Saturday, December 20, 2014

It Appears A Yankees Youth Movement Has Begun

When I heard yesterday that Martin Prado had been traded to the Miami Marlins, the first thing I thought was that Rob Refsnyder, the Yankees' highly touted prospect, would definitely get a chance to compete for the 2B job this coming Spring Training. Apparently, I was in the minority.  Everyone else was crying. There were posts of despair all over social media about the loss of Prado, his versatility on the field and his potential leadership off it. It wasn't until this mourning period had passed, about fifteen minutes later, that others joined me in daydreaming about "Yankees 2B Rob Refsnyder."

Apparently, GM Brian Cashman is daydreaming about it, too. In an article on the Yankee website, he was quoted as saying, "After we signed Headley, we felt we had these young kids [Jose Pirela and Refsnyder] who could compete and take the job there at second. Only with the right deal would we move Prado, and we felt this was a deal worth taking a shot at."

The Yankees also received a young kid back for Prado, 24-year-old RHP Nathan Eovaldi, whom they're hoping they can fix the same way they fixed Brandon McCarthy in 2014. (The remainder of the deal actually looks better at this point, as pitchers like David Phelps are a dime-a-dozen, and Garrett Jones can backup the lazy Mark Teixeira at 1B.)

This trade wasn't the only indication that a youth movement has begun in Yankees Universe. Earlier in the week it was revealed that the Yankees decided to pass on pursuing Jason Grilli, a 38-year-old relief pitcher.

So, with Cashman's comments and the spurning of Grilli, going after Asdrubal Cabrera to play 2B, as some have suggested, makes very little sense.  Also, when you remember that they signed 2B Nick Noonan to a minor league contract earlier this offseason, it makes even less sense.

The Yankees appear committed to the kids from here on out, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thoughts On The Headley Signing

"Headley is deadly!"

We heard this phrase a lot last year after Chase Headley was traded to the Yankees. However, now that he has signed a free agent deal with the team, I am worried that it will turn into something more along the lines of "Headley's contract is deadly!"

Four years/$51 million includes one year too many for a player with a history of back problems who hit only .262 last year.  The signing also guarantees that the MLB careers of  farm hands like Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela will be put on hold. Finally, a line of thinking which has Didi Gregorius being surrounded by veteran fielders Headley and Martin Prado makes no sense: Gregorius is a superior fielder. His bat is the problem.

On the other hand, in one way the Yankees had no choice. Every other team in the AL East already has a high caliber 3B: Manny Machado (BAL), Pablo "Panda" Sandoval (BOS), Evan Longoria (TB), and Josh Donaldson (TOR).  You can also say the Red Sox forced the Yankees' hand: Panda's five-year deal paved the way for Headley to get that fourth year.

More things to keep in mind:  Someone is going to get hurt in 2015.  I know it's hard to accept, but it's true. That will create an opportunity for Refsnyder and, perhaps, another one for Jose Pirela.  Pirela, by the way, didn't crack the top 10 on the list of Yankees prospects, so don't go crying for him if he doesn't get another chance.  Finally, the signing of Headley guarantees that Alex Rodriguez will be relegated to DH/bench status (Hooray!).

So the infield is set. Time to improve the rotation and to finish setting up the bullpen.  Get to work, Cash!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Brandon McCarthy Signs With Yankees West

If reports are true, I cannot blame the Yankees for not matching the four-year offer Brandon McCarthy accepted last night from the Los Angeles Dodgers. McCarthy deserves, at-best, a three-year deal and, realistically, nothing more than a two-year deal.

I also cannot blame McCarthy for going where the money is. Actually, the phrase "where the money is" is a bit misleading.  The Yankees have money, too, of course. Everyone else knows it as well. They're just trying to be fiscally conservative. (Yes, I know how that worked out last year.)

The Dodgers, of course, are the furthest thing from fiscally conservative at this point.  Since Magic Johnson and his ownership group took over, they have re-made themselves into Yankees-West.  Gone-or sitting on the back burner--are the days when the Yankees easily out-bid other teams for free agents. Now the Yankees are being out-bid, and there is nothing wrong with that.

If this trend continues, the Yankees will have absolutely nothing to do with Max Scherzer, who is, reportedly, looking for a an eight-year deal in the neighborhood of $200 million.  There are other free-agent pitchers out there for them to go after, namely James Shields and Ervin Santana.

So thanks, Brandon McCarthy, and go get 'em, Brian Cashman.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Trying To Make Sense of The Yankees' Snub of David Robertson

The bad thing about the Winter Meetings being in San Diego is that Yankee fans who live on the east coast are at risk of waking up to bad news. That is what happened this morning with the news that came down of David Robertson's reported four-year deal with the Chicago White Sox.

On the surface, it looks as if the Yankees made a huge mistake:  They gave Andrew Miller what everyone believes was Robertson's years and money (give or take $10 million) and, reportedly, they offered only three years to Robertson.  Then there is this bombshell:

Why? The million dollar question.  My guess is that Robertson didn't fit into the Yankees' alleged plans to replicate the 2014 Kansas City Royals lights out bullpen.  He was a very good closer this past year, but I wouldn't say he was lights out.  Dellin Betances was lights out.  Also, Andrew Miller is a lefty who had devastating stuff in 2014.  Add to that another lefty, Justin Wilson, who was acquired in that trade of Francisco Cervelli. All of those things--the Royals, Betances, stacking lefties--might be what adds up the Yankees snub of David Robertson.

Right now, I'm having a hard time making that equation work. Maybe I'm wasting my time trying.  Hopefully the Yankees will do or say something to help me and the rest of Yankees Universe feel otherwise.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yankees Have Time To Play Catch-Up In Off-Season Standings

As Yankee fans know, this off-season has been a quiet one for the team up to this point. As of this morning, they have acquired/traded for only the following:

RHP Esmil Rogers
3B Jonathan Galvez (minor league deal)
RHP Andrew Bailey (minor league deal)
LHP Jose De Paula
LHP Justin Wilson
LF Chris Young

The deficiencies in the infield and the starting pitching have not been addressed, nor has the closer situation. Also, the weak and, at times, non-existent offense has yet to be improved. (Speaking of offense, by the way, the team has yet to hire a hitting coach.)

With all the flurry of activity throughout the rest of the American League East, it is very hard not to worry about the Yankees' seeming lack of the same.  However, as Jack Curry pointed out on a recent edition of "Yankees Hot Stove" on the YES Network, the Yankees are engaged this off-season.  Just because they aren't producing bells and whistles like the Red Sox, it doesn't mean they are sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

You also have to remember that there is still a little more than two months until Pitchers and Catchers, and that the Winter Meetings don't start until next week.  There is still plenty of time.

One more word about the search for a hitting coach: I don't know if the Yankees are doing this, but it might be a good idea to hold off on hiring one until their offense is in place.  It's probably best to have someone on board whom everyone is comfortable with.

In any case, the Yankees have time to play catch-up in the off-season standings. But winning the off-season isn't the point, of course.  The prize is much further away than that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

28 Things Every Yankees Fan Should Be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving!  Over the years, the New York Yankees and their fans have had more things to be thankful for than other fans and the teams they root for.  So, with a nod to that elusive 28th World Championship, here are 28 things Yankees Universe should "thank the good Lord for" (or, whomever your higher power is), in no particular order:

1. George Steinbrenner ("The Boss")
2. Lou Gehrig ("The Iron Horse")
3. The short porch in right field
4. Derek Jeter ("The Captain")
5. Mariano Rivera
6. Thurman Munson
7. All the no-hitters and perfect games in franchise history
8. Gene Michael
9. Joe Torre
10. Don Mattingly ("Donnie Baseball")
11. Babe Ruth
12 Mickey Mantle
13. Joe DiMaggio ("The Yankee Clipper")
14. The Core Four
15. That classic Yankee uniform & logo ("interlocking NY")
16. The Red Sox rivalry
17. Yogi Berra
18. Roger Maris (61 in 61!)
19. Reggie Jackson ("Mr. October")
20. Phil Rizzuto (Holy Cow!)
21. The '77 World Championship
22. The '96 World Championship
23. Ron Guidry ("Louisiana Lightening")
24. The roll call from the Bleacher Creatures
25. Bucky "bleeping" Dent
26. Whitey Ford ("The Chairman of The Board")
27. The '09 World Championship
28. Chris Chambliss's '76 ALCS clinching homer

And, there you have it. Have I left anyone or anything out? Included anyone or anything I shouldn't have? You be the judge. In any case, everyone, enjoy your turkey and happy holidays!