Wednesday, November 30, 2016


(Steve Ruark | The Associated Press)
I like Rob Manfred so much better than Bud Selig.  He makes things happen... he doesn't sit there palms up with no solutions.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Manfred goes belly to the table, sits with the rest and makes deals.  Impressive.

Quick note.  MLB and the union have an agreement!  USA Today writes:

"Major League Baseball and the players union, knowing there was far too much at stake for an impasse, agreed to a new five-year collective bargaining agreement Wednesday night less than four hours before their current deal expired.

The deal, which still needs to be ratified by the owners and players, means there will be 26 consecutive years without a work stoppage since the 1994-95 players’ strike that cancelled the 1994 World Series."

2 significant developments. The All-Star game no longer determines home advantage in the World Series and the Disabled list is now 10 games as opposed to 15.

Life is good when it comes to baseball.

So happy this is behind us!


Last week in Prospect Watch, we here at BYB covered the Yankees number 20 and 19 prospects respectively, Jordan Montgomery and Drew Finley. Read YANKEE PROSPECT WATCH: MONTGOMERY & FINLEY for more!  Today, we have #18 and #17... Ian Clarkin and Luis Torrens.

(Photo: Pinstriped Prospects)
#18. LHP Ian Clarkin was the 33rd overall pick in the 2013 draft at just 18 years-old but injuries have stunted his growth as a player. In his first three pro seasons, Clarkin totaled just 80 innings and missed the entire 2015 regular season with elbow issues. In 2016, Clarkin rebounded nicely down in Tampa throwing 98 innings while finishing with a 3.31 ERA.

Clarkin was drafted as a guy, like James Kaprelian, who was seen as being polished for his age and had a high floor without necessarily a number one starter type ceiling. While Clarkin still has a low 90’s fastball from the left side, to go along with a change up and a curve ball, he still has to remain healthy as the injuries have made it tough for him to progress. Clarkin again missed the end of the 2016 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

(Charleston RiverDogs File Photo)
Although Clarkin has battled the injury bug, he is still a southpaw and will turn just 22 just prior to spring training. With a couple good, healthy years, Clarkin could be a middle of the rotation candidate come 2019 or so. But staying on the field will be the biggest hurdle for Clarkin to overcome to give himself a chance.
Coming in at # 17 on the Yankees prospect list, and number nine in top catching prospects in baseball, is 20 year-old Luis Torrens. Signed at 16 in 2012 out of Venezuela where he was primarily a short stop, the Yankees saw potential to turn him into a catcher. Torrens hit the ground running and has made the transition seamlessly.

Photo Credit: Dave Schofield
Torrens is looked at as a better defender than Gary Sanchez but does not possess the same power. His arm strength is there shown by his 41% caught stealing rate in 2016. Torrens is seen as an advanced hitter for his age and is willing to work pitchers into deep counts and utilizes all fields. Torrens batted .250 this past summer between low A and A ball, but did produce a .350 OBP which shows his maturity as a patient hitter with 15 home run potential as he continues to develop.

An interesting note about Torrens is that he will not be protected from the rule five draft coming up on December 8th during the Winter Meetings. For those who are unfamiliar with the rule five draft here is some info from

Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.

(Photo Courtesy:
Since Torrens has only made it Single-A ball and is only 20 years-old, the likelihood of a team selecting him to be on their Major League roster for the entire season is pretty slim, but he is a sought after prospect. Assuming he stays put, Torrens could be in the mix for a backup role in 2018 or 2019, or could also be used as trade bait over the next year or two with Gary Sanchez seemingly in firm control of the catching position for the foreseeable future.

Torrens is my type of player; a good defender with a solid approach at the plate who is advanced for his age. I’m looking forward to watching him progress over the next couple of seasons.

Next up on the Prospect Watch will be Billy McKinney, a former A’s first round pick acquired from the Cubs in the Chapman deal, and Tyler Wade, a fourth round pick of the Yankees in 2013.

--Dan Lucia,  
BYB 'Series' Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia



(Oct. 18, 2016 - Source: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images North America)
The hot stove sounds like it is getting even hotter and the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes may be coming to an end soon. The field seems to be thinning out a little bit and the front runners are making their final push to get Encarnacion to bite. A contract may be coming sooner than we thought. Are the Yankees in the mix?

(Oct. 8, 2016 - Source: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images North America)
According to Canadian sports specialty service, Encarnacion could sign a contract by later this week or next week, read that HERE. It will be interesting to see when and what the contract will come in to play based on the upcoming expiration of the CBA on Thursday and what Encarnacion's market value is now the Yoenis Cespedes has signed with the Mets. You can read more on that at BYB... CESPEDES SIGNS...

According to his agent, three teams are interested but will not extend a contract offer until MLB signs a new collective labor agreement. Two teams have already made "serious" offers and those teams are still unknown but the Red Sox, Rangers, and Astros are also good fits for him so I wouldn't be surprised if those are the mystery teams. The Blue Jays are very interested in bringing him back and are "showing Edwin the most love." It sounds like according to his agent the Blue Jays are the favorite....for now.

(Oct. 8, 2016 - Source: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images North America)
It is rumored that the Yankees have checked in with Encarnacion's agent at least five times. He would definitely add some missing pop in the Yankees lineup now that Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran are no longer on the team....unless the Yankees re-sign Beltran. The Yankees are considered to be a favorite to sign Beltran and he would cost less years and money.

(Sept. 20, 2016 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)
Now that the Mets have signed Cespedes for four years and $110 million it sets market value for Encarnacion. As good as Cespedes is, it is not unreasonable to think that Encarnacion's agent could get him the five year $125 million he is looking for based on his numbers. Last season Encarnacion batted .263 with 42 home runs and 127 RBI's and is one of the best offensive players in the sport. Adding his bat is a game changer for any team.

The Yankees still have the youth movement in mind and want to keep getting younger without spending a lot of money on long term contracts but the Yankees had to make contact here. The Yankees need some more pop and some flexibility at first base if their young prospects don't progress. I believe in this plan, but when it comes to the Yankees you can never be too sure because sometimes they downplay everything and make a splash. Is Encarnacion in the Yankees plans after all? 

Stay tuned...

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

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(Sept. 29, 2016 - Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)
Several publications are talking about this Yankee bat option, and I think it all started with Jon Heyman.  Whatever man... the guys gotta start the clicks somehow, although, truth be told, it's a great idea and it turns out the Yankees have in fact reached out about the services of Brandon Moss.  The question is, is it something they really want, or are they just checking out everything before they narrow it down. 

I'm telling you... I am hearing more and more that Carlos Beltran will be the guy the Yankees will get back for a few reasons.  They're familiar, the money dulled out will be cheaper and ultimately they know he can help them with his bat from both sides of the plate. Read BYB's exclusive nugget on that. It's called THAT CARLOS BELTRAN REUNION IS REAL.  But hey... back to that Brandon Moss story, right?

(Aug. 10, 2016 - Source: David Banks/Getty Images North America)
Jon Heyman writes: "In addition to the previously mentioned Chapman and Kenley Jansen as Yankees targets, plus hitting stars Carlos Beltran, Edwin Encarnacion, Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Bautista, the Yankees have called upon several more top free-agent hitters, including Dexter Fowler, Matt Holliday, Mike Napoli and Brandon Moss..."

That's how it started.   Now everyone has something to say about it.  I'm not gonna go down that list. I will however give you this nugget from ESPN on the Brandon Moss line:

(Aug. 27, 2016 - Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)
"Moss, 33, slashed .225/.300/.484 with 28 home runs and 67 RBIs, although he struggled down the stretch -- hitting just .091 over his final 110 plate appearances. The 10-year veteran outfielder/first baseman owns a career .241 batting average."

I'd be curious to see what happens next.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


(Oct. 17, 2016 - Source: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America)
I'm not sure it's that intense, folks.  I'm not getting that vibe at all. I know they want "cheap" and good, but I don't know if they are truly in "hot pursuit" of Rich Hill. I know they like him. I know they think he could help them, and I don't doubt that. But if some other team showed up and signed him, I don't think Brian Cashman would kick the cat over it.

(Oct. 17, 2016 - Source: Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images North America)
Whatever the case, the "hot pursuit" line came from Empire Writes Back, and good for them, they got me clicking, but then I found the source, and it's from Jim Bowden.  Oh boy.
"In pursuit" is more like it, but remember, this is Jim Bowden... he's rarely right when it comes to this stuff!

Now, no disrespect to anyone here, not the blog, not Jim. I like Jim a lot.  The bottom line is that it's my feeling (and I'm just a regular guy like you out there), Rich Hill's on the list... but when it comes to "Hot Pursuit"... I'd equate that to an Ardolis Chapman type.  That's just me.

Whatever the case, God bless them all.  The rumor season has been very enjoyable.  But on this Rich Hill rumor... we gotta wait and see...

Sit tight everyone.

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Quick note. It was refreshing to see that Hal Steinbrenner had quite a bit to say about Aaron Judge and what they want from him going forward.  They are thrilled he's a Yankee, thrilled that he was drafted and beyond thrilled for what will be.

You don't always hear stuff like this from an owner... but it's out there and it's exciting.

Bryan Hoch of has the nuggets:

"Hal Steinbrenner said that it was "emotional" to watch Aaron Judge homer in his first Major League plate appearance, and the Yankees' managing general partner is counting on the 24-year-old slugger to grab hold of the starting right-field job next spring.

(Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports)
Steinbrenner said that his hopes for the future were buoyed on the afternoon of Aug. 13, when Tyler Austin and Judge became the first pair of teammates in MLB history to homer in their first at-bats in the same game, going back-to-back against the Rays' Matt Andriese.

(Aug. 14, 2016 - Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America)
'He's got some work to do. He knows that,' Steinbrenner said. 'We're going to figure out exactly what we think is wrong. My expectations are he's going to be my starting right fielder this year. That's a big deal and a big opportunity. I know he's going to make the most of it.'"

I'm looking forward to seeing Judge blossom. I can tell, the Steinbrenners are equally psyched.

To that... I say bring it!

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Thank God it's not with the Yankees.

(Sept. 17, 2016 - Source: Adam Hunger/Getty Images North America)
Turns out Yoenis Cespedes really likes the Mets, and the Mets like him.  Good for us.

According to several sources, but we'll go with the New York Post on this one...

(Aug. 28, 2016 - Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America)
"Yoenis Cespedes is returning to Flushing, after agreeing to a four-year contract Tuesday worth $110 million that will keep his big bat in the middle of the Mets lineup.

According to an industry source, the 31-year-old outfielder – who still must pass a physical for the deal to become official – received a full no-trade clause in a contract that will pay him an annual average of $27.5 million through 2020. The annual average is the highest ever for an outfielder."

I'm happy about this. Happy because the Yankees were never really interested in the guy, and happy we didn't do something stupid and sign him.

Let the Mets have him.  I'm good with that.

(Oct. 8, 2016 - Source: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images North America)
Now you gotta wonder if the Yanks will get serious about Edwin Encarnacion, or go the other rout of a Mike Napoli, Carlos Beltran or Matt Holliday instead.  Those last three are obviously a helluva lot cheaper.

Stay tuned.


Every year (since 2010), registered Internet baseball writers are sent their own version of a Hall of Fame ballot to be completed and returned. Once tallied, the IBWAA announces the inductees into its virtual Hall of Fame. No bronze plaques are created, and no official player speeches are given, but it’s still interesting and fun. We often see that the Internet writers induct players into their Hall of Fame that have yet to be inducted into the more well-known counterpart located in Cooperstown. 

Lately, the baseball writers who vote for the Cooperstown Hall are being challenged to be transparent with their ballots. Players who seemingly should be on everyone’s ballot are being left off or ignored, and fans (along with other writers) have called upon the voting participants to be accountable for what they’ve cast.

With that in mind, I’ve just completed my IBWAA ballot and will gladly share it with you. 

The names I highlighted in yellow are the players I am voting for. Don Mattingly is a write-in with the clear understanding that the IBWAA does not accept write-in candidates.

I did it as a matter of principal. 

Anyway, you’ll notice that some stat-worthy names have not been selected. Guys like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Magglio Ordonez, Manny Ramirez and Ivan Rodriguez did not get my vote, and probably never will. 
(Paul Kitagaki Jr/Sacramento Bee/MCT)

They are names commonly associated with the Steroid Era of baseball. Bonds in particular could be considered the poster child of the era – with Clemens not far behind. Other writers may look at it differently; the argument being that “everyone” during that time was using one form of PED or another. I simply don’t buy it. 


I cannot believe that Cal Ripken, Mattingly, or even Fred McGriff – all of which played during the height of that dark period – used anything more than their God-given talents to put up their numbers. None of them had dramatic spikes in their numbers, and none of them had dramatic physical changes. I refuse to make them collateral damage of the cheaters.

(Sept. 20, 2011 - Source: Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America)
Anyway, who did I vote for? For starters, wild-swinging Vladimir Guerrero. “Vlad the impaler” had one of the longest reaches in baseball, and used it to crush balls well outside of the strike zone. In 16 seasons he hit 449 home runs and batted .318. Most amazing to me is the fact that, in spite of being such a free-swinger at the plate, he never struck out more than 95 times in any season. Not once did he crack the 100 strikeout mark. If he was going to swing, the man made sure he connected.
(March 4, 2013 - Source: J. Meric/Getty Images North America)
Next, I voted for the “Crime Dog”, Fred McGriff. He is one of those being held accountable for the sins of his brethren by the Baseball Writers Association. How else can you explain someone with 19 years of service, 493 home runs (he missed a season due to the baseball players’ strike), a .280 batting average, and who hit 20 or more home runs in 15 of those 19 seasons being left outside the doors of the Hall of Fame? In the post season, McGriff hit .303 – including .438 in the 1995 NLCS against Cincinnati which eventually led to Atlanta’s World Championship over the Indians. During his prime, Fred McGriff was truly one of the most feared hitters in baseball. The BBWAA might ignore him, but we won’t.

(Sept. 18, 2008 - Source: Chris McGrath/Getty Images North America)
Someone else that I feel has been overlooked is “the Moose”, Mike Mussina. While pitcher Tom Glavine has his plaque hanging on the wall in upstate NY, Mussina has been given the cold shoulder. Let’s take a look at their numbers:

While Glavine played 4 more years than “Moose”, he actually averaged less wins, had fewer strikeouts, had a higher WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched), had less complete games, less seasons of 17 or more wins, and for the stat geeks, had a lower WAR. Mussina managed to either put up comparable or better numbers on worse teams and in a shorter time span than Glavine, yet he remains on the outside of Cooperstown. It is my hope that we can give him some consolation with a virtual plaque in our Hall of Fame.

My last two choices are both career-long Yankees, and some of you will certainly consider them to be “homer” picks by this author, I assure you that both have very good arguments for residing alongside the immortals of baseball.

Jorge Posada was the primary backstop for one of the Yankees most “golden” of eras. He was known as one of the “Core four” that brought multiple championships back to the Bronx. Posada owns 4 rings, and put up numbers well worth consideration for entrance into Cooperstown. I’ll be writing an article later in the week explaining my reasoning. Just be aware that when placed alongside some who have already gained entrance, Posada’s numbers don’t back down. In addition, there are some intangibles like grit and heart that can’t be put into a spreadsheet. His importance to the great teams he played on is primarily why he has my vote.

Don Mattingly is one of the greatest players I have ever seen play. During the peak of his career, he was the best player in the game. I’ve written an article in the past explaining why he belongs in the Hall. If players like Kirby Puckett, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor have been voted in, then it is a crime that Mattingly has not. I’ll write his name on every one of my ballots, always.

So there you have it. I’ve voted for five players I consider worthy of baseball immortality. What do you think? Do you discount the PED users like I do, or do you think their numbers are deserving of induction – regardless of how they were achieved? We’d love to hear from you! 

By the way, if you haven't seen it already, be sure to check out a great piece about the Hall of Fame vote by newbie BYB writer Barry Millman.  Check out PLEASE DON'T BLOW THIS YEAR'S HOF VOTE. It's terrific.

--Steve Skinner
BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1

Monday, November 28, 2016


Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America
As we approach the Winter Meetings scheduled to be held in National Harbor, Maryland, Dec. 4-8, at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, I am hopeful, as is the NY Post's Joel Sherman that Hal Steinbrenner and the front office team, "stay the course."  As defined by Wikipedia, the phrase "stay the course" means "to pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism."  The key word there is regardless.  We must keep to the plan, no matter the temptation, no matter the impulse to exit the path.

According to Sherman, "The Yankees are at mile 22 of the 26-mile rebuild marathon. They should finish that race."  That line is very familiar to me, a seven-time marathon finisher.  It means that even though your legs feel like jello, your mind keeps you in check and says finish what you started and finish it strong.

Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America
"I think they need one more year to A) let the prospects grow both in the majors and minors to get a greater understanding of exactly what they need, and B) clear more money," Sherman says in his article on Saturday.  So guys like Aaron Judge and Greg Bird need a fair shake while CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez exit the payroll making room in the bank account for future free agents like Bryce Harper.

(Source: Getty Images)
It is a good plan and it is one we need to stay focused on while at the same time remain patient. There is no rush; it is not a sprint, it's a marathon and just because we are not jumping on big bats like Jose Bautista, doesn't mean we can't contend in 2017.

I remain optimistic about the Winter Meetings, where the Yankees can look around but not jump on anything impulsively.  The Yankees need to stay the course and finish what they have started.  More on the Winter Meetings later in the week- wish my fantastic editor would send me off to the DC suburbs so I can give you play by play of the Yankee's poker face at the meetings.  One can remain hopeful...

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

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