Aug
19

Thoughts following Monday’s off-day

By
(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

The Yankees were off yesterday for the third time in the last week. It’s not often that happens during the season outside of the All-Star break. For a team with an older roster and intentions of making a run at a postseason spot, a bunch of off-days bunched together in the middle of August might do them some good. Anyway, here are some miscellaneous thoughts.

1. In the last two games against the Rays this weekend, Joe Girardi went to Shawn Kelley in seventh inning fireman situations before giving the ball to Dellin Betances to start the eighth. Earlier in the season, we would have seen Betances come in to pitch out of the jam in the seventh before throwing the eighth as well. Maybe not in back-to-back games, but definitely in one of the two. Girardi has scaled back on Betances’ workload — the attempted three-inning outing against the Orioles last week was a bit of a special case because he had not pitched in five days and the Yankees were off the next day — using him for four or more outs only six times in 14 appearances since the All-Star break (17.2 innings). In his 14 appearances before the All-Star break, Betances was asked to record four or more outs ten times (19.1 innings). The plan might be to limit him to one-inning outings the rest of the season unless there are extenuating circumstances, like an upcoming off-day or a particularly long stretch of inactivity. Betances is up to 73 innings this year, the most of any full-time reliever in baseball — it’s also the most innings thrown by a Yankees reliever during the Girardi era, surpassing the 71.2 innings Joba Chamberlain threw in 2011 — and most of them have been stressful high-leverage innings. They have to be careful not to run Betances into the ground. The Yankees and Girardi are right to lighten up on him these next few weeks, and this past weekend might have been an indication of how the bullpen pieces will fall into place the rest of the way.

2. With that in mind, it was noticeable Adam Warren didn’t even warm up during the Tampa series. Kelley was the first and only guy up in those important seventh inning spots. Warren hasn’t pitched since his meltdown against the Orioles last Monday. He hasn’t been very good these last few weeks — 5.46 ERA and 4.06 FIP in 28 innings since June 1st — and maybe that outing against Baltimore was the final straw. The one that led to Girardi taking him out of important situations. That would be preferable to, say, Warren nursing an injury and not being available in general. If that is the case, that he is out of the Circle of Trustâ„¢ for the time being, it could open the door for Esmil Rogers to see some setup work whenever Kelley and/or Betances is unavailable. Rogers has pitched well during his brief stint in pinstripes and he has had success in a short relief role in the past — 3.06 ERA and 3.13 FIP in 44 appearances and 53 innings with the Indians in 2012 — which could be enough to land him some more responsibility. It’s amazing how the bullpen changes throughout the season. Every year, without fail. Kelley was the setup man, Warren the emerging relief ace, and Betances the great unknown in April. Now Betances is the shutdown relief ace, Kelley is the shaky seventh inning guy, and Warren is (temporarily?) untrustworthy. And we’re talking about Esmil Rogers pitching important innings.

3. Derek Jeter served as the DH both Saturday and Sunday and I think we’re going to see a bit more of him at DH in the coming weeks. Carlos Beltran returned to right field and Jeter has simply played a ton in the field this year. He’s started 102 of the team’s 122 games at shortstop and his recent slump — .237/.250/.322 (55 wRC+) with a 74.0% ground ball rate in August compared to .289/.340/.320 (86 wRC+) with a 60.5% ground ball rate in July — could be fatigue related. We are talking about a 40-year-old coming off a major ankle injury, remember. That doesn’t mean Jeter will be the full-time DH, but he might spend two or even three days a week there going forward. Beltran is no great shakes in the outfield, but Jacoby Ellsbury‘s range and the small Yankee Stadium right field make it easier to hide him. Especially since the Yankees (still) have a ground ball heavy pitching staff. Jeter at DH means Stephen Drew at short and Martin Prado at second, which is a tremendous double play combo defensively, as we saw over the weekend. The Yankees are not going to flat out take Jeter off short, not at this point, but giving him some more time at DH definitely improves the team. (It also gives them more time to evaluate Drew at short up close.)

Sanchez. (Star-Ledger)

Sanchez. (Star-Ledger)

4. I can’t imagine the Yankees will go through this coming offseason without trading a catcher. I don’t know who it will be, but they’ve reached the point where someone has to go. Brian McCann is locked in at the big league level and Gary Sanchez is ready to be bumped up to Triple-A Scranton. That leaves two spots (McCann’s backup, Sanchez’s caddy) for Frankie Cervelli, Austin Romine, and John Ryan Murphy. The tricky part is trading the “right” catcher, so to speak. Cervelli gets hurt all the time and Romine seems to have played his way out of the team’s long-term plans, which means they don’t have much trade value. McCann obviously isn’t going anywhere, leaving Sanchez and Murphy. I really like Murphy and think he’s on track to become a rock solid all-around catcher (not a star), so I would be hesitant to give him up, but Sanchez has a chance to become a true impact bat, something the Yankees desperately need. His defense needs work and even if he can’t catch in the long run, first base will open sooner rather than later. The club needs both pitching and offense help this winter, and unless some team is willing to give up more than expected for Cervelli or Romine, it makes the most sense to move Murphy. Teams will move mountains for young catchers who can actually catch, and potential impact bats like Sanchez are super valuable in this offense-challenged era.

5. By all accounts, the Yankees are a “major player” for Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo, who is sorting through offers and is expected to pick his new team relatively soon. They supposedly like him more as a second baseman than as an outfielder, which puts them in the minority. Either way, the Bombers have long-term openings at second and in right, so they could make it work either way. I absolutely do not think they need to go all out to sign him after missing out on other big time Cuban players like Yasiel Puig or Jose Abreu — that’s the kind of logic that resulted in Kei Igawa back in the day — but I do think the Yankees should be in the business of aggressively acquiring assets, especially guys in the prime of their careers. Castillo is only 27 and the Bombers have a decided lack of prime-aged regulars. Blocking a prospect like, say, Rob Refsnyder at second or Austin in right is a non-factor in my opinion. The prospects (and Castillo!) have not proven anything, so the more options the Yankees give themselves, the more likely they are to land a bonafide Major League regular. If everyone works out and the club is left with a logjam, great! That’s not a problem. It’s an envious situation. I have no idea how good Castillo really is, but if the Yankees think he’s legit, then they should absolutely flex their financial muscles to bring him in. They went bonkers for international free agent amateurs last month. Now continue it with a more high-profile player to give the big league team more immediate help.

Categories : Musings
  • Chip

    On the catcher thing: I agree that someone’s gotta go (maybe even two). The question to me really comes down to whether the Yankees believe Murphy has greater value as McCann’s back-up or in what he could bring via trade (Murphy and Phelps for Ian Desmond?). That decision will determine Cervelli’s fate with the club.

    As I said yesterday, I think Romine is going to be outrighted off of the 40 man roster and if he gets claimed the Yankees could get by with Arcia or Gil as Sanchez’s caddy at AAA.

  • Bobby Swink

    Adam Warren warmed up along side of David Robertson in the 8th inning until Jeter got the hit to put them ahead. Then it was a save situation for Robertson and Warren sat down. But he did warm up .

  • Michael Pineddarda

    1. They should be careful with Delin. The postseason is still a pipe dream and we need to take care of our future. I like only using him one inning. These other relievers need to step up. Drob can start giving us 4-5 outs on occasion. He barely pitches now that he’s the closer.

    2. Joe ran Warren into the ground. His arm was going to fall off if they didn’t rest him. Might need to limit him to 1 inning as well. Esmil can be a good multiple inning set up guy.

    3. Joe knows he can’t win ballgames offensively so he’ll have to win them with pitching and defense. Jeter is his weakest defender. I’d DH him a couple times a week, DH McCann and get Frankie some AB’s. DH Teixera as well.

    4. It made absolutely no sense to sign McCann to an $85 million deal when we were so deep at catcher in the farm system. Frankie has outperformed McCann at the plate and he’s $84 million cheaper. McCann has been an $85 million Chris Stewart.

    5. George would have signed Abreu and Puig and made them stars. Finally the FO has gotten into this international pool signing Tanaka and now the Latin players. This is the one place they have a major advantage over small market clubs.

  • Rick

    Totally agree that none of our prospects should be preventing us from making moves. Heck, look at the friggen Cubs. Had Castro, Baez, and Alcantara, yet still traded for Russell.

    • YakaTanaka

      Agree, but don’t think Cubs example helps your argument. Have to assume they know what they’re doing. I think there are cleaner and simpler ways to explain the logic. If you assume the Cubs are right… The reason still goes back to that underlying logic.

  • YakaTanaka

    Latest I’ve seen is the Yankees are falling out of contention for Castillo. Who knows with rumors, though.

    Seems likely they’ll move a C. Which one it is should have more to do with return relative to the value of the asset than the absolute return. Cashman has made it very clear that he (correctly) views MLB personnel management as a form of asset management. You have to adopt an asset management mindset (and understand the field) if you want to predict Cashman’s behavior. (Same thing applies to Castillo… That they signed 16 year olds really has almost zero to do with signing Castillo or not… It’s all about his value.)

    Say you have 5 similar securities in your portfolio. You decide you need to diversify your holdings. You decide to exit one position entirely. Are you going to pick which one to sell based on the absolute value of each security? Or are you going to consider the present value of the future cash flows you expect from each, assign a value to each security based on that, and sell the security that offers the highest price relative to that value?

    Baseball players are no different. Their future cash flows are based on production, though, with a little marketability mixed in for some.

    • Rick

      There is a major difference between baseball players and securities though. If you sell high on a security, there is almost always something you can reinvest in. With a baseball player, if you trade the wrong one you may not have an easy replacement right behind him. Trading Sanchez and having Murphy bust (or vice versa) takes our catching strength and turns it into a need.
      While in theory your premise makes sense, in practice it makes none.

      • YakaTanaka

        I don’t think you’ve thought through your response or fully understood my point. (This is also not my opinion… It’s what Cashman exposes and practices as well as most of the other top GMs in the game: Friedman, Epstein, Beane…)

        In your example, you don’t know if Sanchez or Murphy will bust. Trade Murphy, Sanchez busts, you’re in the same siuation.

        All you know is the rate at which you expect each to bust, plus the probability you’ve assigned various production levels. In this way, you have arrived at a valuation for the player (as you would with any asset).

        Let’s say, for simplicity, you have values Sanchez at $8 and Murphy at $6. If you get offers of $11 for Sanchez and $5 for Murphy… You take the Sanchez offer. Now you have $3 surplus to stick elsewhere on your roster.

        There is roster management to consider (sort of a need for diversification), but I don’t think it applies here. These are both prospects. The Yankees have a strong MLB starter at their position the next several years. If we were talking about trading a proven starter, your point would have some validity. It could still be factored into the value you assign the player in the first place, though, as it’s basically an opportunity cost.

        • Madrugador

          Business types believe they can apply their brand of knowledge to all disciplines and thus master them all. Ultimately it will not work in baseball for the same reason it won’t work in healthcare. Human behavior and performance if unpredictable and calling Social Science a Science doesn’t make it one.
          That is why they play the games.

          • YakaTanaka

            Hate to break it to you but “business types” have already mastered baseball. Friedman is a Wall Street vet. The Cards are run by business types including an AGM from a top consultancy. Cashman attends asset management conferences. Beane has had a best selling book and Brad Pitt blockbuster movie about his strategy. Epstein is a Harvard guy.

            You’re behind the times if you haven’t realized that the Kenny Williams’ and Ruben Amaro’s are already being run out of the game and that basically all of the top front offices are already run by “business types.”

            I also get the impression that you have a warped view of what the fields I am refering to are all about. Might want to better understand them before dismissing them. Markets are also unpredictable and subject to human nature. No one is pretending to be able to predict the future. It’s about estimating the likelihood of future outcomes whether you’re a “business type” or the most traditional baseball scout ever. There is no difference in the underlying reality, just the frameworks through which you look at it. And no one is saying that you don’t (or at least someone doesn’t) have to watch the games or some other ridiculous BS like that.

            • Now Batting

              Ever hear of market liquidity?

              • YakaTanaka

                I have indeed. Dealing with an illiquid market doesn’t mean you throw the basic valuation framework out the window. I already got into this above with Rick… If these were proven MLB starters or truly elite prospects this would be more of a factor. They’re not, though. And even if they were… the Yankees have plenty of other holes, so if they got more value elsewhere then it really wouldn’t be a problem to trade one problem for another.

                If you really want to get into this… The features of various markets don’t change the entire framework through which you look at them. They change the inputs you’re using.

                I have an MBA from a top program, no need to insult my understanding of the subject. I am also merely trying to explain what the strategies publicly esposed by at least Cashman, Beane, and Friedman are all about.

                • Now Batting

                  That’s cool you can gloat about having an MBA. Credible people typically don’t need to signal such things. Maybe you can put that piece of paper to use someday and spend less time here.

                  • Jim Is Bored

                    Boy that was a good counter to his well thought out comments.

                    • YakaTanaka

                      Not sure why I bother.

                    • Jim Is Bored

                      I haven’t been able to muster the will since the merger. Rooting you on from the sidelines though.

                    • Rick

                      His comments are entirely off base though and are in no way accurate. I’m pretty sure a greater majority of us on here have advanced degrees, Now Batting is correct in that it doesn’t mean A) that you need to gloat about it; B) that it makes you smarter than anyone; or C) that you even know what you’re talking about. All of the principles discussed above are greatly misapplied.

                    • YakaTanaka

                      If you would actually like to discuss the application of valuation frameworks to MLB personnel management, I am game. If you would like to keep pretending I don’t know what I am talking about… have fun with all your anonymous online buddies claiming victory in a matter they don’t understand the first thing about.

                      You can disagree with me. That’s fine. But you can’t just say “what you’re saying makes no sense” without articulating your argument.

                    • Now Batting

                      The kid spews a bunch of nonsense then attempts to justify his position by citing his MBA. He doesn’t merit the time or thought for a good counter.

                • YakaTanaka

                  Basically… You’re talking about a reverse liquidity premium. That impacts the player valuation, not the framework or model you use to make your decision.

          • Rick

            Bingo. And the followed up statement of “‘business types’ have already mastered baseball” is just as hilarious.
            Is it true that baseball has become business-esque in the fact that teams are now looking for market inefficiences that are illustrated by numbers? Yes. But, as you correctly stated, there is a human element involved and players are not securities.

            • YakaTanaka

              Dude,,, if you don’t think there’s a human element in every single business market, you don’t know the first thing about business.

              You guys seem to have taken some Hollywood or Washington caricature of what business is all about.

            • YakaTanaka

              Also… as I pretty clearly showed… “business types” as defined by Madrugador have taken over baseball FOs. Think about what you consider to be the best front offices in MLB. Then look up the CVs of their leadership teams. Read a bit of the available information about them.

        • Rick

          Are you playing ottoneu or is this real life? You also did nothing to diminish my overall point (even though you think you did – so, to use your words, “I don’t think you’ve thought through your response”).
          You’re not in the same situation at all if one busts and the other doesn’t. Again, your misapplying the business principles that have come to baseball. They don’t apply to specific players, they apply to broader concepts – e.g. finiding market inefficiencies for certain types of players such as players with high OBP’s a decade ago.
          As Mike said above, you can certainly trade one or the other, but you better not miss on who you choose to trade. Which is incredibly different than a simple diversification of a portfolio.

          • YakaTanaka

            Again… I don’t think you have any clue what you are talking about. I think you could learn a lot from reading what I’ve said. If you disagree, so be it.

            Or… don’t take it from me. Go see Brian Cashman speak next time he’s at an asset management conference.

            • Rick

              I think you’re the one with out a clue about what you’re talking. Pretty obvious the posters below agree with me as well. You’re on an island here. The old saying, when you’re looking around and can’t find the idiot in the room …

              • YakaTanaka

                No offense, but having those commenters on your side doesn’t necessarily help your case.

                I don’t care to argue with you. I have explained to you both what I learned in 6 years of business education at top universities and from five years in financial markets and business strategy roles. What I have heard first hand from Cashman, Beane, Freidman, and that Cards AGM who was a consultant. Do with that information what you will.

                That you don’t think valuation frameworks apply to personnel management in baseball suggests to me that you don’t really understand them. If that is actually the case… maybe try to learn something instead of just arguing with me for the sake of it.

  • Chip

    George King III says the Phillies are the frontrunners for Castillo. The guy who covers the Phillies says they’re a long shot…who knows.

    • TB

      I have said this for awhile the tigers make the most sense for Castillo. They need another outfielder and they have the money to sign him especially with Scherzer and Porcello coming off the books next season

      • YakaTanaka

        Not sure that logic really makes them the favorites… A possibility, maybe.

        Price is on the books and if they lose 2 of their starters they’re going to have to be replaced. Plus Castillo is one of two Cuban IFA OFs available this off-season to say nothing of all the MLB vets available.

        • mitch

          agreed. Plus, Scherzer coming off the books is a bad thing and it will take a lot more money to replace his production than what they’re currently paying him.

    • JLC 776

      Philly radio isn’t really talking about it (then again, they’ve fully latched onto their little league team and have forgotten that the Phillies even exist), and RAJ is so deep into horrible contracts that I don’t think they could realistically find the money. I’d say they are indeed long-shots.

  • Madrugador

    On the Monday off-day I decided to get my fill of major league baseball close to home and saw the Phils beat Seattle 4-1. Cano was very popular with the fans-usually tossed a ball into the stands as he came off the field- but still looks lackadaisical on the field and it looked like his attitude had infected many of his team mates. Talk about a team with no offense. If you think the Yanks can’t score runs, take a look at Seattle. They were totally overmatched by a 32 yo journeyman pitcher who had played for Hou and Tex this year, had only thrown more than 4 innings twice this year in 30 appearances and went 7 innings with only 3 hits. Seattle was handed 3 lead off walks and scored none of them.

  • MikeNYC

    Issue with the catchers is the return will be borscht…..Frankie is hurt all the time, and Murphy is smallish and unproven. the return for Murphy would likely be greater, but the likelihood of anything more than a failed prospect or bullpen arm doesn’t excite me.
    I’d rather send Cervelli to Winter Ball and have him play 1B so there is an option for Girardi to use him next year on occasion and free up a roster spot since the OF and DH ( with the return of Arod) seems to be full

    • mitch

      Murphy has more trade value than you’re giving him credit for

    • YakaTanaka

      The Yankees can only trade a good prospect at maybe the premium position in the game for a failed prospect or RP? The supply of similar players is very limited in relative terms, the demand for similar players is great… This should give him at least decent value. And if no one offers decent value, they don’t have to trade him.

  • mitch

    I wish I shared Mike’s confidence that Jeter will get more DH days because that’s definitely the better defensive team, but I’ll be surprised if he gets more than a day a week at DH.

  • blake

    Jeter has played too much at SS this year…..because they really had no plan in place for him to avoid it. With Drew now on the team though I absolutely would cut it back to keep him fresh and also have a better defense on the field more often in these critical games to come.

  • blake

    It sounds like Boston is the front runner for Castillo of course nobody knows……if he’s more Rajai Davis as Timmy K said then that’s not all that helpful in the outfield for the money he will likely get……but if he can play 2b then it’s more interesting.

    Of course if this evaluation is from the same industry sources that thought Puig wasn’t worth bidding on then………

    • 86w183

      Hey Blake —

      Some of the IFA types signed with teams that blew away the competition in bidding and that includes Puig. I wouldn’t mind if they went big on Castillo, but wont go bonkers over it either.

      I like the idea of Cabrera and Refsnyder in the middle of the infield in 2015. They would be a combined 51 years old… or 25 years younger than the 2014 opening day middle infield.

      • blake

        I’m not a huge Asdrubal fan….but I’m fine with them giving Refs a shot at 2b if they think he can do it

        • 86w183

          I think he’s the best available considering talent and age. I prefer Hardy as a player, but he’s 3+ years older.

          What would you do?

          • blake

            Probably try to make a trade first as really none of them are very good or worth the money you’ll have to pay them…..if I can’t make a decent trade then honestly Id look at Drew, Hardy, Lowrie, and Asdrubal and see who I can get cheapest and for the least number of years and maybe go after them……they all have warts…..Drew and Hardy are the best defensively by far

            You might have to give a draft pick for Hardy……not for Drew or Asdrubal…..lowrie really can’t play SS much

            • 86w183

              Hardy is by far the best all around player. The problem I have with him is that he’s 32.

              Other than last year at Fenway Park Drew has been awful offensively for four years. His defense isn’t good enough to make up for that.

              • blake

                Hardys power outage is a concern…..because that was a big part of his value. Traditionally he doesn’t get on base much……at age 32 I’m not sure how much Id be willing to gamble that the power is coming back……if it doesn’t then his defense isn’t enough to make up for that either

                • 86w183

                  Drew .170/.241/.302

                  Hardy .286/.319/.397

                  Not even on the same planet. Plus, after 0 HR in the first 72 games Hardy is back on pace with 7 HR in last 50. He also has 26 Doubles.

                  • mitch

                    Hardy is also going to cost a hell of a lot more. He’ll probably be at least a 3 year commitment at 13+/year.

                    Drew is probably going to have to settle for another 1 year deal.

                    • 86w183

                      Drew can get it from someone else. Look at his numbers the last four years, Then take out his ridiculous Fenway Park splits from last season and you have a slight upgrade over Brendan Ryan.

                    • mitch

                      i was just pointing out that it’s pointless to compare Drew and Hardy from a production standpoint because one is going to be way more expensive than the other. I don’t think anyone would disagree Hardy is the better player.

                    • YakaTanaka

                      If you choose to ignore the injuries and missing most of this season… sure.

                    • 86w183

                      First of all, isn’t being available to play an important factor?

                      Second, Drew over the last four years is hitting .209. That’s including his .283 at Fenway last year. He’s digressed into a lousy offensive player.

                    • YakaTanaka

                      It’s important when you look at the past, but may or may not be predictive when you look at the future. Holding out for half of this season doesn’t really impact how he’ll play for you if he signs in the off-season in any way besides maybe some marginal attitude concerns. If he’s fully healthy (and I don’t know if he is), then those past injuries aren’t really a concern either.

                      I’m not saying Drew is great… I am just saying to put his production into context.

                  • blake

                    Hardy is gonna cost a lot more though and probbaly a draft pick……and he’s 32. Id just be cautious there ……like I said I don’t like any of them much

            • YakaTanaka

              And who would you trade for? And what would you give up?

              I don’t think you’re going to get either better value or production on the trade market than in free agency. The free agent SS market has a ton of supply this off-season, so there’s a good chance someone falls through the cracks.

              And while those guys all have warts… they’re also a good chunk of the best starting SS in MLB.

              • blake

                Well that’s impossible to answer…..Id call Theo….Id call Towers….Id call everyone who might have a spare SS and see if something makes sense to get a guy for 6 years who I can pay the league minimum to in 2015. If nothing makes sense then you see which FA fits best…….again basically if they can to get anybody good then at least don’t tie up a bunch of long term money

                • YakaTanaka

                  Yeah, I wasn’t really looking for an exact answer so much as pointing out that the trade market isn’t necessarily a better option.

                  I would look into both, certainly, but with a trade you have to give up roughly as much talent as you bring in. You’re roughly preserving the total talent level of your team. And if it’s a young, unproven player… the volatility is huge and you may not have actually solved your problem. With a free agent, you’ve used money to increase the talent level of your team. When so many of the best SS in the game are out there, I wouldn’t dismiss that market.

                  (With a FA you are tying up more money, but buying a lot more certainty without giving anything up… maybe a pick.)

                  • blake

                    Sure but you might can swap something you have like catching for something you need like a SS

                    • YakaTanaka

                      Yeah. I’d look into it for sure. I guess part of my point is just that those guys are a lot more likely to hit free agency (though some may sign during the exclusive window) than a team with a young SS is to happen to want what the Yankees have for that major asset.

                      And locking up the money can also be off-set by the increased certainty.

                      Of course… it all comes down to the specific moves available.

    • Mandy Stankiewicz

      I thought that’s what ESPN was trying to say, but it’s hard to understand the muffled gargling with Lucchino, Henry and Cherington’s balls all stuffed down their throats.

      • blake

        True……it’s hard to take anything espn says seriously anymore

      • Scott

        That’s pretty funny. I laughed.

  • TWTR

    The current state of the pen, and the way that Betances has been used, underscores that the primary off-season goal should be to re-sign Robertson

    • blake

      Well the primary offseason goal needs to be having an infield and a rotation for 2015…..Robertson would be very nice but it all depends on how much Hal will allow them to spend. You can’t sign Robertson and cut corners on the rotation and infield…..if you do that then it’s counter productive

      • TWTR

        Here’s the thing: They know what Robertson can do and the strong pen has mitigated other roster issues that likely can’t all be addressed in one offseason. I called it primary because the solution is at hand and because of how critical the pen has been to their relative success. But note, by primary, I didn’t mean exclusive.

        They will have Tanaka and CC signed to big contracts. Are they going to spend really big bucks on yet another starter?

        Another spot will go to Pineda if he is alive and well, and Greene will likely get one unless he melts down. They will also have Mitchell, Nova, Phelps, and Banuelos competing for any open spots.

        So unless Tananka isn’t healthy, they have decent options.

        The infield is problematic, but I’m not sure that money alone can fix it. They already have almost $50m committed to two players, unless A-Rod is indicted, and only Refs has an easy solution.

        • blake

          Hopefully Hal will say…..look I helped cause this mess with this 189 stuff so just go and get what we need AND keep DRob…….but we don know that’ll be the case. It’ll be an interesting offseason because they have a lot of holes to fill and we don’t know how much money they have to fill them with

          • TWTR

            That’s why I thought Castillo might be a tell about their spending. If Caldera is right, then let’s hope it isn’t. ;)

            As for the rotation, obviously, it depends on how Tanaka and Pineda are viewed on Oct. 1st. If it’s positive, then it’s less of an issue.

            • blake

              Agreed and that’s likely why they want to get Tanaka back this year regardless of their playoff situation……get him back and at least see if the rehab is gonna work. If it’s gonna blow after lets say 2 starts you’d rather that be in September of 2014 than March of 2015. If he comes back and makes 3 or 4 healthy starts then at least you have some hope and assurance that he will be ok…..no guarantees of course but it’s more information than you’d have without

    • YakaTanaka

      Primary off-season goal should be to make the team better. That’s about putting their resources to work to get good value back. Depending on how much DRob commands and how much they think he’s worth… could mean re-signing him or taking the pick (or him taking the QO).

  • blake

    The big worry amongst most critics coming into the season for the Yankees was ther bullpen……of course as usual they figured that out and turned it into a strength…..and even though it’s started to wear down in the 2nd half they aren’t where they are because of their pen…..they are where they are mostly because they can’t hit…..because their rotation was decimated with injures and because for over half tr season their infield defense was abysmal.

    Bullpen is important and I really want to keep DRob……but they have a lot of other core questions to answer first this winter IMO

    • YakaTanaka

      Agree with the first paragraph. It’s been a pretty bad case scenario for a lot of their hitters: McCann, Beltran, and Soriano especially. Not many best case scenarios outside of more bench types like Solarte and Cervelli (Gardner is a pretty darn good case scenario, of course).

      Not so sure about the second. If your valuations are pretty accurate, it shouldn’t really matter what aspect of the game you invest your money into. So if the valuation is right, $1 invested in DRob should have the same impact as $1 invested into a hitter. Of course… if the hitter represents better value, by all means sign him first.

      • blake

        What I was saying is that if their investable money is limited…..you can’t sink a majority of it into bullpen when they have a lot more crucial holes. Bullpen is easier to fix on the fly in season than the other stuff……plus bullpens are kinda the Yankees thing…..they always seem to figure it out

        • YakaTanaka

          What I was saying is that it doesn’t matter what aspect of the team they invest in. It matters how much they increase their overall production. It’s more a matter of the value DRob brings than what position he plays. Thinking about a balanced portfolio has been replaced largely by run differential.

          I like the latter point about opportunity cost. The fall-off from DRob to, I don’t know… Rumbelow, Lindgren, whatever the marginal RP impact is… might be a lot less than the fall-off from OF X to Zoilo Almonte or Ramon Flores. That part might make me buy your argument. I just didn’t buy the “they need offense/SPs first” part.

          • blake

            I think the points are related because in general Sp and position players greater affect your overall production than bullpen does……

            • Rick

              Without question. Bullpen arms are known to be a fungible commodity and extremely volatile. There is more evidence against spending for a high-priced BP arm, than there is for it.

              • YakaTanaka

                This is only tangentially related to what we’re talking about.

            • YakaTanaka

              But, in theory, their market prices should reflect their relative value. So, again, my point is that your argument is with market pricing and value. Not with balancing the team’s portfolio.

              • blake

                Sure but again it depends on the budget…..ideally yes they should address everything for balance but if they only have X dollars to spend then they may have to prioritize…….I think what’s you’re saying is that it’s possible that spending it on DRob would help more than elsewhere …..and yes sure I agree there is a scenario where that’s true. I think we are on the same page in reality here

                • YakaTanaka

                  I think we’re largely on the same page… But, what I’m saying doesn’t depend on the budget at all.

                  What I’m saying is that in a perfect market, 1 WAR of production from a RP helps the team exactly as much as 1 WAR from a position player and costs exactly the same too.

                  In that case you do not have to prioritize because it really does not matter.

                  Clearly MLB is not a perfect market, but I think the heart of your argument is more about how far from a perfect market it is. (Plus the opportunity cost thing for the Yankees.) If WAR is pretty accurate and market prices reflect it… doesn’t much matter where you invest if you’re getting decent value in either place. If RPs are generally overvalued, though, you should not invest there first.

                  It also has to do with run differential… and a run saved in the pen = run saved in the rotation = run saved by the defense = run scored by the offense. The proportion of production at various positions or by various individual players is really a market pricing issue to me rather than a portfolio diversification issue (as I thought it was originally being presented).

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Bullpens do this, though. Guys tire out and are less effective in the second half. You have to adjust. If Kelley takes some of Warren’s work, and Kelley looks more rested, then that’s an option. Your bullpen is always a work in progress.

      What doesn’t work is riding the same guy or two into the ground. Someone else has to step up, or you burn everyone out. More Dellin isn’t the answer for sure.

      • blake

        Would it have tired out as much though if the rotation hadn’t been killed? I mean if the rotation had held then you wouldn’t have had multiple starters going 5 and 6 innings every game and the pen would have been used less……it’s all connected…..losing Tanaka and his innings every 5th day really hurt…..

      • captainmike

        I forgot offhand who it was but joe drove someone into the ground several years ago
        70 games and he was never the same again

        • YakaTanaka

          Proctor. That narrative is a big oversimplification, though, as he was never the same before either… Could be that Torre ruined his arm, or it could be that he just had one great (edit… good) season in him.

      • KeredRetej

        I agree that Joe and the Yanks are doing the right thing by limiting innings for Betances, but I’d still rather see Dellin come in with men on base in a tight spot, and then let Kelley come in afterwards at the start of a fresh inning. Kelley’s been solid, but with runners in scoring position and when you need a strikeout, I’d still rather it be Betances.

  • mickthequick

    I want Andrus at SS next year.

    • Dr. Pants Lendleton

      No way, he is awful and has an expensive contract.

      • 86w183

        Cabrera could be signed for less $$$ without giving up prospects.

        • Rick

          Asdrubal also can’t play SS anymore though. I’m not advocating for Andrus either, here … I’m not sure either are great options.

          • YakaTanaka

            Not sure if he ever really could play SS… Slick plays just gave the impression. Still… Jeter hasn’t been able to play SS in quite a while either. I think Cabrera is at least an option worth looking into because he can hit for a SS.

            • Rick

              .248/.310/.387 isn’t hitting for any position. He’s below average offensively.

              • YakaTanaka

                It is a 97 wRC+… league average hitting is good at SS.

                I also wasn’t referring to his 2014 production, but his career production. Which is a bit better, though, largely in line with 2014. 104 vs. 97 wRC+.

                Please stop trying to treat me like an idiot. It is only going badly for you.

                • Rick

                  How am I treating you like an idiot? Why would you look at his career numbers when his last two years are 97 and 94? Stop trying to cherry pick stats.
                  Asdrubal this year has been worth .1 WAR offensively and last year was -6.3. What portends future success there?

                  • YakaTanaka

                    Should say long-run production. Because year to year production is volatile. Two seasons in the mid-90s doesn’t mean that’s where he’ll be the next two years.

                    If you really don’t think league average hitting at SS is good… not sure what to say. There are 4 qualifying SS in baseball who are above a 105 wRC+ this season. There are 7 above Asdrubal, and he is within 6 wRC+ points of #5.

                    • Rick

                      League average hitting for a SS is good, but not when it’s combined with well below average defense. He’s legitimately one of the worst defensive SS in the major leagues. If he was even league average, or only slightly below, his offense would compensate for it.
                      Year to year production may be volatile, but this is not an insignificant sample size. Two years worth of departures from peak performance indicate trends, not blips.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          And you’d be playing a defensively challenged guy whose offense won’t fully make up for it there. Yippee.

          I’d give some thought to Drew for a year and kicking this down the field a year.

          • 86w183

            I don’t know how anyone can advocate signing Drew based on his play. He’s marginally better than Ryan at ten times the cost. Is there anyone out there worse than Drew’s .543 OPS??

          • blake

            Agreed…..Id try to make a trade for a long term answer who is cheap first……if that can’t happen then Drew for 1 year and no draft pick attached might be the lesser of the evils here.

            Basically if you can’t find a good answer then what you really want to avoid is tying up a lot of money……if you can’t be good then at least be cheap and short term

            • 86w183

              I would think the best chance for that is probably Starlin Castro, right?

              • blake

                I’m in the minority but I’m not sure they are trading him anymore…..but Id certainly be talking to Theo about multilple infielders

          • Howler

            I’d be a little surprised if Drew would want to do another 1 year deal…probably be willing to do less money elsewhere for a multiple years, and not so sure I’d want him around for that.

            • mitch

              not sure that option will even be available to him

        • blake

          Yea but he’s like 5 years older and can barely play SS……Id rather have Andrus than Cabrera going forward in a vacuum……even if it is a gamble that he won’t ever hit again. The promise that he might is there

          • YakaTanaka

            Andrus never really hit in the first place. His career wRC+ is 84 and he’s at 82 this season. Guy just isn’t a good offensive player. He’s a contact, slap hitter who happened to have his best offensive season when he had his highest BABIP. He has been a very good defensive player, though, which has made him plenty valuable.

            I don’t think there’s much doubt Cabrera is better offensively and Andrus defensively. Plenty of doubt about who has more value going forward, though.

            • blake

              He was on an upswing offensively though until last year….steadily improving…..now it may be as you say that he simply can’t hit much….or it could be a bump in the road to a decent hitting prime …..it took Ozzie smith 5 years to learn to hit at all

              • YakaTanaka

                I think that was more people reading trends into the data than anything. It seemed plausible given his age… but when you look at it again today, it just seems like he’s not a very good hitter. Which isn’t to say he’s awful or won’t bounce around from season to season having some respectable seasons.

                Ozzie Smith is one dude, and a HOFer at that. He was 30 when he had his first above average offensive season and went on to have a few in his 30s. Wouldn’t use him as a comp to predict anyone’s career arc.

                On a macro level, the studies I’ve seen suggests that in non-PEDs eras aging curves are somewhat of a myth for young players… and they tend to normalize pretty quickly once you have a reasonable sample (like 2, 3 seasons… not 200 PAs or something).

                • blake

                  Yea which is why taking on his money is a big risk….if he doesn’t hit he’s am expensive brenden Ryan

                  • YakaTanaka

                    Sort of… Ryan has been at about a 46 wRC+ the past two seasons… Andrus has been at about 80.

                    He’s an expensive version of what Ryan was in like his 2 best seasons. Not necessarily a bad thing. I’d actually be more worried about Andrus’ defense not rebounding (assuming fangraphs defensive metrics are fairly accurate) than his offense. I don’t expect his offense to permanently rebound. If his defense doesn’t, though, he doesn’t have much value.

      • mickthequick

        Stop with that awful crap. He’s 25 and would be fixture there for at least 3 years. He can opt out after 2018 I think and if he does fine by me.
        The contract is not prohibitively bad ($15 mil) and would be a reason why they could snag him with a minimum of pain.
        My sense is once you find out what their real plan is for SS (probably no plan or re-signing Drew) you’ll be begging for s/one like Andrus.

        • blake

          I think it’s possible he could bounce back to a .730ish sort of OPS bat and with his defense that contract would be fine……but it is a lot of money to take on for the way he’s produced offensively the last two seasons. If he’s that player then you can get a good defense and no bat SS for peanuts……they actually already have one

          • 86w183

            Andrus may well be a great “change of scenery” acquisition. His defense has slipped this year, but as pointed out above, he’s young (turns 26 in a week) and very talented.

            • Rick

              Having potential to be very talented and being very talented are very different. Right now, Andrus hasn’t lived up to that potential. He’s not worth his contract at this moment. Could that change? Sure. But, you’re taking a big risk.

        • mitch

          you realize the opt out is a bad thing right? He’ll only do it if he’s playing well and can get a bigger deal. If he continues to decline he’s obviously not opting out.

          • mickthequick

            If we are worried about Andrus opting out 3 years from now I’d say then acquiring him was a good thing.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              That makes no sense. Sorry.

              • mickthequick

                It would mean that he’d played well for 3 years.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  And if he doesn’t play well……?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Relative to what he’s getting paid, it may be slight hyperbole, but it’s not that outlandish. He’s not worth that contract right now.

          • YakaTanaka

            Debatable. His defensive metrics are down this season, but he put up 16 fWAR in the 5 seasons prior to 2014 with overall offensive production that was almost exactly the same as this season’s.

        • Dr. Pants Lendleton

          Unless Andrus starts hitting, he’s not going to opt out of his contract. A career OPS+ 84 even from a shortstop isn’t worth $15M

    • blake

      I’ve always liked Andrus but the last two years the biggest difference between him and Brendan Ryan has been 1 guy makes A LOT more money. He’s young still but the bat has went backwards and he’s owed a lot of money……it’d be a big gamble

      • mickthequick

        Boston’s going to be looking for a SS too. Bogie’s moving to 3B and Middlebrooks is getting dealt.

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    Cervy is still arb eligible through the next two seasons, so he’s essentially our BUC through then (unless traded) right? Also, with all the SS discussions below, does anyone have a contract comp for someone like JJ Hardy (a 32 ex-all star SS)? Eric Aybar got 5/40 in 2011. He was younger, but still coming together. I feel like thats way cheap for 2015.

    • mitch

      Peralta got 4/53 last off season

  • nsalem

    Though McCann has a no trade maybe the Yankees will still look into the possibility of trading McCann. Maybe he would be happier back in the NL. He is overpriced but quality catchers are few and far between. Dodgers could definitely use an upgrade.
    Yankees can’t keep on running Betances out like they have been and they are not going anywhere this year unless a third and fourth option step up. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a waiver trade for another arm in the bullpen by the end of the month.

    • 86w183

      McCann for Matt Kemp about $ 30 M (contract difference) makes some sense for both sides.

      • Rick

        Not for us it doesn’t.

      • Septhinox

        What? No it doesn’t. In addition, he only wants to play CF.

        • 86w183

          Certainly not as a CF, but in RF? Then you buy 1B mitts for A-Rod and Beltran and figure between the two of them and Tex one plays 1B, one is the DH and one is on the DL.

          • 86w183

            between the THREE of them

          • Septhinox

            He has said he won’t play anything but CF. He has a NTC and won’t move it to play anything but CF.

      • blake

        Kemp would be the Yanks best hitter and he’s only 29…..if he’d play RF then Id trade McCann for him yes given the catching depth the yanks have. That said…..I think McCann will be better next year and the contract will end up ok

        • Rick

          Matt Kemp has one of the 5 worst contracts in baseball. Don’t let his recent 100 AB’s sway you from the past 2 years worth of evidence. He’s a different guy post shoulder in jury. He’s really come back to earth in August after a torrid July.

          • blake

            It’d be a risk sure ….but his 126 OPS + would still be tops on the Yankees and maybe another year removed from the injury he will be even better next year. He’s 29 and young enough to have a 2nd act…..

            I woukd certainly understand your POV though

            • Rick

              For sure, the Yanks offseason this year has set a low bar. I’m a Kemp fan in general. I would just need the Dodgers to at least make the money even for me to make that swap.
              I see your side as well, though.

  • 86w183

    Fun discussions today.. enjoyed it, but it’s time to go

    Have a Day, all

  • craig

    If the Yankees signed Castillo as their 2B, it seems like they could potentially use Refsnyder, Murphy, Austin and Clarkin (just spit-balling) + 1 or 2 more pieces as a package for an impact player.

    Thoughts?

    • blake

      Guess it depends who said impact player is…..it’s hard to have these discussions without knowing specifics

    • Rick

      Signing one player doens’t mean you have to gut a potential surplus for another

  • Bigdan

    When it comes to Castillo, it’s really not a question of blocking Refsynder. It plays this way. If there are questions as to whether Castillo would be a better than average hitter for 2b, then why pay the money for him? You have the same questions about Refsynder and he’s cheap. But if you are confident that Castillo can effectively hit ML pitching, then sure. But honestly, he doesn’t seem like the impact bat the Yanks really need. If he were, they’d be looking at him for RF. The fact that teams are looking at him as a CF, and the Yanks as a 2b, leads me to believe his hitting may be suspect. I still think Tomas might be a better move when and if the time comes.

    Sanchez continues to be a strange bird. He still really hasn’t had a breakout offensive season. And he’s still very young. HIs OPS this year in AA is almost exactly the same as last year. I said a couple months ago, I think the key for evaluating him is reaching some determination as to whether he has the skills to be a major league catcher. Because if you don’t feel he has or will develop those skills, I don’t think he has the bat to change positions, at least for the Yanks. The Yanks don’t need another “default first baseman.” They may already have two in Jagielo and Bichette. Scouting reports for awhile now have doubted whether both players could remain at 3b. And besides, Bird is the guy for 1b.

    I’m definitely tempted to see what Sanchez could do away from Trenton. But if the Yanks have sincere doubts that he will ever be a ML catcher, they should pull another Montero and trade him after a suitable hot streak.

    • TWTR

      No, they shouldn’t. Young pitchers, like Pineda, are extremely susceptible to arm injuries. Also, prior to trading Montero, Cashman said that he had offense to spare. Casting aside the fact that some of us thought he was wrong because the offense was vulnerable to decline given their age and the impending free agency of several players, no one can reasonably argue that they have offense to spare now.

      So if they did trade him, it would have to be in a package for a young impact bat, preferably one that plays SS or 3B.

      And given their pre-existing payroll commitments, that impact bat should be cost-controlled.

      That’s a tall order.

  • YakaTanaka

    Not sure why I cannot reply… but… Now Batting:

    No. You have understood nothing I said.

    It is not revenue. It is cash flow. Two very different things (that you mixed them up is a pretty good indication you don’t have a great grasp of the subject matter). And in the player’s case… it is mostly production as that impact’s the organization’s cash flows less salary.

    The surplus related to the value of the actual players you have already traded him for. Try reading what I wrote again.

    The framework is, basically, the discounted cash flow model in regards to valuation. There are other frameworks to understand other aspects of personnel management.