(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Derek Jeter will play the final home game of his career later tonight. Pretty much the only silver lining to being eliminated from postseason contention yesterday is that everyone will now be able to focus on Jeter and not the outcome of the game. (Not that Jeter’s retirement was lacking coverage or anything.) Here are a few random thoughts prior to the Cap’n’s last game in Yankee Stadium.

1. First things first: today’s weather forecast is not so good. Last I checked, there was a 70% chance of rain throughout the day before dropping to 20% later this evening. The tarp was put on the field immediately following yesterday afternoon’s game. Because the Yankees have been bounced from playoff contention and the Orioles have already clinched the AL East title (and are just about locked into the second best record in the league), this game normally would not be made up if it is rained out. It’s meaningless to the final standings. A league spokesman told  Brendan Kuty that “all efforts will be made to get the game in” tonight and there have been no discussions about what would happen if it is rained out, nor should there be. There’s no way the league would force them to make the game up next week just to honor Jeter. It’s not fair to the postseason-bound Orioles, for starters. The weather is the weather and there’s really nothing anyone can do about it. I’m just going to put my faith in the baseball gods and hope the skies clear up enough at some point.

2. I and I think everyone else is looking forward to seeing what the Yankees and Joe Girardi do for Jeter after Mariano Rivera‘s memorable exit last season. Pulling him in the middle of an inning so he can get a standing ovation seems a bit too obvious but that just might be what happens. The KISS method (keep it simple, stupid) is never a bad choice. My guess? The rest of the team will stay behind in the dugout when Jeter takes the field defensively in the ninth inning — maybe earlier if they’re worried about rain in the later innings — so he can be alone on the field and get a roaring ovation. Then Girardi will pull him mid-inning so Jeter can get another ovation. I dunno, I’m just spit-balling here. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be awesome and memorable. The Yankees have a knack for doing these right. After all, it’s the people that make this stuff special. Everything else is secondary.

3. Earlier this week Girardi said he plans to play Jeter during the final three games of the season in Boston, though he softened that stance after yesterday’s loss and said he’ll ask Jeter what he wants to do. Of course Jeter said he wants to play, but maybe he’ll change his mind if tonight’s send-off is just too perfect. That’s what happened with Rivera last year. Needless to say, I selfishly hope he doesn’t play in the series against the Red Sox at all. Like Rivera, let his final moment on the field come at Yankee Stadium with the home fans sending him off in a matter befitting of an all-time great. It would be different if the team was contending and set to go to the postseason, but they’re not, and I want to see Jeter end his career in the Bronx, not Fenway Park. I don’t care if that makes me sound like a jerk — yes, I know lots of people paid lots of money for tickets to see Jeter this weekend, including plenty of Yankees fan — I want his final moment to come at Yankee Stadium. That’s my selfish storybook ending for his career.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

4. As for his post-career life, I’m guessing Jeter will stay out of the limelight for the most part, aside from the occasional charity appearance and whatnot. I’m sure he’ll show up to Spring Training and Yankee Stadium a handful of times in 2015, though I would bet on him waiting a few years before coming to Old Timers’ Day like most new retirees. Jeter will have his publishing business to keep himself busy and I’m sure he has a bunch of other stuff going as well (based on the recent NY Mag article). If Jeter gets involved in baseball in any way after retiring, I assume it’ll be at an ownership level, not in some sort of coaching position that comes with the day-to-day grind and a lot of travel. I could absolutely see the Steinbrenners letting Jeter buy a stake in the team at some point in the future, even if he’d be nothing more than a spokesman/figurehead like Magic Johnson is for the Dodgers. His relationship with the Yankees is far from over, obviously.

5. Admittedly, I have not spent a ton of time thinking about this, but right now I consider Jeter to be the sixth best player in Yankees history behind (in order) Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Yogi Berra. That’s my personal list. There is no right answer to this stuff. We all have own personal top Yankees lists and none are wrong. If you want to take the lazy way out and look at WAR, Jeter is fifth in franchise history with both 71 bWAR and 73 fWAR, behind that top four and ahead of Berra. This is about so much more than on-field production though. We’re talking about players who transcend stats. The Bronx Bombers are the Bronx Bombers because of Ruth and Gehrig. Mantle is the greatest switch-hitter ever. DiMaggio has his record hitting streak and the guy married Marilyn Monroe. Berra? He has a World Series ring for literally every finger. These guys aren’t just baseball players, they’re icons and important historical figures. The same is true of Jeter. Want to argue with me that he is the fifth or seventh or tenth best Yankee instead of the sixth best Yankee? Fine. I’m not sure it’s worth the effort though. We’re talking about all-time greats either way and Jeter’s place among the Ruths and Gehrigs and Mantles of Yankee universe is well-deserved.

Categories : Musings
Comments (199)

The Yankees were finally eliminated from postseason contention this afternoon. We’ve known this was coming for weeks but now it’s official. No October baseball in the Bronx for the second consecutive year. This sucks. Joe Girardi confirmed after the game that Carlos Beltran (elbow) will be shut down for the rest of the season and likely Jacoby Ellsbury (hamstring) as well. Maybe Mark Teixeira (wrist) too. Not surprise there. Might as well shut down Dellin Betances before he gets to 90 innings.

Anyway, here is your open thread for the night. The Mets are playing and ESPN is showing the Royals and Indians, a game that would have been relevant to us Yankees fans if not for this afternoon’s loss. Talk about those games or anything else right here.

Categories : Open Thread
Comments (251)

It’s official: the 2014 Yankees will not go to the postseason. They were eliminated from playoff contention with Wednesday afternoon’s come-from-ahead 9-5 loss to the Orioles. This is the first time the Yankees have missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since 1992-93.

( Jim McIsaac/Getty)

( Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Six-Run Fourth
In his final start of the 2014 season, Greene retired the first seven batters he faced and then only four of the next 14. His meltdown started in the third inning, when a single (Ryan Flaherty) and two walks (Nick Markakis and David Lough) loaded the bases with two outs. Greene got Adam Jones to ground out weakly to escape the jam and end the inning. The end result was a zero on the board, though the inning was unfortunately a sign of things to come.

Baltimore’s six-run rally in the fourth inning started with a simply little Nelson Cruz ground ball single kinda sorta back up the middle. It was just out of the reach of both Greene and the shifted infield. Steve Clevenger followed that with a single to center to put two on with no outs. Greene struck out Jimmy Paredes for the first out, then the line just kept moving. Kelly Johnson walked to load the bases, Ryan Flaherty drove in two runs with a double into the corner, Caleb Joseph struck out, Markakis singled in two runs with a soft liner to right, Lough tripled in another run, then Jones drove in Lough with a bunt hit. That finally ended Greene’s afternoon.

David Huff started warming in the bullpen after Flaherty doubled into the corner, but Joe Girardi decided to stick with Greene against the lefty hitting Markakis and Lough and it cost them. Not sure why you’d bother warming Huff up if you weren’t going to use him there. Anyway, Greene ended his season on a down note (3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) like Brandon McCarthy on Tuesday, though he still finished the year with a 3.78 ERA (3.72 FIP) in 78.2 innings — his ERA jumped from 3.12 to 3.78 in that fourth inning — with a 9.27 K/9 and a 50.2% ground ball rate. That is pretty awesome. Bad ending but otherwise a very nice season for Greene.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

One, One, One … Two
The Yankees built a nice picket fence in the early going, scoring exactly one run in the first, second, and third innings. A Chase Headley single and a Mark Teixeira double, both with two outs, created the game’s first run in the first inning. Stephen Drew clubbed a solo homer off Bud Norris in the second inning and then Headley did the same in the third to give New York a 3-0 lead. At one point spanning the first through third innings, the Yankees sent nine men to the plate and all nine either homered (Drew and Headley) or struck out (everyone else).

The team’s best chance to climb back into the game came in the bottom of the fourth, immediately after the Orioles scored those six runs. Frankie Cervelli singled and Drew walked to put runners on first and second with no outs, but Chris Young lined into a bad luck double play (runner doubled off second) and Antoan Richardson flew out to end the inning. Teixeira hit a two-run homer off the right field foul pole in the eighth inning, but by then the O’s had blown the game open and it was nothing more than a garbage timer. Young grounded out with two men on base to end the eighth inning, their last real chance to stay in the postseason hunt.

Leftovers
Huff replaced Greene in the fourth and stopped the bleeding at six runs. He threw two scoreless innings. Chase Whitley and David Phelps let the game get out of reach in the eighth inning, as Whitely put two men on and Phelps let both score in addition to one of his own. Surprisingly, intentionally walking the leadoff man (Markakis) to load the bases with Jones and Cruz looming didn’t work out. Those last three insurance runs especially sucked after Teixeira’s homer.

Derek Jeter went 0-for-4 to end his hitting streak at seven games. He was left on deck when the 27th out was recorded. Headley had three hits, Teixeira had two, and Cervelli, Drew, Young, and pinch-hitter Jose Pirela had one hit apiece. Cervelli and Drew drew walks. Buck Showalter used six pitchers in the span of 12 batters at one point.

It seems like the Yankees have been blowing big-ish leads to the Orioles all season, so I decided to look it up. They had a multi-run lead in nine of their 18 games against the O’s this year yet managed to win only five of those nine games. That’s not very good, especially for a team with Dellin Betances and David Robertson in the bullpen.

Aside from saying goodbye the Jeter, the last item on the 2014 agenda is securing a winning season. The Yankees’ next win will be their 82nd and will clinch the team’s 22nd consecutive winning season. That would be the second longest such streak in baseball history behind the 1926-64 Yankees, who did it 39 straight years.

And finally, recently claimed outfielder Eury Perez entered the game in the eighth inning after Brian McCann pinch-grounded out for Richardson. Perez was the 58th different player used by the Yankees this year, extending the franchise record.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, head over to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other game stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. As I said, the Yankees have been officially eliminated from postseason contention, so there is no more scoreboard watching to be done.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Orioles wrap-up this four-game series on Thursday night, in the final home game of Jeter’s career. Hiroki Kuroda and Kevin Gausman will be on the mound. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to risk a rainout and catch that game live. I’m sure it’ll be special.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (152)
  • Jorge Mateo ranks fourth among Baseball America’s top 20 GCL prospects
    By

    Baseball America officially kicked off prospect season today by releasing their list of the top 20 prospects from the rookie Gulf Coast League. The list is free but the scouting reports are not. Red Sox 3B Rafael Devers, Marlins RHP Tyler Kolek, and Braves SS Ozhaino Albies claim the top three spots. The Yankees had two players make the list: SS Jorge Mateo at No. 4 and SS Angel Aguilar at No. 15. OF Leonardo Molina was the only other serious candidate to make it, but he didn’t have a great summer at all (58 wRC+).

    Mateo, 19, hit .276/.354/.397 (119 wRC+) with 11 steals in 12 attempts in 15 games while missing time with wrist inflammation. “An explosive, premium athlete, Mateo is a top-of-the-scale runner … He has plus bat speed with average power potential and solid understanding of the strike zone, though he will swing through good breaking pitches. At shortstop he has good range and footwork, while his arm is another plus tool,” said the scouting report. GCL Yanks manager Patrick Osborne compared Mateo to Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson for his quick-twitch athleticism.

    The 19-year-old Aguilar hit .331/.373/.536 (159 wRC+) with seven homers in 39 games around a groin injury this summer. The scouting report lauds his strength and bat speed, calling him “an intriguing profile as a shortstop who can hit for average and power.” The next list of interest to Yankees fans is the short season NY-Penn League, which probably won’t come out until late next week. The Staten Island Yankees weren’t exactly loaded with prospects this year but I think C Luis Torrens is a lock to make it. RHP Ty Hensley didn’t throw enough innings to qualify for the list.
    · (76) ·

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Yankees are on the verge of being officially eliminated from postseason play. One more loss or one more win by both the Royals and Athletics will do the job. The Mariners and Indians are ahead of the Yankees as well, remember. This isn’t a simple “hope the Yankees win out and hope the Royals lose all of their games” scenario. Seattle and Cleveland would need to cooperate as well.

It’s inevitable New York will be eliminated from postseason contention at some point soon, I just hope it happens because the Royals win and not because the Yankees lose. You know what I mean? Force the other issue and make the other team eliminate you, don’t eliminate yourself. That would be the tiniest of consolation prizes. Here is the Orioles lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. DH Derek Jeter
  3. 3B Chase Headley
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Frankie Cervelli
  6. 2B Stephen Drew
  7. LF Chris Young
  8. RF Antoan Richardson
  9. SS Brendan Ryan
    RHP Shane Greene

It is cool and overcast in New York today, but there is no rain in the forecast. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: Joe Girardi confirmed that it is “going to be pretty tough” for both Jacoby Ellsbury (hamstring) and Carlos Beltran (elbow) to get healthy in time to play again this year.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (422)
(Andy Marlin/Getty)

(Andy Marlin/Getty)

The Yankees are one loss (or one Royals and Athletics win) away from being eliminated from postseason contention because their offense simply did not produce enough this summer. Specifically, the team’s big money middle of the order bats did not perform as expected. Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, and Brian McCann have all been major disappointments in 2014, combining to hit .229/.302/.403 in nearly 1,500 plate appearances. The Yankees won’t be playing in October for many reasons and those three are among the biggest.

Unlike Teixeira and Beltran, who have battled nagging wrist and elbow problems down the stretch, McCann is actually finishing the season on a high note. He went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer off the ultra-tough Andrew Miller in last night’s loss, his eighth homer in 21 games this month. His .240/.308/.560 batting line in September is both better than what he did from April through August (.234/.287/.384) and a reminder that 82-plate appearance samples can produce weird slash lines.

McCann is 6-for-23 (.261) with three homers in six games on the homestand but his run of solid production really dates back to the beginning of July. He’s hit .252/.301/.473 with 14 homers in 62 games since the start of July, which is basically last year’s .256/.336/.461 batting line minus a bunch of walks. McCann has a career-low 6.0% walk rate this year (5.3% since July), down from 9.7% last year and 9.1% for his career. His 14.5% strikeout rate is identical to his career rate and he’s swung at 28.3% of the pitches he’s seen out of the zone, in line with his 29.4% career average.

For whatever reason, McCann stopped walking this year. It could be a decline in pitch recognition, it could be unfamiliarity with the new league and new pitchers, he could be pressing, it could be all of that and more. We’ll have a nice long offseason to sit around and wonder why McCann has suddenly stopped accepting free passes this year. The most important thing to me are the results he’s getting when he puts the ball in play. The first three months of the season were miserable, but since July McCann has been recording base hits and hitting for power at the same rate as last year. That’s good! That’s what we want.

My theory is McCann focused on trying to go the other way to beat the shift this season and it fouled him up. I don’t think it’s a coincidence he’s put more balls in play to the opposite field this year (94) than he has in any season since 2008 (100). (His high from 2009-13 was 86 balls in play the other way in 2009.) I know I’m not the only one who thinks this because an unnamed team official said “I wish (McCann)  would pull more” to Ben Lindbergh earlier this year. Here’s a quick look at his pre- and post-July 1st spray charts, courtesy of Baseball Savant:

Left: Before July 1st. Right: Since July 1st.

Left: Before July 1st. Right: Since July 1st.

It … kinda looks like he’s pulled the ball more since July 1st? Maybe. McCann did eliminate his toe tap and make some changes to his batting stance at midseason, but he abandoned those changes a few weeks ago (I’m not sure when exactly, but I noticed it in early-August) and went back to the setup he had been using at the plate previously. It could be that he simply stopped trying to be something he wasn’t, so he went back to what worked with the Braves and sent him to seven All-Star Games. Toe tap, pull the ball, whatever.

Either way, McCann has gotten much better results these last two and a half months whenever he’s put the ball in play. He still isn’t walking for whatever reason and that might be a long-term problem. The power is still there though — his 23 homers are second only to Devin Mesoraco’s 25 among big league catchers — and his average has climbed back into the mid-.250s, where it normal sits. McCann is not going to be a .300-ish hitter. That’s just not who he is at this point of his career.

Of the team’s three disappointing middle of the order bats, I felt McCann was by far the most likely to rebound even before this recent homer binge. He’s the youngest of the trio and also the healthiest, as far as we know. Beltran will turn 38 soon after Opening Day and is scheduled to have elbow surgery in like a week. Teixeira will turn 35 next April and his surgically repaired wrist continues to be a problem, not to mention all his other nagging injuries. It’s tough to look at these two and feel good about their performance in 2015.

The same would have been true of McCann had he not started to turn things around in July and put an exclamation point on his season with all these dingers this month. These last few weeks don’t erase his overall disappointing season, but at least now McCann and Yankees fans can go into the offseason encouraged by his strong finish and feeling better about what he might bring to the table next year as well as the final four years of his contract.

Categories : Offense
Comments (179)

The Yankees are officially on the brink of elimination from postseason contention after dropping Tuesday night’s game to the Orioles by the score of 5-4. Even if they win all five of their remaining games, they’ll still need help to play in October.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Finale
Brandon McCarthy‘s last start of the season — and possibly his last start for the Yankees — did not go so well. He allowed five runs on eleven hits in only 5.1 innings, and three of those eleven hits left the yard. McCarthy allowed three homers in his first 58.1 innings with the team and has now allowed seven homers in his last 33 innings. That was bound to happen at some point. Yankees’ pitchers always seem to struggle to keep the ball in the park because of Yankee Stadium.

The eleven hits were a personal season-high for McCarthy and a few of them were weak grounders that found holes. One literally went through Mark Teixeira‘s legs at first base and was ruled a hit. Don’t ask me why. McCarthy did manage to strike out eight and generate 14 swings and misses out of 92 total pitches, though he didn’t exactly miss many barrels. The Orioles had a lot of comfortable swings and just seemed to be on everything. It happens. If this was McCarthy’s final start in pinstripes, it was a bit of a letdown. Regardless, the man was outstanding during his brief time with the team. Well done, Brandon.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Chip Away
The Yankees were down four runs before they even recorded their first hit against Ubaldo Jimenez. Teixeira broke up the no-hit bid with a double into the right field corner with one out in the fourth. Between Brett Gardner‘s leadoff walk in the first and Chase Headley‘s one-out walk immediately prior to Teixeira’s double, Ubaldo retired ten straight batters. Nine of those ten batters hit the ball in the air and balls in the air tend to be high-percentage outs.

Anyway, the Yankees scored their first run when Chris Young grounded out following Teixeira’s double, allowing Headley to trot in from third. McCarthy gave that run back on a Nelson Cruz solo homer, his 40th, in the next half-inning. The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the sixth but only managed one run, on Stephen Drew‘s hard-hit sacrifice fly to center. Ichiro Suzuki struck out feebly — he has really mastered the art of the ugly swinging strikeout, hasn’t he? — to end the rally with men on the corners.

A two-out, two-run homer by Brian McCann off Andrew Miller brought the Yankees to within one in the seventh. Jose Pirela and Gardner made two quick outs to start the inning, but Derek Jeter beat out an infield single and McCann took advantage. Coming into Tuesday, Miller had held left-handed batters to a .152/.198/.220 (.191 wOBA) batting line with a 49.5% strikeout rate, so taking him deep was no small feat. Don’t care that it was a first row Yankee Stadium cheapie either. It was a line drive over the right fielder’s head for extra bases no matter what. Just like that, the score was 5-4.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Leftovers
The offense was unable to score that fifth run to tie the game, so the comeback fell short. Gardner did beat out an infield single with two outs in the ninth, but Jeter struck out to end the game. I’m pretty sure Yankee Stadium would have exploded if he managed to tie or win the game there. Alas.

McCann was the only starter with two hits. He singled in addition to the homer. Gardner, Jeter, Teixeira, and Ichiro had the other hits. Jeter’s infield single extended his hitting streak to seven games. Gardner and Young each drew one walk. Headley drew two. The Yankees went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

The bullpen — Rich Hill (one out), Esmil Rogers (four outs), Dellin Betances (three outs), and David Robertson (three outs) — deserves credit for keeping the Orioles off the board and giving the offense a chance to come back. They did allow six hits in those 3.2 scoreless innings, but hey — bend, don’t break.

The Yankees allowed 17+ hits in a nine-inning game for the second time this year. The first? Against the Orioles of course, back in April. Here’s the box score. This was only the third time in team history the Yankees allowed 17+ hits and five or fewer runs in a nine-inning game. The others: May 1918 against the Red Sox (box score) and September 1925 against the Browns (box score). Crazy.

And finally, the Yankees set a new franchise single-season strikeout record when Robertson fanned Jonathan Schoop to end the ninth inning. It was their 1,319th strikeout of the season. The previous record was set two years ago. They still have another five games to pad that strikeout total.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has the other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Royals beat the Indians, so the Yankees are now five games back of the second wildcard spot with five games to play. No bueno. One more win by Kansas City or one more loss by the Yankees will officially eliminate New York from the postseason. Just for kicks, FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 0.2% right now.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
These two teams will play the third game of this four-game series on Wednesday afternoon. Yes, afternoon. It’s a day game because of Rosh Hashanah. Shane Greene and Bud Norris will be the pitching matchup for the matinee. There are only two (!) home games left in the season and Jeter’s career, so make sure you head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch one of them live.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (202)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Unless the Yankees make a miraculous comeback and win one of the wildcard spots, Brandon McCarthy is making his final start of the season and possibly his final start in pinstripes tonight. He’s been awesome for the Yankees, pitching to a 2.54 ERA (2.95 FIP) in 13 starts and 85 innings. McCarthy actually ranks fifth on the team in innings pitched this year behind Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka, David Phelps, and Dellin Betances. Crazy. I hope he comes back next season. If not, then I hope his last start in pinstripes is a dandy. Here is the Orioles lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Derek Jeter
  3. C Brian McCann
  4. 3B Chase Headley
  5. 1B Mark Teixeira
  6. LF Chris Young
  7. 2B Stephen Drew
  8. RF Ichiro Suzuki
  9. DH Jose Pirela
    RHP Brandon McCarthy

The weather has been just perfect in New York today. Couldn’t ask for any better. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on My9 locally and ESPN nationally. ESPN actually picked this game up yesterday citing postseason implications, if you can believe that. Anyway, enjoy the game.

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (386)
(Presswire)

(Presswire)

The Yankees are dealing with a number of injuries as the season winds down, mostly on the position player side. Here are a few injury updates worth passing along, courtesy of Brendan Kuty, Dan Martin, and Chad Jennings.

  • Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) said he felt nothing more than “normal soreness” yesterday after making his return to the rotation on Sunday. He played catch as part of his usual between-starts routine and is scheduled to throw 80-85 pitches on Saturday. “Just the fact that I was able to throw yesterday and the fact I’m feeling good today (is encouraging),” said Tanaka yesterday. “Having the start coming up on Saturday, if I come out from that strong, then obviously that’s a positive. From where I am right now, I should be able to have a good offseason of training (and) I should be good to go for next season.”
  • Mark Teixeira (wrist) received his third cortisone shot of the season — it was administered in a different part of his wrist, which is why the doctors allowed it — and hopes to return to the lineup as soon as today. “This last week of the season, we’ll do whatever I can to stay out there and play every game. You never want to end the season hurt. You want to finish the season, so if I play the last five or six games, it’s worth it,” he said.
  • CC Sabathia (knee) played catch yesterday for the first time since having surgery in July. He plans to continue his throwing program and get back on a mound by Thanksgiving before shutting it down for the offseason and going into his usual winter routine. “I’ve been throwing a football a little bit. It feels good to come out here and not hide,” he joked.
  • Ivan Nova (elbow) is on a throwing program as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. “Nova’s rehab has went extremely well. He has had zero setbacks and has progressed very, very well,” said Joe Girardi.
  • There were no updates on Jacoby Ellsbury (hamstring) and Carlos Beltran (elbow) yesterday. Both remain day-to-day and are questionable to return before the end of the season.
Categories : Injuries
Comments (235)
(Alex Goodlett/Getty)

(Alex Goodlett/Getty)

The regular season ends six days from now, which means the voting for the various league awards will soon end as well. The voting ends after the regular season but before the postseason — what happens in October has no bearing on anything. These are regular season awards, as it should be.

The Yankees are an extreme long shot to make the postseason and teams that don’t make the playoffs tend not to have major awards winners. That’s not always the case — Alex Rodriguez was the 2003 AL MVP on the last place Rangers, for example — just most of the time. Don’t get mad at me. That’s the way the voters vote. The Yankees do still have some candidates for each of the major awards this season, however. Let’s run them down.

Most Valuable Player
There is an excellent chance the Yankees will not have a player finish in the top ten of the AL MVP voting this year for the first time since 1996, when Mariano Rivera finished in 12th place. The lack of a truly elite player, a Robinson Cano or prime-age A-Rod or Derek Jeter, combined with their second straight postseason-less year all but eliminates anyone on the team from serious MVP consideration. The BBWAA has shown time and time again they prefer to vote for players on contending teams.

Now, that said, the MVP ballot is ten players deep and those last two or three slots are like the Twilight Zone. A lot of weird stuff happens there. Raul Ibanez received a tenth place MVP vote in 2012, remember. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner have been the team’s two best players all year and I’m guessing they’ll combine for at least one down-ballot vote this year. Same with Dellin Betances and maybe David Robertson. The Yankees don’t have any serious MVP candidates this season but I feel comfortable saying someone on the roster will appear on a ballot.

Cy Young
Had he not gotten hurt, Masahiro Tanaka would have been an excellent Cy Young candidate alongside Felix Hernandez and Corey Kluber (and Chris Sale). The injury takes him right out of the running for the award, unfortunately. The Cy Young ballot is one five players deep and it would surprise me if Tanaka even managed to sneak on and grab one fifth place vote at this point. He simply missed too much time and there are too many good pitchers in the AL. Maybe Betances will grab a fifth place vote like Robertson did in 2011. Maybe. He is the club’s only real shot at being included in the Cy Young conversation this season.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Rookie of the Year
Believe it or not, the Yankees have never had two players receive Rookie of the Year votes in the same season. That is all but certain to change this year thanks to Tanaka and Betances. There are a lot of good rookies in the AL this year but Jose Abreu has lapped the field — I think he should win unanimously, this is a no-brainer in my opinion — so neither Tanaka nor Betances will win. I do think both are safe bets to garner multiple second and third place votes though. (The ballot is only three players deep.)

Shane Greene has had a nice year but I would be very surprised if he received any votes. There are too many other good rookies in the league (Collin McHugh, Matt Shoemaker, George Springer, Marcus Stroman, Yordano Ventura, etc.) for him to get serious consideration. That doesn’t take away from what he’s done this year. This just isn’t a good year to be a good but not great rookie in the so-called Junior Circuit.

Manager of the Year
The Manager of the Year award has morphed into the “manager whose team most exceeded expectations” award, so Joe Girardi won’t win. I’m guessing the award will go to either Ned Yost of the Royals or Lloyd McClendon of the Mariners, depending on which non-Athletics team wins a wildcard spot.

The Manager of the Year ballot is only three names deep and it’ll be tough for Girardi to get even a third place vote this year given his competition. I’m guessing at least one BBWAA member will give him a vote based on the team’s ability to linger in the wildcard race until the final week of the season though. After all, nine of 15 AL managers received at least one Manager of the Year vote last season.

Comeback Player of the Year
This one will be interesting. If Jeter put together nothing more than a decent season, say hitting .280 with a .340 OBP and no power, I think he would have won the Comeback Player of the Year award easily. Mariano Rivera won last year and deservingly so, but, even if he had been merely good instead of excellent, I think he would have won anyway for sentimental reasons.

Jeter’s brutal August and pre-current homestand September really dragged down his season numbers (.256/.304/.313) and it will be hard for voters to look the other way. Melky Cabrera and Albert Pujols stand out as two deserving Comeback Player of the Year candidates, so there is no lack of competition. Maybe Jeter will win on the strength of sentimental votes, but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk at all.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Gold Gloves
A sabermetric component was added to the Gold Glove voting a few years ago, but it only counts as 25% of the vote. The other 75% is still based on the league’s managers and coaches. Whether they admit it or not, offense still has some impact on the voting, though it has gotten better in recent years.

Right off the bat, we can completely eliminate the entire infield. I mean, maybe Jeter will get a sentimental vote, but I can’t see it at this point. Gardner is a good left field Gold Glove candidate — they used to hand out three general outfield Gold Gloves, but they are position specific now — but Alex Gordon has this one in the bag. He’s outstanding in left and his offense won’t hurt his case either. Yoenis Cespedes might also get more votes than Gardner because of his throwing arm.

Ellsbury has been stellar in center field all season though the numbers hate him for whatever reason: -6 DRS, +1.1 UZR, and +0 Total Zone. I don’t get it. That doesn’t match up with the eye test at all. The various defensive stats always seem to hate Yankees center fielders. Maybe because Gardner takes plays away from them. Anyway, Ellsbury has some stiff Gold Glove competition in Mike Trout, Jackie Bradley Jr., Adam Jones, Leonys Martin, and Desmond Jennings. I think the chances of Ellsbury winning the Gold Glove are better than the chances of any Yankee winning any other award, but I would bet on the field with this many qualified candidates.

Silver Sluggers
Yeah, no. You actually have to hit to win a Silver Slugger and not many Yankees did that this year. Gardner and Ellsbury have been the team’s two best hitters and they aren’t beating out Gordon or Trout, respectively. Nevermind the other candidates around the league. As far as the Yankees are concerned this year, the most exciting part of the awards voting will be seeing where Tanaka and Betances finish behind Abreu for the Rookie of the Year award. Jeter’s possible Comeback Player of the Year and Ellsbury’s possible Gold Glove are the only other items of note.

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