Sunday Morning Rumors: Ibanez, Grilli

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.…

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Putting This Year’s IFA Haul in Perspective

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.…

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Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 11/21/14

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.  …

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A Quick Peek At The Bullpen Landscape After Yesterday’s Roster Moves

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.  …

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Notes From Cash’s Night On The Streets

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Looking good, Billy Ray. Courtesy of Bruce Beck

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.

-Cash said he still does not know what Hiroki Kuroda plans to do but that he expects Kuroda to play somewhere next year.

– The pursuit of Brandon McCarthy was again confirmed, and Cash said that signing him “wouldn’t preclude” the Yankees from going after another starter.  Duh.

On the hitting coach front, the Yankees will be interviewing some new candidate next week but Cash would not reveal the name.  …

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Quick hit: Some 40-Man Roster Moves

Per the Yankees PR Twitter account:

“Roster move: Yankees add OF Tyler Austin, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Branden Pinder and OF Mason Williams to 40-man roster and sold the rights of INF Zelous Wheeler to the Rakuten Golden Eagles.”

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.

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Report: Yanks Sign Another Top International Prospect

No, it wasn’t Yoan Moncada, but the Yankees continued their international spending barrage by snapping up the last of Baseball America’s top 30 guys.  Via Ben Badler, the Yanks have inked 16-year-old Colombian outfielder Bryan Emery, the 23rd ranked prospect on BA’s list.  No specifics were given on the dollar amount, but because they’re already way over their budget, it will cost the Yankees double.  Here’s what Badler had to say about Emery:

“Emery is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds with a loose swing from the left side. He had been switch-hitting, though he’s hit exclusively lefthanded in recent months. He’s strong and generates easy, explosive power, though leading up to July 2, there were mixed reviews about his game hitting, partly because of his environment…

Some scouts who have seen him recently have seen better game performance, with a simplified hitting approach and a cleaner setup that helped him stay more direct to the ball. Emery’s athletic for his size, has a strong arm and has worked out for clubs in the infield and the outfield, but he fits best in right field, where he will begin his career.”

Athletic, good arm, plus power potential, and improving mechanics.  …

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Rule 5 Draft Protection Deadline Is Today

November 20th marks the next key date on the offseason schedule, as teams must add Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to their 40-man rosters to protect them or risk another team taking them in the Rule 5 Draft.

The Yankees currently have 36 players on their 40-man roster and a handful of remaining non-tender candidates, and as usual, they have an interesting batch of Rule 5-eligible guys.  The headliner of the group is Tyler Austin, the 22-year-old corner outfielder and infielder coming off a .275/.336/.419 season at Double-A Trenton and a strong showing in the AZFL.  Righty relievers Branden Pinder, Mark Montgomery, and Dan Burawa are all eligible, and all 3 spent time in the SWB bullpen in 2014.  Former top prospect Mason Williams is also eligible for the first time.  He still possesses multiple elite-level tools, but he could be left exposed after 2 straight years of very poor production and reported attitude and off-the-field problems.

Other organizational guys like Zach Nuding, Kyle Roller, Matt Tracy, and Cito Culver are also eligible, and it’s very possible that another team could want to take a look at them.  …

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D-Rob Is Absolutely Worth Papelbon Money

D-Rob vs CIN

Courtesy of Getty Images

The silence remains deafening on the David Robertson front.  Since he rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer there has been little to no reported activity on the 2 sides working on a new deal, and there hasn’t been much chatter on him on the rest of the hot stove rumor mill.  It appears as though the attachment of draft pick compensation has slowed the pace of pursuit for this offseason’s top free agent reliever.

The one bit of worthwhile (depending on how you look at it) information to come out on D-Rob was the recent report that he is seeking “Papelbon money” on the open market.  You’ll remember the record 4-year/$50 million deal Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies during the 2011-2012 offseason, a deal that could vest into a 5-year/$63 mil one when all is said and done.

The general reaction I saw online to this report was that D-Rob was crazy for wanting that much and he would never get it.  …

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