2016 Draft: Opening Thoughts

(Paige Calamari/Getty)
(Paige Calamari/Getty)

The 2016 amateur draft will begin roughly eight weeks from now, on June 9th. The three-day event starts on a Thursday this year rather than the usual Monday. The draft has started on a Thursday before and it’s kinda annoying because it spills over into the weekend. I prefer to have it early in the week, but that’s just me.

As usual, MLB Network will broadcast the First Round, Supplemental First Round, Competitive Balance Round A, Second Round, and Competitive Balance Round B live on Day One. Seventy-seven picks will be made that day. Rounds 2-10 follow on Day Two, then the draft wraps up with rounds 11-40 on Day Three.

The Yankees did not gain or lose any picks this year as a result of draft pick compensation, so they’ll make two picks during the MLB Network broadcast: their first (No. 18) and second rounders (No. 62). Everything moves to the league conference call after that. The conference call moves quick. The draft broadcast? Not so much.

Our draft coverage this year is going to be the same as previous years. I see no need to change something that isn’t broken. We’ll highlight individual prospects with short profiles — here’s the profile I wrote for RHP James Kaprielian last year — rather than group players together into larger posts. I used to do that. The individual posts work better.

There is a lot of great draft reporting nowadays, so our guesswork is at least somewhat educated. The Yankees were connected to Kaprielian an awful lot prior to the draft last year. Ditto three years ago with 3B Eric Jagielo. The element of surprise is what makes the draft fun though. Here are some Yankees-related thoughts on this year’s amateur draft.

Draft Tendencies

This is, incredibly, scouting director Damon Oppenheimer’s 11th draft with the Yankees. It still feels like he just got here. Sheesh. We’re all old and going to die soon. Anyway, over the last ten drafts, the Yankees have had some very clear tendencies in their draft philosophy. Three stand out:

  1. College Players. This one is fairly new, actually. Years ago Oppenheimer & Co. were all about the shoot for the moon picks. The raw high-upside guys like RHP Andrew Brackman and OF Slade Heathcott. Now they lean towards polished college players because they’ve had more success developing them.
  2. Cape Cod League Success. This has been a constant since Oppenheimer arrived. The Yankees like players (both pitchers and position players) who have had success in the Cape Cod League. The Cape is the premier collegiate wood bat summer league, so it’s the best against the best.
  3. Southern California. SoCal is a baseball hotbed, so targeting players from that area is understandable, but Oppenheimer is also a USC guy, and he’s stayed close to home. Over the last three drafts, six of the eleven players the Yankees took in the top three rounds were from Southern California.

This is not to say the Yankees are a lock to draft a college player from SoCal who has had success on the Cape in the first round in a few weeks. It’s just that when you’re looking at possible targets, guys with one or three of those traits are a pretty good place to start. The Yankees go to these wells often.

Try For A High School Bat Again?

Okay, so even after all of that, I wonder if the Yankees will look for a high school bat with their first round pick this summer. Several reports indicated they wanted a prep bat with their first rounder last year, but all the guys they liked were off the board by time their pick rolled around, so they went with Kaprielian.

According to MLB.com, seven of the top 30 draft prospects this year are high school hitters. It’s nine of 30 according to Keith Law (subs. req’d). There are definitely some interesting prep bats this year. That doesn’t mean the Yankees will like them as much as the guys they liked last year, of course. I’m just saying. If Oppenheimer and his staff want to find a high school bat this year, there are some nice options available.

Avoid Injured Players?

Injuries have already cut through the top of the draft board. Florida LHP A.J. Puk (back) and Oklahoma RHP Alec Hanson (forearm) were the top two college starters in the draft coming into the spring, but their stock is down now due to injuries. Florida HS LHP Jesus Luzardo, a consensus first round talent, had Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago.

The Yankees have steered clear of injured players the last few drafts, choosing to minimize their risk. “We’re going to go with guys that are healthy. That’s something that’s more interesting to us than going with guys that aren’t,” said Oppenheimer last year after taking Kaprielian over the more highly regarded LHP Brady Aiken, who was coming off Tommy John surgery.

Given the current draft system, I think there are very few instances where taking an injured player in the first round makes sense. There’s just too much risk and too much draft pool space attached to that one pick. I thought Aiken was worth the risk last year because he was a legitimate No. 1 overall talent when healthy, but I didn’t see his medicals and it’s not my neck on the line.

I don’t see any prospect in this draft class that I think is worth taking in the first round if he’s hurt. (I mean a serious injury like Tommy John surgery. If a guy misses two weeks because he pulled his hamstring running to first, that’s not a huge deal.) Even New Jersey LHP Jason Groome, the consensus best prospect available, is not a truly elite draft prospect like Aiken. He’s No. 1 almost by default. I expect the Yankees to again stick to healthy players in 2016.

Small Bonus Pool

The Yankees have a $5.77M draft bonus pool this year, eighth smallest in baseball. That’s because they finished with a top ten record last year and didn’t add any picks through free agent compensation. There’s only so much pool manipulation — take college seniors in rounds 7-10 to save money, etc. — you can do to save space with that small a bonus pool.

Even in 2014, when they surrendered a bunch of picks to sign free agents (Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury), the Yankees still managed to massage their bonus pool and hand out a huge bonus. RHP Austin DeCarr received a $1M payday, nearly double his slot value as the team’s third rounder. I would be surprised if they didn’t find a way to give out one big overslot bonus this year.

Four truths about the Yankees six games into 2016

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

If you’re reading RAB, you’re probably not new to this baseball thing. You know the season is still very young — the Yankees have played 3.7% of their 2016 schedule — and you know much of what happens in the first week of games doesn’t mean a whole lot. Outside of injury, I’m not sure anything you see the first week of the season should drastically change your outlook.

That doesn’t mean the first week is meaningless though. Last week Grant Brisbee wrote about the incontrovertible truths of Opening Day. All those little things we saw around the league in Game One that we know are true. The Diamondbacks are going to be holding their breath each Zack Greinke start for the next six years, for example. So, following Brisbee’s lead, I present four incontrovertible truths about the Yankees six games into 2016.

The regulars are going to rest. A lot.

The Yankees and Joe Girardi have been talking about this since last season, and so far they have been true to their word. Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran all sat last Friday simply because the Yankees had played three days in a row and had a day game following a late arrival into Detroit. That was the first real sign the team is committed to this plan.

Furthermore, Girardi told Ken Davidoff he was already looking ahead to Sunday’s postponement when using his bullpen Saturday. “It was one of the reasons I was willing to use the bullpen the way I did … Because I really, in my mind, never thought we were going to play (Sunday),” he said. The likely postponement and Monday’s off-day meant it was okay to use Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller with a four-run lead.

The season is still very young and the Yankees are already going out of their way to rest their important players. Once we move past the schedule weirdness of April and get into the day-in, day-out grind of regular season baseball, the rest will only be more frequent and deliberate. Who knows whether this will actually help the Yankees avoid a second half fade. They seemed to determined to find out.

The starters are not going to pitch deep into games.

Through six games, exactly one starter has completed six full innings in an outing. That was CC Sabathia over the weekend. Here are the innings and pitch counts for the six starts made by the five starters so far:

April 5th: 5.2 innings, 87 pitches (Masahiro Tanaka)
April 6th: Five innings, 87 pitches (Michael Pineda)
April 7th: Five innings, 94 pitches (Nathan Eovaldi)
April 8th: Five innings, 95 pitches (Luis Severino)
April 9th: Six innings, 90 pitches (CC Sabathia)
April 12th: Five innings, 92 pitches (Tanaka)

Apparently no one comes out of Spring Training fully stretched out these days, so the Yankees are still easing their starters into things in the early going. (The cold weather in New York and Detroit didn’t help either.) Eventually these guys will be allowed to throw 100+ pitches. (I think.) That should lead to more starts of six or more innings.

That said, the lack of length from the starters is nothing new. Last season Pineda (5.95) and Eovaldi (5.72) both averaged fewer than six innings per start. So did Severino (5.67), and even when you subtract his one disaster start against the Blue Jays, he still averaged exactly six innings per start. Sabathia led the staff in innings despite averaging only 5.77 innings per game. Tanaka was the staff workhorse at 6.42 innings per start.

Eovaldi has never pitched deep into games, and while Pineda has shown the ability to do so on occasion, he doesn’t do it consistently. Girardi usually doesn’t let Sabathia go through the lineup a third time unless he’s really cruising (or the bullpen is really short), and Tanaka has been handled with kid gloves since his elbow injury. Severino? He’s just a kid and the Yankees don’t want to overwork him.

Only 88 times in 162 games did the Yankees get at least six innings from their starters last season. That was the eighth fewest in baseball and third fewest in the AL. The same staff is back this year, only with Severino replacing Ivan Nova and Adam Warren. Unless Eovaldi or Pineda suddenly figure out a way to be efficient, the Yankees are again going to ask their bullpen for 10-12 outs most nights.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Shreve is back in the Circle of Trust™.

Either due to fatigue or some other reason, Chasen Shreve crashed hard down the stretch last year. He was basically unusable in close games. Yet when Spring Training opened, Girardi talked about Shreve like he was one of the regular relievers, and there was no indication his roster spot was in jeopardy. A dominant spring (10 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K) assured he was going to be on the roster.

So far this season Shreve has appeared in four games, and all four appearances came in fairly big situations. Look at when Girardi has brought him into the game:

April 5th: Sixth inning, runner on first, two outs, score tied.
April 7th: To start the seventh inning, score tied.
April 9th: Seventh inning, runner on second, two outs, Yankees up four. Miguel Cabrera (!) due up.
April 12th: To start the seventh inning, Yankees up by one.

That April 9th game really drove home that Shreve has a place in the Circle of Trust™. The Yankees had a comfortable lead, but Cabrera was due up with a chance to cut the lead in half — he had homered the previous day, remember — and Girardi still brought in the lefty Shreve. That’s the kind of situation where using Betances wouldn’t be so crazy. Instead, he went to Shreve, who got Miggy to ground out harmlessly to third.

The Yankees are going to be without Aroldis Chapman for another three weeks and four days, and Girardi has entrusted Shreve to be his No. 3 reliever behind Betances and Miller for the time being. And being the No. 4 guy when Chapman returns is no small thing either, not with the Yankees opted to build the team around their bullpen.

The Yankees will miss Teixeira when he’s gone.

I am a big Greg Bird fan and I’m glad the Yankees have him around as the long-term solution at first base. His shoulder injury really sucks. Hopefully it’s a bump in the road and not something that derails his career. Bird looks very much like someone capable of holding down the job for the next decade.

As good as Bird is — or at least projects to be — he does not combine high-end offense with high-end defense like Mark Teixeira. Very few do. I count seven first basemen you can comfortably project to be above-average on both sides of the ball: Teixeira, Paul Goldschmidt, Eric Hosmer, Adrian Gonzalez, Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, and Brandon Belt. All All-Stars, basically, because one-dimensional doesn’t really fly anymore.

Teixeira is no longer the hitter he once was, but he’s still really good, mostly thanks to his power. He has very few peers defensively. We see it every game with his scoops and the way he makes tough flips to the pitcher at the bag look routine. Dustin Ackley goes out and plays first for an afternoon, flubs two tough plays, and it stands out like a sore thumb. Bird’s glove is below even Ackley’s at this point.

I have no idea what will happen with Teixeira following the season. He’s going to be a free agent and the Yankees are skewing younger, but Bird’s injury threw a wrench into things. Whenever Teixeira is gone, either this offseason or next or the one after that, the Yankees are going to miss his two-way play. His glove is close to impossible to replace.

Bullpen shines bright in a 3-2 Yankees victory in Toronto

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

I forgot for a hot minute how intense those late-season Yankees-Blue Jays games were last year. The Jays are not a team without imperfections (see: their rotation) but they still figure to be a contender for AL East title this season. Tonight’s game was not an easy one to watch for either team’s fans, but thanks to Jacoby Ellsbury‘s seventh-inning bloop RBI and a strong bullpen performance, the Yankees took the first game of the three-game series by the score of 3-2.

Early Lead

The Yankee bats were up against a power arm, Aaron Sanchez. After being chosen with the 34th overall pick out of HS in 2010 MLB Draft, Sanchez was a starter in minors, but when he came up, the Blue Jays got him used to pitching in ML as a reliever. After battling for a fifth starter spot in ST, he beat out Gavin Floyd to be a starting pitcher in their rotation.

New York had a scoring chance against him in the bottom of second. Brian McCann walked to lead off and advanced to second on a Carlos Beltran ground out. Chase Headley walked to put two baserunners on and both of them advanced when Sanchez’s pickoff throw to second sailed to outfield. With one out, runners on second and third, Starlin Castro‘s ground out scored McCann from third. 1-0 Yankees. When you’re matching up against a division foe, you really want to score a run some way or another. Yankees will gladly take a couple of walks, an errant throw and an RBI ground out to do so. For Sanchez, it didn’t help that his command was rusty early on.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

(Gutty) Tanaka Tuesday

You would think that, Masahiro Tanaka, who hasn’t been great with keeping the ball in the ballpark (allowed 28 homers last year), would not be a great matchup versus the Jays. However, in seven career games versus Toronto, Tanaka has held them to a .584 OPS, allowing only 7 walks while striking out 48, which is … pretty good.

Anyways, no matter how successful he’s been against them, it’s never easy facing a lineup like that. From the get-go, in the first, Tanaka walked Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion back-to-back to create a two out, runners on first and second situation. After a full count battle against Troy Tulowitzki, Tanaka got him strikeout swinging on a splitter, needing 29 pitches to get three outs.

At least in the early going, Tanaka seemed like he was pitching for hitters to chase while not being able to finish them off swiftly. For instance, here’s how his matchup versus Russell Martin in second inning:

Pitch 1: Ball above the zone, 90 mph fastball
Pitch 2: Strike on outside corner, 91 mph fastball
Pitch 3: Foul on the inside 88 mph fastball
Pitch 4: Foul on the outside 85 mph splitter
Pitch 5: Ball on just above the zone 85 mph slider
Pitch 6: Foul on inside 83 mph slider
Pitch 7: Foul on the 91 mph fastball on outside corner
Pitch 8: Ball on the outside 78 mph curveball
— Pickoff Throw —
Pitch 9: Foul on the 82 mph slider, bit down the middle
Pitch 10: Swinging strike on 91 mph fastball up

In the third, Tanaka hit Kevin Pillar with a pitch and surrendered a single to Josh Donaldson. Up next, Bautista smoked a hanging slider to deep center for a two-run double. It also didn’t help that Ellsbury got off to a late start to track the ball. Had he seen the ball better, he could have limited the damage to a sac fly; instead, it became 2-1 Jays. However, after a Larry Rothschild mound visit, fortune stood more on Tanaka’s side. He struck out Encarnacion and induced a Chris Colabello double play to get out of the inning without more damage.

Tonight wasn’t Tanaka’s prettiest start but give him credit for this: he bent but didn’t break. After the laborious third, the rest was easier for him. He managed a seven-pitch fourth and allowed only one baserunner (Pillar lead off single) in 14-pitch fifth. And that was the end of his night – 92 pitches, 54 strikes, 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K. Not great but all things considered, especially with the walks he allowed, two earned runs in five innings pitched doesn’t sound terrible.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Tie Game

After showing some rocky command to start the game, Sanchez seemed to settle in. From third to fifth, he only allowed two baserunners and protected Toronto’s 2-1 lead. It seemed like he was well on his way to another scoreless inning in the sixth after getting A-Rod and Mark Teixeira out. However, McCann saw a mistake fastball down the middle with full count and drove it to the right field seats to tie the game up at 2-2.

McCann is not usually known as a contact hitter, but so far this season, he’s carried one of the hottest bats in baseball. After tonight, the Yankee catcher has hit for a .500/.591/.889 line in 22 PA’s. He also came off a ST where he hit for a pretty good average too (.333/.366/.436 in 39 AB’s) so I wonder if there were some adjustments made with new hitting coaches.

Bullpen Wars (aka How I Learned to Love the Yankee Bullpen Even Without Chapman)

The Yankees put in Johnny Barbato in the bottom of sixth in relief of Tanaka. I know this may sound like a knee-jerk reaction, but his stuff has late-inning reliever written all over him — power fastball and nice-looking off speed pitches. He needs some big league seasoning, of course, but man, his arm can be something nice to watch.

In the next frame, the Jays put in Brett Cecil, one of their late-inning guys. Headley led off with a single and Castro walked in four pitches. Did Gregorius executed a successful sac bunt to bring two runners into scoring position with one out. In a full count, Ellsbury dunked a blooper right in front of LF Michael Saunders for an RBI single. After misjudging a fly ball earlier in the game to cost Yankees a run, he gave one for the team when it counted. Had the Jays placed the infield back, Donaldson might have had a chance to catch it. 3-2 Yankees.

Chasen Shreve entered in the bottom seventh and got the first two outs. After walking Donaldson, however, Joe Girardi decided to match up Bautista with Dellin Betances. Power against power, Betances against Bautista, Yankees up by one in late innings: pretty fun TV, right? After a full count battle, Betances dropped an absolute filthy curve into the strike zone to win the battle. Goodness gracious what a pitch. Don’t believe me? Just watch:

The Yankees threatened once again in the next frame against Jesse Chavez. After a Teixeira ground out, McCann singled to not only get on base but also to raise his batting average to .500, which is pretty neat. Beltran struck out swinging but Headley singled to left to make it dicey for the Jays. Castro, after putting up a bit of a battle, struck out swinging on a cutter way off the plate. He can hit the ball hard but sometimes, he can make himself foolish like that.

Betances did what was expected of him in the eighth: pure filth. Encarnacion popped out, Tulowitzki struck out swinging on a curve on dirt and Colabello got called out on strikes on (guess what) a curve. They call good curveballs Uncle Charlie. Betances’ tonight was more like Great Uncle Charleston who drinks the finest bourbon on fancy cruise parties, or something like that.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Girardi pulled the usual move and put Andrew Miller to take care of the ninth. The tall lefty struck out Michael Saunders, got Martin to ground out and struck out Justin Smoak to win it for New York. 11 pitches, 9 strikes, 2 strikeouts and immeasurable filth.

The Yankee bullpen: 4 IP, 2 BB, 5 K’s and no hits allowed tonight. Pretty solid.

Leftovers

I mentioned Barbato before but he deserves another mention because tonight was his first career ML victory. Drafted in the 6th round by the Padres (out of Varela HS in Miami, Fl.), he spent five seasons in minors and looks like he found his niche as a bullpen arm that could be useful in ML. Congrats to him.

This is a bit buried since New York won tonight but the top four of the lineup – Ellsbury, Gardner, A-Rod and Teixeira – were very quiet tonight. They went 2-for-16 combined, which is not ideal. So far in this very young season, these guys are hitting a total combined 18-for-87, which is good for a 0.207 average. Good to see that the team hasn’t faltered much (4-2 in first six games is pretty nice) while they’ve been cold.

Box Score, WPA, Highlights and Updated Standings

Here’s tonight’s box score, WPA, video highlights and updated standings. Knock yourself out. Side note: a 4-2 start is nice but man, are the Orioles hot (7-0 !).


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees are back at it again tomorrow in the Rogers Centre. Michael Pineda will take the mound, hoping to pitch a better one than his season debut last week.

DotF: Judge picks up four hits in Scranton’s win

Two quick notes:

  • One scout told Erik Boland that RHP James Kaprielian was “unbelievably good” in his season debut last night. His fastball was up to 97 mph — so the velocity bump has not yet faded — and his slider up to 86 mph. Pretty, pretty good.
  • IF Deibinson Romero has been placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL with an unknown injury, so says Shane Hennigan. They’re currently playing with a 23-man roster, if you can believe that. Soon enough 1B/OF Nick Swisher will join them, though they’ll still be a man short.

Triple-A Scranton (9-1 win over Pawtucket)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-5, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
  • RF Aaron Judge: 4-6, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 K — 9-for-23 (.391) in the early going
  • DH Slade Heathcott: 0-6, 1 R, 4 K — ouch … he’s been pretty great so far though, so shake it off
  • C Gary Sanchez: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 PB — he’s thrown out all three runners who have tried to steal so far this year
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI — first start at second base this year
  • RHP Chad Green: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 3/2 GB/FB — 55 of 92 pitches were strikes (60%) … not the most efficient night
  • RHP Conor Mullee: 3.1 IP, zeroes, 6 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 29 of 42 pitches were strikes (69%) … nice night for the three-time Tommy John surgery guy
  • LHP James Pazos: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 22 of 39 pitches were strikes (56%)

[Read more…]

Update: Fluoroscope on McCann’s toe comes back negative

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

10:43pm: A fluoroscope at Rogers Centre came back negative, the Yankees say. It’s being called a bruise and McCann is day-to-day. He will not go for any additional tests unless the injury lingers. Exhale.

10:24pm: Brian McCann is going for an x-ray on his toe, Joe Girardi told reporters following tonight’s game. He took a foul pitch off his foot early in the game but did stay in, and he even hit a home run in the sixth inning. Girardi said McCann will not play tomorrow regardless of the x-ray results.

McCann was limping noticeably during his home run trot and was also seen rubbing his foot during the at-bat. He even called the trainer out at one point during the game, but stayed in. Austin Romine replaced McCann behind the plate in the ninth inning.

Following tonight’s 2-for-4 effort, McCann is now hitting .500/.591/.889 (323 wRC+) this season. Yes, it’s super duper early. That doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s been outstanding so far. Everyone loves Gary Sanchez, but man, losing McCann for any length of time would be a big blow.

Game Six: Tanaka Tuesday

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

Last year, when the Blue Jays went 9-4 against the Yankees in the second half, Masahiro Tanaka was the only starter to put up much of a fight against the Toronto offense. He made three starts against the Blue Jays after the All-Star break. The result: 22 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 20 K. The Jays wrecked all sorts of pitching late last year, but they couldn’t touch Tanaka.

Tanaka and the Blue Jays will meet tonight for the first this season, and unfortunately nothing that happened last year matters now. Tanaka’s second half success against Toronto doesn’t mean anything today. It’s a new season. The Yankees and Blue Jays are going to beat up on each other all summer — hopefully the fight isn’t so one-sided this year — and these head-to-head games are going to play a huge role in deciding the AL East. Here is the Jays’ lineup and here is the Yanks’ lineup:

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

It is cloudy and cold in Toronto, so I assume the Rogers Centre roof is closed. I’m sure the Yankees don’t mind. They’ve played in nothing but temperatures near freezing so far this year. Tonight’s game will begin a bit after 7pm ET and you can watch live on YES. Enjoy the game, y’all.

Injury Update: Nick Rumbelow will have his Tommy John surgery this Friday. We heard yesterday Rumbelow needs his elbow rebuilt. He hurt himself over the weekend. Sucks.

Yanks agree to stay in Tampa for Spring Training through 2046; GMS Field to get $40M in renovations

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees and the Tampa Sports Authority have agreed to a new deal that will keep the team in Tampa for Spring Training through 2046, the two sides announced Monday. As part of the deal, Gorge M. Steinbrenner Field will get $40M in renovations. Upgrades will also be made to the Himes minor league complex across the street.

“The Steinbrenner family is extremely proud to have called Tampa Bay home for decades and extending the New York Yankees’ agreement with the community through 2046 is very important to us,” said Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “We are excited to see these improvements to Steinbrenner Field, all of which will significantly improve the fan experience.”

“The New York Yankees have been great partners in our community for decades and having these improvements and commitment thru 2046 will be a major economic benefit for our area,” added Eric Hart, president and CEO of the Tampa Sports Authority. “I would like to thank the Hillsborough County administration and the New York Yankees for their efforts to ensure the continuation of this great partnership.”

According to the press release, the renovations to GMS Field will include new outfield concourses and more “social gathering areas” with shade. The plan still needs approval from several governing parties, and once they dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s, the renovations will begin. Construction is expected to be completed in time for Spring Training next season.

I assume GMS Field will still be playable this summer and High-A Tampa won’t have to play their home games somewhere else. There was nothing about that mentioned in the release. A few years ago PNC Field underwent extensive renovations, forcing Triple-A Scranton to play an entire season on the road. That was not fun for the players.

The renovations will be paid for by Hillsborough County, the state Spring Training Retention Program, and the Yankees. Public money for stadium renovations. Blah. Unfortunately that is happening all over the country.