Friday Links: Braves, Upton, Severino, Chen, Marlins, Cuba

Upton and Simmons a few years back. (Presswire)
Upton and Simmons a few years back. (Presswire)

Hang in there, the weekend is only a few hours away. Here are a handful of stray links and notes to check out and help pass the time.

Yankees, Braves talked Upton and Severino last year

Last offseason the Yankees and Braves discussed a potential blockbuster trade that would have brought Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons to New York. Obviously things didn’t work out. Heyward was traded to the Cardinals last November and Simmons was traded to the Angels last night. The Yankees ended up acquiring Didi Gregorius to play shortstop and that worked out pretty well.

According to Jeff Passan and Mark Bowman, other iterations of the Heyward/Simmons blockbuster included Justin Upton — presumably instead of Heyward — and also Luis Severino. You’ve got to give something to get something, right? Last offseason Severino was still a Double-A pitching prospect who was ranked a top 35-ish prospect in baseball. Heyward fetched Shelby Miller, an established big leaguer, and Simmons by himself landed Sean Newcomb, a top 35-ish prospect.

A Heyward or Upton plus Simmons trade would have been mighty fun, though I’m happy with the way things turned out. Gregorius looks like a keeper at shortstop and Severino dazzled in his MLB debut this summer. Plus the Yankees can still sign Heyward or Upton this winter. That really would have been a fun trade though. Blockbusters are cool.

Yankees planning run at Chen

Last week we heard ex-Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen is a “possible target” for the Yankees this offseason, and now Mark Feinsand has corroborated the story, hearing the team will indeed make a serious run at Chen. The southpaw is said to be seeking at least a five-year contract. The O’s made Chen a qualifying offer as well, so the Yankees or whoever signs him will have to surrender a high draft pick.

I don’t doubt the reporting, but I’m not sure this one passes the sniff test. The Yankees seem disinclined to both spend big and give up their first round draft pick. And if they are going to spend big and give up a pick, there are better pitchers available in free agency, right? No knock on Chen, but you know what I mean. I can’t help but wonder if the Yankees are being used to create leverage. Them going after an AL East proven pitcher is believable, and hey, getting the Yankees involved is never bad for business. I dunno. We’ll see.

Donnie Baseball's new home. (Presswire)
Donnie Baseball’s new home. (Presswire)

Big market teams upset with Marlins

According to Jon Heyman, several big market clubs are upset with the Marlins and their financial situation. Miami generates the lowest revenue in baseball and thus receives the most revenue sharing money despite having a four-year-old ballpark. The big market clubs that pay into revenue sharing aren’t happy. “They’re a joke,” said one executive to Heyman.

The Yankees have paid more money into revenue sharing than any other club since the system was implemented, so it’s fair to wonder if they’re one of the teams upset with the Marlins. The Marlins receive roughly $50M in revenue sharing each year, according to Heyman. I’m not sure what MLB and the MLBPA can do about the Marlins — the union complained the team wasn’t spending enough money a few years ago, then poof, Josh Johnson got a nice extension — but getting rid of Jeffrey Loria is a good start. No reason to think that’s happening anytime soon though.

Yankees a candidate to play spring games in Cuba

At the GM Meetings earlier this week, commissioner Rob Manfred said MLB is looking into playing Spring Training games in Cuba next year. League officials visited different parks in Cuba recently and I guess gave the thumbs up, which is why Manfred is still talking about it. According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees are one of ten teams being considered for potential spring games in Cuba.

This makes a lot of sense, right? The Yankees are the most popular and most recognizable brand in baseball, if not all of sports. I don’t think selling out exhibition games in Cuba would be a problem no matter who plays, but getting the Yankees involved would create a lot more interest. Also, from a logistical standpoint, it’s a nice quick flight from Tampa. I don’t think MLB would drag teams from Arizona to Cuba in the middle of Spring Training. Either way, nothing is final yet. There are still hurdles to clear before exhibition games are played in Cuba next year.

2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Wednesday

Samardzija. (Jim Rogash/Getty)
Samardzija. (Jim Rogash/Getty)

Just three days left now. The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline is this Friday at 4pm ET, and while the Yankees have not yet made any moves, I’m sure they will at some point in the next few days. Pitching is a bit of an issue — I’d rather not see Chris Capuano make another spot start — and second base could use an upgrade as well. Maybe another righty bat too.

On Monday and Tuesday we learned the Yankees are engaged in the pitching market, both starters and relievers. They had conversations with the Reds about Johnny Cueto before he was traded to the Royals, and they were also in the hunt for Ben Zobrist before he joined Cueto in Kansas City. Final offers for Cole Hamels are reportedly due today as well. We’ll keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here.

  • 7:04pm ET: The Mat Latos trade from earlier is currently on hold because of someone’s medicals. Not necessarily Latos’. So he could, in fact, still be an option for the Yankees. [Wittenmyer]
  • 4:33pm ET: The Yankees will indeed talk to the Tigers about David Price. They remain unwilling to part with top prospects — the Phillies against asked about Aaron Judge and Luis Severino — but I’m sure at least part of that is just posturing. [Heyman]
  • 4:31pm ET: The Phillies had a scout watching Ivan Nova on Monday. The Yankees did discuss Cueto with the Reds during Johnny Cueto talks, so it stands to reason he would be available for Cole Hamels as well. [Mark Feinsand]
  • 3:32pm ET: The Tigers called teams today to tell them they are “rebooting” and willing to listen on David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and others. I certainly expect the Yankees to make a run at Price. [Stark]
  • 2:56pm ET: If the Phillies do indeed trade Cole Hamels, it is unlikely to happen today. Any trade would have to wait until Thursday or even Friday as the Phillies mull over offers. [Jayson Stark]
  • 2:23pm ET: The Padres requested shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo in trade talks about Craig Kimbrel, but the Yankees said no. New York is willing to eat the entire $28M left on Kimbrel’s contract, but they won’t surrender top prospects. [Jon Heyman]
  • 11:24pm ET: Mat Latos is apparently off the board. The Marlins are reportedly trading the right-hander (and others) to the Dodgers for prospects. Earlier this week we heard the Yankees had some interest in Latos. [Gordon Wittenmyer]
  • 9:30am ET: The White Sox still have not given any indication they will trade Jeff Samardzija. They Yankees have had their eye on him for a few weeks now. The ChiSox are now only 3.5 games back of a wildcard spot, so they might hold on to Samardzija and go for it, knowing they’ll get at least a draft pick for him after the season. [Jerry Crasnick]
  • The Reds are fielding offers for Aroldis Chapman but are not devoted to trading him because he’s under team control next season. They moved Cueto because they were going to lose him to free agency. The Yankees are said to be open to adding another high-end reliever. [Buster Olney]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Scouting The Trade Market: Miami Marlins

Baker. (Presswire)
Baker. (Presswire)

We are now a little more than one week away from the trade deadline, and at this point the buyers far outnumber the sellers. FanGraphs says nine teams have less than a 5% chance of making the postseason (only two in the AL), which actually seems kinda high. Not all nine of those teams will sell of course, and even the ones that do sell might not be matches for the Yankees. Making trades is really tough nowadays thanks to the second wildcard.

One club that is very much out of the race and as ready to sell as it gets is the Marlins, who come into today 38-55 and 12 games back of a postseason spot. The Marlins don’t screw around, when they decide to sell, they act quickly and decisively. There aren’t weeks of rumors. They know who they want, pull the trigger, and move on. Obviously this season hasn’t played out as hoped, though I doubt they’ll go full tear down. Probably more like a retooling. Luckily for them, they have a lot of rental players to market, some of whom could fit with the Yankees. Let’s look ’em over. (Players listed alphabetically.)

UTIL Jeff Baker

Yesterday we heard the Yankees are looking for a right-handed bat, and the 34-year-old Baker has hit .290/.350/.509 (126 wRC+) against lefties in his career. That’s great! The problem? He’s hitting .208/.288/.434 (99 wRC+) against southpaws this season, albeit in only 59 plate appearances. This could easily be a sample size issue. Baker hit .319/.362/.462 (128 wRC+) against lefties just last year.

We’re talking about a bench player here, a platoon bat on the short side of the platoon, and it’s damn near impossible to predict how guys like that will perform the two months after the trade deadline. Not only are they transitioning to a new team and a new city and all that, they also don’t play a whole lot. Remember Craig Wilson? That dude hit .282/.384/.518 (134 wRC+) against lefties in his career, including .307/.378/.545 (136 wRC+) for the Pirates in 2006, then put up a .222/.286/.400 (76 wRC+) line against lefties with the Yankees after being acquired a deadline.

With bench players like Wilson and Baker, the only thing you can do is bank on track record and hope they play up to their career averages. Baker has experience all over the field but is mostly a first baseman, a second baseman, and a left fielder at this point. He’s an impending free agent on a bad team and that figures to make him available. The Yankees are looking for someone for a similar skill set. Baker is a fit and hardly guaranteed to produce, because baseball doesn’t work like that.

What Will It Cost?: Baker is a utility guy. Utility guys get traded for cash or players to be named later. Gordon Beckham was traded last year for player to be named later that turned out to be a non-top 30 pitching prospect (Yency Almonte) down in rookie ball. Boom, there’s your trade reference point.

Cishek. (Presswire)
Cishek. (Presswire)

RHP Steve Cishek

Unlike the other guys in this post, Cishek isn’t a rental. He’s more of a 2016 piece than a 2015 piece, because his 2015 has been awful: 4.65 ERA (3.45 FIP) in 29 innings. This is a guy who had a 2.70 ERA (2.59 FIP) in 253.1 innings from 2011-14. Then poof, it was gone, so gone the Marlins sent Cishek to Double-A earlier this year. Not Triple-A, Double-A. To his credit, Cishek has a 0.77 ERA (2.20 FIP) since being recalled, but that is only in 11.2 innings.

The 29-year-old Cishek has a funky low arm slot and a low-90s sinker/low-80s slider combination that neutralized lefties despite said arm slot. Left-handed batters have hit .237/.325/.357 (.295 wOBA) against him in his career, which is stellar by low-slot guy standards. Batters of the opposite hand see the ball well from low-slot guys. For what it’s worth, Cishek told David Laurila earlier this month that his struggles were all mechanical:

“When the season started, my arm slot was a little low and my velocity was down,” explained Cishek. “I tried a little too hard to bring my velocity back up and started yanking everything. I was flying open and the ball was just taking off on me.

“If I’m throwing from too low, my sinker doesn’t sink. It’s flat. If I’m able to move my hand up an inch or two, I’m able to get the diving action I’ve had in the past, with a little more thump behind the ball.”

The PitchFX data shows Cishek has climbed back into the 92-94 mph range after sitting right at 90 earlier this season, which backs up the mechanical trouble. Here is Cishek’s delivery in case you’ve never seen him pitch. It’s easy to see how a delivery like that could fall out of whack from time to time.

Cishek saved 94 games over the years and he’s a Super Two, so he’s already pulling down $6.65M this season, his second year of arbitration. That puts him in line for $8M or so next season even with this year’s struggles, making him a non-tender candidate. The Marlins are not exactly a big spending team, as you may have heard. Cishek’s salary likely made him a goner after this season no matter what.

Trading for a non-tender candidate who might not help this year is sorta dumb, though the Yankees are one of the very few teams who can afford to pay Cishek that $8M next year to be a seventh or eighth inning guy (or eat it if he stinks). They talked to the Marlins about relievers before signing Andrew Miller this offseason, and I assume Cishek’s name came up, so they could have long-lasting interest. (He is 6-foot-6, after all. The Yankees love their tall pitchers.) I think this is unlikely to happen, but I figured I’d cover all my bases.

What Will It Cost?: Boy, this is interesting. The Marlins are going market Cishek as the shutdown closer he was from 2011-14 while teams are going to look at him as a reclamation projection. An expensive reclamation project. Two busted closers were traded for each other last summer (Jason Grilli for Ernesto Frieri), but that doesn’t help us. The Brewers traded John Axford for a control-challenged MLB ready reliever (Michael Blazek) a few years ago, which could be the asking price for Cishek. The Marlins could very well be in “we’re going to non-tender him anyway, so we’ll take what we can get” mode.

Haren. (Presswire)
Haren. (Presswire)

RHP Dan Haren

I feel like Haren is a perennial “should the Yankees get him?” guy. Every year we’re talking about him. Haren was very good for a very long time with the Athletics and Diamondbacks, but he is clearly in the twilight of his career nowadays, so much so that he was considering retirement before the season. Haren has a 3.46 ERA (4.31 FIP) in 117 innings this season, though the ERA hides his career-low strikeout (17.1%) and ground ball (31.4%) rates.

I’ve long felt Haren was not a good fit for the Yankees because he’s always been extremely homer prone — 1.31 HR/9 this year and 1.11 HR/9 in his career, and that’s after spending all those years in Oakland — and now he’s still homer prone, only with an 86 mph fastball instead of a 93 mph fastball. Haren doesn’t walk anyone (4.9%) and he’s really durable, so you know he’ll take the ball every fifth day and there’s value in that, I’m just not sure they will be quality innings.

Haren will be popular at the trade deadline because he comes with zero salary — the Dodgers are paying all of it. That doesn’t help the Yankees any. Quite the opposite, in fact. It levels the playing field and the concept of absorbing salary to lower the prospect price flies out the window. Haren will be a pure talent swap, not a salary dump. Given his decline and propensity for the long ball (even in big parks), Haren doesn’t seem like a fit for the Yankees unless all hell breaks loose in the next ten days.

What Will It Cost?: The going rate for an impending free agent back of the rotation veteran innings guy appears to be two or three Grade-C prospects. The Ricky Nolasco trade from a few years ago seems like a decent reference point. The Dodgers sent three pitching prospects to the Marlins for Nolasco: a Triple-A reliever (Josh Wall), a Double-A reliever (Steve Ames), and a Single-A starter (Angel Sanchez). Sanchez was ranked as the Dodgers’ 16th best prospect before the season by Baseball America while Ames and Wall were not in their top 30. Haren coming with zero salary could complicate things.

Latos. (Presswire)
Latos. (Presswire)

RHP Mat Latos

The Marlins acquired Latos from the Reds in the offseason and, in his very first start with Miami, he allowed seven runs in two-thirds of an inning. Yikes. Since then though, the 27-year-old Latos has a 4.10 ERA (3.41 FIP) in 13 starts and 74.2 innings, which still isn’t great, but it is better than the overall numbers would lead you believe (4.90 ERA and 3.48 FIP).

Latos has had a lot of physical problems over the last year or two, including hamstring, knee, and foot injuries this season. He also missed the first two and a half months of last season due to elbow (bone spur) and knee (meniscus) surgery. Latos’ velocity hasn’t really been the same since all the injuries:

Mat Latos velocity

The velocity did come back earlier this season, albeit temporarily. Latos is back to sitting in the low-90s now, where he was earlier this season and last year. His strikeout (20.8%) and walk (7.5%) rates are fine, and Latos has never been a ground ball guy (40.9% in 2015 and 43.1% career), so his underlying performance has been right in line with the rest of his career. The problem is his career-low pop-up rate (6.5%), his career-high hard contact rate (33.9%), and his near career worst performance against lefties (.336 wOBA). The contact he’s giving up is bad contact.

Latos is owed about $4.7M through the end of the season and will be a free agent this winter, so there’s no long-term risk, just the risk that you’ll give up an asset for him and he’ll stink. It happens, that’s part of baseball, but Latos seems riskier than most given his recent injury history and so so performance. He’s a warm body who can come in and take a rotation turn every fifth day, but is he the kind of guy who can put a team over the top? Maybe three or four years ago. But not now.

What Will It Cost?: Latos and Haren are both rental starters but they’re different. Haren’s a known commodity, proven durable, pitching like he always has. Latos is coming off injuries and his performance hasn’t been great. He’s a broken starter, so to speak. I’m not sure what a good reference trade would be. Justin Masterson to the Cardinals? St. Louis gave up their No. 8 prospect (James Ramsey) to get him. Brandon McCarthy last year? The Yankees gave up an MLB ready swingman in Vidal Nuno. The Marlins traded an MLB ready arm (Anthony DeSclafani, their No. 5 prospect) and a minor league depth catcher (Chad Wallach) to get Latos in the offseason. So I guess the asking price has to be lower than that, give his performance and half-season of team control, right?

Prado. (Presswire)
Prado. (Presswire)

UTIL Martin Prado

Prado is a fine player, but I’m not sure anyone has seen their perceived value increase thanks to two months in pinstripes as much as him. He raked in 37 games with the Yankees last year (146 wRC+). It was pretty awesome. Prado is also hitting .281/.325/.407 (101 wRC+) in his last 1,525 plate appearances. That’s good. It’s not great, it’s not bad, it’s just good. Basically average. Average is valuable! But given his recent history (117, 104, 103, 92 wRC+ from 2012-15), I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be even average.

That said, the Yankees have a total black hole at second base, and even a below-average Prado is a big upgrade over what the Yankees are running out there. As an added bonus, he’s a right-handed bat, which will help balance the lineup. As an extra added bonus, Prado’s versatile and would give the Yankees coverage at other positions. That said, should they bring him back, it should be to play second everyday. That’s the area of need right now.

Prado is making $11M both this season and next, and the Yankees are actually playing $3M of that each year as part of the trade that sent him to Miami. The Yankees have said they prefer rental players at the deadline, but they did acquire Prado and his contract last year, and he would be a nice depth player next season, albeit an expensive one. Prado is not really the hitter he was with the Yankees last year, but he’s a quality two-way player who would help New York quite a bit.

What Will It Cost?: Well let’s see, the Yankees traded Peter O’Brien to get two and a half years of Prado last year, though the Diamondbacks aren’t exactly known for making smart decisions. One and a half years of Prado should cost less, in theory, especially considering he’s been hurt (shoulder) and isn’t hitting as well (.275/.317/.375 and 92 wRC+ this year), and at that point you wonder if the Marlins will simply hold onto him for next year and try to contend again.

Yankeemetrics: Gone fishin’ (June 15-18)

Pineda's new dance move. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Pineda’s new dance move. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Al from Miami, the almost-hero
It was set up to be a perfect Hollywood moment — the prodigal son comes home and steps to the plate with the tying run on base and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and a chance to be the hero.

But there would be no storybook ending this time for Alex Rodriguez, who flied out to right field and sealed the Yankees 2-1 loss on Monday. A-Rod has homered in 31 different parks in his major-league career, but never in a stadium located in his hometown of Miami.

Mark Teixeira drove in the Yankees only run with a solo homer in the second inning. The only other Yankee besides Teixeira to get a hit was Didi Gregorius, who had a double and single; the rest of the Yankees were 0-for-23. Booooo. The three hits were the fewest for the Yankees in a game at an NL park since June 22, 2002 at San Diego.

E-oh no!-valdi
So it turns out that this little road trip to the land of sunshine and beaches was really bad for Yankee homecomings.

One day after Al From Miami made the final out in a one-run loss, Nathan Eovaldi, pitching in South Florida for the first time since being traded from the Marlins to the Yankees this winter, had the worst start of his career — and perhaps one of the worst by any pitcher in franchise history.

Eovaldi — who was tagged for eight runs and nine hits in 2/3 of an inning — became the first Yankee pitcher to give up eight runs and fail to get three outs since Bartolo Colon on July 14, 2011 against the Blue Jays. His nine hits allowed are the most for any Yankee that pitched fewer than one inning in a game over the last 100 seasons.

Somehow, this wasn’t the first time the Yankees were blown out by the Marlins. The 10-run loss matched the worst Interleague defeat suffered by a Yankee team — they lost 11-1 to the Florida Marlins on July 13, 2001 and 12-2 to the Mets on June 9, 2000.

Michael Pineda flirted with history on Wednesday night, but ultimately had to settle for just another dominating performance. Pineda threw six no-hit innings in the Yankees 2-1 win, before Christian Yelich homered to leadoff the seventh frame, the only hit that Big Mike would allow on the night.

It was his second start as a Yankee with at least eight strikeouts and no more than one hit allowed, a feat he also achieved Sept. 22 last year. The only other pitchers in franchise history with two starts like that are Bob Turley, CC Sabathia, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens.

A-Rod was on base four times with two walks and two hits, including an RBI single that gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first inning. He’s the oldest Yankee with multiple hits and multiple walks plus an RBI in a game since a 42-year-old Enos Slaughter did it in June 1958.

Hook, line and sinker
The Yankees are streaking again … and this time it’s in the win column. After losing five of their previous six games, the Bronx Bombers have won two in a row. Muy bueno!

Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran had the big hits for the Yankees in the 9-4 win over the Marlins on Thursday night. Gardner’s two run homer tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth inning, and in the next frame, Beltran’s two-run blast gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead.

The Yankees are now 34-11 (.756) when Gardner homers in his career, and have a .577 win percentage in all other games. For Beltran, it was his 378th career homer, tying Matt Williams for 70th place all-time.

CC Sabathia turned in a quality start and struck out seven batters, but got a no-decision. The Marlins remain the only team that Sabathia has not beaten in his career. He was trying to become the third active pitcher (A.J. Burnett, Dan Haren) and 14th in major-league history to beat all 30 current MLB franchises.

6/15 to 6/18 Series Preview: Miami Marlins

The Marlins play in a space ship. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Marlins play in a space ship. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Time for another interleague series, though this is really two series. The Yankees and Marlins are playing a four-game home-and-home series — the first two games are at Marlins Park and the last two are in Yankee Stadium. This is the first Yankees-Marlins series since 2009, when they were still the Florida Marlins.

What Have The Marlins Done Lately?

Miami won yesterday but lost three straight immediately prior to that. They’ve really underachieved this year. I thought they’d be in the wildcard mix, but instead they are 27-37 with a -22 run differential overall. The Marlins are a distant fourth in the NL East.

Offense & Defense

A few weeks ago the Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond and replaced him with GM Dan Jennings, who moved from the front office to the dugout. It was … weird. Regardless of who is managing, Miami has a below-average offense with an average of 3.83 runs per game with a team 97 wRC+. They’re currently without 1B Mike Morse and UTIL Don Kelly, both of whom have finger injuries and are not due back this series.

Giancarlo. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)
Giancarlo. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

Offensively, the Marlins are led by OF Giancarlo Stanton (154 wRC+), who leads baseball in homers (23), RBI (59), and strikeouts (84). You can get him out with quality breaking stuff, but man, if you miss your spot, he’ll hit the ball a mile. Stanton leads MLB with a 98.6 mph average exit velocity, nearly five (!) miles an hour better than any other hitter in baseball. Good gravy. The man is a monster at the dish. The Yankees will be lucky if he hits just one home run in this series.

2B Dee Gordon (118 wRC+) was been an excellent table-setter from the leadoff spot and 1B Justin Bour (125 wRC+) has done a nice job filling in for Morse. The Marlins got him from the Cubs in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft a few years ago. OF Marcell Ozuna (97 wRC+) has been average and while OF Christian Yelich (68 wRC+) has been bad overall, he’s warmed up of late and will be a tough out. He’s one of my favorite random players in the league. The Stanton/Ozuna/Yelich trio is a really impressive young outfield, at least when everyone is playing up to expectations.

Ex-Yankee 3B Martin Prado (88 wRC+) hasn’t done much this year and he left yesterday’s game with a shoulder sprain after taking a tumble when he ran through first base awkwardly. He’s day-to-day for the time being. SS Adeiny Hechavarria (98 wRC+) and C J.T. Realmuto (75 wRC+) are the regular shortstop and catcher, respectively. C Jeff Mathis (13 wRC+), IF Derek Dietrich (-100 wRC+), UTIL Jeff Baker (130 wRC+), IF Donovan Solano (-52 wRC+), and OF Ichiro Suzuki (86 wRC+) fill out the team’s bench. All those guys have very limited plate appearances aside from Ichiro.

The Marlins are a very good defensive team, especially up the middle, where Gordon, Hechavarria, and Ozuna are all above-average glove men. Yelich and Stanton are above-average in the outfield corners as well. Realmuto has thrown out attempted base-stealers at an average rate but has graded out as a below-average pitch-framer in his limited MLB time. Prado and Bour are rough on the infield corners. The outfield and middle infield are very good defensively.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (No vs. MIA) vs. RHP Tom Koehler (Career vs. NYY)
The 28-year-old Koehler was briefly demoted to the bullpen earlier this year, but returned to the rotation when Henderson Alvarez landed on the DL. Koehler has a 4.13 ERA (4.67 FIP) in 72 innings across 12 starts and one relief appearance, and nothing stands out about his underlying performance (17.2 K%, 9.3 BB%, 45.0 GB%, 1.25 HR/9). Lefties (.377 wOBA) have done a lot more damage against him than righties (.276 wOBA). Koehler throws low-90s two and four-seam fastballs at almost an equal rate, and he features mid-80s sliders and upper-70s curveballs. He has a mid-80s changeup but rarely throws it. Koehler is the very definition of a generic back-end starter. Not replacement level! But nothing that will wow you. The kind of guy who is nice to have during his cheap pre-arbitration years.

Tuesday: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Career vs. MIA) vs. RHP David Phelps (Career vs. NYY)
Hey, look at that, it’s a matchup between the two guys who were traded for each other. Or at least traded as part of packages for each other. Phelps has a 4.11 ERA (3.59 FIP) in 65.2 innings spanning eleven starts and a pair of early-season relief appearances. The Marlins actually sent Koehler to the bullpen and kept Phelps in the rotation a few weeks ago. Phelps, 28, has a career low strikeout rate (16.0 K%), a career low walk rate (6.1%), a career high ground ball rate (43.2%), and a career low home run rate (0.69 HR/9). Career highs and lows all over the place. Righties (.313 wOBA) have hurt him more than lefties (.291 wOBA), but for his career he has close to no platoon split. As you know, Phelps is a five-pitch pitcher, using low-90s two and four-seamers to set up his mid-80s slider, low-80s changeup, and upper-70s curveball. He uses the slider against righties and the curve against lefties.

Phelpsie. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Phelpsie! (Doug Pensinger/Getty)

Wednesday: RHP Michael Pineda (No vs. MIA) vs. RHP Jose Urena (No vs. NYY)
Urena, 23, has been up twice this season, the first time to work in relief and the second time to help out the rotation. He’s made two relief appearances and four starts and has a 4.44 ERA (4.47 FIP) in 26.1 big league innings. Urena hasn’t missed many bats thus far (11.3%) but he has limited walks (5.7%) and gotten ground balls (55.8%). Homers (1.03 HR/9) haven’t been a huge problem, nor has his platoon split (.330 vs. .322 wOBA in favor of righties). Urena has a big fastball, sitting in the low-to-mid-90s, and he also throws mid-80s sliders and changeups. From what I’ve read, the general consensus is Urena isn’t quite MLB ready and was rushed to the big leagues because of injuries. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked him as Miami’s fourth best prospect before the season and said his future may lie in the bullpen because his slider is below-average.

Thursday: LHP CC Sabathia (Career vs. MIA) vs. RHP Mat Latos (Career vs. NYY)
This has not been a good season for the 27-year-old Latos, who has a 5.44 ERA (3.08 FIP) in ten starts and 49.1 innings around knee and hamstring problems. His strikeout (21.5%) and walk (8.2%) rates have been about average while his ground ball (38.4%) and homer (0.54 HR/9) rates are lower than the league average. One of those is a good thing, the other a bad thing. Latos has been hit harder by lefties (.368 wOBA) than righties (.312 wOBA). A low-90s four-seamer is his main fastball, though he also throws a low-90s cutter. Latos uses his low-80s slider as his primary out pitch but will also throw low-80s changeups and upper-70s curves. It’s worth noting Latos has been much better from the windup (2.47 FIP) than out of the stretch (3.81 FIP) this year. Get men on and he unravels a bit.

Bullpen Status
The Marlins have had a surprisingly bad bullpen this year (3.71 ERA and 3.07 FIP) thanks in large part to ex-closer RHP Steve Cishek (4.25 FIP), who melted down spectacularly earlier this season. He didn’t just lose his closer’s job, he was demoted to Double-A at one point. Not Triple-A, Double-A. RHP A.J. Ramos (1.80 FIP) has taken over in the ninth inning with RHP Carter Capps (1.53 wRC+) seeing most of the setup time. This is Capps’ delivery (via @MLBGIFs):

Carter Capps

Also in the bullpen are RHP Sam Dyson (2.90 FIP), RHP Vin Mazzaro (4.49 FIP), LHP Mike Dunn (3.42 FIP), and LHP Brad Hand (2.42 FIP). Neither Dunn, a former Yankee, nor Hand is a left-on-left specialist. Dunn will throw full innings and Hand is the long reliever. Mazzaro (19 pitches), Cishek (13 pitches), and Hand (24 pitches) all pitched yesterday. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of New York’s bullpen, then check out Fish Stripes for everything you need to know about the Marlins.

A Haiku for the Rest of MLB [2015 Season Preview]

Does Donnie like Haikus? Of course. (Presswire)
Does Donnie like haikus? Of course. (Presswire)

Opening Day is now only three days away. We’ve spent the last four weeks previewing the Yankees and the upcoming season, and yesterday we broke down the rest of the AL East. Today we’re going to wrap up our 2015 Season Preview series with a quick preview of the other 25 teams in baseball. After all, the Yankees are going to have to try to beat those teams this season too.

If you’ve come here looking for a serious preview post, you’re not going to get it. It’s Friday afternoon, Opening Day is right around the corner, and this year’s preview series is over. Instead, we’re going to have some fun and preview those other 25 teams in Haiku form. I encourage you to tell me how much my haikus suck and to make some of your own — pro tip: use the Haiku Counter to make sure you have the right number of syllables — and leave ’em in the comments. Enjoy.

Atlanta Braves
Traded their best bats
For a whole bunch of pitchers
They know scoring’s down?

Arizona Diamondbacks
Is Nuno their ace?
The answer just might be yes
Payback for ’01!

Chicago Cubs
Bleachers aren’t ready?
No prob, Bryant won’t notice
He’s in Iowa

Chicago White Sox
D-Rob and Melky
Back together in ChiTown
Growing ugly beards

Cincinnati Reds
Good enough to win?
Nah, not in that division
Can we have Cueto?

Cleveland Indians
Brantley is awesome
Kluber is really great
World Series pick? Eh

Colorado Rockies
Troy’s still a Rockie
Kyle Kendrick, OD SP?
Wait for ski season

Detroit Tigers
Miggy, Price, V-Mart
Lots of stars and real big names
Bullpen still a mess

Houston Astros
I don’t understand
You won “process World Series?”
That doesn’t exist

Kansas City Royals
Pennant last season
Volquez is replacing Shields?
For real? Yeah, for real

Los Angeles Angels
They have that Trout guy
I wish the Yankees had him
It’s Teixeira’s fault!

Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw is the best
Donnie Baseball gets his ring?
If not, just blame Puig

Miami Marlins
Paid Giancarlo
They’re going for it again
When’s next fire sale?

Milwaukee Brewers
They all hate Ryan Braun
But not as much as A-Rod
This team is boring

Minnesota Twins
Phil’s still homer prone
Nunez’s helmet still falls off
Just like the old days

New York Mets
Take back New York, huh?
Orange and blue like the Knicks
But with fewer fans

Oakland Athletics
Ballpark is ugly
Beane traded everyone again
What’s a Stephen Vogt?

Philadelphia Phillies
Rebuild? Finally!
Cole will be traded real soon
Then skip to next year

Pittsburgh Pirates
Cervelli pumps fist
McCutchen cut his dreads
A World Series team?

St. Louis Cardinals
Contender again
Such a boringly good team
Gets boring haiku

San Diego Padres
Kemp, Upton, Myers, Shields
But what about Yangervis?
Solarte Partay!

San Francisco Giants
The World Series champs
But it’s an odd number year
So no repeat then

Seattle Mariners
You can have Robbie
You are still stuck with Jack Z.
Yankees win the trade

Texas Rangers
Could this be the year
That Elvis Andrus will hit?
Hah, made myself laugh

Washington Nationals
Awesome rotation!
Future Yankee Bryce Harper
Has nice ring to it

Marlins claim Preston Claiborne off waivers from Yankees

(Alex Goodlett/Getty)
Soon he will have a terrible beard like all ex-Yanks. (Alex Goodlett/Getty)

The Marlins have claimed Preston Claiborne off waivers from the Yankees, according to Joe Frisaro. New York designated the right-handed reliever for assignment late last week to clear a 40-man roster spot for fellow righty reliever Gonzalez Germen, who was acquired from the Mets in a cash trade.

Claiborne, 27, had a 3.79 ERA (4.00 FIP) with decent strikeout (7.32 K/9 and 18.7 K%), walk (3.03 BB/9 and 7.7 BB%), homer (1.01 HR/9 and 9.2 HR/FB%), and ground ball (43.3%) rates in 71.1 innings spread across 62 relief appearances these last two years. He had a 0.46 ERA (2.39 FIP) in his first 19.2 MLB innings and a 5.05 ERA (4.61 FIP) in 51.2 innings thereafter.

The Yankees drafted Claiborne in the 17th round of the 2010 draft and got some nice mileage out of him. (The expected return for a 17th rounder is basically nothing.) Thanks to Germen, Jacob Lindgren, Bryan Mitchell, Danny Burawa, Branden Pinder, Chase Whitley, and several others, the Yankees have no shortage of up-and-down bullpen candidates for next season. Claiborne had a nice little run last year but that’s about it.