Later tonight the 2018 World Series will resume with Game Three at Dodger Stadium. At this point it appears the question is not whether the Red Sox will win the World Series, but whether the Dodgers will win even one game. My guess is no. But we’ll see. Here are some links and notes to check out as the workweek winds down.
Gardner would “love to be back”
Not surprisingly, Brett Gardner recently said he would “love to be back” with the Yankees next season, reports Sean Farrell. “I’m not going to stand here and say that I don’t want to play anymore baseball. My body feels great. I feel healthy. I would love to be back. We’ll sit down and figure that out at the right time,” said Gardner. His contract includes a $12.5M option for next season with a $2M buyout, so the Yankees have a $10.5M decision to make.
Here’s our Gardner season review post. He finished at .236/.322/.368 (90 wRC+) this year but his defense and baserunning still made him a +2 WAR player. As a part-time player who gets maybe 300-350 plate appearances against righties and also plays defense in the late innings, I definitely think Gardner can still be a contributor to a championship caliber team. Left field is a little up in the air for the Yankees. I know they love Gardner and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him back next year, but they have to at least look for an upgrade first, right?
Bollinger, Kontos, Robinson elect free agency
Lefty Ryan Bollinger, righty George Kontos, and outfielder Shane Robinson have all elected free agency, reports Matt Eddy. All three players spent time with the Yankees this season and were later outrighted off the 40-man roster and sent to Triple-A (in Robinson’s case, multiple times), and had the ability to elect free agency after the season. I could totally see the Yankees re-signing Bollinger as a minor league organizational depth arm. Kontos and Robinson figure to look for teams that offer a greater MLB opportunity in 2019.
Bollinger, 27, had two one-day stints with the Yankees as an emergency long man but never did appear in a game. He threw 111.2 innings with a 3.87 ERA (3.46 FIP) for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton this year. Bollinger spent 2014-17 in independent leagues and Germany before signing with the Yankees last winter. Kontos threw 1.2 scoreless innings in his only appearance in pinstripes this year after coming over from the Indians in a cash trade. Robinson got 54 plate appearances with the Yankees and that was entirely too many. He hit .143/.208/.224 (16 wRC+).
Contreras, Sauer among top NY-Penn League prospects
Contreras, who has added 22 pounds since signing, has a low-90s fastball that touched as high as 96 mph this year. He backs it up with a downer curveball with 11-to-5 break and a promising changeup. He needs to work on finishing his delivery more often in order to drive his entire arsenal down in the zone, where it will be most effective. He also shows advanced pitchability for his age, and he could grow into a little more velocity.
Contreras is one of my favorite prospects in the system right now. He was the top Dominican pitcher available during the 2016-17 international signing period and the Yankees were able to sign him to a $300,000 bonus, their maximum allowed while still dealing with the penalties from their 2014-15 spending free. Love Roansy’s stuff and pitchability. Anyway, RHP Matt Sauer is 13th on the NYPL list. Here’s part of his scouting report:
Sauer’s fastball sits in the low 90s, but he can dial it up to 97 mph when he needs a little extra. His breaking pitch, a curveball, is currently average but has the potential to be a plus offering in the future … While he does feature a good fastball and developing curveball, scouts wonder if he is more of a finished product than many young arms. Sauer has time to hone his command, but the profile reads more as a back-end rotation piece.
In the chat, Justin Coleman (subs. req’d) had some good things to say about RHP Harold Cortijo. “Cortijo shows pitchability and is very athletic. Threw a lot of strikes, low 90’s FB that touches 94. His advanced fastball command is notable, needs to work on the breaker,” he wrote. The just turned 20-year-old Cortijo had a 2.63 ERA (3.29 FIP) with 29.1% strikeouts and 5.8% walks in 51.1 innings with Short Season Staten Island this summer.
Super Two cutoff set at 2.134
According to Jerry Crasnick, the Super Two service time cutoff has been set at two years and 134 days this offseason. (It is more commonly written as 2.134.) A player must be in the top 22% of service time between two and three years to qualify as a Super Two. The cutoff does move around each year but is generally around 2.120. I can’t remember the last time it was as high as 2.134 (that’s good for teams and bad for players). Anyway, that number is set.
The Yankees have one player who qualifies for Super Two this winter and he’s an important one: Luis Severino. Severino is at 2.170 of service time right now. He’s well over the Super Two cutoff. One-hundred-and-seventy-two days of service time counts as a full season, so Severino will miss qualifying for free agency by two days during the 2021-22 offseason. The Yankees kept him in Triple-A juuust long enough in 2016 to push back free agency. Gary Sanchez falls 48 days short of the Super Two cutoff this offseason. He’s closest to the cutoff after Severino.