Yankeemetrics: Riding the .500 roller coaster [June 27-30]

(Photo credit: Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Mother Nature 1, Yankees 0
In a season filled with crushing losses, embarrassing performances, horrible blown leads and frustrating games, Monday’s contest against the Rangers just might surpass them all. It will certainly go down in the record books as one of the most surreal games played at Yankee Stadium, and likely one of the most deflating defeats in recent years. Joe Girardi summed it in his postgame comments to reporters:

“It’s hard for me to understand what happened tonight, how it got to this point. But it did, and we lost.”

The two teams played through a rainstorm that got progressively worse during the night, until the umpires finally called for the tarp in the ninth inning with Aroldis Chapman on the mound to protect a 6-5 Yankees advantage.

chapman rain
(Getty)

When the delay finally ended 3 hours and 35 minutes later, the closer was on the bench and Kirby Yates was in to save the game.

Instead, he suffered an unprecedented meltdown on the mound, coughing up the lead as he hit three batters and surrendered three runs before getting the final out of the ninth.

Yates became the first pitcher in more than 100 years to hit at least three batters, pitch no more than one inning and get tagged with the loss. The last guy to do it was Earl Moore of the Buffalo Buffeds in a Federal League game on June 17, 1914 against the Indianapolis Hoosiers.

As unwatchable as the Yankees middle relief has been in the past few years, they’ve still maintained a lockdown back of the bullpen to close out games. So what happens when you’re forced to call upon that dicey non-Big 3 reliever to try and seal a win? You get an incredibly rare loss for the Yankees.

This was the first time the Yankees lost a game when taking a lead into the ninth inning since June 1, 2014 against the Twins. They had won 160 straight games in that situation, including a 34-0 mark this year and an 81-0 mark last season.

The Hangover
The best thing to be said about Tuesday’s lifeless 7-1 defeat was that it only took 2 hours and 37 minutes. Alas, here’s a few more words about the utterly forgettable loss.

CC Sabathia made one mistake in the first inning — a two-run homer to Adrian Beltre — but then retired 18 of 21 batters in the second through seventh innings. The large lefty unraveled in the eighth inning, however, as the first four guys reached base before he was pulled from the game.

It was the first time all season he threw a pitch in the eighth inning, and predictably, things didn’t go well as Sabathia was ultimately charged with six runs in seven innings. He has allowed 11 earned runs in his last two starts (11 1/3 innings), compared four earned runs allowed in his previous seven starts (44 innings).

It appears that Sabathia is experiencing some regression in his fly ball luck. Through his first 11 starts of the season he allowed two homers and had an incredibly low homer-to-flyball ratio of 3.1 percent. He’s now surrendered a homer in each of his last two starts, and while his fly ball rate remained unchanged, his homer-to-flyball ratio shot up to 14.3 percent in that span.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Getty Images)

The Miracle on 161st Street and River Avenue
Buried in the standings and left for dead by much of the New York media, the Yankees pulled off arguably the most stunning win of the season — and perhaps its biggest so far — on Wednesday night, staging an epic comeback for the ages to beat the Rangers 9-7.

Trailing by five runs with five outs to go and three runs with two outs to go, the Yankees capped off a furious ninth inning rally with a pair of dramatic home runs, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat and breathing life into a team on the brink of irrelevance.

The win came with a few notable milestones:

  • it was their largest comeback win of the season
  • it was their first win this season when trailing entering the ninth inning (and it came less than 48 hours after they lost their first game in two years when leading entering the ninth inning!)
  • it was the first time they erased a deficit of at least four runs in the ninth inning or later since Sept. 22, 2012 against Oakland
  • it was their third win when trailing by four or more runs in the seventh inning or later in the past two weeks, after having only two such wins in the previous three seasons combined

The two biggest blows came from the bats of Brian McCann, who tied the game with a towering three-run homer in the final frame, and Didi Gregorius, who won the game with his first career walk-off shot. If that sounds like a rare type of rally … you’d be correct.

It was the first time since at least 1930 that the Yankees hit a game-tying homer when trailing by at least three runs in the ninth inning and then ended the game with a walk-off homer.

McCann became just the fourth Yankee in the past 70 seasons with a game-tying homer when facing a deficit of at least three runs at Yankee Stadium. He joins the illustrious group of Shelley Duncan (Aug. 15, 2007), Tino Martinez (July 2, 1998), and Joe DiMaggio (July 31, 1937 and Aug. 29, 1940).

Didi also put himself in some nice company with his historic blast. Only four other Yankee shortstops have hit a walk-off homer in the past 85 seasons: Derek Jeter (April 5, 2005 and Game 4 of the 2001 World Series), Gene Michael (June 23, 1971), Mickey Mantle (July 22, 1954 in a game he started in center field and then moved to shortstop in the ninth inning) and Phil Rizzuto (April 23, 1941).

(Photo credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)
(Photo credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

Be Like Mike
What’s better than a walk-off win against the best team in the AL? How about two of them in a row. The Yankees beat the Rangers, 2-1, on Thursday afternoon thanks to a passed ball in the bottom of the ninth that scored Chase Headley from third base.

This was just the second time in the last 50 years that the Yankees enjoyed a walk-off win via a passed ball; the other game was April 27, 2012 versus the Tigers.

It was also their second straight victory in walk-off fashion (duh), third on this nine-game homestand (also June 22 vs. Rockies) and fourth of the season. The last time the Yankees had three walk-off wins in a span of fewer than 10 days was May 15-23, 2009, when they had back-to-back-to-back (!) walk-off wins against the Twins and one six days later against the Phillies.

The uplifting victory wouldn’t have been possible without another stellar performance from Michael Pineda, who finished with 12 strikeouts and one run allowed on two hits. It was the 13th time in last 100 years that a Yankee pitcher struck out at least 12 batters while giving up no more than two hits and one run — but only once before had that pitcher also not been credited with the win, like Pineda. On April 11, 1997, David Cone tossed seven scoreless innings and had 12 strikeouts against the A’s in a game the Yankees lost 3-1.

Pineda capped off an excellent June (2.75 ERA in six starts) with perhaps his two best outings of the season: a two-hit, one-run, eight-strikeout effort on June 25 against the Twins and Thursday’s two-hit, one-run, 12-strikeout masterpiece. He’s the third Yankee in the last century to strike out at least eight batters and allow no more than two hits in back-to-back starts, matching David Cone (1997) and Al Downing (1965).

His stuff was especially nasty when he got into two-strike counts, as he induced a swing-and-miss on strike three for all 12 of his punch outs. Pineda is just the fourth pitcher in baseball this season to record 12 swinging strikeouts in a game, along with Clayton Kershaw (12 on June 10), Vince Velasquez (13 on April 14) and Max Scherzer (14 on May 11). No other Yankee pitcher has done that in a game since at least 2008 (the Pitch f/x era).

Mailbag: Stanton, Webb, Bird, Degano, A-Rod, 1st Rounders

Only nine questions in the mailbag this week — “only” nine, I should say — and that’s because some of the answers are a bit longer than usual. As always, RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com is the place to send us anything. Questions, links, comments, whatever.

(Duane Burleson/Getty)
I’m not sure how to feel about Stanton and Barry having an awkward fist bump/high five moment. (Duane Burleson/Getty)

James asks: I heard Harold Reynolds on MLB tonight say the Yankees need to go out and get Stanton. While I don’t think it will ever happen, what do you think it would take to make that happen, and do you think they should do it?

Giancarlo Stanton has come out of his ugly slump — he went into last night’s game on a 16-for-45 (.356) hot streak in his last eleven games, with three homers — but man, that slump had to scare the crap out of the Marlins. He went 12-for-102 (.118) with a 41.7% strikeout rate in 29 games, so it lasted a month. There’s still $314M (!) left on his contract through 2027 (!!!). It’s no sure thing he’ll use that opt-out after 2020.

Stanton is still only 26 years old, so he still has a ton of prime years left. And the guy hit .265/.346/.606 (152 wRC+) with 27 homers in 74 games just last year. In a huge ballpark. The guy missed half the season because of a broken bone in his wrist and he still finished tenth in the NL in homers. You can count the number of players capable of doing this …

… on one hand. I am definitely intrigued by the possibility of buying low on Stanton, assuming the recent slump has soured the Marlins on him so much that they’re willing to trade him for pennies on the dollar just to get out from under the contract. The Yankees have money and almost all their big contracts are coming off the books within the next two years, so it should work financially.

Here’s a fun thought: Jacoby Ellsbury for Stanton. The Marlins would save more than $200M and get a productive two-way player in return. The Yankees get the better and younger player, but absorb all the risk associated with a contract that runs through 2027. There’s always a chance Stanton follows the Mark Reynolds career path and goes from the top young slugger in baseball to a replacement level player who struggles to make contact.

Me? I say what the hell, go for it, even if the trade involves other players. Then again, it isn’t my money. Would you do, say, Aaron Judge for Stanton and his contract? Players like Stanton are rare and special. My guess is the Marlins are not yet willing to trade Giancarlo despite that scary slump the last few weeks. He’s still the face of the franchise.

Michael asks: Now that all top ten picks but Rutherford have signed, if the Yankees used all remaining pool money to sign Rutherford, would that preclude the Yanks from then trying to sign someone like Linginfelter to an overslot bonus to lure him away from college?

First rounder Blake Rutherford has signed since this question was sent in. He received a $3.282M bonus, which is pretty much the most the Yankees could give him while still staying under their bonus pool plus the 5% overage. They have $177 in bonus pool space remaining, as our Draft Tracker shows. The Yankees have maxed out their bonus pool plus the 5% overage every year since the system was put in place.

The Yankees could still sign some late round picks to over-slot bonuses. The bonus pool is not a hard cap. The problem is if they so spend over — specifically, if they give a late rounder more than $100,177 — they have to forfeit next year’s first round pick, and that’s just not worth it. Zach Linginfelter, a potential first rounder who fell to New York in the 16th round due to bonus demands, was always a long shot to sign. It’s not worth signing him now and blowing next year’s draft. Not team has ever surrendered a future first rounder in the draft pool era.

Chris asks: What’s your thoughts on Tyler Webb?  We saw him last night pitching for the Rail Riders and we followed him with the Gamecocks. Would just like to hear your take on him, thanks.

Webb, 25, was a senior sign as a tenth round pick back in 2013, so he was a bonus pool saving pick. The Yankees gave him a $30,000 bonus and saved about $100,000 in pool money, which went to Judge’s over-slot bonus. Webb shot up the ladder in a hurry — he reached Triple-A the year after being drafted — and has performed well all throughout the minors. So far this year he has a 3.35 ERA (2.61 FIP) in 43 innings.

Soon after the draft Webb was labeled a finesse right-hander left-hander and that has unfairly stuck. PitchFX data from the Arizona Fall League last year has him averaging 93.3 mph with his fastball. He also has a slider and a changeup, and these days the changeup is the more reliable pitch. The Yankees have actually started him a few times this year because he has three pitches and throws enough strikes.

Webb is going to be Rule 5 Draft eligible after the season and he’s a lock to get picked as a lefty who throws reasonably hard and has had success in Triple-A. My guess is the Yankees add him to the 40-man roster. I’m not sure Webb will be more than a middle innings lefty because neither the slider nor the changeup are legitimate put-away pitches, but he should be able to carve out a lengthy career for himself. He’s a nice little find in the tenth round.

(Presswire)
Webb and his changeup. (Presswire)

Paul asks: The Sir Didi trade has been wildly successful in my eyes. I’m trying to think of the last time a trade went that well. Swisher? I guess Chapman counts?

Yeah, the Didi Gregorius trade has worked out spectacularly. I was skeptical about his bat at the time of the trade and I was really impressed by Shane Greene‘s half-season in pinstripes, but it’s hard to complain about that deal now. The Yankees would do that trade again all day, every day. It’s worked out so, so well.

The Nick Swisher trade was a total heist and it looked that way from day one. There was some uncertainty with the Didi trade. Not Swisher. That was one of Brian Cashman‘s best trades. Michael Pineda hasn’t been great by any means, but the Yankees came out ahead in that deal. They got him for two sub-replacement level players the Mariners ended up giving away.

The Aroldis Chapman deal was the result of extenuating circumstances, so I have a tough time giving the Yankees credit for “winning” that one. That was the Reds saying “get this guy out of here,” not “this trade makes us better for the future.” It’s been a while since the Yankees were on the wrong end of a lopsided trade. Tyler Clippard jumps to mind. And I guess Mark Melancon for Lance Berkman too.

Jackson asks: Is there much of a history of players who suffered the same injury as Bird, and if so, a.) to what extent were those players able to re-attain their pre injury levels of play, if ever, and b) how long did it take to get back into a ML game fully recovered ? Examples?

Yeah, there’s been a bunch. In fact, Brian McCann had the same injury (a torn labrum) a few years ago. He played through it in 2012, had the worst season of his career, then had the surgery in October. McCann returned to the field in early-May 2013, so it was eight months from date of surgery to return to MLB. Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez had the same injury and returned to the field in seven months. I’m guessing McCann’s rehab was a little longer because he’s a catcher and the injury was to his throwing shoulder.

Bird had surgery in February, so the 7-8 month timetable would put him on track to return in September or October. Chances are the Yankees will play it safe, so I don’t expect to see him in a game this year. (Maybe he’ll go to the Arizona Fall League for at-bats.) These injuries we’re talking about here are to the hitter’s front shoulder, the power shoulder. Both Kemp and Gonzalez saw a noticeable dip in power immediately after the surgery, and it never quite came all the way back. At the same time, McCann has shown no ill-effects at all. Here’s a quick chart I whipped up following Bird’s injury:

McCann Kemp Gonzalez ISO

McCann really is the best case scenario for Bird. He returned following his shoulder surgery the same player he was before getting hurt. No loss in power, didn’t lose anything off his arm, nothing. The same McCann returned.

The timing of the injury could actually be a positive for Bird’s rehab. McCann, Kemp, and Gonzalez all had their surgeries after the season and were racing against the clock trying to get back for Opening Day. Bird got hurt in February and is going to miss the season. Once he’s done rehabbing, he’ll still have an entire offseason to strengthen his shoulder and whatnot.

Dan asks: Is it fair to blame the Yanks indecision on selling on the second wild card?  They’re 3.5 back of Boston for the first Wild Card.  If there was only one wild card, would they already be selling?

I don’t think you can blame the team’s indecision on the second wildcard exclusively. The Royals and Red Sox currently sit in the two wildcard spots and they have identical 42-36 records, so the Yankees are three games back of both. There’s no difference between the first and second wildcard races at the moment. The presence of the second wildcard is surely a factor, but it’s not the factor. The Yankees aren’t selling because their brand is built on winning, and selling really isn’t in their DNA. They’d hold off on selling even with only one wildcard spot.

Anonymous asks: I see that Jeff Degano repeating short season ball (effectively rookie league) at Pulaski this year after pitching at Staten Island last year. This seems like a very cautious approach; the Yankees have been more aggressive with college-tested pitchers in recent years. Your analysis?

I think something might be up with Degano. Last year’s second round pick — for what’s it worth, he was a bonus pool saving pick who signed a well-below-slot bonus, with the savings going to third rounder Drew Finley — had a fine pro debut, pitching to a 3.80 ERA (3.72 FIP) with a 21.8% strikeout rate and a 10.0% walk rate in 23.2 innings with the Rookie GCL Yanks and Short Season Staten Island. As a college guy, even one who missed a season and half due to Tommy John surgery, I figured he was ticketed for Low-A Charleston this year.

Instead, Degano was held back in Extended Spring Training and assigned to Rookie Pulaski this month, which is a step down from Staten Island in terms of competition. He then went out and walked five batters in two innings in his first outing over the weekend. I can’t help but wonder if Degano showed up Spring Training suddenly unable to throw strikes. He wasn’t exactly blessed with top notch control to start with, and it wouldn’t be unheard of for a young pitcher to suddenly lose the zone. We’ll see what happens in Degano’s next few outings. That could have just been one bad game. The fact he was held back in ExST surprised me and could indicate something is up though.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Seamus: Is it me, or is A-Rod swinging at more first pitches than he ever has before? Could that be one of the (many) reasons he is struggling this season?

That does seem to be the case, yes. Jeff Sullivan wrote a post yesterday showing how much more aggressive Alex Rodriguez has been at the plate in general this season. Here are his first pitch swing rates over the years, via Baseball Savant:

2016: 30.5%
2015: 31.3%
2014: nope
2013: 28.2%
2012: 32.7%
2011: 28.5%

Well so much for that idea. A-Rod has been swinging at the first pitch this season at generally the same rate as the last few years. I do love it when I think something is happening on the field and the data says I’m totally wrong. It’s good to be humbled once in a while. Your eyes lie like hell. Sullivan showed Alex is swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone in general, which helps explains his lack of production. He’s not swinging at more first pitches though.

Craig asks: Your post on Blake Rutherford as well as the note on Kaprielian makes me wonder – has any other MLB team’s first round picks over the last ten years led to less MLB production to date than those of the Yankees?

I went back to the 2000 draft because the last ten years don’t tell us too much. Lots of those guys are still in the minors working their way to MLB. We need a bigger sample.

Here is the total WAR for every team’s first round pick (first and supplemental first) from 2000-15. This only includes players who actually signed, so the Yankees don’t get credit for Gerrit Cole, the Blue Jays don’t get credit for James Paxton, etc.

2000-15 First Round WARI went into this expecting to see the Giants at the top and the Yankees at the bottom, and hey, I was close. The Giants have hit first round home runs with Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Buster Posey, so I figured they would be at the top. They’re close though.

The Royals are at the top mostly thanks to Zack Greinke and Alex Gordon. The Phillies are second because of Cole Hamels and Chase Utley. I should note I’m giving teams credit for a player even if they traded him away as a prospect. The Braves get credit for Adam Wainwright, the Cubs get credit for Josh Donaldson, so on and so forth.

The Yankees aren’t dead last but they might as well be. The 5.9 WAR difference between the Yankees and Astros is nothing. This is across 15+ years, remember. Yes, the Yankees always pick late in the draft and that hurts, and yes, they did surrender a ton of draft picks to sign free agents, but still, this is really bad. The Yankees have not gotten much from their first round picks at all this century.

DotF: Scranton wins again as Judge and Austin stay hot

Here are the day’s notes:

  • LHP Dietrich Enns, LHP Jordan Montgomery, C Kyle Higashioka, SS Tyler Wade, and OF Dustin Fowler have all been selected for the Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game, so congrats to them. Here are the Eastern and Western Division rosters.
  • Enns will be bumped up from Double-A Trenton to start Sunday for Triple-A Scranton, reports Shane Hennigan. He’ll replace RHP Chad Green, who is coming up to make a big league spot start.
  • RHP Chance Adams’ latest dominant start earned him a place in today’s Prospect Report, so make sure you check that out. It’s not behind the paywall.

Triple-A Scranton (8-1 win over Buffalo) fifth straight win

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-2, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 HBP — he’s been on base 27 times in his last ten games
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 E (fielding) — 12-for-30 (.400) with three doubles and four homers in his last seven games
  • DH Ike Davis: 1-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K — so I guess he decided not to elect free agency … hit a grand slam in his first game with the RailRiders
  • LHP Phil Coke: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 7/2 GB/FB — 53 of 85 pitches were strikes (62%)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 25 of 45 pitches were strikes (56%) … 62/11 K/BB in 44.2 innings
  • RHP Kirby Yates: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — ten pitches, eight strikes

[Read more…]

Thursday Night Open Thread

Well that was a fun afternoon. There’s not much better than back-to-back walk-off wins. The Yankees are back at .500 at 39-39, which means they’re about to lose four of five based on the way things have been going this year. Sucks. Smart move winning those games just to remind the Rangers they should trade for the Yankees’ relievers though.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. This afternoon’s win will be replayed on YES at 7pm ET, in case you missed it. The Mets are playing tonight and that’s the only game on national television (MLB Network). Lame. Talk about whatever here.

A walk-off passed ball? That’ll do! Yanks beat Rangers 2-1

(Getty)

The Yankees faced the Rangers four times and they actually split the series. Heck, if it weren’t for rain on Monday, they could’ve taken 3 out of 4. Michael Pineda allowed a leadoff HR to start the game but that was just about all the damage he allowed. Didi Gregorius‘ HR tied it and bullpen held on to keep it 1-1. New York won in the bottom of ninth on a passed ball with runners on second and third. The final score Thursday afternoon was 2-1 Yankees.

Big Mike!

Pineda allowed three hard hit balls to start the game. Lovely. They resulted in a HR (by Shin-Soo Choo), a line out to Aaron Hicks (by Ian Desmond) and a single (by Nomar Mazara).

The next sequence, however, was a bit different. Pineda struck out Adrian Beltre and walked Prince Fielder, but ended the frame with a strikeout of Rougned Odor. Pineda had a sublime second inning. All three batters he faced – Jurickson Profar, Mitch Moreland and Robinson Chirinos – struck out swinging. The strikeouts continued to pile up in third, as he punched out Choo and Desmond. Mazara followed up with a first-pitch ground out so the K streak ended at six. Bum!

All in all Pineda had a superb outing, striking out 12 in 6 IP while allowing only one run. He has a 2.75 ERA in last 6 starts, which is good! I know his overall season basic stats are still not great (3-7 with a 5.24 ERA) but some of his peripherals are pretty darn great. For instance: He leads AL in swing-and-misses, per James Smyth of YES Network. He’s behind guys like Clayton Kershaw, Jose Fernandez, and Noah Syndergaard for the ML top swing-and-misses, which is something. When Pineda’s on, he can absolutely blow hitters away. Just frustrating that he’s much more prone to mistakes than those guys.

(Getty)

One dinger, not much else

The Yankees faced A.J. Griffin earlier in the year and, well, they didn’t do much. He pitched eight innings of one-run ball en route to a 10-1 Rangers win back in April 26. Overall, they didn’t do much today either, scoring one off him in five inning while striking out eight times. That one run, by the way, came in a form of red-hot Didi Gregorius solo dinger.

In the bottom fifth, with Rangers still leading 1-0, Griffin struck out Chase Headley to begin the frame. Gregorius worked the count full and got a 85-mph slider on the inner part of the zone. Didi hit it high and the ball eventually sailed out to the right field seats for a solo tater. Statcast had the batted ball velocity of 93 mph, which is not exactly the hardest-hit ball for a homer but still, it had the distance. 1-1 tie.

With June almost over, let’s look at Didi’s nice month. Prior to today’s game, he’s hit for a .337/.369/.510 line with 10 XBH’s in 98 AB’s, which is great. His overall slash line? .290/.320/.435, good for a 100 wRC+. I’ll take that from him all season long.

(Getty)

A walk-off… passed ball?

The Yankees had a leadoff runner on to start the ninth after Headley drew a walk versus Tony Barnette. The next hitter, Didi Gregorius, last night’s walk-off HR hero, proceeded to bunt him over for a sacrifice. Many watchers, including David Cone in the broadcast booth, weren’t a fan of that move. I wasn’t a fan of it either – Barnette seemed to be having a hard time throwing strikes so yes, let’s give away an out! Anyways, Hicks also worked a five-pitch walk against Barnette, setting up a one-out, runners on first and second situation for Starlin Castro.

Castro followed it up with a weak ground out to first, which at least pushed both runners up to second and third. Next up was Jacoby Ellsbury. Most Yankee fans were praying for a base hit of sorts to end the game. However, it was Rangers catcher Chirinos’ mistake that won it for New York.

On a 1-1 pitch, Barnette threw a slider that was meant to catch the strike zone on a backdoor but it just missed slightly. Chirinos, in effort to frame it, kept his glove a bit high and closed it as the ball passed right below. As I mentioned, Barnette had some trouble throwing strikes in the inning and probably needed all the helps to get some calls. However, this particular pitch ended up like this …

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 5.06.16 PM

… and it trickled to the back. Headley immediately bolted home and was called safe by the HP ump Alan Porter. 2-1 Yankees. What an ending. Also, pretty notably, the Yankees faced a team with best AL record and earned a split. Now they are back to the seemingly-inevitable .500 mark (39-39).

Leftovers

After Pineda’s outing, Girardi plugged in the No Runs DMC equation to keep the game at 1-1 tie. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman each tossed a scoreless inning, striking a total of four in three innings while allowing two hits. Ho-hum. I know it’s very much an acceptable outcome but why am I a bit underwhelmed?

Carlos Beltran actually played today! After being shelved Tuesday with a hamstring tweak, Beltran came off the bench in the seventh inning to pinch hit for Ronald Torreyes with two outs and a runner on. Jake Diekman ended up walking him and Ellsbury to get the bases loaded. That would’ve been a nice situation for Gardner to come through but he grounded out to second to end the frame. Oh well.

Box score, highlights, WPA and standings

Here’s today’s box score, video highlights, WPA and updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees play at San Diego tomorrow so there will be no DH, which also lowers the chance of Beltran being in the starting lineup, as Girardi said in postgame. Oh well. But with a 39-year old guy, better safe than sorry.

Trade & Free Agent Notes: Cubs, Beltran, Red Sox, Gurriel

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

It has been three days since Yankees president Randy Levine told reporters any talk about selling was “nonsense,” and boy, it would be much easier to make a snarky comment right now had the Yankees not come back to win that game last night. Still, their postseason odds are 9.0% per FanGraphs, and that’s not good. Regardless of what Levine says, the Yankees have to seriously consider shifting focus from this season to the future before the trade deadline. Here are some miscellaneous trade notes, with one free agent note thrown in for good measure.

Cubs continue to scout Yankees’ bullpen

The Cubs had multiple scouts at Yankee Stadium over the weekend to see the Yankees’ big three relievers, reports George King. Chicago had scouts on hand to see those guys earlier this month too. While I’m sure the Cubbies would love to get their hands on Dellin Betances, my guess is they’re focusing on Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman given their need for a late-inning southpaw.

For what it’s worth, Buster Olney (subs. req’d) hears the Yankees will tell the Cubs they have to part with Kyle Schwarber to get Miller. Chicago doesn’t want to do that, but they have plenty of other prospects and young big leaguers though, so when the time comes to field serious offers, Chicago can make a very competitive bid. Other contenders like the Nationals, Rangers, and Giants figure to be involved too, which is good news for the Yankees. Hooray bidding wars!

Beltran willing to waive no-trade clause

Carlos Beltran is one of the few big name Yankees without full no-trade protection — he can block deals to 14 teams — and he told Brendan Kuty that if the team comes to him to ask for approval for a trade, he’d be willing to okay the deal. “If they came to me about it, we would have a conversation,” he said. “When the team is looking to trade you, there’s no other decision to make other than go.”

The Yankees received a bit of a scare earlier this week when Beltran left a game with hamstring injury — that’s after receiving a scare when he needed his knee drained a few weeks ago — but thankfully he is only day-to-day. There don’t figure to be many impact bats available at the deadline, so even with Beltran’s defensive limitations, I imagine he’ll generate a ton of interest. The Indians and Royals are two obvious fits. The Giants and Nationals could have interest too. Hunter Pence is out long-term with a torn hamstring, so right field is open in San Francisco. Ben Revere hasn’t hit all year, so the Nats could put Beltran in right and slide Bryce Harper to center.

Dombrowski willing to trade with Yankees

Dombrowski. (Rich Gagnon/Getty)
Dombrowski. (Rich Gagnon/Getty)

I wouldn’t count on this actually happening, but Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told Brian MacPherson he is open to making a trade with the Yankees this summer. “I have made trades within our own division,” said the longtime exec, “… and the only time I’ve generally done that is when one club is in it and the other club is not. In that way, if they get the best return on their value, they don’t really care. If they’re in it and we’re in it, probably the odds are longer.”

I definitely understand why teams shy away from intradivision trades, but when you take the plunge and decide to sell, I think you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t consider all offers. I mean, teams don’t make trades unless they believe they’re coming out ahead, so theoretically an intradivision trade would make your roster stronger and a rival’s weaker. A Yankees-Red Sox trade — a big trade, I mean, not something like Kelly Johnson for Stephen Drew — might get squashed at the ownership level. The prospect of losing a trade to your biggest rival is enough to make folks squeamish.

Yankees not believed to have much interest in Gurriel

Let’s end with a note about a free agent, not a trade. At some point soon the Yankees will hold a private workout for Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel at their Tampa complex, assuming it hasn’t happened already. Despite that, George King says the team’s interest level is “not believed to be high.” I would expect nothing less. Even if the Yankees have interest, they’re not going to say so publicly. There’s nothing to be gained by doing so.

Most see Gurriel as an impact middle of the order hitter, something the Yankees really lack. That said, he is already 32 years old, so he’s at the age where you’d expect his game to start to slip. You’re buying mostly decline years. Gurriel is a player you add if you’re a contender right now and are looking for someone to put you over the top. He doesn’t make sense for a rebuilding team that is years away from contention. The Yankees have the resources to avoid a long rebuild and the plan for the offense going forward can’t simply be “hope the prospects work out.” I get why teams would shy away from a 32-year-old with no MLB track record even if I don’t necessarily agree with it.