Game 105: The New-Look Yankees

Subway Series

The last week or so has been a pretty crazy time in Yankeeland. For many fans, this is the first time they’ve ever seen the team be legitimate sellers. Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova are all gone. They Yankees basically traded their three best players and Nova. In return, they netted a ton of prospects. A ton of prospects.

There are still games to be played, of course, and tonight the new-look Yankees open the Subway Series in Citi Field. Well, these aren’t new-look Yankees, really. There’s no one new on the roster. Just a bunch of guys we’ve all seen before. The team is new-look in its direction though. The focus is no longer on right now. It’s on the future, and that’s a new development. Here is the Mets’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. 2B Starlin Castro
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. RF Rob Refsnyder
  9. LHP CC Sabathia

It is on the cool side and cloudy in New York, and there’s rain the forecast much later tonight. It won’t be a problem unless the games goes to like 20 innings or something. Now that I’ve jinxed it, I’ll tell you the game is scheduled to begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch on both YES and SNY locally, as well as ESPN nationally. Enjoy.

Roster Moves: In the wake of today’s trades, the Yankees have called up Ben Gamel and Nick Goody. Also, Tyler Clippard has reported and was added to the active roster.

Yankees trade Ivan Nova to Pirates for two players to be named later

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

8:16pm: The Yankees have a list of players to choose from to complete the trade, according to Chad Jennings. They’re going to continue scouting those players in the coming weeks before making their picks.

4:21pm: The longest tenured homegrown Yankee is no longer a Yankee. A few minutes before today’s 4pm ET non-waiver trade deadline, the Yankees agreed to send right-hander Ivan Nova to the Pirates for two players to be named later. The team has since announced the trade, so it’s a done deal. Ivan joins his buddy Frankie Cervelli in Pittsburgh.

Nova, 29, will be a free agent after the season and there was basically no reason for the Yankees to keep him. He’s not a qualifying offer candidate and getting something, even two unexciting players to be named later, is better than losing him for nothing as a free agent after the season. Trading Nova was an easy call for the front office.

In 15 starts and six relief appearances this season, Nova pitched to a 4.90 ERA (5.09 FIP) in 97.1 innings. He has a 4.99 ERA (4.98 FIP) in 191.1 innings since coming back from Tommy John surgery last year, and he finishes his Yankees career with a 4.41 ERA (4.40 FIP) in 729 total innings from 2010-16. The second half of the 2011 season was his finest stretch in pinstripes.

The Yankees originally signed Nova for $80,000 as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic back in July 2004. Like I said, he was the longest tenured homegrown player in the organization, and the second longest tenured overall behind Alex Rodriguez. This must be tough for Ivan. He’s been a Yankee for a long, long time.

There’s no word on who the two players to be named later will be. They don’t have be named for six months, but chances are it’ll happen long before that. They could be legitimate prospects, they could be fringe minor leaguers, or they could be 40-man roster players who have to slip through trade waivers in August before being added to the deal. We’ll see.

As for replacing Nova in the rotation, that won’t be too tough. The Yankees have both Luis Severino and Chad Green on the big league roster and stretched out. Luis Cessa is stretched out in Triple-A as well. I’m not sure there’s a wrong answer here. My guess is Severino gets the first crack at Nova’s rotation spot.

Yanks send Carlos Beltran to Rangers for three prospects

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

The tear down of the 2016 Yankees has continued. Carlos Beltran has been traded to the Rangers for three prospects, both clubs announced. The three prospects are all right-handed pitchers: Dillon Tate, Nick Green, and Erik Swanson. Evan Grant says the Yankees are paying the remainder of Beltran’s $15M salary this season, which they supposedly did not want to do. So much for that.

Beltran has been, by no small margin, the Yankees’ best hitter this season. No one else is even close. Beltran has hit .304/.344/.546 (134 wRC+) with 21 doubles and 22 homers in 99 total games. He leads the team in basically everything. Pick an offensive stat and Carlos is atop the Yankees’ leaderboard. That’s why he was an All-Star this season. Beltran hit .270/.327/.470 (115 wRC+) in three seasons in pinstripes.

The Yankees had the option of keeping Beltran and making him the qualifying offer after the season, but I didn’t love that plan for a number of reasons. They were able to turn him into three prospects, including the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft, mostly because the Rangers lost Prince Fielder to season-ending neck surgery a few days ago and have seen their AL West lead shrink from eleven games to two games in, like, two weeks. Texas was desperate.

Tate is the biggest prospect in the trade and he was the aforementioned fourth overall pick in last year’s draft. His prospect stock has already taken a big hit though, mostly because his velocity has fluctuated wildly and he’s had some hamstring problems this summer. Also, a 5.12 ERA (4.43 FIP) as a 22-year-old in Low-A is straight up bad, especially for a guy who went fourth overall out of a major college program (UC Santa Barbara) just last year.

For the time being, I consider Tate more of a lottery ticket pickup than a bonafide top prospect. That isn’t to say it’s a bad trade. Getting a guy with Tate’s upside and pedigree for a rental 39-year-old, even one as good as Beltran, is pretty great. I just need to see more consistent velocity, more strikeouts (19.0%), and fewer walks (9.3%) before I run him up the prospect rankings. Here’s a snippet of MLB.com’s free scouting report:

Tate can dominate hitters with two pitches, a lively 92-98 mph fastball and a sharp 85-89 mph slider … He has improved his changeup since he started using it more often, but it still has a ways to go before it becomes a reliable third pitch … Most scouts think he can remain a starter because he’s so athletic, which helps him throw strikes and should allow him to stay healthy and smooth out his delivery.

Green and Swanson, the other two prospects coming to the Yankees, were also 2015 draftees like Tate. Green was selected in the seventh round and Swanson in the eighth round. It’s worth noting the Yankees drafted Green out of high school back in the 35th round of the 2013 draft. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence they acquired him now. He still has some fans in the organization.

The 21-year-old Green has a 4.98 ERA (3.17 FIP) with a great strikeout rate (27.7%) and an okay walk rate (8.8%) in 34.1 Low-A innings this year. He’s an arm strength guy with good athleticism who’s run his fastball up to 95 mph. A work in progress curveball is his second offering. Swanson, 22, has a 3.43 ERA (3.25 FIP) with a 22.9% strikeout rate and a 7.4% walk rate in 81.1 High-A innings this season. He’s a four-pitch fastball/slider/curveball/changeup guy.

The Yankees did not have to trade Beltran but they kinda did. The trade proves he had more value than the supplemental pick the team would have received after the season had he rejected the qualifying offer, and the Yankees need as much young talent as they can get. Beltran’s value was not sky high because he’s had some injury issues and is a defensive liability, so landing a lottery ticket like Tate is a nice get. Green and Swanson are gravy.

8/1 to 8/4 Subway Series Preview: New York Mets

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Will this be the least hyped Subway Series in history? Both the Yankees and Mets are reeling and on the outside of the postseason picture looking in. Not too many folks expected the Yankees to contend this year. Certainly not a majority. The Mets? Well, I had them winning the World Series before the season, so don’t listen to me. The two teams are playing a four-game home-and-home-series this week. They’ll be in Citi Field tonight and tomorrow, and Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Mets rallied to beat the Rockies yesterday but they have been slumping hard of late. They dropped four straight and five of six prior to that. The Mets are 54-50 with a +9 run differential. They’re 2.5 games back of the Marlins (!) for the second wildcard spot. The Yankees are 52-52 with a -33 run differential. They’re 5.5 games out of the second wildcard spot.

Offense & Defense

Fun fact: The Yankees are not the lowest scoring baseball team in New York this year. They’re averaging 4.03 runs per game with a team 86 wRC+. The Mets are averaging 3.66 runs per game with a team 95 wRC+. They’ve put up a 58 wRC+ with runners in scoring position, by far the worst in baseball. That’s why they’re averaging so few runs despite getting a 100 wRC+ from their non-pitchers.

Anyway, holy cow are the Mets banged up. Manager Terry Collins is without an entire infield and then some. Check out their list of injured position players:

  • SS Asdrubal Cabrera (95 wRC+) — suffered a knee sprain yesterday, seeing a doctor today
  • OF Yoenis Cespedes (147 wRC+) — day-to-day with a right quad injury
  • 1B Lucas Duda (106 wRC+) — out long-term with a stress fracture in his back
  • CF Juan Lagares (88 wRC+) — will miss six weeks following thumb surgery
  • 3B Jose Reyes (104 wRC+) — out a few weeks with an intercostal strain
  • 3B David Wright (119 wRC+) — out long-term following neck surgery
Cespedes. (Getty)
Cespedes. (Getty)

That’s rough. Cespedes might be able to play at some point this series and I suppose Asdrubal could get good news from the doctor today, but man, that’s an awful lot of talent on the sidelines. You could argue the Mets are without their three best hitters right now. Maybe their four best hitters.

Right now manager Terry Collins is building his lineup around ex-Yankee RF Curtis Granderson (107 wRC+), 2B Neil Walker (107 wRC+), and 1B James Loney (114 wRC+). Young LF Michael Conforto (92 wRC+) was recently recalled from Triple-A and IF Wilmer Flores (106 wRC+) is playing pretty much everyday out of necessity. IF Kelly Johnson (79 wRC+), another ex-Yankee, will probably play third with Flores at short while Cabrera’s out.

C Travis d’Arnaud (69 wRC+) and C Rene Rivera (89 wRC+) are the catching tandem. OF Alejandro De Aza (71 wRC+), OF Brandon Nimmo (68 wRC+), and OF Justin Ruggiano (61 wRC+) are the outfield bench bats. They need a lot of them with Cespedes banged up and Lagares out. I imagine a roster move will happen today if Asdrubal gets bad news from the doctor. They can’t play this shorthanded.

Defensively, the Mets have one clearly above-average defender in Loney, who isn’t as good as he was a few years back. Johnson/Flores on the left side of the infield isn’t too pretty, though Walker is solid. Granderson is okay in right but man, he can not throw. Run on him every chance you get. Conforto is not a good left fielder and the De Aza/Nimmo/Ruggiano trio all fall into the okay to good range in the field. d’Arnaud can’t throw at all. Rivera can.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (7:10pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Logan Verrett (vs. NYY)
Verrett, 26, was a Rule 5 Draft pick last year who bounced around on waivers a few times before being returned to the Mets. Now he’s in their rotation replacing Matt Harvey, who’s done for the season following surgery to treat Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. That’s pretty serious. Verrett has a 4.12 ERA (5.06 FIP) in 74.1 innings spread across nine starts and 18 relief appearances this year. He gets an average-ish number of grounders (44.8%), but his strikeout (15.9%), walk (10.0%), and homer (1.33 HR/9) rates all kinda stink. Righties have hit him much harder than lefties, which is the opposite of last season. As a starter, Verrett sits 90-91 mph with his four-seamer and a touch lower than that with his sinker. A low-80s slider is his main breaking ball. He also throws a mid-80s changeup and a mid-80s curveball. Pretty generic arsenal, really. There’s no standout pitch that allows Verrett to project as anything more than a swingman type.

Tuesday (7:10pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (vs. NYY)
For all the attention Harvey and Noah Syndergaard get (and deserve), the 28-year-old deGrom has been the Mets’ best pitcher the last three seasons. He owns a 2.56 ERA (3.07 FIP) in 18 starts and 112.2 innings despite a slow start and a minor lat issue in April. deGrom has excellent peripherals (24.2 K%, 5.5 BB%, 46.4 GB%, 0.80 HR/9) and also a reverse split this season, which is the opposite of the last two years. His fastball is down just a tick this year but it still sits comfortably in the mid-90s. deGrom has two out-pitch secondaries on his best days (upper-70s slider and mid-80s changeup) as well as a good fourth pitch (low-80s curve). He’s a bonafide ace.

Meet the Matz. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)
Meet the Matz. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Wednesday (7:05pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. NYM) vs. LHP Steven Matz (vs. NYY)
Matz has been through an awful lot to get to where he is. The Mets took him in the second round of the 2009 draft and he didn’t throw his first pro pitch until 2012 due to Tommy John surgery and subsequent setbacks. He’s had other injury problems along the way as well. Matz, 25, has a 3.35 ERA (3.35 FIP!) in 19 starts and 113 innings, and his underlying numbers are outstanding across the board: 22.4% strikeouts, 5.7% walks, 50.3% grounders, and 0.88 HR/9. He’s been a bit better against righties than lefties in his relatively short MLB career thanks to a nasty low-to-mid-80s changeup. Matz sets it up with a mid-90s heater and will also throw an upper-80s slider and an upper-70s curve. It’s worth noting Matz is pitching with a bone spur in his elbow and it’s caused him to basically stop throwing his slider. There’s too much discomfort to use it regularly, so he picks his spots with it now.

Thursday (7:05pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (vs. NYY)
Earlier this year there was talk the Yankees would move Colon to the bullpen once Zack Wheeler was healthy, and, sure enough, he is now their second healthiest starter. Maybe their healthiest given deGrom’s lat issues in April. Baseball doesn’t like exciting rotations, it seems. Colon, 43, has a 3.58 ERA (4.20 FIP) in 120.2 innings this year. His strikeout (16.4%), walk (4.4%), homer (1.27 HR/9), and grounder (44.4%) are very post-2010 Bartolo-esque. Lefties have been hitting him harder than righties. Colon throws more than 90% fastballs these days — he favors his upper-80s two-seamer over his low-90s four-seamer — and when he does mix in an offspeed pitch, it’s something in the low-80s, either a slider or a changeup.

Bullpen Status

I wouldn’t call the bullpen a weakness for the Mets, but they have been looking to add another reliever prior to the trade deadline for depth. Pretty much every team does that, to be fair. Here is the bullpen Collins has to work with this year:

Closer: RHP Jeurys Familia (3.08 ERA/2.47 FIP)
Setup: RHP Addison Reed (1.81/1.93), RHP Hansel Robles (2.52/3.32)
Middle: LHP Antonio Bastardo (4.74/5.06), LHP Jerry Blevins (2.25/3.03), RHP Erik Goeddel (3.86/4.21)
Long: RHP Seth Lugo (2.61/3.14)

Familia and Reed are generally a dynamite closer/setup man combo — Familia did blow saves on back-to-back days earlier this week after converting 52 straight save chances — and those two plus Blevins each threw an inning yesterday. Lugo threw three innings and 41 pitches Saturday, which may limit his availability tonight.

The Yankees suddenly have a new look bullpen with Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller traded away. Adam Warren is back and I imagine Tyler Clippard will be in town and available tonight. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relief crew.

Yankeemetrics: Mediocrity at its finest [July 29-31]

(AP)
(AP)

Loss for #Yankees, Win for #TeamSell
With this weekend’s series against the Rays representing one final opportunity to convince the front office to keep the band together for a late-summer playoff push, the Yankees inched closer to declaring themselves sellers with another frustrating loss on Friday night.

All 10 of their hits were singles and they scored just one run in a 5-1 loss, going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The the only other major-league team this season (through Friday) that had a game with double-digit hits, none for extra bases, and scored one or fewer runs was the Brewers in a 8-1 loss to the Phillies on June 5.

Ivan Nova — who had posted a 2.66 ERA in his previous four turns during a stellar month of July — was predictably horrendous in Tampa against the last-place Rays lineup, allowing five runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Tropicana Field has become a house of horrors for Nova. This was his first start at the dome since April 19, 2014, his final game before being diagnosed with a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery. And he now owns a 7.03 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) at the ballpark, the highest among all active pitchers with at least two starts and 25 innings pitched there.

The Rays clobbered Nova, with five of the six hits he allowed going for extra bases. This continues a yearlong trend of tons of loud contact against Nova, who has given up an average exit velocity of 94.9 mph on line drives and fly balls, the second-highest mark in the majors (min. 100 batted balls).

Chad Green kept the Yankees within spitting distance as he relieved Nova in the fifth inning and went the distance, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings. It was his third straight relief appearance with more than two innings pitched and no runs allowed. Green is just the second Yankee pitcher in the last two decades to put together a streak like that; Ramiro Mendoza had a three-gamer in 2001 and a four-gamer 2002.

You can’t spell ‘Sell’ without a couple ‘L’s’
Saturday’s deflating 6-3 defeat gave the Yankees two losses in two games to the last-place Rays, providing another layer of evidence that this team is not fit for October and needs a re-boot.

arod
(Getty)

The Yankees got off to another rocky start as Nathan Eovaldi surrendered a first-inning home run to Brad Miller, the 20th homer allowed by Yankee pitchers in the opening frame this season; through Saturday’s games, the only MLB teams that had allowed more first-inning dingers were the Twins and Royals, both with 22.

Eovaldi gave up a second homer to the Rays No. 9 hitter, catcher Curt Casali, giving him 21 homers allowed in 116 2/3 innings this year. That rate of 1.62 homers per nine innings is on pace to be the third-highest single-season mark by any Yankee qualifying pitcher, behind Phil Hughes (1.65 in 2012) and Terry Mulholland (1.79 in 1994).

Starting for the first time in a week, A-Rod did little to show management that he deserved more at-bats, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. It was the fourth game in his Yankee career that he came to the plate at least four times and struck out each time; only one other player in franchise history had four such games during their career: Mickey Mantle.

Drew Smyly, with a career strikeout rate of 24 percent (just a few ticks above the MLB average of 20 percent), is an unlikely candidate to be A-Rod’s personal kryptonite. But these are the facts: He has struck out in nine of 12 plate appearances (including playoffs) against Smyly, his highest whiff rate versus any of the 600-plus pitchers he’s faced more than five times in his 22-season career.

Just your average Yankees
On the same day the Yankees put the proverbial For Sale sign outside team headquarters in Tampa, they sunk deeper and deeper into the depths of mediocrity, losing to the Rays, 5-3.

They are now 52-52 this season, which includes a 44-44 record before the break, 8-8 after the break and a 13-13 mark in July. #TeamMediocre

It was their fifth time being swept this year, the same number they had in 2015 … with 58 games and two months remaining. And they’ve now scored no more than three runs in 55 of their 104 games, their highest total at this point in the season since 1972.

Michael Pineda once again delivered a maddeningly inconsistent performance, flashing dominance and looking strong at times (eight strikeouts), but ended up with disappointing results and a crooked final pitching line (five runs on six hits in six innings). It was his third game this season with at least eight punch outs and five earned runs allowed; no other American League pitcher has more than one such game.

Carlos Beltran put the Yankees on the board in the sixth inning with a two-run homer that sliced the Rays lead to 3-2. It was his his 22nd homer in 2016, matching Eddie Murray (1996) for the most by a switch-hitter in his age-39 season or older.

Fan Confidence Poll: August 1st, 2016

Record Last Week: 2-4 (16 RS, 24 RA)
Season Record: 52-52 (419 RS, 452 RA, 48-56 pythag. record), 5.5 GB of postseason spot
Opponents This Week: @ Mets (two games, Mon. and Tues.), vs. Mets (two games, Weds. and Thurs.), vs. Indians (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.

2016 Trade Deadline Rumors Open Thread: Monday

Bye, Carlos? (Hannah Foslien/Getty)
Bye, Carlos? (Hannah Foslien/Getty)

The 2016 non-waiver trade deadline is 4pm ET this afternoon, and the Yankees have already been very active. One of the most active teams in baseball, really. Within the last week they traded Aroldis Chapman, traded Andrew Miller, and added Tyler Clippard. Chances are they aren’t done either.

“Stay tuned. A lot more things could happen,” said Brian Cashman to reporters during a conference call following the Miller and Clippard trades yesterday. “If you want to become a super team, there are ways you have to go about it. We’re trying to get back to a situation where we can build an uber-team, and a sustainable one.”

Here are Sunday’s rumors. Once again, we’re going to keep track of the day’s Yankee-related rumors right here in this post. I’m going to be running around a bit today — bad timing, I know, but family first — and will do my best to update things promptly. All time stamps are ET.

  • 9:00am: The Astros, Red Sox, Indians, and Rangers are all in on Carlos Beltran. He has not yet been asked to waive his limited no-trade clause and, unsurprisingly, a trade with Boston is considered unlikely. I’m sure the thought of Beltran helping the BoSox win the World Series makes ownership squeamish, even if it means making the best possible deal. Some clubs want the Yankees to eat money to facilitate a trade. [Buster Olney, Mark Feinsand, Jon Heyman]
  • 9:00am: The Yankees continue to listen to offers for Brian McCann, Brett Gardner, Nathan Eovaldi, and Michael Pineda. They also want to unload impending free agent Ivan Nova prior to today’s deadline. [Joel Sherman]
  • 12:03pm: McCann remains a possibility for the Braves. They want the Yankees to eat a bunch of money and the Yankees want good prospects in return, so there are some things that need to be worked out. [Mark Bowman]

Reminder before you comment: Your trade proposal sucks.