Mike’s thoughts following the latest losing streak

Future Yankee Ty Wigginton. (Jeff Curry/Getty)
Future Yankee Ty Wigginton. (Jeff Curry/Getty)

The Yankees lost their third straight game last night, scoring exactly one run in each loss. They’ve scored more than three runs against a non-Twins team just once in their last nine games and seven times in their last 22 games. Thank goodness Minnesota is coming town for another three games this weekend, eh? Here are some miscellaneous thoughts:

1. I had no problem whatsoever with letting Raul Ibanez walk this past winter because he was mostly terrible before he started hitting those monumentally clutch homers late in last year, but he went into last night’s game hitting .260/.306/.563 (140 wRC+) with 22 (!) homers for the Mariners. The AVG and OBP aren’t anything special, but holy crap could the Yankees use that kind of power bat in their lineup. He can even fake an outfield spot if need be. The so-called Bombers are on pace for 153 homers this season — they had 145 through the same number of games last year — which would be their lowest total in a non-strike season since 1991. Travis Hafner stopped hitting when the calendar flipped to May, making the decision to let Ibanez walk look even more egregious. I was totally cool with it like I said, but this is one I and probably team wishes they could redo.

2. Ty Wigginton is going to be a Yankee, isn’t he? It’s inevitable. The Cardinals cut him loose yesterday, just 87 games into his two-year, $5M contact. That’s what happens when you hit .158/.238/.193 (19 wRC+) in 63 plate appearances with awful defense. Wigginton, a right-handed bat, hit .234/.360/.411 (111 wRC+) against southpaws just last year, which is the kind of performance the Yankees will try to unlock when they inevitably sign him. The freely available Russ Canzler is almost certainly the better part-time first base/third base/left field/DH righty platoon bat at this point, but New York always seems to go for the proven veteran over the inexperienced guy. As soon as Wigginton clears waivers and is available to sign for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum, he’ll be fitted for pinstripes. The Cardinals are extremely well-run team though; if they cut bait, he probably doesn’t have anything left in the tank.

3. Wanna see a cool graph? Here:

Robinson Cano walks

That is Robinson Cano‘s walk rate on a day-by-day basis, and it’s going nowhere but up of late. In fact, Cano has drawn eight walks compared to just one strikeout this month. Since June 1st it’s 26 walks and 13 strikeouts (!). There are eight intentional walks mixed in there, but that is to be expected given the state of the offense. Robbie had about a 30-game stretch a few weeks ago where he wasn’t being all that productive, in part because he was chasing stuff out of the zone and not making quality contact. Nowadays he’s willing to take the walk and pass the baton. That maturation as a hitter is great, but at some point someone hitting behind him has to make the other team pay. Lineup protection doesn’t really exist in the sense that putting a good hitter behind Cano will get him better pitchers to hit — no one is going to pitch to him no matter who hits behind him — but it does exist in that someone can make the other team pay for their willingness to pitch around Robbie. The Yankees don’t have that guy right now, not at all.

4. Ivan Nova will make his first start since officially rejoining the rotation tonight — the last two were spot starts, the first due to a rain out and the second because of Hiroki Kuroda‘s sore hip — but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was sent back to Triple-A after the game, especially if the Yankees are planning to activate Derek Jeter tomorrow. Based on Joe Girardi‘s comments to Brian Heyman prior to yesterday’s game, it sure seems like the Cap’n’s return is imminent as long as the ankle stays in one piece. Since Nova isn’t scheduled to start again before the All-Star break, they could send him down for the minimum ten days without him missing a start. That gives them the roster spot for Jeter and would allow Nova to stay sharp and on schedule with a Triple-A spot start. The Yankees haven’t manipulated their roster around the All-Star break at all in recent years, but this actually seems feasible if Jeter is ready to be activated. No sense in carrying a starter who won’t be available when you can add an extra position player for a few days without throwing the rotation out of whack.

Winter Meetings Day One Open Thread

(Ezra Shaw/Getty)

Baseball’s annual Winter Meeting officially kick off today in Nashville, and the next three and a half days will be chock full of rumors, rumblings, trades, free agent signings, and all sorts of neat hot stove stuff. Whether the Yankees get involved and make some moves remains to be seen. They’ve already take care of their major pitching issues by re-signing Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera to one-year contracts.

New York’s needs are rather obvious. They need a right fielder to replace Nick Swisher, a catcher to replace the already departed Russell Martin, as well as most of a bench and miscellaneous depth players. We’ll keep trade of any Yankees-related news right here throughout the day with the latest updates up top. Just check the time stamps (all ET).

  • 6:23pm: The Yankees were not in on Joakim Soria before the agreed to a two-year deal with the Rangers. [Sherman]
  • 4:25pm: The Yankees have some interest in Cody Ross as a right-handed hitting outfielder. He seems like a lock to get multiple years and overpaid. [Jon Morosi]
  • 3:42pm: Brian Cashman confirmed A-Rod‘s injury will not impact the team’s budget. They’re sticking with whatever number this year and will still try to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold next year. They may received some insurance money, however. [Buster Olney]
  • 3:29pm: The Yankees had some trade interest in infielder Chris Nelson of the Rockies earlier this season. The 27-year-old hit .301/.358/.458 this summer, but that’s only a 105 wRC+ when adjusted for Coors Field. Nelson is a second and third baseman. [Troy Renck]
  • 3:21pm: The Yankees are one of several teams trying to sign Scott Hairston, but they don’t want to spend 2014 dollars and he’ll likely require a two-year commitment. [Sherman]
  • 1:55pm: The Yankees were “quietly inquiring” about third base help at the GM Meetings last month. [Sweeny Murti]
  • 12:38pm: Alex Rodriguez‘s new hip injury means the Yankees figure to be even more interested in finding infield help, though they don’t believe Kevin Youkilis, Placido Polanco, and Ty Wigginton can handle the position on an everyday basis. They view Marco Scutaro as a second baseman. [Sherman]
  • 11:00am: The Yankees are interested in Stephen Drew and are “working hard” to sign him. They would presumably use him as their 100-game backup shortstop and third baseman, but there is no indication Drew is okay with playing the hot corner. He has never played a professional game anywhere other than shortstop and figures to get offers to start for other teams at the position. [Jim Bowden & Joel Sherman]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Tuesday Trade Deadline Open Thread

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The trade deadline is 4pm ET today, and the Yankees will definitely be in the market for a fill-in third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken bone in his hand. Mark Teixeira‘s wrist problem could spring them into further action as well, and pitching help — both rotation and bullpen — is always on the agenda. The Bombers are almost certainly done with the outfield market following the Ichiro Suzuki pickup, however. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related trade deadline rumors right here throughout the day, so check back often for updates. The latest will be on the bottom. Here are Sunday’s and Monday’s rumors if you missed them…

  • 10:00am: Teixeira’s injury should have no impact the team’s deadline plans, and the Yankees are still trying to acquire a defense-first type player for third base. Things are pretty quiet right now. [Ken Rosenthal]
  • The Yankees are focused on acquiring 40-man roster depth pieces, guys they can stash in Triple-A to cover for any injuries that pop-up down the stretch. [Joel Sherman]
  • Reports indicate that the Yankees have stepped up their pursuit of Ryan Dempster in the last 48 hours — lines up with when we learned about Andy Pettitte‘s setback, no? — but that has since been shot down. Dempster has 10-and-5 no-trade protection and seems hellbent on joining the Dodgers. [David Kaplan, Jon Heyman & Jayson Stark]
  • 12:34pm: There is still a “distinct possibility” the Yankees will acquire Ty Wigginton before the deadline. The Phillies are selling off all their movable pieces, with Shane Victorino headed to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence headed to the Giants. [Matt Gelb]
  • 12:56pm: The Yankees don’t believe Wigginton can handle third and are valuing defense at the position. A deal is said to be “highly unlikely.” Guys like him will get through waivers in August. [Sherman]
  • 2:03pm: The Yankees are “engaged in heavy discussions” with the Cubs about Dempster. I think this might be a case of the Cubbies trying to drive up the price for the Dodgers, but who knows. It’s worth mentioning that pitching coach Larry Rothschild knows the right-hander from his time in Chicago. [Bob Nightengale, Sherman & Rosenthal]
  • 2:14pm: The Dempster stuff is basically due diligence, the Yankees did their homework and expressed some level of interest yesterday. [Marc Carig]
  • 2:25pm: Dempster has told the Cubs that he will waive his 10-and-5 rights to join the Yankees because of his relationship with Rothschild and special advisor/former Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Chicago would have to kick in some money to facilitate a deal. [Heyman, Sherman & Sherman]
  • 2:29pm: The Cubs are said to like Angelo Gumbs and Dante Bichette Jr., but the Yankees are unlikely to part with them for a fifth starter upgrade. [Sherman & Sherman]
  • 3:12pm: Ownership has not been presented with any kind of financial information for a potential Dempster deal yet, so it doesn’t sound like anything is close as of right now. The commissioner’s office has to approve any trade involving more than $1M exchanging hands. [Sherman & Sherman]
  • 3:31pm: With less than a half-hour to go, the Dempster talks are still “nothing serious.” Either they’re going to scramble to beat the clock or the deal isn’t happening. [Carig]
  • 3:53pm: The Yankees “may” have acquired Dempster. No confirmation yet, however. [Jim Bowden]
  • 3:58pm: Scratch that, Dempster has been traded to the Rangers. [Buster Olney]

Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.

Monday Trade Deadline Open Thread

(Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The trade deadline is 4pm ET tomorrow, and the Yankees will definitely be in the market for a fill-in third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken bone in his hand. Pitching help — both rotation and bullpen — could also be a target, though they figure to be done looking for outfielders following the Ichiro Suzuki pickup. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related trade deadline rumors right here throughout the day, so check back often for updates. The latest will be on the bottom. Here are Sunday’s rumors if you missed them…

  • Stephen Drew is one potential option as the Yankees look for infield help. Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers worked for the Yankees in 2010 and knows their farm system, which could expedite things. Drew will likely clear waivers in August, so he doesn’t necessarily have to be traded by tomorrow. Joe looked at him in-depth last week. [Joel Sherman]
  • “I don’t think they are even in on it,” said someone in the know about the Yankees and Chase Headley. Yesterday we heard that the asking price was a bit too rich. [Sherman]
  • Cliff Lee is on the market and the Phillies intend to trade him either before the deadline or in the offseason to clear payroll. They obviously want a monster haul in return, but the Yankees won’t get involved because they don’t want to take on his contract. [Buster Olney & Sherman]
  • We heard yesterday that the Yankees had interest in Rafael Betancourt, but they have not contacted the Rockies about the right-handed reliever. [Sherman]
  • The Yankees are prioritizing defense in their search for infield help. They have players ahead of Ty Wigginton on their shopping list, unsurprisingly. [Jon Heyman]
  • The Yankees are not close to any trade as of this afternoon, but that is always subject to change rather quickly. [Olney]

Sunday Trade Deadline Open Thread

The trade deadline is 4pm ET on Tuesday, and the Yankees will definitely be in the market for a fill-in third baseman with Alex Rodriguez on the DL with a broken bone in his hand. Pitching help — both rotation and bullpen — could also be a target, though they figure to be done looking for outfielders following the Ichiro Suzuki pickup. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related trade deadline rumors right here throughout the day, so check back often for updates. The latest stuff will be on the bottom…

  • Chase Headley is still an option for the Bombers, who could use him at third base while A-Rod is hurt and then potentially stick him in right field to replace Nick Swisher next season. The two sides have not exchanged names yet, and the Yankees worry the asking price will be too high [Ken Rosenthal & Joel Sherman]
  • The Yankees did try to acquire Marco Scutaro before he was traded to the Giants on Friday night. They wanted Colorado to foot a significant portion of the $2.25M left on his contract, but that wasn’t happening. [Jon Morosi & Sherman]
  • Rockies right-hander Rafael Betancourt is on the Yankees’ radar. He’s under contract for $4.25M next year and continues to post fantastic peripherals (2.88 FIP), though he’s one of the most fly ball prone pitchers in the game (career 29.6% grounders). You’re also going to pay a premium for a Proven Closer™ tag, so I prefer teammate Matt Belisle. [Troy Renck]
  • The Yankees have not been aggressive in their pursuit of Headley but they have inquired. Don’t expect them to part with much of anything for a stopgap third baseman. [Marc Carig]
  • Some other names that have popped up in the team’s third base search include Willie Bloomquist, Brendan Ryan, Yunel Escobar, Chone Figgins, Jose Lopez, Cody Ransom (!), Mark Reynolds, and Scott Rolen. Obviously some are more available and desirable than others. [Jon Heyman]

Yankees have inquired about Ty Wigginton

Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees have reached out to the Phillies about the availability to Ty Wigginton following Alex Rodriguez‘s hand injury. We heard the club would explore the trade market and consider all options when looking for a replacement third baseman on Wednesday morning.

Wigginton, 34, owns an 83 wRC+ this year including a 102 mark against left-handers. He has a rep for being versatile but he’s really just a first baseman who plays a bunch of different positions because he managers still think it’s 2005 keep running him out there. Wigginton has a $4M club option in his contract for next season that will surely be declined by whoever employs him at the end of the season. The Phillies may end up keeping him for the remainder of this year because of Placido Polanco’s nagging back trouble, however.

Heyman: Wigginton’s name has come up in Yanks, Rox talks

Via Jon Heyman, Ty Wigginton’s name has popped up in recent talks between the Yankees and Rockies. Earlier today we learned that the two sides have already have multiple discussions about Ubaldo Jimenez. Wigginton’s name gets connected to the Yankees twice a year, every year (trade deadline and offseason), so he’s not some great unknown. He’d be a fine fill-in for Alex Rodriguez, but wouldn’t do much beyond that. Wigginton isn’t cheap ($4M this year, $4M next year, plus an option), certainly not for a bench player. Frankly I don’t see what he offers that Brandon Laird doesn’t, aside from the veteran presents.