A familiar sight for years to come (Credit:  Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

A familiar sight for years to come. (Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Yes, I’m swiping Mike’s bit, kind of. He’s invited me to do so for years, and now seems like a good time to take him up on the offer.

Brian Cashman‘s contract expires after this season. With the possibility of his team missing the postseason for the second consecutive year, fans have speculated that Cashman’s 16-year tenure as GM could come to an end.

Plenty of fans, particularly the loudest ones, have hoped that is the case. But it appears that they will be disappointed.

Playoffs or no playoffs, the Yankees intend to offer Brian Cashman a new contract this winter, according to pretty cool guy Jon Heyman. His sources indicate that ownership doesn’t blame Cashman for the way the last two seasons have unfolded.

(Perhaps because their own meddling has played a role?)

Few fanbases stand 100% behind the general manager. There’s always a set of people who believe that they’re the smartest people in the room, and they’re vocal so they can prove it to everyone. Yet it seems that this group is larger than it was the last time Cashman’s contract expired.

At that point, after the 2011 season, I fully supported bringing back Cashman. Since the inception of RAB the three of us (now four with Jay) have felt that Cashman is the guy for the job.

Now? I’m not so sure. Hence, a “thoughts on” post.

1. Where is this team headed? The Yankees had some tough decision to make last off-season. Not only did they face a depleted roster, but their far-and-away most productive hitter hit the free agent market. The time seemed ripe for a rebuilding effort.

They could have acted far differently. They could have re-signed Robinson Cano and signed Masahiro Tanaka without sacrificing the 18th pick in the draft. Instead they went in a completely different direction, trying to patch multiple weaknesses with high-priced free agents.

As Mike wrote earlier this week, the Yankees face an even tougher set of decisions this winter. Do they double down on their spending strategy to bring in Jon Lester? Do they seek out an offensive upgrade — Nelson Cruz or Hanley Ramirez? They’ve already committed $168 million to the 2015 team, and that covers just 10 players.

It seems kind of silly to hold back this off-season after going big and seeing little results this past season. Yet, as Mike noted, they certainly need to rethink how they operate as the team around them modify their philosophies.

The point is, in the past we’ve had some idea of the direction the Yankees were taking. Right now? I have none, and I don’t think anyone else outside the organization does, either.

The further point is, I’m not totally sure Cashman is the guy to take the team in a different direction.

2. Is it a higher ups problem? There are plenty of young executives from other clubs the Yankees could poach for a potentially vacant GM spot. But if they’re not allowed to actually make decisions, will it even matter?

The larger question is of whether ownership is truly a problem here. Yes, the Steinbrenners have opened their wallets to help the team, but are they spending that money wisely? Are they meddling to too great a degree? These are questions we have difficulty answering from the outsider perspective.

We’ve seen certain instances where the higher ups step in to make decisions. Rafael Soriano remains the most prominent example. Ichiro Suzuki, too. So how many decisions is ownership forcing on the team? How independently can the GM act?

The Diamondbacks just fired their GM, Kevin Towers. They’ll find someone soon to fill that role. Will he have any success? It’s tough to say, because, as my dear friend Leo said, Ken Kendrick still owns them. It has become pretty apparent that ownership is part of the problem here. Knicks fans have known this for far more than a decade.

If the problem does lie with the higher ups, then does it even matter who holds the GM position? In that case, having Cashman, who has been around the Steinbrenner family his entire adult life, might be an advantage.

3. Would a good candidate even want the job? Many of us have dreamt of becoming the GM. (And a few among us have delusions that we’re qualified.) Who would turn down the opportunity if offered?

Plenty of people. Perhaps the most qualified candidates wouldn’t find the Yankees’ job attractive. Two highly regarded executives, Jason McLeod of the Cubs and David Forst of the A’s, declined to interview for the Padres GM job earlier this year. Would they interview for the Yankees’ gig, knowing that ownership gets involved in baseball decisions?

The absolute worst case scenario is to let Cashman walk only to hire some retread GM, because none of the elite candidates want the job. I like Kevin Towers well enough, but I don’t want to see him replace Cashman as GM of the Yankees.

There’s no point in letting Cashman go if they’re not going to replace him with an elite GM, or a young executive on his path to greatness. Firing Cashman and then hiring (shudders) Ed Wade or Jim Bowden or Jim Hendry seems like a sure step backward. What if they’re the only guys lining up to interview for the job?

4. A Theo/Hoyer situation? By most visible measures, Billy Eppler has done a fine job in the last few years, first as pro scouting director and now as assistant GM. The Padres courted him for their vacant GM position, and nearly hired him. The man is in demand. Might it be his time to shine?

The Yankees could choose to promote Cashman and move Eppler into the GM role, a situation similar to how Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein operate in Chicago. On a practical level that might not accomplish much. Epstein surely continues to call shots in Chicago, just as Ken Williams continues to call shots in Chicago even though Rick Hahn is the GM.

At the very least, this kind of nominal move could keep Eppler in New York. Given the work he’s done in the last few years and the reputation he’s established, that seems desirable. The Yankees have an obstacle, in that they already have a team president. While most of us have less than perfect impressions of Randy Levine, it’s not as though the Steinbrenners are just going to fire him because they want to move Cashman into that position.

Categories : Musings
Comments (319)

Six questions and six answers in this week’s mailbag. If you’d like to send us anything, mailbag questions or links or cooking tips or whatever, use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar. We get a ton of questions each week, so don’t take it personally if we don’t answer yours.

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Tim Leary asks: Am I the only one who thinks that nobody won the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda deal? Just because Montero is seemingly a disaster right now and Pineda has made seven starts now, doesn’t mean the Yankees won. Montero could have fetched any number of star caliber players from 2010 through 2012 and the Yankees flipped him for an asset who subsequently got hurt and missed two full years. I just don’t see how in retrospect you can say the Yankees “won the trade” with that misuse of a top asset. Your thoughts?

There are a bunch of different ways to evaluate a trade, right? The easiest and lamest way is to add up the WARs, in which case both FanGraphs (1.1 vs. -0.8) and Baseball Reference (1.6 vs. -0.4) say the Yankees won the trade. That doesn’t include Hector Noesi, who would only further tip the scales in the Yankees’ favor, though Jose Campos would give some of that back since he hasn’t done much of anything or been particularly healthy these last three years.

Another way and arguably the fairest way to evaluate is trade is based on what we knew at the time. Back in January 2012, we knew:

  1. Pineda just had an All-Star debut season and was the first rookie in history to qualify for the ERA title with 9+ K/9 and sub-3 BB/9. He had five years of team control remaining.
  2. Montero had a monster September in pinstripes and was widely regarded as one of the two or three best hitting prospects in baseball despite his lack of position. He had six years of team control remaining.
  3. Noesi had a nice MLB debut season as a swingman and looked like someone cut from the David Phelps and Adam Warren cloth. He had six years of team control remaining.
  4. Campos was a good looking pitching prospect way down in the short season leagues.

That’s what we knew at the time. Based on that, I think you’d have to say the Yankees got the better end of the deal because Pineda had established dominance at the MLB level. I’ve always said I thought the trade was fair value (or that the Yankees actually came out ahead) on paper, but I wouldn’t have done it because I thought they had a much greater need for a young middle of the order bat than the young top flight arm. I was kinda right, no?

Anyway, there is also an opportunity cost element here — what they actually got vs. what they could have gotten had they traded these players elsewhere — but how could we possibly evaluate that with any sort of accuracy? Unless reports come out involving these players and trades that were turned down, it’s all guesswork. We know for a fact the Blue Jays said no to Montero for Roy Halladay and that the Mariners backed out of a Montero for Cliff Lee deal, but that’s really it. Knowing that, how could you say “Montero could have fetched any number of star caliber players from 2010 through 2012?” We assume the Yankees could have gotten something nice if they traded Montero elsewhere but we don’t know that for sure.

I think the simplest and most straight-forward way to evaluate a trade like this is: did either team get what they wanted? Did the Yankees get the young pitcher who claimed a spot near the top of their rotation? Did the Mariners get their big middle of the order bat? The answer to both of those questions is no. Neither team has gotten what they wanted out of this deal. Does that mean they both lost? I guess. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who wins and who loses. There is no trade scorecard. The Yankees are left with Pineda and Campos and what happens with the Mariners is mostly irrelevant to their end of the trade. This deal has not worked out as hoped for either team and although I will stop short of calling it win for the Yankees, I do know I’d much rather have their end of the trade than Seattle’s right now.

Dustin asks: Do you think Kevin Long could be under any heat this offseason? It wouldn’t be necessarily deserved, but given the problems getting on base and scoring runs all season.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Yeah I think so. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Yankees, after spending all that money last offseason only to win fewer games and score fewer runs in 2014 than they did in 2013 (which they’re on pace to do), look for someone to take the fall after the season. Ownership reportedly wants to bring Brian Cashman back and I suspect that’s what will happen. Joe Girardi sure as hell shouldn’t go anywhere, so now we’re down to the coaches, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild deserves a lot of credit for keeping the rotation afloat despite the injuries. That leaves Long, right? If someone is going to be scapegoated for the season, the process of elimination leaves him as the likely candidate.

Justin asks: How much money comes off the Yankee payroll at the end of the season? Off the top my head I got Derek Jeter, Hiroki Kuroda, David Robertson, Brandon McCarthy, Chase Headley, and Ichiro Suzuki. Did I miss any one significant? Also will $189M will be a issue this offseason? If so how much room to work do they have?

According to Cot’s, the Yankees already have $168.8M in salary commitments for next season. Those players Justin mentioned plus Stephen Drew are the notable guys set to hit free agency, clearing money. Remember, Alex Rodriguez and his massive salary will be coming back. A-Rod is included in that $168.8M but the team’s arbitration-eligible players are not. This winter’s crop of arbitration-eligible players includes Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phelps, Shawn Kelley, Frankie Cervelli, Esmil Rogers, Josh Outman, and David Huff. Rogers, Outman, and Huff are all non-tender candidates. Pineda and Phelps will get nice raises as first time eligible players, Nova and Kelley less so by virtue of being hurt and a non-closing reliever, respectively.

Including the arbitration guys, the Yankees already have something like $180M to $185M on the books for 18 players next year when you include Rogers, Outman, and Huff. Non-tendering them clears three roster spots but would results in minimal savings, maybe dropping them down to $175M to $180M for 15 players. This is all back of the envelope stuff, obviously. The Yankees have opened the last few years with a payroll in the $195M to $210M range, and if they stick to that again, they’ll have approximately $20M to $30M to spend this offseason unless they manage to shed some salary through trades. The biggest needs are a big bat (right field?), another starting pitcher or two, and a reliever or two if Robertson leaves.

Adam asks: Any idea/prediction on what this offseason’s qualifying offer amount will be? And does it make sense to offer to D-Rob and/or Kuroda?

Estimations have this winter’s qualifying offer just north of $15M. Last offseason it was $14.1M, the offseason before that $13.3M. The Yankees can not make qualifying offers to McCarthy, Headley, or Drew by rule since they were traded at midseason. Kuroda is again on the fence about retirement and the Yankees have made him the qualifying offer in each of the last two winters, so I think they will again just in case he decides to spent another year in Los Angeles or something. He didn’t accept the last two qualifying offers, instead opting to negotiate a new one-year deal. I think they trust he would do that again.

I definitely think the Yankees will and should make Robertson a qualifying offer. He just might accept, at which point the team could either keep him another year at an inflated salary (not the worst thing in the world) or use it as a stepping stone towards a long-term deal. If Robertson doesn’t accept, it might kill his market. I’m not sure how many teams will give up a high draft pick to sign a reliever, even an elite one. Remember, Rafael Soriano sat out there unsigned until Yankees ownership felt the need to grab some headlines a few winters ago. My feeling at this moment is that it makes sense to extend the qualifying offer to both Robertson and Kuroda, and that the team will do just that.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Paul asks: Thoughts on the Yankees trying to get some extensions done this month, before the end of the season? D-Rob and B-Mac (is that what we call him?) seem likely candidates. Or is it more likely they’ll wait until the season ends? Also, remind me again of how the exclusive negotiating period works please. Thanks.

I know Cashman has said the no extensions policy is a thing of the past, but I would be surprised if they took the time to work out any extensions this month. Robertson and McCarthy and maybe Headley are the obvious candidates for a new contract. I assume they’ll wait until after the season to work on that. The five-day exclusive negotiating period starts the day after the end of the World Series, but the Yankees are unlikely to go to the postseason, so they’ll have the entire month of October to discuss any extensions as well. They’ll have plenty of time to talk about new deals with McCarthy and/or Robertson and I hope they do just that. There are obvious reasons to keep both and few reasons to let either go.

Jamie asks: The Yankees offensive woes makes me wonder: how many times have they been shut out? Scored one run? Two? Three? Four? Five? Etc.

As always, Baseball Reference makes this nice and easy. To the table:

Runs Games Wins Loss W-L%
0 6 0 6 .000
1 18 2 16 .111
2 19 5 14 .263
3 22 10 12 .455
4 23 15 8 .652
5 17 10 7 .588
6 10 9 1 .900
7 12 10 2 .833
8 3 3 0 1.000
9 4 4 0 1.000
10 2 2 0 1.000
12 1 1 0 1.000
14 1 1 0 1.000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/4/2014.

The Yankees have been shut out six times and held to two or fewer runs 43 times. That’s basically one-third of their games played at this point. They’re 7-36 (.163) in those games. On the other hand, they’ve scored six or more runs 33 times and are 30-3 (.909) in those games. That’s been the “magic number” this year, so to speak. If the Yankees manage to push across six runs, then in all likelihood they won the game. The MLB average winning percentage when scoring two or fewer runs and six or more runs is .144 and .874, respectively, so the Yankees are above-average at both.

Categories : Mailbag
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Boy did that turn around in the hurry. The Yankees grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat on Thursday night, rallying in the ninth inning to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 walk-off win. That win was much, much needed.

(Rich Schultz/Getty)

(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Cap’d The Bed
The Chris Capuano magic is starting to wear off. The team’s 12th starter served up three homers — including two moonshots to David Ortiz — in 4.1 innings of work on Thursday night after allowing four homers total in his first 42.2 innings in pinstripes. Capuano has now surrendered 18 runs in 28 innings across his last five starts, which is no bueno. He did get off to a nice little start with the Yankees but he’s returning to Earth and pitching exactly how you’d expect a scrap heap finesse guy to pitch in Yankee Stadium.

The final damage on Thursday was four runs on six hits and one walk in those 4.1 innings. Capuano struck out two and did get eight of his 13 outs on the infield. Boston’s lefties were 3-for-5 with those three homers against him — Brock Holt hit a Yankee Stadium cheapie out to right, which may or may not have been catchable (I say not) — while their righties were 3-for-14 (.214) with three singles. The Yankees really don’t have much to lose by continuing to run Capuano out there at this point, but should Masahiro Tanaka‘s elbow hold up and allow him to actually pitch against this season, it’s pretty clear whose rotation spot he should take over.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Rally To Tie
Capuano put the Yankees in a 3-0 hole following the two homers to Ortiz, but the offense did rally to tie the game up in the third inning. The bottom of the order got the rally started as Ichiro Suzuki dunked a one-out single to left, then Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk and Derek Jeter drove a two-run double over the head of center fielder Mookie Betts. Betts, who has 56 games worth of experience at center field in his career, was understandably playing Jeter very shallow, and the Cap’n simply muscled it out over his head.

Carlos Beltran singled in Jeter with two outs to tie the game at three, and after that the Yankees had three whole base-runners until the ninth inning. Stephen Drew drew a two-out walk in the fourth, Mark Teixeira beat out an infield single with one out in the fifth, and pinch-hitter Zelous Wheeler drew a leadoff walk in the seventh. Teixeira’s single was a jam shot that was perfectly placed against the shift out of pure luck, nothing more. That’s three base-runners in the span of five innings with none making it beyond first base.

I'm a fan of the whole team Gatorade bath. (Presswire)

I’m a fan of the whole team Gatorade bath. (Presswire)

Rally To Tie, Rally To Win
The bullpen in relief of Capuano was really good. Rich Hill struck out Ortiz, Esmil Rogers allowed a hit in 1.2 otherwise uneventful innings, Josh Outman got Holt to ground out to second, and Shawn Kelley retired all four men he faced. Kelley looked really sharp. Adam Warren had a messy ninth inning (plunked Allen Craig, bobbled a sacrifice bunt attempt) but escaped without allowing a run. Five relievers combined to allow just one hit in 4.2 scoreless innings, striking out four. They held up their end of the bargain.

For once, the offense held up its end of the bargain in the bottom of the ninth. Koji Uehara has been struggling hard of late, allowing runs in four of his last five outings (eight runs total), including two homers. Teixeira started the ninth by looking at a 2-0 fastball right down the middle — what the hell man!? — but he made up for it by slamming a hanging 2-2 splitter into the right field second deck for a game-tying solo homer. Two batters later, Chase Headley lifted a hanging full count splitter into the right field bleachers for a no-doubt walk-off blast. It was a bomb. Gone off the bat. Also his second walk-off hit with the Yankees. Remember his debut? It took a super-struggling Uehara, but a win is a win, and this was a cool win.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Leftovers
One night after going 4-for-4 with a dinger, Brian McCann went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He did rip a line drive to left between the Teixeira and Headley homers in the ninth. He was the only starter who failed to reach base. Ellsbury and Drew drew walks while Jeter, Gardner, Teixeira, Headley, and Ichiro had hits. Teixeira was the only player on the team with multiple hits. Wheeler drew the walk off the bench when he pinch-hit for Drew against a lefty. The Yankees went 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

The nightly base-running blunder came in the seventh inning, when pinch-runner Antoan Richardson put his head down and ran to second on a steal attempt, not looking up to see Ichiro’s line drive go right to Betts in center. By time Richardson realized the ball had been caught, Betts was already throwing it to first to double him up. That’s not as bad as the base-running mistakes the last two nights, but it’s still pretty bad.

By the way, Richardson was the 56th different player to play for the Yankees this year, tying last season’s franchise record. Everyone currently on the active roster has played in a game, so if they’re going use a 57th player and break that record, they’ll have to call someone else up.

Once again, just so it doesn’t get overlooked: the bullpen was really great. Those guys gave the offense a chance to get back in the game. Couldn’t have done it without them.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The place to go for the box score and video highlights is MLB.com. You can find some other game stats and FanGraphs and the up to the minute standings at ESPN. Depending on the outcome of the currently tied Tigers-Indians game, the Yankees will be either three games (Indians win) or four games (Tigers win) back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has New York’s postseason odds at 4.7% at this very moment.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Royals come to town next for a three-game weekend series. That is the Yankees’ last series against a non-AL East team this year. Big Mike Pineda and James Shields is the scheduled pitching matchup for Friday night’s series opener. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch that or any of the other five games left on the homestand in person.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (196)
Sep
04

Game 138: Rubber Game

By in Game Threads. · Comments (833) ·
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

(Rich Schultz/Getty)

For the third straight series, the Yankees have split the first two games with their opponent. They then lost the third game of the series to both the Tigers and Blue Jays last week. Tonight the Yankees have a chance to win their first series in more than a week if they can manage to beat the Red Sox in tonight’s rubber game. Boston has all but checked out for the season already, but that doesn’t make them a push-over. Here is the Red Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. LF Brett Gardner
  4. DH Carlos Beltran
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. C Brian McCann
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. RF Ichiro Suzuki
    LHP Chris Capuano

It’s another great night for baseball in New York. Clear sky and warm but not too hot or humid. Nice night to spend at the park. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally, depending on where you live. Enjoy the game.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (833)
(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Got a bunch of injury updates to pass along prior to tonight’s series finale against the Red Sox. The updates come courtesy of Meredith Marakovits, Chad Jennings, Mark Feinsand, Jack Curry, Brendan Kuty, and Dan Martin.

  • Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) felt fine after playing long toss earlier this week. He is scheduled to throw off a mound in the bullpen on Saturday. “He does feel better. Our doctor said he basically just had arm fatigue, and that’s not abnormal for a pitcher. He does feel better. He played long toss the other day and felt good, so hopefully it’s pretty soon,” said Joe Girardi.
  • Ivan Nova (elbow) started a throwing program last week as part of his rehab from Tommy John surgery. “It was awesome to be throwing a baseball again. For me, I always worried about how I’m going to be. It feels a little weird, but once you start throwing, you’re more confident,” he said. Nova, who is right on schedule with his rehab, is making 25 throws at 60 feet every other day and will eventually start to stretch it out. He will spend the winter rehabbing in Tampa rather than going home to the Dominican Republic.
  • Martin Prado (hamstring) received some treatment yesterday and does not feel anything when he’s walking. He will test the hamstring with some baseball activities today — batting practice, running, fielding grounders, etc. — to see how it responds. “I think we made a little progress and we’ll see how it responds,” he said. “I just want it to be one or two days and not the rest of the season. I don’t feel it walking. I’m not going to play 50%. I have to be 100%.”
  • Carlos Beltran (elbow) will have the bone spur removed as soon as the season ends and the rehab is not expected to limit him at the start of Spring Training. He’ll need two months of rest before he can resume throwing and swinging a bat — Beltran will spend the winter living in New York so he can go for regular check-ups — which still gives him plenty of time to get ready for camp.
  • As scheduled, CC Sabathia (knee) received another stem cell injection last week. “It went well. I’ve got no crutches. I feel good,” he said. Sabathia is expected to begin throwing in another week or two.
  • This isn’t really an injury update, but Hiroki Kuroda admitted he skipped his usual between-starts bullpen session this week in an effort to avoid fatigue, something he’s done late in each of the last two years. He added that he’s thrown less between starts all season.
Categories : Injuries
Comments (38)

On Tuesday night, I joked the Yankees seem to make at least one terrible base-running play per homestand this year. That came after Martin Prado got caught in a rundown between first and second on what should have been a double. You remember the play. Carlos Beltran got a bad read from second base and only advanced to third, forcing Brian McCann to stop at second. Prado had his head down and was running hard on what should have been a two-bagger over the left fielder’s head. Blah.

The stats says the Yankees are a slightly below-average base-running team this year — FanGraphs puts them at -1.3 runs on the bases, 18th out of 30 teams — and although I said they seem to make a terrible base-running play once per homestand, that is only in my estimation. They managed to one-up Tuesday night’s gaffe with a dandy of a 2-6-3-4-5-3 double play in the first inning of last night’s game. To the action footage:

On top of that, Beltran got thrown out at the plate to end the seventh inning. It was an awful send by third base coach Robbie Thomson and Beltran was out by a mile. We’ve seen that happen more than a few teams this year as well.

I don’t even get upset about this stuff anymore. Maybe I still would if the Yankees were closer to the wildcard spot, but right now? Whatever. Part of me is annoyed by it and part of me is legitimately curious to see what they’re going to do next. Base-running mistakes have a way of making you laugh. We’ve seen plenty of these base-running blunders all year and I’m sure we’ll see another two or three before the season lets out.

After hilarious base-running mistakes in back-to-back games, I wanted to see where exactly the Yankees sit in outs on the bases this season. Surely near the top, right? Well, no. Baseball Reference says they’ve made only 40 outs on the bases in 2014, the eighth fewest in baseball. The Angels have made the most (66), the Giants the fewest (27). The Yankees are tied with nine other teams with seven outs at first base, the ninth most in baseball. Their eight outs at second base are tied for the third fewest and their five outs at third are tied for the second fewest, but their 20 outs at the plate are the third most.

As for the individual culprits, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury lead the team with six and seven outs on the bases, respectively. That makes sense though, right? They’re the two speedsters who push the envelope, and sometimes they’re going to get thrown out. That’s life. Derek Jeter has made five outs on the bases and then there’s a bunch of guys with one or two. Kelly Johnson managed to get thrown out on the bases four times with New York, including three times at home.

“How many times have you seen it happen this year, where we’ve run ourselves out of an inning?” said hitting coach Kevin Long to Bryan Hoch prior to yesterday’s game/base-running mistakes. The Yankees’ base-running mistakes have resulted in -1.25 WPA this year, so they have essentially cost themselves a win with these base-running goofs. Sometimes they don’t matter all that much, but sometimes they really hurt.

I’m not sure there’s anything more simultaneously funny and annoying as a good TOOTBLAN. The Yankees have struggled offensively all year and at times it’s been obvious they were pressing at the plate. Just about the entire team. That can carry over onto the bases and players will, as they say, try to do too much. They get overly aggressive and make bad mistakes, like we’ve seen the last two nights. Sometimes you get thrown out on the bases because the defense makes a perfect play, it happens. The 2014 Yankees have shown they have a knack for hilariously bad base-running mistakes though. That alone hasn’t sunk their season, but it’s cost them.

Categories : Offense
Comments (54)
  • Heyman: Yankees intend to offer Cashman a new contract after season
    By

    Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees intend to offer Brian Cashman a new contract once his current deal expires after the season. Hal Steinbrenner was non-committal when asked about the future of his GM last month, but Heyman says ownership does not blame Cashman for what is likely to be back-to-back years without the postseason.

    Now, just because ownership wants Cashman back doesn’t mean he will come back. He could always move on to another team if he wants a new challenge or something like that, or he could be burnt out after such a long tenure. Cashman has always been extremely loyal to the Yankees though — they are literally the only employer he’s had in his adult life — and I would be surprised if he left for another club. Either way, Cashman or no Cashman, the Yankees have a lot of work to do to get the team back to perennial contender status. I don’t think they’re one or two more free agents away at this point.
    · (243) ·

Sep
04

2014 Minor League Awards

By in Minors. Tags: · Comments (176) ·
Judge. (MiLB.com)

Judge. (MiLB.com)

After the nightmare that was 2013, the Yankees’ farm system rebounded to have a strong but not really great year in 2014. It was more of a normal season than anything. There were a few surprises, a few disappointments, a bunch of injuries, and several comebacks. Pretty typical year for a minor league system, and, for the Yankees, a typical year meant a huge step up from last season.

The team’s seven domestic minor league affiliates combined to go 387-373 (.509) this summer, so after having their consecutive winning season streak snapped at 30+ years last year, they got turned things around quickly. None of the four full season affiliates qualified for the postseason, however. Only the two Rookie GCL Yankees squads did. The system did not have at least one league champion for only the third time in the last eight years.

As a reminder, this annual awards post has nothing to do with prospect status. This is all about recognizing 2014′s notable performances in the farm system. Pure production with future outlook taking a backseat. These are also my awards and my opinions, so you’re welcome to disagree. There is no right answer with stuff like this. Here are my 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 awards posts. So, without further delay:

Minor League Player of the Year: 2B Rob Refsnyder
From start to finish, the best and most consistent player in the system this year was Refsnyder. The 23-year-old opened the year with Double-A Trenton, hit .342/.385/.548 (159 wRC+) with 19 doubles and six homers in 60 games, then was promoted up to Triple-A Scranton. Refsnyder hit .296/.386/.453 (135 wRC+) with 19 doubles and eight homers in 77 games with the RailRiders, giving him an overall .317/.385/.495 (~145 wRC+) batting line. The team’s fifth round pick in the 2012 draft led the farm system in batting average (min. 400 PA), doubles (38), and total bases (255) while placing second in hits (163). He also cut his error total from 25 in 108 games last season to 12 in 122 games this season. Refsnyder put himself on the map a year ago and this year he proved he was no fluke. He’s played his way into big league consideration just two years after being drafted and asked to change positions.

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Categories : Minors
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Source: FanGraphs

After a couple of rough losses these last five or six days, the Yankees rebounded with a sound 5-1 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday night. They pitched very well, they hit well, and they even played some nice defense too. Just don’t ask about the base-running. We’ll turn a blind eye to that. With the win, the Yankees clinched at least a tie of the season series against Boston for the eighth time in the last ten years.

I had plans tonight and missed the bulk of the game — I left right after that ridiculous double caught stealing in the first and got home in time to see Dellin Betances fan Mookie Betts in the eighth — so I can’t really talk about it in too much detail. Brian McCann had four hits including a two-run homer, and it would be really great if he finished the year strong so he can go into the offseason feeling good about himself. Brett Gardner singled in Jacoby Ellsbury for another run and Ellsbury sacrifice flied in Chase Headley to score another run. McCann singled in the fifth and final run in the seventh. Carlos Beltran was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

Hiroki Kuroda was fantastic, holding the Red Sox to one run on a double and three singles in seven innings of work. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter. Kuroda was on extra rest thanks to Monday’s off-day and he simply looks so much better whenever he gets an extra day or two. He now has a 3.30 ERA (3.32 FIP) in his last 17 starts and 109 innings dating back to June 1st. That is more or less the good version of 2012-13 Kuroda. He’s going out in style, assuming he is going out at all. Betances and David Robertson each allowed a base-runner in otherwise uneventful eighth and ninth innings to close out the win.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some additional stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are now four games back of the Tigers for the second wildcard spot with two other teams ahead of them. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 3.0% with 25 games remaining. Brandon Workman and ex-Red Sox Chris Capuano will be the pitching matchup in Thursday night’s series finale. RAB Tickets can get you in the door if you want to catch the game live.

Categories : Game Stories
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Sep
03

Game 137: Back At It

By in Game Threads. · Comments (652) ·
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Last night did not go well for the Yankees at all. They didn’t pitch well and they couldn’t get out of their own way offensively. But this is baseball, and they’re back at it tonight with a chance to win. Both my favorite and least favorite thing about baseball is that they play every single day. Forget about last night and get back in the win column tonight. Here is the Red Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. LF Brett Gardner
  4. DH Carlos Beltran
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. C Brian McCann
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. RF Ichiro Suzuki
    RHP Hiroki Kuroda

It’s much nicer in New York today than it has been the last few days. Cooler and not nearly as humid, with just a few clouds. Nice night for baseball. Tonight’s game will start a little after 7pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and ESPN nationally. Enjoy the game.

Categories : Game Threads
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