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’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.