Despite their recent stretch of poor play (putting it nicely), the Yankees remain in the postseason hunt because every other team stinks too. The AL East is especially bad. The Yankees have lost nine of their last eleven games yet they remain 4.5 games back of the division lead with 79 games to play. They’re five games back of the second wildcard spot. Those deficits are far from insurmountable at this point of the summer, but they will need help to get back into the race and fast.
Because so many teams are within striking distance of a playoff berth, there aren’t many sellers out there this time of the year. One club that has at least acknowledged the likelihood of selling is the Diamondbacks, who come into today with the worst record in baseball at 35-41. “Based on the last couple of years of being a .500 club and this year with the injuries we have and our record, we have to look at being more open-minded of moving some contracts and some veteran players for younger players,” said GM Kevin Towers to Nick Piecoro recently.
Towers spent a year in the Yankees front office and he is reportedly very close friends with Brian Cashman, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easier to make a trade. They’ve gotten together for eleven trades over the years and most are very minor, Bernie Castro for Kevin Reese stuff. Their most recent sweep was Juan Miranda for Scottie Allen in November 2010, their most notable swap probably D’Angelo Jimenez for Jay Witasick in June 2011. Let’s see what pitchers Arizona can offer the Yankees in the coming weeks.
Tomorrow Next week we’ll tackle the position players.
RHP Brandon McCarthy
The 30-year-old McCarthy is a sabermetrics darling, and you really need to be open-minded to look beyond his 2-10 record and 5.11 ERA. He also owns a 7-21 record with a 4.78 ERA since signing with the D’Backs prior to last year. High school Mike Axisa would have said no way to McCarthy based on that.
Behind the record and ERA are some promising core pitching skills, however. McCarthy has a 3.81 FIP during his two years in the desert and this season it’s a 3.88 FIP with his best strikeout (7.53 K/9 and 19.7 K%) and ground ball (55.6%) rates in years. He also never walks anyone (1.56 BB/9 and 4.1 BB%). During his resurgent “hey this guy is a good pitcher now” years with the Athletics from 2011-12, McCarthy had a 3.22 FIP, a 6.26 K/9 (16.9 K%), a 1.57 BB/9 (4.2 BB%), and a 44.3% ground ball rate.
The biggest difference between Oakland McCarthy and Arizona McCarthy is the long ball — he had a 0.69 HR/9 (7.1 HR/FB%) with the A’s and has a 1.05 HR/9 (14.4 HR/FB%) with the D’Backs. A lot of that is the difference in ballparks. The O.co Coliseum is a tough place to hit homers and Chase Field is not. It’s pretty simple. McCarthy has compensated for the less friendly home park by throwing more sinking fastballs and staying away from his cutter. Here is the breakdown of his arsenal:
The changeup is just a show-me pitch and because McCarthy throws so few four-seam fastballs, I wouldn’t get too excited about that astronomical swing-and-miss rate. (Whiff+ and GB+ are like ERA+, but with swing-and-miss and ground ball rates for individual pitches.) The sinker is clearly his bread-and-butter and it’s an above-average pitch both in terms of getting whiffs and ground balls. Is a guy who relies so heavily on his sinker a good fit for the Yankees’ infield defense?
The biggest concern with McCarthy, by far, is his injury history. He has stayed healthy this season but has otherwise visited the disabled list with a shoulder problem at least once every year from 2007-13. Only once since 2006 has McCarthy thrown more 135 innings in a season (180.2 in in 2011) and this year he is already at 104 innings. Maybe he’ll stay healthy, but, given his history, you have to think a disabled list stint is coming at some point.
McCarthy is owed approximately $5.1M through the end of the season and will become a free agent this winter, so he’s a pure rental. The fact that he limits walks, keeps the ball on the ground, and is familiar with pitching in a hitter’s park are pluses. The below league average strikeout rate (remember, he’s facing pitchers too) and scary injury history are negatives. McCarthy is an upgrade over Vidal Nuno (and Chase Whitley) and would probably come cheaper than Jason Hammel, another mid-rotation guy with injury issues.
LHP Wade Miley
Unlike McCarthy, Miley would not be a rental pickup. The 27-year-old is in his third pre-arbitration year and will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player through 2017. Usually rebuilding clubs don’t trade a guy like that, but Buster Olney (subs. req’d) recently mentioned many teams are looking to land Doug Fister types — unheralded but effective pitchers with years of control remaining. (The Tigers stole Fister from the Mariners when he was in his second pre-arbitration year.) Miley may fit that bill.
Through 18 starts and 113.1 innings this season, Miley has a 4.61 ERA (4.13 FIP). He posted a 3.33 ERA (3.15 FIP) during his first full season in 2012 and followed it up with a 3.55 ERA (3.98 FIP) in 2013, so he is trending in the wrong direction. Miley’s strikeout rate (8.42 K/9 and 22.5 K%) is a career best and both his walk (2.70 BB/9 and 7.2 BB%) and ground ball rates (48.0%) are right at his career norms, so the problem has been the homerun. He went from 0.65 HR/9 (6.9 HR/FB%) in 2012 to 0.93 HR/9 (12.5 HR/FB%) in 2013 to 1.35 HR/9 (16.8 HR/FB%) this year. When he misses his spot, it tends to get hit a long way.
Miley has been very durable throughout his career, throwing 190+ innings in each of the last two seasons and at least 150 innings every year since 2010, when he was just a kid in A-ball. He has all but shelved his curveball this year — it was his top secondary pitch during his excellent rookie campaign two years ago — and is now more of a slider guy. Here is his pitch breakdown:
The curveball is a non-factor but otherwise Miley uses two fastballs interchangeably and has a well-above-average slider in terms of getting both swings and misses and ground balls. That pitch is why he’s in the big leagues and why left-handed batters have mustered only a 2.88 wOBA against him in his career. Like Fister, there’s nothing flashy about Miley’s pitch mix, no huge fastball or anything like that, but he has four distinct pitches and can make the ball move. Add in his durability and left-handedness and you’ve got a guy who figures to spend a very long time in the league.
The original Fister trade is not the perfect deal to reference because he had one extra year of team control, but it can give us something of an idea of what it would take to land Miley. The Tigers sent four players to Seattle for Fister (and replacement level reliever David Pauley):
- Third baseman Francisco Martinez, who was in Double-A at the time and considered the fourth best prospect in Detroit’s system by Baseball America.
- Left-hander Charlie Furbush, who had made his MLB debut earlier that season and been ranked as the team’s 26th best prospect in Baseball America.
- Right-hander Chance Ruffin, who was Detroit’s supplemental first round pick the previous year. He actually zoomed to the big leagues and made his debut with the Tigers right before the trade.
- Platoon outfielder Casper Wells, who had about a year in MLB at the time.
In hindsight, the Tigers gave up very little. Furbush has settled in as quality left-handed reliever but Martinez, Wells, and Ruffin all flamed out. At the time though? Wowza. Detroit traded one of their top prospects, their supplemental first round pick from the year before, plus two cheap and potentially useful MLB pieces. Imagine if the Yankees were to trade, say, Greg Bird, Ian Clarkin, Jose Ramirez, and Zoilo Almonte for someone like Miley. Fans would probably riot. That’s not an unreasonable package though.
Miley’s increasing propensity to give up the long ball is a definite concern, but there is plenty to like here. He’s young, he’s under team control for three more years, he’s never been hurt, he’s left-handed, and he has a true starter’s repertoire. Miley is essentially a finished product — yes, I know every player is always looking to improve, but it’s not like they have to teach him a changeup or something — the Yankees could just plug into the rotation and let him go. Even if you think the Yankees have no business being buyers at the deadline, this is someone they should consider acquiring anyway because he’ll also be able to help in the coming years.
Every team can use another reliever, including the Yankees. They’ve had to ride Dellin Betances and Adam Warren pretty hard in recent weeks, partly because Shawn Kelley has been shaky as hell since coming off the disabled list. Closer Addison Reed (4.15 ERA And 4.57 FIP) has been amazingly homer prone (2.08 HR/9 and 18.2 HR/FB%), which is not exactly a good quality for a late-inning reliever. Brad Ziegler (2.34 ERA and 3.52 FIP) is a sinker and ground ball machine (67.2%) who needs a good infield defense to be not awful. Both Oliver Perez (.302 wOBA) and Joe Thatcher (.285 wOBA) are serviceable matchup lefties.
Ziegler ($5M) and Perez ($2.5M) are both already under contract for next season while Reed is in his final pre-arbitration year. His arbitration raises figure to be significant because he’ll finish the year with 100+ career saves, significant enough that he might be a non-tender candidate as soon as this winter. Thatcher will be a free agent after the season. Meh. Not really much to see here.
* * *
The rest of Arizona’s pitching staff is pretty unappealing. Bronson Arroyo is currently on the disabled list with an elbow injury and others like Josh Collmenter, Mike Bolsinger, and Chase Anderson barely move the needle. Trevor Cahill was so bad that he’s currently pitching (not particularly well, either) in the minors. If the D’Backs had more good pitchers, they’d be winning more games.
I think McCarthy is a lock to be traded before the deadline for pretty obvious reasons. He makes good money and he’ll be a free agent after the season. That’s exactly the type of player a bad team moves at the deadline. Miley is a different situation though — the D’Backs won’t have any trouble holding onto him if they don’t get an offer they like. The Yankees or any other team would have to pry him loose. Both he and McCarthy make some sense for New York if they’re serious about adding help before the deadline and making a run at a postseason berth.
Here are some notes to start the night:
- Here is our post keeping track of the Yankees’ intentional free agent signings on the first day of the 2014-15 signing period. The reports about their intentions to go on a huge spending spree have proven to be very correct.
- UTIL Jose Pirela was been named to the Triple-A International League All-Star Team. He is the only Yankees farmhand who was elected to the game.
- The Yankees have signed RHP Edgmer Escalona to a minor league contract, according to Rich Dubroff. The 27-year-old had a 6.10 ERA (6.37 FIP) in 20.2 Triple-A innings with the Orioles before being released. He replaces RHP Robert Coello, who opted out of his contract.
- The Yankees have signed Mount Olive RHP Deshorn Lake as an undrafted free agent, according to the Daily Press. The Red Sox selected him in the 12th round pick of the 2011 draft, but he opted not to sign.
Triple-A Scranton Game One (1-0 loss to Buffalo in eight innings, walk-off style) this was a regularly scheduled doubleheader, each affiliate has one or two each season
- 2B Jose Pirela: 3-4, 1 2B
- DH Rob Refsnyder & LF Zoilo Almonte: both 1-4, 1 K
- 3B Zelous Wheeler: 0-1, 1 K – was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning because he’s on his way to MLB
- C John Ryan Murphy: 0-4, 1 K
- RHP Shane Greene: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 4/5 GB/FB — 63 of 99 pitches were strikes (64%), though one of the walks was intentional
- RHP Matt Daley: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/0 GB/FB – 15 of 22 pitches were strikes (68%) … served up the walk-off homer to former RailRiders teammate Dan Johnson
In his second minor league rehab start, CC Sabathia allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits, one walk, and one hit batsman in 3.2 innings with Double-A Trenton. He struck out two and threw 33 of 55 pitches for strikes (60%). A scout told Matt Kardos that Sabathia sat 88-90 and topped out at 92 mph.
Sabathia just left the game, so there’s no word on how he and his injured right knee felt just yet. This start came on three days’ rest but Joe Girardi confirmed Sabathia will start on regular rest from here on out. I have to think he’ll make at least two and probably three more rehab starts before rejoining the rotation. · (26) ·
You might have seen this floating around the internet today, but if not, here is an excerpt from the upcoming book “Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball’s Steroid Era.” It details how MLB gave Alex Rodriguez a therapeutic use exemption to use take testosterone during his MVP winning 2007 season. The league responded to the excerpt with a statement saying the clinical approvals were confidential. It’s pretty interesting. Check it out.
Here is your open thread for the night. The Mets are playing and that’s about it as far as sports go. Good night to forget about baseball. Talk about the A-Rod story, tonight’s games, the Yankees’ international signings, this afternoon’s loss, or anything else right here.
For the first time this season, the Yankees have lost five straight games. The Rays took Wednesday afternoon’s series finale by the score of 6-3, completing the sweep. They had baseball’s worst record coming into the series. The Yankees have now lost nine of their last eleven games are are 41-42 on the year. Stinky.
For the first time in what felt like an eternity, the Yankees actually jumped out to an early lead on Wednesday afternoon. Brett Gardner opened the day with a typically long at-bat (seven pitches) and a leadoff homer into the right field second deck off Jake Odorizzi. It was gone off the bat. No doubter. Gardner has now hit eight homers this season, tying his career-high (set last year). He’s going to wind up hitting like 12-15 dingers this summer. Crazy.
Brian McCann chipped in a solo homer of his own two innings later, a cheap little New Yankee Stadium shot just inside the foul pole down the right field line. It was a high pop-up in almost every other ballpark. Like everyone else, I expected Gardner to be hitting the cheapies and McCann to be launching bombs into the second deck coming into the year. Also, believe it or not, the Yankees have hit multiple homers in four of their last eight games. Doesn’t feel like it, right?
One inning after that, the wholly unproductive right field platoon of Alfonso Soriano (single) and Ichiro Suzuki (walk) reached base to start the inning. Soriano was in right and Ichiro was playing center. Brian Roberts lined out and Yangervis Solarte popped out, so it appeared any potential rally would go to waste. Been an awful lot of that this year. Thankfully Gardner was up next and thankfully he pulled a two-strike single through the right side of the infield to score Soriano. Brett has been the best player on the team this season and I don’t think it’s particularly close at this point.
No Lead Is Safe
The Yankees took the lead three times early in the game and Vidal Nuno gave it back almost immediately each time. The Rays scored their first run in the third inning on a leadoff walk (Ryan Hanigan), a double (Ben Zobrist), and a passed ball. They scored their second run in the fourth inning, right after McCann homered. A double by Logan Forsythe and a single by Sean Rodriguez did the trick. In the fifth — again, right after Gardner re-gave the Yankees the lead — Desmond Jennings, Zobrist, and Brandon Guyer strung together a single, a double, and a single to score another run. Guyer would have had a two-run single had Gardner not thrown Zobrist out at the plate.
All told, Nuno was charged with four runs (three earned) in five innings of work. Joe Girardi opted to send him back out to start the sixth only to yank him when the leadoff runner reached base. I hate that. If his leash is one base-runner, then just let the reliever start the inning clean. This isn’t Masahiro Tanaka. It’s Vidal Nuno and he was putting guys on base all day. Shawn Kelley took over and allowed a two-run homer to Sean freaking Rodriguez on his third pitch. Just like that, the Rays were up 5-3 and had all the runs they would need on the afternoon.
I mean, it’s no surprise Nuno did not carry his success against the Red Sox over from his last start. Everyone has a great game now and then and it doesn’t mean they’ve turned some kind of corner. Four runs (three earned) in five innings is perfectly fine from your seventh (or eighth? whatever) starter, though Nuno is third on the team in starts (14) and innings (78). That’s not good. Kelley … good grief. He has been a mess since coming off the disabled list.
Not Hitting With Runners In Scoring Position Isn’t The Problem …
… bad hitters are the problem. The Yankees went one-for-whatever (nine, actually) with runners in scoring position and stranded runners at the corners in the fifth, at first and second in the seventh, and at second in the eighth. There were some chances to tack-on runs or make the game closer, but they were unable to take advantage. Gardner’s run-scoring single in the fourth was the lone hit with men in scoring position. He had three hits while McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Roberts had two apiece as well. McCann and Ichiro drew the only walks.
The Yankees have been unable to get hits with men on base all season but that in and of itself isn’t the problem. It’s just the symptom of the real problem. They aren’t unclutch or anything silly like that. They just have too many bad hitters. That’s the problem. Even if McCann and Beltran start hitting like everyone expected them to hit, the Yankees would still have Derek Jeter, Roberts, Ichiro, Soriano, Solarte, Kelly Johnson, etc. getting regular at-bats. It’s pretty remarkable how many flat-out bad hitters are on the roster and have been all season.
The Rays made four outs on the bases. Gardner threw Zobrist out at home, Soriano threw Rodriguez out at second trying to stretch a single into a double (on the play that scored Tampa’s second run), Jeter caught Zobrist wandering too far off second base on a ground ball in the seventh, and Kevin Kiermaier was picked off first in the eighth. The Gardner and Soriano throws were good plays, the other two were gifts.
Adam Warren allowed two singles (one infield) and a walk in 1.1 innings of work. He was helped out by Zobrist’s second base-running blunder. David Huff allowed one run in 1.2 innings of mop-up duty. He was hurt by some shaky infield defense. Guyer hit a slow grounder to third that Solarte threw into right field attempting to turn the 5-4-3 double play. Somehow it was ruled it hit. What?
Michael Kay went on a pretty amusing rant about Jacoby Ellsbury‘s off-day in the first inning. He pointed out that it was Lou Gehrig bobblehead day and basically said that if Gehrig could play every single day, Ellsbury should be able to do it in the first year of his seven-year contract. It was a hoot.
According to the YES broadcast, the Yankees are now 1-32 when allowing five or more runs. This is the latest into the season the Yankees have been below .500 since they were 39-42 at the halfway point of the 2007 season. That team rallied to win the wildcard and make the postseason. That team also had good players.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
You can find the box score and video highlights at MLB.com. There are some other stats at FanGraphs and the updated standings at ESPN. Edwin Encarnacion and the Blue Jays walked off against the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, so the Yankees are now 4.5 games back of Toronto for first place in the AL East. The Mariners beat up on the Astros, so the Bombers are five games back of the second wildcard spot.
The homestand is mercifully over and the Yankees are heading up to Minnesota for a four-game series with the Twins. Current Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka and one time projected Yankees ace Phil Hughes start things off on Friday night.
Carlos Beltran is still dealing with lingering soreness in his forearm after it forced him to shut down his throwing program last week, according to Zach Braziller. “It is frustrating,” said Beltran, “not being able to be in the field and having to deal with this and now the forearm, it takes [a lot] mentally, for me to come to the ballpark, get treatment, go to the [training room], whole routine I need to do to get ready for the game. I need to find a way to not think about it and just focus on what I need to focus on. Go out and compete and fight.”
Beltran, 37, went 3-for-4 with a double and a homer on Sunday, but is still hitting only .216/.274/.404 (81 wRC+) in 234 plate appearances this year. Coincidence or not, he’s been especially unproductive since flipping over the wall in Tampa back in mid-April. A bone spur in his elbow forced Beltran to miss about four weeks and has relegated him to full-time DH duty. At this point, getting him back into the outfield is a secondary concern. The Yankees need Beltran to start producing at the plate. Getting him (and Brian McCann) on track would have more of an impact than any trade deadline pickup, though the season is halfway complete and we still haven’t seen many signs of life. · (5) ·
The Yankees wrap up their ugly six-game homestand this afternoon, a homestand in which they won the first game (yay!) but lost the last four (boo!). They’ve lost eight of their last ten games overall while being outscored 48-31. Worst of all, all ten of those games were played against AL East rivals. The Yankees are 17-17 in their division so far this year but I don’t believe it. The standings are lying. It feels like they’re 5-29 against the AL East.
The homestand ends today and the Yankees head out on an eleven-game road trip starting tomorrow. This is the last time they play in the Bronx for 16 days, until after the All-Star break. Given their performance at home (18-22, outscored 186-144), I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. End the homestand with a win and get the hell outta here. Here is the Rays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- C Brian McCann
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 1B Kelly Johnson
- RF Alfonso Soriano
- CF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brian Roberts
- 3B Yangervis Solarte
LHP Vidal Nuno
It is pretty gross out in New York right now. Overcast but really hot and humid. There is also some rain in the forecast for later this afternoon, though it doesn’t look like it will impact the game unless they go to extra innings. I love watching games live and being at the Stadium, but this is one I will happily enjoy from my air-conditioned home. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1:05pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Try to enjoy.
Injury Updates: Mark Teixeira had his knee drained last night and is expected to be back in the lineup tomorrow. He’s been playing through some discomfort … Jacoby Ellsbury is a “little beat up” and needs a day off, according to Joe Girardi.
The 2014 international signing period opened at 9am ET today, and, by all accounts, the Yankees are planning a massive spending spree. They have been assigned a $2.2M signing pool but are reportedly willing to spend upwards of $30M between bonuses and penalties. They’re said to have several verbal agreements already in place, many of which are individually worth more than the team’s signing pool.
The penalties for the spending spree will be pretty harsh. Not only will the Yankees have to pay a 100% tax on just about every dollar they spend, they will also not be allowed to sign any player to a bonus worth more than $300k during the next two international signing periods (2015-16 and 16-17). With rumors of an international draft continuing to circulate, this may be New York’s last chance to spend freely on amateurs.
As a reminder, these players are signing contracts for 2015. They won’t sign and report right to one of the minor league affiliates in the coming days. It’s also worth pointing out these kids are just that: kids. The majority are 16-17 years old, meaning they are a half-decade away from making their MLB debuts. If they’re like most other players, it’ll take another few years after that for them to have a real impact. These players are a long way away from helping the Yankees as anything other than a trade chip.
Our international free agency archive is right here. Both Baseball America and MLB.com recently released their lists of the top 30 available prospects, though Baseball America’s scouting reports are subscriber-only. MLB.com’s stuff — video, scouting reports, etc. — is all free. It’s pretty awesome. We’ll keep track of the team’s international signings right here throughout the day, so make sure you check back often for updates (all timestamps are ET).
- 8:01pm: McDaniel has a bunch of low-profile, small bonus signings: Venezuelan OF Leobaldo Cabrera, Venezuelan C Jason Lopez, Dominican OF Lisandro Blanco, Dominican IF Wander Hernandez, Venezuelan OF Raymundo Moreno, Dominican OF Adolfo Morillo, Venezuelan OF Pablo Olivares, Dominican C Bismar Nunez, Dominican LHP Luis Pache, Venezuelan SS Danienger Perez, and Venezuelan RHP Gilmael Troya. No word on any bonuses, but again, they’re small.
- 7:46pm: McDaniel reports the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan OF Jonathan Amundaray for approximately $1.5M. MLB.com ranked him seventh and Baseball America ranked him 22nd. “Amundaray has good bat speed with a slight uppercut and average raw power that has a chance to be plus in the future … He has a decent stroke, but he doesn’t have an innate feel for hitting, with some length to his swing and inconsistent bat-to-ball skills,” wrote Badler.
- 7:42pm: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican OF Antonio Arias, according to Kiley McDaniel. Sanchez says the bonus is $800k. MLB.com ranked Arias as the ninth best prospect when Baseball America had him 28th. “He’s one of the better athletes in Latin America, with plus speed that he should be able to maintain as he adds weight to stay in center field … He flashes solid bat speed and power potential, but everything about Arias is physical projection,” says Badler.
- 7:03pm: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan RHP Servando Hernandez for $200k, reports Badler. He is not among MLB.com’s nor Baseball America’s top 30 international prospects. Hernandez “has a big, strong frame at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and touches 90-91 mph. He shows feel for his changeup and is mostly a fastball/changeup pitcher with the curveball his No. 3 pitch,” says Badler.
- 6:47pm: According to Badler, the Yankees have signed 18-year-old Korean SS Hyo-Jun Park. He got a $1.16M bonus according to Naver (translated article). Park was ranked as the 13th and 18th best prospect available by MLB.com and Baseball America, respectively. Everything you need to know about him is in this guest post from Sung-Ming Kim. Because he is 18, he can begin playing as soon as the contract is official.
- 6:36pm: The Yankees have also signed 16-year-old Venezuelan C Miguel Flames, according to Badler. Sanchez says he received a $1M bonus. Flames was considered the 16th best prospect by Baseball America and 25th best by MLB.com. “Scouts who like Flames say he hits in games and takes quality at-bats thanks to his pitch recognition and ability to stay within the strike zone,” wrote Badler, who notes Flames is a recently converted third baseman.
- 6:33pm: As expected, the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican OF Juan De Leon, reports Badler. Sanchez says he received $2M. Baseball America and MLB.com rank De Leon has the second and fifth best prospect available, respectively. Badler says “De Leon has a short, efficient swing and strong wrists that help him generate the best bat speed in the class, which is why several scouts consider De Leon one of the top hitters available.”
- 3:21pm: Sanchez reports the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan SS Wilkerman Garcia for $1.35M. Baseball America and MLB.com ranked him as the seventh and 14th best prospect on the market, respectively. “Garcia draws widespread praise for his hitting with good bat-to-ball skills and a sound swing from both sides of the plate,” wrote Badler.
- 1:40pm: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican 3B Nelson Gomez for $2.25M, reports Sanchez. He was ranked the second and sixth best prospect available by MLB.com and Baseball America, respectively. “Gomez, who trains with Victor Baez, has at least plus raw power … He has good bat speed and packs plenty of strength into a heavy, big-boned frame, putting on an impressive display in batting practice with power to all fields,” says Badler.
- 12:50pm: As expected, the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican SS Dermis Garcia, according to Dionisio Soldevila. He received a $3.2M bonus after being connected to the team for weeks now. MLB.com and Baseball America ranked Garcia as the best and ninth best prospect available, respectively, with Badler saying he is “strong, generates huge loft and puts on a fireworks display in batting practice, with 70 raw power that rates as the best in the class”
- 11:25am: Jesse Sanchez reports the Yankees have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan SS Diego Castillo for $750k. He ranked 16th and 24th on MLB.com’s and Baseball America’s top 30 lists, respectively. “Castillo is one of the most intelligent players in Latin America. He slows the game down, playing calmly and under control in all phases of the game,” wrote Badler.
- 10:23am: The Yankees have signed 16-year-old Dominican OF Frederick Cuevas for $300k, reports Ben Badler. He does not rank among Baseball America’s or MLB.com’s top 30 prospects. “Cuevas is a lefty who has performed well at the plate in games with gap power. He doesn’t have a tool that jumps out and he fits best in left field,” wrote Badler.
Total Known Bonuses: $14.51M. Total Penalties: ~$12.31M. Total spent: ~$26.82M.
The losing streak has hit four and the Yankees are back at .500 with a 41-41 record. This is the latest into the season the team has been at or below .500 during the Joe Girardi era. Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Rays was a fairly straight forward “they just couldn’t get the big hit” loss.
Wait, They Scored How?
When I write these recaps, I tend to jot down notes while watching so I don’t forget stuff. Many of those notes don’t even make it into the recap, but you never know. I was at this game though, so I needed to look over the gamelog when I got home to remember exactly what happened. I remembered they scored just the one run and the box score says they went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, but wait … the one hit didn’t even score a run. Then I remembered how they scored.
David Price was not necessarily on cruise control, the Yankees did make him work a bit, but he held them scoreless in the first three innings before Derek Jeter led off the fourth with a booming double to center. The Cap’n just destroys Price for whatever reason. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a soft line drive single to center — that was the lone hit with runners in scoring position, Jeter had to hold up because Ben Zobrist almost made the diving catch — to put runners on the corners with no outs.
Great situation, right? Well, it was until Mark Teixeira flew out to shallow right (too shallow to score Jeter) and Ellsbury got picked off first. He was dead to rights between first and second, but Zobrist’s throw hit Ellsbury in the back and allowed a) him to slide into second safely, and b) Jeter to cross the plate without a throw. That’s how the Yankees scored their one run on Tuesday. Ellsbury got picked off first and Zobrist hit him in the back with a throw during the rundown. Sigh.
It was not his prettiest start of the season, but with a short bullpen, Hiroki Kuroda gave his team eight innings of two-run ball. Logan Forsythe singled in a run in the third and James Loney hit a solo homer in the sixth, and that was it. Kuroda stranded runners on first and second in the fourth, on the corners in the fifth, and on second and third in the eighth. He had to grind a bit, yet at the end of the day he plenty effective and good enough to win.
All told, Kuroda allowed just those two runs on nine hits and one walk. He struck out seven and threw 69 of his season-high 109 pitches for strikes (63%). Twenty-one of his 24 outs were recorded on the infield. It wasn’t Kuroda at his best but in a sense it was a microcosm of his MLB career: reliable, effective, unrewarded. This poor guy never gets run support — he didn’t with the Dodgers back in the day either — yet he keeps plugging along. Kuroda now has a 3.58 ERA in his last eleven starts, by the way. He’s bounced back well from his poor April.
As usual, the Yankees did have some opportunities to plate the go-ahead or game-tying or whatever run. Teixeira lined out to left to end the first with Brett Gardner on second. Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano flew out and struck out, respectively, with a) Ellsbury on second to end the fourth, and b) Jeter on second and Teixeira on first to end the sixth. And finally, Yangervis Solarte grounded out to first to end the game with Ichiro on second and Kelly Johnson at first. The four through eight hitters went a combined 0-for-17 with three walks. Gross.
Jeter had two of the team’s four hits. His fourth inning double was the 534th of his career, which tied him with Lou Gehrig for the most in franchise history. As Jeff Quagliata points out, Price has now given up Jeter’s 3,000th hit, the hit that moved Jeter into a tie with Willie Mays on the all-time list, the hit that tied Jeter with Gehrig for the most in Old Yankee Stadium history, and the double that moved Jeter into a tie with Gehrig for the most in team history. “I feel like if I had (to face) a lineup full of 40-year old Derek Jeters, I might not make it through the fifth,” said Price to Bryan Hoch after the game.
The Yankees struck out eleven times as a team and it was only their third time with double-digit strikeouts in their last 25 games. That includes extra-inning games. Strikeouts are at an all-time high right now but the club has an 18.5% strikeout rate overall, the fifth lowest in baseball. Putting the ball in play isn’t a problem. The quantity of contact is fine, the quality of contact is not. Price struck out nine and had his streak of consecutive starts with 10+ strikeout snapped at five. The last to do that was vintage Johan Santana back in 2004.
Kuroda’s eight innings spared the bullpen one day after the 12-inning game. David Huff was the only reliever used and he retired the side on 15 pitches. He hit 95.0 mph (!) with his fastball according to PitchFX. What in the world is that about? Maybe it’s time to see what Huff can do in a one-inning, air-it-out role? Maybe he’ll turn into the left-handed version of Adam Warren.
Last but unfortunately not least, the Yankees are now 18-22 at Yankee Stadium this season. They’ve been outscored 186-144 and out-homered 57-45 in the Bronx. I shouldn’t be looking forward to seeing this team go out on an extended road trip at the end of the week, but here we are.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some additional stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Both the Orioles and Blue Jays won, so the Yankees are 3.5 games back of Toronto and 2.5 games back of Baltimore. They’re four games back of the second wildcard spot.
The Yankees will look to avoid being swept on Wednesday afternoon — yes, it’s an afternoon game — in their final home game before the All-Star break. Vidal Nuno and Jake Odorizzi will be the pitching matchup. If you want to see that one live, head over to RAB Tickets.
Triple-A Scranton (3-2 loss to Lehigh Valley)
- RF Jose Pirela: 2-5, 1 K
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
- LF Zoilo Almonte: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — second homer in his last three games
- 1B Kyle Roller: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 K
- C John Ryan Murphy: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 PB — over/under on games left in the organization is set at 20.5
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K
- DH Austin Romine: 0-4, 2 K
- RHP Alfredo Aceves: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 7/4 GB/FB – 63 of 90 pitches were strikes (70%)
- SwP Pat Venditte: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 30 of 53 pitches were strikes (57%) … 57/13 K/BB in 47.2 innings