2016 Trade Deadline Rumors Open Thread: Sunday

(Stephen Lam/Getty)
(Stephen Lam/Getty)

There are now less than 30 hours until the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees dealt Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs earlier this week, and, in case you missed it earlier this morning, they agreed to trade Andrew Miller to the Indians for four prospects. The Yankees are officially on #TeamSell. What a world.

Yet again, we’re going to keep track of the day’s trade rumblings right here, in this one post. I’m going to be busy most of the day, but I’ll do my best to update things in a timely manner. Here are Saturday’s rumors and here is all of today’s news. All time stamps are ET.

  • 10:00am: The Yankees are listening to offers for Carlos Beltran, but right now other clubs find the asking price to be high. Aside from maybe Jay Bruce, Beltran is the best hitter rumored to be on the market right now. There’s still another day for some team to blink and meet the asking price for the impact bat who might get them over the hump. [Buster Olney]
  • 10:11am: The Yankees are looking to add a veteran reliever to replace Miller. It sounds silly to buy, but you know what? Trading away one or two of those spare upper level outfield prospects for a non-rental bullpen arm makes a lot of sense. [Joel Sherman]
  • 10:19am: The Yankees are indeed close to adding a veteran reliever. Who? And for what? Your guess is as good as mine. [Jack Curry]
  • 10:21am: With Miller gone, the Yankees are expected to make multiple moves prior to Monday’s trade deadline. Beltran is very much in play. [Curry]
  • 12:42pm: A trade sending Brian McCann to the Braves is far from a sure thing. Atlanta wants the Yankees to eat money while not giving up top prospects. McCann has not yet been asked to waive his no-trade clause. [Ken Rosenthal, Mark Feinsand]
  • 12:45pm: The Yankees are still trying to find a taker for Ivan Nova prior to Monday’s deadline. That’s not a surprise. [Joel Sherman]
  • 12:46pm: “Stay tuned. A lot more things could happen,” said Brian Cashman on a conference call this afternoon. He added he has “not been pre-green-lighted on anything,” however.

Reminder before you comment: Your trade proposal sucks.

Yankees trade Andrew Miller to Indians for four prospects

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

It turns out the Aroldis Chapman trade was only the beginning. The Yankees announced Sunday morning that they have traded ace reliever Andrew Miller to the Indians for four prospects: outfielder Clint Frazier, left-hander Justus Sheffield, and righties Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. It’s a 4-for-1 swap. Coincidentally enough, Miller and the Indians will be at Yankee Stadium for a series next weekend.

“I enjoyed my time here. I loved playing in New York, living in New York, and I enjoyed my teammates,” said Miller to Meredith Marakovits after the trade. Miller was absolutely not part of the team’s problem. He’s arguably the best reliever in baseball and he’s a Grade-A teammate. The Yankees need young talent and Miller was their top trade chip, so off he went. Sucks. That’s the business.

Brian Cashman told reporters on a conference call that Hal Steinbrenner gave him the green light to trade Miller following Saturday night’s loss, their second straight loss to the last place Rays and third straight loss overall. Joel Sherman says Steinbrenner was very involved in the process. He read scouting reports and watched video on Frazier and Sheffield, the key pieces in the return.

Frazier, 21, was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft and he’s since blossomed into one of the game’s top prospects. Baseball America ranked him as the 21st best prospect in baseball in their midseason top 100 update. MLB.com had him a touch lower at 24th and Keith Law (subs. req’d) even lower than that at 34th. Here’s a snippet of MLB.com’s free scouting report on Frazier, a righty hitter and thrower.

Frazier’s bat speed and raw power are among the best in the Minor Leagues and suggest the ceiling of an All-Star. Though he struggled to harness his aggressive approach and recognize spin early in his career, Frazier has developed into a more complete hitter as he’s climbed the Minor League ladder, with strikeout and walk rates that continue to trend in a positive direction … Frazier has above-average speed and will continue to develop in center field, though he may eventually have to slide over to right field in deference to the some of the Tribe’s other center-field prospects in the high Minors.

Those plate discipline improvements have been pretty substantial. Frazier had a 29.7% strikeout rate and a 10.3% walk rate in Low-A ball back in 2014. So far this year he has a 22.3% strikeout rate and a 10.0% walk rate at Double-A and Triple-A. That’s a big drop in strikeout rate while climbing the ladder, and it’s good to see it’s coupled with no change in walk rate.

Frazier, who Cleveland promoted to Triple-A just a week ago, is hitting .275/.351/.465 (128 wRC+) with 25 doubles, 13 homers, and 13 steals in 93 total games this year. He started the season at Double-A. Remember, this kid is only 21. Frazier was more than three years younger than the average Eastern League player and he more than held his own. He excelled. This is the kind of prospect you have to get in a Miller trade.

Cut that hair, Frazier. (Harry How/Getty)
Cut that hair, Frazier. (Harry How/Getty)

Having followed Frazier these last few years, I’m comfortable saying right now that he immediately takes over as the Yankees’ top prospect. He has premium bat speed and power from the right side to go along with center field caliber defensive tools. Frazier has the kind of talent that could potentially make him the offensive cornerstone the Yankees have been lacking since Robinson Cano left.

Sheffield, 20, was the 31st pick in the 2014 draft and I wrote about him in our Scouting The Market: Indians post. He was the guy the Indians took with the compensation pick for losing Ubaldo Jimenez to free agency. It’s worth noting Justus is not related to Gary Sheffield. There’s been some confusion about that and I know I’ve said he (and his brother Jordan) is Gary’s nephew. That is not the case. There’s no relation at all.

Anyway, Baseball America and MLB.com ranked Sheffield at the 69th and 95th best prospect in baseball in their midseason top 100 updates, respectively. He did not make Keith Law’s updated top 50. Here’s a piece of MLB.com’s free scouting report:

Sheffield shows the makings of an above-average three-pitch mix. He’s hit 96 mph with his fastball but usually sits in the 92-93 mph range with late, arm-side life and some sink. His curveball flashes plus and projects as a swing-and-miss offering at the highest level, and he made strides developing his changeup in 2015 … Both his secondary pitches and his command require further refinement, but the southpaw has all the tools necessary to develop into a quality mid-rotation starting pitcher.

So far this season Sheffield has a 3.59 ERA (3.79 FIP) with a 22.8% strikeout rate and a 9.8% walk rate in 95.1 High-A innings. He’s roughly three years younger than the average Carolina League player. Sheffield is a tiny little guy at 5-foot-10 and 195 lbs., so the concern is his ability to get enough downward plane on his fastball to avoid being fly ball and homer prone. He’s a great athlete with a repeatable delivery though, plus he has the three pitches needed to start.

Both Heller and Feyereisen are pure relievers. Heller, 24, was a 22nd round pick in 2013. He has a 1.73 ERA (2.83 FIP) with 29.3% strikeout rate and a 7.3% walk rate in 41.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. Baseball America (subs. req’d) identified Heller has a prospect on the rise in their recent Indians’ top ten prospect update, saying his “fastball can reach 100 mph, and it typically sits 96-98.” He also throws a quality slider.

The 23-year-old Feyereisen is the clear fourth piece in the trade. He has a 2.23 ERA (3.06 FIP) with a 33.1% strikeout rate and an 11.8% walk rate in 40.1 innings. Feyereisen has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a slurvy breaking ball. He throws across his body quite a bit, so he chews up righties but tends to get hammered by lefties. We could definitely see Heller in MLB at some point this season. Feyereisen’s a little further away.

None of the four guys the Yankees acquired are on the 40-man roster. Frazier won’t be Rule 5 Draft eligible until after next season. Chances are he’ll be added to the 40-man and called up before then. Sheffield and Feyereisen won’t be Rule 5 Draft eligible until after 2017. Heller will have to be added to the 40-man this offseason. This trade doesn’t create any immediate roster headaches.

This is one of those trades that I think no one wanted to happen but everyone understands. It was impossible not to love Miller. He was not just dominant. He’s also a Grade-A dude who did whatever the Yankees needed without complaint. There should be more ballplayers like him. At the same time, the Yankees had a chance to land a big haul, and getting both Frazier and Sheffield and two others qualifies as a big haul.

In other news, the Yankees added Tyler Clippard in a trade with the Diamondbacks, so he’ll essentially step into Miller’s bullpen spot. Joe Girardi confirmed Dellin Betances will now take over as closer with Clippard and others in the setup mix. Losing Miller really stinks. It does. He’s great. But considering where the Yankees are at this point in time, getting a package of prospects of this caliber was too good to pass up.

Yankees break out for three runs, lose 6-3 to Rays anyway


Source: FanGraphs
You know, the Rays were supposed to be the easy part of the schedule. Do you think other teams see the Yankees as the soft part of their schedule? They have to, right? The Yankees scored a big win for #TeamSell with a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday night. New York has lost three straight to fall to five games back of the second wildcard spot. It’ll be 5.5 games back if the BoSox beat the lowly Angels tonight.

I, thankfully, did not see much of tonight’s game. A couple at-bats here and there. That’s about it. Sure doesn’t look like I missed much. There are better ways to spend a Saturday night than watching these Yankees, that’s for sure. I have some quick thoughts on the game.

1. Eovaldi’s Dingers. Two more homers allowed for Nathan Eovaldi, who has now allowed 21 dingers in 116.2 innings this year after allowing ten dingers in 154.1 innings last year. He allowed two homers Saturday night — a first inning solo shot (Brad Miller) and a third inning two-run shot (Curt Casali) — and finished with three runs allowed in six innings. Not a disaster start, but anything less than excellence usually means a loss for a Yankees starter. Eovaldi’s homer issue is really troubling. He was never this homer prone before. Not even close.

2. Behind Early, Again. Miller’s homer was the fourth first inning homer the Yankees have allowed in the last six games. It’s incredible. They’re behind early every game, it seems. Also, the Yankees have not scored first since last Sunday, the final game of the Giants series. This team isn’t good enough to play from behind all the time. They got away with two in Houston earlier this week, but not these last three games.

3. The A-Rod Absurdity. This Alex Rodriguez stuff is beyond ridiculous. Alex hasn’t hit at all this year so he’s been benched, and that’s smart. Bad players shouldn’t play. And yet, when Joe Girardi deems A-Rod worthy of a start, he bats him cleanup. Not good enough to play regularly but good enough to hit fourth when he does play. How silly. Alex went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Saturday night and I’m guessing he looked awful in all four at-bats. The Yankees should release A-Rod because he’s a sunk cost and doesn’t deserve a roster spot, and yet I weirdly find myself hoping they keep him because this is truly hilarious. The Yankees are so dysfunctional right now.

4. Bullpen Mismanagement. Down one in the seventh? Bring in Anthony Swarzak! Down three in the eighth? Bring in Adam Warren! Also, in the Astros series Swarzak pitched with the Yankees up four and Warren pitched with the Yankees down three. That is completely and totally backwards. I figured Swarzak would find himself in the Circle of Trustâ„¢ with that escape job against the Orioles a week ago, but it’s wholly undeserved. Yes, Warren stunk with the Cubs this year. But it’s literally Anthony Swarzak. When it comes to on-field stuff, the manager’s job is putting his players and his team in the best possible position to succeed. The A-Rod situation and Swarzak/Warren stuff is the opposite of that. They were set up for failure.

* * *

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages as well. The Yankees will try to avoid getting swept by the last place Rays on Sunday afternoon. Michael Pineda and rookie lefty Blake Snell are the scheduled starters. It will be nothing short of negligence if the Yankees don’t continue selling before the deadline. We have 103 games worth of evidence telling us they just aren’t very good.

Minor League Update: Sorry folks, I don’t have time for a full DotF tonight. Might not tomorrow either. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Ben Gamel had three hits, Tyler Austin homered, Blake Rutherford had two hits, Dermis Garcia hit a ball off the light tower, and Jorge Mateo had a single. Three of the eight affiliates were rained out.

Game 103: In Search of the Elusive Second Run

Me too, Joe. Me too. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Me too, Joe. Me too. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

The Yankees have scored two runs total since the end of Tuesday’s game. Yeah, there was an off-day Thursday, but still. One run Wednesday and one run Friday. That’s it. They’ve scored no more than two runs seven times in the last 13 games, and the Yankees rank dead last in the AL with a .391 SLG despite playing half their games in homer happy Yankee Stadium. In other words, it has been business as usual for one of baseball’s worst offenses lately.

Anyway, the Yankees and Rays are playing the second game of their three-game series tonight. I’m not going to be around to add the lineups to the post, so I’ll instead point you to Chad Jennings’ site. He’ll have them. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 6pm ET and you can watch on YES. Try to enjoy.

Injury Update: Bryan Mitchell (toe) was scheduled to throw a simulated game today. That’s good news. He’s pretty far along in his rehab if he’s already throwing sim games. We might see Mitchell in the big leagues by the end of August.

2016 Trade Deadline Rumors Open Thread: Saturday

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

The trade deadline is creeping closer and closer. It’s less than 55 hours away right now, and so far the Yankees have made just one deal, the Aroldis Chapman swap. To be fair, it’s not like a ton of trades are happening around the league. There’s been one or two a day this last week, and none have been particularly exciting. Chapman’s been by far the best player traded this week.

Once again, we’re going to keep track of the day’s trade rumblings right here. Or try to, anyway. I’m going to be running around all day today, so I can’t promise prompt updates, but I’ll do my best. The Yankees tend to keep things close to the vest anyway. It’s not like the last few days have been full of rumors. Here are Friday’s rumblings and here’s what’s happening today. All time stamps are ET.

  • 10:00am: Brian Cashman has been given the thumbs up to trade Ivan Nova, but not yet Michael Pineda or Nathan Eovaldi. Ownership is still hanging on to that “this team can contend!” silliness. Hopefully it’s just posturing. [Joel Sherman]
  • 10:00am: The Yankees and Indians have discussed all sorts of trade scenarios, including some involving Carlos Beltran. Cleveland doesn’t have much payroll wiggle room though and that’s an obstacle. In my opinion the Yankees should be very willing to eat money if it means getting better players in return. Flex that financial muscle. [Jon Heyman]
  • 10:00am: Brian Cashman told the Giants very early on that they didn’t have the prospects to get Chapman or Andrew Miller. Harsh? Maybe. But it’s good to get that out there early rather than string the Giants along and waste everyone’s time. [Sherman]
  • 1:53pm: The Yankees are gauging Brian McCann‘s market and the Braves have interest in a reunion. New York wants real prospects in return and doesn’t want to eat money. The Braves, naturally, want the Yankees to eat some of the $34M owed to McCann from 2017-18 and give up lower rated prospects. McCann has a no-trade clause but is from the Atlanta area, so he may be willing to waive it to go home and help the Braves open their new park next season. [Jon Heyman, Buster Olney, Joel Sherman]
  • 1:58pm: The Rangers have touched base with the Yankees about Beltran, but talks don’t appear to be serious. Texas lost Prince Fielder to season-ending neck surgery a few days ago, creating an opening at DH. [T.R. Sullivan]

Reminder before you comment: Your trade proposal sucks.

Nova hit hard, bats go quiet in 5-1 loss to Rays

I’ve seen more entertaining ballgames. Let’s put it that way. The Yankees dropped Friday’s series opener 5-1 to the Rays and the game was not terribly competitive. The Rays took a quick lead and New York never really came close to putting together a sustained rally. A blah game all the way around.

Bye Ivan. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Bye Ivan. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

Nova, For The Last Time?
In what was possibly his final game as a Yankee, Ivan Nova couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning and he left jawing with home plate umpire Laz Diaz. To be fair, Diaz has been one of the worst umps in the game for years. Anyway, Nova got hammered Friday, and the damage would have been a lot worse than if not for some nice defense by Chase Headley and several great blocks by Brian McCann.

It took all of three pitches for the Rays to take a 1-0 lead, and after 12 pitches, they were up 2-0. Nova allowed first inning dingers to Logan Forsythe and Corey Dickerson, so he got the #obligatoryhomers out of the way early. He’s allowed a homer in 14 of his 15 starts this season, totaling 18 homers in 83.1 innings. That’s a 1.95 HR/9 for a guy who is supposed to be a sinkerballer. Not great, Bob.

The Rays scored their third run two innings later on what was ultimately scored a Didi Gregorius throwing error, but that had more to do with Starlin Castro flipping the ball too casually to second on a potential 4-6-3 double play, forcing Didi to rush the throw. Tampa should have had a runner on third with two outs after the double play. Instead they had a run home with a runner on second and one out.

Tampa’s other two runs came on back-to-back doubles in the fifth, and later a sac fly. They scored their five runs on six hits and three walks in 4.1 innings against Nova, and five of the six hits were for extra bases (two doubles, two homers, one triple). That’s pretty indicative of how hard they were hitting him. There were lots of rockets all over the field. Even the outs. It was not pretty. Nova’s location was awful, even by his standards.

The trade deadline is Monday, and based on everything we’ve heard the last few days, it seems inevitable that Nova will be traded before then. The pitching market is pretty wild right now — the Rangers trade for Lucas Harrell on purpose this week — so maybe the Yankees will get something more than nothing. Nova’s trade value wasn’t all that high and this game didn’t help matters.

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

One Run, Again
For the 23rd time this season, the Yankees failed to score at least two runs Friday night. Those 23 games with zero or one run are the most in the AL and the third most in MLB, better than only the Mets and Brewers (24 each). The Yankees did have ten hits in this game, but all ten were singles. They are dead last in the AL with a .391 SLG as a team — that’s even sadder when you consider their home ballpark — are their ten games with no extra-base hits are tied for the second most in baseball. Only the Braves (14) have more. Yuck.

The Yankees put two runners on base with one out in the first and didn’t score, because of course. Their 35 first inning runs are the second fewest in baseball. Only the Phillies have fewer. They have 34. Gross. Jake Odorizzi predictably settled down and retired 18 of the next 20 batters, and one of the two baserunners reached on an infield single. The Yankees finally broke through against the bullpen, scoring their run on a walk (Brett Gardner) and two singles (McCann, Mark Teixeira), but by then it was too late. I miss runs. Those are fun. This team isn’t. They’re boring.

Leftovers
Chad Green threw 3.2 shutout innings after Nova and honestly, I don’t think he looked as good as his pitching line (3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). He allowed some very hard hit balls that just so happened to be right at people, and only 35 of his 67 pitches were strikes. Green faced 15 batters and threw only five first pitch strikes. Six of the 15 saw a hitter friendly 2-0 or 3-1 count. I still really like Green’s arm. This was one of those games that looks much prettier in the box score than it did in real life though.

Headley had two hits and Castro had no hits. The other seven starters had one hit apiece, and Alex Rodriguez came off the bench to provide a pinch-hit single. It was A-Rod‘s first game action since last Friday. I wish I was joking. He just sat on the bench for an entire week. It’s pretty amazing the Yankees would rather play with what amounts to a 24-man roster than release him, eat the rest of his contract, and use the roster spot on someone else. They have to pay the rest of the contract anyway.

And finally, the Yankees are 8-6 since the All-Star break against a pretty tough schedule, and according to FanGraphs their postseason odds have dropped from 8.1% to 7.4%. That recent hot streak was a total mirage built on unsustainably great pitching. The trade deadline is Monday and hopefully the Yankees do the smart thing and don’t stop selling at Aroldis Chapman. This isn’t a postseason team. Not even close.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, go to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and we have Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings. The bullpen page is pretty useful. The announcer page? Not so much. Anyway, here is the win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Leftovers
The Yankees and Rays will play the second game of this three-game series Saturday evening. That’s a 6:10pm ET start for whatever reason. Nathan Eovaldi and Drew Smyly are the scheduled starters.

DotF: Fowler extends hitting streak in Trenton’s win

High-A Tampa manager Pat Osborn spoke to Randy Miller about a whole bunch of his players, so check that out. Buried within the feature are a few injury updates. Here they are as well as the rest of the day’s notes:

  • LHP Ian Clarkin is done for the season with “a little meniscus issue that he’s getting repaired,” according to Osborn. I assume the “getting repaired” thing means surgery. Sucks. The good news is Clarkin’s arm is healthy. He was still able to throw 98 innings after missing all of last season with an elbow injury.
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren is currently throwing off a mound, which indicates he might actually pitch in games again at some point this season. He threw seven innings with High-A Tampa in April before getting shut down with some sort of elbow problem. Lindgren has surgery to remove a bone spur last year, remember.
  • This year Yankees’ farmhands will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, the league announced (PDF link). Last year they were on the Surprise Saguaros. Scottsdale will have have Angels, Phillies, Mets, and Giants prospects as well. The AzFL rosters are usually announced in late-August. Someone should really send me a mailbag question about who the Yankees might send this year, wink wink nudge nudge.
  • Both OF Dustin Fowler (No. 9) and OF Blake Rutherford (No. 18) made this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet, so make sure check that out. Rutherford’s hitting .370/.430/.617 (182 wRC+) in his first 22 pro games. That’ll do, kid.

Triple-A Scranton (1-0 loss to Pawtucket)

  • CF Mason Williams: 0-4
  • DH Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 K
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K — 23-for-59 (.390) with six doubles, five homers, 15 walks, and 14 strikeouts in his last 18 games
  • RF Jake Cave: 0-3, 2 K
  • LHP Dietrich Enns: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 53 of 89 pitches were strikes (60%) … tenth time in 19 starts he’s allowed one earned run or less
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/0 GB/FB — all seven pitches were strikes … this starts his 20-day rehab assignment clock … he’s currently on the MLB DL with a hand/nerve issue
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — ten of 14 pitches were strikes (71%) … 72/7 K/BB in 50 innings at three levels this year

[Read more…]