New York Yankees release a trio Minor League right-handers
08/19/2016 10:47 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
Moreno was part of the 2012 deal involving A.J. Burnett.(AP)
The New York Yankees have released right-handed pitchers Diego Moreno, Alex Smith, and Willie Gabay from their contracts, their various minor-league affiliates announced.
Gabay, 25, was originally a 15th-round pick of the Rays in 2012 and signed with the Yankees as a minor-league free agent in mid-2015. The Mahopac, N.Y., native split this season between Class-A Charleston and Class-A Advanced Tampa, going 3-2 with a 5.53 ERA in 28 appearances.
Smith, 26, is also a local product, growing up in Manchester, CT, and being signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of New Haven in 2012. He had spent all of 2012 with Double-A Trenton, going 0-2 with a 3.41 ERA and 2 saves in 22 appearances, and after being released, he immediately signed with the Rays organization and was assigned to Class-A Advanced Charlotte.
Moreno, 29, came to the Yankees in the February 2012 trade that sent A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh. He made his MLB debut in pinstripes in 2015 but split 2016 between Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 6-1 with a 5.14 ERA and 1 save in 28 appearances (two starts) with the RailRiders and 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 4 relief outings with the Thunder.
AUG. 19: The Yankees announced today that Eovaldi underwent Tommy John surgery and also had his right flexor tendon repaired during the operation. Yankees head physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad performed the procedure, which figures to sideline Eovaldi for the remainder of this season and the entirety of the 2017 campaign as well.
AUG. 16: Yankees righty Nathan Eovaldi is set to undergo surgery to repair both a torn flexor tendon and a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, ESPN New York’s Wallace Mathews was among those to report (Twitter links). The pair of procedures will prevent him from pitching in 2017.
The news could well spell the end of Eovaldi’s tenure with the Yankees. He is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility, and will surely command at least some kind of a raise on his current $5.6MM salary. Unless New York looks to work out some kind of multi-year arrangement, then, Eovaldi will likely be non-tendered this fall.
Presuming that Eovaldi is fitted with a new UCL as part of the work being done, this will be his second trip through the Tommy John process — with his first coming during his amateur days. That prior procedure increased the 26-year-old’s likelihood of requiring Tommy John surgery this year, as MLBTR contributor Bradley Woodrum explained in his recent statistical study. That — along with the concurrent flexor tendon injury — also likely means that he’ll face a longer and more difficult road back than a typical, first-time TJ patient.
This crushing injury brings a disappointing end to what had already been a frustrating campaign. Eovaldi averaged 97.0 mph with his fastball and ran up a 9.3% swinging strike rate — both personal highs — but managed only a 4.76 ERA over his 124 2/3 innings. Despite a 49.6% groundball rate, Eovaldi surrendered a lot of hard contact and coughed up 1.66 HRs per 9 innings.
Long an intriguing talent, Eovaldi has not yet managed to fully harness his gifts at the major league level. He has never previously had HR issues — quite the contrary, in fact — but still underperformed his fairly promising peripherals in each of the last 2 years, when ERA estimators valued him as a sub-4.00 pitcher.
Eovaldi carries a 4.21 ERA over his 739 lifetime innings, though a 3.85 career FIP also leads to a solid accumulation of 9.3 fWAR. That kind of output makes him a useful back-of-the-rotation arm with some room to grow, but it’s fair to wonder whether the bullpen lies in his future. After all, Eovaldi’s big-time fastball would likely play up in a relief role, where he could also limit his often-inconsistent secondary offerings and reduce the toll on his arm. And over his career, Eovaldi has limited batters to a sub-.700 OPS the first and second times through the order, with that number shooting up to .887 for hitters seeing him the third time in a day.
From MLB Rumors Former Yankees and Braves hurler Manny Bannuelos is signed by the Angels
The Angels have signed free agent left-hander Manny Banuelos, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (Twitter link). There’s no word yet on whether it’s a minor league contract, though that’s presumably the case. Banuelos had been on the market since the Braves released him last week. Once a highly regarded prospect with the Yankees (he reached No. 29 on Baseball America’s Top 100 after the 2011 season), Banuelos has accumulated a mere 26 1/3 major league innings (all with Atlanta) and compiled a 5.13 K/9, 6.49 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9. Injuries have beset Banuelos, who has undergone both Tommy John surgery and a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow in recent years. When healthy, he has thrown 583 minor league frames and notched a 3.30 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9.
With red-hot prospect Gary Sanchez in the midst of taking over the Yankees’ starting catcher role, an offseason deal sending veteran Brian McCann back to Atlanta is a legitimate possibility, writes Randy Miller of NJ.com. In theory, the teams could work out a deal sometime this season, as McCann cleared trade waivers 2 weeks ago. At the time, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees and Braves engaged in McCann-related discussions prior to the Aug. 1st non-waiver trade deadline.
Atlanta likes the idea of adding the 32-year-old McCann as a leader of a young team, Heyman reported. Further, general manager John Coppolella told Jim Bowden of Sirius XM on Sunday that, along with finding a manager and upgrading his club’s rotation, improving at catcher will be a high priority during the offseason (Twitter link).
“We need to win games next year,” Coppolella said of the Braves, who will move to a new ballpark in 2017.
As of now, the Braves’ leading in-house candidate to start behind the dish next season is likely Tyler Flowers, who has been out since mid-July after suffering a broken hand. Flowers hit a solid .254/.343/.422 with 7 HRs in 210 plate appearances before the injury, but the Braves clearly aren’t buying into him as a solution.
Before joining the Yankees on a 5-year, $85MM deal in December 2013, McCann was a star with the Braves. As a full-time member of the team from 2006-2013, he batted .277/.350/.477 with 171 HRs in 4,150 PAs. That stellar production hasn’t quite transferred to New York, where McCann has posted a league-average .233/.311/.418 line in 1,452 trips to the plate. Still, McCann’s on-field mix of respectable offense and well-regarded defense (StatCorner and Baseball Prospectus have mostly given him good pitch-framing marks, and the latter is fond of his blocking skills) could make him an appealing option.
Moreover, the Yankees are amid a youth movement, making a McCann deal seem like an inevitably. Of course, McCann would first have to agree to waive his full no-trade clause. Money could also complicate matters, as he’s owed $34MM through the 2018 season. However, McCann’s best chance to continue as an everyday catcher will likely be in another uniform. The writing is on the wall in New York, which has turned to Sanchez lately and shifted McCann to designated hitter. The 23-year-old Sanchez is doing his best to seize the backstop role for good, having recorded a videogamelike .379/.419/.776 line with 6 long balls in 62 trips to the plate.
“It was always the case that Sanchez at some point was going to come up and hopefully come up to stay,” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said earlier this week. “So we’ll cross that bridge in the offseason when we come to it, but McCann’s a great player, too.”
McCann is taking the Yankees’ future-oriented approach in stride, telling Miller, “This is the best young group I’ve seen.”
He’ll soon get a look at a different group of young players if a potential return to Atlanta becomes a reality.