The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Archive for the ‘Misc’

Pinch hitting: Mitchell Bard01.26.15

Astros Yankees Baseball

Up next in our Pinch Hitters series is Mitchell Bard, an assistant professor of journalism at Iona College. He is a life-long Yankee fan who attended his first game at the age of 4 in 1971, and he still remembers it well: “the Yanks lost 1-0 on a ninth-inning, seeing-eye single by Sal Bando past the outstretched glove of Gene Michael,” he wrote, “but at least Bobby Murcer had three hits.” Mitchell has attended hundreds of games since and still has a Friday night Yankees ticket plan.

For his post, though, he wrote about why Yankees fans might not be flocking to the stadium quite so often this season. He calls his post: We had a deal, Hal.

Hal SteinbrennerHal Steinbrenner has to know that the Yankees’ business model of the past 20 or so years has been built on an unstated — but nonetheless understood — contract between the New York Yankees and their fans.

On the one hand, Yankees fans allow the Steinbrenners to monetize every inch of the Yankee world (short of selling naming rights to the stadium) without complaint. We pay higher prices for tickets and concessions at the new Yankee Stadium. We endure a new stadium that has a moat separating the 1 percenters from the masses, while pushing most middle-class Yankees fans into the upper deck. We turn the other way as every available space in Yankee Stadium, including the retro hand-operated scoreboards, is covered with ads. We pretend we don’t hear the PC Richard jingle when a Yankees pitcher strikes out an opponent, or the Modell’s theme song when a Yankees base runner steals a base. We quietly delete the mass of emails we get from the Yankees trying to get us to buy tickets for a lower-tier bowl game, a concert, or a soccer game at Yankee Stadium. And we willfully disassociate what we pay for cable with the enormous rights fees the Yankees collect from YES Network.

In short, we are on board with the Yankees making a fortune.

Why do we do it? Because, in return, the Steinbrenners agreed to keep one promise: They use their fortune to pay for a championship contending team on the field, year after year.

This wasn’t a charitable endeavor for the Steinbrenners. When the Yankees are winning, Yankee Stadium is filled and YES ratings are high. I don’t think the Yankees would be successful getting people to pay more than $40,000 for a season ticket to see a consistently .500 team — just ask the Wilpons about their equally new but underfilled stadium in Queens.

The Yankees didn’t spend on players; they invested in players. Big difference.

But Hal has decided to go back on this two-decade-old bargain. It started two years ago with rumblings that the Yankees would try to get payroll below the $189-million luxury tax threshold before the 2014 season. In fact, Hal said they would have done it if not for the opportunity to sign Tanaka. The pursuit of $189 led to short-term, low-impact contracts like those for Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner before the 2013 season. It meant going into the 2014 season with Kelly Johnson, Yangervis Solarte and Brian Roberts the options to man second and third base. Not surprisingly, the Yankees failed to make the playoffs both seasons, only the second and third time in the last 20 years.

But Hal, we had a deal.

Blue Jays Yankees BaseballHal loves to say that the results of the World Series the last few years show that you don’t need a $200+ million payroll to win a championship. That statement, taken on its own, is certainly true. But, in context, it is also disingenuous.

First, Hal cut the Yankees’ payroll at the exact time that teams around the league were spending a lot more due to increased local television revenue and limits in the CBA on investing in international amateur free agents and players in the U.S. amateur draft. Bad timing.

Second, Hal decided to change the Yankees’ spending habits cold turkey, not taking into account that the Yankees’ payroll was laden with bad contracts that were producing little or no value to the club (A-Rod, Teixeira and Sabathia combine for a more than $70 million luxury tax hit for 2015, even as they could end up contributing next to nothing on the field this season).

On Jan. 14, Hal said something that illustrates the problem: “We started out with a payroll that was already high before we did anything. We knew we had a certain amount of dollars to work with, and I think Cash did a great job.”

There are two big problems with Hal’s statement.

First, “high” relative to what? Not relative to what the Yankees earn, and not relative to where the gap between the Yankees and the rest of the league traditionally stood.

As of this writing, Baseball Reference has the Yankee estimated 2015 payroll at $213.9 million. The Dodgers, though, are at $264.6 million, and the Red Sox, who still have money to spend, stand at $181.4 million. The Tigers are spending $170.9 million, the Giants are at $160.5 million (and still could sign Shields), the Angels are at $146.6 million (and still have arbitration eligible players to sign) and Washington was already at $141.8 million before signing Max Scherzer.

No less than 15 non-Yankee teams are spending over $120 million.

So how is Hal keeping up with his end of the bargain? By spending $11 million more than the Red Sox (who, again, may not be done) and $50 million less than the Dodgers?

Second, why did the Yankees only have “a certain number of dollars to work with” this offseason? That figure is not based on keeping the Yankees afloat, but on an arbitrary number of how much Hal wants to make in profit this year. Kiley McDaniel wrote in November that a Yankee source told him the Yankees “could break even financially with a $500 million payroll expenditure (including luxury tax).” We don’t know if that number is precisely correct, but it is quite apparent that the Yankees take in a huge amount of income, and, again, the fans are a big part of that. So why does the budget have to be kept to Hal’s arbitrary number? So he and his partners can make more money?

That’s not the contract, though. To make the crazy money from the fans, the deal is for the Yankees to spend a lot of it on the field.

And are the 2015 Yankees better? If Andrew Miller is better than David Robertson, great. But I really don’t want to hear that they saved $2.5 million a year in making the swap. I don’t go to the games to see Hal earn $2.5 million more.

One last point: This piece is not to say the Yankees should have signed Scherzer or Lester or should necessarily pile more long-term contracts onto the roster. The dynasty teams didn’t just spend, they spent wisely (mostly). But there is a lot of gray area between the absolutes of Scherzer v. Capuano or Cano v. Roberts. Going into the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons, the Yanks could have spent more and spent wisely.

The bottom line is that Hal wants to charge Jean Georges prices but serve TGIF meals. But the basis for the Yankees’ ability to charge so much has been the team’s on-field success. Hal seems to have forgotten that part.

We had a deal, Hal. Live up to your end of it, or Yankee fans may stop living up to ours.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

On the 40-man: Branden Pinder01.25.15

Pinder1

Next up in our look at the Yankees’ players on the 40-man roster is a guy who’s somewhat similar to yesterday’s 40-man spotlight, Chris Martin. This is another tall right-handed reliever who could compete for a big league job in spring training. The big difference is that this Yankee was drafted by the organization, developed in the minor league system, and has risen slowly to the brink of his first major league opportunity.

PinderBRANDEN PINDER

Age on Opening Day: 26
Acquired: 16th-round pick in the 2011 draft
Added to the 40-man: Protected from the Rule 5 this winter

In the past: One of many college pitchers the Yankees have drafted in recent years, Pinder was drafted five rounds after Mark Montgomery, and has since passed Montgomery on the organizational depth chart. As an older prospect, Pinder opened in High-A for his first full season of pro ball and he got to Triple-A last season. Pinder is coming off another pretty solid year, but he was limited to 39.1 innings because of injury.

Role in 2015: With Triple-A experience and a spot on the 40-man, there’s clearly a chance Pinder could make his major-league debut this season. But he’s one of many who fit that description. It seems fair to lump Pinder in with Martin, Danny Burawa and Jose Ramirez. Could even group him with a 40-man starter like Chase Whitley, a lefty like Chasen Shreve, or non-40-man guys like Jacob Lindgren and Nick Rumbelow. Any of those guys could win a spot in New York at some point, depends on need and performance. Most like, Pinder is heading back to Triple-A to open the year.

Best case scenario: Pinder’s a really big guy and he’s had basically a strikeout per inning in the minor leagues. He’s not an elite prospect, but he’s not a non-prospect either. Every organization seems to have a few guys like this, and while the Yankees would probably be happy with Pinder simply solidifying himself as a guy who can plug a bullpen hole from time to time, the best-case scenario is that he emerges as a guy who keeps getting more and more opportunities in bigger and bigger situations. Future closer? Maybe not. Future setup man? That’s probably the absolute best-case scenario.

Worst case scenario: For several years, Pinder was in the shadow of his fellow 2011 draftee Montgomery, who established himself in the lower levels as the Yankees top bullpen prospect. Montgomery, though, lost some velocity and saw his numbers decline in the upper levels. Pinder has just 13 games of Triple-A experience, so the worst-case scenario probably involves him disappearing against that upper-level competition and joining the long line of relief prospects who never quite break through.

What the future holds: First year on the 40-man means Pinder still has three options remaining. He could shuttle back and forth between New York and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre every year from now through 2017, and even after 2017, the Yankees would still have him under team control. He’ll be an easy guy for the Yankees to keep around if he’s effective and worth the roster spot.

Associated Press photo

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Pinch hitting: Chase Madorsky01.25.15

Today’s Pinch Hitter is Chase Madorsky, a freshman at UCLA who’s from Livingston, N.J.. “Growing up,” he wrote, “baseball was my life, as I played rec-baseball through my junior year of high school, coached my senior year — a championship team — and even umpired to make money. My bedroom is plastered with baseball memorabilia and over 50,000 baseball cards, but the only thing stronger than my love of the game is my love of the Yankees.” Chase said that attending Game 2 of the 2003 World Series was one of the defining memories of his childhood, and participating in the sixth-inning Yankees trivia at the stadium remains one of the greatest moments of his life. He’d like to go into sports journalism or some sort of broadcasting after college. For now, his guest post is about a day of tragedy becoming a day of happiness.

large_thump_munson-1Being born in 1996, the only sports “Captain” who has ever mattered to me is the man I spent my entire life watching at shortstop, the one and only Derek Jeter. Yet four decades ago, another young man from New Jersey — my father Michael — worshiped the man he knew to be “The Captain,” Yankees catcher Thurman Munson.

Debuting with the Yankees in 1969, Munson made his mark immediately in the Bronx. He won the 1970 Rookie of the Year award, the 1976 American League Most Valuable Player award, and he was named the first Yankees captain since the Iron Horse himself, Lou Gehrig. Munson was known for his grit — taking part in a now legendary brawl with Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, his rival and All-Star Game contemporary — outstanding defensive skills, and his ability to play through injury. Yet in Yankees lure, Munson will be forever remembered for bringing the Commissioner’s Trophy back to Yankee Stadium in 1977, and then again in 1978.

Yet, for all of his outstanding attributes, what stood out about Munson more than anything was his dedication to his family. By 1979, Munson made his desire to be traded to the Cleveland Indians public. He wanted to spend more time with his wife Diana and their three children. It was this intense love for his family that led Munson to obtain a pilot’s license, and on August 2, 1979, Munson was practicing takeoffs at the Akron-Canton airport so that he could fly home to his family on off days. On his third landing, the plane Munson was piloting clipped a tree, causing the aircraft to fall short of the runway and burst into flames. Just like that, the man who had come to embody the Yankees’ dynasty of the 1970s was no more.

For a 13-year-old kid spending the summer at Camp Scatico in Elizaville, N.Y., news of his hero’s death was devastating to my father. This was the man that my father had worn number 15 in honor of his entire life — he would later pass that number on to his sons — and August 2 soon became what my dad would describe as, “the worst day of the year.”

Munson’s memory never left my father. He even went so far as to name our first dog Munson. For 17 years, August 2 represented the saddest day of my father’s childhood, as the death of an idol is never easy to take, especially for a teenager.

Yet out of sadness came hope.

In 1996, my parents found out they were pregnant with their first child, and that the baby would be due in early August.

As if on cue, I was born August 2, 1996, 17 years to the date after Munson’s accident. What was formerly a day of sadness turned into what my dad now calls the happiest moment of his life, as not only would he be able to celebrate the day his son came into the world each year, but he would get to do so knowing that his grief over his hero’s death could be put to rest.

To my family, Thurman Munson had more of an impact than Munson himself could have ever known. Aside from the noticeable tribute of every recreational and travel baseball jersey I have ever worn bearing the number 15, Munson showed my father how to play the game of baseball the right way, and he sparked that initial love of America’s past time that I proudly carry on today. Munson embodied what a captain should be, and although it ultimately cost him his life, he taught fans across the country life’s most important lesson: family comes first.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Week in review: Longevity a key issue as Yankees go forward01.24.15

Mariano Rivera

Didn’t really expect to run a Mariano Rivera post as part of this year’s Pinch Hitters series, but I actually thought Mark’s post this morning carried some weight this winter.

Mark wrote about Rivera’s longevity, and as the Yankees look ahead to the 2015 season, longevity just might be their biggest issue. Their major investments this offseason were four-year deals with Andrew Miller and Chase Headley, but their most significant investments remain the multi-year contracts signed during past offseasons.

The longevity of Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia — their ability to remain productive, or become productive again, late in their careers — will be key to the Yankees season.

Andy Pettitte found a way to do it. Derek Jeter did it until the very end. Rivera, as Mark noted, did it consistently from start to finish.

A post about Mariano Rivera might not have seemed like a strong fit for this offseason, but a post about longevity and late-career consistency absolutely fits with the Yankees current roster.

As for the major Yankees events of the past week…

Max Scherzer, Matt Williams, Mike Rizzo• The big news of the week was the signing of Max Scherzer to a seven-year, $210-million deal with the Nationals. The agreement officially ends any speculation that the Yankees might get into the Scherzer sweepstakes. It’s also a massive contract that will actually be paid out over the course of 14 years instead of seven. Scherzer’s signing leaves James Shields as the only real standout left on the free agent market.

• Bringing back the kind of eye-rolling attention he’s mostly avoided during the past year, it was reported this week that Alex Rodriguez has worked out with Barry Bonds this offseason. Rodriguez has also reportedly worked with Edgar Martinez as he tries to regain his form after a year-long suspension. Rodriguez is hardly the first big league hitter to get tips from Bonds, but obviously it generates some attention when two of the game’s most notorious PED users are working together.

• The Yankees have held a private workout for Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada, who could get the largest signing bonus ever given to an international amateur. The 19-year-old infielder will likely become on of baseball’s top 25 prospects upon signing, but he still has to be cleared by the government to become truly available. The Yankees are believed to be one of the favorites to get him.

• Reliever Gonzalez Germen was designated for assignment after the Yankees acquired Chris Martin. This week, the Yankees sold his rights to Texas, which promptly designated him for assignment after acquiring a new catcher. Quite a winter for Gonzalez, who entered this offseason as a member of the Mets.

• YES Network officially announced that it’s reached an agreement to switch over-the-air broadcasts from MY9 to WPIX, which is Channel 11. PIX11 will televise approximately 20 games this season, and its broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

• Speaking of broadcasts, Yankees radio play-by-play man John Sterling’s apartment building was hit by a massive fire on Wednesday night. Sterling was not hurt and was just returning home as the fire began to engulf the building.

Associated Press photos

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On the 40-man: Chris Martin01.24.15

Chris Martin

Up next in our series on every player on the 40-man roster is the Yankees’ newest reliever, a tall right-hander who could make the team out of spring training or serve as bullpen depth in Triple-A.

MartinCHRIS MARTIN

Age on Opening Day: 28
Acquired: Purchased from the Rockies this month
Added to the 40-man: Officially added January 13

In the past: Out of baseball following a mid-2000s labrum injury, Martin was stocking shelves in Texas when a game of catch led to an independent league tryout, which led to a minor league contract, which led to last year’s big league debut with the Rockies. Standing 6-foot-8 with a mid-90s fastball, Martin got into 16 big leagues games and put up pretty good numbers when he wasn’t pitching in Denver. The Yankees purchased his right after he was designated for assignment earlier this winter.

Role in 2015: Martin has options, so he looks like a back-and-forth reliever who could shuttle between New York and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He’s basically the new version of Preston Claiborne: he could make the Yankees out of spring training, could come up in the middle of the season, or he might never see Yankee Stadium. He was a depth addition with a big arm that the Yankees obviously like.

Best case scenario: It’s a bit of a strange situation given Martin’s background. He turns 29 in June, but he has just four years in affiliated ball. With his velocity and groundball tendency, Martin could be a solid reliever in short stints (his Triple-A strikeout numbers are pretty good). Absolute best-case scenario might be a Shawn Kelley situation in which he goes from last man in the pen to becoming a valuable strikeout guy who can fill a setup role if necessary. As long as he can simply get outs in the sixth inning, though, the Yankees would have to be pretty happy.

Worst case scenario: As with most relievers like this, the worst-cast scenario probably involves a brief big league call-up, a brutal outing or two, and ultimately a DFA to make room for someone else to give it a shot. It would add insult if either Claiborne of Gonzalez Germen — the two guys who basically had this roster spot before Martin — thrives this season while Martin struggles.

What the future holds: The Yankees control Martin well into his 30s, so his future with the organization really depends entirely on his own performance. If he turns that raw velocity into consistent outs, the Yankees could keep him around for a while and let him fill a bullpen role at little more than the league minimum salary. If they want to cut bait, they could also do that. His future is basically whatever he makes it, but there’s a lot of upper-level bullpen depth that could quickly overshadow him.

Associated Press photo

 

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Pinch hitting: Mark Braff01.24.15

Mariano Rivera

Today’s Pinch Hitter is Mark Braff, who describes himself as “a loyal Yankees fan since 1965.” Mark wrote that, as he watched Steve Whitaker, Horace Clarke, Roger Repoz and Co. in those early days, he could hardly imagine the pennants and championships to come in the next few decades. True story, in a follow-up email sent just yesterday, Mark wrote the following: “One thing that can be added to my bio (if it’s not too late) is that my favorite Yankee of all-time is Mel Stottlemyre. I sponsor his page on Baseball Reference. I’m always looking to give Stott a shout-out since his very noteworthy pitching accomplishments have been largely lost in the haze of the ‘down years’ from ’65-75.” So there ya go, Mark’s a big Stott fan.

Truth be told, Mark’s post was supposed to run next week, but I liked it as a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the Yankees year-by-year WAR leaders. For his post, Mark wrote about one of the players featured prominently on yesterday’s graphic, and he attempted to answer this question: What made Mariano Rivera so exceptional?

Mariano RiveraThere are few baseball fans and insiders who would argue against the statement that Mariano Rivera was the greatest relief pitcher of all-time. And yet in 2012 and again in 2014, we saw that Rivera was more or less replaceable as Rafael Soriano and then David Robertson admirably filled the closer’s role for the Yankees.

So how could someone who is the consensus choice as “best ever” be so seamlessly replaced?

The answer lies in Rivera’s longevity and postseason greatness; his ability to remain at the top of his craft for such a prolonged period of time and to take his game to an other-worldly level in the playoffs.

In any given regular season during Rivera’s remarkable run as the Yankees’ closer from 1997 through 2013, there were other closers around baseball who were just as good, and in some cases even better. But with one exception (more on that in a moment) Rivera was unique in standing among the very best closers in the game for the full 16-year period.

To illustrate the point I thought it would be interesting to look at the top five saves leaders for each of those 16 years (actually 15 since Rivera was injured for almost all of 2012). Saves are not the be-all-and-end-all yardstick to determine a relief pitcher’s value, but for this exercise it serves as a useful metric to get a snapshot of baseball’s premier closers at any given time.

So let’s take a look:

1997 - Randy Myers (45), Rivera (44), Jeff Shaw (42), Trevor Hoffman (37), Rod Beck (37).

1998 - Hoffman (53), Beck (51), Shaw (48), Tom Gordon (46), Troy Percival (42), John Wetteland (42). Rivera had 36.

1999 - Rivera (45), Wetteland (43), Roberto Hernandez (43), Ugueth Urbina (4), Hoffman (40).

2000 - Antonio Alfonseca (45), Hoffman (43), Todd Jones (42), Derek Lowe (42), Robb Nen (41), Armando Benitez (41). Rivera had 36.

2001 - Rivera (50), Kazuhiro Sasaki (45), Nen (45), Benitez (43), Hoffman (43), Shaw (43).

2002 - John Smoltz (55), Eric Gagne (52), Mike Williams (46), Jose Mesa (45), Eddie Guardado (45). Rivera had 28.

2003 - Gagne (55), Smoltz (45), Billy Wagner (44), Keith Foulke (43), Guardado (41). Rivera had 40.

2004 - Rivera (53), Francisco Cordero (49), Jason Isringhausen (47), Benitez (47), Gagne (45).

2005 - Cordero (47), Francisco Rodriguez (45), Bob Wickman (45), Rivera (43), Hoffman (43), Joe Nathan (43).

2006 - Rodriguez (47), Hoffman (46), Bobby Jenks (41), Wagner (40), B.J. Ryan (38). Rivera had 34.

2007 - Jose Valverde (47), Joe Borowski (45), Cordero (44), Hoffman (42), Rodriguez (40), Jenks (40), J.J. Putz (40). Rivera had 30.

2008 - Rodriguez (62), Valverde (44), Joakim Soria (42), Jonathan Papelbon (41), Brian Wilson (41), Brad Lidge (41). Rivera had 39.

2009 - Brian Fuentes (48), Nathan (47), Rivera (44), Heath Bell (42), Cordero (39).

2010 - Wilson (48), Bell (47), Soriano (45), Soria (43), Matt Capps (42). Rivera had 33.

2011 - Valverde (49), Craig Kimbrel (46), John Axford (46), Putz (45), Rivera (44).

2012 - Rivera injured in May.

2013 - Kimbrel (50), Jim Johnson (50), Greg Holland (47), Rivera (44), Soriano (43), Nathan (43).

Some of these names read like a list of ghosts from closers past. Ugueth Urbina? Todd Jones? Keith Foulke? Even former Yankee great — note: I refer to all former Yankees as “former Yankee great” — Bob Wickman!

In fairness, the one exception mentioned earlier — Trevor Hoffman — had a long and distinguished career as San Diego’s closer from 1994-2009; a great run.

But here’s where I’ll throw in the tiebreaker which tilts in Rivera’s favor: Hoffman was very pedestrian in his four years appearing in the postseason, while Rivera pitched to an astounding 0.70 ERA in October across 96 games and 141 innings with 42 saves. Postseason opposing lineups, by definition, are generally among the best and deepest in the game, and of course the late innings of these games are pressure-cookers. And yet Rivera somehow elevated his performance.

And, so, while it’s true that Mariano Rivera has proven to be replaceable for any given regular season, I think it’s also safe to say that his longevity as a premiere closer, combined with his astonishing postseason performance, make him the greatest shut-down reliever we are ever likely to see.

Associated Press photos

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Game times set for Yankees 2015 regular season01.23.15

Yankees Baseball Rivera

Major League Baseball has announced the game times for most of the 2015 regular-season schedule. I’m sure there’s a better looking way to do this, but here’s the full list of Yankees games with the current first pitch times. They’re all subject to change, but the vast majority of these should be set for the 2015 season. All times are EDT.

April 6 Toronto, 1:05 p.m.

April 8 Toronto, 7:05 p.m.

April 9 Toronto, 7:05 p.m.

April 10 Boston, 7:05 p.m.

April 11 Boston, 1:05 p.m.

April 12 Boston, 8:05 p.m.

April 13 at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

April 14 at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

April 15 at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

April 17 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

April 18 at Tampa Bay, 6:10 p.m.

April 19 at Tampa Bay, 1:10 p.m.

April 20 at Detroit, 7:08 p.m.

April 21 at Detroit, 7:08 p.m.

April 22 at Detroit, 7:08 p.m.

April 23 at Detroit, 1:08 p.m.

April 24 N.Y. Mets, 7:05 p.m.

April 25 N.Y. Mets, 4:05 p.m.

April 26 N.Y. Mets, 8:05 p.m.

April 27 Tampa Bay, 7:05 p.m.

April 28 Tampa Bay, 7:05 p.m.

April 29 Tampa Bay, 1:05 p.m.

May 1 at Boston, 7:10 p.m.

May 2 at Boston, 1:35 p.m.

May 3 at Boston, 8:05 p.m.

May 4 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

May 5 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

May 6 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

May 7 Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

May 8 Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

May 9 Baltimore, 1:05 p.m.

May 10 Baltimore, 1:05 p.m.

May 11 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

May 12 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

May 13 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

May 14 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

May 15 at Kansas City, 8:10 p.m.

May 16 at Kansas City, 7:10 p.m.

May 17 at Kansas City, 2:10 p.m.

May 19 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.

May 20 at Washington, 7:05 p.m.

May 22 Texas, 7:05 p.m.

May 23 Texas, 1:05 p.m.

May 24 Texas, TBD

May 25 Kansas City, 1:05 p.m.

May 26 Kansas City, 7:05 p.m.

May 27 Kansas City, 1:05 p.m.

May 28 at Oakland, 10:07 p.m.

May 29 at Oakland, 10:07 p.m.

May 30 at Oakland, 10:07 p.m.

May 31 at Oakland, 4:07 p.m.

June 1 at Seattle, 10:10 p.m.

June 2 at Seattle, 10:10 p.m.

June 3 at Seattle, 3:40 p.m.

June 5 L.A. Angels, 7:05 p.m.

June 6 L.A. Angels, 7:15 p.m.

June 7 L.A. Angels, 1:05 p.m.

June 9 Washington, 7:05 p.m.

June 10 Washington, 1:05 p.m.

June 12 at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

June 13 at Baltimore, 7:15 p.m.

June 14 at Baltimore, 1:35 p.m.

June 15 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

June 16 at Miami, 7:10 p.m.

June 17 Miami, 7:05 p.m.

June 18 Miami, 7:05 p.m.

June 19 Detroit, 7:05 p.m.

June 20 Detroit, 7:15 p.m.

June 21 Detroit, TBD

June 22 Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.

June 23 Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.

June 24 Philadelphia, 1:05 p.m.

June 25 at Houston, 8:05 p.m.

June 26 at Houston, 8:05 p.m.

June 27 at Houston, 4:05 p.m.

June 28 at Houston, 2:05 p.m.

June 29 at L.A. Angels, 10:05 p.m.

June 30 at L.A. Angels, 10:05 p.m.

July 1 at L.A. Angels, 7:05 p.m.

July 3 Tampa Bay, 7:05 p.m.

July 4 Tampa Bay, 1:05 p.m.

July 5 Tampa Bay, 1:05 p.m.

July 7 Oakland, 7:05 p.m.

July 8 Oakland, 7:05 p.m.

July 9 Oakland, 1:05 p.m.

July 10 at Boston, 7:10 p.m.

July 11 at Boston, 7:15 p.m.

July 12 at Boston, 1:35 p.m.

July 17 Seattle, 7:05 p.m.

July 18 Seattle, 1:05 p.m.

July 19 Seattle, 1:05 p.m.

July 21 Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

July 22 Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

July 23 Baltimore, 1:05 p.m.

July 24 at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m.

July 25 at Minnesota, 7:10 p.m.

July 26 at Minnesota, 2:10 p.m.

July 27 at Texas, 8:05 p.m.

July 28 at Texas, 8:05 p.m.

July 29 at Texas, 8:05 p.m.

July 30 at Texas, 8:05 p.m.

July 31 at Chicago White Sox, 8:10 p.m.

Aug. 1 at Chicago White Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 2 at Chicago White Sox, 2:10 p.m.

Aug. 4 Boston, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 5 Boston, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 6 Boston, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 7 Toronto, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 8 Toronto, 1:05 p.m.

Aug. 9 Toronto, 1:05 p.m.

Aug. 11 at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 12 at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 13 at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 14 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

Aug. 15 at Toronto, 1:07 p.m.

Aug. 16 at Toronto, 1:07 p.m.

Aug. 17 Minnesota, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 18 Minnesota, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 19 Minnesota, 1:05 p.m.

Aug. 20 Cleveland, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 21 Cleveland, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 22 Cleveland, 1:05 p.m.

Aug. 23 Cleveland, TBD

Aug. 24 Houston, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 25 Houston, 7:05 p.m.

Aug. 26 Houston, 1:05 p.m.

Aug. 28 at Atlanta, 7:35 p.m.

Aug. 29 at Atlanta, 7:10 p.m.

Aug. 30 at Atlanta, 1:35 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Boston, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 1 at Boston, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 2 at Boston, 4:05 p.m.

Sept. 4 Tampa Bay, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 5 Tampa Bay, 1:05 p.m.

Sept. 6 Tampa Bay, 1:05 p.m.

Sept. 7 Baltimore, 1:05 p.m.

Sept. 8 Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 9 Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 10 Toronto, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 11 Toronto, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 12 Toronto, 4:05 p.m.

Sept. 13 Toronto, 1:05 p.m.

Sept. 14 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 15 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 16 at Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 18 at N.Y. Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Sept. 19 at N.Y. Mets, 1:05 p.m.

Sept. 20 at N.Y. Mets, 1:10 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

Sept. 22 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

Sept. 23 at Toronto, 7:07 p.m.

Sept. 24 Chicago White Sox, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 25 Chicago White Sox, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 26 Chicago White Sox, TBD

Sept. 27 Chicago White Sox, TBD

Sept. 28 Boston, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 29 Boston, 7:05 p.m.

Sept. 30 Boston, 7:05 p.m.

Oct. 1 Boston, 7:05 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Oct. 3 at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Baltimore, 3:35 p.m.

Associated Press photo

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Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

On the 40-man: Mark Teixeira01.23.15

Mark Teixeira

Up next in our look at each player on the Yankees 40-man roster is a first baseman who nearly delivered an MVP season in his first year with the team, only to see his production gradually decline ever since. Still locked into a long-term deal, he’s still a key part of the lineup despite his diminished numbers.

TeixeiraMARK TEIXEIRA

Age on Opening Day: 34 (turned 35 a few days later)
Acquired: Signed just before Christmas, 2008
Added to the 40-man: Officially added January 6, 2009

In the past: The fifth overall pick in the 2001 draft, Teixeira was a big league regular by 2003 and an All-Star by 2005. His first seven seasons were defined by his strong glove at first base and his potent all-around production at the plate. After stops in Texas, Anaheim and Atlanta, he joined the Yankees in 2009 and promptly won a World Series and finished second in MVP voting. His numbers have dragged since then, and the past two seasons have been especially disappointing after a severe wrist injury that required season-ending surgery in 2013.

Role in 2015: Starting first baseman. Middle-of-the-order hitter. The Yankees made their commitment to Teixeira six years ago, and that commitment continues. The Yankees added Garrett Jones as an experienced backup, and they’ve talked about Alex Rodriguez possibly getting some time at the position, but first base still belongs to Teixeira. And since Chase Headley might be the most potent bat the Yankees added this season, Teixeira could get another shot in the cleanup spot as well.

Best case scenario: Healthy and strong after finally having a normal offseason, Teixeira is back to his 2010-11 production. Asking that he go back to 2009 is probably a bit much, but a .252/.353/.487 slash line in this offensive climate would be a welcome boost in the middle of the order. As long as Teixeira can still hit for power, he can still be a really valuable offensive piece (and he should be a contributing piece to an infield that’s improved defensively). If Teixeira simply hits the way he did in the first three months of last season, but carries it through September, that would be pretty solid as well. The best-case scenario is probably better than that, but the Yankees might sign up for a continuation of those first three months.

Worst case scenario: After hitting .242/.344/.474 through the first three months last season, Teixeira hit just .191/.282/.324 from July 1 to the end of the year. That’s probably the worst-case scenario, a repeat of last year’s second half along with nagging injuries that keep Teixeira out of the lineup occasionally but never really send him to the disabled list so that a guy like Kyle Roller can get a look. Basically, the worst-case scenario is that the days of a reliably productive Teixeira ended with that wrist injury in 2013, when he still had four years left on his deal.

What the future holds: Teixeira’s eight-year, $180-million contract ends after the 2016 season. He’s built a home and a life in Connecticut, so there seems to be very little chance he would waive his no-trade clause even if the Yankees could find someone to take on part of these final two seasons. If Teixeira can be reasonably productive, he could hold down the first base job until 2017, when prospect Greg Bird will be ready (potentiall) to give it a shot. If he can’t be reasonably productive … well, that would make his contract even harder to move.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Braves claim OF Eury Perez off waivers01.23.15

Eury Perez

The Yankees claimed outfielder Eury Perez off waivers in September. He got 10 at-bats late in the season, was granted an extra option year this offseason, managed to stick on the 40-man through the New Year, wound up designated for assignment to make room for Stephen Drew, and now he’s been claimed off waivers by the Braves.

His time with the Yankees was incredibly short, but at least we’ll always remember the first three errors of his major league career.

PerezWithout Perez, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre outfield is a little less crowded.

Tyler Austin should still fit as the regular right fielder. Ramon Flores is primarily a left fielder, but he could play a lot of center depending on the rest of the roster. Adonis Garcia and Taylor Dugas aren’t highly touted, but they each put up good Triple-A numbers last season and probably deserve at-bats. If Jose Pirela doesn’t make the big league roster, he’ll surely need some outfield time in the Triple-A (especially if Rob Refsnyder is playing second base basically every day). Depending on how they look in spring training, either Mason Williams or Slade Heathcott could also end up on the Triple-A roster either on Opening Day or soon after.

Even without Perez, that’s still seven potential Triple-A outfielders, and that’s to say nothing of Jake Cave and Aaron Judge, who are likely to open in Double-A but could rise to Triple-A in the second half. Hard to say who will get most of the center field playing time for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but there are plenty of guys who could do it.

AlmonteMeanwhile, Atlanta’s probably not banking on Perez making their big league roster — have to assume the Braves see him as the same sort of depth the Yankees originally envisioned — but there is one interesting Yankees footnote happening in the Atlanta outfield.

When the Braves signed Jonny Gomes last night, Braves reporter Mark Bowman wrote this:

Gomes will likely platoon in left field and be utilized as a pinch-hitter against left-handed pitchers. Zoilo Almonte, the former Yankees prospect who was signed as a Minor League free agent in November, has been mentioned as a possible platoon partner with Gomes in left field.

The Yankees gave Almonte about a month of steady playing time back in 2013, and the results weren’t promising. His minor league numbers, though, have always suggested Almonte could be a valuable outfielder in a platoon role. Looks like the Braves might actually give that a shot. It’ll be interesting to see how well it works.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Winter league notes: X-rays negative after Pirela HBP in right hand01.23.15

Jose Pirela

Winter leagues playoffs are wrapping up, and the Yankees might have dodged a bullet down in the Venezuelan postseason.

Utility man Jose Pirela was finishing off a terrific winter when he was hit by a pitch in the right hand (he went 2-for-3 in that game, by the way). There was lingering soreness so Pirela went for X-rays, which were negative, but an MRI revealed a bruise near the bottom of his hand (base of his second metacarpal if you’re into exact details).

It was a mild injury, but Pirela was shut down for the rest of the winter. He didn’t play in his team’s final 12 postseason games, but Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler said Pirela is back to working out and going through normal offseason drills.

“He’s all good to go,” Eppler said.

With no serious damage to the hand, Pirela is expected to be in big league camp to make his case for a spot on the big league roster. He hit .333/.529/.417 in his four Venezuelan postseason games after hitting .296/.394/.515 in the Venezuelan regular season. That bat is interesting as a bench guy who can play all over the field.

A few other notes from winter ball:

Rogers• In the Dominican Winter League, Esmil Rogers has a 3.55 ERA through five postseason starts for Estrellas de Oriente. He has 28 strikeouts and six walks through 25.1 postseason innings. Rogers last pitch on Tuesday, but his team is in the Dominican championship series, so he could get another start before the playoffs finish. I still wonder if he could come into spring training as basically a sixth starter candidate who could move into a long-man role if all the other starts stay healthy.

• Navegantes del Magallanes have advanced to the Venezuelan Winter League championship series, and they’ve gotten there with Adonis Garcia generally hitting cleanup. Garcia hit .313/.369/.468 in the regular season, but he’s hit just .237/.286/.305 through 14 playoff games. After playing only the outfield corners during the regular season, Garcia’s actually gotten a little bit of time at third base in the postseason. He’ll likely return to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, trying to squeeze into that crowded outfield.

Flores• Also down in Venezuela, Ramon Flores hit just .200/.289/.300 in the postseason but didn’t play in his team’s last three games (Eppler said there’s no injury). Flores had a terrific winter ball regular season. … Pirela’s winter ball teammate, Ali Castillo, hit .250/.361/.288 in the playoffs. He did a pretty good job getting on base all winter. … Reliever Diego Moreno pitched four hitless innings in the postseason. He got a lot of closer opportunities with Aguilas del Zulia in the regular season, but the Yankees now have so much Triple-A bullpen depth that Moreno could be crowded back to Double-A this year.

• By the way, the go-to starter for Magallanes in the postseason has been former Yankees up-and-down long man Chris Leroux who has a 1.93 ERA and 0.99 WHIP through four playoff starts. He had a 1.23 ERA in five regular-season starts. He’s not still in the Yankees organization, but he’s pitched well this winter.

• New Yankees outfielder Robert Hernandez — the former pitcher signed to a minor league contract this winter — hit .264/.350/.358 while playing each outfield corner during the Venezuelan regular season. He played just one game in the postseason (1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout).

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

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