2017 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Saturday

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

As of this writing, we are 54 hours away from the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees have already made one big trade that is paying immediate dividends. They’ve won seven of nine games since acquiring David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Todd Frazier from the White Sox. The two bullpen arms in particular have been a big help. The Yankees still need a starter though. Big time.

Yesterday we learned Sonny Gray talks with the Athletics are at an impasse because the A’s keep demanding either Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier. The Yankees insist those guys will not be traded. They could turn their attention to Cardinals rental righty Lance Lynn instead. We’re again going to keep track of the days Yankees-related rumors right here, so many sure you check back for updates. All timestamps are ET.

  • 3:30pm: Torres and Frazier are not the sticking point in Gray talks. The Yankees said no to those two, the A’s moved on to other prospects, and now the clubs are trying to find common ground. [Jerry Crasnick]
  • 1:32pm: Hal Steinbrenner said the Yankees are looking for a starter and acknowledged they will take on money to facilitate a trade. Prospect cost is a biggest obstacle. [Hal Steinbrenner]
  • 11:31am: The Yankees continue to balk at the asking price for Sonny Gray, and if the price doesn’t drop, they’re prepared to move in a different direction. We’re going to hear lots of posturing like this from both sides over the next two days. [Jerry Crasnick]
  • 10:00am: The Giants are receiving trade interest in Jeff Samardzija and the Yankees are one of eight teams he can be traded to without his consent. There’s been speculation about a Jacoby Ellsbury for Samardzija bad contract for bad contract swap, but I can’t see that happening. The Giants could probably get prospects from another team. Pitching is in demand. [Andrew Baggarly]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Game 102: Caleb’s Last Start?

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees woke up today in sole possession of first place for the first time since June 21st. They were 4.5 games back just ten days ago. Nice to be on the other side of a sudden climb up the standings like that, isn’t it? A two-game lead in the loss column two days before the trade deadline is pretty sweet. I’ll take it.

Speaking of the trade deadline, I’d say the chances of the Yankees acquiring a starting pitcher prior to Monday’s deadline are pretty good. If not a big piece like Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish, then a lower cost rental. In all likelihood today will be lefty Caleb Smith‘s last start for a while. Hopefully he leaves a great lasting impression. Here is the Rays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. LF Clint Frazier
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. C Gary Sanchez
  5. DH Matt Holliday
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 1B Garrett Cooper
  8. 3B Todd Frazier
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    LHP Caleb Smith

It is cool and cloudy in New York today, though the sun is starting to peek through a bit. There’s a tiny little bit of rain in the forecast throughout the afternoon. Nothing that should stop play. A little sprinkle here and there. This afternoon’s game will begin a little after 1pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on WPIX. Enjoy the game.

Masterful Masahiro pitches Yankees back into first place with 6-1 win over Rays

Welcome back to first place. Friday night’s 6-1 win over the Rays combined with the Red Sox losing the Royals moved the Yankees back into the top spot in the AL East. It’s only a half-game lead (two in the loss column), but being in first place is better than not being in first place. The Yankees have won five straight ballgames. This winning stuff is fun, isn’t it?

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

TanaKKKKKKKKKKKKKKa
In his first two starts of the season against the Rays, Masahiro Tanaka allowed 13 runs on 17 hits in 5.2 total innings. On Friday night, Tanaka went 5.2 innings before allowing his first baserunner. He struck out the first five and seven of the first nine batters he faced, and it wasn’t until Adeiny Hechavarria found a hole with a ground ball that Tampa had a runner reach base. Seventeen up, seventeen down to start the game.

Tanaka was on cruise control all night. He did not have a single stressful inning — Tanaka struck out Mallex Smith to end the inning after Hechavarria’s two-out single — and only three of the 26 batters he faced hit the ball hard. Hechavarria on his fifth inning single, Corey Dickerson on his sixth inning line out to left field, and Lucas Duda on his seventh inning solo home run inside the right field foul pole. Stupid solo homers. The Yankees were up 5-0 at the time, so no big deal.

The biggest difference between Tanaka on Friday and Tanaka most of the rest of the season? The quality of his slider. Seven of his career high 14 strikeouts came on sliders, plus he got two ground balls and a pop-up with the pitch. Tanaka threw 43 sliders Friday. Here are the pitch locations, via Baseball Savant. Tanaka did a great job getting that slider down and to the gloveside.

masahiro-tanaka-slidersOver his last nine starts now Tanaka has a 3.28 ERA (3.31 FIP) with 74 strikeouts and only nine walks in 56.2 innings. That’s awfully close to the 3.07 ERA (3.51 FIP) guy we saw last season. The home runs are still an annoying problem (1.59 HR/9 in those 56.2 innings), but as long as they’re solo shots, Tanaka and the Yankees will live. Welcome back, good Masahiro Tanaka. It’s nice to have you around.

The Baby Bombers Are Growing Up Fast
Back-to-back home runs by Brett Gardner. He ended Thursday night’s game with a walk-off home run and started Friday night’s game with a leadoff home run. That is pretty darn cool. Not as rare as you may think though! Gardner is only the second player this season to do the walk-off homer/leadoff homer thing. George Springer did it back in April. Still pretty neat. Just like that, the Yankees had a quick 1-0 lead.

A leadoff home run is always appreciated, and since Austin Pruitt came into this game with a 6.25 ERA (3.31 FIP!), it was easy to think more runs were on the way. And they were, but not right away. Pruitt retired ten straight after Gardner’s leadoff homer. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that the Yankees got on the board again. Pruitt busted Aaron Judge inside with a fastball and got him to foul it off for strike too. Pruitt tried it again and Judge hit it into the left field seats for a solo home runs and a 2-0 lead.

In the fifth, the Yankees broke the game open. Todd Frazier drew a one-out walk, Brett Gardner drew a two-out walk, and Clint Frazier annihilated an 89 mph middle-middle fastball for a three-run home run. Here’s the video. Listen to this damn thing:

The ball makes a special sound off Frazier’s bat. That kid’s bat speed and power is no joke. Pitch velocity: 88.9 mph. Exit velocity: 111.0 mph. Home run distance: 455 feet. Frazier after the game: “I almost overran first because I was watching it a little too long.” Hell yeah.

The 455-foot blast was the sixth longest homer by a Yankee this season and third longest by someone other than Judge. Only Matt Holliday (459) and Ji-Man Choi (456) have hit longer homers among non-Judge Yankees. Two solo homers plus one three-run homer equals a 5-0 lead through five. Between the pitching and the dingers, this was pretty much the perfect game.

Leftovers
Didi Gregorius extended his hitting streak to ten games with an eighth inning single, which drove in his team’s sixth run of the game. Gardner was hit by a pitch and Gary Sanchez was intentionally walked earlier in the inning. Gardner scored on the single and Sanchez was thrown out at the plate, though it was a bang-bang play. Would’ve been more annoying had the Yankees not been up by five.

Gardner (homer, walk, hit-by-pitch) and Sanchez (single, intentional walk) were the only Yankees to reach base multiple times. The young Frazier, Judge, and Gregorius had base hits and the old Frazier drew a walk. The 6-7-8-9 hitters went a combined 0-for-11 with one walk and six strikeouts. Yikes. That includes and 0-for-3 with two strikeouts for Holliday, who continue to looks completely lost.

David Robertson was the only reliever used. He retired all three batters he faced in the ninth inning on six pitches, and even squeezed a strikeout in there. Robertson’s pitch counts in his five appearances back with the Yankees, all full innings: 13, 13, 10, 7, 6. I guess he learned how to be efficient in Chicago?

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
ESPN has the box score and updated standings while MLB.com has the video highlights. I’m having some Google problems, so head to FanGraphs for the bullpen workload for the time being. Here’s the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Rays continue this four-game series Saturday afternoon at 1pm ET. It’s not one of those weird 4pm ET starts, thankfully. Lefties Caleb Smith and Blake Snell are the scheduled starting pitchers. There are five games left on the homestand and RAB Tickets can get you in the door to any and all of them.

DotF: McKinney’s huge game helps Scranton to blowout win

Matt Eddy ranked the ten best power-speed prospects in the minors and two of the ten are Yankees: OF Estevan Florial (No. 6) and SS Jorge Mateo (No. 7). OF Dustin Fowler earned a mention as well, but wasn’t ranked. “Florial needs to close holes in his swing to make more contact, and if he does, his future looks bright,” said the write-up.

Triple-A Scranton (15-8 win over Charlotte)

  • CF Mason Williams: 2-6, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • RF Jake Cave: 1-6, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — 16 homers are double his previous career high, set last season
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 2-6, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) — five homers in his last 13 games
  • LF Billy McKinney: 4-5, 4 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1 HBP — goodness, what a game … oh, and he threw a runner out at the plate too
  • RHP Brady Lail: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3/2 GB/FB — 64 of 100 pitches were strikes
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3/0 GB/FB — 22 of 32 pitches were strikes (69%)
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — eleven of 14 pitches were strikes (79%)

[Read more…]

Game 101: Make It Five Straight

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

The Yankees have won four straight games and six of their last seven, so things are finally starting to look up after that month of misery. Last night’s win was a big one. The Yankees got a gift that allowed them to tie the game in the ninth, and they took advantage by going on to win in extras. A big win made even bigger by the fact it was against an AL East rival and postseason spot competitor.

On paper, tonight’s pitching matchup is a mismatch. The Rays are starting rookie Austin Pruitt, who got knocked around pretty good (including by the Yankees) in his first MLB go-round, in place of the injured Jake Odorizzi. The Yankees have their Opening Day starter on the bump. Hopefully the Yankees can jump out and take command of this game early, then cruise the rest of the way. Here is the Rays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. LF Clint Frazier
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. C Gary Sanchez
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. DH Matt Holliday
  7. 1B Chase Headley
  8. 3B Todd Frazier
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It is cool and cloudy in New York this evening, and there is some rain in the forecast, though not until much later tonight. They’ll have no trouble getting the game in. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 7pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: Aaron Hicks (oblique) hit and ran the bases today, as scheduled. He’s scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment next week, though it’s unclear how many games he’ll need. Hicks is a switch-hitter and they need to make sure he’s good to go from both sides of the plate … Judge, obviously, is fine after chipping a tooth during last night’s walk-off celebration. He had it fixed today.

2017 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Friday

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

The 2017 non-waiver trade deadline is 4pm ET next Monday, and already the Yankees have made one significant trade. They acquired Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox for three prospects (and Tyler Clippard) a week and a half ago. That one has paid dividends already. The Yankees have made two smaller trades (Tyler Webb for Garrett Cooper, Rob Refsnyder for Ryan McBroom) as well.

At the moment the Yankees are a half-game back in the AL East and 2.5 games up on a wildcard spot, so they’re very much in the race. Adding is the way to go. The White Sox trade answered any “buyer or seller?” questions. A starting pitcher is the obvious priority following Michael Pineda‘s injury, though another bat and a lefty reliever shouldn’t be ruled out either. We’re going to keep track of all the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here, so keep coming back for updates. All timestamps are ET.

  • 3:44pm: The Yankees had a scout (Brandon Duckworth!) on hand to watch Yu Darvish’s most recent outing, so if nothing else, they’re doing their due diligence. Darvish got hammered by the Marlins on Wednesday night (3.2 IP, 9 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 2 BB, 5 ). [George King]
  • 3:42pm: The Yankees have interest in Lance Lynn and the Cardinals have been scouting New York’s farm system. Lynn is a pure rental. Here’s my Scouting The Market post. [Derrick Goold]
  • 1:41pm: During talks with the Mets about Lucas Duda, the Yankees offered a similar relief prospect to Drew Smith, who the Mets acquired from the Rays in the trade yesterday. I wonder if that means Ben Heller or Jonathan Holder? Either way, since the Yankees were only offering a similar prospect, the Mets opted not to send Duda across town. [Sherman]
  • 12:00pm: Talks with the Athletics about Sonny Gray at an impasse because they’re asking for either Clint Frazier or Gleyber Torres, and the Yankees won’t include them in any deal. Oakland also likes Jorge Mateo, James Kaprielian, and Estevan Florial. Despite the impasse, the Yankees are still believed to be in the lead for Gray because they’re offering the strongest package. [Jon Heyman, Bob Klapisch]
  • 12:00pm: The Yankees are among the teams in the mix for Tigers lefty Justin Wilson. Tons of teams are after the former Yankee. I’d be surprised if the Yankees go all out to win a bidding war for Wilson after adding Robertson and Kahnle. [Anthony Fenech]
  • 12:00pm: The Yankees remain engaged with the Braves about first baseman Matt Adams, though a starting pitcher remains their priority. Atlanta is playing Freddie Freeman at third base in deference to Adams, which is crazy, but it’s not my problem. [Joel Sherman]
  • 12:00pm: There have been no recent talks with the Cubs about Bryan Mitchell. Chicago has liked him in the past and the Yankees are trying to clear up the back of their 40-man roster, though the two clubs haven’t touched base. [Sherman]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.