Archive for the ‘Misc’
Cashman raising awareness for homeless youth • 11.17.14
Brian Cashman has done this before, and he’s doing it again, sleeping on the streets to raise awareness about homeless kids. Rock solid cause, and good work by the Yankees GM. Here’s the press release with details.
New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and New York City Football Club Chief Business Officer Tim Pernetti will sleep on the streets of New York City as they join more than 750 leaders in sports, entertainment and business in a nationwide Sleep Out for homeless youth on Thursday, November 20.
This nationwide movement of solidarity will raise awareness for the plight of kids on the street and will begin in New York with a Candlelight Vigil in Times Square at 6:00 pm at the pedestrian plaza on Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets. The Vigil will feature inspirational performances by Broadway stars Audra McDonald and Capathia Jenkins.
“Covenant House is a place where homeless youth not only find a safe place from the streets, but also a place where kids who have had a tough start in life get a second chance,” Cashman said. “Covenant House provides job training, education and long-term housing — everything that homeless young people need to turn their lives around.”
“There are thousands of homeless youth in New York City, which is difficult to understand,” Pernetti added. “Covenant House gives young people a safe place to sleep, a shower and food — all the immediate care that they need when coming in off the streets. The organization then works with each youth on a plan for his or her future. I encourage everyone to sleep out or support one of the sleep out participants on November 20.”
“We’re honored to have Brian, Tim and all of these selfless sports and business leaders sleeping out as a unified, powerful voice for our kids at Covenant House,” said Covenant House President Kevin Ryan. “All of these leaders are selflessly using their amazing gifts to bring hope to the 1,900 kids who are in our shelters each night.
“November 20 will be a night when Brian, Tim, and people who care about kids all across the country will raise candles of hope during a National Candlelight Vigil and then sleep on the streets in solidarity with homeless kids,” said Ryan. “No one is saying sleeping out for one night is comparable to what homeless kids go through. But our Vigil and our Sleep Out will raise awareness and funds needed to save the lives of kids who are right now living and dying on our streets. It will be a powerful night of hope for our kids.”
Other executives who are sleeping out for the youth at Covenant House include Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman, owners of The Meatball Shop restaurants; Gail Grimmett, Sr., Vice President for Delta Airlines; and employees from the leading luxury home builder, Toll Brothers, who will have Sleep Out teams in Atlantic City, New York, Orlando, and Philadelphia.
Associated Press photo
Might have slipped your notice this weekend, so it’s worth pointing out again: Yankees first base prospect Greg Bird was named Arizona Fall League MVP on Saturday. He hit .313/.391/.556, while leading the league in home runs and runs scored. He was second in hits, RBI and total bases.
Bird’s always shown a pretty advanced and patient approach at the plate, but his explosive Fall League seemed to be a continuation of a power surge he showed during the regular season.
“I like to stay in the big part of the field,” Bird said during the televised interview above. “Stay up the middle. Just get a pitch I can handle and kind of go with it. I think I’ve learned that that pitch can come early rather than late sometimes. I think in the past I would get a little passive, but it’s always a learning process.”
Would he alter that approach if and when he gets in front of Yankee Stadium’s short porch?
“I think the last couple of years has been good for me as far as that goes,” Bird said. “Our Low-A team in Charleston, the wind blew in from right a lot of times, so you really had to not let that affect you. I just try not to think too much about any of that. Just go out and stick with my approach. It’s worked so far, so I’m going to stick with it.”
As I’ve written several times, it’s risky to make too much of Fall League numbers. Just a few years ago, another Yankees first base prospect, Eric Duncan, was named Fall League MVP — and he was in the Fall League with guys who were on their way to being legitimate superstars — but Duncan’s career stalled when he got to Triple-A and he never reached the big leagues. It’s up to Bird to keep this success going. He’s likely to open next season back in Double-A, but he could certainly be in Triple-A by the end of the year, and he could be on the big league radar by 2016.
“It would be an honor,” Bird said. “It’s always an honor to put on the pinstripes, (but) I don’t look too far down the road. I’m just looking forward to next spring training now, and getting ready for next year.”
Here’s a Jim Callis breakdown of the top prospects and top performances in the Fall League. He singles out Bird and Aaron Judge from the Yankees. If the video above isn’t working — the embed code has been hit-and-miss for me — then you can follow that Callis link to see the same interview.
Will Manny Banuelos be worth the wait? • 11.17.14
After the arrival of Masahiro Tanaka, the emergence of Luis Severino, the return of Michael Pineda, and the debut of Shane Greene, all other young Yankees starting pitchers are kind of a blur right now. They exist, certainly, but they’re a bit undefined.
Bryan Mitchell seems ready to help, but to what extent? Jaron Long had a great year, but is that sustainable? Ian Clarkin is healthy, but he’s still years away.
Somewhere in that blur is the Manny Banuelos, the once elite Yankees pitching prospect who was supposed to have a big league rotation spot locked up by now. He’s not exactly a forgotten man, but Banuelos now carries an unusual blend of buzz and skepticism; experience and uncertainty.
“He is still in the stage of where you have to watch him,” assistant GM Billy Eppler told Baseball America. “But he will be ready to roll in spring training. He will come in and compete for a job.”
Now two full years removed from Tommy John surgery, Banuelos could finally emerge as a big league option next season. Not so long ago, he was considered one of the very best left-handed pitching prospects in baseball. He’d pitched to a 3.59 ERA as a 20-year-old in Double-A, he’d jumped up to Triple-A and more than held his own, and he’d grabbed everyone’s attention with a few eye-opening performances in big league camp.
Then he had Tommy John surgery in 2012, missed all of 2013, pitched with a heavily controlled workload in 2014, and now he’s fast approaching his 24th birthday. He has fewer than 75 innings of Triple-A experience and has yet to make his major-league debut.
Speaking to Baseball America, though, Eppler said a lot of the same things that Mark Newman said at the end of the regular season. The Yankees were happy with the way Banuelos was pitching at the end of this season. His velocity was sitting in the low 90s and touching the mid 90s. He got stretched out a little more in instructional league after the season.
So what to expect from Banuelos next season?
Assuming they’re all healthy, the Yankees have Tanaka, Pineda and CC Sabathia locked into rotation spots for next season. They’ve also left no doubt that they’re planning to add at least one starting pitcher this winter, which would fill four-fifths of the rotation. Plus Ivan Nova is coming back at some point. Shane Greene pitched so well last season, he would surely be the favorite for that fifth spot until Nova’s return, and David Phelps seems in place for his usual swingman role.
That puts Banuelos in a group with Mitchell, Jose De Paula and Chase Whitley as sixth-starter candidates who are on the 40-man but likely heading back to Triple-A to open the season. Any one of those guys could win a big league job if the dominoes fall just right, but I doubt the Yankees will go into spring training expecting to carry any one of them. Any one of them would have to earn a spot with a combination of performance and opportunity.
It’s time for Banuelos to get a look, but he’ll have to define himself to earn a job.
Associated Press photo
Three pretty significant moves that should be on your radar today.
• After much discussion the past few days, it seems the Giancarlo Stanton extension is in place. Jon Heyman reports that the deal is essentially done. It will pay $325 million over 13 years, but that’s only if Stanton doesn’t take his opt-out after five years (maybe six years, it’s not clear). Stanton will get the no-trade clause that Miami has been reluctant to give in the past. Yowza, that’s a big contract.
• Former Yankees catcher Russell Martin is heading to Toronto. Peter Gammons reports that the Blue Jays have signed Martin to a contract similar to the one the Yankees gave Brian McCann. In case you’ve forgotten, McCann got five years, $85 million (plus a club option). Ken Rosenthal says Martin’s deal is five years, $82 million.
• Pretty big trade in the National League. Right around noon, the Cardinals and Braves announced a swap that’s sending right fielder Jason Heyward to St. Louis. The Cardinals also get hard-throwing reliever Jordan Walden, and they’re sending pitchers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves. This weekend, Bernie Miklasz speculated about the possibility of the Cardinals trading for Heyward (including Miller as a possible trade chip in the deal), and earlier today Derrick Goold wrote about the emergence of Jenkins in the Arizona Fall League. If you’re looking for hard-hitting analysis, my St. Louis friend Cory just texted me and said “I like it,” so there ya go.
• One less significant move, but one that should hit home a bit: On Sunday, the Cubs traded reliever Arodys Vizcaino to the Braves for second baseman Tommy La Stella. Not a huge move, but it’s on our radar because Vizcaino was the top Yankees prospect involved in the Melky Cabrera/Boone Logan/Javier Vazquez trade back in 2009.
Middle of November, and the Yankees have already handled a lot of the small things. What they’ve done so far:
1. Made a decision at catcher. Traded away Francisco Cervelli to open a spot for one of their young guys.
2. Found a left-handed reliever. Added hard-throwing lefty Justin Wilson to fill an obvious void in the bullpen.
3. Settled on a right-handed outfielder. Brought back Chris Young to bring balance to the outfield and power to the bench.
One way or another, those three things had to happen this winter. The Yankees couldn’t go into spring training with five catchers on the 40-man roster, they couldn’t go all winter without an experienced lefty, and they couldn’t ignore the need for a right-handed bat to fill time in the outfield. Done, done, and done.
It’s a solid start. It’s also small potatoes compared to what’s ahead. So what’s left for the Yankees to do? The big things, of course. As this third week of November gets started, here are six things the Yankees still have to do. You’ll notice the to-do list is twice as long as the completed list.
1. Find a shortstop. This is the penalty for not developing a shortstop during the past decade or so. The Yankees have to pick from a bunch of less-than-ideal solutions. They could (maybe) give up a ton of talent for a young everyday guy. They could give up less young talent to trade for an obviously flawed but experienced shortstop. They could sign a free agent hitter who can barely play shortstop, or they could sign a free agent shortstop who can barely hit.
2. Add another everyday infielder. This is the penalty for giving Alex Rodriguez an ill-advised 10-year deal. The Yankees technically have a starting third baseman (Rodriguez) and starting second baseman (Martin Prado), but because they can’t count on Rodriguez for anything, they have to find someone else to play ahead of him. Chase Headley seems to be the favorite for this spot, but he might also wait until Pablo Sandoval signs elsewhere so that he adds some leverage.
3. Build some rotation depth. This is the product of late year’s flurry of injuries. The Yankees might actually have a pretty good rotation already in place, but Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow is a ticking time bomb, Michael Pineda’s shoulder is a concern, CC Sabathia’s knee is surgically repaired, Ivan Nova’s coming back from Tommy John, and Shane Greene has a half-year of experience. The Yankees seem likely to stay away from the top starters on the market, but Brandon McCarthy might fit on the right deal.
4. Re-sign or replace Robertson. This is a direct reaction to Dave Robertson turning down the largest single-season salary ever given to a relief pitcher. The Yankees could certainly move Dellin Betances into the ninth inning, but that only leaves an opening in the eighth inning. What the Yankees need is rotation depth well beyond a closer. They had that this year, and they could have it again by re-signing Robertson or by essentially replacing him with someone like Andrew Miller or Luke Gregerson.
5. Hire a hitting coach. This wasn’t a problem when the season ended. It became a problem early last month when the Yankees decided to fire Kevin Long, who they’d long touted as one of the very best hitting coaches in baseball. After a disappointing offensive season, Long was let go in hopes that a new voice and new approach might spark new, improved results. But at this point, it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite for the gig. The Yankees need to fill another opening on the coaching staff as well to replace Mick Kelleher.
6. Make Rule 5 decisions. This is the big minor league decision of the winter. But by the end of this week, the Yankees will have to decide which eligible prospects need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. Tyler Austin seems to be the easy pick, but the other candidates are fairly complicated. Are Brandon Pinder, Mark Montgomery or Dan Burawa ready to pitch in the big leagues? Given all the outfielders already in place, should the Yankees risk losing Mason Williams to some other team’s bench? Is Kyle Roller’s bat worth protecting?
Associated Press photos
Week in review: Roster construction underway • 11.16.14
This was the week of the GM Meetings, which usually means a lot more smoke than fire. The Yankees, though, were fairly busy.
Most significant of the Yankees moves was the Wednesday decision to trade Francisco Cervelli to Pittsburgh for left-handed reliever Justin Wilson. The Yankees had too much catching depth and not enough left-handed arms in the bullpen.
“Power arm,” former Yankees catcher and current Pirates catcher Chris Stewart said of Wilson. “Can be erratic at times, (but) when he’s on, pretty dominating. He’ll be a good addition to their bullpen.”
By getting rid of Cervelli, the Yankees opened a spot on their bench for either John Ryan Murphy or Austin Romine. Murphy seems to be the heavy favorite, despite the fact Romine is out of options.
By adding Wilson, the Yankees found a missing piece for their bullpen. Doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of carrying one of the team’s young, left-handed prospects, but Wilson does give the Yankees a more proven commodity for that role.
• It was exactly a week ago that the Yankees finalized and officially announced their one-year deal with Chris Young. At the GM Meetings, Brian Cashman made it clear that Young will be the Yankees fourth outfielder and likely takes them out of the outfield market the rest of this winter.
• No surprise at all that this week started with Monday’s announcement that Dave Robertson turned down the Yankees qualifying offer. Three years since the system was put in place, baseball has yet to have a player actually accept a qualifying offer. Cashman acknowledged that he’s since met with Robertson’s agent and there’s still interest in bringing Robertson back on a multi-year deal.
• Cashman said this week that shortstop is the Yankees priority this offseason. The team also needs another infielder, plus some pitching depth in both the rotation and bullpen, but finding a new shortstop is at the top of the to-do list. The Yankees have talked with Scott Boras about Stephen Drew, and they’ve been linked to various trade possibilities, but there are no truly ideal options out there.
• A smaller name was signed to a major-league contract when the Yankees gave left-handed starter Jose De Paula a spot on their 40-man roster. The former Padres and Giants minor leaguer has never pitched in the big leagues, but he throws hard and could provide rotation depth (or possibly another bullpen option from the left side).
• Dellin Betances finished third and Masahiro Tanaka fifth in Rookie of the Year voting, but no Yankees appeared on any of the ballots for either Cy Young or MVP. Joe Girardi got one third-place vote for Manager of the Year.
• Still no hitting coach in place. Girardi said the Yankees are in no rush, and Cashman said the team is still sorting through candidates. For a while it seemed the Yankees might fill the position quickly. Now it seems it could take a while.
• Some significant international news this week: Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda pitched five shutout innings against a group of big league all-stars, Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada held a work out in front of various scouts — including some from the Yankees — and it was announced that Korean infielder Jung-Ho Kang is unlikely to be posted until after the Winter Meetings. Korean lefty Hyeon-jong Yang is expected to be posted on Monday.
• The Arizona Fall League wrapped up, and several Yankees prospects finished with exceptional numbers. Greg Bird won the league’s MVP award, Aaron Judge capped a standout professional debut, and Tyler Austin’s bat stayed hot after a strong second half. Austin missed the final week with a knee injury that’s not believed to be serious.
Associated Press photos
A few things worth having on your radar today:
• Yankees first base prospect Greg Bird was named MVP of the Arizona Fall League this afternoon. Coming off a strong year split between High-A and Double-A, Bird hit .313/.391/.556 with six home runs in 26 Fall League games. He’s expected to open next season back in Trenton and could put himself in the big league picture by 2016.
• Elite Cuban teenager Yoan Moncada has been declared a free agent, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. That’s the first step toward making him free to sign with a major-league organization. Moncada still has to be cleared by U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. For the Yankees, the faster all of this happens, the better. For the Yankees to have any chance of signing Moncada, the deal would have to be done by mid summer.
• Former Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano broke a toe while playing in a Japanese exhibition game earlier today. He will be sidelined three to four weeks, but the Mariners have said he should be fully ready for spring training.
• Another piece of the Rays is leaving Tampa Bay. Jeremy Hellickson was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks today for a pair of low-level prospects. “They could both be All-Stars,” D-Backs GM Dave Stewart told The Arizona Republic. “But from our standpoint they’re three or four years away from being major league players. We have an opportunity to get a good starter to put in our rotation now and go along with our plans for our team with the 2015 season.”
Here’s John Marshall of The Associated Press:
PHOENIX (AP) — Joe Torre was pleased with the first season of baseball’s replay challenge system, even if teams were not always sure what could be reviewed.
What the Major League Baseball executive vice president could have done without was all the on-field lingering by managers.
A successful first season in the books, MLB might look at tweaking replay challenges to prevent managers from stalling in the middle of the diamond while someone on the bench signals whether a call should be contested.
“When we first talked about challenges, if you got out of the dugout you couldn’t challenge, but I didn’t want to take away from the fact that the manager could run out there and argue,” Torre said Wednesday at the general managers’ meetings.
“I didn’t really plan on them meandering out there and having a conversation, but you live and you learn,” the Hall of Fame manager said.
MLB instituted a new replay system allowing a manager one challenge per game, another if that one is successful. Reviewable plays covered everything from force and tag plays to fan interference and home runs.
Though the new system was occasionally criticized for making long games even longer, most managers and players were pleased with the system — they just wanted the correct calls to be made.
But because a lot of the plays happen so quickly, managers would routinely go out to discuss a call on any close play to give their own video people time to run back the play. Some got carried away, lingering on the field, pretending to discuss the call with the umpires while awaiting word from the dugout whether to challenge the play or not.
Baseball is trying to cut down on the length of games, not add to them, so Torre said the rules committee has discussed ways to prevent that from happening.
“That’s one area we’ll do something differently,” he said. “I’m not sure what that is, but certainly we will eliminate some of that standing around because 10 seconds is a long time in our game.”
Length of games has been an issue in baseball for years and MLB is looking at way to speed up.
Baseball has been experimenting with pitch clocks in the Arizona Fall League, requiring hitters to stay in the batter’s box and pitchers to throw their next pitch within 20 seconds.
Some players in the league have complained about feeling rushed, but the games have been quicker, so MLB will take a look at possibly implementing some elements of the pace-of-play measures.
“This has been, just from all the evidence we have from the Fall League, a real positive as far as gathering information,” Torre said. “And that’s what we have to do in determining whether this will work.”
Baseball may also tweak the blocking-the-plate rule. The measure seems to have cut down on collisions and injuries, but has led to confusion on exactly what’s allowed.
Baseball clarified the rule late in the season, saying umpires should not call runners safe on a blocking call if the ball clearly beats them.
“Right now, we’re going to discuss in the rules committee and, along with the players’ association, see if we can make it a little clearer,” Torre said.
Associated Press photos
Random thoughts in the middle of November • 11.15.14
Just a few random thoughts on this Saturday morning after the GM Meetings.
• There are so many directions the Yankees could go in their pursuit of a new shortstop. In my mind, their pie-in-the-sky, best-case scenario is a trade for Starlin Castro — short-term solution and a long-term asset at a position where the Yankees have no prospects remotely close to the big leagues — but I have no idea whether that’s even possible. The Cubs have young, upper-level talent at the position, but that doesn’t mean they want to (or should want to) deal Castro. If they were to deal him, the Yankees certainly wouldn’t be the only team involved and it would take a lot more than Gary Sanchez to get him.
• The main reason I say Castro strikes be as the best-case scenario is because he fills the hole beyond this season (and I think he’s a safer bet than most of the other trade possibilities floated out there from time to time; more expensive in terms of prospects, but that’s the cost of doing business). Of all the free agents, I still think Stephen Drew is the best option because he brings a known quantity with his glove, and he could overperform with the bat. But signing Drew to a one-year contract — a popular idea for obvious reasons — comes with a significant down side: The Yankees would simply find themselves in the exact same situation next winter. Unless Cito Culver takes a remarkable step forward next season, there’s no one who’s going to suddenly emerge as an in-house possibility a year from now.
• Two reasons to expect John Ryan Murphy to be the backup catcher next year. The first is obvious: When Francisco Cervelli was hurt this year, Murphy got the job ahead of Austin Romine. And when it came time for September call-ups, Romine was initially left out. Clearly Murphy is higher in the pecking order at the moment. But I think this is also worth considering: What’s the point of sending Murphy to Triple-A? It’s nice that he has an option, and it’s worth noting that Romine does not, but that Triple-A job has to belong to Gary Sanchez next year. Having Sanchez and Murphy split time just because Romine is out of options just doesn’t make sense. Also, I wouldn’t entirely rule out the possibility of Romine clearing waivers at the end of spring training.
• Speaking of the Triple-A catching situation, don’t the Yankees now need to bring in some kind of Bobby Wilson-type veteran to stash on the Triple-A roster? I mentioned it a few days ago, but I really think it’s true. The issue isn’t what happens if Brian McCann gets hurt — might be worthwhile to see Murphy and Sanchez splitting time — but rather what happens if Murphy gets hurt? Would the Yankees really want Sanchez to come up and sit the bench at this stage in his development? Better to have some sort of veteran who could come up and play that role.
• I’ll be curious to see what the Yankees do with Mason Williams when it comes time to protect players from the Rule 5 draft. Williams prospect stock has taken a hit, for sure, but his combination of speed, defense and left-handed bat would surely intrigue several teams as a fourth or fifth outfield candidate. If left exposed, I think Williams would be a prime candidate to be taken in the Rule 5. That said, the Yankees roster is so overcrowded with outfielders — many of them left-handed and capable of playing center field — that the Yankees might simply decide to take that risk believing they could lose him and not miss him. I like Williams, seems like a good guy, but he might be in the wrong organization at this point.
• In the past week the Yankees signed a left-handed starting pitcher who’s probably going to Triple-A to serve as rotation depth, and they traded for a left-handed relief pitcher who’s almost certainly going to have a job in the big league bullpen. David Huff isn’t going to make a ton of money in arbitration this year, but those additions might increase the chances of him being non-tendered. Not at all a bad guy to have around, but maybe not the most useful way to occupy a roster spot at this point.
• Risky to put too much weight into Arizona Fall League numbers. There’s always a lot of offense down there, and the Yankees have personally seen some young hitters thrive in Arizona before completely stalling in the minor leagues. But I tend to think Greg Bird’s performance might mean something. He’s always had an advanced approach at the plate, and his power really jumped after his late-season promotion to Double-A Trenton this year. He’s going to have to hit a ton if he’s going to cut it as a big league first baseman, but he just might be able to do that.
• Yesterday, Bob Nightengale reported that there’s an expectation this offseason could see a flurry of significant trades. That makes sense considering the risky options on the free agent market, and teams’ not wanting to pay the massive contracts required to make a splash in that market. But are the Yankees going to be willing and able to get involved in that trade activity? They clearly want to get more production from their farm system, and trading away top assets isn’t going to make that happen. Would they trade Brett Gardner in the right deal? How much is Shane Greene worth after a strong half season? Is there a team that’s completely sold on Gary Sanchez?
• Last week I was an in-studio guest with the YES Network on Yankees Hot Stove. I’d done a few little TV appearances here and there, but I’d never done the in-studio thing with YES. I tend to ramble in those situations, and I still feel far more comfortable behind a keyboard and a computer screen, but I came away with a new level of respect for everyone involved in that operation. You can’t imagine how good Bob Lorenz is until you see it up close, and there were an incredible number of kind and smart people behind the scenes who talked baseball at a very high level and really worked to put together a complete and informative show. It’s an impressive environment over there. I honestly watch all of their shows with a different level of appreciation.
Associated Press photos
A few notes and links on this chilly Friday:
• At this point, Alex Rodriguez has probably done too much damage to ever restore his reputation or his status within the game, but Andy Pettitte has a suggestion: “Just get everything out,” Pettitte said last night at Joe Torre’s Safe at Home gala. “Everything has to be out, otherwise it seems like something’s always chasing you around. That’s just the best way to do things, I think, the easiest way to do things.” Pettitte came clean quickly after his own PED use was exposed, and that seemed to save his reputation as one of the game’s good guys. It’s one thing to have made a mistake. It’s another thing to stack mistakes on top of mistakes.
• Speaking of which, Joe Torre said last night that he does not expect Major League Baseball to issue further punishment in the wake of the most recent A-Rod revelations.
• Sick of A-Rod stuff? Me too. Today Newsday reported that Anthony Bosch told federal investigators that Scott Boras “orchestrated a meeting to help fabricate medical records and concoct a cover story to explain a failed drug test by Boras client Manny Ramirez.” That’s not great.
• Sick of PED story? Me too. How about the Yankees giant hole at shortstop? Of all the free agents on the market, I still contend that Stephen Drew on a short-term deal might be the best solution, but Joel Sherman notes that the Mets are also considering that option to fill their own hole at shortstop. If the Yankees can get a long-term answer — maybe Starlin Castro, for example — that might be a better solution, but that might not be possible. Of all the stopgaps, I happen to like Drew the best because of his defense and the potential to buy low on his bat.
• Another name popping up often in Yankees speculation is reliever Andrew Miller, who could be the best alternative to Dave Robertson. Of course, the Yankees aren’t the only team interested. Miller comes with no qualifying offer compensation, and Jon Heyman reports that no fewer than 22 teams have shown interest in possibly signing him.
• Add one more familiar face in Pittsburgh. The Pirates announced today that they signed A.J. Burnett to a one-year deal. It’s reportedly worth $8.5 million. He’ll get to throw to Chris Stewart and Francsico Cervelli (and maybe Russell Martin if the Pirate re-sign him). Burnett reportedly turned down quite a bit more money from Philadelphia. Really wanted to be back with the Pirates. I always like when guys do that late in their careers.
• Bubbling under the surface of the usual offseason wheeling and dealing is the unusual status of Yoan Moncada, a 19-year-old Cuban infielder who completed a workout for major-league scouts earlier this week. Kiley McDaniel’s been doing some great stuff lately, and at FanGraphs he goes into detail about Moncada’s remarkable situation. It’s unlikely any other Cuban player I can remember, and baseball’s rules for young international talent mean that timing is everything if the Yankees want to make a run at him. Moncada is, by all accounts, and elite talent in a fascinating set of circumstances.
• You’re forgiven if you don’t recognize the name, but the Braves have signed former Yankees minor league lefty Francisco Rondon to a minor league contract. Rondon was briefly on the Yankees 40-man roster, but he never made a big league appearance.
Associated Press photo