Via Bob Nightengale: The Yankees are currently looking at a record $29.1M luxury tax bill after the season. That is based off a $236.2M payroll and is not yet final. The luxury tax is officially calculated after the season and team payroll could still go up or down depending on trades (Brendan Ryan!) and call-ups and whatnot these next two weeks. The Dodgers ($9.9M) are the only other team facing the luxury tax this year.
The Yankees are taxed 50% on every dollar over the $178M threshold, which climbs to $189M next year. As you know, the team is trying like hell to get under that number and save both luxury tax and revenue sharing money down the road. Assuming that $29.1M number doesn’t change much, the Yankees will have paid over $253M in tax since the system was implemented in 2003. The rest of baseball will have paid just $32M or so. The Steinbrenners have shelled out $19.3M, $13.9M, $18M, and $25.7M in luxury tax in the three previous seasons. · (15) ·
The last week or so has been total hell on the Yankees bullpen. David Robertson (shoulder) and Boone Logan (biceps, elbow) are both banged up and Shawn Kelley (triceps) spent a few days on the sidelines as well. Joba Chamberlain has been forced into high-leverage work and that just isn’t a good idea. Mariano Rivera, who clearly isn’t the Mo of old right now, has been asked to record more than three outs three times in his last four appearances and figures to see even more multi-inning work before the season ends in 19 days.
Robertson is expected to rejoin the team this week — perhaps as soon as today — and hopefully that is the case, but you never know with the Yankees and their recent history of setbacks. Pretty much everyone has one. Logan’s test results will be reviewed by Dr. James Andrews and that’s never a good sign. The Yankees re-signed journeyman Mike Zagurski yesterday, which is an indication they are at least somewhat concerned Logan will not be returning anytime soon.
A trade in September is not something you see all that often, but New York swung one last night to acquire infield help in the form of Brendan Ryan. They should also consider trading for bullpen help at this point. Like Ryan, whoever they acquire at this point would not be eligible for the playoff roster since they weren’t in the organization on August 31st, but there probably won’t even be a playoff roster in a few weeks if Yankees don’t get help. Here are three bullpen arms on non-contending teams who could be available in a trade at this unusual time.
Burke Badenhop, Brewers
Milwaukee is one the very worst teams in baseball and they don’t have a whole lot of desirable tradeable chips — aside from untouchables Carlos Gomes and Jean Segura, that is — which is why their deadline sell-off featured only Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford changing addresses. The 30-year-old Badenhop was rumored to be on the block as well, but he ultimately stayed put and has a 3.60 ERA (3.58 FIP) in 60 innings this summer. He’s essentially a righty specialist — has held righties to a .251 wOBA while lefties have tagged him for a .377 wOBA (more walks than strikeouts too) — who limits walks (1.80 BB/9 and 4.9 BB%) and gets ground balls (51.6%) but doesn’t miss many bats (6.15 K/9 and 16.8 K%).
If used correctly, Badenhop can be a real weapon against right-handed batters in the later innings of a game. He pitched with the Rays last season and was pretty effective (3.03 ERA and 3.62 FIP), so the AL East and a postseason race and all that won’t be new experiences. Badenhop is only owed approximately $240k the rest of the season and, as an added bonus, he will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2014. The Brewers took Grade-C prospects for K-Rod and Axford, who had much sexier track records than the sinker/slider guy Badenhop, so the cost shouldn’t be prohibitive.
Frank Francisco, Mets
Frankie Frank missed almost the entire season with bone spurs in his elbow and, according to Adam Rubin, there are some in the organization who think the 33-year-old had a “lack of urgency” during his rehab. He did return this past weekend and has pitched in two games, facing four total batters while allowing a single and recording a walk, a strikeout, and a ground ball. Francisco managed a 5.53 ERA (3.90 FIP) in 42.1 innings while missing time with oblique and elbow problems last season. He’s always been a high strikeout (career 9.92 K/9 and 25.6 K%), high walk (3.98 BB/9 and 10.3 BB%), low ground ball (34.4%) guy.
One team official told Rubin it is “certainly possible” the Mets will look to trade Francisco before the end of the season just to save some of the $715k they still owe him. That same official responded “Why wouldn’t we work something out with them?” when asked if they’d be open to trading with the Yankees. Francisco has late-inning/closer experience and will be a free agent after the season, plus the Mets would probably give him away at this point. Remember, we’re not talking about replacing Robertson or Kelley here. We’re talking about replacing Jim Miller or Matt Daley.
Matt Lindstrom, White Sox
Lindstrom, 33, has very quietly been one of the most effective relievers in baseball over these last three years. He has a 2.89 ERA (3.03 FIP) in 56 innings for the ChiSox this season and a 2.87 ERA (3.16 FIP) in 157 innings since the start of 2011. After coming up has a super-hard-thrower who didn’t always know where the ball was going, Lindstrom has scaled things back in recent years and now uses a mid-90s sinker/low-80s slider combination to generate a ton of ground balls (53.9%) and infield pop-ups (10.4%). Both his walk (3.70 BB/9 and 9.7 BB%) and strikeout (6.91 K/9 and 18.1 K%) rates have taken steps back this year, however.
As we saw firsthand last week, the White Sox are truly awful. Worst non-Astros team in the AL awful. They acknowledged that by trading away Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, and Matt Thornton at the deadline, so it stands to reason that Lindstrom would be available as well. He is owed roughly $355k through the end of the year with an affordable $4M club option ($500k buyout) for 2014 season in his contract. The Yankees need relievers, both right now and next season with Rivera and Joba (and Logan) due to become free agents, and Lindstrom is the kind of guy who can help both situations. He’s no bullpen savior, but if nothing else, he sure and the other two guys in this post would add useful depth — as opposed to the Daleys and Millers of the world who are just there because they’re warm bodies — to the bullpen down the stretch.
The Yankees have acquired infielder Brendan Ryan from the Mariners for a player to be named later, the teams announced. No word on the corresponding 40-man roster move just yet. Because he was acquired after August 31st, Ryan will not be eligible for the playoff roster should the Yankees make it that far. He is owed $400k for the rest of the season and will become a free agent this winter.
Ryan, 31, hit a weak .192/.254/.265 (43 wRC+) in 287 plate appearances for Seattle this season. He is an elite defender though, arguably the best at the position in all of baseball. With Derek Jeter’s left ankle barking, Eduardo Nunez was the only shortstop on the active roster and the Yankees needed a backup. I wouldn’t expect Ryan to play all that much — he should replace Nunez in the late inning for defense at the very least — but the team desperately needed another middle infielder. · (45) ·
Considering everything that’s going on in the wildcard race, this was the biggest and most important game of the season for the Yankees. They were six outs away from being essentially buried in the standings, but they instead rallied for four runs in the eighth and held on for the 7-5 win on Tuesday.
Homers Extra-Base Hits
For the first time in exactly four months, the Yankees recorded eight extra-base hits in a game. Seven of the eight led to runs too, with the only exception being Brett Gardner‘s double to leadoff the game. Go figure. Alex Rodriguez — he looks fantastic at the plate, doesn’t he? — started a) the scoring with a booming two-out double into the gap to score Chris Stewart all the way from first in the third inning, and b) the four-run rally in the eighth with a leadoff double into the left field corner. The Yankees had just three hits between A-Rod‘s doubles, including solo homers by Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds.
Not to sound overly dramatic, but that eighth inning rally was pretty close to a season-saver. A temporary season saver, at least. Losing another game to direct wildcard competitor would have pushed the Yankees even further back in the race with another day ticking off the calendar. That would have been bad. Robinson Cano plated A-Rod with a single up the middle to tie the game in the eighth before the really big bats showed up. Soriano hit an opposite field two-run bomb to give New York a two-run lead, then Curtis Granderson and Reynolds hit back-to-back doubles into the left field corner for another insurance run. In the span of 14 pitches, the Yankees went from down one to up three that inning. Most important inning of the season? To date, yes.
A Comedy Of Errors
The Orioles did the majority of their damage in the four-run fifth, an inning that featured way too much defensive hilarity by New York. The inning started when Eduardo Nunez pulled Reynolds off first base on J.J. Hardy’s infield single, but to be fair, it was a very tough play in the hole. I’m not sure he would have gotten him even with a perfect throw. Nunez is pretty terrible on defense but that was far, far from a routine play. It happens.
Later in the inning though, Nunez threw away a slow infield chopper by Henry Urrutia to allow a run to score and put men on the corners with no outs. This one wasn’t routine either but it is a play a big league shortstop should make. Replays showed the throw beat Urrutia but was simply too wide for Reynolds to catch while keeping his foot on the base. The next batter hit a fly ball to left to score another run, though it appeared Soriano’s throw would at least make things close at the plate had A-Rod not cut it off near the pitcher’s mound for whatever reason. The throw might have been off line and I kinda sorta get keeping the trail runner from advancing to scoring position, but it sure looked like there was a chance to get the runner out at the plate. Alas.
Those two (or three of you want to be hard on Nunez) defensive mistakes led to the first two Baltimore runs of the inning. The other two scored when Ivan Nova hung — like, put it on a tee hung — a curveball that Chris Davis hit out to dead center for his 49th homer. It was a no doubter and Nova’s only real mistake of the inning. At the end of the night, Ivan allowed those four runs in six innings of work while throwing only 79 pitches (46 strikes). More on that seemingly quick hook in a second.
Shawn Kelley allowed a run in the eighth inning thanks to a walk, two wild pitches, and a sacrifice fly. Replays showed J.R. Murphy‘s throw beat Davis to the third base bag on the second wild pitch, but David Adams simply whiffed on the tag. Adam Warren tossed a perfect seventh and Mariano Rivera retired all four men he faced without a ball leaving the infield. It’s the third time in his last four appearances that Rivera was asked to record more than three outs in a save situation. He’s retiring in a few weeks one way or the other, so Joe Girardi might as well get his money’s worth down the stretch.
The Yankees struck out 12 times as a team for the second straight game, the first time they’ve done that in back-to-back games since August 2003. A-Rod, Soriano, and Reynolds had two hits apiece and they were all extra-base hits. In fact, those three guys went a combined 6-for-13 with three doubles and three homers. Pretty awesome. Gardner, Cano, Granderson, Nunez, and Stewart had one hit each. Cano drew the only walk, just his second free pass in his last 23 games. Ben’s not gonna have to eat that hat, you guys.
Manny Machado made a rather hilarious (rookie?) mistake during that eighth inning rally, but the Yankees did all their damage before that and didn’t really take advantage. With Reynolds on second following his double, Ichiro Suzuki hit a little tapper back out in front of the plate that Matt Wieters picked up and threw to third. Machado caught the throw, stepped on third, then fired over to first … except there was no force at third. Reynolds was correctly called safe and Ichiro beat out the fielder’s choice. That was a hoot.
The 2013 season in a nutshell: the Yankees won a big game and lost three players to injury. A-Rod (hamstring), Nova (triceps), and Austin Romine (concussion) were all removed with injuries. Joe Girardi didn’t seem too concerned about A-Rod and Nova, but a concussion is a serious injury and they’ll proceed carefully with Romine.
Number milestones: Rivera’s save was his 42nd of the season and 650th of his career. The first number has some neat symbolism, the second … man that’s a lot of saves. The most all-time, I hear.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Red Sox beat the Rays, so the Yankees are three games back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column. They Indians lost as well, so New York is one back of both the Tribe and Orioles. Cool Standings has their playoff odds at 11.7% with 17 games remaining.
The Yankees and Orioles are just halfway through this four-game set. Andy Pettitte and right-hander Scott Feldman will be the pitching matchup in the third game on Wednesday night.
Ivan Nova left tonight’s game with tightness in his right triceps, Joe Girardi confirmed. He threw only 79 pitches in six innings of work. Nova missed about a month with a triceps issue earlier this season and Girardi said he’s been dealing with some tightness for about a month. Okay then. The skipper confirmed the move was precautionary and indicated there isn’t a ton of concern. · (6) ·
10:34pm: Romine “probably” has a concussion, according to Joe Girardi. I imagine they have to run some tests before they know for sure. If he does have one, there’s a decent chance his season is over. Like I said, brain injuries are nothing to mess around with.
9:46pm: Austin Romine left tonight’s game in the eighth inning after taking a foul tip to the face mask. He actually stayed in the game to finish the at-bat, but was later visited by the trainer and taken off the field. More than a few catchers have suffered concussions on foul tips this year, so it’s good they’re getting him out of there. Brain injuries are no joke. · (11) ·
10:29pm: A-Rod’s left hamstring tightening up on him running the bases, but Joe Girardi made it seem like the decision to lift him is precautionary more than anything. There are no tests planning and A-Rod may DH tomorrow night.
9:42pm: Alex Rodriguez left tonight’s game after the top of the eighth inning for an unknown reason. He scored from second on a single earlier in the inning and had to slide into home, but there was no indication he was hurt on the play. He didn’t limp off the field or anything. Considering A-Rod’s injury history and the way this year is gone in general, a red flag goes up whenever anyone leaves a game for a non-obvious reason. · (13) ·
Double-A Trenton (8-2 win over Harrisburg) they lead the best-of-five Eastern League Championship Series one game to none
- CF Mason Williams: 1-3, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 K — two-run single was the big blow in the five-run third
- LF Ramon Flores: 0-4
- 2B Jose Pirela: 1-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 K
- C Gary Sanchez: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
- RF Tyler Austin: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K — capped off the five-run third with a single to knock the starter out
- 1B Kyle Roller: 0-4
- DH Ben Gamel: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
- 3B Reegie Corona: 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K
- SS Ali Castillo: 2-3, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI
- LHP Nik Turley: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 2 WP, 1 HB, 1/5 GB/FB – 64 of 110 pitches were strikes (58%) … pretty good time to set a career-high in strikeouts
- RHP Zach Nuding: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 18 of 27 pitches were strikes (67%)
- RHP Branden Pinder: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K — 13 pitches, eight strikes
The Triple-A Scranton, High-A Tampa, Low-A Charleston, Short Season Staten Island, and both Rookie GCL Yanks seasons are over. Trenton is the only affiliate still playing.
I think I’m going to have to go with the Just Win title for every game thread from now through the end of the regular season. Or at least until the Yankees are eliminated from postseason contention. The Bombers are in a bad spot right now, and while tonight’s game isn’t a literal must win — their wildcard tragic number is 17 — it is a must win for all intents and purposes. They have to start winning games and a lot of them. Five in a row, six of seven, nine of eleven, something like that. If not, they’re going home in 19 days. It’s that simple. Here’s the lineup Joe Girardi is running out there against Miguel Gonzalez:
- CF Brett Gardner
- 3B Alex Rodriguez
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Alfonso Soriano
- DH Curtis Granderson
- 1B Mark Reynolds
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- C Chris Stewart
And on the mound is right-hander Ivan Nova. The Red Sox ran him into the ground last time out, forcing him to throw 96 pitches in just four innings of work. Considering the state of the bullpen, that can’t happen again.
It is crazy hot in Baltimore. Crazy hot and crazy humid. July and August weather. There is no threat of rain though, so they’ll have no trouble getting this game in. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET and can be seen on
YES My9 locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.
Injury Updates: Derek Jeter (ankle) is in a “holding pattern” and has yet to resume any kind of baseball activity. Girardi said he’s pretty much day-to-day for the rest of the season … David Robertson (shoulder) threw an eleven-pitch bullpen session and felt fine. Sounds like he’ll be available tomorrow night as long as everything feels the way it should when he wakes up … Boone Logan (elbow, biceps) had an MRI and it is being sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion.
Roster Update: The Yankees have re-signed left-hander Mike Zagurski and he is available tonight. He had a 3.08 ERA (2.78 FIP) in 26.1 relief innings for Triple-A Scranton before opting out of his contract a few weeks ago. I guess he never did find another team willing to give him a big league spot. Zagurski gives the team some extra lefty depth with Logan out. Travis Hafner (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot.
Via Bob Nightengale: Team president Randy Levine confirmed the Yankees have not received any indication from Derek Jeter that this will be his final season. “There’s been no indication of that, none. We haven’t heard anything like that,” said Levine. “It’s frustrating for him. It’s frustrating for all of us. He’s a warrior. But the overwhelming priority here is to do what’s best for his health … It has been a very trying year.”
Jeter, 39, has played in only 17 of 144 games this year because of a series of leg problems, most significantly the left ankle fracture he suffered last October. Soreness in the surgically repaired ankle has him on the sidelines right now. When he has been on the field, the Cap’n hasn’t done much at the plate (47 wRC+) and his mobility at shortstop is nonexistent. I would be completely stunned if Jeter retired after this season. Floored. I have a hard time seeing how he’d allow himself to go out like this. Jeter will pick up his $9.5M player option and try to prove everyone wrong. After next year … who knows. · (20) ·