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Offseason Outlook: New York Yankees
2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 7:30PM #31
GottaGoToMo
Posts: 69,663

Ten big questions facing the Yankees this offseason



For the past two weeks, we took a daily look at some of the key questions facing the Yankees this offseason. Here, then, is a list of the 10 biggest issues worth considering over the winter as the Yankees try to push forward a youth movement while getting back to being a relevant part of the playoff race.



He just might have the best young arm in the Yankees organization, but after this season, it's suddenly fair to question is long-term role. Is Severino best used as the dominant, multi-inning reliever we saw in the second half of this season, or is there still reasonable hope that he can be the high-end starter we saw at the end 2015? The Yankees say they still believe he's a starter, but he was so good in relief, it's surely tempting to get that immediate impact.



Best case scenario, the Yankees have not one but two internal options for first base. Worst case scenario, Greg Bird's shoulder isn't ready to match his 2015 results, and Tyler Austin's worst seasons in the minors follow him to the Majors. The Yankees do have some options at first base, but they don't have much dependability. Ideally, Bird and Austin -- with maybe some other role players sprinkled in -- can do the job, but it's worth at least considering a free agent option like Edwin Encarnacion or Mike Napoli.



There's no question that Gary Sanchez now sits at the top of the catching depth chart. What's no clear is how much catching depth the Yankees should carry beyond Sanchez. They'll obviously have one backup catcher, but it might make sense to carry both Brian McCann and Austin Romine (or Kyle Higashioka) so that McCann can DH while Romine gets another chance to help out against left-handed pitching. McCann has said he wants to stay. Is it in the Yankees' best interest to keep him?



We've seen the Yankees move quite a few left-handed outfielders the past two years, but it might be finally time to seriously consider trading one the everyday guys in the big leagues: Either Jacoby Ellsbury (if the contract is tradeable) or Brett Gardner (if there's a reasonable return). Those two bring a similar skill set, and the Yankees might be better off with a more traditional run producer -- either from free agency or from the minor league system -- serving as a replacement in left field.



The free agent market doesn't match up with many of the Yankees' needs, but it does offer significant bullpen help. Dellin Betances has been great, but the Yankees' bullpen is obviously deeper when he's in a setup role and not pitching the ninth inning. Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen or Mark Melancon could provide that sort of depth with late-inning dependability. Is it a foregone conclusion that the Yankees will and should spend the money necessary to sign one of the top closers on the market?



Similar to the first base situation, except that none of the internal options has come close to matching what Bird did in the second half of 2015. The Yankees have Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Rob Refsnyder and Mason Williams -- and eventually, it seems, Clint Frazier -- to serve as right field options, but none has shown sustained production at the big league level, and Judge in particular struggled in his debut. There are right fielders on the free agent market. Can the Yankees trust their homegrown outfielders enough to let those proven veterans go elsewhere?



With Luis Cessa and Chad Green getting their feet wet, plus some minor leaguers pitching well in Triple-A, the Yankees seem to have a decent amount of rotation depth, but they don't have any dependable, impact starters beyond Masahiro Tanaka. How can the Yankees best upgrade their rotation in a thin free agent market and in a trade market that demands huge prospect sacrifices to acquire proven arms? This is an acknowledged area of need without a clear solution.



The Yankees have a tight 40-man roster and a handful of eligible prospects worth protecting from the Rule 5 draft. As the team makes its inevitable roster decisions this winter, the easiest way to open spots will be to sacrifice certain pieces from the pitching depth chart. Who stays and who goes will determine that import group of middle relievers (which proved to be somewhat problematic this season). The left side in particular brings some difficult choices about what to do with Tommy Layne, Richard Bleier, Chasen Shreve and Jacob Lindgren, who's already lost for the year.



Really, it's a question for multiple role players -- Romine, Williams, Layne, etc. -- but it's worth focusing attention on Rob Refsnyder, who at times seems to be a trusted young hitter capable of playing multiple positions, and at other times seems to be trusted as neither a hitter nor a defender. In theory, he's a nice fit as a utility man on a team that could use some available alternatives at multiple positions, but if the Yankees don't trust him, they might be better off trading Refsnyder so that all parties can move on.



As the Yankees move toward a younger roster with less proven players, it will be harder for manager Joe Girardi to lean on track records and matchups while sticking to rigidly defined roles. How will Girardi adapt to this new form of roster construction? Does he really have a problem trusting young players, or is that a reputation built on the fact he's never been given a roster with young players particularly capable of doing the job and having a positive impact? Also, can he be creative with his bullpen the way we've seen in the playoffs?



The above is from LoHud

2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 7:33PM #32
GottaGoToMo
Posts: 69,663

Big question: How will Joe Girardi manage next year's Yankees?



The finale of a 10-part series looking at the Yankees’ big offseason decisions, we’ll turn to a matter of evolution and not necessarily change. There’s no reason to believe the Yankees are going to change managers this winter, but will their manager adjust to the changing roster?


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On the final day of the regular season, when there was little to do but look ahead to next year, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked whether he manages a young team differently than he manages a veteran group.


The question might as well have been: Will you manage next year differently than this year?


“I think you manage each year, every group, somewhat differently because there’s different types of players,” he said. “But, yes, obviously with older players, they’ve been through a lot more. They’ve been through a lot more experiences. You have a history of how they handle those experiences and maybe handle slumps or a couple of bad starts in a row.


“With younger players, you don’t have that history and you’re not sure how they’re going to react and what they’re capable of doing in a big situation; how they’re going to handle it. It is different, but again, you manage all groups different depending on what your strengths and weaknesses are.”


There’s no reason to think the Yankees are going to make a managerial change this offseason. In fact, there’s no reason to think their coaching staff will see any changes at all. But as the roster evolves, Girardi’s managerial style might have to evolve with it.


Will he follow this postseason trend of using top relievers in key situations rather than specific roles? How long of a leash will he give to the Yankees veterans in their mid-30s? How much patience will he have with young kids still establishing themselves?


“I don’t think Joe’s slow to trust young players,” Brian Cashman said. “I don’t think that’s the case at all. I just think he evaluates what’s in front of him.”


To be fair, some of Girardi’s reputation for distrusting young players seems unfounded.


His first Yankees rotation included young Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. His go-to relievers in 2009 were all 20-somethings. He caught Francisco Cervelli ahead of Jorge Posada in 2010. He gave Yangervis Solarte every day at-bats when Solarte had no previous big league experience. He managed the emergence of David Robertson and Dellin Betances from occasionally erratic prospects to dominant setup men. Just last year he showed early patience with Didi Gregorius and put late-season faith in Luis Severino and Greg Bird.


But there’s little doubt that next year’s roster is shaping up to be different from any Girardi has ever managed.


Girardi has a tendency to put his faith in statistics and track records. He likes to play matchups. He likes to put relievers into roles and stick to them. Next year’s team might not have significant track records, it won’t have proven matchups, and many of its players are going to require time and opportunity to figure out which roles fit best.


Is Luis Severino a starter or reliever? Is Aaron Judge a cleanup hitter or a floundering strikeout machine? Are Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury a viable one-two punch at the top of the order? Can any of the shuttle relievers show some staying power?







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“There's some (prospects) that I haven't seen a lot of,” Girardi said. “I'm not sure who's going to be invited to camp, who's going to be on the 40-man roster, how that's going to take place. But there's a ton of talent down there. Some of it was in A-ball, some of it was in Double-A, some of it was in Triple-A. There's some guys that I haven't seen yet, some guys that I haven't seen because of the trades that we've made. Next year could be an interesting Spring Training because it's a WBC year. I don't know if we'll have more people there. I'll get a look, probably, at more than I would have.”




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2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 7:34PM #33
GottaGoToMo
Posts: 69,663
Yankees add Nestor Cortes to Arizona Fall League

Left-handed pitching prospect Nestor Cortes pitches



Nestor Cortes will be the fifth Yankees pitching prospect joining Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League


2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 8:29PM #34
laurenfrances
Posts: 30,820

McCann's future uncertain with Yankees









It remains to be seen whether that was McCann's final game in pinstripes or a sign of things to come in 2017. As the 32-year-old prepared to head home for the offseason, he acknowledged that Gary Sanchez's amazing rookie season would likely create a winter of uncertainty for him.






"Listen, Gary is the starting catcher here," McCann said. "He's going to be that for a long, long time. I just have to kind of see where my role fits in, see where everything fits. I'm sure there will be open communication as far as what's going to happen and moving forward."


General manager Brian Cashman recently said that Sanchez is "obviously" the Yankees' starting catcher going into 2017, but that there could be a scenario where both Sanchez and McCann play important roles for the club.


"We have a right-handed-power-hitting catcher in Gary, and we have a left-handed-power-hitting catcher in McCann," Cashman said. "That's a valuable combination to have, both hitting 20 home runs on the same roster. It's extremely impressive, both being excellent defenders, and certainly strong leaders of the pitching staff."


McCann has played out three seasons of a five-year, $85 million contract signed prior to the 2014 campaign, and he is owed $17 million through '18. He batted .242 with 20 homers and 58 RBIs in 130 games in '16, making 86 starts at catcher and 28 as a designated hitter.


"I just couldn't get anything going swinging the bat," McCann said. "I felt like I fouled off a ton of pitches. I just missed my pitch this year, it seemed like, more times than not."


McCann's contract includes a $15 million team option for '19 that would vest if he totals 1,000 plate appearances over the next two seasons, catches 90 games in '18 and is not on the disabled list at the end of that season.


Despite that security, McCann said that he couldn't know for sure if he was walking out of Yankee Stadium for the last time this month.


"I hope I'm back," McCann said. "I'm not sure how it's all going to play out, but the future is extremely bright here, and we'll see how it goes."


Perhaps more importantly for this offseason, McCann's deal includes a full no-trade clause, which could present a stumbling block for any interested parties -- the Braves are said to be one, having made overtures concerning their former catcher as recently as the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.


Cashman said that he has not approached McCann to see if he would waive his no-trade clause, but that could change depending on where the Hot Stove takes the Yankees.


"I think we're lucky to still have Mac on the roster," Cashman said. "Whether that remains to be seen, first and foremost, depends on how the trade discussions potentially develop, and then Mac will have the final say as he earned in his contract."


If that call does ever come, McCann isn't sure what he'd say.


"There's a lot of variables that go into a decision, so we'll see how the winter plays out, but again, this place is special," McCann said.



Always proud to be a Yankee fan.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 8:32PM #35
laurenfrances
Posts: 30,820




(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees opened the season with maybe the most dominant bullpen trio in baseball history. For a few months a lead after six innings was close to an automatic win. Dellin BetancesAndrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman protected basically every lead they were given. The Yankees weren’t very good overall, but they always had the advantage in the late innings.


Things changed dramatically at the trade deadline. The Yankees were far back in the wildcard race with no real indication they could make a run in the second half. So, the front office acted appropriately, and cashed in Chapman and Miller as trade chips. Betances remained and took over as closer. The seventh and eighth innings looked much different the rest of the way.


Return of the Bullpen Handyman


Second base was a priority for the Yankees over the winter. The Brian Roberts and Stephen Drew types weren’t cutting it, and it has been made pretty clear the team doesn’t believe Rob Refsnyder can hack it at the position defensively. At least not on an everyday basis. At the Winter Meetings the Yankees acquired their second baseman of the present and the future by picking up Starlin Castro from the Cubs. Chicago had just signed Ben Zobrist and Castro was superfluous.


The cost to get Castro: Adam Warren. It was a straight up, one-for-one trade. Warren was rock solid for the Yankees from 2013-15 in a variety of roles, but Castro has obvious natural talent, plus he’s young and signed affordably. That was the price they had to pay. I didn’t love the trade, but I understood it. Starlin was good enough with the Yankees in the first half. Warren was a mess with the Cubs, pitching to a 5.91 ERA (5.83 FIP) in 35 innings.


Warren was so bad with Chicago that when time came to complete the Chapman trade, the Cubs were willing to send him back to New York. In fact, Brian Cashman indicated getting Warren back was a key to the trade. “We got a Major League piece that was a high-performer for this franchise for the last few years,” said the GM. “That was important. I think I can represent that was important for Hal Steinbrenner.”


In the past, Joe Girardi used Warren to do whatever was needed at the time. Two innings to bridge the gap between the starter and Betances? Go to Warren. Fill-in eighth inning guy for a day? Warren. Spot start? Warren. He did it all for the Yankees, and when he returned this summer, his job was setup man. In fact, he took over the eighth inning guy after Miller was traded, albeit briefly.


Warren’s first seven weeks back with the Yankees were typical Warren. He had a 2.91 ERA (3.70 FIP) in 22 games and 21.2 innings, with strikeout (22.1%) and walk (8.1%) numbers that were more in line with 2013-15 Warren than Cubs Warren. Of the seven runs he allowed in those 21.2 innings, four came in one game. Otherwise he was rock sold. Warren slipped little at the end of the season — he allowed a run in four of his last seven appearances — though it wasn’t a total meltdown.


All told, Warren finished with a 3.26 ERA (4.30 FIP) in 29 games and 30.1 innings with the Yankees. His strikeout (20.0%), walk (8.0%), and ground ball (44.3%) rates were right where they were from 2013-15 (20.5%, 7.8%, 45.3%). The only difference between this year’s version of Warren and previous versions was home runs. He had a 1.52 HR/9 (14.5 HR/FB%) this season, including 1.19 HR/9 (1.18 HR/FB%) with the Yankees, compared to 0.75 HR/9 (9.1 HR/FB%) from 2013-15.


Home runs were up around the league overall, so I’m sure that contributed to Warren’s long ball issues in 2016, especially since he played in two hitter friendly home parks this year. One thing the Yankees did is get Warren to throw his slider more often. He was at his best from 2014-15 when he threw his slider as often as his fastball. The Cubs had him throwing more changeups and fewer sliders. The Yankees put an end to that.




Always proud to be a Yankee fan.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 8:36PM #36
laurenfrances
Posts: 30,820
McCann for a trade with Braves Foltynewicz???

MLB Rumor Central: Yankees eyeing Braves' Mike Foltynewicz?


The New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves had trade discussions regarding catcher Brian McCann during the season, but the talks did not progress very far.


That could be because of the Yankees' fondness for Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. King cites industry sources that suggest the Yankees' affinity for Foltynewicz in a possible deal "likely killed more serious talks."


Foltynewicz, 25, is 13-12 with a 4.92 ERA at the major league level. The former top prospect had more success as a full-time starter with the Braves this season, posting a 4.31 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 22 starts.


McCann, 32, is seen as a trade target because of the emergence of Gary Sanchez, who has surely won the No. 1 catcher job in New York after his tremendous rookie season. McCann was a seven-time All-Star during his 2005-13 tenure with the Braves, and the team likes the idea of bringing him back in time for the opening of its new ballpark in 2017, according to King.

Always proud to be a Yankee fan.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 8:38PM #37
laurenfrances
Posts: 30,820

Scouting the AFL: Yankees prospects Kaprielian, Torres looking good


Oct 15, 2016




• New York Yankees right-hander James Kaprielian, their 2015 first-round pick out of UCLA, was outstanding in his AFL debut Wednesday night, his first outing since he went down in April with an undisclosed arm injury. He threw 94-97 mph with a hard cutter-like slider that was 85-89 early but slipped a little in his third inning, and he showed a plus straight changeup with great arm speed at 82-87. There's some effort there in the delivery, but as long as he's throwing this well with this kind of command, I wouldn't change a thing. A healthy Kaprelian would be a potential No. 2 starter, maybe better.


Always proud to be a Yankee fan.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 8:40PM #38
laurenfrances
Posts: 30,820

CC Sabathia has surgery on troublesome right knee





  • NEW YORK -- Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia has had surgery on his troublesome right knee.

New York head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad performed the arthroscopic procedure Tuesday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The team described it as "a routine cleanup" and said Sabathia is expected to be ready for spring training.


A 36-year-old left-hander, Sabathia pitched with a brace on the knee this year and went 9-12 with a 3.91 ERA, his lowest ERA since 2012.


He is due $25 million next year, the final season of his contract.


Always proud to be a Yankee fan.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 8:42PM #39
laurenfrances
Posts: 30,820

Nick Swisher coaching Yankees minor leaguers


Oct 10, 2016




Swisher was a guest instructor Monday with the Yankees instructional league team in Tampa, Florida. He worked with players in the new indoor facility at the team's minor league complex and watched part of an intrasquad game from the dugout.


Swisher is expected to be with team until the season concludes at the end of the week.


Slowed by knee injuries the past several years, Swisher appeared in 76 games with Atlanta and Cleveland in 2014. The 35-year old slugger played in 55 games last season for the Yankees' Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team, then ended his season in July when his second child was born.


Alex RodriguezOrlando Hernandez and Tino Martinez have also been instructional league coaches this year.


MITCHELL ON THE MOUND


Bryan Mitchell started and went 4 1/3 innings in the intrasquad game as Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild watched. Mitchell went 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA in five September starts after missing the first five months of the season due to a spring training toe injury that required surgery. The right-hander said he might make one more start before beginning his regular offseason program.


HALL OF FAME INSTRUCTOR


Yankees special adviser Reggie Jackson also arrived Monday and talked extensively with outfield prospect Clint Frazier during and after batting practice. Jackson watched the intrasquad game with vice president of player development Gary Denbo and special assignment scout Jim Hendry.


Always proud to be a Yankee fan.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2016 - 8:46PM #40
laurenfrances
Posts: 30,820

Yankees Offseason Trade Target: Royals Starter Yordano Ventura




















Troubled but talented Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura could make an interesting project for the New York Yankees coaching staff.



Because the price of starting pitching is expected to be sky-high this winter, expect New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to look for discounts anywhere he can. One fascinating talent who could be available is a man who Deadspin writer Barry Petchesky called “baseball’s surliest little sh**,” Yordano Ventura of the Kansas City Royals.


With his teammates and coaches reportedly tired of his immaturity on and off the field, Ventura may have worn out his welcome in KC. According to several sources, including Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Royals were dangling Ventura as a potential trade chip in the lead up to the August 1st deadline.


They ultimately kept the 25-year-old, likely because of their paper-thin rotation and fading playoff aspirations, but after the club’s poor performance down the stretch, the front office may be willing to make a change.


Ventura’s numbers have trended in the wrong direction for the second straight season since his excellent 2014 campaign where he looked like an ace in the making with a 3.20 ERA and 3.60 FIP in 183 IP, finishing sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.


This year, he had a 4.45 ERA and 4.59 FIP in 186 IP, walking a career-high 3.8 BB/9. He was suspended in June for throwing at Manny Machado, and notably, none of his teammates spoke out to support him. He was much better in the second half of the season, pitching to a 3.73 ERA in his last 15 starts while seeing a slight bump in his strikeouts.


It is worth remembering that Ventura is still very young, regularly touches 100 mph with his heater, and comes with what could be a very favorable contract. He’s controlled for the next three years at just under $20 million, and his deal includes a pair of $12 million club options for 2020-2021.


That is chump change for the Yankees, but enough of a commitment that the small market Royals might be looking to dump it this offseason. Also, consider that even if Ventura doesn’t improve over his league average run prevention this season (98 ERA+), he’s probably going to be a bargain the next three years and good enough to exercise those two options.


New York showed with Aroldis Chapman last winter that they are willing to take on a potential train wreck if he is talented enough. This would also be reminiscent of the Nathan Eovaldi acquisition, another flamethrower whose results don’t match his stuff.


While Ventura isn’t going to come cheap, he also probably wouldn’t cost New York any of their Top 100 guys. Just as a pure spitball, I’ll say something like Chad GreenDustin Fowler, and Jordan Montgomery could get it done. The Royals probably want close to big league ready pieces.


And prospect huggers, remember that as great as Green was, he’s probably a reliever long-term, while Montgomery’s best case scenario as a starter is the “down year” Ventura just had as a league average starter.




Always proud to be a Yankee fan.

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