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5 months ago  ::  Apr 18, 2019 - 6:53AM #17411
Posts: 2,220

Yankees: Gio Urshela making the most of his opportunities

After the injuries to both Miguel Andujar and Troy Tulowitzki, the Yankees were forced to call-up infielder Gio Urshela from Triple-A Scranton. Since arriving Urshela has made the most of his opportunities on both sides of the ball and has earned the right to be in the everyday lineup moving forward.

Prior to joining the Yankees organization, last August Urshela struggled to get consistent playing time during stints with the Indians (2015-17) and the Blue Jays (2018). Since entering the big leagues Urshela has always been considered a gold glove caliber defender at third base but he’s struggled offensively with a .228 career batting average.

When Miguel Andujar went down during the first week of the season with a small labrum tear the Yanks called up Tyler Wade to replace him. Wade deserved the call up after the very strong spring he had but since he’s arrived he’s done nothing with the bat, hitting .176.

After Tulo went down with a calf strain a couple of days later the Yanks selected Urshela’s contract and added him to the 40-man roster. The expectation was that Urshela and Wade would split the playing time and on the days Urshela started D.J. LeMahieu would shift back to second base. When Wade started LeMahieu would play third.

That was the plan at first but now it looks like Urshela has taken over as the everyday third basemen and Wade has been relegated to a bench role. In 20 at-bats so far this season Urshela is hitting .300 with three doubles and an OBP of .417. He’s had a limited number of at-bats but he’s been way more productive than Wade’s been and his defense has been as good as advertised.

Tuesday night against the rival Red Sox Urshela’s defense was on full display as he made one of the best plays you’ll see from anyone all season.

The play was Manny Machado-esque and showcased how much of a cannon Ushela has at the hot corner. Not many players in baseball are capable of making a play like that and it’s one you’ll see on the highlight reels for years to come. Urshela also contributed with his bat going 1-4 with a double and a run scored in what was an 8-0 Yankees rout over Boston.

In the coming weeks, I’m sure Wade will get a start here and there to give some of the starters in the infield a day off but the Yankees best lineup right now is with Urshela at third and LeMahieu at second. LeMahieu has been solid at third in a handful of starts but he’s a gold glove second basemen and Urshela has that kind of potential at third base.

With the timetable for Tulo and Miggy’s return still very much uncertain (especially Miggy), Urshela is going to continue to play a lot, as he should. The odds of him hitting .300 for the rest of the season might be slim but as long as he can continue to pick up timely hits and play above average defense he’s going to make a nice impact and help the Yankees win ball games.

Brian Cashman has made a ton of great trades for this Yankee team in recent years and while the one to acquire Urshela last August went very much under the radar it’s paying off now. Coming into the season I don’t think anyone expected this so it’s a credit to Cashman and most of all to Urshela for stepping up and helping this team at a time when they need it the most.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 19, 2019 - 8:51AM #17412
Posts: 2,220

Pete Caldera | Hey, some rare good news on the injury front! Miguel Andujar, trying to avoid surgery on the slight tear in his right labrum, took batting practice today and also threw in the outfield. The Yanks have discussed making Andujar primarily a DH to avoid the stress of throwing, or even use him at first base, which is an interesting story in of itself. Still, it’s good to see Andujar showing some progress.

Tyler Kepner | NY Times: The Yankees’ fill-ins showed plenty of production in the team’s two-game sweep of Boston, from Mike Tauchman’s big day at the plate on Tuesday to Clint Frazier’s RBI double on Wednesday. Kepner writes that while the roster is still a shell of what it can be, the replacements have the ability to keep the team afloat until reinforcements arrive.

Randy Miller | Things got rowdy after the Yankees’ comeback win against the Sox on Wednesday night, as the Bombers busted out a fog machine and strobe lights to celebrate the latest victory. Apparently, it’s something the team has been doing in recent wins, just not to the magnitude of Wednesday’s bash. Hopefully there’s fog circulating through the clubhouse frequently this season.

Brendan Kuty | Gardner got an extra present after clubbing the go-ahead grand slam for his 100th career home run on Wednesday night. He also was given back the ball after the game by a young kid from Greenwich and his friends, who posed for pictures with Gardner after the game. Personally, I would have asked for entry to the clubhouse disco party and truly experience a Gardy Party.

Yankees Suspend Use of Kate Smith's 'God Bless America' amid Racism Allegation

4 months ago  ::  Apr 19, 2019 - 8:55AM #17413
Posts: 2,220

Yankees Injury Notes: Severino, Andujar, Sanchez, Stanton, Tulo, Hicks

Injuries are the story thus far for the Yankees, whose sluggish start is explained in no small part by a dizzying barrage of maladies. One of those has proven particularly confounding, as young starter Luis Severino came down with a lat strain while rehabbing a shoulder injury. As James Wagner of the New York Times reports, the investigation into the origins of Severino’s health problems has become a tale of its own. At this point, the team isn’t sure how that problem popped up; GM Brian Cashman says it wasn’t detected in the imaging that identified the initial shoulder problem.

In any event, there’s still five weeks to go until Severino can potentially start to throw once again. While he and the team wait for that important development, they’ll hope to welcome back a few other players. The latest …

  • The Yanks are at least open to considering utilizing Miguel Andujar as something other than a third baseman, manager Aaron Boone indicated to reporters including Wagner (Twitter link). Andujar’s shoulder injury hasn’t limited him much with the bat, but has made throwing difficult. Even if he’s able to avoid a surgical procedure, then, a return to the hot corner may be difficult. In that event, it’s possible he’d be utilized in the DH slot or perhaps even at first. Those possibilities aren’t yet being discussed in earnest, with Boone saying the club will wait to see how Andujar’s throwing progresses, but it now seems there are some new approaches on the table.
  • Backstop Gary Sanchez is still on track for a quick return to the active roster,’s Bryan Hoch writes. In fact, with his calf injury evidently progressing well, he may be back when first eligible on Sunday. That’d be a nice boost for the lineup; the 26-year-old catcher had been back to his slugging ways before incurring the injury.
  • Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton also seems to be showing signs of nearing a return from his biceps injury, though he’s certainly still further off. Stanton has taken cuts off a pitching machine, as Hoch tweeted yesterday, though it’s still a bit uncertain when he’ll be fully ready for activation. It seems possible, but not certain, that Stanton could return before the club wraps up a lengthy West Coast road trip on May 9th.
  • Several other players are also progressing, but on less-certain timelines. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is also working back from a calf strain that is a bit more significant than Sanchez’s. (Via Hoch; Twitter link.) He’s participating in baseball activities and says he’s feeling good, but there’s still no indication when he’ll be ready. Outfielder Aaron Hicks is also engaged in a variety of baseball functions but hasn’t yet taken batting practice to test out his ailing back. He’s hoping to do so this week, Wagner tweets, which would perhaps clear the way for a rehab assignment.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 19, 2019 - 11:16AM #17414
Posts: 2,220

Mailbag: RAB, Andujar, Seigler, Green, Frazier, Moncada

Many asked: Where do we go for our Yankees info and analysis after RAB shuts down???

First of all, thank you again to everyone who reached out since we announced RAB is shutting down. The thank yous have been overwhelming. Most of you also asked where you can get your Yankees fix going forward, but I’m not prepared to answer that right now because, honestly, I stopped reading most other blogs a few years ago, so I’m a bit out of touch. I’ve decided to put together what will amount to a “A Guide To Life After RAB” post, which sounds incredibly presumptuous, but it seems to be something people want. It’ll include other sites to check out, information on how to continue following the minors, where you can find everyone here going forward, things like that. That will probably be posted on April 29th, our final day. I don’t mean to ignore everyone asking where to go next. The guide will answer those questions soon enough.

Dan asks: Is part of the reason that you are wrapping up RAB that you are frustrated with the Yankees for not doing more to sign players Harper, Machado, and Corbin, as well as retaining players like Robertson?

It is not. I’ve have several people ask this and I promise you it is not. The decision to shut down RAB has nothing to do with the Yankees and we would’ve made the same decision even if they had signed Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and been 17-1 with 47 home runs through 18 games. This decision has been a long time coming and I actually did decide to shut RAB down last summer, weeks before Harper and Machado even became free agents, though I changed my mind after the season and tried to give it another go. That was a mistake and if I could do it all again, RAB would’ve closed up properly over the winter rather than a few weeks into the season. That’s my mistake.

Greg asks: If Miguel Andujar is not able to throw do you think the Yankees would try him at 1st before ending his season with surgery? Latest word is that his swing won’t make the injury worse, so why not get his bat into the lineup. Can’t be much worse than Voit defensively.

Good timing! Just Aaron Boone said yesterday the Yankees are discussing bringing Andujar back as a first baseman or DH if he can’t make the throws at third. “I don’t think we’re there yet,” Boone told James Wagner, indicating a final decision is not imminent. Supposedly the injury won’t hinder Andujar’s swing, only his arm, and remember, he would still have to make some throws at first base, plus he’d have to learn the position. I think Andujar at DH is more likely than Andujar at first base. Either way, it sounds like the Yankees will make sure Andujar can not play third base before considering other positions. It’s not third base or surgery. There’s a third option here. They are thinking about ways to get his bat into the lineup before sending him for surgery.

Erick asks: Anthony Seigler. Where and what’s up with our switch-hitter and switch-pitcher first rounder? Is he hurt?

Seigler suffered what was described as a minor quad injury in Spring Training, which prevented him from breaking camp with a full season affiliate. There have been no updates on him since, which is not unusual for Extended Spring Training, even for last year’s first round pick. Seigler is very advanced defensively for his age, but holding a 19-year-old catcher back in ExST is pretty standard practice. Even without the quad injury, he might’ve been in ExST to start the season anyway. Seigler could be perfectly healthy right now (and hopefully he is) and still be in ExST because the Yankees believe that is the best place for him developmentally. Seigler was hurt in Spring Training. I do not know if he is still hurt, and I don’t know that he would’ve been assigned to Low-A Charleston even if healthy.

Green. (Presswire)

Mickey asks: Does Chad Green still have a minor league option? And how much longer is his leash before you start considering Joe Harvey as a better option?

Green does have an option left. He used one in 2016 and one early in 2017, so he has one remaining. The Yankees could send him to Triple-A. I can’t see that happening though, even with the rocky start to the season. Maybe don’t use him in high-leverage spots, but Green deserves a leash longer than seven innings based on what he did the last two years. Besides, who do the Yankees call him to replace him? Stephen Tarpley? Jake Barrett? Jonathan Loaisiga? I’d be down with Loaisiga getting a look as a multi-inning reliever a la Green in 2017, just not at the expense of Green. I know he’s struggled in the early going, but I couldn’t imagine sending Green down and sticking with Harvey. Not yet.

Nico asks: Your Blake Swihart post got me thinking, what’s the point of being a switch hitter if your team platoons you to avoid your weaker side? Why not just try batting left-on-left? Can’t be worse, right? Have there been “switch hitters” who give up on it and are actually better after?

Most switch-hitters are stronger from one side (their natural side), and focusing on the strong side is typically a last resort. A few years ago Aaron Hicks stopped switch-hitting with the Twins and Rod Carew talked him back into it. “Rod Carew actually called me and told me, what the heck am I doing giving up switch hitting? It’s a blessing, and that I should go back and work harder at it and learn from my mistakes,” Hicks said at the time.

Maybe I’m forgetting someone obvious, but I can’t think of anyone who dropped switch-hitting well into his big league career and had success from one side of the plate. It does happen quite a bit in the minors — Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli were switch-hitters very early in their pro careers — but it’s easier to work on something like that as a young player in a developmental situation than in the big leagues where wins are the priority. Remember, most switch-hitters have never seen a breaking ball that breaks away from them. It ain’t easy to pick up on the fly.

Cory asks: I’ve got a some questions about Clint. It seems like he’s finally getting his big opportunity this year. How would you grade his performance so far? What does his ceiling look like if everything falls into place this year and where does he rank among our hitters? If he keeps this up is it enough to push Gardner to the bench so he continues to get full time at bats if/when the regulars get healthy? What should his nickname be?

Clint Frazier’s been really good so far. I’m generally a harsh grader but I am comfortable giving him an “A” in his limited action thus far given how well he’s performed after missing so much time last year. I’ve said Frazier could be a right-handed Nick Swisher several times in the past, though that’s probably not a great comparison. Not many players walk as much as Swisher did (career 13.0%) and I think Frazier has a better chance to hit for average. At his peak, I could see Clint being a .280/.360/.500 type. I guess that makes him … Mitch Haniger? Defensively, Frazier is probably a -5 runs defender in left field, so the total package is something like +3 WAR or +4 WAR once he settles in, and that’s really good. And yes, of course Brett Gardner should go to the bench so Frazier can remain in the lineup once guys start getting healthy. Will the Yankees actually do it? I dunno. But that’s what they should do. I am terrible with nicknames so I don’t have a suggestion there. Clint doesn’t like Red Thunder. Nicknames have to be organic. Can’t force it. Give it time and something good will come along.

Sean asks: How mad are you in hindsight that the Yankees didn’t pony up the cash to sign Yoan Moncada? I’m not saying he arrived with how well he’s doing this year, but geez, it’s money, and the Yankees cheaped out on someone with such upside. And to the Red Sox too, ugh. Imagine him at second and Gleyber at ss, unreal.

The Moncada situation was the first real sign the Yankees were going to operate very differently going forward. For better or worse, they are no longer going to throw money around, even when young players with high upside are available. Getting out-bid for Moncada was infuriating. The Yankees had spent the year or so prior to that saying they were planning to emphasize youth, yet they were outbid for a player pretty much everyone in the industry considered a budding star. Moncada looks like he’s finally breaking out this year — I say “finally” but he’s still only 23 — and who knows how his career plays out had he signed with New York. His entire development path would have changed. The Yankees planning to emphasize youth, yet allowing themselves to be outbid for Moncada is a pretty good summation of the franchise right now. They talk the talk about doing whatever it takes to win, but their actions tell us that isn’t really the case. They want to win on their terms.

Moncada. (Presswire)

Jonathan asks: It seems everyone is gloom and doom. But after this two game sweep of the Red Sox, the Yankees at 8-9. Weren’t they 9-9 last year? At the end of the day, if Hicks, Stanton, Severino, Sanchez and Betances come back the Yankees should be fine. Am I wrong for being so chilled?

There are several reasons for the doom and gloom. The first is, obviously, the injuries. There are so many of them and several of them are long-term injuries. Is it really safe to expect guys like Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, and Dellin Betances to come back and be impact players right away given the nature of their injuries? Secondly, the Yankees have played some crummy baseball these three weeks, and these games count in the standings. How could anyone not be discouraged after losing home series to the Orioles, Tigers, and White Sox? And third, the Yankees just had a giant fart noise of an offseason. They passed on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, passed on Patrick Corbin, and tried to piece things together with lower cost free agent signings, several of which aren’t looking so hot already (J.A. Happ, Zack Britton). When you’re a World Series contender and your best free agent signings are DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino, well, you’ll have to forgive me for being underwhelmed. Jonathan’s not wrong for being chill through this rocky start. There’s no right way to be a fan. Personally though, I see a lot more negatives than positives right now. The injuries, the losses to bad teams, and the Yankees being apathetic toward building the best roster possible are hard to ignore.

Anonymous asks: Hi Mike. The other day you mentioned Urshela took Ellsbury’s locker and that it is a “prime piece of real estate” in the clubhouse. Ellsbury hasn’t played since 2017 but he still had a good locker, so I assume they are assigned based on seniority? What’s the locker situation like?

Yes, locker assignments are generally based on service time and tenure with the team, so the guys who have been around the longest have the best lockers. They usually get an empty locker next to them for extra space as well. That is standard throughout baseball and it applies to the road clubhouses as well. When the Red Sox were in town this week Dustin Pedroia, Chris Sale, and David Price had the prime lockers. When the Tigers were in town two weeks ago it was Miguel Cabrera and Jordan Zimmermann.

The Yankee Stadium home clubhouse is gigantic and there are some columns in the middle of the room that kinda split it into two halves. The front left side is the young position players, the back left side is the more veteran position players, the back right side is mostly starting pitchers, and the front right side is the relievers. Some other quick locker notes:

  • Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia are the longest tenured Yankees and they have the two lockers at the back of the clubhouse. Carlos Beltran had Gardner’s locker previously. Derek Jeter had CC’s.
  • Giancarlo Stanton is in the corner next to Gardner and I’m pretty certain he’s in Alex Rodriguez’s old locker. Dellin Betances is in the corner next to Sabathia. Masahiro Tanaka and Austin Romine have good spots at the end of their row of lockers. Romine took Gardner’s old locker when Gardner took Beltran’s.
  • Aaron Judge is in the middle of the row of young position players on the front left side. No special locker treatment for him yet (or Gary Sanchez, for that matter). The lockers at the very front of the clubhouse go to the shuttle players (Joe Harvey, Mike Ford, etc.).

It’s kinda interesting how certain lockers have a personality, so to speak. For example, the Yankees have what amounts to a veteran setup man locker that has gone from David Robertson to Andrew Miller to Tyler Clippard back to Robertson to now Zack Britton. But yeah, locker assignments are largely based on service time and tenure with the team, and the Yankees have so many lockers that injured guys like Ellsbury (and Jordan Montgomery) keep their spots even when they’re away from the team for long stretches of time.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 19, 2019 - 11:17AM #17415
Posts: 2,220
4 months ago  ::  Apr 19, 2019 - 12:38PM #17416
Posts: 2,220

Last minute trip out-of-the-country.  Be back next weekend.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 20, 2019 - 5:43PM #17417
Posts: 15,392


Yankees Sign Logan Morrison


3:20pm: The Yankees have announced the signing.

11:16am: ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets that Morrison’s deal comes with a July 1 opt-out and a $1MM base salary at the MLB level (though that salary would presumably be pro-rated).

11:06am: The Yankees have agreed to a minor league contract with 1B/DH Logan Morrison, per Chris Cotillo of (Twitter links). He’ll head to extended Spring Training for the time being. Roster Roundup first tweeted the 2 sides were talking. Morrison is represented by ISE Baseball.

Morrison, 31, belted 38 HRs with the Rays in 2017 but struggled through an injury-ruined 2018 campaign with the Twins that was ultimately truncated by surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. That operation, performed last August, came with a roughly 8-month timetable for recovery; this contract falls right in line with the end of that rehab period. Once he’s up to speed and in game shape, Morrison will head to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton.

New York recently lost 1B Greg Bird for at least a month due to a case of plantar fasciitis, although given Morrison’s own health status, it’s unlikely that he’d be able to step up as an option to help in the short-term anyhow. That said, the Yankees’ roster has generally been decimated by injuries, and having Morrison on hand as a risk-free depth option at the Triple-A level to perhaps aid the lineup starting in mid-May or early June certainly won’t hurt.

Last year with the Twins, “LoMo” hit .186/.276/.368 with 15 HRs and 13 doubles through 359 plate appearances, although the hip issue that ultimately ended his season quite likely hindered him at the plate before he underwent surgery. His 2017 season was nothing shy of excellent, as he turned in a .246/.353/.516 slash with 38 HRs, 22 doubles and a triple in 601 trips to the plate.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 20, 2019 - 5:47PM #17418
Posts: 15,392


Gio Gonzalez Opts Out Of Yankees Deal


2:07pm: Gonzalez will opt-out, tweets Andy Martino of SNY. The club has 48 hours to either grant him his release or add him to the active roster.

Friday, 2:47pm: Gonzalez does indeed intend to trigger the clause, per’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link), which means the Yankees will have to decide whether to add him to their roster. That appears to be unlikely, per Feinsand, suggesting that Gonzalez will probably head back onto the open market.

Friday, 12:16pm: Veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez has hired CAA Baseball to represent him, Mark Feinsand of reports (via Twitter). He’d previously been a client of the Boras Corporation. The change comes just before tomorrow’s opt-out date in Gonzalez’s minor league contract with the Yankees — a provision that he is giving strong consideration to exercising, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees recently got CC Sabathia back from the injured list and have received three solid outings from righty Domingo German, so there’s no guarantee they’ll bring Gonzalez to the Majors for a look.

Gonzalez’s contract comes with a $3MM base salary, but the greater consideration for the Yankees is surely the incentives structure to which he agreed. As one might expect for a veteran of his stature, Gonzalez’s non-guaranteed deal is packed with incentives — perhaps more so than any minors deal in recent memory. He’d reportedly be paid a hefty $300K per start with the Yankees at the MLB level, on top of that base rate of pay, making it a fairly expensive proposition to even take a look at him on a short-term, trial basis.

Thus far with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, Gonzalez has had mixed results. He was shelled in the season opener for Scranton (eight runs in four innings), but he’s rebounded with a pair of excellent outings, yielding a combined two runs with an 18-to-2 K/BB ratio in 11 innings.

The fact that he made 93 pitches in his most recent outing should signal to other clubs that he’s built up enough to the point that he could step directly onto a big league pitching staff if needed. Assuming he opts out, that type of opportunity would likely be the type he and his new representatives seek. Several teams that entered the year hoping to contend — Red Sox, Brewers, Cardinals, Angels, Mets, Phillies, Athletics — have seen their starters combine for an ERA of 4.50 or worse, so it stands to reason that there could be heightened interest in Gonzalez now, as compared to when he was a free agent over the winter and was unable to find a big league deal.

If Gonzalez does trigger his opt-out clause tomorrow, he won’t immediately become a free agent. The Yankees would have 48 hours to weigh whether it’s worth placing him on the big league roster or grant him his release. But with the rotation currently featuring James PaxtonMasahiro TanakaJ.A. Happ, Sabathia and German (with other depth options on hand in the form of Chance AdamsJonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa), the team may simply prefer to let him go.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 27, 2019 - 9:10AM #17419
Posts: 2,220

New York Post | George A. King IIICameron Maybin made his Yankees debut last night, as the Yankees were desperate to fill out the 25-man roster. Maybin has been all around Major League Baseball, having a role in 10 organizations in his career. Just what can Yankees fans expect him to bring in his stopgap job?

CBS Sports | RJ Anderson: You’d be hard pressed to find a trade where Brian Cashman ended up on the losing end. Last year’s deal sending Caleb Smith to the Marlins is one example, however, as Smith has become one of the National League’s filthiest pitchers on a per-inning basis. Meanwhile, Mike King was the return in that deal and is just another injured member of the org right now.

SNY | John Harper: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” isn’t just the poem from the base of the Statue of Liberty. It’s also apparently the pitch Brian Cashman gave to his fellow general managers this week after Clint Frazier went down with an ankle injury. This is a great look at the legwork involved in making a trade, especially one badly needed.

FanGraphs | Sheryl RingDellin Betances is one of the many injured Yankees, but perhaps the most controversial, sidelined with a bone spur in his shoulder that the team allegedly found out about more than a dozen years ago. Sheryl Ring, FanGraphs’ in-house legal eagle, presents a convincing case that if the team knowingly withheld information from Betances, it’s legally questionable at worst and unethical at best.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 27, 2019 - 9:11AM #17420
Posts: 2,220

RHP Chad Green will work as a starter/opener with Triple-A Scranton, manager Jay Bell told Conor Foley. In other words, they’re going to make sure he gets regular work rather than be subject to the ebbs and flows of bullpen life. They’re not going start him every fifth day and stretch him out. Green will instead throw two or three innings every three or four days, that sorta thing.

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