Thoughts following the 2015 trade deadline

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

Yesterday afternoon, the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline came and went with a lot of rumors, but ultimately no moves by the Yankees. They did pick up Dustin Ackley on Thursday, but that’s all, just the one small move. The lack of trade deadline activity was … unexpected. I have some thoughts.

1. I’ve been saying for weeks I expected the Yankees to make a move or three before the trade deadline, but it didn’t happen, and I’m really surprised. I figured the combination of sitting atop the AL East and missing the postseason the last two years would spring Brian Cashman & Co. into action to try to get whatever help they could to make sure they get back to the playoffs this year. Know what I mean? They don’t want to spend another October at home. The restrain was pretty impressive. The Yankees said they weren’t going to trade their top prospects and they stuck to their guns. It would have been very easy to give up, say, Luis Severino for David Price and go for the kill, but it didn’t happen. Unexpected!

2. Now, that said, was hanging on to every last top prospect the right move? That’s debatable. I’m in the camp that thinks the Yankees have a wonderful opportunity in front of them — seriously, can you expect Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez to hit like this again next year? — and they should have been willing to trade a top or prospect or two to bolster with an impact player, say Price or Ben Zobrist or whoever. I’m glad the Yankees were willing to make Jorge Mateo available for Craig Kimbrel for a few reasons, including the fact shortstop is a position of depth in the system. The Yankees literally have more shortstop prospects than roster spots — guys like Abi Avelino, Angel Aguilar (when healthy), and Yonauris Rodriguez have been stuck playing second or third base this summer — with more on the way thanks to last summer’s international spending spree. (Also, Mateo is sooo far away from MLB. He’s not going to have an impact anytime soon and lots can go wrong.) Every report indicated the Yankees wouldn’t move their upper level prospects and me, personally, I would have been more open to moving them at the trade deadline given the team’s current situation. When the unwillingness to trade prospects gets in the way of getting someone like Price, yeah, maybe that’s going to a little too.

3. Not getting some kind of pitching depth before the deadline was really, really risky. Every pitcher ever is at risk of getting hurt, that’s the nature of the business, though it feels like the Yankees are more at risk than most. Michael Pineda is already on the DL. CC Sabathia has had his knee drained twice this season already. Masahiro Tanaka has his whole elbow situation. Ivan Nova‘s working his way back from Tommy John surgery. Nathan Eovaldi is their most reliable starter right now and, as we saw last night, completing six innings is a challenge. Another starter to protect against injury and soak up some innings really would have been appreciated. And ace would have been awesome! But an innings guy like Mike Leake or even J.A. Happ would have worked. The Yankees are one more pitching injury from having some big problems. They’re already stretched thin as it is.

IPK. (Presswire)
IPK. (Presswire)

4. I have to think the Yankees will be keeping a really close eye on the August waiver trade market for pitching depth. More than usual. Both the Padres and White Sox did not make any trades yesterday because they feel they still have a run in them, but I can’t imagine that will last. How could it? Rental pitchers Ian Kennedy and Jeff Samardzija figure to be available at some point, especially Kennedy because he’s not a qualifying offer candidate. Yovani Gallardo, Bartolo Colon, and Aaron Harang are other August trade candidates. Obviously some of these guys are more desirable than others. (The issue with waiver trades is that teams below the Yankees in the standings can claim players just to block them from going to New York. So, for example, what are the odds the Blue Jays don’t claim Samardzija? Basically zero.) I’m just really worried about the rotation and the pitching staff in general. Hopefully everyone stays healthy in the second half, but man, I really wish the Yankees were able to bring in another starter before the deadline yesterday. What they have available right now feels like the bare minimum. It’s juuust enough to get by if everything breaks right.

5. As for the Ackley pickup … meh. Not really a needle-mover. Ackley’s a slight upgrade over Garrett Jones because he’s better defensively and can play second base, though he’s less likely to run into the occasional short porch homer. Ackley is several years younger — which means he has more “upside,” as people like to say — and is under contractual control for a few extra seasons. It’s certainly not difficult to understand why they replaced Jones with Ackley. Both Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez will be out of minor league options next year and the Yankees didn’t figure to have a spot for either, so they consolidated the assets, turned them into something else, and started to clear up the a 40-man roster logjam. The team has a frickin’ ton of outfielders and relievers in the upper levels of the minors. They dealt from a surplus for sure. It’s a boring yet fair trade that doesn’t figure to have much noticeable on-field impact. If you’re upset about this one, maybe take a step back and chill out for a bit.

6. I could be wrong, but it seems like the Yankees are going to stick with the Stephen Drew/Brendan Ryan platoon at second base for the foreseeable future. Rob Refsnyder‘s not going to come up and take over on an everyday basis anytime soon. That could change in an instant, I have a hard time thinking Ryan will hit like this much longer, but right now the plan seems to be Drew and Ryan. The Yankees have been hesitant to use Refsnyder this year, almost certainly because of his defense, so if they don’t call him up soon to play second, I’m not sure he’ll get another opportunity this year unless there’s an injury. Heck, even Ackley might be ahead of Refsnyder on the depth chart at this point. Maybe next year will be the year for Refsnyder.

Teixeira homers twice again, Yanks pound White Sox 13-6

Source: FanGraphs

The Yankees can’t score on the road, they said. The Yankees are built for Yankee Stadium, they said. Well, that last part is true, the Yankees are built for Yankee Stadium, but can’t score on the road? They’ve now scored 64 runs in eight games on the road trip. The Yankees clobbered the White Sox 13-6 in Friday night’s series opener. Good win. Solid. Anyway, it’s Friday night and my brain is fried following the trade deadline, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • MVPTEX: For the second straight day, Mark Teixeira clubbed two home runs, including a second inning grand slam that pretty much put the game to bed. He tacked on a two-run shot in the fourth. Teixeira went 3-for-4 with the two homers and two walks. He’s absolutely locked in right now. On everything. It’s wonderful. Oh, and by the way, that was the team’s 42nd grand slam since 2010, the most in baseball. The Red Sox are second with … 28!
  • 5.2 & Fly: Nathan Eovaldi picked a good night for his worst start in a while. Eovaldi allowed three runs, including two on a Jose Abreu homer when the score was already lopsided, but managed only 5.2 innings. And he needed 118 pitches to do that. Eovaldi’s been solid for a while now, but he rarely gives the Yankees length. Joe Girardi pushed Eovaldi as far as possible because he didn’t want to tax his bullpen again, but he couldn’t push him any further. Hopefully the bullpen holds up until rosters expand. These guys are being asked to get too many outs.
  • Rest of the Offense: The 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 8-for-10 with four doubles, two homers, and five walks. Those guys didn’t make their first out until their 12th plate appearance. That’ll do just fine, thanks. Chris Young, Chase Headley, and John Ryan Murphy all had multiple hits as well. Things went so well that even Brendan Ryan went 3-for-6. Of course, he struck out against Adam LaRoche in the ninth, so maybe it wasn’t all good. The Yankees had a .509 OBP as a team.
  • Leftovers: Adam Warren replaced Eovaldi and allowed two runs in 2.1 innings. He was their most consistent starter when he was sent back to the bullpen, and now here he is mopping up games with a huge lead twice in one week. What a waste … Nick Goody allowed a run in the ninth … Dustin Ackley took over in right field in the late innings and went 0-for-2 in his Yankees debut … and finally, Teixeira went deep from both sides of the plate for the 14th time in his career, which is a new MLB record. He broke a tie with Nick Swisher. How about that?

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and postseason odds. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and ChiSox continue this three-game series Saturday night. Bryan Mitchell figures to start with Diego Moreno backing him up. John Danks will be on the mound for Chicago.

DotF: Holder, Estrada lead the way in Staten Island’s win

RHP Luis Severino placed tenth in this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. That might be his last Hot Sheet appearance ever — Severino will make his MLB debut sometime in the middle of next week, the Yankees announced today. Also, make sure you check this brief Josh Norris write-up on LHP Jeff Degano, this year’s second round pick.

Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Columbus)

  • LF Ben Gamel & 2B Rob Refsnyder: both 0-3, 1 BB — Refsnyder struck out and got caught stealing
  • 1B Greg Bird: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K
  • CF Slade Heathcott: 0-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — if you missed it earlier, he was activated off the DL and optioned down, so his rehab is over
  • 3B Jose Pirela: 1-3, 1 RBI
  • C Austin Romine: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI — making the most of his now limited playing time
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 10/4 GB/FB — 65 of 101 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 2/0 GB/FB — 13 of 19 pitches were strikes (68%)
  • RHP Andrew Bailey: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GB/FB — 18 of 26 pitches were strikes (69%)

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Game 102: ChiTown


The trade deadline has come and gone. The Yankees didn’t do anything other than pick up Dustin Ackley, so they’re sticking with the roster they have and whatever they get from their farm system. I find that quite risky! But it is what it is. The post-deadline portion of the season starts tonight on Chicago’s south side.

The Yankees dropped their last two games to the Rangers but have generally played well of late. They’re 9-4 with a +24 run differential since the All-Star break, stretching their AL East lead to six games. That’s pretty good. Heck, if you’d have told me before the season that the Yankees would be six games up on deadline day, I’d have taken it in a heartbeat. Shake off those last two losses and get a win tonight, mmmkay? Here is the White Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Chris Young
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. C John Ryan Murphy
  8. 2B Brendan Ryan
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It’s nice and sunny in Chicago yet not nearly as hot as it was in Texas the last few days. Mid-80s, not 100+. Tonight’s game will begin a bit after 8pm ET and you can watch live on good ol’ YES. Enjoy the game, everyone.

Injury Updates: Brett Gardner and Brian McCann are fine, just sitting against the lefty Carlos Rodon … CC Sabathia (dehydration) is doing much better. He was discharged from the hospital in Texas and has rejoined the team in Chicago.

Roster Moves: In case you missed it earlier, Garrett Jones was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Ackley and Esmil Rogers was released so he could sign with a team in KoreaChris Capuano cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton, the Yankees announced. He can reject the assignment and elect free agency if he wants … Slade Heathcott was activated off the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Scranton, the team announced.

Yankees designate Garrett Jones for assignment

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

Earlier today, the Yankees designated first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones for assignment, the team announced. The move clears a roster spot for the recent acquired Dustin Ackley. Joe Girardi confirmed Ackley will fill the same role as Jones: seldom-used backup outfielder and backup first baseman, plus he’ll take some grounders at second.

Jones, 34, hit .215/.257/.361 (67 wRC+) with five homers in only 152 plate appearances this season. He had a brutal start to the season — 6-for-40 (.150) in the team’s first 41 games — but kinda sorta picked it up of late, hitting .240/.288/.413 (92 wRC+) in his last 111 plate appearances. Jones did hit one huge home run this season, so thanks for that.

The Yankees acquired Jones in the Nathan EovaldiMartin Prado trade this past offseason and still owe him the rest of his $5M salary, which is a relative drop in the bucket. Brian Cashman explained they replaced Jones with Ackley because Ackley is younger, more versatile, and under team control beyond this season.

Cashman: Severino will make next start with the Yankees


After not picking up any pitching help at Friday’s trade deadline, top pitching prospect Luis Severino will be called up to make his next start with the Yankees, Brian Cashman told reporters this afternoon. Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild will map out the exact date at some point, though Girardi did say Severino will make his MLB debut during the Red Sox series next week. Severino last started Wednesday.

The rotation is in rough shape right now with Michael Pineda (elbow) on the DL and CC Sabathia (dehydration) temporarily out of action — Girardi said there is no date for Sabathia to resume baseball activities at the moment — so the Yankees are turning to Severino, who they refused to trade prior to the deadline. This doesn’t figure to be a spot start. Severino will get a chance to stick.

“Only if we needed it, and only if he earned it. Well, he’s earned it, and we need it,” said Brian Cashman to Chad Jennings when asked about the decision to call up Severino. “So we’ll see what the next step for this youngster is. He moved really fast through the system and obviously had a lot of success. We’ll see what the next level is going to be like for him and hopefully he can contribute and add into the cast of characters.”

Severino, 21, has a 2.45 ERA (2.45 FIP!) with 24.8 K% and 6.8 BB% in 99.1 total innings this year, including a 1.91 ERA (2.53 FIP) in 61.1 innings at Triple-A Scranton. Baseball America ranked him as the 35th best prospect in baseball before the season and the 17th best prospect in baseball in their midseason update a few weeks ago. Severino is a mid-90s fastball guy with a promising slider and changeup.

I’ve speculated that Severino only has about 50 or so innings left before hitting his limit this year — he threw 113.1 innings at three levels last year — but Cashman said that is not the case. “He doesn’t have any (limit) … We prepared for this,” said the GM to Erik Boland and Mark Feinsand. My guess is Severino does have an innings limit and the Yankees don’t want to make it public. That’s smart. As we’ve seen with Joba Chamberlain and Stephen Strasburg, making innings limits public can turn into quite the distraction.

As with all young pitchers, I’m skeptical of Severino’s ability to come up and make an impact right away — he’s thrown more than five full innings only 18 times in 65 career starts; how will he navigate the third time through a big league lineup? — but at this point, with no trade for a pitcher, calling Severino up is a move that had to be made. He was crushing Triple-A and the Yankees have a need in the rotation. It’s time.

Yanks make no trades, instead stand pat at the deadline

Kimbrel. (Stephen Dunn/Getty)
Kimbrel. (Stephen Dunn/Getty)

As reported by Jack Curry and Joel Sherman, and later confirmed by Brian Cashman, the Yankees did not make a trade prior to today’s 4pm ET trade deadline. Their only move was yesterday’s Dustin Ackley pickup. The Yankees reportedly offered Jorge Mateo for Craig Kimbrel at some point, but the Padres didn’t respond. There weren’t many rumors besides that, though the team does tend to keep things quiet.

“I approached this deadline with discipline but at the same time with aggressiveness. We could not find a match. In most cases it was our opponents trying to peel away the Judges, the Severinos,” said Cashman to Sweeny Murti, Mark Feinsand and Erik Boland this afternoon. “I’m doubling down on what we’ve got … It’s all hands on deck from our system.”

That’s not lip service either — top pitching prospect Luis Severino is coming up to make his MLB debut and join the rotation next week. That’s fun, but, at the same time, the rotation has a 4.36 ERA, ranking 23rd out of the 30 clubs. All seven teams with a worse rotation ERA are non-contenders. Furthermore, the staff is averaging just 5.78 innings per start, 21st in MLB and tenth out of the 15 AL clubs.

Pitching help was an obvious need, if only to provide some depth and protect against injury. Michael Pineda (elbow) is on the DL and both Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) and CC Sabathia (knee) are perpetual concerns. Adding an ace like Johnny Cueto and David Price would have been great! But even an innings eater like, say, Mike Leake would have helped. The Yankees left themselves very susceptible to injury.

The Angels and Yankees were the only AL contenders to not add meaningful pieces at the deadline. Most notably, the division rival Blue Jays (David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe) and Orioles (Gerardo Parra, Junior Lake) shored up areas of need. Then again, the Yankees do have a six-game lead over both Toronto and Baltimore, which is nice with just about two-thirds of the season complete.