Friday, December 2, 2016

MY IBWAA VOTE & WHY PEDs DON'T MATTER

So there I was a few days ago thoroughly enjoying BYB senior writer Steve Skinner’s excellent read MY IBWAA VOTE & WHY IT'S IMPORTANT. In it, he shared his Hall of Fame ballot and explained his strict no-PED voting philosophy. And as I came to its conclusion in which he graciously sought alternative viewpoints (and even more graciously complimented a recent piece I wrote about the hot mess the BBWA has made of the official hall of fame voting process), I felt compelled to respond. So here it goes...

Let me say at the outset that as a fellow IBWAA member, I applaud Steve’s stance on the importance of a transparent ballot. That’s why I published my IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot choices last year on my own blog accompanied by an explanation of my somewhat more flexible voting philosophy in a piece entitled My IBWAA Hall Of Fame Ballot - And Why PEDs Weren't A Factor In My Voting. Check it out.


For those who don’t care to read the long version, here's the gist;

I don't believe in penalizing suspected or proven PED users too heavily, simply because PEDs have always been part of the sport, ever since the beginning of time. In the 100-plus years of major league ball, before free agency when players were essentially rented equipment from year to year and either played or weren’t paid, they routinely dabbled in some form pharmaceutical help to get them on the field, to overcome pain and injury and to extend their careers to keep their paychecks coming.
(In Photo: a frustrated Mickey Mantle)
Whether it was the early powerful legal opiates or the later plentiful 'greenies' and 'red juice' that helped see them through – all performance- and stat-enhancing in their way, all incentivized by a paycheck, all now illegal -- the Hall is already “tainted” in some respects. So, to suddenly pretend at this late date it possesses any sort of pharmaceutical purity or statistical virtue untouched by drug use is incorrect in my opinion.

Further, the place has inducted quite a few rogues out there who have broken other rules of the game (not to mention of society), committing far more egregious sins up to and including conspiring to keep men of color from taking the field (and possibly their jobs), so that invoking the Hall’s oft-cited “character/integrity” qualification against anyone for simply juicing is, in comparison, frankly doesn't rise.

Lastly, although it’s pretty clear the juice can help add some distance to a great slugger’s dingers or to a great pitcher’s velocity if they work hard in the weight room to take maximum advantage of it, what has become equally clear since testing began is it CAN'T help a bad hitter become a good hitter or a bad pitcher become a good one.  


For every great player that has been busted for juicing since testing began, there has been at least a dozen nobodies who desperately tried and failed to join their ranks.
With that said, I’d like to thank Steve for inviting dissenting opinion to his great piece, and I’m pleased to report that, as you'll see here, even with our differing philosophies on PEDs, we still found common ground on three players on this year’s ballot. I wish I could say we agreed on four players but, as he pointed out, his Mattingly write-in isn’t allowed under IBWAA rules.

And as much as I love the Hitman...

that would be cheating. 



 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter@nyyankeefanfore


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THAT CHRIS SALE DREAM IS NOW DYING, GUYS

(July 27, 2016 - Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)
Just a small story here, nothing major but just want to share because it's Jon Heyman and you know how much we LOVE him here at Bleeding Yankee Blue.

Teams are after Chris Sale, but it doesn't appear that the Yankees are...  Check out these nuggets from Heyman:

(July 11, 2016 - Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)
"Superstar White Sox left-hander Chris Sale is on the block, and it appears at least five teams are starting to separate themselves at the forefront of talks: the Nationals, Astros, Red Sox, Rangers and Braves. That doesn’t mean that any one of these teams is sure to get him, or even that Sale will definitely be traded. In fact, an executive with one of those teams suggests he doesn’t believe Sale is going anywhere. “The asking price is so high it’s hard to imagine he’s getting traded,” says that exec.

(May 12, 2016 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
The Yankees did talk to the ChiSox last July, but with a new emphasis on youth plus no interest at all in trading star young catcher Gary Sanchez, it seems Sale has been off their radar..."

Look. If all this is correct, and I have no reason to doubt it, the Yanks are out.

(July 31, 2016 - Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America)
Could Cashman do a sneak attack? He may, but why give away youth, the same youth we are praising right now for lefty Chris Sale?  You gotta wonder.

Anyway... just a nice nugget, do with it what you will.

Happy Friday everyone.



FORMER JETS PLAYER JOE McKNIGHT... KILLED


This isn't a baseball thing, but just a life thing.  Sadly, all over the Tri-State this morning we are hearing about the death of former Jets Running Back Joe McKnight.  Apparently he was killed in what seems to be a road rage incident.  The info is slowing coming out. We'll take the Chicago Tribune on this one:

(Jan. 1, 2011 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)
"McKnight was shot to death Thursday following an argument at an intersection with another motorist.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the incident involving McKnight happened about 2:43 p.m. Thursday in Terrytown, a suburb of New Orleans.

The 28-year-old running back was standing outside his car when he was shot by Ronald Gasser, 54, Normand said during a news conference at the scene of the shooting."

(Dec. 3, 2011 - Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)
No one should be shooting anyone, but especially during the holiday season.  This is heartbreaking to me. Reports suggest that bystanders saw was appeared to be McKnight apologizing to the other motorist before he was shot.  Once down, the alleged shooter stood over him and shot him again.

Devastating.  Prayers go out to his family.




GET EXCITED FOR OUR YOUNG YANKEE STARTERS!


I know... I'm fully aware that fellow BYB writer Dan Lucia is doing an incredible series on the future of the New York Yankees.  If you don't know, read:

YANKEE PROSPECT WATCH: MONTGOMERY & FINLEY

YANKEE PROSPECT WATCH: CLARKIN & TORRENS

I just needed to write this though and why not, right? 

Look, I am at the point where I am excited to see what we have for starting pitching with some of our younger minor leaguers eventually and hopefully getting to the Bigs. 

(Oct. 12, 2016 - Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)
Bottom line, I wouldn’t spend the money on Rich Hill right now given his age and injury history even though if healthy he could likely be an ace for us next year. 

The Yankees really have a treasure trove of minor league starters that folks aren't talking about enough. I honestly would love to see one or two of them join the starting rotation next season and let’s see what they can do... you know what I mean? 

(Sept. 20, 2016 - Source: Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images North America)
We will already have Tanaka, Sabathia and Pineda as starters (assuming Pineda isn't traded), but that leaves two spots open. One of my important beliefs is that Yanks should use Luis Severino out of the bullpen. BYB Chief Robert Casey feels the same way.  We believe that putting him back in the starting rotation would be foolish. He's too valuable as a reliever. 

(Aug. 20, 2016 - Source: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images North America)
Now, to be honest, I'm not sure Luis Cessa, Chad Green or Brian Mitchell are the answer either, but they may deserve a shot. But look, I'm very excited about the prospect of using one of more of the young guys below as a starter in 2017, or even in 2018. Check this out: 

(Source: MiLB.com)
Jordan Montgomery: In 25 starts this year for AA and AAA, this lefty was 14-5 this season with a 2.13 ERA with 134 Ks in 139 IP. After his promotion to Scranton (AAA) he had 6 starts and was 5-1 with a 0.97 ERA. He is about to turn 24 years old. Let’s give him a shot.

(Source: MiLB.com)
Dietrich Enns: This 25 year old lefty starter was 14-4 with a 1.73 ERA this year at AA and AAA with 124 Ks in 134 IP. After being promoted to AAA with a 1.92 ERA, he put up a 1.52 ERA in 14 starts at Scranton.

Photo Credit: AP
James Kaprielian: This guy probably needs more time in the minors after being injured most of 2016. But he was our 1st round pick (16th overall pick) in the 2015 draft after a dominant college career at UCLA.

Chance Adams: Perhaps a bit behind Montgomery and Enns in his development, we shouldn’t forget about Adams. He is only 22 and was a 5th round pick in 2015, but had a great year in 2016 going 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 24 starts at A and AA!!! Adams struck out 144 in 127 IP. Most impressive is that like Enns, he was more productive after his promotion. After going 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA at Tampa, he was promoted to Trenton and went 8-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 12 starts. Adams might need 1 year at AAA, but he may not be far from helping the Yanks rotation either.

Staten Island Advance
Domingo Acevedo: This 22-year old signed out of the Dominican Republic hit 103 on the gun last summer and consistently throws 96-100 as a starter. IN 18 starts last year, he was 5-4 with a 2.61 ERA and 102 Ks in 93 IP. He is currently listed as the Yanks #8 overall prospect. Scouts say he has an amazing change up as well, but needs some time to work on his slider and curve. But he is coming!


These are guys that the Yankees drafted, so it doesn’t even include some of the great young arms that they got in the trades for Chapman, Miller, Beltran and McCann.  Think about this, we have Justus Sheffield (Miller trade), Dillon Tate (Beltran trade) and Albert Abreu (McCann trade). But the 5 guys I mention above were all guys we had without even making any of the trades. Think about that. I am very excited about these guys and want them to get their shot! To be honest, I wouldn’t sign any free agent starting pitchers. 

(Photo Credit: Gregg Slaboda- Trentonian File)
Honestly, Montgomery and Enns are probably the only two of this group that the Yanks should consider for the 2017 starting rotation at the outset of the season, but the others are not far away, maybe later in the season additions, maybe 2018 for sure.

We also have an exciting stable of relief pitchers that can help in 2017, but I will save that for my next submission. 

Anyway, keep an eye on these guys though. It's gonna be a lot of fun!


--Douglas Solomon 
BYB Guest Writer
  


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Thursday, December 1, 2016

THE CESPEDES FACTOR

Source: FOX Sports

So by now you know that the New York Mets have re-signed Yoenis Cespedes to a new four-year deal totaling $110 million dollars.  And the Yankees have not signed any big bats or big arms as of the last day of November.  But with the Winter Meetings fast approaching and some big time chatter around big bats Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo and Carlos Beltran and big arms Rich Hill, Derek Holland and of course Aroldis Chapman, there is a lot of anticipation that something will happen soon.  However, as I hate to be the bearer of negativity, there could be some fallout around the Cespedes signing and the rise in costs of free-agents because of this signing.

Source: Sports On Earth

According to George A. King III of the New York Post, "An MLB executive said he believed the Mets overspent for Cespedes, and Encarnacion, 34 in January, could benefit from the deal. This might help him because some teams might think [Encarnacion] is a better purchase,’’ the executive said of Encarnacion, who can play first base but isn’t the defender at that spot Cespedes is in the outfield."

Source: Latino Baseball

Hmmm- that's kind of interesting.

But would the Yankees pay for a 34-year-old veteran bat?  How about a 40-year-old bat in the likes of Carlos Beltran?  The difference, besides six years, is that Beltran would not be looking for a long term deal like Encarnacion.  According to King, "With the Astros, Blue Jays and Red Sox joining the Yankees in search of a DH, Beltran has been linked to all four teams. The Red Sox attempted to pry the veteran switch-hitting outfielder away from the Yankees at this season’s trade deadline, but he was dealt to the Rangers."

Source: UPI

And what about Mark Trumbo, who besides Ben Zobrist, was the best bang for the free-agent buck of the 2016 season?  According to the Baltimore Sun, "They (the Orioles) did, however, assign a qualifying offer to right fielder/designated hitter Mark Trumbo, who led the majors with 47 home runs this season. If Trumbo accepts, he’ll be paid $17.2 million on a one-year contract in 2017. If he declines and opts to test free agency for the first time in his career, the Orioles will get a compensatory pick at the end of the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft."

Source: MLB.com

So with the Cespedes signing comes a rise in the need and cost of other free agents and a frenzy for the biggest bat.  It will be interesting to see what transpires, but if I had a pick or wish, I would wish for Trumbo but his price tag may have just elevated thanks to the Mets.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof




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