The holiday weekend is over and it’s back to business as usual. These first days after a long weekend are always the worst. The Red Sox come to town for a three-game starting tonight as well, and those games are always a chore. Anyway, here are some miscellaneous thoughts following the off-day.
1. By far, the biggest storyline of September will be Masahiro Tanaka‘s rehab from his partially torn elbow ligament. His recent “general soreness” setback was not encouraging, but, based on what we know right now, it seems like a dead arm phase. He has worked out at Yankee Stadium the last few days and even played catch. I know it feels like Tommy John surgery is inevitable — it is really, it’s only a matter of time once the ligament tears even a little bit — but I strongly disagree with everyone who says Tanaka should have the surgery now just to get it over with. I know the procedure has a high success rate, but all the pitchers who have had complications during their rehabs from elbow reconstruction just within the last year (Cory Luebke, Daniel Hudson, Patrick Corbin, Brandon Beachy, Jonny Venters, etc.)are a reminder of how risky it still is. And besides, four (four!) doctors advised the Yankees and Tanaka to go the rehab route. Brian Cashman said Tanaka was personally examined by Dr. David Atlchek, Yankees team doctor Dr. Chris Ahmad, and Dodgers team doctor Dr. Neal ElAttrache during the injury conference call, and Jon Heyman reported the test results were also sent to Dr. James Andrews for consultation. When four (four!) of the leading doctors in the field tell you go with the rehab option, you go with the rehab option. Having the surgery against the recommendation of four doctors would have been beyond irresponsible. It would have been a fireable offense for whoever ordered it. Tanaka might end up having surgery because that’s just how elbows work. Pitchers break. But hopefully this “general soreness” is just a blip in the rehab and he’s able to make a start or two late in the season just so we can some chance to evaluate him heading into 2015.
2. I’m disappointed we are unlikely to see Jacob Lindgren this month but I get it. He’s thrown 80 innings this year, which is a ton for a slider-heavy reliever, and there is definite risk to adding a player to the 40-man roster before he is Rule 5 Draft eligible, especially since you’re only calling him up for a few weeks in September. I do wonder how much of this is related to the team’s place in the postseason race though. Would the Yankees have been more willing to bring him to help out these last few weeks if they were only, say, a game out of the second wildcard spot rather than four games back with four teams ahead of them? Lindgren made his first appearance with Double-A Trenton on August 6th, when the Yankees were only one game back of the second wildcard. He then threw 3.1 innings in his first three outings with the Thunder while the big league squad fell to four games back of a postseason spot. Lindgren then threw two innings in each of his next four appearances. Maybe that’s when the decision was made that he would not come up in September, so they moved forward with a plan to make sure he got all of his innings in before the end of the minor league season. Either way, I fully expect Lindgren to come to big league Spring Training next year with a chance to win a bullpen job. He’ll certainly make his MLB debut at some point in 2015. You don’t draft a reliever with your top pick unless you intend to get him to the show in a hurry.
3. As of this morning, the Yankees have 43 players on the 40-man roster when you include Alex Rodriguez (suspended) and both CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova (60-day DL). I count eight players who will come off the 40-man as free agents this winter (Chris Capuano, Hiroki Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy, David Robertson, Stephen Drew, Chase Headley, Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki) and another five who can be easily cut loose (Matt Daley, David Huff, Josh Outman, Esmil Rogers, Zelous Wheeler), giving the team ten open spots heading into the winter. Tyler Austin is a lock to be added to avoid Rule 5 Draft exposure while others like Branden Pinder, Nick Goody, Mark Montgomery, Mason Williams, and Danny Burawa are on the fence. I’d bet on at least three of those guys being protected, maybe even four. (Just don’t ask me which three or four.) Anyway, add those guys and those ten open spots are really five or six open spots. Calling up Lindgren and/or Rob Refsnyder for a month before they’re Rule 5 eligible would even further limit roster flexibility. Guys like Jose Campos, Slade Heathcott, Chase Whitley, Preston Claiborne, and Austin Romine could wind up getting the axe this winter just so the team can re-sign or replace Robertson, McCarthy, et al as it is. I’m not quite sure where this is heading, but the point is the Yankees are facing a real 40-man crunch this winter and I have a hard time seeing how it will improve without the unexpected unloading of a big money contract or three.
4. Yesterday ESPN stats guru Mark Simon posted some hard-hit ball data — I really wish this stuff was available publicly somewhere — and the Yankees ranked dead last in all of baseball in hard-hit ball rate for the month of August at 12.4%. That is hard-hit balls per at-bat, not balls in play, just to be clear. The Twins (!?) led baseball at 19.1% last month and the league average is somewhere around 15.2%. This is all based on human stringers watching every game and recording the data, so it is imperfect. It’s not HitFX data. Anyway, I dug through Simon’s archives and found that, as of August 4th, the Yankees had the 14th highest hard-hit ball rate this season at 15.3%, so basically league average. That number obviously came down last month, after the trade deadline. This matches up with the eye test, in my opinion. The Yankees as a team don’t see to hit the ball hard all that consistently, with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury the only notable exceptions. There are a ton of weak fly balls and five or six-hop ground balls every game. More than usual. When I look up and down the roster and see, say, Brian McCann with a .245 BABIP or Mark Teixeira with a .235 BABIP or Carlos Beltran with a .254 BABIP, it’s not surprising. It doesn’t seem like anyone on the roster is having a “bad luck” season. These guys just flat out are making crap contact and getting crap results as a result. That is totally subjective, of course, but Simon’s data does back up what my eyes are telling me. Unless these guys magically regain bat speed in the future, it’s difficult to believe their offensive performances will substantially improve based on the quality of the contact they’re making.
5. The Yankees have 17 home games left this season — the most in baseball, by the way — and I would put money on Derek Jeter starting all 17 of those games. Barring injury, of course. Maybe not all at shortstop, but in the lineup every single day. The team is fading out of the postseason race and their attention will shift to maximizing all things Jeter this month, especially profits. It’s just smart business. They’d be stupid not to do that. I know Jeter hasn’t been very good this year, especially these last few weeks, but holy crap there’s only a month left in his career. I have a very difficult time remembered the pre-Jeter years and I think the post-Jeter years will be weirder than the post-Mariano Rivera years. Jeter is the last tie to the dynasty years, teams that were a huge part of my formative year. You don’t forget that stuff and with Jeter gone, the page will be officially turned. It’s just … weird. I feel like all I’ve known is the Jeter era Yankees — I know I’m not the only one who feels like that — and that whole chapter of franchise history is about to close. Getting old sucks, man.
This is the final DotF of the year, folks. The 2014 minor league season is over for all six of the Yankees’ affiliates. The Arizona Fall League season starts on October 7th — the Yankees are sending several high-profile prospects to the desert this year — and the other winter leagues start, well, in the winter, but we’ll keep you updated along the way. Until then, DotF is on hiatus until the AzFL.
Triple-A Scranton Game One (2-1 win over Lehigh Valley, walk-off style) completion of yesterday’s game, which was suspended due to rain in the top of the eighth
- 2B-SS Jose Pirela: 0-4, 1 K — hit .305/.351/.442 with 21 doubles, eleven triples, ten homers, 15 steals, 37 walks, and 73 strikeouts in 130 games
- DH Chris Young: 0-3, 1 K — played yesterday, not today
- PH-DH Scott Sizemore: 0-1, 1 K — played today, not yesterday
- CF Zoilo Almonte: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K
- 1B Kyle Roller: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
- RF Ramon Flores: 0-4, 1 K
- C John Ryan Murphy: 2-3, 1 2B – played yesterday, not today … finishes the season with a .246/.292/.397 batting line and nine doubles, six homers, 13 walks, and 42 strikeouts in 51 Triple-A games, a disappointing follow-up to last year’s breakout
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-1, 1 2B, 1 RBI — took Murphy’s spot in the lineup today and hit a walk-off double
- RHP Diego Moreno: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 5/2 GB/FB — 30 of 50 pitches were strikes
- RHP Danny Burawa: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1/1 GB/FB – 26 of 44 pitches were strikes (59%) … back up from Trenton for the final weekend of the season … finishes the year with a 79/30 K/BB in 62 innings after a 66/42 K/BB in 66 innings last year
- RHP Nick Rumbelow: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 24 of 39 pitches for strikes (62%) … last year’s seventh rounder climbed four levels this year and posted a 2.67 ERA with a 83/18 K/BB in 60.2 innings
- LHP Tyler Webb: 1 IP, zeroes, 3 K — eleven of 18 pitches were strikes (61%) … last year’s tenth rounder climbed three levels this summer and had a 97/22 K/BB in 69.2 innings
For the first time since 2005, the Yankees have an off-day on Labor Day. That is kinda weird. Not bad though. It’ll be nice to spend the holiday doing something else besides focusing on baseball. We’ll post any breaking news or whatnot, plus we will have the final DotF of the season later tonight, but otherwise use this thread to talk about whatever throughout the rest of the day. Enjoy the holiday, folks.
The Yankees are off today, and when they regroup at Yankee Stadium for the series opener against the Red Sox tomorrow, there figures to be a bunch of extra players in the clubhouse thanks to expanded rosters. Here are a bunch of injury updates in the meantime, courtesy of Wally Matthews, Ken Rosenthal, George King, and Brendan Kuty.
- Masahiro Tanaka (elbow, arm) returned to New York specifically to work with a physical therapist at the Yankee Stadium training facilities, which are a million times better than what was available at Rogers Centre. He worked out Saturday and was scheduled to repeat the work out yesterday and today. Tanaka will visit team doctor Dr. Ahmad today, and if everything checks out, he will throw a bullpen session Thursday. “He played catch and did his weight workout. He felt like he needed to catch up a little bit and strengthen himself up a little bit. It’s a good sign he (played catch),” said Girardi. “We need to find out (if he’ll need surgery). We are taking the normal steps that people take in this type of injury. We are either going to know by the end of September or not.’’
- Following yesterday’s game, Jacoby Ellsbury (ankle) inadvertently revealed he was going to have an MRI last night once the team arrived in New York. Sounds like that was the plan even before he pinch-hit. The MRI results haven’t been announced. “It’s still sore, but over the last couple days, they’re real happy with the progress that I’ve made,” said Ellsbury. “We’ve got the off-day, but I’ll get the MRI (and) have our doctors look at it. Hopefully it’s a good MRI.”
- David Phelps (elbow) has continued his throwing program as he works his way back from inflammation, but he has yet to throw off a mound. “He is playing catch, I am not sure what day he will do a bullpen,’’ said Joe Girardi over the weekend. The Yankees have already announced Phelps will return as a reliever.
- Carlos Beltran (elbow) acknowledged feeling some pain during his throw to the plate in yesterday’s game. He said it was expected and it’s just something they have to manage until he has the bone spur removed in the offseason.
Record Last Week: 3-4 (29 RS, 22 RA)
Season Record: 70-65 (535 RS, 562 RA, 64-71 pythag. record) 9.0 GB in ALE, 3.5 GB of WC
Opponents This Week: Mon. OFF, vs. Red Sox (three games, Tues. to Thurs.), vs. Royals (three games, Fri. to Sun.)
Top stories from last week:
- The week started with the makeup game against the Royals in Kansas City, which the Yankees won thanks to a big inning.
- Three games in Detroit came next. The Tigers roughed up Brandon McCarthy in Tuesday’s loss, the Yankees roughed up David Price in Wednesday’s win, and the Tigers walked off with the series win on Thursday.
- The Yankees opened their three-game weekend set against the Blue Jays with a late rally and a win. They were one-hit in Saturday’s loss and came from ahead to drop yesterday’s game.
- Injury Updates: Masahiro Tanaka (arm) returned to New York with “general soreness” to begin strengthening exercises, but he is not scheduled to see a doctor. Jacoby Ellsbury (ankle) is day-to-day and did pinch-hit yesterday.
- Chris Young was signed to a minor league contract and the Yankees acquired both Josh Outman and Chaz Roe to serve as extra arms in September. Jacob Lindgren is unlikely to be called up. Rich Hill was designated for assignment and both Alfredo Aceves and Corban Joseph were released from Triple-A.
- Eric Jagielo, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and Tyler Austin are among the prospects heading to the Arizona Fall League.
- The Yankees scouted Cuban left-hander Misael Siverio back in June.
Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Just as a heads up, tomorrow will be the final DotF of the season since none of the full season affiliates nor Short Season Staten Island made the postseason. The Arizona Fall League begins in early-October.
Triple-A Scranton‘s game was suspended due to rain in the top of the eighth inning. They’ll finish it tomorrow. Here’s the box score if you can’t wait that long.
Double-A Trenton (4-2 loss to Reading)
- RF Jake Cave: 1-4, 1 BB, 1 K
- LF Ben Gamel: 1-5, 2 K — had been in a 4-for-37 (.108) slump
- C Gary Sanchez: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
- DH Greg Bird: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
- CF Mason Williams: 3-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB — great game, but a little too late to turn his season around
- RHP Jaron Long: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 10/0 GB/FB — 66 of 100 pitches were strikes … finishes the year with a 2.18 ERA and a 122/22 K/BB in 144.1 innings, third most in the system behind RHP Zach Nuding (153) and LHP Matt Tracy (149) … not bad at all for an undrafted free agent
- LHP James Pazos: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/3 GB/FB — 22 of 35 pitches were strikes (63%) … finishes the year with a 75/25 K/BB in 67 innings
Here’s your open thread for the rest of the night. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is the Indians at the Royals (T.J. House vs. Danny Duffy), which, uh, I guess is a good matchup to hide on a holiday weekend. I know Kansas City is contending, but geez. Anyway, talk about that game, this afternoon’s loss, or anything else right here.
The Yankees have acquired right-handed reliever Chaz Roe from the Marlins for cash considerations, the team announced. Chris Cotillo says Roe will likely join the big league team when rosters expand tomorrow. The Yankees will have to clear a 40-man roster spot to accommodate him but that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Roe, 27, has a 3.66 ERA (3.73 FIP) with very good strikeout (10.13 K/9 and 27.5 K%) and walk (2.95 BB/9 and 8.0 BB%) rates in 64 Triple-A relief innings this year, all with the Marlins. He has 22.1 big league innings to his credit, all with the Diamondbacks last season (4.03 ERA and 4.39 FIP). The Yankees are facing a pretty big 40-man roster crunch after the season, and between this and the Josh Outman pickup, it appears their September call-ups will be a bunch of guys they can cut in the offseason rather than prospects who are not yet Rule 5 Draft eligible and would only further clog the 40-man. Eh, whatever. · (106) ·
Remember when the Yankees won five straight games a week ago? They’ve followed that up by losing two of three to a wildcard competitor in the Tigers and two of three to a struggling Blue Jays team that played themselves out of the race this month. The Yankees have had a knack for following up winning streaks with a bunch of losses this year, and they did it again this week. Let’s recap Sunday’s 4-3 loss:
- Three Runs: Four pitches into the game, the Yankees had more hits (two) and runs (one) than they did Saturday. Brett Gardner lined J.A. Happ’s second pitch over the right field wall for a leadoff homer — his fifth leadoff homer this year, sixth of his career — and Derek Jeter grounded his fourth pitch back up the middle for a single. A leadoff single (Martin Prado) and two two-out singles (Chase Headley and Frankie Cervelli) created the team’s second run in the fourth inning, then Gardner created the third run with a triple. The errant throw from the outfield sailed into the dugout, allowing him to score. The Yankees had was appeared to be a comfortable-ish 3-0 lead.
- Four Batters: Brandon McCarthy was cruising along for the first five innings of the game, then it all fell apart in the span of four batters from the sixth through seventh innings. McCarthy held the Blue Jays to two singles and walk before Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion all launched no-doubt solo homers to tie the game at three. An Adam Lind fly out was sandwiched between the Bautista and Encarnacion homers. It’s very easy to second guess the decision to let McCarthy start the seventh, but he made basically two bad pitches — the Melky homer wasn’t even a bad pitch, he figuratively hit the glove — all afternoon and his pitch count was at like 80. Going to Dellin Betances for multiple innings was obvious only in hindsight.
- Game Over: McCarthy walked the next batter after the Encarnacion homer, ending his afternoon. Pinch-runner Steve Tolleson then stole second and scored on Munenori Kawasaki’s (really?!) single to right off Betances, giving Toronto the 4-3 lead. The Yankees actually had runners in scoring position in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but went a combined 0-for-5 with a strikeout and did not hit a ball out of the infield in those situations. The game ended on Jeter’s soft line drive to second with pinch-runner Ichiro Suzuki — Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-doubled with one out — standing at third.
- Leftovers: Gardner was a single shy of the cycle when he grounded out to first in the ninth. A single likely would have tied the game with Ichiro at second … McCarthy allowed three homers in the span of four batters after allowing three homers in his first 64 innings as a Yankee … Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran went a combined 0-for-8 with five strikeouts as the four-five hitters … Gardner (three), Prado, Headley, and Cervelli (two each) all had multiple hits … Betances struck out four in his two innings, giving him 120 on the year. Only 1996 Mariano Rivera (130) and 1978 Goose Gossage (122) have more among full-time relievers in franchise history, and both of those guys threw more than 100 innings. Dellin’s at 80.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles are beating the snot out of the Twins, so the Yankees will be nine games back in the division in short order. Depending on the outcome of the day’s other games, the Yankees will be either 3.5 (Tigers and Royals lose) or 4.5 (Tigers and/or Royals win) games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has New York’s postseason odds at a generous 9.6%. The Yankees are off on Monday and will open a three-game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday. Shane Greene and Joe Kelly is the scheduled pitching matchup for the opener. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game. There are only 17 regular season home games left in the season.
The Yankees were one-hit for the first time in five years yesterday, but they still have a chance to take this series from the Blue Jays this afternoon. There’s an off-day tomorrow and then rosters expand, so grab this win, get some rest, then add some new players. Nice and easy. Here is the Blue Jays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- CF Brett Gardner
- DH Derek Jeter
- 2B Martin Prado
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- RF Carlos Beltran
- 3B Chase Headley
- C Frankie Cervelli
- SS Stephen Drew
- LF Zelous Wheeler
RHP Brandon McCarthy
It’s cool and sunny in Toronto, so the Rogers Centre roof will probably be open. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to start at 1:07pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.