Consider Craig Counsell

(AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

While the Yankees boasted baseball’s best record in late July, we all knew they had a few flaws. The bench looked a bit out of order, with players like Ramiro Pena and Colin Curtis taking up roster spots. The bullpen was also in need of a reinforcement or two. Brian Cashman acted at the deadline, acquiring Lance Berkman to be the DH, Kerry Wood to shore up the pen, and Austin Kearns to fortify the bench. Still, that left a few positions as a weakness, most notably utility infielder.

Ramiro Pena is a good story. Throughout his pro career he made a name with his glove, but wasn’t able to hit a lick. Then, one spring, he demonstrated some bat skills and ended up breaking camp with the team, because the regular utility infielder was pressed into regular duty. Pena provided some highlight moments early in the season, including a game-changing double that led a comeback against Anaheim. Later in the season he returned as the utility infielder, and heading into spring training it was assumed that he’d again fill that role in 2010.

This year hasn’t gone nearly as well as his rookie campaign, in which he produced a .312 wOBA in 121 PA. This year he has 112 PA already and has a puny .219 wOBA. The problem isn’t the production, in that this is probably more in line with what the Yankees can expect from Pena. He still has the glove, but his bat just isn’t going to play at the major league level. If the Yankees had an infield composed of young, healthy players this might not be a problem. But with the left side aging and, in A-Rod‘s case, not completely healthy, the Yanks could use a better utility infielder.

A few such players are likely to pass through waivers this month, whether because of contract size or general disinterest. There probably won’t be a stellar multi-position player available, but there will be options that will produce better than Pena. Two have reportedly cleared waivers already. While neither Geoff Blum nor Craig Counsell will change the Yankees’ season, either could step right in and fill Pena’s shoes while providing at least some semblance of offensive value. The best part is that neither will likely cost much in a trade.

Counsell, who will turn 40 later this month, has seen his numbers drop off a bit this year. That could be a combination of his age and his reduced playing time, neither of which will get better with a move to New York. But even in a down year he has produced a .284 wOBA. He can play anywhere in the infield, and has even played 185 innings at shortstop this year. As far as the currently available options go he’s among the best.

Astros utility man Geoff Blum, 37, has also cleared waivers. While he has played all infield positions this year he has spent the most time at SS and 3B, which fits the Yankees’ needs well. Looking at the past few years of his defensive data he’s been about average at third and below average at shortstop, which doesn’t bode well for a utility player. His bat this year is also about equal to Counsell’s, though he has a far worse career track record. In other words, if you’re going to gamble on a currently available veteran, Counsell is your guy. Taking defense into account, Blum might not even be that big an upgrade.

Two more weeks remain in the waiver trade period, so acquiring a player like Counsell is probably not high on the team’s priority list at the moment. But if the opportunity arises to add him on the cheap, I don’t see why the Yankees would pass. It would be one thing of A-Rod and Jeter were healthy and productive. With A-Rod’s health a lingering question, the Yanks could use an upgrade on the bench. If he’s the best available, so be it. He’ll at least be more productive than Pena.

2010 Post-Draft Top 30 Prospects

2010 1st round pick Cito Culver. (Photo Credit: Andy in Sunny Daytona)

With the August 16th signing deadline now a thing of the past, we can begin to assess how the most recent amateur draft has impacted the Yankees’ farm system. Although they didn’t land a consensus elite talent, they more than made up for it in volume, signing basically all of their mid-to-late round gambles while filling out with polished college players to strike a nice balance. The Yanks were in a position to gamble some on long-term projects, which is exactly with they did. They could end up with nothing, or they could end up with something really special.

In addition to the new influx of talent, the Yanks have also benefited from a staggering number of breakout performances and strong returns from injury this year, transforming the system from one short on the “wow factor” before the season to one with waves with talent right now. The talent on the mound is both plentiful and diverse, with a mix of high-upside arms and safer, higher probability pitchers starting in Triple-A Scranton and going all the way down to High-A Tampa. And yet the Yanks’ top three prospects (four of the top five) are position players, showing the depth of the system.

Here are my preseason and pre-draft lists, for comparison’s sake. The only player on the pre-draft list that is ineligible for this one is Mark Melancon, who was shipped to the Astros in the Lance Berkman deal. Everyone else is fair game, and several players have dropped out as you can see. Some didn’t perform, others just got leapfrogged by other players. It’s not a bad thing when a live arm like Dan Burawa, a MLB-ready reserve outfielder like Colin Curtis, and a tooled up teenager with supreme plate discipline like Ramon Flores don’t make your top 30. It’s definitely an upgrade over where they were just twelve months ago.

Anyway, on to the list. The level listed is where the player is currently playing, but the new draftees get a “none” because I’m not sure exactly where they’ve been assigned, although I do have a pretty good idea. Let’s start with a completely unsurprising name at the top…

  1. Jesus Montero, C, AAA: took some time to adjust to AAA (.293 wOBA on the day on my pre-draft list), but he’s been on an absolute tear for about two months now (.368 wOBA at the moment) that has reaffirmed his position as one of the very best hitters in all of minor league baseball
  2. Austin Romine, C, AA: he’s certainly slowed down after a hot start (wOBA by month: .395, .365, .318, .276, .199), but that’s not unsurprising for a guy in his first season as a full-time catcher
  3. Slade Heathcott, CF, A-: the power component of his power-speed combination isn’t there yet (.071 ISO), but he’s shown a tremendous eye at the plate (12.4 BB%) and the strikeouts should come down as he continues to refine his swing and make more contact
  4. Andrew Brackman, RHSP, AA: he’s cut his walk rate from 6.28 BB/9 last year to 2.61 this year while maintaining a strong strikeout rate (8.47 K/9) and better than a 50% ground ball rate, plus the scouting reports have been very good
  5. Gary Sanchez, C, Rk: the 17-year-old is annihilating rookie ball (.459 wOBA), but he’s got a long way to go defensively behind the plate, more than Montero did
  6. Manny Banuelos, LHSP, A+: an appendectomy delayed the start of his season, but he’s been simply fantastic since returning (1.79 FIP) and reports indicate a welcome uptick in velocity
  7. Hector Noesi, RHSP, AA: aggressive in the zone with four pitches that are good enough to get swings and misses … he won’t be a star, but he’ll be a very nice fill-in option by this time next year
  8. Dellin Betances, RHSP, A+: I don’t think anyone expected him to be this good (1.84 FIP), this fast after elbow surgery, and the even better news is that reports indicate his stuff is all the way back as well … now it’s just a matter of staying healthy (believe it or not, but his 67 IP this season are the second most he’s ever thrown in a single year)
  9. J.R. Murphy, C, A-: he’s gotten better as the season has gone on (wOBA by month: .253, .293, .323, .389) while showing power and he ability to make hard, consistent contact … seems somewhat underappreciated to me
  10. Ivan Nova, RHSP, AAA: it’s not the highest ceiling in the world, but there’s something to be said for MLB-ready back-end arms that can miss some bats and keep the ball in the park
  11. Graham Stoneburner, RHSP, A+: his .212 AVG against is one of the very best in the minors, and he’s demonstrated the ability to miss a ton of bats and limit walks … won’t be challenged until he gets to AA
  12. Jose Ramirez, RHSP, A-: almost a forgotten man with all the pitching talent ahead of him, but Ramirez has put up a very strong year (3.04 FIP) as a 20-year-old in his first taste of a full season league
  13. David Adams, 2B, injured: crushed AA with a .403 wOBA before a broken ankle ended his season in May … you’re looking at a rock solid everyday second baseman in the bigs
  14. Cito Culver, SS, Rk: holding his own after stepping out of his graduation ceremony and into the batter’s box against the best pitching he’s ever faced in his life … the power has started to come as the season has progressed (ISO by month: .050, .094, .106)
  15. Brandon Laird, 3B/1B, AAA: breakout performer of the year (.384 wOBA in AA) has enough power and just enough defense to fake it as an every day third baseman in the show, but it’s unlikely to be his long-term position
  16. David Phelps, RHSP, AAA: arguably the best pure performance among Yankee pitching farmhands this year, but his lack of a bonafide put-away pitch is what limits his ceiling … doesn’t mean he can’t be an effective big leaguer
  17. Corban Joseph, 2B, AA: hitting machine wOBA’d .352 as a 21-year-old in pitcher friendly Florida State League, now he’s just got to improve on the defensive side of the ball
  18. Zach McAllister, RHSP, AAA: advanced hitters have not been kind of Z-Mac, who has seemingly lost the ability to miss bats, generate ground balls, and avoid the long-ball … very disappointing year
  19. Rob Segedin, 3B/OF, Rk: big time on-base ability with a great swing and moderate power potential, just need to figure out his long-term position
  20. Angelo Gumbs, CF, none: true five tool potential here, but he’s extremely raw … going to be a project
  21. Adam Warren, RHSP, AA: cruised right through A-ball with 7.44 K/9, 1.89 BB/9, and 57% ground balls before moving up, and he’s got enough stuff and command to be a back-end starter or valuable middle reliever
  22. Bryan Mitchell, RHSP, Rk: arguably the best pure arm in the system with a knockout curveball, Mitchell has only been so-so in 33.1 IP this year, but the upside is exciting
  23. Mason Williams, CF, none: received more money than another other Yankee draftee this year despite being the fourth best prospect they drafted … exciting tools, but raw and with questionable long-term power potential
  24. Brett Marshall, RHSP, A-: electric arm just back from Tommy John surgery, his ranking is based on pure stuff and potential because the performance (understandably) hasn’t been there yet
  25. Gabe Encinas, RHSP, none: very diverse arsenal and a whole lot of pitching know-how, he should carve up the low minors thanks to his ability to setup hitters and mix pitches alone
  26. Taylor Morton, RHSP, none: inconsistent spring hurt his draft stock, but he’s been up to 96 in the past with both a changeup and a curve
  27. Melky Mesa, OF, A+: old for his level but he finally seems to be putting it together … the other Melky is a tool shed, with the only knock being his ability to make consistent contact, something he’s done this year
  28. Eduardo Sosa, CF, SS: big time defensive outfielder with great speed and surprisingly good plate discipline, he’s a pretty exciting player to watch live
  29. Kelvin DeLeon, RF, SS: the 2007 bonus baby has two standout tools in his power and throwing arm, but his utter lack of plate discipline will keep from being elite
  30. Evan Rutckyj, LHSP, none: a surprise signing, the big (6-foot-5, 210 lb.) lefty has flashed promising stuff with a surprising good feel for his craft … he’s a long-term project, but there’s a lot to work with here.

Kevin Russo and Burawa were squeezed out last night when Williams and Rutckyj signed. One thing to keep in mind is that I (and we) don’t know nearly as much about this year’s draftees as we do about the guys who have been in the system for years, so it’s tough to pinpoint exactly where they belong. Don’t like having Culver below Adams? Fine, I could easily be convinced otherwise.

Also, remember the fudge factor. There’s so little difference between say, the fourth best prospect and the ninth best prospect, or the 22nd best prospect and the 30th best prospect that it’s a waste of time to get worked up over individual rankings. Think Betances should rank higher than Noesi? Fine, who cares. They’re basically on par with each other. Think of it as tiers. Jesus Montero is all by himself. Romine and Heathcott are behind him. Brackman through Betances is the next tier, and so on. The important thing is the cache of talent, which is the deepest it’s been in at least two years.

The Yanks have been here before

It’s happening again. The Yankees’ offense, the highest scoring unit in the league, has hit yet another skid. In their last two games, while facing teams with the 13th and 11th most runs allowed in the AL, they’ve scored one run total. They did go homer happy the game before that pair, but the night before that they couldn’t score against the Royals bullpen. The slide has allowed the Rays to once again force a tie atop the AL East. With the way the Yankees are playing, might this be their last stand?

While those afflicted with selective amnesia might think that the end is nigh for the Yankees, it takes a memory of only a few months to realize that they have done this before. They celebrated the start of June with three wins over the Orioles, in which they scored 18 total runs. But the offense collapsed after traveling to Toronto. They scored one run in the series opener, and then scored just two in the next, spoiling an excellent Andy Pettitte start. Even in the next game the Yanks went seven full innings before scoring a run, and even then won in bizarre fashion.

A few games against Baltimore and Houston covered up for the offense, but then they hit another slide just two weeks later. It started with a lackluster effort against Jamie Moyer and carried over to the next day when they scored just one run off Kyle Kendrick. The following game against the Mets was so frustrating that it inspired an eight-word recap. The Yanks did score 28 runs in their next five games, winning four of them, but there were certainly a few sloppy ones in there. It led, unsurprisingly, to another stretch of relative futility.

The Yanks eked out a win in a game where they let a hapless starter off the hook with poor base running and strike zone management. They followed that with a two-run performance in LA, which they won thanks to CC Sabathia being awesome. They then scored three early but couldn’t add much to the total in a Burnett-induced loss. The series finale looked like a lost cause, but was only salvaged with an improbable ninth-inning comeback off one of the league’s elite closers. Then, heading home, the Yanks couldn’t score off Cliff Lee, and then were thoroughly dominated by Felix Hernandez. As June came to a close it looked like the offense had lost all life.

After that, of course, the Yankees went on a tear, scoring 56 runs in the 11 games before the All-Star break, going 9-2 in that stretch. They came out of the break in a fury, too, scoring 94 runs in 15 games and going 11-5 to finish off July. They’ve stumbled a bit in August, going 6-8, though they have scored almost four runs per game despite being shut out twice. Even with the 6-8 record they still hold a share of first place. They were in the same position 11 days ago, and both the Yanks and the Rays have gone 5-5 in their last 10 to bring things back to even. This is pretty much what we expected at the start of the season, no?

When the Yanks are going bad it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and get lost in the moment. The Yanks look bad right now, but it’s not like we haven’t seen this type of skid already this season. We have, and it was no fun. It’s even less fun this time around. But the Yankees still share the best record in baseball. Their performance relative to other teams has been superb. Isn’t that the whole idea of a baseball season?

Time to give Javy Vazquez a breather

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

If there’s one thing that was obvious during last night’s loss to the Tigers, it’s that the Yankee offense is mired in a rather hideous slump right now. If there’s a second thing that was obvious, it’s that Javy Vazquez is basically pitching with nothing these days. His fastballs lack life, his breaking balls hang more often than not, and his changeup tends to float out of the zone. This has been going on for at least three starts now, with both the team and Vazquez himself acknowledging a dead arm period.

After last night’s 106 pitch, 34 foul ball, 12 out effort, we’re starting to reach the point where the Yankees have to seriously reconsider Javy’s spot in the rotation. I’m not saying they should do anything drastic like stick him in the bullpen, I just want to see them give Javy some rest, both physically and mentally. Given his dead arm and obviously short stuff, a 15-day disabled list stint with a bout of shoulder weakness or soreness or tendinitis or whatever you want to call it gives Javy a breather and wouldn’t require any roster manipulation to keep the team from being short-changed. And the good news is that if the Yanks stick Vazquez on the disabled list today (can’t do it retroactively to yesterday since he actually played on that day, MLB rules), he’ll only miss two starts. Here, check it out.

Javy’s next start is scheduled for this Saturday against the oh-so-lowly Mariners, who will unfortunately be throwing the great Felix Hernandez. Ivan Nova, who last started Friday for Triple-A Scranton and has pitched to a 2.07 ERA in his last five starts, could fill-in during that game with ease. The Mariners have the game’s worst offense with a .288 team wOBA (before last night’s loss) and one of its worst road records at 17-41 (the heroic Cliff Lee is responsible for five of those wins), so you’re not throwing Nova to the wolves in his first career start. It’s a (theoretically) friendly environment against a bad team coming off a solid stretch of starts in Triple-A, so he’s set up for success. Given Javy’s recent performances, he wouldn’t have to do much for it to be a net gain for the Yanks.

After that Saturday game, Javy’s next turn would come next Thursday, and guess what? The Yanks are off that day. Here’s the schedule if you don’t believe me. They could either skip Nova outright that day, or (preferably) start him on Friday and push the four other starters back a day. There’s nothing wrong with giving them a little extra rest. If they go that route, the next time they’d need a fifth starter is the following Wednesday, which is the day Javy is eligible to come off the DL. He could make that start no problem.

In addition, the Yanks would be able to call up a position player in the interim with Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez, and Lance Berkman all banged up. That guy (Kevin Russo makes sense because of his versatility) then goes back down for Nova before Saturday’s game. Nova then goes back down following his two starts in favor of whatever the team needs at the time; bullpen help, bench help, whatever. Either way, that 25-man roster spot turns into a bit of a revolving door while Vazquez is on the shelf, allowing the team to optimize the squad based on their needs at the time.

What’s the alternative to all this? They could run Javy out there on Saturday, hope for the best, then either skip him next Thursday if he continues to throw slow-pitch softball or start him Friday on his regular turn. It’s the always popular “do nothing” approach, which has a surprisingly good success rest.

The point of DL’ing Javy isn’t to give Nova two starts to show what he’s got, it’s to rest one of the team’s five primary starters and hopefully get him back to being the pitcher he was from mid-May to the All Star break. That guy would be a huge asset down the stretch in September, but the guy they have right now isn’t much of a help at all. And hey, there’s a chance the 15 days of rest won’t do anything and Vazquez will come back the same guy he is right now, but I think they have to at least try. At this point they’re just rolling the dice every five days, which is not something I advise doing in such a tight division race.

Late rally falls short, Tigers drops Yanks in Damon’s return

With the frustrating loss to Bryan Bullington and the rest of the Royals in the rear-view mirror, the Yankees returned home to welcome their old pal Johnny Damon back to the Bronx. Damon received a nice hand during his first at-bat,  but otherwise the Yankee Stadium crowd didn’t have much to cheer about. The offense was once again shut down by a pitcher they’ve never faced before, and a late rally ultimately proved to be nothing more than a tease.

A picture is worth 1,000 words. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Biggest Hit: The One That Never Came

For the second straight game, the Yankee offense was nowhere to be found. Max Scherzer navigated the first six innings by allowing just two singles and two walks, and never really faced any kind of threat. Phil Coke allowed a pair of hits to match hit pair of outs, and Ryan Perry chipped in three outs while allowing a hit. The first eight innings were simply dreadful, the Yanks seemingly had no life and showed no signs of snapping out of it. Then the 9th inning happened.

The over-caffeinated Jose Valverde was on the bump for Detroit after recording the final out in the previous inning despite a strained oblique that made him unavailable the last few games. Robbie Cano, already sporting a career high 40 walks, took four straight pitches off the plate to lead things off with a free pass. Designated hitter turned catcher (more on that later) Jorge Posada tapped a grounder to first and reached on a fielder’s choice, but Cano was gunned down as the lead runner. Two pitches later, Curtis Granderson brought the tying run to the plate with a single to left, and all of a sudden everyone started thinking crazy thoughts. Could a come back really be in the cards?

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

At this point Ben said to me “why is this guy up in every key moment,” referring of course to Frankie Cervelli (in the interest of full disclosure, Ben’s language was a but more colorful). Thankfully Valverde was in the giving mood, walking Frankie on five pitches to load the bases with just one out. With the lineup about to turn over, the Yanks were in business. Brett Gardner brought home the Yanks’ first run in 18 innings by drawing a five pitch walk, simultaneously pushing the tying run into scoring position.

So here are the Yankees, set up with Captain Clutch, sir Derek Jeter at the plate about to do what he does best. Valverde had thrown 18 pitches in the inning and just six strikes, so naturally he started Jeter off with two straight balls. The Cap’n took a called strike right down the plate like he should have (make the guy throw you a strike when he’s struggling that much), and three pitches later we’re all looking at a full count. All we wanted was for Jeter to keep the line moving with Austin Kearns and Mark Teixeira due up behind him.

Instead, Derek grounded a ball to short for a rally killing 6-4-3 double play. Gardner slid hard into second base and at first glance it looked like Jeter beat the throw at first, but alas, it did not happen. Rally over, ballgame over, thaaa Yankees lose.

Where Has The Good Javy Gone?

Under the perpetual microscope, Javy Vazquez took the mound in this game after having his between-start work reduced in an effort to combat a dead arm. The velocity was mostly there tonight – he topped out at 89.8 mph and averaged 88.46 – but it seemed like nothing else was. Tigers’ batters had no trouble digging in and extending at-bats, which led to an absurdly high pitch count for Vazquez and a rather quick exit.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The 1st inning was rather painless, three routine outs sandwiched around a ground ball single, but it took Javy 25 pitches to escape the inning. The 2nd inning is where things got interesting, however. Carlos Guillen led off the frame with a first pitch ground-rule double to right, and the molten hot Ryan Raburn brought him home when he went out and got a breaking ball off he plate for a two-run homer to left. It wasn’t a terrible pitch, maybe caught a little too much of the plate, but it was down in the zone and Rayburn basically golfed it out. The trouble didn’t end there, with Detroit loading the bases with two outs before Vazquez escaped the inning by striking out Brennan Boesch.

Two runs is hardly a catastrophe, but Javy threw a whopping 34 pitches in the inning, putting his pitch count at an astronomical 59 following just two innings of work. The 3rd inning featured a walk and a single and 24 more pitches, the 4th a walk and another 23 pitches. Of the 21 batters he faced, just six saw three pitchers or fewer while 13 saw at least five pitches. Vazquez didn’t have any kind of put away pitch or command of the zone, and it was painfully obvious. Frankly the Yanks are lucky he left with just a two run deficit.

In the end, Javy needed 106 pitches to record 12 outs, and 34 (!!!) of those 106 pitches were fouled off. That’s an absurd rate, and speaks to his recent inability to put hitters away. We’ll discuss what options the Yanks have with Javy a little more tomorrow, but this has been a problem for six starts now, and they can’t just sit back and let him go out there every five days with absolutely nothing.

Leftovers

Nice hair, Johnny. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

With one hit and a pair of twin killings in five plate appearances, Jeter racked up -.465 WPA in this one. I’m not even mad, that’s impressive. Okay find, I am mad. Jeter’s twin killings have gone from nuisance to crippling; you half-expect them whenever he comes to the plate with a man on first. How did this happen to the great Derek Jeter?

Granderson went 3-for-3 with a walk and a double, and even though it’s been just five games, the results from his revamped swing have been very promising. He scalded some pitches in Kansas City and continued to go so tonight, some of them even off a lefty. Consider me excited.

Another solid effort from the bullpen, especially Sergio Mitre. He chipped in 2.2 scoreless innings, Kerry Wood another 1.1 scoreless, and Joba Chamberlain allowed one run in his inning of work. It’s trendy to bash Joba, but sorry, I’m not going to get on the guy for giving up an opposite field solo homerun to Miguel Cabrera, arguably the best hitter on the planet. It happens.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Both Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher left the game with injuries that right now appear to be minor. I wouldn’t be surprised if both got a day off tomorrow, which would stink. Between those two and Lance Berkman’s jammed ankle, the bench (and lineup) could be very, very short for the foreseeable future. They might have to make a roster move tomorrow to get some help, otherwise we might run into a situation like this game where Cervelli’s manning the hot corner and Joe Girardi has to surrender the DH.

The Red Sox were off but the Rays managed to beat Cliff Lee, so the Yanks are now tied atop the AL East with their rivals from Tampa. Their lead in the Wild Card sits at five-and-a-half games.

WPA Graph & Box Score

MLB.com has the box score, FanGraphs the nerd score.

Up Next

Same two teams tomorrow night in a matchup of aces, when CC Sabathia takes on Justin Verlander. That should be a treat.

Yankees reach agreement with fourth rounder Mason Williams

Via Jonathan Mayo, the Yankees have signed fourth rounder Mason Williams for $1.45M. It’s easily the largest bonus they’ve given out this year.

A big time athlete with speed and agility, Williams is a tremendous defender in center with enough offensive upside to remain interesting. His swing is sound and he’s not a total hacker, but he still has to refine his approach and add strength to hit for even average power. Like many of toolsy high schoolers the Yanks selected this year, Williams is a bit of a project. Here’s some video.

The Yanks have now signed their top 13 picks, and 16 of their top 17. Don’t expect any more big signings this year, they should be done.

Yankees reach deal with 16th rounder Evan Rutckyj

Update (10:51pm): Bob Elliott says Rutckyj received $500,000, still above slot but certainly not first round money. Good deal.

10:33pm: Via Keith Law, the Yankees have reached an agreement with 16th round pick Evan Rutckyj. Financial terms of the deal are unknown, though he was reportedly seeking first round money.

The 6-foot-5, 210 lb. Canadian lefthander was a top 200 draft prospect according to Baseball America, and he throws in the low-90’s with the makings of a wipeout slider. Surprisingly, he has a pretty good feel for his delivery and clean mechanics, but there’s still a lot of work to be done here. He’s a former hockey player that gave up the sport to pursue baseball full-time, so naturally he’s a pretty tough dude. Here’s video, and here’s a list of who the Yankees have signed so far.