Mailbag: Torres, Replay, Sanchez, QOs, Torreyes, Sheffield

I somehow managed to answer 17 questions this week. Don’t know how that happened. Some of the answers are kinda long too. So monster mailbag this week. Yeah. As always, the RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com email address is the place to send us anything. (Also, I’m way behind on guest post submissions. I’ll get to them soon.)

Torres. (Greg Lovett/New York Times)
Torres. (Greg Lovett/New York Times)

Brian asks: Could you see the Yankees moving Gleyber Torres to 3rd base? It has worked out well for the Orioles with Machado and also Bregman is doing well in that role for the Astros. Since Headley is average at best, we could trade him as we bring up Torres for 3rd and have a solid group of young infielders for several years.

Definitely possible, especially with Didi Gregorius establishing himself as a rock solid big league shortstop. Torres fits the typical third base offensive profile better than Jorge Mateo, and I also think he’s the more fundamentally sound defender. Not that Mateo is bad in the field, but Torres is more sure-handed and reliable. Mateo has a knack for being a little too flashy. Torres won’t wow you in the field. He just makes plays.

Shortstops are typically the best athletes on the field and that makes them the best candidates to move to other positions. Sliding over to second or third is a fairly common move, but we’ve also seen shortstops move to the outfield. Billy Hamilton did it, and in a roundabout way Mookie Betts did it to. (He was drafted as a shortstop, then moved to second, then to center, then to right.) There’s no reason to think Torres couldn’t play third. He has the tools. I don’t think the Yankees should move him just yet, but if they determine in the future that’s the best way to get him into the lineup, then move him over. I think Torres would pick up the hot corner quickly.

Mark asks: Any worry of a strike or lock out this off season? Or is everyone rolling in the deep, that no matter how the cba turns out, everyone is a winner?

I’m not worried about a work stoppage and there’s no indication the two sides have reached a sticking point in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. MLB is insanely healthy right now. Everyone is making a ton of money and everyone involved knows the best thing for business is to keep it going. A work stoppage would do a lot of unnecessary harm. Commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters at the owners’ meetings a few weeks ago that talks were progressing and he expects a deal to be reached. I fully expect the two sides to have a new deal in place this offseason. Not worried at all. MLB and MLBPA have too much to lose.

Sam asks (short version): Are you happy with instant replay? What causes the MLB offices to not overturn calls that are seemingly obvious?

The folks in MLB’s central review office need clear and convincing evidence to overturn a call on the field. A lot of plays that look like they should be overturned aren’t because the replays are deemed inconclusive. That’s the best answer I can give. We’ve all seen plays where there appears to be obvious grounds to overturn the call, but it doesn’t happen for whatever reason. I can’t explain those.

As for the replay system in general, I am happy with it, though there are ways it can be improved. I’d like to see them speed up the process somehow. Is there a reason the crew chief can’t keep a direct line cell phone in his pocket and call the review crew that way rather than go over for the headsets? Just spitballing here. The other thing I don’t like about replay are the ticky-tack reviews on a player who might have popped up off the base for a fraction of a second after a slide. Like this:

Yes, it’s important to get the calls right. Ultimately that is why the replay system is in place. Calls like that are not the reason replay was implemented though. That’s an unintended consequence. I’m not sure how you could eliminate those, but plays like that are by far my least favorite aspect of replay.

Joseph asks: In light of the team’s recent success and playoff run attempt, would you undo any of the trades made before the deadline this year?  (I wouldn’t, feel like we need to store as many assets as possible to trade for at least one top of the rotation starter eventually, although I do miss Miller every day).

I don’t think so. The only one you would even consider taking back is the Andrew Miller trade because he is under contract another two years, and the Yankees could have always traded him for a monster package somewhere down the line. There’s no doubt the Yankees would be a better team right now with Miller and Aroldis Chapman, but they were smart to take a big picture view at the deadline. They had to. The franchise was desperate for an infusion of young talent. That the Yankees managed to claw their way back into relevance in the postseason race is all gravy in my opinion.

Andrew asks: With Sanchez having the month he’s having, possible extension candidate?  Great arm behind plate, crazy advanced hitter.  Something along the lines of Longoria’s deal from a few years ago enough to get it done?

It might be a little too early for this. Generally speaking, yes, Sanchez is the kind of young player you’d look to lock up long-term, especially given his position. The kid just had what might legitimately be the best month of his entire career though. His leverage is at an all-time high. Waiting until the offseason, or even next offseason, might not be the worst idea.

Just for fun, here are some players who signed long-term extensions with less than a half-a-season of service time (via MLBTR’s Extension Tracker):

  • Jonathan Singleton: Five years, $10M with three club options ($35M max)
  • Salvador Perez: Five years, $7M with three club options ($26.75M max)
  • Evan Longoria: Six years, $17.5M with three club options ($44M max)

The Longoria deal seems most relevant to Sanchez. They were both high profile prospects who received big signing bonuses as amateurs, so they already had some financial security. Perez received a $65,000 bonus as an amateur and jumped at the guaranteed money. Singleton received a $200,000 bonus out of the draft and he actually signed his extension with the Astros as a minor leaguer. They only called him up after he agreed to the deal.

If the Yankees were to wait and sign Sanchez to an extension after next season, contract benchmarks based on players with similar service time would include Christian Yelich (seven years, $49.75M), Jedd Gyorko (five years, $35M), Yan Gomes (six years, $23M), Starlin Marte (six years, $31M), and Anthony Rizzo (seven years, $41M). What do you think, worth the wait? Putting the Longoria extension in front of him this coming offseason is worth a try, I’d say.

Sanchez. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty)
Sanchez. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty)

Jerry asks: I’ve looked at MLB.com’s scouting report on Gary Sanchez and his hit tool is only rated 45. Is his hit tool really below average because it certainly doesn’t look like it?

MLB.com gives him a 45 hit tool and they’re probably the low man on him. I’ve seen other publications (Baseball America, Keith Law, etc.) say they believe Sanchez can be a .270-.280 hitter in the big leagues, which is closer to a 55-60 hit tool on the 20-80 scale. A 50 is average and these days non-pitchers are hitting .259 collectively. Sanchez sure looks advanced for a hitter, right? He knows the strike zone and seems willing to go the other way. Based on everything I’ve seen and read over the years, I think a 50 hit tool is the minimum here. Anything less seems really light.

Frank asks: I have noticed that SP Will Carter has an amazing ratio of 36 ground outs to every 10 fly outs in AA Trenton. He pitches to a 4.42 ERA but I was wondering how much the quality of the minor league infields, as well as, minor league infield defense has played a part in his high ERA? Also do you think there would be a significant improvement should he pitch in the majors, given these factors?

Oh yes, that stuff absolutely plays a role in a pitcher’s ERA. Minor league fields are well groomed but not nearly as well as Major League fields, so there are bad hops and things like that. Minor league teams just don’t have the resources to care for them as well as MLB teams. Also, as talented as players like Mateo and Tyler Wade are, they’re still minor leaguers and they’re going to make mistakes on defense. It’s part of the learning process. Carter has a heavy mid-90s sinker and a 67.8% ground ball rate in the minors. Put him on a Major League field in front of a Major League defense, and his ground ball ability will be a real asset.

Adam asks: I counted 10 definites (Jansen, Trumbo, Ramos, Encarnacion, Napoli, Walker, Prado, Desmond, Cespedes, Bautista) and 3 strong maybes (Saunders, Fister, Lind) to receive the QO.  Is there anyone obvious that I am missing? and will this be the lowest amount of QO’s given since inception of the rule? Thanks

I think you’re being a wee bit generous with the qualifying offers. Adam Lind is essentially a DH and he’s hitting .230/.267/.429 (85 wRC+) this season. The qualifying offer is expected to be $16.7M this offseason. Put that in front of Lind and he’d take it in a heartbeat. I can’t see Mike Napoli getting the QO either, even as good as he’s been. He has a chronic condition in both of his hips. Neil Walker’s recent back surgery might take him out of the running too.

Adam is missing three QO candidates, in my opinion: Justin Turner, Matt Wieters, and Dexter Fowler. Turner and Fowler are no-brainers right now. Wieters is a bit more up in the air because he hasn’t had a great season, but still, quality catchers are hard to find. That gives us ten definites (Turner, Fowler, Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Wilson Ramos, Edwin Encarnacion, Martin Prado, Ian Desmond, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista) and four maybes (Wieters, Walker, Michael Saunders, Doug Fister).

Last year’s free agent class was ridiculously good and a whopping 20 players received the QO. That is by far a record. Only nine received it during the 2012-13 offseason, then 13 in 2013-14, and 12 in 2014-15. Looks like we’re heading for another 12-13 or so this year. I guess we could consider that a “normal” offseason at this point. I would be surprised if the Yankees forfeited a draft pick to sign one of those potential QO players this winter.

Eric asks: Do the Yankees sign a LH Reliever such as Boone Logan or Brett Cecil? Even if the Yankees bring back Chapman, he’s the closer so they would seem to be without any LH reliever options?

Outside of Miller, who was a special case because he is so much more than a left-on-left matchup guy, the Yankees have not had much luck signing free agent lefty relievers in recent years. Both Damaso Marte and Pedro Feliciano blew up on them (we’ll always have the 2009 World Series, Damaso!), and Matt Thornton was mediocre at best. The Yankees dumped him on a trade waiver claim four months into a two-year contract.

The list of non-Chapman free agent lefty relievers this coming offseason includes Logan, Cecil, Thornton, Mike Dunn, Javier Lopez, Marc Rzepczynski, and Travis Wood. Dunn has had some arm problems this year, otherwise he’d interest me the most out of those guys. Wood is more than a lefty specialist. He can go full innings if necessary, so he’d probably be my top target.

The Yankees have Chasen Shreve, James Pazos, Richard Bleier, and Tommy Layne on the 40-man roster right now. Dietrich Enns and/or Tyler Webb could be added this winter to avoid Rule 5 Draft exposure. I think the Yankees will stay in-house for lefty middle relievers. (By the way, I think the odds of them signing Chapman are, like, 85%.)

Torreyes. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
Torreyes. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

Quintin asks: Torreyes is undersized and has no power, but has been fairly productive when given the chance to play. Could he be a starter for a contending team, or is he just a utility player?

I liked the Ronald Torreyes pickup and wrote that a few times before the season. I think he’s a really good utility infielder, someone who won’t kill you if you’re forced to play him everyday for two weeks while someone is on the DL, but not a guy you want to run out there for 150 games a season. I know Torreyes was insanely hot last week, but remember, he was hitting .218/.274/.308 (54 wRC+) as recently as August 18th. His hot week pushed that up to .298/.348/.452 (115 wRC+).

Torreyes is still only 23 — he’s two months older than Greg Bird and three months older than Gary Sanchez — and he’s a contact machine, which makes him prone to these ridiculous BABIP fueled hot streaks. He did it in April and he did it again last week. Torreyes has no power, but he gets the bat on the ball, he plays solid defense, and he’s a high-energy player who is a very popular teammate. I’m wrong about players all the time, so if Torreyes becomes an everyday player at some point, great. I see him as a really nice utility guy, someone who can be on a championship team’s bench.

Michael asks: Mike- with seven teams vying for the two WC spots separated by only 3.5 games (as of 8/30) can you please explain the tiebreaker system should it come to that.

I am #TeamChaos and would love to see a three or four-team tie for a wildcard spot one of these years. A two-team tie is simple. The two teams just play a Game 163 and the winner is the second wildcard team. This happened in 2013, when the Rangers and Rays tied for the second wildcard spot. Tampa beat Texas in Game 163 and then beat the Indians in the wildcard game.

For a three-team tiebreaker, the three clubs are designated Team A, B, and C based on a ton of criteria. Head-to-head records, intra-division records, all sorts of stuff. Team A plays Team B, then the winner plays Team C. The winner of that game gets the wildcard spot and advances to the postseason. You want to be Team C in that scenario. You one get to play fewer one winner-take-all tiebreaker game.

A four-team tiebreaker is boringly straight forward. The four teams are designated Team A, B, C, and D through all that messy criteria, then Team A plays Team B and Team C plays Team D. The two winners meet, and the winner of that game then advances to the postseason as the second wildcard team. MLB has all the tiebreaker scenarios worked out. Here are all the gory details.

George asks: Thoughts about the possibility of not having a “clubhouse leader” or “veteran presence” next year, especially if they trade McCann? I remember reports about how huge Miller was, and going back even Jeter and Posada. CC seems like a great model for the pitching staff (owning up to mistakes, overcoming addiction,…), but the position players don’t seem to have a go to guy especially after ARod’s jettison.

I do think this is something the Yankees take seriously. Based on everything I’ve read and heard, CC Sabathia is the leader of the pitching staff and Brett Gardner and Brian McCann are essentially co-captains in the clubhouse. They’re the leadership guys. Sabathia is almost certainly going to be around next year. Gardner and McCann could be traded though and that will leave a leadership void. Mark Teixeira will be gone too.

Ultimately, I think you have to focus on talent and put the best players on the field, and hope the leadership core develops. Back in the day the sabermetric credo was that intangibles didn’t matter, or that they didn’t have nearly as much impact as everyone believed. I agree that intangibles and leadership should not be the tippy top priority, but it’s silly to say they don’t matter. They obviously do. I don’t think the Yankees would hesitate to trade Gardner and/or McCann for clubhouse reasons, but I do think the leadership void is something they’d look to address.

Ross asks: I noticed that when Ben Gamel got traded, he was immediately put in 15th place for the Mariners top 30 on MLB.com.  Gamel was 24th on Yankee list.  Orozco was 19th on the Mariners list and Stephen Tarpley was #17 for the and Tito Polo was #27 for the Pirates and with Gamel’s top 30 spot, none of those three cracked the Yankee top 30 (Freicer Perez took the new 30 spot).  Is their depth that crazy deep or did MLB.com mess up not putting any of those guys top-30?

No, MLB.com didn’t screw up. The Yankees have that much depth in their farm system right now. The deadline trades added 12 (12!) legitimate prospects to the system, a system that was on the rise this season as it is. The Yankees have some high-end talent at the top of the farm system (Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, etc.) but they also have a ton of guys who project to be average-ish big league players. Guys like Thairo Estrada and Donny Sands have really nice skill sets and they can’t sniff the top 30 right now (in my opinion). Overlooked pitchers like Will Carter and Caleb Smith have a chance to contribute at the MLB level too. The depth in the system right now is just absurd. I’ve never seen it better.

Sheffield. (@MiLB)
Sheffield. (@MiLB)

Michael asks: Think we could see Justus Sheffield as early as sometime in 2017? What about Kaprielian?

I wouldn’t completely rule it out, but I do think 2017 is unlikely for both guys. Sheffield is just now getting to Double-A, and he figures to start next season at that level too. The Yankees are probably going to take it very easy with James Kaprielian given his elbow injury. I doubt they’ll rush him up the ladder next season. The fact neither of these guys is on the 40-man roster works against them too. I’d call late 2017 a slight possibility for both Sheffield and Kaprielian with early-to-mid-2018 more likely.

Nick asks: Would sending Severino to the AFL be an option?  Let him get a few extra innings and work on his changeup there.

I don’t think so. The Arizona Fall League is not the best place to send a young starter to work on things. It’s a very hitter friendly league. There’s no reason Luis Severino couldn’t go to the Arizona Fall League, he doesn’t exceed the service time limit, but it’s usually not a place for top young pitchers. Not unless they missed significant time with injury. Winter ball could be more likely for Severino, and even that I think is a long shot. They might send him home after the big league season and let him recharge the batteries, then come to Spring Training ready to work next year.

Luke asks: Where is Slade Heathcott these days?

Heathcott signed with the White Sox a few weeks after being released by the Yankees. He’s hit .227/.373/.330 (109 wRC+) with a 26.1% strikeout rate in 32 games for their Triple-A affiliate, and MLB.com does not rank Slade among the top 30 prospects in a weak ChiSox farm system. I don’t know what Chicago’s 40-man roster situation is, but they’ll have to add Heathcott after the season to prevent him from becoming a minor league free agent.

Travis asks: Considering the almost identical stat lines between Taylor Widener’s 2016 debut and Chance Adams’s 2015 debut, do you think the Yankees may try to convert Widener to a starter for 2017? I know he has had some injury concerns the last year or so, but I wasnt sure to what extent.

Widener was the Yankees’ 12th round pick out of South Carolina this season, and he has a 0.52 ERA (1.61 FIP) with 52 strikeouts and 6 walks in 34.1 pro innings. That’s a 43.0% strikeout rate and a 5.0% walk rate. Widener did have some injuries in college, most notably ulnar nerve transposition surgery last fall. He’s also had some back and knee problems over the years. The nerve injury is serious stuff, but he seems to be over it.

I suspect we’re going to hear a lot of “this guy might be the next Chance Adams” going forward, but it’s unfair to put that on anyone. What Adams did this year is like 95th percentile outcome stuff. Best case scenario. Widener has a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider, though he lacks a changeup, and that’s why most project him as a reliever. It’s worth noting the Yankees have him working 3-4 innings stints, so perhaps they’re considering him for a starting role. Widener could be in for the Jonathan Holder plan. Try him as a starter for a year, and if they don’t like what they see, stick him back in the bullpen.

DotF: Florial triples and homers in Charleston debut

As always, we begin with the notes:

  • OF Zack Zehner was named to the High-A Florida State League end of season All-Star Team. Also, Pat Osborn was named the league’s Manager of the Year, so congrats to both. Zehner, last year’s 18th round pick, hit .282/.382/.379 (129 wRC+) with three homers in 107 games for Tampa.
  • OF Alex Palma was placed on the Low-A DL with a lower body injury, the team announced. His regular season is over but he could return for the postseason, depending on the severity of the injury. The 20-year-old hit .265/.292/.420 (101 wRC+) with six homers in 64 games this year.
  • OF Estevan Florial was bumped up from rookie Pulaski to replace Palma, the team announced. Pulaski’s season ends today, so Florial is getting a late-season cameo in full season ball. Neat.

Triple-A Scranton (6-1 win over Buffalo) the win clinches at least a tie of the division title

  • CF Mason Williams: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB — he’s locked in right now
  • RF Cesar Puello: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP — another hit-by-pitch … he’s a magnet
  • 3B Rob Refsnyder: 1-5, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • 1B Chris Parmelee: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 E (fielding) — ten homers in 61 games for the RailRiders
  • DH Kyle Higashioka: 1-5, 2 K
  • LF Jake Cave: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB
  • LHP Phil Coke: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 5/5 GB/FB — 68 of 93 pitches were strikes (73%)
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 2 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 12 of 16 pitches were strikes
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — eleven of 16 pitches were strikes (69%) … pitching tonight is a pretty good indication he won’t be called up tomorrow

[Read more…]

Thursday Night Open Thread

The Yankees have a much-needed off-day today. The bullpen is really worn out, and the last two weeks or so have been really taxing in general. Fans could use the off-day as much as the players, I think. So, with no game tonight, I instead command you to read my buddy Paul Swydan on MLB’s knack for unintended consequences. I applaud the league and commissioner Rob Manfred for looking for ways to improve the game, but it’s okay to leave some things the way they are.

Here is tonight’s open thread. The baseball schedule is very light today. Only four games! And one was a day game! The Mets are playing tonight and MLB Network is showing the Giants and Cubs. There’s also a ton of NFL preseason games on too. Apparently the college football season begins tonight too. So talk about any of those games or anything else right here. Just no religion or politics. Get that outta here.

Revisiting the MLBTR Archives: September 2011

Darvish. (Jeff Bottari/Getty)
Darvish. (Jeff Bottari/Getty)

The final month of the regular season has arrived, which means it’s time for another trip through the MLB Trade Rumors archives. We’re now in September 2011. September usually isn’t a big month for rumors. Both the trade deadline and the August 31 deadline to acquire postseason eligible players are in the rear-view mirror, so September usually features a lot of speculation and looking ahead to the offseason.

The Yankees entered September 2011 with an 81-53 record despite the season long concerns about their rotation. They were 1.5 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East and 7.5 games up on the Rays for the wildcard spot. That was the last season of the single wildcard system. The Yankees made no notable moves at the trade deadline in 2011, and all they did in August was add some scrap heap relievers. Let’s dig into the MLBTR archives.

September 1st, 2011: List Of Teams Interested In Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish apparently intends to pitch in the Major Leagues next year and it would be surprising if he doesn’t draw interest from ten-plus teams … Here’s a list of which teams have been linked to Darvish in the last calendar year:

  • The Yankees have scouted him heavily.

It’s easy to forget now given all the success he’s had, but there were a lot of questions about Darvish back in the day. There were concerns about his slider and how it would translate to MLB with the different baseballs, things like that. The fact Hideki Irabu and Daisuke Matsuzaka fell so short of expectations didn’t help matters either. Darvish was viewed as a potential ace but not a sure thing.

The Yankees did reportedly place a bid for Darvish, though obviously they did not win. It was reported at the time that the Rangers blew everyone else out of the water. Whatever the Yankees bid, it wasn’t close. In hindsight, going hard after Darvish and letting CC Sabathia leave via his opt-out was the right move. It was not so obvious at the time. Darvish was an unknown and Sabathia had a Cy Young caliber season in 2011.

September 1st, 2011: Yankees Designate Ryan Pope For Assignment

The Yankees designated Ryan Pope for assignment, according to Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat (on Twitter). The 25-year-old right-hander was not on the Yankees’ active roster; the club had to designate him to create 40-man roster space for Jesus Montero and Scott Proctor.

Ryan Pope! He was the team’s third round pick in 2007, and the Yankees made him the first player ever drafted out of the Savannah College of Art & Design. (SCAD has had two other players drafted since then.) Pope flamed out as a starter in the minors but showed enough in relief to be protected from the 2010 Rule 5 Draft. Eventually the bullpen didn’t work out either. Pope became a minor league free agent after the 2013 season and has been out of baseball since. He has a 4.34 ERA in 512 career minor league innings, and he did make it as far as Triple-A.

September 3rd, 2011: Front Office Notes: Beane, Cubs, Epstein, Friedman

Three AL East general managers will likely be staying put, says FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link).  The Yankees and Brian Cashman are mutually interested in continuing their relationship

For a while in 2011 there was talk Cashman would either leave the Yankees because he was fed up with ownership going over his head — they panic signed Rafael Soriano during the 2010-11 offseason — or ownership would let him go for whatever reason. Whenever Cashman’s contract is up, there’s always talk he could leave or be let go, though I think that 2011 season was the first time I believed it was really possible. Before that it always seemed like pointless sports radio talk. It seemed possible then, but nope, he signed another three-year contract. And another one after that.

September 3rd, 2011: MLB Voids Contract Of Yankees’ Paniagua

THURSDAY: Major League Baseball has voided the $1.1MM contract of Yankees pitching prospect Juan Carlos Paniagua and suspended the right-hander for one year, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. MLB hasn’t specified — even to the Yankees — why Paniagua has been suspended, but “one-year suspensions are usually reserved for a player who presents false information to teams about his age or identity,” writes Badler.

The Paniagua saga went on for several years. He initially signed with the Diamondbacks for $17,000 in 2009, but MLB voided the deal and suspended him for a year because of falsified paperwork. While suspended, Paniagua added like 10 mph to his fastball, so the Yankees gave him $1.1M. Except that deal was voided and he was again suspended for a year after MLB found he was still using falsified documents. Once that suspension was over, the Cubs gave him $1.5M. The paperwork was legitimate that time. Paniagua was a significant prospect at one point, but not any more. He’s 26 and has a 3.75 ERA (4.06 FIP) in 62.1 relief innings for Chicago’s Double-A affiliate. Meh.

September 6th, 2011: Yankees Designate Lance Pendleton For Assignment

The Yankees designated right-hander Lance Pendleton for assignment, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (on Twitter). Though active roster spots are plentiful this time of year, the move opens up a spot on New York’s 40-man roster for George Kontos, whose contract was selected from the minors.

Pants Lendelton! I saw him make his MLB debut at Yankee Stadium wearing No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day. Three scoreless innings too. Pendleton was lost on waivers to the Astros in September 2011 but he only threw 4.2 innings for them. He spent the next season in Triple-A with the Rays and that was it. Out of baseball after 2012. Pendleton was a fringe prospect who kinda got hyped into something more, somehow. It was weird. He was like the Brady Lail of 2011.

September 7th, 2011: New York Notes: Cano, Johan, Reyes

Yankees GM Brian Cashman explained to John Harper of the New York Daily News why he was “very comfortable saying no” to the Mariners’ request to include Ivan Nova or Eduardo Nunez along with Jesus Montero in his offer for Cliff Lee last summer.  Montero’s stock is higher right now, but the debate remains open as to whether the Mariners should have chosen him over Justin Smoak.

To bad they can’t get a redo on that one, huh? The Yankees were a legitimate World Series contender in 2010 and Lee could have very well put them over the top. He would have changed everything. Remember, the Yankees lost to Lee and the Rangers in the ALCS. Imagine if they had him instead?

David Adams’ ankle supposedly threw a wrench into the trade, prompting the Mariners to ask for Nova or Nunez instead. There’s been speculation Smoak was the guy Seattle wanted all along, and once the Rangers put him on the table, they used Adams’ injury to back out of the deal with the Yankees. Who knows. Letting Nova or Nunez stand in the way of a Lee trade was not Cashman’s finest moment.

September 10th, 2011: Quick Hits: Red Sox, Iannetta, Santana, Willis

Andruw Jones has been playing all season with a small tear in his left knee, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.  The Yankees discovered the injury during Jones’ physical but signed the veteran outfielder anyway  (both Twitter links).

Andruw was awesome with the Yankees in 2011. He was their designated southpaw mashing fourth outfielder, and he hit .247/.356/.495 (132 wRC+) overall that season, including .286/.384/.540 (152 wRC+) against lefties. And he did this too:

Getting Mark Teixeira‘s face to do this …

Mark Teixeira

… was Andruw’s finest moment in pinstripes. He really was the perfect complement to Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson. The 2012 season didn’t go too well. But 2011? That was awesome. Pretty amazing Jones played the entire year with some sort of tear in his knee.

September 11th, 2011: Yankees Designate Steve Garrison For Assignment

The Yankees have cleared a 40-man roster spot for Austin Romine by designating Steve Garrison for assignment, tweets Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

Another blast from the past. I forgot all about Steve Garrison. The Yankees claimed him off waivers from the Padres during the 2010-11 offseason and he spent most of 2011 in Triple-A. Garrison did get to pitch in the big leagues that year though. He faced Smoak and Franklin Gutierrez on July 25th, and got them both to fly out. That’s it. That’s his entire MLB career. Nine pitches. Garrison spent last season in an independent league but does not seem to be active anywhere this year.

September 12th, 2011: Pedro Feliciano’s 2012 Season, Career In Question

Pedro Feliciano underwent surgery on his left rotator cuff last week, a procedure that will threaten the southpaw’s 2012 season, reports MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch and Taylor Soper.  Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he “would be surprised if [Feliciano] pitched next year” and also noted that it would be difficult for Feliciano to recover from such an operation at age 35.

Blah, what a disaster the Feliciano signing was. At least it was only $8M, I guess. Feliciano did actually pitch in the Yankees’ organization in 2012 though. He was on a minor league rehab assignment following shoulder surgery and was preparing to join the big league roster in September, but he rolled an ankle covering first base in the minors, and that was that. Feliciano never threw a meaningful pitch for the Yankees. He did appear in 25 games for the 2013 Mets though, then spent 2014 in Triple-A with the Cardinals. Hasn’t pitch since.

September 16th, 2011: Martin Expressed Interest In Staying With Yankees

A month ago, Ben Nicholson-Smith identified Russell Martin as a non-tendered player who was contributing with a new team. If Martin gets his way, he’ll be with that new team in 2012 as well. The backstop told George A. King III of The New York Post that he’s interested in staying with the Yankees beyond the season.

Was non-tendering Russell Martin a thing? I don’t remember that being a thing. Keeping him seemed like a no-brainer. I guess the thinking was non-tender Martin and make Jesus Montero the starting catcher, but nah. Martin hit .237/.324/.408 (100 wRC+) with 18 homers in 2011 and he was great defensively. Non-tendering him would have been silly, even if the Yankees had Buster Posey v2.0 waiting in Triple-A. They could have tendered and traded him, if anything.

September 21st, 2011: Rosenthal On Moneyball

Yankees GM Brian Cashman admits that the Red Sox “were having a great deal of success with players of lesser ability,” adding, “I studied what they were doing to some degree, adjusted accordingly, brought the Yankees up to speed, brought us into the 21st century.”

I remember Cashman saying this was the reason they hired Joe Kerrigan as bullpen coach in 2006. Kerrigan had been Boston’s pitching coach for a number of years and Cashman wanted to pick his brain. After all their success in the late-1990s, the Yankees fell behind the times a bit in the early-2000s. A lot changed during the 2005-06 offseason. Kerrigan was hired and Billy Eppler’s pro scouting department was created, most notably.

September 23rd, 2011: Cashman We Tried To Drive Up Crawford’s Price

When the Yankees wined and dined Carl Crawford during last December’s winter meetings, most assumed he was their backup plan to Cliff Lee. Crawford agreed to a deal with the Red Sox before the end of the meetings and Lee eventually went back to the Phillies, but GM Brian Cashman told ESPN New York he was never really interested in signing the outfielder in the first place…

“I actually had dinner with the agent to pretend that we were actually involved and drive the price up,” said Cashman. “The outfield wasn’t an area of need, but everybody kept writing Crawford, Crawford, Crawford, Crawford. And I was like, ‘I feel like we’ve got Carl Crawford in Brett Gardner, except he costs more than $100 million less, with less experience.'”

The Yankees were connected to Crawford heavily during the 2010-11 offseason — there were even reports Cashman had dinner with Crawford’s agent at the Winter Meetings — and it never really did make sense. Gardner was coming off a very good first full season and they had Granderson and Nick Swisher as well. They didn’t need another high-priced outfielder. Turns out they were just trying to make sure the Red Sox or whoever else were going to pay top dollar for Crawford.

Cashman & Co. drove up the price for Jacoby Ellsbury the same way during the 2013-14 offseason too. Wait … dammit!

September 25th, 2011: AL East Notes: Reyes, Rays, Francona, Montero

The Yankees should give Jesus Montero a chance to catch the season’s last few games to see if he’s a viable option behind the plate, argues Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News.

I agreed with Mr. Bondy’s sentiment. The Yankees made it very clear that was not going to happen though. They called up Montero on September 1st in 2011 and he caught three games the rest of the season. He was lifted for a defensive replacement in two of the three games too.

Gary Sanchez, meanwhile, has caught three games this week alone, and 13 of the team’s last 16 games overall. That tells you all you need to know about how the Yankees feel about Sanchez as a catcher compared to Montero as a catcher. Sanchez is not Yadier Molina or anything like that, but he is way better than Montero ever was behind the plate.

Yankeemetrics: The Great Escape [Aug. 29-31]

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Too little, too late
The Yankees fleeting playoff hopes hit a speed bump on Monday night as their late-inning comeback fell short in Kansas City, losing 8-5 to Royals.

Following another confounding outing by Michael Pineda and another middle-relief implosion, the Yankees found themselves down seven runs after the seventh inning, and despite battling back to twice getting the tying run at the plate, they couldn’t get the decisive hit.

After a four-run rally in the eighth pulled the Yankees within three runs, Mark Teixeira grounded out to end the inning with a man on first and second. That predictable #RISPFAIL dropped his batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs to .100 (4-for-40), the third-lowest among all players with at least 40 at-bats this season.

Starlin Castro also had a chance to be the hero in the ninth inning when came up with two outs and two men on. Kelvin Herrera threw him three straight curves; Castro took the first two for strikes then whiffed on the third one in the dirt for the final out. Castro’s line on curveballs this season fell to 6-for-52 (.115), the second-lowest batting average against the pitch in MLB (min. 50 at-bats).

In what has become an all-too-familiar tale for a Pineda start, the enigmatic right-hander showed flashes of dominance but ultimately the results in the box score were disappointing. He got rocked early, giving up three runs on five hits in the first inning, then retired 15 (!) straight batters in the second through sixth innings, before being removed in the seventh after giving up singles to the first two men he faced (who both eventually scored).

Pineda’s struggles in the opening frame are nothing new; after Monday’s disaster, he was tied for the most first-inning hits allowed and the second-most first-inning earned runs allowed, and his 7.62 first-inning ERA was the second-highest in the majors (min. 20 starts).

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Just call him Chasen Houdini
The Yankees pulled off one of their most stunning and nerve-wracking wins of the season on Tuesday, edging out the Royals, 5-4, for a ginormous victory against one of the teams they’re chasing in the wild card race.

They were celebrating at the end of the game thanks to a clutch hit in extra innings by the oft-maligned Jacoby Ellsbury, and a remarkable Houdini act to seal the win by improbable closer Chasen Shreve.

Ellsbury drove in the game-winning run in the 10th with a two-out, bases-loaded infield hit. He improved to 6-for-11 (.545) with 12 RBI with the bases loaded this season, tied with Mike Trout for the best batting average in MLB (min. 10 at-bats).

Shreve notched his first career save after escaping a bases-loaded, one out jam in the bottom of the 10th by fanning Kendrys Morales on three pitches and then getting Salvador Perez to fly out to center.

Over the last 25 seasons, the only other Yankee pitcher to strike out a guy with the bases loaded while protecting a lead in extras was — unsurprisingly — Mariano Rivera. The G.O.A.T got Mark Reynolds to swing through strike three for the final out of a 6-5, 10-inning win in Arizona on June 23, 2010.

Lost in the drama of the final frame was another solid outing by Masahiro Tanaka, who was removed following the rain delay after throwing five innings of two-run ball with four strikeouts and no walks. He finished the month of August with a nearly flawless strikeout-to-walk ratio of 38-to-1 (!), with the lone walk coming on Aug. 24 against the Mariners.

Tanaka is the first Yankee pitcher since at least 1913 to complete a month with at least 35 strikeouts and no more than one walk. In fact, just three other major-league pitchers in that 104-season span have struck out 38 or more guys and walked one or fewer in a calendar month: Cliff Lee (54 K, 1 BB in Sept. 2013), Hisashi Iwakuma (39 K, 1 BB in July 2014) and Javier Vazquez (39 K, 0 BB in May 2005).

Trading an out for a win
It was deja vu for the Yankees on Wednesday as they enjoyed free baseball for a second straight night and again notched a huge win in extras. It marked the first time the Yankees have ever won back-to-back extra-inning games versus the Royals, and the first time they’ve done that versus any team since Sept. 21-22, 2012 against the A’s.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

With the win, the Yankees are now 22-9 in games decided by one run, the second-best record in MLB behind the Rangers (30-8!) this year. Their .710 winning percentage in one-run games would be the highest single-season mark in franchise history; the current record is held by the 1963 team, which went 36-17 (.679).

This time they rallied from a four-run deficit and finally took the lead in the top of the 13th when Brian McCann delivered a sac fly to left field, scoring Didi Gregorius to make it 5-4. It was the latest go-ahead sac fly by a Yankee since Bernie Williams lofted a walk-off fly out in the 13th inning against the Red Sox on May 3, 1995.

McCann’s heroics wouldn’t have been possible without an incredible performance by the bullpen. It was truly a team effort as six relievers combined for seven scoreless and hitless innings. This was the first time ever that the Yankees won a game where they used six different relievers who each got at least one out and allowed no hits.

How did we get this far into Yankeemetrics without mentioning Mr. Gary Sanchez? Let’s fix that. Despite going 1-for-5 on Wednesday, Sanchez still finished August with a .389 batting average and .832 slugging percentage in 24 games.

Over the past 100 years, two players in their age-23 seasons or younger have hit at least .375 and slugged over .825 in any calendar month (min. 100 plate appearances): Gary Sanchez and Joe DiMaggio in July 1937.

Thoughts before the Yankees head to Baltimore

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Tomorrow night the Yankees open a crucial three-game series with the Orioles in Baltimore. The O’s sit in the second wildcard spot at the moment and the Yankees are 2.5 games back with both the Astros and Tigers ahead of them as well. Huge series. Huge. Here are some thoughts on the off-day.

1. I really don’t like the decision to use Luis Severino out of the bullpen. I understand the middle relief is a disaster right now and the Yankees need help, but he’s too important to the team long-term, and his development should be a priority. Severino clearly has work to do with his changeup and his secondary pitches in general, and the bullpen isn’t a great place to work on that stuff. Not if the Yankees intend to use him in semi-important situations, which seems likely. I’d rather see Severino stay in Triple-A and remain a starter with the RailRiders through the end of the postseason, then rejoin the Yankees in whatever role later in the month. Hopefully he has enough of an impact in relief that putting the development of his changeup on hold is worth it.

2. Speaking of Severino, the Yankees could have called him up Tuesday instead of Chasen Shreve. They knew they were going to use Severino out of the bullpen that night ahead of time, it’s not like they hatched that plan five minutes before first pitch, but they decided to keep him down there and call up Shreve. Giving him a tune-up bullpen appearance in Triple-A makes sense, no doubt about it, though I think service time may have been a factor too. Severino needed to spend 73 days in the minors this season to delay free agency. He was down 56 days earlier this summer when he came back from his injury, leaving another 17 days. The Yankees sent Severino down after his start on August 14th, so August 15th was day one of 17. Day 17 of 17 was yesterday. Calling him up instead of Shreve on Tuesday would have meant missing out an extra year of control by one stupid day. By waiting to call him up until rosters expand, the Yankees gained control of Severino’s age 28 season in 2022. That had to factor into their decision to call up Shreve over Severino, right? Important disclaimer: my math is not official. There are some quirky service time rules that may render all this moot.

3. Rosters expand today, but since the Yankees are off, they probably won’t announced their call-ups until tomorrow. My official guess for the first wave of call-ups, meaning the guys who will join the team tomorrow in Baltimore: Severino, Nick Goody, Kirby Yates, Richard Bleier, Rob Refsnyder, and the just acquired Eric Young Jr. Six guys right out of the chute. We know Severino is coming up because the Yankees have been preparing him for a relief role. Yates was sent to rookie Pulaski earlier this week specifically because their season ends today, allowing them to circumvent the ten-day rule and bring him back tomorrow. They wouldn’t do that unless they were planning to bring him right back. Young was acquired yesterday to be the designated pinch-runner. Goody and Refsnyder have been up-and-down all year, and Bleier has been working as a starter in Triple-A, so he’ll give them a much-needed long man. Others like Bryan Mitchell, Mason Williams, James Pazos, and Johnny Barbato have to wait a little longer for their call-ups, possibly until after the Triple-A postseason. (The Ben Gamel trade and Aaron Hicks’ hamstring injury could force them to bring up Williams sooner, however.)

4. The pitching staff aside from Masahiro Tanaka and the big three relievers has mostly stunk this season, so I’m not surprised to see folks on Twitter and in our comments saying it’s time for pitching coach Larry Rothschild to go. I get it. When part of the team underperforms, the first response is always fire the coach. I couldn’t disagree more though. The fingers are being pointed in the wrong place. The Yankees have placed too much emphasis on size and velocity in recent years — I get it, those are unteachable skills, which put them in demand — and not nearly enough on command and pitchability in my opinion. You needn’t look beyond Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi to see you need more than big stuff to succeed in the big leagues. Rothschild is very highly regarded within the industry and as outsiders, it’s really hard for us to evaluate a coach’s performance. All their work happens behind the scenes. I thought the Yankees made a big mistake scapegoating hitting coach Kevin Long two years ago, and firing Rothschild would be more of the same. The big stuff/bad command approach ain’t working. The players and the philosophy have to change more than anything. These guys are coaches, not miracle workers.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

5. I think Adam Warren might be nursing some kind of minor injury. He hasn’t look quite as crisp lately, and when the Yankees were on the West Coast last week, Joe Girardi seemed to indicate he didn’t have Warren available for a few days. At one point he went six days between appearances, starting with the Mariners series. Then last night, in an obvious situation to use him for more than one inning, he faced two batters and threw seven pitches as the game went to extra innings Of course, Warren has made four appearances in the last five days, so chances are I’m dead wrong. And even if he is nursing something, it’s obviously not bad enough to keep him from playing. Warren stunk with the Cubs, then came back to the Yankees and was pretty awesome for a few weeks, and now he kinda stinks again. It could be those few weeks of success were just a mirage. I just wonder if there’s maybe a little something else going on, or was at some point recently.

6. We can finally close the book on all the deadline trades now that we know the return for Ivan Nova. The Yankees did really, really well. Far better than I thought they would, to be honest. They even managed to get two legitimate prospects back for Nova, a rental starter who hadn’t pitched well since returning from Tommy John surgery last year. The Yankees landed 12 prospects plus Warren for three impending free agents and one reliever. One really great reliever, but still one reliever. I’m really pleased with the talent the deadline sale fetched. Who knows if these prospects will work out. They’re all full of risk. But when you’re trading impending free agents and a reliever, getting high-end talent like Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres is the way to go. The 2016 trade deadline may prove to be the most important event in the team’s history since the 2008-09 offseason.

7. The winner of yesterday’s Gamel trade is Ben Gamel. I’m glad he’s going somewhere he’ll get an opportunity to play. The Mariners figure to have at least one outfield opening next year — they’re going to decline Nori Aoki’s option, maybe Seth Smith’s too — and Gamel could get an extended look there. He was facing the very real possibility of spending a third straight year in Triple-A in 2017 had he remained with the Yankees. The team got two interesting lower level arms for an outfielder they don’t really need. (They still have so much lefty hitting outfield depth.) It made sense to flip Gamel. Hopefully he gets a chance to stick in the big leagues with Seattle now.

8. I mentioned this the other day but it’s worth repeating: I love that the kids are playing a role as the Yankees chase a postseason spot. Even if they fall short, this is a good experience. Remember, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada were around as spare part players in September 1995. It was good to soak in all those meaningful games and see what it takes to win at this level. How could this not be good experience? Gary Sanchez is hitting in the middle of the lineup, Aaron Judge is playing everyday, Severino and Ben Heller are poised to be bullpen staples in September … this is all a wonderful experience for these kids. The Yankees want these players to grow into the core of their next championship team. Well, what better time to have them get their first taste of postseason race baseball than right now?

Yanks rally from down 4-0, outlast Royals 5-4 in 13 innings

Man, what an amazing and unexpected win. The Yankees were down 4-0 in the blink of an eye Wednesday night, but the pitching staff went into lockdown mode and gave the offense not only a chance to tie the game, but win it in extras. The final score was 5-4 Yankees in 13 innings. They managed to take two of three from the red hot Royals in Kansas City. What a game. What a series.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Cessa Settles Down
Luis Cessa‘s worst Major League start was, in a way, also his most impressive. This was the first time he faced some real adversity. He dominated a weak Angels lineup in his first start, then got a ton of run support against the Orioles in his second start. This was an important game, and right away, Cessa put the Yankees in a 2-0 hole. He hung a first pitch curveball to Kendrys Morales that went for a two-run home run in the first inning.

A two-base error by Chase Headley and a double by Alcides Escobar gave the Royals a 3-0 lead in the second, then, in the third, Eric Hosmer poked a solo home run just inside the foul pole to the opposite field. Cessa didn’t even make a bad pitch. It was a changeup right where Gary Sanchez wanted it. Hosmer just went out and got it. The Yankees were down 4-0 after three innings and Cessa was looking shaky as hell. The only pitch he had working was the changeup. He couldn’t locate anything else.

The bullpen was a little short thanks to Tuesday night’s rain delay and extra innings affair, so Joe Girardi couldn’t afford to pull Cessa early. He had to stick with him and get some length, and to Cessa’s credit, he settled down and retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced. One of the two baserunners was an infield single. No, Cessa was not good overall (6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR), but he didn’t completely melt down either. He stopped the bleeding and gave the offense a chance to get back into the game. Way to grind it out, Luis.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Rally To Tie
Through five innings the Yankees could only muster three singles and one double against former Yankee Ian Kennedy. They did put runners on first and second with one out in the fifth, but Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner both flew out to end the rally. It seemed like one of those nights for the offense. They were down early and weren’t going to be able to get anything going. We’ve seen that happen enough this season.

But! The Yankees did not go quietly. They rallied for three runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to tie the game 4-4. The big blow in the sixth inning was Starlin Castro‘s booming two-run home run. Kennedy gave up a ton of long fly balls all night, balls that probably would have been home runs at Yankee Stadium, and it wasn’t until the sixth inning that he paid for one. No. 19 of the season for Castro, extending his career high.

Hicks played a huge role in the team’s fourth run of the game. He worked a one-out walk to end Kennedy’s night, then went first-to-third on Gardner’s bloop single. It looked like it might drop in no man’s land, but who knows with Kansas City’s outfield defense. Hicks read it well and was going first-to-third all the way. Jacoby Ellsbury drove him in with a sacrifice fly to tie the game. (One pitch earlier, Cheslor Cuthbert came up just short on his diving catch attempt on Ellsbury’s foul pop-up. Huge.)

(Ed Zurga/Getty)
(Ed Zurga/Getty)

No Runs SLWPHB
For at least one series, the good version of Chasen Shreve returned. He recorded the final two outs of Tuesday’s nail-biting win, and in this game he chucked two scoreless innings in relief of Cessa. A scoreless seventh and a scoreless eighth. He cut right through the top and middle of the lineup too. Man, getting 2015 Shreve back these last few weeks would be huge. The Yankees need all the help they can get in the middle innings.

The two bullpens traded zeros until the 13th inning. Guys named Brian Flynn and Blake Parker and Brooks Pounders and Matt Strahm all saw action. Parker almost gave it up in the 11th on a walk, a hit batsman, and two stolen bases, but Paulo Orlando lined out to Castro to end the inning. That was pretty dicey. Ben Heller, who looked like a deer in the headlights Tuesday, threw with conviction in the bottom of the 12th and got three quick ground outs. Much, much better Ben.

The Yankees blew a bases loaded, one out opportunity in the top of the 12th, partly due to some bad luck. Sanchez ripped a line drive towards left, but Cuthbert was standing right there. Mark Teixeira swung at ball four (via Brooks Baseball) …

Mark Teixeira Chris Young

… and grounded out to end the inning. Blah. At least Chris Young gave the Yankees another chance in the 13th. Didi Gregorius singled and Castro doubled to start the frame, then Brian McCann got the run in with a two-strike sac fly. After all of that, the Yankees led 5-4 in the 13th. Unfortunately Aaron Judge struck out and Gardner grounded out, so no insurance runs scored. One-run lead it is.

Dellin Betances came on for the 13th inning save opportunity, and as he tends to do, he looked like he had no idea where the ball was going. Betances walked Cuthbert to start the inning, which is bad for many reasons. Most notably because he’s easy to steal against and the middle of the order was coming up. Things were looking ominous until Hosmer hit a tapper back up the middle that Dellin fielded between his damn legs and turned into a 1-6-3 double play. I mean, what?

Dellin Betances

Morales hit a slightly scary but ultimately routine fly ball to right to end the game as the very next batter. The bullpen: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. The Royals’ last hit was Salvador Perez’s infield single in the sixth. Their last hit to the outfield was Perez’s one-out single in the third. Shreve, Parker, and Heller in particular came up huge. The Yankees were long overdue for a “random relievers thrown five scoreless innings” game, and those three did it. Bravo.

Leftovers
The Yankees went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and of course the one hit didn’t even score a run. It was Gardner’s single in the 12th, which advanced Headley to third. Third base coach Joe Espada threw up the stop sign with one out, which made sense because Orlando has a strong arm. No one could have known Orlando would airmail the third to the backstop. Alas.

All told the Yankees had eleven hits, including three by Castro and two each by Gardner and Headley. Starlin was a monster in August. He hit .313/.333/.571 in the month. Drove in 24 runs in 28 games too. McCann and Hicks were the only starters without a hit, but McCann had the game-winning sac fly and Hicks playing a big role in the game-tying run. Contributions up and down the lineup.

And finally, in case you missed it earlier, Hicks left the game with a right hamstring strain. He hurt himself busting it down the line on a ground ball. Remember to never hustle, kids. The Yankees didn’t say anything about the severity of the injury. I imagine an MRI is forthcoming.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, head on over to ESPN. The Yankees are only 2.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. Amazing. MLB.com is the place for the video highlights. We have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. Here’s the absolutely ridiculous win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are done in Kansas City and now they’re heading to Baltimore for yet another important series against a wildcard competitor. But first: a much-needed off-day. The Yankees don’t have a game Thursday. When the series at Camden Yards starts Friday, Dylan Bundy will be on the mound for the O’s. For some reason the Yankees have all three of their starters for the weekend listed as TBA. Okie dokie. Friday is Chad Green‘s spot, for what it’s worth.