2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Monday

Hamels. (David Banks/Getty)
Hamels. (David Banks/Getty)

The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline is this coming Friday at 4pm ET. The Yankees are currently 55-42 with a +34 run differential on the season, giving them a 6.5-game lead in the AL East. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at a healthy 93.1%. Despite that, the roster could use some reinforcements, particularly at second base and on the mound.

“We’ve had conversations with every club willing to sell, finding out what they’re willing to sell and what their price tags are. You engage everyone about everything,” said Brian Cashman to Ken Rosenthal recently. The Yankees are said to prefer rental players — their trade deadline activity in recent years backs that up — but they’ve reportedly “sworn off” dealing top prospects for said rentals. We’ll see.

We’ll keep track of any Yankees-related rumors right here throughout the day. The team tends to do things very quietly, almost all of their major moves seem to come out of nowhere, so I can’t promise you many updates. Especially not this early in the week. Either way, keep tabs on everything  and talk about all things trade deadline right here throughout the day.

  • 6:17pm ET: The A’s have traded Tyler Clippard to the Mets for minor league righty Casey Meisner, the teams announced. So scratch Clippard off the list. Meisner was the Amazin’s third round pick last summer. He’s similar to a healthy Austin DeCarr, if you’re wondering.
  • 5:00pm ET: The Dodgers and Rangers are currently seen as the favorites to land Cole Hamels. The Phillies continue to demand either Judge or Severino from the Yankees. [Heyman]
  • 3:36pm ET: The Yankees continue to show interest in Ben Zobrist but they are one of many. The Pirates, Royals, Angels, and Cubs are also trying him to pry him away from Oakland. [Heyman]
  • 12:53pm ET: As expected, the Yankees continue to talk both starters and relievers with other teams, especially righty relievers. The plan could be to acquire a reliever then moving Adam Warren back into the rotation. [Heyman]
  • 11:30am ET: The Yankees have indeed contacted the Phillies about Cole Hamels, which is no surprise. They had a scout at his no-hitter over the weekend. The Phillies asked for either Aaron Judge or Luis Severino, but the Yankees are not planning to move Judge, Severino, Greg Bird, or other top prospects. Philadelphia is also said to be seeking a catcher in any trade. [Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, Jim Salisbury, Buster Olney]
  • In addition to Hamels, the Yankees are keeping tabs on basically every available starting pitcher. That list includes Jeff Samardzija, Ian Kennedy, Yovani Gallardo, and Mat Latos, among others. It remains to see whether the Tigers will cave and make David Price available. [Joel Sherman]
  • The Yankees are a potential landing spot for Tyler Clippard, who could be dealt as soon as today. The club has also been scouting Padres relievers recently, presumably Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit. Kimbrel is Kimbrel, and the Yanks have shown a bunch of interest in Benoit in recent years. [Susan Slusser, Jon Morosi]
  • The Yankees are looking for an upgrade at second base. There’s not much out there aside from Ben Zobrist, however. They have zero interest in Aaron Hill and could simply recall Rob Refsnyder if they’re unable to make a deal for help at second. [Jon Heyman]
  • Marlins righty Mat Latos has been linked to the Yankees. The Marlins are in sell mode — they’ve already traded ex-closer Steve Cishek to the Cardinals — and have plenty of rental players to offer. Here is our Scouting The Market post on Latos and other Miami players. [Joe Frisaro]
  • Athletics director of player personnel Billy Owens has scouting Double-A Trenton recently. That is definitely not the most prospect-laden team in the system. Scott Kazmir has already been traded, but the Yankees have interest in Zobrist. [Matt Kardos]
  • The Yankees and Reds did have discussions about Johnny Cueto before he was traded to the Royals. Apparently Ivan Nova‘s name came up. Talks didn’t advance very far. [George King]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

7/27 to 7/30 Series Preview: Texas Rangers

Adrian Beltre Elvis Andrus

The road trip continues with a four-game series in Texas. The Yankees and Rangers have a lot of recent history (2010 ALCS) and not-so-recent history (1996, 1998, 1999 ALDS), which of course means nada this week. The Rangers swept three games from the Yankees in Yankee Stadium back in May in dominating fashion — they outscored them 30-15 in the three games. Yikes!

What Have The Rangers Done Lately?

The Rangers got clobbered by the Angels yesterday but did win two of three in the series. They’ve won four of their last five overall and are 5-4 since the All-Star break. Texas is 47-50 overall with a -28 run differential. They are 7.5 games back of the Astros in the AL West and 4.5 games of the Twins for the second wildcard spot.

Offense & Defense

The Rangers have a bit of an offensive disconnect — they average 4.36 runs per game, which is above the 4.21 AL average, by they also have a 95 wRC+ as a team. Weird. They’re without several players because of injury, including IF Jurickson Profar (shoulder), 1B Kyle Blanks (Achilles), C Carlos Corporan (thumb), and ex-Yankee OF Antoan Richardson (back). Corporan (45 wRC+) could return this series but the other guys are out long-term.

Odor. (Bob Levey/Getty)
Odor. (Bob Levey/Getty)

Rookie skipper Jeff Banister builds his lineup around three left-handed hitters: 1B Prince Fielder (150 wRC+), 1B/DH Mitch Moreland (129 wRC+), and 2B Rougned Odor (124 wRC+). Odor had a miserable start to the season (35 wRC+), got sent to the minors in early-May, returned in mid-June, and has raked since (146 wRC+). Those are the club’s three big bats, and the speedy OF Delino DeShields Jr. (110 wRC+) has done a nice job setting the table.

OF Shin-Soo Choo (95 wRC+) and OF Josh Hamilton (89 wRC+) aren’t having much impact and 3B Adrian Beltre (83 wRC+) is having his worst season since leaving the Mariners. Getting old sucks. SS Elvis Andrus (69 wRC+) and OF Leonys Martin (54 wRC+) offer little at the dish, ditto UTIL Adam Rosales (77 wRC+) and UTIL Ryan Rua (61 wRC+). C Robinson Chirinos (104 wRC+) and C Tomas Telis (48 wRC+) are the catching tandem.

The Rangers have a surprisingly weak defense. Martin is outstanding in center and Beltre is still very good at third, though he’s no longer the elite gloveman he was for most of his career. Odor is very good as well. Andrus has a reputation for strong defense but has slowed down the last year or two. Fielder, Choo, Hamilton, and Moreland are liabilities in the field. Chirinos won’t shut down the running game (24.3% caught stealing rate) and he’s a below-average pitch framer, so says StatCorner.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (8pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. TEX) vs. LHP Matt Harrison (vs. NYY)
It’s pretty remarkable the 29-year-old Harrison has made it back to the big leagues. He made just six starts the last two years due to ongoing back trouble, including spinal fusion surgery last June that could have ended his career. Harrison has been able to work his way back and this will be his third start off the DL. He threw six scoreless innings last time out after allowing six runs in four innings in his first start. At his peak, Harrison was a big time ground ball pitcher who didn’t walk or strike out many. Now? Who knows. PitchFX says he was sitting in the 85-88 mph range with his sinker in his first two starts after living in the low-90s before his injury. Harrison also throws mid-70s curveballs and changeups right around 80 mph. Previous stats and scouting reports don’t mean too much after an injury like that.

Tuesday (8pm): TBA vs. LHP Martin Perez (vs. NYY)
Like Harrison, Perez returned from major injury not too long ago, though he was out with regular ol’ Tommy John surgery. The 24-year-old will also be making his third start since coming off the DL — Perez allowed three runs in five innings first time out and four runs in six innings last time out. Before getting hurt last year, he had a 4.38 ERA (3.70 FIP) with a great ground ball rate (52.7%) but below-average strikeout (16.9%) and walk (9.2%) rates. Perez has sat in the low-90s with both his two and four-seam fastballs in his first two starts, and in the mid-80s with both his slider and changeup.

As for the Yankees, they’re using a spot sixth starter tomorrow to give the rest of the rotation an extra day of rest. Luis Severino (started Friday) and Bryan Mitchell (started Saturday) are not candidates for this game because they recently started for Triple-A Scranton. Diego Moreno is tomorrow’s scheduled starter for the RailRiders, though he hasn’t been stretched out yet. Chances are we’ll see a bullpen game with Adam Warren and Chris Capuano each throwing 50 pitches or so. I bet Nick Goody will then get sent down Wednesday in favor of a fresh long man, maybe Mitchell, who only threw 65 pitches Saturday. Shouldn’t be a huge deal to bring him back on short rest.

Lewis. (Tom Pennington/Getty)
Lewis. (Tom Pennington/Getty)

Wednesday (8pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. TEX) vs. RHP Colby Lewis (vs. NYY)
Lewis, 35, made his big injury comeback two years ago. He has a 4.49 ERA (3.82 FIP) in 20 starts and 126.1 innings so far this year. The only thing he does exceptionally well is limit walks (4.8%). His strikeout (18.3%), grounder (35.4%), and homer (1.07 HR/9) rates are all worse than the league average. Lefties (.320 wOBA) have hit him a bit harder than righties (.293 wOBA) this year. An upper-80s fastball is what Lewis uses to set up his mid-80s changeup, low-80s slider, and mid-70s curveball. He uses the slider more than the changeup and curveball combined, hence the platoon split. The Yankees scored five runs in 6.2 innings against Lewis when these teams met in May.

Thursday (8pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. TEX) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (vs. NYY)
The trade deadline is this coming Friday and Gallardo, an impending free agent, is a candidate to be moved, so I guess that means he may not actually start this game. We’ll just have to wait and see. Gallardo, 29, has a 3.19 ERA (3.69 FIP) in 21 starts and 121.1 innings this year with below-average strikeout (16.1%) and walk (8.9%) rates but above-average ground ball (50.1%) and homer (0.59 HR/9) rates. Lefties (.304 wOBA) have hit him harder than righties (.282 wOBA). Gallardo uses his two and four-seamers equally and both sit in the 90-92 mph range. A hard upper-80s slider — it’s almost like a cutter, but the break is bigger — is his main secondary pitch. He’ll also mix in a few mid-70s curveballs and very rarely throws his mid-80s changeup. The Yankees pushed two runs across in six innings against Gallardo a few weeks ago.

I’m not sure who would start Thursday should Gallardo get traded, but LHP Wandy Rodriguez seems like a safe bet, unless, of course, he gets traded as well. Rodriguez was bumped to the bullpen recently when Harrison and Perez returned from the DL.

Tolleson. (Stephen Dunn/Getty)
Tolleson. (Stephen Dunn/Getty)

Bullpen Status
The Rangers have baseball’s worst bullpen with a 4.59 ERA (4.47 FIP), so the old “wait out the starter then go to town on the relievers” strategy will work against this club. Closer RHP Shawn Tolleson (3.19 ERA/3.32 FIP) has been solid and these days RHP Tanner Scheppers (5.45/5.58) and RHP Keone Kela (3.24/2.94) are setting him up. Scheppers has the job out of reputation, Kela out of production.

RHP Anthony Bass (4.35/3.66) is the long man and LHP Sam Freeman (3.32/3.52) is the matchup lefty. RHP Spencer Patton (6.46/6.19) and Wandy (4.22/4.08) round out the bullpen. Ex-Yankee RHP Ross Ohlendorf (3.52/5.67) is out with a groin strain and is expected to be activated this week. Patton figures to go down to Triple-A to clear a roster spot for Rock ‘n Rohlendorf. Bass, Freeman, Patton, Kela, and Wandy all pitched yesterday. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of New York’s bullpen and then check out Lone Star Ball for updates on the Rangers.

(GIF via Buzzfeed)

Yankeemetrics: All roads lead to Target Field (July 24-26)

#ClutchRod (AP Photo)
#ClutchRod (AP Photo)

NoWin-eda?
The Yankees’ winning formula has been to score early and often, and thrash their opponents with lots of homers. The Twins took a page out of the Yankees playbook on Friday night, however, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and hitting four home runs in their 10-1 victory.

The nine-run blowout was the Yankees worst loss to the Twins since July 31, 1991 (12-3) and their worst defeat in Minnesota since April 5, 1989 (12-2). It was also the most home runs the Twins have hit against the Yankees in more than 20 years. On August 6, 1994, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Pedro Munoz and Shane Mack each hit homers in the Twins 10-4 victory that day.

The Yankees made a lot of loud outs and got 10 hits in the game, but managed just a single run on a sac fly in the ninth inning. It was the first time they scored one or fewer runs despite having double-digit hits since July 10, 2010 vs. the Mariners. In that span, every other major-league team had done that at least once (and the Pirates have done it eight times!).

MVP-rod?
As magical as this season has been for the Yankees, there’s still been a couple holes in their resume, including a poor record away from the Bronx and a lack of big comebacks. Entering Saturday, the Yankees were 23-25 on the road and the largest deficit they’d overcome in a game was three runs.

They temporarily patched up both of those holes on Saturday night, scoring eight unanswered runs after trailing 5-0 in the third inning to beat the Twins at Target Field.

A-Rod wrote another chapter in his storybook season, hitting three homers, each one bringing the Yankees closer to an improbable victory, and capped off with his dramatic game-tying shot in the top of the ninth inning. Before this outburst, he had never even hit a single homer at Target Field; his 30 at-bats at the ballpark before his solo longball in the fourth inning were his most at any venue he hadn’t gone deep yet in his career.

At the age of 39 years and 363 days, not only did A-Rod become the oldest Yankee ever to hit three homers in a game, he also is the fifth-oldest in major-league history to do it. The only guys older than him were Stan Musial (41 years old), Jason Giambi (40), Reggie Jackson, (40) and Babe Ruth (40).

It was his fifth career three-home run game, one shy of the MLB record held by Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa, and his third such game with the Yankees. The only other players in franchise history to hit at least three homers in a regular season game three-or-more times are Lou Gehrig (4) and Joe DiMaggio (3).

His third homer knotted the game at 5-5, his sixth game-tying homer in the ninth inning with the franchise. A-Rod and Yogi Berra are the only Yankees in the last 75 years to hit that many game-tying homers in the ninth frame.

Ace-valdi?
Breaking news: the Yankees won a road series! They beat the Twins 7-2 on Sunday to win their first series on the road since sweeping the Mariners in Seattle on June 1-3. If the Yankees were going to break out of their road slump, the most likely choice would have been here at Target Field. They are now 16-5 at the ballpark (which opened in 2010), the best record there by any American League team.

No Yankee starter is pitching better and more consistently than Nathan Eovaldi right now, who turned in his seventh strong outing in a row since getting shelled by the Marlins in mid-June. He’s got a 2.83 ERA in his last seven starts, easily the best among his rotation ‘mates in that span (since June 20). And he is now up to 11 starts this season allowing two runs or fewer, the most among Yankee pitchers.

Chase Headley drove in three of the Yankees’ seven runs with a solo homer in the fifth and a two-run single in the sixth. Before Headley, the last Yankee third baseman with at least three RBIs against the Twins in Minnesota was Robin Ventura on April 18, 2003. Since sitting out three games in the beginning of July with a calf injury, Headley is hitting .359 with 10 RBI in his last 11 games.

Fan Confidence Poll: July 27th, 2015

Record Last Week: 5-1 (32 RS, 25 RA)
Season Record: 55-42 (450 RS, 416 RA, 52-45 pythag. record) 6.5 games up in ALE
Opponents This Week: @ Rangers (four games, Mon. to Thurs.), @ White Sox (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

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 Features tab in 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?

DotF: Judge returns with two hits in Scranton’s win

According to Andrew Marchand, the Yankees wanted RHP Bryan Mitchell to make Tuesday’s spot start, but his last Triple-A start had to pushed back due to a minor injury (he started last night). So he’s not an option. Also, C Austin Romine (thumb) has been activated off the Triple-A DL, reports Donnie Collins.

Triple-A Scranton (2-1 win over Toledo)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K, 1 CS — third straight two-hit game with a triple … no idea when it last happened in the minors, but the last big leaguer with a triple in three straight games was Starling Marte in 2012 … last big leaguer with at least two hits and a triple in three straight games was Carl Crawford in 2009
  • 3B Jose Pirela: 0-4, 1 RBI
  • LF Ramon Flores: 0-3, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4
  • 1B Greg Bird: 0-4
  • RF Aaron Judge: 2-3, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB — first game in eight days because he was “tight”
  • C Gary Sanchez: 0-2, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 5/11 GB/FB — 57 of 97 pitches were strikes (59%)

[Read more…]

Yankees ride Eovaldi’s eight strong innings and the six-run sixth to beat the Twins 7-2

(Source: Getty)

Today’s game was nowhere near as thrilling as last night’s but the Yanks won again nonetheless. New York beat the Twins 7-2 thanks to great starting pitching and a big offensive outburst in the sixth. They start the road trip with a series win at Minnesota, which is pretty neat.

Nasty Nate!

So how about Nathan Eovaldi? Today’s start has got to be a chapter in the young righty’s narrative of becoming a better starting pitcher. After today’s game, Eovaldi is 5-0 in last seven starts with a 2.83 ERA in 41.1 IP. His ERA has dropped from 5.12 to 4.27 as well.

(Source: Getty)

Eovaldi had a pretty good beginning of the game. He faced four hitters in the first and struck out three of them swinging — he blew past a 99 mph fastball by Dozier, then Torii Hunter and Miguel Sano struck out swinging on splitters. Again: three swinging strikeouts in an inning for Nate! For a guy who’s been too hittable for his stuff, that was a pretty fun frame to watch.

Eovaldi did give up the first run of the game on the third. With one out, Aaron Hicks reached on an infield single to Didi Gregorius. Dozier followed up with a single to center. Jacoby Ellsbury thought he had a chance to catch Hicks at third but not only was not particularly close, it allowed Dozier to move up to second, erasing the double play situation. With runners on second and third, Hunter hit a hard grounder right at Chase Headley that bounced off his glove. Had he caught the ball, he would have gotten Hicks out at home easily, but it deflected towards Gregorius and the only choice he had was to get the runner out on first. Oh well. But before the ninth inning, that was the only major trouble Eovaldi got into.

From the fourth to sixth, Eovaldi faced the minimum amount. In the seventh and eighth, he did face RISP situations but got out of both unscathed. The ninth inning, however, Eovaldi allowed a leadoff double — his first XBH allowed in five games! – to Sano. Joe Girardi then pulled him out of the game but boy, he’s gotta be very pleased with what he saw from Eovaldi today. He was just brilliant. He wasn’t exactly a strikeout machine but Eovaldi did mix pitches very well and induced a lot of grounders (11 GB – 5 FB today).

The calm before the storm

Yankees had RISP situations in each of the first three innings but came up empty-handed against Kyle Gibson each time. In the first inning, Brett Gardner had a one-out double but a Mark Teixeira strikeout and a Brian McCann ground out killed the opportunity. In the second, Carlos Beltran led off with a double but the bottom part of the lineup could not bring him in. In the third, Gardner reached second on a wild pitch with two outs but Teixeira flied out the end the frame. Gah.

Dat post-contact extension (Source: Getty)

However, down 1-0 in the top of the fifth, Headley took the fifth pitch of the at-bat way out of the ballpark for a game-tying solo homer. Love second half Chase. Before today’s game, Headley had been hitting .333/.371/.421 in July and, believe it or not, that was the first homer of the month.

Six-run sixth

You know how the Yanks let those early RISP chances pass away? Well, in the sixth, they made sure to get things done. Gardner hit the first pitch of the inning for a base hit and Gibson completely lost the strike zone — he walked Teixeira on four pitches and McCann on five … and then of course he strikes out Beltran on three pitches because sometimes that’s how things work.

Garrett Jones had a different plan though. He hit a 1-1 fastball to right for an RBI single. Headley followed it up with a 2-RBI single to right to extend the lead to 4-1. By then, Twins manager Paul Molitor had seen enough of Gibson and sub’d in LHP Ryan O’Rourke.

With one out and runners on corners, Didi dragged a bunt for a sacrifice — it seemed like he wanted to bunt for a hit, but he hit it too hard and didn’t have enough time to beat it out. But it became a pretty neat sac bunt anyways. 5-1 Yankees. The inning wasn’t over there — Stephen Drew hit a hanging curveball out of the park for a two-run homer. 7-1 Yankees. Hooo what a frame.

Leftover

Justin Wilson had been solid for a long while — since May 26 till July 21, the lefty made 23 appearances and has a minuscule ERA of 0.43 (1 ER in 21.0 IP), which is just ridiculously good. Today was not his finest moment though. Coming in as a relief for Eovaldi in the ninth, Wilson faced two hitters (Trevor Plouffe and Eddie Rosario) and both of them reached on singles — one of them being an RBI single to add an earned run to Eovaldi’s line. Granted, both were grounders but it did make the situation bit dicier, 7-2 lead or not. Girardi wasted no time going to Dellin Betances to close out the game and Betances delivered a fly out and a line drive double play. 7-2 Yankee win.

Box score, standings, highlights and WPA

Here’s the box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees head to Arlington, Texas for a four-game road matchup with the Texas Rangers. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Sunday Night Open Thread

That was a nice series win. The Twins were 31-16 with a +51 run differential at home heading into that series, you know. The Yankees are rollin’ right now. Seven wins in nine games since the All-Star break and 14 wins in 19 games this month overall. Pretty, pretty sweet.

Here is tonight’s open thread. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is the Tigers at Red Sox (Rodriguez vs. Greene) because apparently ESPN still thinks it’s 2013. Talk about that game, this afternoon’s win, or anything else here.