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

Archive for the ‘Misc’

On the Yankees decision to protect Mason Williams11.20.14

Mason Williams

Nearly a quarter of the Yankees 40-man roster is filled with outfielders, and most of those are left-handed hitters who can play center field. So why exactly did the team just add Mason Williams, a 23-year-old lefty who hit just .223/.290/.304 in Double-A last season?

Two reasons: Short-term ability and long-term upside.

It’s pretty easy to understand the 40-man additions of Tyler Austin, Branden Pinder and Danny Burawa — that’s a big bat and two big arms — but Williams comes with far more uncertainty. Just two years ago he was considered the organization’s top prospect, but he’s since struggled with upper-level pitching and lost much of his luster.

According to a team source, the Yankees factored in Williams’ chances of being taken in the Rule 5, along with his potential to outplay the recent numbers. The source said the Yankees consider Williams to be defensively ready to play center field in the big leagues, which made him easy to “hide in an extra (outfielder) role).” In other words, he was a legitimate Rule 5 candidate. The source said there’s also “clearly upside and athleticism present to allow continued growth.” In other words, the Yankees haven’t given up on Williams’ potential.

The situation was compared to Everth Cabrera in 2008.

That year, Padres took Cabrera from Colorado in the Rule 5 draft. Cabrera had spent the previous season all the way down in Low A, but he could run and he could play up the middle, and a player with upside in the middle of the diamond carries a lot of weight. Cabrera went from the Rule 5 draft, to winning a spot on the bench, to becoming the Padres regular shortstop.

There’s certainly no guarantee that Williams is about to follow the same path — I honestly thought the Yankees overwhelming outfield depth might keep him off the roster — but the Yankees decided not to take the chance of losing him.

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Yankees add four to 40-man roster; send Wheeler to Japan11.20.14

Here’s the announcement from the Yankees. They’ve obviously chosen to bank on Mason Williams’ upside, and they’ve made it clear that Danny Burawa and Branden Pinder rank ahead of Mark Montgomery on the bullpen depth chart.

Mason WilliamsThe New York Yankees today announced that they have added OF Tyler Austin, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Branden Pinder and OF Mason Williams to the Major League roster. The Yankees also have sold the rights of INF Zelous Wheeler to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League.

Austin, 23, spent the entire 2014 season with Double-A Trenton, batting .275 (109-for-396) with 56R, 20 doubles, five triples, 9HR and 47RBI in 105 games. In 33 games after the All-Star break, he hit .336 (41-for-122) with a .557 slugging percentage. Following the regular season, Austin played in 19 games with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League, batting .304 (21-for-69) with 12R, two doubles, one triple, 2HR and 13RBI. He was originally selected by the Yankees in the 13th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Burawa, 25, combined with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to go 3-1 with four saves and a 4.70 ERA (59.1IP, 31ER, 30BB, 73K) in 42 relief appearances in 2014. He made 31 appearances with the RailRiders, going 3-1 with three saves and a 5.95 ERA (42.1IP, 28ER, 26BB, 55K). Burawa was originally selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Pinder, 25, combined with the GCL Yankees 2, Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to go 3-0 with five saves and a 2.04 ERA (39.2IP, 9ER, 9BB, 37K) in 29 appearances (four starts) in 2014. In 13 relief appearances with the RailRiders, he was 1-0 with one save and a 3.78 ERA (16.2IP, 7ER, 5BB, 12K). Pinder was originally selected by the Yankees in the 16th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

Williams, 23, spent the entire 2014 season with Double-A Trenton, batting .223 (113-for-507) with 18 doubles, four triples, 5HR and 40RBI in 128 games. The left-handed batter also led the Thunder in runs scored (67) and recorded a team-best 21 stolen bases. Williams was originally selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Wheeler, 27, was signed by the Yankees as a minor league free agent on November 12, 2013. He made his Major League debut in 2014, batting .193 (11-for-57) with 6R, 2HR and 5RBI in 29 games over two stints with the Yankees.

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Minor notes: Yankees add one more international teenager11.20.14

Pat Venditte

A few quick minor league notes while we wait for official word on the Yankees 40-man roster additions:

• Add one more name to the Yankees international haul this season. Ben Badler reports that the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Colombian outfielder Bryan Emery, giving the Yankees 10 of Baseball America’s Top 30 international prospects for this signing period (that list doesn’t include Yoan Moncada). “He’s strong and generates easy, explosive power,” Badler writes, noting that Emery is expected to be a right fielder but has gotten looks in both the outfield and infield.

• Switch-pitching prospect Pat Venditte became a minor league free agent this winter, and he’s already signed a minor league deal with the Athletics. Despite always putting up good numbers in the minor leagues, Venditte never seemed to be a serious candidate for a big league call-up. There was a time this year when he might have been at the top of the minor league depth chart for left-handed relievers — Fred Lewis and Cesar Cabral had been demoted to Double-A; Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb and James Pazos had yet to fully emerge — but even then, the Yankees found outside help rather than give Venditte a look. He had a 1.07 WHIP and 2.46 ERA during his seven years in the Yankees system, and he always handled the unusual media attention very well.

• Speaking of former Yankees prospects, the Braves have released slick fielding Ramiro Pena. He honestly might be a smart target for the Yankees on a minor league contract this winter. The team is going to need someone to play shortstop in Triple-A, and Pena would add some just-in-case infield depth.

• Over at, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo have ranked the top 25 prospects from the Arizona Fall League. Aaron Judge made the list at No. 13 and Greg Bird landed at No. 19. Tyler Austin, the only other Yankees prospect who might have been considered, did not make the list.

• Speaking of Mayo, he also put together a list of each team’s top prospects who are Rule 5 eligible this offseason. According to the rankings, the Yankees have only two of their top 20 prospects who are Rule 5 eligible this season: Austin and Mason Williams. As pointed out this morning, the Yankees really don’t have a ton of big names who need Rule 5 protection this winter. I still wouldn’t be stunned to see only Austin and Branden Pinder protected, though the Yankees might add another name or two. The Williams decision will be interesting either way.

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Badler: Yankees seen as favorites for Yoan Moncada11.20.14

Brian CashmanI rarely get too caught up in international free agents. The hype often grows out of control, the possibilities get spun in every direction, and truly covering that market requires basically a full-time commitment to it. I pay attention, obviously, but I prefer to follow reporters truly focus internationally, ask my internal questions about the Yankees involvement, and approach every next-big-thing with a dose of skepticism until convinced otherwise.

That said, I find myself kind of wrapped up in the story of Yoan Moncada. Not so much because of his talent, but because he could single-handedly make the Yankees international spending plan an overwhelming success.

By now you know the basics (mostly because Ben Badler and Kiley McDaniel have done an incredible job providing the information): Moncada is a 19-year-old Cuban shortstop — or second baseman, or third baseman — who has settled into Guatemala, worked out in front of major league scouts, and been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. He still has to be cleared by the government, but it seems a matter of time before he’s available to big league teams.

As long as that happens before late June, Badler of Baseball America writes that the Yankees seem to be the favorites to sign him. It would require a massive signing bonus that will be taxed at 100 percent, and it might be the final straw toward changing the way baseball handles international amateurs.

According to Badler:

No team seems to be a better fit for Moncada than the Yankees. They took their international bonus pool and lit it on fire, setting an international spending record to sign just about all the top players on their board, including nine of Baseball America’s Top 30 prospects for July 2. … The Yankees have the money to beat anyone’s offer. They’re willing to invest in international talent, whether it’s unprecedented spending on Latin American amateurs or $175 million for Masahiro Tanaka. When you line up all the evidence, if the Yankees truly want Moncada, they’re going to be tough to beat.

So, how might that change the international market and justify the Yankees international plan?

McDaniel explained in his latest FanGraphs piece that Major League Baseball has discovered its current system does not effectively limit international spending. Teams are willing to far exceed the soft cap that’s currently in place, and the penalties involved could actually help establish something like an international draft in the not-so-distant future.

This year, the Yankees decided to spend huge money on international amateurs — paying a heavy tax and facing extreme spending limits for next year — because they recognized this might be one of the final opportunities to take advantage of the current system before something more restrictive is put in place. Again, it was McDaniel who first explained this strategy way back in December.

With that strategy in place, the Yankees loaded up on young, international talent this summer, and Moncada offers the chance to add one more within this window of opportunity (Moncada’s the kind of guy who would surely be the No. 1 pick if an international amateur draft were already in place). These guys are all teenagers, and there’s a chance none will reach his potential, but that’s an issue for another day. Here and now, the strategy is to load up on talent before doing so becomes far more difficult if not impossible. Moncada might be the final chance to do that in a big way.

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Today’s deadline: Who to protect from the Rule 5?11.20.14

Mason Williams

Today is the deadline to protect eligible players from the Rule 5 draft. A year ago, the Yankees took a chance on several relief pitchers and lost new Rockies reliever Tommy Kahnle in the process (Chase Whitley and Jose Pirela were also left exposed, and both played their way to New York).

Here are 10 Yankees prospects who are Rule 5 eligible this offseason. I think it’s possible the Yankees will protect as few as two guys — Austin and Pinder would be at the top of my list — but there are some other interesting choices well worth consideration. Not nearly all of these guys will be protected, but here are 10 names worth some consideration.

AustinOF Tyler Austin – Probably the best bet to be protected this winter. Austin brings a combination of upper-level success and relatively high-end potential. Finally recovered from a lingering wrist injury, he hit .336/.397/.557 in Double-A in the second half, then he had a strong Arizona Fall League. Mostly a corner outfielder, but has experience at the infield corners as well.

RHP Danny Burawa – Pretty similar to Kahnle, really. Burawa’s a hard-thrower who had a lot of strikeouts to go with a lot of walks in Triple-A this season. He was sent down to Double-A late in the year, which certainly doesn’t seem like a good sign. Burawa passed through the Rule 5 last year, and he didn’t have a great season this year, but teams often take a shot on big arms like his.

CulverSS Cito Culver – The case for protecting Culver has nothing to do with the fact he was a first-round pick (the Yankees certainly have left other first-rounders unprotected in the past). The case for protecting Culver is that he’s a solid defensive player at a position of absolute weakness in the Yankees system. Could be a little like the Cardinals Pete Kozma, who also never hit in the minors but scratched out a big league role as a defensive player.

LHP Fred Lewis – Wasn’t really on the radar at all until the Yankees sent Lewis to the Arizona Fall League last offseason then brought him to big league camp this spring. He pitched so well in camp that Lewis seemed to emerge as a big league bullpen option, but his regular season was a mess, and now it’s hard to imagine him added given the addition of Justin Wilson and the presence of several other left-handed relievers in the upper levels of the minor league system.

RHP Mark Montgomery – In the low minors, Montgomery earned Dave Robertson comparisons because of his ability to strike out so many guys. As he climbed the system, though, Montgomery’s numbers became much more pedestrian. Still gets quite a few strikeouts, but his fastball is down, and he was demoted to Double-A mid-season.

NudingRHP Zach Nuding – Solid starting pitcher for a few years now, he went unselected in last year’s Rule 5, then he split this year between Double-A and Triple-A. His Double-A numbers were awfully good (1.10 WHIP) while his Triple-A numbers weren’t so good (1.55 WHIP).

RHP Branden Pinder – Next to Austin, I’d say Pinder is the second-best bet to be protected. In fact, a conversation I had near the end of the season made me think the team was already leaning toward protecting Pinder. A college reliever from the 2011 draft, he’s put up solid strikeout numbers without a ton of walks. Injury limited him to 16.2 Triple-A innings this year, but he was pretty good when he was healthy.

Roller1B Kyle Roller – Interesting decision here. Went unselected in last year’s Rule 5, but that was before he’d gotten to Triple-A and hit .283/.378/.497. Bad defender even at first base — and guys like this aren’t often targeted in the Rule 5 draft — but with offense down (and with the Yankees in need of first base depth) it might be worth protecting Roller this year. The dude can hit.

LHP Matt Tracy – He’s from Missouri, so of course I’d love to see him on the roster, but Tracy’s chances of being protected might have vanished with the addition of Jose De Paula (another left-handed starter to provide rotation depth). Even without De Paula, Tracy felt like a long shot. Hasn’t been great since getting into the upper levels.

OF Mason Williams – Just two years ago Williams was considered the Yankees top prospect, but his past two seasons have been pretty bad including a .223/.290/.304 slash line in Double-A this season. Despite the bad numbers, Williams could be an intriguing Rule 5 candidate because his speed and defense might fit well as a fourth or fifth outfielder. Even if they lose him, though, would the Yankees lose him? Their glut of upper-level outfielders — many of them left-handed — could be a determining factor if the Yankees leave Williams exposed.

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Yankees offering Thanksgiving vouchers at Yankee Stadium11.19.14

Astros Yankees Baseball

A heads up for all those who might need a little help this holiday season. Nice work by the Yankees to reach out. For anyone interested, here are the details directly from the Yankees:

The New York Yankees and Krasdale Foods will team up to hold a Thanksgiving Food Voucher Giveaway on Thursday, November 20, at Yankee Stadium’s Gate 2 entrance (corner of 164th St. and Jerome Ave.).

Beginning at 10:00 a.m., approximately 2,500 food vouchers will be distributed to Bronx residents to assist local families in preparing their Thanksgiving meals. Families are invited to come to Yankee Stadium to pick up a voucher, which can be redeemed at local Bronx-based C-Town and Bravo supermarkets (while supplies last).

PLEASE NOTE: Vouchers will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.





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Levine: “Thank God” A-Rod no longer baseball’s richest contract11.19.14

Here’s Dave Skretta of The Associated Press reporting from the Owners Meetings in Kansas City:

Levine (2)KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Yankees President Randy Levine offered a succinct response when asked what he thought about the Marlins and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton breaking the record for richest contract that had been held by Alex Rodriguez for more than 13 years until last spring.

“Thank God,” Levine said, laughing. “Thank God.”

Not all executives are quite so pleased.

As baseball executives gathered for two days of owners meetings in Kansas City, the flurry of pricy contracts that have already been offered this offseason was a topic of conversation.

Along with Stanton’s record-setting $325 million, 13-year pact with Miami, the Blue Jays gave catcher Russell Martin an $82 million, five-year deal, and the Athletics agreed to give Billy Butler a $30 million, three-year deal to become their first baseman and designated hitter.

More huge contracts are on the way.

Outfielder Nelson Cruz, third basemen Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez are still on the market, and that’s before you even get to starting pitchers Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields.

“There’s just been a couple of signings, special players. I think it’s too early to draw any conclusions,” said Levine, whose Yankees still owe Rodriguez $61 million over the final three years of the $275 million, 10-year deal the third baseman signed in December 2007.

Levine said organizations have to decide for themselves how best to build their rosters. In the case of Miami, owner Jeffrey Loria decided to build around Stanton, a once-in-a-generation star.

“Every team has to make a decision based on where they are at the time, where they are at the moment,” Levine said. “This is a great player. I think Jeffrey stood up, the Marlins stood up, and both of them are pleased with it. Good for them.”

Not necessarily good for the game, though.

Kevin Brown was the first player to break the $100 million barrier in 1998, and Rodriguez became the first to top $200 million just two years later. But while escalation had seemingly slowed — it took 14 more years to produce baseball’s first $300 million man — that doesn’t change the fact that franchises are passing out record-setting contracts.

“I am really surprised,” Royals owner David Glass said, “and it’s not just Stanton. He’s a great young man and a great player. But I don’t understand how teams are going to be able to do this and do it within their economics, but we’ll see. They obviously know what they’re doing.”

The small-market Royals, who won their first AL pennant in 29 years, ended the regular season 19th in payroll at $92.7 million. That was far below the $255.9 million payroll of the Dodgers.

Might the Royals, in need of a starting pitcher and designated hitter, be tempted to chase their own big-money free agent, and nudge their payroll north of $100 million for the first time?

“I think if someone has a specific need and a specific player that fills that need, jump out there and do it,” Glass said, chuckling at the notion the Royals might ever reach $150 million. “But otherwise, there are a lot of deals that will be done that no one has even thought of yet.”

The Royals were mindful of their budget when they declined Butler’s $12 million option for next season, and he became a free agent for the first time. They remained in contact with their longtime DH, but were unwilling to offer the kind of money on the table the A’s made available.

“We’ve been an organization that has jumped out early on some players in the past. Sometimes their contracts look good in January, sometimes they don’t,” Kansas City GM Dayton Moore said. “You deal with the information you have in front of you. We all know hindsight is 20-20.”

That is certainly true for the Yankees, who likely have a much different opinion these days of the deal they lavished on Rodriguez. Will the same be true for the Marlins and baseball’s other big spenders when they have a chance to look back at this offseason?

“We’re looking to see where everything goes,” Levine said. “It’s still early.”

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Considering bullpen depth ahead of Rule 5 decisions11.19.14

Masahiro Tanaka

Tomorrow, some of the Yankees most interesting Rule 5 decisions will center on the bullpen. Brandon Pinder, Mark Montgomery and Danny Burawa are among the eligible prospects, and all three have at some point shown fairly significant big league potential. None of the three has truly established himself in the upper levels, though, and there’s a chance the Yankees could — A: Sneak all three through the Rule 5 draft; or B: Not miss any one of them even if they’re selected in the Rule 5. Adding any one of them would be a move to add bullpen depth, not necessarily to add an immediate bullpen arm.

Just how much bullpen depth do the Yankees have right now? Here’s what is essentially in place (or at least, what we can reasonably expect the Yankees to have in place):

Trades can change things. Injuries can change things. Plans falling through because of performance or some other unforeseen circumstance can change things. But right now, I think it’s reasonable to think these six pitchers will be in the Yankees bullpen next season. The seventh spot could go any number of directions, but these six seem like solid bets. 

Dellin Betances – Obviously.
Justin Wilson – Clearly.
Shawn Kelley – Still affordable in his final arbitration year.
Adam Warren – Always some chance of moving back to the rotation, but staying in the bullpen seems more likely right now.
David Phelps – Doesn’t it seem the Yankees are forever happy to pencil Phelps into the bullpen, realizing he could move into the rotation if forced into a change of plans? If we’re listing likely relievers, Phelps belongs.
Unknown new guy – Have to allow for this. The Yankees are almost certainly going to add a reliever at some point — either Dave Robertson or a replacement — so looking ahead, this bullpen spot will be occupied. Obviously plans can change, but determining depth without acknowledging a nearly inevitable addition seems goofy.

These are the guys who could most easily and immediately fill a bullpen opening depending on performance and depending on how the Yankees want to use each of these guys. Some could be immediate relievers. Some could be starters. Some could be cut loose to open roster spots.

Esmil Rogers/David Huff – Lumped together because there’s a solid chance neither one will be on the roster past the non-tender deadline. If either one is on the roster, he would likely become the favorite for that seventh bullpen job.
Preston Claiborne –
Seemed like a DFA candidate out of spring training, but helped out occasionally while shuttling to and from Triple-A.
Jose Ramirez – Expected to be healthy for spring training. Could legitimately make a run at a big league opening either out of spring training or early in the year.
Chase Whitley – A spot starter or long reliever, Whitley went unselected in last year’s Rule 5 draft, but he landed a 40-man spot during the season.
Bryan Mitchell – Yankees would probably prefer to keep him as rotation depth, but we’ve certainly seen other starters pitch well and force the Yankees to find a spot for them in the bullpen. This is basically how Phelps and Warren arrived.
Jose De Paula/Manny Banuelos – Lumped together because both seem most likely to open the season in the Triple-A rotation, and even if one of them ends up in the big league bullpen, what are the chances that both end up there at the same time? Really slim. Shane Greene – Surely he’s a starter, right? Listing him only in the name of being thorough. If certain pieces fall into place, the Yankees could certainly consider shifting Greene’s big sinker into the bullpen.

These guys will be around regardless of who’s protected or lost because of the Rule 5. The Yankes legitimately have some immediate bullpen depth that’s still not Rule 5 eligible.

Jacob Lindgren – Last year’s top draft pick. If he’s as good as advertised, he’s far more than a lefty specialist. In a perfect world, he could be what Andrew Miller was last year.
Nick Rumbelow – Probably the top right-handed relief prospect in the organization right now. Lots of strikeouts on the way from Low-A to Triple-A last year.
Tyler Webb – Another upper-level lefty. Like Rumbelow, Webb was drafted in 2013 and has already risen to Triple-A.
Nick Goody – Missed most of 2013 but got healthy this year. Finished the year in Double-A. Another college reliever the Yankees like.
James Pazos – Another college lefty who’s already moved into the upper levels of the minor league system. Very good Double-A numbers this year.
Unknown non-roster invitee — Worth remembering and considering the fact the Yankees will surely bring some relievers into camp on minor league and non-roster contracts (finalized after the Rule 5 draft). We’ve seen guys like this either make the team out of camp (Clay Rapada) or become options mid-season (Matt Daley).

Given the options in place, how many relievers do the Yankees really need to protect this winter? Pinder, Montgomery and Burawa each bring something to the table, but even if all three remain in the organization next season, they could all fall behind guys like Ramirez and Rumbelow for call-up opportunities. Is there room or need to protect all three? Is it worth thinking about a lefty like Fred Lewis when he’s coming off a down season and there are other lefties in the system?

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Looking back: Recent Rule 5 protection decisions11.19.14

Bryan Mitchell

Tomorrow is the deadline to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 draft. It leaves the Yankees with several curious decisions. I’d guess they could protect as few as one or two players and as many as, I don’t know, maybe four or five. Beyond Tyler Austin — who strikes me as the easiest choice for protection — they have a handful of relievers worth considering (Pinder, Burawa, Montgomery), a good bat (Roller), a couple of underperforming prospects (Williams, Culver), and a few upper-level starters worth at least some consideration (Nuding, Tracy).

It seems worth looking back at the most recent Rule 5 protection decisions and how those have played out so far.

Greene2013 protection: RHP Shane Greene, RHP Bryan Mitchell, RHP Jose Campos, C Gary Sanchez, INF Dean Anna, OF Slade Heathcott

A year ago, the Yankees essentially chose to protect potential ahead of dependability. Campos and Mitchell made the list ahead of upper-level relievers Tommy Kahnle, Danny Burawa and Chase Whitley, and the result was a mixed bag. Mitchell emerged as a big league option, while Campos disappeared after Tommy John surgery. Kahnle was lost in the Rule 5 and pitched well in Colorado, Whitley slipped through and was a useful spot starter in New York, and Burawa went unclaimed only to leave the Yankees with a similar protect-or-not decision this winter. Anna wasn’t a typical Rule 5 protection decision. He was a trade acquisition, and immediately upon getting him, the Yankees put him on the 40-man to protect him. He provided exactly the short-term infield depth the Yankees needed. John Ryan Murphy kind of belongs here. He was brought up in September of 2013 because the Yankees knew they were going to protect him in the winter anyway.

Ramirez2012 protection: RHP Jose Ramirez, RHP Brett Marshall, LHP Manny Banuelos, LHP Francisco Rondon, LHP Nik Turley, OF Ramon Flores

Adam Warren would have been protected in the 2012 offseason, but he was called up for one start mid-season and was already on the roaster. So far, he’s the most significant of the 2012 class. Banuelos remains an interesting prospect, Flores played well when he wasn’t hurt this year, and Ramirez got some big league time this season (and could get more next year). Otherwise, Rondon and Turley were unceremoniously dropped from the roster, and Marshall got a few big league innings before being let go on waivers. The long-term impact of this group could hinge on whether Banuelos plays a significant role. Worth noting that everyone on this list still has an option remaining for next season.

Phelps2011 protection: RHP David Phelps, RHP D.J. Mitchell, INF David Adams, INF Corban Joseph, OF Zoilo Almonte

Essentially, Austin Romine fits here as well. He was called up in September because the Yankees needed an extra catcher, but that wouldn’t have happened had the Yankees not decided they were going to protect him a few months later anyway. Kind of amazing that everyone on this list got to New York, while only one is still in the organization. Mitchell played a small role before being traded in the Ichiro Suzuki deal; Adams was the regular third baseman and Almonte the regular left fielder for a little while in 2013; and Joseph played some first and second as a guy who shuttled back and forth from Triple-A. Phelps, of course, stands out as a guy who’s earned a role as a long reliever and occasional starter.

Betances2010 protection: RHP Dellin Betances, RHP Ryan Pope, 3B Brandon Laird, OF Melky Mesa

Mesa was added at the very end of the season to keep him from reaching minor league free agency. It’s not exactly Rule 5 protection, but it comes down to the same thing (either put him on the roster or risk losing him). Pope disappeared pretty quickly, Laird played a few games before being lost on waivers, and Mesa was an up-and-down extra outfielder for a couple of years before the Yankees released him about a year ago. The name that clearly stands out is Betances, who seemed like a lost cause for a while, then generated some attention again, then emerged as a bullpen standout.

Nova2009 protection: RHP Ivan Nova, RHP Romulo Sanchez, RHP Hector Noesi, INF Eduardo Nunez, INF Reegie Corona, INF Kevin Russo, OF Austin Jackson

Protecting seven players was pretty aggressive, and predictably, it was a mixed bag of production. Within a few weeks of being added to the roster, Jackson was traded to Detroit in the Curtis Granderson deal. A few years later, Noesi got some big league time only to be included in the Michael Pineda deal. Sanchez was a bust, Corona never got to New York, and Russo played a small utility role off the bench. In terms of New York impact, the big names here are Nova and Nunez. Nova was nearly lost in the Rule 5 a year earlier — he was selected but didn’t stick — and he’s since proven himself to be a nice big league starter when healthy. Nunez was the Yankees top upper-level infield prospect for years, but he never proved himself as anything more than an inconsistent bench player.

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What did we miss? Duke, Swisher, Butler, Sandoval, Bleich11.19.14

It’s always a bit strange to spend a day away from everything during the offseason. I briefly checked my phone yesterday afternoon half expecting a massive Yankees trade and a huge signing and maybe some sort of unbelievable quote from Hal Steinbrenner, but it seems that Tuesday was pretty quiet. On the morning after, here’s a quick look at what we missed.

David Robertson• Are you looking for good news? Is your name Dave Robertson? Yesterday the White Sox signed left-handed reliever Zach Duke to a three-year deal worth $15 million. Granted, Robertson just turned down more than that for one year, but it still seems to say a lot about the relief pitching market. If one strong season is enough to land Duke that contract, how much is Robertson reasonably worth?

• Want to bring Nick Swisher back to the Bronx? Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Indians are looking into swapping Swisher for a different bad contract. The problem for the Yankees is that Swisher doesn’t really fit anywhere for them — unless the Yankees could include in the deal either Mark Teixeira (whose numbers were quite a bit better than Swisher’s last year) or Carlos Beltran (whose slash line was also quite a bit better, and whose age might not make him the kind of trade target the Indians are looking for) in the deal.

• The Yankees are in the market for a third baseman (and so are the Red Sox). Jerry Crasnick reported yesterday that Pablo Sandoval is talking to both the Red Sox and Giants about a five-year deal worth $80-90 million. Makes some sense that Chase Headley — who seems to be the Yankees top third base target — might wait for Sandoval to set the market before signing.

• As we already saw with the Victor Martinez deal, teams are willing to pay for offense. Turns out, teams are willing to pay even for offense that’s declining considerably. After a .702 OPS as a pure designated hitter, Billy Butler has reportedly signed a three-year deal with the Athletics. It seems Oakland is banking on a bounce-back from a guy who’s still in his 20s.

• Looking for another international free agent on the market? Kiley McDaniel reports that Cuban second baseman Andy Ibanez has gotten to the Dominican Republic to begin the process of coming to the States. Baseball American has profiled Ibanez as more of a prospect than an instant big leaguer.

• The Pirates announced a bunch of minor league signings, including former Yankees pitching prospect Jeremy Bleich. Once a supplemental-round draft pick, Bleich’s career was thrown off track by injuries. Moved back into the rotation, he had a pretty solid year in Double-A this season.

• This will matter for a few Yankees games next season: The Mets announced the new Citi Field dimensions. Probably good news for new Mets hitting coach Kevin Long.

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