2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Thursday

Price. (Harry How/Getty)
Price. (Harry How/Getty)

We are now just one day away from the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees have not yet made a move but I expect them to do something by 4pm ET tomorrow. They need pitching — I’m not sure how much more obvious it could be at this point — and a new second baseman sure would be cool too. Don’t be fooled by the six-game lead in the AL East, there are holes on the roster.

Late last night, Cole Hamels was traded to the Rangers in an eight-player deal, taking arguably the best available pitcher off the board. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we learned the Tigers are making David Price and their other rental players available, which is significant because Price would look wonderful in pinstripes. We’ll again keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here. Talk about all of ’em in this open thread.

  • 2:50pm ET: Not only do the Yankees not want to trade top prospects, they are hesitant to trade guys like Adam Warren and Bryan Mitchell as well. The sense is they will add a reliever to deepen the bullpen. Warren could then be a candidate to return to the rotation. [Joel Sherman]
  • 2:47pm ET: The Mariners plan to keep impending free agent Hisashi Iwakuma. He’s a favorite of ownership and they could always re-sign him in the offseason. The Yankees had not been connected to Iwakuma but he seemed like a logical fit. (Masahiro Tanaka‘s teammate in Japan!) [Jeff Passan]
  • 2:23pm ET: The Yankees are “poised to strike” and are in on all the available arms. That … really doesn’t tell us anything new. The Yankees are typically a club that waits until the last minute to make trades, however. The Martin Prado and Stephen Drew deals were announced after the deadline last year.[Ken Rosenthal]
  • 2:01pm ET: The Yankees are on the “periphery” of the Yovani Gallardo race. He is very available and a bunch of teams are in the mix. Gallardo is still scheduled to start against the Yankees tonight. [Heyman]
  • 12:50pm ET: David Price is heading to the Blue Jays for a package of top prospects, including Daniel Norris and Anthony Alford. So scratch him off the list.
  • 12:06pm ET: The Blue Jays appear to be “closing in” on a trade for David Price according to multiple reports. Toronto hasn’t been to the postseason since 1993 and they acquired Troy Tulowitzki a few days ago. The chips are firmly in the middle of the table.
  • 10:07am ET: The Yankees are considering among Mike Leake‘s most likely landing spots at this point. They’re also a candidate to acquire Jeff Samardzija should the surging White Sox decide to move him. Special assistant Jim Hendry drafted the righty when he was Cubs GM and Larry Rothschild was Samardzija’s pitching coach in Chicago for a few years. [Heyman]
  • 9:30am ET: The Yankees are one of four serious contenders for David Price, along with the Dodgers, Giants, and Blue Jays. All four clubs are in talks with the Tigers. [Jon Heyman]
  • The Yankees discussed Dustin Ackley with the Mariners. Ramon Flores and Ben Gamel came up but Seattle wanted more — I believe it was Flores or Gamel, not both — so talks stalled out. For whatever reason the Yankees have been after Ackley for years. [Mark Feinsand]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Yankees bats not as explosive against Colby Lewis in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers

(Source: Getty)

The Yankees have been winning a lot lately but tonight, they fell quite short. It seemed like they had some offensive momentum going in the second inning by scoring two, but after that, New York got completely shut out by Colby Lewis and the Rangers pen. Masahiro Tanaka didn’t allow any dingers this start but he looked unimpressive overall. But hey – a lot of us had to like what we saw out of the new RHP Caleb Cotham.

  • Two in second: Yankees drew first blood when Carlos Beltran hit a solo homer to lead off the second inning. He battled Lewis in a nine-pitch at-bat and eventually drilled a fastball down the middle over the right field fence. Always good to see the old guy show some sign of life in bat. Yankees did not stop there – with two outs, the red hot Didi Gregorius singled to left. Stephen Drew followed it up with another single and Gregorius advanced to third as soon as he saw that CF Delino DeShields Jr. bobbled the ball. Jacoby Ellsbury then drove Didi in with a grounder up to center for an RBI single. 2-0 Yankees.
  • Get’em next time: Tanaka seemed quite off tonight and it showed in his pitching line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. His stuff didn’t seem all that crisp and he missed more spots that he could afford to. But hey, at least he avoided dingers in Globe Life Park! I’m not too worried about Masahiro but it’d be nice to see more consistent brilliance from him. 6 IP 4 ER start is not awful, but New York is paying him like an ace.
  • Cotham for Gotham: In the seventh, RHP Caleb Cotham made his ML debut, relieving Chasen Shreve with one out and runner on first. Cotham was a 5th rounder from Vanderbilt back in 2009 and finally made it to the bigs at age 27. He’s gone through series of injuries that set him back and recently saw sustained success as a reliever so I assume that’s what his long-term niche will be. With the first ML batter he faced, he induced a grounder from Adrian Beltre … that Didi couldn’t come up with, go figure. He struck out Mitch Moreland on three pitches but allowed the runner on second to score when Josh Hamilton lined a slider down the middle to right. Cotham looked brilliant overall though – striking out four in 1.2 IP. His fastball was around 91~94 and the hard slider had that nice bite to it. I’d be in favor of keeping him around to see if he can be another late-inning guy because, frankly, I think he’s got promise based on his stuff, command, and performance down in minors.
  • Leftover: In the sixth, Carlos Beltran recorded one of the weirdest OF assists I’ve seen. Shin-Soo Choo lined a base hit to right and aggressively extended it to double when Beltran was late to get to the ball. However, it turned out that Drew had put a tag on him when Choo put his foot off the bag briefly and the umpires called him out after the instant replay – Beltran earned the assist from a play that he seemingly didn’t put too much effort on! How about that.

Tomorrow, Michael Pineda will try to get a series win for the Yanks against Yovani Gallardo and the Rangers. Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.

Source: FanGraphs

Hamels off the board: Cole heading to Rangers

(Patrick Smith/Getty)
(Patrick Smith/Getty)

The race for Cole Hamels appears to be complete. Multiple reports say the Rangers have either acquired Hamels from the Phillies or are on the verge of doing so. Four prospects are heading to Philadelphia in the deal, it appears. There is also some cash involved and possibly other players going to Texas.

According to Baseball America’s 2015 Prospect Handbook, the Rangers are sending their preseason No. 3 (C Jorge Alfaro), No. 5 (OF Nick Williams), and No. 13 (RHP Alec Asher) prospects to the Phillies as well as non-top 30 prospect RHP Jerad Eickhoff. A comparable Yankees package is something like Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams, Bryan Mitchell, and an extra arm. Ballpark. Not a perfect comparison.

The Yankees have been connected to Hamels for weeks and months now, but, according to Mark Feinsand, they never pursued him aggressively. Given their reluctance to trade top prospects, I guess that’s not surprising. The Phillies have reportedly been asking for Aaron Judge and/or Luis Severino in return.

Hamels is lined up to start tomorrow but I doubt he does given the travel and all that. The Yankees probably won’t see him. Either way, Hamels is now off the board along with Scott Kazmir and Johnny Cueto. Maybe Mat Latos too. David Price, Mike Leake, Ian Kennedy, and Hisashi Iwakuma are the top available starters now.

Update: Apparently it’s a six-for-two trade. The Rangers are getting Hamels and lefty Jake Diekman (and cash) for Alfaro, Williams, Asher, Eickhoff, right-hander Jake Thompson, and left-hander Matt Harrison. Thompson was ranked as the team’s No. 2 prospect before the season. He was their Luis Severino.

DotF: Severino strikes out ten in Scranton’s win

Triple-A Scranton (9-4 win over Lehigh Valley)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB — he’s been on fire of late
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder:  2-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 E (fielding, throwing) — the Rob Refsnyder experience
  • 1B Greg Bird: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
  • RF Aaron Judge: 0-5, 3 K
  • C Gary Sanchez: 2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 K — final days with the Yankees? or nah?
  • LF Ramon Flores: 0-3, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 SB
  • 3B Jose Pirela: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 E (throwing)
  • DH Austin Romine: 2-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB
  • RHP Luis Severino: 6 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 2 WP, 1 HB, 5/3 GB/FB — 61 of 92 pitches were strikes (66%) … boy he’s going to look great in a Tigers jersey
  • RHP Branden Pinder: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 20 of 35 pitches were strikes (57%)
  • RHP Jose Ramirez: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2/1 GB/FB — nine of 14 pitches were strikes (64%)

[Read more…]

Game 100: Tanaka time in Texas

(Tom Pennington/Getty)
(Tom Pennington/Getty)

Today is the 100th game of the season. The Yankees will have at least 57 wins at the century mark this year, hopefully 58, after having 52 wins after 100 games last year and 53 wins the year before. In 2012, the last time the Yankees went to the postseason, they were 60-40 after 100 games. Of course, the AL East is weaker now than it was back in 2012.

Anyway, Masahiro Tanaka is on the mound tonight with yet another extra day of rest. He hasn’t started on normal rest since April. April! That was his last start before landing on the DL. Tanaka’s had at least one extra day of rest for 12 of his 13 starts this year. I didn’t realize that. The Yankees are going to great lengths to keep him healthy. Hopefully it pays off with a win tonight. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 1B Garrett Jones
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Stephen Drew
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Another scorcher in Arlington today. It was over 100 degrees most of the day and it’ll still be over 90 when the sun goes down tonight. Yuck. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 8:05pm ET and you can watch on good ol’ YES. Enjoy the game.

Roster Updates: Mark Teixeira is fine, just a routine day off … in case you missed it earlier, Chris Capuano has been designated for assignment and Caleb Cotham has been called up to give the bullpen a fresh arm.

2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Wednesday

Samardzija. (Jim Rogash/Getty)
Samardzija. (Jim Rogash/Getty)

Just three days left now. The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline is this Friday at 4pm ET, and while the Yankees have not yet made any moves, I’m sure they will at some point in the next few days. Pitching is a bit of an issue — I’d rather not see Chris Capuano make another spot start — and second base could use an upgrade as well. Maybe another righty bat too.

On Monday and Tuesday we learned the Yankees are engaged in the pitching market, both starters and relievers. They had conversations with the Reds about Johnny Cueto before he was traded to the Royals, and they were also in the hunt for Ben Zobrist before he joined Cueto in Kansas City. Final offers for Cole Hamels are reportedly due today as well. We’ll keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here.

  • 7:04pm ET: The Mat Latos trade from earlier is currently on hold because of someone’s medicals. Not necessarily Latos’. So he could, in fact, still be an option for the Yankees. [Wittenmyer]
  • 4:33pm ET: The Yankees will indeed talk to the Tigers about David Price. They remain unwilling to part with top prospects — the Phillies against asked about Aaron Judge and Luis Severino — but I’m sure at least part of that is just posturing. [Heyman]
  • 4:31pm ET: The Phillies had a scout watching Ivan Nova on Monday. The Yankees did discuss Cueto with the Reds during Johnny Cueto talks, so it stands to reason he would be available for Cole Hamels as well. [Mark Feinsand]
  • 3:32pm ET: The Tigers called teams today to tell them they are “rebooting” and willing to listen on David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and others. I certainly expect the Yankees to make a run at Price. [Stark]
  • 2:56pm ET: If the Phillies do indeed trade Cole Hamels, it is unlikely to happen today. Any trade would have to wait until Thursday or even Friday as the Phillies mull over offers. [Jayson Stark]
  • 2:23pm ET: The Padres requested shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo in trade talks about Craig Kimbrel, but the Yankees said no. New York is willing to eat the entire $28M left on Kimbrel’s contract, but they won’t surrender top prospects. [Jon Heyman]
  • 11:24pm ET: Mat Latos is apparently off the board. The Marlins are reportedly trading the right-hander (and others) to the Dodgers for prospects. Earlier this week we heard the Yankees had some interest in Latos. [Gordon Wittenmyer]
  • 9:30am ET: The White Sox still have not given any indication they will trade Jeff Samardzija. They Yankees have had their eye on him for a few weeks now. The ChiSox are now only 3.5 games back of a wildcard spot, so they might hold on to Samardzija and go for it, knowing they’ll get at least a draft pick for him after the season. [Jerry Crasnick]
  • The Reds are fielding offers for Aroldis Chapman but are not devoted to trading him because he’s under team control next season. They moved Cueto because they were going to lose him to free agency. The Yankees are said to be open to adding another high-end reliever. [Buster Olney]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Does Tanaka have a home run problem?


Masahiro Tanaka’s numbers from his last start against the Orioles on July 23 looked solid enough to declare the outing a success — he pitched into the eighth inning, got seven strikeouts, didn’t walk a batter and allowed just three runs on five hits. Yet that sentence leaves out one important number: Tanaka also gave up three home runs.

If this was a mere blip in his season gamelogs, there might not be much to discuss here, and we could dismiss the trio of homers as a random event that happens to even the best pitchers in the sport. But those home runs were the 13th, 14th and 15th that Tanaka has allowed this season, matching his total from all of 2014 in 55 fewer innings pitched.

Not only is Tanaka more homer-prone this season compared to last year, but he’s also giving up longballs at one of the worst rates in the league. His 1.65 homers allowed per nine innings is the fifth-highest mark among pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched. Tanaka is one of 29 pitchers that have allowed at least 15 homers this season; his 325 batters faced are the fewest among that group.

Tanaka was frustrated after giving up those three homers against Baltimore, especially the two in the eighth inning that sent him to the showers.

“I felt pretty good all the way through the day, and you want to kind of go out of the game strong, but I gave up those two home runs,” he told reporters after the game through a translator. “So, not particularly happy about that, but we’ll adjust and go about it next time out.”

Joe Girardi acknowledged the issue, but wasn’t too worried because Tanaka was able to limit the damage.

“It’s not what you want to see,” Girardi said in his postgame press conference. “But you can survive giving up solo home runs. You can survive and be very successful.”

So do we make of the situation, do we need to press the panic button and start worrying about Tanaka’s sky-high home run rate? On to the analysis!


The big number on Tanaka’s FanGraphs.com page that sticks out like a sore thumb is his 2015 home run to fly ball rate of 17.9 percent. That’s the third-highest rate in the majors (min. 80 IP) and well above the league average rate of roughly 10 percent.

Typically, pitchers with inflated homer-to-fly ball rates should see some regression to the mean over the course of the season, and so we’d expect fewer of his fly balls to go over the fence in August and September. Of course, that’s not always true — if you’re continually throwing meatballs and giving up lots of long hits and hard contact, you’re still probably going to allow a lot of homers, regardless of what the statheads say. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with Tanaka, who legitimately might be suffering from some bad luck so far this year.

The right-hander has one of the highest soft-contact rates in the league (21 percent), and his hard-contact rate (29 percent) is right around the league average and even lower than last year (35 percent). Tanaka’s average fly ball distance is up a few feet from last year (287 vs. 284), but it still doesn’t crack the top-50 among pitchers this season. And Tanaka is not throwing more pitches right down the middle of the plate, either. His percentage of pitches located in the “heart” of the strike zone is the virtually the same this year (20.6%) as last year (20.0%). Comparing his heat maps from last year and this year, he still seems to pounding the bottom of the zone and keeping his pitches out of the hitters’ sweetspot.

tanaka 2014

Another factor to consider is that he’s had to deal with one of the toughest schedules in the majors this season — the combined slugging percentage of the batters he’s faced (.412) ranks seventh-highest among pitchers (min. 80 IP). Looking at the list of the 13 players that have taken Tanaka deep, you can see he’s been victimized by some pretty good power hitters. Eight of them have hit at least 15 home runs this season and two rank in the top-6 in the majors (Bryce Harper, J.D. Martinez). The only lightweights on the list are probably Jose Altuve and Derek Dietrich.

Another encouraging number is that he’s not giving up a ton of homers when ahead in the count and in those situations when he should be putting away batters. Just four of his 15 home runs allowed have come in pitcher-friendly counts, and he’s given up just one two-strike homer all season.

However, he is finding trouble when he falls behind early and into too many fastball counts. He’s allowed eight homers after throwing a first-pitch ball, but just five after getting to 0-1 in the count. Nine of his 15 homers have come off either his sinker or four-seamer, a pitch that has been a hot topic this season and one that he continues to struggle with even after making some adjustments recently.


The bad news is that the box score stats say that Tanaka has been homer-prone this season, and you can’t erase the 15 longballs he’s already allowed.

The good news is that a deeper analysis into his core numbers shows that there probably isn’t much to worry about right now, and there’s every indication that his luck should even out during the final two months. So what do you think, is the glass half-empty or half-full?