Thursday, April 28, 2016

Video: Yankees slump reaches epic proportions

The New York Yankees offensive woes continue to mount. When the club gets quality pitching, they score even less, and the results have dropped the Yankees into last place in the American League East.

Over the last 15 games (including Wednesday's 3-2 loss) the club has scored just 37 runs. The Yanks scored 35 runs in their first five games of the season. The worst part about the slump is that there always seems to be one player getting hits, but whoever that is, he is the only one doing so. Then, the following day he passes the torch. The Yanks need a group of hitters to get hot in order to squelch the slump.

Here is some video displaying the metrics within the offensive skid (prior to Wednesday's 3-2 loss) that has been the main culprit to an 8-12 start to the season. The Yankees need to turn it around fast, or else the next five months could be quite miserable.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for SNY.tv. His baseball commentary has also been published on The Cauldron via Sports Illustrated, 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.



Monday, April 25, 2016

Yankees hit road after winning series against Rays

The New York Yankees won their final series of the homestand despite a rough Sunday outing from Michael Pineda. Jacoby Ellsbury was the hero Friday and Brett Gardner’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth Saturday aided Masahiro Tanaka’s seven-inning, two-run effort.

The Yankees (7-10) open a three-game series versus the Texas Rangers (10-9) Monday night as they begin part a nine-game road trip. The Yankees will miss Cole Hamels on his regularly scheduled day due to a groin strain. The Yankees will still face two left-handed starters at the front and backend of the series. The Yankees will counter with Nathan Eovaldi on Monday, Luis Severino on Tuesday and CC Sabathia in Wednesday's finale.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Yankees look for stroke with Athletics in town

The New York Yankees are set to host a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics beginning Tuesday evening. The Yankees (5-6) have endured an uneven start to the season, while the A’s (6-7) are coming off a series victory over the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Video: New York Yankees player profiles

This post will be updated as new videos are created by the team at Sporting News Media. As of now there are a handful of Yankees player profiles and the club's season preview within the video player. The post will remained pinned to the right of the site as a featured post. Enjoy!

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for SNY.tv. His baseball commentary has also been published on The Cauldron via Sports Illustrated, 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.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yankees hit road, get warm in...Toronto?

The New York Yankees were not treated nicely by the schedule makers to begin the season. They’ve had to play in some miserable conditions and faced a couple of tough competitors each with legitimate playoff aspirations. The only thing that changes as the Yankees meet the Toronto Blue Jays for three games beginning Tuesday is the weather — or rather the implications of weather — which does not pose a factor under the Rogers Centre roof.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Quick Pitch: Yankees set to battle Tigers, weather

The New York Yankees managed to get in their three games at Yankee Stadium despite some rough baseball conditions. The Yanks begin a three-game set against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park Friday, and newsflash, the weather is not supposed to be good. The game time temperature for the 1:10 p.m. start will be around 37 degrees, and for good measure there could be rain and snow for Detroit’s home opener. Saturday's high temperature is expected to reach 32 degrees and the current forecast calls for 2 inches of snow Sunday. Baseball!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Quick Pitch: Why can't I be completely happy with Yankees performance?

It is incredibly difficult to not indulge in the fantastic offensive performance the New York Yankees pumped out in Wednesday night’s thumping of the Houston Astros. I even praised Ivan Nova last night after he turned in a very good relief stint. My pleasure was especially heightened after the Yankees gave away Tuesday’s contest. But, as great as it was the offense knocked Collin McHugh from the game after he recorded just one out and then continued to tack on runs, I cannot shake Michael Pineda’s performance.

Am I being greedy in asking that Pineda pitch just a mediocre game once handed a five-run lead after one inning— let’s say, six innings and three runs (he allowed six in five innings)? It is entirely possible that I am. Shouldn’t I and anyone else who is thinking about the one poor aspect of a 16-6 win be able to look past Pineda’s performance?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Game Review: MLB Manager 2016

Does the following describe you?

You watch baseball, and often. You yell at your television when you believe the manager of your favorite team makes a suspect decision. You fire barbs on Twitter when your team's general manager trades one of your favorite players, or signs a washed up veteran. If this sounds like you, you should grab your phone or tablet and download MLB Manager 2016.

MLB Manager 2016 by Out of the Park Developments is available for Android devices and Apple iOS devices for $4.99, allowing you to constantly have your team at your fingertips.

If you love baseball sims, there isn’t one better than MLB Manager 2016 which operates as an official licensee of MLB.com, MiLB.com and the Major League Baseball Players Association. I’ve been playing this game for several years now and the latest version does not disappoint.

As was the case in previous editions, the game touches on every facet of running a true MLB franchise. Fair warning, the game is quite addicting. You’ll likely find yourself completely immersed in your season, striving to reach the top of the standings.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Quick Pitch: Yankees' Opening Day rained out

The New York Yankees 2016 Opening Day has been rained out and rescheduled for Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. Gates will open at 11:00 a.m. and ceremonies are still hoped to be held prior to game time.

Despite the fact that clubs (and governments and fans) invest hundreds of millions and up to billions of dollars to build ballparks, why in the world don't they all have roofs? At the point that such exorbitant funds are being invested, I simply do not understand why roofs are not part of the equation especially in areas like New York where April weather pretty much sucks. I gather the financial implications of losing games to rainouts do not amount to the need for a roof. OK, so then what?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Yankees give CC Sabathia one last chance

The New York Yankees believe that CC Sabathia can figure out how to survive as a starting pitcher. There is one caveat; the clock is ticking.

CC Sabathia
Photo: Keith Allison
The Yankees cannot simply eat the rest of Sabathia’s contract right now, nor should the thought enter their collective minds. However, there has to be a limit to any damage his performances might cause the overall well-being of the club.

To put it mildly, Sabathia is on a short leash, one that Ivan Nova is holding. To put it strongly, the Yankees have given Sabathia an ultimatum; pitch well or lose your slot. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman uttering of two words, “For now,” pertaining to Sabathia being the fifth starter more or less says it all.

Defining “pitch well” is important too. Sabathia’s role as the fifth starter means one thing; keep the team in the game, and if that’s three runs over six innings on average, that might be enough. Truth be told, would the Yankees get more from Nova on a consistent basis? I say probably not; he’s arguable their most inconsistent starting pitcher. Further, how many teams have a fifth starter with an ERA under 4.50? Not many.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Quick Pitch: Yankees’ roster battles become clearer

The long slog toward Opening Day is almost over for the New York Yankees and as such the roster is rounding into form. The Yankees still have final decisions to make, but the participants in competitions are dwindling.

Logo: SportsLogos.net

Backup Catcher


Gary Sanchez lost his chance to break camp last week after showing signs of needing more work, and the fact that his service time clock was an issue, the move makes absolute sense. Austin Romine and Carlos Corporan remain in camp, with the former likely the favorite to back up Brian McCann to start the season.

Utility Infielder


Rob Refsnyder was giving every opportunity to show he could handle third base, and then took two bad-hop bouncers to the face across two straight games. He needs more work there and the Yankees are going to give it to him at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Refsnyder might be disappointed, but he should be happy the Yanks see enough in him to want to continue the experiment. Plain and simple, he cannot and would not get regular reps at third base in New York while he can at Triple-A.

Ronald Torreyes and Pete Kozma are the players left at Yankees camp. I would rather see Torreyes given the job of the two simply because he might have a little more bat in him than Kozma. Both players are able to play second, short and third base which is exactly what the club needs. There is of course a chance that the Yankees make a late spring move to bring in a player who they feel is comfortable playing those positions.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Quick Pitch: Yankees deal with Ellsbury injury, Nova regression

The New York Yankees ran their spring training record to 8-9-2 with two wins this weekend, but not all the news was rosy.

Jacoby Ellsbury was hit on the right wrist Saturday which will keep him out of action until at least Thursday according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Ellsbury had X-rays and a CT scan which both showed no fractures. With two weeks left until the start of the regular season Ellsbury should have enough time to be ready for Opening Day.

Jacoby Ellsbury
Photo: Keith Allison
If Ellsbury doesn’t heel quickly enough, or if the Yankees botch another handling of X-rays/scans and there is something more coming, Aaron Hicks will take over center field according to manager Joe Girardi. As I mentioned at SNY Saturday, Hicks taking over center field makes sense because he’s a better fielder now than Brett Gardner, and it allows Gardner to stick in a stable situation in left field. Hicks was traded for to fill any vacancy that pops up in the outfield, so when one of the starters goes down, Hicks slides into their place.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Quick Pitch: Yankees' Sabathia not helping own cause

Spring Training Game 17: Orioles 11, Yankees 2 (Yanks' spring record: 6-9-2)

CC Sabathia
Photo: Keith Allison
The New York Yankees have six starters for five spots. Manager Joe Girardi has been adamant that the "best five" will be in the rotation with the sixth being relegated to the bullpen. CC Sabathia has had the worst spring of the six thus far, yet until I hear it from the horse's mouth, I won't believe the club will shift the 35-year-old veteran to the bullpen.

Forget the money (though it's an unavoidable hitch), forget the humility, think about what the club needs right now. The fifth starter on any team is a crapshoot. They'll have good games, but likely more bad over the course of season.

Sabathia's start Friday night was a microcosm of that type of performance. He was shelled early allowing four runs in the first inning including a home run. Then he settled down and didn't allow another earned run the rest of his stint (he allowed three more runs, but was undone by an error by third baseman Rob Refsnyder).

So, let's look at this way, is Sabathia better in a starter role every fifth day than Ivan Nova? Or is Sabathia going to provide more assistance to the bullpen?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Quick Pitch: Tanaka, Severino and Refsnyder

Spring Training Game 16: Yankees 7, Pirates 2 (Yanks' spring record: 6-8-2)

Luis Severino
Photo: Arturo Pardavila III
The New York Yankees presumed Opening Day starter, Masahiro Tanaka, endured his first rough outing of the spring, while future ace in the making, Luis Severino sparkled once again in Thursday’s matinee.

Tanaka opened the spring with a five scoreless innings, but he threw 57 pitches in just two innings and allowed two runs on four hits Thursday, including a home run to Andrew McCutchen. Severino looked rusty in his first start of the spring (five earned runs), but has now made three straight scoreless appearances since (10 2/3 innings) with 12 strikeouts and zero walks.

Sticking to the “it’s-too-early-to-tell” mantra, we are talking about seven total innings of work for Tanaka and 12 for Severino. Tanaka has stated he has been disappointed in his fastball the past two starts and seems to understand that things need to get better quickly since he has just three starts left before Opening Day.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Quick Pitch: Gardner returns to Yankees

Spring Training Game 15: Blue Jays 1, Yankees 2 (Yanks Spring Record: 5-8-2)

Brett Gardner
Photo: Keith Allison
The New York Yankees are not worried about wins and losses in spring training, but rather being whole when they head north from Tampa. They got a step closer to reaching that goal as outfielder Brett Gardner made his first appearance in a game this spring.

Gardner went 0-for-2, grounding out and striking out, looking understandably rusty at the plate. Gardner was taking it easy in the spring due to a wrist injury he suffered in last season's wild card game while catching a ball and falling into the outfield wall.

Gardner will not play again until Friday as Yankees manager Joe Girardi noted during the game telecast that there is no need to rush him back with over two weeks left in spring training. It's reasonable to believe that Gardner will start to play in back to back games by the end of next week and get full games in by beginning of the following week. Gardner can still get 40-50 plate appearances before the regular season opener on April 4.

Castro impressing at plate


Starlin Castro is making his transition to the Yankees look quite easy. Of course it is spring training, but Castro has shown there is plenty of life in his bat thus far. Castro's two-run homer Monday night was the Yankees lone run support and his 1-for-2 performance lifted his spring average to .429. Besides Castro's offensive output, he has been solid at second base. Losing Adam Warren was tough for the Yankees, but there is a chance they found a gem in Castro.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for SNY.tv. His baseball commentary has also been published on The Cauldron via Sports Illustrated, 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, March 16, 2016

Quick Pitch: Nova, Mitchell might provide more value to Yankees' pen

Spring Training Game 14: Yankees 6, Red Sox 3 (Yanks spring record: 4-8-2)

New York Yankees right-handers Ivan Nova and Bryan Mitchell combined for seven innings of one-run ball allowing just four hits and one walk against the majority of the Red Sox regular lineup Monday evening.

Ivan Nova
Photo: Keith Allison
Nova, more so than Mitchell, is being considered for a rotation spot this spring. Nova’s main competition seems to be CC Sabathia, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi has stated numerous times there are no locks for rotation spots. He claims he’s taking the best pitchers north.

It’s hard to believe if Sabathia is healthy that he doesn’t grab the fifth spot especially considering the amount of money he’ll be earning. If the rest of the starting staff is also healthy, Nova will be relegated to the bullpen and I’m beginning to feel this is not a bad thing.

Anyone who reads my work on a regular basis knows I’m not a big fan of Nova. I believe he has potential, but he’s shown to be incredibly streaky and even when he is going good there are arguments that he’s perfected the smoke and mirrors act. It stands to reason that with five healthy starters, Nova would become the long man in the bullpen and it makes sense because he can eat innings when necessary. I’ve got another idea, one which the Yankees may be forced to embrace.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Quick Pitch: Yankees’ Sabathia continues lengthy transition

Spring Training Game 13: Phillies 3, Yankees 0 (Record: 3-8-2)

#StillTransitioningAfterAllTheseYears


I’m baffled by New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia’s comment to YES Network reporter Jack Curry after Sunday’s ugly start in which he said he’s working on his transition. Sabathia’s transformation has been going on for a few years now; but it’s just now dawning on him that he has to make it work?

I know that Sabathia has acknowledged in the past that he’s not the same pitcher (one with a power fastball), but was he just saying that because that’s what he thought we wanted to hear? Maybe he’s been stubborn up to this time; feeling that he could get by with an 88-mph fastball and mediocre offspeed stuff? It’s evident that if he doesn’t have great location and his pitches have little-to-no movement he’ll have a hard time winning ballgames.

I’ve stated that I feel Sabathia can make the transition recently at SNY. My thought is that Sabathia was held back emotionally and physically in recent years. Sabathia has gone through rehab for alcoholism (maybe it was a problem all this time) and is wearing a protective knee brace to aid his delivery; it's possible both ailments affected his confidence. Now it’s up to him to perfect the pitches. If he cannot, it’s going to cost the Yankees another $50 million for next to no production.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Quick Pitch: Yankees' Severino rounding into form

Spring Training Game 12: Blue Jays 1, Yankees 2 (Record: 3-7-2)

At 22 years old, no one should expect Luis Severino to be great every time he takes the mound, but was pretty darn good Saturday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays. Severino hurled 3 2/3 innings of four-hit ball without allowing a run. Severino struck out four batters and walked none while locating 43 of his 59 pitches for strikes.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was pleased with the effort.

"He looked good, really good," Girardi said according to MLB.com’s Michael Kolligian. "That's what you want to see out of him; he threw all his pitches, controlled innings for the most part. Velocity was great. Slider was good today, his changeup, he threw a couple good ones."

Many fans want Severino to take the leap from rookie to ace despite having just over 60 innings of major league ball under his belt. I believe it’s an unfair burden. Severino will be good, maybe even very good but we should expect there to be some blips on the radar as the season progresses. What’s more, the Yankees don’t need him to be an ace this season. The status will come, with time. #SevyWillBeAceSomeday

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Quick Pitch: Tanaka, Shreve shine for Yankees

Spring Training Game 11: Orioles 1, Yankees 7 (Record: 3-6-2)

It’s early, but Masahiro Tanaka is settling some concerns the New York Yankees might have had after the right-hander had surgery to remove a bone spur following last season’s 24-start effort.

Masahiro Tanaka
Photo credit: Keith Allison
Tanaka has now tossed five scoreless innings this spring after a three-inning stint Friday. Tanaka allowed one hit, hit a batter and struck out three hitters. Tanaka also generated five ground ball outs and allowed just one fly ball, which is good news for a guy who frankly allows more homers than one would like. Granted, the Orioles sent a minor league squad to Tampa, but as I watched Tanaka throw, I thought the major league regulars would not have had much success either. Tanaka threw 30 of his 40 pitches for strikes and Brian McCann liked what he saw.

"He's in total control of what he's doing, and I just go off of him," McCann said according to Bryan Hoch at MLB.com. "He's throwing the ball great, he's moving around great. He doesn't seem to have any problems. I think he feels really good."

Tanaka wants to pitch 200 innings this season, and if he can manage it, I suspect he’ll compile the type of numbers that warrant his $22 million salary — 18 W, 210 K, 2.85 ERA — #TanakaTime.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Quick Pitch: Yankees Spring Training Games 9 & 10

The New York Yankees had their first day of split-squad games Thursday with plenty of developments coming from each game.

Note: Most of my feature work and all rapid reactions to breaking news will continue to be written for SNY. In order to keep Yankees Unscripted filled with fresh content, I’ve developed Quick Pitch which will be a game/news recap from the previous day written in swift, informative, opinionated and sometimes snarky fashion sticking to the Yankees Unscripted motto to "avoid the narrative." This will not be a traditional recap (Ellsbury singled, Gardner doubled and Teixeira homered to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead), you can get that from the beat writers. I hope to get Quick Pitch up daily, but if I don’t I’ll rewind to the previous Quick Pitch post. Thanks as always for reading.


Game 9: Blue Jays 11, Yankees 4


At home, Nathan Eovaldi tossed two solid innings in his first start of the spring. Eovaldi was able to dial it up to 99 mph with his fastball and his offspeed offerings looked good as well. We'll see how he feels Monday before getting too excited.

Andrew Miller allowed two runs on four loud singles. Miller did strike out two batters, so take the hits as a part of getting ready for the season.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

As Yankees' Chapman takes the field how will fans react?

New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman made a mistake; a terrible one that will deservedly follow him for the rest of his life. He’s been suspended 30 games by Major League Baseball for his involvement in a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend, who is also the mother of his child. He steps on the mound in a game for the first time Thursday. What type of reaction will he receive, and is there a correct one?

Aroldis Chapman
Photo credit: Keith Allison
Chapman might have physically harmed his girlfriend (he continually denies it), but at the very least he intimidated her by retreating to his garage with his gun in hand and proceeded to fire eight rounds into it. The gunfire he admitted to, and apologized for, but I do wish Chapman understood that his action in the garage, while his girlfriend frighteningly hid in the bushes and his child was in the house, is abuse in and of itself. He doesn’t, but hopefully he can learn from his indiscretions as he moves on.

Obviously not being a woman, I cannot fully understand what any female (whether abused in the past or not) feels about this situation. I’ve never had to intimately deal with this type of circumstance. Women are well within their rights to resent Chapman and to protest his presence on a baseball diamond. If female fans (or male fans for that matter) choose to boo Chapman and hold up signs admonishing his actions, so be it, he deserves it. I tell women who want to make life difficult for Chapman by making their voices heard to go for it.

Chapman’s taking the field for the first time cannot and should not overshadow what he did, but at the same time fans ought to be able to cheer for him if they want. I’m talking about baseball fans cheering for the player who is working to help their favorite team win. I’m not speaking about idiots who believe and outwardly suggest that women deserve to be abused in various forms. That’s asinine, and there is no place for that in the game, or in our society.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Yankees weekend news wrap: Ellsbury, Tanaka and Refsnyder

Ellsbury makes spring debut


Jacoby Ellsbury
Photo: Keith Allison
New York Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury made his first start of the spring Saturday and went 1-for-3 with a triple. The triple showed his legs are underneath him and that’s an important factor for the Yankees.

The Yanks need Ellsbury to not only stay healthy this season, but for him to bounce back after a lackluster 2015 season. It’s always been apparent to me that Ellsbury is at his best when he is 100 percent. He doesn’t play well when dealing with even the slightest bit of ill health. Ellsbury was on a tear before he was injured last season, and then never fully recuperated which adversely affected his performance upon his return and straight through the end of the season.

Ellsbury understands the club needs him to be the ignition for the team’s offense.

“I try and go out there and do the best job I can possibly do,” said Ellsbury as reported by the New York Post’s George A. King III. “It’s a team game but it helps when everybody goes out there and puts together a very good season. It’s only going to help the team to get to where we want to be.”

Friday, March 4, 2016

For Yankees’ Mitchell; starter or swingman, that is the question

New York Yankees right-handed pitcher Bryan Mitchell holds an important key to the club’s success this season. The question is which door will his key unlock; the one for starters, or the one for swingmen?

Mitchell has long been a promising arm in the Yankees system. He spent a good deal of the 2015 season bouncing back and forth between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Yankees. He started 15 games with the RailRiders compiling a 3.12 ERA across 75 innings. With the Yankees he made 20 appearances, 18 of them out of the bullpen.

His stints with the Yankees in 2015 proved to be an up and down affair. Before being hit in the face with a line drive August 17, Mitchell had tossed 19.1 innings with a 3.72 ERA. He struck out 20 batters and walked six. He was not electrifying, but he was more or less effective. However, once he returned to the mound after missing nine games recovering from a nasal fracture Mitchell was awful – 10 G, 8.2 IP, 12.46 ERA.

It’s certainly possible the line drive affected his performance, but regardless, he’s in camp with something to prove and this season could be a turning point in Mitchell’s career.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Yankees Twitter in midseason form for game one of spring training

The New York Yankees first spring training game of the 2016 season was one of the more entertaining exhibition games I’ve seen, if not the most. I’m not sure if it was the game itself or the game and following #YankeesTwitter.

Here’s my recap with accompanying #Hashtags.

I could tell early on the emotions of Yankees baseball returning was overwhelmingly euphoric for some.

#YankeesOnMyTV

While others simply couldn’t wait to beat down the team.

#CashmanSucks

The Yankees started with a flare courtesy of starting pitcher Luis Severino who set down three Detroit Tigers hitters in a nine-pitch flurry.

#SevyIsYanksAce

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Refsnyder taking reps at third base is a no-brainer

The New York Yankees have finally decided to try and utilize Rob Refsnyder wherever he shows he can play.

Rob Refsnyder
Photo: Arturo Pardavilla III via Flickr
It’s been evident for some time that while the Yankees like Refsnyder’s bat and approach at the plate, they were not at all confident in his ability to play second base. He’s gotten better, but when Starlin Castro became available, the Yankees jumped at the opportunity giving up an important piece in the process.

There isn’t a player at spring camp who is a true third baseman other than Chase Headley and that's somewhat concerning for the Yanks. Although Headley played in 156 games last season, he has fought back problems in the past, and it’s possible that the amount of time he played last season adversely affected his abilities down the stretch.

The Yankees initial plan was to use Castro as an occasional replacement for Headley, and that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with having multifaceted players on a roster. That thought gave rise to the chance that Refsnyder could take Castro’s place at second base during the days Castro covered for Headley. Further, if Headley was to get hurt, Castro could slide over and Refsnyder takes over at the keystone.

But why not test Refsnyder at third base? Or in the outfield from where he was transitioned to learn second base? Why not give a guy who is a major league ready hitter a chance to find a comfort zone (or more zones) by moving him around the diamond?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Teixeira wants to play another five years, prefers to stay with Yankees

We all want what we cannot have, right? Mark Teixeira wants to play another five years and remain a member of the New York Yankees according to a tweet from YES Network’s Jack Curry. That notion might not be as cut and dry as it once seemed to be.

Mark Teixeira
Photo: Keith Allison
In the Yankees’ perfect world, future first baseman Greg Bird would not be injured and entertaining signing Teixeira to a short-term contract would not even be a question for the team. But, Bird is out for the season after shoulder surgery and considering the Yankees wanted the youngster to get more seasoning at Triple-A this year anyway, it’s not without question that they might want the same thing in 2017.

But, if Teixeira has a 2016 season which resembles that of 2015, it’s likely that he would find enough suitors to push his value high enough to garner a two-year deal to be someone’s first baseman and designated hitter. From there Teixeira might be able to sign one-year deals until he retires. All of this is predicated on his health of course.

Here’s the rub. If Teixeira drills another 30 home runs in say 500 plate appearances would the Yankees be willing to tag the 36-year-old with a qualifying offer which might be in the neighborhood of $17 million next season (it was $15.8 million for this offseason)?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Yankees weekend news wrap: Bullpen trio tosses, Chapman, Parmelee

The New York Yankees completed their first weekend of spring camp with a few notable items to discuss.

Betances, Miller and Chapman take mound together


The trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman took to the hill Friday for their first mound work of the spring. Under the watchful eye of Yankees manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild the flame-throwing threesome threw free and easy. There was plenty of glove popping during the session. Here is some video courtesy of MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.


The Yankees will be thoroughly reliant on the backend of the bullpen in 2016. There is a chance that some games can result in as many as 12 outs coming from the three players. The Yankees will not want to employ that method too often, but the option is certainly there. Having all three hurlers also gives Girardi the ability to provide ample rest to each pitcher without sacrificing the end of games.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yankees' Girardi talks Chapman, rotation and spring battles

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi held his initial spring training news conference Thursday morning as pitchers and catchers reported to camp in Tampa, FL. He touched on several items in his discussion.
Joe Girardi
Photo: Keith Allison

Aroldis Chapman


Girardi said he understood the apprehension surrounding the domestic violence allegations against Chapman, and felt it was a very important topic of which he has discussed at length in his own home. Girardi stated he understood and agreed that while there were no criminal charges brought against Chapman, MLB and the Players’ Association wants to hold their employees to a higher standard. Girardi would not go so far as to label Chapman. He will read the police report and then meet him before discerning his closer’s character.

Girardi’s take is a good one in my view. He seemed sincere when speaking about the importance of domestic violence and how it has no place in the game, or anywhere for that matter. I had some reaction to Chapman’s own comments over at SNY earlier today.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Will Yankees’ Brett Gardner remain a valuable commodity?

It’s a business and the New York Yankees believe outfielder Brett Gardner is a valuable commodity. All the same, it will be interesting to see if Gardner’s value as an asset grows or diminishes during and after the 2016 season. Is this the final season in Gardner’s contract that his performance will considerably influence his worth to the club as a trade piece?

Brett Gardner
Photo credit: Keith Allison
Gardner is one of the few Yankees with a contract that has some value for a multitude of teams. As such, New York was open to listening to offers for the home grown player this offseason.

I’d argue that one of the reasons the Yankees extended Gardner with a four-year, $52 million deal in 2014 which takes him through the 2018 season (there is team option for 2019) was in part to use as a trade asset. The Yanks know full well they have the potential for duplicate production from Jacoby Ellsbury, who the club invested $153 million in during the same offseason. They might rather ship Ellsbury, but his contract is not perceived as one which will be moved easily.

Gardner had an interesting 2015 season, in which he was on the top of his game in the first half, leading to his first All-Star selection. However, Gardner suffered a severe let down in the second half of the season which might have adversely affected his value. Gardner played a bulk of the second half with a nagging left wrist injury, but he neglected to blame his performance on the ailment.

The Yankees surely see Gardner as a player who can outperform his contract value based on the lengthy streaks of positive performance he’s provided during his tenure in the Bronx. However, the fact that Gardner is still in New York might mean that potential trade partners did not value Gardner as high as the Yankees. Those clubs certainly based their valuation on the significant slumps he has also suffered from.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Losing Greg Bird puts wrinkle in Yankees’ 2017 plans

The New York Yankees had it all mapped out for 2017; that is until Greg Bird was found to have a torn labrum forcing him to miss the entire 2016 season.

Greg Bird
Photo credit: Arturo Pardavilla III via Flickr
Bird was to take the reins at first base from Mark Teixeira and be part of the new young core of the Yankees. With Bird’s eye-opening performance in Teixeira’s stead at the end of the 2015 season, the club could not help but feel comfortable knowing the latter’s contract was set to expire at the end of this season.

Out with the old and in with the new. It was simple, and it might not happen now.

At issue for the Yankees is whether or not to go forward with the plan in 2017. Bird would have had another full season to build on his spectacular 2015, had he been able to play this season. Now, he’ll be coming off a full season away from the game, and be recuperating from an injury that often derails careers.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Yankees pitching cannot rely on Betances, Miller and Chapman alone

ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote Friday about the trend around Major League Baseball in which teams seem to be concentrating on more than just fortifying the backend of their bullpen, but rather creating dominating groups. The New York Yankees certainly fit that bill after adding Aroldis Chapman this offseason to an already potent combination of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.

What’s interesting about the situation is that the front offices do not necessarily want this to be the case. Take this quote from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

"It has always been easier to build great bullpens than great rotations ... Believe me, I'd rather have five guys who can give you nine innings every day and give you 250 innings a year, and have an ERA under 2.00, and compete for Cy Youngs. But I don't have that."
This of course makes sense because one thing the Yankees did experience toward the end of the 2015 season was some of their relievers wearing down. It happened to Betances, who saw increased walk rates in the season’s final month, and it was disastrously evident for Chasen Shreve, who went from extremely competent to woefully disappointing. Adding Chapman might help curtail some of Betances’ use, but let’s face it Yankees manager Joe Girardi is not going to hold back on deploying the three-headed monster as often as possible.

And that means the Yankees have to get some length from at least two of their starters on a regular basis, AND they need to receive ample, and more importantly, quality assistance from the relievers who precede Betances, Miller and Chapman (B-M-C from here out when referenced together).

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Yankees ignore Fister, agree with Nova

The New York Yankees rotation is not set in stone, but it’s fairly simple to lay it out with the caveat that health could derail the group. In alphabetical order here is the assumed five-man rotation for the Yankees with three weeks left until spring training begins.

1. Nathan Eovaldi
2. Michael Pineda
3. CC Sabathia
4. Luis Severino
5. Masahiro Tanaka

There is plenty of talent there to help the club reach the postseason in 2016, but it’s not sound judgment to believe it will take just these five starters. Each of the pitchers above, except for Severino, missed time on the disabled list in 2015. And this will be Severino's first full season in the big leagues, so expecting completely smooth sailing for him is also questionable.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Dissecting recent Steinbrenner comments on state of the Yankees

New York Yankees principal owner and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner spoke with reporters Wednesday at the Owners’ Meeting about the state of the Yankees as spring training approaches. He covered a few topics of which I’ll dissect a bit here.

Payroll steadiness


Hal Steinbrenner
Photo credit: Jeffrey Putnam via Flickr
Steinbrenner has not relented on the notion that the club does not have to raise payroll substantially beyond the current approximation of about $215 million. Steinbrenner has discussed at length and reiterated that when significant money comes off the books – as it will in each of the next two offseasons – the club will be prepared to put a good portion of that cash back into the payroll.

I’ve been a proponent of this method that the Yankees have been working within over the last few seasons. With an up and coming farm system with one player already inserted (Luis Severino) and others getting ready to take over in key spots soon (Greg Bird and Aaron Judge) the Yankees will be more willing to reinvest at other areas of the roster.

Steinbrenner’s thoughts on payroll are always scrutinized by fans. He’s not especially loved by many who believe the Yankees should spend much more than they do considering the revenue the club drives. In my view, the business side of the organization is run quite well and I feel that when the long-term and cost-draining contracts are finished, the club will spend accordingly.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Yankees acquire right-handed reliever Kirby Yates

The New York Yankees announced they have acquired right-handed reliever Kirby Yates from the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations.

The Yankees are surely in need of right-handed relief help as I mentioned earlier this week at SNY. However, I was thinking someone with a bit more of a chance to make an immediate impact than I figure Yates will provide.

Yates, who turns 29 in March, owns a 5.27 ERA (5.33 FIP) in 56.1 innings with a .253 BAA in 57 career relief appearances over parts of two Major League seasons (2014-15) with Tampa Bay. Yates has had some success in his limited major league career against right-handed hitters (.237/.295/.414) against him in his career.