As expected, Masahiro Tanaka faced hitters today for the first time since suffering a partially torn elbow ligament right before the All-Star break. He threw 35 pitches — including breaking balls and splitters — across two simulated innings against Brendan Ryan and Zelous Wheeler. Tanaka said he felt good but rusty, which isn’t surprising. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild called the throwing session encouraging.
It’s unclear what the next step will be — I’m guessing they’ll wait to see how Tanaka feels in the coming days before setting anything in stone — but the minor league season ends in about ten days, so there might not be enough time to get him in minor league rehab games. All of his preparation may have to be done in simulated games. The most important thing is that Tanaka is healthy and making real progress as he attempts to rehab his injury. · (11) ·
Prior to this afternoon’s game against the White Sox, the Yankees will retire No. 6 in honor of Joe Torre. The team’s long-time manager was unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame by the Expansion Era committee last December, thanks mostly to his time running the Yankees. He was a damn fine player in his day, though.
Torre spent the 1996-2007 seasons with the Yankees, leading the team to ten AL East titles, six AL pennants, and four World Series championships. He is second on the franchise’s all-time games managed (1,942) and managerial wins (1,173) list, behind only Joe McCarthy. Say what you want about his managerial style and his book The Yankee Years, but Torre definitely deserves to have his number retired in my opinion. No brainer, really. Once Derek Jeter‘s No. 2 is inevitably retired, the Yankees will be out of single-digit numbers. Crazy.
This afternoon’s number retirement ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12:15pm ET or so. It’s cool and cloudy in New York, but there is no rain in the forecast, so that’s good. The ceremony will be carried on YES but I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see it on MLB.tv. Usually they don’t show these pre-game ceremonies. Here is the White Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup for this afternoon’s game:
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- LF Brett Gardner
- C Brian McCann
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 2B Martin Prado
- 3B Chase Headley
- SS Stephen Drew
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.
Via Joel Sherman: The Yankees are “strongly considering” using a six-man rotation in September and are at least “talking about” doing the same next year, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Brian Cashman confirmed. “No doubt, you have to see how all the pieces fit, but I think it is something you have to take a look at,” said Rothschild.
There are several good reasons for employing a six-man rotation once rosters expand in September and I’m for it. Doing it next season is a different matter. The Yankees will have four starters with varying levels of injury concern in Masahiro Tanaka (elbow), Michael Pineda (shoulder), CC Sabathia (knee), and Ivan Nova (elbow), and giving them extra rest makes sense, but how do they pull that off? Do they go with a six-man bullpen/four-man bench or seven-man bullpen/three-man bench? Everything they’ve done with their roster the last few years points to the latter. Do it in September, sure, but they’d need to figure some stuff out before doing it in 2015. · (101) ·
The start of Friday night’s series opener against the White Sox was not so good, but the ending was arguably the best of the season. Thanks to Martin Prado‘s big night, the Yankees walked off with a much-needed 4-3 win over Chicago’s south-siders. That’s two straight wins and four in the last six games overall. It’s going to take a lot more than that to get the Bombers back into the postseason race, but hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere.
Three batters into the game, the ChiSox had a 3-0 lead thanks to two singles and a Jose Abreu three-run homer. Shane Greene hung a slider — though not too badly — and Abreu went down and golfed it out to left field. Given the Yankees’ offensive struggles, there was definitely a feeling that the game was already over after the homer. Give Greene credit though, he settled down and was very good the rest of the way, striking out seven and allowing just those three runs in five innings. Impressive bounce back.
The comeback started in the third inning, when Prado whacked a hanging John Danks changeup out of the park for a two-run homer. The Yankees tied the game on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s double in the fifth, which also gave them runners at second and third with no outs. Mark Teixeira (ground out), Prado (strikeout), and Brian McCann (fly out) couldn’t get any more runs home. Shawn Kelley did the bullpen heavy lifting, inheriting a first and second with no outs jam from Greene and escaped the inning. He had help when Brett Gardner threw a runner out at the plate for the third out.
Kelley (four outs), Dellin Betances (five outs), and David Robertson (three outs) combined for four innings of work in relief of Greene, giving the offense a chance to win it. Ichiro Suzuki‘s leadoff single in the ninth set the winning rally up, and eventually the Yankees loaded the bases with two outs on Ichiro‘s single, Gardner’s bunt, Derek Jeter‘s line out, Ellsbury’s intentional walk, and Teixeira’s unintentional walk. Righty Daniel Webb got ahead in the count 0-2 to Prado, followed that with three straight balls to run the count full, then allowed the walk-off ground ball single back up the middle. It was the Yankees’ fourth walk-off win of the season.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Mariners won but both the Tigers and Orioles lost, so the Yankees are eight games back in the AL East and 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs has their postseason odds at 6.5%. Hiroki Kuroda and Scott Carroll will meet in the middle game of this three-game series on Saturday afternoon, but first the Yankees will retire Joe Torre’s No. 6. The ceremony is scheduled to start a little after 12pm ET. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch it live.
Minor League Update: No time for a full recap tonight, folks. Here is the system wrap-up from MLB Farm instead. Every game in one place. Jose Pirela was a single short of the cycle, John Ryan Murphy and Dante Bichette Jr. both homered, Jacob Lindgren struck out three in two innings, and both Aaron Judge and Abi Avelino doubled.
Three weeks ago, it looked like John Danks — tonight’s starter for the White Sox — would be wearing Yankees pinstripes in the near future. The team was connected to the left-hander in the days leading up the trade deadline but ultimately nothing came of it.
That’s not the worst thing in the world, really. Danks has not been all that good since tearing his shoulder capsule a few years ago and there’s a ton of money left on his contract. The Yankees will need some pitching for next year, but grabbing Danks just because he was available wouldn’t have been the smartest move in the world. Here is the White Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- 2B Martin Prado
- DH Brian McCann
- 3B Chase Headley
- C Frankie Cervelli
- RF Zelous Wheeler
RHP Shane Greene
It’s cool and cloudy in New York, but there is no rain in the forecast tonight. For a while it looked like the weather might be a problem. Tonight’s game is scheduled to start at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on My9. Enjoy the game.
One fourth place team leaves town, another comes in. Hopefully the Yankees do a better job of seizing the opportunity during this three-game weekend set against the White Sox than they did the Astros, eh? The Yankees and ChiSox split a four-game set on Chicago’s south side back in May.
What Have They Done Lately?
The White Sox were just swept by the Orioles in a three-game series at home and they’ve lost 12 of their last 17 games. They’re 14-17 in the second half and 59-68 with a -66 run differential overall. Chicago has the fifth worst record and third worst run differential in the AL.
At 4.24 runs per game with a team 97 wRC+, the ChiSox are very close to a league average offense. They are currently without OF Adam Eaton (117 wRC+) and OF Moises Sierra (104 wRC+) due to oblique injuries. They also just traded IF Gordon Beckham (62 wRC+) to the Angels yesterday and have yet to call up a replacement. IF Marcus Semien (71 wRC+ in limited time) and IF Carlos Sanchez (-100 wRC+ in very limited time) are 40-man roster options.
Manager Robin Ventura’s lineup revolves around 1B Jose Abreu (158 wRC+), who is second in baseball with 32 homeruns. OF Avisail Garcia (138 wRC+) was expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing up his shoulder diving for a ball back in April, but he was just activated off the disabled list. DH Adam Dunn (117 wRC+) is probably going to hit a ball or two into the short porch this weekend. SS Alexei Ramirez (102 wRC+) and 3B Conor Gillaspie (122 wRC+) play the left side of the infield. Gillaspie’s having a sneaky good year.
OF Dayan Viciedo (84 wRC+) joins OF Alejandro De Aza (86 wRC+) and OF Jordan Danks (46 wRC+ in limited time) in the outfield with Eaton and Sierra hurt. C Tyler Flowers (82 wRC+) and Rule 5 Draft pick C Adrian Nieto (85 wRC+) split catching duties. 1B Paul Konerko (75 wRC+) is just a bench player as his career winds down and UTIL Leury Garcia (10 wRC+) is the last guy on the bench. Abreu is a major threat and the ChiSox have some nice secondary pieces in Dunn, Gillaspie, Garcia, and Ramirez, so they’re not a pushover.
Friday: RHP Shane Greene (No vs. CWS) vs. LHP John Danks (vs. NYY)
It was only three weeks ago when the 29-year-old Danks was being fitted for pinstripes. The Yankees were said to have interest in the southpaw at the trade deadline, but obviously nothing came of it. Danks has a 4.94 ERA (5.08 FIP) in 25 starts and 153 innings this year, and he just hasn’t been the same since suffering a torn shoulder capsule a few years ago. His strikeout (5.88 K/9 and 14.7 K%), walk (3.41 BB/9 and 8.5 BB%), homer (1.35 HR/9 and 11.3 HR/FB%), and ground ball (40.6%) rate are all weak, and righties (.371 FIP) hit him a ton harder than lefties (.313 wOBA). Danks throws his two and four-seam fastballs in the mid-to-upper-80s post-torn capsule with his cutter a few ticks below that. An upper-70s changeup is his top secondary pitch, though he will throw a handful low-70s curveballs per start as well. Danks threw eight shutout innings against the Yankees back in May, because of course.
Saturday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (vs. CWS) vs. RHP Scott Carroll (vs. NYY)
Carroll is a 29-year-old rookie and he’s pitching exactly like you’d expect a 29-year-old rookie to pitch: 4.99 ERA (4.93 FIP) in 97.1 innings across 14 starts and six relief appearances with a bad strikeout rate (4.62 K/9 and 11.6 K%) and okay walk (3.24 BB/9 and 8.1 BB%) and homer (1.02 HR/9 and 13.1 HR/FB%) numbers. His ground ball rate (53.8%) is very good and lefties (.385 wOBA) hit him a lot harder than righties (.322 wOBA). Carroll does throw five pitches and they’re pretty much the exact five pitches you’d expect a career minor league journeyman to throw: upper-80s two and four-seamers, low-80s changeups, low-80s sliders, and mid-70s curves. He allowed one run in two innings of relief against the Yankees the last time these two teams met.
Sunday: LHP Chris Capuano (vs. CWS) vs. LHP Chris Sale (vs. NYY)
Sigh, they were so close to missing Sale this series. The 25-year-old is arguably the best pitcher in the AL, with a 2.12 ERA (2.42 FIP) in 20 starts and 136 innings, and the only reason he isn’t neck and neck with Felix Hernandez in the Cy Young race is an elbow injury that cost him about five weeks earlier this year. Sale has elite strikeout (10.46 K/9 and 29.9 K%), walk (1.72 BB/9 and 4.9 BB%), and homer (0.60 HR/9 and 6.8 HR/FB%) rates, though he isn’t much of a ground ball pitcher (42.0%). Righties (.270 wOBA) haven’t had much luck against him this year and lefties (.160 wOBA) are completely helpless. A low-to-mid-90s two-seam fastball sets up Sale’s upper-70s slider and low-80s changeup, both of which are high-end out pitches. He’s outstanding and doesn’t get enough attention for being one of the two or three best pitchers in baseball on a per inning basis. Sale struck out ten in six shutout innings against New York in May. He was fresh off the disabled list following the elbow injury, so the only reason he didn’t pitch deeper into the game was a strict pitch limit.
Like the Yankees, the White Sox were off yesterday, so their bullpen is fresh. One-time Yankees draft pick RHP Jake Petricka (3.35 FIP) has taken over as their closer after the team tried about four different pitchers in the ninth inning. The Yankees drafted Petricka in the 34th round of the 2009 draft but did not sign him. RHP Zach Putnam (3.23 FIP) and RHP Matt Lindstrom (5.09 FIP) usually handle setup duties.
RHP Maikel Cleto (6.40 FIP in limited time), RHP Daniel Webb (4.55 FIP), LHP Erik Surkamp (6.00 FIP in limited time), and RHP Ronald Belisario (3.62 FIP) fill out the rest of the bullpen. RHP Javy Guerra (3.92 FIP) is currently on the bereavement list and will likely be activated at some point this weekend. When he comes back, Surkamp figures to go down. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of the Yankees relievers, then check out South Side Sox for everything you need to know about the ChiSox.
Via Dan Barbarisi: Following yesterday’s shutout win, Brandon McCarthy said he would be open to re-signing with the Yankees after the season. “Yeah. There wouldn’t be a question in my mind about that,” he said when asked about returning to New York. “I feel like it’s a great fit for me here. The guys here have been fantastic, everybody associated with the club. And it’s living in New York — there’s so many great aspects.”
McCarthy, 31, has a 1.90 ERA (2.33 FIP) with a stellar 51/7 K/BB in eight starts and 52 innings for the Yankees. I don’t think you can expect him to pitch that well going forward, plus he has a long and scary history of shoulder injuries, but the team needs pitching and he shouldn’t require a huge contract. McCarthy is wrapping up a two-year, $18M deal right now. If they can get him on another two-year deal at, say, $20M to $24M, they should jump all over it. Especially before he actually hits free agency. · (134) ·
According to multiple reports, the Red Sox will sign Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo to a record six-year contract in the $72M range. The Yankees had Castillo in Tampa for a private workout and were said to have interest in him as a second baseman, but the other day we heard they “ended any pursuit” of him. Commence complaining. · (255) ·
I’ve got seven questions for you this week. If you want to send us anything, mailbag questions or comments or links or whatever, just use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar at any time.
Many asked: What about playing Alex Rodriguez at shortstop next season?
We get asked this question a shocking number of times each week and I guess we can’t ignore them any longer. Alex can not play shortstop anymore. He hasn’t had the mobility for the position for about five years now based on his play at third. His arm is fine and his baseball instincts are literally the best I’ve ever seen, so I’m sure he knows what to do and all that, but physically he doesn’t move like he once did. Remember, we’re talking about a 39-year-old with two bad hips who has played 44 games total from 2013-14. By time Opening Day rolls around, it will have been 12 years since Alex played short. I’m am confident saying there is zero chance of this happening.
Assuming the Yankees don’t release A-Rod once his suspension is over — earlier this year I thought they would for sure, I think I wrote that somewhere, but now I don’t think that’s likely because he’s such a rating and ticket sale powerhouse — I’m sure they’ll try him at third base next year but wind up playing him at DH most of the time. I guess that would mean Martin Prado at third? Maybe they can teach Rodriguez to play some first base as well. But anything that requires actual mobility? I can’t see it. He’ll have to overcome a lot of physical obstacles to play the field regularly next season. Part-time third base, part-time first base, part-time DH seems like the best we could hope for going forward.
Justin asks: How does Jon Lester compare in age, innings pitched and injury history to CC Sabathia prior to his signing with the Yanks? Am I wrong to think off the top of my head that he would be well under CC’s innings total?
Sabathia was only 28 years old when he signed with the Yankees, remember. At the time of his free agency he had thrown 1,684.1 big league innings between the regular season and postseason, and his only notable injury was a torn meniscus following the 2006 season. Lester will turn 31 this offseason and he’s at 1,623.2 big league innings, so he’ll finish the year in the 1,650-1,700 range. He missed two weeks with a lat strain in 2011 and went through the cancer stuff back in the day. When Sabathia was Lester’s age, he had thrown 2,450.1 total innings. He started breaking down the next season (2012). (I’m not saying Lester will break down at the same age.) Lester’s arm is much fresher than Sabathia’s at the same point of his career, theoretically.
Paul asks: Approximately how bad would the Yankees have to be the rest of the way to get a protected draft pick? Where do you think they’ll end up picking (or which pick will they be losing to sign a qualified free agent if that’s what you think will happen)?
Because the Astros did not sign first overall pick Brady Aiken, they will receive the second overall pick as compensation next year. That pick as well as the first ten “natural” first round picks are protected from draft pick compensation. The Yankees currently have the 13th best record in baseball at 64-61, putting them in line for the 18th overall pick. The Mets have the tenth worst record at 60-68, a .469 winning percentage. Let’s say the Yankees would need to finish with a .460 winning percentage to secure a protected first round pick. That would mean a 74-88 overall record, or 10-27 in the final 37 games. The Yankees stink, but I can’t imagine they’ll play the .270-ish ball they would need to play the rest of the season to get a protected first rounder. In all likelihood they’ll end up picking in the 15-20 range.
Charlie asks: Just curious, how much longer is Big Mike under team control for? Does all of his injury time delay his arbitration? Thanks.
The Yankees did delay Michael Pineda‘s free agency and arbitration one year by activating him off the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A last July. He should have been in his first arbitration year right now and scheduled to become a free agent after the 2016 season. Instead, Pineda will be arbitration eligible for the first time next year and hit free agency after the 2017 season, when he’ll still only be 28. Time spent on the DL is the same as the active roster for service time purposes.
Mark asks: It seems to me that as bad as the Yankees power output has been this year, a larger percentage of the few HRs that they hit have been solo HRs. Is that true?
The Yankees have hit 112 homers this season, which are broken down into 75 solo homers (67%), 27 two-run homers (24%), eight three-run homers (7%), and two grand slams (2%). Two grand slams! Remember when they hit three grand slams in one game a few years ago (video)? Good times. Good times. Anyway, the AL averages this year are 57% solo homers, 29% two-run homers, 11% three-run homers, and 2% ground slams. So yes, the Yankees have hit far more solo homers than a) any other type of homer, and b) the league average this year.
Drew asks: I know no prospect is perfect but which Yankee hitting prospect has the most complete tool set? My first initial thought was Aaron Judge, or am I missing someone? Does most complete tools equal best prospect? I’m not too sure, and it depends on how high you value a particular skill set and ceiling.
I would say Judge has the most complete set of tools in the system right now. In fact, I think he does easily. I’m not even sure who’s close at this point. Tyler Austin lacks speed and a strong arm, Greg Bird has all the hitting tools but not much else, and Jake Cave lacks power. Slade Heathcott probably has the second most complete set of tools in the system but he’s never healthy. I wouldn’t say the most complete tools automatically equals the best prospect, the quality of the tools matter as well. I would rather have a guy with 80 power, 20 speed, and 40 everything else (to use the 20-80 scouting scale for a second) than someone with 50s across the board, for example. Having a well-rounded game is good! It’s not everything though.
Drew asks: Is Mark Montgomery really having that bad of a season? Yes the walks have been an issue but overall it looks like his numbers have been pretty good. I don’t think he is a realistic option for the pen in September but more like the middle of next year after starting the year in AAA. Yes we thought it was going to happen this year but, hey things happen.
He used to have much bigger velocity, and now its settling at a lower level. He still has the performance behind it, its just not the power stuff it was before. He’s still someone that’s on our radar.
Montgomery has a 2.30 ERA (3.98 FIP) in 47 innings with a 24.1% strikeout rate and a 12.8% walk rate between Double-A and Triple-A this year. During this sicko 2012 season at High-A and Double-A, he had a 1.54 ERA (1.62 FIP) with a 39.4% strikeout rate and an 8.8% walk rate in 64.1 innings. Montgomery’s stuff hasn’t been the same since he hurt his shoulder last year and it shows in the numbers. He’s still a good relief prospect, just not the potential shutdown late-inning force we all thought he would be two years ago.
- Baseball Prospectus posted a bunch of (free!) firsthand scouting reports of Yankees prospects today, including LHP Jacob Lindgren, C Gary Sanchez, OF Tyler Austin, and OF Mason Williams. Williams got absolutely crushed, which isn’t all that surprising, sadly.
- C John Ryan Murphy was activated off the Triple-A DL. He missed a little more than a week after taking a foul tip to the face mask. C Jose Gil was placed on the phantom DL to clear a roster spot. Also, Sanchez was activated off the Double-A paternity list.
- 2B Angelo Gumbs was placed on the High-A Tampa DL with an unknown injury and RHP Caleb Cotham was bumped from the rookie Gulf Coast League up to High-A Tampa to continue rehabbing from whatever his injury was.
Triple-A Scranton (5-1 loss to Buffalo)
- LF Jose Pirela: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 SB
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-2, 2 BB, 2 K — 95/49 K/BB this year after 82/84 K/BB last year
- RF Zoilo Almonte & DH Kyle Roller: both 0-4, 2 K
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 0-2, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
- 1B Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K
- C John Ryan Murphy: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 PB, 1 E (throwing) –
- LHP Nik Turley: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 7/2 GB/FB — 58 of 101 pitches were strikes (57%) … 43/40 K/BB in 55 innings
- RHP Nick Rumbelow: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/2 GB/FB — 20 of 28 pitches were strikes (71%) … 75/17 K/BB in 53.2 innings across four levels