Dos Equis commercials peddle their fictional man-of-many-feats as the “most interesting man in the world,” but my old friend Stu Yellin can give that old beer drinker a run for his money. I met Stu when we were 5; we spent much of the next decade getting each other in trouble in school, usually when one of us tried to make the other laugh in class by drawing pictures like Spider-Man beating up the teacher (an actual example of a drawing Stu showed me in 12th grade). My art skills never grew past middling (though I did just draw a decent Groot for my kids), but Stu became a major TV cartoonist, drawing the Colbert- and Carrell-voiced “Ace + Gary, The Ambiguously Gay Duo” for SNL, The Tick, and Lizzie McGuire. He then became an art teacher — before becoming a pro bodybuilder too. He got a very late start, competing only as of his early/mid-30s, yet won Pro Cards in various drug-tested federations (most notably the WNBF, the strictest one on substance abuse), and won first place as a middleweight in several “natural bodybuilding” competitions with tough drug testing.…
Props to Mike Axisa for noticing this before anybody else did. In addition to their Rule 5 protection moves last Thursday, the Yankees also signed 23-year-old utility player Jonathan Galvez to a Minor League contract. Galvez, formerly of the Padre organization, has never played in a Major League game. He spent the last 2 seasons in Triple-A and he hit .280/.354/.449 with 10 HR, 55 R, and 52 RBI in 103 games (389 PA) this past season.
Because the deal is a MiL one, Galvez did not have to be added to the 40-man roster, although it’s a safe bet that he received an invitation to Spring Training. The Yankees are in dire need of help at multiple infield positions and Galvez could sneak up and steal a bench job with a strong ST. He started his career off as a second baseman/shortstop, but he’s played more third base and corner outfield recently.
There’s a lot of Yangervis Solarte in this situation. …
Two months ago, before the regular season even ended, I looked ahead to the 2015 Opening Day roster and what it would look like were it comprised of only players who were guaranteed a 40-man roster spot at the time. The exercise illustrated how much work the Yankees had to do this offseason, with almost every roster area showing some kind of weakness. Now 2 months later, the regular season and postseason have ended, the offseason is in full swing, and not much has changed. The Yankees made some 40-man roster changes last week, but not any that would seriously help next year’s team. Today’s 2015 Opening Day roster would only be slightly better than September’s.
The only new face in the lineup is the only new face the Yankees have added to their group of position players so far, and Young really only gets in because of the lack of infield depth. …
A pair of hot stove stories from late Friday on the hitting coach and bullpen situations.
– First the hitting coach. There were reports earlier in the week about Raul Ibanez being one of the 3 finalists for the Tampa Bay managerial job. According to George King, if Ibanez doesn’t get that job, he has no interest in becoming the Yankees’ hitting coach. Sounds like it’s manager or bust for Raul and I can’t really blame him for that. We’ll have to wait until next week to see who this mystery interview candidate is.
– Now the bullpen. Via Sweeny Murti, the Yankee front office has discussed right-hander Jason Grilli as a hypothetical replacement for D-Rob should they fail to re-sign him. Grilli, 38, was really good as the Pirates closer in 2013, less so last year before he was traded to Anaheim. He bounced back post-trade and could be worth the minimal cost it will take to sign him.…
Much has been written about the Yankees signing ten of the top thirty international free agents this season. But how much talent have the Yankees landed, really?
I’m not going to pretend to know more about the specific players that the Yankees signed than what I’ve read on MLB.com and Baseball America. I did, however, go back and look at Baseball America’s top international free agent list five years ago, and checked in on the status of the top-25 players. The result:
2 really great signings (Sano and Profar), 6 players with varying prospect potential (including Gary Sanchez, probably the bet of the group), and 17 busts. If the Yankee haul follows the same pattern, they’ll emerge five years from now with roughly half that–a top-10 prospect, two or so top-100 prospects, and a fringey player or two.
Not bad, huh? Obviously, we’re looking at a sample of one year, but a quick glance at 2008 and 2010 show similar bust rates.…
I spent most of this week catching up on what I missed last week in my personal, professional, and blogtacular lives, so this is admittedly a shorter ‘Palooza than usual. Let’s get right to it.
– On Monday, Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits looked ahead to the 2015 bullpen and the possibility of a group-wide regression.
– On Tuesday, William Juliano of The Captain’s Blog analyzed the record-setting Giancarlo Stanton contract and attempted to correct some of the misconceptions surrounding it.
– John Beck of Pinstripe Alley weighed the potential value of Brett Gardner compared to Elvis Andrus as the Yankees continue to search for a new shortstop.
– On Wednesday, Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes proposed a Yanks-Braves trade that most people probably haven’t thought about.
– Chad Jennings of LoHud looked back at past Rule 5 protection decisions and how those have worked out for the Yankees since.
– On Thursday, Mike Axisa profiled Brett Anderson as a possible buy-low FA starter target for this offseason. …
This is what I predicted would happen before yesterday’s 40-man roster set deadline:
“My prediction for today is only Austin and Williams getting added, maybe one of the Triple-A arms if the Yankees make a move somewhere else today to open another spot.”
Almost nailed it. Almost. The one thing I didn’t anticipate was the Yankees protecting 2 of the eligible bullpen arms. Not with 40-man spots being needed for future FA signings, not with D-Rob being one of those FA priorities, not with a solid middle relief corps already in place, and not with other non-40-man guys like Nick Rumbelow, Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, and Nick Goody waiting in the wings as well.
But the Yankees know their players better than I do, and they clearly like both Dan Burawa and Branden Pinder enough to want them around for depth. They didn’t protect a similar pitcher in Tommy Kahnle last year and he ended up going to Colorado and having a nice 2014 season with the Rockies. …
Brian Cashman spent his night on the street to help raise awareness for homeless youth in New York City last night, and that provided a convenient opportunity for Brendan Kuty to talk to him and get some updates on where the Yankees stand this offseason. He had a lot to touch on.
– Cash called the decisions to protect the 4 players (Austin, Williams, Burawa, Pinder) from the Rule 5 Draft “layups.” Let’s not get carried away, Cash. It’s not like that’s 4 of your best 10, or even best 20.
– On the hitting coach front, the Yankees will be interviewing some new candidate next week but Cash would not reveal the name. …
Per the Yankees PR Twitter account:
The 40-man roster currently has 38 players and all four players placed onto the roster would have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft.