Saturday, December 20, 2014

The New York Yankees and Miami Marlins hook up in a five player trade

The New York Yankees made a surprising trade with the Miami Marlins on Friday afternoon.  They traded versatile infielder Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps for pitcher Eovaldi, first baseman Garrett Jones and a minor league pitcher.  It is surprising because the Yankees really liked Prado and had him penciled in at second base and he could also provide backup to third base and the outfield.  The Yankees needed pitching though and they really never had a spot for Phelps.  Phelps was bounced around between the rotation and the bullpen with the Yankees never fully knowing what they wanted to do with him.  Eovaldi is a 24 year old pitcher with a lot of upside.  He threw about 200 innings last season which is important to the Yankees but they also like that he is young and cheap.  He is one of the hardest throwers in baseball and the Yankees feel they can work with him to make him a better pitcher. 

The most interesting part of this deal for me is Jones.  He is definitely the backup first baseman to fragile Mark Teixeira which will assure that Headley only has to play third base and further marginalizes Alex Rodriguez.  Rodriguez was going to be the backup to third and first and the full-time DH.  I would say maybe he is the backup at third now and a part time DH.  He will be the DH against leftie and won't play the field unless there is an emergency.  Jones has a left power swing which is perfect for Yankee Stadium.  He has hit 15+ homeruns in six straight years and the Yankees figure that number will go up with the short porch in right field.  He is a guy that if he plays enough should hit 20/25 homeruns and provide much needed left handed power to the team.  He can also backup RF which is important to the Yankees with Beltran also being a little bit fragile. 

The other part of this equation is second base is wide open now.  It looks like the Yankees will have a spring training battle between two youngsters Rob Refsnyer who is 23 years old and Jose Pirela who is a little bit older.  Pirela is also a younger cheaper version of Prado so it is possible he could be a bench player who backups multiple positions.  He may also be at AAA ready to step up if anything happens with Refsnyder as the second baseman which I think the Yankees and most of the fans want.  It is also possible the Yankees don't risk this at all and they sign a veteran such as Stephen Drew or Asdrubal Cabrera to play second base.  The Yankees now have their rotation set with Eovaldi slotting in behind Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia.  The fifth starter job right now looks like it belongs to Chris Capuano but by May or June Ivan Nova should be returning from Tommy John and figures to slot in the rotation as well.  The Yankees bullpen seems set as well with Betances and Miller at the backend and Shawn Kelley, Justin Wilson and Adam Warren in front of them.  They also have Esmil Rogers who can serve as the longman and there could be a battle for the last spot between recent pickup German from the Mets and youngster Jacob Lindgren. 

The Yankees have clearly gone the youth rout this offseason.  They could have a double play combination that is 25 and 23 years old and have them for years to come if it works out.  They are also clearly setting up 1B and RF for the next couple of years to be taken over by youngsters Aaron Judge and Greg Bird and Headley although not a youth is in his prime and signed for four years.  They have McCann and a young backup behind him who could take over when McCann is ready to go.  Gardner and Ellsbury in the outfield are also in their prime and most importantly to them is the pitching with four of their five starters being under 30 when Nova comes back and their bullpen also filled with young guys and more coming behind them.  We will see how this all works out but the Yankees have decided to change business and go the way that they built their late 90s dynasty.  They will go with homegrown talent and then the right trade or free agent signing that won't kill them. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The New York Giants win second game in a row

The New York Giants won their second game in a row on Sunday afternoon.  They defeated the Washington Redskins 24-13 at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Giants started the year losing two in a row and then won three in a row before losing seven in a row.  They are now on a modest two game winning streak with two games left to play.  Eli Manning had a good game and Odell Beckham Jr. continues to be a beast as he caught three touchdown passes.  The defense was better then it has been as well. 

Eli Manning was 23-34 for three touchdowns and no interceptions.  He had 250 yards passing and a rating of 118.5 which was his second highest of the season.  Beckham caught 12 passes for 143 yards and had all three of the Giants touchdowns.  The 12 receptions were the most ever by a Giants rookie.  The other seven Giants to catch passes totaled 11. 

The running game had trouble once again which they have most of the season.  The Giants offensive line needs to improve if they are going to improve next season.  Williams had 18 carries for 44 yards and Jennings had one carry and left with an ankle injury. 

The defense was much better.  Jason Pierre-Paul and Jonathan Hankins each had 2.5 sacks to lead the defense.  Cullen Jenkins had a sack and Damontre Moore and Devon Kennard had a 1/2 sack each.  The Giants have 41 sacks this season which surpasses last year when they only had 34.  They have two games remaining so they are well ahead of last season. 

Pierre-Paul leads the team with 9.5 sacks this season and Hankins is second with seven sacks.  The Giants have won two in a row and have two games remaining.  They will play in St. Louis on Sunday late afternoon and then return home for their final game on December 28th against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

MLB Winter Meetings Recap

It was a wild and very busy four days at the annual baseball winter meetings in San Diego, California.  The local New York teams stayed quiet but the rest of the league didn't.  It used to be just the big spending big market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs etc would make noise but not anymore.  The Oakland Athletics have been very buys, the Chicago White Sox and Miami Marlins were very busy this week, the Red Sox and Cubs were active also. 

The Chicago White Sox signed David Robertson to be their closer.  He got a four year deal for around 46million.   They also traded for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija from the Oakland Athletics.  The actual trade was RHP Chris Bassitt, C Josh Phegley, 1B Rangel Ravelo and IF Marcus Semien for Samardzija and RHP Michael Ynoa. 

The Cleveland Indians acquired OF/1B Brandon Moss from the Oakland Athletics for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle.  The Athletics were very busy but it appears they are in rebuild mode although Billy Beane doesn't see it that way. 

The Chicago Cubs signed Jason Hammel to a two year deal and then they signed Jon Lester to a six year deal.  The Arizona Diamondbacks finalized their six year deal with cuban Yasmany Thomas.  The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed RHP Josh Lindblom off of waivers from the Oakland Athletics.  The Toronto Blue Jays claimed 1B/OF Chris Colabello off of waivers from the Minnesota Twins.  The Chicago White Sox claimed C Rob Brantly off of waivers from the Miami Marlins.  The Texas Rangers claimed LHP Scott Barnes off of waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates resigned pitcher Francisco Liriano to a three year deal.  He had a very good year last year and has stabilized their rotation.  The Chicago Cubs acquired catcher Miguel Montero from the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Jeferson Mejia and RHP Zack Godley.  The Anaheim Angels acquired C Drew Butera from the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later. 

The Miami Marlins acquired second baseman Dee Gordon, RHP Dan Haren and IF Miguel Rojas from the Los Angeles Dodgers for LHP Andrew Heaney, IF/OF Enrique Hernandez, RHP Chris Hatcher and C/IF Austin Barnes.  The Dodgers then acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for LHP Andrew Heaney.  The Angels acquired infielder Josh Rutledge from the Colorado Rockies for RHP Jairo Diaz. 

The Houston Astros signed reliever Luke Gregerson to a three year deal and reliever Pat Neshek to a two year deal.  The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired left handed pitcher/reliever Antonio Bastardo from the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league pitcher Joely Rodriguez. 

The meetings finished with a flurry on the last day.  The San Diego Padres acquired outfielder Matt Kemp and C Tim Federowicz from the San Diego Padres in exchange for catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland and minor league pitcher Zach Eflin. 

The Detroit Tigers acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Rick Porcello.  They also received RHP Alex Wilson and LHP Gabe Speier.  The Miami Marlins acquired Mat Latos from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for RHP Anthony DeSclafani and C Chad Wallach. 

The Minnesota Twins signed pitcher Ervin Santana to a four year deal.  The Kansas City Royals signed 1B/DH Kendrys Morales to a two year deal.  The Detroit Tigers acquired Alfredo Simon a pitcher from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for RHP Jonathan Crawford and infielder Eugenio Suarez.  The Boston Red Sox signed pitcher Justin Masterson to a one year deal. 

The Texas Rangers acquired pitcher Ross Detwiler from the Washington Nationals in exchange for two minor leaguers.  The Miami Marlins acquired RHP Andre Rienzo from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for LHP Dan Jennings.  The New York Mets signed outfielder/1B John Mayberry Jr. to a one year deal. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

MLB Winter Meetings 2014

The MLB winter meetings began officially on Monday although a lot of people got into town Sunday night.  They are being held in San Diego, California this year.  The big news so far is that David Robertson signed with the Chicago White Sox and the White Sox also traded for pitcher Jeff Samardzija.  There have been lots of Jon Lester rumors but nothing as of yet.  First it was reported it was down to the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants but not they are saying there may still be four teams involved.  A decision is expected soon but we will see. 

The Diamondbacks traded catcher Miguel Montero to the Chicago Cubs for a couple of minor leaguers.  The two players are pitchers Jeferson Mejia and Zack Godley. 

The Pittsburgh Pirates resigned left handed starting pitcher Francisco Liriano for three years and 39 millions which is the largest free agent contract in team history.  The Jeff Samardzija trade was also minor league pitcher Michael Ynoa going to the White Sox in the deal and the Athletics getting back infielder Marcus Semien, right hander Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley and first baseman Rangel Ravelo. 

We learned that the Yankees never even offered Robertson a contract.  Once they signed Miller they were out on Robertson never considering having two high priced relievers.  They feel that with Miller and Betances in the back end they are fine and that they also have Justin Wilson, Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren if he isn't in the rotation.  The Yankees also have lefty first round pick from last year Jacob Lindgren just about ready to contribute.  They may still sign a traditional closer for a year or two who costs less then Robertson but if not may just mix and match with Betances and Miller at the end of games. 


Saturday, December 6, 2014

The New York Yankees become very active on a Friday

The New York Yankees had completed a minor trade and made a couple of small signing so far this off-season.  Well with all the fanbase and media kind of waiting and yelling for the Yankees to do something they woke up on a Friday.  The Yankees made a three team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers to land their shortstop and they also signed the top reliever on the market in Andrew Miller.  David Robertson who is their own closer and the top one on the board no doubt but Miller had a better year last year as a setup man.  The Yankees aren't out on Robertson yet though even though it would seem that way. 

I will start with the three way trade first.  The Yankees acquired Didi Gregorius who is 24 years old and under team control until 2020 and making around 500,000.  They gave up Shane Greene who went to the Detroit Tigers and the Tigers traded a pitcher to the Diamondbacks.  Gregorius is known for his glove which is plus but not so much for his hitting.  He does have some pop and should be able to hit 10+ homeruns with the short porch in Yankee Stadium.  He has a very high hard hit ball rate which would indicate his average last year was some bad luck.  He also may have needed a change of scenery  with the Diamondbacks not playing him every day as they had some other good shortstop prospects.  He may sit against some tough lefties early on but could end up as the full time shortstop very quickly.  Brendan Ryan is the backup and he could see some time against lefties but we will see. 

Andrew Miller has been dominant in the bullpen over the last three years.  He was a big prospect who signed with the Detroit Tigers but was a failed starter.  He is basically the left handed version of Dellin Betances and that is pretty scary stuff.  The Yankees are still talking to their closer David Robertson but if they do lose him they would have Miller and Betances for the last 6-9 outs and they still have Shawn Kelley, Justin Wilson and Adam Warren if he isn't in the rotation.  Jacob Lindgren is a lefty prospect who they also love who could be pitching in the majors this year also.  If the Yankees do sign Robertson though also they will have a super pen with he, Miller and Betances to lock down the final three or four innings.  It appears the Yankees strategy this winter is run prevention and they see that by getting better defensively at short and also by pitching especially in the bullpen.  The Yankees figure that if they are going to get better offensively it will be by the players they signed last year in Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran and also from Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and a full year of Martin Prado.  They also are very high on prospects Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyer who could be competing for the starting second base job. 

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