Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thoughts on NYY Off season

As my partner Justin reiterated this has been a lack luster start to the off season other than Andrew Miller and Didi Gregorious but it's a good start. I also like Justin Wilson as well, another power arm from the left side. I have a different opinion the David Robertson saga than Justin does.

Bullpen- First off I love the Andrew Miller signing. I think the more high-leverage hard throwing guys coming out of the pen, the better. Guys with power stuff and strikeout secondary pitches like Betances' and Miller's slider screams lights out bullpen to me. Wilson had a 2.08 ERA in 2013 in just over 70 innings and didn't have as good of a year this year with a 4.20 ERA. Mainly because his walk rate went up from 3.4 to 4.5 and his strikeout to walk ratio was about 2 to 1. He is only going into his age 27 season and throws gas from the left side. As Justin pointed having potentially three hard throwing lefties in one pen could be something special. Rothschild is a really good pitching coach and I think he can fix Wilson's control issues and he too will become a huge part of the pen. Now on to David Robertson well, I have to disagree with Justin on this one. They already have Miller in the fold and it didn't seem smart to put 80 million dollars into two relievers when there are a plethora of relievers who are much cheaper on the free agent market. Jason Grilli would be my guy, has closing experience and still has good stuff. Put him in the closer role and let Miller and Betances stay in high leverage situations, that would be the way I think the pen should be constructed. I love DRob as much as the next guy but putting emotions aside, it was not a smart baseball decision to invest that much money in two relievers with so many other wholes to fill on this team.

Shortstop- I understand where Justin is coming from about giving up Shane Greene for Didi Gregorious but they weren't going to get a 24-year old controllable shortstop for nothing. Personally I hate that he is going to the Tigers, I would rather he gone to the DBacks but that's just me. I know he doesn't hit much right now and his defense is spectacular, but I think he can become better offensively. His problem really is he cannot hit against lefties. He has a career .490 OPS against lefties and .743 against righties. I know that it's not that simple but it's start, Cashman plans on platooning him with Brendan Ryan but we'll see how long that lasts. I hope he sticks but if nothing else I think he could be stop gap for a possible acquisition from the island of Cuba. Yoan Moncada. Listed as the best prospect to defect from Cuba since Yasiel Puig and Jorge Soler. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America he has a chance to be a legit five-tool player. There are some concerns as to whether he can play shortstop everyday but that remains to be seen, he is only 19. The Yankees are seen as the favorites to sign Moncada once he is cleared by US Department of Foreign Assets Control. Again, he is only 19 so having Gregorious in the fold makes sense even if they do sign Moncada. Moncada can also play 2B and 3B as well if Gregorious' bat plays with the Yanks.

Starting Pitching- The starting pitching is a huge whole for the Yanks. They need depth which does beg the question why trade some of that depth away? Well, I answered that already. First off, Brandon McCarthy is a must to bring back. I know he had a horrible start to the year with Arizona but once he came to the Yankees he was lights out. Thanks to Larry Rothschild re-introducing his cutter back into his repertoire. There are reports he wants 4 for 48. That's a lot for him considering Fransisco Liriano got 3 for 39 from the Pirates. I would be comfortable bringing him back for something in that range. He was great with the Yanks and loves New York, the marriage seems to perfect to break up. Also they need more than one just starting pitcher with the question marks surrounding Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, Nova, etc. Max Scherzer's name has been thrown out there and of course it's going to. Scott Boras said that Scherzer makes the Yankees have "World Series caliber pitching." Boras is going to the get the Yankees involved and he should it's his job to get the Yankees in the mix to drive up the price. If the asking price is 200 million and that's what he gets I would really like to stay away from that. I like Scherzer obviously he's one of the best pitchers in the game but that's a lot of money over possibly seven years. I also would like to see the Yankees involved in some trades as well for the right pitcher. I really liked the idea of Wade Miley but then the Red Sox swooped him away from me. That type of pitcher would to make a trade for. A guy coming off a bad year but still has promise. Right now I have no idea who that would be, but the Yankees have some prospects now that people like and for the right deal some of them might have to go.

Last but not least, Third Base- Oh well what are we going to do here? Don't get me wrong I love Chase Headley but 4 for 65 is out of the question. If it is in the 3 year range I would do it but I don't think it will be with the Giants turning there attention to Headley full force after losing out on Jon Lester. So that begs the question put Prado at third and let the kids battle it out at second? That's probably whats going to happen. It's win win for me I love Refsnyder, got to see him play against New Britain in April, also like Pirela as well. Pirela is a good utility guy and can play all around so either one at second would be fine by me. As long as the Yankees start giving prospects a chance. I think Refsnyder is ready and it's about time they give him a chance. Pirela regardless should be on the 25 man roster. His versatility alone is why he will be on the 25 man.

Not sure where the Yanks go from here, but I can tell you they are not done yet.

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All stats used were from

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Comments on the Yankees Offseason

Happy Sunday to all! I hope everyone is enjoying your holiday season in this windy, rainy winter so far. I've been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with my family in the past few weeks, and it's nice to see everyone else doing so. But back to business. The Yankees have entered the postseason spectacular (Or Hot Stove, if you will) with a few off-season moves (and non-moves). Here are my thoughts.

  1. I liked the trade for former Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Justin Wilson (besides the fact he has an excellent first name, of course). Trading an injury prone catcher in Francisco Cervelli in his final years of arbitration for a mid-90s throwing lefty under team control for multiple years is something you do every time. Wilson has his control issues; his walk rate inched up to 4.5/9 from 3.4/9 in his breakout 2013 season, but increased his K rate to 9.1/9 from 7.2. Wilson's FIP suggests some bad luck and an improvement to a mid 3's ERA from 4.20 last season and with pitching coach Larry Rothschild's magic of simultaneously improving BB and K rates, I expect him to be an under-the-radar pickup with big dividends, like Boone Logan a few years back.
  2. Having potentially three dominant lefties out of the bullpen is something of a pipe dream. Wilson, top 2014 pick Jacob Lindgren and Andrew Miller could be lethal. Particularly so since all three can get batters out on either side of the plate with pinpoint control and sky high K rates. Lindgren has to be added to the 40-man roster and earn a bullpen spot, but Manager Joe Girardi and Rothschild have to be salivating at the prospect of having such an electric bullpen. Speaking of Miller...
  3. I am just kind of "meh" about Andrew Miller. Sure, he's been electric since moving to the bullpen full time (ERA's trickling downwards of 3.35 to 2.02 since 2012), but should signing a pitcher with half the years of dominance of David Robertson take priority? I'd rather keep the guy the fan base is familiar with. If you're not going to keep the homegrown Robertson, who will they keep? Is Dellin Betances going to walk out the door too? Miller, I'm sure will be a stud, but Robertson should not be out as a result. Are the Yankees going to dump $90 million on two relievers? Probably not.
  4. Who takes over the closer's role? I am pro-signing a 'proven closer' such as Jason Grilli, Sergio Romo or a personal favorite, Casey Janssen to keep Miller and Betances as multi-inning set-up men and making the bullpen even deeper. But I think the Yankees should try installing a familiar face: Shawn Kelley. The initial reaction is: he has his moments where he is hittable like a soft tossing lefty. I know. But, Kelley filled in at closer admirably at the beginning of the season. Kelley's stuff is way too good to be middle relief and he is best suited as a one inning specialist. If the Yankees want to save a couple of bucks, let one of the AAA kids earn a job. You could be looking at this:
      1. Closer - Kelley
      2. Set-up - Betances
      3. Set-up - Miller
      4. Multi-Inning - Warren
      5. Middle Relief - Wilson
      6. Middle Relief - Lindgren
      7. Long Man - Phelps
  5. Why isn't Chase Headley a Yankee? He's a rock solid fit. He's not the .286/31 HR/115 RBI guy from 2012. But, he is absolutely a .265/25/90, switch hitting, rock solid defending third baseman. How many 3B are truly better? Donaldson, Longoria and Rendon? Everyone is comparable at best. You cannot count on just keeping the seat warm for prospect Eric Jagielo. Martin Prado can play third just fine, but he's better at 2B or an everyday super utility guy. Unless the Yankees have a Todd Frazier trade in the works (Jersey boy! Grew up a Yankees fan! Intangibles!), stick with someone who played well in the Bronx. Bring him back.
  6. A-Rod needs to be nothing more than the DH. Period. Stick him there and hope for the best.
  7. I dig the idea of a second base 'competition' between Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder, but 1) Pirela is getting a little too much hype - his ceiling is literally his teammate: Martin Prado - not a bad thing! I'm a big Prado fan! But he would be an awesome UTIL/DH guy. Refsnyder is the long term answer at 2B once his defense gets honed - his bat is ready, but a little more seasoning at AAA would be nice. If Brendan Ryan could be of some use, it'll be helping him defensively learn the position - who better to learn from? Ideally, he starts in AAA with Prado at 2B and once someone gets hurt, Prado moves there and Refsnyder gets the call.
  8. Speaking of Refsnyder; his former hitting coach, Marcus Thames, his now the Yankees Asst. Hitting Coach. I don't care for this trend of hiring assistant hitting coaches (much like I disliked infield shifts being adopted 3 years ago), but Refsnyder raved about him overhauling his swing, which allowed him to hit for more, harder contact. If Thames can have that effect on him, he could be of some use.
  9. The Yankees need to bring in some starting pitching ASAP. Bringing back Brandon McCarthy is a no-brainer and if they can bring in another one via trade or free agency (either a small, shorter contract like a Jason Hammel or a big splash like Max Scherzer), they must do so. Scherzer, Tanaka, Pineda, McCarthy, Sabathia sounds solid!
  10. And to wrap up: the big elephant in the room: the Didi Gregorius trade. My initial reaction and still: terrible. The Yankees need starting pitching, particularly young and not injury prone. Shane Greene fit that bill. And they send him away for a slick defending, no hitting SS. They have one in Brendan Ryan! If Gregorius was any good, Chris Owings would have been in AAA! Chris Owings can hit a little bit - why not go after him? Or if they wanted a 24 year old - why not Starlin Castro? Albeit, he would have cost more, but Greene in a package for a legit SS would not bother me as much. I don't expect Gregorius to hit .300, or 15 home runs. Just be decent. His MLB career suggests otherwise so far. Here's what is going to happen: he's going to stink, get calls for his head, and the Yankees are going to sign Ian Desmond next offseason. So why waste Greene? Prove me wrong Cashman and Gregorius. Prove me wrong.
Thanks for reading! All stats provided by Baseball Reference. Follow me on Twitter @JMFlorio