Sunday, July 23, 2017

#REDTHUNDER SHOULD PLAY EVERYDAY

Source:  New York Daily News

Time and time again we have written about consistency in the lineup here at BYB.  Last week, we featured a piece on this very point with the spotlight on Brett Gardner (LINEUP CONSISTENCY MATTERS). This morning, it's about Red Thunder aka Clint Frazier and his battle for a place on the Yankee roster beyond Aaron Hicks's return from the DL and despite Jacoby Ellsbury's veteran status.


According to Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News, "In their quest to get younger and more athletic, it seems like the Yankees have found something in Clint Frazier. The 22-year-old outfielder, acquired at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Andrew Miller, brings a much-needed dynamic quality to the lineup with his aggressiveness and flair for the dramatic."

Source: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images North America

The guy is absolutely aggressive both in left field and the base paths and dynamic in the way he approaches the game.  As the News reports, "Since being called up from Triple-A Scranton, Frazier is slashing .294/.302/.627. He homered in his first career MLB game on July 1 and delivered a walk-off blast exactly a week later."  So, why does he have to give up his roster spot for Jacoby Ellsbury who "used to be" that kind of dynamic, aggressive player?

Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America

Besides the fact that I am not a fan of Ellsbury (he grew up in the Boston Red Sox organization after all), he is just not performing and really has not put up the kind of numbers that keep a player in the lineup.  He is just not consistent.  He goes on these spurts of productivity and then he goes on the DL or just goes silent.  We as fans, "deserve exactly what Frazier is giving them on a daily basis. And maybe Ellsbury could turn it around with a change of scenery," reported the News.  Music to my ears...trade Ellsbury and quite frankly, ask Hicks to "earn" his way back into the lineup.  Why send down Frazier for being productive?  In my eyes, Red Thunder should play everyday.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof













YU DARVISH IS A REAL YANKEE IDEA

Photo: Getty Images
Now... will it happen? We will have to see, but the New York Post has this...

"With Yu Darvish starting for the Rangers against the Rays on Friday night, the speculation at Tropicana Field was that with Yankees scout Brandon Duckworth on hand, the Bombers were interested in Darvish....

(July 8, 2017 - Source: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)
Darvish, 31 next month, makes sense because he will be a free agent after the season and is owed a little over $4 million for the remainder of this one.

With the Rangers concerned they won’t be able to re-sign Darvish, they are looking for prospects and pitchers they can control financially...."

Photo: Getty Images
And so, here we are in Rumor-land.  Will the Yankees go after a guy like this? It actually makes a ton of sense. The only thing crazier is whether the Yankees will actually try to get Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins.

If I had to put my eggs in a basket, I see Darvish in pinstripes way before this crazy rumor about Stanton from the always nutty, Jon Heyman.

For the record, I trust George King of the NY Post way before I trust Heyman on anything. Just wanted that on the record.

Stay tuned...



Friday, July 21, 2017

WHEN A FAN MAKES BETTER SENSE THAN HEYMAN...


Jon Heyman says the Athletics know what they want for Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees.  But he's not telling anyone... probably because he doesn't know.  That's a 'baseball insider' for you... say something slightly provocative, and then a mic drop.  Silly.

But to be honest, Heyman's tweet is nothing new and nothing that important.

Photo: UPI.com
In fact, BYB and others have hinted about the idea of Sonny Gray to the Yankees for weeks now with the idea that it needs to be for the "right price"... according to the A's.  (Read READY FOR SONNY GRAY? for example.)

And let's be honest, it's what a baseball fan said after Heyman that everyone is really thinking about. I appreciated this much more:
Now look... the Yankees are in the mix, but other teams may be too, and the A's, who are willing to give away Gray want a lot in return. 

Photo: New York Daily News
It's very possible the Yankees pass, especially if the A's want top prospects.

And we need some of the very important top prospects on our farm. Otherwise, why did we really collect them anyway?

The Yanks aren't looking to win this year.  I mean, if it happens, it happens, but the truth is, they are building for next year.

Everyone relax...


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A BIG DECISION IS COMING...

Photo: NJ.com
With the trade deadline soon approaching and rumors flying about players the Yankees should acquire, there is yet another issue that's being discussed. What is going to happen to Brian Cashman?

With his current contract about to expire at the end of the year, I believe that he is the biggest free agent the Yankees have to worry about this upcoming offseason. That being said, I came across this nugget from NJ.com... wondering if his days with the Yankees are numbered...


"When the 2017 Yankees season ends, major decisions on impending free agents must be made by general manager Brian Cashman.

That, of course, assumes Cashman is back to be the person making critical decisions with a roster poised for big things in the next few years...

ESPN's Buster Olney speculated that another team -- possibly the Miami Marlins -- could try to poach Cashman with a record-breaking offer in the fall....


'...Theo Epstein set a new bar for front-office pay last year when he and the Cubs negotiated a five-year, $50 million deal, and that standard could help Cashman in his talks in an era in which high-end executive talent is being valued more and more. What is unknown is whether competitive bids begin to develop for him as his contract expires, whether it be from whoever takes control of the Marlins at the end of the bidding process or a team looking for new direction...'"

The Marlins... who would have thought. Wow.

Now look, while it is normal for these issues not to be discussed during the season, this is an issue that will soon have to be addressed when the season ends. After all, it's pretty much necessary to have a GM in place before you can really worry too much about contracts and free agents.

Photo: New York Daily News
Brian Cashman has been the only GM, we Yankees fans have known for the past 20 years, taking over the full-time GM role from Bob Watson in 1998. He is also the longest tenured GM since Ed Barrow who was GM from 1921-44. The Yankees have the first chance to sign him to a deal if they want to keep him around and he wants to stay. I'm really not sure if he will sign a deal without seeing what he can get elsewhere. The Yankee brass may also be thinking that it might be time for a change. It's a major decision they need to make, and trust me, they don't want to blow this.


Regardless of what happens, I've really have to give it to Cashman.  He's has been able to do a lot of rebuilding and we are now starting to be a more competitive team.  And cutting salary and stacking the system with talent has been a long time coming and in my eyes, he has done one hell of a job. If he goes, his hand print will be on this team for quite some time. If he stays I hope he can keep up the great work.

Stay tuned...



--Michael Carnesi
BYB Writer

Follow me on Twitter: @sevn4evr





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Thursday, July 20, 2017

YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHO CASHMAN'S NEXT TRADE TARGET MAY BE......


The Yankees got their bullpen arms and corner infielder this week....but is there more to come? Brian Cashman said he is going to "stay engaged" in trade talks but the Yankees are still going to be "careful buyers." Don't you just love Cashman talk? It's so vague and intriguing at times. As long as it works though I don't care. He carefully bought our latest additions, so maybe there is a chance he can do it again but with a starter this time.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
I don't know how much truth there is to this latest rumor, but there are at least 12 teams who have called the Atlanta Braves asking if Jamie Garcia is available according to Mark Feinsand. The Yankees could be one of them even though he probably isn't the first pitcher that comes to mind when fans think about adding another starter.

The Braves aren't actively shopping Garcia at this point but he is in the last year of his contract so they may choose to make him available for a decent prospect rather than just letting him walk at the end of the season. The Yankees have prospects now and they will definitely picked over later in the Rule 5 draft (like they were this year) so maybe giving up two kids that the Yankees could end up losing anyway for some pitching makes sense. I think it is safe to assume that Garcia should be considerably cheaper than what the Yankees gave to the White Sox because Garcia has some issues.

On the other hand, the Braves could also decide to keep him. The Braves could decide that they keep him if they don't get a deal that they like. They could argue that he is worth a qualifying offer and when he doesn't accept it they at least get a first round draft pick so he costs a top ranked prospect in return.

Photo: Getty Images
Garcia has a pretty ugly injury history and includes: Tommy John surgery in 2008, rotator cuff surgery in 2013, and surgery to treat Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in 2014 and that's just a short list. To be fair, he has been healthy since he returned in 2015 and hasn't missed any of his starts and even though he comes with some risk, there are also some positives. Garcia adds another lefty arm, he has five pitches he can use and the best part....he gets a ton of ground balls. That would be a huge plus in Yankee stadium with it's short porch.

Photo: Getty Images
Personally, I never thought about Garcia. He's very inconsistent but he may be one of the best short term rentals available. I admit, I like the idea of a Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish better but either of those seem unlikely. Garcia may only be a back-end of the rotation pitcher but he does fit the Yankees long term plan.

Does Cashman think Garcia is a "careful buy" and more importantly....should he? For now it's a "wait and see" as the trade deadline looms closer.



--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor 
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ





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THE YANKS ARE GOING FOR IT ALL... NEXT YEAR

Hope you're happy, Yankee fans.


Rooting for the kids  and toughing out this roller coaster rebuilding year required just a bit more patience than your winning DNA could handle -- and apparently, you had an ally in the owner's suite at the Stadium.

You wanted the team to make some moves? You got 'em. The questions of the hour though are: Were they moves that could transform this team  from the worst in baseball over the last six weeks to one that can rocket past the Rays and Red Sox into the playoffs with a real chance to win it all?

Or is that just the impression they give off to  wishful Yankee fans still sporting their spring "best in baseball" goggles who are so frustrated by relentless trips to the DL  and regression to the mean that any moves at all now resemble a yellow brick road to the Emerald City?


Let's take a quick look-see which is closer to the truth.  Remember, Brian had said they'd be "careful buyers" at the deadline and his focus would be "putting out the best effort possible, but not at the expense of what we feel can lead us to more championships, plural."

In the new paradigm, that mean's reducing payroll (aka hitting the tax threshold to eliminate the burdensome penalty the team pays now so they can start spending big anew down the road) and maintaining a fresh stock of young farmhands to keep the big club supplied with talented bodies so they don't have to keep dipping into the free market for beefcake whenever a starter goes bad.

So, boiling down the deal to its essence,  for the price of a pair of the team's top 20 prospects, an unranked throw-in farmhand, a certain inconsistent veteran reliever whose name rhymes with flippered who was in danger of being kidnapped from the player's parking lot by angry  mobs and fed to the Pizza Rat, and an additional $15 million added to the payroll,  Joe got in return:
  • A pair of top-notch bullpen arms for his binder -- one that will be with the team through next season making top-notch dollars, and one who'll be under team control through the next three that's pre-arbitration eligible.
  • A third baseman in his third consecutive year of decline but with some pop remaining in his bat and  only the remainder of this season to pay.


Clearly, Todd Frazier -- the 31-year-old infielder with a dozen more dingers at the mid-season break than Headley -- and a big-time closer-caliber arm like ex-Yankee setup man David "Sweet Home Alabama" Robertson" on short-term deals are more than enough to satisfy Brian's "putting out the best effort possible" advocates. 


And 24-year-old Tommy Kahnle, the big prize in the deal, certainly fulfills both "best effort" and "What we feel can lead us to more championships, plural" pledges.

And while the three prospects the team let go -- pitcher Ian Clarkin, centerfielder Blake Rutherford (both former first-round picks) and outfielder Tito Polo (the PTBNL in the Ivan Nova trade with the Pirates) -- all probably have futures in the Bigs ahead of them, with the Yankees all were stuck in lines behind more talented players  that likely meant years before they might see the Bronx and no protection in a Rule 5 draft.

Photo of: Blake Rutherford
So it was a very good deal for the Yankees. You can make a strong case it's great for the rebuild, and it's certainly better for the moment as it immediately makes their toasted grilled cheese bullpen firmer and deeper  and (hopefully) lessens the need to Joba-cize promising young starters into binder fodder so they can properly finish honing their craft on the farm as both they and the farm were intended  (a.k.a learning third and fourth pitches and mastering how to get through batting orders three times etc.).

And, of course, another big hairy bat in the lineup is always a welcome addition in Yankee Universe where anyone standing at home plate with lumber in hands is considered a runner in scoring position.

But here's the thing... The reason the bullpen was melting like Velveeta over charred Wonder bread in the first place was because the rotation was the weak link by not consistently providing length or staying out of trouble early. Remember?

And the infield position that was woefully under-producing was first base, not third base. Remember?


I mean, sure Frazier may provide a handful of dingers more than Chase in the second half. But he's also just one step ahead of tripping over the Mendoza line.

And moving Chase to first base where he's only played 14 games in his professional life and giving him a "crash course" so he can platoon with newly acquired rookie Garrett Cooper who's played  all of six MLB games there himself  sounds like rubbing two bad experiments together hoping one good one will come of it.  That's no upgrade, it's a wash at best. Frazier doesn't fill a hole. He just moves one.


No, my friends, if this team was truly "going for it" this season, you'd see the team going all in on at least one front-end type starting pitcher and at least one above-replacement level corner infielder -- preferably a first baseman that, you know,  actually has extensive experience  playing and hitting like a major league first baseman, no assembly or platoon required.  (Eating the last year of Chase's deal and snagging a certain young nifty third baseman wouldn't be a bad idea either if the O's go all garage-sale crazy and put Manny on the block like some have posited might be in their interest.)


Starting pitching and first base. Those were the two burning dumpster fires on this team before the trade and so they remain --  and calling it a blockbuster in big block letters doesn't change that fact.

So until I see Brian bring home someone legit to extinguish either one, rest assured he's sticking to the blueprint and -- absent any other moves to follow -- this trade tips toward future rewards far more than the present, which is just fine by me.

Like Bill Parcells once said when asked if his team was a winner or a loser, you are what your record says you are. And like ESPN's Andrew Marchand wrote, the Yankees are "losers of 22 of their past 32 games. That's a .313 win percentage, which wouldn't win you the batting title, let alone a division."

That's a helluva deep dark place to expect a couple of relievers and a meh infield bat to dig you out.


If over the next 11 days Brian  somehow manages to pull another whiz-banger of a deal out of his tailpipe that protects the rebuilding blueprint but provides those two precious missing ingredients handicapping this team's chances for a meaningful run at a ring this season, nobody will be more thrilled than yours truly.

In the meantime, please pardon me if I  continue rooting for the kids, demanding that performance and not paycheck size  decide playing time, looking forward to the Hot Stove and savoring what's left of this wild roller coaster ride.

I know a championship race when I see one and I'm enjoying every frustrating, exhilarating minute of the one we're in  -- for 2018.




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




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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

CLIPPARD OUT! DROB & FRAZIER ARE IN!

Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Word on the street...Tyler Clippard is going to Chicago...White Sox that is.  And the Yankees are getting Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.

Source: ELSA/GETTY IMAGES

According to the NY Daily News, "Late Tuesday evening, the Yankees were close to acquiring 1B/3B Todd Frazier — the Toms River, N.J. Little League legend — and relievers David Robertson, the former Yankee, and Tommy Kahnle from Chicago, according to multiple reports."

Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Well, it appears the deal is done.

Also reports the News, "Top Yankee outfield prospect Blake Rutherford (and struggling reliever Tyler Clippard), according to USA Today, appears to be part of the package going to the White Sox. Pitching prospect Ian Clarkin, a first-round pick in 2013, is also in the deal according to multiple reports."

Hump Day Wednesday couldn't get much better...#LetsGoYankees.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof







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LINEUP CONSISTENCY MATTERS

Source: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The phone calls and Tweets flooded my inbox like I am the manager of the Yankees.  Honestly, I am flattered and happy to serve. The content of the messages: Brett Gardner's absence from the starting lineup over the last two games.  Hey, if I were in fact the skipper of the Bronx Bombers, I would sit Gardner only sparingly because lineup consistency matters and we don't have any.

Source: Getty Images

According to CBS Sports, "In an effort to counter Twins southpaw starter Adalberto Mejia, the Yankees (will) move lefty hitters Gardner and Ji-Man Choi to the bench for the evening, allowing right-handers Clint Frazier and Garrett Cooper to enter the starting nine. Gardner is batting just .167/.277/.292 across 84 plate appearances against left-handers this season."

Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America

Joe Girardi is a numbers's guy.  That's not going to change.  He believes in giving guys days off, he believes in lefties-righties match-ups and he believes in a player's stats against a particular pitcher. He wants to win and I get that but sometimes you have the play the veteran anyway.  And in particular, you have to play Gardner in the field when you have two rookies on either side of center field.

Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America

According to Newsday, "While the influence of the Yankees’ elder statesmen is more likely to show up in obvious ways during a game — how Montgomery attacks a hitter’s weaknesses or how Frazier approaches an at-bat — the return for the veterans shows up in more subtle ways."  Leadership, consistency, modeling the type of the ball player that demonstrates the chemistry to win. That's what Gardner brings.

 Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

“They bring a lot of energy. It’s not just in the clubhouse or at BP, but it’s there on the field in games,” Gardner said. “The energy and enthusiasm they play with? It can’t help but rub off on us guys and work to our benefit.”

Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

I know it may sound like it's no big deal that Brett Gardner sat two games in a row (thankfully he was in the lineup last night), but for fans like me, who know that soft skills matter, having Gardner in the outfield, chatting it up with the kids on either side matters.  Subtle moves that change the chemistry of the lineup hurt us.  We need all the help we can get.  Keep Gardner in the lineup, Joe.

Consistency matters.

Drop the mic.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof





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GETTING INSIDE CASHMAN'S HEAD


Yes, it's true... I am now anticipating that the New York Yankees will trade for a starter before the July 31 trading deadline.  I have spent years trying to get into Brian Cashman’s head and understanding how he thinks.  The David Robertson, Todd Frazier deal came out of nowhere, but I get it totally.  And now I've been thinking about starters as well.

Photo: Getty Images
The Yanks have 4 decent starters already in Tanaka, Severino, Sabathia, and Montgomery.  When they had Pineda as well, they were all set and would find difficulty upgrading any of their 5 starters enough to make giving up prospects worthwhile.  Now, with Pineda gone, it's my opinion their best option is Chance Adams.  I think Adams could step in now and likely do as well or better than most starters that the Yankees would be able to trade for.  Thus, for 2017, it is not worth giving up prospects to get a starting pitcher.

However, Cashman will also be thinking about 2018 and 2019.  Looking ahead to 2018, the Yanks will likely have Tanaka back.  I doubt Tanaka will opt out of 3 years, $68M given the year he's had.  While it's true he could reels off an amazing second half, I doubt it strongly, and so, he'll be back next year.  And so, that gives us Tanaka, Severino, Montgomery and Chance Adams for 2018.  But who will be the 5th starter? 

Photo: Newsday
Kaprielian is not ready yet given his surgery.  I doubt any of our other pitching prospects (i.e. Justus Sheffield) is ready.  So the Yanks will either need to re-sign CC to a 1-year deal or they will need to go out and get a starter via trade or free agency.  And so, let’s look at each of those options:
Free Agents:

Looking at the 2017-18 free agent class, I think the I would rule out the free agent possibility.  The only decent starters that are going to be free agents are all over 30 years old and will be looking for long-term deals.  Those options are:

Photo: Getty Images
Yu Darvish: The Yankees are not going to give $20M per year to a 31-year old pitcher coming off TJ surgery.  Yes, someone will pay Darvish, but I don’t see Cashman doing it.  The Yanks are looking only at younger players these days.  They are not giving out $100M contracts to guys that are already 30+ anymore. My opinion of course....

Jake Arrieta: See above.  Arrieta will be 32 next season.  He will want big money, but he is not even performing well this year with an ERA of 4.17.

Photo: Getty Images
Johnny Cueto: Cueto can opt out of his last 4 years and $84M of his contract with the Giants.  If he does that, he will obviously want at least a 5-year deal for $20M per year.  But he will be 32 and currently has an ERA of 4.59.  No thanks.

CC Sabathia: If CC continues to pitch well down the stretch, I think this could be an option.  But if he continues to pitch well, CC may be able to get more than a 1-year deal, which would rule him out.  I believe Cashman would consider CC more of a fall back option though, not a primary.  That's because Cashman doesn’t know whether CC will continue to pitch well enough to warrant a spot in the 2018 rotation, or that CC will be willing to accept a 1-year deal even after having pitched well.

Personally, I don’t think that the CC, 1-year deal option will impact Cashman’s decision concerning whether to make a trade for a starting pitcher that the Yanks can use in the 2018 rotation. 

Now let's look at trades, because that's where I'm going with this.  If Cashman has already concluded that he will not be signing a free agent starting pitcher, which I believe he has, then his only primary option to fill the 2018 open rotation spot is via a trade. 

Photo: New York Daily News
With a trade for a starting pitcher that is under control for 2018 and possibly beyond, Cashman can solve the 2018 rotation problem now.  Of course, it is possible he would wait for the Winter, but some of the guys that are available now will no longer be available in the Winter.  While I don’t think Cashman is going to give up #1 Gleyber Torres, #2 Clint Frazier, #5 James Kaprelian, #6 Justus Sheffield, or #7 Chance Adams, I do think he will give up a few other prospects to get a good starter that is under control for at least 2018. 

I think #4 Jorge Mateo could be dealt if the price was right.  I also think that #9 Miguel Andujar, #11 Tyler Wade, or #14 Tyler Austin are all players Yanks might deal to get a starter. 

And this is now me in Cashman's head.  With all I've now stated, I believe a trade will happen... and here are the options:

Photo: Getty Images
Sonny Gray: I think Gray is a good possibility for the Yankees.  He is under control through 2019 and is only 27 years old and is pitching decently this year.  The difficulty in getting Gray is that I don’t know that you can get him without giving up a top prospect.  The Cubs gave up their #1 prospect (#8 overall) plus more to get Jose Quintana, who had an ERA over 5.00.  Teams will give up good prospects to get a young starter that has years of control.  So the Yankees may fall short in trying to acquire Gray if other teams step up, which is likely.

Gerrit Cole: Another young starter (26) who is controlled through 2019.  Cole might make sense as his 4.35 ERA might have lowered his value enough that Yankees could get him without giving up top prospects.

Photo: Sun Sentinel
Dan Straily: Marlins may be having a fire sale.  Straily put up a 14-8 record in 2016 with an ERA of 3.76 with the Reds, and has continued to pitch well starting for the Marlins this year (7-4, 3.32).  He is under control through 2021.  I believe the Yankees might be interested.

Julio Teheran: Julio is 26 and signed through 2019.  Braves are actually in the race, but may realize it is not realistic that they can contend.  Teheran had a 3.21 ERA in 30 starts in 2016, but he is not pitching well this year (4.69) so he could be had.

Look, in the end, I think I have finally cracked the code to Cashman's brain.  I think I was able to really pick apart the options, and really come to some decent options for our Yankees.  Will any of this happen? Who honestly knows... really. I do know this though... we need to get back on track, and a starter that can really help our club.

But enough about my thoughts. What do you think? Comment.



--Douglas Solomon

BYB Guest Writer





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