I thought giving Tino Martinez a plaque in Monument Park was questionable, but it was obvious this afternoon that it meant a lot to him. He seemed to be overwhelmed by the whole thing. That made me happy and I’m glad he enjoyed the day. The videos of the ceremony are above, in case you missed them. (Here’s the link to the videos in case the embed doesn’t work for whatever reason.)

Here is your open thread for the night. The Mets are playing, FOX is airing the Braves and Nationals, and there’s both the World Cup and College World Series going on. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s loss, Tino’s plaque, or anything else on your mind right here.

Categories : Open Thread
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The international free agent signing period opens in less than two weeks, and the Yankees have been connected to almost every meaningful prospect. They reportedly have several deals already in place and are expected to spend upwards of $30M between bonuses and penalties. Here are some stray notes on international prospects:

  • Cuban OF Yasmani Tomas has defected, reports Ben Badler. He still needs to go through several steps (establish residency, be unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, etc.) before being declared a free agent, so it might not be until next year that he can actual sign. Badler says the 23-year-old Tomas “can hit towering home runs (and) has 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale,” though there are holes in his swing and he struggles against breaking balls. This won’t be the last time you hear about him.
  • The Yankees are likely to sign Venezuelan SS Wilkerman Garcia to a seven-figure bonus, according to Badler (subs. req’d). Garcia, 16, is considered one of the best hitters available this summer, and Badler says (subs. req’d) he is “a switch-hitter who’s better from the left side, where he can square up good velocity with a mature approach at the plate … Garcia’s offensive game is more about hitting than power, but there’s strength projection in his body.”
  • MLB.com posted their list of the top 30 international free agents, and, like their draft coverage, it includes scouting reports, 20-80 scouting scale grades, and video. All for free. It’s awesome. The Yankees are connected to prospects No. 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 13, 14, 16, 18, 25, and 29. If they were serious about building up the farm system, they’d sign the other 19 prospects too. (Do I need to say that’s sarcasm? Because it was sarcasm.)
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Game 73: Tino’s Day

By in Game Threads. · Comments (110) ·

I was still pumped about Carlos Beltran‘s walk-off homer when I woke up this morning. I doubt I was alone. That was so awesome, easily the Yankees’ best win of the season and probably their best since Raul Ibanez was doing his thing in late 2012. The Bombers have now won four straight games — all against division rivals in direct competition for the AL East crown — and eight of their last ten. Things are going well right now.

Before the Yankees try to extend the winning streak to five, they will honor Tino Martinez and unveil his plaque in Monument Park this afternoon. Goose Gossage and Paul O’Neill will be receiving plaques of their own later this season. Tino spent seven years in pinstripes and I always felt he was more of an excellent complementary player than a core piece, but he did have one MVP caliber year (1997) and a bunch of other enormous moments with the Yankees. He was clearly a key component of the late-1990s dynasty.

I’m not sure what time the ceremony begins, but I’m guessing sometime around 12:30-12:45pm ET. That’s usually when this stuff happens. Here is the Orioles lineup and here is the Yankees lineup for this afternoon’s game:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. DH Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Kelly Johnson
  7. 2B Brian Roberts
  8. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  9. C Frankie Cervelli
    LHP Vidal Nuno

It’s a perfect afternoon for baseball in New York. Blue skies, almost no clouds, and warm but not overwhelmingly hot. Great day to be out at the park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. I’m not sure if MLBN will show the Tino ceremony. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: CC Sabathia (knee) threw a 36-pitch bullpen session today and will travel to Tampa to continue his rehab tomorrow. The plan is to throw live batting practice on Tuesday and pitch in a minor league rehab game next Saturday … David Huff (foot) had precautionary x-rays after being hit in the foot by a comebacker last night. Everything came back clean and he is available today.

Categories : Game Threads
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  • A-Rod drops lawsuit against team doc, reiterates intent to play in ’15

    Alex Rodriguez has dropped his malpractice suit against Yankees team doctor Dr. Christopher Ahmad, according to Ken Davidoff. The suit had been pending since October, when he sued pretty much everyone as part of the appeal of his record 211-game suspension. “All legal matters have been resolved. Alex looks forward to taking the field in 2015,” said spokesman Ron Berkowitz.

    A-Rod dropped his lawsuits against MLB, MLBPA, and Bud Selig back in February. It seems like he’s trying to un-burn some bridges at this point. Alex is still under contract through 2017 and he continues to say he wants to play once his suspension is over, so it’ll be very interesting to see what happens next year. The Yankees pretty clearly don’t want him around, but they’re stuck with him and may try to bleed whatever attendance and ratings boost they can out of him. Whether he can be an effective player is another matter.
    · (38) ·

Source: FanGraphs

That WPA graph says it all, doesn’t it? The Yankees blew opportunity after opportunity on Friday night — they loaded the bases three times and scored a total of zero runs in those situations — and looked to be heading towards a frustrating and disappointing loss. All the air was about to be let out of the Blue Jays sweep balloon.

Instead, Carlos Beltran came out of his offensive slumber to club a two-out, three-run, walk-off homer against Zach Britton, turning an ugly loss into the unquestioned best win of the season. At +0.83 WPA, it was the Yankees’ biggest hit since Jason Giambi hit a walk-off two-run homer against B.J. Ryan back in June 2008 (+0.89). I remember that game well and I will remember this one well as … well.

Pretty much everything before the homer is an afterthought. Hiroki Kuroda took a no-hitter into the sixth, Mark Teixeira doubled in Brett Gardner for the game’s first run in the first inning, and Brian McCann singled in a run ahead of Beltran’s dinger to extend the inning. It was a really good at-bat against the tough lefty. McCann’s at-bat and single in that ninth inning should not be forgotten.

I spent a good chunk of the game sitting in traffic and following on Gameday, so I can’t go into much more detail. I did see the ninth inning rally though, and that’s really all that matters. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Blue Jays rallied to win after being down 8-0, so thanks for nothing Reds. The Yankees remain 1.5 games back of first place in the AL East.

Anyway, Yankees and Orioles meet again on Saturday afternoon, when Vidal Nuno and Bud Norris meet. The Yankees will add a plaque to Monument Park in honor of Tino Martinez before the game.

Categories : Game Stories
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The Yankees have released 1B Russ Canzler, according to Donnie Collins. There was some thought he could help as a righty platoon bat, but he didn’t hit in Triple-A and lost playing time once 1B Kyle Roller was promoted.

Triple-A Scranton (3-2 loss to Pawtucket)

  • LF Jose Pirela: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • C John Ryan Murphy: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 K — first game back
  • RF Zoilo Almonte & 3B Scott Sizemore: both 0-4, 1 K
  • 1B Kyle Roller: 1-4, 1 K
  • SS Zelous Wheeler: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB — 7-for-21 (.333) with two doubles and a triple
  • CF Taylor Dugas: 0-2, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB — Triple-A debut
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 5/1 GB/FB — 28 of 47 pitches were strikes (60%) … left the game after being hit in the arm by a comebacker
  • RHP Preston Claiborne: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 27 of 39 pitches were strikes (69%)
  • RHP Heath Bell: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — 31 of 46 pitches were strikes (67%) … hmm, efficient

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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(Mike Stobe/Getty)

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

This has trap game potential. The Yankees are coming off a big three-game sweep of the first place Blue Jays, and tonight they’ll face right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season. Not that I expect it to happen, but the Yankees can’t get caught up enjoying the sweep or underestimating Ubaldo. Those three wins mean nothing today and Jimenez can dominate if you let him get in a groove. Keep the foot on the gas against another division rival. Here is the Orioles lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. DH Carlos Beltran
  7. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  8. 2B Brian Roberts
  9. 3B Yangervis Solarte
    RHP Hiroki Kuroda

It’s a lovely day in New York. Sunny, just the right amount of clouds, breezy but not windy. Perfect night for baseball. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET and can be seen on My9 locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Categories : Game Threads
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  • Stark: Yankees asking “almost exclusively” about starters in trade talks

    Via Jayson Stark: The Yankees are asking “almost exclusively” about starting pitchers in preliminary trade talks with other teams. Stark doesn’t mention any names or anything fun like that. The need for rotation help is clear at this point, same with infield help. A right fielder with some pop belongs on the shopping list as well.

    The non-waiver trade deadline is six weeks from yesterday and I think we’re still in the posturing phase. Teams are just now starting to feel each other out — remember, so many clubs believe they are in contention and just about everyone is looking to add pitching — and I don’t think the Yankees are ignoring the infield just because they’re prioritizing a starter. Kelly Johnson, Rob Refsnyder, and Jose Pirela represent internal infield options, but the pitching well is dry due to injury. The sooner they upgrade the rotation, the better their chances of playing into October.
    · (47) ·

(Jim Rogash/Getty)

(Jim Rogash/Getty)

The Yankees just swept their biggest series of the season (to date), and now they begin their next biggest series of the season (to date!). The Orioles are in the Bronx for a three-game weekend set. The O’s took two of three at Yankee Stadium back in April, in the third series of the year.

What Have They Done Lately?
The Orioles were off yesterday, and before that they took two of three from the Rays in Tampa. Everyone takes two of three from the Rays these days. Baltimore has played .500 ball for about two months now, and they come into the series at 37-34, a one game back of the Yankees.

The O’s have hit the fourth most homers in baseball this season (78), by they are still no better than an average offense at 4.17 runs per game with a team 98 wRC+. No one gets on base in front of the power hitters. C Matt Wieters (129 wRC+) blew out his elbow and is done for the year following Tommy John surgery. OF Nolan Reimold has not played at all this year due to a back problem. That guy just can’t stay healthy.

(Tom Pennington/Getty)

(Tom Pennington/Getty)

Manager Buck Showalter has three legitimate 30+ homer guys in the middle of his lineup: OF Nelson Cruz (162 wRC+), 1B Chris Davis (110 wRC+), and OF Adam Jones (113 wRC+). Cruz leads all of baseball with 22 dingers. SS J.J. Hardy (84 wRC+), meanwhile, is still looking for his first homerun of the season. Isn’t that crazy? He’s hit 20+ in five of his seven MLB seasons. OF Nick Markakis (113 wRC+) is having a fine year.

3B Manny Machado (66 wRC+) has not yet started to hit and frankly he hasn’t hit for a while now (73 wRC+ over the last calendar year). 1B Steve Pearce (158 wRC+) and OF Delmon Young (107 wRC+) have done good work in platoon roles while OF David Lough (51 wRC+) is the defense-first fifth outfielder. IF Jonathan Schoop (65 wRC+) and IF Ryan Flaherty (65 wRC+) split time at second while C Nick Hundley (42 wRC+) and C Caleb Joseph (24 wRC+) split time behind the plate. Caleb is Corban Joseph‘s brother.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (vs. NYY)
Remember when Jimenez erased like two and a half years worth of mediocrity with two good months late last season? Good times. The 30-year-old has a 4.86 ERA (4.74 FIP) in 14 starts and 74 innings for the Orioles this year, and there was some talk about skipping his spot this weekend following yesterday’s off-day. The Orioles decided to remain on rotation though. Ubaldo has good strikeout (8.05 K/9 and 20.4 K%), homer (1.07 HR/9 and 13.4 HR/FB%), and ground ball (46.2%) rates, though his walk rate (5.33 BB/9 and 13.5 BB%) is a career high. That’s really saying something for him. Lefties (.346 wOBA) have hit him harder than righties (.316 wOBA). Jimenez’s velocity is down more than a mile an hour this year, so his four and two-seamers sit right around 90 these days. His splitter is now in the low-80s while his curveball and slider remain in the mid-70s and low-80s, respectively. The Yankees scored four runs in 4.2 innings against Ubaldo back in April. He walked five and struck out four. He’s capable of being a total mess or totally unhittable on a given night.

Saturday: LHP Vidal Nuno (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Bud Norris (vs. NYY)
Norris, 29, has been solid in his first full season with the Orioles, pitching to a 3.73 ERA (4.44 FIP) in 13 starts and 82 innings. His peripherals don’t necessarily jump out, however: 6.15 K/9 (16.6 K%), 2.85 BB/9 (7.7 BB%), 0.99 HR/9 (10.1 HR/FB%), and 42.2% grounders. He has literally no platoon split: both righties and lefties have a .309 wOBA against him this year. Norris is basically a two-pitch pitcher with two other pitches. He relies heavily on his low-90s four-seamer and mid-80s slider, throwing them roughly 80% of the time combined, but he’ll also throw a handful of mid-80s changeups and low-90s two-seamers per start. They are show me pitches though. The Yankees did not face Norris when these two teams met earlier this year.

Norris. (Rob Carr/Getty)

Norris. (Rob Carr/Getty)

Sunday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. BAL) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (vs. NYY)
This was supposed to be a breakout year for the 26-year-old Tillman, who seemed to come into his own in the middle of last season. Instead, he has a 4.82 ERA (4.62 FIP) in 15 starts and 84 innings. His strikeout rate (6.21 K/9 and 15.4 K%) is way down, his walk rate is way up (3.75 BB/9 and 9.3 BB%), and his ground ball rate (39.4%) has remained static. Tillman is still prone to the occasional long ball (1.07 HR/9 and 9.0 HR/FB%), but nothing like the last year few years. He was positively Hughesian for a little while there. Lefties (.359 wOBA) have hit Tillman harder than righties (.321 wOBA). Low-90s four-seamers and cutters set up Tillman’s mid-80s slider, low-80s changeup, and big breaking mid-70s curveball. He’s lost about one mile an hour off his fastball for the second straight year. Tillman did not face the Yankees back in April.

Bullpen Status
Because they were off yesterday, Showalter’s bullpen is nice and rested coming into the series. RHP Tommy Hunter (4.60 FIP) lost the closer’s job to LHP Zach Britton (2.91 FIP) while on the disabled list. RHP Darren O’Day (3.29 FIP) and LHP Brian Matusz (5.28 FIP) get most of the setup work, though RHP Ryan Webb (2.64 FIP) will see high-leverage duty as well.

LHP T.J. McFarland (3.76 FIP) is more of a long man than a lefty specialist, and right now RHP Miguel Gonzalez (4.74 FIP) is in a middle relief role. He had the Yankees’ number back in 2012, but the magic has worn off and he’s since lost his rotation spot. Check out our Bullpen Workload page to see the status of Joe Girardi‘s relievers, then check out Camden Chat for everything you need to know about the Orioles.

Categories : Series Preview
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