Yoenis Cespedes, The Encore

Kevin Goldstein has a breakdown of Yoenis Cespedes’ latest video, and you don’t even need a subscription to read it. The Yankees are supposedly the “clear frontrunners” for the Cuban outfielder, and at 4:17 of the video, you can see Yankees bench coach Tony Pena and pro scouting director Billy Eppler among those watching the workout. Goldstein says Cespedes’ free agency is likely going to be pushed back into January, though.

I wonder what kinda workout video Wily Mo Pena could have put together…

Open Thread: Mike Myers

(Photo via Wikipedia)

As part of their never-ending search for quality left-handed bullpen help, the Yankees signed Mike Myers to a two-year contract worth $2.4M on this date in 2005. The 36-year-old sidearmer/submariner had spent the previous season with the Red Sox, holding lefties to a miniscule .158/.198/.211 batting line in 102 plate appearances. In his first year with New York, lefties hit .257/.297/.443 off him in 74 plate appearances. Go figure.

Myers was forced into what was essentially a mop-up role in 2007, mostly because the pitching staff was torn to shreds early in the season. He was completely miscast as a multi-inning guy, and after 40.2 IP through August — his second largest workload in the last seven years — he was designated for assignment. All told, Myers gave the Yankees a 71.1 IP with a 2.90 ERA, but left-handers tagged him for a .284/.340/.439 batting line. Yay relievers on multi-year contracts.

* * *

Here’s your open thread for this Friday evening. The Devils are the only local hockey team in action, which stinks. If you’re not out holiday shopping, you can talk about anything you like here. Enjoy.

Yankees add Matt Daley and Gus Molina on minor league deals

Via Josh Norris and Baseball America, the Yankees have signed right-handed reliever Matt Daley to a minor league contract. The 29-year-old was born in Queens and raised out on Long Island, and he’s currently rehabbing from an August surgery on his rotator cuff. Prior to the injury, he used three pitches (high-80’s fastball, high-70’s change, mid-70’s curve) to get a fair amount of strikeouts (8.96 K/9), limit walks (3.36 BB/9), give up fly balls (33.8% grounders), and watch the ball fly out of the park (1.01 HR/9). Daley has appeared in 92 games and thrown 80.2 IP for the Rockies over the last three seasons, and he does have a funky little delivery you can see here. He’s a warm body for Triple-A, mostly.

In other news, the Yankees have also re-signed Gus Molina to a minor league pact. He’ll offer Austin Romine some nice veteran presents as his backup with Triple-A Scranton. The Yankees were suffering from a severe shortage of Guses in their farm system, so this clears that up.

Yankees haven’t had any talks about sign-and-trade with Nakajima

Via Buster Olney, the Yankees have not yet had any conversations about a sign-and-trade scenario with Hiroyuki Nakajima, either with the player or another club interested in acquiring him. Nakajima’s agent apparently mentioned the idea at some point recently, likely because his client would rather play everyday than sit on the bench for the Yankees. The 29-year-old shortstop does want to sign and play in MLB however, and has even indicated a willingness to be a utility guy for New York.

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s tough to see Nakajima having much trade value. Only one team thought he was good enough for a $2.5M bid in the posting process, and the general consensus seems to be that he does profile best as a bench player. The two sides have roughly three weeks to hammer out a contract and a sign-and-trade scenario if they choose.

The RAB Radio Show: December 16, 2011

The Yu Darvish bidding ended this week, and the Yankees did make a bid. We start with that.

  • Rumor has the Jays with the winning bid. That alone won’t change the balance of power in the AL East, but they could pull off one more move that would change things for sure.
  • Where do the Yanks turn from here? Mike and I run down the remaining options.
  • Can Eduardo Nunez change the trade scene? The Yanks have kept him out of trade talks, but with Nakajima potentially in the fold they could possibly upgrade by trading Nunez.
  • Mike Cuddyer signed this morning, which, along with Josh Willingham’s contract, gives us some semblance of an idea for Nick Swisher‘s market next off season.
  • Plus, all the miscellany you can handle.

Podcast run time 45:24

Here’s how you can listen to podcast:

  • Download the RAB Radio Show by right clicking on that link and choosing Save As.
  • Listen in your browser by left clicking the above link or using the embedded player below.
  • Subscribe in iTunes. If you want to rate us that would be great. If you leave a nice review I’ll buy you a beer at a meet-up.

Intro music: “Die Hard” courtesy of reader Alex Kresovich. Thanks to Tyler Wilkinson for the graphic.

RAB Live Chat

The Yankees’ Top Ten WPA Games of 2011

(Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Last month, Mike looked at the Yankees’ five biggest hits of the 2011 season in terms of WPA. Last November I did posts on both the 10 biggest WPA swings of the 2010 seasons and 10 biggest WPA games, and the annual tradition continues today with the Yankees’ offense’s top ten WPA games of 2011.

Fortunately Baseball-Reference can do the heavy lifting for us:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB WPA
1 Russell Martin 2011-08-25 NYY OAK W 22-9 6 5 3 5 1 0 2 6 1 0.559
2 Curtis Granderson 2011-05-24 NYY TOR W 5-4 5 5 2 4 1 0 0 1 0 0.509
3 Derek Jeter 2011-05-08 NYY TEX W 12-5 6 6 2 4 0 0 2 3 0 0.452
4 Curtis Granderson 2011-09-17 NYY TOR W 7-6 5 3 3 3 1 0 1 2 2 0.400
5 Russell Martin 2011-07-18 NYY TBR W 5-4 5 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0.384
6 Eduardo Nunez 2011-09-21 (1) NYY TBR W 4-2 3 3 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0.379
7 Robinson Cano 2011-08-11 NYY LAA W 6-5 4 4 1 3 0 0 1 4 0 0.378
8 Russell Martin 2011-09-01 NYY BOS W 4-2 5 5 1 2 1 0 0 2 0 0.374
9 Mark Teixeira 2011-05-24 NYY TOR W 5-4 5 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 0.372
10 Nick Swisher 2011-06-19 NYY CHC W 10-4 5 5 1 3 0 0 1 4 0 0.367
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/18/2011.

We’ll go in reverse order to build the excitement. On Sunday night, June 19, 2011, the Yankees were looking for a series win against the Chicago Cubs after splitting the first two, losing in execrable fashion in the Friday afternoon game against Doug Davis of all people, while pulling out an exciting 4-3 win in the Saturday contest. Tied 4-4 in the eighth of the rubber game, Nick Swisher clubbed a huge tie-breaking three-run shot to send the Yankees to a big interleague series victory.

The Yankees’ second (out of only three they’d have all season) walk-off victory of the season against the Blue Jays on May 24 appears twice on this list, with the first instance representing Mark Teixeira‘s biggest game of the season. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Tex laced a 3-1 Frank Francisco offering into right field for the game-winning single, scoring Curtis Granderson (who we’ll see in just a little bit).

The 8th-biggest game of the season belonged to Russell Martin — who appears three times on the list, a True Yankee™ if I’ve ever seen one — who delivered the decisive blow against Daniel Bard on September 1 in a Yankee victory that secured their first series win against Boston since May 2010.

Next up is Robinson Cano, who, in the Year of the Grand Slam — at least, for the Yankees, who hit an MLB-leading 10 slams for the second-straight season, including three by Cano, not to mention an 11th in the playoffs, also by Cano — appropriately blasted one in the Yankees’ 6-5 win over the hated Halos on August 11.

Everyone’s favorite infielder Eduardo Nunez clocks in at #6, as his huge game-tying home run against Yankee kryptonite James Shields helped propel them to eventual victory in the first half of a doubleheader on September 21 that also paved the way for the team to be in position to clinch during the evening portion of the twin bill, which they did in rather dramatic fashion.

Russell the Muscle is back at #5, with easily the most boring entry on this list, but still an important one nonetheless. On July 18 against Tampa Bay he went 2-5, but more importantly, worked a bases-loaded walk that forced in the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th in a game the Yankees held on to win 5-4.

The 4th-biggest game of the season was Curtis Granderson’s against Toronto on September 17, as he clubbed a home run, picked up three hits and walked twice as part of a perfect day, helping the Yankees battle back from a 6-1 deficit.

Derek Jeter checks in at #3, as his two-home-run game against Texas on Mother’s Day in a 12-5 victory over the Rangers was responsible for nearly 50% of the Yankees’ win that afternoon.

Coming in at number two is the Grandyman again, this time for that wild 5-4 come-from-behind victory on May 24 that also landed Tex on this list. While Tex may have picked up the game-winning hit, he may not have even been in position to do so without Curtis, who had four hits in this game including a double in the bottom of the eighth that keyed a two-run rally, bringing the Yankees to within one, and a game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the 9th that plated Jorge Posada. Grandy then promptly stole second on Francisco’s first pitch to Tex, and scored the game-winning run. Heck of a game for Mr. Granderson.

And the biggest cumulative WPA game of the season came courtesy of none other than Muscle Martin for his 5-5 performance in the three-grand-slam game (he also had a solo shot) on August 25. His slam came with the Yankees down 7-6 (.443 WPA) and gave them a lead they would never relinquish.

As noted earlier, if you were an opposing team you really didn’t want to load the bases against the Yankees in 2011, as they hit an insane .337/.354/.601 with the bases juiced in 2011, 39% (139 tOPS+) better than they hit on the whole, and 58% (158 sOPS+) better than the league average with the bases loaded.