Rosenthal: Giants mulling over a run at Andrew Miller

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Giants have internally discussed making a run at Yankees southpaw Andrew Miller. I’m sure 28 other teams have considered pursuing Miller as well, though the Giants definitely stand out as a realistic suitor because they’re very good — they’re 35-23 and 3.5 games up in the NL West — and have a clear need in the bullpen. Makes total sense.

We still have no idea whether the Yankees will actually sell at the trade deadline — Jon Heyman says the higher ups held a conference call yesterday and decided it’s still too early to start selling off pieces, for what it’s worth — but they did listen to offers for Miller over the winter, so I assume they’ll do so again this summer. It never hurts to listen, after all. Miller is extremely valuable for many reasons. He’s dominant, he’s signed through 2018 at a below market salary, and he’s willing to accept any role. Miller is pretty, pretty awesome. I have a few thoughts on this.

1. What can the Giants offer for Miller? This is where it gets tricky. It seems unlikely the Giants will part with anyone from their Major League roster to get Miller. They want to add to their roster, not subtract from it. That leaves prospects, and well, San Francisco’s system kinda stinks. Baseball America ranked their system 19th in baseball before the season, and that was before many of their top prospects took a step back. (Here is their MLB.com top 30 prospects list.)

Shortstop Christian Arroyo hasn’t hit much at Double-A, righty Tyler Beede’s stuff has backed up and he no longer misses bats, and righty Phil Bickford continues to project as a reliever more than a starter. That isn’t to say those guys are bad prospects. They’re not. It’s just that the Yankees wouldn’t be getting back that slam dunk high-end talent they crave. Remember, they asked the Astros for Lance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez over the winter.

The Yankees want a top young player who is MLB ready — really, they want multiple top young players for Miller — and that is totally reasonable. Look at what Craig Kimbrel and Ken Giles fetched over the winter. Miller is every bit as good as those two if not better. He doesn’t offer as many years of control as Giles, but he’s cheaper than Kimbrel. The Yankees have set a high price and that’s exactly what they should do. They’re not being unrealistic.

2. The Yankees must create a bidding war. This goes without saying. Every contending team is going to want Miller. The Giants, Mets, Nationals, Rangers, Cubs, Dodgers, White Sox, Mariners, heck, the Red Sox too. I can’t see the Yankees trading Miller to Boston but I’m sure the Sox would happily take him. Even non-contenders will take Miller because he’s signed through 2018. You might not contend this year, but what about next year and the year after? (That’s a reason for the Yankees to keep him too, right?)

The Yankees not only have an opportunity to field multiple offers for Miller, but they’ll be in position to leverage rivals against each other. The Dodgers and Giants will be involved. So will the Mets and Nationals. The Mariners and Rangers too. It’s the perfect storm of trade value. Miller is awesome and everyone is going to want him. It’s a dream scenario for the Yankees. No other team can offer a reliever as good as Miller at the trade deadline so they control the market. This is an opportunity to net a huge return.

3. Take the best talent, don’t try to fill specific needs. I’m of the belief that when you trade someone as valuable as Miller, even a reliever, the goal should be to acquire the most talent regardless of position. The Yankees need pitching and a long-term third base solution, though they shouldn’t have tunnel vision. If the best offer is, say, a shortstop and an outfielder, take it. The Yankees aren’t in position to pick and choose here. They need to accumulate talent all over the diamond then sort it out later. The goal should be maximizing the return, not addressing needs. This isn’t your run of the mill “we need to plug a hole” trade.

* * *

The Giants are only the first team we’re hearing that has considered making a run at Miller. They won’t be the last. The Yankees continue to fade in the standings — their postseason odds are down to 11.8% according to FanGraphs — and they haven’t given us much reason to expect them to improve going forward. I don’t think there’s a Yankee fan who dislikes Miller. No one wants to see him go. The team needs young talent though, and the best way to add a lot of young talent in a short amount of time is trading Miller.

Yankeemetrics: Buried in Baltimore [June 2-5]

#TrueYankee (AP Photo)
#TrueYankee (AP Photo)

Refsnyder to the Rescue
The Yankees halted their mini-three-game skid with a 5-4 win against the Tigers on Thursday night. If not for Rob Refsnyder, the mood on the Yankees flight from Detroit to Baltimore would have been remarkably different.

Refsnyder played a starring role in the biggest moments of the game, starting with his leadoff double in the sixth inning which broke up Matt Boyd’s unlikely no-hit bid. The 25-year-old went on to score the tying run two batters later on Jacoby Ellsbury‘s sacrifice fly, and then two frames later, he delivered a tie-breaking RBI single to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

It was Refsnyder’s first career go-ahead RBI, and the first go-ahead RBI in the seventh inning or later by a Yankee second baseman against the Tigers since Alfonso Soriano on June 1, 2003.

Refsnyder’s heroics might have stolen the headlines, but it was Michael Pineda‘s strong bounceback performance on the mound that made sure the Yankees had a chance to win this game. Pineda entered Thursday with the league’s highest ERA among qualified pitchers (6.92), and in his previous four starts had surrendered a whopping 20 earned runs and 30 hits in 20 1/3 innings.

So, of course, Pineda pitched his best game of the season, allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. He dominated the Tigers lineup with his wipeout slider, which generated 14 whiffs on 22 swings, a season-best 64 percent whiff rate for the pitch. Per Statcast data, Pineda now has 97 total swings-and-misses on his slider this season, second only to Clayton Kershaw among all major-league pitchers.

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

A trip to the (Not) Charm City
Baltimore has mostly been a miserable place for the Yankees in recent years — they entered this series with a 9-22 record at Camden Yards since 2013, their worst mark at any AL ballpark — and did little to reverse that trend in the series opener.

On a day when the Yankee bats surprisingly came alive, it was their recently-excellent starting pitching and normally-lockdown bullpen that struggled in Friday night’s frustrating 6-5 loss.

Nathan Eovaldi, 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA in his previous five starts, was charged with five runs in 5 1/3 innings; the mortal version of Dellin Betances coughed up the game-winning run in the seventh.

A-Rod and Carlos Beltran did their part in sparking the offense with homers in consecutive at-bats in the fourth inning. They are just the third pair of teammates aged 39 or older to hit back-to-back home runs in major-league history. The others were Ted Williams and Mickey Vernon for the Red Sox on Sept. 21, 1957 and Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez for the Dodgers on April 29, 2007.

A-Rod breaks out
The Yankees used another unlikely offensive outburst — yes, it was unlikely for a team that began the weekend with the lowest batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in the AL — to beat the Orioles, 8-6, on Saturday night. They piled up 16 hits, their most hits in a game at Camden Yards since Sept. 2, 2009.

A-Rod had his second three-hit game of the season and it was his RBI single in the ninth inning that might have been his most notable swing of the night. Vance Worley threw a two-strike slider that A-Rod sliced up the middle to score Aaron Hicks from second base. That was his first hit off a breaking pitch this season; he was 0-for-17 with nine strikeouts in at-bats ending in a curve or slider before that hit.

Jacoby Ellsbury scored the seventh run of the game on a well-executed double steal with Brett Gardner. It was the second time in 2016 that Ellsbury has stolen home, joining Chris Chambliss in 1977 as the only Yankees in the last 60 years with two steals of home in a single season.

The worst rain delay ever
For the second time in three games, the Yankees snatched defeat from the arms of victory. They had a 1-0 advantage in the eighth inning, and after sitting through a one-hour-and-37-minute rain delay, they blew the lead and suffered yet another brutal loss.

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)
This one was different from the others, though equally gut-wrenching. For the first time this season, the Yankees lost a game when taking a lead into the eighth inning; they’re now 25-1 in that situation.

It also clinched their eighth straight series loss in Baltimore, a wholly depressing and unprecedented streak. This is the first time that the Yankees have dropped eight series on the road in the history of this rivalry, which dates back to 1903, including when the Orioles were the St. Louis Browns.

Moving on to more positive notes … CC Sabathia turned in another stellar, though inefficient, effort with just two hits allowed in five scoreless innings. He needed 111 pitches to get those 15 outs, because of several long at-bats and a career-high-tying six walks.

The last Yankee pitcher to walk at least six guys and not give up a run was A.J. Burnett on Aug. 7, 2009 against the Red Sox. (That was the 15th inning A-Rod walk-off homer game.) Ya know, sometimes you can predict baseball.

Sabathia has now pitched at least five innings and given up no more than three runs in each of his last nine road starts, the longest such streak by a Yankee pitcher since Ron Guidry had nine starts in a row like that spanning the 1977 and 1978 seasons.

Fan Confidence Poll: June 6th, 2016

Record Last Week: 2-5 (22 RS, 34 RA)
Season Record: 26-30 (212 RS, 243 RA, 24-32 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: vs. Angels (four games, Mon. to Thurs.), vs. Tigers (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Yanks lose to the O’s 3-1 and yeah, the lead was in doubt, yes sir

Getty Images

If I were to introduce baseball to a friend, this would have not have been the game to show. It was a rather slow-moving game with a lot of runners clogging up the bases without scoring. Oh yeah, there was a rain delay too. CC Sabathia didn’t have his prettiest outing but the bullpen blew the 1-0 lead in the eighth for the 3-1 loss to the O’s. The old friend #RISPFail really came back to bite the Yanks today. It’s the weekend so let’s do this bullet-style.

  • That *One* Run: The Yankees took the lead in the third. With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury squeaked a single by Manny Machado and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After he advanced to third on a Brett Gardner ground out, then A-Rod hit an RBI single for a 1-0 Yankees lead. Just like many other times in this season, that was the only time Yankees were able to drive in a run.
  • #RISPFail: The Yankees had runners in scoring position in six different innings, and they only scored one run. They were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, which is pretty poor. In the top of fourth, with a 1-0 lead, they had a chance to make it even bigger. However, in the most 2016 Yankees fashion, Aaron Hicks grounded into a force out and Ellsbury struck out to end the inning. How do I feel about this? Consider this video.
  • Just Getting By: CC overall did a nice job but it took him 71 pitches to get through three innings. Orioles hitters – especially Joey Rickard, who had a pair of 12-pitch AB’s – really worked him with foul ball after foul ball, and Sabathia himself didn’t display his finest command. He allowed six walks, which ties career high, but he was able to grind through those five innings to not allow any runs. It’s not nest we’ve seen the new Sabathia but I feel like if this were the CC of the previous few years, he would have had a much, much worse line. He still managed to baffle hitters with strikeouts (5 in 5 IP) and soft contact. He can stay.
  • The First Attempt to Hold On: I know the Yankees have a strong back of the bullpen but it’s hard to be optimistic about holding a 1-0 lead against the strong O’s offense. In the sixth inning with no outs, Joe Girardi pulled Sabathia out (111 pitches) for Kirby Yates. Yates tossed a solid 2-strikeout scoreless inning and passed the baton to Dellin Betances in the seventh. Dellin tossed a scoreless seventh and came back out for the eighth to get a couple of outs before Girardi summoned Aroldis Chapman. That eight inning started awfully shaky with Betances allowing a walk to Mark Trumbo and single to Chris Davis. After striking out Nolan Reimold, Girardi decided to bring Chapman … and then the umps called for the tarp for the impending storm.
  • Blowin’ it: After an hour and 37 minute rain delay, Chapman came into the game to record, hopefully, five outs for a save. He blew away Jonathan Schoop with a 100-mile high heat for a strikeout. Needing only one more to get out of the inning, Chapman allowed a first-pitch single to Tony Pena‘s kid Francisco to load the bases. Uh-oh. Next up, on a 0-2 count, pinch-hitter Matt Wieters hit a single to center that plated two and one more on Ellsbury’s throwing error. 3-1 Orioles. Sigh. Like I said, these guys are pretty special arms but not 100% foolproof. The Yankee big 3 pen arms tossed 5.1 IP this series and allowed 4 runs with 2 losses (both charged to Betances). Not a good couple of days for them. Yankees got completely shut down by Zach Britton in the ninth to lose the game.

Here’s today’s box score, video highlights, WPA and updated standings. The Yankees head home for a four-game series with the Angels. Masahiro Tanaka and Matt Shoemaker will be the starters Monday. It’s HOPE Week too. That’s cool.


Source: FanGraphs

Sunday Night Open Thread

Here is your open thread for the rest of the weekend. The Cardinals and Giants are the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game (Martinez vs. Giants) and Game 2 of the NBA Finals is on as well (8pm ET on ABC). Talk about those games or anything else right here.

DotF: Estrada stays hot in Charleston’s win

OF Michael O’Neill has been bumped up from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton, so says Josh Norris.

Triple-A Scranton (4-1 loss to Columbus in six innings) called early due to rain

  • CF Ben Gamel: 0-3, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 K, 1 SB — threw a runner out at the plate … he’s now 10-for-12 on stolen base attempts in his career
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB, 1 E (missed catch) — it’s two games, but he’s already making the most of his latest opportunity at Triple-A
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 1-3, 1 2B
  • DH Jake Cave: 0-3
  • LHP Phil Coke: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 9/3 GB/FB — 58 of 92 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • LHP Tyler Olson: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 19 of 28 pitches were strikes (68%)
  • RHP Layne Somsen: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 14 of 26 pitches were strikes (54%)

[Read more…]

Game 56: Sabathia Sunday

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

Who would have guessed coming into the season that CC Sabathia would be one of the Yankees’ steadiest and most effective starters? He’s pitching to the best case scenario, basically. A 2.85 ERA (3.19 FIP) is vintage Sabathia stuff. It’s been a few years since I’ve looked forward to Sabathia starts. This is pretty cool. CC is definitely one the team’s biggest bright spots this season. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 2B Starlin Castro
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 1B Rob Refsnyder
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    LHP CC Sabathia

It was raining in Baltimore much of the morning and the forecast says it’s going to pour later this afternoon. It looks like there will be a long enough window to get the game in though, so that’s good. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: Austin Romine (thumb) was able to hit today and is available if necessary … Chasen Shreve (shoulder) threw off flat ground again yesterday. He’s going to rest today then throw long toss tomorrow. Joe Girardi confirmed Shreve will go out on a minor league rehab assignment before being activated off the DL, which is no surprise.