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Spring Training Notes: 2018
1 year ago  ::  Feb 23, 2018 - 10:46AM #41
Posts: 32,868

Ken Singleton: This could be start of another Yankees dynasty

By Justin Terranova February 23, 2018 | 4:27am

Ken Singleton Ellen Wallop/YES Network

There was a significant crowd for the Yankees’ first spring-training session this week, and not one of the fans was in Tampa to see Aaron Boone.

Bringing in a first-year manager for a team with World Series expectations normally would be the predominant storyline. But the Yankees are not a normal team, and Boone’s arrival has been overshadowed by the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and his pairing with fellow slugger Aaron Judge.

Adding the reigning National League MVP has pushed the Yankees from contender to American League co-favorite (with the Astros), and if those expectations are not met, Boone will not remain a secondary figure for long.

Boone is going straight from the ESPN booth to the dugout, and longtime YES Network analyst Ken Singleton said there is reason to believe it will be a smooth transition.

“Just running a ballgame is the biggest challenge,” Singleton said of Boone, whose spring-training tenure in the dugout starts Friday afternoon against the Tigers. “And I was impressed with him in the booth because he could see things ahead of time, and that’s what managers have to do over the course of the game. You have to anticipate when to use the right pitcher.

“I am glad the Yankees brought back [pitching coach] Larry Rothschild because he is one of the best in the business. I think that Aaron is going to rely heavily on Larry and Mike Harkey, the bullpen coach. I think handling pitching is the toughest part.”

Singleton’s opinion of the team is a prime example of the expectations the Yankees face. The former slugger compared this team to his Orioles squad that went from just missing the playoffs in 1982 to winning a World Series the following season.

“In my own personal experience through the years, teams that come very close the year before, they are very determined the following season and very tough to deal with,” Singleton said of the Yankees, who lost to the Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS.

“In ’83 we had more injuries and more problems to deal with, but we won the World Series because we were more determined. I think that can apply to the Yankees. When you talk to these guys in the dugout, they all reference that if they don’t win it there’s going to be huge disappointment. They are already pointing toward that, and that’s the way it should be.”

Singleton also sees the similarities between these Yankees and the group Joe Torre inherited in 1996. Much like Torre, who took over for Buck Showalter, Boone will be replacing a successful manager in Joe Girardi. No big deal, Torre just went on to lead the Yankees to four titles in five seasons.

“The Yankees sense they have the type of team now that was like the late ’90s,” Singleton said. “They have a sense they have this kind of ballclub again, and if everything goes right, they can challenge for a title every year.”

Singleton said he believes he already is seeing changes in the way things are being handled as an organization, starting with the decision to keep Goose Gossage out of camp. The Hall of Fame reliever, who is never short on opinions, caused a stir from a distance by verbally attacking general manager Brian Cashman, but the issue largely was kept from Boone.

“I just don’t think the Yankees want any disruptions in this camp, particularly with a new manager on board,” Singelton said. “Perhaps someone like Joe Girardi could have handled it a little bit better because he’s been around a while. With Aaron Boone they want everything to go smoothly.”

1 year ago  ::  Feb 23, 2018 - 10:48AM #42
Posts: 32,868
  • Former big league outfielder Jose Tabata has signed with the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League, the team announced today. Tabata, 29, once looked like a building block for the Pirates after hitting .299/.346/.400 with four homers, 19 steals and terrific outfield defense as a 21-year-old rookie back in 2010. Pittsburgh was bullish enough on the former top prospect that they inked him to a six-year, $15MM contract extension that offseason, but even that modest guarantee proved to be a misstep, as Tabata’s production declined in the coming years. The outfielder went on to hit .267/.333/.369 with diminishing value on the basepaths and in the outfield in 407 games over the next five seasons. He hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2015 and hasn’t performed well in Triple-A in recent seasons, either. He’ll now look to follow in the footsteps of dozens of other big leaguers who have used the independent circuit (the Atlantic League, in particular) as a stepping stone back into affiliated ball.
1 year ago  ::  Feb 23, 2018 - 10:49AM #43
Posts: 32,868

Brandon Drury says he grew up a Yankees fan, calls being in pinstripes ‘a dream come true’ 

TAMPA — The Yankees believe Brandon Drury is capable of more than he’s shown.

Drury does, too.

“I don’t feel like I’ve done anything like I’m capable of the last couple years. They’ve been kind of a grind,” Drury said Thursday after his first spring practice with his new team. “The numbers have been OK, but I don’t think those last two seasons are half the player I am. I truly don’t believe that. But I have to go out and do it.”

Drury was dealt to the Bombers in a three-way deal on Tuesday night. It just so happened to be to his favorite team growing up.

“To come play for the Yankees is a dream come true,” said Drury, who hails from Oregon. “As a little kid, they were the team I watched. To be here is unbelievable.”

Drury and the Yankees have the same aspirations for 2018.

“I want to win a World Series, that’s the goal here and we’ve got the guys to do it,” Drury said. “So to join a group of guys like this, it’s special to me.”

Drury, who had heard rumors of a deal to New York all winter, is looking forward to moving back to third base, where he played the majority of his baseball career before being moved to second in 2017 to accommodate Arizona’s emerging star, Jake Lamb. Brian Cashman said on Wednesday that Drury is the favorite to win the starting job at third, but he’s also got to take it.

“That’s my natural position,” said Drury, who is capable of playing a variety of positions. “It’s what I played throughout the minor-leagues. They moved me to second base to get at-bats there. It was my first time playing a full season there, and it was alright. I’m much more happy at third.”

Drury described his playing style.

“I’m coming after you. I’m here to win. I’m going to be prepared every single day, and I’m going to give it all I got to help this team win a championship,” he said.

Drury has hit 29 homers the last two seasons combined, but worked with hitting gurus Craig Wallenbrock and Robert Van Scoyoc this offseason out in Los Angeles on trying to generate more power through the air.

Drury’s former teammate J.D. Martinez, now with the Red Sox, has also worked with the duo.

With added strength and better hitting mechanics, Drury is hoping to turn 10-15 of the 37 doubles he hit in 2017 into homers.

Team officials believe his right-centerfield approach is built for Yankee Stadium. Drury said there are plans to talk with Yankees analytics staffers in the coming days about his hitting approach.

Drury, who is under team control for the next four seasons, said his new teammates have been welcoming, and he feels at home after just a day in Tampa.

Now, he’s going to be hitting in the same lineup as Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.

“I think everybody was like, ‘Wow, that’s the best lineup in baseball, easy,’” Drury said.

1 year ago  ::  Feb 23, 2018 - 10:51AM #44
Posts: 32,868

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: The Yankees first Grapefruit League game is later this afternoon. They’ll face the Tigers at 1:05pm Good Time Zone (EDT) and the game will be broadcast on MLB.tv and on YES. What’s exciting is today’s game will feature the Yankee debut of Giancarlo Stanton, who is now a Yankee in case you didn’t know.

FanGraphs | Jeff Sullivan: The Yankees led the majors in home runs last year with 241, so they went ahead and added Giancarlo Stanton. With him and a full season from Greg Bird, the Yankees are now projected to break the team home run record of 264 with 269. Funny enough, not only are the Yankees projected to break the record, the Orioles are as well with 267.

New York Daily News | Mike MazzeoBrandon Drury, who is the favorite to win the third base job this year, is excited to be with the Yankees. He said he grew up watching and rooting for the Yankees and Derek Jeter, though he did not win the Little League World Series and does not have a picture with Jeter. He said he wants to win a World Series and he’s excited to return back to third base where he’s most comfortable.

New York Daily News | John Harper: When news broke that the Yankees they acquired Drury, the reaction was average. It wasn’t the most exciting move, nor was it an awful move, especially considering what the Yankees gave up. Drury’s numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but they aren’t terrible either. Matt Provenzano will have more on this later, but the Yankees see potential for improvement in Drury and think “there’s there’s a lot more that can be tapped into.”

1 year ago  ::  Feb 23, 2018 - 10:52AM #45
Posts: 32,868
1 year ago  ::  Feb 23, 2018 - 10:54AM #46
Posts: 32,868
1 year ago  ::  Feb 23, 2018 - 6:34PM #47
Posts: 32,868

February 23rd Camp Notes

The Yankees played and won their first Grapefruit League game this afternoon. Giancarlo Stanton went 0-for-1 with a walk and a double play in his first game in pinstripes. Greg Bird, Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, and Miguel Andujar all went 0-for-2. Busts. All of ’em. Gleyber said he felt good after the game, his first since having Tommy John surgery last June. He’s growing more comfortable at second base.

Luis Cessa started the game and allowed one run in his two innings on the mound. He struck out two. Ben Heller struck out three in his two scoreless innings before various minor league pitchers took over. Tyler Wade went 2-for-2 off the bench and non-roster catcher Jorge Saez had the game’s big two-run single. Good to have Yankees baseball back. Here are the box score and video highlights, and here’s the rest of the day’s news from Tampa:

  • Aaron Boone described the second base job as “wide open,” and mentioned Torres, Wade, Danny Espinosa, and Jace Peterson as candidates. “I’d say there’s a lot of guys in that mix. It’s one of those spots that will become clearer as camp unfolds and hopefully by the end it will be clear to everyone,” said Boone. [Erik Boland]
  • The Yankees will be in Bradenton tomorrow to take on the Pirates. The game will not be televised. Andujar, Wade, Clint Frazier, Estevan Florial, Brandon Drury, Domingo German, and Dillon Tate are among those scheduled to make the trip. [Brendan Kuty]
  • Neither Brett Gardner nor Gary Sanchez will play this weekend. They are tentatively scheduled to make their spring debuts Monday. Boone indicated the team will ease both players into things. Gary because he’s been in camp for a while already, Gardner because he’s older and they don’t want to overload him. [Boland]
  • Brian Cashman, Jim Hendry, Mike Harkey, and new third base coach Phil Nevin will be away from the Yankees this weekend. They’ll be in San Diego to attend funeral services for the late Kevin Towers. Towers, who spent a year in the Yankees front office, lost his battle with cancer earlier this month. [George King]
1 year ago  ::  Feb 24, 2018 - 10:47AM #48
Posts: 32,868

Saturday Links: Search for Pitching, Martinez, Giese, Daley

The Yankees continue their Grapefruit League season this afternoon with a road game against the Pirates, but, sadly, it will not be televised. Tomorrow’s game will be televised, however, so that’s cool. Anyway, here are some links to check out on the first weekend with baseball in 2018.

Yankees still looking for pitching

Not surprisingly, Brian Cashman confirmed earlier this week that the Yankees remain in the market for pitching. They addressed their infield with the Brandon Drury trade — they did that without spending any finite luxury tax plan dollars — so the only item left on the offseason shopping list is pitching depth. Here’s what Cashman said, via Bryan Hoch:

“We are trying to attack places that are potential weaknesses or are weaknesses,” Cashman said. “I think our pitching side is pretty strong and obviously we want it to stay healthy, but we will evaluate the pitching available regardless. It’s been our stated goal to add a starter. There’s a reason we haven’t done it and it isn’t because we don’t have an interest.”

The Yankees still have $22M to spend under the luxury tax threshold, which is a nice chunk of change even when you remove the $10M they’re said to be setting aside for midseason additions. I feel like, with each passing day, it is more and more likely the Yankees will jump in to sign either Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn. It would cost two draft picks and $1M in international bonus money to sign either guy, but at some point it’ll make sense to jump in. Each day we’re inching closer to that point.

Martinez cleared to sign

Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez has been cleared to sign with MLB teams effective March 6th, reports Ben Badler. Martinez defected in November and Badler says the Yankees are among the favorites to sign him. The Rangers and Marlins are also in the mix. Here’s a quick little scouting report from Badler:

While Martinez’s first assignment will depend on several factors, his talent level is commensurate with a player in high Class A or Double-A. At around 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Martinez has a good combination of power and speed from the left side. He batted .333/.469/.498 in 264 plate appearances during his final season in Cuba, with 52 walks, 30 strikeouts and 24 stolen bases in 29 attempts.

The Yankees have spent most of their $3.5M in leftover Shohei Ohtani money — most of that went to Raimfer Salinas and Antonio Cabello — and Badler says it’s possible the 21-year-old Martinez will wait until the 2018-19 international signing period begins on July 2nd to sign. The Rangers, for what it’s worth, traded for some international bonus money earlier this week, and Jesse Sanchez calls them the favorites to sign Martinez. Sounds like they’re going to make a run at him during the current signing period, while the Yankees (and Marlins) are cash-strapped.

Promotions for Giese, Daley

The Yankees have promoted assistant pro scouting director Dan Giese to pro scouting director, reports Brendan Kuty. Kevin Reese, the former pro scouting director, was promoted to senior director of player development back in November. He now oversees the farm system. Also, Matt Daley was promoted to assistant pro scouting director to replace Giese. Both Giese and Daley pitched briefly for the Yankees before joining the team as scouts. They’ve both gradually worked their way up the ladder.

A few weeks ago the Yankees hired former Marlins executive Marc DelPiano for a pro scouting role, and I thought maybe he’d replace Reese, but nope. It’s Giese. The Yankees tend to promote from within for front office jobs and that is exactly what happened here. I’m guessing DelPiano is fairly high up in the pro scouting chain of command given his resume though. The pro scouting department, which didn’t even exist until 2005, is tasked with keeping tabs on players in MLB and the minors. The department helped dig up Didi Gregorius and Chad Green, among many others.

1 year ago  ::  Feb 24, 2018 - 10:49AM #49
Posts: 32,868

Today's game: Yankees at Pirates, 1:05 p.m.

The Yankees continue Grapefruit League play against the Pirates on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. at McKechnie Field.

Click here to follow via SNY Gameday

Tyler Wade, 2B Josh Harrison, 2B
Brandon Drury, 3B Gregory Polanco, RF
Tyler Austin, 1B Sterling Marte, CF
Clint Frazier, LF David Freese, 3B
Danny Espinosa, DH Jordy Mercer, SS
Ronald Torreyes, SS Sean Rodriguez, LF
Estevan Florial, CF Bryce Brentz, DH
Erik Kratz, C Erik Wood, 1B
Shane Robinson, RF Ryan Lavarnway, C

Who is starting for the Yankees?

RHP Domingo German, who went 7-2 with a 2.83 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) with Double-A Trenton in 2017.

Who is starting for the Pirates?

RHP Nick Kingham, who went 9-6 with a 4.13 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) with Triple-A Indianapolis in 2017.

Next up

The Yankees play the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday. Jordan Montogomery is scheduled to start.

1 year ago  ::  Feb 24, 2018 - 10:51AM #50
Posts: 32,868

Giancarlo Stanton after one spring training game with Yankees: ‘This is better’ than playing with Marlins

TAMPA — Giancarlo Stanton didn’t drill the scoreboard like Aaron Judge did in the Yankees’ spring training opener last season.

But the newest Bomber was glad to debut with his new team after so many losing years in Miami.

“This is better,” Stanton replied when asked to compare previous spring openers with the Marlins. “Just more exciting, I’d say. It’s a spring game, but I can’t wait to see what we can do. That would be the difference.”

Stanton heard applause from the sellout crowd when he was introduced. Hitting second and playing right field, he drew an eight-pitch walk in his first at-bat and grounded into a 4-3 double play with two on and nobody out in his second and final AB.

“It was just trying to get my timing out there,” said Stanton, who played four innings. “It was good. It was a good day.”

Asked if he had any nerves, the reigning NL MVP responded: “No. Once I get in-between the lines, I’m just ready to go. But it’s definitely a cool anticipation of something new and exciting.”

Asked what he wanted to accomplish in camp, Stanton responded: “Being completely ready, feeling how I would when I’m grooving in a season. It’s a little bit of everything, timing, sight.” Stanton said he is getting well acclimated in the clubhouse. “All the guys are awesome, easy to mesh with, easy to talk to, easy to work with. So, it’s been great.”

Brandon Drury may be the favorite at third, but according to Aaron Boone, there’s no favorite at second.

“To a degree, wide-open I would say,” Boone said. “We have some talented guys.”

Gleyber Torres is expected to get a chance at second — whether that’s Opening Day or later in the year. The 21-year-old top prospect played his first game since suffering a season-ending injury and undergoing Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow back in mid-June. Torres wore a shirt with agent David Falk’s famous fax line regarding Michael Jordan’s return to the NBA “I’m Back” on it, but said he just liked how it looked.

"Last year was last year," Austin Romine said about seeing Miguel Cabrera in the spring training opener.

Torres went 0-for-2 at the plate and avoided a scare when he had the wind knocked out of him while nearly making a diving play early on at second base.

“I feel real happy, excited,” Torres said. “My focus is to play hard, stay focused and try to help my team win and do my job. I’m not thinking about winning the job or anything like that.”

Austin Romine and Miguel Cabrera appeared to chat for a bit before Cabrera’s first-inning at-bat with Romine behind the plate. Remember, those two got into it during the team’s brawl with the Tigers last season. But all appeared peaceful on Friday.

“I’m not going to talk about that. That was last year,” Romine said before the game. “Last year was last year. I’d like to turn the page and move on and focus on this year.”

Brandon Drury will be one of the only regulars traveling to Bradenton for Saturday’s road game against the Pirates, as he gets set to make his spring debut with the Yankees following Tuesday’s trade. Top prospect Estevan Florial will also make the trip. … Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner are expected to make their spring debuts on Monday. … The Yankees honored victims and all those affected by last week’s tragedy in Parkland, Fla. by wearing the caps of the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School Eagles baseball team during batting practice and the game.

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