Heyman: Yankees not among teams with interest in Tim Lincecum

(Joe Robbins/Getty)
(Joe Robbins/Getty)

Tomorrow free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum will hold a workout for scouts at the Giants’ Spring Training complex in Arizona. Lincecum is looking to show teams he’s at full strength following September hip labrum surgery. Jon Heyman says ESPN may televise the workout, which is, uh, odd.

Almost every team in the league will attend Lincecum’s workout, though Heyman says the Yankees are one of the few clubs yet to reach out with legitimate interest. That could always change and it doesn’t mean they won’t attend the workout either. They could send a pair of eyes out of due diligence, like what they see, and then decide to get involved. (Lincecum has pushed his showcase back a few times, which seems like a bit of a red flag.)

Lincecum, who will turn 32 in June, has not been good since the 2011 season. CC Sabathia has been an above-average starter more recently. Lincecum was arguably the best pitcher in the world from 2008-11, then everything fell apart as his velocity and stuff started to fade.

2008-11 881.2 2.81 2.81 26.9% 8.7% 47.1% 0.55 +23.3 +23.1
2012-15 615.2 4.68 4.08 21.6% 10.0% 45.9% 1.02 -2.7 +3.1

If the Yankees really wanted to, they could offer Lincecum a full-time rotation spot. Sending Luis Severino to Triple-A would not be unjustified at this point. I have more interest in Lincecum as a reliever at this point — here’s our Scouting The Market post — because even when he’s been healthy the last few years, he’s been awful.

Lincecum would reportedly like to stay on the West Coast, and besides, pitchers looking to rebuild value usually don’t come to Yankee Stadium and the AL East unless it’s a last resort. Think Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia a few years back. Reclamation project pitchers usually seek out big ballparks, not bandboxes.

My guess right now is Lincecum ends up back with the Giants, especially with Jake Peavy (45 ERA+) and Matt Cain (58 ERA+) struggling to much. Those two are best off with each other. Lincecum is still a rock star in San Francisco and the Giants benefit from all the additional fan support. Plus they get a depth arm out of it as well. It’s a win-win.

There’s never anything wrong with adding pitching depth, and right now Lincecum might be the best scrap heap starter available. It’s either him or Kyle Lohse since both Chad Billingsley and Josh Johnson are rehabbing elbow injuries. John Danks, who was designated for assignment earlier this week, figures to hit the market soon as well. The Yankees have had interest in him in the past.

Revisiting the MLBTR Archives: May 2011

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

It is time, once again, to go back and take a trip through the MLB Trade Rumors archives. We’re now in May 2011, so the season is well underway and teams have started to get serious about prep work leading up to the trade deadline. The Yankees lost Andy Pettitte (retirement) and Cliff Lee (signed with the Phillies) in the offseason, but did add Rafael Soriano.

The big story heading into May 2011 was CC Sabathia‘s impending opt-out clause. That was a thing all season. Sabathia was still a bonafide front of the rotation workhorse at the time, and the possibility of losing him to the opt-out clause was scary, particularly after missing out on Lee. The Yankees were still looking for rotation help in May as well. Time to have some fun and dig back through old rumors.

May 1st, 2011: New York Notes: Lowe, Reyes, Mets, Ownership

The Braves could look to trade Derek Lowe even if they’re still in the playoff hunt, according to a scout who follows the team. Ken Davidoff of Newsday says the Yankees, who “negotiated seriously” with Lowe when he was a free agent, would be an obvious candidate to kick the tires on the right-hander if he’s available.

True fact: I wanted the Yankees to sign Lowe, not A.J. Burnett, during the 2008-09 offseason. Good thing that didn’t happen. Burnett at least gave the Yankees one really good year in 2009. Lowe came out of the gate with a 4.67 ERA (4.06 FIP) in the first year of his four-year, $60M deal with the Braves.

Atlanta did not trade Lowe during the 2011 season. They instead send him to the Indians in a pure salary dump trade after the season. Lowe didn’t pitch well in Cleveland in 2012 either, so they released him at midseason, at which point the Yankees picked him up off the scrap heap. He had a four-inning save in his first game in pinstripes. Remember?

May 1st, 2011: Kevin Millwood Opts Out Of Contract

11:23am: ESPN.com’s Buster Olney confirms (via Twitter) that Millwood has opted out of his contract with the Yankees.

Millwood was very weirdly a hot topic for a few weeks back in 2011. It appeared the Yankees had major rotation issues and he was a familiar name, but he was also 36 years old and coming off a season with a 5.10 ERA (4.86 FIP) for the Orioles. There’s nothing wrong with a minor league deal though, so the Yankees signed him, Millwood allowed eight runs in nine Triple-A innings, then opted out. He later spent some time in Triple-A with the Red Sox before the Rockies let him make nine starts that year. The infatuation with Millwood was always a bit odd to me.

May 3rd, 2011: Minor Deals: Halsey, Cintron

The Yankees have signed left-hander Brad Halsey to a minor league contract, according to the AP (via the Washington Post). Halsey began his MLB career with the Yankees, who drafted him in 2002, but he hasn’t appeared in a big league game since 2006. The 30-year-old has a 4.84 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 286 1/3 career innings for the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Athletics.

Ergh. Halsey, who the Yankees sent to the Diamondbacks in the Randy Johnson trade, had his career sabotaged by major shoulder problems. He had a 7.52 ERA in 32.1 minor league innings with the Yankees in 2011 and never pitched again after that. Halsey had drug problems throughout his career and was killed in a fall in 2014. Josh Peters wrote about Halsey’s career and off-the-field problems. Really sad stuff. He died at 33.

May 5th, 2011: Yankees Notes: Russo, Prospects, Granderson

The Yankees explored trading Kevin Russo during Spring Training, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).  Sherman notes that New York could take Russo off their 40-man roster to make room for Jorge Vazquez as a replacement for the injured Eric Chavez, though Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog believes Ramiro Pena will be called up instead.

Russo had his moments with the Yankees in 2010 (this game and this game, most notably) but there was no role for him on the 2011 team. He was a classic versatile/good stats minor leaguer who looked maybe like he could be a useful bench player, but it didn’t happen. The Yankees designated Russo for assignment literally the day after Sherman’s report, and he later cleared waivers and remained in the organization as a non-40-man roster player. Russo never did get back to MLB after 2010. He did hit .249/.301/.315 in an independent league last year though.

May 6th, 2011: Yankees Claim Jess Todd

The Yankees claimed right-hander Jess Todd off of waivers from Cleveland, the Indians announced. The Indians had designated Todd for assignment on April 30th.

Jess Todd is definitely a real person and not someone made up. For a while Todd and Chris Perez were supposed to be the long-term 1-2 punch in the Cardinals bullpen, but Perez was traded away and Todd never panned out. He allowed two runs in 1.2 innings with Triple-A Scranton before being released. Unlike Perez, Todd was still active full-time last season. He had a 5.51 ERA in 81.2 innings with Boston’s Triple-A club. He is not pitching anywhere this season as far as I can tell.

May 8th, 2011: New York Notes: Reyes, Jeter, Logan, Pridie

Within a piece about slow starters, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says he talked to 12 scouts or officials and not a single one believes Derek Jeter will “approach his old self.”

This is why scouts make the big bucks, folks. It takes a trained eye to tell you 38-year-old Jeter will not approach his old self, especially coming off a season in which he hit .270/.340/.370 (93 wRC+). Of course, Jeter then went out and hit .297/.355/.388 (104 wRC+) in 2011, and followed it up with a .316/.362/.429 (117 wRC+) effort in 2012. Sometimes scouts screw up the easy ones too.

May 10th, 2011: New York Notes: Jeter, Berkman, Mets

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out, it’s easy to forget that the Yankees declined their 2011 option for Lance Berkman. The switch-hitter has been among the best hitters in baseball this year, but the Yankees couldn’t have known that in the fall. At the time, they had a DH of their own (Jorge Posada) and Berkman’s $15MM option seemed steep, even for the Yankees.

This was a weird thing for Sherman to write because the Yankees agreed not to pick up Berkman’s option to get him to accept the trade, per Ken Rosenthal. He wanted to become a free agent after the season and test the open market. Besides, the Yankees had Posada at DH and Mark Teixeira at first base. There was no room for Fat Elvis even if they wanted to pick up the option. Facts get in the way of this LOLYanks story.

May 11th, 2011: Bartolo Colon Looks To Stem Cells For New Start

What’s to explain Colon’s resurgence, at age 37 and after five years dominated by shoulder and elbow problems?  According to a story in the Dominican daily Diario Libre, the new life in Colon’s arm could be partially attributable to two treatments of stem cells – or “células madre” as they’re called in the Dominican Republic, where Colon had the procedures. The doctors, Sergio Guzman and Leonel Liriano, told the newspaper they had envisioned using the treatment on Pedro Martinez, but they also sent “an invitation” out to Colon, which he accepted in March 2010. (Pedro’s invitation, the article says, is still open). Guzman was quick to insist, though, that when they took fatty tissue and bone marrow from Colon’s hip and injected it into injured tissues in his rotator cuff and elsewhere in his right shoulder, they weren’t doing anything revolutionary.

This was a big deal back in 2011. Colon was pretty awesome early that season — he had a 3.86 ERA (3.78 FIP) in 37.1 innings on the day of this report — and the doctors he used in the Dominican Republic were kinda shady, so suddenly performance-enhancing drugs entered the conversation. For what it’s worth, MLB looked into things and walked away satisfied. Of course, Colon was suspended 50 games after failing a PED test in August 2012 when he was with the Athletics, so yeah. The guy was as close to out of baseball as it gets in 2010. The Yankees took a chance on him and he has a 3.64 ERA (3.62 FIP) in 935.2 innings since. Wild.

May 13th, 2011: Quick Hits: Astros, Lincecum, Yankees, Beltran

Rosenthal says the Yankees shouldn’t rush lefty Manny Banuelos to the Majors. “Let Manny become Manny … No sooner than 2012,” Rosenthal writes.

There were an awful lot of Yankee fans who saw Banuelos strike out Kevin Youkilis with a 3-2 changeup in Spring Training in 2011 and deemed him MLB ready. That was weird. Banuelos, who was still only 20 at the time, had a 3.75 ERA (4.15 FIP) in 129.2 innings at Double-A and Triple-A in 2011. He made six minor league starts in 2012 before blowing out his elbow. Banuelos has been dealing with elbow problems ever since. That’s a shame. Calling him up 2011 was definitely a thing that was talked about. The Yankees never really needed him though.

May 14th, 2011: Jorge Posada May Be In Breach On Contract

7:31pm: Mired in a season-long slump, Jorge Posada pulled himself from tonight’s lineup according to Yankees GM Brian Cashman on the FOX Saturday Night broadcast. Posada had been penciled into the ninth spot in the order for the first time in 12 years, and ESPN’s Buster Olney says (on Twitter) that he refused to play for that reason. He has given no indication that he’s retiring.

This was ugly and Joe Girardi absolutely deserves some of the blame. Posada was not hitting at all — he went into that game with a .165/.272/.349 (68 wRC+) batting line — and Girardi was not wrong to move him down in the lineup, but he chose to bat Posada ninth for the first time during a nationally televised game against the Red Sox. Not the best timing. That was pretty embarrassing for Jorge.

That said, Posada had no right to pull himself from the lineup no matter how pissed off he was about batting ninth. There was talk he would retire, that he demanded a trade, that the Yankees would suspend him or even look to void his contract and call up Jesus Montero, all sorts of crazy stuff. Posada sat out a few days to collect himself before making an apology. The team accepted the apology and the matter was closed. That was rough though. The end of the line is rarely pretty for legacy players and Posada was certainly no exception.

May 17th, 2011: Yankees Sign Randy Flores

The Yankees signed lefty reliever Randy Flores to a minor league deal, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  The deal includes an opt-out, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX SportsJoel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the opt-out is before the All-Star break.

The Yankees signed Pedro Feliciano in the offseason and he almost instantly blew out his shoulder, leaving the team short a lefty reliever. (World Series hero Damaso Marte, who was still with the Yankees at the time, was hurt as well.) Flores was a depth pickup and he was okay with Triple-A Scranton (3.07 ERA in 29.1 innings), but apparently the Yankees didn’t like what they saw, so they released him. That 2011 season was Flores’ last as a player.

May 21st, 2011: Quick Hits: Branyan, Bedard, Vazquez, Turner

Joel Sherman of The New York Post points out that the Yankees once drafted Mets‘ infielder Justin Turner, but he turned down a $200K offer as 29th round pick in 2005 and returned to school for his senior season. Turner signed with the Reds for $50K as a seventh round pick in 2006, then was traded to the Orioles in the Ryan FreelRamon Hernandez swap and was later claimed off waivers by the Mets. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI against the Yanks last night.

Here is a mostly complete list of active big leaguers the Yankees drafted but did not sign: Turner, Jon Gray, Tyler Lyons, Jake Petricka, Gerrit Cole, Rob Scahill, Drew Storen, Tyler Ladendorf, Doug Fister, and Chris Davis. I think that’s all of them. Cole and Davis are the headliners, obviously. Storen and Fister are pretty big names too. Gray is a recent top prospect who is still cutting his teeth at the MLB level. Turner’s had some nice years recently and everyone else is an up-and-down depth player. Every team has a list of players like this though. They’ve all failed to sign a draft pick who went on to become a pretty good player down the line. The Yankees are not unique.

May 23rd, 2011: Quick Hits: Herrera, Bautista, Blevins

Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues points out that recently-designated southpaw Jerry Blevins could be an appealing option for the Yankees if they’re looking for more upside than Randy Flores offers.

This was when RAB made it big and first started appearing on MLBTR. I remember being all over Blevins in 2011. The A’s waived him like four times that year and every single time I said the Yankees should claim him. They never did. No one did, actually. Blevins remained with the A’s all season and for another two years as well.

Blevins, who was only 27 at the time, had five years of team control remaining including that 2011 season. He pitched to a 3.29 ERA (3.61 FIP) with +2.5 WAR in 216 relief innings during those five years of control. Lefties hit only .188/.251/.323 with a 28.3% strikeout rate and a 5.8% walk rate against him during that time too. Lefties who are still in their 20s with an out-pitch breaking ball and a minor league strikeout rate over 30% are almost always worth a claim. SMH, Yankees. SMH.

May 25th, 2011: Yankees Notes: Soriano, Colon

A third MRI on Rafael Soriano‘s elbow has prompted the Yankees to send the pricey reliever to see Dr. James Andrews, report Mark Feinsand and Sean Brennan of the New York Daily News.  The writers note that this marks Soriano’s sixth elbow-related DL stint; he’s a survivor of Tommy John surgery and ulnar nerve transposition surgery.  I’m not sure what surgeries are left, but the decision by Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to overrule GM Brian Cashman on this signing is looking bad.  If the team’s bullpen depth is compromised due to the Soriano injury, Cashman might be forced to throw more money and/or prospects at the situation.

Soriano’s first year in pinstripes was really bad. He was hurt for most of it, and when he did pitch, he wasn’t all that good: 4.12 ERA (3.97 FIP) in 39.1 innings. By the end of the season David Robertson had emerged as Mariano Rivera‘s primary setup man and Soriano was the seventh inning guy. Soriano really bailed the Yankees out when Mo got hurt in 2012, but yeesh, 2011 was bad. Real bad. That the signing cost the team a first round pick and came from over the baseball operations department’s head was a little extra salt in the wound too.

May 25th, 2011: Yankees Claim Kanekoa Texeira

The Yankees claimed right-handed reliever Kanekoa Texeira off of waivers, the Royals announced. Kansas City had designated the former Yankees farmhand for assignment last Wednesday.

Kanekoa! He is best known as the other guy the Yankees received from the White Sox in the Nick Swisher trade. He had a nice year with Double-A Trenton in 2009 (2.84 ERA and 3.64 FIP) before being picked by the Mariners in the Rule 5 Draft after the season. Texeira bounced from the Mariners to the Royals and then back to the Yankees. He was hurt and awful (11.74 ERA) in 2011, and he’s spent the 2012-16 seasons bouncing around the minors, Mexico, and independent leagues. He’s thrown 15 innings for the Braves’ Triple-A team this season, so he’s still out there slingin’.

May 27th, 2011: Quick Hits: McCourt, Abreu, Sizemore, Purcey

Joe Girardi said he could move Nick Swisher into a platoon with Chris Dickerson if Swisher doesn’t pick up his hitting from the left side of the plate, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com.  Swisher still has four months to get on track, but right now it looks like there’s no chance the Yankees will pick up his $10.25MM option for 2012.

When he woke up on May 27th, 2011, Swisher was hitting .204/.321/.289 (70 wRC+) with two home runs in 184 plate appearances. He was bad early that season. Swisher then hit .283/.396/.513 (146 wRC+) with 21 homers the rest of the way because he was quite good at baseball back in those days.

The “it looks like there’s no chance the Yankees will pick up his $10.25MM option for 2012″ comment was so far disconnected from reality though. Swisher was very good with the Yankees from 2009-10, and even if he stunk in 2011, his track record ensured he would get much more than $10.25M in free agency. At worst, the Yankees would have picked up the option and traded him. There was this very weird obsession with declining Swisher’s option after 2011. It make zero sense.

May 28th, 2011: Yankees Notes: Trade Calls, Myers, Scouts

Dan Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal wrote about the club’s pro scouting department, which helped unearth Bartolo Colon and others this offseason. “It’s easy to recommend a guy when the numbers are there,” said scout Tim Naehring. “The most difficult thing is feeling confident and putting in a report when the production isn’t there. The biggest challenge is sticking your neck out and saying,’I know there’s more in there. I know there’s better performance coming.'”

I’m not really sure I have much to add to this. I just thought it was a pretty cool comment. The Yankees hit the lottery with some scrap heap pickups back then, most notably Colon but also Freddy Garcia, Luis Ayala, and Eric Chavez. Naehring, by the way, took over as Brian Cashman’s right hand man this past offseason when Billy Eppler left to take over as Angels GM.

Berardino: Twins made an “aggressive” offer for Justin Wilson in the offseason


According to Mike Berardino, the Twins made what they consider an “aggressive” trade offer for left-hander Justin Wilson over the winter. The Yankees shipped Wilson to the Tigers for Triple-A righties Luis Cessa and Chad Green during the Winter Meetings. Brian Cashman cited the team’s need for rotation depth as the reason for making the trade.

Details about Minnesota’s offer are pretty scarce. Here’s more from Berardino:

“We were aware of (Wilson’s availability),” (GM Terry) Ryan said flatly, choosing not to elaborate.

Not only were the Twins aware, a person with direct knowledge subsequently confirmed they were deeply disappointed their own offer for Wilson was not accepted.

Dealing from a much deeper pool of prospects than the division-rival Tigers could, Twins officials never could quite figure out how their offer, which they deemed to be fairly aggressive, was rejected in favor of 24-year-old right-handers Chad Green and Luis Cessa.

Making an aggressive offer and making the best offer are necessarily the same thing. Prospects are like children, everyone loves their own more than they love everyone else’s, so it’s no surprised the Twins felt they made a better offer than the Tigers. Of course they’re disappointed. They have a very good strong farm system and I’m sure they like they player(s) they offered a whole bunch.

It’s impossible to know what Minnesota offered the Yankees for Wilson. Here is their MLB.com top 30 prospects list, if you wish to peruse. Triple-A rotation depth was an area of need and the Yankees clearly prioritized that in the Wilson trade. Maybe the Twins offered righty Tyler Duffey? Because beyond Jose Berrios and Alex Meyer, neither of whom was coming over for Wilson, there are no upper level rotation prospects in the Twins’ system.

I’m certain the Yankees shopped Wilson around and took what they felt was the best offer. They’re not idiots. They know they had a valuable commodity in Wilson — left-handed relievers are always in demand — and used him to acquire some much-needed rotation depth. In a world where Ian Kennedy and Mike Leake are getting $70M+ contracts, turning a reliever into two Triple-A starters makes an awful lot of sense to me.

Cessa pitched well in Spring Training and actually made the Opening Day roster before the Yankees decided to send him down to Triple-A so he could get stretched out and work as a starter. At this point I think he and Green are seventh and eighth on the rotation depth chart behind the five starters and Ivan Nova. Green’s not on the 40-man roster yet, however.

Wilson, by the way, is having a very nice season for the Tigers, pitching to a 0.00 ERA (0.87 FIP) with 15 strikeouts and two walks in eleven innings. The Yankees aren’t a seventh inning reliever away from contention, but there’s no doubt they could use someone like Wilson right now. Every team could.

Scouting The Waiver Market: Cory Mazzoni


The season is not even a month old, and already the Yankees have been hit pretty hard by the injury bug, particularly in the bullpen. Branden Pinder and Nick Rumbelow — the team’s two main shuttle relievers — are both out following Tommy John surgery, Bryan Mitchell broke his toe in Spring Training, and Jacob Lindgren is on the High-A Tampa DL. That’s half a bullpen on the shelf.

The Yankees still have enough relievers to keep themselves afloat — Luis Cessa, James Pazos, and Tyler Olson are still a phone call away — but the depth has been thinned out. There’s a reason they had to dip into an independent league to sign Phil Coke earlier this week. They needed the warm body. Yesterday afternoon, the Padres designated a potential bullpen shuttle candidate for assignment in right-hander Cory Mazzoni. Is he worth a waiver claim? Let’s look.

The Performance

The Mets originally drafted Mazzoni in the second round of the 2011 draft out of North Carolina State. He climbed the ladder in their farm system before being traded to San Diego last spring for lefty Alex Torres. For what it’s worth, Baseball America ranked Mazzoni as one of the 16 best prospects in his team’s farm system every year from 2012-16.

Mazzoni, 26, made his big league debut with the Padres last year, and I almost don’t want to list the stats because they’re so bad. I guess I have to though. In 8.2 innings with San Diego, he allowed 22 runs (20 earned) on 23 hits and five walks. He fanned eight. Yes, 22 runs and 23 hits in 8.2 innings. Mazzoni was quite bad in his limited action last year. I guess the good news is he had a 3.97 ERA (1.95 FIP) in 34 Triple-A innings in 2015.

Prior to being designated for assignment, Mazzoni had appeared in one Triple-A game, allowing an unearned run on a hit and a walk in 1.1 innings. Not much to look at there. Clearly you have to be willing to look past Mazzoni’s numbers with the Padres last year to have any interest.

The Stuff

The Mets drafted Mazzoni as a starting pitcher and he remained in that role for a few years before moving into the bullpen full-time. According to PitchFX, he averaged 95.6 mph with his four-seam fastball last year and topped out at 97.3 mph. He also has an upper-80s splitter/changeup hybrid and a mid-80s slider, but he doesn’t throw the split-change a whole lot in relief. He’s a fastball/slider reliever.

There are no worthwhile highlight videos of Mazzoni on MLB.com or YouTube, so here’s a GIF of his slider instead. His fastball looks like every other fastball you’ve ever seen in your life.

Cory Mazzoni slider

The swing-and-miss rates on Mazzoni’s fastball and slider were awful last season (4.0 % and 9.5%, respectively), but then again everything he did in the big leagues last year was awful. MLB.com ranked Mazzoni as the No. 17 prospect in San Diego’s system before the season, and here’s a snippet of their scouting report:

As is the case with most pitchers, the right-hander had his stuff tick up in the (bullpen), sitting at 92-95 mph and touching 97 with his fastball, and throwing his slider with more power and sharper bite … Though he has good velocity, Mazzoni doesn’t generate many whiffs with his heater. He does induce plenty of groundballs though, which highlights his potential as a swingman or middle reliever … he’ll have to refine his command to hold down a permanent role in a big league bullpen.

Mazzoni’s ground ball rate was an even 50.0% in his limited big league time last year, for what it’s worth. We’ve read that scouting report about a million times before. Fastball/slider right-hander who needs to refine his command and has a chance to be a middle reliever? Those guys are everywhere.

Injury History

Injuries are one of the reasons Mazzoni moved into the bullpen full-time. Here’s a quick recap of his injury history:

2015: Shoulder strain ended his season in July.
2014: Missed close to three months with a shoulder strain.
2013: Missed a month with elbow inflammation, then the final two months with a torn meniscus in his knee.

Now here’s the kicker: Mazzoni was the 7-day DL in Triple-A when he was designated for assignment yesterday. I have no idea why though. I can’t find anything anywhere. Regardless, Mazzoni has had a bunch of arm problems in recent years, including some scary shoulder strains.

Contract & Options Status

This is the easy stuff. Mazzoni has only 56 days of service time, so he has all six years of team control remaining. The Mets added him to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft back in November 2014, so he burned his first option last year and his second this year. Mazzoni has one minor league option year remaining.

Wrapping Up

Mazzoni is quintessential middle relief fodder at this point. He’s a fastball/slider guy with command questions and an injury history. They grow those guys on a farm upstate, I hear. The Padres dropped Mazzoni from the 40-man roster, so he’s freely available. If you can get him on waivers, great. If not, then no hard feelings.

The way I see it, the Yankees have already lost a lot of bullpen depth to injury, forcing them to turn to the Phil Cokes of the world. It’s still only April too. They need to restock the cupboard a bit and they have more than enough 40-man roster space. Aroldis Chapman‘s suspension clears one spot and the Yankees have several 60-day DL candidates as well. They could easily claim Mazzoni and stash him in Triple-A.

This is certainly no “must make” move. Mazzoni’s not some kind of hidden gem. He’s more Kirby Yates than Johnny Barbato, if you know what I mean. The Yankees have had some success with scrap heap arms like this, so as long as Mazzoni’s healthy (a big if), I think he’s worth a waiver claim and a spot in the Triple-A Scranton bullpen.

Revisiting the MLBTR Archives: April 2011

(Jim Rogash/Getty)
(Jim Rogash/Getty)

A new month has arrived, so it is time once again to look back through the MLBTR archives. We’re now in April 2011, meaning the offseason is over. The Yankees lost out on Cliff Lee that winter, which was a big deal. You may have heard about it. They also signed Rafael Soriano, re-signed Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and lost Andy Pettitte to retirement. They needed rotation help and didn’t get it, or so we thought.

April is not a great month for trade and free agent rumors because it’s so early in the season. Teams are still in the process of evaluating what they have and figuring out what they need. There’s a lot of speculation in April. As a reminder, the purpose of this series is to have some fun looking back at what we were talking about five years ago. We’re not looking to make fun of the MLBTR crew or any of the reporters. Rumors are no fun if you look at them once then forget they exist, after all. Let’s dive on in.

April 2nd, 2011: Lame Duck General Managers

Brian Cashman, Yankees – The third longest-tenured GM in the game would seem to be on rocky ground after being over-ruled by ownership on the Rafael Soriano signing, but we heard afterwards that he still has the “full backing” of the Steinbrenners.

The Yankees won the World Series in 2009 and went to the ALCS in 2010, yet there were questions about Cashman’s job security heading into the 2011 season. Kinda crazy, huh? The Yankees lost out on Lee and ownership went over Cashman’s head to sign Soriano, leading to those questions. In fact, there was talk Cashman was ready to move on and find a new challenge himself.

Eventually Cashman signed another three-year contract — and then another three-year contract after that one — and even though the Yankees have played one postseason game in the last three years, his job seems as secure as ever. He’s pulling off this rebuild on the fly thing so far. Cashman is under contract through next season and I have a hard time thinking the Steinbrenners would put him in charge of this retool and not let him see it through.

April 2nd, 2011: East Notes: Simon, Red Sox, Feliciano, Mets

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that Pedro Feliciano was “abused” by the Mets‘ use of him in recent years, tweets Jim Baumbach of Newsday.

Gosh that was such a silly thing to say. Any schmuck with an internet connection could log onto Baseball Reference and see Feliciano appeared in 86 (!), 88 (!!), and 92 (!!!) games the three years prior to his free agency. That doesn’t count all the games Feliciano warmed up but did not pitch. Yes, he was only a lefty specialist, but that’s an awfully heavy workload.

And yet, the Yankees signed him anyway. Cashman knew the risk and it blew up in the team’s face. It happens. To turn around and say it was because the Mets abused him made him sound like a sore loser. The Yankees didn’t get what they wanted so Cashman was looking for someone to blame. Lame. Feliciano was abused by the Mets. That’s fair to say. It’s not their fault the Yankees signed him anyway.

April 4th, 2011: New York Notes: Feliciano, Reyes, Harris

Pedro Feliciano told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork that he was upset to hear that Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen suggested he was overworked last year (Yankees GM Brian Cashman says he was “abused.”). Feliciano maintains that he likes to pitch a lot and predicts he’ll strike out Ike Davis when the Yankees face the Mets this year. Feliciano says he didn’t sign with the Mets because they weren’t willing to offer a multiyear deal.

What a sentence: “Feliciano maintains that he likes to pitch a lot and predicts he’ll strike out Ike Davis when the Yankees face the Mets this year.” That was back when Davis was the new hotness — .264/.351/.440 (115 OPS+) with 19 home runs as a rookie in 2010! — and Feliciano still had a functioning shoulder.

April 6th, 2011: New York Notes: Pavano, Posada, Mets

Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed to Spencer Fordin of MLB.com that the Yankees were considering Pavano last offseason, despite his injury-riddled stint with the club from 2005-08. “He’s resurrected his career,” Girardi said. “He’s pitched well for the Twins, and he’s given them innings. When we’ve faced him in the playoffs, he’s pitched well. The guy knows how to pitch. The big thing for Carl is he’s been healthy.”

The Yankees did briefly show interest in Carl Pavano during the 2010-11 offseason because a) they needed pitching, and b) he was coming off a season with a 3.75 ERA (4.02 FIP) in 221 innings. He was going to cost the team a draft pick though, which ultimately was the sticking point. That’s how desperate the team was for rotation help after losing out on Lee (and Pettitte) though. They were considering a reunion with Pavano. He went on to have a 4.30 ERA (4.10 FIP) in 222 innings for the Twins in 2011, by the way.

April 8th, 2011: Heyman On Marlins, White Sox, Jenks, Glaus

Before the Yankees signed Rafael Soriano, GM Brian Cashman told Bobby Jenks that he wasn’t offering any setup man $8MM. The Yankees signed Soriano for $35MM over three years, though Cashman advised against it.

I remember reading somewhere that Cashman said he told J.J. Putz’s agent he would not give multiple years or big money to a setup man that offseason, which is why he came out and said he was against the Soriano signing. He told all these agents he wouldn’t do exactly what ownership did, so he had to make sure it was clear it was his superiors, not him. Cashman had relationships to maintain.

April 9th, 2011: Yankees Sign Carlos Silva

The Yankees have signed Carlos Silva, according to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter).  It is a minor league deal, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  The Yankees will be responsible only for the major league minimum if he is added to the big league roster, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

There were a lot of folks clamoring for Silva that offseason. He was only 31 and he had a 4.22 ERA (3.75 FIP) in 113 innings for the Cubs in 2010. Silva looked like he could help someone, especially a team with rotation questions like the Yankees. Instead, he sat out there in free agency drawing little interest. The Yankees signed him to this minor league deal, he threw 36 innings in the minors, then blew out his shoulder and never pitched again. (Not true: He threw two innings in winter ball in 2014. That’s it.) I have to think his medicals scared the crap out of teams that offseason.

April 9th, 2011: Quick Hits: Pedro, Martin, Archer, David, D’Backs

Pedro! He was 39 at the time and he had not pitched at all since the 2009 World Series, yet he wanted to make a comeback in 2011. It didn’t happen though. No one signed him and a few years later he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Pedro’s very last act on a baseball field was getting Brett Gardner to line out to second base to end the fourth inning of Game Six of the 2009 World Series.

As for Doug Davis … yikes. He made eight starts with the 2010 Brewers and managed to allow 36 runs and 79 base-runners in 38.1 innings. Davis was 35 and his PitchFX says his fastball averaged 84.4 mph in 2010. That was not going to fly in Yankee Stadium. The Cubs scooped him up and he allowed 38 runs and 87 base-runners in 45.2 innings in 2011. He never pitched again after that. The Yankees were desperate for pitching, but not that desperate.

April 13th, 2011: Heyman On Hamilton, Young, Felix, Royals

A rival GM says he’d trade Felix Hernandez to the Yankees for Ivan Nova, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos and Jesus Montero if he were running the Mariners.

You’re my kinda guy, rival GM. Remember, this was back in 2011, and heading into the 2011 season, Felix was 24 years old and he had just won the damn Cy Young thanks to 249.2 innings of 2.27 ERA (3.04 FIP) ball. Not only that, he had just signed a long-term extension in April 2010, so he was owed a total of $68M total from 2011-14. Felix was maybe the most valuable commodity in the game back then.

At the same time, that was a hefty prospect package. I am going to use this image once again:


Montero was a super-elite prospect. Everyone knew he was going to hit. But hey, guys like Felix don’t come cheap, right? Baseball America (no subs. req’d) also ranked Banuelos (No. 41) and Betances (No. 43) as top 100 prospects heading into that 2011 season, so yeah. Nova was not a standout youngster or anything, but he was cheap and had a promising MLB debut in 2010. That package was three great prospects and a cheap young starter.

Needless to say, that trade would have been incredible for the Yankees and a total disaster for the Mariners even with Betances becoming one of the two or three best relievers in the world. Don’t forget to trade your prospects, folks.

April 13th, 2011: Quick Hits: Feliciano, Twins, Rendon, Oswalt

The Yankees were frustrated that the Astros never made them fully aware that Roy Oswalt was available last summer, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Credit Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. for acquiring Oswalt quietly and later denying the Yankees their primary offseason target, Cliff Lee.

The Phillies traded Anthony Gose, Jonathan Villar, and J.A. Happ for Oswalt at the 2010 trade deadline, and Happ was the headliner. He was only 27 and up to that point he had a 3.11 ERA in 217 big league innings. Of course, he also had a 4.50 FIP, and following that trade he pitched much closer to the FIP than the ERA.

A comparable package at the time would have been something like Nova, Eduardo Nunez, and Slade Heathcott. A cheap and servicable big league starter plus tooled up shortstop and center field prospects. Heathcott was only a year removed away from being a first round pick at the time though. Oswalt was pretty great for the Phillies after the trade and very good in 2011 before fading. If the Astros didn’t make it clear to everyone Oswalt was available, it’s a bad move on their part. You’ve got to create a bidding war.

April 14th, 2011: Yankees Will Look For Relief; Move Unlikely

Pedro Feliciano has a capsular tear in his left shoulder and may require significant surgery, Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirmed to reporters. There’s a strong possibility that the Yankees’ $8MM free agent signing won’t throw a pitch for them in 2011. Cashman says he’ll look for another left-handed reliever, but according to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the GM’s expectations are low (all Twitter links).

Boone Logan emerged as the primary lefty in 2010 — he held lefties to a .190/.286/.215 (39 OPS+) batting line with 33.0% strikeout rate in 40 innings that year — and the Yankees wound up cycling through a ton of scrap heap options to find a second lefty during the 2011 season. Aaron Laffey, Raul Valdez, Steve Garrison, the works. None stood out. Now they have Andrew Miller and Chasen Shreve, with Aroldis Chapman on his way back. And James Pazos in Triple-A. Once upon a time the Yankees struggled to find quality lefty bullpen help. Now they have it in spades.

April 14th, 2011: Minor Deals: Mattingly, Mariners, Yankees

The Yankees have signed 24-year-old right-hander Reinier Casanova.  The Cuban-born hurler defected following the 2009 season.

Casanova allowed 12 runs and 31 base-runners in 19 minor league innings in 2011. He was released after the season and has not pitched anywhere since as far as I can tell. Lots of Cuban guys are coming over and getting really nice contracts. Lots more leave their families behind in Cuba and never get very far in baseball.

April 14th, 2011: Yankees Notes: Marte, Pinto, Torre

Speaking of the Yankees bullpen, Cashman says that the overuse of relievers under the watch of Joe Torre was not his fault, writes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.  In fact, the GM says that he told relievers to be truthful with Torre and his staff when they were asked about their availability to pitch.

That was doomed to fail. You want players to be truthful but they never are. They all want to play tired and hurt and whatever. That’s just the way these guys are wired. Leave it to the players to tell the manager they need a day to rest and most of them won’t say anything. It’s up to the manager to make those decisions. Joe Girardi has shown he is very good at that with his bullpen. Now they’re going to ramp up the rest for the position players.

April 17th, 2011: Yankees Notes: Millwood, Hughes, Martin

Earlier today, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi told the press that the club had planned to send Phil Hughes to Triple-A to work through his troubles, tweets Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com.  Hughes ultimately convinced the Yankees that that wouldn’t be the best course of action for his “dead arm”.

Hughes was awesome as a setup man in 2009 and solid as a starter in 2010. He had a 4.19 ERA (4.25 FIP) in 176.1 inning that season and was only 24, so he looked like a guy who was emerging as a rotation fixture. Phil’s velocity was way down early in that 2011 season …

Phil Hughes velocity… and there was talk of sending him to Triple-A, especially with Bartolo Colon looking so good in long relief and forcing his way into the rotation conversation. The Yankees put Hughes on the DL with what they called arm fatigue shortly after this report, and he was on the DL until mid-July, so it was not a short-term stay. His velocity never really did get back to normal the rest of the season either. (He was in the bullpen at the end of the season, hence the late-season bump in velocity in the graph.)

Looking back, this seems like a classic example of a pitcher feeling a bit of a hangover following a huge bump in workload the year before. Hughes threw 111.2 total innings in 2009 then 176.1 innings in 2010, so it was an increase of 64.2 innings. His career high was 146.2 innings way back in 2006. Hughes rebounded and had a nice 2012 season, but that 2011 campaign was a lost cause.

April 18th, 2011: Heyman On Young, Emaus, Rays, Wilson, Melky

Alex Rodriguez worked out with Melky Cabrera this offseason and “begged” the Yankees to sign the outfielder to no avail.

This was a pretty big deal for a while because Melky had a good start with the Royals — and ultimately a strong full season — after being released by the Braves the year before. The Javy Vazquez reunion didn’t work out and it hadn’t yet become clear Curtis Granderson was truly #cured and a legit power hitting monster, so people wanted Melky back. The cries for Melky were even louder during his time with the Giants in 2012, but then he got popped for performance-enhancing drugs, and everyone lost interest. It’s pretty clear now keeping Gardner and trading Cabrera was the right move.

April 20th, 2011: Minor League Signings: Lawrence, Place, Salome

Right fielder Jason Place, released by the Red Sox in Spring Training, was signed by the Yankees.  Place was drafted 27th overall in 2006, one spot ahead of Daniel Bard.  18 of the 44 first-rounders from that draft have yet to play in the Majors, Place among them.

Place was a pretty big deal back in the day — aren’t all Red Sox prospects big deals at some point? that’s the way it goes — but he wasn’t much of a prospect by time the Yankees signed him. They needed an outfielder for the lower levels and he was available. Place hit .178/.210/.317 in 27 minor league games in 2011 and has been out of baseball since.

April 23rd, 2011: Quick Hits: Figueroa, Mock, Martin, Mets

Yankees GM Brian Cashman told ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand that the Yankees tried to acquire Russell Martin via trade in each of the last three seasons (Twitter link). Cashman got his man this winter, signing him as a free agent after the Dodgers non-tendered him.

At some point word got out the Yankees offered Frankie Cervelli for Martin during the 2010-11 offseason, but were declined. The Dodgers then non-tendered Martin and got nothing in return at all. Not ex-Dodgers GM Ned Colletti’s finest moment. Cervelli, if nothing else, was a cheap backup option at that point of his career. Los Angeles instead cut Martin loose for nothing. I do not understand.

April 25th, 2011: Quick Hits: Bautista, Jeter, Clevlen, Astros

Yankees GM Brian Cashman to Derek Jeter in a November 30th meeting: “You said all you wanted was what was fair. How much higher do we have to be than the highest offer for it to be fair?” That’s from Ian O’Connor’s source; the ESPNNewYork.com writer has a new book out next month on Jeter.

The Jeter-Cashman barbs were slowly starting to leak out around this time. Heck, they’re still leaking out. Last year we learned Cashman told Jeter he’d rather have Troy Tulowitzki. Cashman was the bad cop during contract talks, it seems. Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine were the good cops.

April 28th, 2011: Heyman On Lincecum, Cano, Votto, Weaver, Dodgers

Similarly, there’s no reason to think the Yankees would let Robinson Cano leave in the prime of his career.  The Bombers have options for 2012 and ’13 at $14MM and $15MM, respectively, and will obviously exercise them. Look for the Yanks to get a deal done with the second baseman, but only after the Scott Boras client files for free agency.

Yeah the Yankees would never let a homegrown superstar leave as a free agent. What a silly thing to think.

Encina: Yanks pursued Miguel Gonzalez before he signed with White Sox

(Stephen Dunn/Getty)
(Stephen Dunn/Getty)

According to Eduardo Encina, the Yankees pursued right-hander Miguel Gonzalez before he signed a minor league deal with the White Sox last week. The Orioles released Gonzalez at the end of Spring Training and saved about $4M of his $5.1M salary for the season. They tried to bring him back on a minor league deal, but no luck.

The Yankees, like every other team in baseball, are in perpetual pursuit of rotation depth. Ivan Nova is currently the sixth starter and I guess Luis Cessa is the seventh starter in the wake of Bryan Mitchell‘s toe injury. The Triple-A Scranton rotation is Chad Green, Kyle Haynes, Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Olson, and a Nick Rumbelow/Tyler Webb piggyback, so says Shane Hennigan. Uh, yikes.

Gonzalez, 31, has a reputation for being a Yankees killer, but that was based on 2012 and nothing else. He has a career 3.79 ERA in 80.2 innings against the Yankees, postseason included, but it was a 2.18 ERA in 20.2 innings in 2012 and a 4.35 ERA in 60 innings thereafter. Besides, signing a guy so you don’t have to face him anymore never made much sense to me.

Jeff Sullivan wrote a really great post looking at why the Orioles may have released Gonzalez despite their rotation issues, and from the looks of things, his stuff hasn’t come back following last year’s elbow and shoulder issues. He was never a huge stuff guy anyway, so his margin of error was small to start with. Gonzalez probably isn’t a big league caliber pitcher if his stuff doesn’t bounce back following the injuries.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a bad minor league deal, and bringing Gonzalez aboard as Triple-A fodder would have been perfectly reasonable. The White Sox probably offer a great path to big league playing time at this point though — or at least Gonzalez thinks they do — so to the ChiSox he went. Chicago is pretty good with reclamation project arms.

If the Yankees do continue to look for rotation depth, free agent options include Tim Lincecum, Kyle Lohse, Roberto Hernandez, and Chad Billingsley. Not much to see there. Generally speaking, when guys still don’t have a job even after the season starts, there’s usually a pretty good reason. The Yankees figure to stick with what they have in-house.

Sherman: Yankees tried to trade for Tyson Ross last July


According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees tried to trade for Padres right-hander Tyson Ross prior to the trade deadline last July. The Yanks and Pads were reportedly discussing a deal involving Jorge Mateo and Craig Kimbrel before the deadline, and it’s unclear if Ross was included in those talks as part of a blockbuster deal, or as part of a separate trade entirely.

Ross, 28, has emerged as one of the better pitchers in all of baseball the last few years. He had a 3.26 ERA (2.98 FIP) in 33 starts and 196 innings last season with great strikeout (25.8%) and ground ball (61.5%) numbers, but a poor walk rate (10.2%). Among the 78 pitchers who qualified for the ERA title in 2015, Ross ranked 11th in strikeout rate, third in ground ball rate, and 77th in walk rate. His peripherals are on the extremes.

Here’s some video from last season so you can get a look at Ross’ ridiculous two-seam fastball/slider combination:

The Padres have baseball’s third longest postseason drought — they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006, only the Mariners (2001) and Marlins (2003) have longer droughts — and last year they attempted a quick fix that saw GM A.J. Preller build an imperfect roster full of big names. They were way too right-handed heavy and way short on defense. I’m pretty sure ownership told Preller to go all-in. Either way, it didn’t work.

San Diego didn’t trade anyone away at the deadline last year, but they did move some pieces over the winter, most notably Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit, Jedd Gyorko, and Yonder Alonso. They’ve reportedly been listening to offers for their entire rotation — they’re supposedly pushing James Shields and Andrew Cashner more than Ross — and have set a high price for Ross. That makes sense. He’s good and under team control through 2017.

The Yankees were looking for controllable pitching all winter and it’s easy to understand why. Luis Severino is the only one of their six big league starters who can not become a free agent within the next two years. Ross does not satisfy the “controllable behind 2017″ requirement but he is very good and would help any team win in the short-term. And who knows, maybe the Yankees would be able to flip Ross for a young controllable arm at some point.

The Padres don’t figure to be any good this season — for what’s it worth, FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus project San Diego to win 74 and 76 games in 2016, respectively — which means Ross will be involved in a ton of trade rumors this summer. He could easily be the best player traded this July. If the Yankees had interest last year, I assume they’ll still have interest again this year. As always, the question is whether the price will be right.