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. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

MLB hot stove news and notes

The Baltimore Orioles lost Nelson Cruz to the Seattle Mariners just the other day.  They have now lost long time right fielder Nick Markakis.  He signed with the Atlanta Braves for four years and around 45 million dollars.  Nelson Cruz signed with the Mariners for four years and 58 million.  The trade front has been pretty active and will be more active next week during the Winter meetings in San Diego, California.   The Toronto Blue Jays who have been very busy this off-season continue to be.  They traded pitcher J.A. Happ to the Seattle Mariners for Michael Saunders.  Saunders is a 28 year old outfielder who played in only 78 games last season.  He batted 273 with a 791 OPS and eight homeruns.  He has battled injuries over the past three seasons.  Happ is 32 years old and went 11-11 last season with a 4.22 ERA in 28 starts. 

The Jon Lester sweepstakes have really heated up and appear close to coming to an end.  The Los Angeles Dodgers have become a very late entrant and may be pushing hard for him.  The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are believed to be the two other front runners although there are other teams in the mix as well.  There were reports that this should get done this week but now today they are saying not until the winter meetings next week most likely.  There hasn't been much talk about the other top pitcher Max Scherzer, there were some rumors about the Yankees the other day but nothing has come out of that. 

The other big pitcher that has been getting the spotlight the last couple of days is lefty reliever Andrew Miller.  It looks like it is down to just a couple of teams with the New York Yankees and Houston Astros appearing to be the favorites.  There have been conflicting reports about the Astros and Red Sox being out of it though.  I am guessing the Yankees do end up signing him.  He may get four years and around 40 million though and most believe the Yankees don't want to go to four years but maybe three and an option year.  I also wonder if this would put them out with David Robertson or if they are trying to sign both and have a super bullpen.  Can you imagine if they have Robertson, Miller, Betances and then have the next  tier like Justin Wilson, Shawn Kelley and Adam Warren.  That would be a pretty sick bullpen and shorten games to six innings and take stress off of their injury plagued starters. 

How about the Atlanta Braves and Justin Upton??  He appears likely to be traded and maybe the Seattle Mariners are a team that would match up.  They are looking for another bat to put with Robinson Cano and Cruz.  There were reports today that the Detroit Tigers are shopping David Price and Rick Porcello so stay tuned for that next week also.  The Yankees may be talking to teams about trading for a shortstop so also look for that.  Chase Headley reportedly has a four year and 65 million dollar deal in hand from a mystery team.  If that is true he will be gone from the Yankees and they will have Martin Prado as their third baseman and two rookies battling for second in Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. 

I would expect a flurry of trades next week during the winter meetings.  I also forgot about a big trade that happened during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Josh Donaldson was traded to the Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie and three prospects.  The Jays have some lineup now with Russell Martin, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Donaldson and now Michael Saunders also.  There was a report that Donaldson and GM Billy Beane were at war by the end of the year and that may be a big reason he traded him. 

The New York Giants losing streak hits seven games

The New York Giants had been playing miserable football most of the season.  They did play well against Dallas though in the last game and were looking forward to a so called softer schedule for the final few weeks.  They went into Jacksonville and lost to the 1 win Jaguars by a score of 25-24.  The Giants had scored on their first three possessions and held a 21-0 lead.  They were winning 21-3 at halftime but the second half was a different story.  The Giants statistically pretty much dominated the game but they fumbled the ball in the end zone and then later in the game they fumbled and the Jaguars returned it 41 yards for a touchdown.  The offense didn't play so well in the second half and the turnovers cost them dearly. 

Eli Manning was 24-34 for 247 yards and a touchdown.  Rashad Jenning led the rushing attack with 26 carries and 91 yards.  He also had two rushing touchdowns.  Odell Beckham Jr. led the receivers with seven catches for 90 yards. 

The difference in this game was the turnovers with the Giants have three of them and the Jaguars none.  The Giants defense was pretty good in this game, they had seven sacks.  They haven't been able to get much pressure on the quarterback all year. 

The Giants have now lost seven straight games after actually being 3-2 after five games.  This was their low point though as the Jaguars had one win coming into this game.  The Giants in some of these games though have played a very good first half and then never seem to make any adjustments while the other teams do and are able to win the game in the second half.  The Giants are not going anywhere and the only positive could be a high draft pick.  They will most likely change the coaching staff now and maybe even the general manager.  The big question will be what happens to first year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.  The Giants will head to Tennessee next week to take on the Titans. 

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