Monday, August 3, 2015

Yankees weekend news wrap: Road trip, standing pat, two months to go

The New York Yankees remained in control of the American League East after going 6-4 on their road trip. The Yankees virtually stood pat at the deadline (minus one minor move) and the club has two months to, to the day, to maintain their position in the standings and reach the postseason for the first time since 2012.

Great trip

I wrote at the beginning of the 10-game road trip that if the Yankees could figure out a way to hit on the road as well as they have at home, while all else being equal, they would be tough to beat after the trade deadline. The Yankees did just that, pounding out 21 runs in one game at Texas and 13 and 12 runs in two of their games against the White Sox. The Yanks averaged 4.6 runs in the other seven games which should be plenty of offense if the pitching is doing their job.

What was even better is this stat:

That’s impressive considering the top five or six guys in the lineup have carried the club's offense through much of the season. If the trend remains (obviously not at the level of the road trip, but basically average to above-average offensive production) the Yankees will be hard to catch.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Yankees: Why Dustin Ackley?

The New York Yankees seemed poised to make a deal Friday, the final day of the non-waiver trading period. The Yanks were linked to relievers Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman for parts of the day, hoping to make a splash by building a superpower bullpen. It wasn’t meant to be and the Yankees stayed pat on deadline day.

The Yankees were not entirely quiet, making one deal this week; trading outfielder Ramon Flores and right-handed reliever Jose Ramirez to the Seattle Mariners for utility player Dustin Ackley. The Yankees designated 1B/OF Garrett Jones for assignment to make space for Ackley on the active roster. Ackley, 27, can be used throughout the outfield as well as first and second base.

Ackley, a former first round pick (No. 2, 2009), has never truly lived up to expectations as a top-rated prospect in the Mariners’ system. Once Robinson Cano was signed for the 2014 season, Ackley was permanently shifted to the outfield from his natural position at second base.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Rough day for Yankees leads to ramped up trade speculation

The New York Yankees have had better days than they endured Thursday. Names the Yankees were interested in on the trade market came off, Michael Pineda was placed on the disabled list with a forearm strain and they lost their game in walk-off fashion.

It looks as though the Yankees will use this final non-waiver trading day to grab a top-flight reliever, having been linked to both Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman. They’ve most recently been linked to Carter Capps as a backup plan should either the Padres or Reds want one of the “untouchables” (Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Greg Bird and to a lesser extent Jorge Mateo) prospects in return.

The reliever over starter mindset here is based on the Yankees wanting to shorten games to six (or even five innings) by utilizing an extremely deep and ultra-talented bullpen. It also has a lot to do with the quality of the starting pitchers still on the market who would not cost one of the players mentioned above.

The rotation is still an issue with CC Sabathia being flat-out awful and Pineda’s injury. However, the club has internal options to fill the rotation void until Pineda can come back. They can use any combination of Adam Warren (would need to be stretched back out), Bryan Mitchell or Severino.

Finally, if the Yankees cannot reach an agreement for Kimbrel, Chapman or Capps they don’t exactly have a problematic bullpen situation with Warren, Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller carrying the load.

I agree with the Yankees not wanting to add the main three to a deal, but would be fine with Mateo in one IF it brings a controllable starter and reliever (Tyson Ross and Kimbrel) for example. I've never seen Mateo play and understand he could be great, but he's pretty far off and anything can happen. A deal like this makes Yanks much better now and for a couple more seasons.

It should be an exciting day.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Has Chris Capuano thrown his last pitch for Yankees?

The New York Yankees felt they needed veteran depth for the rotation during the offseason and signed Chris Capuano to a one-year, $5 million contract to fit the role. Capuano supplied the Yankees with some decent innings in 2014, but at the time of the signing I felt this was an unnecessary deal. After putting up a 6.97 ERA this season, maybe it’s time the Yankees felt the same way.

The need for Capuano with Adam Warren, Bryan Mitchell and others in the system seemed like a move that didn’t need to be made, but for the Yankees, $5 million is a splash in the bucket. It’s hard to get too riled up when it’s not my money, but Capuano on the mound causes more than just bad results for the team. He’s taking a roster spot; one which could go to a pitcher who could grow with time on the major league roster. And more importantly, be better.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Yankees’ Teixeira goes ballistic, then rips third base coach Espada

New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has always seemed like a mind-mannered guy. He obviously has a good sense of humor, based on his talk show parody from last season in which he was the host. But Monday night, Teixeira showed a side of him that he might want to rethink for the future.

While on second base in the eighth inning, Chase Headley looped a single to center field, and third base coach Joe Espada sent Teixeira home. Nothing crazy here; except Espada apparently yelled to Teixeira “easy, easy,” indicating he could make it home without busting it down the line. It was evident looking at replays that Teixeira did just that slowing down after rounding third.

Unfortunately, Texas Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin has a great arm. He threw a bullet home and by the time Teixeira noticed there was going to be a play at the plate he was too late to try and pick up speed. Teixeira immediately turned around a put his arms in the air and yelled something toward Espada.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Yankees need another strong second half from Chase Headley

When the New York Yankees traded for Chase Headley last July, they hoped he would find his stroke and solidify the revolving door at third base. He did. This season, after a rocky first half, the Yanks are looking for another strong finish from Headley in both departments. He’s on his way to doing it.

Chase Headley
Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr
Headley was signed to a four-year, $52 million deal, and they expected him to be much of the same person who finished out the 2014 season. They did not figure he would generate a .682 OPS, and they certainly didn’t peg him for 16 errors for the season, let alone to this point.

There is reason to be optimistic. Headley has looked much better at third base in recent weeks, and he has been hitting the ball well this month. Since July 1, Headley's slashing .333/.379/.426 with five doubles and seven RBI. The Yankees would love to have that kind of production (maybe with a few homers) going forward.

Headley has a distinct record of hitting much better after the All-Star break, making July look like a premonition of the remainder of the summer. I tweeted this Friday about Headley's career first and second half splits.

Those are rather encouraging stats for Headley and the Yankees.

Headley has seemingly stabilized in the field and has begun to find a groove at the plate. It would be a big boost to the offense if Headley can become a contributor at the bottom third of the order. Based on his production this month and his history, there’s a good chance he can answer the call.