Game 111: Win it for A-Rod

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

After a night of suspense, Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees announced earlier today that A-Rod will play his final game next Friday before joining the front office. It’s a sad day — at least I think it is — even though the Yankees are clearly better off moving on at this point. Only five more games in the A-Rod era. Crazy. Go win a damn game for the guy. Here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 3B Chase Headley
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. 2B Rob Refsnyder
  8. RF Aaron Hicks
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s a gorgeous day in the New York. Nice and sunny and not too hot. Pretty great. Today’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Alex Rodriguez to play final game next Friday, join Yankees as special advisor

It’s time to say goodbye to another all-time great Yankee. Earlier today the Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees announced he will play his final game next Friday, August 12th, then join the front office as a special advisor and instructor. He will be unconditionally released following Friday’s game.

“This is a tough day … this is also a proud day,” said A-Rod at the press conference. “I never thought I could play for 22 years. At 18 I just wanted to make the team … I want to thank the Steinbrenner family for giving me this opportunity, and for making me part of this team and for giving me an opportunity to stay involved by mentoring the next generation of Yankees … I especially want to thank the fans for letting me play the game that I love.”

During the press conference A-Rod said Hal Steinbrenner approached him a few days ago about joining the team in some sort of front office capacity. He didn’t come out and say it, but it sure sounded like an ultimatum may have been given. Either retire with grace and join the front office, or we’re going to release you. That sort of him. A-Rod was pretty diplomatic during the press conference.

“After spending several days discussing this plan with Alex, I am pleased that he will remain a part of our organization moving forward and transition into a role in which I know he can flourish,” said Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “We have an exciting group of talented young players at every level of our system. Our job as an organization is to utilize every resource possible to allow them to reach their potential, and I expect Alex to directly contribute to their growth and success. Baseball runs through his blood. He’s a tireless worker and an astute student of the game. Alex has already proven to be a willing and effective mentor to many players who have come through our clubhouse, and I am confident that this next phase of his baseball life will bring out the best in Alex and the next generation of Yankees.”

Rodriguez has not played much the last few weeks — he’s started one of the team’s last 14 games — because he hasn’t hit much this year. He owns a .204/.252/.356 (58 wRC+) batting line with nine homers in 62 games, and the Yankees have used the DH spot for other players. The team has been playing with a 24-man roster the last few weeks and it’s been pretty awkward. Seeing A-Rod on the bench game after game was just weird. It really was.

Because the Yankees are releasing Rodriguez, the Yankees will pay him the remainder of his contract and yes, he will still count against the luxury tax. “He gets everything he deserves — the contract he negotiated — in full force,” said Brian Cashman. Cashman, by the way, dropped the mic when asked how Alex should be remember.

What a power move. Highlight of the press conference right there.

Considering this is essentially a forced retirement, the Yankees accepted the financial impact of releasing A-Rod. They simply decided he couldn’t help them on the field and were better off paying him to do something else while giving the roster spot to someone else.

A-Rod has long been praised for his work with young players and a mentorship/instructor role should suit him well. This is sort of a bittersweet day. I’m sad to see A-Rod go, but it’s clearly the best thing for the Yankees at this point in time. I hope he socks some dingers between now and Friday and goes out with a bang. This has been one hell of a ride.

DotF: Frazier homers, RailRiders rough up Giolito in win

Got some mostly injury related notes to pass along:

  • RHP Domingo Acevedo (back) played catch today and will do so again tomorrow, according to Matt Kardos. If all goes well, he’ll throw a bullpen session sometime next week. Acevedo was reportedly on the verge of being promoted to Double-A Trenton before the injury.
  • 1B Chris Parmelee (hamstring) started a minor league rehab assignment today, reports Shane Hennigan. His 20-day rehab stint will expire on Thursday, August 25th, though I would be surprised if they use the entire 20 days. Parmelee is out of options, so he might designated for assignment as soon as he gets activated.
  • LHP Justus Sheffield made an appearance in today’s Prospect Report after his eleven-strikeout organizational debut last night, so check that out.

Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Syracuse) they faced Nationals RHP Lucas Giolito, arguably the best pitching prospect in baseball, and they roughed him up pretty good (3.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K on 93 pitches)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
  • RF Clint Frazier: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 K — first homer since the trade, and yes, he took Giolito deep
  • LF Aaron Judge: 1-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 HBP
  • 3B Tyler Austin: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K — second game at third this season … with Parmelee in town on rehab, there’s not enough room to play everyone, so they have to improvise
  • DH Chris Parmelee: 1-4, 2 K – first rehab game since the hamstring injury
  • RHP Brady Lail: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 4/3 GB/FB — 59 of 93 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 13 of 21 pitches were strikes (62%)
  • RHP Kirby Yates: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0/1 GB/FB — nine of 16 pitches were strikes (56%)

[Read more…]

Yankees, A-Rod call press conference for 11am ET Sunday

(Adam Glanzman/Getty)
(Adam Glanzman/Getty)

The Yankees and Alex Rodriguez will hold a press conference at 11am ET tomorrow, the team has announced. A-Rod, Brian Cashman, and Joe Girardi will be in attendance. No reason for the press conference was given, so feel free to speculate. The press conference will be broadcast on YES.

The way I see it, there are four possible reasons for the press conference. Well, there are countless possible reasons, but these are the big four:

  1. A-Rod is retiring, effective immediately. Seems really unlikely.
  2. A-Rod is retiring, effective at the end of the season. Possible!
  3. The Yankees are releasing A-Rod.
  4. The Yankees and A-Rod have agreed to some sort of “mutual parting of ways” that involves a buyout.

My official guess: A-Rod will announce he is retiring at the end if the season.

The fact A-Rod, Cashman, and Girardi will be at the press conference suggest that, whatever it is, it’s amicable. I have a hard time thinking Alex would be a willing attendant if the team did decide to release him.

Whatever it is, I just hope we get to see one more gentleman’s bat flip before it’s all over.

Alex Rodriguez bat flip

What a weird, weird season in Yankeeland.

Yankees have no answer for Kluber in 5-2 loss to Indians

Source: FanGraphs
The Yankees have been alternating wins and losses since the trade deadline, and that pattern continued Saturday. They dropped the middle game to the Indians by the score of 5-2. It’s Saturday, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Long Leash: I, for one, am surprised letting CC Sabathia face the middle of the lineup a third time did not work out. Mike Napoli smacked a homer in the sixth to give the Indians a 3-2 lead. It’s the fourth time in the last five starts Sabathia was left in long enough to allow extra runs without completing the inning. Like I said earlier, he’s not the same pitcher after 75 pitches or so, and at some point Joe Girardi needs to change the way he manages Sabathia’s starts. CC allowed three runs on six hits (two homers) and four walks in innings. He fanned five.
  • Two Token Runs: The Yankees jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Gary Sanchez muscled a two-strike pitch into the left-center field gap, scoring Starlin Castro all the way from first. Hooray for youthful bat speed. The Yankees scored their second run on a wild pitch. It looked like a slider slipped out of Kluber’s hand and sailed way inside on Ronald Torreyes, far enough that catcher Roberto Perez couldn’t reel it in. And that was the extent of the offense.
  • The Late Innings: Only three of the final 21 Yankees to bat reached base. Two of them were Brett Gardner, who drew a leadoff walk in the sixth. He then got doubled off first base because he misread Jacoby Ellsbury‘s fly ball and went first-to-third. Yuck. The Indians tacked on insurance runs in the seventh and ninth. Dellin Betances, who hadn’t pitched since Monday and needed the work, got the last two outs of the ninth.
  • Leftovers: Gardner and Aaron Hicks each had two hits. Sanchez and Castro had the team’s other two hits. Gardner drew the only walk … the 2-3-4 hitters went a combined 0-for-12 with four strikeouts … the Yankees have allowed at least one homer in 12 straight games now, tied for their second longest streak this century. The longest? A 14-gamer back in May. New York’s pitchers have a 1.36 HR/9 in 2016, fifth worst in MLB. Their starters have a 1.49 HR/9, fourth worst.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The Yankees and Indians will play the rubber game of this three-game series Sunday afternoon. That’s another 1pm ET start. Hooray for that. Masahiro Tanaka and Carlos Carrasco are the scheduled starters. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch that one live.

Saturday Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the rest of the day. The Mets are playing tonight, FOX Sports 1 is showing the Red Sox and Dodgers this afternoon, and MLB Network is showing regional games later tonight. The Olympics are on too, so that’s cool. Talk about any of that stuff right here.

Game 110: CC Sabathia’s Short Leash

One of these guys actually gets to play once every five days. (Rich Schultz/Getty)
One of these guys actually gets to play once every five days. (Getty)

The Yankees and Indians will play the middle game of their three-game series this afternoon, and on the mound are two pitchers who won the Cy Young award with Cleveland: CC Sabathia and Corey Kluber. Kluber remains one of the best pitchers in baseball while Sabathia is in the middle of a nice bounceback season (4.15 ERA and 4.20 FIP). CC hasn’t been great, but he’s been much better than I expected.

The key to Sabathia’s effectiveness is a short leash. Opponents are hitting .303/.372/.495 against CC after pitch No. 75, and we’ve seen Joe Girardi leave Sabathia in a little too long in recent starts. He allowed two runs in five innings against the Mets last time out, then gave up three runs in the sixth. He allowed two runs in six innings against the Orioles two starts before that, then allowed two more in the seventh. The start before that Sabathia allowed two runs in five innings against the Red Sox, then allowed three runs in the sixth.

Girardi had a short leash with Sabathia last season, or at least a shorter leash, but this year he seems to be trying to squeeze that extra inning out of him more often than not. For most of Sabathia’s career, he was up to the task. Not anymore. Girardi should be on high alert once Sabathia gets to 80 pitches or so, especially in close games. Here is the Indians’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. DH Brian McCann
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. C Gary Sanchezday game after a night game? let’s get weird
  8. RF Aaron Hicks
  9. 3B Ronald Torreyes
    LHP CC Sabathia

It’s hot and humid in New York today, and the forecast says there’s rain on the way a little later this afternoon. Hopefully it holds off long enough for them to play nine innings. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Roster Update: Johnny Barbato has been sent down to Triple-A Scranton and Chasen Shreve has been called up, the Yankees announced. Barbato did not retire any of the four batters he faced with a seven-run lead last night. That’ll do it.