The Yankees and CBS Radio have announced a multi-year agreement that will move the team’s radio broadcasts to WFAN-AM 660 and WFAN-FM 101.9 starting next season. We heard a deal was in the works yesterday. The agreement is reportedly worth $15-20M annually for the next ten years.
“We are extremely excited to have reached an agreement with CBS Radio,” said Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “The paramount consideration was how our fans would best be able to hear our games. Having the Yankees on WFAN-AM/FM provides listeners in the New York metropolitan area and beyond with superior broadcast quality and vast territorial signal strength.”
“We are privileged to welcome the New York Yankees to WFAN,” added Dan Mason, president and CEO of CBS Radio. “There is no bigger name in baseball than the Yankees, nor an organization so steeped in tradition. As the nation’s premier sports radio station we look forward to capturing all the excitement surrounding the team, and bringing it to millions of fans for many years to come.”
It’s unclear what the new deal means for John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, if it even means anything. Sterling’s return is all but guaranteed according to yesterday’s report, but Waldman’s future is less certain. The two have been together since 2005 and, frankly, I would be surprised if one or both did not return. Sterling has been broadcasting the team full-time since 1989 and Waldman is a long-time Yankees booster.
The Yankees and CBS have had a relationship since 2002, when their games shifted from 770 AM to 880 AM. The 660 AM and 101.9 FM signals are much stronger and farther-reaching. It’s unclear where the Mets will take their radio rights going forward. They’ve been with WFAN since 1987 and at 660 AM since 1988. They could wind up on ESPN Radio.
Mike has kept us informed on the Masahiro Tanaka front over the past few weeks. At this point, it certainly seems as though the team is doing its due diligence and is at least showing some degree of interest, though who knows if it’ll materialize into anything in the offseason. The Yankees have sent their assistant GM, Billy Eppler, along with special assignment scout (and former Mariners manager/Blue Jays bench coach/MLB player), Don Wakamatsu, to go and check him out. I’m sure New York has a bevy of other scouts who have followed Tanaka’s career as well. Whether the team should pursue Tanaka is a difficult question, but one worth asking. Let’s take a look.
Does Tanaka satisfy a need?
Obviously, the Yankees have a lot of question marks surrounding the 2014 rotation. Who knows whether CC Sabathia can become a solid pitcher again, nevermind a top of the rotation arm. Who knows if Andy Pettitte or Hiroki Kuroda plan on returning. Hell, who knows what Ivan Nova really is at this point. David Phelps and Michael Pineda provide zero certainty as well. Phil Hughes will almost certainly be gone. Can the team promote from within sufficiently? Well, they can try, but color me unconvinced.
Point is, the Yankees need pitching heading into next season in a big way. Now the skeptic could rightfully ask, does it make sense to replace so many question marks with another question mark? To that I would reply: probably, since scouts seem to agree that Tanaka is MLB ready and capable of producing positively. Additionally, every potential pitcher replacement has some degree of inherent risk, so perhaps what we really should be asking is whether Tanaka is more of a question mark than some of the alternatives (i.e. Roy Halladay or Tim Lincecum), and I don’t think that he necessarily is. As an aside, even after the presumably exorbitant posting fee and subsequent contract are offered, I’d still have to wonder if he would be a cheaper alternative than a “proven guy” like Matt Garza (who may not even be available anyway), which of course would be desirable if the $189M payroll is still the objective.
Does free agency offer anyone better?
With the exception of Matt Garza, the 2014 free agent crop of starting pitchers is pretty wanting. Maybe Ubaldo Jimenez is available and maybe you can make the argument that he’s more desirable at this point (he’s pitched great for the Indians since the All-Star break and his strikeout rates are heading back in the right direction). I’m not sure I’m sold on Ubaldo though (admittedly, I’ve never been his biggest fan). You can bet Jon Lester will have his club option picked up. Ditto for James Shields. Halladay will be 37 years old with some major health concerns. I guess there’s Tim Lincecum if you believe that ship can be righted (though as I insinuated above, I think both he and Halladay have major red flags). I suppose Dan Haren (33) is an option too, though I have my doubts about his health and skill set (talk about home run prone!). We talk about assuming risk. Well, prepare to assume a fair amount with all these guys.
Will Tanaka’s skill set hold up in the Majors?
That’s the key question, isn’t it? I’ll defer you to Mike’s scouting report from the other day for the details, but to put it succinctly, if Tanaka can become a number two type of arm at the MLB level immediately — which is apparently the consensus among scouts at this point – he’d be a major boost to any team, including New York. Is he Yu Darvish? No. Will he ever be? Probably not. Should that matter? I don’t think so. Most pitchers don’t wind up being one of the league’s best. Above average pitchers still have a lot of value though, and we’ve seen what happens to the bullpen (and record, ultimately) when one guy pitches great but is followed by a bunch of poor starts.
Are the Yankees leery of signing pitchers from Japan?
Unfortunately for Yankee fans, we’re all aware of this perception. Once upon a time, the Red Sox signed a supposed hot-shot pitcher named Daisuke Matsuzaka, while the Yankees paid a ton of cash for notable “other guy,” Kei Igawa. Obviously, neither contract worked out, though it’s clear that the Yanks hired the bigger bust. Then Darvish came along with impressive stuff. Everyone knew about the hype. The Rangers blew all the other organizations away with their bid while the Yankees posted a very conservative offer that was basically expected to fall short from the start. Apparently, this was partially due to the team’s experience with Igawa. So, here we are. The Rangers have a certifiable ace on their hands. The Yankees have a reputation of being scared of players from Japan (whether it’s justifiable or not). To wit, the Yanks also posted a conservative bid for Hyun-Jin Ryu ( though he was coming from South Korea).
I would hope the team could look at these players independently, and then assess whether they can be successful at the big league level. Avoiding talent because Igawa didn’t work out would not only be myopic, but just plain dumb. This needs to be a case-by-case decision. If Tanaka is MLB capable, he should be considered accordingly, period. If this is a question of Yankees scouting misreading talent (relative to their competition), that’s an entirely different problem and one that should be addressed immediately. That all said, I think there may be some degree of truth to the theory that the organization is worried about being burnt by an aggressive bid for one of these guys after the Igawa fiasco.
How much will Tanaka cost?
Total cop out answer: it depends, really. It’s a closed auction, so things have a tendency to get out of control pretty quickly. The Rangers won the Darvish bid at $51.7M. The Sox bid approximately $51.1M for the rights to talk with Dice-K. Last season, Ryu’s posting bid was roughly $25.7M. Tanaka is presumably not as good as Darvish, so maybe he winds up costing less. On the other hand, maybe teams are desperate for pitching and see him as someone at least comparable to Ryu, or maybe they even consider him more of a “sure thing” than Ryu. If I had to guess, I’d say the winning bid is about $40M.
From there, you then get to talk about player contracts. Darvish received a six-year, $56M contract which includes a player opt-out clause after the fifth year. It was a lot of money, but I think at this point, the Rangers are probably considering the contract a success in terms of production provided relative to the cost (at least so far). The Sox offered a six-year, $52M deal to Dice-K, which was a disaster. Ryu was also given a six-year deal that could be worth as much as $36M by the Dodgers. I suspect Tanaka will wind up closer to Darvish’s end of the spectrum than Ryu’s though. That means probably six years at approximately $7-8M per. In any event, when you consider what Garza will probably get, I think that a guy like Tanaka might make a ton of sense.
The last week or so has been total hell on the Yankees bullpen. David Robertson (shoulder) and Boone Logan (biceps, elbow) are both banged up and Shawn Kelley (triceps) spent a few days on the sidelines as well. Joba Chamberlain has been forced into high-leverage work and that just isn’t a good idea. Mariano Rivera, who clearly isn’t the Mo of old right now, has been asked to record more than three outs three times in his last four appearances and figures to see even more multi-inning work before the season ends in 19 days.
Robertson is expected to rejoin the team this week — perhaps as soon as today — and hopefully that is the case, but you never know with the Yankees and their recent history of setbacks. Pretty much everyone has one. Logan’s test results will be reviewed by Dr. James Andrews and that’s never a good sign. The Yankees re-signed journeyman Mike Zagurski yesterday, which is an indication they are at least somewhat concerned Logan will not be returning anytime soon.
A trade in September is not something you see all that often, but New York swung one last night to acquire infield help in the form of Brendan Ryan. They should also consider trading for bullpen help at this point. Like Ryan, whoever they acquire at this point would not be eligible for the playoff roster since they weren’t in the organization on August 31st, but there probably won’t even be a playoff roster in a few weeks if Yankees don’t get help. Here are three bullpen arms on non-contending teams who could be available in a trade at this unusual time.
Burke Badenhop, Brewers
Milwaukee is one the very worst teams in baseball and they don’t have a whole lot of desirable tradeable chips — aside from untouchables Carlos Gomes and Jean Segura, that is — which is why their deadline sell-off featured only Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford changing addresses. The 30-year-old Badenhop was rumored to be on the block as well, but he ultimately stayed put and has a 3.60 ERA (3.58 FIP) in 60 innings this summer. He’s essentially a righty specialist — has held righties to a .251 wOBA while lefties have tagged him for a .377 wOBA (more walks than strikeouts too) — who limits walks (1.80 BB/9 and 4.9 BB%) and gets ground balls (51.6%) but doesn’t miss many bats (6.15 K/9 and 16.8 K%).
If used correctly, Badenhop can be a real weapon against right-handed batters in the later innings of a game. He pitched with the Rays last season and was pretty effective (3.03 ERA and 3.62 FIP), so the AL East and a postseason race and all that won’t be new experiences. Badenhop is only owed approximately $240k the rest of the season and, as an added bonus, he will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in 2014. The Brewers took Grade-C prospects for K-Rod and Axford, who had much sexier track records than the sinker/slider guy Badenhop, so the cost shouldn’t be prohibitive.
Frank Francisco, Mets
Frankie Frank missed almost the entire season with bone spurs in his elbow and, according to Adam Rubin, there are some in the organization who think the 33-year-old had a “lack of urgency” during his rehab. He did return this past weekend and has pitched in two games, facing four total batters while allowing a single and recording a walk, a strikeout, and a ground ball. Francisco managed a 5.53 ERA (3.90 FIP) in 42.1 innings while missing time with oblique and elbow problems last season. He’s always been a high strikeout (career 9.92 K/9 and 25.6 K%), high walk (3.98 BB/9 and 10.3 BB%), low ground ball (34.4%) guy.
One team official told Rubin it is “certainly possible” the Mets will look to trade Francisco before the end of the season just to save some of the $715k they still owe him. That same official responded “Why wouldn’t we work something out with them?” when asked if they’d be open to trading with the Yankees. Francisco has late-inning/closer experience and will be a free agent after the season, plus the Mets would probably give him away at this point. Remember, we’re not talking about replacing Robertson or Kelley here. We’re talking about replacing Jim Miller or Matt Daley.
Matt Lindstrom, White Sox
Lindstrom, 33, has very quietly been one of the most effective relievers in baseball over these last three years. He has a 2.89 ERA (3.03 FIP) in 56 innings for the ChiSox this season and a 2.87 ERA (3.16 FIP) in 157 innings since the start of 2011. After coming up has a super-hard-thrower who didn’t always know where the ball was going, Lindstrom has scaled things back in recent years and now uses a mid-90s sinker/low-80s slider combination to generate a ton of ground balls (53.9%) and infield pop-ups (10.4%). Both his walk (3.70 BB/9 and 9.7 BB%) and strikeout (6.91 K/9 and 18.1 K%) rates have taken steps back this year, however.
As we saw firsthand last week, the White Sox are truly awful. Worst non-Astros team in the AL awful. They acknowledged that by trading away Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, and Matt Thornton at the deadline, so it stands to reason that Lindstrom would be available as well. He is owed roughly $355k through the end of the year with an affordable $4M club option ($500k buyout) for 2014 season in his contract. The Yankees need relievers, both right now and next season with Rivera and Joba (and Logan) due to become free agents, and Lindstrom is the kind of guy who can help both situations. He’s no bullpen savior, but if nothing else, he sure and the other two guys in this post would add useful depth — as opposed to the Daleys and Millers of the world who are just there because they’re warm bodies — to the bullpen down the stretch.
The Yankees have acquired infielder Brendan Ryan from the Mariners for a player to be named later, the teams announced. No word on the corresponding 40-man roster move just yet. Because he was acquired after August 31st, Ryan will not be eligible for the playoff roster should the Yankees make it that far. He is owed $400k for the rest of the season and will become a free agent this winter.
Ryan, 31, hit a weak .192/.254/.265 (43 wRC+) in 287 plate appearances for Seattle this season. He is an elite defender though, arguably the best at the position in all of baseball. With Derek Jeter’s left ankle barking, Eduardo Nunez was the only shortstop on the active roster and the Yankees needed a backup. I wouldn’t expect Ryan to play all that much — he should replace Nunez in the late inning for defense at the very least — but the team desperately needed another middle infielder. · (45) ·
Considering everything that’s going on in the wildcard race, this was the biggest and most important game of the season for the Yankees. They were six outs away from being essentially buried in the standings, but they instead rallied for four runs in the eighth and held on for the 7-5 win on Tuesday.
Homers Extra-Base Hits
For the first time in exactly four months, the Yankees recorded eight extra-base hits in a game. Seven of the eight led to runs too, with the only exception being Brett Gardner‘s double to leadoff the game. Go figure. Alex Rodriguez — he looks fantastic at the plate, doesn’t he? — started a) the scoring with a booming two-out double into the gap to score Chris Stewart all the way from first in the third inning, and b) the four-run rally in the eighth with a leadoff double into the left field corner. The Yankees had just three hits between A-Rod‘s doubles, including solo homers by Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds.
Not to sound overly dramatic, but that eighth inning rally was pretty close to a season-saver. A temporary season saver, at least. Losing another game to direct wildcard competitor would have pushed the Yankees even further back in the race with another day ticking off the calendar. That would have been bad. Robinson Cano plated A-Rod with a single up the middle to tie the game in the eighth before the really big bats showed up. Soriano hit an opposite field two-run bomb to give New York a two-run lead, then Curtis Granderson and Reynolds hit back-to-back doubles into the left field corner for another insurance run. In the span of 14 pitches, the Yankees went from down one to up three that inning. Most important inning of the season? To date, yes.
A Comedy Of Errors
The Orioles did the majority of their damage in the four-run fifth, an inning that featured way too much defensive hilarity by New York. The inning started when Eduardo Nunez pulled Reynolds off first base on J.J. Hardy’s infield single, but to be fair, it was a very tough play in the hole. I’m not sure he would have gotten him even with a perfect throw. Nunez is pretty terrible on defense but that was far, far from a routine play. It happens.
Later in the inning though, Nunez threw away a slow infield chopper by Henry Urrutia to allow a run to score and put men on the corners with no outs. This one wasn’t routine either but it is a play a big league shortstop should make. Replays showed the throw beat Urrutia but was simply too wide for Reynolds to catch while keeping his foot on the base. The next batter hit a fly ball to left to score another run, though it appeared Soriano’s throw would at least make things close at the plate had A-Rod not cut it off near the pitcher’s mound for whatever reason. The throw might have been off line and I kinda sorta get keeping the trail runner from advancing to scoring position, but it sure looked like there was a chance to get the runner out at the plate. Alas.
Those two (or three of you want to be hard on Nunez) defensive mistakes led to the first two Baltimore runs of the inning. The other two scored when Ivan Nova hung — like, put it on a tee hung — a curveball that Chris Davis hit out to dead center for his 49th homer. It was a no doubter and Nova’s only real mistake of the inning. At the end of the night, Ivan allowed those four runs in six innings of work while throwing only 79 pitches (46 strikes). More on that seemingly quick hook in a second.
Shawn Kelley allowed a run in the eighth inning thanks to a walk, two wild pitches, and a sacrifice fly. Replays showed J.R. Murphy‘s throw beat Davis to the third base bag on the second wild pitch, but David Adams simply whiffed on the tag. Adam Warren tossed a perfect seventh and Mariano Rivera retired all four men he faced without a ball leaving the infield. It’s the third time in his last four appearances that Rivera was asked to record more than three outs in a save situation. He’s retiring in a few weeks one way or the other, so Joe Girardi might as well get his money’s worth down the stretch.
The Yankees struck out 12 times as a team for the second straight game, the first time they’ve done that in back-to-back games since August 2003. A-Rod, Soriano, and Reynolds had two hits apiece and they were all extra-base hits. In fact, those three guys went a combined 6-for-13 with three doubles and three homers. Pretty awesome. Gardner, Cano, Granderson, Nunez, and Stewart had one hit each. Cano drew the only walk, just his second free pass in his last 23 games. Ben’s not gonna have to eat that hat, you guys.
Manny Machado made a rather hilarious (rookie?) mistake during that eighth inning rally, but the Yankees did all their damage before that and didn’t really take advantage. With Reynolds on second following his double, Ichiro Suzuki hit a little tapper back out in front of the plate that Matt Wieters picked up and threw to third. Machado caught the throw, stepped on third, then fired over to first … except there was no force at third. Reynolds was correctly called safe and Ichiro beat out the fielder’s choice. That was a hoot.
The 2013 season in a nutshell: the Yankees won a big game and lost three players to injury. A-Rod (hamstring), Nova (triceps), and Austin Romine (concussion) were all removed with injuries. Joe Girardi didn’t seem too concerned about A-Rod and Nova, but a concussion is a serious injury and they’ll proceed carefully with Romine.
Number milestones: Rivera’s save was his 42nd of the season and 650th of his career. The first number has some neat symbolism, the second … man that’s a lot of saves. The most all-time, I hear.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Red Sox beat the Rays, so the Yankees are three games back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column. They Indians lost as well, so New York is one back of both the Tribe and Orioles. Cool Standings has their playoff odds at 11.7% with 17 games remaining.
The Yankees and Orioles are just halfway through this four-game set. Andy Pettitte and right-hander Scott Feldman will be the pitching matchup in the third game on Wednesday night.
Ivan Nova left tonight’s game with tightness in his right triceps, Joe Girardi confirmed. He threw only 79 pitches in six innings of work. Nova missed about a month with a triceps issue earlier this season and Girardi said he’s been dealing with some tightness for about a month. Okay then. The skipper confirmed the move was precautionary and indicated there isn’t a ton of concern. · (6) ·
10:34pm: Romine “probably” has a concussion, according to Joe Girardi. I imagine they have to run some tests before they know for sure. If he does have one, there’s a decent chance his season is over. Like I said, brain injuries are nothing to mess around with.
9:46pm: Austin Romine left tonight’s game in the eighth inning after taking a foul tip to the face mask. He actually stayed in the game to finish the at-bat, but was later visited by the trainer and taken off the field. More than a few catchers have suffered concussions on foul tips this year, so it’s good they’re getting him out of there. Brain injuries are no joke. · (11) ·
10:29pm: A-Rod’s left hamstring tightening up on him running the bases, but Joe Girardi made it seem like the decision to lift him is precautionary more than anything. There are no tests planning and A-Rod may DH tomorrow night.
9:42pm: Alex Rodriguez left tonight’s game after the top of the eighth inning for an unknown reason. He scored from second on a single earlier in the inning and had to slide into home, but there was no indication he was hurt on the play. He didn’t limp off the field or anything. Considering A-Rod’s injury history and the way this year is gone in general, a red flag goes up whenever anyone leaves a game for a non-obvious reason. · (13) ·
Double-A Trenton (8-2 win over Harrisburg) they lead the best-of-five Eastern League Championship Series one game to none
- CF Mason Williams: 1-3, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 K — two-run single was the big blow in the five-run third
- LF Ramon Flores: 0-4
- 2B Jose Pirela: 1-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 K
- C Gary Sanchez: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
- RF Tyler Austin: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K — capped off the five-run third with a single to knock the starter out
- 1B Kyle Roller: 0-4
- DH Ben Gamel: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
- 3B Reegie Corona: 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K
- SS Ali Castillo: 2-3, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI
- LHP Nik Turley: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 2 WP, 1 HB, 1/5 GB/FB – 64 of 110 pitches were strikes (58%) … pretty good time to set a career-high in strikeouts
- RHP Zach Nuding: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3/1 GB/FB — 18 of 27 pitches were strikes (67%)
- RHP Branden Pinder: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K — 13 pitches, eight strikes
The Triple-A Scranton, High-A Tampa, Low-A Charleston, Short Season Staten Island, and both Rookie GCL Yanks seasons are over. Trenton is the only affiliate still playing.
I think I’m going to have to go with the Just Win title for every game thread from now through the end of the regular season. Or at least until the Yankees are eliminated from postseason contention. The Bombers are in a bad spot right now, and while tonight’s game isn’t a literal must win — their wildcard tragic number is 17 — it is a must win for all intents and purposes. They have to start winning games and a lot of them. Five in a row, six of seven, nine of eleven, something like that. If not, they’re going home in 19 days. It’s that simple. Here’s the lineup Joe Girardi is running out there against Miguel Gonzalez:
- CF Brett Gardner
- 3B Alex Rodriguez
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Alfonso Soriano
- DH Curtis Granderson
- 1B Mark Reynolds
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Eduardo Nunez
- C Chris Stewart
And on the mound is right-hander Ivan Nova. The Red Sox ran him into the ground last time out, forcing him to throw 96 pitches in just four innings of work. Considering the state of the bullpen, that can’t happen again.
It is crazy hot in Baltimore. Crazy hot and crazy humid. July and August weather. There is no threat of rain though, so they’ll have no trouble getting this game in. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET and can be seen on
YES My9 locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy.
Injury Updates: Derek Jeter (ankle) is in a “holding pattern” and has yet to resume any kind of baseball activity. Girardi said he’s pretty much day-to-day for the rest of the season … David Robertson (shoulder) threw an eleven-pitch bullpen session and felt fine. Sounds like he’ll be available tomorrow night as long as everything feels the way it should when he wakes up … Boone Logan (elbow, biceps) had an MRI and it is being sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion.
Roster Update: The Yankees have re-signed left-hander Mike Zagurski and he is available tonight. He had a 3.08 ERA (2.78 FIP) in 26.1 relief innings for Triple-A Scranton before opting out of his contract a few weeks ago. I guess he never did find another team willing to give him a big league spot. Zagurski gives the team some extra lefty depth with Logan out. Travis Hafner (shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot.