Archive for July, 2014
Just a few leftovers from a busy day…
• We already knew that Michael Pineda was scheduled to make a rehab start on Sunday, but Brian Cashman said today that the start will come with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “He’s coming back hopefully soon on a rehab assignment to give us more choices in the rotation,” Cashman said.
• Today’s Stephen Drew trade was the first swap between the Yankees and Red Sox since 1997. Cashman said making a trade with Boston is usually a non-starter, but it actually worked this time. “It’s a unique set of circumstances,” Cashman said. “One of our two teams has to be, one has to be in a playoff mode and the other – in my opinion – the other one has to be rebuilding to some degree. … I threw an idea Boston’s way when they started moving and shaking as much as they were. Once they declared themselves the way they did, I floated a text Ben Cherington’s way and we worked really quickly off of that.”
• We already know Brian Roberts is being DFA tomorrow, but the Yankees will have to make two more 25-man roster moves to accommodate the three new guys (Kelly Johnson is on the DL, so trading him didn’t open a spot on the active roster). Optioning Zelous Wheeler and Chase Whitley would seem to be the easy moves, though I suppose the Yankees could DFA either Brendan Ryan (if Drew is going to be the backup shortstop) or David Huff (if Esmil Rogers is the new mopup man).
• Roberts is going to just miss having enough at-bats for one of his performance bonuses to kick in. Cashman said that threshold is not the reason Roberts sat out the past few games. “Bottom line, it’s all just based on evaluations,” Cashman said. “We’re taking on money. I had to go to ownership to ask to take on money. Somebody’s performance bonuses — by doing deals where you’re adding to your roster and taking on payroll in a significant way — it has nothing to do with somebody’s roster bonuses.”
• According to Pete Abraham, the Red Sox are going to have prospect Anthony Ranaudo start tomorrow’s game at Fenway Park. It was supposed to be John Lackey. Also, Marley Rivera spoke to Yoenis Cespedes, who plans to be in the Red Sox lineup on Friday.
Associated Press photos
The basics of the Yankees at the deadline • 07.31.14
THE ROSTER MOVES
1. Acquire INF Stephen Drew from the Red Sox for INF Kelly Johnson.
2. Acquire UT Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks for prospect 1B/C Pete O’Brien and either cash considerations or a player to be named later.
3. Claim RHP Esmil Rogers off waivers from the Blue Jays.
4. Designate for assignment 2B Brian Roberts.
5. Unconditionally release minor league INF Scott Sizemore off of the 40-man roster.
Brian Cashman was very clear that he traded for Stephen Drew with full intentions of putting him at second base everyday. That’s despite the fact Drew has never played the position.
“As we went through our assessments internally with our scouting personnel, everybody was shaking their head, ‘Can he do this even though he hasn’t done it?’” Cashman said. “The belief system is that he can.”
Prado can play all over the place, but he best fits for the Yankees in right field, a position where he’s played a total of two innings in the big leagues.
“Right now Joe Girardi is lined up with a player who can play second, he can play third, he can play left, and we intend to certainly try him in right,” Cashman said. “We’ll see how it can fit, but he has the ability to play multiple positions.”
Rogers will join the big league roster on Friday, at which point the Yankees will have to make another 25-man roster move. He was working as a starter in Triple-A, so there’s at least a chance that Rogers will replace Chris Capuano in the rotation. It’s also possible — and perhaps likely — that he’ll be a new long man in the bullpen.
Drew is a free agent at the end of this year, but Cashman acknowledged that this could be a sort of audition as the Yankees consider shortstop replacements for Derek Jeter.
“Chase Headley’s a free agent at the end of the year, Stephen Drew’s a free agent at the end of the year, and both players, as they approach free agency, have the chance to experience New York and what that’s all about,” Cashman said. “And in the event that they enjoy it, and obviously if we have an interest, then I think it certainly creates the opportunity for us to get to know each other better and get a feel for this environment. We all get an advance look at each other prior to the free agent market.”
Prado, on the other hand, is signed through 2016. He could be a corner outfielder next season, could be a second baseman, and he could be a third baseman in the event Alex Rodriguez either can’t play or isn’t wanted to play.
“The fact that we have a lot of vacancies on this roster as we move forward, he becomes a valuable piece for us because he covers a lot of options as we move forward as an organization,” Cashman said. “It gives Joe as a manager a lot of choices on a daily basis as well as us as we move forward in attempts to secure talent. We have a guy that can go a number of different ways depending on whatever free agent options, trade options or internal promotions we so desire.”
One other impact on the future: The Yankees are putting top second base prospect Rob Refsnyder back at second base on a full-time basis in Triple-A. He was dabbling in right field as a just-in-case option, but that’s finished.
“I’ll have him focus solely on second base the rest of the way,” Cashman said. “I’ve been pretty consistent and reluctant to bring him up. I’d rather him play the whole year out and prepare potentially to take a shot at the roster next year.”
Cashman said he engaged in conversations about both David Price and Jon Lester, but the Rays and Red Sox were reluctant to move either player within the division. Getting Drew was a special situation — no huge impact or long-term talent going either way in that trade — but when it came to Price and Lester: “They were not moving them to us, period,” Cashman said.
What about a big bat?
“There wasn’t a lot of big bats, no,” Cashman said. “Everybody is looking for offense, offense in the game is down. The trade opportunities for significant offensive pieces weren’t plentiful.”
To some extent, Cashman said, even the biggest names in the minor league system were available, but only if the Yankees felt they were getting a true high-end player in return. The most significant players who moved today were Price and Lester, and the Yankees weren’t getting either of them.
“I’d say everyone is somewhat in play, without a doubt,” Cashman said. “But you’re right, there are some guys that if we were going to shoot those bullets, we needed to make sure that we had a significant return back. We were in play on a number of different guys. We made phone calls. We tried to be on a lot of the elite individuals that moved. … We played on what we could play on, and we’re excited by a lot of the additions. We’re going to be hopeful it will play up for us.”
Associated Press photos
Stephen Drew will be the Yankees regular second baseman, and Martin Prado is going to get the bulk of his time in the outfield, mostly in right field.
“We’re obviously trying to improve our offensive output and give Joe’s a lot of flexible options,” Cashman said.
UPDATE, 4:44 p.m.: Cashman says Rob Refsnyder will focus on second base the rest of the season in Triple-A with an eye toward making him a big league option next year. Still no plans to call him up.
Yankees get Prado from Diamondbacks • 07.31.14
Not done yet, kids.
Jack Curry gets the credit on this one, reporting that the Yankees have acquired Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks. Prado has played all second and third this year, but he also has outfield experience. He’s hitting .270/.317/.370, which is a down year for him. Prado is signed through 2016.
UPDATE, 4:21 p.m.: With Headley locked in at third base, I guess Prado will get most of his time at second and right field, maybe? Is there a chance he’s coming over to be the everyday second baseman while Drew becomes more of a backup, kind of a left-handed version of Brendan Ryan?
UPDATE, 4:24 p.m.: Steve Gilbert in Arizona reports that the Yankees are sending 1B/C Pete O’Brien to the Diamondbacks. Arizona will also get either a player to be named later or cash. The inclusion of O’Brien is probably going to seem stunning because he’s gotten a ton of attention for his raw power numbers, but there’s still quite a bit of uncertainty with O’Brien beginning with where he plays defensively and certainly extending to whether he makes enough contact for his power to play as he moves up. He has a .296 OBP with a .555 slugging percentage in Trenton.
UPDATE, 4:28 p.m.: The Yankees have announced both trades, and they’re exactly as reported. Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson; Martin Prado for Pete O’Brien plus a PTBNL or cash.
Associated Press photo
Edes: Yankees get Stephen Drew from Red Sox • 07.31.14
The Red Sox aren’t done dealing, and apparently they’re dealing with the Yankees. According to Gordon Edes, the Yankees have acquired shortstop Stephen Drew.
UPDATE, 3:52 p.m.: Even in the minor leagues, Drew has never played a position other than shortstop. You know who else has never played a position other than shortstop?
UPDATE, 3:58 p.m.: I believe Alex Speier was the first to report that Kelly Johnson is going to Boston in the deal. A few OPS numbers for this season:
Kelly Johnson: .677
Chase Headley: .669
Brian Roberts: .659
Derek Jeter: .657
Stephen Drew: .583
Drew is probably the best defender of the bunch, but he’s also never played anything but shortstop. Is he going to take over at second base full time?
UPDATE, 3:59 p.m.: While this news of the Drew trade was coming down, the Rays, Tigers and Mariners were reportedly finishing off a blockbuster. David Price to Detroit, Austin Jackson to Seattle, Nick Franklin to Tampa.
Scott Sizemore released • 07.31.14
The Yankees just officially announced the waiver claim of right-hander Esmil Rogers.
They additionally released Triple-A infielder Scott Sizemore, who had been on temporarily inactive and disabled lists. Sizemore got some big league team earlier in the season — and he’s shown an ability to hit left-handed pitching while playing second and third — but he’d been inactive for a while, and had almost certainly fallen behind Zelous Wheeler, Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder in terms of a possible big league call up.
A few things as we cross into the final hour of non-waiver trading:
• Just breaking from Jordan Bastian, the Indians have traded Asdrubal Cabrera to the Nationals.
• Also relatively new bit of news: Jerry Crasnick says the Orioles have acquired left-handed reliever Andrew Miller. That’s a pretty good arm the Yankees won’t have to face this weekend, but one that could certainly help Baltimore try to hold onto the division.
• As I landed in Boston, there was a momentary rumble that the Yankees might have traded for Marlon Byrd. Turns out, a fake Twitter account started the whole thing and it was shot down quickly. One team official texted to say simply: “Nope… didn’t get him.” Certainly sounded like a permanent answer — used the phrase “didn’t get” instead of “haven’t gotten” — but that’s probably reading too much into the phrasing of a guy just shooting down a bogus report. Anyway, it’s the closest thing to Yankees action so far.
• Actually, I take that back. There is Yankees action today. Jack Curry tweeted that the team has claimed right-handed reliever Esmil Rogers off waivers from the Blue Jays. Still fairly young at 28 years old. Gets some strikeouts. Ugly 1.69 WHIP. That’s in the majors, though. Rogers has actually pitched pretty well since going down to Triple-A and pitching out of the rotation. Is he a better replacement starter than Chris Capuano? A better long man than either Chase Whitley or David Huff?
• Remember outfielder Abe Almonte, the guy traded to Seattle a couple of years ago for Shawn Kelley? Well, he’s on the move again. Today the Mariners shipped him to San Diego in a deal for Chris Denorfia. Almonte was pretty good last year, but he really struggled early this season and wound up shipped to Triple-A. His minor league numbers aren’t great this year, but Almonte was hitting much better recently. Maybe he can hang out with Yangervis Solarte.
• Jayson Stark has sources saying the Rays are “close” to trading David Price. As if the day hasn’t been eventful enough.
Just a few things to have on your radar:
• Jon Heyman reports that the asking price for Marlon Byrd is awfully high, and I guess that makes sense. Byrd might actually be the best hitter floating through the rumor mill these days, and the Phillies have him under contract through next season, so they don’t absolutely have to deal him right now. The best reason to deal him is that his stock is pretty high, so I have to imagine the Phillies want to take full advantage of that inflated value. That said, at some point, the Phillies surely have to just dump everything and start over. One report out of Philadelphia says the Yankees are still a possible — but not necessarily probable — landing spot for Byrd.
• The Red Sox have reportedly shipped out another starting pitcher. Heyman says that John Lackey has been traded to the Cardinals. He was scheduled to start against the Yankees this weekend.
• After that Jon Lester blockbuster, the A’s sent left-handed starter Tommy Milone to the Twins for useful-but-not-exciting outfielder Sam Fuld. The immediate reaction seems to have been fairly universal: That the A’s gave up a pretty valuable commodity for a nothing special outfielder. That might come from a mix of overvaluing Milone and undervaluing Fuld, but still, I thought Oakland could have gotten more for Milone. What’s his Yankees equivalent? David Phelps? The Yankees could use an outfielder right now too, but I can’t imagine they’d give Phelps for Fuld.
• USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says “dominoes will fall” if the Red Sox deal left-handed reliever Andrew Miller. I wonder if those are only left-handed dominoes, or if moving Miller might start some movement for all relievers. The Yankees could be in that market, but I can’t imagine doing a deal with Boston to get Miller.
• Two big names that could be traded today: Jon Morosi says there’s growing chatter about David Price, who’s almost certainly not coming to the Yankees, but getting him out of Tampa could be significant down the stretch. Also, Buster Olney reports that there’s a growing chance of Asdrubal Cabrera being traded this afternoon. That would be an interesting target for the Yankees. There aren’t many ways for them to trade for a second base upgrade, but Cabrera might be one. And it would give him a chance to audition for a possible shortstop contract this winter. Disclaimer: His OPS the past two years is just .696. That’s not much better than what Kelly Johnson has done at the plate this season.
Associated Press photo
Deadline Day gets started with news from Jeff Passan, who reports that Jon Lester has been traded to an unknown team. Passan says, however, that Lester is not staying within the American League East. In fact, he’s heading to the West Coast, which suggests either the A’s or the Dodgers.
Quite the opposite of yesterday’s Orioles possibility, this is good news for the Yankees. It would take Lester out of this weekend’s series at Fenway, and it would send him to a team the Yankees won’t face again this season.
UPDATE, 9:51 p.m.: Passan says Lester is going to Oakland, the team that previously added Jeff Samardzija just before the All-Star break. Alex Speier adds that the deal is Lester and Jonny Gomes for Yoenis Cespedes, who’s a free agent after next season. Apparently the Red Sox are also sending money, and the A’s are giving up their competitive balance draft pick.
UPDATE, 10:04 p.m.: The A’s now have an insanely deep pitching staff with Lester, Samardzija, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez backed by Jason Hammel, Tommy Milone, Drew Pomeranz, and the injured A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker. Wonder if the A’s could flip some of that pitching to get a bat to thoroughly replace Cespedes.
Welcome to Deadline Day • 07.31.14
While acknowledging that the Yankees biggest problem has been their offense — a fact that seems pretty difficult to deny at this point — I’ve generally maintained that their greatest need has been a starting pitcher. I’ve believed that their offense could get better on its own if a few hitters would simply inch closer to their own reasonable expectations. The rotation, on the other hand, has run out of alternatives and can’t hardly afford to put its faith in Michael Pineda’s shoulder and Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow.
But after watching last night’s game, and seeing the games that came before it, it’s hard to think the Yankees can ignore their lineup as today’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
“You can look at it, you go on a 13-game stretch and you go five games over or three games over .500,” Joe Girardi said. “But every game that we lost was either by two runs or one run. And all but one of those games in this stretch was a two or one-run game on either side. If we get the consistency in our offense, we’re going to win a lot more.”
Something has to get this lineup going. Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran have shown some promising signs of life, and Brett Gardner has been unreal, but the offense is still unable to get on any sort of roll. Twelve runs one night, two runs on four hits the next night, and there have been a lot more of those two-run games than those 12-run explosions.
Would Marlon Byrd help? What about Josh Willingham or Ryan Ludwick? There seem to be a handful of impact starting pitchers available — and the Yankees certainly can’t ignore them — but the hitting market is relatively thin. Byrd might be the most productive name regularly floated through the rumor mill, and he’s signed through next season with a vesting option for 2016 (plus the Phillies surely recognize that Byrd has significant trade value right now, and they’ll want to take advantage of that to get something out of this disappointing season).
It’s also worth acknowledging that Brian Cashman usually does a good job of working quietly. Does he have an unexpected trick up his sleeve?
“I’ve seen this team play very well at times,” Girardi said. “Our pitching has done a really good job considering what we’ve been through. I do (believe this team can win without a trade). If we consistently score runs, we’re going to win games.”
But is this group ever going to consistently score runs? Of course it’s possible, but isn’t it also possible — or even, relatively easy — to get more power out of the right field position and more overall production out of second base? The trade deadline is just a few hours away, and as thin as the Yankees rotation might be, their lineup is in real need of a boost.
Associated Press photo