Cashman: “I do need to find a right-handed arm for the bullpen”


This should come as no surprise. During an MLB Network radio interview late last week (audio link), Brian Cashman confirmed the Yankees are indeed looking for another right-handed reliever. They’re currently carrying two righties (Dellin Betances, Esmil Rogers) and five lefties (Andrew Miller, Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve, Jacob Lindgren, Chris Capuano) in the bullpen, which is unusual, if nothing else.

“We lined up a lot of moves this winter to give ourselves a really deep bullpen, some of which have really paid dividends” said the GM. “Others, recently with the designation of David Carpenter, haven’t. So, I need to probably find a right-handed arm. Not probably, I do need to find a right-handed arm for the bullpen here at some point. We have Miller, Betances, Wilson, Shreve, Lindgren, Capuano and Esmil Rogers as the long man.

“Really, outside of Dellin Betances there’s only one right-handed arm out there and he’s the long man, so I’ve got a number of lefties out there in Wilson and Shreve and Lindgren that all can get righties out. At least that’s the benefit of those guys, so it’s not as much of a pressing issued, but I certainly would love to get an arm that Carpenter I think is, but it’s just not here in New York.”

The five-lefty bullpen isn’t necessarily a problem right now because, at the very least, four of those lefties can get righties out. The only real question mark is Lindgren, a rookie with only a handful of weeks in the show who is not yet in the Circle of Trust™. But still, it would be nice to have a more balanced bullpen, especially since the Yankees have series coming up with the righty heavy Nationals, Marlins, Tigers, and Astros.

The Triple-A options are plentiful — Jose Ramirez, Branden Pinder, Danny Burawa, and Bryan Mitchell are all on the 40-man roster — but it’s unlikely any of those guys would jump right into any kind of high (or even medium) leverage role. The Yankees need a righty for the seventh inning, basically. What Adam Warren — or heck, even Shawn Kelley — was last season. That was the role Carpenter was supposed to fill.

It is worth noting right-hander Nick Rumbelow has started working longer stints in Triple-A — he’s thrown at least two innings and 26+ pitches in four of his last five appearances — which is what the Yankees had Lindgren do before he was called up. Rumbelow has a 4.03 ERA (3.00 FIP) with a 27.1 K% this year after pitching to a 2.62 ERA (2.05 FIP) with a 34.0 K% at four levels last year, and he really impressed in Spring Training. That doesn’t mean he is coming up, but Rumbelow has to be considered a bullpen candidate for now.

Pretty much no team is ready to sell at the moment — I’m sure the Phillies would trade Jonathan Papelbon today, but nah — so the trade market is thin. Free agent Rafael Soriano will throw for scouts on Thursday according to his new representatives at Octagon. He recently fired Scott Boras and is now working out for scouts, so you know he’s itching to get back to work. As I said last week, there’s no downside to signing Soriano if he comes cheap and is willing to accept a setup role. If he helps, great. If he stinks, you cut him and wind up right back where you started.

Right now, the lack of another right-handed reliever is not really hurting the Yankees. It’s an inconvenience more than a major flaw. The middle relief has settled down of late mostly because Shreve has assumed more responsibility, so the Yankees aren’t desperate either. Cashman’s right though. They will need another righty reliever at some point this summer. Maybe Rumbelow can be that guy, maybe it’ll be Soriano. Either way, I don’t expect the five-lefty ‘pen to last forever.

2015 Draft: Final Mock Drafts, Bickford Fails Drug Test

The MLB Network studio is ready. (Photo via @MLBDraft)
The MLB Network studio is ready. (Photo via @MLBDraft)

The 2015 amateur draft will begin in about five hours now, so, to hold you over, here are a bunch of last minute draft links, including the final mock drafts. Common theme: no one has any idea who the Yankees will pick.

Baseball America’s Mock Draft v5.1

John Manuel at Baseball America posted his final mock draft this morning and he has the Diamondbacks taking Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson with the first overall pick. Manuel has the Yankees selecting UCLA RHP James Kaprielian and Cal Poly Pomona RHP Cody Ponce with their top two picks, 16th and 30th overall, respectively. Here are my profiles on Kaprielian and Ponce. Baseball America has been beating the “the Yankees will take pitching” drum all spring, and those two guys have been mentioned as targets for a while now.

Keith Law’s Mock Draft v4.0

Keith Law (subs. req’d) also has the Diamondbacks taking Swanson with the first overall pick in his latest mock draft. Swanson to Arizona is the consensus now. Meanwhile, Law has the Yankees selecting Georgia HS SS Cornelius Randolph and Florida State OF D.J. Stewart with those 16th and 30th overall picks, respectively. Here are my profiles on Randolph and Stewart. The Yankees drafted Stewart out of high school in the 28th round of the 2012 draft but obviously did not sign him. For what it’s worth, Law hears the Yankees are connected to a slew of bats, including “several of whom … seem unlikely to get (to the 16th pick).”’s Mock Draft v5.0

Both Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo posted their final mock drafts this morning as well (they’re combined into one article), and yes, they both have the D’Backs taking Swanson. As for the Yankees, Callis sees them taking Kaprielian and Michigan HS OF Nick Plummer with their top two picks while Mayo has them selecting New York HS OF Garrett Whitley and California HS C Chris Betts. Here are my profiles for Plummer, Whitley, and Betts. The Yankees have been connected to all of those guys in recent weeks. Callis and Mayo also say the Yankees could opt for Randolph, Tennessee HS RHP Donny Everett, and Kentucky RHP Kyle Cody. Here are my Everett and Cody profiles.

Bickford Tests Positive For Marijuana

During a pre-draft drug screening, College of Southern Nevada RHP Phil Bickford tested positive for marijuana, reports Teddy Cahill. MLB conducts a pre-draft medical program for the top 200 prospects according to the MLB Scouting Bureau — if a player doesn’t participate, he is ineligible for the draft — and part of that is random drug testing. MLB players are not tested for marijuana but non-40-man roster players are. Bickford is a projected first round pick — here’s my profile, he went tenth overall in 2013 but did not sign — but I don’t think the positive test will hurt his draft stock. Rockies RHP Jon Gray tested positive for banned stimulant before the 2013 draft and he still went third overall. Teams won’t be scared away by a 19-year-old smoking a little weed when he strikes out 166 in 86.2 innings like Bickford did this spring.

Yankeemetrics: Heavenly sweep! (June 5-7)

This is how you celebrate when you almost blow a 7-run lead in the 9th inning (USA TODAY Sports).
This is how you celebrate when you almost blow a 7-run lead in the 9th inning. (USA TODAY Sports)

Is it okay to breathe yet?
Yes … but it wasn’t okay for about 30 minutes on Friday night when it looked like the Yankees might do the impossible and blow an 8-1 lead in the ninth inning. Esmil Rogers and Dellin Betances combined to allow six runs in the final frame before the Yankees were able to escape with a 8-7 win in the series opener.

How rare was this near-loss? The last time the Yankees gave up six-or-more runs in the ninth inning and still won the game was June 20, 1986 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Before Friday, the Yankees had allowed a total of four runs in the ninth inning in their first 54 games combined, the fewest of any AL team.

Rogers let the first five baserunners he faced to reach base and was pulled before retiring a batter. He was charged with five runs, becoming the first Yankee to allow at least five earned runs without recording an out in a game since Steve Howe on April 8, 1993 vs. the Indians. The last Yankee to manage that feat without allowing a home run was Tom Underwood on July 11, 1980 against the Rangers.

Dellin Betances finally has a non-zero number next to his ERA after allowing an earned run for the first time in 2015. His streak of 26 straight appearances to begin a season without giving up an earned run was the third-longest by any major-league pitcher in the last 100 years. Only Mike Myers (33 appearances in 2000) and Brad Ziegler (29 in 2008) had longer streaks.

First things first
The Yankees wasted no time in trying to erase the bad memories from Friday’s ninth inning debacle, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning and cruising to a stress-free 8-2 win on Saturday night.

It was the fourth time they plated six-or-more runs in the first inning, something that the Yankees hadn’t done in a season since 1948, according to STATS, Inc.

Adam Warren continued to state his case to remain in the rotation, pitching into the seventh inning for the fifth straight time and allowing just two runs on four hits. He’s the only Yankee pitcher this season with five consecutive quality starts and his ERA during this stretch — 2.70 since May 13 — is easily the best among the starters on the team.

Chris Capuano pitched a perfect ninth inning to secure the win, but he had to work hard for the final out as Carlos Perez fouled off seven pitches before Capuano got him swinging on the 13th pitch. It was the longest game-ending strikeout by any major-league pitcher since Billy Wagner on June 13, 2004 against the Twins’ Matt LeCroy.

Bronx broom-ers?
The Yankees finished off their second sweep in a row with Sunday’s 6-2 win at the Stadium. It was the first time the Yankees swept the Angels in New York since August 1995. How long ago was that? The winning pitcher for the third and final game in that series was Sterling Hitchcock!

CC Sabathia won his first game at home in nearly two years, despite getting ejected at the end of the sixth frame. His six-start losing streak in the Bronx was tied for the longest by any Yankee over the last 100 seasons.

It was the third time Sabathia had been ejected in his career. The others came with the Indians, on July 21, 2006 and July 4, 2003. Before Sabathia, the last Yankee starting pitcher to be ejected for arguing balls and strikes was Randy Johnson on Sept. 16, 2005 against the Blue Jays.

Jose Pirela hit his first career homer in the seventh inning off C.J. Wilson, and is now 14-for-25 (.560) vs. left-handed pitchers as a major-leaguer. That’s the best batting average against lefties by any player since Pirela’s debut last season on September 22 (min. 10 PA).

Fan Confidence Poll: June 8th, 2015

Record Last Week: 6-0 (37 RS, 17 RA)
Season Record: 32-25 (265 RS, 235 RA, 32-25 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: Mon. OFF, vs. Nationals (two games, Tues. and Weds.), Thurs. OFF, @ Orioles (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

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 Features menu in 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?

DotF: Cave and Judge lead Trenton to another win

According to Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed RHP Cory Jordan, who did not pitch last season. He was a 35th round pick by the Rays in 2013, pitched that summer in the Short Season NY-Penn League (4.00 ERA and 2.84 FIP in 27 innings), then was released after the season. Not sure what the story is there. Also, Eddy says the Yankees have released OF Wilmer Romero. They signed him for $656,500 as a 16-year-old back in 2010, then he had a growth spurt and lost all his athleticism. Womp womp.

Triple-A Scranton (4-3 loss to Rochester, walk-off style)

  • CF Mason Williams: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K — 20-for-55 (.364) in his last 14 games
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — third homer of the year (the other two came in the same game)
  • C Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K — fifth homer of the year … he hasn’t hit more than six in a season since 2010
  • RF Ben Gamel: 0-2, 2 BB, 2 K
  • LHP Jose DePaula: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 8/5 GB/FB — 56 of 82 pitches were strikes (69%) … excellent outing his second start back from the DL with a shoulder issue
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1/0 GB/FB — ten of 15 pitches were strikes
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0/2 GB/FB — 11 of 18 pitches were strikes (61%)

[Read more…]

Sunday Night Open Thread

Here is the open thread for the last few hours of the weekend. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is the Cardinals at the Dodgers (Lynn vs. Greinke), and I guess the NBA finally decided to get around to playing Game Two of the Finals as well (8pm ET on ABC). Talk about those games, this afternoon’s win, or anything else right here.

TiqIQ: One Month Away, Yankees-Rays July 4 Clash Takes on Added Importance

When fans look at their favorite baseball team’s schedule for the first time prior to Opening Day, one of the dates they intently pinpoint on is the good ol’ Fourth of July, undoubtedly one of the most fun and special days of the summer, if not the entire calendar year.

In the baseball world, July 4 seemingly represents the unofficial halfway point of the Major League Baseball season, with teams reflecting on how their year has unfolded up to that crucial juncture of the campaign, while looking ahead at what the summer potentially has to offer for their playoff aspirations. Luckily as it concerns the New York Yankees, they have nothing but good thoughts when looking back on how the first two months have played out, owning a somewhat surprising first-place lead in the AL East division about a month before Independence Day.

Perhaps just as important, the Fourth of July also serves as one of the grandest trips to the ballpark throughout the season for fans, with some unique giveaway usually planned for everyone in attendance, not to mention a fireworks display during the postgame proceedings. The whole allure of Independence Day is certainly one of the most anticipated points of the MLB campaign, and it appears that will be exactly the case once again when the Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays this year on July 4.

For this year’s Fourth of July promotion, the Yankees are hosting Fathead Day, presented by sweetFrog, in which they are giving away Fathead Yankee wall stickers to the first 18,000 fans in attendance who are age 14 and younger. This is rare giveaway, as a glance at any team’s promotional schedule will reveal most clubs do not offer up the popular Fathead items.

At the moment, the average Yankees tickets on TiqIQ for this July 4 affair is $117.90. On, tickets cost $27.80 with fees to get in the stadium. Surprisingly, this pricing actually represents some of the cheaper Yankees tickets for the month of July. Being a month away, however, it is expected this will not remain the case as we draw close and closer to Independence Day.

That’s especially true given the quality of opponent for the Yankees on this day, when they clash with the division rival Rays, whom just happens to be their closest competition for the top spot in the AL East at the moment. Thus, you can fully expect the price to go up considerably on the secondary market as the next few weeks go by. Not only is there a rare giveaway planned, and not only will this game have an impact on first place in the division, but there’s just nothing quite like being at the ballpark on the Fourth of July.