The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Miller gives up walk off for Yankees’ second straight loss

Brett Gardner

On the day a division rival made its second blockbuster trade of the week, the Yankees settled for a minor addition and a second straight loss.

Despite two home runs from Mark Teixeira, the Yankees lost to the Rangers 7-6 tonight in Texas. Closer Andrew Miller gave up a two-out, walk-off single in the ninth inning after rookie Nick Goody put a runner on base in his major league debut. It’s the first time the Yankees have lost two in a row since July 7.

Pitching a day earlier than expected, CC Sabathia allowed five runs in five-plus innings. All of the runs came on home runs, two by left-handed hitters — the hitters Sabathia’s actually done very well against this year — and one by Ryan Rua, which was an inside-the-park homer that tied the game in the fourth inning. The Yankees countered with three home runs of their own, two by Teixeira and one by Brian McCann. It was Teixeira’s 40th career multi-homer game and gave him a team-leading 26 for the season. Teixeira’s second homer gave the Yankees a brief lead in the seventh, but Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances combined to give up the tying run in the bottom of the inning. The Yankees had chances to pull back in front, but Brett Gardner struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth and McCann just missed a home run in the ninth.

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 11:41 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 101: Yankees at Rangers

CC SabathiaYANKEES (57-43)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B

LHP CC Sabathia (4-8, 5.38)
Sabathia vs. Rangers

RANGERS (48-52)
Delino DeShields CF
Elvis Andrus SS
Prince Fielder 1B
Adrian Beltre 3B
Josh Hamilton DH
Ryan Rua LF
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Adam Rosales 2B
Robinson Chirinos C

RHP Yovani Gallardo (7-9, 3.19)
Gallardo vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 8:05 p.m., YES Network

WEATHER: For the heat alone, I won’t be sad to leave Dallas in the morning.

UMPIRES: HP Paul Emmel, 1B Jerry Meals, 2B Andy Fletcher, 3B Jordan Baker

KEEP IN MIND: Worth noting — though I forgot to in the pregame notes — that Andrew Bailey has been moved up to the Triple-A bullpen. He was pitching well in Double-A and could be a big league bullpen option at some point. Hard to know what to expect from a guy who’s spent so long out of the big leagues.

ARMS RACE: With Caleb Cotham making his Major League debut last night, the Yankees have now used 28 pitchers this season (including position players who appeared as pitchers), tied for the second-most pitchers used in a season in team history. Last year, the Yankees set a record with 33 pitchers used. They previously used 28 pitchers in 2011, 2007 and 2005.

ON THIS DATE: It was on July 30, 1890 that Casey Stengel was born in Kansas City. Stengel would go on to manage the Yankees for 12 seasons, winning seven World Series and 10 American League pennants.

UPDATE, 8:10 p.m.: Well, that didn’t take long. Double. Error. Sac fly. Yankees in front 1-0 after three pitches.

UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: And there’s a home run for Teixeira. It’s 2-0.

UPDATE, 8:21 p.m.: Yankees are stringing together some base runners. Now up 3-0 still in the first. As long as you have more runs than outs, that’s usually a good thing.

UPDATE, 8:52 p.m.: One thing Sabathia has done well this season is get lefties out, but tonight he’s allowed a three-run homer to Josh Hamilton — who crushed a horrific pitch — and a solo homer to Shin-Soo Choo. It’s 4-3 Rangers after two innings.

UPDATE, 8:58 p.m.: Two-run homer by McCann to put the Yankees up 5-4. It’s gonna be one of those nights.

UPDATE, 10:16 p.m.: Mark Teixeira’s second home run of the night has put the Yankees back in front, 6-5. That’s the sixth home run of the night, including an inside-the-park job that tied the game for the Rangers in the fourth.

UPDATE, 10:43 p.m.: Betances got the big strikeout he needed, but not before the Rangers tied the game on a ground ball that gave Stephen Drew no time to turn two. We’re tied at 6 heading into the eighth.

UPDATE, 11:01 p.m.: Brutal for Gardner. Yankees loaded the bases with two outs — three straight lefties reached against lefty Sam Freeman — but Gardner struck out to leave them loaded and keep the game tied.

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 8:00 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: Replacing Pineda and using Ackley going forward

Joe Girardi

A lot going on in the past few hours. Let’s just go topic-by-topic:

Michael PinedaMichael Pineda shut down with forearm strain

After throwing a routine bullpen on Tuesday, Pineda felt some discomfort in his right forearm. He pointed to the front side of his arm, up high, near the elbow. He told the Yankees about it that night, and yesterday he was sent for an MRI. The Yankees obviously feared an elbow issue, but found only a strain in his flexor muscle.

The Yankees plan to have Pineda go 7-10 days without throwing. After that, they’ll try to move toward getting him back this season. Joe Girardi said he’s confident Pineda will pitch again this season. There’s relief that the elbow ligament showed no damage.

“It shouldn’t take too many (rehab) starts because he is stretched out and it’s the middle of the season and his arm’s in shape,” Giradri said. “Just have to make sure he’s healthy before he goes back out.”

There are obviously unique properties to each injury, but it’s worth noting that both Masahiro Tanaka (about six weeks) and Andrew Miller (roughly a month) missed time with forearm injuries this season. Neither one was back quickly.

“I’m not worried,” Pineda said. “I feel a little sad today, because I want to pitch, I want to stay in the game. But I’m not worried about that. I’ll continue working and come back as soon as I can.”

Bryan MitchellFilling the open spot in the rotation

Apparently there was a radio report earlier today that Ivan Nova is also hurt and might miss his next start, but it seems the only thing going on with Nova is that arm fatigue issue that he dealt with on Monday. He threw his bullpen today and remains on track to start on Sunday. The upcoming Yankees’ rotation looks like this:

Friday: Nathan Eovaldi
Saturday: TBA
Sunday: Ivan Nova

Byran Mitchell is a candidate to start Saturday, but Girardi said he will consider Mitchell to be an available long man tonight and tomorrow. If Mitchell’s not needed in either of those games, he could get that Saturday start. If not Mitchell, Girardi did not rule out the idea of using Adam Warren.

Girardi did rule out Diego Moreno for Saturday. After throwing 5.1 innings on Tuesday, Moreno would be on three days rest for Saturday’s game, and Girardi said he would not consider Moreno to be a viable starting option that day.

So it looks like Mitchell and Warren are the top options to fill the open rotation spot in the short term, but the Yankees need a starter beyond Saturday. Is Luis Severino an option?

“Yeah, I mean, he’s obviously in the mix,” Girardi said. “He’s one of the starters down there (in Triple-A), and you’re going to have to talk about it.”

Dustin AckleyFinding a role for Dustin Ackley

Trading away some redundant prospects made a lot of sense for the Yankees. But trading them for a left-handed utility type who’s hit for a low average with a little bit of power, like a slightly more versatile but probably not as good defensively version of Stephen Drew? It’s kind of hard to figure out how exactly Ackley fits this roster.

“Just his versatility (is appealing) especially as we move forward here and you’re trying to spell guys,” Girardi said. “His versatility should help out in that situation. You get a guy that you can put at five different spots, that’s pretty good.”

More of a second baseman or an outfielder?

“In the last few years, he’s played mostly outfield,” Girardi said. “He’s played left, center and right, so it’s a position where we can move him around all over there. He has not played much second — I think he’s played one game this year — so obviously he would have to work there before we would feel comfortable putting him there.”

If he can’t immediately step in at second base, then it would seem he’s not here to replace Drew. If he’s primarily a left-handed outfielder, there’s really no spot for him except to play some right field when Carlos Beltran or Alex Rodriguez needs a day off (with Beltran at DH). Girardi more than once mentioned that Ackley can play five positions, which suggests the Yankees also consider him a first baseman. Could he replace Garrett Jones in that role?

Jose RamirezTrading away Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez

One thing about Ackley being primarily an outfielder who can play first base: If that’s is primary role, couldn’t Flores have done that? I suppose that’s a question for another day. For now, Flores is gone, as is Ramirez. Those are two guys who have been in the big leagues this season, but also two guys are remarkably redundant in a system overloaded with left-handed outfielder and right-handed relievers.

“I think the development in our system has given us more depth and feels like we can do something, in a sense,” Girardi said.

While Flores was kind of always overshadowed, it actually seemed for a while that Ramirez might be emerging as a top young reliever in the system. He got a fairly long look last season and a couple of opportunities this year, but he never did much with those chances. At this point, he seems to have been surpassed by Nick Rumbelow, Branden Pinder and even Diego Moreno in terms of bullpen depth.

“You know, he had a few chances here,” Girardi said. “He never had consistent work. We’ve had a lot of guys that that stepped up and pitched pretty well up here that have been probably equal to him, and that’s probably made him movable, in a sense. You get another kid that comes up (Tuesday) and does a good job. Throws strikes, competes, so it made him movable.”

In that way, the Ackley trade was exactly the kind of deal Brian Cashman has pulled off quite a bit recently. Just hard to immediately figure out how and where Ackley fits.

Yankees Angels BaseballOdds and ends

• Girardi said there was no hesitation in giving today’s start to CC Sabathia. “You just kind of put everyone on their normal day,” he said. “And then as far as Saturday, we’ll figure it out when we get there. It kind of depends again on what we use and then we’ll go from there.”

• Adam Warren actually lived with Ackley for a year in college. I’ve had a lot of Ackley conversations with Warren over the years. On the record and off the record, Warren raves about the way Ackley works. “I think he’s extremely talented,” Warren said. “He’s a good guy, works hard. It’s just one of those things where you hope he can fit in with the club and I think he will. He’s super quiet. I think he plays hard and just going off what I know at Carolina playing with him, he’s super-talented and a gamer. I’m hoping to see him do that over here.”

• Nova said his agent actually called him today to ask if he was hurt because the agent had heard that somewhere. Nova said he was surprised by the phone call. Said he feels fine, just felt some to-be-expected fatigue on Monday. “I’m not hurt,” he said. “I don’t know where that came from. I’m going to throw everything normal, keep my routine. I’m going to throw my bullpen and get ready for my game.”

• Reaction to the Tigers making another huge trade, this time for David Price: “It’s part of the game,” Girardi said. “Sometimes teams can make a lot of moves and doesn’t always work the way they want, sometimes it does. As I said, I worry about the guys in that room, those are my guys to worry about and that’s what I do. I feel good about the way these guys have played and I still believe in them. And I believe we have the stuff in that room to get it done.”

• Vernon Wells lives down here in Arlington and was in the clubhouse pregame. He’s still a very popular former player. I know he’s not particularly popular within the fan base, but the players seem to like seeing him. Good guy.

Associated Press photos

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 7:13 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

No Ackley tonight; standard Yankees lineup

Dustin Ackley has not been added to the active roster for tonight’s game. The Yankees have recalled Bryan Mitchell and Nick Goody. Caleb Cotham has been optioned back to Triple-A.

Yankees’ rotation for Chicago:
Friday – Nathan Eovaldi
Saturday – TBA
Sunday – Ivan Nova

Tonight’s lineup:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B

LHP CC Sabathia

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 5:42 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

A few quick facts (and one thought) about the Dustin Ackley trade

Dustin Ackley

You know how sometimes you’re driving to work and then the team you cover finally makes a trade? Anyway, the Yankees just made their first deadline deal of the year, acquiring Dustin Ackley from the Mariners for Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez. A few quick tidbits:

About Ackley
Primarily a second baseman through much of his career, Ackley’s played mostly left field since Robinson Cano arrived in Seattle. At 27 years old, he’s still relatively young with one more year of team control remaining (he’s arbitration eligible after this season). In the Yankees’ press release, they labeled him as an outfielder, though that might not tell us much. He’s hitting .215/.270/.366 for the year, .218/.265/.376 against right-handers.

Where he fits
If the Yankees wanted Ackley strictly as a left-handed outfielder, why not simply keep Flores in that role? If that they want a low-average, occasional power second baseman, why not stick with Stephen Drew (who’s probably a better defensive player). Seems safe to assume the Yankees like Ackley’s power bat as a solid fit for Yankee Stadium, and I’m sure they value his versatility, but it’s hard to know exactly where Ackley will play. New second baseman? Replace Garrett Jones? Set the stage for another deal?

Who they gave up
The Yankees have a 40-man roster overloaded with left-handed outfielders and right-handed relievers, so Flores and Ramirez were infinitely expendable. In fact, it might have been reckless to not trade them (or players like them) before the end of the season. Flores simply doesn’t have a place to play (and the Yankees have similar players all around him), and Ramirez has never earned his keep in the big leagues (and, again, the Yankees have similar alternatives all around him).

An unfair comparison
Just because it’s the first thing I thought of when news of the trade began to break: This trade reminds me of the 2010 Lance Berkman trade. Not because Ackley is remotely the same kind of player that Berkman was, but because the Yankees are giving up two young guys who could flourish with time and opportunity. Ramirez will probably never be a reliever of Mark Melancon’s quality, but he has good stuff and could have a lasting career with upside. Flores really could become something similar even better than Jimmy Paredes, who was totally overshadowed when the Yankees traded him and who eventually became a decent big league role player.

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 5:14 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Michael Pineda scratched with forearm issue

Phillies Yankees Baseball

Giving credit where it’s due, apparently Mike Francesa was the first to mention this on the radio earlier today.

Looks like the Yankees have their second rotation injury of the year, and it’s come just as the top starting pitchers have come off the trade market. Joel Sherman says it’s a Grade 1 forerm strain (or sprain) that’s going to keep Michael Pineda from making tonight’s start. He will ultimately land on the disabled list.

After some initial thought that Bryan Mitchell might make tonight’s start, Mark Feinsand confirmed that it will be CC Sabathia pitching tonight on normal rest because of Tuesday’s use of a spot starter.

Just before 3 p.m., the Yankees officially announced Pineda will go on the disabled list with a right flexor forearm muscle strain. They also officially announced Sabathia as tonight’s starter. No corresponding roster move was announced.

A Grade 1 forearm issue sounds similar to what Andrew Miller had earlier this season. Could also look to Masahiro Tanaka’s previous forearm issue as a guide for how long Pineda might be out. A full month or more doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable guess, but the Yankees have yet to make an official comment on the matter. Obviously Joe Girardi will address the media in a few hours.

Forearm issues always raise the concern about an eventual elbow issue, but that’s premature worst-case scenario speculation at the moment. For now, Pineda’s out of the mix in the short-term and likely won’t be back particularly soon.

Although David Price, Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir have already come off the trade market, there are still viable and potentially pretty good starting pitchers who seem to be available; guys like Tyson Ross, Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija and Yovani Gallardo.

The Yankees also have immediate internal rotation options ranging from Triple-A starter Mitchell to big league reliever Adam Warren to top prospect Luis Severino.

Associated Press photo

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 2:39 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

All in: After Tulo deal, Toronto reportedly secures David Price

PriceSafe to say the Blue Jays are going for it.

Less than 48 hours after acquiring Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto has reportedly made a deal for David Price. Jon Heyman reports that pitching prospect Daniel Norris — ranked as a top 20 prospect in all of baseball by both Baseball America and MLB.com this offseason — is the headliner going to Detroit in the deal.

As Joel Sherman noted, once the Tigers had Norris on the table, it became more likely that the Yankees had to include Luis Severino if they were going to get Price to New York.

The trade deadline is still a little more than 24 hours away, so there’s still plenty of time for the Yankees to make a move, but obviously the market’s three biggest starting pitchers — Price, Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto — have already been traded. Brian Cashman insisted last week that he planned to keep his top prospects, and so far he’s done that. Despite his reputation, Cashman really doesn’t have a recent history of trading away high-end young prospects for rentals or aging veterans, anyway. Hard to be truly stunned that Cashman didn’t do so for either a rental or an over-30 player signed to an expensive, long-term deal.

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 12:53 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Looking back: Past five years of Yankees trades

Brian Cashman

As the Yankees approach this year’s trade deadline, Brian Cashman has an obvious desire to improve in the short term, but also an acknowledged desire to protect assets for the long term. While the team has a reputation of continuously trading away young players to acquire aging veterans, there’s actually little evidence of that in the Yankees’ recent trade history. In the past five years, Cashman’s been far more likely to trade marginal pieces from the big league roster or acquire relatively young major league talent.

Here are the significant trades the Yankees have made the past five seasons. I’m not listing the many “cash considerations” trades that have brought multiple low-impact players into the fold. Instead, these are the player-for-player swaps Cashman has pulled off since 2010.

2010

Lance BerkmanBefore the deadline
Nothing significant

For this exercise, I’m counting “before the deadline” as anything that happened between the start of spring training and the trade deadline. Leading into the 2010 season, the Yankees actually made quite a few trades, including huge moves for Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan (all of which cost the Yankees Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Phil Coke, Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino). Jackson and Kennedy were the biggest names of that bunch, and they went in the deal for Granderson, who was still in his prime and under lengthy team control. Vizcaino was a pretty big prospect, but also extremely young when he was included in the Vazquez deal. That trade really didn’t work out very well for either team. Cabrera didn’t have his breakout season until he’d already left Atlanta for Kansas City.

At the deadline
Trade Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes to Houston for Lance Berkman
Trade Andrew Shive and Matt Cusick to Cleveland for Kerry Wood
Trade Zach McAllister to Cleveland for Austin Kearns

This was busy deadline for the Yankees, but not necessarily a good one. At the time, Melancon was a struggling, up-and-down reliever who had yet to live up to his hype and potential in the big leagues. Paredes was a thoroughly overshadowed infielder who wasn’t making much of an impression on the prospect radar. Melancon has since developed into a very good closer, and Paredes has become a pretty good hitter. The Yankees gave up on them in favor of Berkman, who didn’t do much during his brief Yankees stint (it was the next year that he revived his career in St. Louis). Of the three deadline additions in 2010, Wood was the best and wound up costing the least in terms of prospects. Kearns was probably the worst and cost a guy who’s had a decent big league career. Three trades. Only one was a good one for the Yankees.

In the offseason
Trade Juan Miranda to Arizona for Scottie Allen
Trade Adam Olbrychowski to Washington for Justin Maxwell

This was the winter when both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera were free agents. It was the winter ownership stepped in to sign Rafael Soriano. It was the winter the Yankees’ scouting department found useful veterans in Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez. The offseason after 2010 was not a winter of trades for the Yankees. No real impact one way or another from these swaps. Just kind of shifting around some spare parts. Maxwell turned out to the best of the four players involved in these deals, but the Yankees never found a big league role for him.

2011

Michael PinedaBefore the deadline
Trade Sergio Mitre to Milwaukee for Chris Dickerson

At the end of spring training, the Yankees gave up an extra long man to add some depth in the outfield. Dickerson wound up playing in 60 big league games that season (and a handful of games the next season as well), while Mitre ultimately wound up right back with the Yankees in a cash trade. He pitched in four Yankees games that season and hasn’t been in the big leagues since. This is the kind of deal Cashman’s made quite a few times, giving up some big league redundancy to add depth elsewhere.

At the deadline
Nothing significant

After the deadline, the Yankees made minor moves to purchase Scott Proctor and claim Raul Valdes and Aaron Laffey, but they were silent at the 2011 trade deadline. Derek Jeter and Phil Hughes came off the disabled list in early July, Rafael Soriano and Eric Chavez came off the DL just before the deadline, just days before Ivan Nova was recalled from Triple-A. Those were basically the Yankees’ deadline additions. In August, they’d take Alex Rodriguez off the disabled list in August, and Jesus Montero was called up in September. As for trades, those were pretty minor for quite a while until the 2011 season was over.

In the offseason
Trade Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to Seattle for Michael Pineda and Vicente Campos

This had been a quiet winter until one day in late January when, within hours of one another, the Yankees signed Hiroki Kuroda and made their most significant trade in recent memory. Although Pineda had a year in the big leagues, this deal was built around prospect-for-prospect. Pineda was hardly a finished product, and he was still young with five years of team control. Montero seemed to be a sure thing at the plate, and one evaluator at the time said that Montero’s offense was the most reliable thing in the entire trade. It took several years for the trade to play out, but at this point, the deal looks pretty lopsided in the Yankees’ favor. Even Campos is healthy and back on the prospect radar.

2012

Ichiro SuzukiBefore the deadline
Trade A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh for Diego Moreno and Exicardo Cayones
Trade George Kontos to San Francisco for Chris Stewart

Right as spring training was getting started, the Yankees finally found a way to dump Burnett’s contract. They shipped him to Pittsburgh for a pair of extremely low-level prospects. Cayones was shipped away roughly a year late, and Moreno actually wound up putting up numbers good enough to get some big league time this season (including last night). Ultimately, the deal was more about getting rid of Burnett and less about trying to acquire real talent. A month and a half later, at the very end of spring training, the Yankees traded depth to gain depth. Kontos has become a solid middle-innings reliever in San Francisco while Stewart has stuck around as a backup catcher in both New York and Pittsburgh.

At the deadline
Trade D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to Seattle for Ichiro Suzuki
Trade Chad Qualls to Pittsburgh for Casey McGehee

Farquhar had been claimed off waivers less than a month earlier. Qualls himself had been a minor trade addition in July. The Yankees used those two relievers, plus extra long man Mitchell, to plug holes in the outfield and the infield. McGehee was not good and wound up playing overseas the next season. Ichiro, on the other hand, was excellent in his first stint with any major league team other than Seattle. He brought a burst of energy, and the Yankees wound up giving him a two-year contract the following offseason (they perhaps should have quit while they were ahead). Ichiro was certainly a past-his-prime veteran, but the Yankees got him without sacrificing anything that resembled a high-end prospect.

In the offseason
Nothing significant

This was the winter of re-signing Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro. It was the winter Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner became Yankees (not that we’ll ever remember much about their tenures). This was a winter of many incredibly small moves — Juan Rivera, Matt Diaz, Eli Whiteside — that never turned into anything. It was a winter of plugging short-term holes and making no long-term commitments. This was a time when the Yankees were mostly frozen by current commitments, aging players and a lack of valuable prospects in the upper levels of the minor league system. Within a few months, they would draft Aaron Judge and Ian Clarkin as compensation for letting Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano leave via free agency.

2013

Alfonso SorianoBefore the deadline
Trade Abe Almonte to the Mariners for Shawn Kelley
Trade Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed to Los Angeles for Vernon Wells

At the very beginning of spring training, the Yankees swapped some minor league outfield depth to add a surprisingly valuable piece of the bullpen (and eventually, they’d swap Kelley to add a prospect reliever). Near the end of spring training — after injuries left them thin — the Yankees gave up two forgotten prospects to take on a salary dump in Wells. Along the way that season, the Yankees gave up cash considerations to acquire a bunch of players — mostly light-hitting utility infielders like Reid Brignac and Chris Nelson — but just as they’d done in the offseason, they stayed away from significant trades involving big name prospects or big leaguers.

At the deadline
Trade Corey Black to Chicago for Alfonso Soriano

After staying away from big trades for a while, the Yankees finally made this move. They were hesitant to give up Black — he’s now putting up good strikeout numbers in the Cubs’ Double-A bullpen — but they needed a bat, and in the short-term, Soriano was an incredible addition. If his return to the Yankees had lasted only that second half of 2013, it would have been an overwhelming success. Instead, he fell so flat in 2014 that he wound up released before the All-Star break. In the short-term, Soriano was exactly what the Yankees wanted. In the long-term, he fizzled. If the Yankees had kept Black, he would probably be just another name on the Yankees’ long list of on-the-verge relievers. After the 2013 trade deadline, the Yankees made a tiny end-of-season swap for Brendan Ryan just to give themselves a shortstop after Derek Jeter was shut down at the very end of the year. That offseason, Ryan was re-signed to his current contract.

In the offseason
Trade Ben Paullus to San Diego for Dean Anna
Trade Chris Stewart to Pittsburgh for Kyle Haynes

Really, if the Yankees have a recent pattern in their trade history, it’s the tendency to make relatively minor swaps to either add a little depth or get rid of redundant pieces. The Yankees acquired Anna to help add some much-needed middle infield depth, and Anna wound up getting some big league time while Ryan was hurt early in the 2014 season. The Yankees got rid of Stewart in an effort to open the catching situation for Francisco Cervelli and newly acquired Brian McCann. Anna was depth at a position of need. Stewart was depth at a position of excess.

2014

Chase HeadleyBefore the deadline
Trade Eduardo Nunez to Minnesota for Miguel Sulbaran
Trade Vidal Nuno to Arizona for Brandon McCarthy

Essentially, I tried to limit “at the deadline” moves to anything that happened within a week of July 31. The McCarthy deal happened in early July as a quick-strike attempt to add some much-needed rotation depth as the Yankees kept sending starters to the disabled list. Again, the Yankees made the swap by taking on money and getting rid of an unnecessary part of the big league roster. In trading away Nunez at the end of spring training, the Yankees basically dumped a utility guy who had been replaced by the emergence of Yangervis Solarte. Again, they traded away an extra piece of the big league roster but held onto key prospects.

At the deadline
Trade Yangervis Solarte and Rafael De Paula to San Diego for Chase Headley
Trade Kelly Johnson to Boston for Stephen Drew
Trade Peter O’Brien to the Arizona for Martin Prado
Claim Esmil Rogers off waivers

I’m including the Rogers claim because it really did feel like a small part of the trade deadline. It was a way to add a fresh long man without giving up a young player. In order to drastically remake their infield, the Yankees traded away four players, only one of whom was considered much of a prospect. Johnson was a veteran, Solarte had been a minor league free agent the previous offseason, and De Paula’s prospect stock had thoroughly disappeared. The one true prospect shipped away at last year’s trade deadline was O’Brien, the raw power hitter without a position. The Yankees seemed unconvinced that he could stick at catcher, and the Diamondbacks have mostly used him in the outfield (he’s hit a bunch of home runs no matter where he’s played).

In the offseason
Trade Francisco Cervelli to Pittsburgh for Justin Wilson
Trade Shane Green in three-team deal for Didi Gregorius
Trade David Phelps and Martin Prado to Miami for Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and Domingo German
Trade Shawn Kelley to San Diego for Johnny Barbato
Trade Manny Banuelos to Atlanta for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve

This was the winter of wheeling and dealing. The Yankees made five significant trades, each of which had an immediate impact on the big league roster. Along the way, Cashman gave up one minor leaguer (Banuelos) and acquired three (one of whom made the big league roster out of spring training). Most of what the Yankees surrendered were major league players who were seen as replaceable. Cervelli was ultimately replaced by John Ryan Murphy. Greene was ultimately replaced by Eovaldi. Prado was replaced by Stephen Drew. Kelley was replaced by Carpenter and Shreve. Phelps’ role was basically taken by Adam Warren. Since this season started, the Yankees only player-for-player swap has been dealing Carpenter for second base prospect in Tony Renda.

Associated Press photos

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 9:00 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “We know he’s capable of pitching better”

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka has made 14 starts this season.

In the first seven — a sample that includes a disappointing opener and stretches both before and after his disabled list stint — Tanaka had a 2.49 ERA with 45 strikeouts, seven walks and four home runs in 43.1 innings.

In the last seven — a span that included three straight wins before tonight and that saw him initially bounce back from two particularly bad starts — Tanaka’s had a 5.08 ERA with 39 strikeouts, 11 walks and 11 home runs in 44.1 innings.

“Obviously it’s not what we want,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s had some really good games and he’s had some tough games. He kept us in the game tonight, we just didn’t do a lot offensively. That’s what we ask our starting pitchers to do, give us a chance to win, and I thought he did that tonight. We know he’s capable of pitching better.”

After from those back-to-back starts at the end June, Tanaka has rarely been terrible. He allowed more than three earned runs in a start only once in the month of July — that was tonight — and he’s pitched into the eighth inning in two of his past four starts, but he he hasn’t been anything close to dominant. He was pretty impressive right before the All-Star break, but he’s ultimately been hitable and beatable.

Velocity has been basically the same as last season, a little higher even, but the results have been uninspiring. Tonight his split, which is supposed to be his best pitch, was erratic. It was bounced in front of the plate or left up in the zone. According to Brooks Baseball, Tanaka threw 26 splits tonight and got five swing and misses.

“I apologize because I’m always giving you the same answer for this, but it always comes down to mechanics,” Tanaka said. “If my mechanics are there, the ball is coming out of my hand more efficiently. That inning when I gave up three runs, that actually had a lot to do with the split. I wasn’t getting that tight downfall that I wanted to. It got gradually better as the inning went on, but that third inning was kind of a dagger.”

Perhaps because of the language barrier, it’s always a bit difficult to get meaningful details from Tanaka postgame. His mechanics weren’t right, but there’s little description of how or why that’s the case. His split wasn’t sharp, but that much was pretty clear from the outside. Is he hurting? Is he compensating? What’s causing the difference in these past seven starts?

“Just being able to dictate the count and being in charge,” Brian McCann said. “Getting strike one. Staying a step ahead. Tonight, we fell behind.”

McCann talked a lot about trying to keep damage to a minimum, and Girardi talked about Tanaka still giving the Yankees a chance to win, but the Yankees consider Tanaka to be their ace, and those aren’t phrases often used when No. 1 starters have their good stuff. Tanaka hasn’t been at his best lately, and at this point, there are only two months left.

Caleb Cotham• He might be optioned for a fresh arm tomorrow, but Caleb Cotham had a pretty good big league debut. He let an inherited runner score, but only after Didi Gregorius botched a potential double play. All told, Cotham went 1.2 innings with two hits, no walks and four strikeouts.

• That Gregorius error, by the way, was his first since June 21.

• Carlos Beltran homered to give the Yankees an early lead in the second inning. It snapped a 16-game, 54-at-bat homerless streak. Six of his eight home runs this season have come against right-handed pitchers.

• Stephen Drew has a hit in five straight games going 7-for-18 in that span. Tonight was his 14th multi-hit game of the year. … Chase Headley has a seven-game hitting streak. … Didi Gregorius has eight hits in his past three games and is 11-for-23 overall in his career against the Rangers.

• Tanaka’s three strikeouts were a season low while his three walks matched a season high. That’s not a great combo.

Garrett Jones• Strong start for Rangers starter Colby Lewis, who has a 2.89 ERA in his past four starts. He’s had a quality start in nine of his past 10 outings. “I thought he made a lot of good pitches with his slider for strikes and then expanding in the zone and throwing it down and in to our left-handers,” Girardi said. “I thought he did a pretty good job with some back door ones as well. I thought Lewis threw a pretty good game.”

• The Yankees snapped a four-game winning streak. They need a win tomorrow to continue their streak of winning six straight series.

• Looking for something more positive about tonight? In Triple-A, Luis Severino delivered another gem with 10 strikeouts and one hit through six innings. Rob Refsnyder made two errors, but Refsnyder, Greg Bird, Ben Gamel, Gary Sanchez, Jose Pirela and Austin Romine each had two hits. Gamel and Bird each homered.

• Really, all of the postgame clubhouse was focused on Tanaka. This game didn’t offer much else for the Yankees. So, for our final word, here’s Girardi with one last comment on Tanaka’s outing: “He really struggled the whole time. Maybe his best inning was his last inning in the sixth, but it was a little bit of a struggle. I think he walked the leadoff hitter and fortunately he was able to pick him off. His command was not great tonight.”

Associated Press photos

 
 

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Posted by:Chad Jenningson Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 12:37 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

As trade deadline heats up, Tanaka delivers a dud in Texas

Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann

Some nights, the Yankees seem to have a legitimate ace already. Other nights, their rotation seems in need of a serious upgrade. Tonight was the latter, and it’s worth wondering whether the Yankees might be tempted to do something about it.

While Masahiro Tanaka labored through an uninspiring start in Texas, blowing an early lead in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers, the trade market gained both momentum and star power. Cole Hamels is reportedly on his way to Texas, Carlos Gomez is reportedly going to the Mets (or maybe not), and the Tigers have announced their intention to sell. Was another unimpressive start by Tanaka enough to spur the Yankees toward a run at David Price?

Given a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, Tanaka simply couldn’t hold it. Rarely hit particularly hard, but hit often, Tanaka allowed three runs on a walk and four singles in the bottom of the second. He pitched around two base runners in the third, did the same in the fourth, then allowed another run on two more singles in the fifth. Tanaka ultimately allowed nine hits and three walks through six innings. His ERA jumped to 3.80, which is more a run higher than Price’s, but still the lowest in the Yankees’ rotation.

Caleb Cotham made his major league debut and allowed an inherited runner to score after Didi Gregorius made his first error since June 21. Otherwise, Cotham struck out four and allowed two hits through an inning and two-thirds.

Associated Press photo

 
 

Posted by:Chad Jenningson Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 at 11:17 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post


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