Fan Confidence Poll: November 3rd, 2014

2014 Record: 84-78 (633 RS, 664 RA, 77-85 pythag. record), didn’t qualify for postseason

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

Weekend Open Thread

Sunday: On this date five years ago, the Yankees dropped Game Five of the 2009 World Series by the score of 8-6. A.J. Burnett got clobbered for six runs in only two innings on three days’ rest. Chase Utley hit two more homers, his fourth and fifth of the World Series. The Yankees actually rallied for four runs against Cliff Lee and Ryan Madson in the eighth and ninth innings to make things interesting, but the hole was simply too deep. The Yankees still led the series three games to two after the loss. Here’s the box score.

Here’s your open thread for the last few hours of the weekend. The Knicks are playing and Ravens-Steelers is the late NFL game. You know what to do by now, so have at it.

Quiz!: The 2014 Yankees roster Sporcle quiz is out. It’s a good way to drive yourself nuts for ten minutes. I got 53 out of 58 and didn’t miss anyone obvious.

[Read more…]

Update: Yankees expected to make qualifying offer to Robertson, still undecided about Kuroda

Sunday: Jon Heyman says the Yankees are still undecided about making Kuroda the qualifying offer. RAB readers said they would make him the offer, for what it’s worth (nothing!). Heyman says giving Kuroda the qualifying offer would effectively limit his options to the Yankees and retirement for next season since teams are unlikely to give up a first round pick for a soon-to-be 40-year-old starter.

Saturday: Via Jack Curry: The Yankees are expected to make David Robertson the $15.3M qualifying offer by Monday’s deadline and they are hopeful of retaining him. There’s no word on whether the team will make the offer to Hiroki Kuroda. Players will have one week from Monday to accept or reject the offer. If Robertson rejects the qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, the Yankees will get a supplemental first round pick.

Robertson, 29, went 39-for-44 in save chances with a 3.08 ERA (2.68 FIP) and a 37.1% strikeout rate in 64.1 innings this summer, his first as the team’s closer. It’s no surprise the Yankees are making the qualifying offer — it would have been way more surprising if they didn’t — and I fully expect Robertson to decline the offer and test the market. He’s a soon-to-be 30-year-old reliever coming off four straight elite seasons. This is his best and probably only chance to get a huge contract.

DotF: Bird named AzFL Fall Star Game MVP after mammoth homer

The video above is 1B Greg Bird‘s monster homerun off Reds RHP Nick Howard (19th overall pick in 2014) in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game last night. Bird was named the game’s MVP. You’ve got to be mighty strong to hit a ball that far on a pitch on the outer half of the plate. Baseball America recently published articles on Bird (free), the Yankees’ players development changes (free), and RHP Jaron Long (subs. only), so check those out.

AzFL Scottsdale (6-2 loss to Peoria) Monday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 E (fielding)
  • DH Greg Bird: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • RHP Alex Smith: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K — nine of 14 pitches were strikes (64%)

AzFL Scottsdale (4-3 loss to Surprise) Tuesday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 BB
  • LF Tyler Austin: 0-4, 2 K
  • DH Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-2, 1 R, 2 BB
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GB/FB — five of eight pitches were strikes
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/1 GB/FB - seven of 12 pitches were strikes (58%)

AzFL Scottsdale (7-5 loss to Mesa) Wednesday’s game

  • DH Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 E (throwing)
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB – he’s hitting .438/.500/.688 in only four games played
  • RF Tyler Austin: 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI – got picked off first
  • 3B Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-4, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)

AzFL Scottsdale (7-5 win over Mesa) Thursday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — also threw a runner out at the plate
  • DH Greg Bird: 2-2, 2 BB
  • 1B Dante Bichette Jr.: 0-0 — took over as an injury replacement in the eighth but did not bat
  • LF Tyler Austin: 3-4, 1 R — he threw a runner out at the plate as well … hitting .322/.394/.492 with two homers in 15 games
  • RHP Caleb Cotham: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 17 of 25 pitches were strikes (68%)

AzFL Scottsdale (8-6 loss to Salt River) Friday’s game

  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP — hitting .296/.418/.574 in 15 games and is tied for second in the league with four homers
  • 1B Greg Bird: 1-4, 2 RBI, 1 BB — hitting .342/.400/.632 with a league-leading six homers in 19 games
  • DH Dante Bichette Jr.: 1-4, 3 RBI — hitting .240/.310/.240 in 14 games
  • RHP Alex Smith: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GB/FB — eight of 12 pitches were strikes (67%)
  • RHP Kyle Haynes: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — half of his 28 pitches were strikes

AzFL Fall Stars Game (East wins 6-2) Saturday’s game

  • 1B Greg Bird: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — batting cleanup and played the entire game
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-2 – entered the game in the fifth inning

Dominican Winter League

  • OF Zoilo Almonte: 4 G, 5-14, 4 R, 1 2B,  RBI, 2 BB, 3 K (.333/.412/.400) — I believe he’s about to become a six-year minor league free agent
  • OF Eury Perez: 3 G, 3-14, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K (.214/.214/.268) – likely to replace Zoilo as the up-and-down outfielder next year
  • LHP Ramon Benjamin: 2 G, 0.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (27.00 ERA, 6.00 WHIP)
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 2 G, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR (0.00 ERA, 1.80 WHIP) — I can’t help but laugh whenever a homer counts as an unearned run
  • LHP Francisco Rondon: 3 G, 1.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (6.75 ERA, 3.75 WHIP)

Mexican Pacific League

  • OF Jose Figueroa: 13 G, 3-10, 4 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB (.300/.364/.600)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 8 G, 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HB (1.23 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)
  • RHP Luis Niebla: 4 G, 4 GS, 16 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 14 K, 1 HB, 1 HR (2.81 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico) started play on Thursday. SS Vince Conde, 2B Angelo Gumbs, and OF Carlos Beltran are all listed on rosters but have not yet played. Beltran hasn’t played winter ball in years and won’t this year because of his recent elbow surgery. He’s only listed on the roster because the team still controls his winter ball rights.

Venezuelan Winter League

  • C Francisco Arcia: 13 G, 10-52, 2 R, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 14 K (.192/.222/.250)
  • UTIL Ali Castillo: 19 G, 29-79, 17 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 2 BB, 11 K, 9 SB, 2 CS, 2 HBP (.367/.393/.494)
  • OF Ramon Flores: 13 G, 12-37, 5 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 7 K (.324/.419/.459)
  • UTIL Adonis Garcia: 18 G, 21-77, 7 R, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 SB, 1 HBP (.273/.317/.299)
  • C Jose Gil: 11 G, 11-39, 9 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 SB, 1 HBP (.344/.400/.563)
  • OF Ericson Leonora: 4 G, 3-11, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 K (.273/.273/.545)
  • UTIL Jose Pirela: 7 G, 10-28, 8 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K (.357/.400/.857)
  • C Jackson Valera: 1 G, 0-0
  • RHP Diego Moreno: 9 G, 8 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HB, 1 HR (5.68 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) — allowed four runs in an inning of work in his only appearance this week
  • RHP Mark Montgomery, RHP Wilking Rodriguez, SS Angel Aguilar, and C Frankie Cervelli are all listed on rosters but have not yet played. They probably won’t at this point.

Badler: Second baseman Andy Ibanez leaves Cuba

Ibanez at the 2013 World Baseball Classic. (Koji Watanabe/Getty)
Ibanez at the 2013 World Baseball Classic. (Koji Watanabe/Getty)

According to Ben Badler, second baseman Andy Ibanez has left Cuba and will pursue a contract with a big league team. He still needs to establish residency in a foreign country, be unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and officially be declared a free agent by MLB before he can sign. That process will take several weeks and months.

Ibanez, 21, was the youngest player on Cuba’s roster during the World Baseball Classic last year, though he only received one at-bat in the tournament. He hit .267/.377/.435 with more walks (33) than strikeouts (28) in 280 plate appearances this past season after winning the Cuban league’s equivalent of the Gold Glove as a rookie two years ago.

Balder (subs. req’d) ranked Ibanez as the eighth best prospect left in Cuba last month — recently defected second baseman Jose Fernandez ranked third — and said he “doesn’t have any premium tools or star upside” while noting his value is in his athleticism and all-around game. He’s said to be a very good fielder and able to get the bat on the ball consistently.

It’s worth noting that because of his age and limited experience in Cuba, Ibanez will be subject to MLB’s international spending restrictions. The Yankees went bonkers this summer and way overspent their bonus pool, so they will not be allowed to sign a player to a bonus larger than $300,000 during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods. Something tells me $300,000 won’t cut it.

However, if Ibanez goes is declared a free agent before June 15th, he’d count against the current signing period. The Yankees are already way over their pool and would be able to offer him whatever they want without worrying about some spending cap. It took Rusney Castillo six months to be declared a free agent after defecting and Yasmany Tomas only four months. That doesn’t necessarily mean Ibanez will be eligible to sign before June 15th, but it looks like it has a good chance of happening.

Anyway, Ibanez is more like Jose Iglesias and Jorge Soler than Castillo and Jose Abreu because he’s so young. He’s not someone the Yankees could stick right into the lineup next year — Badler says Ibanez would likely have to start his career in High-A or Double-A. There’s no word if the Yankees or any other team have interest in him, but we’re still a few weeks away from that. Needless to say, teams are always looking for young and athletic middle infielders.