Friday, June 30, 2017


Photo: AP
You can't make this stuff up. I mean you'd like to... you'd like to make it a big joke and then you laugh with your buddy, slap him on the back, move on, grab a brew and go watch a good Yankee game... but you can't make it up.

Dustin Fowler in his major league debut didn't even get to bat.  He went for a foul ball, got banged up and had surgery the same night.  I shit you not.  The New York Post has the story:

"Dustin Fowler, who was promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and thrust into the starting lineup Thursday against White Sox righty James Shields, suffered a gruesome knee injury after he crashed into the wall in foul territory chasing a ball hit by Jose Abreu with two outs and the bases empty in the first inning.

Photo: David Banks/Getty Images
Fowler tumbled into the seats over a low wall and collided with an unpadded metal box that manager. Joe Girardi believed was an electrical box. Fowler was diagnosed with an open rupture of his right patellar tendon and underwent surgery Thursday night at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago..."

This was the next hope, folks.  Another in the youth movement ready to play and help our team win because we have SO MANY on the DL right now.

It just didn't work out.

In the end, the Yankees lost, and slipped out of first place.  Who's ahead of us? Those pesky Sox.

This team is now officially killing me softly...

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Thursday, June 29, 2017


Don't look now, but your calendar is about to flip to July.

(June 24, 2017 - Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)     
The season is almost half over and the Yankees are literally limping towards the All-Star break. The DL is becoming a very popular destination for the everyday Yankee players. The bullpen is gassed as a result of the starters not going deep into games. The Yankees are losing the games they should be winning, and in my eyes at least, the manager, Mr. Girardi seems lackadaisical about it.

With the trade deadline approaching, the rumors are starting to fly. People will be talking about what their team should do and who they want their team to chase. In fact, some rumors have already started to surface.

According to this piece on and a story that actually originated from Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports, the Yankees and Red Sox might be battling to land Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray.

(June 19, 2017 - Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)     
"As the Yankees continue to fade and look in dire need of reinforcements, the AL East standings paint a picture of a postseason race that will go down to the wire--likely between the rival Yankees and Red Sox...

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo, Sonny Gray--one of the big-name pitchers linked to New York--is currently being chased by four teams: Yankees, Cubs, Astros and the Boston Red Sox.
Yes, a Yankees-Red Sox battle for Gray could commence with A's czar Billy Beane holding the cards.

Gray is thus far the belle of the trade-season ball, though it's early yet. What's becoming more obvious is that it's not just the Yankees, Astros and Cubs that are in on Gray.
The Boston Red Sox have quietly sent some of their most respected evaluators to his last two starts. This could fall under standard due diligence, but one source familiar with their intentions said the Red Sox are keen for Gray - and when president Dave Dombrowski targets a player, the price for other teams jumps accordingly."

Photo: Getty Images

Look, the Yankees are a team that is supposed to be rebuilding while still being able to compete. They weren't supposed to be in first place in late June, yet they are essentially tied with the Sox.

So here's the question; Is this a trade that would be worth a bidding war with the Red Sox, Cubs, and Astros over? With those 3 other teams, bidding could be way too expensive for what it might be worth. Sure Gray is good, and 27 years old, but he owns a 4.45 ERA.

To be honest, I'm not even sure who to even suggest the Yankees trade for Gray.  It could get complicated. 

What do you think? Comment.

--Michael Carnesi
BYB Writer

Follow me on Twitter: @sevn4evr

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Meet Caleb Smith, the Yankees' Triple A leader in wins, strikeouts and being upstaged by bigger names.

Photo: / Stephen Pellegrino
He's got the 2nd best WHIP, 3rd best ERA and he's tied for 8th most strikeouts in the entire International League, as a matter of fact. He was good enough to help lead the Yankee's  Double A Trenton Thunder to a run at a championship last season. Good enough to prompt the Cubs to pull a winter bait-and switch with the Brewers when the Yankees left him unprotected just to get a close-up look-see at him in spring training.

Photo: Times Leader
This year his numbers stack up favorably to everyone else -- and I mean everyone -- who's passed through Scranton on their way to the Bronx.  And unlike the rest of them, he hasn't  lost a single game all year., which produces a weekly report entitled 'Knocking Down The Door'  identifying minor leaguers making strong cases for promotion to their major league clubs, spotlighted five prospects Tuesday that fit that bill. One of them was Smith.

Photo: New York Daily News
"With Chance Adams still waiting for a much-deserved and much-anticipated MLB call-up, Smith’s work in Triple-A has gone relatively unnoticed," MLBTR's Jason Martinez said. "The 25-year-old lefty has made 14 starts in 2017 and has allowed two earned runs or less twelve times, including back-to-back gems (13 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 13 K) to lower his ERA to 2.84 with impressive peripherals across the board (6.5 H/9, 2.3 BB/9, 8.5 K/9)."

“He’s been great,” says Railriders pitching coach Tommy Phelps said. “Shoot, he’s been commanding all his pitches and using them in any count. He’s really been able to keep the hitters between speeds and he’s done a nice job.”

"He’s had games, man, where the punchouts just keep on coming,” said RailRiders catcher Eddy Rodriguez. “And some of the games are not even incredibly great pitches, but there’s some deceptiveness there that guys are really having a hard time picking up.”

"Rodriguez said Smith has the coveted ability to throw all of his pitches out of the same arm slot. Hitters might gear up for a fastball, then swing over the top of a slider. Sit slider, then chase a changeup. “The ideal scenario for a guy is all his pitches come out of the same slot, and the fingers have kind of the same movement,” Rodriguez said. “So, I think that’s where the deception is coming from."

“The changeup is getting there, definitely. It’s definitely getting there,” Smith said. “But slider’s been my go-to for the most part.”

Photo: Presswire
Drafted by the Yankees in the 14th round of  the 2013 draft, the 6' 2" Sam Houston State product was left unprotected after a stellar season in which he helped lead the Thunder on a championship run and the organization had collected so many new hot prospects it couldn't shield them all. So he got snatched in last December's Rule 5 draft by the Brewers who held the seventh overall pick and they immediately flipped him to the Cubs for cash considerations in a routine maneuver familiar to most Hot Stove watchers -- an odd little dance that clubs sometimes do to kick the tires on another club's merchandise.  In Smith's case, it was under the guise of filling out a bulging field of spring training competitors for a potential LOOGY role  with the defending World Champs.

Under Rule 5 guidelines, though, the Cubs couldn't keep him unless they were ready to guarantee him a spot on their  major league roster all season or offer the Yankees an acceptable trade piece in return.  The word out of Cubs camp at the time was they wanted to make an offer for him but the Yankees weren't biting.

So, as frequently happens in Rule 5 dealings, four days before Opening Day they returned him to the Yankees who then promoted him to the RailRiders rotationAnd he hasn't lost since, going 6-0 after 14 starts to date, sporting a nifty .200 BAA and a 0.97 WHIP.

With the Yankees rotation beaten up and requiring reinforcements, every big name major league pitcher on a losing team is being floated as a potential trade target.  I'm not buying it and I don't think Hal and Brian will either. Frankly, I don't believe either of them are ready to part with the prospects they've collected or their dream of getting under the luxury tax threshold.  I think they'll stick with the rebuilding blueprint, and any reinforcements that are forthcoming will be from within -- and they won't want to rush Chance into the fray prematurely (or start his service clock) until there's a bonafide rotation vacancy and not a just a temp job with all the potential controversy and bad press that can bring.

Smith isn't a heralded prospect. He's been under the radar in the system for several years, a late bloomer. He's had experience as both a starter and reliever. If he crashes and burns, nobody will care. If he flies high, he'll be  another system success story fans and media can love with a part to play in the blueprint. If he's somewhere in between, he may be able to help put out some fires in the burning bullpen. 

He may not be the Chance anyone wants the team to take. But he looks like a safer bet to pitch at Yankee Stadium than anyone else I'm hearing rumors about.

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Source: Jon Durr/Getty Images North America

Tyler Austin, Tyler Wade and Tyler Webb (I'm not focusing on the other Tyler who got booed off the mound last week- blacking that one out) are representative of our team's future and our team's youth. Exciting to see these guys make it to the Big Leagues after proving themselves in Double and Triple-A respectively.  We have a team full of Tylers and I am loving's why.

Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

Tyler Austin: our brand new first baseman who fought hard to make it here after breaking his foot in mid-February. According to CBS Sports, "The 25-year-old slashed only .241/.300/.458 in his first taste of the big leagues in 2016, so he could still require further seasoning before receiving regular at-bats with he Yankees again." He made a lot of noise while at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he batted .287/.357/.494 in 24 games since returning from his foot injury in May.  Although he took on the DH role in last night's game due to a sore hamstring, the Yankees are hopeful that this Tyler will comfortably find his way into the first base role and alleviate any anxiety this position has given the team since Mark Teixeira's retirement at the end of last season.

Tyler Wade: 22-year-old utility player who the Yankees called up last night after the crushing injury to Starlin Castro, one the team's best hitters this season.  "As of Monday night, Wade was hitting .313 with five home runs and 24 stolen bases in 70 games at Triple A. He had put himself in the conversation to start at shortstop at the end of spring training with Didi Gregorius on the disabled list, but the role went to (Ronald) Torreyes," reported  Earlier this spring, Joe Girardi asked the front office "if they had anybody they could turn into a super-utility type in the mold of the Red Sox's (Brock) Holt or the Cubs'  (Ben) Zobrist" and the head of player development, singled out Wade. The Yankees see a lot of promise in this Tyler, who may have found window of opportunity while Castro gets healthy.

Source: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Webb: A left hand pitcher who the Yankees brought up to face the Texas Rangers this past weekend.  He pitched shut out innings on Saturday and Sunday for us and he may be the middle reliever we have needed (a worthy replacement for that other Tyler).  "Webb was drafted in the 10th round in 2013 from the University of South Carolina. He was a shutdown reliever in college, posting a 1.47 ERA with a 60/14 K/BB and 17 saves in 43 innings in his senior season, and has remained effective in pro ball, notably in 2016 when he fanned 82 in 72 innings in Triple-A with a 3.59 ERA," reported SB Nation.  The 26-year-old could be used in a specialty role against left-handed hitters. This Tyler may also be in a position to do some great work for Yankees with the bull pen needing some revision as we head into the final days of June.

Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

That's my preview of the team full of Tylers.  Let's hope they help the Yankees reinvent themselves as they move into the mid-part of the season and look to rebound from injuries that have set them back tremendously.  As fans have said to me over Twitter, it is a long season, be patient.  I'm OK with that as long as I know we have relief in a few guys named Tyler.

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

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017


This weekend both New York baseball teams were setting up to make big moves and have one thing in common that could set up a rare event. The Yankees and Mets are hardly frequent trade partners but on Saturday a common need quickly turned into a real trade possibility and rumors started flying. The Mets are likely to be sellers, and the Yankees have some serious issues to fix if they want to be contenders this year. The Mets may have what they need so could they really be trade partners?

Last week it sounded like Joe Girardi and Yankee ownership were on different pages. Yankee brass wanted to focus on pitching and Girardi wanted another option for first base and suddenly on Saturday Chris Carter was designated for assignment. Girardi and Yankee fans everywhere rejoiced (sorry Carter) and Tyler Austin was called up to finally get his shot.

Austin's first game up didn't go as we all had planned. His first game got the best of him and now the Yankees may be looking for some more veteran options to help out at first base. With an unproven Austin and Greg Bird still out with an unknown return date the Yankees and Mets may make a good trade match-up....enter Lucas Duda?

Now I have to admit, at first I laughed but HERE is one source talking about it and there are others out there too. I have frequently poked fun at Duda making up my own song to the tune of "Old McDonald" but the more I looked at it the more I understood why it makes sense at least on paper.

Duda may be one of the Mets most desirable pieces and the Yankees could be the best landing spot for him if other big names like Eric Hosmer on the Royals remain in playoff contention. The Yankees have a laundry list of injuries to deal with and it is now even worse now that Aaron Hicks is on the disabled list and Starlin Castro has a strained hamstring. The Yankees insist that Austin is the everyday first baseman now, but he's already had to play the outfield, the Yankees are going to have to take it easy as Jacoby Ellsbury gets back into a routine and let's face it....Greg Bird is still a giant question mark.

Photo: Getty Images
I have never been overwhelmed by Duda and the Yankees still see Bird as the first baseman of the future, but for now he can offer the Yankees something they don't have. He has the experience at first and he has hit five home runs this month and is rebounding after missing time last season  with injuries. He would also give them a legitimate power left hand bat to put between Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Matt Holliday. They’re going to need more pop if and when Hicks or Brett Gardner does hit a slump. It just gives the Yankees some more options without creating a roadblock at first base for Bird or Austin and since Duda is a free agent after the season it's an easy short term addition for the Yankees.

Photo: Getty Images
I still have all of my faith in Austin at first base right now. This weekend was just a blip, and Casey was right when he said A CAREER IS NOT DETERMINED BY 1 GAME but the Yankees are in a downward spiral and need some help. First base is a major weakness right now because offensive production at first base has been pathetic. Their .599 OPS from first base ranks 29th overall, and only the Angels (.590) are worse.

The Yankees aren't desperate but if the Mets are selling it can't hurt to look. Duda wouldn't require losing anything important. The Yankees aren't desperate yet, but if they don't do something soon things could get ugly soon.....and not just at first base.

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

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Since it's professional beginnings in Cincinnati, baseball has seen some changes, yet it's also pretty much stayed the same game over all these years.

Recently though, the game has started to change due to advanced technology. The commissioner insists it's for the better and in some instances I can see how it might be. But in my heart, there are a lot of the proposed changes I just plain hate. writes about how Rob Manfred is proud of the new technology side of baseball:

"We've come so far in such a short period of time. We're closer than we've ever been. We're better informed, too. We know how fast the center fielder runs and how hard the shortstop throws. We see the spin on pitches, the break, the everything.

'I think what's important is that you offer our fans alternatives in how they engage with the game,' MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said..."

Look, I can see how some of this can make the game more fun for people to watch. We can learn and know everything about a player and his tendencies instantly. We can learn about the history of the game...everything from the last time a batter for the Yankees had a 3-2 count with 2 outs, the bases loaded and hit a grand slam, to the last time a player came to the plate with his grandmother in the stands and got the game-winning hit.  Crazy stuff... and immediate.

And all of those stats are just fine and dandy because they don't actually effect the game itself. Some are actually fun to learn.  But the thing I really hate, is instant replay and other on-field changes that have been proposed and tried. For me, personally, instant replay has taken some of the fun away from the game. This piece from 2013, in the Huffington Post shows why MLB is making an error with it.

"...Major League Baseball (MLB) will institute limited Instant Replay to decide close plays and the, on the whole, rare missed-calls by its professional umpires. I say Boooo! While all of us want all the calls to be right so the deserving team wins based on its true merit, Instant Replay will ruin practically the last thing in America that isn’t ruled by technology."

I agree. While instant replay might be good in other sports, in my eyes at least, it has no place in baseball. In the long run, there aren't too many plays that really affect the outcome of the game, throughout the season. It's not like football, where 1 game can make or break a season. You can look back in the history of baseball and pretty much count all the controversial calls that might have been overturned or confirmed by instant replay.

As mentioned in that Huffington Post article, there are many things that have occurred that have led to the lore of the game. Leave some stuff for us fans to bitch about with our buddies after the fact. You know what I mean?  In a strange way, the controversy makes us happier and gives us more incentive to cheer or boo and be more involved with the game. Imagine a world without Yogi Berra insisting, until his death, that Jackie Robinson was out!

Photo: Monroe Gallery of Photography
Think about that. Leave the replays for us fans to sit and debate for years to come. Leave the replays so we can laugh as the ball bounces off Jose Canseco's head and over the wall for a home run. It's the game and it is what it is so please just leave it alone.

It's sad. The days of managers like Earl Weaver, Bobby Cox and Billy Martin are gone. Leaving us with iPad-toting and strategic managers that rely on match ups and data to decide what to do just seems so weird to me in this wonderful game.

Just my opinion... what's yours?

--Michael Carnesi
BYB Writer

Follow me on Twitter: @sevn4evr

Monday, June 26, 2017


Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America
"Michael Pineda has Cy Young-caliber stuff.

"His fastball. His slider. His changeup. All potentially dominant pitches.

"CC Sabathia knows it. Pineda knows it, too.

“I always come in and say this is the year he’s going to win the Cy Young,” Sabathia said Tuesday. “He’s got so much talent, and he just needs to put it all together but he’s right there.”

"Told of Sabathia’s praise a day later, Pineda laughed and smiled. “Yeah, I know I have that ability,” he said."

Those were the days, huh? That was the Daily News, folks.

(June 6, 2017 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)     
Those days were only four months ago, to be exact, and if you were buying it then congratulations. Your official pinstripe rose-colored glasses should be in the mail to you right about now.

That was pretty bold talk from both CC and Big Mike after three seasons that saw the latter go 23-27 with a 4.10 ERA and coming off a year he went 6-12 with a 4.82 ERA while coughing up 27 dingers.

Source: New York Daily News
Of course, there were those 207 strikeouts over 175 innings to dream on. Like AJ Burnett before him, the stuff to make bats miss has always been part of Mike's resume. And also like Burnett, there's always been a scary instability  to blow up like a vial of fulminated mercury at a moment's notice in his makeup as well.

In this, his walk year, though, he's proving to be who he always was: Burnett.

Burnett's Yankee years: 34-35  4.79 ERA  99 starts
Pineda's Yankee years: 30-30 4.01 ERA 86 starts

(May 21, 2017 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)     
Following Sunday's four-inning, seven-run stink bomb that once again saw the Yankees' bullpen burned up in a losing effort, per the Post's Joel Sherman: "Girardi said he “didn’t want to make a bigger deal than it is” about Pineda’s poor pitching because the manager described it as “the first time” that the righty did not do well in minimizing damage this year. But after the first two months, when he was 6-2 with a 3.32 ERA, Pineda went 1-2 in June with a 5.85 ERA and .316 average against."

"This dichotomy played to who Pineda has been as a Yankee — the stuff is there to tease that consistent excellence is possible. But the track record is pretty well established that Pineda will not sustain that level. His constant is inconsistency.

"And these Yankees really do need the best version of Pineda for 2017 to be more than just seeing silver linings.

"Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery actually have been the Yankees’ best starters. But it should be remembered that they have never pitched a full major league season in a rotation, and that both probably have innings caps to which the Yankees will adhere.

"That duo won the Nos. 4 and 5 jobs in spring with the Yanks hoping Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Pineda could form a sturdy top 3. Sabathia is on the DL, though getting closer to a return. Tanaka had a terrific start Friday, and the Yankees want to believe again that is a trigger — with him working up in the zone a little more with his fastball — that top-of-the-rotation results will regularly follow.

"And then there is Pineda, who Sunday became the first Yankees starter in 2017 not named Tanaka to allow three homers in a game. The skill is in there, but his June of bad start, good start, bad start, good start, bad start felt like a familiar one-step-forward, one-back pattern for him while in pinstripes.

"The Yankees could conceivably try to upgrade the rotation by promoting Chance Adams or finding a trade. But that would mean counting on another youngster and/or unearthing an available quality rotation arm and being able to complete a trade for it when other contenders, notably the Astros, will be hunting the same species.

"For now, the rotation you see is the rotation you get. Which means the Yankees remain in that most uncomfortable of positions — needing to depend on the undependable Michael Pineda."

In other words, this team needs more than a trade and a Chance to fix what ails its rotation if it hopes to lock up the division and make a deep, meaningful run at a ring.

It needs to be rebuilt from the top down.

That'll be costly and not likely compatible with the season's primary objective of constructing a self-sustaining  winning franchise for the future.

Quality pitching is never more expensive than it is at the trade deadline. And as much as I've been a believer in going all in this year when there was still a chance to bury the competition, some poor luck combined with some poor arms management in the dugout have combined to allow too many wounded rivals to recover from early knockout blows and get back into the postseason race.

Now with injuries piling up for the Yankees, their flawed rotation exposed and burning up their bullpen and blunting their momentum, and innings limits looming for their only two remaining "dependable" starters (an ironic and bittersweet label for the back end of the Opening Day rotation), I'm just hoping  Brian and Hal aren't persuaded by public pressure to deviate from their original blueprint and will only make deadline moves that make sense for the future.

If that means Brian dusting off his for-sale sign again and collecting more trade chips by dealing short-timers like Pineda and others instead of renting some for a playoff run, so be it.

I'll still enjoy the stretch run just as much as I did last year's after everyone wrote this team off. That's because the more invested in the future this team gets, the more they refuse to give up, entertain and surprise. That's why this team has been so much fun to watch this season.

They're already winners. We want a winner that lasts though, not another one-and-done batch of band-aids.

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

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