Fan Confidence Poll: December 15th, 2014

2014 Record: 84-78 (633 RS, 664 RA, 77-85 pythag. record), did not qualify for postseason

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

Weekend Open Thread

Between RAB and CBS, the Winter Meetings really wore me down this week, especially Wednesday and Thursday. I didn’t have much time to reach anything worthwhile, so I don’t have any links to pass along this weekend. Sorry. I do want to point that, during a conference call this afternoon, Didi Gregorius told reporters he was knighted back in 2011. The Yankees literally have a knight at shortstop. Sir Didi of Gregorius now roams the infield in the Bronx. Amazing.

Friday: Here is your open thread for the night. The Knicks and Nets are both playing, plus I’m sure there’s some college basketball on somewhere. Talk about anything and everything right here. Enjoy.

Saturday: This is the open thread again. The Rangers, Devils, Islanders, and Nets are all playing, plus there’s college sports too. Have at it.

Cashman on Tanaka: “He is a healthy player so there’s nothing to report”

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
I love this photo so much. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

While talking with reporters late last week, Brian Cashman confirmed there is nothing new to report on the status of Masahiro Tanaka and his partially torn elbow ligament. “He is a healthy player so there’s nothing to report on him other than you keep your fingers crossed that problem doesn’t rear its ugly head again,’’ said the GM to George King.

Keeping your fingers crossed that Tanaka’s elbow holds up next year is not exactly an ideal strategy, but there’s really not much more the Yankees can do at this point. The rehab treatment was complete and the doctors cleared him to pitch, then he made it through two late-season starts healthy, which was encouraging. Adam Wainwright and Ervin Santana pitched with small tears in their UCL for years.

Tanaka’s health might the biggest x-factor for the 2015 Yankees. If he stays on the mound, he’s an impact pitcher who greatly improves the team’s chances to contend. If he gets hurt, especially early in the season, it’s a huge loss because the drop-off from Tanaka to whoever replaces him in the rotation is substantial. I like Bryan Mitchell and Manny Banuelos, but c’mon, they’re not Tanaka.

The Yankees came into the offseason needing at least one starter and now they need multiple starters after using Shane Greene to get Didi Gregorius. They have to protect themselves against not only Tanaka’s elbow, but also CC Sabathia‘s knee and Michael Pineda‘s shoulder. The good news is that there is still quite a bit of pitching available in free agency. All shapes and sizes too. Aces, mid-rotation guys, reclamation projects, you name it.

Win a pair of tickets to PITCH: Talks on Baseball at B.B. King’s

Pitch Talks at BB Kings

There are still plenty of interesting players on the market, but they’ll soon find homes. By mid-January we’ll be in the depths of the off-season, with transactions behind us and Spring Training still a month away.

To help baseball nuts stay sane during this trying period, the PITCH: Talks on Baseball series is holding an event at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on January 14.

And RAB is giving away two pairs of tickets. to the event on January 14, 2015 Doors open at 6 p.m., and they kick off at 7:30.

Check out the event at the B.B. King Blues Clubs & Grill website.

The speakers

Pete Abraham, Boston Globe (Moderator)
Matthew Cerrone, Metsblog
Joel Sherman, New York Post
Tyler Kepner, New York Times
Jay Jaffe, Sports Illustrated
Adam Rubin, ESPN
Sweeny Murti, WFAN
Buster Olney, ESPN

How to enter: Just fill out the form below with your name and email address.

Fields marked with a * are required

We will choose a winner on 12/30. Please, submit only once (it might appear as though your submission didn’t go through, but once you hit submit trust us, it did).

The catch: In order to win, you have to be signed up for the RAB Daily Digest. We’ll check the entrants list against the email list when we pick a winner on the 30th. And hey, the Daily Digest is good fun, too. Just take it from reader Benjamin:

“Great Daily Digest. I was hesitant signing up because I already visit the site several times a day, but this is top notch. Thanks!”

Sign up below so you’re eligible to win one of the two pairs.



David Phelps, Adam Warren will come to Spring Training as starters

Warren in the rotation? As a last resort maybe. (Presswire)
Warren in the rotation? As a last resort maybe. (Presswire)

It’s no secret the Yankees came into the offseason needing rotation help. So, after the end of the regular season, the team told both David Phelps and Adam Warren to report to Spring Training next year ready to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. “We could always collapse them back into the (bullpen), but they were told to be physically ready to take a shot at a rotation spot,” said Brian Cashman to Brendan Kuty last week.

Phelps, 28, has been a true swingman the last three years, bouncing back and forth between the rotation and bullpen on numerous occasions. He’s performed a bit better as a reliever but not overwhelmingly so. It makes perfect sense to bring Phelps to camp ready to start. The 27-year-old Warren did a nice job in long relief in 2013 but really seemed to find a niche in short relief this past season. His velocity ticked up a bit and so did his strikeout rate. I understand bringing him to camp as a starter but I think he’s much more valuable as a one-inning reliever.

Despite their inactivity at the Winter Meetings, I definitely expect the Yankees to add a starter this offseason and probably two starters. They need the depth given the injury concerns in the rotation. It makes perfect sense to have Phelps and Warren prepare for a possible starting role, and while starting Phelps every fifth day is a fine fallback plan, I think putting Warren in the rotation should be a last resort. Hopefully he’s an emergency option and nothing more.

RAB Live Chat

Sherman: Yankees sign infielder Nick Noonan to minor league contract

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees have signed infielder Nick Noonan to a minor league contract. I assume he received an invitation to Spring Training. The Yankees tend to pay well on minor league deals and that could have come into play here. Noonan was designated for assignment by the Giants at midseason and became a minor league free agent a few weeks ago.

Noonan, 25, spent the season in Triple-A and hit .237/.282/.303 (51 wRC+) with three homers, a 24.1% strikeout rate, and a 5.9% walk rate in 406 plate appearances. That’s bad. Noonan had a huge camp in 2013 and made the Giants out of Spring Training only to hit .219/.261/.238 (36 wRC+) in 111 plate appearances during the regular season. He was 32nd overall pick in the 2007 draft.

Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked Noonan as the 23rd best prospect in San Francisco’s system prior to last season, saying teams view him as a future utility infielder who can play “adequately at three infield positions.” Noonan has a ton of experience at second base and shortstop but less than a half-season’s worth of games at third base. He’s a left-handed hitter too.

After Yangervis Solarte last year, I have a hard time thumbing my nose at signings like this. The Yankees do need an extra infielder for Triple-A Scranton next summer and that’s the role Noonan will likely fill. No biggie. Maybe he puts together another strong camp and makes the team as a reserve player, who knows. Given the current roster, building infield depth is important, and a minor league contract carries zero risk.