The Yankees are reportedly in on David Robertson again, and Todd Frazier too

Frazier. (Justin K. Aller/Getty)
Frazier. (Justin K. Aller/Getty)

The 2017 non-waiver trade deadline is two weeks from today and already things are starting to heat up. Jose Quintana went to the Cubs last week, and yesterday the Nationals addressed their bullpen issues by acquiring Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Athletics. The draft is in the rear-view mirror and the All-Star break is over. Teams are getting serious about fixing their roster problems.

According to Jon Heyman the Yankees had scouts in Chicago over the weekend and they’re believed to have some interest in White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier and closer David Robertson. Apparently the Yankees are focused more on Robertson than Frazier at the moment. Heyman says the Red Sox also had a scout on hand and are after both players as well. Hmmm. Anyway, let’s talk this rumor out.

1. Does it pass the sniff test? Yeah, for sure. I always start here because there’s so much nonsense out there that it’s worth taking a step back to figure out what’s real and what’s a stretch, but this one definitely makes sense. The Yankees are said to be looking for a third basemanChase Headley has picked it up at the plate the last few weeks, but still — plus Frazier can also play first base as well. That position has been a black hole all season. Robertson? The Yankees need all the bullpen help they can get, this weekend’s performance in Boston notwithstanding.

2. Frazier would be an upgrade, though maybe not a big one. I get the sense many folks consider Frazier a near star caliber player and big time slugger. He’s good, but he’s not that. Not close, really. He’s hitting .207/.328/.432 (108 wRC+) with 16 home runs in 81 games this season. That’s good. It’s not great and it’s not awful. That’s more or less what the Yankees hoped to get from Chris Carter, right?

Now, that said, Headley is hitting .258/.342/.369 (92 wRC+) overall this season, and first base has been so bad that eight different players have started at the position. The Yankees are at the point that they’re scouring Triple-A for guys like Garrett Cooper. That’s never good. Frazier has played 94 games and 740.1 innings at first base in his career, including four games this year. He’s familiar with the position and the Yankees could stick him over there.

The 31-year-old Frazier is a semi-local kid from Point Pleasant, plus he’s a pure rental who will be a free agent after the season, so he shouldn’t cost a ton of acquire. Would he be an upgrade? Yeah, he would, especially at first base despite being a flawed low-average hitter. Is it worth paying a big price to get him? I don’t think so. Not with other first baseman like Lucas Duda, Yonder Alonso, and Justin Bour out there and able to provide more thump.

Robertson. (Stephen Brashear/Getty)
Robertson. (Stephen Brashear/Getty)

3. This isn’t the first time the Yankees have had interest in bringing Robertson back. The Yankees have tried to bring Robertson back to New York several times since letting him leave as a free agent three years ago. They claimed him on trade waivers in August 2015 and you don’t do that unless you’re willing to take on the contract. The Yankees also spoke to the White Sox about Robertson this past offseason.

The 32-year-old Robertson has been dynamite this season, throwing 33.1 innings with a 2.70 ERA (3.05 FIP). Tons of strikeouts (35.6%) and not an unmanageable number of walks (8.3%). Typical Robertson. He’ll make you sweat at times but he gets the job done more often than not. Every bullpen in baseball has room for this guy. He’s an upgrade for everyone, including the Yankees, who could use a Seventh Inning Guy™.

The White Sox and Nationals reportedly agreed to a Robertson trade back during Spring Training, so he’s definitely available. That deal fell apart because the two sides couldn’t agree on the financials. From Bob Nightengale:

The White Sox are shopping him, the Nationals need him, and they nearly completed a deal for him before spring training. The Nationals, according to executives with direct knowledge of the deal, were to send 19-year-old left-hander Jesus Luzardo and minor league infielder Drew Ward to the White Sox for Robertson, with the White Sox eating about half of the $25 million remaining in his contract. But the deal got hung up over money.

Luzardo went to the A’s in yesterday’s Doolittle/Madson trade. The Yankees equivalent to Luzardo and Ward would be something like Domingo Acevedo and Billy McKinney. The high-upside starter and promising bat with some production issues. It’s not a perfect equivalent but it’s in the ballpark. We’re not talking Justus Sheffield and Gleyber Torres here. Two good, not great, prospects.

The Yankees are trying to get under the luxury tax threshold next season and Robertson, who is making $12M this year and $13M next year, would make that more difficult. Then again, if the White Sox eat half the money as they reportedly agreed to do with the Nationals earlier this year, it would be much more tolerable. A pro-rated $6M Robertson this year and a $6.5M Robertson next year is pretty good. That’s Tyler Clippard money. Geez, now I got myself all excited.

4. Are the Yankees just trying to drive up the price for the Red Sox? It would not be the first time the Yankees have done this. Most notably, Brian Cashman wined and dined Carl Crawford during the 2010 Winter Meetings just to make the Red Sox sweat. Crawford was cool with it because it put more money in his pocket. The White Sox would be thrilled to pit the Yankees against the Red Sox in a Frazier/Robertson bidding war, even a phony one.

My guess is the Yankees have limited interest in Frazier because they’re hoping to get Greg Bird back and don’t consider Frazier a big enough of an upgrade on Headley to justify trading prospects for a rental. I do think their interest in Robertson is real and they want to bring him back. They’ve tried too many times the last few years for me to believe they’re just driving up the price for Boston. Robertson is still very good, he addresses a need, and he already knows the ropes around here. That’s pretty big.

* * *

Cashman recently said the Yankees will be “careful buyers” at the trade deadline and do believe they will be very protective of their top prospects. I don’t think it’s lip service. Does that mean someone like, say, Clint Frazier will be completely off limits? Nah. They’d make him available in the right deal. They’d be stupid not to. Frazier and/or Robertson is not that deal though. Those are guys the Yankees could acquire using that army of mid-range prospects they have in the farm system.

Fan Confidence Poll: July 17th, 2017

Record Last Week: 2-2 (11 RS, 9 RA)
Season Record: 47-43 (488 RS, 388 RA, 54-36 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: @ Twins (three games, Mon. to Weds.), @ Mariners (four games, Thurs. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

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Red Sox 3, Yankees 0: No shutout streak ends as Yanks settle for series split


Source: FanGraphs

A series win continues to elude the Yankees. The Yankees dropped the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader 3-0 to the Red Sox after winning the first game by the same score. The two teams split the four-game series as well. New York is now 0-7-2 in their last nine series. They haven’t gone this long between series wins since 1991, which was an awful season. Let’s recap the second game of the doubleheader with bullpen points:

  • Tanaka’s One Mistake: Masahiro Tanaka pitched better than his line (7.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) would lead you to believe. He made one mistake, which of course was hit for a home run, because every mistake is hit for a home run in 2017. Mookie Betts cranked a two-run homer over the Green Monster on a hanging slider in the third inning. The third run was stupid. Betts should have been out twice on his infield double — Starlin Castro and Garrett Cooper both threw the ball away on that play — then two grounders got him in. The second should have been stopped at third by Ronald Torreyes, who inexplicably played all 43 innings of the series. The homer stunk. Everything else about Tanaka was pretty rad.
  • No Match For Price: The Yankees have had an awful lot of success against David Price in recent years, but he carved them up Sunday night. It was Price at his best. He was pounding both corners with fastballs and busting righties inside with cutters. The Yankees didn’t have much of a chance. Their best chance to score came in the seventh, when Castro and Clint Frazier singled to put two on with one out, but then Cooper and Torreyes came up, and that was that. Price had the Yankees guessing inside and out and was overpowering with velocity. He was dominant.
  • No Shutout Streak Ends: The Yankees did get the tying run to the plate with two outs in the ninth against Craig Kimbrel, but Chase Headley struck out, and that was that. The no shutout streak is officially over at 89 games. This is the fourth longest no shutout streak to start a season in franchise history behind 1932 (156 games, never shutout that season), 1927 (128 games), 1933 (97 games). Yeah, it’s been a while. The last time the Yankees were the last team to be shutout in a season was … 2009. That was a good year. My favorite subplot of the season is over. The no shutout streak is dead. Long live the no-shutout streak.
  • Leftovers: Aaron Judge‘s on-base is over at 42 starts. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. The two balls in play were a line drive at Betts and a robbed home run by Jackie Bradley Jr. Here’s the video. Incredible catch. As long as Judge keeps taking swings like that, I’m not worried … the Yankees had eight hits. One by every starter except Judge. Brett Gardner drew the only walk. He came off the bench in the ninth against Kimbrel … Chasen Shreve was the only reliever used and he struck out Mitch Moreland, the only batter he faced.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. We have a Bullpen Workload page worth checking out as well. The Yankees are now off to Minnesota for a three-game set with the Twins. Lefty Adalberto Mejia will be on the mound for the Twinkies in Monday night’s opener. For the Yankees? It’ll be either Bryan Mitchell or Caleb Smith, Joe Girardi said. I’m guessing it’ll be Mitchell. (Update: The Yankees announced it’ll be Mitchell. Told ya.)

DotF: Rutherford hits game-winning homer, extends hit streak

Triple-A Scranton (5-0 win over Buffalo)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 3 K, 1 SB — first game since being sent down
  • LF Rob Refsnyder: 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — his second home run since May 15th … of last year
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 2-4, 1 RBI
  • RF Mason Williams: 0-4
  • LHP Joe Mantiply: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 6/2 GB/FB — 36 of 55 pitches were strikes (65%) … making the spot start because today’s scheduled starter, RHP Domingo German, was called up to the big leagues after last night’s 16-inning marathon
  • LHP Nestor Cortes: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 45 of 61 pitches were strikes (74%) … 2.44 ERA with 61/24 K/BB in 66.1 total innings this year, as he’s been shuttling back and forth between Trenton and Scranton

[Read more…]

Game 90: Let’s Win Two

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Things are looking up. The Yankees already have one win today and they’ve won back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month. They’ve also held the Red Sox scoreless in their last 22 innings. In fact, the Yankees have already shut the BoSox out three times this season, and that doesn’t include nine shutout innings from the bullpen in last night’s 16-inning affair. The Yankees had shut the Red Sox out only twice in the previous seven years and 130 games. Geez.

Anyway, it’s time to get greedy. The Yankees have already secured a split of this four-game series, which was basically the bare minimum coming in, and now they have a chance to win three of four. A win tonight keeps the AL East title very much in reach. A loss … keeps the AL East title within reach. But still, the closer the better. You know what I mean. Here is the Red Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for Game Two:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. C Gary Sanchez
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. DH Matt Holliday
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. LF Clint Frazier
  8. 1B Garrett Cooper
  9. 3B Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

No change in the weather from this afternoon other than the fact the sun has gone down. It’s a nice clear night in Boston. Tonight’s game will begin a little after 8pm and ESPN will have the broadcast. Enjoy the game.

Sabathia cruises as Yankees pick up 3-0 win over Red Sox in first game of doubleheader


Source: FanGraphs

For the first time since winning six straight from June 7th though June 12th, the Yankees have won back-to-back games. It had been far too long. The Yankees rode great starting pitching, timely hitting, and more zeroes from the bullpen (?!?) to a 3-0 win over the Red Sox in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. Feels good. It’s Sunday and there’s no chance I’m writing two full recaps in one day, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Building A Three-Run Lead: Considering everyone looked out of gas following Saturday’s marathon, the Yankees did a nice job against Rick Porcello. One baserunner in the first, two in the second, then one in the third before finally breaking through in the fourth. A single (Didi Gregorius), a Xander Bogaerts error (Clint Frazier), a single (Austin Romine), and a sac fly (Ji-Man Choi) got the Yankees on the board. Ronald Torreyes drove another run in with a two-out single to left. Frazier made a great slide around at the tag at the plate for the 2-0 lead. One inning later Gregorius stretched the lead to 3-0 with a 295-foot home run (!) around the Pesky Pole. Clutch hits and a dinger. My kind of offense.
  • Six Strong From Sabathia: Things did not look out of the gate. Sabathia walked the first two batters he faced Sunday, but two ground balls got him out of the jam, and he went on to hold the Red Sox to two hits in six scoreless innings. He did walk five, which is atypical, but I guess making two starts in the last five weeks will do that. Sabathia threw 97 pitches — his limit for the day — and he did exactly what the Yankees needed him to do. Soak up innings in the front end of the doubleheader after the 16-inning game last night. The big man is down to a 3.54 ERA (4.21 FIP) on the season. I’ll take it.
  • Three From The Bullpen: With the bullpen taxed and his options limited, Joe Girardi handed the ball to Tyler Clippard for the seventh inning with a 3-0 lead, and he pitched around a leadoff infield single. So many infield singles this series. Clippard has been terrible for a good month now, but if you’re going to have to use him, using him with a three-run lead against the bottom of the lineup is the time to do it. Chad Green had to pitch around two two-out walks in the eighth, then Aroldis Chapman, pitching for the third straight day, nailed down the save despite allowing a two-out single. I’m a bit surprised the Yankees were willing to use him three straight days after the shoulder injury, but whatever.
  • Leftovers: Aaron Judge snapped out of his little 0-for-12 slide with an infield single, extending his on-base streak to 42 starts … two hits apiece for Chase Headley, Gregorius, Frazier, Choi, and Torreyes. The 5-6-7-8-9 hitters went 9-for-19 (.474) … the Yankees have held the Red Sox scoreless over their last 22 innings. The BoSox are 2-for-51 with runners in scoring position against the Yankees this year, and one of the two hits didn’t even score a run. Good gravy.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees and Red Sox will wrap up this four games in three games series later today with the second game of the doubleheader. That’s the 8pm game on ESPN. Masahiro Tanaka and David Price as the scheduled starting pitchers.

Game 89: Let’s Play Two

(Rich Gagnon/Getty)
(Rich Gagnon/Getty)

Between yesterday’s 16-inning affair and today’s doubleheader, the Yankees and Red Sox are going to play (at least) 34 innings of baseball in about 34 hours this weekend. Pretty crazy that the All-Star break ended three days ago and the pitching staff is already overworked. Baseball can be a real jerk like that sometimes.

Anyway, the Yankees are an Aroldis Chapman blown save away from winning the first two games of this series, but that cuts both ways. The Red Sox are a Craig Kimbrel blown save away from winning the first two. As poorly as the Yankees have played these last few weeks, these two teams always seem to be evenly matched when they meet. It’s weird but also kinda fun and puke inducing. Here is the Red Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for Game One:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. DH Matt Holliday
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. LF Clint Frazier
  7. C Austin Romine
  8. 1B Ji-Man Choi
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    LHP CC Sabathia

It is a lovely day for two games in Boston. Nice and sunny with temperatures right around 80. Not a bad day to spend 18 innings at the park. This afternoon’s game will begin shortly after 1pm ET. You’ll be able to watch on YES locally and TBS nationally. Enjoy the game.

Roster Moves: As expected, the Yankees have reinforced the bullpen for today’s doubleheader. Bryan Mitchell is up as the 26th man, and both Domingo German and Caleb Smith have been called up as well. Jonathan Holder and Ben Heller have been sent down. Joe Girardi said they might make more moves between games depending how things go. Neither Holder nor Heller deserve to be sent down after last night’s performances, but that’s the way it goes with young relievers. Michael Pineda (elbow) was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot for Smith, who will be the 12th player to make his MLB debut with the Yankees this season whenever he gets into a game.