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Off-Season: Preparing To Be 2020 World Series' Champions
1 year ago  ::  Dec 04, 2019 - 10:50AM #371
Posts: 12,354

Right-hander Zack Wheeler has become popular on the open market, but it doesn’t appear the longtime Met will be sticking in New York. Although the Yankees have shown interest in the hard-throwing Wheeler, they seemingly aren’t willing to hand him a nine-figure contract, Andy Martino of SNY tweets. Signs are pointing to the 29-year-old Wheeler landing a contract worth at least $100MM, so if the Yankees don’t want to go there, they’ll likely have to look elsewhere for starting help.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 04, 2019 - 10:51AM #372
Posts: 12,354

The Yankees are clearly a legitimate player for top free agent Gerrit Cole, though agent Scott Boras is certain to demand that the New York powerhouse pay a premium to woo the West Coast native. Yesterday’s initial sit-down went well, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter), though it’s hard to divine much of real import given that the sides didn’t talk cold hard cash. Sources tell Heyman that “the dollars will be there,” which seems to be an indication that the Yankees are fully prepared to make Cole the richest pitcher ever to play the game. But whether the club will cast its valuations aside in a full-blown bidding war, should one break out, remains to be seen.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 04, 2019 - 10:55AM #373
Posts: 12,354

The Yankees can have both Blake Treinen and Dellin Betances

Now that Oakland has decided to non-tender Blake Treinen, the Bombers should make a bold play.

The Yankees have made a priority of putting together a super bullpen in recent seasons. Right now, hurlers such as Aroldis ChapmanTommy KahnleChad GreenAdam Ottavino, and Zack Britton are employed by the team and ready to roll in 2020. However, that relief corps could plausibly be even better.

Dellin Betances, who missed most of this season with lat and shoulder issues and tore his Achilles in his first game back from the former injuries, is now a free agent. We’ve written before that it shouldn’t be hard for the Yankees to bring back Betances at least for the short term, with the right-hander unlikely to secure a long-term deal after his unfortunately timed injuries.

Having Betances, who will reportedly be ready in time for spring training, back would provide another lethal weapon to that uber bullpen. But why stop there?

A new, enticing free agent

The non-tender deadline passed on Monday, and several interesting names have now joined the free agent pool. One of them is Blake Treinen, who was let go by the Oakland Athletics after he registered an ugly 4.91 ERA (5.14 FIP) in 58.2 innings this season.

However, it should be pointed out that Treinen had one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory in 2018, running a 0.78 ERA and 1.82 FIP in 80.1 frames. That year he had a 11.20 K/9 and only a 2.35 BB/9. He accrued 3.6 fWAR, which is mind-boggling for a reliever. Only 27.7 percent of the batted balls against him were of the hard variety.

2019 wasn’t as kind. He was shut down in September with a stress reaction in his back and also missed a little under two weeks in June with a right shoulder strain. Right elbow discomfort also bothered in May.

That up-and-down season can make it easy to forget just how dominant can be. Check out his ridiculous Statcast profile from 2018:

Contrast those percentiles with Treinen’s profile in 2019:

His control deteriorated quite a bit in 2019, jumping from 2.35 BB/9 in 2018 to 5.68 this year. He was also victimized by the long ball, as he ran a 1.38 HR/9, while his previous career high was the 0.71 he registered in 2017.

Treinen projected to make something in the neighborhood of $8 million via salary arbitration, but is now free to look for a team, and won’t be lacking suitors. The Yankees should be among those, because it doesn’t have to be a matter of one or the other between Treinen and Betances. There is room for two more hard-throwing right-handers!

It isn’t completely clear what kind of market each pitcher will have, but it is certain that neither will require a huge commitment. And if the Yankees can have both, then why not entertain the idea? We know Treinen has the tools to succeed and we also know that he had to deal with several injuries in 2019. There is serious bounceback potential here.

Here is both hurlers’ performance in 2017 and 2018:

Betances and Treinen, 2017 and 2018

Pitcher/yearERAFIPK/9BB/9xwOBAEVBarrel %
Betances 2017 2.87 3.22 15.08 6.64 0.266 84.1 4.7
Treinen 2017 3.93 3.42 8.8 2.97 0.313 86.4 3.6
Betances 2018 2.7 2.47 15.53 3.51 0.238 84.7 4
Treinen 2018 0.78 1.82 11.2 2.35 0.236 86.2 2.1

Look at Betances’ insane K/9 numbers and Treinen’s impressive xwOBA and minuscule barrel percentage in 2018, both in the 99th percentile. Now imagine having both of them in your team’s bullpen. Those are elite seasons right there, and we are only a year removed from them! It is well within the realm of possibility that both Treinen and Betances will at least resemble their primes next season, given they are essentially still in their primes.

Think about this: if the Yankees badly need a strikeout, Betances can make an appearance to put out the fire. If they want to increase the odds of a double play-inducing ground ball, they could call Treinen and his career 2.55 GB/FB. Treinen also has some swing and miss to his game. He could be something similar to a right-handed version of Zack Britton.

Sure, the Yankees bullpen is already elite with Ottavino, Green, Chapman, Britton, and Kahnle. Add Betances and Treinen to that list and it would be something to behold, provided that the latter can have a bounceback season. At 31-years-old, it remains a legitimate possibility.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 04, 2019 - 11:01AM #374
Posts: 12,354

Why Yankees Fans Should Not Get Too Excited About Meetings with Cole and Strasburg

The Yankees are expected to meet with the top two starting pitchers on the market in the next couple of days. Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are expected to make visits with Brian Cashman in California to discuss possible contracts with the Yanks. However, these meetings are probably not going to go the way fans will want them to.

 Last off-season, Patrick Corbin paid a visit to Yankee Stadium to sit down with management to discuss a contract. Rumors were flying around that the Yankees were more than likely going to sign the southpaw for a few reasons. First, he was born and raised around the Syracuse area and was a lifelong Yankee fan. Second, the Yankees were very interested in his services. It seemed almost too good to be true. It seemed that there was no way he was signing with any other team. Yet, on December 7, the Nationals announced they had signed Corbin to a six-year pact worth $140 million. Many Yankees fans, including myself, were absolutely shocked. There was no way that Corbin could have turned the Yankees down… unless his meeting with the Yankees was to drive his price up in the free agent market. 

Even though pitchers like Cole and Strasburg would more than likely love to pitch for an organization like the Yankees, they might each have other priorities as well. Cole might decide that he wants to pitch close to home in Los Angeles for either the Angels or the Dodgers and wants the Angels to fork over as much money as they can. After all, they have said that they will do whatever it takes to sign Cole. Strasburg is in the same boat. The Nationals will still have a solid starting pitching core if he were to leave, but I believe that Strasburg has his mind set in Washington D.C. The Nationals are more concerned about losing Strasburg than they are Anthony Rendon, so Strasburg will be sure to use this to his advantage and drive his price up via a meeting with the Yankees. Even though he has yet to schedule a meeting with the Nationals, this will more than likely happen after the meeting with the Yankees. 

I think, in order for the Yankees to land Cole it might simply mean outbidding the Angels. My prediction is that if Cole receives eight years or more from the Angels, he will take it. This even means that if a team offers a few more million dollars per year for seven or less years, he will still take the Angels’ offer. If the Yankees want to add Cole to the rotation, they will have to offer at least seven years with at least five or six million dollars more per season than the Angels. 

As for Strasburg, I do not even see him pitching for the Yankees unless the Nationals make him an offer so bad that he has to refuse. It does not guarantee he will pitch for the Nationals, but his odds of re-signing with them are high. 

These two names have been linked to the Yankees since the start of the free agency period. Even though I would love to see one or both of these pitchers in the starting rotation, to me, it does not seem likely to happen.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 04, 2019 - 11:38AM #375
Posts: 6,881

Dec 3, 2019 -- 4:05PM, newinn wrote:

Somewhere they need to get some lefty bats in that lineup. More and more I'me starting to believe Andujar will be traded. I wanted them to trade him 2 years ago when he had a tremendous year and Drury to take over third. I'm betting they could have gotten a very good starter if they packaged him back then

Agreed, I guess so far the lefty bats will be Ford and maybe Gardner if he re-signs. It would be nice if the Yankees could get a lefty contact gap hitter who can play LF.

I read the Rangers might be interested in Andujar. Maybe the Yanks can get Joey Gallo back in some kind of trade. He bats left and can play LF, 3B, and 1B, but he will never be confused with being a contact hitter. lol

Gallo is only 26 years old and he strikesout a lot, but I can't help to wonder what kind of RBI and HR numbers he might put up playing 81 home games in Yankee Stadium with it's short porch. 

1 year ago  ::  Dec 04, 2019 - 5:02PM #376
Posts: 10,789

Dec 4, 2019 -- 11:38AM, Max wrote:

Dec 3, 2019 -- 4:05PM, newinn wrote:

Somewhere they need to get some lefty bats in that lineup. More and more I'me starting to believe Andujar will be traded. I wanted them to trade him 2 years ago when he had a tremendous year and Drury to take over third. I'm betting they could have gotten a very good starter if they packaged him back then

Agreed, I guess so far the lefty bats will be Ford and maybe Gardner if he re-signs. It would be nice if the Yankees could get a lefty contact gap hitter who can play LF.

I read the Rangers might be interested in Andujar. Maybe the Yanks can get Joey Gallo back in some kind of trade. He bats left and can play LF, 3B, and 1B, but he will never be confused with being a contact hitter. lol

Gallo is only 26 years old and he strikesout a lot, but I can't help to wonder what kind of RBI and HR numbers he might put up playing 81 home games in Yankee Stadium with it's short porch. 

We already have too many strike out hitters... I'm not sure I want to move Andujar, I think he's a player that could fit into the Yankee program for many a year...

1 year ago  ::  Dec 05, 2019 - 10:39AM #377
Posts: 12,354

New York Daily News | Bradford William Davis: If you haven’t heard, the Yankees met with Gerrit Cole, and felt it went well. The two sides reportedly didn’t discuss money, but the Yankees insist they will pony up for Cole. Davis likens the Yankees’ pursuit of Cole with their push to sign CC Sabathia 11 years ago. Sabathia has noted himself on the R2C2 podcast that if the Yankees put the money on the table for Cole, it would be hard for the right-hander to pass it up. | Brian Fonseca: Some interesting news here, as the Yankees reportedly will become the first MLB team to allow fans without a cable subscription to stream select games next season. Given that it’s always very difficult for in-market fans to stream local games due to blackout restrictions, this seems like a positive development. Still, we’re probably a long ways off from all games becoming available to all customers, regardless of whether they have cable.

ESPN: The Phillies could prove to be something of a thorn in the Yankees’ side this winter. Philadelphia inked a five-year contract worth $118 million with Zack Wheeler, removing a backup pitching option should the Yankees come up empty with Cole and Strasburg. They’ve also consistently been linked to Didi Gregorius, which makes sense given Joe Girardi’s status as new manager in Philly.

Less germane to the Yankees but still of note was the Braves’ signing of Cole Hamels to a one-year, $18 million pact. Hamels didn’t seem a likely target for the Bombers, but his signing is just one more indication that this winter might move quicker than the past two years.

As the first MLB team to stream games on Amazon, the Yankees will need a marquee pitcher next year

1 year ago  ::  Dec 05, 2019 - 10:42AM #378
Posts: 12,354

Three non-tender free agents for the Yankees to consider

The Yankees could kick the tires on these three players who were recently non-tendered by their former teams

The Yankees decided to tender contracts to everyone on their 40-man roster before the December 2 deadline, but the same can’t be said for many other MLB teams. A handful of former stars or recently serviceable players were cast off by their teams, adding to the list of free agents the Yankees front office will look at to improve their roster for the 2020 season. Here are three non-tendered players who could land on the Yankees’ radar in the coming days, weeks, or months.

Kevin Gausman

Gausman, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, posted a horrible 5.72 ERA last season, but there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about his future. Gausman is still only 28 years old, and he posted his highest career K/9 (10.03) and lowest xFIP since 2016 last season.

He gave up on his historically hittable slider in 2019 and increased the usage of his splitter. According to Statcast, opponents scorched his fastball to the tune of a .550 SLG, but posted a measly .203 xBA against his splitter, giving him a potentially dangerous offering if he can locate his fastball more effectively moving forward.

Gausman also showed some promise as a relief pitcher, a transition that’s unlocked the potential of many failed starters with impressive stuff (see Zack Britton and Andrew Miller) in the past. In 14 games as a reliever, Gausman registered a 3.10 ERA and a 12.0 K/9. It seems like every season now at least one former starter blossoms in a relief role, and Gausman could be that breakout reliever in 2020.

Jose Peraza

The Yankees don’t have many holes, but if they lose Didi Gregorius, they’ll have to replace both him and Aaron Hicks on the roster. They could potentially kill two birds with one stone by signing Peraza, who spent significant time at shortstop, second base, and left field in 2019.

Peraza struggled mightily last season, but in 2018 he batted .288 with 14 home runs and a 2.6 WAR. He consistently ranks towards the bottom of the league in terms of exit velocity, but he has bat-to-ball skills and speed (23 steals in 2017 and 2018) that make him an interesting utility option for a team that might be able to use him in multiple roles.

John Ryan Murphy

How about a reunion? The Yankees traded Murphy for Hicks after the 2015 season and he’s bounced around since, failing to produce enough offensively to stick with one team. He’s played for the TwinsDiamondbacks, and Braves over the course of the past four seasons, and he’s kicked around the minor leagues at every stop. If the Yankees lose Austin Romine as a free agent, however, they’ll be left with only Kyle Higashioka to back up Gary Sanchez, and he’s out of minor league options.

The Yankees should be in the market for at least one catcher with major league experience on a minor-league deal. The 28-year-old former Yankee could fit the bill for this type of deal. Murphy has really scuffled offensively since leaving New York, albeit with sporadic playing time. However, the former second-round pick batted .280 in 99 games for New York in 2014 and 2015 as a young catcher, so there’s a chance the team that drafted him would entertain the idea of bringing him back as an emergency replacement for Sanchez or Higashioka.

1 year ago  ::  Dec 05, 2019 - 10:43AM #379
Posts: 12,354

Buster Olney

In the meetings with the mega free agents, teams identify ways to make the player feel most comfortable -- and along those lines, Andy Pettitte was part of the Yankees' contingent that sat down with Gerrit Cole. A very familiar face in HOU, where Cole pitched the last two years.
1 year ago  ::  Dec 05, 2019 - 10:45AM #380
Posts: 12,354

Contrast of Two Steinbrenner Styles

I recently saw the YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits interview of Hal Steinbrenner, and was surprised to hear the following.

“Look, we enter every October with the mindset of winning the championship and we failed to do that”. “There’s no way to sugarcoat that and we’re all disappointed for the fans’ sake”.

“We had some good games in there, had a great division series; but, in the end, in October, we failed”.

“That does not mean the season, of course, was a failure”.

Regardless of whether or not I think it was a failure, or any of the talking heads on radio and TV feel that way isn’t important. The fact that the owner feels that way is what struck me.

Since Hal’s father, George bought the team in 1973 until his retirement in 2007, there had been one single goal each year; win the World Series. Short of that, players got traded, General Managers, Managers and Coaches got fired, or re assigned, at a ridiculous rate.

The win now at all costs attitude was great, but the other side of George left a lot to be desired.

Back in those days, I always wanted them to be more patient; avoiding the Willie McGee, Jay Buhner, Fred McGriff or Doug Drabek type trades and build from within, with smart trades and free agent signings, as we eventually saw when Gene Michael took over as George was hit with a lifetime ban over the Howie Spira / Dave Winfield fiasco.

At that point in time, I think most Yankee fans rejoiced at the ban.

It’s funny how history seems to rewrite itself. For you readers out there that do not remember the 1979 through 1991 period (Buck Showalter began the turnaround in 1992), it was a very frustrating time, many bad moves, trades, free agent signings, and a managerial carousel.

There were some good teams for sure, 1985 was an excellent team that won 97 games, 1983 was also a very good team, but not many others, and we had to watch ex-Yankees develop and thrive on other teams.

Hal’s Father George, had no patience, and nothing short of winning a World Series was considered a success. I for one, was not a fan of his. But as a fan of the team, you always knew he would not accept losing, under any circumstance and would do anything to win. However, he was extremely impetuous.

As an example, in 1980, after a long and loyal career as a Yankee coach, Dick Howser managed the Yankees to 103 regular-season victories. The Royals swept the Yankees, 3-0 in the American League Championship Series, and George over reacted and fired Howser.

A year Later Bob Lemon took the Yankees to the 1981 World Series, they lost, and George issued an apology to the fans. George later promised Lemon that he would manage the full season in 1982, and then fired him a few weeks into the 1982 season.

He also fired Yogi Berra in 1985 after 14 games.

Now, it’s almost like that entire period never happened.

When George is mentioned these days on Radio and TV coverage, none of that is mentioned, and on the YES Network, we see his plaque in Monument Park.

But to be fair, he also did a lot of good things for people, ex-players, coaches and employees and he could make fun of himself, as we saw on Saturday Night Live, Miller Light commercials, and even Seinfeld was ok with him.

He once stated, and I paraphrase, “If you do something good for someone, and more than 2 people know about it, you did it for the wrong reason”.

As we found out years later, he did a lot of good and helpful things for amateur athletes, students, and kids that was never known until recently.

The night the Cincinnati Reds won the 1990 World Series, just so happened to be the night George hosted Saturday Night Live, and in his opening monologue, he congratulated Lou Piniella. A Classy move, considering he fired him two years earlier.

Now, we have his more patient and business-like son, Hal, telling us that 2019 wasn’t a failure.

That depends on what you are measuring failure against.

When your goal in February is to win it all in October, and you fall short of the goal, what is the correct way to describe the season?

Yes, the season had many good moments, and many great stories by the “next man up” crew. But they lost in the end. Period.

George measured failure by not winning World Series trophies, maybe failure in this case is measured by an economic outcome. The Yankees generated significant revenue during 2018 (* according to Statista) of somewhere in the neighborhood of $680 Million. I don’t think that dropped off in 2019. So in that respect, Hal, no it wasn’t a failure to you and the shareholders. But to us fans, that watch and listen every night, it was a failure in my opinion, and I’ll bet George would agree.

Maybe, that mindset is why 2010-2019 was the first decade since the 1910s that the Yankees didn’t get to the World Series, and first decade since the 1980s that they didn’t win a World Series, while their value and revenues sky rocketed.

The management of the team has done a great job to this point building this young core. But, they have also let a few opportunities fly by. For example, there is very little chance in 2017 George would have sat by and watched the Astros get Justin Verlander so he can get under the luxury tax threshold, instead of making every possible effort to win a World Series.

You could probably say the same thing about Gerrit Cole in 2018.

No one is accusing Hal of being cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but he is more penny-wise then his father ever was.

How do you think the Yankees would have done in 2017 -2019 with those two on the staff? There’s no way to be sure, but I would have liked their chances, and they could have had both of them, but it was a financial decision Hal made with Verlander, it wasn’t because they asked for too much in return.

On the flip side, if George was still running the team you could make the argument that either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper would have been a Yankee last year, and I for one was happy neither one wore the pinstripes. And who knows if any of the baby bombers would still be here, or if they would have been traded for retread old veterans?

So it can go both ways, for sure.

Two very different approaches by the two Steinbrenner men.

At the end of the day, what works best? An all-out -- cost means nothing, impetuous approach to win, or a more patient, penny wise, deliberated approach with a diminished level of expectation?

If you’re keeping score, as of 2019 its George 6 Hal 1, so far.

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