WestCoastYankees-The Blog

WestCoastYankees-The Blog

WestCoastYankees-The Blog

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Could Yankees Look To Waiver-Wire Deals To Offset Injuries?

Remember this guy? Photo Credit: nytimes.com
Now that the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline has passed, the Yankees are relying heavily on their young minor league pitching, along with veterans currently on the roster to keep them atop the American League Eastern division. Michael Pineda is currently on the disabled list with a forearm strain, one that has been compared to the same injury that closer Andrew Miller suffered earlier in the season--which cost him a full month of action. Don't expect to see Big Mike back until the start of September given his track record of slow rehabs and recovery history.

The same day that Pineda went on the DL, it was reported that starting pitcher Ivan Nova, who is returning nicely from Tommy John surgery, was left one of his recent starts citing a tired arm. Those fears were averted for now, as Nova pitched a solid ballgame on Sunday, August 2nd against the White Sox, going six innings, and allowing only one earned run to get the win. The Yankees will have to keep an eye on Nova for the remainder of the season, to ensure he's available and his arm is rested as the heat of the pennant race continues to get hotter, with Toronto making a handful of moves to try and get back into the race.

New York opens a series with last place Boston tonight, and tomorrow is the night every Yankees' fan has been waiting for, as Luis Severino will make his big league debut in the Bronx. With Severino's promotion, Nova avoiding missing any time, and Masahiro Tanaka appearing to be healthy, the Yankees still have some question marks with their starting rotation. Let's face it, CC Sabathia is never going to be a front-of-the-rotation starter ever again, and he could be the highest paid fifth starter in big league history. Bryan Mitchell made a spot start on Saturday, giving up four runs in four innings of work. Not really what Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi were looking for in terms of production from a young arm.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Yankees Stand Pat...Or Did They?

Mandatory Credit: mlb.com
The July 31st non-waiver trading deadline came and went for the New York Yankees. General Manager Brian Cashman told everyone that would listen that he was satisfied with his current roster, and that we the fans, media, and such, shouldn't expect a big move unless he felt comfortable making the deal. There were rumors of Cole Hamels (Rangers), David Price (Blue Jays) and even Craig Kimbrel (Padres). The one move, which I'm still curious about, was Dustin Ackley from the Mariners for a pair of minor leaguers. Everyone is jumping on the Blue Jays bandwagon now, after they were able to acquire Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. But you know what deal they made that I like best? The deal with Seattle to acquire reliever Mark Lowe. He stabilizes the bullpen. Shrewd move indeed.

But what about the Yankees? If you perused social media, those in Yankeeland were ready to hang Brian Cashman by his toes for standing pat. For not pulling the trigger and bringing in the sexy name that everyone believed the Yankees needed. It was announced mid-afternoon on Friday however, that Cashman was smart enough to realize that when you have a young, dominant power arm sitting at Triple-A Scranton, and your team needs an injection of youth and health, that call should've been an automatic. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Mr. Luis Severino.

Scouts have compared Severino's stuff and frame to that of recently elected Hall of Fame pitcher, Pedro Martinez. The Yankees would only be so lucky. Severino, along with Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and Jorge Mateo, were the reasons specifically, why Hamels and/or Price did not end up in the Bronx. Be excited Yankees' fans! The team is in first place, they've promoted the first of their young studs to the big club, and didn't part with any of the future for the sake of the present.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Deadline Friday: What Can The Yankees Do?

Mandatory Credit: cbssports.com
So with less than a full day remaining until the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trading deadline, the Yankees have made exactly one move: acquiring former second overall pick Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez. Flores was the 27th ranked prospect in the farm system, and Ramirez had struggled in a brief audition with the big club. The Yankees have a plethora of minor league outfielders, so losing Flores doesn't bother me too much, but giving up on a reliever who has been known to break the 100 mph plateau on the jugs gun because he's still figuring out his control? That's the head scratcher. It would be one thing if Ramirez was packaged with a couple other prospects for a player of need that could contribute, but Dustin Ackley? Are you kidding me?

Maybe I'm wrong about Ackley. Perhaps Brian Cashman and the powers that be, believe someone within the Yankees organization can fix whatever is wrong with his swing, and return Ackley, now 27 years old, to his former 1st round pick status. I'm not buying it, but I did chat with Baseball Magazine associate editor and former editor of Fansided's Sodo Mojo-the Mariners site in the network about his thoughts on the trade, Dan Hughes. He reached out to me shortly after the trade, and believe as he put it: "Oh no sir, you just got yourself a future All-Star." I wasn't quite buying it. So I did a little digging, and my assumptions were correct. After a solid rookie campaign in 2011, where he hit .273 with 6 home runs and 36 runs driven in, he posted seasons of .226, .253, and .245, respectively. Ackley's failures at the plate led to a position change to the outfield, and the Mariners' pursuit of former Yankees' second baseman, Robinson Cano.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

One Day Out and Options Getting Thinner For Yankees

Mandatory Credit: cbssports.com
I know, it's crazy, two posts in the same week! Go figure, but as I stated in my last post, the trading deadline is like Christmastime for me each summer. This year especially. Over the past couple of weeks, I've watched more big league baseball than I had since spring training. That's what coaching t-ball and legion ball will do to a guy. Anyway, my goal is two post a couple of times per week for the remainder of the season, and well into the off-season. I'll let you know how that plan goes, but thanks for sticking with me as I come and go from the blogosphere.

Well, here we are. It's Thursday, a day-plus until the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trading deadline expires, and plenty of deals have been made. The Rockies opened with a bang by dealing Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays for a couple of minor leaguers. The last time I checked in, I referenced the idea of my former cohort, Jason Evans, when he believed that Marlins' pitcher Mat Latos would be an option for the Yankees moving forward. Nix that idea, as the Dodgers swooped in and got not only Latos, but right-handed first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse for the stretch drive.

As much as I like Cole Hamels, the Phillies were simply asking for far too much in Luis Severino AND Aaron Judge. I'd rather keep the next Giancarlo Stanton in the system, and the next ace of this staff under team control. Hell, the way Chris Capuano crapped the bed Monday night in Arlington, the question should be why the 6-0 at Triple-A Severino isn't in the Bronx already? But that's for another day when I feel like going nutso on Brian Cashman. Don't worry, it's coming, but for now, we'll examine the Yankees' remaining options as the hours tick away on another crazy trading deadline.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weighing In As The Deadline Nears...

One of the nice things about being a solo pilot on your own blog, is that you can come and go as your please, choose to write, or take some time off. When I originally decided to leave my friends at Fansided's Yanks Go Yard and Friars On Base, it was with the intention of writing on this blog once or twice per week, and to launch my dream and new venture, Baseball Magazine. Instead of that, I found myself waist-deep coaching my own children at the t-ball level and a great group of teenagers at the American Legion level.

So writing took a back seat...for quite a long time. T-ball finished in June, and legion completed their season just last week. For once, I've been able to sit down and actually watch big league baseball. Something I have taken for granted for far too long. Not to mention I've also been studying and preparing to take the FTCE to become a licensed teacher in the state of Florida (3-for-6 as of this writing). I'm surrounded by Colorado Rockies' fans living here in Wyoming, and for the past couple of seasons, I've joke with my friends how well Troy Tulowitzki will look in Yankee pinstripes.

Mandatory Credit: standingosports.com

As of tonight, I got the division correct, just picked the wrong team. I know deep down, my friends who follow the Rockies are saddened to see the face of the franchise sent packing along with the elderly LaTroy Hawkins for the oft-injured Jose Reyes and a pair of minor leaguers. While most probably believe the Rockies are out of their mind, I'm not quite convinced. The Rockies need pitching, and have you noticed who is heating up as we speak? Cargo hit another bomb tonight. Who needs an impact outfield bat AND a shortstop? The Yankees' neighbors in Flushing, Queens. You heard it here first. Before the deadline is over, the Mets get Cargo and a reunion with Reyes, and the Mets give up one of their young gun starters. But, enough about everyone else, what about the Yankees?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Worried About C.C. After One Spring Start? Don't!

Mandatory Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/N.Y. Post

As much as I'd love to think about anything but former New York Yankees' ace C.C. Sabathia, we have to examine his first start of the spring. If you thought he'd come out, get blasted, similar to how he looked last year, no, that wasn't going to happen either. I've said all along Sabathia's issue last year was two-fold: his weight and what was going on between the ears.

Sabathia has gained his weight back, and we have yet to find out if the mental aspect of his game has improved over the 2014 version. I wrote multiple times last spring and once the regular season started, that I felt he rushed back from off-season elbow surgery. I also believed his dramatic weight loss would affect his pitching. Yes and yes. What none of us knew at the time, was that his knee was falling apart slowly, and with each painful delivery he made. The Yankees finally got smart, shut him down, and saved us all a season-long grease fire.

He's back, and he's attempting to prove that last year was the low point of what's been an extremely solid career. Now I'm not here to tell you Sabathia will EVER be a Cy Young-caliber pitcher ever again. That ship has sailed. Do I believe, if he can remain relatively healthy, and gain back the confidence he lost last year, along with making the essential adjustments of transitioning from a thrower to a pitcher, that he can be a serviceable big league starter, then the answer is yes. If he can bounce back this season, and the Yankees' offense can score runs in 2015, with that bullpen, Sabathia has 12-to-14-win potential. But everything must go right.

During the first inning of Tuesday's spring debut versus the Toronto Blue Jays, he looked solid. A strikeout sandwiched by a pair of ground outs, and Sabathia seemed to be just fine. THEN, the second inning came. He left too many pitches in the zone, his velocity was down, a pair of extra-base hits along with two singles, and he looked like he did in 2014...lost. What's the difference? Sabathia appeared to be "working" on some things. Location, in and out, up and down, and yes, some good wood found the baseball. It's nothing to fret about just yet. It's a typical spring start for a seasoned veteran who isn't looking to win the Cy Young in his spring debut. Yankees fans...give it some time.

Now for the bonehead of the week. Yes, I'm speaking of former Yankees' closer David Robertson. You know, he reminds me of those people, that are in a solid relationship, the relationship ends, they claim to be just fine, and that they're better off without their partner, but cannot let it go. They stalk their former partner on Facebook, drive by their house, and make them the center of every conversation no matter who is listening, yet keep their "I'm better off without them" game face on. Dude, we know you're feelings are hurt that the Bombers didn't even make you an offer to keep you.

After the build-up of having to replace someone that is irreplaceable in Mariano Rivera, and after putting up a solid, but not spectacular season in his lone season as the closer, there is no doubt in my mind that his feelings are hurt. Robertson feels disrespected, and while the Yankees have moved on without as much as Robertson being an afterthought, the scorned ex simply can't let it go. He's made comments prior to his departure for Chicago, and he's back at it, this time discussing of all things, the team's facial hair policy. We are all well aware of the policy. We've seen ex-Yankees in recent years leave New York, and grow it out. That's their choice. When you don the pinstripes, you don't. That was the policy of the old man, and his sons, while far from carbon copies of their father, have at least kept some semblance of their father's legacy alive, albeit an antiquated one.

Instead of pissing and moaning about what the Yankees do, have done, and will continue to do in terms of team regulations, perhaps D-Rob, or D-Bag, or whatever we wish to call him these days, should concentrate on how he's going to earn that contract that was given to him by his new team. His goal should be to take what Rivera taught him over those years together, including the experience of winning a World Series title, and conveying THAT message to his youthful teammates and bullpen mates, not crying like a high school girl whose boyfriend just kicked her to the curb for a young, hotter upgrade without as much as saying thank you. Grow up.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Yankees Spring Training...My Take Thus Far

Mandatory Credit: AP Images/Colin E. Braley
So here we are. Almost ten games into the 2015 New York Yankees' spring training, and some things have become quite obvious. The first, and most disturbing, is that manager Joe Girardi is still a complete moron. He recently told the YES Network that "We signed Stephen Drew to be our second baseman." Really Joe? This is a guy that is hitting 0.91 (1-for-11) so far this spring. Yeah, the Yankees re-signed him for $5 million dollars, but c'mon, aren't we all just getting a preview of another dumpster fire like the one we witnessed last season with Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson?

Does it not matter that the two rookies, Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder are hitting .462 and .455 respectively, in just about the same number of at-bats? Coming into this season, Drew had 34 whole games played at second base. He's still learning, just like Refsnyder, who actually has more experience at the keystone position even after his conversion from being a right fielder in college. I've said all along that Pirela is the best of the three for right now, and if a continued hot spring for the youngster doesn't translate into a starting gig based on contract status, this team truly has no intention of winning in 2015. Furthermore, if Girardi runs Drew out there the same way he did Roberts and Johnson until July, and he's only hitting .160 or so, while Pirela toils either on the bench or in the minors, the man deserves to lose his job.

Girardi's job is to win games, not play Little League politics based on name recognition or contract status. You put the best players on the field who give your team the best chance to win night in and night out. Does Stephen Drew have value? Absolutely. You convert him to be the utility infielder and you send Brendan Ryan packing. It's that simple. Drew can back-up Didi Gregorius at shortstop, and Pirela or Refsnyder at second base. I'd still like to see Ref get a full season at second in Triple-A, and let Pirela prove he's the real deal at the big league level this season. If both prove to be worthy, it's a good problem to have if you're the Yankees.

I've read conflicting reports about what scouts have seen from Alex Rodriguez this spring. One has stated his bat looks extremely slow, and doesn't expect it to come around. Age and injuries have sapped what is left of his baseball skills. Another scout stated yesterday that his bat looks surprisingly good thus far, and it's a great sign for the Yankees. Guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Through nine at-bats, he has four hits, including a double and a run driven in. Not a bad first week of exhibition games in his comeback from suspension.

How scary good is Greg Bird looking thus far? I'll be honest, it is only spring training, but if Bird continues to hit at the rate he is, and Mark Teixeira goes down for any extended period of time, forget sticking Garrett Jones in there, give the kid a chance. He's proving that his Arizona Fall League MVP campaign was no fluke, and he's forcing the Yankees to possibly be moving his arrival time up from an expect late 2016 or early 2017 timetable. In ten at-bats, Bird has five hits, including three doubles and a bomb. That is the mark of someone who is hungry (gluten-free pun intended) and wants his chance to contribute. How many more hitting into the shift because he's bullheaded at-bats must we watch from a guy clearly on the downside of a once-solid career?

And what about Nathan Eovaldi? He's been everything the Yankees had hoped for and then some. In two appearances (5 innings pitched), he's allowed a single earned run, while striking out six. The one item to note, is Eovaldi led the National League in hits allowed last season, and this spring, has already allowed as many hits (5) as he has innings pitched. Something to keep an eye on as the season rolls along. I'm sorry, but if Jacob Lindgren doesn't break camp as the Yankees' power lefty, something once again is wrong with the braintrust that runs this outfit. The "Strikeout Factory" as he's been nicknamed, is continuing the dominance he's shown over four levels of farm system experience last year after being drafted out of Mississippi State, striking out five in only three innings of work.

There's plenty of Grapefruit League games left to be played, but several Yankees are already making their case to be highlights for the team in 2015, rather than being tucked away at Triple-A Scranton or Double-A Trenton. If Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi really want to win, and in the process save both of their jobs, the best players for this team will be on the 25-man roster for Opening Day.