Via Joel Sherman: The Rockies and White Sox are among the teams keeping an eye on Francisco Cervelli prior to the trade deadline. All of his recent playing time is not a showcase, however. “You showcase in Spring Training, not now when you are trying to win games. We are just putting our best team on the field while [Mark Teixeira] is out,” said Brian Cashman.
Cervelli, 28, is hitting .311/.354/.443 (121 wRC+) in 65 plate appearances around a Grade II hamstring strain this year. The White Sox were said to be watching him back in Spring Training and the Yankees have reportedly asked about lefty John Danks, but it’s unclear if there’s any kind of match there. Sherman says the Yankees also like Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa, but Colorado is asking for way too much in return.
The Yankees have some upper level catching depth to spare but that doesn’t mean they should give it away. Remember, Cervelli is injury prone and Austin Romine has faded. The depth isn’t as great as it appears. Cashman did a really excellent job of getting Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley for pennies on the dollar, so maybe Cervelli winds up being part of a similar trade within the next few days. We’ll see. · (49) ·
Triple-A Scranton (10-2 loss to Pawtucket)
- 1B Jose Pirela: 1-5, 1 R, 2 K — apparently he’s going to work out at every position of need at the big league level but not get called up
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 1-4, 1 RBI
- DH Kyle Roller: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
- C John Ryan Murphy: 0-4, 2 PB
- LHP Matt Tracy: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HB, 2/3 GB/FB — 59 of 94 pitches were strikes (63%)
- RHP Danny Burawa: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 2/2 GB/FB — only 18 of 37 pitches were strikes (49%) … 49/26 K/BB in 39.2 innings
- LHP Tyler Webb: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 4 K, 1 WP — 18 of 24 pitches were strikes (75%) … 77/17 K/BB in 53.1 innings
Make it 17 straight wins over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees came back from a three-zip deficit on Friday night to win their fourth straight game and seventh in eight games since the All-Star break. I wouldn’t say they’re playing their best baseball of the season, but they’re definitely getting the results right now. Let’s recap the 6-4 win:
- Oh No Hiroki: A bloop, a chopper, a three-run homer. It was not a good start for Hiroki Kuroda, who gave up two cheap hits before Jose Bautista unloaded on a 3-0 fastball for a quick three-run bomb in the first inning. Bautista took him deep again in the third, though that was only a solo shot. Kuroda was definitely not sharp and, frankly, four runs in 5.2 innings feels like a bit of a miracle. He really had to grind all night.
- Death By Singles: The players change but the results do not. Mark Buehrle just can’t beat the Yankees. He started giving back that three-run lead in the second inning, when two singles (Brian McCann and Chase Headley) and a walk (Ichiro Suzuki) loaded the bases with no outs. Brian Roberts plated a run with an infield single, Brett Gardner another with a sac fly. They could have done some more damage but getting the two runs started the comeback.
- Two Dingers: After needing three singles and a walk (and a sac fly) to score two runs in the second inning, the Yankees dropped four runs on Buehrle with two homers in the third. Carlos Beltran hit a one-out solo shot and three batters later Ichiro Suzuki clubbed a three-run shot, his first of the year. Derek Jeter’s reaction was pretty great. McCann and Headley singled before Ichiro’s blast. Those two were the unsung offensive heroes. Ichiro’s dinger was unexpected, to say the least.
- Shutdown Bullpen: I don’t know how David Huff pitched his way into a setup role, but here we are. He retired two lefties and a switch-hitter before Shawn Kelley retired the only batter he faced, bridging the gap between Kuroda and Dellin Betances. Betances allowed a bloop double to center — Roberts couldn’t make the play doing back on the ball — but otherwise escaped the jam. David Robertson pitched around an infield hit that should have been an error on McCann for his 26th save. This bullpen is so great.
- Leftovers: Headley went 3-for-4 and is already paying major dividends. He did forget how many outs there were fifth though, getting picked off second when he started walking towards the dugout … Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, the team’s two best hitters, where the only starters who failed to reach base … McCann and Frankie Cervelli each had two hits while Ichiro homered and walked … the Yankees hit two homers in a game for the first time in the second half.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some additional stats, and ESPN has the updated box score. The Orioles and Mariners are playing each other out in Seattle, so, depending on the outcome of that game, the Yankees will be either two games back of the top spot in the AL East and 0.5 games up on the second wildcard spot (Mariners win), or three games back of the top spot in the AL East and 1.5 games up on the second wildcard spot (Orioles win). Got all that? Chris Capuano will make his Yankees debut on Saturday afternoon against Drew Hutchison. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch either of the two games left on the homestand.
The Yankees and Blue Jays are virtually tied in the standings. They’re both competing for the AL East title and the second wildcard spot (the Angels have run away with the top spot already), so these head-to-head matchups are incredibly important. The Yankees have won 16 straight over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium dating back to 2012, so, needless to say, let’s hope that extend that streak to 17 games tonight. Here is the Blue Jays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 1B Brian McCann
- 3B Chase Headley
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brian Roberts
- C Frankie Cervelli
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
It’s nice and sunny in New York. Wonderful weather for baseball. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET and can be seen on My9 locally and, depending on where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.
Updates: Mark Teixeira (lat) feels “really good” but has not yet swung a bat. He doesn’t know when he will return to the lineup and Joe Girardi said they will have more information by Sunday. With Teixeira banged up and an eight-man bullpen, the Yankees only have a two-man bench (Brendan Ryan and Zelous Wheeler) … in case you missed it earlier, Chris Capuano was added to the active roster and will start tomorrow. Shane Greene will start Sunday, Chase Whitley is in the bullpen, and Chris Leroux has been designated for assignment.
From our friends at TiqIQ:
As the level of popularity in Major League Soccer grows, two more teams will be added to the league beginning in 2015. Next season there will be newteams in Orlando and New York City with the Orlando Football Club and New York City Football Club becoming the 20th and 21st teams in the MLS.
NYCFC will be the second team in the New York area along with the New York Red Bulls, a matchup that has all the makings of an epic rivalry. For at least the first season, NYCFC will have their home games in the famous Yankee Stadium, and they have ensured they will have productive (and marketable) players donning their jerseys when play begins. First, they signed Spanish star David Villa, and rumors had been circulating that English stalwart Frank Lampard and fellow Spaniard Xavi would be joining the ranks. Today they made one of those rumors a reality.
The team announced the signing of Frank Lampard in a move from Chelsea FC in London. Lampard comes to NYCFC after playing in England since 1995. Lampard has scored 211 goals for Chelsea and is their all-time leading goal scorer. He is second all time in the Premier league in assists only behind soccer legend Ryan Giggs. Internationally, Lampard has also been capped over 100 times for the England National team and has scored an impressive 29 goals in international competition. He is considered by most to be one of the best midfielders of the 21st century with his supreme passing ability, along with his tremendous consistency.
Lampard will be joining NYCFC on a two-year deal. He is expected to bring with him a great amount of experience and soccer knowledge. In the press conference today Lampard said, “Having seen the vision of this club, I have seen a real long-term plan and I want to be involved and I want to keep on challenging myself.” No one can be sure exactly how long he will play, but the time he does spend in New York will be well worth it.
The Villa and Lampard signings have the city of New York very excited for the 2015 season. NYCFC recently surpassed 3,000 season ticket accounts with about eight months to go before the opening game. The team has rolled out a very simple ticket buying process as fans only need to put down a small deposit on season tickets initially and then get to choose their very own seats during a seat selection process in August. If you consider that the majority of accounts are probably between 2-4 seats, NYCFC probably has an initial season ticket base around 7,000 people. That’s a lot of fans they’ve been able to get on board before their inaugural season.
With another designated player slot to go for the club, chances are their will be at least one more marquee name joining the team, and a lot more fans wanting to see he team play at Yankee Stadium. If you’re interested in being a founding fan of the team, now is the time to do it!
The Yankees have added Chris Capuano to the active roster and designated Chris Leroux for the assignment, the team announced. Capuano, who acquired in a minor trade with the Rockies yesterday, will start tomorrow’s game. Shane Greene has been pushed back to Sunday and Chase Whitley is in the bullpen. The Yankees are still carrying eight relievers and three bench players, though I think that will change sometime soon. Jeff Francis’ days may be numbered. · (63) ·
So this is kind of a big series. The Yankees and Blue Jays are essentially tied in the standings and chasing the same AL East title/second wildcard spot. The Jays have lost 16 (!) consecutive games in Yankee Stadium dating back to 2012. That includes a three-game sweep earlier this year. The Yankees are 6-3 against Toronto overall this year.
What Have They Done Lately?
The Blue Jays just won three straight at home against the Red Sox and they’ve won five times in seven tries in the second half. At 54-49 with a +22 run differential, Toronto is percentage points behind the Yankees in standings. Like I said, big series.
Manager John Gibbons’ team averages 4.54 runs per game with a team 107 wRC+ this year, so they’ve been solidly above-average overall. Their lineup is decimated by injuries, however. 1B Edwin Encarnacion (161 wRC+), DH Adam Lind (142 wRC+), and 3B Brett Lawrie (96 wRC+) are currently on the disabled list with quad, foot, and finger injuries, respectively. None are expected back this weekend. IF Maicer Izturis, OF Nolan Reimold, and OF Cole Gillespie are hurt as well.
Even with all those injuries, Gibbons still trots out an upper third of the lineup with SS Jose Reyes (106 wRC+), OF Melky Cabrera (129 wRC+), and OF Jose Bautista (151 wRC+). Those three are as dangerous as it gets and the key to this weekend for New York is keeping them in check. The lineup really softens after that. OF Colby Rasmus (96 wRC+), C Dioner Navarro (88 wRC+), and the just called up DH Dan Johnson (93 wRC+ in very limited time) have been hitting in the middle third of the lineup, for example.
IF Juan Francisco (128 wRC+) has power as big as the holes in his swing. OF Anthony Gose (78 wRC+), IF Steve Tolleson (99 wRC+), IF Ryan Goins (33 wRC+ in limited time), and IF Munenori Kawasaki (78 wRC+) rotate in and out of the lineup on a daily basis. C Josh Thole (94 wRC+ in limited time) backs up Navarro and is on the roster primarily because he is knuckleballer R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher. They’ve been paired together since their days with the Mets. The Yankees are catching a huge break with Encarnacion, Lind, and Lawrie out.
Friday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (vs. TOR) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (vs. NYY)
Buehrle was an All-Star for the first time in five years a few weeks ago thanks to his excellent start to the season. The 35-year-old has a 2.86 ERA (3.68 FIP) in 20 starts and 132.1 innings this year, and he’s been outperforming his FIP for about a decade now. No reason to think it’ll stop anytime soon. Buehrle’ strikeout (5.30 K/9 and 14.1 K%), walk (2.38 BB/9 and 6.3 BB%), and ground ball (40.9%) rates are the same as they always been, though his homer rate (0.61 HR/9 and 5.8 HR/FB%) is his lowest in a long, long time. It was lower earlier in the year and it’s started to correct in recent starts. Lefties (.327 wOBA) have hit Buehrle slightly harder than righties (.311 wOBA). As always, he works in the mid-80s with his four-seamer, two-seamer, and cutter, mixing in some upper-70s changeups and low-80s curves to keep hitters (even more) off balance. The Yankees have faced Buehrle twice this season, scoring three runs in six innings at Yankee Stadium and four runs in 6.2 innings at Rogers Centre, both back in June.
Saturday: RHP Shane Greene (No vs. TOR) vs. RHP Drew Hutchison (vs. NYY)
Hutchison, 23, has made 20 starts and thrown 113 innings this year, his first following Tommy John surgery. There’s been some talk of shutting him down or at least easing up on his working in the coming weeks. Hutchison has a 4.54 ERA (3.80 FIP) in those 20 starts with a very good strikeout rate (8.12 K/9 and 20.9 K%) and solid walk (3.03 BB/9 and 7.8 BB%) and homer (0.96 HR/9 and 8.2 HR/FB%) numbers, though he doesn’t get any grounders (34.9%). Lefties (.347 wOBA) have hit him a ton harder than righties (.299 wOBA), and it’s worth noting he’s been much better on the road (.279 wOBA) than at home (.407 wOBA). A low-90s fastball is Hutchison’s main pitch, and he throws it a lot, more than 60% of the time. Sliders and changeups in the mid-80s round out the repertoire. The Yankees have faced him three times this year and he’s been progressively better: six runs in 3.1 innings in April, four runs in 4.1 innings in mid-June, and four runs in six innings in late-June.
Sunday: RHP Chase Whitley (vs. TOR) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (vs. NYY)
These teams have played three series this year and yet somehow the Yankees have not seen Happ. The 31-year-old has a 4.55 ERA (4.18 FIP) in 83 innings across 14 starts and four relief appearances this year, with mostly mediocre peripherals: 7.37 K/9 (18.5 K%), 3.69 BB/9 (9.3 BB%), 0.98 HR/9 (8.9 HR/FB%), and 41.9% grounders. Happ’s platoon split is tiny. He throws a lot of fastballs, using his low-90s two and four-seamers more than 70% of the time combined. A mid-80s changeup is his top offspeed pitch and he’ll also mix in a few low-80s sliders and low-70s curveballs.
The Jays blew out the Red Sox yesterday and rookie righty Marcus Stroman went seven innings, so Gibbons was able to rest his key late-inning relievers. Only RHP Todd Redmond (3.05 FIP) and LHP Rob Rasmussen (4.96 FIP in limited time) pitched, and they threw an inning apiece. Closer RHP Casey Janssen (2.69 FIP) has pitched three times in the last five days, just not yesterday.
As they’ve been doing just about all year, the Jays are currently carrying eight relievers. RHP Dustin McGowan (5.02 FIP), LHP Brett Cecil (2.56 FIP), and LHP Aaron Loup (3.54 FIP) are Janssen’s primary setup crew these days. Top prospect RHP Aaron Sanchez (1.14 FIP in two innings) was just called up and will be given high-leverage work right away. They aren’t going to be shy with him. RHP Esmil Rogers (5.41 FIP) is the last guy in the ‘pen. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relievers, then check out Drunk Jays Fans for everything you need to know about the Blue Jays.
Via George King: The Yankees will be among the teams to watch Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo at his showcase in Miami (at Alex Rodriguez Park!) tomorrow. “He reminds me of (Dayan) Viciedo, not with the power, but with the way he plays and he has very good speed,” said one scout. “He is not (Yasiel) Puig. Some teams think he is a fourth outfielder but others believe he can be more.”
Castillo, 27, has already been declared a free agent by MLB and is free to sign. He is represented by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. “Castillo has good strength for his relatively short stature and is an athletic player whose best tool is his plus-plus speed … Castillo can sting the ball from the right side of the plate, projecting as a line-drive bat who hits a lot of doubles and triples rather than home runs. He’s an aggressive hitter with good bat speed, though his swing can get long at times and he will expand his strike zone,” wrote Ben Badler recently. Here’s the obligatory highlight video.
Because of his age, Castillo would not count against a team’s international signing pool, not that it matters for the Yankees at this point. They haven’t signed a big name Cuban player since getting burned by Jose Contreras, though they did show serious interest in Aledmys Diaz earlier this year and appear to be ready to get back into the market. I have no idea what kind of contract Castillo will command or if he makes sense for the Yankees, who already have two low-power outfielders signed for big bucks long-terms. Either way, they’ll be on hand to see up close this weekend. · (75) ·
Got eight questions for you this week. The Submit A Tip box in the sidebar is the best way to send us anything throughout the week, mailbag questions or otherwise.
Many asked: What about Matt Kemp?
Kemp, who is still only 29, is open to being traded to a team that will put him back in center field full-time, according to Ken Rosenthal. That obviously isn’t happening with the Yankees. The Dodgers have been playing Kemp in left field and a tiny little bit in right while guys like Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke play center. They think that little of Kemp’s defense, and, of course, they have veteran outfielders to spare. He seems to be the most movable.
Kemp missed basically half of last season with shoulder, hamstring, and ankle injuries — the shoulder and ankle problems required surgery and he’s had shoulder surgery in each of the last two offseasons — but he’s been healthy this year, hitting a solid .268/ .33/.422 (116 wRC+) overall. That’s much better than last year’s 103 wRC+ mark but far behind his 2011 (168 wRC+) and 2012 (145 wRC+) production. He has always struck out a bunch (25.8%) but makes up for it with walks (9.2%), though his power (.154 ISO) disappeared following shoulder surgery and he’s not the first guy that’s happened to.
There is approximately $118M left on Kemp’s contract through 2019 and that’s an avoid at all costs deal for me. The structural problems in his shoulder explain the missing power — Adrian Gonzalez had the same surgery a few years ago and his power isn’t close to what it once was — and doesn’t give me much reason to expect it to return. His defense isn’t good and it’s clear he isn’t happy playing a corner spot. This isn’t a “let’s take a flier on him” situation, there’s too much money left on his deal for that. I’d steer clear unless Los Angeles was willing to eat a substantial sum of money and take back only middling prospects in return. Too many red flags.
(For what it’s worth, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS system projects Kemp for a total of 7.7 WAR from 2005-19. Yikes.)
A few asks: What about Darwin Barney?
This is an easy no for me. Barney flat out can’t hit (58 wRC+ this year and a 67 wRC+ in over 2,000 career plate appearances) and while he’s a very good defender, he isn’t as good as the defensive stats said he was a few years ago because they were not yet accounting for the shift. The Yankees have the exact same player in Brendan Ryan — a better version, in fact, because Ryan can play shortstop. Very easy no for me. If they’re going to replace Brian Roberts, I’d hope they would call up Rob Refsnyder before going with someone like Barney.
Many asked: What about Brady Aiken? Should the Yankees go after him if MLB declares him a free agent?
The Astros failed to sign Aiken, the first overall pick in this summer’s draft, last week after a pre-signing physical showed his UCL was smaller than usual. It’s not torn, it’s just an abnormality, like Ty Hensley had in his shoulder. The two sides had agreed to a $6.5M bonus, but Houston dropped it down to $5M after seeing his elbow and they couldn’t come to terms. Fifth rounder Jacob Nix agreed to a $1.5M bonus that was based on savings from Aiken’s below-slot bonus, but the Astros went back on that deal too. Nix really got screwed.
Anyway, the MLBPA filed a grievance on Aiken’s (and Nix’s) behalf because of how negotiations were handled. The usually mild-mannered Casey Close represents both and he tore into Houston for how they handled talks. The odds are strongly against MLB making either player a free agent, however, because the team did make both players the minimum required offer according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The league declared Barret Loux a free agent a few years ago because the Diamondbacks never made him an offer after taking him sixth overall and not liking something they saw in his shoulder. But yes, in the unlikely event Aiken (or Nix) is declared a free agent, the Yankees should go after him, clearly. They never got a chance to sign talent like that. Flex those financial muscles.
Daniel asks: Looking to next season, I was wondering if it would be possible if not likely that the Yankees would look to re-sign Chase Headley. I know there is the A-Rod potential issue as always but what kind of a deal would Headley require? If he continued at his pace of below average offense and strong defense, is it possible he’d sign a one year relatively low cost deal to rebuild value? Or is there a team out there other than the Yankees desperate enough to bet on his past production and go all in with a multi year deal?
As with Brandon McCarthy, I think it’s possible the Yankees will re-sign Headley after the season, but how he plays the next two months will play a huge role in that. Remember, when they traded for Lance Berkman a few years, there was immediate talk of re-signing him as a part-time first baseman/DH, but he played his way out of town.
Headley should have a decent market after the season because third basemen are always in demand, so I don’t think a one-year deal will do it. Plus he’s at that age when he’ll look for the biggest payday possible. Brian Cashman made it clear Headley was a rental after the trade, so maybe the team is dead set on playing Alex Rodriguez at third next year and won’t even consider bringing Headley back. But yeah, to answer the question, I think there’s at least a small chance he’ll come back, but it’ll take multiple years. I don’t see a one-year deal doing it in this market.
Steven asks: Any update on Andrew Bailey? Is he in any position to help the team? And is he on a two-year contract so that the real upside of the deal is 2015? I honestly forgot about him.
The last update we got on Bailey came back on June 26th, when VP of Baseball Ops Mark Newman confirmed the right-hander was throwing bullpens in Tampa, but only fastballs and changeups. He had yet to start throwing breaking balls. The Yankees have maintained that if Bailey does pitch this year, it’ll be very late in the season, sometime in September. This signing was always about 2015 (his contract includes a club option). Anything Bailey gives them this year is gravy. It’s pretty amazing how the four injured relievers everyone wanted their team to sign — Bailey, Jesse Crain, Ryan Madson, and Joel Hanrahan — have yet to pitch this season. Hanrahan just suffered a setback and is done for the year, in fact. Arm injuries suck, man.
Dan asks: Assuming the season won’t be lost at that point; why not wait on Cliff Lee to get to waivers and then put in a claim on him and see if you can get him just for his salary? He’s making a lot, but it’s only for one additional year and the Yanks can afford it. Better to save the prospects I think then squabble over Philly eating $5-10M.
The Dodgers actually claimed Lee off trade waivers in August a few years ago, but the Phillies pulled him back. I’m sure they would do the same this year — you don’t let aces go for nothing more than salary relief — unless they have serious concerns about his elbow. Then they might just dump him and walk away, but I think that’s unlikely. From where I sit, it would make sense for the Yankees claim, if for no other reason than to block a team like the Orioles or Mariners or Angels from potentially acquiring him. It is a risky move though because you could wind up with a $25M a year pitcher with a bum elbow. This seems like a “yeah definitely do it” move to us, but there’s a lot of other stuff to consider that we’re just not privy to, like his medicals and the team’s financial situation.
Jeff asks: If you had to chose between a power hitting RF’er or a starting pitcher at the Deadline, and you could only have one or the other, which would it be?
As much as the Yankees need offense, it would have to be another starter. I have much more faith in the team’s ability to fix their lineup internally than I do the rotation. They could call up Zoilo Almonte or Rob Refsnyder, or Brian McCann or Carlos Beltran could get hot, something like that. The rotation though? There’s nothing left in the minors, they’ve used up all of their depth. Chase Whitley gets major props for what he’s done as a recently converted starter, but replacing him is a priority before the deadline. The Yankees need both, a right fielder and a starter, but I’ll take the pitcher if I can only pick one.
I’ll say false, true, and false. Austin (wrist) and Banuelos (elbow) have had injury trouble the last few years and I think they need more time to get over that and show what they can do at 100%. Williams has been healthy these last two years though and he just hasn’t made any progress whatsoever. A third straight year of that would not be the end of his career, but it would be pretty damning. Talent and tools alone don’t buy guys unlimited opportunities, especially when they’ve had attitude and makeup issues like Williams.