According to Josh Norris, C Gary Sanchez will likely have to wait a few more weeks before being promoted to Double-A Trenton. The Yankees want him to catch all the hard-throwers on the High-A Tampa pitching staff so he can work on his ability to receive big velocity.
Triple-A Scranton (10-7 win over Rochester)
- 2B Walt Ibarra: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
- C J.R. Murphy: 3-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI – second straight game with a homer gives him eight on the year, one set of his career-high set last season
- RF Fernando Martinez: 0-3, 1 RBI, 1 HBP — organizational debut
- CF Cody Grice: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI – career game for the guy who was called up from High-A Tampa as an emergency fill-in due to the injuries
- RHP Jose Ramirez: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HB, 4/1 GB/FB — 44 of 74 pitches were strikes (59%) … it’s almost like he isn’t ready for this leave after only 42.1 innings at Double-A
- RHP Dellin Betances: 3 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/5 GB/FB — 24 of 43 pitches were strikes (56%) … another positive sign
The Yankees beat the Dodgers this afternoon in the first game of their doubleheader, but it didn’t come without a cost. Joe Girardi ran through arguably his four best relievers, with Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, and Adam Warren the only bullpeners not to appear in the game. Both David Robertson (14 pitches) and Mariano Rivera (ten pitches) told Andy McCullough they should be available tonight, but being available and Girardi being willing to use them are different matters entirely. Joe always seems to make sure he doesn’t overwork his relievers, especially his 43-year-old closer. We’ll see. Here’s the lineup he’s running out there against southpaw Chris Capuano:
- CF Brett Gardner
- SS Jayson Nix
- 2B Robinson Cano
- DH Vernon Wells
- RF Thomas Neal
- LF Ichiro Suzuki
- 3B David Adams
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- C Austin Romine
And on the mound is hopefully the good version of right-hander Phil Hughes. He’s alternated very good with very bad starts his last four times out, and he’s coming off a stinker.
As you saw this afternoon, the weather is flawless in New York today. Won’t be any rain issues tonight like there were last night. The second game of this doubleheader is scheduled for 7:05pm ET and can be seen on My9 locally and ESPN2 nationally. Enjoy.
A win is a win, and the Yankees have now strung together two wins following their two ugliest weeks of the season. It was another nail-biter, but beggars can’t be choosers. The Yankees beat the Dodgers 6-4 in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Demonstrate My Lyle
After Mark Teixeira returned, Lyle Overbay received a total on 15 plate appearances across two weeks of games. He was relegated to pinch-hitting duty and spot starts in right field, which is not an easy thing to do. Playing irregularly is hard, especially if you’re used to playing full-time. It takes an adjustment, but Lyle does have experience in the role after spending the last several years as a part-timer in the NL.
With Teixeira back on the DL, Overbay is again the regular first baseman and he showed no rust on Wednesday. He doubled in a run in Sunday’s win and then doubled in the first two runs of this game. Thomas Neal and Ichiro Suzuki started the third inning with back-to-back singles, then were moved up on David Adams‘ sacrifice bunt. Hyun-Jin Ryu caught way too much of the plate with a fastball in a 1-1 count, a pitch Overbay clobbered to dead center for the two-run-scoring hit. Andre Ethier is a DH miscast as a center fielder, but even Brett Gardner wasn’t catching that one. It was crushed. Lyle has picked up right where he left off before Teixeira’s return.
Six years ago, Hiroki Kuroda came over from Japan as a free agent and started his MLB career with the Dodgers. He spent four years in Los Angeles, and on Wednesday he faced them as an opponent for the first time. He didn’t give his former mates any preferential treatment though; Kuroda held the Dodgers scoreless through six innings before allowing his only two runs in the seventh.
For all intents and purposes, it was a typical Kuroda start. He wiggled around some base-runners early before settling into a groove in the middle innings, then things got a bit hairy late. Two runs on eight hits and one walk in 6.2 innings isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing line, but it is plenty good enough to win. To be fair, Kuroda did get lucky when Ethier’s soft line drive wound up in his glove in the third inning, allowing them to double Adrian Gonzalez off third base with men on second and third with no outs. He escaped the inning one batter later with a ground ball. They said it’s better to be lucky that good, and Kuroda was both on Wednesday afternoon.
Two Errors, Three Insurance Runs
It takes a special kind of bad to make two errors on one play, and thankfully Ronald Belisario is that kind of bad. With the washed up Vernon Wells at the plate with men on first and second in the seventh, the right-hander got cute and let a soft little infield pop-up fall in so he could turn the double play. He didn’t field it cleanly because the ball had a little English, and it scooted backwards through his legs. Belisario then picked it up and threw to second for the force out, which would he would have gotten easily had he had not thrown the ball into center field. Here’s the GIF, courtesy of Mike Petriello:
One error on the intentional drop, another on the throw. Just like that, the Yankees had a big insurance run. Belisario (unintentionally) hit Neal with the next pitch to load the bases, then Ichiro broke things open with a two-run bloop single to left off lefty specialist extraordinaire Paco Rodriguez. He chipped in a solo homer in the sixth as well. Runs are always great, but that three-run seventh inning was a big pick-me-up after the Dodgers scored two runs a half-inning earlier to make it a one-run game. Belisario gets the majority of the credit, but big ups to Ichiro for driving in those two extra runs.
No Easy Wins Allowed
As for the bullpen, Shawn Kelley deserves credit for striking out Nick Punto to end the seventh and clean up Kuroda’s mess. Preston Claiborne faced three batters and allowed three rockets in the eighth. One went for a double, one found Ichiro’s glove for a great catch, then one sailed over the wall for a Hanley Ramirez two-run homer. Probably his worst outing as a big leaguer.
David Robertson replaced Claiborne and promptly walked the first two men he faced, putting the tying run on base and the go-ahead run at the plate. He escaped the jam with an infield pop-up and a routine ground ball. Four (!) of his 14 pitches were strikes. It’s been a long time since Robertson was that wild. Mariano Rivera restored order with a perfect ninth for his 25th save.
The Yankees had a chance to break things open in the fifth, when Chris Stewart (walk) and Gardner (single) reached base to open the inning. Unfortunately, Jayson Nix bunted the runners up and took the bat out of Robinson Cano‘s hands. The team’s best player was intentionally walked, putting the onus on Wells and Neal. The former struck out before the latter grounded out to end the scoring chance. If you don’t trust a guy to hit with two on and no outs, don’t bat him second.
Ichiro went 3-fot-4 at the plate and also made a very nice jumping catch on the warning track to rob Gonzalez of a surefire RBI double in the eighth. It wasn’t close to a homer, but there was a man on second and no outs in the inning. That was the only out Claiborne recorded. No other Yankee had multiple hits, and in fact Gardner, Nix, Cano, Neal, and Overbay were the only other guys with hits at all. Stewart drew the walk and that was it for the offense.
Yasiel Puig has been the talk of baseball for a few weeks now and it was obvious he was pretty amped up in his New York debut. He got thrown out at second base trying to stretch a single into a double in the first, then in the second he tried to throw Neal out at first base on a base hit to right. The throw was over Gonzalez’s head and went all the way to the backstop. He’s a bit excitable, I’d say.
Let’s play two? Like it or not, they will. These same two teams will give it a go at 7pm ET tonight in the nightcap of this doubleheader. Phil Hughes and Chris Capuano is your pitching matchup. See you then.
Via Jon Heyman: MLB investigators are convinced there will be at least some suspensions handed down in the wake of their investigation into the South Florida performance-enhancing drug hub Biogenesis. League officials believe they could announce the suspensions before the appeals process begins even though the Joint Drug Agreement says otherwise.
The lack of failed tests means MLB will build their case around “non-analytical positives” and require a ton of corroborating evidence. Former Biogenesis chief Anthony Bosch recently agreed to cooperate with the investigation in exchange for a variety of things, but not before allegedly trying to extort a six-figure payout from Alex Rodriguez. The league also met with primary whistle-blower Porter Fischer on three occasions according to Tim Elfrink. MLB is looking to suspend upwards of 20 players, but the appeals process will take time regardless of when the announcement is made. · (38) ·
Wednesday: The Yankees have officially announced the signing, so it’s a done deal. Clarkin passed his physical and will soon begin his pro career.
Monday: Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees and supplemental first round pick Ian Clarkin have agreed to a $1,650,100 signing bonus, which is exactly slot money for the 33rd overall pick. This was the pick the team received as compensation for losing Rafael Soriano to free agency. The deal is still pending a physical, which he will take today.
Clarkin, 18, is a left-hander out of a San Diego high school. He sits in the low-90s with his fastball and also offered one of the very best curveballs in the draft class. His changeup is advanced for a prepster. Read more about him right here. As you probably remember, Clarkin declared his hatred for the Yankees in a pre-recorded video that was aired during the draft broadcast before saying he would need “life-changing money” to sign. Unsurprisingly, $1.65M has a way of changing minds. I’m pleasantly surprised the Yankees got him signed for slot this quickly.
Keep tabs on the team’s draft pool with our 2013 Draft Pool page. · (74) ·
Don Mattingly’s return to the Bronx was spoiled by rain last night, so now his two-day return will be squeezed into one doubleheader. The Yankees and Dodgers are playing two games today, something that is always more fun in theory than in practice. Doubleheaders can be hell on an older roster. I guess the good news is that New York just had two straight days off and have another off-day coming up on Monday. Here’s the lineup Joe Girardi is sending out there against left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu in the first game:
- CF Brett Gardner
- SS Jayson Nix
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Vernon Wells
- DH Thomas Neal
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 3B David Adams
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- C Chris Stewart
And on the mound is the former Los Angeles Dodger, Hiroki Kuroda. He spent four seasons in LA, making one Opening Day start (2009).
There won’t be any weather issues today — it’s supposed to be nice and sunny and a little on the cool side this afternoon here in New York. The first of the two games is scheduled to start at 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.
By Greg Cohen and Jesse Lawrence, TiqIQ
When the Dodgers last won the World Series in New York City, a ticket to Game 4 could be had for $7.35, or less than the cost of a hot dog or a beer at the New Yankee Stadium. The last time the Dodgers visited the Bronx was for the 1981 World Series, and the face price for Yankees tickets in the in the Loge section of the old stadium was $20. Times have obviously changed, and for last year’s World Series, the minimum face price to see the Giants beat the Tigers was $110. For the second half of the Yankees vs. Dodgers doubleheader, though, there are a handful of tickets available for 1981 prices. As of 11:30am, the Yankees Ticket Exchange had tickets in section 239 for $21.
1981 was the year before Don Mattingly made his major league debut, and the last time the Yankees would see the post-season until his final year in 1995. The prospects of a managerial postseason for Mattingly in 2013 are low, and a rematch of the ’81 series even lower. The Dodgers enter the series last in the NL West, seven games out of the playoff hunt. The Yankees are surviving at third in the AL East. With Mattingly in the opposing dugout, though, the game will evoke memories even for those too young to remember 1981.
Mattingly only played two postseason games in Yankee Stadium, both in 1995. In those games, he batted .500 and led the team into Seattle with a good chance to return home for the ALCS. As we all now know, Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr. had other plans. Despite the Yankees’ dramatic and traumatic loss, there was some solace in knowing that the Captain had seized the moment and delivered big on the postseason stage. While his legacy as a great Yankee was already fortified, those two games dispelled any questions about his October mettle.
While we’re still months from October, the two games today at Yankee Stadium may be critical to dispel rumblings about his viability as Dodgers manager. A dismal performance on the biggest stage in baseball could be the final straw. Two wins could be a turning point in the season. If the past is any predictor, Mattingly will do everything he can to make sure his guys leave it all out on the field.
While you can see all options for Yankees Tickets from our partners at TiqIQ, they also did some advanced scouting to identify the best deal from the Yankees. Section 135 and 136: $86 with fees. $18 below anything else on the market – CLICK HERE.
12:38pm: The Yankees have officially announced the signing, so it’s a done deal.
11:08am: Via K. Levine-Flandrup: The Yankees have officially signed second round pick Gosuke Katoh to an $845,700 signing bonus, full slot value for the 66th overall pick. He has already passed his physical.
Katoh, 18, is a high school second baseman out of San Diego. The rail thin speedy slap hitter was considered more of a fourth or fifth round talent heading into the draft, but the Yankees have a tendency to go against the consensus and reach for players they really like in the early rounds. I thought Katoh would sign for something below slot, but apparently not.
Keep tabs on the team’s draft pool with our 2013 Draft Pool page. · (34) ·
Daniel says: What I’ve been thinking is that maybe there was no way of preventing this season’s struggles … I really believe it is just one of those years that a lot of problems fell onto the team all at once from injuries to decline to inconsistent performances (and not just a poor approach to free agency). I think it would help to keep it all in perspective by taking a look at the players the Yankees “missed out on,” and speculate exactly what kind of a difference it would have made had they been brought on. I may be one of the few that does not blame this whole joke of a season on Brian Cashman at all, and I place only a fraction of blame on the front office.
(Apologies, Daniel. I trimmed down your submission quite a bit, but hopefully this will still get your point across satisfactorily. Of course, with loaded question comes loaded answer…)
I suppose the best way to approach this topic would be to take a quick visit to MLBTR’s 2013 Free Agent Tracker. From there, we can try to assess whether any of those “lost” free agent candidates would impact the team’s needs enough to make a tangible difference.
Let’s start with 3B, SS, C, and RF as those were all obvious spots of concern this past offseason. Of course, it is worth mentioning that this kind of speculation is somewhat futile as we don’t know whether any of these players would have performed comparably had they been with the Yankees, nor do we know how the other clubs’ rosters would have been realigned if they couldn’t get some of the players they did. But for the sake of vacuum-written posts everywhere, let’s just go with it.
(click every table in this post for a larger view)
The third base market was pretty barren this past offseason. To make matters worse, the Yankees weren’t exactly looking to make major moves at this position heading into the offseason. The decision to repair Alex Rodriguez’s torn labrum surfaced in late-November. He required a month or so of pre-rehabbing prior to surgery, followed by an estimated four to six month recovery time afterward. This resulted in a need for a third baseman who could not only start, but who could potentially handle the rigors of playing all season long should A-Rod‘s return become delayed (which was/is definitely plausible).
Unfortunately, Eric Chavez was already off the table by the first week of December. He signed a one year, $3 million dollar pact with the Diamondbacks, opting instead for a starting gig. Chavez has had a solid season thus far and would have been a decided upgrade over what the Yankees have gotten from their third basemen collectively, though he’s already experienced his first (of what I’m sure will be several) injuries this season.
After Chavez, the alternatives are pretty awful besides Mark Reynolds. We’re talking Brandon Inge (signed a MiLB deal), Drew Sutton (MiLB deal), Mark DeRosa (1 yr/$750k), and the oft-injured Placido Polanco (who’s been terrible with the Marlins). Signing Kevin Youkilis made sense in theory to some degree, but it was an extremely risky move to replace one injury prone player with another. $13M for a fragile Youk plus random assorted parts simply doesn’t cut it.
Derek Jeter sure didn’t do the team any favors when he decided to go break his ankle last October. Man, that screwed things up. The Yankees took a gamble that the Captain would heal by his Opening Day target date (which in retrospect seemed pretty ambitious). Their backup plan, Eduardo Nunez, has been sidelined basically all year which has paved the road for other internal candidate, Jayson Nix who has been serviceable.
Would Alex Gonzalez (1 yr/$1.5M), Ronny Cedeno or Cesar Izturis (MiLB deal) prove a better alternative? None of these options seem particularly appealing to me – then or now. Stephen Drew would have been an upgrade over what the Yankees have for sure, but there was no way Cashman was going to sign him for a part-time gig anyway – remember the assumption was that Jeter would be back by Opening Day. I’m just not sure free agency was the solution for the short stop dilemma in terms of quality. Cash gets a pass here for not biting on any of the alternatives if all the information provided to him at the time suggested Jeter was likely to return on the expected schedule.
That brings us to catcher. The plan was – I can’t believe I’m saying this – to roll the dice with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart. Frankie went down early after contributing at a surprisng pace. Austin Romine came up and played miserably in limited opportunity. This allowed Stewart to secure the starting gig for himself. Now, to be fair, Stewart has surpassed my expectations with his .270/.326/.348 (.299 wOBA, 84 wRC+) line and three home runs, which basically represents career highs for him. Russell Martin, on the other hand, is playing pretty close to his career norm. That is to say seven home runs and a .247/.340/.419 (.336 wOBA, 116 wRC+) line – a rate, mind you, that is sustainable for him … perhaps unlike Chris’ production (or Cervelli’s for that matter).
Pierzynski (102 wRC+) has been pretty good too, and he was signed by the Rangers for a one-year stint. Other FA catchers such as David Ross, Yorvit Torrealba, Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco have all performed generally worse. While Stewart hasn’t been bad, I think it was still a pretty big #FAIL to not re-sign Martin (especially since Martin is also a defensively capable catcher, which is apparently an asset these days). I’ll blame Cashman for this lost production, but who knows. Maybe ownership deserves some of (or the majority of) the blame here too if they either a) passed on Cashman’s recommendation to keep Martin or b) prevented him from retaining Martin because of the proposed austerity budget.
Now … the OF, which as it currently stands, is a complete cluster-f mess. As I mentioned last week, it’s no one’s fault that Curtis Granderson fell victim to two fluky injuries, the first of which happened in Spring Training. However, it is of absolutely no surprise that right field ended up being an offensive void after the team elected to drop Nick Swisher in lieu of some Ichiro/Francisco-headed platoon. Once Grandy went down, the team was doubly screwed as it would then be forced to trade/rely on Vernon Wells in left field. Prior to the start of the season, there were some outfielders available. The Yankees could have tried to replace Swisher with another right fielder, or hire a different outfield position and find a way to reorganize the lineup possibly.
For what it’s worth, Swisher hasn’t been all that great in Cleveland thus far; though even while playing relatively mediocre, Swisher’s 107 wRC+ still manages to sit about 30 points higher than the Yankees not-quite-so-dynamic outfield tandem of Ichiro and Wells. I can totally understand not signing a guy like Josh Hamilton for health concerns or Michael Bourn (might as well just get Swisher if you’re spending almost $50M anyway). Heading into the season, Justin Upton was an appealing option though. Ditto Torii Hunter. Mike’s been endorsing Nate Schierholtz from day one. All of these guys would have felt like a better plan going in, and a few would still be improvements now.
Sure, the actual numbers for some of these outfielders may not have panned out favorably through the first third of the season, but the opportunity for success would have been better heading in, and that’s the real point. The team chose guys whose ceilings were likely to be below average for a few of these positions. Again, these decisions were largely driven by the austerity budget, and we’re examining them in hindsight. But neither of those points makes the outcome an easier one to accept. The Yankees have gotten very little production from their corner outfielders and their third basemen, and it shows. Obviously, the Yankees were betting on their pitching and defense to help shoulder some of the burden, which it has, but the overall lack of offense has put a lot of pressure on the team to generate runs in different ways which isn’t always easy.
Now to be clear, this isn’t to say that if Cashman had hired any of these Free Agents, they’d be instant World Series contenders or definitively better off now than where they currently stand. What we’re talking about here is incremental upgrades. If some of these Free Agents came aboard and translated into even a few extra wins over the course of the season, who knows, maybe that ultimately winds up being the difference between making the playoffs and missing it in the hyper competitive A.L. East.
It’s about trying to mitigate the possibility of failure as much as possible before experiencing diminishing returns on the investment. Frankly, I think even a marginal upgrade in RF and 3B would definitely help considering how awful those spots have been — hence the reason I’m somewhat optimistic about A-Rod when he returns. Short-stop and Catcher haven’t been as bad relatively speaking, even though we’ve seen how Stewart’s skill set compares to a guy like Martin. Or, maybe they wind up right where they are as you suggest even with some of these guys. There’s no way to prevent a disappointing season from possibly happening if a maelstrom of injuries occurs.
I also wouldn’t go so far as to call this season a joke either. Games have been painful to watch at times, but there is a lot baseball to be played and the team is obviously in contention. You are absolutely right, though, in the sense that the perfect storm of injuries has exacerbated an already difficult set of conditions. Ultimately, maybe they get by without some of those Free Agents which is obviously the most desirable outcome as that’s the reality that the team created. In the meantime, keep yourself prepared for some low-scoring ballgames as we find out.
- Double-A Trenton: LHP Francisco Rondon promoted to Triple-A Scranton. He’s walked way too many guys this year (6.34 BB/9 and 14.4 BB%), even after moving back to the bullpen. C Tyson Blaser was demoted to High-A Tampa.
- High-A Tampa: C Francisco Arcia has been promoted to Double-A Trenton. He and Blaser swapped spots, essentially. Have to think Arcia is just keeping the spot warm for C Gary Sanchez.
- LSU was eliminated from the College World Series today, meaning seventh rounder RHP Nick Rumbelow is now free to sign. He threw one scoreless inning in the event, walking one and striking out three.
- C J.R. Murphy: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K — first Triple-A homer
- 1B Dan Johnson: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B
- DH Randy Ruiz: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
- RHP Brett Marshall: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 7/3 GB/FB — 61 of 102 pitches were strikes (60%) … this start lowered his season ERA (6.94 ERA) and BB/9 (6.49), believe it or not
- LHP Francisco Rondon: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 5/2 GB/FB — 31 of 51 pitches were strikes (61%) … he was up to 95 mph with the fastball