Yankeemetrics: Payback north of the border (Aug. 14-16)

(AP)
(AP)

Streaks are made to be broken
So this is what it feels like to be in a pennant race, eh? The Yankees stunned the scorching-hot Blue Jays with a 4-3 comeback victory at the Rogers Centre on Friday night, ending Toronto’s 11-game win streak and jumping back into first place in the AL East.

For a while it looked like the Yankees might never score against the Blue Jays again (they had been shut out in each of their last two matchups) and the Blue Jays might never lose again. But then the eighth inning happened, when the Yankees rallied from down 3-0 to take the lead thanks to an RBI double from Chase Headley and a three-run homer from Carlos Beltran.

With one swing of the bat, Beltran became the first Yankee pinch-hitter to hit a go-ahead homer when trailing in eighth inning or later on the road since Don Mattingly on July 24, 1994 against the Angels. Perhaps even more amazing is that it was Beltran’s first homer on a pitch of at least 97 mph since August 9, 2008, when he got Matt Lindstrom.

Andrew Miller locked down the win with his 26th save of the season … But not before he made every Yankee fan hold their breath for the entirety of the near-eight-minute final at-bat, which ended on the 12th pitch when Miller struck out Troy Tulowitzki with runners on second and third.

How clutch was Miller’s strikeout? Since 1988 (as far back as we have reliable pitch data), Miller is the only pitcher in the majors with a game-ending strikeout in an at-bat lasting at least 12 pitches and the go-ahead run on base.

Second place is for losers
The Yankees made sure that they’d leave Canada as a first-place team, beating the Blue Jays on Saturday 4-1 to take a game and a half lead heading into the series finale.

Masahiro Tanaka called it “one of the most important games” he’s ever pitched in as a Yankee and he delivered like an ace, throwing a complete-game five-hitter with eight strikeouts. It was his fourth complete game as a Yankee — the same number that all other Yankee pitchers have combined for since his debut last season.

Before Tanaka’s gem, the last Yankee to get a complete-game victory against the Blue Jays with at least eight strikeouts and five hits or fewer allowed was Ron Guidry on September 28, 1978.

And finally, Brett Gardner ended another streak for the Yankees when he stole second base in the top of the ninth inning. That snapped a stretch of 19 games in a row without a stolen base by any Yankee, their longest drought on the basepaths since 1963.

Not-Lucky Luis
A sweep would have been nice, but winning two of three against the team you’re fighting for the division lead isn’t bad, right?

The Yankees dropped the series finale to the Blue Jays, 3-1, despite another impressive performance by Luis Severino in his third major-league start. Severino, who allowed three runs in six innings, became the youngest Yankee pitcher with at least nine strikeouts in a game since a 20-year-old Ray Keating on May 19, 1914 versus the St. Louis Browns.

He made a couple mistakes with his off-speed pitches but otherwise dominated the powerful Toronto lineup with his dazzling fastball. The Blue Jays went 0 for 14 with eight strikeouts in at-bats ending in Severino’s four-seamer.

However, the Yankees scored just one run to support him — they’ve scored just two runs in the 17 innings he’s been on the mound — and he once again failed to get his first career win. In the last 100 years, Severino and Dave Righetti (1979) are only Yankees with at least five innings pitched and no wins in each of their first three career games.

The Blue Jays have now held the Yankees to one run or fewer in seven of their 12 matchups in 2015. The only other teams in the Divisional Era (since 1969) to allow no more than one run in at least seven games against the Yankees in a season were the 1990 Athletics — who went 12-0 against the Yankees that year! — and the 1973 Red Sox. And the Yankees still seven more games to play against our neighbors north of the border …

8/14 to 8/16 Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

So this is a pretty huge series. The Yankees have already blown their comfortable-ish AL East lead and this weekend is a chance to get back atop the division. Winning two of three would do the trick. The Yankees are 2-7 against the Blue Jays this year — they’ve been outscored 36-17 in the nine games! — and it goes without saying a repeat of last weekend would be really, really, really bad. Three reallys.

What Have The Blue Jays Done Lately?

Win. Constantly. The Blue Jays are currently riding an eleven-game winning streak that has pushed them over the Yankees and into first place in the AL East. Well, sorta. The Jays have a half-game lead but the Yanks have one fewer loss. It’s complicated. Toronto is 64-52 with a +140 run differential overall. That’s the sixth best record and first best run differential in baseball.

Offense & Defense

The Blue Jays have baseball’s best offense and it’s not particularly close. They average 5.30 runs per game — the Yankees are still second at 4.80 runs per game despite their recent offensive struggles — with a team 114 wRC+, both the best marks in MLB. They’re an offensive juggernaut. Toronto is without 2B Devon Travis (shoulder), IF Maicer Izturis (shoulder), and OF Michael Saunders (knee), none of whom will return this series.

Donaldson. (Presswire)
Donaldson. (Presswire)

I said this last week and it’s worth repeating: the top of manager John Gibbons’ lineup reads like an All-Star Game lineup. SS Troy Tulowitzki (109 wRC+) leads off, 3B Josh Donaldson (154 wRC+) bats second, and RF Jose Bautista (139 wRC+) bats third. Crazy. Donaldson’s a legitimate MVP candidate and will probably win the award if the Blue Jays make the postseason, even if Mike Trout and the Angels do too. 1B Edwin Encarnacion (126 wRC+) is the usual cleanup hitter but he’s currently dealing with a finger problem and is day-to-day. He’s sat out the last few games.

The rest of the team’s regular lineup includes C Russell Martin (116 wRC+), OF Ben Revere (89 wRC+), OF Kevin Pillar (81 wRC+), and 2B Ryan Goins (70 wRC+). 1B Justin Smoak (105 wRC+) and 1B/OF Chris Colabello (143 wRC+) platoon at first base. C Dioner Navarro (67 wRC+) is the backup backstop and IF Cliff Pennington (58 wRC+) is the backup infielder. The Jays currently have a three-man bench but it is effectively a two-man bench as long as Encarnacion is banged up.

The Yankees and Blue Jays played just last weekend and Toronto’s roster is pretty much the same — Pennington replaced IF Munenori Kawasaki, which is basically a lateral move — so I’m going to save some time and just copy and paste the defense preview from last week:

In the field, Toronto has top notch defenders at short (Tulo), third (Donaldson), center (Pillar), and behind the plate (Martin). Bautista and Revere are good in the outfielder corners for different reasons — Bautista for his arm, Revere for his range — and Goins/Smoak is a solid right side of the infield. Obviously the offense gets most of the attention and deservedly so, but the Jays can field too.

So there you have it. The offense is clearly the star of the show but don’t sleep on the defense. The Blue Jays can catch the ball too. They are annoyingly well-rounded.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. TOR) vs. LHP David Price (vs. NYY)
Sigh. Too bad Price is starting for the Blue Jays down the stretch and not the Yankees. The 29-year-old has been off the charts this year, with a 2.35 ERA (2.99 FIP) in 23 starts and 161 innings for the Tigers and Jays. During his Cy Young year in 2012, Price had a 2.56 ERA (3.05 FIP), so yeah, he’s in the middle of the best season of his career. His strikeout (24.1%), walk (5.3%), and home run (0.78 HR/9) rates are excellent, but his ground ball rate (39.9%) is tiny, which is nothing new. Price has always been a weak fly ball guy. His platoon split is negligible (.277 vs. .275 wOBA in favor of righties). Price uses mid-90s two and four-seamers as well as an upper-80s cutter he back doors to righties. It’s unhittable. He’ll also throw a bunch of mid-80s changeups and a handful of upper-70s curves per start. The Yankees have seen Price twice this year. The first time went well (eight runs in 8.1 innings) and the second time did not (seven scoreless innings).

Saturday (1pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. TOR) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (vs. NYY)
Estrada, 32, started the season as the long reliever before moving into the rotation, and he has a 3.21 ERA (3.80 FIP) in 117.2 innings spread across 18 starts and six relief appearances. His strikeout (19.1%), walk (7.7%), grounder (32.4%), and homer (0.84 HR/9) numbers are all below the league average, in some cases substantially so. Estrada has a slight reverse split (.285 vs. 273 wOBA in favor of righties) because he relies heavily on his upper-70s changeup. He sets it up with an upper-80s fastball and will also throw an upper-70s curveball. Finesse, not power. Estrada’s seen the Yankees twice this season, both times as a starter. He allowed five runs in 4.2 innings back in May and threw 6.1 scoreless innings last weekend.

Hutchison. (Presswire)
Hutchison. (Presswire)

Sunday (1pm ET): RHP Luis Severino (No vs. TOR) vs. RHP Drew Hutchison (vs. NYY)
The 24-year-old Hutchison started on Opening Day this year and has a 5.26 ERA (3.93 FIP) in 23 starts and 125 innings. His home/road split is incredible: Hutchison has a 2.68 ERA (2.90 FIP) in 74 innings at home this year and a 9.00 ERA (5.42 FIP) in 51 innings on the road. Geez. His strikeout (20.0%) and homer (1.01 HR/9) rates are average enough, his walk rate (7.1%) a tick better than average, and his grounder rate (39.3%) way below-average. Righties (.381 wOBA) have hit him a ton harder than lefties (.313 wOBA) this year, which is the exact opposite of what happened last season. Hutchison is a three-pitch pitcher, using a low-to-mid-90s heater to set up mid-80s sliders and changeups. He uses the slider twice as often as the changeup. The Yankees have seen Hutchison just once this year, back on Opening Day, and he held them to one run in six innings.

Bullpen Status
Earlier this season the bullpen was a big problem for the Blue Jays, but that isn’t the case anymore. They acquired RHP LaTroy Hawkins (2.89 ERA/3.14 FIP) and RHP Mark Lowe (1.60/2.19) at the trade deadline, and moved RHP Aaron Sanchez (3.21/4.76) back to the bullpen after having him start the year in the rotation. Sanchez was excellent as a reliever last year and has been excellent in that role again this year.

Hawkins, Lowe, and Sanchez join LHP Brett Cecil (3.68/3.43) as the setup crew tasked with getting the ball to rookie closer RHP Roberto Osuna (2.05/2.46). RHP Liam Hendriks (2.42/2.03), RHP Bo Schultz (2.18/3.92), and LHP Aaron Loup (5.05/3.89) are the club’s other relievers. It’s an eight-man bullpen at the moment. Osuna and Sanchez both pitched yesterday and have worked a lot recently — Osuna has pitched four of the last seven days and Sanchez has pitched four of the last six days. Other than that, the bullpen is fresh.

Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s heavily used bullpen. Then head over to Andrew Stoeten’s site for the latest and greatest on the Blue Jays. You are forewarned: the language is not exactly kid-friendly.

Yankeemetrics: The Bronx is burning? (August 7-9)

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Offense optional
So what happens when the two highest-scoring teams in the majors get together for a game at Yankee Stadium … of course, the final score would be 2-1.

And what happens when the Yankees have Nate Eovaldi on the mound, who entered the game with the second-highest run support average and tied for the highest win percentage among qualified starters … of course, the Yankees would score just one run and lose the game.

Or what happens when the Yankees face the team with the second-worst record in one-run games this season … of course, they’d get beat by the the score of 2-1 against the Blue Jays, who entered the weekend 11-23 in games decided by one run.

Mark Teixeira drove in the Yankees’ only run with a solo homer in the second inning, his 30th home run of the season. It’s the ninth time he’s reached that milestone, matching Mickey Mantle for the most 30-homer seasons all-time by a switch-hitter.

Smoak-ed
In the words of the philosopher-manager Joe Girardi, “it’s not what you want.” Nope, Joe, scoring zero runs against a team that is chasing you in the division race is not exactly what you want.

The Yankees were blanked on Saturday afternoon, 6-0, and had just three singles the entire game. It was the first time they been shut out by the Blue Jays at home and held to three hits or fewer, with no extra-base hits, since April 10, 1989. The Yankees were one-hit by Dave Stieb in a 8-0 loss that day.

Justin Smoak broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning with a grand slam, the first time ever that a Blue Jay had hit a homer with the bases loaded at Yankee Stadium (old or new). The last Blue Jay to hit a grand slam against the Yankees was Tony Fernandez off Ted Lilly on Sept. 4, 2001 at the SkyDome.

Panic city?
So remember when the Yankees had scored 90 runs in a 10-game span and the offense seemed unstoppable? Yeah, me neither. The Yankees were shut out for a second straight day on Sunday afternoon, 2-0, and were swept by the Blue Jays in a series of at least three games for the first time since May 22-25, 2003.

It also marked the first time the Yankees had been blanked in back-to-back games by any team since May 12-13, 1999 against the Angels — snapping their major-league-record streak of 2,665 games without consecutive shutouts.

They were held to three singles for the second straight game, too, the first time they’ve had threw or fewer hits and none for extra bases in back-to-back games at either version of Yankee Stadium. The last time they did that in consecutive home games was September 1919 at the Polo Grounds.

The not-Bronx Bombers have now scored no more than two runs in each of their last five home games, their longest such streak at Yankee Stadium since April 17-May 2, 1969. In those five games they’ve totaled just four runs, their worst five-game scoring stretch since August 1973 on a west coast trip against the Angels and A’s.

And it gets even uglier … this is the first time in franchise history they’ve scored four or fewer runs combined in a five-game span, with all those games coming at Yankee Stadium (old or new). The last time that happened to them in a five-game stretch at home was September 1908, when they played at Hilltop Park. They finished the 1908 season 51-103, the second-worst win percentage in a season in franchise history.

8/7 to 8/9 Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

Poor kids born into Jays fandom. (Presswire)
Poor kids born into Jays fandom. (Presswire)

So this is a pretty big series, eh? Much bigger for the Blue Jays than the Yankees, of course. They’re the team doing the chasing. The new-look Jays are coming to the Bronx for a three-game weekend set as they look to cut into New York’s division lead. The Yankees dropped two of three in each of the first two series of the season between these clubs, though they were way back in April and May.

What Have The Blue Jays Done Lately?

Win and score runs, mostly. The Jays just wrapped up an 8-2 homestand in which they outscored their opponents 59-34. They’re 13-6 in the second half. Toronto is 58-52 with a +120 run differential overall, which is the best in baseball. They are sitting in the second wildcard spot and are 4.5 games back of the Yankees in AL East, six in the loss column.

Offense & Defense

As you surely know, the Blue Jays have the best offense in baseball. They’re averaging an insane 5.34 runs per game — the Yankees are averaging 4.93 runs per game, second best in baseball — with a team 114 wRC+. (The Yankees have a 111 wRC+.) Toronto is currently without 2B Devon Travis (shoulder), OF Michael Saunders (knee), and IF Maicer Izturis (shoulder), none of whom will return anytime soon.

Tulo. (Presswire)
Tulo. (Presswire)

The top of Toronto’s lineup reads like an All-Star Game lineup: SS Troy Tulowitzki (113 wRC+) has been batting leadoff since coming over in last week’s trade, 3B Josh Donaldson (155 wRC+) bats second, and OF Jose Bautista (135 wRC+) bats third. Ridiculous. 1B Edwin Encarnacion (127 wRC+) bats cleanup. That top four is a nightmare. You kinda have to hope they only score one run each time through that portion of the lineup.

1B/OF Chris Colabello (135 wRC+) and 1B Justin Smoak (111 wRC+) are platooning at first with Encarnacion at DH. Ex-Yankee C Russell Martin (120 wRC+) is the everyday catcher. LF Ben Revere (94 wRC+) just came over from the Phillies and OF Kevin Pillar (85 wRC+) and 2B Ryan Goins (73 wRC+) are the rest of the regulars. C Dioner Navarro (69 wRC+) is the backup backstop and IF Munenori Kawasaki (45 wRC+) is the backup infielder. These Blue Jays … they can hit.

In the field, Toronto has top notch defenders at short (Tulo), third (Donaldson), center (Pillar), and behind the plate (Martin). Bautista and Revere are good in the outfielder corners for different reasons — Bautista for his arm, Revere for his range — and Goins/Smoak is a solid right side of the infield. Obviously the offense gets most of the attention and deservedly so, but the Jays can field too.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. TOR) vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (vs. NYY)
The Blue Jays are probably throwing their three best starters this weekend. Dickey, 40, has a 4.06 ERA (4.59 FIP) in 22 starts and 144 innings overall this season but has been much better of late, with a 2.70 ERA (3.73 FIP) in his 12 starts and 80 innings. His rate stats are knuckleballer-esque, with a slightly below-average number of strikeouts (14.9%), a few too many walks (8.1%), lots of fly balls (42.7% grounders), and lots of homers (1.06 HR/9). Righties (.316 wOBA) have hit him ever so slightly harder than lefties (.309 wOBA). Dickey has added velocity as the season has progressed — he recently attributed that to simply being old and needing more time to get up to full speed — and his knuckler now sits in the 77-79 mph range. He throws the pitch roughly 85% of the time with a show-me low-80s heater his only other pitch. The Yankees faced Dickey twice this season and scored one run both times, first in 6.1 innings in April and then in eight innings in May.

Saturday (1pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. TOR) vs. LHP David Price (vs. NYY)
The Yankees and Blue Jays have four series left this season including this one, and I’m guessing the Yankees will see Price in all four. The 29-year-old has a 2.45 ERA (3.00 FIP) in 22 starts and 154 innings this year with a ton of strikeouts (24.0%) and very few walks (5.0%). He is fly ball prone (39.8%) but does keep the ball in the park (0.82 HR/9). Price gets a lot of weak pop-ups. Always has. Believe it or not, lefties (.284 wOBA) have had slightly more success against the southpaw than righties (.279 wOBA). I say this every series preview: Price is the ultimate combination of power and precision. He locates his mid-90s two and four-seamers to both sides of the plate with ease and he back doors his upper-80s cutter to righties on the regular. It’s an unhittable pitch. It looks like it’s going to be in the other batter’s box then boom, it cuts the corner. It’s filthy. Price also throws a mid-80s changeup and a handful of upper-70s curves per start. The Yankees have historically had quite a bit of success against Price — they scored eight runs in 2.1 innings when they faced him earlier this year — but that doesn’t make me feel much better. He’s a top ten pitcher and a super tough assignment.

Shoulda been a Yankee. (Presswire)
Shoulda been a Yankee. (Presswire)

Sunday (1pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. TOR) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (vs. NYY)
Estrada, 32, started the season as the long man before moving into the rotation in May. He has a 3.40 ERA (3.83 FIP) in 111.1 innings overall, including a 3.67 ERA (4.82 FIP) in 100.2 innings as a starter. Estrada’s strikeout (18.9%) and walk (7.5%) rates are actually his worst in years, and he’s always been incredibly fly ball (32.2% grounders) prone. His dinger rate (0.89 HR/9) is way below his career norm (1.32 HR/9) and he has a very slight reverse split (.289 vs. .274 wOBA in favor of righties). Estrada is a three-pitch guy who throws his upper-80s fastball less than 60% of the time. He uses his upper-70s changeup and upper-70s curveball a ton, the change moreso than the curve. The Yankees did see as Estrada as a starter earlier this year, scoring five runs in 4.2 innings in May.

Bullpen Status
The bullpen has been something of an Achilles heel for the Blue Jays this season but they have taken some steps to improve it, including acquiring RHP LaTroy Hawkins (3.08 ERA/3.29 FIP) and RHP Mark Lowe (1.64/2.21) at the deadline. Not the sexiest moves but they were upgrades over the guys they had been running out there. Also, RHP Aaron Sanchez (3.39/4.91) was recently moved back into the bullpen, where he’s been dominant.

Rookie RHP Roberto Osuna (2.22/2.52) has taken over as closer — he’s the youngest pitcher in MLB this season — with Sanchez setting him up. LHP Brett Cecil (3.79/3.43) and RHP Aaron Loup (5.19/4.02) are the two lefties, RHP Liam Hendriks (2.47/2.04) and RHP Bo Schultz (2.25/4.00) the other two righties. Schultz was the only reliever to pitch yesterday and he threw 35 pitches in two innings. Sanchez is currently serving a suspension for throwing at some Royals last week and will be out tonight. He is eligible to return tomorrow. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen and then check out Andrew Stoeten’s site for the latest on the Blue Jays.

Reports: David Price heading to Blue Jays

(Leon Halip/Getty)
(Leon Halip/Getty)

According to multiple reports, the Blue Jays are set to acquire David Price from the Tigers. Top pitching prospect Daniel Norris and top outfield prospect Anthony Alford are part of the package heading back to Detroit. It’s unclear what other players are involved at this point.

The Blue Jays acquired Troy Tulowitzki a few days ago and they haven’t been to the postseason since 1993, so they have every reason to go all-in. GM Alex Anthopoulos is surely feeling the heat. Toronto is seven games back of the Yankees in the AL East — they still have 13 head-to-head games remaining — but only two games back of the second wildcard spot. Their +100 run differential is the best in the AL and second best in MLB.

The Yankees reportedly pursued Price while remaining unwilling to part with their top prospects, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino specifically, meaning they had little chance to acquire the ace left-hander. I think they should have made their top prospects available, particularly Severino, but the Yankees disagreed. I’m just a guy with a blog. What do I know. Price sure would have looked nice in pinstripes though.

With Price, Scott Kazmir, and Johnny Cueto off the board, the best available pitchers are Mike Leake, Yovani Gallardo, and Ian Kennedy. Jeff Samardzija and Hisashi Iwakuma may or may not be available as well. The Yankees need pitching, it’s becoming more obvious with each passing game, so hopefully they reel someone in before the deadline tomorrow. Whoever it is, they won’t be as good as Price.

Update: Alford is not in the trade. The Tigers are getting three lefties: Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt. An equivalent Yankees package would be something like Severino, Bryan Mitchell, and healthy Ian Clarkin. Ballpark estimate, not exact.

2015 Trade Deadline Open Thread: Thursday

Price. (Harry How/Getty)
Price. (Harry How/Getty)

We are now just one day away from the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline. The Yankees have not yet made a move but I expect them to do something by 4pm ET tomorrow. They need pitching — I’m not sure how much more obvious it could be at this point — and a new second baseman sure would be cool too. Don’t be fooled by the six-game lead in the AL East, there are holes on the roster.

Late last night, Cole Hamels was traded to the Rangers in an eight-player deal, taking arguably the best available pitcher off the board. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we learned the Tigers are making David Price and their other rental players available, which is significant because Price would look wonderful in pinstripes. We’ll again keep track of the day’s Yankees-related rumors right here. Talk about all of ’em in this open thread.

  • 2:50pm ET: Not only do the Yankees not want to trade top prospects, they are hesitant to trade guys like Adam Warren and Bryan Mitchell as well. The sense is they will add a reliever to deepen the bullpen. Warren could then be a candidate to return to the rotation. [Joel Sherman]
  • 2:47pm ET: The Mariners plan to keep impending free agent Hisashi Iwakuma. He’s a favorite of ownership and they could always re-sign him in the offseason. The Yankees had not been connected to Iwakuma but he seemed like a logical fit. (Masahiro Tanaka‘s teammate in Japan!) [Jeff Passan]
  • 2:23pm ET: The Yankees are “poised to strike” and are in on all the available arms. That … really doesn’t tell us anything new. The Yankees are typically a club that waits until the last minute to make trades, however. The Martin Prado and Stephen Drew deals were announced after the deadline last year.[Ken Rosenthal]
  • 2:01pm ET: The Yankees are on the “periphery” of the Yovani Gallardo race. He is very available and a bunch of teams are in the mix. Gallardo is still scheduled to start against the Yankees tonight. [Heyman]
  • 12:50pm ET: David Price is heading to the Blue Jays for a package of top prospects, including Daniel Norris and Anthony Alford. So scratch him off the list.
  • 12:06pm ET: The Blue Jays appear to be “closing in” on a trade for David Price according to multiple reports. Toronto hasn’t been to the postseason since 1993 and they acquired Troy Tulowitzki a few days ago. The chips are firmly in the middle of the table.
  • 10:07am ET: The Yankees are considering among Mike Leake‘s most likely landing spots at this point. They’re also a candidate to acquire Jeff Samardzija should the surging White Sox decide to move him. Special assistant Jim Hendry drafted the righty when he was Cubs GM and Larry Rothschild was Samardzija’s pitching coach in Chicago for a few years. [Heyman]
  • 9:30am ET: The Yankees are one of four serious contenders for David Price, along with the Dodgers, Giants, and Blue Jays. All four clubs are in talks with the Tigers. [Jon Heyman]
  • The Yankees discussed Dustin Ackley with the Mariners. Ramon Flores and Ben Gamel came up but Seattle wanted more — I believe it was Flores or Gamel, not both — so talks stalled out. For whatever reason the Yankees have been after Ackley for years. [Mark Feinsand]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Holy Moly! Blue Jays reportedly acquire Troy Tulowitzki

(Harry How/Getty)
(Harry How/Getty)

Well this is a blockbuster. According to both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays have acquired Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies. No word on what Toronto is sending to Colorado, but I’m sure the package involves many top prospects. Wowza.

The Blue Jays already have a pretty good middle infield with Jose Reyes and Devon Travis, but Tulo is way better than both, so yeah. I wonder if Travis is in the package going to the Rockies with Reyes sliding over to second. He played second earlier in his career in deference to Kaz Matsui, remember.

Either way, the Blue Jays have emerged as the Yankees’ biggest threat in the AL East since the All-Star break, and they just got a whole lot better. The best offense in baseball got better, I should say. Toronto still needs pitching, but Tulowitzki is a major addition and will help a ton this year and in the future.

Update: Rosenthal says Reyes, not Travis, is in the package going to the Rockies. Unexpected! It’s Reyes and a bunch of minor league guys for Tulo. I wonder if the Rockies will flip Reyes somewhere else now, sorta like when the Marlins had Mike Piazza.