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.  …

Read more

Notes From Cash’s Night On The Streets

B27-S8ZIYAERfwj

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.  …

Read more

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.

Read more

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.  …

Read more

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.  …

Read more

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.  …

Read more

Report: Trade Talks On Andrus And Ramirez Not Going Anywhere

Everybody and their mother knows that the Yankees are putting max effort into finding a new shortstop this offseason.  The 2 most talked about trade targets for the position have been Elvis Andrus and Alexei Ramirez, and the Yankees have been linked to both players in recent weeks.  Per the latest information from George King, those links don’t appear to be leading anywhere:

“Yet, according to a person with knowledge of the White Sox’s plans, they don’t believe a deal with the Yankees for the 33-year-old Ramirez is any further along than it was at July’s trading deadline, when the Yankees acquired Stephen Drew from the Red Sox…

As for the 26-year-old Andrus, who starts the first season of an eight-year deal worth $118 million this coming April, the Rangers will listen but aren’t in a rush to deal him…

And because they need pitching and catching — perhaps outfield help if they can move Shin-Soo Choo– there is a problem matching with the Yankees.”

Now THIS is a good rumor.  …

Read more

On Hot Stove Rumoring For The Sake Of Rumoring, Or “Hey, Did You Hear About The Yankees And Max Scherzer?”

Scherzer vs TOR

BREAKING: Still not a Yankee. Not even close

Has everybody had a chance to check around the Yankosphere and baseball blog circuit yet today?  If you have, you were no doubt bombared with stories about the Yankees and Max Scherzer kinda, sorta, maybe, possibly being linked.  Via Jon Heyman:

“So far this offseason, there hasn’t been much that’s new and interesting tied to the Yankees– baseball’s most storied franchise and usually among its most active winter players.

And there has been very little, if anything, that’s been linked to right-hander Max Scherzer — baseball’s top free-agent pitcher.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there’s a chance that the Yankees and Scherzer may start becoming tied together, at least in terms of talk. It’s a match that might make sense.”

At face value, no.  That wouldn’t be a surprise.  Big money players are always linked to the Yankees during hot stove season, and they have a very apparent and widely-known need for starting pitching.  …

Read more

Is Something Up With Cash?

Does Cash seem a little different to anybody lately?  Is everything OK with him?  I ask because it seems like he’s been a little… off, so to say.  And I’m not even talking about doing the “sleeping in the street” thing he’s participating in later this week to raise awareness for homeless children, even if raising money for them would be infinitely more helpful than awareness and the Yankees more than likely have a few bucks laying around somewhere.  I’m talking about the other stuff.  I can’t be sure, and if this is another classic Cashman smokescreen then it’s the greatest one of all time, but I can’t shake the feeling that he’s going full Costanza on us here and doing the opposite.

Think about it.  The Yankees have a stuffy outdated silly strict “no facial hair below the lip” policy; Cash shows up at the GM meetings last week rocking a goatee.  Instead of saying the usual, and in this case very applicable, company line of “we’re always looking to improve our team and upgrade where we can” at the GM meetings, he comes right out and declares that shortstop is the top priority.  …

Read more