Open Thread: 2/22 Camp Notes


The second official day of Spring Training workouts is in the books. Here is a recap of the day from Tampa:

Here is your open thread for the rest of the weekend. The Rangers and Islanders are both playing tonight, and there’s a little bit of college basketball going on somewhere. Talk about those games or anything else right here.

Yankees sign righty Jared Burton to minor league contract


Sunday: According to Mike Bernardino, Burton has four opt-out dates in his contract: March 30th, June 1st, August 1st, and August 31st. He can elect free agency if he’s not in the big leagues on those dates. Burton gets a $30,000 bonus for his 20th appearance, $40,000 for his 25th appearance, $50,000 for his 30th appearance, $60,000 for his 35th appearance, and so on until maxing out at $120,000 for his 65th appearance.

Tuesday: Burton will earn a $2M base salary with $750,000 in incentives at the Major League level, reports Jon Heyman.

Monday: The Yankees have signed right-handed reliever Jared Burton to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training, the team announced. He will be the 28th non-roster invitee in camp, joining the original 26 and the recently signed Kyle Davies.

Burton, 33, had a 4.36 ERA (4.23 FIP) with 16.9 K% and 9.2 BB% in 64 innings for the Twins last year. He had a 3.02 ERA (3.50 FIP) with 22.1 K% and 7.2 BB% in 128 innings as Minnesota’s primary setup man from 2012-13. Burton has always been a bit of a fly ball pitcher and his signature pitcher is a splitter-changeup hybrid he calls a splangeup:

Major shoulder surgery caused Burton to miss most of the 2011 season and his fastball has nevertheless managed to hover in the 91-92 mph range the last three years. His numbers are all — and I mean all: strikeouts, walks, grounders, homers — trending in the wrong direction, which is sorta scary, but it is a minor league deal, so it’s not like there’s any serious risk.

The Yankees have a ton of bullpen depth. Righties, lefties, 40-man guys, non-40-man guys, you name it and they have it. Burton is just another arm for depth and unless he comes to camp throwing the ball like he did from 2012-13, I think he’ll start the season with Triple-A Scranton. Chances are his contract includes some kind of opt-out clause if he isn’t on a MLB roster on a specific date. That’s pretty standard for big league vets.

2015 Spring Training Broadcast Schedule


In a little more than a week, Yankees baseball will be back. The Yankees open their 34-game Grapefruit League schedule nine days from now with their traditional home-and-home set with the Phillies. Twenty-eight of the team’s 34 exhibition games will be broadcast either on television or online, which is pretty awesome. Remember when watching Spring Training games was just a pipe dream? Hooray technology.

YES, MLB Network, and have released their Spring Training broadcast schedules, but we’re still waiting for ESPN’s. The Yankees are not making any sort of special trip this spring — they played two games in Panama last year remember, and they were actually no-hit in one of them — other than an exhibition game at Nationals Park to close out Spring Training. Here is the team’s Spring Training broadcast information all in one convenient place. The post is linked in the “Countdown to Opening Day” widget in the sidebar for future reference.

Date Start Time Opponent Broadcast Info
Tuesday, March 3rd 1:05pm ET @ Phillies live, MLBN tape delay
Wednesday, March 4th 1:05pm ET Phillies YES, MLBN,
Thursday, March 5th 1:05pm ET @ Pirates
Friday, March 6th 1:05pm ET @ Phillies (ss) MLBN,
Friday, March 6th 7:05pm ET Pirates (ss) MLBN
Saturday, March 7th 1:05pm ET @ Astros
Sunday, March 8th 1:05pm ET Nationals YES and live, MLBN tape delay
Monday, March 9th 1:05pm ET Rays YES and live, MLBN tape delay
Tuesday, March 10th 1:05pm ET @ Orioles live, MLBN tape delay
Wednesday, March 11th 1:05pm ET Red Sox YES, MLBN,
Thursday, March 12th 7:05pm ET Braves YES, MLBN,
Friday, March 13th 7:05pm ET @ Red Sox MLBN,
Saturday, March 14th 1:05pm ET Tigers (ss) YES,
Saturday, March 14th 1:07pm ET @ Blue Jays (ss) live, MLBN tape delay
Sunday, March 15th 1:05pm ET Phillies
Monday, March 16th OFF
Tuesday, March 17th 7:05pm ET Blue Jays YES, MLBN,
Wednesday, March 18th 6:05pm ET @ Braves live, MLBN tape delay
Thursday, March 19th 7:05pm ET Phillies YES,
Friday, March 20th 1:05pm ET @ Tigers
Saturday, March 21st 1:05pm ET Astros
Sunday, March 22nd 1:10pm ET @ Mets YES,
Monday, March 23rd 1:05pm ET @ Nationals MLBN,
Tuesday, March 24th 7:05pm ET Tigers YES, MLBN,
Wednesday, March 25th 1:05pm ET Mets YES, MLBN,
Thursday, March 26th 1:05pm ET @ Rays live, MLBN tape delay
Friday, March 27th 1:05pm ET @ Phillies live, MLBN tape delay
Saturday, March 28th 1:05pm ET Orioles YES, MLBN,
Sunday, March 29th 1:05pm ET @ Astros
Monday, March 30th OFF
Tuesday, March 31st 1:05pm ET @ Twins MLBN,
Wednesday, April 1st 1:05pm ET Rays YES,
Thursday, April 2nd 1:05pm ET Pirates (ss) YES,
Thursday, April 2nd 1:05pm ET @ Tigers (ss)
Friday, March 3rd 1:05pm ET Nationals YES,
Saturday, April 4th 1:05pm ET @ Nats (Nats Park)

Open Thread: 2/21 Camp Notes


Saturday was the first official workout for pitchers and catchers in Tampa. Position players are due to report on Wednesday — many of them are already in camp though — and the first full squad workout is scheduled for Thursday. Here are Saturday’s notes from Spring Training:

  • CC Sabathia regained ten pounds this offseason — “I lost a bunch of weight drastically, pretty quick, two years ago, and kinda was off balance and didn’t know really how my body was working,” he said — and received regular platelet-rich plasma injections in his knee over the winter. He threw his first bullpen of the spring and is “able to go 100% and not feel anything.” [Dan Barbarisi, David Lennon, Bryan Hoch]
  • In addition to Sabathia, Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, Jacob Lindgren, David Carpenter, Bryan Mitchell, and Chris Capuano also threw bullpen sessions. Betances has already thrown a few bullpens and will face hitters at the end of next week. Esmil Rogers has been told to prepare to start the March 5th game against the Pirates. That’s the team’s third Grapefruit League game. [Chad Jennings, Brendan Kuty, Marly Rivera]
  • Carlos Beltran has reported early and has been doing a lot of work in the batting cage this winter following elbow surgery. He did say the soreness is worse some days than others. Brian McCann, Gary Sanchez, and the rest of the catchers took batting practice. Didi Gregorius has reported early. [Marly Rivera, Kuty]
  • Minor league note: the Yankees have hired former Angels speedster Reggie Willits to be their minor league outfield and base-running coordinator. [Chad Jennings]
  • And finally, Sabathia said Alex Rodriguez‘s return is not a big deal to the Yankees in the clubhouse, just to the media. [Bob Nightengale]

This is your open thread for the night. The Devils are playing and there’s come college basketball on as well. You folks know how these things work by now, so have at it.

MLB and MLBPA announce new pace of play and instant replay rule modifications for 2015

We should see less standing around in 2015. (Presswire)
We should see less standing around in 2015. (Presswire)

We’ve heard they were coming and now they’re official: MLB and the MLBPA announced on Friday a series of rule modifications for the 2015 season designed to improve the pace of play. They also announced some modifications to the instant replay system. The full press release is right here.

A pitch clock is not coming to MLB in 2015, as expected. A 20-second clock was tested in the Arizona Fall League last fall and will be implemented in Double-A and Triple-A this year, meaning it’s only a matter of time before it comes to MLB. Just not yet. Here’s a recap of the new pace of play changes:

  • Batters must keep one foot in the batter’s box during an at-bat except after an “exception” occurs. An exception being something like a foul ball, an umpire granting time out, a broken bat, ducking out of the way of an inside pitch, etc. So basically if the batter takes the pitch, he has to stay in the box afterwards. Makes sense to me.
  • Two timers are being installed at each ballpark — one near the outfield scoreboard, one near the press box — to time commercial breaks. Nationally televised games get two minutes and 45 seconds for commercials, all other games two minutes and 25 seconds. Long story short, play will begin as soon as time runs out, meaning right when the broadcast returns from commercial.

Now here’s the important part: the penalty for breaking any of the pace of play rules is a warning or a fine “with discipline resulting for flagrant violators.” It won’t be a called strike if the batter steps out of the box or a called ball if the pitcher isn’t ready to pitch as soon as the commercial break ends or anything like that.

“These changes represent a step forward in our efforts to streamline the pace of play,” said new commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement. “The most fundamental starting point for improving the pace of the average game involves getting into and out of breaks seamlessly. In addition, the batter’s box rule will help speed up a basic action of the game.”

As detailed by Dayn Perry earlier this week, games averaged 3.13 hours last season. That’s up from 2.90 hours as recently as 2010. With offense going down and strikeouts going up, all that extra time is downtime, not exciting balls in play. It’s players stepping out of the box, pitchers and catchers meeting on the mound, that sort of stuff. The new rules won’t eliminate all of that but it will cut down on some of it. In a perfect world every at-bat would look like this …

… but that will never happen.

“The Players believe that enforcing the rules that currently exist regarding between inning breaks and plate appearances is the best way to address the issue of pace of play,” said new MLBPA chief Tony Clark in a statement. “We’re confident that today’s announcements will have a positive impact on the pace of the game without jeopardizing the integrity of the competition.”

Now let’s recap the modifications to the instant replay system:

  • Managers “may now” ask for a replay from the dugout and are no longer required to approach the umpire. It doesn’t sound like that is mandatory but I could be wrong. Either way, this is another pace of play measure.
  • Tagging up and touching a base is now reviewable. I remember watching a game last year (forget who, pretty sure it wasn’t the Yankees) where a runner left third base early on a sac fly, and they couldn’t review it. I couldn’t believe it. It seemed like the perfect use of replay. Anyway, now they can review it.
  • Managers now retain their challenge after every overturned call. Last year they could only retain their challenge after the first successful overturned call. Managers will also have two challenges in the postseason, not one.

The tag up/touch the base change is captain obvious stuff. It’s hard to believe that wasn’t reviewable last year. Hopefully signaling from the dugout cuts down on the number of times we see the manager standing around and waiting to get the signal from the dugout before asking for a review going forward. I also like letting managers keep their challenges indefinitely as long as they’re successful. Reward them for being right.

For whatever reason there will be no instant replay in Spring Training. I guess everyone got the feel for it last year. The pace of play changes — batters keeping their foot in the box, the timers, etc. — will be in place during Grapefruit and Cactus League play because the players (and umpires!) need time to get used to them. I don’t think pace of play is a major issue — I certainly don’t think shaving 10-15 minutes off the average game will suddenly draw more non-baseball fans to the game either, but I digress — but I do think it’s something that can be improved. These new measures are a nice first step.

Open Thread: 2/20 Camp Notes

Before we get to the first installment of daily Spring Training notes for the 2015 season, we have a very important piece of official business to take of: today is RAB’s eighth birthday. I can’t tell you how big of a life-changer this site has been. I’ve gotten to meet lots of cool people and make some really great friends thanks to RAB. It’s grown into something way more than any of us ever thought it would. Thanks for reading as always. And please, take a second to tell us how great we are.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. Pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training today and the first official workout is scheduled for tomorrow. (Workouts through March 2nd are free and open to the public, the team announced.) Joe Girardi held his annual start of camp press conference this morning — recap and thoughts are right here — and there was plenty of other news and notes to come out of Tampa. Here’s the daily recap from Spring Training:

  • Masahiro Tanaka spoke to reporters after Girardi’s press conference. He said his elbow feels “absolutely fine” and he even threw two splitters during his 21-pitch bullpen session yesterday. His next bullpen is scheduled for Sunday. Tanaka had an MRI on his elbow after the season (in October) and everything came back fine. [Brendan Kuty, David Waldstein, David Lennon]
  • Adam Warren has already thrown live batting practice twice and is way ahead of the other pitchers. He has consistently been the “shows up to camp super early and gets way ahead of everyone” guy over the years. It seems like he’s set up to start the team’s first Grapefruit League game on March 3rd. [Chad Jennings]
  • Jose Ramirez is over the lat injury that cost him most of last season and has already thrown bullpens. Chase Whitley‘s wife is due to give birth any moment now, so he’ll probably miss a few days of camp soon. Nathan Eovaldi said he’s thrilled to be a Yankee and needs to work on both his consistency and offspeed stuff. Michael Pineda looks to be in excellent shape, which wasn’t the case a few years ago. [Jennings, Jack Curry, Andrew Marchand]
  • At a Triple-A Scranton event yesterday, Mark Teixeira said his wrist feels better than it has in years. “This offseason, I got a chance to just work out and get strong. That’s who I am. I’m a big, power-hitting first baseman, and I have to be strong,” he said. [Donnie Collins]
  • Among the position players already in camp are Carlos Beltran, Stephen Drew, Chase Headley, and Garrett Jones. Drew is excited about having his regular Spring Training in three years after dealing with injuries and last year’s contract situation.[Brendan Kuty, Jennings]
  • And finally, among the notable guest instructors this year are Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage, Hideki Matsui, Ron Guidry, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill, and Billy Connors. There will be plenty more coming in and out these next few weeks. [Associated Press]

This is your open thread for the night. The Rangers, Devils, Knicks, and Nets are all playing tonight, so talk about those games, the start of Spring Training, or anything else right here. Have at it folks.

King: Yanks held third private workout for Yoan Moncada

(Dodgers Nation)
(Dodgers Nation)

For the second straight day, 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada was in Tampa for a private workout with the Yankees, reports George King. It was his second straight day at the complex and third private workout with the team overall. They first worked him out last month before bringing him back this week.

Here are some more details on this week’s workouts, courtesy of King:

On Thursday, for the second straight day, the Yankees held a private workout for the 19-year-old switch-hitter that was attended by club scouts, team officials and general partner Hank Steinbrenner, who is rarely seen around the team.

Wednesday night’s workout was held at George M. Steinbrenner Field under the lights. Moncada took ground balls at second and third and faced live minor league pitching. On Thursday the showcase was shifted to the minor league complex and conducted in daylight, and he again faced minor league hurlers.

King says the Yankees don’t want to pay Moncada the $30M to $50M bonus it will take to sign him, which seems like typical Yankees posturing. They always seem to say “we like him, but not at that price” whenever they really want someone.

Moncada’s agent David Hastings has said they hope to sign soon, perhaps by Monday, though that didn’t seem like a firm deadline. Whoever signs him is going to have to pay a 100% tax on the bonus. Steinbrenner being at yesterday’s workout seems to indicate ownership wants to see Moncada firsthand before giving the thumbs up to sign him. Either that or Hank had nothing better to do. Intrigue!