Yankeemetrics: Rocky Mtn. High and Low [June 21-22]

(USA TODAY Sports)
(USA TODAY Sports)

From Super-Nova to Black Hole
The Yankees returned to the Bronx for their final homestand before the All-Star break but gave their fans nothing to cheer about on Tuesday night against the Rockies. This was another sloppy performance with multiple baserunning blunders, two errors committed and poor clutch hitting (0-for-10 with runners in scoring position), resulting in an 8-4 loss.

Yankee pitchers flashed dominance with 13 strikeouts, but also were pounded by Colorado’s lineup, allowing 15 hits. It’s just the fourth time in the last 100 years that the Yankees have reached both of those thresholds in a nine-inning game; the most recent was a 12-8 loss to the Red Sox on Sept. 6, 2013.

The game couldn’t have started worse as Ivan Nova allowed a leadoff homer on the third pitch he threw to Charlie Blackmon. He’s now given up at least one homer in 12 straight starts dating back to last season, matching Phil Hughes (2012) for the second-longest streak in franchise history. The only longer one is a 14-start streak by Dennis Rasmussen in 1986.

Nova’s first couple weeks in the starting rotation looked promising, with a 1.65 ERA in his initial three turns. But he’s really struggled over the past month, posting a 6.88 ERA in his last six starts. The biggest culprit during this poor stretch has been an erratic sinker that’s not doing much sinking lately. Batters are slugging .606 against the pitch over his last six starts, compared to .324 in his first three starts.

Blackmon wasn’t the only Rockie who clobbered Nova; Carlos Gonzalez had a couple hits, including a bullet line-drive double to right field in the fifth inning that left his bat at 118 mph, per Statcast. That’s the fourth-highest exit velocity for any batted ball this season, and the highest mark given up by a Yankee pitcher in the last two seasons (since Statcast began recording exit velocity data).


A star is born
Welcome to the True Yankee® club, Mr. Castro. Starlin Castro saved the Yankees from another horrific loss on Wednesday afternoon, belting a no-doubt homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Yankees one of their wildest and most dramatic wins of the season.

It was a game that neither team seemingly wanted to win as both teams managed to blow four-run leads, with the Yankees delivering the final blow thanks to the clutch bat of Castro.

It was the 26-year-old infielder’s first career walk-off homer, as he became the fourth Yankee with a walk-off homer in Interleague play. The others are Russell Martin (2012 vs. Mets), Alex Rodriguez (2006 vs. Braves) and Jason Giambi (2005 vs. Pirates).

In the last 50 years, only one other Yankee second baseman has hit a walk-off shot: Robinson Cano did it on August 28, 2009 against the White Sox. Before that, you have to go all the way back to July 11, 1953 when Billy Martin beat the Senators with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the 10th.


Chase Headley gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead when he crushed a 97 mph fastball dead-center into Monument Park in the second inning for his first grand slam in pinstripes (fourth in his career), and the first one by a Yankee this year.

The last time the Yankees went this deep into the season (by date) without a bases-loaded homer was 1991, when Matt Nokes hit the team’s only grand slam on September 23 against the Brewers.

CC Sabathia gave that lead right back to the Rockies with his worst performance of the year. He gave up a season-high six runs in 4 1/3 innings, matching the number of runs he allowed in his previous seven starts spanning 44 innings pitched.

Regression came swiftly for Sabathia, but it’s hardly surprising that he faltered against the Rockies. He now has a 6.08 ERA in eight career starts against them, his second-highest ERA versus any team in his career. The highest? A 6.16 ERA in nine starts versus the Yankees.

Despite the win, it is hard to ignore how historically inept the pitching staff was in their four games against the Rockies this year. The 8.74 ERA, .633 slugging percentage and 1.034 OPS allowed were each the highest marks by a Yankee team in a season series against any opponent over the last 100 years.

6/21 to 6/22 Series Preview: Colorado Rockies

(Doug Pensinger/Getty)
(Doug Pensinger/Getty)

The Yankees are back in the Bronx for a nine-game homestand following a disappointing 3-3 road trip through Colorado and Minnesota. They’re playing the Rockies again — and they’ll play the Twins again later on the homestand — after dropping both games in Coors Field last week. This is another quick two-game set.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Rockies beat the Yankees twice last week, then they went to Miami for four games with the Marlins, and they dropped three of four by the combined score of 20-12. Figures. Colorado is 33-36 overall with a -9 run differential on the season. They seem to do this every year. Stay somewhat relevant through June or so, then completely collapse in the second half.

Offense & Defense

As we saw last week, the Rockies can score runs in a hurry. Manager Walt Weiss’ team is averaging 5.01 runs per game with a team 94 wRC+, though it’s worth pointing out they score only 4.24 runs per game on the road compared to 5.97 runs per game at Coors Field. The Rockies have one injured position player at the moment: LF Gerardo Parra (65 wRC+). Remember when SS Trevor Story (114 wRC+) ran him over chasing a pop-up last week? Parra landed on the DL with an ankle sprain because of that play.

Arenado. (Joe Mahoney/Getty)
Arenado. (Joe Mahoney/Getty)

Weiss builds his lineup around two players. Well, three players, really. Megastar 3B Nolan Arenado (132 wRC+) is the centerpiece and RF Carlos Gonzalez (123 wRC+) sure is one heck of a second piece. Don’t sleep on CF Charlie Blackmon (107 wRC+) though. He sets the tone from the leadoff spot. 2B D.J. LeMahieu (118 wRC+) and Story are very good complementary players on the middle infield. There’s a little of everything in that group. Power, contact, speed, you name it.

1B Mark Reynolds (103 wRC+) is having a very nice season to date even though he’s not a true talent .290 hitter. We all know that. OF Ryan Raburn (99 wRC+) and OF Brandon Barnes (18 wRC+) are splitting time in left with Parra out. C Nick Hundley (108 wRC+) and C Tony Wolters (43 wRC+) split catching duties. IF Cristhian Adames (60 wRC+) and IF Daniel Descalso (170 wRC+) are the other bench players. With the DH this series, I’m guessing Weiss will shoehorn both Raburn and Barnes into the starting lineup.

The Rockies have a very good team defense, led by the otherworldly Arenado at third base. He’s unreal at the hot corner. LeMahieu and Story are very good on the middle infield and so is Blackmon in center. CarGo is a fine right fielder and Barnes is definitely the better defender between him and Raburn. Reynolds is Reynolds. You can run on Hundley. Not so much Wolters though. Colorado can catch the ball for sure.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (7:05pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. COL) vs. RHP Chad Bettis (vs. NYY)
Bettis, a personal fave, has a 5.63 ERA (4.52 FIP) in 14 starts and 78.1 innings this season, so it seems I have a thing for bad pitchers. In my defense, he has been better on the road (5.52 ERA) than at home in Coors Field (5.79 ERA). Wait, that doesn’t work. Dammit to hell. Anyway, the 27-year-old right-hander has good walk (5.5%) and grounder (51.0%) numbers but bad strikeout (16.8%) and homer (1.38 HR/9) rates. He’s also been getting hammered by righties, which is not unusual. He has a career reverse split. Bettis operates with three fastballs: low-90s sinkers and four-seamers, plus an upper-80s cutter. A mid-80s changeup and an upper-70s curveball are his two offspeed pitches. Last week Bettis held the Yankees to three runs (two earned) in six innings.

Gray. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)
Gray. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

Wednesday (1:05pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. COL) vs. RHP Jon Gray (No vs. NYY)
Ah yes, the one who got away. The Yankees drafted the 24-year-old Gray out of junior college in the tenth round back in 2011, but he turned down their well-above-slot bonus offer, went to Oklahoma for two years, and blossomed into the third overall pick in the 2013 draft. Gray has a 4.55 ERA (3.53 FIP) in eleven total starts and 65.1 innings this season, and he’ll bring above-average strikeout (26.8%) and grounder (49.0%) rates into tomorrow’s start. His walk rate (7.7%) is about average and he’s been a bit dinger prone (1.1 HR/9), though Coors Field can be blamed for at least part of that. Gray has allowed five homers in 28.2 innings at home and only three in 36.2 innings on the road. Lefties have had a tad more success against him than righties. As you’d expect from the No. 3 pick, Gray sits comfortably in the mid-90s with his fastball and has run it up as high as 99 mph this season. A hard upper-80 slider is his put-away pitch. He’ll also throw some mid-80s changeups and even a few upper-70s curves per start. As far as promising young pitchers with less than a full year of MLB service time go, Gray is among the best. The Yankees didn’t see him in the series in Colorado last week.

Bullpen Status

Believe it or not, the Rockies are carrying nine relievers at the moment. Yes, nine. They normally carry eight relievers anyway, but the other day starter Tyler Chatwood landed on the DL with a back problem. The Rockies called up an extra reliever for a few days until they need to call up the spot starter later this week. Here is the bullpen Weiss has to work with:

Closer: RHP Carlos Estevez (3.86 ERA/4.02 FIP)
Setup: LHP Boone Logan (1.45/1.78), RHP Jason Motte (2.00/3.90), RHP Chad Qualls (4.64/4.71)
Middle: RHP Miguel Castro (5.14/5.19), RHP Gonzalez German (4.88/4.95), RHP Justin Miller (5.46/4.03), RHP Scott Oberg (4.05/5.22)
Long: RHP Eddie Butler (6.26/5.14)

Gosh, that’s a lot of bullpen. Colorado is currently without LHP Jake McGee (4.98/4.50), the ex-Ray and their usual closer. He’s out with a knee issue. Estevez is closing in the meantime with those three veterans setting up. The Rockies committed $32.5M across seven contract seasons to Logan, Motte, and Qualls. They’re not shy about paying veteran free agent relievers well. How else are they going to get them to come to Colorado?

Oberg is the new addition. He was called up the other day to temporarily replace Chatwood. He wasn’t on the roster when the Yankees and Rockies met last week. Motte (23 pitches), Estevez (17), Logan (9), Castro (3), and Qualls (2) all pitched yesterday, though only Castro has pitched in each of the last two days. Head on over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen.

Yankeemetrics: Rocky Mountain Low [June 14-15]

(Getty )
(Getty )

Mile High Mess
For much of Tuesday night, not even the thin Colorado air or a mediocre Rockies pitching staff was enough to cure the Yankees’ most recent offensive malaise. They didn’t score a run until the sixth inning, and trailing 12-3 after seven innings, the Yankees seemed destined to be blown out in the first of two games at Coors Field.

Then the floodgates opened in the eighth, as the Yankees sent 12 men to the plate and scored seven runs on eight singles. Alas, the late rally ultimately fell short, resulting in an ugly 13-10 loss.

Instead, the Yankees suffered their first loss when scoring at least 10 runs since May 29, 2010 against the Indians. (Should we mention here that the 2010 Indians finished 69-93?) That snapped a streak of 72 straight wins in games with 10-or-more runs, which was the longest active streak among AL teams.

This was also the Yankees second loss in Interleague play when scoring in double digits. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the only other time that happened was in this same ballpark – a 14-11 loss to the Rockies on June 20, 2002. The 13 runs they allowed on Tuesday was also their second-most in a road Interleague game, behind only the aforementioned 2002 slugfest against the Rockies in Denver.

Jorge De La Rosa’s performance was mostly overshadowed by the offensive fireworks, but he actually shut down the Yankees lineup, holding them to three hits and no runs in five innings. The lefty has a career 4.64 ERA, but has somehow managed to dominate the Yankees in his 13 big league seasons. He’s now 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his four starts against them dating back to 2006.

De La Rosa is the only pitcher in major-league history to win four straight starts against the Yankees without giving up an earned run. Four guys have put together three-start streaks like that: Schoolboy Rowe (1934-35), Doc Ayers (1917), Babe Ruth (1916) and Walter Johnson (1913).


Nova Rocked
Coors Field continued to be a house of horrors for the Yankees, who fell to 4-7 all-time at the ballpark after Wednesday’s loss. That’s their worst record in the last 100 seasons at any stadium where they’ve played at least 10 games.

Ivan Nova, despite impressive career numbers against National League teams and in National League ballparks, was no match for the Coors Field curse.

He entered this game with a 2.13 ERA in 13 Interleague games (12 starts), sixth-best all-time among pitchers with at least 10 Interleague starts. Nova was even better on the road, going 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA in six starts at NL stadiums before this series.

And then on Wednesday he gave up five runs in five innings against the Rockies — the same number of earned runs he’d allowed in 40 1/3 innings over his first six career Interleague outings on the road.

When Nova is at his best, his bowling-ball sinker and biting curveball generate a ton of grounders and weak contact. Against the Rockies, his ground ball rate was just 38.9 percent and he gave up a season-high 10 hits. He’s now had four starts with a ground ball rate below 50 percent, and his ERA in those games is 6.85 (with at least four runs allowed in each game); in his other four starts he has an ERA of 2.38 (with three or fewer runs allowed in each start).

Let’s end with a positive note. One night after delivering a pinch-hit RBI single in his first appearance as a Yankee, Ike Davis started his first game in pinstripes (well, actually road greys) on Wednesday afternoon. Davis, of course, is the son of former Yankee pitcher Ron Davis, making them just the second father-son combo to each play in an MLB game for the Yankees. You might have heard of the other duo: Yogi and Dale Berra.

The elder Davis spent only four seasons in the Bronx but still carved out a niche in the franchise record books. He went 14-2 in 1979 working exclusively out of the bullpen, a mark that is notable for a couple reasons: His 14 wins as a reliever are tied for the second-most by a Yankee in a single season (Luis Arroyo had 15 in 1961); his .875 win percentage is the second-highest by any Yankee pitcher with at least 15 decisions in a season, behind only Ron Guidry’s 25-3 (.893) Cy Young-winning campaign in 1978.

Trade Notes: Cubs, Gallo, Tigers, Fulmer, Norris, Reyes


The draft is now over, which means teams will soon shift their focus to the trade deadline. The way things are going right now, the Yankees are much more likely to be sellers than buyers this summer. We’ll see what happens. Here are some miscellaneous trade notes, both past and present.

Cubs scouting Yankees’ top relievers

According to George King, the Cubs had a scout at Yankee Stadium last week taking a look at New York’s big three relievers. The Cubbies already know those guys are awesome. They’re just doing their due diligence. Chicago could really use a shutdown lefty reliever, and I’m guessing they’d prefer Andrew Miller to Aroldis Chapman. Miller is under contract two more years and is willing to pitch in any role. Also, Theo Epstein and Miller have a connection dating back to their time with the Red Sox.

I’ve already written about the Cubs as a possible trade partner a few times (here and here) and something tells me I will end up writing about them a few more times before the trade deadline. As always, it’s going to come down to what Chicago is willing to give up in a trade. We’ve already heard they won’t trade Kyle Schwarber straight up for Miller. Javier Baez and Jorge Soler were involved in trade rumors all offseason, so I imagine they’re available.

Rangers won’t trade Gallo for Miller

From the “no duh” rumor mill: the Rangers are unwilling to trade third base masher Joey Gallo straight up for Miller, reports Jon Heyman. The Rangers have the best record (40-25) and worst bullpen ERA (5.12) in the AL, so yeah, a reliever or three figures to be on their trade deadline shipping list. It’s the glaring need right now. Manager Jeff Banister has to hold his breath each time he signals for a reliever.

Texas GM Jon Daniels has a history of making big moves at the trade deadline, and no team will have more bullpen help to offer than New York, so I expect to see a ton of Rangers-Yankees rumors these next few weeks. I can’t help but wonder if the Yankees will push for Jurickson Profar. They’ve had interest in him in the past, and it appears the Rangers have no place to play him. That’s the kind of talent the Yankees should be targeting, anyway.


Tigers were unwilling to part with top prospects for Miller

Prior to the Justin Wilson trade in December, the Yankees and Tigers were discussing a Miller trade, reports Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal says Detroit was not willing to move their top prospects, specifically righty Michael Fulmer and lefty Daniel Norris, so nothing happened. The Tigers then shifted their focus to Wilson, and that trade eventually came together.

This jibes with everything we heard about the Miller trade talks over the winter. The Yankees wanted high-end young pitching in return. They talked to the Astros about Lance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez, for example. Fulmer and Norris are cut from a similar cloth. When it comes time to take offers for Miller again — I imagine the Yankees will listen even if they’re unwilling to sell — I assume they’ll again prioritize young power arms.

Yanks didn’t offer Mateo for Reyes

Remember a few weeks back when we heard the Yankees reportedly offered the Rockies shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo for Jorge Reyes last year? That didn’t pass the sniff test at all. As it turns out, the report was wrong. Tracy Ringolsby says the Yankees did not offer Mateo for Reyes, but Mateo’s name did come up during talks about a larger multi-player trade. That makes much more sense.

I wonder who else the Yankees could have been targeting in such a deal? The Rockies don’t exactly having pitching to spare — Jon Gray had not made his MLB debut at that point, and I can’t imagine Colorado was willing to trade him anyway — and the Yankees had no other massive needs since Reyes would have presumably replaced Stephen Drew at second. Maybe Mateo and stuff for Reyes and prospects? I have no idea what it could realistically be otherwise. Intrigue!

6/14 to 6/15 Series Preview: Colorado Rockies


The Yankees are back out on the road for a six-game trip this week. Their first stop: Colorado for a pair of games with the Rockies. This is the team’s first visit to Coors Field since 2013. They’ve played three road series against the Rockies since interleague play became a thing, winning two of three in 2002 and 2013, and getting swept in 2007.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Rockies are on a bit of a hot streak at the moment. They’ve won six of their last eight games and outscored their opponents 43-24 in the process. Colorado is 30-33 with a -7 run differential overall. That is annoyingly similar to the Yankees, who are 31-32 with a -20 run differential.

Offense & Defense

As you might expect from a team that calls Coors Field home, the Rockies have no trouble scoring runs. They average 5.00 runs per game with a team 93 wRC+ overall. Of course, their home-road splits are pretty substantial. The Rockies average 5.72 runs per game (99 wRC+) at home and only 4.38 runs per game (89 wRC+) on the road. Pretty huge difference there, eh?

Manager Walt Weiss, whose son Bo was drafted by the Yankees last week, has only one position player on the DL. Backup C Tony Wolters (51 wRC+) is out with a concussion. Otherwise everyone is healthy. Because Rockies players tend to have such extreme home-road splits — it’s not their fault, most of them didn’t get a chance to pick their home park — I’m going to present their offense a little differently this series preview. Here are the regulars:

Home Road
C Nick Hundley .214/.353/.321 (58 wRC+) .275/.370/.500 (131 wRC+)
1B Mark Reynolds .303/.386/.449 (97 wRC+) .298/.341/.462 (117 wRC+)
2B D.J. LeMahieu .256/.445/.594 (145 wRC+) .264/.306/.363 (80 wRC+)
SS Trevor Story .263/.331/.544 (96 wRC+) .254/.290/.529 (116 wRC+)
3B Nolan Arenado .309/.387/.682 (148 wRC+) .263/.340/.489 (123 wRC+)
LF Gerardo Parra .313/.328/.518 (89 wRC+) .224/.230/.343 (48 wRC+)
CF Charlie Blackmon .299/.357/.540 (105 wRC+) .292/.364/.443 (121 wRC+)
RF Carlos Gonzalez .310/.350/.637 (129 wRC+) .281/.333/.438 (103 wRC+)

I would hate to cover the Rockies full-time because Coors Field screws everything up. Even the road numbers seem skewed. Purple Row did an analysis a few years ago that showed either the Coors Field park factors are totally wrong, or going back and forth between high altitude and sea level throughout the season messes Rockies players up more than we realize.

Alright, so anyway, the Rockies have a true star in Arenado, who is easily a top ten player in the game today. Maybe even top five. He’s not a product of Coors Field. The man would rake anywhere. Arenado usually hits third with Blackmon — Blackmon will open some eyes this series, he’s a sneaky good ballplayer — and LeMahieu in front of him, and Gonzalez and Story behind him. The top five of the batting order is pretty set in stone. Weiss tends to mix the bottom of the lineup up on a daily basis.

The Rockies have UTIL Ryan Raburn (107 wRC+) on the bench, who will play against lefties, usually in place of Parra. C Dustin Garneau (62 wRC+) is the backup catcher and IF Daniel Descalso (156 wRC+) and IF Cristhian Adames (59 wRC+) are the backup infielders. The Rockies only carry four bench players despite being in the NL because they need to carry eight relievers. Their pitching staff is bad in general, and Coors Field exacerbates things.

Defensively, the Rockies have excellent glovemen in LeMahieu and Blackmon, and, of course, Arenado is on the very very very short list of the best defensive players in baseball, regardless of position. Watch this ridiculousness:

I saw No. 3 and No. 8 with my own eyes and I don’t still don’t believe they really happened. Crazy. Anyway, Story and CarGo are good enough defenders and Parra’s glove has really slipped the last few years. Reynolds is adequate at first, and Hundley is nothing special behind the plate. Arenado, LeMahieu, and Blackmon make the Colorado defense above-average by themselves.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (8:40pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. COL) vs. LHP Jorge De La Rosa (vs. NYY)
This is De La Rosa’s ninth season with the Rockies and they should probably build a statue of the guy because he’s managed to give them 1,039 innings of 4.34 ERA (106 ERA+) ball. He’s third on the franchise’s all-time innings (behind Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis) and WAR (behind Ubaldo Jimenez and Cook) lists. This year has been a big struggle though. De La Rosa, 35, had an 8.81 ERA (5.64 FIP) in 31.2 innings. He made six starts before getting demoted to the bullpen, where he made three long relief appearances. This will be his first start back in the rotation. De La Rosa’s strikeout (25.3%) and grounder (45.4%) rates are fine, but he’s walked too many (9.7%) and been extremely homer prone (2.27 HR/9). His platoon split is small because his low-80s splitter is so effective against righties. De La Rosa sets the split up with a low-90s heater. He also throws a little upper-80s cutter and an upper-70s curveball.

Wednesday (3:10pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. COL) vs. RHP Chad Bettis (vs. NYY)
I am an irrational Chad Bettis fan, so much so that I wrote a post about him as a possible trade target over the winter. He’s not having a good year though, and will come into this start with a 5.85 ERA (4.76 FIP) in 13 starts and 72.1 innings. His strikeout (16.5%) and walk (5.9%) rates are down, and only one of those is a good thing. Bettis is homer prone (1.49 HR/9) despite a good ground ball rate (49.4%). Righties have hammered him this season, which is weirdly a career long trend. Huh. Bettis operates with three fastballs: low-90s sinkers and four-seamers, plus an upper-80s cutter. A mid-80s changeup and an upper-70s curveball are his two offspeed pitches.

Bettis. (Presswire)
Bettis. (Presswire)

Bullpen Status

The Rockies have a history of signing veteran relievers as free agents, and they usually end up giving guys an extra year to get them to come to Coors Field. They’ve had trouble developing pitching since the first day the franchise existed, and that means both starters and relievers. Here is their current bullpen:

Closer: RHP Carlos Estevez (4.43 ERA/4.34 FIP)
Setup: LHP Boone Logan (1.59/1.82), RHP Jason Motte (2.57/4.54), RHP Chad Qualls (5.03/4.64)
Middle: RHP Gonzalez German (2.82/4.41), RHP Justin Miller (4.44/4.33)
Long: RHP Eddie Butler (5.48/4.78), LHP Chris Rusin (4.12/3.20)

Colorado has something weird going on with their rotation at the moment. Butler and Rusin have both been in the rotation for a few weeks now, and in fact they started games last Tuesday and Wednesday. They’re not listed among the team’s upcoming pitching probables though, so I assume they’re available in relief this week. They’re both stretched out and can go super long if necessary.

Former Rays closer LHP Jake McGee (4.98/4.50) just landed on the DL with knee inflammation, pushing Estevez into the closer’s role. Logan and Qualls, a pair of ex-Yankees are among his setup crew. Weiss uses Logan as a lefty specialist these days and he’s been pretty awesome at it. He’s held left-handed batters to a .108/.158/.194 batting line with a 38.5% strikeout rate and a 71.4% ground ball rate. Logan will be a free agent after the season, and if he keeps dominating lefties like that, he’s going to find himself in another uniform after the trade deadline.

Head on over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relief crew. Both the Yankees and Rockies had an off-day yesterday, their bullpens are as fresh as they’re going to get in mid-June.

Saturday Links: Mateo, Reyes, Ticket Revenue, Nova

The present and future of the leadoff spot. (Presswire)
The present and future of the leadoff spot. (Presswire)

The Yankees and Orioles continue their three-game series with an always annoying Saturday night game today. Blargh. Hate those. Give me day baseball on the weekend. Anyway, check out these two recent Players’ Tribune posts from Jorge Posada and Carlos Beltran, then check out these links and notes as you wait for first pitch.

Yanks offered Mateo for Reyes?

According to Jon Heyman, last summer the Yankees were “willing to send” top shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo to the Rockies for Jose Reyes and cover half the $44M left on Reyes’ deal. This was right after Colorado picked up Reyes in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, before all the domestic violence stuff in the offseason. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the Yankees talked to the Rockies about Reyes.

This one doesn’t pass the sniff test at all. Mateo would be a Rockie right now if the Yankees were indeed willing to make that trade. The Rockies didn’t want Reyes — they took him in the trade as a way to offset some money — and they tried to flip him at the deadline and again in the offseason. Reyes has been in obvious decline for a few years now. You mean the tell me the Colorado turned down a top 100 prospect and a ton of cash for a player they didn’t even want in the first place? C’mon. I don’t buy this rumor at all.

Ticket revenue dropped again in 2015

The Yankees’ ticket and suite revenue dropped for the sixth straight year in 2015, reports Jim Baumbach. The team reported $276.9M in ticket revenue to bondholders last year, which includes $36.6M in postseason sales. (That includes ALDS and ALCS tickets that were sold in advance but we’re needed.) Ticket revenue was $396.9M in the first year of the new Yankee Stadium. Even though they’re down 30% in six years, the Yankees still generated more ticket revenue last year than they did in the final year of the old Yankee Stadium ($266.9M).

It’s no secret attendance is lower this year than it has been at any point since the new Stadium opened. We see it every night. (To be fair, the park does seem to fill up in the second and third innings as people get out of work, make their way up to the Bronx, and get through the metal detectors.) The Yankees are averaging 38,457 fans per game this season, down from 39,894 last year and 45,918 in 2009. At the same time, they still lead the AL in attendance this year and are fourth in MLB overall.

“There was a real identification with those players who were great players and won a lot of championships. They were big stars, big attractions. There’s no doubt about it. I think the fact that they all retired in a period of time had an impact,” said Randy Levine to Baumbach, referred to Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada. An attendance and ticket revenue drop was inevitable once those guys were gone. But the Yankees kinda suck now too, so it seems like things are going to get worse before they get better.

Nova being sued by landlord

It’s been a while since we had a good hard-partying Yankee story. According to Emily Saul, Ivan Nova is being sued by his former landlord for trashing his former White Plains home. The lawsuit alleges Nova and his wife lived in the house from 2014-15 and left the place “uninhabitable” due to “raucous partying.” They smashed lights, broke appliances, all sorts of stuff.

The landlord is suing Nova for more than $150,000 to recover damages and lost income. Ivan told Julie Kayzerman he is fighting the lawsuit because he didn’t live there during that time. He was in Tampa rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. “I haven’t done anything. People want to take advantage of opportunities, but you have to understand that I’m good and I had nothing to do with that and I’m going to fight it,” he said.

The Rest of MLB [2016 Season Preview]


The new season is upon us. Opening Day is Monday, which means it’s time to wrap up our annual Season Preview series. As always, we’ll end the series with a quick look around the league. Some of this is serious, most of it isn’t. Enjoy.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Why They’ll Suck: The middle infield is a mess and their corner outfield defense is going to be pretty bad if Yasmany Tomas plays left everyday. Also, they’ll probably trade some good players to unload a bad contract again.
Bold Prediction: Shelby Miller actually pitches well. I have no idea why so many analysts think he’s bad.

Atlanta Braves
Why They’ll Suck: Because they are trying to suck. Rebuilding is just a nice way of saying tanking.
Bold Prediction: Nick Markakis beats his ZiPS projection and slugs .370.

Chicago Cubs
Why They’ll Suck: They’re going to strike out way too much. It’s also only a matter of time until someone gets bit by some wild animal Joe Maddon brings into the clubhouse.
Bold Prediction: Adam Warren is their best starter. Boom!

Chicago White Sox
Why They’ll Suck: They lost their leader, Drake LaRoche.
Bold Prediction: We find out Adam LaRoche was the one who complained about Drake LaRoche being in the clubhouse all the time.

Cincinnati Reds
Why They’ll Suck: Their rotation is Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen, Jon Moscot, and John Lamb. No, wait, that’s the list of their injured starters. Now they have to turn to the B-team.
Bold Prediction: Joey Votto finally loses his mind, but in a polite, Canadian way. He’s already doing this between pitches:

Joey Votto

Cleveland Indians
Why They’ll Suck: In all seriousness, their entire starting outfield is either hurt (Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall) or suspended (Abe Almonte). They’re a Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco injury away from 85 losses. Beware.
Bold Prediction: Francisco Lindor leads all shortstops in WAR.

Colorado Rockies
Why They’ll Suck: The Rockies exist in a perpetual state of suck. Fun Fact: They have never once won a division title. They’ve finished as high as second place only three times in their 23 years of existence.
Bold Prediction: They finally trade Carlos Gonzalez. I’m thinking … Orioles.

Detroit Tigers
Why They’ll Suck: They’ve punted defense at the four corner positions and, inevitably, the relievers they acquired this winter will stink.
Bold Prediction: Justin Verlander bounces back and finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting.

Houston Astros
Why They’ll Suck: Karma for doing very little in the offseason outside of adding a new closer and fifth starter. The rebuild is supposed to be over.
Bold Prediction: Carlos Correa is more Alex Gonzalez than Alex Rodriguez.

Kansas City Royals
Why They’ll Suck: They replaced Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist with Ian Kennedy and Christian Colon. Like, on purpose.
Bold Prediction: Kennedy wins 18 games and Colon hits .310. Eff the Royals, man.

Los Angeles Angels
Why They’ll Suck: The Angels have surrounded Mike Trout with as little position player talent as possible in an effort to make him look even greater by comparison.
Bold Prediction: Jered Weaver’s fastball hits 84 mph once or twice.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Why They’ll Suck: The Dodgers have surrounded Clayton Kershaw with as little pitching talent as possible in an effort to make him look even greater by comparison.
Bold Prediction: It becomes clear Yasiel Puig peaked early.

Miami Marlins
Why They’ll Suck: The fans and players are doomed to pay for Jeffrey Loria’s evil villian-ness. Fun Fact: They’ve never won a division title either. They’ve also never lost a postseason series.
Bold Prediction: Christian Yelich breaks out and puts up Andrew McCutchen numbers. I’m serious about that one.

Milwaukee Brewers
Why They’ll Suck: They’re another team that is going to suck on purpose. Before long they’re going to trade Jonathan Lucroy too.
Bold Prediction: Ramon Flores hits 15 dingers with a .350 OBP.

Minnesota Twins
Why They’ll Suck: I don’t know, but I’m sure Twins fans will blame it on Joe Mauer.
Bold Prediction: Miguel Sano plays right field better than Torii Hunter did last year.

New York Mets
Why They’ll Suck: They’re still the Mets. Case in point: the recent Matt Harvey bladder story. Last year’s pennant didn’t change anything in that regard.
Bold Prediction: They have to trade for a starting pitcher at the deadline.

Oakland Athletics
Why They’ll Suck: No joke, I can name only one A’s starter (Sonny Gray) and one A’s infielder (Marcus Semien). Is Bobby Crosby still playing?
Bold Prediction: Josh Reddick gets traded for a holy crap package at the trade deadline. I’m thinking … Royals.

Philadelphia Phillies
Why They’ll Suck: Still reeling from the 2009 World Series, obviously.
Bold Prediction: Someone not named Maikel Franco or Ryan Howard hits a home run.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Why They’ll Suck: The baseball gods will not let John Jaso’s hair go unpunished.


Bold Prediction: Mark Melancon is traded at the deadline. I’m thinking … Dodgers.

St. Louis Cardinals
Why They’ll Suck: The Cardinals will never suck. The only thing they suck at is sucking. Their ace made four starts and their highest paid position player hit four home runs last season, and they still won 100 games. The Cardinals, man.
Bold Prediction: Three years after learning to play second base and one year after learning to hit for power, Matt Carpenter picks up pitching and saves 46 games.

San Diego Padres
Why They’ll Suck: I’m not entirely convinced the Padres exist at this point. Are we sure MLB still lets them into the league? What an amazingly nondescript franchise.
Bold Prediction: Someone throws the first no-hitter in franchise history. I’ll go with Colin Rea, who is a real player and definitely not someone I just made up.

San Francisco Giants
Why They’ll Suck: They buy into the “even year trend” a little too much and give Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner weeks off at a time this summer.
Bold Prediction: Bumgarner out-slugs the starting outfield.

Seattle Mariners
Why They’ll Suck: I don’t know how it will happen exactly, but they’ll suck. The Mariners are the Wile E. Coyote of MLB. Every time they looked poised for success, they crash into the mountain with a tunnel painted on the side of it.
Bold Prediction: Bob Cano mashes 30 taters and finishes in the top three of the MVP voting. I’m expecting a big year from Robbie.

Texas Rangers
Why They’ll Suck: They won’t suck. They’ll be just good enough to get thisclose to winning something meaningful before having it ripped away again. Think Game Six of the 2011 World Series, or the seventh inning of Game Five of last year’s ALDS. That’s how the Rangers roll.
Bold Prediction: Josh Hamilton leads the team in home runs.

Washington Nationals
Why They’ll Suck: They’re the NL version of the Red Sox. They have talent and everyone buys the hype. It should work! But it doesn’t.

Homer Simpson

Bold Prediction: Bryce Harper is even better this year.