2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Tuesday

Price. (Presswire)
Price. (Presswire)

We are now just four days away from the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees stretched their AL East lead to seven games with last night’s winFanGraphs has their postseason odds at 93.8% — but they’re in no position to coast. Ivan Nova left last night’s start with “arm fatigue,” reinforcing the team’s need for pitching help. They could also use a new second baseman and maybe a righty bench bat.

On Monday we learned … well … not much we didn’t already know. The Yankees are in on just about every pitcher, starters and relievers, and they remain interested in Ben Zobrist. Possible bullpen target Tyler Clippard was traded to the Mets as well. Oh, and Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Blue Jays last night. How about that? We’re going to keep track of all the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here, so make sure you check back often. It really feels like a deal could happen at any moment now.

  • 2:31pm ET: Ben Zobrist is heading to the Royals for two pitching prospects. That is really disappointing. He would have been a massive upgrade at second base.
  • 2:21pm ET: The Yankees and Rockies never seriously engaged in Troy Tulowitzki trade talks. The combination of cost (both prospects and dollars) and injury risk was not particularly appealing to the Yankees. [Joel Sherman]
  • 2:10pm ET: The Athletics are “deep” in Ben Zobrist trade talks and he is expected to move soon. It’s unclear where he will end up, but the Yankees have been connected to him for weeks. Zobrist makes a ton of sense for the Bombers and pretty much every other team in MLB. [Jane Lee]
  • 12:29pm ET: The Phillies are asking teams for their “best” offers for Cole Hamels by Wednesday. That makes sense, Hamels is scheduled to pitch Thursday and they probably want to deal him before then. His stock can only go down following the no-hitter. [Jayson Stark]
  • 9:30pm ET: Craig Kimbrel‘s name has indeed popped up in trade talks with the Padres. There was nothing more than speculation connecting the Yankees to Kimbrel prior to this. The Yankees insist they will not trade their top prospects and apparently that stance will have to change to get Kimbrel. [Jon Heyman]
  • The Yankees and several other clubs are “waiting to hear” whether the Tigers will make David Price available. Detroit lost for the seventh time in eleven games since the All-Star break yesterday, though reportedly they’re going to wait a few days before deciding on a course of action. [Buster Olney]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Second base option off the board: Zobrist goes to Royals

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

The best second base option is officially off the board. The Athletics have traded Ben Zobrist to the Royals for pitching prospects Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks, the club announced. Oakland is in full blown sell mode, having now traded Zobrist, Tyler Clippard, and Scott Kazmir. The Royals, meanwhile, are all-in with Zobrist and Johnny Cueto.

The Yankees were said to have interest in Zobrist for the last several weeks and it made perfect sense. Stephen Drew hasn’t hit all year and Zobrist, a switch-hitter with contact skills and defensive versatility, has put up a .268/.354/.447 (125 wRC+) batting line with more walks (12.2%) than strikeouts (9.6%) this year. His batting average is higher than Drew’s on-base percentage (.263).

The Royals paid a fair price for two months plus one October of Zobrist. Brooks is an up-an-down depth arm, a David Phelps type but not quite that good, while Manaea is a high-end pitching prospect with a history of injury issues (hip and abdomen, mostly). Baseball America ranked him as the 81st best prospect in the game before season.

Going from Drew to Zobrist was the biggest possible position player upgrade the Yankees could have realistically made at the trade deadline this year. (#RealTalk: Going from Drew to Zobrist is a bigger upgrade than going from Jose Reyes to Troy Tulowitzki.) The best available second base option now is, uh, Martin Prado? Egads.

2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Monday

Hamels. (David Banks/Getty)
Hamels. (David Banks/Getty)

The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline is this coming Friday at 4pm ET. The Yankees are currently 55-42 with a +34 run differential on the season, giving them a 6.5-game lead in the AL East. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at a healthy 93.1%. Despite that, the roster could use some reinforcements, particularly at second base and on the mound.

“We’ve had conversations with every club willing to sell, finding out what they’re willing to sell and what their price tags are. You engage everyone about everything,” said Brian Cashman to Ken Rosenthal recently. The Yankees are said to prefer rental players — their trade deadline activity in recent years backs that up — but they’ve reportedly “sworn off” dealing top prospects for said rentals. We’ll see.

We’ll keep track of any Yankees-related rumors right here throughout the day. The team tends to do things very quietly, almost all of their major moves seem to come out of nowhere, so I can’t promise you many updates. Especially not this early in the week. Either way, keep tabs on everything  and talk about all things trade deadline right here throughout the day.

  • 6:17pm ET: The A’s have traded Tyler Clippard to the Mets for minor league righty Casey Meisner, the teams announced. So scratch Clippard off the list. Meisner was the Amazin’s third round pick last summer. He’s similar to a healthy Austin DeCarr, if you’re wondering.
  • 5:00pm ET: The Dodgers and Rangers are currently seen as the favorites to land Cole Hamels. The Phillies continue to demand either Judge or Severino from the Yankees. [Heyman]
  • 3:36pm ET: The Yankees continue to show interest in Ben Zobrist but they are one of many. The Pirates, Royals, Angels, and Cubs are also trying him to pry him away from Oakland. [Heyman]
  • 12:53pm ET: As expected, the Yankees continue to talk both starters and relievers with other teams, especially righty relievers. The plan could be to acquire a reliever then moving Adam Warren back into the rotation. [Heyman]
  • 11:30am ET: The Yankees have indeed contacted the Phillies about Cole Hamels, which is no surprise. They had a scout at his no-hitter over the weekend. The Phillies asked for either Aaron Judge or Luis Severino, but the Yankees are not planning to move Judge, Severino, Greg Bird, or other top prospects. Philadelphia is also said to be seeking a catcher in any trade. [Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, Jim Salisbury, Buster Olney]
  • In addition to Hamels, the Yankees are keeping tabs on basically every available starting pitcher. That list includes Jeff Samardzija, Ian Kennedy, Yovani Gallardo, and Mat Latos, among others. It remains to see whether the Tigers will cave and make David Price available. [Joel Sherman]
  • The Yankees are a potential landing spot for Tyler Clippard, who could be dealt as soon as today. The club has also been scouting Padres relievers recently, presumably Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit. Kimbrel is Kimbrel, and the Yanks have shown a bunch of interest in Benoit in recent years. [Susan Slusser, Jon Morosi]
  • The Yankees are looking for an upgrade at second base. There’s not much out there aside from Ben Zobrist, however. They have zero interest in Aaron Hill and could simply recall Rob Refsnyder if they’re unable to make a deal for help at second. [Jon Heyman]
  • Marlins righty Mat Latos has been linked to the Yankees. The Marlins are in sell mode — they’ve already traded ex-closer Steve Cishek to the Cardinals — and have plenty of rental players to offer. Here is our Scouting The Market post on Latos and other Miami players. [Joe Frisaro]
  • Athletics director of player personnel Billy Owens has scouting Double-A Trenton recently. That is definitely not the most prospect-laden team in the system. Scott Kazmir has already been traded, but the Yankees have interest in Zobrist. [Matt Kardos]
  • The Yankees and Reds did have discussions about Johnny Cueto before he was traded to the Royals. Apparently Ivan Nova‘s name came up. Talks didn’t advance very far. [George King]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

First Domino Falls: Scott Kazmir traded to Astros

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The first trade deadline domino has fallen. The Athletics have traded Scott Kazmir to the Astros for prospects right-hander Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham, both teams announced. The Yankees reportedly scouted Kazmir’s last start over the weekend. He’s from Houston, so I imagine he’s happy with the trade. Also, what a world, the Astros are buying.

Neither Mengden nor Nottingham were including in the Astros’ top 30 prospects in Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook before the season, though they’ve both played well this summer, so I’m sure their stock was on the rise. I couldn’t tell you what an equivalent Yankees package would have been. Sorry. The prospects are too obscure even for a nerd like me.

The apparently light return could mean prices for a rental starter aren’t as high as expected — the market is flooded with available arms, after all, lots of options for buyers — or it could mean teams were scared off by Kazmir’s medicals. Remember he left his start against the Yankees with an injury just before the break. Either way, expect trades to pick up now.

Yankeemetrics: Hey now, you’re an All-Star (July 7-9)

(Getty)
(Getty)

No relief in the Bronx
A rock-solid, lock-down bullpen has been one of the few constants in what has mostly been a very streaky 2015 season for the Yankees. But Tuesday night followed a different script. Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances each allowed a solo homer — a game-tying shot in the sixth inning and a tie-breaking blast in the 10th inning — as the Yankees suffered another painful loss in the series opener against the A’s.

For Betances, it was the seventh homer he’s allowed in his career and the first time he’s given up a home run in back-to-back appearances. Before surrendering Steven Souza’s longball on Sunday afternoon, Betances hadn’t been taken deep since August 13 last season. Then bam, wham, two in a row.

Lawrie’s go-ahead homer came on an 0-2 breaking ball, a situation that normally would be a near-automatic out for Betances. Before Tuesday, hitters were 1-for-39 with 31 strikeouts after going down 0-2 against the Yankees right-hander.

This loss was another one of the “you can’t predict baseball” variety. The A’s entered this game 0-6 in extra innings and 6-21 in one-run games this season, both of which were the worst marks in baseball. So, of course, they won a one-run game in the 10th inning against the Yankees.

Tex marks the spot
Mark Teixeira was a one-man highlight reel in Wednesday’s 5-4 win over the A’s, hitting two homers and making several fantastic defensive plays that likely saved the game for the Yankees.

He’s now got 17 homers against the A’s as a Yankee; since the A’s franchise moved to Oakland in 1968, the only Yankees with more homers against them are Roy White (18) and Tino Martinez (18). As of Thursday morning, Teixiera had been credited with 18 “out of zone” plays, the most among all AL first baseman this season.

CC Sabathia was not dominant but pitched well enough (5 1/3 IP, 2 R, 7 H) to earn his 95th win in pinstripes. That ties Ray Caldwell — who pitched for the Yankees from 1910-18 — for 17th place on the franchise all-time wins list. It was also his 212th career win, passing Billy Pierce for sole possession of 23rd place among left-handers in major-league history.

Andrew Miller allowed two runs in the ninth inning but still got the final three outs to seal the win. He’s now 18-for-18 in save opportunities, matching the second-longest streak to being a season in Yankee history. The only longer streak came in 2008, when Mariano converted his first 28 saves.

Gardy goes yardy
The Yankees won their final home game before the All-Star break, 6-2 over the A’s, thanks to an ace-like performance from Masahiro Tanaka on Thursday afternoon. Tanaka got into trouble in the second inning but then retired 18 of the final 19 batters he faced — the only guy to reach in that span was Billy Butler on a wild pitch/strikeout.

Both of the hits Tanaka allowed came off his fastball; the A’s went 0-for-19 with six strikeouts in at-bats ending in an off-speed pitch, including 0-for-11 against his splitter. Filthy. He now has three career games of at least seven innings pitched and two-or-fewer hits allowed. Since he joined the team last season, the rest of the Yankee pitchers have combined for one such game (Michael Pineda).

Tanaka shared the spotlight with Brett Gardner, who went 3-for-5, including his 10th homer of the season, and found out that he was named to his first All-Star Game (replacing the injured Alex Gordon). Gardner is just the fifth Yankee to hit at least 10 homers, 20 doubles and steal 15 bases before the All-Star break. The others? Johnny Damon (2006), Raul Mondesi (2003), Alfonso Soriano (2002) and Rickey Henderson (1986).

7/7 to 7/9 Series Preview: Oakland Athletics

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

It’s the last series at Yankee Stadium before the All-Star break. The Athletics are on the East Coast and will be in the Bronx for three games starting tonight. The Yankees dropped three of four against the A’s out in Oakland back in May. That was not a fun series.

What Have The A’s Done Lately?

The A’s had an off-day yesterday and split a four-game set with the Mariners over the weekend. They went 4-6 on their just completed ten-game homestand. Oakland has one of the worst records in the league at 38-47, but they’ve been much better since June 1st (18-14) and do have a stellar +49 run differential. That 38-47 record is deceiving.

Offense & Defense

At 4.38 runs per game with a team 103 wRC+, the A’s are a tick better than the average MLB offense. They’re relatively healthy too. OF Coco Crisp is out with a career-threatening neck injury and UTIL Tyler Ladendorf is out following ankle surgery, but that’s it. The rest of the roster is healthy. Crisp’s injury sucks though. Hate to see a guy’s career end due to an injury.

Future Yankee Ben Zobrist. (Presswire)
Future Yankee Ben Zobrist. (Presswire)

Manager Bob Melvin has three excellent everyday players in C Stephen Vogt (145 wRC+), OF Josh Reddick (130 wRC+), and 2B Ben Zobrist (127 wRC+). Reddick has made some major approach adjustments and now his strikeout (10.6%) and walk (8.3%) rates are nearly identical. Also, if the A’s just want to leave Zobrist behind in New York when the series is over, that would be great.

OF Billy Burns (122 wRC+) is appropriately named because he’s super fast, and 3B Brett Lawrie (113 wRC+) is finally starting to live up to the hype. Maybe. Possibly. Probably not. SS Marcus Semien (99 wRC+) and DH Billy Butler (92 wRC+) are the other every players. C Josh Phegley (155 wRC+ vs. LHP) and 1B Ike Davis (120 wRC+ vs. RHP) are Melvin’s two top platoon weapons. 1B/OF Mark Canha (102 wRC+), OF Sam Fuld (75 wRC+), and IF Eric Sogard (69 wRC+) are also on the bench.

Depending on your choice of defensive metric, the A’s are either great defensively (+8 DRS) or terrible defensively (-23.9 UZR). Reddick, Fuld, Burns, Zobrist, and Lawrie are very good in the field while Semien is error prone. Canha and Davis are fine. Vogt and Phegley have combined to throw out more than one-third of attempted base-stealers and StatCorner says they’re average and above-average pitch-framers, respectively.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday (7pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. OAK) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (vs. NYY)
Gray, 25, recently dealt with a bout of salmonella, which caused him to miss one start and have another pushed back. He’s good to go tonight though. Womp womp. Gray has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year, posting a 2.09 ERA (2.67 FIP) in 16 starts and 107.2 innings. Good strikeout rate (22.9%), great walk rate (6.1%), great ground ball rate (54.2%), great home run rate (0.42 HR/9), great success against righties (.228 wOBA), great success against lefties (.251 wOBA). Just all around great. Gray throws both two and four-seamers in the mid-90s and he uses them both equally. A hammer low-80s curveball is his out pitch, but he also throws mid-80s sliders and a handful of mid-80s changeups per start. The Yankees scored two runs in eight innings against Gray back in May. Hopefully the recent illness and long layoff means he’s off his game tonight.

Wednesday (7pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. OAK) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (vs. NYY)
Audition? Kazmir is an impending free agent and figures to be traded before the deadline, and the Yankees have been connected to other rental arms like Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija, so I assume they’re in on Kazmir as well. The 31-year-old southpaw has a 2.56 ERA (3.24 FIP) in 16 starts and 98.1 innings with good to great peripherals across the board: 23.0 K%, 8.3 BB%, 46.0 GB%, and 0.64 HR/9. Righties (.279 wOBA) have had more relative success against him than lefties (.252 wOBA). Kazmir has reinvented himself since his arm injuries and is no longer the mid-90s fastball/wipeout slider guy was with the (Devil) Rays. He still throws the four-seamer and slider, but now operates mostly with a low-90s two-seamer and mid-80s changeup. It’s cliche as hell, but Kazmir is a pitcher now after being a thrower earlier in his career. The Yankees didn’t face him during the four-game series in Oakland earlier this year.

Chavez. (Presswire)
Chavez. (Presswire)

Thursday (1pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. OAK) vs. RHP Jesse Chavez (vs. NYY)
Chavez, 31, moved into the rotation a few weeks ago and has been excellent, pitching to a 3.20 ERA (3.09 FIP) in 95.2 innings spread across 14 starts and four relief appearances. His strikeout rate is just average (20.7%) while his walk (5.9%), ground ball (41.8%), and home run (0.66 HR/9) numbers are lower than the MLB average. Lefties (.317 wOBA) have a lot more success against Chavez than righties (.251 wOBA). Chavez is a bit of a kitchen sink guy, throwing five different pitches including four at least 16% of the time. He’s got low-90s two and four-seamers, an upper-80s cutter, a mid-80s changeup, and an upper-70s curveball. The curve is the fifth pitch he uses fewer than 5% of the time. Chavez struck out six in eight scoreless innings against the Yankees in May.

Bullpen Status
Like the Yankees, the A’s were off yesterday, so their bullpen is as fresh as it’s going to get in early-July. Ex-Yankees farmhand RHP Tyler Clippard (3.78 FIP) is closing with LHP Drew Pomeranz (3.98 FIP) and RHP Edward Mujica (4.94 FIP) serving as the setup men du jour. LHP Eric O’Flaherty (4.52 FIP) recently came off the DL and will face tough lefties.

LHP Fernando Abad (5.62 FIP), RHP Evan Scribner (4.06 FIP), and RHP Fernandez Rodriguez (1.75 FIP) are the rest of the regular relievers. RHP Chris Bassitt (4.35 FIP) is the 13th arm and he started in place of Gray the last two times out. He started Sunday and will either be sent down for a fresh arm today or out of action the next two games. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen and Athletics Nations and BeaneBall for the latest on the A’s.

Yankeemetrics: West Coast mess (May 28-31)

Can I get some help, guys? (Ben Margot/AP)
Can I get some help, guys? (Ben Margot/AP)

B.A.D.
As Mike wrote on Thursday night (actually Friday morning), the Yankees series-opening defeat was not just a bad loss, it was a Bad Loss. How Bad, really? Sure, the Yankees squandered a three-run lead to the team with the worst record in baseball … but that doesn’t even begin to explain the extent of the Bad-ness.

Entering the game, Oakland:
• was 0-5 on Thursdays this season;
• had lost its last 10 games started by a left-handed pitcher;
• was 2-15 in one-run games this season, on pace to be worst such record by any team in the modern era (since 1900);
• had lost last its 12 home games decided by one run, the longest such streak since the 1894 Cubs (not a typo)

CC Sabathia didn’t pitch as poorly as his numbers in the box score, but regardless fell to 2-7 with a 5.67 ERA in 10 starts this season. He is the first Yankee with seven losses before the team’s 50th game of the season since Tommy John in 1989.

The 46-year-old southpaw had an eerily similar line to Sabathia’s after 10 starts (and the 44th game of the season), with a 5.80 ERA and 2-7 record. He was released by the Yankees after that 10th start against the Angels on May 25, and wouldn’t pitch in another major-league game in his career. Welp.

No chance
Sometimes mismatches on paper turn out to be … mismatches on the field, too. And that’s exactly what happened on Friday night in the Yankees 6-2 loss to Sonny Gray and the A’s.

Sonny Gray, an early Cy Young candidate, held the Yankees to four hits over eight innings. He’s the first A’s pitcher to allow fewer than five hits in eight-or-more innings pitched against the Yankees since Mark Mulder on May 11, 2003.

If you’re looking for highlights, look no further than the bat of Brian McCann, who extended his streak of games with a homer to four. He is just the fourth Yankee catcher to hit a home run in four straight games, joining Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra and Mike Stanley.

Belting it
The Yankees snapped a four-game losing streak in Oakland with a come-from-behind win on Saturday night. Entering the game, they had lost 11 of their last 12 games at the Coliseum, their worst 12-game stretch there since 1989-91.

Carlos Beltran was the hero with his two-run homer in the sixth inning that turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead for the Yankees. Before Saturday, Beltran had just three homers in 154 at-bats in Oakland, his lowest homer rate (one every 51 at-bats) at any ballpark he’d played at least 25 games.

McCann gave the Yankees the early 1-0 lead with a first-inning RBI single. It was his eighth straight game with a hit and an RBI, matching Allen Robinson (1946) and Yogi (1956) for the longest such streak by a Yankee catcher in franchise history.

One bad pitch
The Yankees wasted another strong outing by Adam Warren on Sunday afternoon, losing 3-0 to the A’s in the series finale.

Warren surrendered just two runs over seven innings, and his only mistake was a 1-1 fastball in the sixth frame that Stephen Vogt sent over the right field fence. He’s now got a 2.70 ERA in his last four starts, but the Yankees have won just one of those four games. Overall this season, Warren has six starts allowing no more than three runs without getting a win; the only AL pitcher with more such “hard-luck” starts is Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen (7).

Jesse Chavez put the Yankees’ bats on ice, holding them without a run over eight innings. He’s the first A’s pitcher to throw eight scoreless innings against the Yankees at home since Steve Ontiveros tossed a one-hit shutout nearly 20 years ago on May 27, 1995. Chavez also joined Vida Blue (1976) as the only pitchers to not allow a run or a walk with at least eight innings pitched against the Yankees in Oakland since the team moved to the west coast in 1968.