Scouting The Trade Market: Wil Myers

Bat flips are a plus. (Denis Poroy/Getty)
Bat flips are a plus. (Denis Poroy/Getty)

The Yankees are in an unfamiliar place right now. They’re under .500 halfway through the season and contention seems like a long shot at best. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 8.8% as of this writing. At the very least, the Yankees have to seriously consider selling rental veterans like Aroldis Chapman and Carlos Beltran at the deadline. Moving guys with years of control remaining like Andrew Miller and Brett Gardner has to be on the table too.

Brian Cashman recently floated the idea of the Yankees being both buyers and sellers, which seem like conflicting ideas, but they’re really not. Ultimately, the goal is to get better, and both buying and selling help accomplish that goal. Does that mean the Yankees should go out and add a rental veteran like, say, Rich Hill? No. That doesn’t make sense. Buying a younger player who can stick around for a few years would be a smart move, however.

One such player is Padres first baseman Wil Myers, who is enjoying a breakout year at the plate. Myers has packed an awful lot into his four big league seasons. He’s been an elite prospect, the 2013 Rookie of the Year, injured, disappointing, involved in two blockbuster trades, and a breakout star. Myers is still only 25, so even with the Padres in a deep rebuild, keeping him makes sense. He can be part of the solution. At the same time, trading him for a boatload of prospects could be a smart move too. Does Myers make sense for the Yankees? Let’s look.

Offensive Performance

Prior to the 2013, the last time he was prospect eligible, Baseball America called Myers “an eventual No. 3 hitter in the lineup because of his batting eye and power potential.” They ranked him the No. 4 prospect in baseball that season after ranking him No. 28 in 2012 and No. 10 in 2011. Myers was on the prospect radar for a long time. He was a big deal.

In the four years since, Myers has had three above-average offensive seasons and one disappointing season. He’s yet to actually play a full season — he was called up halfway through 2013 and battled injuries in 2014 and 2015 — but is on track to do that this summer. Here are his career numbers:

PA AVG/OBP/SLG wRC+ HR BB% K% wRC+ vs. RHP wRC+ vs. LHP
2013 373 .293/.354/.478 129 13 8.8% 24.4% 131 127
2014 361 .222/.294/.320 77 6 9.4% 24.9% 87 52
2015 253 .253/.336/.428 116 8 10.7% 21.7% 110 135
2016 351 .282/.350/.529 137 19 10.0% 19.9% 131 152
Total 1,338 .263/.333/.439 115 46 9.6% 22.9% 115 113

Outside of that 2014 season, when he was hampered by a wrist injury (more on that in a bit), Myers has always hit for a lot of power. His .173 ISO in 2015 is his lowest among his three good seasons, and during those three seasons he averaged 24.6 homers per 600 plate appearances despite playing in pitcher friendly parks. We can’t just wipe away that 2014 season. It did happen. The two years since have been promising though.

Going under the hood, there are some underlying trends in Myers’ plate discipline and batted ball profile that suggest his breakout is for real, and that he is truly developing into a top tier hitter.

O-Swing% Whiff% GB% LD+FB% Pull% Oppo%
2013 29.2% 11.5% 46.0% 54.1% 44.8% 20.6%
2014 27.8% 10.3% 48.1% 51.9% 48.9% 22.8%
2015 25.1% 9.9% 47.6% 52.4% 44.1% 28.2%
2016 24.5% 7.9% 44.3% 55.8% 36.3% 24.1%
Total 26.7% 9.9% 46.4% 53.6% 43.4% 21.7%

Myers has swung at fewer pitches out of the strike zone (O-Swing%) with each passing season. He’s also swinging and missing (Whiff%) less each year. Those are two very positive trends. Furthermore, Myers is hitting the ball on the ground less often than ever before, and he isn’t pulling the ball nearly as much as he did the past three years. Hitting the ball in the air to all fields sure is a great recipe for success.

Pulling the ball has a negative connotation these days because of the shift, but it’s not inherently a bad thing. Most hitters do their most damage — meaning hit for the most power — when they pull the ball. That said, using the entire field is an obviously valuable skill. Myers is doing that this year and he’s not only retained his power, he’s hitting for more power than ever before. An all-fields power hitter? Gimme gimme gimme. We saw firsthand what Myers can do this past weekend:

That is as impressive as any homer you’ll see this season. The FOX Sports San Diego folks did us a favor by cramming all the pertinent information into their little strike zone graphic:

Wil Myers Nathan Eovaldi

Myers inside-outed a 97 mph fastball for an opposite field home run. In spacious Petco Park, no less. There are not many hitters in baseball who can do that. He has a lot of natural power and now he’s learning how to fully tap into. Myers isn’t chasing out of the zone or swinging and missing as much as he has in the past, and he’s getting the ball airborne to all fields. Good things are happening.

Oh, and as an added bonus, Myers is a pretty good baserunner too. He’s gone 13-for-15 (87%) in steal attempts this year and 29-for-36 (81%) in his career. Myers has also taken the extra base — first-to-third on a single, etc. — a whopping 61% of the time this year and 52% of the time in his career. The MLB average is 40%. So not only are you getting the impressive all-fields power, you’re getting value on the bases too. Pretty cool.

Defensive Ability

Since being drafted in 2009, Myers has moved from catcher to the outfield to third base to back to the outfield to first base. He’s now a full-time first baseman in San Diego and has been solid there, especially when you consider his general lack of experience at the position. Myers has spent most of his career as an outfielder (right field, specifically) and boy, he was not good out there. Both the stats and the eye test say he was well-below-average. He’s never going to live down his misplay in Game One of the 2013 ALDS, which led to a five-run inning:

Going forward, I think you have to consider Myers a full-time first baseman who can handle the outfield in a pinch. I’m not sure putting him back in the outfield full-time is a good idea at this point of his career. Myers has moved around an awful lot in his career and it seems he’s finally found a comfortable home at first base.

Injury History

Injuries, specifically injuries to both wrists, limited Myers to only 147 of 324 possible games in 2014 and 2015. Wrist injuries are a pretty big deal. They’re known to sap offensive production — you can’t hit if you can’t grip the bat properly — even after the player is given the green light to return to game action. Here are Myers’ notable injuries:

2011: Missed a month with a knee infection in the minors.
2014: Missed close to three months with a fractured right wrist.
2015: Missed close to four months with left wrist inflammation and later surgery.

That’s the big stuff. Myers has missed a few days here and there because he was sore after getting hit by a pitch, stuff like that, but every player deals with that. I’m not sure what brought about the knee infection, though it hasn’t given him any problems since. The 2014 wrist fracture was the result of a full speed outfield collision …

… which is sort of a dumb fluky thing, but it happened and it did real damage to his wrist. The 2015 wrist injury is a bit more complicated. According to Dennis Lin, Myers missed a month because a tendon became inflamed after rubbing up against a bone spur he’d had since high school. After a month on the shelf, Myers returned, played three games, felt renewed discomfort in the wrist, then landed back on the DL. He had surgery to remove the bone spur in June and was able to return to the field in September.

It can be easy to dismiss this stuff — the fracture was the result of a collision and the bone spur was taken out, so what’s the big deal? — but again, this is real damage to his wrists. Myers is mashing this season and is presumably healthy, but will he be prone to nagging wrist issues in the future? Does the fracture and/or surgery mean he’ll have to deal with some inflammation from time to time? These are the kind of questions teams will ask themselves before agreeing to a trade.

Contract Status

It feels like Myers has been around forever, but he started this season with only two years and 104 days of service time time. The Rays did what they do and kept Myers in the minors long enough in 2013 that they not only delayed his free agency, they made sure he won’t be Super Two eligible either. Now the Padres or some other team will benefit.

Myers is under team control through 2019 and he’ll be arbitration-eligible every year from 2017-19, so while he will still be relatively cheap, he’s not going to be making the league minimum either. Jason Heyward and Dexter Fowler made $15.95M and $21.1M, respectively, during their three arbitration years. They’re not perfect comps for Myers but they at least give us a ballpark idea of what he’ll earn from 2017-19.

The Rays called Myers up and added him to the 40-man roster in 2013, and he’s never been back to the minors since other than for injury rehab assignments. He has all three minor league options remaining. That also means nothing as far as I’m concerned. If you trade for Myers and have to use one of his minor league options, something has gone wrong. The goal is to trade for this guy and make him one of the center pieces of your lineup right away.

What Would It Take?

Myers has already been involved in two blockbuster trades, and yet neither of them provides any context for his current trade value. He was dealt as a prospect as part of the package for James Shields back in the day, and two years ago he was part of a big four-for-five trade, when he still had five years of control remaining and was coming off the broken wrist. Now Myers is healthy and producing with three years of control left.

Jon Heyman recently reported the Padres want four top tier prospects for Myers, and that’s just not going to happen. As good as he is and as bright as his future looks, Myers has a recent history of wrist injuries and he has “only” three years of team control remaining. I don’t blame the Padres for wanting four high-end prospects. There’s no harm in asking. But that figures to be their initial ask, from which they’re willing to come down.

The list of young first basemen/outfielders traded three years prior to free agency is not particularly long. I went back a few years and found only two who might work as comparables:

  • Justin Upton: Traded from the Diamondbacks to the Braves with Chris Johnson for Martin Prado and four prospects, only one of whom (Randall Delgado) was a top 100 guy. Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury, and Zeke Spruill were the others.
  • Mark Trumbo: Traded from the Angels to the D’Backs with A.J. Schugel for Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs. Baseball America rated Skaggs as the 12th best prospect in baseball a year earlier.

Colby Rasmus was also traded three years prior to free agency, but that was a very weird trade that involved Rasmus, rental Edwin Jackson, and four relievers. The Cardinals were trying to fill specific needs in an effort to win the 2011 World Series, and hey, it worked. They won the title.

Upton was traded as part of ex-D’Backs GM Kevin Towers’ crusade against strikeouts. He traded away Upton, Chris Young, Mark Reynolds, Adam LaRoche, and Stephen Drew all in a relatively short period of time because he felt his team struck out too much. Trumbo was traded because the Angels needed pitching and had no real place to play him. Albert Pujols was at first, Pujols and Josh Hamilton were going to need time at DH, and C.J. Cron was on the way.

(Denis Poroy/Getty)
(Denis Poroy/Getty)

Myers is more Upton than Trumbo because he’s a formerly high-end prospect tagged with a ton of expectations. Trumbo has had a nice career, but he didn’t play his first full MLB season until age 25. Myers is 25 now and Upton was traded at 25. He had a very different career path than the other two guys. The Upton trade seems like the best trade benchmark we have, though the inclusion of Johnson, who was a pretty good player back then, complicates things.

Padres GM A.J. Preller is an international players guy. That was his specialty when he was in the Rangers front office and it’s no coincidence he traded Craig Kimbrel for a package headlined by three international prospects. Preller also convinced ownership to spend big in international free agency this summer, which they’ve done. San Diego has gone on a spending spree last week akin to the Yankees’ 2014-15 spending spree.

That’s good, because the Yankees have a ton of international prospects to offer, led by Gary Sanchez and Jorge Mateo. Remember, the Yankees reportedly offered Mateo for Kimbrel last year at the deadline, though that didn’t work out. You’re not going to get a guy like Myers without trading a top prospect like Sanchez or Mateo, and if you ask me, moving Mateo makes more sense. The Yankees have a ton of shortstops in the minors, but they only have one Triple-A catcher who looks like a future middle of the order bat.

Keeping Sanchez might be possible too, since the Padres already have their catcher of the future in defensive wiz Austin Hedges, who is hitting .407/.456/.841 (235 wRC+) in 32 Triple-A games around a broken wrist. I’m getting into your trade proposal sucks territory here, but a package of Mateo plus secondary pieces like Miguel Andujar and Domingo Acevedo could pique Preller’s interest. That’s one top 50 prospect plus two other strong prospects plus whatever else (one of the spare Triple-A outfielders?).

I know that seems like a lot to give up, but it’s really not. Mateo and Acevedo are still in High Class-A and Andujar just got to Double-A last month. Preller would probably want guys closer to the big leagues for Myers, who is pretty damn good and could be the center piece of their rebuild. Mateo plus Andujar plus Acevedo seems like a best case scenario for the Yankees, now that I think about it. Anyway, yeah, it’s going to hurt to get this guy. Young middle of the order bats don’t come cheap.

Wrapping Up

Right now, first base is a question long-term because of Greg Bird‘s shoulder surgery. We all hope and want him to come back and be the guy going forward, but until he gets back out onto the field, it’s tough to know how he’ll perform post-surgery. That’s a serious injury and surgery he had.

Adding Myers and having to figure out how he and Bird could co-exist on the same roster — assuming Bird isn’t traded for Myers, of course — would be one of those problems that isn’t really a problem. First base is open long-term and there’s always the DH spot too. Alex Rodriguez won’t be around forever. There’s always the option of playing Myers in the outfield too. I don’t love that idea, but it’s doable.

The Yankees should be selling at the deadline. They have to start planning for the future and use their veteran assets like Chapman and Beltran to get younger. Myers is one of the few cases where it makes sense to buy and give up young players in a trade. He’s young himself, he offers several years of control, and he’s a legitimate middle of the order thumper with positive plate discipline and batted ball trends. The Yankees sorely lack someone like Myers and pursuing him would be a very smart move in the opinion of this idiot blogger.

Bats break out, Tanaka leads Yanks to 9-0 win over ChiSox

Good ballgame. Would watch again. The Yankees had a rare stress-free win Tuesday night, beating the White Sox by the score of 9-0. One night after the Yankees could do nothing right, they excelled on both sides of the ball. This was one of their best all-around games of the season. No doubt about it.

(David Banks/Getty)
(David Banks/Getty)

Two Token Runs … And Many More
This was the Yankees’ best offensive showing in quite some time. I don’t necessarily mean the run total, I’m talking about the quality of the at-bats and the swings. ChiSox lefty Carlos Rodon was fooling no one and the Yankees took nothing but comfortable swings. Even against the relievers too. They laid off pitches out of the zone and hammered mistakes over the plate. This game is exactly how an offense should work.

The Yankees got on the board with two runs in the second inning thanks to three singles and an error by Tim Anderson. Rob Refsnyder started the inning with a leadoff single, then Brett Gardner and All-Star Carlos Beltran kept it going with two-out singles. Beltran drove in Refsnyder. Alex Rodriguez hit a hard grounder to Anderson for what should have been the final out, but the ball took a weird hop and ricocheted off his glove and right up in the air. That drove in Gardner for the second run.

The third and four runs came on Chase Headley‘s seventh homer of the season and second in two days. It was also his third homer against the White Sox this season. Mark Teixeira doubled in the team’s fourth run in the fourth, and Austin Romine homered for their fifth run in the fifth. That was a bomb. I didn’t think Romine could hit a ball that well. It was more than halfway up the left field bleachers. Doubles by Refsnyder and Aaron Hicks created two runs in the eighth, and a Teixeira sac fly resulted in the team’s ninth run the next inning. The Yankees scored in six of their nine offensive innings.

The Yankees scored those nine runs on a season high 20 hits plus three walks, and, amazingly, they also had two runners thrown out at the plate. Beltran was cut down in the first inning when Brett Lawrie made a diving stop but not the catch, then threw home for the out. Teixeira was thrown out on Refsnyder’s would-be sac fly to right in the sixth. Not only are Beltran and Teixeira slow, but they’re also nursing leg injuries (Beltran’s hamstring, Teixeira’s knee). Why? Stay put next time, fellas.

Anyway, hooray offense! It had been way too long since we’d last seen a game like that. The Yankees went 5-for-19 (.263) with runners in scoring position one day after going 0-for-13 in those spots. Gardner had four hits, Beltran and Headley each had three hits, and Teixeira, Starlin Castro, Refsnyder, and Romine each had two hits. This was a total team effort. Every starter reached base at least once and eight of the nine starters reached multiple times. More games like this, please.

(David Banks/Getty)
(David Banks/Getty)

Master Tanaka
This normal rest/extra day of rest thing with Masahiro Tanaka is getting a little ridiculous. He went into Tuesday’s game with a 5.28 ERA on normal rest and a 1.94 ERA with extra rest this season. Tanaka was actually better on normal rest (2.89 ERA) than with extra rest (3.67 ERA) from 2014-15, yet this year his split is extreme. Blame small sample size, I guess. Either that or his 2014-15 performance was a fluke.

Anyway, Tanaka was on extra rest Tuesday night thanks to Chad Green‘s spot start over the weekend, and sure enough, he held the White Sox scoreless over 7.2 innings. It was close to a stress-free outing. The ChiSox put two runners on base in the second and again in the seventh, but Tanaka escaped both jams and cruised the rest of the game. He struck out six, allowed six hits and one walk, and only 13 of the 29 batters he faced hit the ball out of the infield. Simply marvelous. Go Masahiro.

Leftovers
Welcome back to the big leagues, Chase Shreve. He replaced Tanaka in the eighth, struck out Jose Abreu to end the inning, then tossed a perfect ninth too. Shreve said he’s been working on a new slider grip in Triple-A but we didn’t really see. PitchFX says he threw one slider Tuesday. I’m not sure how much it’ll help anyway. He’s a fastball/splitter pitcher.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head over to ESPN for the box score and updated standings, and MLB.com for the video highlights. Make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages as well. Here’s the ol’ win probably graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and White Sox wrap up this three-game set with the rubber game Wednesday night. Michael Pineda and ex-Oriole Miguel Gonzalez are the scheduled starters.

DotF: Gamel and Sanchez go deep in Scranton’s loss

The day’s notes:

  • And the first 2016 draftee to reach full season ball is … 3B Mandy Alvarez. This year’s 17th rounder has been promoted from Short Season Staten Island to Low-A Charleston, the team announced. IF Angel Aguilar goes the other way in a corresponding move. Alvarez was hitting .345/.371/.400 (131 wRC+) with two strikeouts (!) in 62 plate appearances for the Baby Bombers.
  • OF Aaron Judge will participate in the Triple-A Home Run Derby next week, it was announced. Also participating: Blue Jays DH Jesus Montero and Dodgers 3B Rob Segedin. How about that? The Triple-A All-Star festivities are in Charlotte this year.
  • TCU RHP Brian Trieglaff has signed with the Yankees, he announced on Twitter. He was the team’s 13th round pick. Trieglaff had a 3.22 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 44 relief innings for the Horned Frogs this year. No word on his bonus, but it’s safe to assume it doesn’t exceed the $100,000 slot.
  • RHP Yefrey Ramirez and 1B Kevin Cornelius are the High-A Florida State League Pitcher of the Week and  was named the Rookie Appalachian League Offensive Player of the Week. Congrats to them. Cornelius is way old for the level, but he’s hitting a home run a day it seems.
  • Matt Eddy put together a list of the ten best power-speed prospects in the minors. Both SS Jorge Mateo and OF Dustin Fowler make it. They’re the only other team will two players on the list.

Triple-A Scranton (4-3 loss to Lehigh Valley in ten innings)

  • LF Ben Gamel: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI — 10-for-31 (.323) with two homers during his little seven-game hitting streak
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-3, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K
  • C Gary Sanchez: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — 14-for-43 (.326) in his last nine games
  • DH Cesar Puello: 1-2, 1 2B, 1 BB
  • CF Jake Cave: 1-4, 1 3B, 1 K
  • LHP Phil Coke: 6 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 5/5 GB/FB — 58 of 95 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 2 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 14 of 19 pitches were strikes (74%)
  • RHP Nick Goody: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K — seven pitches, six strikes

[Read more…]

Beltran, Betances, Miller selected to 2016 All-Star Game

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

For the second straight season, the Yankees will have three All-Star representatives. Carlos Beltran, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller were all selected for the 2016 All-Star Game, it was announced Tuesday night. Last year Betances, Mark Teixeira, and Brett Gardner represented the Yankees. Here are the full 2016 All-Star rosters.

Beltran has been far and away the Yankees’ best hitter this season. He owns a .296/.337/.567 (136 wRC+) batting line with 19 homers, seventh most in the AL. Only Mike Trout (169 wRC+), Nelson Cruz (141 wRC+), Jackie Bradley Jr. (141 wRC+), and Michael Saunders (140 wRC+) have been better among AL outfielders. This is Beltran’s ninth All-Star Game and, believe it or not, his first as an AL player. Who knew?

Betances is heading to his third straight All-Star Game even though this feels like the worst of his three full seasons in the big leagues. He’s set the bar rather high. Dellin has a 2.63 ERA (1.17 FIP) with 74 strikeouts in 41 innings. He leads all relievers in strikeouts and fWAR (+2.1), and he’s second in strikeout rate (46.3%). Betances has been insanely good this season. Again.

As for Miller, he is going to his first All-Star Game. He has a 1.47 ERA (1.91 FIP) with 66 strikeouts in only 36.2 innings. Miller leads all relievers in strikeout rate (48.2%), is second to Betances in strikeouts, and is fourth in fWAR (+1.4). He’s behind Betances, Kenley Jansen (+1.9), and Will Harris (+1.5). Needless to say, Miller is very deserving. I thought he was the only All-Star Game lock among Yankees players.

The Yankees don’t really have a snub for the All-Star Game. Masahiro Tanaka has a case for a spot, but he’s going to start this Sunday, which means he’s ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game anyway. Brian McCann could have made it given the generally awful crop of AL catchers, but alas. Didi Gregorius has been awesome, though there are too many good shortstops in the AL. Congrats to Beltran, Betances, and Miller. They were all very deserving.

Game 83: Tanaka Tuesday

(David Banks/Getty)
(David Banks/Getty)

Folks, I have bad news. The Yankees are playing another game tonight. I know, it sucks. The Yankees can’t score and they have like one good pitcher, and he needs an extra day of rest to actually be, you know, good. Luckily, that guy is on the mound tonight with an extra day rest, so there’s a chance tonight’s game will be marginally entertaining. Small victories, I suppose. Here is the White Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Carlos Beltran
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. SS Starlin Castro
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 2B Rob Refsnyder
  8. CF Aaron Hicks
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

It’s cloudy in Chicago and there’s a small chance of rain pretty much all night. Hopefully it won’t be anything that interrupts the game. That would suck. Tonight’s game will begin a bit after 8pm ET. You can watch on YES. Try to enjoy.

Roster Move: The Yankees have called up Chasen Shreve and sent down Luis Cessa, the team announced. Good. Cessa needs to pitch to continue his development, not sit around so he can throw two mop-up innings every ten days.

Sticking Eovaldi in the bullpen is a fine short-term move that creates some long-term questions

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Although he did not appear in the game, Nathan Eovaldi was in the bullpen yesterday afternoon and available in relief in needed. It was Eovaldi’s normal throw day between starts and the bullpen was short-handed after being worked hard over the weekend, so to the bullpen he went. Teams do stuff like this all the time.

Prior to yesterday’s game Joe Girardi said the Yankees plan to keep Eovaldi in the bullpen through Sunday, the end of the first half. Chad Green, who pitched so well Sunday, is going to make Eovaldi’s next start Friday. That’s pretty cool. The Yankees will reevaluate their rotation situation during the All-Star break next week.

“I envision Nathan as a starter. This is not something we are saying is long-term,” said Girardi to George King yesterday. “We kind of have a need right now … Right now the plans are for him to help us in the bullpen. I know he wants to start and he will start again. If I had (Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances today), he probably would have started (Friday).”

In the short-term, moving Eovaldi to the bullpen makes total sense. Not only is there a need right now, but he’s also been historically awful recently, allowing 31 runs and 57 baserunners — including 12 (!) home runs — in his last seven starts and 30.1 innings. You can’t keep running that guy out there. You just can’t. Eovaldi had a 3.71 ERA (3.58 FIP) through his ten first starts and now has a 5.54 ERA (5.14 FIP) through 16 starts.

What about the long-term? Well that’s a little more up in the air. Girardi said he still views Eovaldi as starter and I do too. At some point the performance needs to improve though. He’s been so bad of late that I kinda sorta expected him to land on the DL following his start Friday. This seems like something that goes beyond a mechanical flaw or general suckiness. An injury would have not surprised me at all. So, where do the Yankees and Eovaldi from here?

It’s not Eovaldi or Green. It’s Eovaldi or Nova.

Green is going to make Eovaldi’s start Friday, but this shouldn’t be an “Eovaldi or Green” situation. This should be an “Eovaldi or Ivan Nova” situation. Nova, despite his fine start Saturday, has been pretty bad of late too, pitching to a 5.06 ERA (4.81 FIP) in 74.2 innings. That’s after he put up a 5.07 ERA (4.87 FIP) in 94 innings last year. His performance has not improved as he’s gotten further away from Tommy John surgery.

Remember, Nova is a goner after the season. He’s going to be a free agent this winter, and while we can’t completely rule out the Yankees re-signing him, I think it would be surprise. Eovaldi has another year of team control remaining before free agency. The guy who is going to be around longer should be the priority here. Eovaldi has a chance to help the Yankees win next season. Nova doesn’t. Whenever Eovaldi is ready to rejoin the rotation, be it after the break or later in the season, Nova should not stand in his way.

What if Eovaldi dominates in relief?

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Good question, me. Most pitchers see their stuff tick up in the bullpen because they’re able to cut it loose for an inning. Pitchers have to pace themselves as a starter and hold a little something back for the second and third time through the lineup. Eovaldi is averaging a career high 98.0 mph with his fastball this season. Averaging. What’s he going to throw as a reliever? 106? Golly.

Should Eovaldi dominate in the bullpen, it would create something of a Catch-22. There would be the temptation to put him back in the rotation because he’s pitching well and would be more valuable there. At the same time, when a guy dominates in the bullpen, it’s really easy to just keep him there and stick with what works. What’s the right move? We can’t answer that without seeing Eovaldi in action in relief first.

In the short-term, reliever Eovaldi could shore up the middle innings hole that has hampered the Yankees all season. In the long-term, reliever Eovaldi could step into the end-game mix with Miller a trade candidate and Aroldis Chapman coming up on free agency (if he isn’t traded first). There is always room for another good reliever. Always always always.

* * *

Like I said, I still see Eovaldi as a starting pitcher, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested to see what he does in relief. He could very well end up throwing the fastest pitch in baseball history. That’s not hyperbole. This guy threw a pitch 102.5 mph last season while working as a starter. Eovaldi could be another Betances as a reliever.

For now let’s just worry about getting through the rest of the week. The Yankees have six games to go before the All-Star break, then everyone can catch their breath and figure out where things stand. Girardi made it sound like the team wants to get Eovaldi back into the rotation at some point, and these things usually have a way of working themselves out. Hopefully we see him in relief a few times before that just to see what he can do.

Trade Deadline Notes: Rangers, Nats, Miller, Moore, Hill

Hill. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Hill. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

With 82 games in the books, the Yankees are 40-42 and 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. There are six teams ahead of them in that wildcard race. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at a mere 7.0%. Contention is a long shot at this point, which means the trade deadline could be very, very interesting. Buster Olney (sub. req’d) says the Yankees are taking offers right now, which strikes me as the kind of thing they’d do anyway, regardless of their record. Anyway, here are some miscellaneous trade notes with the deadline three weeks and six days away.

Rangers, Nationals, Cubs scouting Yankees relievers

Scouts from the Rangers, Nationals, and Cubs were on hand to see the Yankees’ big three relievers in San Diego over the weekend, reports George King. The Cubs have been on those guys for a while now, but the Rangers and Nationals are new to the party. Then again, it’s not exactly a surprise they’re watching New York’s end-game arms. All three of those clubs are in contention and they all could use varying levels of bullpen help.

I know it seems sorta silly that teams are scouting Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman. It’s not like they need to send a scout to San Diego to tell them they’re awesome. They’re just doing their due diligence though. They want to see if someone’s mechanics have changed or anything like that. Basically, they’re looking for red flags. Everyone knows these guys are great. Is there reason to believe they may suddenly not be great?

Yanks tell Miller they haven’t “discussed or planned” trading him

Should the Yankees decide to sell, their best trade chip is most likely Miller. He’s awesome, he’s signed affordably for another two years, and he’s the ultimate team player. Lots and lots of clubs would love to add him to their roster. For now, the Yankees have told Miller they haven’t “discussed or planned” trading him, writes Barry Bloom.

“The media has been throwing a few things out there, but I’ve had reassurances from them at the times I’ve talked to them that it’s something that hasn’t been discussed or planned for or anything like that,” he said. “I think that’s kind of nice … But I have no trade protection. I’m at the mercy of that what they decide to do. I get it. It’s a business. I want to be here. I want to play here. But it’s impossible to avoid sometimes.”

I’ve seen that quote misconstrued as “the Yankees told Miller they aren’t trading him” and that’s not true. Well, I guess they may have told him that at some point, but that’s not what Miller is saying there. He’s only saying the Yankees have told him they haven’t yet had any trade talks about him. Miller’s not stupid. He knows he’s good and teams are going to want him. It comes with the territory.

Moore. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Moore. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

Yankees interested in Matt Moore

The Yankees are one of several teams with interest in Rays left-hander Matt Moore, reports Nick Cafardo. Tampa Bay is said to be ready to trade away their starters in an effort to take advantage of the seller’s market. The Rays are are not only in last place, they’re in the middle of a free fall right now. They’ve won only three of their last 19 games and are 10.5 games out of a wildcard spot.

Moore, 27, held the Angels to two runs in 6.2 innings yesterday. He has a 4.54 ERA (4.53 FIP) in 103 innings this year, which is better than the 5.43 ERA (4.82 FIP) he had in 63 innings last season, after returning from Tommy John surgery. Moore is signed super cheap (owed $28.5M through 2019 if the options in his deal are exercised) and he’s got a fantastic arm, but he’s now three years removed from the last time he was even an average starter. I can’t imagine the Rays would be eager to trade with the Yankees either.

Yankees scouting Rich Hill

According to Susan Slusser, the Yankees were among the many teams with a scout in attendance for Rich Hill’s start over the weekend. Hill returned from a groin strain to hold the Pirates to two runs in six innings. The 36-year-old has a 2.31 ERA (2.71 FIP) with a 27.8% strikeout rate in 12 starts and 70 innings this season. Simply put, he’s been one of the best starters in the AL in 2016. Go figure.

Hill, who is signed to a one-year deal worth $6M, figures to be an extremely hot rental commodity at the deadline. He might very well be the best starter traded this summer. In a vacuum, adding Hill to the rotation would make the Yankees a better team. I mean, duh. At this point though, giving up prospects for a 36-year-old rental is pretty much the last thing the Yankees should do at the deadline. They have to build for next year, not continue to fake contention this year.