Via Teri Thompson & Michael O’Keeffe: Alex Rodriguez showed up to former BALCO king Victor Conte’s doorstep last May with former NFLer Bill Romanowski in search of legal supplements to help his performance. The Yankees had an off-day in Oakland late last May before kicking off a West Coast road trip.
Conte, who served four months in prison for conspiracy to distribute steroids and money laundering, met with MLB investigators last week and said he initially declined to meet with A-Rod before he showed up uninvited. He recommended an increase in protein intake and to stop using a calcium-magnesium-zinc product. Given the people involved, the “legal supplemental” part of this is lol-worthy. Given the timing of Conte’s talk with investigators, I’m sure all of this was covered under the umbrella of the 211-game suspension handed down last week. · (24) ·
It has been more than a month since the Yankees last won a series outright. They took two of three from the Orioles at Yankee Stadium from July 5th through 7th, and since then they’ve gone 0-5-3 in eight series. The ties came against the Royals, Rangers, and Dodgers. Three teams with winning records and playoff aspirations, at least.
The Bombers can get off that schneid with a win this afternoon after splitting the first two games of this three-game set against the Tigers. They’ll have to beat Justin Verlander — formerly the best pitcher of the world, but now just really freakin’ awesome — to earn that series win, or at least hold out long enough to beat the bullpen. Either way, they’ll have to earn it. Here’s the lineup that will face the 2011 AL MVP:
- CF Brett Gardner
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Robinson Cano
- 3B Alex Rodriguez
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- LF Alfonso Soriano
- DH Curtis Granderson
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- C Chris Stewart
And on the mound is left-hander Andy Pettitte, who looked to be finding himself before allowing seven runs in 2.2 innings against the White Sox in his last start. He’s got a 5.32 ERA and 3.69 FIP in a dozen starts since coming off the DL. Pettitte has never had a losing season in his career, but his record sits at 7-9 with roughly ten starts to go.
The weather is gorgeous in New York today. Just a perfect day for baseball. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and TBS nationally. Enjoy.
The Yankees have called up right-hander Dellin Betances from Triple-A Scranton, the team announced. Seldom used infielder David Adams was sent down in a corresponding move. Betances has pitched very well since moving to the bullpen earlier this year (1.46 ERA and ~2.05 FIP in 49.1 IP), but this is about adding a fresh arm to the bullpen more than anything else. Don’t be surprised if he gets sent back down in a few days. · (45) ·
I wrote about Phil Hughes’ upcoming contract yesterday*, and as I was writing it, I thought it might be fun to contemplate Curtis Granderson‘s future as well. Specifically, I pondered whether he’ll A) remain in pinstripes, and b) if he doesn’t, what kind of contract could he be in line for on the free agent market.
Despite having an MVP caliber season in 2011, the Grandyman still has plenty of detractors. To be fair, some of the criticisms Granderson receives are legitimate gripes. He doesn’t hit for average (career .262 BA, though he’s been about 30-40 points below that the past few seasons), he strikes out a ton (career 22.9 K%), and shows noticeable splits against lefties (career 85 wRC+ against southpaws, 132 wRC+ against righties). In 2012, he batted .232/.319/.492 (.346 wOBA, 119 wRC+) which was good for a 2.3 fWAR — a value basically equivalent to league average. This year, in limited time he’s hit .208/.333/.340 (.309 wOBA, 91 wRC+). That’s not exactly what you want to be seeing from a $15M dollar (now corner) outfielder.
However, one has to also give Curtis credit for his ability to hit the long ball, which is an increasingly valuable trait. He hit 24 home runs in 2010 and 40+ home runs in each of the past two seasons. He’ll also show some patience (career 10.2 BB%) as well — and that shouldn’t be ignored given the impatient nature of this year’s Yankees squad. On top of that, he can play a passable center field though admittedly, his defense leaves something to be desired. Despite some unlucky injuries this season, he’s been pretty durable over the years, and I think it’s okay to assume he’ll be okay going forward. For what it’s worth, Granderson’s also the consummate professional and a respected ambassador of the sport, which is important for teams like the Yankees who value character and makeup.
The Yankees do have a surplus of outfielders, though I’d argue most of them are not ideally fit to be full-time starters. I think it’s probably fair to wonder whether Granderson is more valuable than Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano, and Vernon Wells. Heck, maybe you throw Brett Gardner in the mix too. Regardless of how you rank those guys, Granderson ultimately cracks the top three choices for New York’s everyday lineup. In terms of 2014 free agents, there really aren’t many quality left fielders available (unless you count Nate McLouth, which I don’t), and the only center fielder who really poses any upgrade to Granderson is Jacoby Ellsbury (who for the record, is also a player I have my doubts about). My point here is it may behoove the Yankees to keep Grandy around for another year even if he’s not part of the long-term plan. Conversely, the weak market could also play to Granderson’s advantage (though 2015 could actually be an even weaker market).
Depending on how serious the Yankees are in achieving their $189M budget (or remaining competitive for that matter), a qualifying offer might be in order. This would give Granderson an opportunity to improve his value next season and would give the Yankees a trade chip that could potentially pay off if next season doesn’t work out. In terms of salary, Grandy is currently earning $15M so the qualifying offer wouldn’t pose much of a pay cut, which isn’t all that bad considering the fact that this year was a lost year. Obviously, if Grandy declined the offer, the Yankees would get the compensation draft pick which helps the team as well. Now, before we go any further, I’d like to note that I think this is going to happen. I don’t envision the Yankees simply cutting ties with Curtis at the end of the season, and frankly, I’m okay with seeing him in pinstripes for one more season.
But what happens if the Yankees do cut ties? Well, it’s hard to tell what the market looks like for Granderson at this point. If this season weren’t such a disaster, I’d say he could expect a big payday — probably one comparable to his old battery mate, Nick Swisher (four years, $56M with a $14M option in 2017) or once-capable MLB player, Jason Bay (four year, $66M with an additional club option year). As it stands, this year has been awful though, so obviously things could go a little differently. For what it’s worth, Swisher was given the qualifying offer, so maybe they’re willing to go that route again.
Maybe if teams feel there are some question marks surrounding Grandy’s skill set moving forward, they offer him a deal similar to Corey Hart (three years, $26.5M) now. Although it isn’t totally relevant, I also wonder if a guy like Nelson Cruz impacts how things go. If he ends up getting a deal better than Melky Cabrera, maybe that inflates the contracts offered for everyone who is presumably “clean.” Granderson’s injuries were an unlucky twist of fate for him. It may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Yankees immediate future.
*As an aside, I think I’m done writing about Phil Hughes for a while. It’s getting exhausting.
That video above is Low-A Charleston SS Cito Culver making a ridiculous play in the hole on a ball that deflected off the third baseman’s glove in last night’s game. It was number two on SportsCenter’s top ten plays last night. Pretty awesome.
Triple-A Scranton (6-2 loss to Buffalo)
- CF Melky Mesa: 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 HBP — 10-for-27 (.370) since being sent down
- C J.R. Murphy: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI — 26 doubles and nine homers in 92 games this year after 26 doubles and nine homers in 110 games last year
- RF Adonis Garcia: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B
- LF Ronnie Mustelier: 0-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
- RHP Jim Miller: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 29 of 47 pitches were strikes (62%) … 80/23 K/BB in 55.2 innings … had to make the spot start because they’re short an arm with RHP Michael Pineda on the DL
- RHP Mark Montgomery: 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 11 of 19 pitches were strikes (58%)
- RHP Sam Demel: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K — 24 of 41 pitches were strikes (59%) … 54/18 K/BB in 42 innings
7:30pm: Both A-Rod and Cervelli were docked one day’s pay, reports Wally Matthews. That’s approximately $153,005 for Alex and $2,816 for Cervelli, who said he was “too stressed out” to report to the complex on the day the suspensions were announced.
4:00pm: Via Andrew Marchand: As expected, the Yankees have disciplined Alex Rodriguez for seeking a second opinion on his quad injury without the team’s approval. This is the whole Dr. Gross/Mike Francesa thing. A-Rod denied receiving anything informing him of the discipline but acknowledged it could have been sent to his lawyer.
The Yankees also disciplined Frankie Cervelli for “failing to report to work” on Monday. That was the day the various Biogenesis suspensions were announced. Cervelli probably knew the suspension (and his decision not the appeal) was coming that day and never bothered to report to the complex in Tampa, where hew was rehabbing his hand and elbow injuries. The nature of the discipline is unclear, but both players were probably fined. They could have made A-Rod pay for his own medical bills or something. · (15) ·
As you probably know, Yankees bench coach Tony Pena had an 18-year big league career with six teams (mostly with the Pirates) as an unorthodox yet very good defensive catcher. I’m sure you’ve seen clips of him squatting behind the plate with his right leg fully extended, for example. Pena also had a knack for stealing called strike threes by faking an intentional walk — he did it at least twice — something I didn’t know until today. Isn’t that awesome? The fist pump pulls it all together.
Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The Mets are playing the Diamondbacks (Wheeler vs. McCarthy) and MLB Network will air a game as well. Who you see depends on where you live. The (football) Giants and Steelers have a preseason game at 7:30pm ET on NBC, if preseason football is your thing. Talk about Pena’s awesomeness, either of those games, or anything else right here. You folks know how these things work by now, so have at it.
[h/t Maury Brown]
We are now two days shy of a full calendar month since the last time the Yankees won back-to-back games. They followed Friday’s walk-off win with a clunker on Saturday, getting blown out 9-3 by the Tigers. It looked like a big league team against a Triple-A team. The Yankees were completely outclassed on the mound, in the batter’s box, and in the field defensively. Let’s recap:
- Hughesless: For the third straight start and ninth time this year, Phil Hughes failed to complete five innings of work. No other pitcher in baseball has failed to complete five innings more than seven times, mostly because those pitchers eventually got pulled from the rotation. Hughes will get the ball again in five days because the Yankees are stubborn and also because they don’t have an alternative. Remember when they had pitching depth? Me neither. Anyway, Hughes allowed four runs (two solo homers) in 4.1 innings and has about nine more starts left in pinstripes. We should start a countdown in the sidebar.
- Token Runs: Lyle Overbay did the Yankees a solid and hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to make it look like this game was actually competitive at some point. Aside from that, Anibal Sanchez held them to four hits and a walk in seven stress-free innings. Four of those five base-runners came in the fourth and fifth innings, otherwise the Yankees had four base-runners in the other seven innings combined. Four of the final 19 batters they sent to the plate reached base, with Overbay driving in the third run with two outs in the ninth.
- Leftovers: Preston Claiborne got hit around pretty hard in his inning of work (four runs), and he’s now allowed 34 base-runners in his last 19.2 innings after allowing 14 base-runners in his first 19.2 innings … the hits came from Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano (all singles), Eduardo Nunez (double), and Overbay (single and homer) … Overbay and Curtis Granderson drew walks … Joba Chamberlain and Adam Warren combined to hold Detroit to one run in the final 3.2 innings … the bullpen is pretty taxed and it would make sense to call-up Dellin Betances for a fresh arm on Sunday. They could simply send either Warren or Claiborne down to Triple-A Scranton if they don’t want to admit defeat and cut Joba.
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are still seven back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column. Andy Pettitte vs. Justin Verlander is your pitching matchup for Sunday’s rubber game. If you’re a masochist and want to attend, check out RAB Tickets.
I’d like to think that, with Alex Rodriguez‘s home debut out of the way, everything will go back to business as usual for the Yankees. That won’t happen of course, the team is bad and everyday brings something new with A-Rod. What can you do? Just win, that’s what you can do. Here’s the lineup:
- CF Brett Gardner
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Robinson Cano
- DH Alfonso Soriano
- LF Curtis Granderson
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- 3B Jayson Nix
- C Austin Romine
And on the mound is right-hander Phil Hughes. Will he make it through five innings against the best offense in baseball? Probably not.
It’s a little overcast outside but weather won’t be an issue this afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Back in May, I took a shot at predicting Phil Hughes’s upcoming contract. Ultimately, at the time, I figured Phil’s next contract would wind up looking comparable to Edwin Jackson’s deal, or roughly four years and $52M (with guys like John Lackey or Anibal Sanchez representing the best-case scenario for Hughes if he was fantastic this season). Unfortunately for Phil, a lot more of the season has gone by since I first posted on this matter, and most have it has been negative, at least as it pertains to his contributions. So, have circumstances changed? Let’s take a look.
At this point, it seems very unlikely that New York will offer an extension to Phil for good reason. He’s been pretty terrible this season. At 4-10, Hughes has pitched to a 4.87 ERA (4.67 FIP) and has accumulated 0.8 fWAR — a mark well-below-average. That’s pretty lousy. In terms of peripherals, he’s striking out 7.38 batters per nine innings (good but not great), and walking 2.67 per nine (again, good but not great). His strikeout rate is about in line with where it normally is (1.57 HR/9), which is decidedly not great.
Phil’s looked especially feeble recently, having surrendered five runs in each of his last two starts while being driven out of each game before the fifth. I think the case could be made pretty convincingly that the last time Phil actually helped the team was July 2nd, when he limited the offensive juggernaut that is the Twins to one run over seven innings. Hughes isn’t quite as useless as Joba Chamberlain right now, but he’s close.
And so enters the qualifying offer into the discussion. Basically, the team has the option to offer Phil a one year agreement at roughly $14M for next season. There are some “pros” for choosing to this path. First, next year’s rotation is in shambles. CC Sabathia has to be considered a question mark. Who knows whether Hiroki Kuroda or Andy Pettitte will be back. That doesn’t leave much beyond unproven arms such as Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and David Phelps. Hughes isn’t perfect by any means, but at least that’s one less question mark … well, sort of anyway.
Second, and for all you optimistic types, maybe Hughes puts up better numbers next season; they can’t be worse right? Aside from benefiting the team, a rebound raises Hughes’ personal value, which in turn could lead to a better return should the team try to trade him next season, or at the very least, make everyone a hell of a lot more confident about re-signing him again moving forward. Third, should Hughes decline the qualifying offer, it’d ensure the team gets a nice compensation pick in the first round. The con is pretty self-evident of course; the team could wind up paying $14M for more of what they’re getting right now, which is a perfectly legitimate concern.
After performing so poorly this season, I’d have to imagine Hughes would strongly consider the qualifying offer should New York pose it. That’s $14M in the bank right now, and he’d still be young enough to get a decent paycheck in 2015 if he could rebound a bit next season. Unfortunately, 2015 looks to have more competition on the free agent market, but you have to figure most of the big names (i.e. Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer) will be unavailable when the time comes as teams will look to lock up their young stars. If for some reason the qualifying offer doesn’t appeal to Hughes, he could test the free agent market after this season, which seems less competitive. For what it’s worth, if Hughes tests free agency now, he’ll be one of the younger arms available which will probably work to his favor.
Maybe Phil is seeking a change of scenery. Everyone knows he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher. Maybe a place like San Diego or Minnesota makes a lot of sense for him going forward, and maybe he’s willing to take his chances elsewhere if circumstance allows. Unless Phil finishes the season very strong, I don’t see any team giving him the Edwin contract (though I’ve certainly be wrong before). Perhaps, a Wandy Rodriguez arrangement is plausible though in the open market – say, something in the vicinity of three years and $30M. After all pitchers are always in demand, and it only takes one team to jack up the price. I could see a team offering Hughes a two-year, $26M gig (similar to Ryan Dempster) too. What I don’t envision is any team offering a one-year rebound opportunity that looks more appealing than the Yankees qualifying offer. As far as the dollars, some of the examples listed may feel inflated considering his overall production. Unfortunately, supply and demand will create just such a dilemma.
What happens with Hughes after the season?
What happens with Hughes after the season?