poor defender. Bad instincts. Bat plays through AAA. Not a (major league) guy.”

It would be easy to dismiss a guy like this, but Yangervis Solarte and Zelous Wheeler were also career minor leaguers at this time last year, the Yankees brought them to big league camp, and each one wound up getting time in the big leagues (Solarte, in particular, became a lineup regular and a huge surprise). Maybe Galvez has a similar trick up his sleeve.

Bottom line is, the Yankees need some infield depth, and Galvis can at the very least move around and plug various holes for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Hard to see him as a major-league option, though, unless he plays his way into that conversation.

A few other notes from the latest round of BA transactions:

Bailey• The other Yankees signing listed is relief pitcher Andrew Bailey. We already knew about that one. The Yankees agreed to terms with him a few weeks ago, bringing the veteran reliever back into the minor league system after a year lost to shoulder surgery. It’s a low-risk move that could pay off if Bailey gets healthy again. At his best, he’s been a very good major-league reliever. Kind of a quiet wild card for next year’s bullpen.

• Baseball America reports that outfielder Jose Figueroa has been released. Now 21 years old, he signed out of Mexico back in 2011 and actually had a decent year in the Gulf Coast League this season. He hit .290/.353/.419 while playing all three outfield spots. He was pretty old for that level, though.

• Other familiar names from this round of minor league transactions: Pat Venditte has signed with Oakland (we already knew that), Jeremy Bleich is with Pittsburgh (already knew that, too), Jairo Heredia and Corban Joseph have signed with the Braves (as Atlanta keeps gathering former Yankees prospects), Mikey O’Brien is with Baltimore, Brennan Boesch has signed with the Reds, Brett Marshall is with the Rockies, and Doug Bernier is back with the Twins.

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 3:44 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Dominoes falling quickly; is Headley next in line?

Yankees Rays Baseball

It’s not even Thanksgiving, and already four of the top free agent hitters are off the market.

Victor Martinez re-signed with Detroit, Russell Martin landed in Toronto, Hanley Ramirez signed with Boston, and Pablo Sandoval is going somewhere. Nothing official on Sandoval’s destination — some reports say Boston, others suggest it’s not a done deal — but his agent told Alex Speier that a decision will come today, which means Sandoval’s effectively off the market, whatever the destination.

What does it mean for the Yankees?

First, they never seemed to be in on any of these hitters. They don’t have space for a pure designated hitter, they signed their catcher last winter, and both Ramirez and Sandoval were the kind of high-risk, high-dollar deals that the Yankees would like to avoid (Ramirez in particular seems like a risky investment, despite his obvious talent).

What this really does for the Yankees is open the door for the next tier of free agents, the ones that seemed more likely for the Yankees in the first place. Three things:

1. Chase Headley is now the top third baseman on the market, and the Yankees have done little to hide their interest in re-signing him. For a while it seemed Boston might be the most significant competition for Headley, now it might be San Francisco. Either way, there’s now very little keeping Headley from determining his true market value and figuring out all of his options.

2. Whether Ramirez was a true shortstop is now a moot point. He’s off the market, and the group of free agent shortstops begin with Asdrubal Cabrera (assuming you trust his defense), Jed Lowrie (who also might be the best second baseman on the market), and Stephen Drew (who’s probably the best defensive option out there). The Yankees never seemed focused on Ramirez, but other free agents might have been waiting for him to set the “shortstop” market.

3. The pitching market really hasn’t moved. The biggest free agents on the market are starting pitchers, and there are big names emerging as trade candidates as well (Jordan Zimmerman, Cole Hamels, we already saw Shelby Miller traded). The Yankees have made it clear that they want to add at least one starting pitcher this winter, and they’d clearly like to add a reliever now that Dave Robertson is a free agent — relievers seem valuable this offseason — but while hitters have come off the board quickly, pitchers are taking their time.

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 11:44 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post


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