Yankeemetrics: Mediocrity at its finest [July 29-31]

(AP)
(AP)

Loss for #Yankees, Win for #TeamSell
With this weekend’s series against the Rays representing one final opportunity to convince the front office to keep the band together for a late-summer playoff push, the Yankees inched closer to declaring themselves sellers with another frustrating loss on Friday night.

All 10 of their hits were singles and they scored just one run in a 5-1 loss, going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The the only other major-league team this season (through Friday) that had a game with double-digit hits, none for extra bases, and scored one or fewer runs was the Brewers in a 8-1 loss to the Phillies on June 5.

Ivan Nova — who had posted a 2.66 ERA in his previous four turns during a stellar month of July — was predictably horrendous in Tampa against the last-place Rays lineup, allowing five runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Tropicana Field has become a house of horrors for Nova. This was his first start at the dome since April 19, 2014, his final game before being diagnosed with a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery. And he now owns a 7.03 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) at the ballpark, the highest among all active pitchers with at least two starts and 25 innings pitched there.

The Rays clobbered Nova, with five of the six hits he allowed going for extra bases. This continues a yearlong trend of tons of loud contact against Nova, who has given up an average exit velocity of 94.9 mph on line drives and fly balls, the second-highest mark in the majors (min. 100 batted balls).

Chad Green kept the Yankees within spitting distance as he relieved Nova in the fifth inning and went the distance, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings. It was his third straight relief appearance with more than two innings pitched and no runs allowed. Green is just the second Yankee pitcher in the last two decades to put together a streak like that; Ramiro Mendoza had a three-gamer in 2001 and a four-gamer 2002.

You can’t spell ‘Sell’ without a couple ‘L’s’
Saturday’s deflating 6-3 defeat gave the Yankees two losses in two games to the last-place Rays, providing another layer of evidence that this team is not fit for October and needs a re-boot.

arod
(Getty)

The Yankees got off to another rocky start as Nathan Eovaldi surrendered a first-inning home run to Brad Miller, the 20th homer allowed by Yankee pitchers in the opening frame this season; through Saturday’s games, the only MLB teams that had allowed more first-inning dingers were the Twins and Royals, both with 22.

Eovaldi gave up a second homer to the Rays No. 9 hitter, catcher Curt Casali, giving him 21 homers allowed in 116 2/3 innings this year. That rate of 1.62 homers per nine innings is on pace to be the third-highest single-season mark by any Yankee qualifying pitcher, behind Phil Hughes (1.65 in 2012) and Terry Mulholland (1.79 in 1994).

Starting for the first time in a week, A-Rod did little to show management that he deserved more at-bats, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. It was the fourth game in his Yankee career that he came to the plate at least four times and struck out each time; only one other player in franchise history had four such games during their career: Mickey Mantle.

Drew Smyly, with a career strikeout rate of 24 percent (just a few ticks above the MLB average of 20 percent), is an unlikely candidate to be A-Rod’s personal kryptonite. But these are the facts: He has struck out in nine of 12 plate appearances (including playoffs) against Smyly, his highest whiff rate versus any of the 600-plus pitchers he’s faced more than five times in his 22-season career.

Just your average Yankees
On the same day the Yankees put the proverbial For Sale sign outside team headquarters in Tampa, they sunk deeper and deeper into the depths of mediocrity, losing to the Rays, 5-3.

They are now 52-52 this season, which includes a 44-44 record before the break, 8-8 after the break and a 13-13 mark in July. #TeamMediocre

It was their fifth time being swept this year, the same number they had in 2015 … with 58 games and two months remaining. And they’ve now scored no more than three runs in 55 of their 104 games, their highest total at this point in the season since 1972.

Michael Pineda once again delivered a maddeningly inconsistent performance, flashing dominance and looking strong at times (eight strikeouts), but ended up with disappointing results and a crooked final pitching line (five runs on six hits in six innings). It was his third game this season with at least eight punch outs and five earned runs allowed; no other American League pitcher has more than one such game.

Carlos Beltran put the Yankees on the board in the sixth inning with a two-run homer that sliced the Rays lead to 3-2. It was his his 22nd homer in 2016, matching Eddie Murray (1996) for the most by a switch-hitter in his age-39 season or older.

Fan Confidence Poll: August 1st, 2016

Record Last Week: 2-4 (16 RS, 24 RA)
Season Record: 52-52 (419 RS, 452 RA, 48-56 pythag. record), 5.5 GB of postseason spot
Opponents This Week: @ Mets (two games, Mon. and Tues.), vs. Mets (two games, Weds. and Thurs.), vs. Indians (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 tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

2016 Trade Deadline Rumors Open Thread: Monday

Bye, Carlos? (Hannah Foslien/Getty)
Bye, Carlos? (Hannah Foslien/Getty)

The 2016 non-waiver trade deadline is 4pm ET this afternoon, and the Yankees have already been very active. One of the most active teams in baseball, really. Within the last week they traded Aroldis Chapman, traded Andrew Miller, and added Tyler Clippard. Chances are they aren’t done either.

“Stay tuned. A lot more things could happen,” said Brian Cashman to reporters during a conference call following the Miller and Clippard trades yesterday. “If you want to become a super team, there are ways you have to go about it. We’re trying to get back to a situation where we can build an uber-team, and a sustainable one.”

Here are Sunday’s rumors. Once again, we’re going to keep track of the day’s Yankee-related rumors right here in this post. I’m going to be running around a bit today — bad timing, I know, but family first — and will do my best to update things promptly. All time stamps are ET.

  • 9:00am: The Astros, Red Sox, Indians, and Rangers are all in on Carlos Beltran. He has not yet been asked to waive his limited no-trade clause and, unsurprisingly, a trade with Boston is considered unlikely. I’m sure the thought of Beltran helping the BoSox win the World Series makes ownership squeamish, even if it means making the best possible deal. Some clubs want the Yankees to eat money to facilitate a trade. [Buster Olney, Mark Feinsand, Jon Heyman]
  • 9:00am: The Yankees continue to listen to offers for Brian McCann, Brett Gardner, Nathan Eovaldi, and Michael Pineda. They also want to unload impending free agent Ivan Nova prior to today’s deadline. [Joel Sherman]
  • 12:03pm: McCann remains a possibility for the Braves. They want the Yankees to eat a bunch of money and the Yankees want good prospects in return, so there are some things that need to be worked out. [Mark Bowman]

Reminder before you comment: Your trade proposal sucks.

Swept! Yankees drop series finale 5-3 to Rays


Source: FanGraphs

The big stories of the day were the Andrew Miller and Tyler Clippard trades, but the Yankees did play a game Sunday, and they lost. Fourth loss in a row too. The last place Rays completed the sweep Sunday afternoon with a 5-3 win. #TeamSell has some new members: the Yankees. Let’s recap with bullet points because I’ve had a long day.

  • Small Mike: I gotta say, Michael Pineda has been a key member of #TeamSell this season. He’s really committed to the cause. He allowed five runs in six innings around some nasty sliders, so hooray for eight strikeouts? Pineda allowed six hits (four extra base hits) and four walks, and as soon as the Yankees made it a game in top of the sixth, he allowed two runs in the bottom half. Thoughts of a comeback were short-lived.
  • So Long, Carlos: In what could very well be his final game with the Yankees, Carlos Beltran belted a two-run home run in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 3-2. Pineda gave those two runs right back, but still. Brian McCann singled in a garbage time run in the eighth. The Yankees did put 13 runners on base, but 12 of the 13 were singles or walks. Feel free to mix in an extra-base hit once in a while, dudes. I miss calling you the Bronx Bombers.
  • Sevy The Reliever: Luis Severino looked pretty good in his two innings of work. He struck out a pair and got three other outs on the ground. I know we’re all still scarred from the Joba Rules and whatnot, but I’m cool with Severino working in relief now. I think it’s good for him to experience success in any role in MLB after what happened earlier this year. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to build some confidence, you know?
  • Leftovers: Beltran and Brett Gardner each had two hits. Gardner drew a walk too … Jacoby Ellsbury, McCann, and Chase Headley each had a single and walk … Alex Rodriguez: not good enough to play everyday but good enough to pinch-hit against the hard-throwing closer in the ninth … and finally, the Yankees are back at .500. They’re 52-52.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. New York’s postseason odds are down to 2.6%, according to FanGraphs. The Yankees are going home to New York to begin a road series with the Mets. The four-game home-and-home Subway Series starts Monday night with the first of two at Citi Field. CC Sabathia and Logan Verrett are the scheduled starters.

Minor League Update: No DotF tonight, everyone. I’ve been busy all weekend and I just don’t have it in me right now. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Dustin Fowler and Billy McKinney hit homers, Chance Adams struck out nine in 5.2 scoreless innings, Gleyber Torres drew two walks, Drew Bridges had four hits, Kolton Mahoney threw a Maddux (complete game shutout with fewer than 100 pitches), and Blake Rutherford had two doubles and a walk. He is: good.

Sunday Open Thread

Today was a pretty important day in Yankeeland from a “building for the future” point of view. Yeah, the loss to the Rays stunk and the Tyler Clippard trade is whatever, but the Andrew Miller deal has a chance to have a major impact long-term. Clint Frazier‘s bat speed and power are special. I’m going to miss Miller like hell. He was insanely good and so easy to root for. Miller’s going to make pulling for the Indians easy this postseason.

Anyway, here is the open thread for the rest of the day. The Mets are playing right now and the Mariners vs. Cubs is the Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN (Felix vs. Matusz). Yes, Brian Matusz is starting. Talk about whatever here.

Game 104: Oh yeah, there’s a game today

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

Well this has been a busy Sunday morning, huh? Earlier today the Yankees traded Andrew Miller to the Indians and acquired Tyler Clippard from the Diamondbacks. The former is a wee bit more significant, I’d say. More moves could be on the way, but first, the Yankees have to play an actual game today. Here is the Rays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for this afternoon’s series finale.

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. DH Carlos Beltran
  4. 2B Starlin Castro
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 1B Rob Refsnyder
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    RHP Michael Pineda

I have to say, I’m a bit surprised to see Beltran in the lineup this afternoon considering he’s a top trade chip. Why risk injury? Eh, whatever. Today’s game is scheduled to begin a little after 1pm ET and you can watch on WPIX. Enjoy the game.

Yanks send Vicente Campos to D’Backs for Tyler Clippard

(Christian Petersen/Getty)
(Christian Petersen/Getty)

It’s not all about selling this trade deadline. Sunday morning the Yankees announced they have traded Double-A righty Vicente Campos to the Diamondbacks for ex-Yankee Tyler Clippard. It’s a straight one-for-one swap. Campos was on the 40-man roster, so the Yankees won’t have to make another move to clear room for Clippard.

The Yankees traded both Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller in the last week, so the Clippard pickup gives the team a veteran arm for the late innings. Joe Girardi confirmed Dellin Betances will take over as closer. Joel Sherman says the club plans to use Clippard in the seventh and others in the eighth. I assume Adam Warren will factor in there somehow.

Clippard, 31, has a 4.30 ERA (4.30 FIP!) in 37.2 innings for Arizona this season. His last three appearances have been ugly (2.1 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2 HR), but he was pitching well before that (2.80 ERA and 3.59 FIP). Clearly though, this is not the Clippard of old. The guy who dominated with the Nationals is gone. Clippard’s on the decline and outs don’t come as easily as they once did.

As you know, the Yankees originally drafted and developed Clippard back in the day. He was their ninth round pick in 2003 and one of their better prospects before making his MLB debut in 2007. Clippard had a 6.33 ERA (6.68 FIP) in six starts and 27 innings for the Yankees that summer. He was traded to the Nats for Jonathan Albaladejo that offseason. Not Brian Cashman‘s finest moment.

The Yankees reportedly had some interest in Clippard over the winter but obviously did not sign him. He inked a two-year deal worth $12.25M with the D’Backs instead. The Yankees owe him the remainder of his $6.1M salary this season plus another $6.15M next season. He’s not a rental but his salary is hardly prohibitive. A little veteran middle relief depth is never a bad thing.

Campos, 24, was the other guy in the Jesus Montero/Michael Pineda trade. He has a 3.20 ERA (3.07 FIP) with a 21.3% strikeout rate and a 7.7% walk rate in 121 total innings this season. Campos was limited to only 166 total innings from 2012-15 due to ongoing elbow problems, including Tommy John surgery. He’s stayed healthy this year and the Yankees took advantage by flipping him for an MLB arm.

In a nutshell, the Yankees reshuffled some assets and turned an injury prone prospect into a declining reliever. Not exactly a ton of value changing hands here. The Yankees are selling, the Chapman and Miller trades are evidence of that, but they still need players to throw innings, and Clippard’s a capable of seventh inning guy. Unexciting? Yes. They ain’t all blockbusters.