A bonus podcast! EJ, Derek and Scott talk about last night's trade.
Once again the Yankees have a chance (not Adams) to break a long series losing and non-winning streak.
Choi and Refs are DFA'd. Shreve sent to minors.
Judge gets day off. Holliday gets a holiday. Sanchez at DH. Torreyes in for Headley.
I'm sorry (the hell I am) but this lineup makes no sense to. Why is Todd Frazier not playing?
C. Frazier, RF
- 2B: Brian Dozier
- 3B: Eduardo Escobar
- 1B: Miguel Sano
- LF: Robbie Grossman
- RF: Max Kepler
- C: Chris Gimenez
- SS: Ehire Adrianza
- DH: Jorge Polanco
- CF: Zack Granite
- SP: Jose Berrios
Game on YES.
In case there was any doubt, the Yankees have firmly established themselves as buyers this summer. The acquisition of Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle is a sign that management foresees a return to the postseason this fall. The deal essentially fills all of the club's glaring holes aside from starting pitcher, which could be the next move.
The influence of this trade should be felt immediately, though it does come at a fairly steep expense. First base and the bullpen have been two of the Yankees' biggest sore spots this season, with the latter being a significant reason why the club has been piling up losses in the last month or two.
An upgrade at first base:
Saying that the Yankees' first basemen have struggled is an understatement. With a 66 wRC+ and -1.2 WAR, the team has failed to garner any production from the position. Greg Bird and Tyler Austin are hurt, Chris Carter failed, and Ji-Man Choi and Garrett Cooper are replacement level at best. Now, with Frazier in tow, the Yankees have found a solution at the position for the rest of the season.
A longtime third baseman for the Reds and White Sox, Frazier does have experience at first base (740 career innings) so the transition with the Yankees should be seamless. The thing about Frazier, though, is that his name value greatly exceeds his on field value. Yes, he had a couple of big years in Cincinnatti in 2014 and 2015, but he's been pretty average since moving to the American League. He's projected to be pretty average the rest of the season as well, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Look at how his 2017 outlook compares to the incumbents according to ZiPS:
Frazier: .233/.316/.445 (101 wRC+), 13 HR in 272 PA
Cooper: .244/.292/.380 (78 wRC+), 3 HR in 131 PA
Choi: .243/.326/.407 (96 wRC+), 3 HR in 92 PA
Frazier's projection is more or less a continuation of what he's done to this point of the season. He joins the Yankees with a .207/.328/.432 (103 wRC+) line with 16 home runs in 335 PA. Kind of sounds like Chris Carter, eh? Minus the strikeouts, at least. Frazier's fanned just over 21% of the time this season, which is solid. Didn't mean to scare anyone. Ultimately, getting that caliber of production is a clear upgrade over the in-house options and what they've already received.
Financially, Frazier is a pure rental and is owed a little less than half of the $12M he signed for this season.
With Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances anchoring the late innings, the bullpen was supposed to be one of the team's strong suits. Unfortunately, things have not played out as expected, especially of late. During the Yankees rut over the last month or so, it seems like every relief appearance has turned into a high wire act. Betances has struggled to throw strikes, Chapman has been unable to miss bats, and the rest of the relievers haven't been able to help (sans Adam Warren and Chad Green, who have done well and are starting to get more opportunities). It hasn't helped that Joe Girardi has made some mistakes with his decision making (leaving in Caleb Smith in a 2-2 game in the 8th on Monday comes to mind). Then again, most of his options have been failing him anyway.
Just how bad has the bullpen been? It leads the league with 18 blown saves. Lately, it's been especially bad in high leverage situations. Since June 1, the 'pen owns a hideous 9.64 ERA across 23 innings in high leverage spots. Yuck.
David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle should get things back in order. D-Rob returns to the Yankees after spending nearly three years with the White Sox as their closer. Robertson hasn't changed much since his days in pinstripes: he still gets plenty of strikeouts (35.6% on the year) while keeping walks in check (8.3%). Kahnle, who the Yankees lost to the Rockies in 2013 in the Rule 5 draft, is in the midst of a breakout season. He has the third best strikeout rate in baseball (42.6%) and has been able to find the strike zone (5.0% BB rate vs. 12.3% career). Here's how ZiPS sees the both of them pitching the rest of the season:
Robertson: 26 IP, 3.36/3.14 ERA/FIP, 12.53 K/9, 3.40 BB/9
Kahnle: 26 IP, 3.34/3.48 ERA/FIP, 11.59 K/9, 4.45 BB/9
Those projections aren't as pretty as the results the two newcomers have posted thus far in 2017, but are still good and welcome additions to a depleted bullpen. In theory, assuming Betances and Chapman can straighten themselves out, games could be won by the fifth or sixth innings. Just take a look at how things shake out before and after the deal:
Pre-trade: Triple-A reliever, Shreve, Clippard, Green, Warren, Betances, Chapman
Post-trade: Shreve, Green, Warren, Kahnle, Robertson, Betances, Chapman
Aside from adding the ability of Kahnle and Robertson, the flexibility of the bullpen is vastly improved. One reliever being unavailable for any given game will be a lot easier to manage than before this trade. Further, it will be a lot harder for Girardi to make a mistake managing the 'pen because he has plenty of options to choose from.
Robertson is under contract through 2018 and the Yankees hold the rights to Kahnle through 2020.
Blake Rutherford, an outfielder, is the centerpiece of the prospects going to Chicago. Last year's first round pick has been just okay as a 20 year-old in Single-A Charleston this year (112 wRC+), but he's still a favorite among scouts. Baseball America ranked Rutherford 36th in its midseason top 100 prospects list, so he's undoubtedly a big chip on the move.
Ian Clarkin, a left-handed pitcher, has had a solid season in High-A Tampa (2.62 ERA/3.55 FIP). The Yankees selected Clarkin one pick after Aaron Judge in the 2013 draft, but it's been a long road for the southpaw as he's struggled to stay healthy. Clarkin, 22, is a good prospect but not a top 100 guy. It's not surprising to see Clarkin on the move, as he would have had to be added to an already crowded 40-man roster by the end of the season in order to avoid the Rule 5 draft.
Outfielder Tito Polo is the third prospect in the deal. The Yankees acquired him last summer as part of the Ivan Nova trade, and the outfielder has hit well in time split between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton ever since. Though he's not a top prospect by any stretch of the imagination, he's also a Rule 5 candidate this offseason so it makes sense that the Yankees parted ways with him.
The other guy in the deal:
Tyler Clippard was included in the deal, presumably to offset some of the salaries the Yankees are taking on. Clippard was going to be one of the odd men out anyway given his poor performance this year.
From a win-now perspective, this trade makes plenty of sense. A bunch of needs were filled in exchange for prospects that won't be able to help the big club for another three years or so. By nature, that's the definition of the ideal move for a team that's looking to win this year.
Yet, I'm not a huge fan of this deal. I keep thinking about Travis Sawchik's Fangraphs post about the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. Essentially, Sawchik's post weighs instant vs. delayed gratification as it relates to the Yankees. The Yankees weren't expected to be serious contenders when this season began, but when Sawchik published this, they were 27-16 and apparently ahead of schedule. To Sawchik, that didn't necessarily mean that they should be buyers, though.
Last summer, for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I studied the 2012-15 deadline-trade markets. Of the 70 major-league players acquired, 45 produced negligible or negative value — below replacement level — through the remainder of the season. Another 20 recorded more than one win above replacement for the team adding them, and five created two or more wins above replacement.
It’s perhaps an argument for delayed gratification, in favor of keeping the club’s top young assets, and hoping for the best in 2017 and 2018 and planning to be the best in 2019 and beyond. Instead of gobbling up a few impact months and/or years in the short term, the Yankees can create a greater window of opportunity by standing pat, or largely standing pat.
Now, at 48-44, they're still in the thick of the hunt, but not in nearly as good shape as before. If anything, that makes Sawchik's argument for delayed gratification even stronger. That's precisely why I'm not enthralled about trading Blake Rutherford. The other prospects aren't big losses, but dealing Rutherford comes at a significant opportunity cost.
The timing of trading Rutherford is what concerns me. Could he have been put to better use as a trade chip in 2018 or 2019? It's very possible. Those could be the seasons in which the Yankees are one piece away, and assuming Rutherford maintains his prospect status as he ascends the ranks of the minors, his trade value would only increase. Those are significant assumptions, I know. Fortunately, the Yankees system is lush with talent so they still should have solid trade chips in the coming contention window, but not many as highly touted as Rutherford.
There you have it. EJ posted the report of the deal nearing the finish line earlier, and now we know what it cost the Yankees. Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin, Tito Polo, and Tyler Clippard will join the White Sox organization in exchange for Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle.
This trade kills two birds with one stone: Frazier is a boost at first base (and can chip in at third, too), while Robertson and Kahnle are much needed help in the bullpen. The cost was fairly steep, but the 2017 Yankees are unquestionably better for it. Check back for further analysis of the detail tomorrow.
EJ, Scott and Paul run through all of the current Yankee trade rumors.
EJ and Jim talk about the Yankees in the All Star Game and Home Run Derby, the struggles of Dellin Betances, Jorge Mateo, and the notable breakout prospects so far in 2017.
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A loss today would make it 10 straight series without a win.
Mitchell re-sent to SWB. Cessa re-called from SWB.
Still no day off for Judge. Frazier still in the lineup -- even against a RHP. Ells sits. Castro sits. (I'm sorry, but if Castro needs this much time off he was activated too early.) A;s Cooper gets the start against a RHP over Choi. Did someone steal Girardi's The Book?
- CF: Brett Gardner
- C: Gary Sanchez
- RF: Aaron Judge
- DH: Matt Holliday
- SS: Didi Gregorius
- LF: Clint Frazier
- 3B: Chase Headley
- 1B: Garrett Cooper
- 2B: Ronald Torreyes
- SP: Luis Cessa
- 2B: Brian Dozier
- CF: Zack Granite
- 1B: Joe Mauer
- 3B: Miguel Sano
- RF: Max Kepler
- DH: Robbie Grossman
- LF: Eddie Rosario
- SS: Jorge Polanco
- C: Jason Castro
- SP: Bartolo Colon
Game on WPIX an ESPN.
Here is the last of three installments as we check up on our pre-season predictions.
Today we’ll look at the outfield, designated hitter, and catcher…
THE OUTFIELD -
Brett Gardner plays typically above-average defense while regaining some of the power that disappeared in 2016, hitting .280/.350/.425.
Aaron Judge plays average defense in RF, hits 30 homers, and strikes-out at an acceptable enough rate to stay in the conversation for AL ROY.
Jacoby Ellsbury continues his underwhelming play, and with the Yankees in the playoff hunt, the Yankees eat a significant amount of his salary and trade him in a deadline surprise, giving Aaron Hicks an increased role as the starting CF. Hicks acquits himself well in a starting role, but Clint Frazier steals some ABs in September.
Analysis: Brett Gardner has certainly played well defensively. His slash line of .251/.347/.440 has been pretty close to Andy’s prediction. Well done! Aaron Judge has played better than average defense and he did hit 30 homers – in half a season! I think we’re all hoping Andy’s predication of Ellsbury being moved at the deadline comes true.
It might not always be pretty, but Aaron Judge will prove that making him the everyday right fielder was the right decision. He’ll bash 30 home runs between a handful of strikeout spells, but he'll also bring more to the table than his power stroke. His keen eye at the plate will allow him a respectable on base percentage and his defense will be above average in right.
Jacoby Ellsbury will continue to be a laggard, and the Yankees will finally realize that he's no longer worth significant playing time. Given that the Yankees kept Aaron Hicks in the right field competition to the very end of spring training, I expect him to steal significant time from Ellsbury in center in order for the Yankees to evaluate Hicks. In all likelihood, Hicks won't be much better, but at least the Yankees will have a chance to see what they have.
Brett Gardner might lose some at-bats to Hicks, too. Gardner’s decline years have begun, and it might make sense to take create some sort of platoon with him, Ellsbury, and Hicks between left and right field. Gardner will still be passable at the top of the order, posting a .350 on-base percentage, but his power numbers from 2015 are not returning. The other story behind Gardner’s upcoming season is if he'll stay in the Bronx. Despite all of the trade rumors, I think he sticks around all season. He's survived so many rumors in the past that I'll have to actually see a move to believe it.
Analysis: Derek nailed Aaron Judge as well, sort of. He was right on with the defense and the OBP. The power? Well, he does have 30 homers. He was also correct that Aaron Hicks would replace Ellsbury – at least until Hicks got injured. Derek basically nailed Gardner’s OBP (.350 to .347).
Brett Gardner will continue his slow decline, but be a useful average player. He will end up on a semi-strict platoon by the end of the season.
Jacoby Ellsbury will rebound slightly to a 2.5 fWAR season.
Aaron Judge will continue to struggle to hit for contact. However, he'll hit enough home runs and play good enough defense to justify a spot in the lineup. May be forced out for Clint Frazier.
Analysis: Gardner has been better than predicted,. Ellsbury’s WAR is .6. If we double it, it’s still off the mark. EJ nailed Judge’s defense. As for the homers and the great success…well, who saw any of this coming?
Paul S Predicted:
Let's start with the good, Aaron Judge plays (almost) every day and hits 38 homers. One of his homers is hit so far into the Yankee Stadium Upper Deck in left field that people start calculating how much further he'd have to hit one to actually clear the roof. Judge strikes out 212 times, but no one cares.
Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury both play like former stars who are in their 30's. Neither steals a lot of bases. Neither hits even .280 nor comes close to 10 home runs.
Aaron Hicks becomes an every day player. Clint Frazier, after raking in AAA comes to the Bigs and hits .282 with 11 homers in August and September.
Analysis: I’ll take some props for being confident in Aaron Judge’s power. He did hit a homer that almost went 500 feet and people did talk about him being able to leave the yard… Brett Gardner’s power has been surprising. Jacoby Ellsbury’s play has not. Aaron Hicks performed as expected and my confidence in Clint Frazier seems to be on the money!
Paul V Predicted:
Ugh, is anyone else as tired of Brett Gardner as I am? I’m just going to leave it at that.
I have no clue why I’m optimistic on Ellsbury. Maybe it’s because nobody is expecting anything from him. Don’t get me wrong he will not deserve that salary this year, but the infusion of youth might be exactly what he needs
Arron Judge is one big dude. I’m consistently impressed by his defensive abilities, but that swing is oh so long. Let’s just hope the behemoth bombs over shadow the K’s
Arron Hicks is super athletic!!
Chris Carter? Why, just why?
Let’s see the young buck Clint Frazier light a fire all over the diamond!
Analysis: Lots of predications, most of them pretty accurate. Gardner has been exciting. Ellsbury, not so much. Judge’s defense has been impressive and he has hit tape-measure bombs. Clint Frazier is starting to light that fire!
William: Am I the only Yankee fan that thinks Brent Gardner sucks wind? Yeah, okay, he can run a ball down in left field. But seriously! He is not even Roy White caliber and I would love to see a different guy out there.
Yes, the Jacoby Ellsbury Era needs to end. I cannot believe like my colleagues that anyone would want him for a trade deadline deal. I think I am too lazy to look it up, but my recollection is that Gardner and Ellsbury have both been productive at the same time twice since Ellsbury signed.
I think Aaron Judge will strike out 200 times this season. If everyone is okay with that, enjoy his couple dozen moonshots.
Aaron Hicks? Uh...nice guy...good arm...uh...
Analysis: Right on with Ellsbury!
DESIGNATED HITTER -
Andy : Matt Holliday benefits from not having to play the field and plays a role mentoring all of the young guys in the Yankee clubhouse. His strong, consistent performance stabilizes the middle of the Yankee lineup, slashing .275/.350/.475 while hitting 25 HRs.
Analysis: Holliday is at .250/.350/.488 with 16 homers. Andy, you are RIGHT ON again!
Derek: Matt Holliday will barely see the field in 2017, and that's a good thing. Keeping him healthy will be high priority, because as long as he stays off the shelf, he'll hit. Expect 20 homers and a .275/.340/.475 batting line.
Analysis: Derek, you also earn an A!
EJ: Matt Holliday rebounds. Chris Carter hits 10 home runs one week, bats .180 otherwise.
Analysis: EJ’s prediction was also solid. It’s too bad Carter didn’t even have his one great week.
Paul S: Matt Holiday is going to rake all year long. He's going to be a leader and a presence in the Yankees line-up batting over .310 and hitting more than 30 homers, many into the right field seats.
Analysis: Correct on the leader part, the batting average prediction is too high, but homers might be close.
Paul V: What William stated (see below) says it all. “Holliday’s OPS dropped 100pts below his career average in 2016.” The DH role seems to be a spot where he can be comfortable. It may be a slow transition since he has only started 32 games as a DH in his career. He will settle in and hit around .250 on the year.
Analysis: Holliday is hitting… .250!
William: Matt Holliday has seen some serious decline. His OPS was a hundred points less than his career numbers in 2016. Some guys thrive doing just the DH and he might be one of them. Or he could continue his 37-year-old fall off the age curve.
Analysis: We’ll give William credit for saying that Holliday just might thrive as the DH.
Andy: Gary Sanchez produces slightly above league-average defense while hitting .270/.350/.525, slugging 35 HR and accumulating 6.5 WAR, establishing himself as one of the premier catchers in baseball.
Analysis: Sanchez = .276/.357/.496…close, very close. The homers and the WAR are off the pace to make this prediction perfectly accurate.
Derek: There's no way Gary Sanchez can repeat what he did last year, but that won't stop him from establishing himself as the American League’s best catcher in 2017. He's going to pop 25 home runs on a strong .270/.330/.490 batting line along with stellar defense. Austin Romine will hold his own as the backup.
Analysis: Also, right on. RIGHT ON!
EJ: Gary Sanchez will be the best catcher in baseball.
Analysis: RIGHT ON!
Paul S: I am as high on Gary Sanchez as the next guy, but I do think his production last year was unworldly and we can't expect anything close to that. In the first year that he played over 150 games, Jorge Posada hit .287/28/86. I'll predict the exact same slash line for Sanchez. If he does that, we've got ourselves one of the best catchers in the game.
Analysis: His batting average is lower than hoped, but at 14 homers and 44 RBI’s, the other counting stats are right on target!
Paul V: I want to see Gary Sanchez continue to develop. It’s still too early to proclaim his as anything more than a blue chip prospect. His power will be there, but being consistent with good at bats and staying back on the off-speed stuff will ultimately decide what type of Bronx Bomber he will become. A full season under Girardi’s tutelage will also help his development behind the plate.
Analysis: Nothing wrong with this prediction.
William: I would like to get caught up in Gary Sanchez fever. But two months tells me nothing. Let's see what a full season brings before I start electing him to the Hall of Fame. I'd be happy with an .850 OPS along with his good defense. I would have liked to have seen Higasioka get a shot at the backup. Austin Romine is sort of dudsville to me.
Analysis: Sanchez’s OPS is .852. William is happy!
CONCLUSION – For the most part, our It’s About The Money staff of baseball experts was pretty much on the money in our predictions. Our biggest flaw was under estimating Aaron Judge. We will hope he continues to outperform all expectations and hopes. We’ll also hope that he hits a moon shot right out of Yankee Stadium!
German returned, unused, to SWB. Mitchell added to 25 Man roster.
Torreyes sits. Sanchez sits. Gardner sits. Romine squats. Cooper at 1B. Frazier in LF. All three OFers lead off the lineup.
Yanks 0-7-2 in last 9 series, Will they ever win one again? Will Girardi ever rest Judge?
- 2B: Brian Dozier
- CF: Zack Granite
- 1B: Joe Mauer
- 3B: Miguel Sano
- RF: Max Kepler
- DH: Kennys Vargas
- LF: Eddie Rosario
- SS: Ehire Adrianza
- C: Jason Castro
- SP: Adalberto Mejia
Game on YES.
Same day, different game. Damn Yankees are riding a 2-game winning streak, something not seen since a 6 game streak June 7th thru 12th.
Gardner sits. Headley sits, Choi sits. 22 hours after the 16 inning game Sanchez squats. Cooper in. Castro in.
Can Sanchez continue his dominance of Price? Which Tanaka will show up? Can Castro really run? Will Judge finally get a hit?
Bradley, Jr. CF
Game on ESPN (Awful, simply awful.)