The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

A closer look at the Yankees non-tender decisions12.03.14

David Huff

Late last night came word that the Yankees non-tendered three players, including two prospects. Here’s a look at all three decisions.

HeathcottCF Slade Heathcott
24 years old
Acquired: First-round draft pick in 2009
This year: Played just nine games before yet another knee surgery

Non-tender possibilities always begin with arbitration eligible players, but prospects become candidates in certain situations. In the case of Heathcott, injuries have taken their toll and have cost him a spot on the 40-man roster (and perhaps a spot in the organization). Around this time last year, Heathcott was added to the 40-man after hitting .279//.339/.514 in the second half in Double-A. His 2013 season was cut short by a late-season knee surgery, but it was said to be minor, and Heathcott seemed determined during spring training. By mid-season, he was having knee surgery again. The Yankees roster was overflowing with outfielders — especially left-handed hitters who can play center field — and so Heathcott was, in a way, expendable. It’s worth noting that a non-tendering Heathcott might also give the Yankees a chance to keep him by re-signing him to a minor league deal (might have a easier time keeping him that way rather than having to DFA him mid-season).

CamposRHP Jose Campos
22 years old
Acquired: From Seattle in the 2012 Michael Pineda trade
This year: Missed all season because of Tommy John surgery

Three years in the Yankees organization and Campos has pitched just 111.2 minor league innings. He made just five starts in 2012 and spent the rest of the year nursing a somewhat vague elbow injury. He came back in 2013, worked with a very strict pitch limit, and completed 19 starts plus another seven multi-inning relief appearances. Things seemed to be heading in the right direction until April of this year when Campos had Tommy John surgery. His minor league numbers are impressive — 3.37 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.6 strikeouts per nine — but he’s never pitched above Low A, and now he has the surgery hanging over him. He’s simply no longer a guy who looks like he belongs on a 40-man roster. It’s always a bit stunning to see a legitimate prospect non-tendered, but it’s hard to know what to make of Campos these days. Like Heathcott, he stands out as a guy who the Yankees could try to re-sign to a minor league deal that doesn’t require a roster spot.

HuffLHP David Huff
30 years old
Acquired: Waiver claim in 2013; purchased in 2014
This year: Made 30 appearances with a 1.85 ERA (4.00 FIP) for the Yankees

Here’s a guy who pitched fairly, seems unlikely to make much money, but simply doesn’t fit on the Yankees roster. When this offseason started, Huff was probably the top left-handed reliever on the 40-man. Then the Yankees acquired two players. Justin Wilson came over from Pittsburgh and instantly became the top in-house lefty for the big league bullpen, and minor league veteran Jose De Paula signed a major league contract that made him look like basically a younger version of Huff (and a version that still has options). The Yankees simply have too many potential long relievers and spot starters — Phelps, Rogers, Mitchell, Banuelos, Whitley, De Paula — and Huff would have been redundant, despite the fact he’s not likely to earn much more than the minimum next season. Huff stood out as a non-tender candidate from the beginning, though he’s a non-tender guy who could legitimately land a big league contract on a different roster. He just doesn’t fit this one.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off on A closer look at the Yankees non-tender decisions

Yankees non-tender Heathcott, Campos, Huff12.03.14

HeathcottA team source confirmed the Yankees have non-tendered outfield prospect Slade Heathcott.

Major league reliever David Huff and minor league starter Jose Campos were also non-tendered.

While the decision on Huff comes as little surprise, the names of Heathcott and Campos certainly raise some eyebrows. Just two years ago, both were among the Yankees top five prospects according to Baseball America. Heathcott had been a first-round draft pick, and Campos had been acquired in the Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero trade.

Injuries, though, have derailed the development of each player. Campos had Tommy John surgery, while Heathcott has gone through a number of operations, including a second knee surgery this season.

It’s worth noting that non-tendering a player leaves open the possibility of re-signing that player to a minor league deal. Of course, it also leaves open the possibility of another team making a better offer.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off on Yankees non-tender Heathcott, Campos, Huff

Yankees face non-tender decisions with Huff, Rogers12.02.14

Esmil Rodgers

Today is the non-tender deadline, when teams have to decide which of their arbitration-eligible players are worth an upcoming pay raise. The Yankees have six arb-eligible guys, and four seem like no-brainers to bring back next season. Ivan Nova’s probably going to make basically the same thing he made last year, Michael Pineda and David Phelps will still be awfully cheap, and Shawn Kelley’s proven enough these past two seasons to be worth the roughly $2.5 million he’s likely to receive. But the Yankees do have two players who stand out as non-tender candidates. Not non-tender locks, but non-tender possibilities.

RogersEsmil Rogers
This one is strictly a money issue.

The Yankees clearly like Rogers’ arm, otherwise they wouldn’t have acquired him at the trade deadline and immediately put him in the big league bullpen. And they’ve seen him have some success, including a good spot start in just his third appearance with the team. Sure, his numbers ballooned late in the year, but two especially bad outings had a lot to do with that. Ultimately, Rogers isn’t a bad guy to bring into camp to compete for a job. He throws hard, he has some experience, and he could play a few different roles on the pitching staff. He’s not a bad guy to have on the roster; not a bad guy to have in spring training.

Problem is, Rogers made $1.85 million this year and he’s expected to make very slightly more than that next year. Contracts for guys like this aren’t guaranteed, but paying basically $2 million for a guy with control issues and an uninspiring track record? It’s not a given that he should be non-tendered, but it’s also not a given that the Yankees have a spot for him. The 40-man’s going to be tight as it is, and this is a way to clear a spot and perhaps save a little money.

HuffDavid Huff
This one is strictly a roster issue.

Huff made slightly more than the minimum this season, and his estimated raise puts him around $700,000 for next season. That’s not much, especially on a non-guaranteed contract. And it’s especially not much when you consider Huff had a surprisingly good season. During his 30 appearances with the Yankees, he had a 1.85 ERA, 4.00 FIP and 1.31 WHIP. Not great, but not bad for a bullpen lefty capable of pitching multiple innings at a time. The Yankees have acquired him each of the past two years, so they clearly like him.

Problem is, the Yankees have plenty of Huff types already on the roster and in the system. They traded for Justin Wilson last month, which added a true bullpen lefty to the mix. They signed minor league veteran Jose De Paula to a major league deal, giving them a left-handed reliever/starter option. They also have Manny Banuelos and a bunch of upper-level prospects who pitch left-handed, and they have David Phelps, Bryan Mitchell and Chase Whitley available as potential long men. It’s not that Huff’s a bad pitcher at that salary, it’s just that he’s a bit redundant on the Yankees roster. Like Rogers, it’s not a given he should be non-tendered, but it’s also not a given the Yankees have a spot for him.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off on Yankees face non-tender decisions with Huff, Rogers

Sorting through Yankees arbitration and non-tender candidates10.21.14

Michael Pineda

Yesterday, MLB Trade Rumors announced it’s typically reliable salary predictions for the seven Yankees who are arbitration eligible this winter. The MLBTR predictions aren’t fool-proof, and they aren’t necessarily exact, but over time we’ve learned that they tend to provide a pretty solid expectation for what an individual player stands to earn through offseason negotiations.

So with these figures in mind, which arbitration-eligible Yankees are most likely to be non-tendered this winter?

This year: $3.3 million
Next year prediction: $3.3 million

No logical chance of a non-tender. Last year’s elbow injury cost the Yankees a full season from one of their top young starting pitchers, but it also made him significantly less expensive in his second year of arbitration. Despite the injury, the Yankees will gladly sign up for $3.3 million on a pitcher who could be at least a strong No. 3-4 starter with the potential to go on a run of near-ace-like production for several weeks at a time. The injury might keep them from considering a multi-year deal at this point, but one year at this price is surely a no-brainer.

This year: $1.765 million
Next year prediction: $2.5 million

A $3.5-million commitment was enough for the Yankees to cut ties with Matt Thornton back in August, so the possibility of a $2.5-million deal with Kelley shouldn’t be completely dismissed. It’s not pocket change. That said, Kelley’s been a nice find for the Yankees bullpen. A back injury slowed him down for a while this year, but his key numbers — strikeout rate, walk rate, WHIP, etc. — were actually better in 2014 than in 2013. He’s a pretty reliable strikeout pitcher, and a one-year commitment to a reliever like this seems just about perfect at this point. The Yankees have some solid arms on the way, and one more year of Kelley might perfectly bridge the gap. No compelling reason to non-tender him.

This year: roughly $500,000 (slightly more than the minimum)
Next year prediction: $2.1 million

Pretty big salary jump for a guy who’s made 13 big league starts since 2011. But that’s the nature of the business with a player who’s coming back from a long-term injury and a bunch of time on the 60-day disabled list. Ultimately, a little more than $2 million should be a bargain as long as Pineda stays healthy. And if he doesn’t, it probably means another chance for a similar low-risk, one-year contract next winter. Again, this one is a no-brainer. Pineda will certainly be back, and even with the injury concern and time missed, there’s no reason to balk at $2.1 million for a pitcher with Pineda’s proven talent.

This year: $1.85 million
Next year prediction: $1.9 million

Probably the strongest non-tender candidate of the bunch. Obviously the Yankees like Rogers’ arm — and at times they got terrific production out of him during his brief Yankees tenure last season — but he’s ultimately a 29-year-old with a 1.56 career WHIP, 5.54 career ERA, and a large enough sample size to suggest those numbers are a reasonable expectation for next year. Even if $1.9 million isn’t a ton of money, a one-year deal with Rogers probably isn’t the best way to spend it. Not with better options — or at least similar options — already in the system. The 40-man is going to be tight, money could be tight, and it’s probably not be worth using either a roster spot or a couple million bucks to retain Rogers. If the Yankees had less pitching depth, the situation might be different.

This year: roughly $500,000 (slightly more than the minimum)
Next year prediction: $1.3 million

It seems Phelps just made it past the cutoff for early arbitration eligibility. I’m sure the Yankees would like one more year at the minimum, but I’m sure they also realize that Phelps is a really nice fit for them in the immediate future. He’s proven capable of filling any role, and this Yankees pitching staff should have a need for a long man who can either slide into the rotation or move into a late-inning role if necessary. That’s Phelps. As he more thoroughly defines himself one way or the other — and as his arbitration price goes up with each passing offseason — the Yankees will have a choice to make about how much he’s worth, but at slightly more than a million dollars, Phelps is still a good fit at a cheap price.

This year: $700,000
Next year prediction: $1.1 million

You know, Cervelli has really developed into a nice catcher. He’s played like a high-end backup or a low-end (with upside) starter. And $1.1 million isn’t too much to pay for a guy like that. Even as the Yankees surely need to make a decision behind the plate — makes sense to make a move with either Cervelli, John Ryan Murphy or Austin Romine — it would be a waste to simply non-tender Cervelli. Surely there’s trade value there, and even if the Yankees decide to cut him in spring training, arbitration-eligible players are never given guaranteed contracts, so the Yankees could move on a fraction of the price. Certainly worth signing a new contract, even if it’s also worth immediately trying to trade him.

This year: roughly $500,000 (slightly more than the minimum)
Next year prediction: $700,000

Could be a non-tender candidate despite having a pretty nice year. Huff walks quite a few batters, and he doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, but he had a 1.31 WHIP and a 1.85 ERA during his stint with the Yankees (granted, with a much higher FIP and xFIP). Ultimately, he was fine. Nothing about his season suggests he’s not worth a modest raise to $700,000. That said, the Yankees always treated him like a last-man in the bullpen, and his career splits don’t suggest a reliable lefty specialist. Solid year, fairly cheap price, but could be non-tendered just to open a roster spot for someone else.

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off on Sorting through Yankees arbitration and non-tender candidates

Salary predictions for arbitration-eligible Yankees10.20.14

Ivan Nova, Joe Girardi

These numbers are far from official, but the crew at MLB Trade Rumors — Matt Swartz in particular — has a strong record when it comes to predicting salaries for arbitration eligible players. Here’s what they’re predicting for this year’s arb-eligible Yankees:

This year: $3.3 million
Next year prediction: $3.3 million

This year: $1.765 million
Next year prediction: $2.5 million

This year: roughly $500,000 (slightly more than the minimum)
Next year prediction: $2.1 million

This year: $1.85 million
Next year prediction: $1.9 million

This year: roughly $500,000 (slightly more than the minimum)
Next year prediction: $1.3 million

This year: $700,000
Next year prediction: $1.1 million

This year: roughly $500,000 (slightly more than the minimum)
Next year prediction: $700,000

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off on Salary predictions for arbitration-eligible Yankees

Yankees postgame: Hughes or Huff?09.02.13

David HuffPhil Hughes had bad luck in this game. The hour and 53 minute rain delay took him out of the game after just four outs and five batters. The Yankees erupted for a season-high eight runs in a single inning, the fourth. That could have been Hughes’ property. Instead the runs belonged to David Huff.

The lefty picked up the ball for Hughes and earned the 9-1 win over the White Sox. He worked  5 2/3, a career high in relief, and allowed one run, five hits and no walks.

Afterward, Joe Girardi was noncommittal about whether there will be a change from Hughes to Huff for Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.

“I haven’t made any decisions about changing the rotation,” Girardi said.

Huff, who has allowed one run in 15 innings over five outings since coming back from Triple-A, is ready for anything.

“When I first got here, Joe was saying, ‘We’re going to be using you.’ I said, ‘OK,’ ” Huff said. “A few innings, whatever he needs, I’ll make sure I’m ready for it.”

Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball Tuesday night. He has appeared to be wearing down, going 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA over his last five starts.

“We need him to pitch well because he has been a staple in our rotation,” Girardi said. “He’s been struggling a little bit. … He got an extra day off. Maybe that will help him get going again.”

Both Cesar Cabral and J.R. Murphy made their major-league debuts, giving the Yankees a franchise-record 52 players used this season. Cabral pitched a scoreless eighth. And Murphy got a pinch-hit infield single batting for Robinson Cano in the eighth.

“I didn’t know who I was hitting for until they announced it, so that was pretty cool,” Murphy said. “After that, I just wanted to have a good at-bat. I was nervous, so I made sure I took the first pitch instead of swinging at it.”

Brett Gardner doubled twice, so six of his last eight hits have been doubles.

Associated Press photo.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 389 Comments →

Postgame notes: Sabathia’s struggles continue05.29.10

Indians Yankees Baseball

Joba Chamberlain took the blame for today’s loss, but CC Sabathia wasn’t exactly happy with his performance either. Through the first three innings he seemed to have nearly unhittable stuff, but in the fourth, fifth and sixth he allowed five runs on six hits and two walks.

“I felt like I kept (the Indians) in the game,” he said. “Every time we scored a couple of runs I would give up a run or two and keep them in the game. We scored 11 runs or 10 runs today while I was up there. I should have just been able to shut them down and keep the game under control.”

Sabathia hasn’t won since May 3 and he’s allowed at least five runs in three of his past four starts.

“Today the stuff was there, against the Mets the stuff was there,” he said. “It’s just bad locations and not being able to make a pitch when I need to.”

Sabathia said the lengthy delay during the third inning — when David Huff was hit by the line drive — was not the cause of his struggles, but clearly something changed after that third inning. He simply looked like a different pitcher.

“CC rolled through the first three innings and it seemed like after that he got out of his rhythm,” Joe Girardi said. “I don’t know if it’s the situation where we have the long bottom of the third when the pitcher gets hit, but he lost his rhythm.”

Here’s Girardi’s postgame session with the media.

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Indians Yankees Baseball• Not the most encouraging stat for the Yankees: After that 21-8 start, the Yankees have gone 8-12 in their past 20 games. “We got off to a great start and we’ve kind of treaded water since then,” Girardi said. “It’s frustrating for us. We expect to win every day.”

• Dave Robertson said the pain in his lower back was directly above the spot where Joe Mauer hit him with a line drive on Wednesday. He didn’t feel it in the bullpen, but he started to feel it on the pitch that hit Trevor Crowe. “It just tensed up a little bit and I couldn’t finish a pitch out there,” he said. Robertson got some ice on it and said he’s not worried about any long-term impact. Robertson had not allowed a run in his past seven outings.

• Curtis Granderson said he did not feel sore after playing in last night’s game and he expects to play tomorrow. He showed up at the park ready to play today. “I was ready to go,” he said.

• Sabathia said the communications between him and Francisco Cervelli had nothing to do with disagreement over pitches. “That was just a sign thing,” he said. “Just missing signs.” It certainly seemed to be more than that, but Sabathia said it was a non-issue.

• Indians catcher Lou Marson said Huff was not talking when he got to the mound, but Huff was able to talk to the training staff. “It happened so quick,” Marson said. “He hit it so hard, by the time the ball was in right field, he was laying there.”

• Huff was back at Yankee Stadium after the game, but he did not talk to reporters. Sabathia spent a long time in the Indians organization, but he didn’t know Huff.

• Two more Sabathia notes: He did not allow a home run, breaking a career-long streak of seven games with one. He is also winless in his past five starts, his longest streak as a Yankee.

• Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 12 games, which passed Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter for the Yankees longest hitting streak of the season.

• Alex Rodriguez had gone seven straight games without an RBI, and Mark Teixeira had gone 10 straight without an RBI. Both streaks ended today.

• Jeter hit his 449th career double, tying Bernie Williams for second place on the all-time franchise list behind Lou Gehrig (534). According to Elias, Jeter has more runs (1,602) and hits (2,807) within 15 years of his debut than any other player in Major League history.

Associated Press photos of Sabathia and Robertson with trainer Steve Donohue

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcastwith 444 Comments →

Rodriguez: “Your heart stops”05.29.10

Indians Yankees BaseballWhen today’s game ended, Alex Rodriguez left Yankee Stadium and began making his way to New York-Presbyterian Hospital to check on David Huff. Before Rodriguez could get there, Huff was released from the hospital and was back with his teammates in time to catch the bus to the Indians hotel.

Rodriguez asked for Huff’s phone number so that he could call him this evening. Rodriguez wasn’t at the stadium to speak to the media, but he talked to Yankees media director Jason Zillo who passed along Rodriguez’s statement.

“Your heart stops,” Rodriguez said. “You want so badly to take it back. You’re scared. You think of him. You think of his family. You think of a million other places that the ball could have gone other than where it did. Why there? I mean, we’re playing a game. I know it’s a business too, but for all of us, playing it should always be a game first. When something like that happens right in front of your eyes it makes you think long and hard about things much bigger than throwing or hitting a baseball or running around the bases for a few hours a day.”

Associated Press photo of Rodriguez with third-base coach Rob Thomson.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 139 Comments →

Game 49: Yankees vs. Indians05.29.10

YANKEES (29-19)
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Marcus Thames DH
Francisco Cervelli C
Kevin Russo LF
Brett Gardner CF

LHP CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.86 ERA)
Career vs. Indians

INDIANS (17-29)
Trevor Crowe CF
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Austin Kearns LF
Jhonny Peralta 3B
Shelley Duncan DH
Mark Grudzielanek 2B
Matt LaPorta 1B
Lou Marson C
Jason Donald SS

LHP David Huff (2-6, 5.25)
Career vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m. / YES Network

UMPIRES: HP CB Bucknor, 1B Doug Eddings, 2B Dana DeMuth, 3B Kerwin Danley

WEATHER: A few clouds but nothing that looks too threatening. Nice and warm, very slight breeze blowing out to left.

BAD TIMING: Mike Redmond started at catcher for the Indians last night, and so he’s obviously off this afternoon. Might not have been the best planning from Cleveland. Redmond is actually a career .500 hitter against CC Sabathia.

NEW EXPERIENCE: David Huff is making his first career start against the Yankees. The only current Yankee who has ever faced him in the big leagues is Chad Moeller, who’s 1-for-3 with a strikeout.

HOME SWEET HOME: CC Sabathia has yet to lose at home, going 2-0 with a 3.53 ERA at Yankee Stadium this season.

UPDATE, 1:14 p.m.: Just a glove wave from Russo during roll call. Just a 1-2-3 inning from Sabathia during the first.

UPDATE, 1:37 p.m.: Make that six up, six down for Sabathia. Yankees lead 1-0 on a sac fly by Rodriguez.

UPDATE, 2:00 p.m.: Terrible moment here at Yankee Stadium. Alex Rodriguez just lined a ball off David Huff’s head and into right field. Huff is being carted off the field on a board, but he did just give the crowd a thumbs up as the cart drove away. He’s going to be lifted into an ambulance. It’s tough to hit a ball much harder than Rodriguez did.

UPDATE, 2:07 p.m.: Aaron Laffey is taking over on the mound.

APTOPIX Indians Yankees BaseballUPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: Two-out hits from Mark Grudzielanek and Matt LaPorta have tied the game at 3. The Indians have not announced an update on Huff, but the Associate Press has a photo of him being carted off the field.

UPDATE, 2:51 p.m.: One hit, three walks and a hit by pitch have given the Yankees the lead again, 5-3, in the fourth inning. Laffey’s control completely left him this inning.

UPDATE, 2:54 p.m.: Make that 7-3 after Robinson Cano’s two-out, two-run double. Cano is legitimately one of the best players in baseball right now.

UPDATE, 3:01 p.m.: After a walk by Marcus Thames and a two-run single by Francisco Cervelli, the yankees have pushed their lead to 9-3, still in the fourth inning. Kevin Russo singled to start the rally, and now he’s back at the plate.

UPDATE, 3:11 p.m.: Huff was taken to New York-Presbyterian for tests, but those results aren’t available yet. He was hit on the left side of his head, just above the ear.

UPDATE, 3:25 p.m.: The CT Scan on Huff was negative. He will remain at New York-Presbyterian “for the next several hours” for additional observation.

UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.: Rodriguez picks up another RBI and the lead is up to 10-4.

UPDATE, 4:04 p.m.: Not sure what’s going on with Robertson, but after an RBI single in the sixth, he’s coming out of the game and Sergio Mitre is coming in. Steve Donohue talked to him on the mound, then walked into the dugout with him. There seems to be some sort of injury.

UPDATE, 4:18 p.m.: The Yankees have now seen six hitters this inning and used four pitchers. Even the Yankee Stadium fans are booing Girardi for the latest change. Marte replaced Mitre, got one lefty out, now Chamberlain is in.

UPDATE, 4:28 p.m.: Well this is a fairly stunning turn of events. Chamberlain has allowed a single, walk and a two-run double to let the Indians pull within 10-9. This game was in the bag two innings ago. Oh, and Chamberlain was ahead 0-2 before the double.

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m.: Now the boos are really coming down. A two-run double by No. 9 hitter Jason Donald has put the Indians in the lead 11-10. This is a season-high in runs scored by the Indians.

UPDATE, 4:32 p.m.: Unreal. Chamberlain just allowed an RBI single. He’s now faced five batters without recording a single out.

UPDATE, 4:43 p.m.: Robertson left with a mild lower back strain.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 780 Comments →

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