Seven, seven Grapefruit League losses in a row! Ah ah ah! [/The Count]
The Yankees dropped another error-filled laugher on Friday afternoon, with four total errors leading to six unearned runs. Kevin Youkilis was the only big leaguer to screw something up, getting caught on an in-between hop at third. Frankie Cervelli continued his strong spring with a single, a double, a walk, and another base-runner thrown out trying to steal. He’s now 5-for-6 when it comes to throwing out runners. Juan Rivera also had a pair of knocks while Melky Mesa and Ronnie Mustelier each hit a solo homer.
Hiroki Kuroda made his Spring Training debut and allowed four runs (one earned) in 1.2 innings. David Robertson struck out the only batter he faced, Joba Chamberlain allowed two runs in one inning (after retiring the first two men he faced), and Cody Eppley was charged with four runs (one earned). Vidal Nuno had the best day on the mound for either team, striking out four in three hitless and scoreless innings. Here’s the box score and here’s the rest from Tampa…
- Unsurprisingly, Robinson Cano did not want to talk about the “significant offer” he received from the Yankees. He did acknowledge that his contract situation is on his mind though, saying it’s “never going to (be) out of your head.” [Bryan Hoch & George King]
- Phil Hughes (bulging disk) could pick up a baseball as soon as Sunday if his workouts go well today and tomorrow. He’s been sidelined for a little less than two weeks now. [Mark Feinsand & Meredith Marakovits]
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) and Cesar Cabral (elbow) both threw fastballs and changeups during the 30-pitch bullpen session this morning. It was the second such session for each. We heard Pineda was going to begin stretching out his rehab work last week. [Chad Jennings]
- David Adams (back) began swinging a bat earlier this week and he could begin to start working out on the field relatively soon, as in this weekend. [Jennings]
- Within that same link, Jennings reports Boone Logan faced hitters in live batting practice for the first time this morning. The Yankees have been taking it slow on their primary left-hander this winter.
- Brian Cashman is going to jump out of a plane with the Army Golden Knights on Monday to help raise awareness for The Wounded Warrior Project. [Dan Barbarisi & Sweeny Murti]
- Ivan Nova will make his Grapefruit League debut against the Tigers tomorrow afternoon. That game will be televised on YES.
Here is your open thread for the evening. The Knicks and Nets are both playing, plus MLB Network will air a Spring Training game as well. Talk about any of those games or anything else you want right here. Enjoy.
Via Ken Rosenthal: The Yankees do not have interest in Vlad Guerrero, who recently switched agents and is willing to accept a minor league deal. The club insists they will temporarily replace Curtis Granderson from within.
Guerrero, 38, played a handful of minor league games with the Blue Jays last year but otherwise has not appeared in the big leagues since 2011 with the Orioles (96 wRC+ in 590 PA). As was the case with Johnny Damon, I think the Yankees should be all over this. They have nothing to lose by bringing Vlad to camp on a minor league contract, and if anything it’ll create some buzz and add excitement to an otherwise mundane camp. He’s a disaster in the outfield these days, which is a bit of a problem, but it’s not like running Juan Rivera out there would be much better. · (32) ·
Assuming Ivan Nova came into camp with a leg up in the fifth starter’s competition, the Yankees will send a projected big league starter to the mound for the first time this spring today. Hiroki Kuroda is making his Grapefruit League debut against Roy Halladay and the Phillies this afternoon, exactly one month before Opening Day. The rest of the projected rotation will make their debuts in the coming days and weeks.
As Kuroda makes his debut, Kevin Youkilis will be returning to the lineup following a brief oblique-related scare. He insisted it was nothing major and considering he only missed a few days, I have to agree. Obliques tend to linger and he wouldn’t be back so soon — in Spring Training, no less — if it was anything more than a stitch in his side. Joe Girardi hinted he might only get one at-bat, however. Here is the starting lineup…
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- C Frankie Cervelli
- 2B Robinson Cano
- 3B Kevin Youkilis
- DH Juan Rivera
- LF Melky Mesa
- RF Thomas Neal
- 1B Kyle Roller
- CF Adonis Garcia
And on the mound is the right-hander from Osaka, Hiroki Kuroda. Here is the day’s second string, courtesy of Chad Jennings.
Available Position Players: C Gary Sanchez, 1B Greg Bird, 2B Walt Ibarra, SS Gil Velazquez, 3B Addison Maruszak, LF Ronnie Mustelier, RF Zoilo Almonte, and DH Bobby Wilson will all come off the bench. Garcia is scheduled to play the entire game in center.
This afternoon’s game is scheduled to start a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on both YES and MLB.tv (no local blackouts). Because it’s Friday, I’m going to chat during the game. That will start right around first pitch, so join in after the jump.
Only three questions this week because you folks sent in a whole lot of repeats and wildly outrageous hypotheticals. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk about crazy trade scenarios as much as anyone, but no, the Yankees won’t make a monster offer for Bryce Harper in the wake of Curtis Granderson‘s injury. So yeah, use the Submit A Tip box and step up your mailbagin’ game.
Paul asks: In years past I remember the season starting off with enough off days to make a fifth starter unnecessary until 2-3 weeks into the season. Freddy Garcia specifically had that happen. What’s this season like in that regard? Any chance that, even if Phil Hughes is on the DL they just go with four starters for a couple of weeks?
Unfortunately the schedule works against the Yankees this year. They play their first game on April 1st, have April 2nd off, then play 12 games in the next 12 days. Barring any weather-related postponements, the absolute latest the Yankees will need their fifth start this season April 8th in Cleveland, the seventh game of the season. They’ll need him again five days later, so it’s not even a situation where they would need him once in the first four weeks or something.
The Yankees are in relatively good shape because they do have have that spare starter — the loser of the Ivan Nova/David Phelps fifth starter battle — to stick in Hughes’ spot if his back injury delays the start of his season for any reason. My big concern is someone else getting hurt and having to miss time. All of a sudden Adam Warren would be taking the ball every five days in April and that is less than ideal. As I’ve written recently, I’m a fan of exploring a contract with Kyle Lohse even though it’ll cost a draft pick. If he’s willing to take favorable terms (one or two years at $7-8M annually?), having that extra quality depth will be nice. The Yankees are going to lean on their pitching staff more than usual this year, so might as well beef it up as much as possible.
Ben asks: Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re the GM of a team that has either a protected first round pick or you’ve already lost it because you’ve signed a qualifying free agent. Would the thought of signing Kyle Lohse to a one-year deal cross your mind? Consider this: if you do, you lose a second round pick, but if he pitches well then you can make a qualifying offer and be in line to get a BETTER pick than the one you gave up. How long would you entertain that idea before you dismissed it?
Well, isn’t that convenient. As I just said, I would absolutely explore signing Lohse at this point. I think draft picks are being overvalued these days, especially by legitimate contenders who are trying to win now. If you’re trying to win in 2013 and 2014, adding Lohse is going to help you a helluva lot more than a draft pick in whatever round. The scary part is that these St. Louis journeymen/reclamation types tend to stink as soon as they leave the Cardinals, however. The Jeffs — Suppan and Weaver — are the primary examples. That does make me nervous.
I’m not sure I buy the idea of getting a pick when Lohse leaves — given how his free agency has played out, I’m guessing Lohse would take a qualifying offer in the future, especially since they’re expected to climb into the $14-15M range in the coming years — but that’s always possible. I certainly wouldn’t assume a future draft pick when signing the right-hander. Without knowing what Scott Boras is seeking, I think there’s a pretty great opportunity out there for someone to get a bargain with Lohse at this point. The Braves, who already forfeited their first rounder to sign B.J. Upton and have questions at the back of the rotation, should be all over him.
Frank asks: Nonsense (maybe not) hypothetical … If Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams have somewhat outstanding years in AA/AAA, would you trade all three for Giancarlo Stanton, straight up?
Yep, in a heartbeat. Stanton is a proven star at the big league level and is basically in those guys’ age range — he’s ten months older than Heathcott and less than two years older than Austin and Williams — so it would be both a win-now and win-later move. I said before that I think draft picks are being overrated and I feel the same way about prospects, even top prospects. If you can’t trade multiple top prospects for someone like Stanton, who can you trade them for?
As much as we don’t want to admit it, those three young outfielders aren’t all going to work out. If the Yankees get one above-average big leaguer from that group, they should be thrilled. Two would be a minor miracle. Heathcott is an injury risk because he plays like a maniac, Austin’s power ceiling is limited because he doesn’t generate enough backspin, and Williams is a bit of a hacker. There are red flags there. Stanton isn’t the perfect player, but he fits the Yankees’ needs so beautifully. Empty out that farm system.
February 28th: Scott Boras contacted the Yankees about Lohse but were told they don’t have any interest according to Buster Olney. I’m guessing this happened shortly after the new of Phil Hughes’ back injury broke. As I wrote last week, I do think the Yankees should explore signing the right-hander, but the contract would have to be pretty favorable.
February 21st: Via Joel Sherman: Brian Cashman confirmed the Yankees still do not have any interest in free agent Kyle Lohse despite Phil Hughes’ recent back trouble. They would have to surrender their first round draft pick to sign the right-hander.
Lohse, 34, has gotten to the point where he’s been so overrated that he’s now underrated. He’s pitched to a 3.11 ERA (3.58 FIP) in 399.1 innings over the last two years, but he doesn’t miss many bats (5.72 K/9 and 15.5 K%) or get ground balls (40.9%). Instead, he limits walks (1.80 BB/9 and 4.9 BB%) and uses those fly balls to keep his BABIP low (.265). Plenty of journeymen have turned into quality starters with St. Louis only to turn back into journeymen after leaving (most notably Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver), which makes Lohse quite scary. If the Yankees could get him cheap, say one or two years at $5-7M annually, I think it would be worth exploring even giving up the pick. I don’t see Scott Boras taking that though. · (39) ·
Bad news: the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays earlier today, their fifth consecutive Grapefruit League loss. More bad news: about an hour later, they lost to the Astros to make it six straight losses. The home loss to Toronto featured two hits by Juan Rivera (single and double) and singles from Ichiro Suzuki and Mark Teixeira. David Phelps was the star of the day, throwing three scoreless innings. He had to go to the bullpen afterwards to make sure he reached his pitch count.
The minor leaguer-laden road squad in Kissimmee blew a four-run lead thanks to a grand slam from former Yankee Brandon Laird. Shane Greene served that one up. Zoilo Almonte and Melky Mesa had two hits apiece, including a three-run homer for Melky2.0. Eduardo Nunez beat out an infield single and pulled the first baseman off the bag with an errant throw. What else is new. Frankie Cervelli threw out a pair of attempted base-stealers and is 4-for-5 in throwing out runners this spring. His throwing has been really, really good so far. Here’s are the box scores (home game, road game) and here is the rest from Tampa…
- Mariano Rivera threw 18 pitches in a simulated game and was able to test his surgically repaired right knee by fielding a comebacker, fielding a bunt, and covering first base. “This was perfect, now it’s time to do it in a real game,” said Rivera. [Sweeny Murti & George King]
- CC Sabathia threw a total of 46 pitches across two innings in a simulated game. “I felt a lot better today, just commanding the baseball,” he said, adding he doesn’t “have that little pain in (his elbow) anymore.” Still no word on when he will make his Grapefruit League debut, but I imagine it’ll be relatively soon. [Dave D'Alessandro]
- Andy Pettitte threw a bullpen session today while Boone Logan is scheduled to face hitters in live batting practice tomorrow. Nothing new on Phil Hughes (bulging disk), he’s still doing his pool workouts with no set date for picking up a ball. [Chad Jennings]
- Kevin Youkilis (oblique) did some fielding drills and looked fine. I’m guessing he’ll return to the lineup sometime this weekend. [Chad Jennings]
- In the least surprising news ever, Joe Girardi confirmed Sabathia will start Opening Day. [Mark Feinsand]
Here is tonight’s open thread. All three hockey locals are in action plus MLB Network will air a Spring Training game as well. Talk about any of those games or anything else here. Have at it.
Via Dan Barbarisi: Brian Cashman confirmed the Yankees have already made a “significant offer” to impending free agent Robinson Cano. Hal Steinbrenner confirmed the two sides have had a “conversation or two” about a new deal earlier this month, but Cashman confirmed an actual offer was made. Apparently there is a significant difference in valuation during talks, so I’m guessing this recent offer was well off Scott Boras’ mark. I’m sure there are still many offers and counteroffers to come, but this is notable because the team is breaking it’s “no extensions” policy (which they’ve already done once for Robbie, of course). · (101) ·
Perpetual prospect Dellin Betances threw a scoreless inning on the road against the Astros this afternoon, and to quote Houston’s announcers, he was “scary wild.” That’s pretty typical for the right-hander, who had a nightmare season a year ago and has struggled to harness his admittedly impressive stuff over the last six years. The 25-year-old ranked 23rd on my preseason top 30 prospects list, and today he walked two, struck out two, hit a batter, and uncorked a wild pitch. We’ll start with the good stuff, like the big fastball in the .GIF above. More to follow — click to embiggen — after the jump.
In an Insider-only feature (1-15, 16-30), a panel of ESPN experts ranked baseball’s 30 franchises based on “how well each team is set up for sustained success over the next five years.” The list was created using weighted rankings in five categories — Major League talent, farm system, finances, management, and roster flexibility — and expressed on a scale of 1-100. The Cardinals (84.3) top the list by a significant margin. Hard to argue with that. The directionless Rockies (19.2) were dead last.
The Yankees ranked fifth (65.9), down quite a bit last year (79.6), when they ranked second. They trail the Cardinals, Rangers (77.4), Rays (68.1), and Nationals (67.0). As expected, they graded very well in the financial department — despite the plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold — but were merely middle of the road everywhere else. As the write-up notes, their long-term Major League talent level is murky given the impending free agencies of Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, and others. Can’t say I disagree with that. · (20) ·
The Yankees are playing a pair of split squad games this afternoon. Half the team will stay in Tampa to play the Blue Jays while the other half travels to Kissimmee to play the Astros. You get one guess where the projected big league regulars will play. Hey, when you’ve made it to the show you don’t have to travel in Spring Training if it can be avoided.
Grapefruit League records mean nothing, but hot damn it would be nice if the Yankees won one of these games today just to keep up appearances. They’ve lost their last four games, including yesterday’s error-filled laughing stock. They’ll surely start winning some of these meaningless contests once the projected big league starters get into game action — Hiroki Kuroda will start tomorrow, coincidentally — but for now we’ll just have to wait. Here is the lineup for the home team in Tampa, which will be managed by Joe Girardi…
- CF Brett Gardner
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Travis Hafner
- LF Juan Rivera
- C Chris Stewart
- 3B Dan Johnson
- 2B Jose Pirela
- SS Gil Velazquez
Available Position Players: C Bobby Wilson, 1B Kyle Roller, SS Addison Maruszak, 3B Rob Segedin, LF Thomas Neal, CF Slade Heathcott, RF Ronnier Mustelier, and DH Gary Sanchez will all come off the bench. I guess Pirela will play all nine innings.
Here is the lineup for the road team heading about 90 minutes northeast to play the Astros, which will be managed by bench coach Tony Pena…
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- 2B Jayson Nix
- RF Zoilo Almonte
- LF Matt Diaz
- CF Melky Mesa
- C Frankie Cervelli
- 3B Corban Joseph
- 1B Luke Murton
- DH J.R. Murphy
And on the mound is the right-hander from the suburbs of Houston, Brett Marshall. Here are the second stringers, again courtesy of Jennings.
Available Pitchers: RHP Dellin Betances, RHP Mikey O’Brien, RHP Shane Greene, RHP Kelvin Perez, RHP Corey Black, and RHP Zach Nuding are all coming out of the bullpen.
Available Position Players: C Austin Romine, 1B Greg Bird, 2B Walt Ibarra, SS Cito Culver, 3B Kevin Mahoney, LF Ramon Flores, CF Adonis Garcia, RF Tyler Austin, and DH Francisco Arcia are all coming off the bench.
Both games are scheduled to start a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on MLB.tv (no local blackouts). Only the home game will be available on YES. Enjoy.