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


Pinch hitting: Al Sacco

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 05, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Joe Girardi, Jean Afterman, Brian Cashman,  Randy Levine,  Brian McCann,  Ashley McCann,  Hal Steinbrenner, Lonn Trost

Our next Pinch Hitter is Al Sacco, who is a staff writer for SportsoutWest.com and covers the San Francisco 49ers for 49erswebzone.com and 49ersgab.com. Don’t let all the 49ers stuff throw you. Al actually grew up and currently lives in upstate New York, where he’s been a lifelong Yankees fan. He has started to write about the team via freelance opportunities.

For his post, Al’s diving into the Yankees long-term commitments. And the verdict isn’t good.

Should the Sabathia, Teixeira, and Rodriguez contracts serve as a cautionary tale for Yankees?

In today’s financial climate, it’s nearly impossible to get big-time players via free agency in Major League Baseball without overpaying in both years and dollars. Recent history shows that the New York Yankees have not been shy about handing out big contracts like this, knowing that the return on their investments might greatly diminish after the first handful or seasons. This offseason, the team showed some restraint by not giving in to Robinson Cano’s 10-year demands, but they did not bat an eye at giving Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka seven years at over $20-million annually. In both of those cases, the team would hope to get big production early on, and live with whatever decline might come in the final years of the deal. For an example of what may lie ahead, you need to look no further than some of the recent big-ticket free agent signings the Yankees have made.

CC SabathiaCC Sabathia

Sabathia hit the free agent market after the 2008 season as one of the most durable and dependable starting pitchers in baseball. He’d made 30 or more starts in seven of eight Major League seasons from ’01 to ’08, but he was coming off of back-to-back years in which he threw 241 innings (’07) and 253 innings (’08) not counting the playoffs. While his track record more than warranted a huge contract, it was a gamble to invest years and money into a pitcher with that kind of wear and tear.

Despite any possible concerns, the Yankees didn’t flinch when Sabathia became available and made him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball with a seven-year, $161-million deal. CC not only didn’t disappoint from 2009-11, he arguably may have been the best free agent signing in the history of the team. Sabathia won 59 games during that three-year span and averaged 235 innings a year. He helped pitch the team to a championship in 2009, winning the ALCS MVP in the process.

With the first three seasons a rousing success and Sabathia able to opt of his original contract after 2011, the Yankees restructured Sabathia’s deal to five years and $120 million (plus a vesting option) as opposed to the four years, $92 million that had remained on the original contract. Unfortunately for the Yankees, the results haven’t lived up to the precedent that was set. At 31 years old in 2012, Sabathia made his fewest starts (28) and pitched his least amount of innings (200) of any season since 2006. When healthy, he was still pitching at a high level, however, as he won 15 games and had a 3.38 ERA.

After 2012, Sabathia had a minor procedure done on his elbow to clean out bone spurs and the surrounding area. While he would be fine for the start of 2013, the real CC never showed up. Sabathia was inconsistent all season, going 14-13 with a 4.78 era, which was the highest of his career. His velocity was down and he had trouble putting hitters away. He still made 32 starts and threw 211 innings, but the quality of those appearances left something to be desired. Now, the Yankees have to wonder what kind of pitcher they are going to get over the last three years of a contract that still has $71 million remaining. It’s entirely possible that Sabathia can bounce back, but it’s also possible that he is now a middle-of-the-rotation starter, making $23 million plus a year.

Mark TeixeiraMark Teixeira

CC wasn’t the only big name the Yankees broke the bank for after 2008. The team gave themselves an early Christmas present when they seemed to come out of left field to sign power-hitting first basemen Teixeira to an eight-year, $180-million contract. Teixeira, who would be added to an infield that already included Cano, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez, came to New York with a reputation for a big bat and a stellar glove.

The switch hitter averaged just under 34 home runs and 113 RBI’s from 2003-08. He hit over .300 twice during that span and won two Gold Gloves. Like Sabathia, Teixeira was as advertised over the first few years of his contract. In 2009, he finished second in the MVP voting and led the American League with 39 homeruns and 122 RBI’s. He also hit .292 and won another Gold Glove (his first of three with the Yankees). Teixeira was still very productive in 2010 and 2011, hitting 72 homeruns and knocking in 219 over the two campaigns. There was a disturbing trend that started to occur though, as his average and OPS dipped in each season (.292/.948, .256/.846, .248/.835).

Teixeira’s decline would continue in 2012, as injuries limited him to 123 games which would result in his lowest homerun (24), RBI (84), runs scored (66) and OPS (.807) totals since his rookie year. He hit .251, making 2012 the third season in a row he failed to hit for an average over .280, something he had done in every season from 2004-09. Whether it was declining skills or a tendency to try to pull the ball in Yankee Stadium, the once potential .300 hitter was struggling to maintain a strong batting average.

Things would only get worse in 2013 as Teixeira would miss all but 15 games with a wrist injury. All accounts are he will be healthy for 2014, but it’s unknown if he can ever approach his 2009-11 form again. The Yankees have to hope he can at least be a productive player as the team owes him $22.5 million in each of the next three years. That’s a scary number if Teixeira is no longer able to put up game-changing numbers at a corner infield spot at this point in his career.

Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez

While the final verdict on what remains of Sabathia and Teixeira may still be up in the air, there is no doubt about Rodriguez. A-Rod opted out of his already absurd 10-year, $252-million mega deal after his MVP season in 2007. The Yankees (who were ultimately bidding against themselves) responded by re-signing the 32-year-old to another 10-year deal, this one worth $252 million that included bonuses for performance and statistical achievements.

Rodriguez was coming off a season the likes of which no Yankees right-handed batter had ever had. He hit .314 with 56 homeruns, 156 RBI’s and 143 runs scored. His OPS was a league-high 1.067. From 2004-07, A-Rod averaged 157 games played, 43 homeruns and 128 RBI’s. After opting out and re-signing, those totals dipped to an average of 124, 26 and 89 from 2008-12. He eventually became an above-average third basemen with injury concerns as opposed to the dominant, everyday force he once was. The only saving grace was Rodriguez’s 2009 performance in the playoffs, in which the usually dormant postseason performer helped carry the Yankees to a title with timely home runs and big hits.

Now, obviously the A-Rod situation has turned into a circus, and no one knows for sure if he’ll ever play baseball again. The Yankees got 44 controversy filled games out of him in 2013 after he recovered from hip surgery. He would later be suspended for the 2014 season for his part in the Biogenesis scandal. In the end, the Yankees are lucky the scandal occurred. Had he not been suspended, New York would still be looking at greatly diminished returns on their second A-Rod investment and would still be on the hook for close to $90 million over four years. Now they will escape his 2013 salary and could come to some kind of settlement for the remaining $61 million.

Associated Press photos

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128 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Al Sacco”

  1. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:05 am

    If they make no more bullpen moves are they saying they are bold enough to rely on what they have and give them a chance or they are just not spending more money?

  2. blake February 5th, 2014 at 9:06 am

    “one thing on Drew: if he gets 3 years and ardo comes back next year they won’t want him at ss .despite 189 dead, frugality lives.”

    they are going to release or trade Arod before 2015…..he’s not coming back IMO

  3. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Yanks preach Defense yet are not jumping at Drew….must be the money.

  4. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 5th, 2014 at 9:07 am

    blake, please read my post in the last thread. I don’t want to hone in on the pinch hitter with non pinch-hitter stuff.

  5. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Blake

    They have Ryan, but they will take another utility infielder, unless Tex starts the season on the DH and Russ Canzler opens the season at first.

    So if not the speedy right hand bat of Nunez, is that going to be Sizemore, Adonis Garcia, Anna, or will they jump in and sign the Cuban-Diaz when he becomes a FA in a few days?

  6. Cashmoney February 5th, 2014 at 9:08 am

    pretty sure Yanks spent more this off season than 09, I don’t think they got nearly of the perceived talents in return. The cautionary tale is that while there will always be FA out there to fill a hole or two, the talent pool is diminishing , possibly more drastic going forward. You can probably assemble a team by buying everything in the future, but the price for premium talents is going to be exorbitant and the result might be far from ideal.

  7. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I do not believe the Yankees will be handing out any more 10 yr. deals to anyone over 30.

    Cano was proof.

    If he couldn’t get one no one is.

    The Farm had better produce over the next few years.

  8. blake February 5th, 2014 at 9:09 am

    “So if not the speedy right hand bat of Nunez, is that going to be Sizemore, Adonis Garcia, Anna, or will they jump in and sign the Cuban-Diaz when he becomes a FA in a few days?”

    I’d guess Sizemore over Nunie if he can play….

  9. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Mick-

    In Drew’s case I think money and years are the issues.

  10. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:12 am

    MTU

    Other than that I don’t think they want him.

  11. Cashmoney February 5th, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Nunie has the potential to be the best bat in this inf, I hope G gave him a chance to prove that. He is a gifted hitter with tremendous instincts on base and stolen threat every time he gets on. Just a wonderful player.

  12. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Mick-

    If his price was less perhaps they would ?

    We won’t get to find out.

  13. Ys Guy February 5th, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Well written, but this piece starts out with a question and then doesn’t answer it. it lacks conclusion.

  14. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Cash-

    Would love that to be the case.

  15. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Their thinking is that all players are crap shoots.
    Nunez is just as unpredictable as anyone else out there in his salary class or above.
    They, above all, seem to be looking for value….no caveat emptor here.

  16. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:18 am

    The Yankees are about 15 mil or so under last year’s budget.

  17. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Hal got the big names he wanted but is really rolling the dice with this team.
    This could turn out worse than last year if they aren’t healthy.
    This is still a team in transition.
    2 year plan?

  18. Cashmoney February 5th, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I would like to trade Ichiro. KJ and Nunie have enough athleticism to cover either corners.

  19. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Mick-

    He is. Hope he doesn’t get caught w his pants down.

    Next year is Bailey to replace Kuroda.

    Still need a good young SS/3b type for the future.

  20. Cashmoney February 5th, 2014 at 9:23 am

    The Yankees are about 15 mil or so under last year’s budget
    ——
    that money and money not spent on domestic ( 56th picks?) would probably go to IFA blowout later in July.

  21. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Andrew Marchand
    On deck for today, the Yankees are expected to go crazy in the international market. Story should be up around noon.
    ====================================
    Could be the trend of the future.
    Cheap labor, grow your own..

  22. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:26 am

    GGBG, Ellsbury, Heathcott (?)

    Tex, ? , Jeter (?), A-Rod (?)

    McCann, Murphy

    CC, Bailey, Nova, Tanaka, Pineda

    Next year’s Team ?

  23. Cashmoney February 5th, 2014 at 9:27 am

    you can argue the money not spend on what’s out there may garner better rewards in Cuban exiles (more immediate) or bear fruits in IFA draft blow out years down the road. It’s understandable if they want reallocated their resources that way instead giving drew or anyone else left on FA.

  24. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:28 am

    “Andrew Marchand
    On deck for today, the Yankees are expected to go crazy in the international market”

    Part of the reason they are not so worried about losing so many draft picks ?

    Keep flippin’ ‘em the bird Hal.

    ;)

  25. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 5th, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Should the Sabathia, Teixeira, and Rodriguez contracts serve as a cautionary tale for Yankees?

    Absolutely yes, and they came out and said as much during the off season. You make a very good case regarding CC, though I guess they figured he was a horse and his arm would last forever. (Bad figuring.) I can say that when they got Tex, I didn’t think they needed Tex. In fact I said they wouldn’t get Tex. But they obviously saw something in him – I am now wondering if what they saw in him was in fact illegal… – and things haven’t worked out quite the way they expected. With Arod, well I don’t know a handful of fans who weren’t ebullient when that clown opted out. I think I remember most here saying good riddance. But that one is up in the air and I don’t see the investment ever coming back.

    I find almost ridiculous fans who guarantee us that a player in his 30s will be worth the investment when he is 40. I don’t see a lot of evidence around the league that proves that “fact”.

    I was listening to sports radio during the off season and former players were ADAMANT that teams shouldn’t be handing out more than 4-5 year contracts to players over 30, with options added at the end. And those should be team options as well as player options, not merely player options!

    I personally did not think the Yankees should have given Cano more than 6 years -and not because I don’t like Cano. It’s because I like the Yankees more. Stop with these ridiculous contracts to players over the age of 30. They were willing to go with 7 for Cano, oh well. That would have had the Yankees stuck with a 2B likely in decline at the age of 38, but owning a position at a very steep price. But some fans wanted him to be given even more years!

    I say you don’t give out long-term, expensive contracts to players over the age of 30 that sees you stuck with them when they are 38. Stop the clock at 36, 37 stretching it, and do annual renewals if they are still highly productive.

  26. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Should never have passed on Chapman, Puig, Cespedes, Soler, Darvish, Sano.

    That’s a closer, two or three really good OF’er’s, an Ace, and a potentially good 3b.

    :(

  27. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Good post Al

    I guess the Yankees will see if the number of innings that Tanaka pitched , especially last year, will effect his long term success. Still have faith in Sabathia to adjust, and lefties are still gold.

    Tex-his Batting Average from the left side will most likely never improve to that near .300 average again. He is the victim of the shift and can’t / won’t try and go the other way.

    ARod-”When will he ever learn?”

  28. Cashmoney February 5th, 2014 at 9:33 am

    MTU, Twins had the inside track on Sano. I can’t say the Yanks pass on him as the others you list above. I think Hal is getting wise to the fact that the only time you might get a bargain in players that are in their prime is to develop your own or take risks in experience international players.

  29. blake February 5th, 2014 at 9:33 am

    trisha,
    i answered in the previous thread.

  30. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Cash-

    They need to be able to supplement who they aquire via FA.

    Farm needs to give us an OF’er and a SP over the next few years.

    Whatever we can get from IFA is a bonus as well.

  31. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 9:36 am

    MTU

    I believe the Yankees are around 203M, 25M or so below last years 228M. I think that included all projected player benefits and the rest of the 40 man salaries.

  32. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:37 am

    YT-

    They were at 192 before Tanaka.

  33. Cashmoney February 5th, 2014 at 9:38 am

    MTU, not rocket science, let’s see what shakes out this year. You can’t buy everything from FA 1. the goods might not be out there 2. Hal has a threshold as it is proven. you wind up robbing peter to pay paul and being mediocre.

  34. Benny Blanco February 5th, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Does anyone know what Darvish’s PECTO Projections were his first year? Curious.

  35. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Should never have passed on Chapman, Puig, Cespedes, Soler, Darvish, Sano.

    Probably, Could have had all of them for less than it cost them for the total packages of Ellsbury and Beltran.

  36. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Cash-

    Yes. Let’s. I’m pretty optimistic about the Farm.

  37. sommerjd February 5th, 2014 at 9:41 am

    And why should we care if they owe all this money for all these years? They just went out and bought some new players with long-term deals. So long as they continue to be willing to pay the price for free agents, it’s really not a problem. Yes, they obviously need to be developing new stars (and it isn’t their fault that Gerrit Cole is a star for the Pirates, is it? They waved the money at him, but he declined.), but they can’t afford NOT to be signing the biggest and best free agents they can. They made a serious error in letting Cano go although if they’d resigned him, they might not have signed Elsbury and Tanaka. When the team was bad in the 80s, nobody went to the games. But they have a cable network now and they need viewers. They have a beautiful and expensive new stadium, and they can’t afford huge numbers of empty seats. They’re boxed in a corner.
    So were CC, Teixeira, Burnett, A-Rod worth the money and long contracts? Of course. They won a World Series and made the playoffs repeatedly. They don’t win in 2009 without those three.

  38. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:41 am

    The question on Cano is:
    Do you sacrifice a chance at winning a slew of titles by all out spending at the expense of a back end load of a 10 year deal?
    Is it worth it?
    The average fan doesn’t care about Yankee costs and feel that titles pay for itself.
    Imagine this team with Cano still on it…

  39. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Benny-

    JF knows them.

  40. Cashmoney February 5th, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Yes. Let’s. I’m pretty optimistic about the Farm.
    ——
    Let’s spend more on farm. in quantity you might have more quality. I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I do think Yanks are starting going that way. The new CBA has really marginalized Yanks dominant advantage, they need their farm.

  41. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 9:45 am

    MTU

    Here’s the spreadsheet from Cots 194 with Tanaka, 205 with projected benefits, and what-another 10-11 for the rest of the 40 man?

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tpQLwiiQL4kzEzLhsUqVjLQ&output=html

  42. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Cash-

    They do.

    I am confident of a breakout of at least 1 or 2 guys this year.

    One of Banuelos/Ramirez.

    One of Heathcott/Williams/Austin/Flores.

    Sanchez w a good year at AA.

    One excellent reliever.

  43. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:48 am

    It’s obvious they don’t care about the luxury tax. It was just used as a cutoff point that they could use as an artificial cap if needed.
    In that regard it looks like the spending is over.
    Mission accomplished.

  44. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Not accurate YT.

    I was privy to a very accurate one.

    I’d say it’s within +/- a few Mil.

  45. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I am confident of a breakout of at least 1 or 2 guys this year.

    One of Banuelos/Ramirez.
    ————–
    Might they be one of the excellent relievers?

    I hope both end up in the rotation.

  46. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Mick-

    Mission is not fully accomplished.

    But you appear correct. It looks like they are pretty much done.

    You never know though.

    ;)

  47. Cashmoney February 5th, 2014 at 9:51 am

    let me put it this way, it’s really really hard to win or put together a championship caliber team from FA alone when you have a finite budget around 210 and is saddled with Tex, Rod sunken cost and to a less extent CC and Jeter. you are going to have holes with little in the ways of farm supplements in 14. That is the team we are seeing , the best of 210 mil can buy in FA.

  48. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I am confident of a breakout of at least 1 or 2 guys this year.
    =====================
    MTU

    No doubt this is Hal’s thinking.
    He is giving some here what they want in possible developing from within.
    Those who complain about it should be happy as this takes time and is in its infancy.
    Is there any reason to think that an owner who wants value wouldn’t want to develop from within?
    Never been the Yankee Way but it is beginning to happen, some just don’t recognize it.

  49. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:53 am

    YT-

    Same here but I can see the Yankees turning at least one into a reliever this season.

    Might even be Pineda if he can’t stay fully healthy.

  50. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Ramirez has Gagne type stuff.

    Very big FB and killer CU.

  51. mick February 5th, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I said this the other day but imagine what excitement a combo of Betances-Pineda and DRob could bring as a 7-8-9 team.

  52. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 9:56 am

    MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:49 am
    Not accurate YT.

    I was privy to a very accurate one.

    I’d say it’s within +/- a few Mil.
    ————-
    You’re at 213, I’m at 215. Mere Chump Change.

    “you say tomato, i say tomato
    you eat potato and i eat potato
    tomato, tomato, potato, potato
    let’s call the whole thing off”

  53. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Mick-

    The Farm must produce some pieces for the parent club.

    I think the disappointment on Hal’s part that it didn’t last year was evident.

    By spending they have reset the clock a little.

    Buying more time for the Farm to produce.

    He should have fired Newman. And seriously thought about Oppenheimer.

  54. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:00 am

    YT-

    You didn’t calculate in the LT bill did you ?

    213 – 189 = 14 mil x .5 = 7

    213 + 7 = 220

    ;)

  55. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Randy predicted that Pineda would be a reliever from the get go.

    Personally I hope he is wrong but I can definitely see his reasoning.

  56. mick February 5th, 2014 at 10:02 am

    MTU

    I keep coming back to Yanks in a transition period.
    This is a real culture change and Hal has been late to the party.
    He should have been more proactive on Darvish and the rest but finally seems to be getting into the deep end of the pool.
    Better late than never…..we have our whole life ahead of us. ;)

  57. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Yankees will be taking another very long look at J-Ram this Spring.

    Would not surprise me in the least if they wound up taking him North.

    They came real close last year.

  58. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 10:05 am

    On Preston Claiborne from Its About the Money, this morning.

    “Personally I don’t see Claiborne ever reaching D-Rob levels of dominance. Neither his changeup nor his slider are as good as Robertson’s curveball. But I think he’s got enough to work with to become a reliable late-game reliever, someone in the low-to-mid 3.00s in ERA and FIP who strikes out a batter per inning and keeps his BB rate in the 5-7% range. With all the uncertainty surrounding their bullpen this season and beyond, I think the Yanks would sign up for that.”

    http://itsaboutthemoney.net/ar.....s-ceiling/

  59. mick February 5th, 2014 at 10:06 am

    In fact, I can see a big push toward Betances this season with him in an early- Mariano role of the 7th and 8th innings.

    At least at times…

  60. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Mick-

    Sure thing.

    Better late than never.

    Hope he is learning as he goes.

    He stepped on Tanaka.

    Big cajones to make a move like that.

    He gets huge credit for that one.

  61. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:07 am

    ed: stepped up. Duh.

  62. mick February 5th, 2014 at 10:07 am

    The pen is the least of our worries with Girardi at the helm.
    I don’t see them clogging it up with a Putz-Nunez deal.

  63. mick February 5th, 2014 at 10:09 am

    He stepped on Tanaka.

    Big cajones to make a move like that.
    ==========================
    He spent on McCann, Ellsbury and Beltran a la George.
    He got what he wanted and overspent.
    Funny how those who want patience with the young, have none for Boss, Jr.

  64. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 10:11 am

    No, didn’t add the LT because it not calculated until the end of the season, based on the current 40 man.

    By then Tex might have waived his NTC,and accepted a trade elsewhere for a young shortstop?

    :)

  65. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Mick-

    I ate my full plate of Crow and humble pie.

    Made my apology.

    From now one Hal gets the benefit of the doubt from me.

    Evolution not revolution.

    I would have liked all holes closed. But we’ll see how it shakes out. He is taking a few gambles.

    Next year we add some more to the mix.

  66. blake February 5th, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I asked Davidoff about Drew and he pretty much said it’s about the money……appears Hal doesn’t want to add more payroll……so even though they went beyond 189…..there is still the budget

  67. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:13 am

    ed: now on.

  68. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 10:15 am

    From SB Nation

    The future Yankee at second base?

    Can this former outfielder improve on his second base defense in the upper levels of the minor leagues in 2014?

    Background:

    The Yankees selected Rob Refsnyder in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Arizona. Just prior to being drafted by the Yankees, Refsnyder was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 College World Series with the champion Wildcats. Refsnyder kicked off his professional career with the Charleston RiverDogs for 46 games immediately following the draft, hitting .241/.319/.364 with four home runs and 11 stolen bases.

    In his time at Arizona Refsnyder was used in the outfield, but questions over just how much power he’d develop as a professional player led the Yankees to draft him as a second baseman. The right-handed hitter was born in South Korea before being adopted by parents in the United States.

    2013 Results:

    Refsnyder was moved from the outfield back to second base where he played in high school during his first full season as a professional. His season began back with the RiverDogs, but it took only 13 games before he was promoted to High-A Tampa. In 117 games with the Yankees, Refsnyder put together a .283/.408/.404 batting line with six home runs and 16 stolen bases.

    The transition back to second base wasn’t a seamless one in 2013 considering that Refsnyder committed 20 errors at the position with Tampa and five errors before departing from Charleston. Those are certainly kinks in his game that the Yankees will be looking for him to improve in 2014 at a higher level of the minor league system.

    2014 Outlook:

    All things point to Refsnyder kicking off the 2014 season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder as their every day second baseman. If he puts up offensive numbers like he did in 2013 again this season and finds a way to stop throwing the bal away on defense, he could be moved through the system rather quickly considering the gaping hole the Yankees are left with at second base currently.

    The only notable prospect really standing in Refsnyder’s way is Jose Pirela, who comes with plenty of defensive concerns on his own. A strong season on both sides of the ball could allow Refsnyder to leap frog over Pirela on the depth chart and earn him a promotion to Triple-A before the season is over. The conservative guess for a possible ETA on Refsnyder would likely be late 2015, but being a player drafted out of college does give the team plenty of ability not to worry about keeping him at every level for a whole season. If he proves that he can keep up his offense and keep from being a liability on defense, it’s possible that the Yankees might give him a look for the starter’s job out of spring training next season.

  69. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I am not a Betances believer at this point.

  70. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:18 am

    YT-

    Katoh.

    He’s further behind though.

    Gumbs.

  71. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:19 am

    What about Adams ?

    Have they given up on him after last season’s disappointing #’s ?

    I was surprised because the one thing I thought he would do is hit.

  72. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Blake

    It appears then that the Yankees will wait until sometime in spring training to assess what utility infielders have impressed them, and if they have a need,it’s dumpster diving. By then Boras will have Drew signed.

  73. UpState February 5th, 2014 at 10:21 am

    MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:19 am
    What about Adams ?

    Have they given up on him after last season’s disappointing #’s ?

    I was surprised because the one thing I thought he would do is hit.
    ========================

    Think he went to the Indians.

  74. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Hike day today.

    Got to start getting ready soon.

  75. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Thanks Upstate.

    Didn’t realize that.

  76. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:24 am

    It would seem to make a lot of sense for the Yankees to get this Cuban for the IF.

  77. pat February 5th, 2014 at 10:25 am

    “A-Rod opted out of his already absurd 10-year, $252-million mega deal…”

    That contract wasn’t absurd at all. Yankees would be lucky to get that much value from all deal they make.

  78. pat February 5th, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, and Joe Castiglione to be Inducted into the @RedSox Hall of Fame in 2014

  79. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Still think they need a reliever. At this point, after looking at Francisco Rodriguez’ splits over the last three years , if you can sign the Boras client to a one year contract, he might be able to help. Better numbers vs lefties. What is his signature pitch?

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/.....-rodriguez

  80. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:28 am

    “•The Orioles will scout Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, an industry source tells Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The 26-year-old has batted .319/.383/.516 over the past five seasons in Serie Nacional. The speedy Castillo comes with experience at both outfield corners as well as second and third base. The Dodgers are known to have scouted him as well, but he’s yet to be cleared by OFAC to sign with a big league club.”

    Maybe we should get some eyes on this guy too ?

  81. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:29 am

    YT-

    Slider.

  82. blake February 5th, 2014 at 10:33 am

    MTU,
    adams is gone…..Cashman had some interesting quotes about him in the Marshand column yesterday…..said that he was just never the same after the ankle injury and never became what he was supposed to be.

  83. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Thanks Blake.

    Too bad.

    GB always liked him.

  84. Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Time to go.

    Have a great day everyone. Hopefully for those who have lost power, it comes back on soon.

    Winter is getting ridiculous.

  85. fuji February 5th, 2014 at 10:40 am

    “The Farm had better produce over the next few years.”

    mtu-

    to get change, you have to make changes.

    the yankees haven’t made any fundamental changes to the farm system.

    why should the results be any different than they’ve been.

    if they’re serious about a top notch farm, they need to totally blow the whole farm system up, fire everyone , and start over.

    with their resources is it possible to do worse than they’ve done ?

  86. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:41 am

    YT-

    Take care.

    Joeman is making a fortune in OT.

    Has been unusually cold.

  87. Ys Guy February 5th, 2014 at 10:45 am

    the boringest 2 weeks in the baseball cycle are the 2 weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

  88. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Fuji-

    I was very surprised when Newman in particular did not get the axe.

    Cashman’s contract expires after this season.

    We expected change. We got little.

    By spending they have bought themselves a little more time.

    In the area of pitching at least I hope GP will be an improvement.

    They’ve hired more scouts but the development side is still behind.

  89. MTU February 5th, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Y’s-

    Ain’t that the truth.

  90. pat February 5th, 2014 at 10:50 am

    AnthonyMcCarron
    There’s a crowd of pitchers, including Pineda and Phelps, getting ready to do some running pic.twitter.com/yjp6EwNnzc

  91. mick February 5th, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I don’t see Hal blowing anything up.
    It’s great to say it but it’s not happening.
    Cashman will be rehired.
    They are not and have no need to be extreme.

  92. blake February 5th, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Anthony McCarron ?@AnthonyMcCarron 3m
    There goes Michael Pineda! pic.twitter.com/1JXBB4tyFd

  93. pat February 5th, 2014 at 10:52 am

    AnthonyMcCarron
    There goes Michael Pineda! pic.twitter.com/1JXBB4tyFd

  94. blake February 5th, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Hal lowered payroll by 25 million this winter and gave the illusion to the fans that they spent tons of money…..brilliant…..all except for the part about having no infield and a thin bullpen.

  95. I am Brett Godner February 5th, 2014 at 10:55 am

    The lesson to be learned from this cautionary tale? If a player opts out, let them.

  96. mick February 5th, 2014 at 10:55 am

    blake
    how deep do you want this team to be?
    just like last year if jeter and tex go down, they are done.
    drew wouldn’t even be enough ;)

  97. blake February 5th, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Anthony McCarron ?@AnthonyMcCarron 4m
    Phelpsie pic.twitter.com/tfCNkwkMeP

    is it just me or is Phelps starting to look like Phil Hughes

  98. fuji February 5th, 2014 at 11:06 am

    “I was very surprised when Newman in particular did not get the axe.”

    mtu-

    hal seems like he delegates all the stuff he doesn’t understand. things like developing baseball players.

    that’s fine, except he doesn’t seem to have high standards for those he delegates to.

    i really think the people in the yankee farm system are just coasting, kissing up to hal, and are totally outworked by organizations like tampa .

    i’ve worked around some pretty good young players at the triple a level and it’s a fine line between making it and not making it. getting players over the hump from triple a to the majors is where the yankees really seem to flounder .

    for example, the rays totally completed chris archer’s development at triple a and got 23 starts at a low 3.00 era out him for 2013 in the majors. the rays completed this development by making archer throw noting but fastballs while getting hammered until he could get outs by commanding the fast ball.

    the yankees would have let him throw the plus slider and dominate at triple a with it saying he had nothing else to learn down there because he had a 2 something era. of course when he came up ,it would be like hughes and wouldn’t translate to the majors.

    archer was forced to get outs with his non plus stuff. yeah this is one example, but the fact is the yankees do not force their pitcher in the minors to get outs with their non plus pitches.

  99. blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:08 am

    “how deep do you want this team to be?”

    I’d like them to not have major question marks at all 4 infield spots…..

  100. Blojaldo February 5th, 2014 at 11:11 am

    blake February 5th, 2014 at 10:52 am
    Hal lowered payroll by 25 million this winter and gave the illusion to the fans that they spent tons of money…..brilliant…..all except for the part about having no infield and a thin bullpen.
    _____________

    Come on now. Hal didn’t suspend A-Rod. And he thankfully didn’t overpay Cano to create another financial, no-win albatross around the Yankee’s neck. What Hal did is add $475 million in payroll.

    It’s February 5th and you and I have zero idea as to how the infield or bullpens are going to shape up. There is spring training and the first third of the season to go through before we will know anything.

  101. blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:12 am

    “i’ve worked around some pretty good young players at the triple a level and it’s a fine line between making it and not making it. getting players over the hump from triple a to the majors is where the yankees really seem to flounder ”

    I tend to disagree….I think the Yankees have failed more at actually getting big league caliber players to the AA and AAA levels. The Yankees don’t have any Chris Archers in their system either…..now are the Rays a lot better at pitcher development? Sure…..the Yanks could learn a thing or two from them…..but the Rays are better than almost everybody at pitcher development so it’s not like it’s just the Yankees that struggle there.

  102. Blojaldo February 5th, 2014 at 11:20 am

    The Tampa Bay Rays have had three number one picks (as infirst pick of the draft) in the last ten years.

  103. blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:20 am

    “Come on now. Hal didn’t suspend A-Rod. And he thankfully didn’t overpay Cano to create another financial, no-win albatross around the Yankee’s neck. What Hal did is add $475 million in payroll.”

    no he spent 475 million….he didn’t really add anything to the payroll and for 2014 its going to be about 25 million less than last year. They essentially re-arranged the furniture with the payroll with regards to the money on it. Look I like a lot of the moves they made…..I think they are close to being good….which is why I think it’s somewhat short sided for them to leave big holes in the infield and bullpen when they have spent so much money, lost all their draft picks…..and blown up a budget number they have been positioning for for 3 years.

    “It’s February 5th and you and I have zero idea as to how the infield or bullpens are going to shape up. There is spring training and the first third of the season to go through before we will know anything.”

    if you think this infield can stay healthy and productive then ok…..but that’s more optimism than realism IMO.

  104. bigdan22 February 5th, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I wrote extensively early on in the off season that the Yanks had a conflicted front office. That is, there was a faction in the FO that wanted to cut the budget in the area of $40MM and take a shot at 189, even though that seemingly depended upon the uncertain occurrence that Arod would be suspended for a full season. There also was a competing faction that placed competitiveness over the budget and realized the Yanks would have to spend heavily in the FA market to compete in 2014. Straight rebuilding was not an option.

    Now that the offseason is functionally over for the Yanks, we can look back and see how this all turned out. Essentially we have the Great Compromise. Hal, as final arbiter, decided that while reducing the budget was a laudable goal, it could not stand in the way of the team spending to become competitive. But, in deference to the budgetary hawks in the FO, he would implement some spending reins. Reverting to the finance guy that he is, Hal has imposed a policy that spending must be tied to filling a distinct need. That spending to improve the team will not be accepted unless there is realizable marginal value in the expenditure.

    This is essentially the way it worked out: The Yanks coming into the off season had three distinct needs for which heavy spending would be approved: Catching, pitching and replacing Cano’s offense. McCann easily solved the catching problem. They needed 400 innings of starting pitching (like Cash has said all along) and they got that with Kuroda and Tanaka. If they missed on Tanaka, they would have gone heavy with Garza or the other big names left. Cano was tricky. Ideally they would have liked to sign him but they knew going into the offseason that was unlikely. So they did the next best thing. Since they couldn’t replace his production at 2b, they improved two other positions by signing Beltran and Ellsbury.

    So that’s it. They are done. Just like they’ve been saying for weeks. Holes still remain, for sure, but Hal does not see the options remaining on the market providing marginal value. Quite simply, the players still left are too expensive for their given worth.

    The Great Compromise of 2014.

  105. blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:23 am

    “The Tampa Bay Rays have had three number one picks (as infirst pick of the draft) in the last ten years.”

    so…..their 2 best players were drafed #1 and #3 overall in the draft. Now of course they have filled in a lot around them with players that were drafted later and that’s where they are so good and how they have managed to hang with the bigger market teams……but getting Price and Longoria helps…..and the Yankees don’t ever get those can’t miss guys like that to build around. Tampa hasn’t either lately…..we will see if they have overcome that going forward…..

  106. fuji February 5th, 2014 at 11:24 am

    “.but the Rays are better than almost everybody at pitcher development so it’s not like it’s just the Yankees that struggle there.”

    archer was a 5th round draft pick. the yankees most certainly do get guys like archer in their system.

    and why can’t the yankees be as good as the rays at pitcher development ?

    saying they aren’t is agreeing is actually with me.

    of course, especially with their resources, they should be able to figure out how to be as good as the rays at pitching development, if not better.

  107. blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:26 am

    As Ive said…..the Yanks arent’ going to go over the 220-230 million they have been at for awhile now…..so while 189 wasn’t realistic….they still have a number they want to stay within and the problem is that if they sign more players now it’ll make it difficult for them to stay within that range for 2015.

    They have like 160 million on the books for 2015 now for 7 players. Arod’s money coming back is a big issue and probably the most likely reason they do stop now if they do…..

  108. St. Pete Yankee February 5th, 2014 at 11:27 am

    The problem is not as much about the years of the contract as it is about the age of the player in the later years. For some guys, a two year contract is too long.

  109. blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:30 am

    “archer was a 5th round draft pick. the yankees most certainly do get guys like archer in their system.”

    it’s not about where they were drafted though…..it’s about what they turn out to be. Part of that is development…..a big part of it is flat out blind luck.

  110. blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:32 am

    plus the Rays didn’t draft Archer…..they traded for him. This is how they have offset their inability to get high draft picks anymore. They trade for the talent……they traded for Wil Myers and Chris Archer. The Yankees won’t trade their players that are close to free agency…..

  111. bigdan22 February 5th, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Yankee Trader February 5th, 2014 at 10:15 am
    From SB Nation

    The future Yankee at second base?

    Can this former outfielder improve on his second base defense in the upper levels of the minor leagues in 2014?

    . . .
    2014 Outlook:

    All things point to Refsnyder kicking off the 2014 season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder as their every day second baseman. If he puts up offensive numbers like he did in 2013 again this season and finds a way to stop throwing the bal away on defense, he could be moved through the system rather quickly considering the gaping hole the Yankees are left with at second base currently.

    The only notable prospect really standing in Refsnyder’s way is Jose Pirela, who comes with plenty of defensive concerns on his own. A strong season on both sides of the ball could allow Refsnyder to leap frog over Pirela on the depth chart and earn him a promotion to Triple-A before the season is over. The conservative guess for a possible ETA on Refsnyder would likely be late 2015, but being a player drafted out of college does give the team plenty of ability not to worry about keeping him at every level for a whole season. If he proves that he can keep up his offense and keep from being a liability on defense, it’s possible that the Yankees might give him a look for the starter’s job out of spring training next season.

    ——

    I pointed out a few days ago that, based his prior performance and him starting this season in Trenton, Refs is most def a potential option in 2015. In fact, while a longshot, he may even make the majors this coming season if everything breaks right. I didn’t understand why some folks were saying 2016 at the earliest.

    Refs is def a player to watch this year in Tampa. While reports on his defense don’t look good, he seems to have an actual hit tool and last year walked more than he struck out. I find that to be a very positive early indicator for prospects.

  112. blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:33 am

    The Rays take guys like Shields and Garza than they can’t sign and turn them in to Wil Myers and Chris Archer. The Yanks hold on to Robbie Cano and get a sandwich pick…….and then spend 153 million on Jacoby Ellsbury.

  113. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 5th, 2014 at 11:35 am

    “The problem is not as much about the years of the contract as it is about the age of the player in the later years. For some guys, a two year contract is too long.”

    Absolutely correct.

  114. Jerkface February 5th, 2014 at 11:35 am

    The Yankees will cut payroll from its high of 2013 despite the fact that they will receive, at a minimum, an extra 25 million dollars this season from the new TV deal MLB got.

    When looking at an offseason expenditure, its not the full price of all the contracts signed, but the commitment made year to year because baseball is a never ending endeavor with a requirement that the team spend each year on payroll. And with the Yankees, we could say that requirement should be quite high and continuing to rise due to inflation/growing revenues.

  115. blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:37 am

    When you combine the Yanks essentially never getting high draft picks and their unwillingness to make trade for young talent then it’s really not that hard to see why they aren’t producing players like some think they should.

    You can’t draft at the back end of the draft…..lose those picks half the time…..and not trade your close to free agency assets and then expect to have a great farm system……you’d have to get extremely lucky for that to happen.

  116. Blojaldo February 5th, 2014 at 11:39 am

    blake February 5th, 2014 at 11:20 am
    “Come on now. Hal didn’t suspend A-Rod. And he thankfully didn’t overpay Cano to create another financial, no-win albatross around the Yankee’s neck. What Hal did is add $475 million in payroll.”

    no he spent 475 million….he didn’t really add anything to the payroll and for 2014 its going to be about 25 million less than last year. They essentially re-arranged the furniture with the payroll with regards to the money on it. Look I like a lot of the moves they made…..I think they are close to being good….which is why I think it’s somewhat short sided for them to leave big holes in the infield and bullpen when they have spent so much money, lost all their draft picks…..and blown up a budget number they have been positioning for for 3 years.

    “It’s February 5th and you and I have zero idea as to how the infield or bullpens are going to shape up. There is spring training and the first third of the season to go through before we will know anything.”

    if you think this infield can stay healthy and productive then ok…..but that’s more optimism than realism IMO.
    _________________

    No owner or GM sits around in the winer seeking to add money to payroll! How do you criticize them for not doing that? You play it out and see who is available and at what price to address the needs of your club. The Yankees did that in spades and spent far more than anyone else did if you want to look at it that way. They did not think the infield choices out there were good enough or worth the price. And, I have no idea who is going to stay healthy and neither does anyone else.

  117. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 5th, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I’m one of the people who feels that the Yankees did not overpay for Ellsbury. Just FTR.

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