Via George King: The Yankees are interested in signing Dominican third baseman Rafael Devers when the international signing period opens on Tuesday. He reiterates their interest in Dominican outfielder Leonardo Molina as well. “They like all the players in the picture, but have an interest in Molina and Devers,’’ said King’s source.
Devers, 16, was recently ranked the third best international prospect available by Baseball America. In the subscriber-only scouting report, they say he is the “most advanced left-handed hitter on the market” thanks to his bat speed, compact stroke, power potential, and ability to both recognize and drive offspeed pitches. His defense at the hot corner is a question, especially if he continues to get bigger as he ages — he’s listed at 6-foot-1 and 215 lbs.
The Yankees only have $1.88M to spend internationally this year — they are reportedly trying to trade for more pool space — which doesn’t seem like enough to sign both Devers and Molina (fifth best prospect by Baseball America). If they can’t swing a trade for another $1M or so, they’ll probably have to pick one of the two. · (53) ·
Via George King: The Yankees are not interested in signing Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. They have scouted him during his recent workouts in Mexico. “That looks like the Dodgers,” said a scout who has been in attendance for the workouts.
Gonzalez, 26, was recently declared a free agent, but he still needs to be unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control before he can negotiate and officially sign. He’s said to have a mid-90s fastball plus a changeup, a curveball, and a forkball, but he hasn’t pitched much the last two years due to suspensions following attempts to defect. King says the bidding is expected to climb north of $40M, perhaps as high as $60M. · (91) ·
Via Ken Rosenthal: The Yankees are not in on right-hander Ricky Nolasco — or any other pitcher, for that matter — at the moment. We heard the team “already had interest” in the right-hander earlier this month. Their focus has shifting to finding offense for obvious reasons.
Nolasco, 30, has pitched to a 3.93 ERA and 3.54 FIP in 17 starts for the Marlins this year. Rumor has it he could be moved very soon, as in before his next start, and a bunch of NL West clubs are showing the most interest. The Dodgers have been considered the front-runner recently. New York’s starters have posted a solid but not great 4.06 ERA and 3.55 FIP over the last 30 days even before David Phelps got pounded last night, but at this point pitching is not the problem. Nolasco would be an upgrade at the back of the rotation, however. · (11) ·
The free-fall continues. The Yankees lost their fourth straight game on Saturday night, get completely demolished by the Orioles 11-3. New York has won just 12 of their last 32 games while being outscored 143-100. This ship is sinking and the captain isn’t even around to go down with it. Let’s recap the loss:
- David Plops: In his last seven starts, David Phelps has allowed 25 runs (6.35 ERA) and 54 base-runners (1.59 WHIP) in only 34 innings pitched. The Orioles pounded him for nine runs in only 2.1 innings on Saturday, which, sadly, is only the second shortest outing of his season. Phelps was wholly non-competitive in this game. He would have gotten beaten up in Triple-A.
- Offense?: Believe it or not, the Yankees picked up eleven hits in the game after having eleven last night. It was the first time they had double-digit hits in back-to-back games since late-April, when they did it in three straight against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Those eleven hits led to only three runs because for every one good hitter in the lineup, there is a bad one both in front and behind him. Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano (surprise surprise) were the only players with multiple hits. They’re a two-man army fighting a losing war these days.
- Leftovers: Good relief work from Ivan Nova, who allowed just two runs in 5.2 innings to spare the rest of the bullpen. He was expected to make a spot start next week to give everyone else in the rotation an extra day off, but that probably won’t happen … Austin Romine was the only starter without a hit, but he got just two at-bats before being lifted for a pinch-hitter … the Yankees are just four games over .500 at 42-38, but their run differential (-14) paints a much uglier picture. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to see this team heading into the All-Star break with a winning record.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are four games out of first and two games out of last in the loss column in the AL East. They are two back of a Wild Card spot. Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball in the ESPN Sunday Night Game as the Bombers try to avoid what feels like an inevitable sweep. Chris Tillman will be on the bump for the Orioles.
According to Chad Jennings, neither OF Brennan Boesch (shoulder) nor UTIL Ronnie Mustelier (groin) are expected to return from the Triple-A DL anytime soon. Hope you weren’t counting on them to improve the big league lineup.
Triple-A Scranton (12-4 win over Pawtucket)
- C J.R. Murphy: 4-6, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI — 15 hits in his last 33 at-bats (.455) with five doubles and two homers
- RF Fernando Martinez: 4-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI — 17-for-42 (.405) with four doubles and three homers since being acquired
- DH Randy Ruiz: 2-5, 1 R
- 2B Brent Lillibridge: 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB — second homer in as many days
- RHP Graham Stoneburner: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 7/5 GB/FB – 58 of 97 pitches were strikes (60%)
- RHP Dellin Betances: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0/3 GB/FB — 23 of 38 pitches were strikes (61%) … 32/10 K/BB in 27.2 innings
Friday night’s loss was just another frustrating loss in a season full of them, as the offense EXPLODED for three early runs only to see the lead squandered late. The kind of game the Yankees can’t afford to lose, basically. Either they start winning some games consistently or they’re going to continue sinking like a stone in the standings. It’s that simple. They’re close to exhausting their margin for error. Here’s the lineup the Yankees are throwing at left-hander Zach Britton:
- CF Brett Gardner
- SS Jayson Nix
- 2B Robinson Cano
- DH Vernon Wells
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- LF Zoilo Almonte
- 3B David Adams
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- C Austin Romine
It’s hot and humid in Baltimore, and apparently there is some rain in the forecast tonight. The kind of stuff that could cause a delay but not enough for a postponement. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15pm ET and can be seen on FOX. Definitely can’t remember the last time the Orioles were on FOX. Try to enjoy the game.
Via George King & Dan Martin: Tigers manager Jim Leyland confirmed Mariano Rivera will serve as the AL’s closer for next month’s All-Star Game. “He took me off the hook from all that silly stuff that they wanted him to start the game … I hope I give him the ball in the ninth inning in New York,” he said. Leyland is managing because Detroit won the pennant last year.
Rivera, 43, has a 1.55 ERA (2.36 FIP) with 26 saves in 27 chances this year. There was a campaign to have Mo start the All-Star Game as a way to honor his career, but thankfully that was shot down. Rivera himself said he didn’t want to start. The game will be played in New York at CitiField, so hopefully the AL squad gives Mo a lead to protect in the ninth inning during his final All-Star Game. That would be pretty darn neat. · (12) ·
Via Chris Cotillo: The Yankees are one of ten teams included in right-hander Yovani Gallardo’s no-trade clause. The Brewers are one of the very worst teams in baseball and are expected to shop everyone not named Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, and Jean Segura at the trade deadline.
Gallardo, 27, is in the middle of his worst season as a big leaguer, pitching to a 4.20 ERA and 3.93 FIP in 98.2 innings. Both his strikeout rate and fastball velocity have been trending in the wrong direction as well. Unsurprisingly, his no-trade list consists of cellar-dwellers and big market teams who can compensate him for agreeing to a trade. The Yankees haven’t been connected to Gallardo and they really don’t need another starter at this point, they need bats. Plural. · (25) ·
Via George King: There are indications the Yankees have interest in acquiring infielder Michael Young from the Phillies. The Red Sox are said to be “very interested” as well. Earlier this week we heard the Yankees have “kicked around” the idea of acquiring another Phillie, catcher Carlos Ruiz, but it’s unclear if Philadelphia is ready to start selling off players as they toil in third place in the NL East.
Young, 36, is hitting .289/.348/.412 (110 wRC+) with five homers this year, which would instantly make him New York’s best right-handed hitter. He’s playing third base full-time and he has experience at all four infield spots, though he is a dreadful defensive player. That said, he’s far better than anyone on the Yankees’ infield other than Robinson Cano. Young could play third until Alex Rodriguez returns, then shift over to first and do some right-handed platoon work. The Rangers are paying most of his salary and he’ll become a free agent after the season. Young is a really good fit for this Yankees team. · (129) ·
Triple-A Scranton Game One (5-4 loss to Syracuse) completion of yesterday’s game, which was suspended due to rain in the middle in the fourth
- C J.R. Murphy: 1-3, 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 K — 11-for-31 (.355) with four doubles, two homers, six walks, and seven strikeouts
- DH Randy Ruiz: 2-5, 1 R, 1 K
- RF Thomas Neal: 2-4, 1 R, 1 BB
- 3B Brent Lillibridge: 1-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 1 CS –
- RHP Caleb Cotham: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 4/1 GB/FB — 24 of 32 pitches were strikes (75%) … pitched yesterday
- RHP Chase Whitley: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 25 of 49 pitches were strikes (51%)