Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is apparently progressing well after receiving platelet-rich plasma treatment for his partially torn elbow ligament. He is scheduled to be re-examined on Monday, three weeks out from the injection. “When we get home we’ll see what the doctors say and what the next plan is for him, but I know he feels much, much better,” said Joe Girardi to Chad Jennings yesterday.
Tanaka has been out for a month now, and, at the time of his initial diagnosis, the hope was that he could resume pitching in six weeks. That’s only two weeks away now. From what I understand, Monday’s exam is a critical point in his rehab. If the tests show his ligament is healing, then the treatment is working. If not, then in all likelihood he will have to undergo Tommy John surgery. It’s great that Tanaka is feeling better, but how he feels and what the tests show on Monday are two separate things. · (172) ·
Once again, the Yankees played just well enough to fall short of a much-needed win. Friday night’s 4-3 loss to the Red Sox was their fifth loss in the last six games, with the last three of those losses coming against last place teams. After starting the second half with seven wins in eight games, the Yankees are now 8-6 since the All-Star break. Let’s recap the latest loss:
- Cap’d Off: I feel like every out Chris Capuano records is a gift from the baseball gods. He was left in just long enough to set up the game-losing run on Friday night, holding the Red Sox to four runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings. Boston was all over Capuano in the third (two runs) and fourth (one) innings, I mean even the outs were hard hit, but he did set down nine in a row at one point after that. He allowed a single to the number nine hitter leading off the seventh inning, a batter he probably shouldn’t even have faced, which led to that fourth and final run for the Red Sox. Capuano was fine, but these Yankees don’t win when the starter is only fine.
- Chip Away: The Yankees scored one run in three different innings. Carlos Beltran clubbed a solo homer in the fourth, then he singled in another run in the sixth. Jacoby Ellsbury walked and stole second to set that one up. Derek Jeter homered over the Green Monster for the team’s third and final run in the eighth. It was a bomb. It was also Jeter’s first homer off a right-handed pitcher (Junichi Tazawa served it up) since September 9th of 2012, when he took Kevin Gregg deep. His last three dingers had come against southpaws.
- Blown Chances: Anthony Ranaudo was okay in his MLB debut, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks in six innings. He only struck out two and seemed to miss up all night. Ranaudo walked the leadoff man in the first and second innings, but the next three batters made outs both times. The Yankees had runners on the corners with two outs in the eighth following a Mark Teixeira bloop double and a Brian McCann walk, but Chase Headley grounded out to end the inning. That was by far their best chance to tie the game. Close but no cigar.
- Leftovers: Headley went 0-for-4 but was awesome in the field, making three outstanding stops to save Capuano hits … Stephen Drew (0-for-4) and Martin Prado (0-for-2 off the bench) had forgettable Yankees debuts … Shawn Kelley allowed the inherited runner to score in the seventh, accounting for Boston’s fourth run. Adam Warren and Matt Thornton combined for a scoreless eighth on five total pitches (with a base-runner!) … Brett Gardner (two walks) and Ellsbury (single, walk) each reached twice, and Ellsbury was robbed of extra bases on Mookie Betts’ outstanding lunging catch in the eighth … the Yankees have hit multiple homers in seven straight games now, the first time they’ve done that since 2009. They’re 2-5 in those games.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles won while the Blue Jays and Mariners lost, so he Yankees are six games back of the top spot in the AL East and 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot. You can pretty much forget about the division at this point. FanGraphs gives them a 13.1% of making the postseason right now. Shane Greene and Allen Webster will be the pitching matchup on Saturday afternoon.
OF Jake Cave claimed the third spot on this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. SS Abi Avelino and RHP Sean Carley made the Not So Hot Section, however. Tough love for Avelino. He had 19 at-bats and was just off the disabled list.
Triple-A Scranton (7-2 win over Gwinnett)
- SS-RF Jose Pirela: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-5, 1 2B, 3 K
- RF-3B Adonis Garcia: 3-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — threw a runner out at the plate … 22-for-59 (.373) during his 14-game hitting streak
- DH Kyle Roller: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB – his 20th homer now leads the organization with C Peter O’Brien having been traded
- 1B Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 BB, 1 K
- C John Ryan Murphy: 1-5, 1 RBI, 1 K
- RHP Bryan Mitchell: 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 9/0 GB/FB – 62 of 96 pitches were strikes (65%) … is he the number six starter right now?
The trade deadline has passed and tonight marks the two-thirds point of the season for the Yankees. The old saying is that the first third of the season is for evaluation, the middle third is for making changes, and the final third is for riding those changes out. The changes have been made and all that’s left in front of the Yankees is a big chunk of schedule and the opportunity to climb back into the race.
Both Martin Prado and Yoenis Cespedes are getting to Boston late in the afternoon, so they are not in the starting lineups for tonight’s series opener against the Red Sox. Stephen Drew is playing because all he had to do was change dugouts. Allen Craig managed to get to town in time for the game and is in the starting lineup for the Red Sox. This rivalry will have a lot of new faces this weekend, that’s for sure. Here is the Red Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- C Brian McCann
- 3B Chase Headley
- 2B Stephen Drew
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
LHP Chris Capuano
It’s cloudy and humid in Boston and there is some rain in the forecast that is expected to hit right around game time. This one might start in a delay or with players dodging rain drops. The good news is that there isn’t much rain coming at all, so if there is a delay, it’ll only be a short one. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.
Roster Update: In case you missed it earlier, Zelous Wheeler and Zoilo Almonte were sent to Triple-A to clear roster spots for Drew and Prado … for those wondering, Drew is wearing No. 33, Prado is wearing No. 14, and Esmil Rogers is wearing No. 53.
Now that the trade deadline has passed and we’ve all had a second to catch our breath, please make sure you review our Commenting Guidelines. A lot of new people have migrated over to the site recently, so I want to make sure no one misses them. They’re under the “About” tab in the nav bar above, just under the street sign in the banner. We’re not asking much, just to be respectful and on-topic. Thanks in advance. · (108) ·
As expected, the Yankees have sent outfielder Zoilo Almonte and utility man Zelous Wheeler to Triple-A Scranton. The moves clear room on the active roster for Stephen Drew and Martin Prado. The Yankees still need to clear a spot for righty Esmil Rogers, who is joining the bullpen. Chase Whitley is a candidate to be sent down, where he would be able to stay stretched out as the de facto sixth starter. We’ll find out soon enough.
Update: Disregard, I’m an idiot. Brian Roberts being designated for assignment clears the roster spot for Rogers, so the Yankees are carrying eight relievers at the moment. · (127) ·
This series will certainly have a different feel to it, don’t you think? Both teams remade their rosters with a series of moves prior to yesterday’s trade deadlines, though what the Yankees did was mere tinkering compared to the moves the Red Sox made. We will get our first look at several new faces in this series in addition to the usual Yanks-Sawx hoopla. The Yankees have won six of ten against the BoSox this year, including two of three at Fenway Park back in April.
What Have They Lately?
Oh, you mean besides take a sledgehammer to the roster that won the World Series ten months ago? The Red Sox were off yesterday, but before that they got swept by the Blue Jays at home in a three-game series. They have lost eight of their last nine games overall and currently sit in last place in the AL East at 48-60 with a -55 run differential. Something tells me they will be even worse these next two months because they’re going to allow all of the runs. All of them.
The Red Sox come into today’s game averaging 3.81 runs per game with a team 91 wRC+, so while they’ve been below-average overall, they did just add several new faces to the lineup. OF Shane Victorino (86 wRC+) is currently dealing with a back problem and GM Ben Cherington told reporters yesterday that he is a candidate to be placed on the disabled list.
Manager John Farrell’s new-look lineup still revolves around DH David Ortiz (124 wRC+) and 1B Mike Napoli (134 wRC+), though now they’ll have help from the just acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes (113 wRC+). He is expected to be in the lineup tonight. Ortiz and Napoli always destroy the Yankees. Adding Cespedes to the mix isn’t going to make life any easier. 2B Dustin Pedroia (98 wRC+) is having a down year and both CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (67 wRC+) and SS Xander Bogaerts (89 wRC+) have been very disappointing.
The just acquired 1B/OF Allen Craig (81 wRC+) will probably be in the lineup tonight but I’m not sure what position. He hasn’t hit much since hurting his foot/ankle last season. UTIL Brock Holt (114 wRC+) has cooled off but has still been very good overall. OF Daniel Nava (85 wRC+) and 1B/OF Mike Carp (73 wRC+) are platoon bats and there’s a good chance one will be dropped off the roster to make room for Craig today. C Christian Vazquez (75 wRC+) and C David Ross (71 wRC+) form the defensive-minded catching tandem. 3B Will Middlebrooks (75 wRC+) is expected to be called up from Triple-A today, likely replacing Victorino.
Friday: LHP Chris Capuano (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Anthony Ranaudo (No vs. NYY)
With Jon Lester and John Lackey traded away, the Red Sox will turn to the 24-year-old Ranaudo to fill a rotation spot, at least temporarily. The New Jersey native has a 2.41 ERA (3.69 FIP) in 21 starts and 119.1 Triple-A innings this season, though his strikeout (7.47 K/9 and 20.3 K%), walk (3.70 BB/9 and 10.1 BB%), and ground ball (38.1%) rates aren’t all that impressive. He does keep the ball in the park though (0.45 HR/9). Ranaudo is a big guy at 6-foot-7 and 230 lbs., and he uses that size to unleash low-to-mid-90s four-seamers. Ranaudo throws a power curveball in the low-80s as well as an okay changeup.
Saturday: RHP Shane Greene (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Allen Webster (vs. NYY)
Webster, 24, was part of that huge blockbuster with the Dodgers a few years ago and he took over the just traded Jake Peavy’s rotation spot recently. He allowed one run in 5.1 innings against the Rays while walking more batters (five) than he struck out (four) in his lone MLB start of the season last weekend. Webster has a 3.10 ERA (3.91 FIP) in 122 Triple-A innings this year and a 7.82 ERA (6.20 FIP) in 35.2 MLB innings over the last two years. His Triple-A strikeout (7.38 K/9 and 19.7 K%) and walk (3.25 BB/9 and 8.6 BB%) numbers are just okay while his ground ball (48.2%) and homer (0.66 HR/9) rates are good. Webster sits in the low-to-mid-90s with two and four-seam fastballs, backing them up with low-80s sliders and changeups. The changeup has been his preferred secondary pitch in his brief big league time.
Sunday: RHP David Phelps (vs. BOS) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (vs. NYY)
In the span of one afternoon, the 29-year-old Buchholz became the ace of the Boston staff. He has a 5.87 ERA (4.64 FIP) in 17 starts and 96.2 innings this year. Yikes. Buchholz has underwhelming peripherals across the board — 6.52 K/9 (16.0 K%), 3.07 BB/9 (7.6 BB%), 1.21 HR/9 (11.5 HR/FB%), and 45.4% grounders — and he gets hit harder by lefties (.368 wOBA) and at home (.392 wOBA) than by righties (.350 wOBA) and on the road (.335 wOBA). As always, Buchholz uses low-90s two and four-seamers as well as an upper-80s cutter to set up his knockout low-80s changeup and occasionally knockout upper-70s curveball. He faced the Yankees back in April and allowed four runs (two earned) in six innings.
Like the Yankees, the Red Sox were off yesterday, so Farrell’s bullpen is rested. They traded away setup man LHP Andrew Miller but still have closer RHP Koji Uehara (2.47 FIP) and setup man RHP Junichi Tazawa (2.68 FIP) for the late innings. I assume LHP Craig Breslow (4.78 FIP) will take over as the primary matchup lefty.
At the moment, RHP Burke Badenhop (3.11 FIP) and RHP Edward Mujica (4.31 FIP) are the only other relievers on the team’s active roster. They’re going to have to make a series of roster moves before tonight’s game to accommodate all the new players, and part of that will be calling up some extra bullpen arms. Here is their 40-man roster if you want see the call-up candidates. I haven’t the slightest idea who it will be and won’t even bother to guess. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of the Yankees’ bullpen and then check out Over The Monster for everything you need to know about the new-look Red Sox.
Michael Pineda is scheduled to begin an official 30-day minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton this Sunday, Brian Cashman told reporters following the trade deadline yesterday. “He’s coming back hopefully soon on a rehab assignment to give us more choices in the rotation,” said the GM to Chad Jennings.
Pineda, 25, has been out since late-April with a muscle problem in his back/shoulder. Joe Girardi said earlier this week that he will throw 60-65 pitches on Sunday, so I suppose he might only make two rehab starts before jumping back into the rotation. Say 60-65 pitches this time, 80-85 pitches next time, then bam, back in MLB. The Yankees could always play it safe given his history of shoulder problems, but they’re desperate for pitching help and there isn’t much season left. They might simply turn him loose after sitting around and waiting these last three years. · (46) ·
I know Friday morning is usually the mailbag slot, but c’mon, yesterday was the trade deadline. It wasn’t just any ol’ trade deadline either, it was the most active and unpredictable trade deadline in a long time. Lots of big names were moved, and, somewhat surprisingly, there were a lot of big leaguer-for-big leaguer trades. Only a handful of prospects changed hands. Seems like teams are finally starting to come around on the idea of prospects being overrated. MLB players are where it’s at. Here’s a recap of all the deadline moves and here are some scattered thoughts.
1. I feel too many people view the trade deadline as binary these days, that teams should either buy or sell with nothing in between. That’s not reality though. There is always a middle ground and that’s the way the Yankees went. They made small upgrades and hugged their prospects at the same time. They acquired four no-doubt upgrades in Brandon McCarthy, Chase Headley, Stephen Drew, and Martin Prado, and they did so at amazingly minimal cost (and got cash back!). All they gave up were two fringe big leaguers in Vidal Nuno and Yangervis Solarte, two mid-range prospects in Peter O’Brien and Rafael DePaula, and the replaceable Kelly Johnson. I mean, how do you not love that? I don’t know if those moves will be enough to put them over the hump and into the postseason, in fact I’ll so as far as saying it is unlikely they will be, but those are clear upgrades that do not damage the short or long-term health of the franchise. Those are four quality players acquired for nothing the Yankees will miss. Amazing.
2. Now, that said, it’s pretty obvious they still need some pitching. At the very least an innings eater just to, well, eat innings. Someone who can spare the bullpen that extra inning or two every fifth day. The Yankees in position to take on salary in an August waiver trade and I think they will at some point. Cliff Lee re-injured his elbow last night and that makes him a non-option — not just for the remainder of this year either, if he doesn’t pitch at all the rest of this season I don’t see how they could go after him in the winter with all that money left on his contract — but other August trade candidates are John Danks, Scott Feldman, Kevin Correia, Bartolo Colon, Chris Young, Colby Lewis, A.J. Burnett, and James Shields. (How fantastic would a Shields rental be?) I’m not saying the Yankees should go after those guys specifically, just that there should be some pitching options this month, especially as more and more clubs fall out of the race. Win or lose, postseason or no postseason, they need some arms to avoid running their valuable pitchers into the ground.
3. Here’s the upcoming free agent class. There are very few position players listed there I prefer over Prado at his fair value contract and that’s not something to be overlooked. The Yankees got out ahead of the market by extending Brett Gardner before he hit free agency — how amazing does that deal look right now? — and trading for Prado saves them from bending over to sign some meh free agent to plug a hole over the winter, whether it be an outfielder or an infielder or whatever. Free agency is not what it once was, the solution to every problem is not out there in the form of an above-average player every offseason because teams are signing all of their best players to multi-year extension. Trading for those guys is now the way to acquire talent. Prado isn’t a sexy name and frankly I don’t think he’s anything more than a league average player, but league average is valuable and it’s one less thing to worry about this winter.
4. Drew is obviously auditioning to replace Derek Jeter next season. You realize that, right? I know he’ll be playing second base these next two months, but the Yankees and everyone else knows he can play shortstop without a problem. They get to see how he handles New York, how he fits in the clubhouse, how well he can take advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch, stuff like that. That’s not nothing. Sometimes a player just isn’t a good fit (see: Carl Crawford and the Red Sox) and usually you don’t find that out until after he’s signed. The same applies to Headley, really. The Yankees will get to know him these next few weeks and see firsthand how well he fits the team. If they like what they see, they could look to sign him during the exclusive negotiating period and avoid a bidding war on the open market.
5. When Spring Training opened, the candidates for the non-shortstop and non-first base infield positions were Johnson, Solarte, Brian Roberts, Eduardo Nunez, Scott Sizemore, and Dean Anna. Every single one of them is gone. Johnson (trade), Sizemore (release), and Roberts (designated for assignment) were all jettisoned yesterday, Solarte (trade) was moved a few weeks ago, Nunez (trade) was moved back in April, and Anna (waived) was dropped from the roster last month. Pretty amazing that none of them survived the season and Solarte managed to be the best of that bunch. If nothing else, Headley and Drew will be big upgrades defensively — I’m pretty confident Drew will out-defend Roberts on pure athleticism even though he’s never played second as a pro — over that Island of Misfit Infielders. Headley’s already helped with the bat and Drew might. With Roberts gone and Ichiro Suzuki glued to the bench, the Yankees have a bonafide starting caliber Major League player at every position for the first time since 2012. It really is the little things in life that make you happiest.
6. This is a minor point but one worth mentioning: the DePaula and O’Brien trades did help clear up some organizational logjams. I’m pretty sure DePaula will be Rule 5 Draft eligible this winter, so that saves the Yankees a 40-man roster spot. He would have been a borderline protect/expose candidate like Jose Campos this winter, and, as they’ve shown the last few years, the Yankees almost always protect those borderline guys and it limits roster flexibility. Trading DePaula helps that situation. Moving O’Brien also ends the daily lineup/position juggling at Double-A Trenton. Gary Sanchez can catch everyday, Tyler Austin can play first base everyday, and the trio of Mason Williams, Jake Cave, and Ben Gamel can play the outfield everyday. Plus the DH spot stays open. Thunder manager Tony Franklin had to wedge O’Brien into the lineup somewhere these last few weeks, but that’s not an issue anymore.
7. I think you can make a very strong argument the three best (healthy) starting pitchers in the AL East were traded yesterday as Jon Lester (Athletics), David Price (Tigers), and John Lackey (Cardinals) were shipped to other divisions. That’s pretty remarkable. Four of New York’s five Opening Day rotation starters are on the disabled list while the Red Sox traded four-fifths of their Opening Day rotation (Lester, Lackey, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront) in the last week or so. I don’t really know where I’m going with this, I just thought it was interesting. Two years ago this division housed top notch pitchers in Lester, Price, Shields, CC Sabathia, and Hiroki Kuroda. Now the best healthy pitcher in the division is … Alex Cobb? Chris Archer? Mark Buehrle? Marcus Stroman? Yeesh.
8. I really like Drew Smyly — I even wrote a post about the Yankees potentially trading for him back in the day — but man, that is an underwhelming return for Price. Friend of RAB and Rays fans Tommy Rancel is one of the smartest baseball dudes I know and even he agrees the return was light. Smyly’s good and Franklin should have some sort of MLB career, but that’s it. That Willy Adames kid is an 18-year-old project in Single-A. Where’s the young stud big leaguer or elite prospect? That trade was made to fill needs and not acquire the most talent possible, and acquiring the most talent is what I think you have to do when trading someone of Price’s caliber.
9. The Red Sox did fine in their trades assuming Allen Craig hasn’t permanently forgotten how to hit. I’m interested to see what happens with Yoenis Cespedes next year. They don’t get the standard six years of team control over him — his contract stipulates that he has to be non-tendered after his fourth year, and because he has to be non-tendered, they can’t make him a qualifying offer and recoup a draft pick. Will they really let him walk after next season for nothing? Or will they re-sign him into his 30s, something they’ve been hesitant to do with other players and refused to do with their homegrown ace? If not, will they be looking to trade him at the deadline next summer? That’ll be fascinating.
Following today’s trade deadline activity, Brian Cashman told reporters 2B Rob Refsnyder will remain at second base for the remainder of the season. No more experimenting in right field. Happy to hear it.
Triple-A Scranton (8-3 win over Gwinnett)
- LF Jose Pirela: 3-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI
- 1B Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K
- C John Ryan Murphy: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI – pleasantly surprised that is still with the team following the trade deadline
- RHP Bruce Billings: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 3/8 GB/FB – 60 of 96 pitches were strikes (63%)
- RHP Matt Daley: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HB, 0/3 GB/FB – 11 of 18 pitches were strikes (61%)