Rainout Notes: Gardner, Headley, Lineup, Tanaka, Miller


Thanks to the yucky weather in New York, Opening Day was postponed earlier today. The game will be made up tomorrow at 1pm ET. Everything gets pushed back a day. That’s why they have the off-day after Opening Day each year. Here are some notes from the rained out game, via Erik Boland, Bryan Hoch, Brendan Kuty, and Chad Jennings.

  • Brett Gardner will sit in deference to Aaron Hicks against Dallas Keuchel. Joe Girardi told everyone involved that would be the case over the weekend. Gardner said he’s disappointed but understands why he’s sitting (so benching Jacoby Ellsbury won’t be another big thing, basically).
  • Chase Headley, who has been dealing with food poisoning the last few days, was good to go today. He was scheduled to play. Headley did not play in the final few exhibition games late last week because he was sick.
  • This was the scheduled lineup for today: Ellsbury, Hicks, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Headley, Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius. I assume it’ll be the same lineup tomorrow. At least Hicks is batting second and not Castro.
  • Masahiro Tanaka will make his second start of the season on normal rest this Sunday. The postponement means he won’t get the extra day of rest as originally scheduled. “He’s going to have to do it. It’s part of our schedule and part of what we’re going to have to deal with. He’s going to have to do it,” said Girardi.
  • Andrew Miller (wrist) will not wear any sort of brace during games. It digs into his skin and doesn’t allow him to move his hand comfortably during his delivery. He would need MLB approval for any brace anyway.

Sherman: Yankees tried to trade for Tyson Ross last July


According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees tried to trade for Padres right-hander Tyson Ross prior to the trade deadline last July. The Yanks and Pads were reportedly discussing a deal involving Jorge Mateo and Craig Kimbrel before the deadline, and it’s unclear if Ross was included in those talks as part of a blockbuster deal, or as part of a separate trade entirely.

Ross, 28, has emerged as one of the better pitchers in all of baseball the last few years. He had a 3.26 ERA (2.98 FIP) in 33 starts and 196 innings last season with great strikeout (25.8%) and ground ball (61.5%) numbers, but a poor walk rate (10.2%). Among the 78 pitchers who qualified for the ERA title in 2015, Ross ranked 11th in strikeout rate, third in ground ball rate, and 77th in walk rate. His peripherals are on the extremes.

Here’s some video from last season so you can get a look at Ross’ ridiculous two-seam fastball/slider combination:

The Padres have baseball’s third longest postseason drought — they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006, only the Mariners (2001) and Marlins (2003) have longer droughts — and last year they attempted a quick fix that saw GM A.J. Preller build an imperfect roster full of big names. They were way too right-handed heavy and way short on defense. I’m pretty sure ownership told Preller to go all-in. Either way, it didn’t work.

San Diego didn’t trade anyone away at the deadline last year, but they did move some pieces over the winter, most notably Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit, Jedd Gyorko, and Yonder Alonso. They’ve reportedly been listening to offers for their entire rotation — they’re supposedly pushing James Shields and Andrew Cashner more than Ross — and have set a high price for Ross. That makes sense. He’s good and under team control through 2017.

The Yankees were looking for controllable pitching all winter and it’s easy to understand why. Luis Severino is the only one of their six big league starters who can not become a free agent within the next two years. Ross does not satisfy the “controllable behind 2017″ requirement but he is very good and would help any team win in the short-term. And who knows, maybe the Yankees would be able to flip Ross for a young controllable arm at some point.

The Padres don’t figure to be any good this season — for what’s it worth, FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus project San Diego to win 74 and 76 games in 2016, respectively — which means Ross will be involved in a ton of trade rumors this summer. He could easily be the best player traded this July. If the Yankees had interest last year, I assume they’ll still have interest again this year. As always, the question is whether the price will be right.

Fan Confidence Poll: April 4th, 2016

Spring Record: 14-16-2 (116 RS, 155 RA)
Regular Season Record: 0-0, duh
Opponents This Week: Mon. rained out, vs. Astros (three games, Tues. to Thurs.), @ Tigers (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Opening Day rained out, makeup game tomorrow


Looks like we have to wait one more day for Opening Day. This afternoon’s game has already been postponed due to the inclement weather in New York, the Yankees announced. The game will be made up tomorrow at 1pm ET. The schedule for the pregame ceremonies and all that is exactly the same, just one day later.

The Yankees were last rained out on Opening Day back in 2008, and hey, this is the reason they have the off-day following Opening Day each year. Fans with tickets to today’s game can either use them tomorrow, or exchange them for another game this season. The rainout is a bummer, but at least the game was called early.

On the pitching side, the rainout means Masahiro Tanaka will have to make his second start of the season on normal rest this Sunday, and we know the Yankees don’t like that. They could always pull Ivan Nova out of the bullpen — or call someone up from Triple-A Scranton — to make a spot start and give Tanaka that extra rest. We’ll see.

Well, we’ve waited almost six months for meaningful Yankees baseball. What’s one more day? /sobs

TiqIQ: The Yankees new ticketing policy is certainly good for the team. Could it also be good for fans?

The following is from Jesse Lawrence of TiqIQ.

When the Yankees announced that they’d be eliminating print-at-home tickets entirely last month, the media jumped on the story as the latest example of greed in big sports. Beyond the click-driving headlines, however, the real story is as much about the shift toward mobile buying as it is a dollar grab. It’s also a change that has the potential to benefit consumers in meaningful ways.

In full disclosure, my company, TiqIQ, has a horse in this race. In fact, we have two. In the pursuit of providing fans full market transparency, we analyze and sell tickets from primary platforms like Ticketmaster, Eventbrite and Spectra, as well as from the secondary market. Our secondary market includes feeds directly from brokers as well as other sources, including the Yankees Ticket Exchange. Over the last five years, that focus on both sides of the marketplace has given us a unique perspective across thousands of events and millions of tickets.  While each league and event has it’s own unique primary-secondary dynamic, on the whole we’ve found that the primary and secondary markets have the best deals roughly in equal measure. For the Yankees, and most of baseball, however, it’s a slightly different picture.

Last year none of the 30 Major League teams sold out of their season.  While the Yankees ranked 4th in the league attendance, they only filled up Yankee stadium at 80% of capacity over the course of the season. For baseball, that’s like hitting .300, but it still equates to about 10,000 unsold tickets…for every game.  This compares to the approximately 5,000 secondary market tickets available for each Yankees home game. For the 2015 season, we analyzed 51 games, one-month ahead of the game.  We looked at games that we felt were a representative sample of all demand profiles across four price categories—100s, 200s, 300s and 400s. The data showed that, overall, primary was cheaper 59.5% of the time. For 300 level seats, primary was cheaper in 39 of the 51 games. For 100-level seats, the Secondary market had a better deal 51% of the time. The full analysis with 2015 and 2016 can be viewed here.

For this season, we’re again tracking the difference between the primary and secondary market for Yankees tickets across 51 games. This year, we expanded to five price tiers for some more granularity. So far, the secondary market has a slight edge, and is cheaper 53% the time. For higher demand games against teams like the Red Sox, Mets, Giants and Dodgers, though, primary has the better deal in almost twice as often as the secondary market. For the two Red Sox Series we tracked, primary has a better deal 89% of time. That will likely change as the events get closer in date, as the secondary market almost always drops in the days and week leading up to the event. May is a good example of that, as the primary market is cheaper only 36% of the time. For young and old ticket buyers alike, however, that’s not information that is or has been readily accessible in the buying process.  A search in Google for ‘Yankees Tickets’ returns 16 results on the coveted first page of results. The Yankees or Major League Baseball power six of those sites. Simple math says that the team is completely absent from more than half of the ticket buying options in at least one prominent buying ecosystem.  In the context of apps, the picture is even worse for teams. A search for ‘Yankees tickets’ in Apple’s app store returns 9 results, eight of which have nothing to do with the team itself or their primary inventory.

Over the last two decades years, that kind of under-representation in the market has been driven by a combination of bad technology and bad business decisions. Sixteen years after Stubhub was founded, that may be beginning to change. Last week, Ticketmaster launched their checkout into another app for the first time. Their partner, Bands in Town, has between five and ten million app installs in Google Play alone and ranks second for a search on ‘music tickets’ in the App store. In the months and years to come, this distributed model will find it’s way into sports. From a marketplace perspective, that could be a very good thing for buyers, as it has the opportunity to reduce purchase friction for the 40% of primary inventory that goes unsold every year.

Over the last five years at TiqIQ, we’ve seen traffic go from 70% desktop to 70% mobile and app. It’s a trend that is only picking up velocity and when the marketplace speaks that loudly, businesses have no choice but to respond.  As they did in 2013 with their secondary ticket exchange, the Yankees have responded first and loudly in an effort to move things away from the status quo. They’ll suffer first-mover criticism, but others will follow their lead. Regardless of those lashings, the Boss would surely take some pleasure in knowing that the rival Red Sox are launching their own ticket exchange this season, three years after the Yankees did the same.

Regardless of the pace at which teams move, in the long run, it seems to be only a matter of when and how, not if, they’ll regain control of their ticket buying ecosystem. The recent dismissal of Stubhub’s lawsuit against Ticketmaster and the Golden State Warriors is further evidence of that inevitability. As that happens, it’s critical that teams don’t abuse their rediscovered power. If managed properly, though, the Yankees decision and the shift it represents may usher in a much-needed simplification of the ticket market. In addition to the opportunity for a more complete view of the marketplace, it also has the potential to turn ticketing into something it’s hasn’t been since the Cubs last won a world series: a product that works well enough for fans to give it almost no thought at all.

Yankees officially set 2016 Opening Day roster


Tomorrow afternoon — weather permitting — the Yankees will open the 2016 regular season against the same team and in the same place their 2015 season ended: at Yankee Stadium against the Astros. Opening Day is just another game in the grand scheme of things, but it absolutely has symbolic value, and besides, everyone wants to start the new year with a win.

Earlier today the Yankees officially announced their Opening Day roster. The deadline to file the roster with MLB was 12pm ET this afternoon. The Opening Day roster offers no surprises. There were no last minute trades or waiver claims. Nothing like that. The roster is exactly as expected following all the roster moves over the last week or two. Here is the club’s Opening Day roster:

C Brian McCann
C Austin Romine (No. 27)

UTIL Dustin Ackley
2B Starlin Castro
SS Didi Gregorius
3B Chase Headley
1B Mark Teixeira
IF Ronald Torreyes (No. 17)

RF Carlos Beltran
LF Brett Gardner
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
OF Aaron Hicks (No. 31)

DH Alex Rodriguez

RHP Nathan Eovaldi
RHP Michael Pineda
LHP CC Sabathia
RHP Luis Severino
RHP Masahiro Tanaka

RHP Johnny Barbato (No. 26)
RHP Dellin Betances
RHP Luis Cessa (No. 85)
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Ivan Nova
LHP Chasen Shreve
RHP Kirby Yates (No. 39)

1B Greg Bird (15-day DL retroactive to March 25th, shoulder surgery)
LHP Aroldis Chapman (restricted list, 30-game suspension)
RHP Bryan Mitchell (15-day DL retroactive to March 31st, broken toe)
OF Mason Williams (15-day DL retroactive to March 25th, shoulder surgery)

Romine beat out Gary Sanchez and I guess Carlos Corporan for the backup catcher’s job. Torreyes beat out Pete Kozma and Rob Refsnyder for the backup infielder’s job, and Sabathia beat out Nova for the fifth starter’s spot. Barbato, Cessa, and Yates beat out a small army of relievers for spots on the Opening Day roster. They’re on the shuttle though; they could be send down for a fresh arm in short order.

Tanaka will start his second straight Opening Day tomorrow — Sabathia started six straight Opening Days prior to last year — and be followed in the rotation by Pineda, Eovaldi, Severino, and Sabathia in that order. Miller is going to pitch through the chip fracture in his right wrist, which is both admirable and awesome. After spending all winter talking about the team’s super-bullpen, the Yankees were dangerously close to starting the season with only one of their three elite relievers.

Chapman will return on May 9th, in the 31st game of the season. Bird is done for the season, Mitchell will miss a minimum of three months, and I’m not quite sure how long Williams will be sidelined. He’s been hitting and throwing at Tampa, so I assume his return is weeks away, not months. Chapman’s suspension means the Yankees have an open 40-man roster spot. Bird and Mitchell are 60-day DL candidates whenever more spots are needed.

Okay, that was entirely too many words about an Opening Day roster with zero surprises. Hooray for baseball being back. Go team.

Sunday Open Thread

Happy Opening Day, everyone. Well, tomorrow is the real Opening Day as far as I’m concerned. Not only because of the Yankees, but because most teams open their season that day. There are three regular season games on the schedule today (and one exhibition game, wtf?), so I’m posting the open thread a little earlier than usual. Here’s the day’s baseball schedule:

  • Cardinals at Pirates (Wainwright vs. Liriano): 1pm ET on ESPN
  • Blue Jays at Rays (Stroman vs. Archer): 4pm ET on ESPN2
  • Mets at Royals (Harvey vs. Volquez): 8:30pm ET on ESPN

Nice little slate of games there, I’d say. The Royals are going to raise their World Series banner prior to tonight’s game. They’ll hand out their rings before the second game of the series. Making the Mets sit through two ceremonies? That’s a power move.

Aside from baseball, both the Knicks and Nets are playing today as well. So talk about those games or anything else right here. Enjoy the fake Opening Day, folks.