Archive for Asides
The Yankees will designate Brian Roberts for assignment to clear a roster spot for the recently acquired Martin Prado, Brian Cashman told reporters. Roberts, who was lifted for a pinch-hitter on Monday and did not play Tuesday or Wednesday, was only two plate appearances shy of triggering a $250k bonus in his contract. The team cited general soreness and fatigue as reasons for the mini-benching.
Roberts, 36, hit .236/.300/.360 (81 wRC+) with five homers in 91 games and 348 plate appearances this year, his most since 2009. He hasn’t hit at all this month (69 wRC+) and his defense had become an issue in recent weeks, with lots of errors and bobbles and misplays. Perhaps he was just worn down. Roberts had the unenviable job of replacing Robinson Cano and the guy played hard all the time, but it just didn’t work out. That’s baseball. Something tells me he’ll be wearing a San Francisco Giants uniform very soon.
The Yankees have claimed right-hander Esmil Rogers off waivers from the Blue Jays, the team announced. Brian Cashman says he will join the big league team and be available out of the bullpen for tomorrow’s series opener against the Red Sox. Scott Sizemore was released to clear a 40-man spot. No other roster move have been announced yet.
Rogers, 28, has a 6.97 ERA (5.41 FIP) in 20.2 innings for Toronto this season while going back and forth between Triple-A and MLB a few times. He owns a 5.59 ERA (4.45 FIP) in 396 career innings with the Jays, Indians, and Rockies, which is broken down into a 5.59 ERA (4.77 FIP) in 220.2 innings as a starter and a 5.60 ERA (4.04 FIP) in 175.1 innings as a reliever. The 29-year-old Sizemore made two brief cameos with the Yankees but was on the Triple-A Scranton disabled list at the time of his release.
Wednesday: The Yankees invited Castillo to their Tampa complex for a private workout next week, reports George King. Andrew Marchand says they should not be considered the favorite to sign him, for what it’s worth.
Monday, 1:43pm: The Yankees are one of three teams that have scheduled a private workout with Castillo, according to Ben Badler. Balder says Castillo is likely to sign within two weeks.
1:00pm: Via Ken Davidoff: The Yankees sent a contingent of four to watch Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo’s showcase in Miami over the weekend. Those four: international scouting director Donny Rowland, international cross-checkers Gordon Blakeley and Dennis Woody, and pro scout Jay Darnell. Their level of interest in unknown. Twenty-eight of 30 teams were in attendance.
Castillo, 27, was said to have an impressive workout with the caveat that it was only a workout, not game action. Walter Villa has an excellent breakdown of the day. Castillo worked out in the outfield and at shortstop, but Villa says the consensus is that he won’t stick at short and his arm isn’t right field caliber. He showed good speed and surprising pop from the right side. “I like him, he’s a Major League player,” said one scout while another estimated he would sign for $25-35M. I have no idea whether he is worth that money or a good fit for the Yankees.
From the obvious news department: ticket sales receive the highest bump in games started by Masahiro Tanaka than any other pitcher in baseball, according to Brian Costa. Data released by StubHub says sales on the secondary market increase 73% when Tanaka is on the mound. Justin Verlander (69%) is second and Jeff Samardzija (68%) is third. The drop-off to the fourth place pitcher is pretty big — Chris Sale is at 29%.
When the Yankees signed Tanaka over the winter, it was obvious his appeal extended beyond his on-field impact. The Yankees know firsthand how marketable and profitable international players can be, especially Japanese players after having megastars like Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki spent time in the Bronx. Just how much extra cash they make due to these players is unknown but I’m sure it’s substantial. That 73% bump in ticket sales is just a piece of the revenue-generating Tanaka pie.
The crew at MLB.com released the midseason update of their top 100 prospects list late last night. Twins OF Byron Buxton remains in the top spot and is followed by Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras and Astros SS Carlos Correa. The Cubs have three of the top seven prospects in baseball thanks to their high draft picks and recent trade with the Athletics.
Two Yankees farmhands cracked the top 100: RHP Luis Severino is 70th and C Gary Sanchez is 76th. “If Severino continues to fill the strike zone with three quality pitches, he’ll continue to accelerate his timetable,” said the write-up, which also said Sanchez’s bat “would make him a valuable Major Leaguer, even if he had to change positions, but he has star potential as a catcher.” As with all MLB.com lists, the write-ups include scouting reports/grades and video, and it’s all free.
MLB.com also released an updated top 20 prospects list for each team. Severino and Sanchez top the Yankees list (duh), and are followed in order by 3B Eric Jagielo, LHP Luis Severino, and OF Aaron Judge. I’m pretty sure you won’t see Judge ranked that low by any other scouting publication, which is fine. I enjoy MLB.com’s occasionally off the beaten path rankings. Again, scouting reports and everything else are free.
Via Andrew Marchand: The Yankees do not have interest in Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp at the moment. Jon Heyman reports Los Angeles is shopping the 2011 NL MVP runner-up and his agent has said it might be best for both parties if he moves on. Kemp would welcome a trade if it allows him to move back to center field full-time, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Kemp, 29, is hitting .273/.339/.429 (119 wRC+) with eight homers in 369 plate appearances this year. He’s owed roughly $118M through 2019. There is almost always a point where it makes sense to acquire a player, especially someone of Kemp’s caliber, but I think this is the type of contract the Yankees have to avoid. The structural problems with his shoulder (surgery in each of the last two offseasons) suggest his power loss is not a fluke, plus he already contributes nothing defensively. Healthy Matt Kemp is a monster, one of the five best players in the world, but he hasn’t been that player for three years now.
Via Joel Sherman: The Rockies and White Sox are among the teams keeping an eye on Francisco Cervelli prior to the trade deadline. All of his recent playing time is not a showcase, however. “You showcase in Spring Training, not now when you are trying to win games. We are just putting our best team on the field while [Mark Teixeira] is out,” said Brian Cashman.
Cervelli, 28, is hitting .311/.354/.443 (121 wRC+) in 65 plate appearances around a Grade II hamstring strain this year. The White Sox were said to be watching him back in Spring Training and the Yankees have reportedly asked about lefty John Danks, but it’s unclear if there’s any kind of match there. Sherman says the Yankees also like Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa, but Colorado is asking for way too much in return.
The Yankees have some upper level catching depth to spare but that doesn’t mean they should give it away. Remember, Cervelli is injury prone and Austin Romine has faded. The depth isn’t as great as it appears. Cashman did a really excellent job of getting Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley for pennies on the dollar, so maybe Cervelli winds up being part of a similar trade within the next few days. We’ll see.
The Yankees have added Chris Capuano to the active roster and designated Chris Leroux for the assignment, the team announced. Capuano, who acquired in a minor trade with the Rockies yesterday, will start tomorrow’s game. Shane Greene has been pushed back to Sunday and Chase Whitley is in the bullpen. The Yankees are still carrying eight relievers and three bench players, though I think that will change sometime soon. Jeff Francis‘ days may be numbered.
Via George King: The Yankees will be among the teams to watch Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo at his showcase in Miami (at Alex Rodriguez Park!) tomorrow. “He reminds me of (Dayan) Viciedo, not with the power, but with the way he plays and he has very good speed,” said one scout. “He is not (Yasiel) Puig. Some teams think he is a fourth outfielder but others believe he can be more.”
Castillo, 27, has already been declared a free agent by MLB and is free to sign. He is represented by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. “Castillo has good strength for his relatively short stature and is an athletic player whose best tool is his plus-plus speed … Castillo can sting the ball from the right side of the plate, projecting as a line-drive bat who hits a lot of doubles and triples rather than home runs. He’s an aggressive hitter with good bat speed, though his swing can get long at times and he will expand his strike zone,” wrote Ben Badler recently. Here’s the obligatory highlight video.
Because of his age, Castillo would not count against a team’s international signing pool, not that it matters for the Yankees at this point. They haven’t signed a big name Cuban player since getting burned by Jose Contreras, though they did show serious interest in Aledmys Diaz earlier this year and appear to be ready to get back into the market. I have no idea what kind of contract Castillo will command or if he makes sense for the Yankees, who already have two low-power outfielders signed for big bucks long-terms. Either way, they’ll be on hand to see up close this weekend.
11:09pm: Jon Heyman to the rescue! He says the Yankees do have interest in Kennedy but not at the cost of Jagielo and Clarkin. Maybe Bowden meant “discussing” as in “that’s who the Padres asked for.”
11:08pm: Via Jim Bowden: The Yankees and Padres are discussing a trade that would bring Ian Kennedy back to New York in exchange for 2013 first rounders Eric Jagielo and Ian Clarkin. The Yankees had a scout on hand to watch IPK’s start last night, according to multiple reports. That’s an awful lot to give up for Kennedy, who has been merely good and not great the last few years. Here’s my Scouting The Market post on him. This one doesn’t really pass the sniff test, but we’ll see.