Via Jon Heyman, Ty Wigginton’s name has popped up in recent talks between the Yankees and Rockies. Earlier today we learned that the two sides have already have multiple discussions about Ubaldo Jimenez. Wigginton’s name gets connected to the Yankees twice a year, every year (trade deadline and offseason), so he’s not some great unknown. He’d be a fine fill-in for Alex Rodriguez, but wouldn’t do much beyond that. Wigginton isn’t cheap ($4M this year, $4M next year, plus an option), certainly not for a bench player. Frankly I don’t see what he offers that Brandon Laird doesn’t, aside from the veteran presents.
First series after the All-Star break, and I’d call it a success. They split the four games the hard way, dropping the first two (in blowout fashion) but rebounding to win the next two. Brett Gardner had a huge series, Eduardo Nunez had a ton of hard contact, Phil Hughes looked something other than awful, lots to take away from that one. The proverbial rust is off, now it’s time to get back to the grind.
Here is tonight’s open thread. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is in Tampa for the Rays and Red Sox (Niemann vs. Beckett), plus Breaking Bad comes back tonight. Yippee. Talk about whatever you want, anything’s game.
Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Rockies have had multiple conversations about Ubaldo Jimenez, but they have not yet gotten around to exchanging trade offers. Colorado isn’t sure they want to deal their ace yet, and in fact GM Dan O’Dowd told Jerry Crasnick: “We will listen to anything, but the reality is that [a trade] is not very likely to take place.” That basically means “blow me away,” because the Rockies aren’t exactly under any kind of pressure to move Jimenez. He’s not going to be a free agent after the season and he’s not old.
Anyway, Heyman says New York is willing to part with Jesus Montero, but Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Ivan Nova have been deemed untouchable. That’s probably just a negotiating ploy though, those are the kinds of guys you concede later (if need be) rather than offer up front. The Rockies have been scouting the Yankees’ farm system of late, so there’s that. Of course this would be much more than a Ubaldo-for-Montero swap, a three- or four-for-one is likely.
Heyman also notes that while the Yankees are focusing on Ubaldo, they also have interest in Hiroki Kuroda but not much in Wandy Rodriguez. They don’t like the $30M or so left on his contract, which is something I mentioned in last week’s podcast. I liked Wandy better as a rental than a guy you’d be stuck with though 2013. We’ve written up trade candidate posts for all three, so everything you need to know about them is here: Ubaldo, Kuroda, Wandy.
Update: Heyman says the Rockies have named their price for Ubaldo: Montero, Betances, Banuelos, and Nova. They also want tickets to the Metallica/Slayer/Megadeth/Anthrax concert in September, suites on road trips, discounts from W.B. Mason, proceeds from the DJ3K merchandise, and all the bacon and eggs the Yankees have. Seriously though, that’s just a starting point for negotiations. They’d be stupid not to ask for that.
Over the past few games, the Yankees have been fairly vocal with their feelings regarding Toronto’s alleged stealing/relaying of signs. After being outscored 23-8 through the first two games of the series, Joe Girardi commented, “Sometimes we have inclinations that certain things might be happening in certain ballparks and we are aware of it and we try to protect our signs.” The skipper elaborated, “I’m not accusing anyone. I just said we need to protect our signs. You have to take pride in it, and you have to be smarter than other clubs when you do things, and you have to change things up.”
For what it’s worth, my guess is that the losses endured over the first two games of the series had more to do with the shoddy defensive play and grossly underwhelming pitching than anything else. Perhaps not so coincidentally, CC Sabathia didn’t appear overly affected by any stolen signs as he pitched eight strong innings of one run ball during the third game of the set, which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 Yankees win. The same could probably be said for Phil Hughes and his six inning, two earned run effort today.
Of course, if the Blues Jays were actually using some outside form of monitoring (binoculars, electronic equipment, etc.), than that absolutely would be a problem as that type of action blatantly contradicts the written rules of the game. In the same vein, if the Yankees seriously believed this to be the case — which would constitute a fairly substantial charge against the Jays — I’d suspect MLB would probably be asked to step in. Interestingly enough, the Yankees are not the first team to make this particular type of complaint either.
Assuming no official rules were actually violated though, this situation at the very least, qualifies as one of the many ambiguous circumstances of the game that are not necessarily illegal, but still incensing to some nevertheless. It wasn’t shocking to anyone when Martin commented, “They’re lucky that that’s my mindset, of me wanting to change [the signals] because it’s my fault. But some other teams, guys can get drilled for that. I’ve seen it happen.”
It would appear that popular consensus suggests that if a base runner is clever enough to figure out a pitch sequence, signal the dugout, and focus on base running, more power to him. To me, it speaks more towards overall poor pitch selection or general predictability on behalf of the pitcher and catcher. I completely agree with Russell Martin’s conclusion, “The reason why you put multiple signs down is so they’re not able to relay, and that type of stuff. There’s a reason why you just use one when there’s nobody on, and multiple when there’s people on.”
However, it’s certainly understandable how rationalization of this type of “gamesmanship” treads a fine line. Depending on your stance, other similar aspects of the game become a little trickier to condone or condemn. When does “crafty gamesmanship” become unsportsmanlike shenanigans? Also, do you find your feelings change when the discussion shifts to other topics such framing pitches, sliding especially hard into second, pretending to be hit with a ball during an at bat, or distracting an infielder while running the bases? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.
I’m really starting to dislike the Blue Jays. I hate the artificial surface in their stadium. I hate their good young pitching. I hate Jose Bautista when he’s playing against the Yankees. I hate crappy little Aaron Hill, who seemingly accumulates his entire .276 wOBA against the Yankees. I hate Edwin Encarnacion making diving stops he has no business making. I hate Travis Snider’s mustache. I hate that Jose Molina for turning into a .300 hitter. I hate Rajai Davis for stealing four bases a game. I hate Shawn Camp’s changeup. I hate that they were able to dump $160M or so of Alexis Rios and Vernon Wells. And more than anything, I hate that they’re starting to become a legitimate contender. They’ve got talent in the big leagues, talent coming up in the minors, and ownership can definitely afford to up payroll. Rogers Communications is like Verizon plus AT&T plus Sprint combined. There’s something like eight million people in Toronto and the surrounding areas. That team is a sleeping giant. That’s why I hate them. Here’s the lineup…
Phil Hughes, SP
First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET, and the game can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Roster Move: Chris Dickerson has been recalled, I assume in favor of Greg Golson. That’s weird, why didn’t they just call up Dickerson in the first place? The ten day rule didn’t apply because of Alex Rodriguez‘s injury.