Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 New Year’s Resolution for the Yankees’ franchise

Individuals pronounce resolutions every New Year’s Day, so why can’t an entity like the New York Yankees do it as well? Sure, I could create one for general manager Brian Cashman, or another for Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, but in the end they have to act as one collective unit in order to get back to being a continually successful (and by that I mean a playoff team) franchise.

So what should the Yankees’ resolution for 2015 be?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Yankees’ bullpen tinkering rolls on

The New York Yankees had one of the strongest bullpens in baseball in 2014, and if the trend continues in 2015, it will be with a markedly different looking set of players. With Monday’s trade of Shawn Kelley, the Yankees opened up another spot for a young reliever in 2015.

The Yankees seem to be set at the backend of the bullpen with Justin Wilson, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances set to tackle the latter innings. Esmil Rogers and Adam Warren are holdovers from last season, but it remains to be seen in what capacity they’ll serve manager Joe Girardi, as both can be stretched out or used as one-inning middle relievers.

From there, the Yankees would need to fill two slots. They could stay in-house or surely the Yankees could sign players to minor league deals with spring training invites. Looking at how this offseason has transpired to date, I’d expect them to stay within the franchise to fill the roles.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Yankees lose old safety net in Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda did the same thing he did each of the last two offseasons; he went home to Japan to contemplate what he’d do the following season. His previous decisions took time to formulate but Kuroda eventually opted to return to the Bronx. This time he's staying put in Japan as Kuroda signed with the Hiroshima Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball league, the team he began his professional career with.

Kuroda had been the Yankees most consistent and durable pitcher since 2012, going 38-33 with a 3.44 ERA (3.68 FIP). He tossed 620 innings across 97 starts during his three years in New York. While pitchers continually went down with injuries in 2014, Kuroda, at 39-years-old, was the one constant.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Yankees taking a “Long” time to hire hitting coach(es)

Remember how the New York Yankees HAD to move to fire someone after their second straight season missing the playoffs? And remember how Kevin Long was considered the main scapegoat after the Yankees persistently fielded fledgling former All-Stars and a slew of replacement level players in an ever-changing lineup? Well, Mr. Long now has a job with the crosstown Mets and the Yankees are still looking for his replacement.

Just how important is a hitting coach’s job? Or how important is it to the Yankees?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela for Yankees’ second baseman?

Let’s assume that the New York Yankees are serious about having Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela battle it out in spring training to become the team's next starting second baseman. Who is better suited for the position if they both have reasonably similar spring performances?

Refsnyder comes with the prospect tag, ranking #6 on MLB.com’s top 20 Yankees' minor leaguers, while Pirela has done nothing but impress and steadily move himself along the organization, even breaching the big leagues last September.

At the plate, both Refsnyder and Pirela have been productive. Refsnyder slashed .300/.389/.456 with 19 doubles, eight homers and 33 RBIs in 333 plate appearances with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2014. He has a career slash of .297/.389/.444 in just over 1,300 minor league plate appearances. Refsynder is not a threat on the bases.

Pirela, in 581 plate appearances at Scranton in 2014, slashed .305/.351/.441 with  20 doubles, 11 triples and 10 home runs. He drove in 60 runs and scored 87. Pirela added 15 stolen bases (caught seven times). Across just under 3,500 plate appearances in the minors, Pirela owns a reasonable .273/.339/.391 line, though he’s had OPS marks of .804, .771 and .792 the last three seasons showing consistency and improvement compared with his first few seasons in the minors.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Yankees’ youth movement continues with trade

The New York Yankees announced Friday that they acquired RHP Nathan Eovaldi, INF/OF Garrett Jones and RHP Domingo German from the Miami Marlins in exchange for INF/OF Martin Prado, RHP David Phelps and cash.

The trade continues the Yankees trend of getting younger on the roster. Eovaldi is just 24 and German is 22. It seems to, for the moment, free up a battle for the second base job between Rob Refsnyder, who turns 24 in March, and Jose Pirela, 25. Earlier this offseason the Yankees received Didi Gregorius, 24, from the Arizona Diamondbacks via trade.

Good news: Randy Levine says Yankees unlikely to add lavish salary

We’ve heard that the New York Yankees would not spend lavishly this offseason quite frequently from general manager Brian Cashman, and Thursday the Bombers’ president Randy Levine echoed those statements in an interview with Newsday’s David Lennon.

"We're always out there looking, but it has to be tempered by the reality of the organization," Levine said. "You look at our pitching staff, for example. We have two guys who make a lot of money, so you have to build around them. The chances of us bringing in another guy who makes $25 million or over are, in my opinion, virtually none."

It’s hard for me to understand why this is such a big deal to fans. So the Yankees decide to try to become somewhat more responsible with their money and some of the “faithful” are beckoning for George Steinbrenner to return from the grave.

The key word in the Yankees' mantra this offseason is “lavishly” not “cheap.” The Yankees have already spent $95.5 million this offseason on just four free-agents according to MLB Trade Rumors' free-agent tracker. Of that total, $88 million was guaranteed for Andrew Miller and Chase Headley alone. Not exactly chump change.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yankees don't need a "proven" closer

The New York Yankees currently possess an area of strength, potentially their only one at the present time, in their bullpen. With the addition of Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson to the fold, combined with the return of Dellin Betances, the Bombers have a very strong back end of the bullpen. You know what? The front end is pretty good too.

Add Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren (I’m not buying the starting rotation talk for him) Esmil Rogers (or the loser of the fifth starter role) and potentially add Jacob Lindgren to the mix and the Yankees don’t have any holes in the pen as far as I’m concerned.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Capuano signing signals Yankees intent to wing it

The New York Yankees agreed to terms with left-handed starter Chris Capuano on a one-year, $5 million contract for the 2015 season Tuesday according YES Network's Jack Curry via Twitter. The deal has not been officially announced by the team.

This is not exactly what some Yankees fans were looking for, but it does indicate that the club might be intent on winging it when it comes to fielding a rotation for the 2015 season.

With CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova all suspect to injury the Yankees figured to build a good deal of rotation depth during the offseason, but many hoped it would center around a deal for Jon Lester, Max Scherzer or James Shields. That’s looking more and more like a pipe dream with Lester already signed with the Chicago Cubs and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman suggesting that Scherzer’s contract wishes are too rich.

“I don’t think the pricier stuff is realistic in this particular year,” Cashman said as reported by Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. “I’m open to any legitimate opportunities that present themselves.”

For the most part it seems like the Yankees are hedging their bets on the injury-riddled returning crew, hoping to get the most out of their potential upside and back it up with stopgap contracts like Capuano’s and those already in the system.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Yankees choose stability with Chase Headley

According to multiple reports first noted by FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal, third baseman Chase Headley will be signing with the New York Yankees for four-years worth $52 million per a tweet from CBSSports’ Jon Heyman. The deal is pending a physical. The Bombers were adamant about their desire to re-sign Headley from the moment the season ended and while it might have cost more than initially suspected, the deal is a good one for the Yankees.

What if Chase Headley spurns Yankees?

CBS New York’s Sweeny Murti wrote Monday that free agent third baseman Chase Headley is nearing a decision and the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants remain the likely landing spots. The Yankees are eager to hear Headley’s decision so they can get to work on other moves.

Headley, who has a dubious four-year, $65 million “offer on the table” with a mystery team, is wanted back in New York and from some accounts, including Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s, the third baseman wants to remain in pinstripes. In the Yankees new found desire to sign deals that they feel will not hamstring the team’s future the Bombers will likely not go much higher than four-years and $50 million in their offer to Headley. If Headley turns to the Giants or another team what are the Yankees’ options?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Will Yankees choose now or the future?

The Winter Meetings were exceptional if you’re into big signings and huge trades, but not for some fans of the New York Yankees. For many Yankees fans, it was a downer, especially after the previous Friday when they signed Andrew Miller and traded for Didi Gregorius. What the meetings provided for Yankees fans is a wake-up call on how the club will be doing business in the future.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is not pulling the trigger in a reactionary way. He will not sacrifice cash and the future of the club by signing contracts which could turn sour quickly, or be a drain at the end of the term. Cashman is going to hold his ground and rebuild this system whether you like it or not.

Or so I hope.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Will Yankees cave in for Max Scherzer or James Shields?

Believe what you may in the New York Yankees desire to stay away from nine-figure salaries this offseason, but with Max Scherzer and James Shields on the market it will be tough for the team to shy away from a truly dominant pitcher, or one who can dominate, both of whom they could absolutely use.

Let me begin by saying that I fully support the notion of steering clear of a $200 million-plus contract for Scherzer. I’m not of the belief that he’ll be worth anything at the end of the seven or eight years he’d be under contract. On the other hand, I would completely understand if the Yankees shoved it all aside and took their chances with the right-hander.

As for Shields, he’s not going to cost as much, and his term will not be as long, but he has significantly more mileage on his arm than Scherzer. For over $100 million, the Yankees would have to think just as hard about signing "Big Game" James.

What will Yankees general manager Brian Cashman do?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How does Jon Lester signing with Cubs affect Yankees?

How does a signing in the National League affect the New York Yankees? Well, there are multiple ramifications to Jon Lester’s six-year, $155 million pact with the Chicago Cubs.

He’s not on the Red Sox


I believe first and foremost, having Lester out of the AL East is good for everyone in the division except the Boston Red Sox. Further, since the Red Sox did not sign him, it puts less “pressure” on the Yankees to delve into the Max Scherzer sweepstakes. If the Yankees want Scherzer that is fine, but to do it as a response to a Red Sox move is not thinking it all the way through in my opinion.

The Red Sox could still use some of their prospects to bring in a guy like Cole Hamels, but the Yankees shouldn't have to assume anything at this point.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Poof! Yankees fine with Houdini's final act

David Robertson got what he wanted – a massive contract for a reliever – and the New York Yankees will be just fine as Houdini heads to the Windy City.

Robertson has reportedly agreed to sign a four-year, $46 million contract with the Chicago White Sox. The deal was first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today via Twitter. Robertson indeed will make "Jonathan Papelbon" money, coming up slightly short in average annual value to Papelbon’s deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Until yesterday, there was still some speculation that the Yankees could engage and try to re-sign Robertson. According to a tweet from Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees never made Robertson an official offer. Word that the Yankees were willing to go to four years, but only if they could keep the average annual value of the deal lower might have been overblown. The Yanks obviously decided they would not, and in my opinion it will not matter.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Expect productive Winter Meetings for Yankees

As the Winter Meetings kick off Monday in San Diego, California, the New York Yankees are poised to build upon last Friday's big haul of Didi Gregorius and Andrew Miller. What can we expect from the Yanks? If nothing else, expect the Winter Meetings to be productive for the Yankees.

Now that does not mean Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is going to come away with a completed roster by the end of the four-day event. However, he and his staff will at the least make strides toward filling out that roster and getting a better understanding of the market. By the end of the week the Yankees might better understand how they enter spring training hoping to try to get back to the postseason after missing it for two straight seasons.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Yankees sign Andrew Miller, continue great day

The New York Yankees, considered “quiet” this offseason, got extremely loud Friday trading for Didi Gregorius and signing Andrew Miller to a four-year, $36 million contract according to Jack Curry of the YES Network via Twitter.

Miller has established himself as a dominant lefty reliever the last couple of seasons, but he’s no LOOGY. Miller gets batters from both sides of the plate out with an exceptional strikeout rate of 14.9 batters per nine innings.

Miller held right-handers to an outstanding .145/.245/.202 slash line and lefties to an incredible .163/.206/.261 line in 2014 for the Boston Red Sox and then the Baltimore Orioles.

The move gives the Yankees two of the most devastating relievers in the game with Dellin Betances ready to build on his rookie campaign.

During a radio interview on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio 98.7 FM in New York, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Miller was not told he would close and said the pitcher was willing to pitch wherever manager Joe Girardi felt he was needed. Cashman also said that the door is not closed on David Robertson.

New York Yankees: After Miller, Headley, what’s next?

The New York Yankees find themselves in the heat of some of the recent offseason rumor mill, but have yet to make an impact free-agent signing. They did just pull off a trade for Didi Gregorius, but will now turn their attention back to the free-agent market.

Andrew Miller is reportedly close to making a deal and the Yankees are considered involved, while Chase Headley has a reported four-year, $65 million deal on the proverbial table. Once they both sign there will be an abundance of questions to follow.

Miller, the best lefty reliever on the open market, and arguably the best reliever period on the market, is said to be looking at a four year deal in the $40 million neighborhood. The Yankees are said to be OK with a four-year deal, if it keeps the average annual value of the contract down per a tweet from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman.

My question is this; what if the Yankees or another team for that matter offered Miller a three-year deal in the $36 million neighborhood? Would he bite and then hope he performs as expected thus setting himself up for one more big payday at the age of 33? Wouldn’t he be more apt to secure another solid deal at 33 rather than 34, and eliminate the prospect of back to back declining years?

Yankees spin Shane Greene into Didi Gregorius

The New York Yankees turned a nice rookie season from Shane Greene, a 26-year-old pitcher with no previous prospect hype, into Didi Gregorius, a soon to be 25-year-old shortstop with recent prospect hype who possesses above-average fielding skills and some potential upside at the plate. Gregorius was initially traded from Arizona to Detroit for pitcher Robbie Ray.

The Yankees will control Gregorius through 2020 and he’ll immediately be penciled in as the starting shortstop. This deal seems like a no-brainer to me considering what was out there on the free agent market and what it cost the Yankees.

The Yankees had been described as having interest in Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox and Troy Tulowitzki in trade speculation and Stephen Drew as a free agent fit to replace iconic Yankee Derek Jeter. Gregorius will make the league minimum and could free up money not tied up in a shortstop long term for a run at Max Scherzer or Jon Lester. Each of the other shortstop options above would have cost better (and more) prospects and/or more in salary.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

New York Yankees: Go get Andrew Miller AND David Robertson

The New York Yankees opened this offseason pledging to abstain from handing out long-term, nine-figure deals. However, after the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays made impressive steps to improve their teams via free agency, we’re beginning to hear whispers about the Yanks getting involved in the Jon Lester sweepstakes, and they’ve been mentioned numerous times to be contemplating a run at Max Scherzer. Might I suggest they cool those thoughts and work to sign two of the best relievers in the game, Andrew Miller and David Robertson?

I’m certainly not the first to think this. During a chat on Twitter yesterday William Tasker, a great follow and someone whose writing I enjoy, brought this up and I simply thought because of the Yankees’ stance to not give out a four-year deal to a reliever, they wouldn’t think about it doing it twice.

I’ve also been suggesting that if the Yankees land Miller, they might go after Scherzer because they’ll gain a compensation pick from letting Robertson go. That would soften the blow of losing what would be their first-round selection by signing Scherzer. Then there were rumblings about the Yankees being involved in the Lester bidding. It got me thinking that I’ve been looking at this, and maybe the Yankees have too, the wrong way.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yankees’ non-tender choices provide hints to bullpen structure

Now that the non-tender deadline has passed, the New York Yankees bullpen situation looks a little clearer, at least at the front-end and for the time being.

After non-tendering lefty David Huff and signing right-handed Esmil Rogers (thought to be a non-tender candidate himself) to a $1.45 million contract ($750K guaranteed) the Yankees more or less showed their hand in that either David Robertson or Andrew Miller will be their choice for the last back-end reliever addition to the roster before spring.

The Yankees have Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson, Rogers and Dellin Betances on the 40-man roster today. That leaves one spot for either Robertson or Miller, and another for a long reliever, who would likely be the loser of a fifth starter competition in the spring.

The Yankees' decision to keep Rogers is interesting to me, but someone in the franchise obviously likes the potential his arm carries and they figure to see how he and others pan out in spring training before deciding who makes it north.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Yankees’ non-tender decisions are not clear cut

The New York Yankees will make decisions by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday on arbitration-eligible players currently occupying a spot on the 40-man roster and whether to extend them a contract for the 2015 season. They have six such players – David Huff, Shawn Kelley, Ivan Nova, David Phelps, Michael Pineda and Esmil Rogers. Who will they keep and who will they cut?

Huff is on the bubble with the acquisition of Justin Wilson from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Francisco Cervelli. Also, considering Jacob Lindgren is knocking on the door, Huff could be the odd man out. Despite Huff’s estimated $700K contract per MLB Trade Rumors, there are other lefties (Tyler Webb and James Pazos) in the minor league system ready to take steps up the ladder. Huff’s 1.85 ERA in 39 IP is dirtied by a 4.00 FIP. Further, if the Yankees do indeed make a push for Andrew Miller, Huff is just a waste of a roster spot, though his inexpensive salary could simply make him a DFA candidate down the road.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Yankees turning left in bullpen?

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports via Twitter that the New York Yankees are in “serious pursuit” of prized lefty reliever Andrew Miller which could spell the end of David Robertson’s tenure in the Bronx.

Miller has already received multiple three-year deals this offseason, pushing speculation that a fourth year will ultimately be needed. The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, both of whom Miller pitched for in 2014 are interested in bringing back Miller. Robertson on the other hand is looking for a contract in the four-year, $50 million neighborhood as a starting point.

Major League Baseball Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes estimated a four-year, $32 million deal for Miller, but that number figures to rise.

What’s interesting about the pursuit of Miller is not just the length and cost of the deal for a player who might not be considered a closer, but the fact that it will provide the Yankees with three talented southpaws in the bullpen. The Yankees just traded backup catcher Francisco Cervelli to the Pittsburgh Pirates for lefty Justin Wilson (controlled through the 2018 season) and used their first pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Jacob Lindgren who is believed to be knocking on the big league door.

Miller and Wilson are able to get right-handers out just as well as lefties, so this is far from a too many LOOGY’s in the pen issue. But it does provide Lindgren with a soft landing spot in the bullpen to do exactly that – simply get lefties out – as he gains experience.

Further, if the Yankees indeed sign Miller and choose to walk away from Robertson, the Bombers would net a compensation pick in the 2015 draft as the right-hander was tagged with a qualifying offer.

How do Miller and Robertson compare over the last three seasons?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Yankees can wait on David Robertson

The New York Yankees have been more or less quiet this offseason while others in the American League East and around the rest of Major League Baseball have signed some top-flight free agents. As usual, this leaves some fans clamoring for the Bombers to make a move, and apparently one of the Yankees’ best beat reporters is getting itchy too.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News wrote a column Friday suggesting the Yankees need to sign David Robertson already. My view, what’s the rush?

I agree with Feinsand and countless others who feel that bringing back Robertson makes absolute sense. I also feel like the Yankees think the same thing. They’d have arguably one of the best 1-2 end-game duos in all of baseball for the next several seasons. Why the hesitation?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Yankees could stay in-house at third and second base

As the New York Yankees watched the Boston Red Sox make two splashes in the free agent market Monday, one of the moves will begin a domino effect forcing them to turn their attention to one of their offseason priorities, Chase Headley.

With Pablo Sandoval off the third-base market, agreeing to a five-year, $95 million deal with a club option according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, Headley will use that figure to bolster his contract desires.

The Yankees were always going to have some competition for Headley’s services. The San Francisco Giants will surely get involved with Headley and it can be expected that the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox who both showed early interest in Sandoval could check in on Headley. The San Diego Padres, who dealt Headley to the Yankees, might seek a reunion with Headley, but it seems unlikely as they continue to pursue Cuban defector Yasmany Tomas.

The Yankees would be happy with Headley for a three-year stint, but it seems apparent to me that it will take a four-year commitment and anywhere from $52-60 million to get the job done. If the term and salary gets that high and the Yankees balk, they could fall back on some in-house options.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Will Yankees overreact to Red Sox deals with Ramirez and Sandoval?

“Great, the Yankees are sleeping while the Red Sox win the offseason.” - ABC Yankee Fan


The New York Yankees have a tendency to create plans for the structuring of their roster and then perform a complete about-face when seemingly pushed into the corner by American League East rival Boston Red Sox.

The BoSox have reportedly signed a five-year, $90 million deal with Hanley Ramirez and apparently completed another five-year contract for just under $100 million with Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez and Sandoval were arguably the two best positional players in this year’s free-agent market. The Red Sox, after a 71-91 record and a last-place finish in 2014, are looking to jump right back into World Series contention.

The Red Sox have good depth in their farm system and might trade Yoenis Cespedes for pitching which they need. It’s true, the immediate future looks good in Beantown.

But, now that the Yankees have seen their nemesis make splashes within a 24-hour window, should they change the game plan of staying out of the high-ticket free agent market this offseason?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Yankees protect Mason Williams; further roster decisions loom

The New York Yankees added Tyler Austin, Danny Burawa, Branden Pinder and Mason Williams to their 40-man roster Thursday eliminating the chance of them being selected in the Rule 5 draft to be held at the upcoming Winter Meetings.

Austin seemed to have the best chance of being protected in his first season eligible for the Rule 5 draft, and the selection of power arms in Burawa and Pinder was not entirely surprising. It seemed like the Yankees had a decision to wrestle with in Williams which I discussed earlier this week.

Williams, 23, has underperformed across two straight seasons after being thought of as a top prospect in the organization and across baseball prior to the 2013 season. He had a DUI arrest in 2013, and then showed up to spring training last season out of shape.

The Yankees obviously feel that due to his age, and natural talents, he has the ability to turn things around. The other possibility is that he’s been brought up in discussions with other teams in trade talks, or it’s a combination of the two.

Williams seems to understand the magnitude of the Yankees’ decision tweeting this morning that he feels fortunate to be protected from the Rule 5 draft.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Yankees are not screwing up Chase Headley negotiations

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal pushed out a couple of tweets regarding the New York Yankees and their pursuit of free-agent third baseman Chase Headley. He was immediately tattooed with a balanced number of tweets in agreement and others opposing his statements.

Here are Rosenthal’s tweets.





Here is one from the folks at River Ave. Blues.

Look, both Rosenthal and the gang at RAB are top-notch at their craft. But I believe they are missing the boat here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Will Yankees protect Mason Williams?

Just two years ago Mason Williams was a top prospect in the New York Yankees farm system. Come Thursday, Williams may not be protected by the club and thus be available in the Rule 5 draft held during the Winter Meetings.

Williams was ranked as high as 32nd of all baseball prospects by Baseball America, 41st by MLB.com and 51st by Baseball Prospectus before the 2013 season. He was at one time considered the player who would be manning the outfield in New York sometime by the 2015 or 2016 season depending on who you read at the time. Now he is ranked 17th in the Yankees system according to MLB.com, and he’s nowhere near reaching the majors.

Furthermore, after consecutive seasons of declining performance along with questionable commitment -- he was arrested in 2013 for DUI and came to camp out of shape in 2014 -- Williams could be left unprotected and available to be swooped up in the Rule 5 draft (FAQs here).

What should the Yankees do?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Yankees Rumors: Revisiting Max Scherzer; why not Jon Lester?

According to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, the New York Yankees may be revisiting their plan to stay away from the top free-agent starters on the market, namely former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.

Heyman notes a slow to develop market on Scherzer and intimates that the Yankees have gradually begun to reshape their strategy on making a splash this offseason.

The Yankees have predominantly been linked to Brandon McCarthy and other midtier starters like Jason Hammel and back of the rotation arms such as Chris Capuano thus far. A move onto Scherzer might indicate that after some deeper thought, the Yankees front office is fearful that one or more of the returning starters will suffer from an injury recurrence and they’d need a top-shelf starter.

While Scherzer fits that bill, so too does Jon Lester and Heyman wisely makes note of the Yankees' respect for the long time Boston Red Sox hurler. Heyman also indicates that Scherzer could be more attractive than Lester or James Shields for that matter because of less wear on his arm. I went into detail on this recently. However, after giving it some thought, I think Lester might be the better option.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Yankees: How long before Bird is the word?

When a New York Yankees prospect makes headlines, it sometimes seems like it comes as part of a trade rumor. The Yankees have long used prospects as a tool to upgrade their roster midseason and often times send away a player who develops into a serviceable player elsewhere.

Things might be changing soon with the emergence of first baseman Gregory Bird. Bird, a fifth round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, was named the 2014 Arizona Fall League Most Valuable Player this past Saturday.

Bird is the first Yankees prospect to win the award. It came after a monstrous display at the plate. Bird led the AFL with six home runs and 21 runs scored. He was second in RBI (21), third in extra base hits (12) and slugging percentage (.556) and sixth in batting (.313). He hit a towering home run in the AFL All-Star Game which seemed to put his name on the map for those not familiar with the Yankees’ farm system.

Friday, November 14, 2014

2014 MLB awards breakdown

Now that the Most Valuable Player award has been handed out I felt it would be good to take a look back at my selections (explained in-depth here) made for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) and the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) compared with the final results of each organization and the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA).

One thing to keep in mind, my picks (as well as those submitted by members of the BBA and IBWAA) were made before the finalists were announced by BBWAA.

Without further adieu here is the breakdown.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Yankees: Cervelli trade was a necessity

The New York Yankees traded backup catcher Francisco Cervelli to the Pittsburgh Pirates for lefty reliever Justin Wilson Wednesday night. The trade was an absolute necessity from the standpoint of the Yankees' catcher glut and fills a slot the Yankees needed for 2015.

Before the trade the Yankees were carrying five catchers on the 40-man roster; Brian McCann, Cervelli, John Ryan Murphy, Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez. It was obvious that the Yankees would need to use some of that depth to build in another area of need, and Cervelli was the clear candidate in my view. The Yankees needed a lefty reliever and with Wilson they obtain one who has seen flashes of success in three major league seasons.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yankees: Dueling opinions on A-Rod from Girardi and Cashman

In an offseason ripe with needs for the New York Yankees, there is a lot of emphasis on Alex Rodriguez and what type of player he’ll amount to as a 39, going on 40-year-old, who also missed the entire 2014 season due to his suspension for his part in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

For some reason, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman do not seem to be on the same page with regards to this situation at least where it concerns the words used to describe their stance.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Yankees shouldn't compare potential Scherzer or Lester deal with Sabathia

As the New York Yankees come off a second consecutive season without a playoff appearance, and one year removed from spending close to $500 million in guaranteed contracts, there are some who think the club should be all in on free agents Max Scherzer or Jon Lester. There are others who think they should stay far away. The Yanks right now suggest they will avoid the players.

No doubt these are two of the best starting pitchers in the game today, but signing them will amount to some serious salary commitments. As each pitcher is set to enter the 2015 season at age 30, should we look at one pitcher currently on the current squad who signed a similar package to what Scherzer and Lester are reportedly in line for at nearly the same age? That man is CC Sabathia.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Yankees’ hot stove ignited today…kinda

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is in Phoenix, Arizona for the start of the General Managers’ Meetings marking the first event of the offseason. While the Winter Meetings in December are considered a more robust gathering, some preliminary chats are certainly held between the general managers and agents around the league during the GM Meetings.

The Yankees have already inked two players for the 2015 season, reliever Andrew Bailey to a minor league deal and Chris Young to a major league contract worth $2.5 million. Young can earn up to $6.325 million if he reaches all of the performance incentives laid out in his deal per a tweet from Bob Nightengale. Bailey's contract value should he reach the big league club was not announced.

While these are small moves, they could have an impact on the 2015 season. With the Yankees and their likelihood for injuries, any of the ancillary pieces put together by Cashman and his team becomes very important.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Yankees re-sign Chris Young and it’s perfectly reasonable

The New York Yankees have re-signed outfielder Chris Young to a one-year, $2.5 million contract for 2015 which has the chance to get as close to $5 million with performance incentives according to tweets from Buster Olney and Bob Nightengale.

The deal seems fairly reasonable considering the very low cost and the potential upside. Young hit .282/.354/.521 with three homers and 10 RBI in 79 plate appearances once coming over to the Bronx. His time in Queens with the New York Mets was a resounding dud. There he slashed .205/.283/.346 over 287 plate appearances.

Young will fill the fourth outfielder role and could receive considerable time on the field taking into account two of the three starting outfielders, Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran have had offseason surgery, and Jacoby Ellsbury has dealt with injuries in the past.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Yankees Rumors: Alexei Ramirez at short?

As Scott Boras pushes Stephen Drew on anyone who will listen, the New York Yankees are doing their due diligence on available shortstops in the trade market. According to Bruce Levine of CBSChicago.com, the Yanks have contacted the Chicago White Sox about Alexei Ramirez.

Ramirez, 33, will earn $10 million in 2015 and has an club option for another $10 million in 2016, or a $1 million buyout. Levine rightly suggests that this is a fairly good bargain for a thin position and for a player who has been quite consistent while playing for the South Siders.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Yankees: Brett Gardner’s September swoon explained

There was word from New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner Wednesday that he was suffering from a core injury in July and September of the 2014 season. Gardner described his injury on MLB Network Radio and explained his recuperation is just about over after surgery performed in mid-October.

Gardner went under the knife to repair damage to his rectus abdominis muscle requiring four weeks of rehabilitation. He stressed that he is about one week away from being 100 percent healthy. It will have no effect on his offseason regimen.

Gardner entered the final month of the regular season hitting .269/.344/.443 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI, but fell into a terrible slide which dropped his final slash to .256/.327/.422. He added just one more homer and three RBI over the final month. His 17 dingers and 58 RBI were career-highs. Gardner swiped 21 bases in 2014, marking the fifth time he’s stolen at least 20 bases in a season.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Yankees Rumors: Scott Boras pushes Stephen Drew

The New York Yankees have a gaping hole at shortstop for the first time in 20 years. Super-agent Scott Boras thinks the Yanks (and anyone else who needs a shortstop) must consider Stephen Drew as an option despite his putrid 2014 performance.

Drew, tagged with a $14.1 million qualifying offer after the 2013 season, held out for a contract and ended up missing a good chunk of the first part of the season before re-signing with the Boston Red Sox for a prorated $10 million.

Drew was very good in 2013 helping the Red Sox to a World Series title. He hit .253/.333/.443 with a 109 wRC+ and was very good in the field (6.7 UZR/150). Drew had reason to think that he could get a multiyear deal, but ultimately the qualifying offer (and likely Boras’ greed) did him in.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Yankees Rumors: Staying away from Scherzer, Lester, Shields and Sandoval

The New York Yankees might actually be turning the page on the relentless pursuit of the top free agents on the market. According to a report by Mark Feinsand and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, the Yankees will pass on top free agents Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, James Shields and Pablo Sandoval per a team source.

The Yankees spent nearly $500 million on free agents leading into the 2014 season and failed to reach the postseason for the second consecutive year. The News reports that the Yankees will instead pursue Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley, both key trade pieces from the 2014 season.

In McCarthy and Headley, the Yankees will have to invest much less in terms of salary and contract length, plus they’ll avoid losing a draft pick as compensation for the players above who were each extended a $15.3 million qualifying offer.

When Brian Cashman was extended last month, he suggested and was backed by Yankees co-chairperson Hal Steinbrenner subsequent statements that the Yankees would begin looking at new ways to rebuild the franchise. They’ve been paying close attention to how the farm system will be run and have put plenty of monetary resources into the international free agent market.

Monday, November 3, 2014

New York Yankees set to determine qualifying offers

The deadline to submit qualifying offers to players is Monday at 5:00 p.m. The New York Yankees will assuredly extend one to closer David Robertson, while the jury is out on whether they will make one for starter Hiroki Kuroda.

If Robertson accepts the $15.3 million offer, he would be the first player to ever do so and the highest paid reliever for a season in baseball history. With Robertson the top reliever on the market, and plenty of teams looking to fill the role, he will likely forgo the offer and see what he can get on the open market.

At 30, this could be Robertson’s only chance to secure a multiyear deal, so why risk it on a one year contract? With baseball contracts fully guaranteed, it only makes sense for Robertson to cash in when his value is at its highest.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

New York Yankees: Five gruesome months of A-Rod talk ahead

As soon as the San Francisco Giants secured the final out of the 2014 World Series, New York Yankees third baseman (or first baseman, or designated hitter or dumpster fire) Alex Rodriguez was back on the club’s 40-man roster after fulfilling his yearlong ban from the game due to his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

Seconds after the Giants' celebration began, there were plenty of A-Rod supporters and detractors on Twitter reminding everyone how blessed quiet it has been without him. Now we’ll be subjected to five months of chatter about his health, his demeanor, his ability to play at a major league level and whether or not he is clean before he begins stretching out with his teammates in Tampa.

I’ve been very open about the fact that I think he will be worthless to the team in the end. I just don’t see how he’ll be able to overcome the year off, after having minimal plate appearances in 2012 (181) and reconstructed hips. Despite A-Rod’s work ethic, he's 39 and well I don’t care how much one works at it, once a player approaches 40, he’s not going revert back to his prime as many misguided souls believe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What to look for in tonight's World Series Game 7

Is there anything better than a World Series Game 7? A marathon season that begins in mid-February and runs through the end of October, comes to an end with a winner take all contest.

After rolling through the first three rounds, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants will face off in Kauffman Stadium tonight with the winner securing a ring. The Royals are looking for their first title since 1985, while the Giants are attempting to grab their third in five years.

A certain contrast in drama. With a win, one team erases decades of misery for their fans and the other builds a reputation as arguably the best team since 2010 for theirs.

With a championship on the line, here are some things to look out for in Game 7.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Enough 'baseball is dead' talk

If baseball is dead, then I must be a zombie.

As the television ratings continue to get watered down with every new cable outlet, each ridiculous reality show, along with various dramas and sitcoms, combined with the DVR society in which we live, Major League Baseball’s national prominence has been brought into question.

It’s crap.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yankees finally reshaping organizational roles in farm system

As the Kansas City Royals are set to host Game 1 of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday night, the New York Yankees are knee-deep in organizational changes surrounding their farm system.

The Yankees, long scrutinized by farm system experts, have named former hitting coach and scout Gary Denbo their next senior VP of baseball operations replacing Mark Newman, according the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand. The Yanks also removed Pat Roessler who was the team’s director of player development since 1995. Newman was in his role for 15 years.

The Yankees have stated since last season that they would be taking a different approach where it concerned the farm system and this seems to be the first step in that direction. It is also believed that the Yankees will split the responsibilities into four distinct areas; pro scouting, amateur scouting, international scouting and player development as described by New York Post columnist George A. King III.

Splitting the responsibilities makes absolute sense. The fact that this was not the case is telling, considering the Yankees inability to create stars through their system, whether to place on their own roster or use as trade chips. It’s possible the team’s failure to structure the department Denbo is taking over caused overlap which reflected in poor decision making. Nothing is assured in scouting players but placing emphasis on a single aspect for one or two executives could help the Yankees gain some ground in each sector.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yankees should replicate Royals' bullpen scheme

The New York Yankees could learn something from the Kansas City Royals -- how to lengthen the bridge from starter to closer and make it as secure as possible.

For much of this season and particularly in the postseason the Royals have marched out a three-headed beast from the sixth inning on. The trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland have made manager Ned Yost’s job fairly easy. The hard-throwing combination has been lights out in the playoffs, virtually untouchable at times.

Besides providing a better chance to win, the Yankees have another reason to try to replicate the strategy. It would cut down on the innings pitched of their starters. The game has just a few players who can go end to end anymore and there isn’t one on the Bombers who necessarily can do that on a start by start basis.

Much of the issue is with the starters coming off injuries or simply trying to prevent them. CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova missed much of 2014 and both will try to come back from major surgery. Masahiro Tanaka is one throw away from Tommy John surgery. No one knows when his UCL will completely tear, but it is going to happen at some point. Michael Pineda missed a chunk of 2014 as well and has had his share of maladies in years’ past. Whoever holds the final spot in the rotation; Brandon McCarthy if the Yankees sign him, or one of the young arms in the organization, either would benefit from minimized innings.

So, if the Yankees want to develop the same strategy, who are the players they’d turn to?