Saturday Links: Chapman, Beltran, Best Tools, A-Rod

(Greg Fiume/Getty)
(Greg Fiume/Getty)

The Yankees and Indians will continue their three-game series later this afternoon, assuming the weather cooperates. Here are some stray links to help you pass the time until first pitch.

Chapman, Beltran open to re-signing with Yankees

After being traded last week, impending free agents Aroldis Chapman and Carlos Beltran told reporters they would be open to re-signing with the Yankees after the season. “I would love to come back again,” said Chapman to Mark Feinsand while Beltran simply told Jared Diamond he would “gladly” return to the Yankees if the opportunity presents itself.

As good as he has been this year, I don’t love the idea of bringing Beltran back next season, even on a cheap-ish one-year deal to DH. There are lots of young position players in Triple-A Scranton waiting for an opportunity. Chapman’s a different story because he’s still right smack in the prime of his career, and there’s always room for another high-end reliever in the bullpen.

I feel like it’s inevitable the Yankees will sign a top reliever this offseason, and I’d prefer Kenley Jansen or Mark Melancon to Chapman. I just have no interest in rooting for the guy following the domestic violence stuff. You’re welcome to feel differently. Anyway, it’s no surprise Chapman and Beltran are open to coming back. Why would any impending free agent rule out the Yankees?

Baseball America’s best tools survey

One of my favorite features each season is Baseball America’s best tools survey. They poll managers and coaches about the players in their leagues, then put all the results together. Here are the Yankees at each level. The links go to each article and they’re not behind the paywall.

Chapman (best fastball) and Andrew Miller (best slider, second best reliever) both made appearances in the survey as well. Sanchez being voted as the best defensive catcher in the International League is pretty darn interesting. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s made a lot of improvement, or because it’s just a weak year for IL catchers. I choose to believe the former. Go Gary!

No plans to release A-Rod

To the surprise of no one, Brian Cashman said the Yankees have no plans to release Alex Rodriguez during a recent radio interview (via George King). If the Yankees had any plans to release A-Rod, I think they would have done so already. Here’s what Cashman said:

“It’s not an easy circumstance, but there are no plans right now to do anything but give some reps to other people and see where it takes us, and if matchups or injuries hit, you might see him back out there,’’ Cashman told ESPN Radio. “First and foremost, you just have to admit it’s not easy to go ahead and eat — meaning release — that kind of money. It’s not something you come to a quick decision on … There’s a very large financial commitment through next year on a player of Alex’s caliber that was productive as [recently] as last year. Now, he’s being put in a position where sporadic play to try to get it going makes it more difficult. It’s fair to ask why and it’s fair to understand why it’s not a quick, rash decision, especially with September around the corner.”

Rosters expand in three weeks and five days, and I expect the Yankees to just ride this out with Rodriguez until then. They could release him in the offseason, but right now my guess is they hang on to him through the winter, then evaluate him in Spring Training. If he hits, they can give him a shot. If he stinks, they’ll cut him loose. And if he gets hurt, they’ll collect insurance on his contract.

Teixeira announces retirement following 2016 season

Teixeira Foul Territory

After 14 years in the big leagues and eight years in pinstripes, Mark Teixeira is planning to hang up his spikes after the season. Teixeira announced his retirement, effective at the end of the 2016 season, at a press conference at Yankee Stadium this afternoon.

“Every kid playing wiffle ball in the backyard or playing Little League, you dream of being a Major League Baseball player,” said an emotional Teixeira. “After 14 years, it’s time for me to do something else. After this season I’m going to retire and do something else.”

Here is Teixeira’s teary press conference:

Teixeira, now 36, is in the final season of his eight-year, $180M contract. I’ll never forget the day they signed him. We heard for weeks Teixeira was expected to sign with the Red Sox, and right when it appeared a deal was close, BAM the Yankees swooped and signed him. It was pretty awesome. One of my favorite days in RAB history, hands down.

So far this season Teixeira is hitting a weak .198/.287/.340 (69 wRC+) with ten homers in 77 games around a nagging knee injury and various other ailments. Just last season he hit .255/.357/.548 (143 wRC+) and swatted 31 home runs in 111 games. Teixeira’s 2015 season ended in August after a foul tip broke his shin. That was a real bummer.

Overall, Teixeira has hit .249/.348/.491 (121 wRC+) with 201 home runs during his eight seasons in pinstripes. That includes his monster .292/.383/.565 (142 wRC+) campaign in 2009, when he clubbed 39 homers and finished second to Joe Mauer in the AL MVP voting. I’d say Teixeira’s signature Yankee moment is his walk-off home run in Game Two of the 2009 ALDS.

On top of all the dingers, Teixeira was an outstanding defensive first baseman. One of the best I’ve ever seen. Even as his bat has lagged this year, Teixeira is still playing the hell out of first base. He’s a game-changer over there, saving his teammates countless errors over the years.

Of course, injuries have been a major problem in recent seasons. Everything from wrist to hamstring to calf to shin problems have kept him off the field. He has appeared in only 449 of 594 possible games (76%) since the start of the 2012 season. Teixeira is currently sidelined with a shin problem after being hit by a pitch Wednesday night. He went for precautionary x-rays yesterday.

Teixeira is one of the most productive power-hitting switch-hitters in baseball history. His 404 homers are fifth all-time among switch-hitters, and he joins Eddie Murray, Chipper Jones, and Carlos Beltran as the only switch-hitters with 400+ doubles and 400+ homers. Originally selected fifth overall in the 2001 draft, Teixeira spent time with the Rangers, Braves, and Angels before joining the Yankees.

“I got to live out my dream and had more success than I could have ever imagined,” said Teixeira. “It felt like it was the right time for me to step away from the game. I want to finish my season on a high note … I’m going to leave it all out there.”

The Yankees have only had four primary first basemen over the last 33 seasons, which is pretty incredible. It was Don Mattingly from 1983-95, Tino Martinez from 1996-2001, Jason Giambi from 2002-08, and Teixeira from 2009-16. Yeah, there were some Kevin Maases and Andy Phillipses and Lyle Overbays mixed in along the way, but those have been the four main guys. Pretty crazy.

“It’s an unbelievable blessing. It’s an unbelievable honor to put the pinstripes on everyday,” added Teixeira. “I want to thank all the Yankees fans, the greatest fans in the world. I wasn’t perfect. I was far from perfect. I want to let you know I appreciate your support. I gave you everything I had. It wasn’t always enough, but I tried to my best and I’m proud to have a World Series ring with the Yankees. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

As far as the Yankees are concerned, this doesn’t change a whole lot going forward. They were widely expected to move on from Teixeira after the season and install Greg Bird as their new first baseman. Bird’s shoulder surgery may throw a wrench into that plan, but hopefully not. Tyler Austin may have played his way into first base consideration this season as well.

Teixeira was a pretty darn good Yankee despite the injuries in recent years. He was a key part of their most recent World Series title and is generally just a fun, likeable dude. Foul Territory and the way he mocked Hansel Robles during the sign stealing nonsense the other night are pretty good examples. You’ve done good, Tex. See you at Old Timers’ Day.

Yankeemetrics: Playing for pride [Aug. 1-4]


With the white flag flying high in the Bronx, the Yankees ushered in a new era of pinstriped baseball on Monday night with a dramatic — and thoroughly fun-to-watch — win in 10 innings over the Mets. This was their first extra-inning win in the Subway Series since May 20, 2006 at Shea Stadium.

It was a back-and-forth battle with the Yankees erasing two deficits before finally edging the Mets with some rare clutch hitting. Trailing by two runs in the eighth inning, Didi Gregorius added another gold star to his stellar season with a two-out, game-tying two-run single.

That timely hit upped his batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs to a whopping .341, the sixth-best mark among all MLB players with at least 40 at-bats in that situation through Monday. It was also the first time in Didi’s career he delivered a two-out, game-tying/go-ahead RBI in the eighth inning or later.

Starlin Castro won the game with a tie-breaking, bases-loaded sacrifice fly to the warning track in the 10th inning. This was the first extra-inning sac fly hit by a player on either team in the history of the Mets-Yankees rivalry.

The Yankees overcame another disappointing effort from CC Sabathia, who allowed five runs before getting pulled in the sixth inning. It was the 33rd time a Yankee starter gave up at least five runs in a game this season; through Monday’s slate, no other team in baseball had more such starts by their pitchers than your 2016 Yankees.


The new reality
One day after one of the most inspiring and exciting games of the season, the Yankees responded with one of their all-too-familiar lackluster and boring performances on Tuesday night, losing in a rout, 7-1.

On paper, Masahiro Tanaka seemed poised to have a strong outing against the Mets. Not only had he already thrown a shutout at Citi Field in 2014, but he also was the owner of a 1.88 ERA in nine Interleague starts, the third-best ERA among active pitchers (min. 60 IP).

Instead, things went horribly wrong as Tanaka produced a dud, allowing a career-high seven earned runs. Entering this game, he was the only MLB pitcher in the 20-season history of Interleague play to throw a quality start in each of his first nine career Interleague appearances.

For the Mets, Jacob deGrom dominated the Yankees both on the mound and at the plate, tossing seven scoreless innings while going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. (Yes, the 28-year-old right-hander crossed home plate more times than the entire Yankee team.)

deGrom is the first pitcher with multiple hits and multiple runs in a game vs. the Yankees since Ken Brett (brother of George) on Oct. 2, 1972. The pitching Brett was actually a prolific hitter, who once homered in four straight games and finished with a .698 career OPS. That’s the second-best mark among pitchers who began their career after WWII (min. 300 PA), behind only Don Newcombe (.705).

Mark Teixeira reached a nice round-number milestone with his 400th double in the sixth inning. He is the only switch-hitter in major-league history to hit at least 400 doubles and 400 home runs within the first 14 seasons of his career.

New kids on the block
Wednesday’s contest quickly devolved into an unlikely slugfest and resulted in one of the wildest — if not bizarre — games of the season. The good news is that the ending was a happy one for the Yankees, who won 9-5 to move back above the .500 mark again.

Chad Green allowed the first five batters to reach base, including a leadoff homer by Curtis Granderson; he’s now given up eight homers in 18 innings as a starter and zero homers in 9 1/3 innings as a reliever.


It was also the sixth leadoff homer surrendered by Yankee pitchers this season, the third-most by a Yankee staff in the last 75 years. The only seasons with more were in 2001 (7) and 2014 (9).

The Yankees eventually rallied with Mark Teixeira delivering the decisive blow in the second inning with a tie-breaking three-run homer off the lefty Matz. It was Teixeira’s first homer from the right side of the plate since July 31 of last year.

In between those longballs — from August 1, 2015 through August 2, 2016 — Teixeira slugged .248 as a righty, the sixth-lowest slugging percentage among the 274 players with at least 100 plate appearances as a right-handed batter in that span.

Luis Severino was brilliant in relief of the struggling Green, taking over in the fourth and finishing his outing with just one unearned run allowed on one hit in 4 1/3 dominant innings. After the game, Joe Girardi praised Severino, noting that “his slider [was] better” and “his fastball command was better … Tonight was the best I’ve seen him.”

Severino’s postgame Pitch F/X numbers echo Girardi’s comments: his darting, mid-90s fastball got strikes nearly 70 percent of the time, and his wipeout slider got whiffs on half of the 10 cuts that the Mets took against it. That was his highest slider swing-and-miss rate in any game where he’s thrown at least 15 sliders.

One is not enough
A 4-1 loss on Thursday night gave the Yankees a split in this four-game series against the Mets, an outcome that is very fitting for this Yankees team that has mastered the art of being .500 this season. They’re now 54-54 overall, which includes 44-44 before the break, 10-10 since the break, 13-13 in July and 2-2 in August.

This was the 25th time this season that the Yankees have scored one run or fewer, the most such games among all major-league teams entering the weekend slate.

Nathan Eovaldi‘s dinger problem reared its ugly head again on Thursday night, allowing his 22nd and 23rd homers of the season in the fifth inning. His rate of 1.67 homers per nine innings this year would be the worst in franchise history for any Yankee pitcher that qualified for the ERA title in a non-strike season. It was also his eighth game in 2016 giving up two or more homers, the most among all major-league pitchers.

Bartolo Colon enjoyed his return to the Bronx as he silenced the Yankee bats, surrendering just one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. The 43-year-old righty is the oldest pitcher ever to beat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium while pitching at least six innings and allowing no more than one run.

Game 108: Beat the Mets

(Rich Schultz/Getty)
(Rich Schultz/Getty)

Despite trading away their best hitter and two of their three best relievers in recent days, the Yankees have taken two of the first three games of the Subway Series, and that is pretty darn cool. They have a chance to clinch the four-game series win tonight while remaining reasonably close to the wildcard race. Close enough to keep me interested, anyway. Here is the Mets’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. 3B Chase Headley
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. 2B Starlin Castro
  6. SS Didi Gregorius
  7. DH Gary Sanchez
  8. 1B Rob Refsnyder
  9. RF Aaron Hicks
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

Pretty great weather in New York today. Nice and sunny but not hot. In fact, it’s a bit breezy. I love it. Great night for a game. Tonight’s series finale is set to begin at bit at 7pm ET. You can watch on WPIX and SNY locally, and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Roster Update: Chad Green has been sent down to Triple-A Scranton and Johnny Barbato has been called up, the Yankees announced. Joe Girardi confirmed Luis Severino will start in Green’s place in five days. Green will continue to work as a starter with the RailRiders.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira‘s shin is “pretty sore” after getting hit by a pitch last night. He’s going for precautionary x-rays and no other tests are scheduled.

Yankeemetrics: The buy-or-sell rollercoaster [July 22-24]


Giant victory
Facing yet another first-place team on this make-or-break homestand, the Yankees pulled off a stunning victory over the Giants on Friday night. The Yankees entered this series with a 3-7 record in Interleague play this season, the worst in the American League and second-worst in the majors ahead of only the Reds (4-11).

Masahiro Tanaka outdueled Madison Bumgarner in a battle of aces, firing six shutout innings against the Giants. Tanaka has dominated NL competition during his major-league career, compiling a 1.88 ERA with 59 strikeouts and just six walks in nine Interleague starts. That’s the third-best Interleague ERA among active pitchers with at least seven starts, and the best for any Yankee pitcher that has ever made more than one start during Interleague play.

Tanaka has put together an ace-like resume this year, but one narrative clouding his season performance has been his sub-par numbers on normal rest.

He entered this game with a 5.33 ERA in eight starts on four days rest, a bloated figure compared to his 3.15 season ERA. The 2.18 difference in ERA between his 5.33 normal rest ERA and 3.15 overall ERA ranked fourth-highest among the 143 pitchers with at least five starts on four days rest this season.

Aroldis Chapman’s flame-throwing feats are becoming more and more ridiculous every day. On Friday night, 15 of his 17 pitches were fastballs, and each of the heaters was clocked at 100 mph or faster, with a whopping seven pitches topping out at 104 mph.

That’s now 11 pitches of at least 104 mph in his last two appearances combined (he had four on July 18), an unprecedented total considering that only three pitches of 104 or more mph had ever been recorded in the nine seasons of Statcast data (since 2008) before this week.

Chapman averaged a ridiculous 103.2 mph on his fastball against the Giants, the highest average fastball velocity in a game by any pitcher since 2008, per Statcast.

Bronx bummer
Less than 24 hours after celebrating one of their most uplifting wins of the season, the Yankees crashed back down to Earth with one of their most frustrating and crushing losses, falling 2-1 in 12 innings to the Giants on Saturday.

nova fist pump

Not only did they lose after playing a dozen innings in the brutal heat, but they also failed numerous times in the clutch (went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position) and wasted a gem from their fifth starter (seven innings and one run allowed by Ivan Nova).

And to pile on the depressing facts, they whiffed on a chance to reach three games over .500 for the first time this season, and — because the Blue Jays lost earlier in the day — could have pulled to within three games in the loss column of the second wild card spot if they had somehow won the game.

Instead, the Yankees’ momentum was halted and they suffered yet another disheartening defeat in a season filled with far too many of them already.

It was just the third time the Yankees have lost an Interleague game at home that lasted at least 12 innings. The others were a 6-2 loss on April 18, 2013 to the Diamondbacks and a 2-1 loss on June 12, 2001 against the Expos (both games went 12 innings, too).

This isn’t the first time Nova has been stellar against the Giants; he threw a six-hit shutout in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2013 in his only other appearance against them. He now owns a shiny 0.56 career ERA against the Giants, the lowest mark among active pitchers that have made more than one start versus the franchise (LOL, small sample sizes).


Yankees Last (home)Stand
The Yankees seemingly staved off an imminent fire sale for yet another day by capping off this make-or-break homestand with a solid series win against the first-place Giants.

They climbed back up to two games above .500, tying their high-water mark of the season. It marked the 33rd time the Yankees finished a game with a record within two games of the magical .500 mark, the second-longest streak of that kind in franchise history, per the Elias Sports Bureau. The only longer one was a 42-game streak in 2008.

Carlos Beltran opened the scoring in the first inning with his 413th career home run, passing Alfonso Soriano for sole possession of 52nd place on the all-time list. Up next is Darrell Evans with 414.

Mark Teixeira added a solo shot of his own in the next frame, his 200th homer in pinstripes. He is just the fourth Yankee switch-hitter to reach that milestone, and also the fourth first baseman in franchise history with at least 200 homers. His fellow Yankee switch-hitters in the 200-homer club are Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Mickey Mantle; the other first baseman are Jason Giambi, Don Mattingly and Lou Gehrig.

Nathan Eovaldi‘s erratic season has mirrored the Yankees’ inconsistency, so it was little surprise that he delivered a standout performance (two runs allowed in 6 2/3 innings) on the same day the Yankees actually looked like a contender. What is surprising is that one of his best outings came against the Giants, a team that he’s historically struggled against.

Eovaldi entered the game with a 13.30 ERA in five starts versus San Francisco, the second-highest ERA by any active MLB pitcher against a single opponent (min. five starts). The highest mark is by Dana Eveland, who boasts a 16.11 ERA in 10 games (five starts) against the Red Sox.

Game 92: Rain, rain, go away


The Yankees and Orioles are supposed to begin their four-game series in Yankee Stadium tonight, but I gotta tell ya, the forecast doesn’t look too promising and the sky is scary. It’s been dark and cloudy most of the afternoon. There’s rain in the forecast and I received a severe thunderstorm warning notification on my phone, so yeah.

Believe it or not, this is the O’s first visit to Yankee Stadium this season, so the two teams will have plenty of time to play a makeup game if it does get rained out. In fact, the Yankees and Orioles wrap up the season with three games in the Bronx. Maybe they’d push the makeup game back until then and only play it if it’ll impact the postseason race. I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

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

Like I said, the forecast is not good tonight. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES, though who knows if there will be a delay or anything. We’ll see. Enjoy the game.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira (foot) remains day-to-day and is receiving treatment. He fouled a pitch off his foot over the weekend … Conor Mullee (hand) played catch today and could throw a bullpen Wednesdays. He’s out with nerve irritation.

Roster Move: The Yankees activated Mason Williams (shoulder) off the 60-day DL and optioned him to Triple-A Scranton, the team announced. They had an open 40-man roster spot after cutting Ike Davis loose, so no other moves were required.

Game 91: A win is a loss and a loss is a win

(Adam Hunger/Getty)
(Adam Hunger/Getty)

Does anyone out there still believe the Yankees are good enough to get back into the postseason race? I’m not even talking about being good enough to actually get to the playoffs. I mean being good enough to play meaningful games in September. Everyone is saying the Yankees need to play better in the second half, and yet here they are, playing poorly and on the verge of being swept by the Red Sox at home. At this point of the season, a loss is a win and a win is a loss. Sell sell sell. Here is the Red Sox’s lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

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

Another hot and sunny one in New York today. The weather would be really great if it were, like, ten degrees cooler and 50% less humid. Tonight’s game starts at 8pm ET and you can watch on ESPN. Try to enjoy.

Injury Update: Mark Teixeira (foot) is heading for a CT scan even though an x-ray came back negative yesterday. He fouled a pitch off his foot yesterday. (Update: The CT scan came back negative and Teixeira is day-to-day.)