Afternoon thoughts before the finale in Seattle

Martino: Yankees have verbal agreements with three international free agents
Yankees sign fifth round pick RHP Jordan Foley
(Presswire)
(Presswire)

I wasn’t planning to put together a thoughts post today, but my brain wasn’t working particularly well this morning and I was having a tough time coming up with a decent topic for a post. So, instead, here are a few short nuggets that have been on my mind.

1. I was somewhat surprised the Yankees opted to send Matt Daley rather than Jose Ramirez down to Triple-A Scranton yesterday, when Shawn Kelley came off the disabled list. Ramirez has only thrown 14 total innings this season after opening the year on the shelf with an oblique injury, so I figured they would send him down to continue shaking off the rust. I like that they kept him though. Kelley, Dellin Betances, and Adam Warren will continue to handle setup duty, as they should, but the middle innings will all go to Ramirez. Kinda like how Joe Girardi used Betances early in the season, say, down two or three runs in the sixth and seventh innings. (I would say up four or five runs, but, well, you know about the offense.) That’s how Girardi has used his young relievers over the years. Cut your teeth in middle relief, and when the time is right, you’ll get high-leverage innings. Ramirez has a huge arm and he has the potential to be a real weapon in short relief. The Yankees have apparently decided now is the time to get his feet wet, with all those other quality arms in the bullpen around him.

2. You know what was great about Masahiro Tanaka‘s outing last night? He got pissed off after allowing the homer in the ninth inning. You could see it in his face and in his body language. There was definitely some anger behind his pitches to the final two batters. Just look at his velocity spike at the end of the game (via Brooks Baseball):

Tanaka Velocity 061114

Tanaka threw 110 pitches overall and he was throwing his hardest at the end of the game. He was pretty clearly pissed about losing the shutout and he wanted to end the game with authority. As awesome as he’s been on the mound getting  all those silly-looking swings and misses, the thing I love about Tanaka the most is his poise and competitiveness. We hear about players with good makeup all the time, but man, Tanaka is on another level. The guy is a stone-faced killer on the mound.

3. The Yankees clearly used last week’s draft to balance out the upcoming international free agent signings. The international class is going to add a ton of risky, high-upside prospects to the system once the signing period opens next month, though the draft class was relatively light on upside and geared more towards probability. There is no such thing as a “safe” prospect, but guys like LHP Jacob Lindgren (second round) and LHP Jordan Montgomery (fourth) are high probability guys who are good bets to reach their ceilings, barring injury. The talent comes off the board very linearly in the draft these days, the best prospects go first and everyone falls in place behind them, so there weren’t many high-upside guys left available when New York’s top pick (55th overall) came around. Grabbing a quick to MLB guy like Lindgren makes a lot of sense considering the upcoming international signings. Adding a potential impact reliever (who happens to throw left-handed) to the organization at that spot is a great way to maximize the return on that draft slot. I mean, we’re talking about the 55th overall pick. Not the 15th or even the 30th.

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Martino: Yankees have verbal agreements with three international free agents
Yankees sign fifth round pick RHP Jordan Foley
  • Scott

    I was listening to ESPN radio today and they were talking NBA draft (I hate the NBA FWIW, but that’s what was on so I listened). Anyhow the guy talking said “I’m tired of betting on potential” when comparing Embiid and Parker with Embiid having the potential (or upside) and Parker being the overall more steady, polished player right now with a more complete game.

    That got me to thinking about the recent MLB draft and the Yanks farm system and the success of some of the college guys the Yanks have.

    Would you rather have a system full of potential, or less upside but a better all around player who may not be an all star. And before anyone says both, since this is my hypothetical question, you have to choose.

    A team of Brett Gardner’s (not highly touted coming out of high school or college but worked very hard, played hard and has a decent overall game), or a team of guys with high upside (perhaps like a BJ Upton, minus the injuries)?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Ideally, a mix of both, but that’s not the question you’re asking.

      I’d go with upside. Less hits, but the ones that hit will be bigger.

      • Wolfgang’s Fault

        If it’s either or, give me the baseball players over the “potential” baseball players. You get enough actual players, you can always deal later for that one, two, or three guys who put you over the top. Give me a bunch of middle to back end of the rotation pitchers, and mid-level hitters and fielders, I’ll build you a consistently in the hunt winning team. BTW, it’s never either/or because no one knows if or when a light goes on and suddenly the mediocre player puts it altogether and he becomes something special, and/or the special player loses it for any of a bunch of reasons. Load your organization up w/guys who come to work everyday ready to compete and love playing baseball, already know how to play but work to adjust & get better, have the tools to play at the professional level, & you’ve got a quality farm system and big league team. Sprinkle w/upside talent and good attitudes, you’ve got something extraordinary.

    • Ed

      If you have a low budget for the Major League team, you kind of have to go for the upside players. That’s the only way you’re likely to get top talent.

      If you’ve got a big budget, the high potential, lower upside players could be more appealing. Build a solid team out of them, then use your money to add in the stars and make the team great.

      Of course, I’d rather have a mix of both.

    • mitch

      For the Yankees i’d definitely go with high upside. They’ll always be able to buy solid players, but elite guys really don’t hit the market any more.

    • Mike HC

      Parker over Embiid, easy. So with that as your pretext to the question, I will go with the less upside, but currently better, well rounded player.

    • derek mcjeter

      Pete O Brian hitt,n the cover off the ball in Trenton, RJ Murphy batt,n.300 on the bench & we’re stuck with Brian Mccant & his big$ contract for the next few years.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Neither Pete O Brien, RJ Murphy, or Brian McCant play for the Yankees.

        • I’m One

          Well played.

        • Lukasz

          I laughed

  • nycsportzfan

    Watching the Dodgers play right now. They are awful offensively. Seems like they are bad like the Yanks bad? Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Either specifically are pretty bad.

    • nycsportzfan

      1st and 3rd for Dodgers with no one out down 2-1 in the top 7th and they don’t score. I’m saying that with 0-1 count on Van Slyke and 2out but hes not getting a hit. Wow, they suck.

      • vicki

        i know it’s important to you to sound like you know what you’re talking about. so maybe you should speak less often.

        • nycsportzfan

          I’m writing not speaking. If I was speaking you could tell by my tone, your opinion matters very little to me.

          • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

            Everyone could say the same thing back to you. If you can’t take the criticism, don’t try to dish it out.

          • Preston

            The problem is it doesn’t seem like you’re filtering before writing, you just write every thought that pops up into your head. For others reading your comments it would be nice if you were a little bit more discerning about what you shouted into the internet void. As for not caring what other people say, all I can ask is why are you typing it at all then? The point is to interact and have a discussion with others. Otherwise your thoughts could stay right where they are, in your head.

        • Wolfgang’s Fault

          Vicki, thanks for that Brian McCann spray chart a few weeks back; much obliged!

          Not that it matters, but what’s the diff what anyone does or doesn’t say/write as long as they’re talking/writing the game? Even if you find it obnoxious or not on your level or whatever, it’s pretty harmless in the long run; ain’t it? Nothing personal. Just think if it’s not personal, & you can’t abide it, ignore it.

          • Wolfgang’s Fault

            . . . & if it is personal, kick him in the balls. Kidding!

      • ChuckIt

        last Sunday @ KC 0 for 17 w/risp-Much difference ?

        • nycsportzfan

          Not at all. Actually the Dodgers kinda remind me of the Yanks. I was probably alittle harsh when I said they sucked. They have good pitching and a good lineup on paper and at times it clicks but alittle more often then you’d like, it don’t. Both teams can go on tears at any point with the players they have though.

          • ChuckIt

            To dgo anywhere this year we need a legitimate power threat & a legit starter otherwise it’s over

    • http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/ ALZ

      Yankees are 22nd in runs scored. That is very bad with the players they have.

  • Kosmo

    on Tanaka´s last pitch 95 on the radar gun. As someone said we are “running out of superlatives“ when discussing Tanaka.

    I like Ramirez over Daley. “Now´s the Time“ so to speak.

    Maybe Lindgren is the go to lefty out of the pen in 2015.

    • CountryClub

      Hey, it’s possible he will be in Sept. They can use him as a LOOGY this yr while getting his feet wet for extended service next yr.

      I really hope they keep Robertson after this year. Obviously it’s not uncommon for relievers to crap the bed one year after being great, but the Yanks have the makings of a monster pen next season…especially if they bring back Robertson.

      • Kosmo

        sure he could be a Sept. callup. IMO D-Rob will be back.

    • ChuckIt

      Tanaka the Ace of the future ? what did he find a time machine ?

  • viridiana

    FWIW, D-Rob seems like a great guy too

  • vin

    1. I still haven’t seen Ramirez pitch in the big leagues, but I also like that they’re giving the kids a shot to carve out their niche. If they’d only do the same with Zoilo.

    2. Man, Tanaka was a great signing. I never would’ve guessed he’d be this good. His competitiveness is real. I saw him get away with a bad pitch in the 8th inning (I believe), and I could see he was pissed he threw that pitch – he gave a small head shake. The guy has high standards and the skill to back it up. With Rivera, Cano, Pettitte, Posada, Jeter (eventually) gone, he’s definitely becoming my favorite player.

    3. I’m just glad the Yankees at least have a concept of how they’re planning to acquire talent. There are so many teams out there that seem to be asleep at the wheel (Phillies anyone?), that I’m grateful Cashman won’t let that happen. Regarding high probability, low(ish) ceiling players, it’s important to remember that they can hold a decent amount of value in the trade market. A legitimate back end of the rotation starter or a late inning reliever can always be included in a trade to improve the team.

  • Jacoby Eddardsbury

    They will be 4 strong in the pen with Kelley, Robertson, Delin and Warren. They need a LOOGY. Thorton just doesn’t cut it. He’s horrendous.

    • Mike HC

      Kelley isn’t that good though. He is ok.

      • CountryClub

        They were pushing it when they were using him as the 8th inning guy, but as the 4th guy out of the pen, he’s pretty darn good.

        • Mike HC

          I’m willing to go as far as saying he is a solid 4th guy out of the pen. And he does strike a lot of guys out, which is good considering our infield defense. I like him, but even the slightest step back, and his value is gone.

        • vicki

          shawn kelley is historically great with inherited runners. his eighth inning designation was a waste of his talents.

          • Mike HC

            Thanks for that info. Was not aware of that. I guess all the K’s come in handy there as well. Definitely moves him up a notch.

      • FIPster Doofus

        He’s pretty decent. Your bullpen is in good shape when he’s your third-best setup man.

        • Mike HC

          He had a 4.39 era and a 1.31 whip for us last year. His career numbers are better, but many of those innings were pitched at Safeco. For his career at Yankee Stadium, he has a 4.05 era and 1.41 whip.

          I’m not trying to be all negative about Kelley, and I like him on the team. But not sure I would be specifically naming him as one of our great weapons out of the pen. Vicki’s comment did enlighten me a bit more on his value though.

          • FIPster Doofus

            Kelley’s peripherals say he deserved a better fate than that last year in terms of ERA. He does give up a ton of fly balls, though, so he’s not a great fit for Yankee Stadium. That said, I’ll gladly take a cheap, high-K guy like him as the fourth option in the bullpen.

            • Mike HC

              I’m with you guys. I like him as a fourth option.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        He stepped in when DRob was out and performed damn well as closer. He’s not the second coming of anyone, but his return is huge to me. Those blown holds on the part of Warren and Dellin could become more frequent if they’re out there every other day.

    • New Guy

      Completely agree. I really don’t like Thornton. He stinks and he runs out there and looks like an idiot. Then he throws heat right down the middle and gets shelled. The fact that he took Boone’s number just makes me hate him more. I know Boone has been hurt this year, but man I miss him.

    • mitch

      He has a 2.7 FIP against lefties. He’s fine as a loogy….he just can’t be trusted to do more than that

      • New Guy

        Does FIP account for how dumb he looks?

        • FIPster Doofus

          No, that’s DIP. His DIP is a zaftig 7.64.

          • New Guy

            See? I knew it.

      • lightSABR

        Right. He’s overpaid and underperforming, but the right word for him is “mediocre,” not “horrendous.”

  • pinedamaybegreata (formerly Monterowasdinero)

    I’ve only seen Ramirez in one outing. Seems to have alot of life on his fb and good mechanics. Glad we’ll see some more of him with the varsity.

  • emac2

    Totally agree.

    Love how the pen is shaping up with total studs who can go multiple innings.

    The aspect I noticed most regarding the draft issue is that it will help keep us from being overly congested in the low levels after IFA. We needed the college kids that can move quickly.

  • vicki

    jesus returns tonight.

    • Mike HC

      Finally. Only took the guy thousands of years. Cashman failed?

      • ChuckIt

        22 in runs scored hardley an A grade

      • Pinedamaybegreata (formerly Monterowasdinero)

        Hey-he made it back before Pineda. Seriously, this trade has really been a bust for everyone so far-all things considered. Both players are still very young (apparently emotionally too) and both still have plenty of (ridiculous) upside. I wish we had both guys.

        Montero led Tacoma in HRs (8) and rbi’s (40) and errors (9). Most of the errors were at 1B. He hit 16 in his first Safeco season which, considering Robbie’s power output, equates to over 30 at YS…

        Hey-he’s the same age as Refsnyder-our current hot prospect. Patience.

        • FIPster Doofus

          Montero has ridiculous upside? Not really. He’s an overweight DH who can’t hit.

          • ChuckIt

            plus we have 4 rooks with loads of talent.

          • Daniel

            Yeah, I don’t know how ‘ridiculous’ the upside is at this point. But, to be fair, he has been making better contact lately. He won’t be what we thought he could become most likely, but I’m not convinced he’s a failure by any stretch. You do expect more than 8 HR’s in 222 AB’s at AAA by now for a former top prospect who only hits.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Yeah. That upside went for a hike in the Olympuc peninsula and never came back

  • cooolbreeez

    Cashman succeeded.

    • ChuckIt

      we shall see

    • Daniel

      I still prefer the version of him succeeding where he got Cliff Lee in return instead of Pineda. But, you’re right.

  • nycsportzfan

    Quietly Taylor Dugas is having a nice little pro career down in the minors for the Yanks. Has well above 400OBP for his career and has hit for a high avg, which is sitting at over 300BA right now.

    • 28 this year

      fangraphs mentioned him the other day saying that he could be a nice little find for a team looking to get someone with promise on the cheap.

      • ChuckIt

        there are a lot of guys having quietly good seasons in the minors, I think our system is actually underrated.

  • CountryClub

    Since this is kind of an open thread:

    Josh Norris @jnorris427 · 4h
    Name to watch is Jorge Mateo. Shortstop with what Newman called the best tools in the organization. 80 runner with power. #Yankees

  • fred robbins

    Is Robertson a free agent at the end of this year? If he is, will it be better to be high bidder or go the route that an Oakland does at this juncture and let him sign elsewhere and count on Dellin and others to move up a notch? Aren’t they both about equal in terms of the chance the team is taking?

    • CountryClub

      Sign Robertson. Still relatively young and I don’t think you really need to worry about his performance fluctuating. He’s been very good for a few years now. Plus, the pen is clearly a strength on the team. No sense in weakening it.

    • Mike HC

      The Billy Beane move would be to trade him. We can always sign him in the off season. We would miss him, but with how strong our pen is, we can take the blow. Of course, there is zero chance that happens. And who knows what the offers would even be.

      • Oy

        The pen will take a huge blow if you trade Robertson. The only way I’d advocate trading Robertson is if the team is selling (who would they even sell? Kuroda and Robertson?). But even if you do trade him, no team will offer a large return for half a year of a closer. Yankees are better off keeping him and offering him a qualifying offer if he keeps up his performance. There are worse things in the world than a top closer at a 1 year 14 million deal.

        If he rejects, Yankees will get a draft pick which would probably be the equivalent of the prospect they’d receive for him.

        • Mike HC

          Just to be clear, I wasn’t advocating to trade him. Just saying Beane loves to deal “closers.” Basically everyone is tradeable based on the offer though. Tough to have these conversations about trading someone without knowing the return.

          Back to reality now, agreed with your plan. Qualifying offer and then try to work out a long term deal, whether he accepts it or declines.

          • Oy

            I agree that no one should be untouchable. If, say the Tigers decide that Nathan needs to go and offer a package that Yankees can’t refuse, Robertson should wear a Tigers hat. But the odds of that happening are minimal and it won;t happen.

            Beane also traded for Jim Johnson this winter…

            • Mike HC

              And look how that worked out for him. But yea, I mean, I really should’t speak for Billy Beane.

              • Mike HC

                *n

        • mitch

          I wouldn’t do a QO with Robertson…i’d just try to resign him. The price for closers is going down every year, so I it’s unlikely a team would give up a pick and sign him to a big multi-year deal. Plus he’s young enough where I’d want him for more than a year. I think something like 3/30 would be a fair deal.

          • Oy

            They can always pin him with a QO and then start negotiating an extension. I don’t think he’d get Papelbon money, but I’d expect 11-12 million annually and a 4th year option. A’s, Tigers, Angels and more teams are likely to look for a closer in the next off season. I think someone will beat 3/30.

            Would love him back on a 1/14 though.

      • ChuckIt

        Speaking of Billy Beane, Small Ball works to put fans in the seats, but when was the last time the A’s made a WS appearance ?

        • Mike HC

          He’s working on it as we speak.

    • vin

      Oakland doesn’t have much choice in letting their players walk. The Yankees have the resources to re-sign a guy like that and still be able to spend money elsewhere. If you can afford it, it’s better to roll the dice by re-signing a very good player than letting the talent walk for nothing more than draft pick compensation and dollars saved.

      • ChuckIt

        even if he doesnt become a tier 1 closer he’s still a great set up man.

        • vin

          Yes, there’s literally NOTHING to dislike about Robertson… other than he’s not MO. The Yankees should be in the business of acquiring and keeping players like him. The A’s and Rays get credit for being nonconventional, but that’s by necessity.

          • ChuckIt

            on the same token ,Bret Gardner also comes to mind.

          • Paisa

            Exactly. This is one of the few organizations that can afford to make (a few) expensive mistakes. That’s our advantage; use it.

  • Wayne

    Don’t want to trade Jose Ramírez in the division. Trade him in a package for Indians starter Justin Masterson.
    Any advice on who you would give up along with Jose Ramírez for Justin Masterson.

    • Mike HC

      I wouldn’t give up much for half a year of Masterson. I would give up a few solid A prospects maybe. Nobody that is ready to contribute right now for the next 6 years.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Agreed.

        Also, a serious reply to Wayne? Really?

        • Michahiro Pinaka

          Wayne!!!1!!11!11

  • Daniel

    It looks like Jesus Montero may be in the lineup against the Yankees tonight. How fitting would it be to see him have a two homer game tonight.

  • cr1

    Imust admit that there is one thing I dislike about watching Robertson — it’s what I think of (unfairly) as the ‘diva factor’. He seems to get more drama out of three outs than most pitchers manage to squeeze out of six innings. I am forced to accept on a rational level that he is not creating this effect consciously and to plan. But seriously… anybody else ever have a teenaged daughter? She probably did not create all the drama in her week of conscious purpose either, right?

    I told you in advance — unfair. But sometimes I just cannot watch another inning of GASP melodrama, and I just go make a snack.

    • Daniel

      Tune into some Nat’s games and watch former Yankee Rafael Soriano. You’ll be grateful to have DRob.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Just no.