Draft Signing Notes: Rutherford, Nelson, Kriske, More

Our annual Draft Pool Tracker page is now live. You can find it any time via the Resources pull-down menu at the top of the site. As it turns out, Baseball America made a mistake when they reported the Yankees’ bonus pool at $5,768,400. It’s actually $5,831,200. MLB.com confirms it and that’s what you get when you add up the slot values reported by Baseball America. No biggie. Mistakes happen. Point is, the Yankees have an extra $62,800 in bonus pool space than originally reported.

All of the Yankees’ picks can be found at Baseball America. Here is the first wave of signing updates.

  • Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer told Chad Jennings he expects California HS OF Blake Rutherford (1st round) to sign. “I’ve done this long enough to know until they’ve taken the physical, gone through the whole process and signed, the whole thing is never done. I would think that we’re going to get it done. We took him with the idea that we’re going to get it done. But until it’s finished, you never know,” he said. Rutherford is slotted for $2,441,600.
  • Louisville 2B Nick Solak (2nd) is now free to sign because the Cardinals were eliminated in the Super Regionals this past weekend. They were eliminated in rather heartbreaking fashion too. They were up 3-0 in the ninth when their closer gave up a season-ending walk-off grand slam. Ouch. Solak is slotted for $1,040,800.
  • Florida JuCo RHP Nick Nelson (4th) traveled to Tampa Sunday to finalize his contract, according to Greg Brzozowski. Baseball America says he received $350,000. Slot for his pick is $455,400. Nelson told Brzozowski his contract includes a two-year scholarship as well.
  • South Carolina OF Dom Thompson-Williams (5th) has signed for $250,000, according to Baseball America. He was slotted for $341,000. South Carolina was eliminated in the Super Regionals this past weekend, allowing Thompson-Williams to sign.
  • USC RHP Brooks Kriske (6th) signed for $100,000, reports Jonathan Mayo. Slot money for his pick was $255,300. Kriske posted a photo of the contract signing on Instagram. He was expected to sign a below-slot deal as a college senior, but the fact he got as much as he did suggests the Yankees consider him an actual prospect.
  • North Florida C Keith Skinner (7th) signed for a mere $10,000, reports Mayo. Skinner was slotted for $191,500. As a college senior, he had basically zero leverage. Some seniors sign for $1,000.
  • Fullerton 1B Dalton Blaser (8th) also received a $10,000 bonus, according to Mayo. His pick has a $176,200 slot. BTI Sports posted a photo of Blaser signing his contract on Twitter.
  • Southern Mississippi 1B Tim Lynch (9th) has signed as well, according to Frankie Piliere. Lynch seemed to confirm it on Twitter. He’s another $10,000 pick per Baseball America. Lynch was slotted for $164,600.
  • Illinois-Chicago LHP Trevor Lane (10th) also signed for a $10,000, reports Jim Callis. He was slotted for $156,600. On Twitter, Lane said he is throwing a bullpen in Tampa today, then flying to New York to join Short Season Staten Island.
  • Louisiana Tech RHP Braden Bristo (23rd) signed for $55,000, according to Sean Isabella. Slot money for every pick after the tenth round is $100,000. Any bonus below that does not result in pool savings, however. Isabella says Bristo is heading to Tampa today and will soon join Staten Island.
  • Louisiana Tech LHP Tim Diehl (27th) signed for a $50,000 bonus plus another $20,000 in tuition money, he told Isabella. I guess you could say he got … *shades* … a nice Diehl. He’ll be in Tampa today and will be shifted to the bullpen in pro ball, per Isabella.
  • Wagner OF Ben Ruta (30th) is en route to Tampa, based on his Twitter feed. That’s usually a very good indication a deal is either done, or very close to being done.
  • Stony Brook LHP Tim Honahan (36th) told Tim Oakes he will sign. He’s due to report to Tampa for his physical and contract signing soon. “I grew up a Yankee fan. My idol was Andy Pettitte,” said Honahan to Oakes.

The Yankees have already saved $1,000,600 in pool money so far. The signing deadline is July 15th this year and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Rutherford waits until the very last second to sign. Tons of first rounders do that each year. James Kaprielian did it last year. My guess is Rutherford gets something in the $3.5M to $4M range.

6/14 to 6/15 Series Preview: Colorado Rockies

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees are back out on the road for a six-game trip this week. Their first stop: Colorado for a pair of games with the Rockies. This is the team’s first visit to Coors Field since 2013. They’ve played three road series against the Rockies since interleague play became a thing, winning two of three in 2002 and 2013, and getting swept in 2007.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Rockies are on a bit of a hot streak at the moment. They’ve won six of their last eight games and outscored their opponents 43-24 in the process. Colorado is 30-33 with a -7 run differential overall. That is annoyingly similar to the Yankees, who are 31-32 with a -20 run differential.

Offense & Defense

As you might expect from a team that calls Coors Field home, the Rockies have no trouble scoring runs. They average 5.00 runs per game with a team 93 wRC+ overall. Of course, their home-road splits are pretty substantial. The Rockies average 5.72 runs per game (99 wRC+) at home and only 4.38 runs per game (89 wRC+) on the road. Pretty huge difference there, eh?

Manager Walt Weiss, whose son Bo was drafted by the Yankees last week, has only one position player on the DL. Backup C Tony Wolters (51 wRC+) is out with a concussion. Otherwise everyone is healthy. Because Rockies players tend to have such extreme home-road splits — it’s not their fault, most of them didn’t get a chance to pick their home park — I’m going to present their offense a little differently this series preview. Here are the regulars:

Home Road
C Nick Hundley .214/.353/.321 (58 wRC+) .275/.370/.500 (131 wRC+)
1B Mark Reynolds .303/.386/.449 (97 wRC+) .298/.341/.462 (117 wRC+)
2B D.J. LeMahieu .256/.445/.594 (145 wRC+) .264/.306/.363 (80 wRC+)
SS Trevor Story .263/.331/.544 (96 wRC+) .254/.290/.529 (116 wRC+)
3B Nolan Arenado .309/.387/.682 (148 wRC+) .263/.340/.489 (123 wRC+)
LF Gerardo Parra .313/.328/.518 (89 wRC+) .224/.230/.343 (48 wRC+)
CF Charlie Blackmon .299/.357/.540 (105 wRC+) .292/.364/.443 (121 wRC+)
RF Carlos Gonzalez .310/.350/.637 (129 wRC+) .281/.333/.438 (103 wRC+)

I would hate to cover the Rockies full-time because Coors Field screws everything up. Even the road numbers seem skewed. Purple Row did an analysis a few years ago that showed either the Coors Field park factors are totally wrong, or going back and forth between high altitude and sea level throughout the season messes Rockies players up more than we realize.

Alright, so anyway, the Rockies have a true star in Arenado, who is easily a top ten player in the game today. Maybe even top five. He’s not a product of Coors Field. The man would rake anywhere. Arenado usually hits third with Blackmon — Blackmon will open some eyes this series, he’s a sneaky good ballplayer — and LeMahieu in front of him, and Gonzalez and Story behind him. The top five of the batting order is pretty set in stone. Weiss tends to mix the bottom of the lineup up on a daily basis.

The Rockies have UTIL Ryan Raburn (107 wRC+) on the bench, who will play against lefties, usually in place of Parra. C Dustin Garneau (62 wRC+) is the backup catcher and IF Daniel Descalso (156 wRC+) and IF Cristhian Adames (59 wRC+) are the backup infielders. The Rockies only carry four bench players despite being in the NL because they need to carry eight relievers. Their pitching staff is bad in general, and Coors Field exacerbates things.

Defensively, the Rockies have excellent glovemen in LeMahieu and Blackmon, and, of course, Arenado is on the very very very short list of the best defensive players in baseball, regardless of position. Watch this ridiculousness:

I saw No. 3 and No. 8 with my own eyes and I don’t still don’t believe they really happened. Crazy. Anyway, Story and CarGo are good enough defenders and Parra’s glove has really slipped the last few years. Reynolds is adequate at first, and Hundley is nothing special behind the plate. Arenado, LeMahieu, and Blackmon make the Colorado defense above-average by themselves.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (8:40pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. COL) vs. LHP Jorge De La Rosa (vs. NYY)
This is De La Rosa’s ninth season with the Rockies and they should probably build a statue of the guy because he’s managed to give them 1,039 innings of 4.34 ERA (106 ERA+) ball. He’s third on the franchise’s all-time innings (behind Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis) and WAR (behind Ubaldo Jimenez and Cook) lists. This year has been a big struggle though. De La Rosa, 35, had an 8.81 ERA (5.64 FIP) in 31.2 innings. He made six starts before getting demoted to the bullpen, where he made three long relief appearances. This will be his first start back in the rotation. De La Rosa’s strikeout (25.3%) and grounder (45.4%) rates are fine, but he’s walked too many (9.7%) and been extremely homer prone (2.27 HR/9). His platoon split is small because his low-80s splitter is so effective against righties. De La Rosa sets the split up with a low-90s heater. He also throws a little upper-80s cutter and an upper-70s curveball.

Wednesday (3:10pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. COL) vs. RHP Chad Bettis (vs. NYY)
I am an irrational Chad Bettis fan, so much so that I wrote a post about him as a possible trade target over the winter. He’s not having a good year though, and will come into this start with a 5.85 ERA (4.76 FIP) in 13 starts and 72.1 innings. His strikeout (16.5%) and walk (5.9%) rates are down, and only one of those is a good thing. Bettis is homer prone (1.49 HR/9) despite a good ground ball rate (49.4%). Righties have hammered him this season, which is weirdly a career long trend. Huh. Bettis operates with three fastballs: low-90s sinkers and four-seamers, plus an upper-80s cutter. A mid-80s changeup and an upper-70s curveball are his two offspeed pitches.

Bettis. (Presswire)
Bettis. (Presswire)

Bullpen Status

The Rockies have a history of signing veteran relievers as free agents, and they usually end up giving guys an extra year to get them to come to Coors Field. They’ve had trouble developing pitching since the first day the franchise existed, and that means both starters and relievers. Here is their current bullpen:

Closer: RHP Carlos Estevez (4.43 ERA/4.34 FIP)
Setup: LHP Boone Logan (1.59/1.82), RHP Jason Motte (2.57/4.54), RHP Chad Qualls (5.03/4.64)
Middle: RHP Gonzalez German (2.82/4.41), RHP Justin Miller (4.44/4.33)
Long: RHP Eddie Butler (5.48/4.78), LHP Chris Rusin (4.12/3.20)

Colorado has something weird going on with their rotation at the moment. Butler and Rusin have both been in the rotation for a few weeks now, and in fact they started games last Tuesday and Wednesday. They’re not listed among the team’s upcoming pitching probables though, so I assume they’re available in relief this week. They’re both stretched out and can go super long if necessary.

Former Rays closer LHP Jake McGee (4.98/4.50) just landed on the DL with knee inflammation, pushing Estevez into the closer’s role. Logan and Qualls, a pair of ex-Yankees are among his setup crew. Weiss uses Logan as a lefty specialist these days and he’s been pretty awesome at it. He’s held left-handed batters to a .108/.158/.194 batting line with a 38.5% strikeout rate and a 71.4% ground ball rate. Logan will be a free agent after the season, and if he keeps dominating lefties like that, he’s going to find himself in another uniform after the trade deadline.

Head on over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relief crew. Both the Yankees and Rockies had an off-day yesterday, their bullpens are as fresh as they’re going to get in mid-June.

Yulieski Gurriel is the right player at maybe not the right time for the Yankees

(Icon Sportswire)
(Icon Sportswire)

Yesterday morning, Jesse Sanchez reported Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel has been declared a free agent by MLB and is now able to sign with any team. Yulieski and his younger brother Lourdes Jr. defected back in December. Sanchez says Lourdes is still waiting to be declared a free agent, though he’s going to wait until his 23rd birthday in October to sign anyway. That way he won’t be eligible for the international spending restrictions.

Gurriel, 32, is a longtime Cuban star who is widely considered the best position player in the world not under contract with an MLB team. His numbers in Cuba last season are straight out of a video game: .500/.589/.874 with 20 doubles, 15 homers, 38 walks, and three strikeouts in 49 games and 224 plate appearances. Gurriel played the 2014 season in Japan, during which he hit .305/.349/.536 with eleven homers in 62 games. He’s been a monster his entire career.

Last year we heard Gurriel wants to play for the Yankees, partly because his favorite player is Alex Rodriguez. How about that? Gurriel is also close friends with Aroldis Chapman dating back to their time on the Cuban National Team, and Gurriel recent told Chapman he would be “super happy” to sign with the Yankees. Now that Yulieski is free to actually sign with a team, I have some thoughts on this.

1. Where would the Yankees play him? Gurriel has primarily been a second and third baseman in his career, and while the Yankees are contractually locked into Starlin Castro and Chase Headley at those positions, they shouldn’t stand in the way of signing him. The Yankees would be able to carve out regular playing time for Yulieski at both positions, and he could even fill-in some in the outfield. He has experience there.

Also, the Yankees have a need at first base, both immediate and long-term. They could try Gurriel at first, and if that doesn’t work, they could always fall back on playing him at third and Headley at first. It’s not ideal, but it could work. Point is, the Yankees can find ways to get Gurriel into the lineup rather easily. It’s not like he’s a catcher who would have to share time with Brian McCann or something. The Yankees have a collectively below-average infield and Gurriel would help correct that.

2. Forget about his position, they need his bat. Whoever signs Gurriel is not buying his glove (not that he’s a bad defender). He’s a legitimate middle of the order hitter. Here’s a piece of Baseball America’s latest scouting report, which does not seem to be behind the paywall:

Gourriel has all the attributes to be an above-average offensive player. He has plus bat speed and squares up all types of pitches with good hand-eye coordination and barrel control. He wraps his barrel behind his head, angling the bat toward the pitcher, but he gets the barrel into the hitting zone quickly and has good plate coverage. He stays within the strike zone and uses the whole field, and with plus raw power on the 20-80 scale, he offers a balance of being able to hit for average, get on base and hit for power.

The scouting report goes on to compare Gurriel to Hanley Ramirez and David Wright, and while that doesn’t sound too exciting these days, it was referring to peak Hanley and Wright. Yulieski is not someone you bring in to hit seventh or eighth. He has the ability to be a third or fourth place hitter.

The Yankees need offense. Very desperately, in fact. Both right now and going forward. They’re 24th in runs per game this season (3.92) and their best hitter is a 39-year-old impending free agent. Even if the Yankees were to re-sign Carlos Beltran — I think the odds of that are extremely small — how could you expect him to hit like this next year? And who knows what the young replacements (Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Ben Gamel, etc.) can do?

Ken Rosenthal says Gurriel is going to need a few weeks in the minors to get ready, but he should be able to help a team in the second half. It’s not like he’s going to sign and be in the lineup tomorrow. He needs a Spring Training, basically. Gurriel can still help this year though. Simply put, he’s someone you can build their lineup around going forward. The Yankees don’t have another player like that right now.

3. What will it cost to sign him? This is the big question. I assume Gurriel won’t come cheap. These are the last three big name Cuban position players to sign with MLB clubs:

  • 3B Hector Olivera, Dodgers: Six years, $62.5M.
  • OF Yasmany Tomas, Diamondbacks: Six years, $68.5M
  • OF Rusney Castillo, Red Sox: Six years, $72M.

Gurriel is better than every one of those guys, and in the case of Olivera, he doesn’t have the same scary injury history either. Between general inflation and the fact he’s a better player than that trio, I can’t help but wonder if Gurriel is going to push for a $100M deal. Why not ask? It’s not like this upcoming free agent class is loaded with good hitters.

I suppose an opt-out could be a factor here. There seems to be some evidence opt-out clauses save teams a little bit of money. Perhaps Gurriel could sign for, say, Castillo money ($12M per season) with an opt-out after the second year. If he’s an impact hitter, that’s a bargain. With so much money coming off the books the next two years, the Yankees could afford Gurriel at $12M per year without blowing up their plan to get under the luxury tax.

For what it’s worth, Joel Sherman says Yankees international scouting director Donny Rowland has long held Gurriel in high regard, so if nothing else, Rowland figures to give his bosses the hard sell. The Yankees bid for Cuban players like Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes, Yoan Moncada, Jorge Soler, and Aledmys Diaz in recent years and fell short each time, and surely there is some level of regret. They don’t want to fall short again.

4. Is his age a problem? This is an interesting question and it makes me wonder if Gurriel is the right player at the wrong time for the Yankees. He’s 32 — he just turned 32 last week — which means he fits best for a team ready to win right now. You don’t sign Gurriel if you’re a rebuilding team looking ahead to the future. You sign him because you’re a contender looking for the final piece to put you over the top this year and next year and the year after.

The Yankees say they’re trying to win and that’s all well and good, but the team on the field suggests it might not be in the cards this year. They’re not a game under .500 in mid-June by accident, you know? Does it make sense to add Gurriel when winning this season is a long shot? He’s already at the age where his game might begin to slip as it is. So you’re talking about adding a player nearing the end of his prime to a team that might not be a true contender until he’s 33 or 34. That is sort of tricky.

At the same time, you could argue the Yankees shouldn’t need two or three years to turn things around because of their resources. They have a bunch of prospects at Double-A and Triple-A and all that money is coming off the books. The 2003 Tigers were the worst team I’ve ever seen and the 2006 Tigers won the pennant, so it’s certainly possible for the Yankees to turn things around in a hurry, while Gurriel is still producing big time.

There’s also the contract length angle. He’s 32 now, so a six-year deal takes him to age 38, and signing a guy deep into his 30s is always risky. Sometimes it works out, like the Beltran deal. Most of the time it doesn’t though. It’s impossible to project how Gurriel will age, so in addition to the question of whether the Yankees will be ready to win during whatever is left of his prime years, there’s also the risk of signing him beyond the age of 35.

5. Don’t forget, Lourdes Jr. is the real prize. Yulieski is unquestionably the better player right now and that figures to be the case for the next few years, but Lourdes is the Gurriel brother teams are going to fall all over themselves to sign. He’s another potential middle of the diamond impact hitter, except he’ll be only 23 when he signs, so you’re getting him for his entire prime. That’s pretty huge.

I’ve seen folks talk about the possibility of a package deal, though who knows if that’s possible. Both Gurriels may take the highest offer no matter what. Assuming Lourdes is declared a free agent soon, he could work out a deal and simply hold off on signing until October. That would allow teams to negotiate with Yulieski and Lourdes at the same time, which is certainly better than trying to work out a package deal when you have to negotiate weeks or months apart.

* * *

I’m of the belief that impact bats are very hard to find, especially those capable of playing the middle infield. Because of that, I think the Yankees should be in on Gurriel even though he is 32 and even though he might cost them $12M+ a year. The future of the offense is very much a question and this is a chance to add a cornerstone type hitter for nothing but money. No draft pick. Nothing. There’s never a “wrong” time to add good players.

Of course, it’s easy to say that when it’s not my money. I wouldn’t be assuming the risk. I definitely understand why someone would be hesitant to sign Gurriel deep into his 30s, especially with no MLB track record. Pretty much everyone agrees this guy can be an offensive force though, including the Yankees’ international scouting director. If Gurriel is as good as advertised, or is even 75% of what is advertised, he could end up a real bargain.

Thoughts following the Monday’s long-awaited off-day

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Wasn’t it nice to have that off-day yesterday? The Yankees have been playing an awful lot of baseball of late, and it was good to get a little breather. Forty games in 41 days is one heck of a grind, even when you’re sitting at home watching from the couch. Anyway, I have some thoughts, so let’s get to ’em.

1. I didn’t realize this until I looked at the schedule yesterday, but the Yankees play their next eleven games against the Rockies and Twins. They play two in Colorado and four in Minnesota, then come home to play two more against the Rockies and three more against the Twins. The Yankees have off-days next Monday and Thursday too, so everyone should be well-rested for those games. If the team is ever going to get above .500 and stay there, it has to happen during these eleven games. The Twins have by far the worst record in the AL, and while the Rockies aren’t a total pushover (they’re 30-33), they’re a team you have to beat if you want to contend. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the Yankees need to win at least eight of those eleven games to have a realistic shot at the postseason. The Yankees haven’t had much luck against good teams this year but they sure do beat up on bad teams. Time to make a real move up the standings.

2. The middle relief is becoming a very big problem. The three guys at the end of the game have generally been very awesome, even with a few hiccups here and there. (No one’s perfect.) The rest of the bullpen is a headache. The team’s non-big three relievers have a 4.61 ERA (4.37 FIP) in 113.1 innings this year. Kirby Yates was solid for the first two months or so but has crashed of late. Chasen Shreve and Johnny Barbato both had a few good weeks before falling off. I’d rather not see the Yankees stick Chad Green and Luis Cessa in the bullpen full-time — Green hit 98.7 mph during his inning Sunday, you know — but they very well might be their best middle relief options right now. This is something that will have to be fixed at some point for the Yankees to stay in the race. Bryan Mitchell hopefully returning in August won’t be enough.

3. I do love the way Joe Girardi has been using Aroldis Chapman. Girardi has already used Chapman on back-to-back-to-back days, something he never does with his other relievers, and he even ran him out there five times in the span of nine days last month. Last week there was a stretch where Chapman pitched four times in six days and warmed up on the two days he didn’t pitch. Girardi is very much treating Aroldis like a pitcher who won’t be around long-term, because he almost certainly won’t. (I imagine the front office has given Joe some indication that will be the case, hence the heavy usage.) The Yankees don’t want to work Chapman so hard that he gets hurt, they’re not heartless, but they do want to get their money’s worth out of him. I’m glad Girardi isn’t treating Aroldis with kid gloves like he does some of his other relievers at times.

4. Without question, the feel good story of the season is CC Sabathia‘s renaissance. These last few years weren’t easy for Sabathia both on and off the field based on everything we know now, yet he’s been pitching like an ace thanks in part to his new cutter, a cutter that he actually throws (via Brooks Baseball):

CC Sabathia pitch selection

This is sort of an uncomfortable thing to talk about, but I can’t help but wonder much of a factor Sabathia’s sobriety is in his resurgence. Alcoholism consumes your entire life and it’s not always easy to understand that if it’s never impacted your life. Sabathia is presumably feeling much better mentally and physically these days. How could something like that not have an effect on the field? The new cut fastball — and the new knee brace, remember — definitely helps explain Sabathia’s sudden effectiveness. I don’t think it’s the only thing though. His sobriety helps as well.

5. The Yankees basically had no choice but to sign Ike Davis over the weekend. They’re down to their fifth string first baseman due to injuries, and that fifth string first baseman is a converted second baseman with about two weeks worth of experience at the position. No, I don’t consider Tyler Austin a legitimate first base candidate after one great week in Triple-A. No, I don’t consider Nick Swisher a legitimate first base candidate either because he hasn’t done much to earn the benefit of the doubt the last two years and two months. Swisher’s last season as an effective big leaguer was Mariano Rivera‘s and Andy Pettitte‘s final season. Yeah. Davis is a sound defender at first and he gives the Yankees a lefty platoon bat who can take aim at the short porch for the time being. When the top four players on your first base depth chart are out hurt, you can’t afford to be picky when digging up a replacement. Davis was available, so they signed him. Simple as that.

6. Fun fact about the Davis signing: he is the first Major League free agent the Yankees have signed in 18 months. The last before him was … drum rollStephen Drew in January 2015. They famously did not sign a single big league free agent these past offseason, and given the way things have turned out, that was probably a good thing. A frickin’ ton of free agent deals from this past winter already look regrettable — isn’t that always the case? — and the Yankees aren’t exactly one free agent away from contention. Even Juan Uribe, who was dirt cheap and wanted by pretty much everyone, has been awful. I’m not saying the Yankees should never sign free agents. That is hardly the case. I’m just saying that given their current situation, staying away from the free agent market was probably a smart idea. They need unload some of their veterans to make way for young players, not add more veterans.

7. When the Yankees activated Luis Severino and optioned him to Triple-A few weeks ago, Girardi compared it to the Roy Halladay situation back in the day, which is quite a stretch for me. Halladay had a 5.77 ERA (5.58 FIP) in 231 big league innings from ages 21-23 before the Blue Jays sent him to Extended Spring Training and had pitching guru Mel Queen basically rebuild his mechanics. One year later Halladay was one of the best pitchers in baseball and two years after that he won his first Cy Young. That was a 90th percentile outcome, basically. Severino is not in need of a total overhaul. His stuff is fine. He’s been dogged by command and location issues, issues that existed before he was called up last year. A better comparison may be Max Scherzer, who was sent to Triple-A in 2010 with a 7.29 ERA (5.58 FIP) because his command of his secondary pitches was so bad. He was out there with a fastball and nothing else. Scherzer ironed some things out in the minors, then returned to the big leagues a few weeks later and pitched well. That’s what the Yankees want to happen with Severino. Tweaks, not an overhaul.

DotF: Severino strong again in Scranton’s win

Got some notes to pass along:

  • RHP Chance Adams and RHP Domingo Acevedo has both been promoted, according to Matt Kardos. Adams goes from High-A to Double-A while Acevedo goes from Low-A to High-A. A well-deserved promotion for both.
  • LHP Neat Cotts has been released, so says Shane Hennigan. The Yankees must not have liked what they saw out of the veteran southpaw. The move clears a roster spot for RHP Chad Green, who was sent back down to clear a big league roster spot for Ike Davis.
  • Bunch of award winners this week: C Kyle Higashioka was named the Triple-A International League Offensive Player of the Week while RHP Chance Adams and RHP Christian Morris were named the Pitcher of the Week in the High-A Florida State League and the Low-A South Atlanta League, respectively. Congrats to all.

Triple-A Scranton (8-4 win over Toledo)

  • RF Ben Gamel: 3-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 CS — 19-for-44 (.432) in his last eleven games
  • 1B Nick Swisher: 3-5, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — 12-for-28 (.429) in his last seven games
  • DH Gary Sanchez: 1-5, 1 K
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-3, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K — still in the lineup even with Sanchez back
  • LF Cesar Puello: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HBP — a total of 5,646 players have at least one plate plate appearances in the minors this year, and he ranks eighth with nine hit-by-pitches
  • CF Jake Cave: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • RHP Luis Severino: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 WP, 11/3 GB/FB — 60 of 88 pitches were strikes (68%) … too bad the box score can’t tell us how well he located his slider and changeup
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 28 of 45 pitches were strikes (62%)
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 0.1 IP, zeroes, 0/1 GB/FB — three pitches, two strikes

[Read more…]

Update: Yankees sign Ike Davis to Major League deal

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Monday, 8:30pm: The Yankees have announced the Davis signing, so it’s official. He will wear No. 24. Chad Green was sent to Triple-A Scranton to clear a 25-man roster spot and Layne Somsen was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot.

Sunday, 2:46pm: Jon Heyman says it’s a done deal. It’s a Major League contract and Davis will be joining the team soon. The Yankees are carrying eight relievers and three-bench players at the moment, so they figure to go back to a normal seven-man bullpen and four-man bench soon.

2:00pm: The Yankees are on the verge of signing Ike Davis, reports Mark Feinsand. Davis opted out of his minor league contract with the Rangers earlier today. New York tried to sign him over the winter, but he went to Texas instead. It’s entirely possible Davis will join the Yankees right away. This might not be a minor league deal.

Davis, 29, hit .268/.350/.437 (111 wRC+) with four homers in 39 Triple-A games this season. Last year he put up a .229/.301/.350 (83 wRC+) batting line with three homers in 74 games with the Athletics. Davis is a dead pull left-handed hitter with one of those Yankee Stadium swings. He’s hit as many as 32 homers in a season.

The Yankees have lost Mark Teixeira (knee), Greg Bird (shoulder), Dustin Ackley (shoulder), and Chris Parmelee (hamstring) to injury, so they’re down to their fifth string first baseman, converted second baseman Rob Refsnyder. They have Nick Swisher in Triple-A, but still needed more first base depth, especially since Swisher can opt-out of his deal this month.

Monday Night Open Thread

The Yankees finally had an off-day today, their first since May 23rd and only their second since May 2nd. They’ve played an awful lot of baseball this last month. Hopefully they were able to recharge the batteries a bit today. I know I needed to. Anyway, check out Billy Witz’s article on the Yankees’ new team friendly but not always fan friendly ticketing policy. Good stuff.

Here is tonight’s open thread. ESPN is showing the Cubs and Nationals tonight, and Game Five of the NBA Finals is on as well. So talk about those games or anything else here. Just not religion or politics or anything like that. Take it elsewhere.