Monday, January 22, 2018
NEW YORK—As he ascends to the higher levels of the Minor Leagues, Nick Solak has merited praise as a “winning-type player who can hit and has real attributes that are clutch,” as Yankees director of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer recently said.
MLB Pipeline has agreed, announcing on Monday that they rate Solak as the No. 5 second-base prospect in all of baseball. The 23-year-old Solak played well at two levels of the Yankees’ system last year, and though he is pegged to begin 2018 in the Double-A Eastern League, a big league promotion may not be far off.
You wonder what the Yankees will do with Solak if Miguel Andujar ends up establishing himself at 3B and Gleyber Torres does the same at 2B. Would they trade Didi (HalCap™!) to save a bit of money and throw Torres at short?
I guess that’s a good example of a first world problem so let’s hope it comes to fruition.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
The 2017 Yankees relievers were elite, by any metric you care to use. They had the third-lowest ERA (3.34); the lowest average against (.204); the highest strikeout rate (29.1 percent); the most Wins Above Replacement (9.2). They were good. They were so, so good.
Now realize they could possibly be better in 2018. Then, think about the fact that if they were, it might put them in the conversation for “the best bullpen of all time,” an extremely unofficial title that’s nonetheless fun to think about.
How could those things happen? And what does “best bullpen” even mean? Let’s dig in.
I still think the Yankees will end up trading a reliever or two to make some more cap room to add a sixth starting pitcher and/or infielder. And while that makes sense, it’s fun to dream about a world where they don’t do that and go into the season with a bullpen that really looks like it has a chance to be historically great.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
The Yankees entered the offseason in search of a left-handed reliever and on Tuesday, they gave themselves another option by signing Wade LeBlanc to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.
The 33-year-old LeBlanc appeared in 50 games for Pittsburgh last season, pitching to a 4.50 ERA in 68 innings. He was with the Yankees briefly in 2014, but pitched in just one game before being released.
I literally have zero recollection that LeBlanc was a Yankee.
I don’t think this actually helps. In his career, lefties have hit .305/.352/.520 against LeBlanc. It doesn’t really matter if he throws with his left arm if he can’t get lefties out.
But hey, at least we finally have something to create a new post about…
Friday, January 12, 2018
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reiterated Thursday the Yankees are going to remain under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold this season, so it’s clear they will be keeping a close eye on every contract, including those of players who are arbitration eligible.
The team settled with Aaron Hicks and Tommy Kahnle on Thursday, with Hicks agreeing to a $2.8 million deal and Kahnle settling for $1.3 million.
The Yankees have six other players up for arbitration, including Dellin Betances, who went through a famously contentious battle with the organization last offseason before the Yankees won.
Didi Gregorius, Sonny Gray, Adam Warren, Chasen Shreve and Austin Romine also are up for arbitration, and a few, especially Gregorius, are in for significant raises.
That’s two fewer players for Randy Levine to flap his stupid gums about at least.
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Yu Darvish is widely considered to be the top starting pitcher available in free agency, and while his market — like the market of nearly every other top free agent this winter — has been slow to progress, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Darvish has whittled the decision down to a handful of teams: the Rangers, Cubs, Astros, Twins and Yankees. Darvish himself has hardly been shy about stirring the pot on social media this winter, though, and he created an additional layer of intrigue tonight when he responded to the report by tweeting: “I know one more team is in.” The Dodgers may very well be the sixth team to which Darvish alluded, as Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweeted tonight that Los Angeles “remains in the mix” to bring Darvish back to L.A.
I’d be surprised if the Yankees were willing to blow up HalCap™ and sign Darvish. Assuming they’re around $180M in salary cap dollars right now, there’s no way I can see fitting Darvish’s $20M+ salary. I mean, I suppose they could trade someone like David Robertson or Brett Gardner but I’m not sure that ends up being much of a net positive. Darvish is maybe a 3.5 win pitcher right now, but he wouldn’t be replacing a replacement level pitcher in the current rotation so he’s really only like a 1.5 win upgrade. Robertson is probably pretty close to that himself, and I don’t have to tell you that Gardner is worth a lot more than that.
More likely, it’s Darvish’s agents trying to up the offers by insinuating the Yankees in.
I’d certainly be happy to see Darvish in pinstripes, but I don’t see it happening.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
To this point there is belief the Pirates want three top prospects, which is more than Cashman is willing to trade for two years of control for Cole, who can be a free agent after the 2019 season.
It’s worth remembering the Yankees gave up three top prospects last July in the trade with the A’s for Sonny Gray, a righthander comparable to Cole, but a rival exec explained why Cashman would view this one differently.
First, he noted that two of the three prospects, James Kaprielian and Dustin Fowler, were injured at the time and looking at long rehabs — Kaprielian after Tommy John surgery and Fowler after knee surgery (Jorge Mateo was the third player in the trade).
In addition, the Yankees were getting Gray for three potential runs at a championship, where they’ll have Cole for only two before he hits free agency.
Finally, the Yankees had a greater need at the time, with Jordan Montgomery on an innings-limit and Masahiro Tanaka pitching with such inconsistency during the season.
Cole doesn’t really move the needle much. I’d rather hang onto the prospects or use them to get a 2B or 3B.
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Writer Dan Szymborski is slowly releasing his ZIPS projections for Major League teams and he notes about the Yankees that,
I don’t bleieve ZiPS has ever projected a bullpen to be better than the 2018 Yankees and I don’t believe it’s even particularly close.
Putting it in less vague terms: ZiPS projects 10 pitchers on the Yankees 40-man as relievers. Their projected ERA+ in descending order: 177, 159, 146, 145, 136, 129, 125, 120, 112, 112.
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