Author Archives: Brad Vietrogoski

Quick Hit: Arizona Fall League Update

afl_logo_0

We’re almost 2 weeks into the Arizona Fall League season, time to check on how the group of Yankee representatives is doing.

Position Players:

Tyler Austin: 4 G, 4-12, 1 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Peter O’Brien: 6 G, 4-24, 3 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 11 K
Mason Williams: 7 G, 7-31, 3 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K

Pitchers:

Brett Gerritse: 3 G, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
Fred Lewis: 4 G, 4.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K
Vidal Nuno: 2 G (2 GS), 6.2 IP, 12 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
James Pazos: 4 G, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K

Not a lot to get excited about.  Slow start for Williams and O’Brien at the plate, although O’Brien’s 3 HR look pretty good and he did win a hitting challenge over some of the top prospects in the league last weekend.  …

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This Week’s Tampa Meetings Could Bring Major MiL Changes

As the start of the offseason draws closer with the World Series set to begin this week, the Yankees draw closer to a potentially franchise-altering few months, one unlike anything we’ve seen in any of the past 5-10 years.  They’ve got a ton of money coming off the books, a significant chunk of additional money that could be coming off sometime in the next month or so, the current cornerstone of the franchise who may or may not leave via free agency, almost an entire starting rotation to rebuild, a floundering farm system that could finally be in for some major changes at the top, and as competitive an environment in the AL East as we’ve seen in years.

There are a lot of directions the Yankees can go this offseason.  They’ve taken one big step in determining that direction by re-signing Joe as manager, and they’ll likely lay out the groundwork for the next few steps this week.  The front office brain trust is meeting in Tampa for 3 days starting today, and they’ve got a lot of topics to cover.  …

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Why Not ManBan For Next Year’s Rotation?

ManBan 2011

Here’s a whacky idea to fill a spot in next year’s rotation.  Give a spot to Manny Banuelos.  You remember Manny Banuelos, right?  Former top prospect, lefty pitcher, was striking out Double-A hitters on the reg at age 19 a few years back.  He’s been out of action since early 2012 and rehabbing Tommy John Surgery since last October.  He’s also been throwing for months and is expected to be 100% healthy for the start of next year.  The Yankees took a very cautious approach with ManBan’s rehab, waiting almost a year before letting him pitch in simulated games late this season and shutting him down completely for the winter to let him rest.  Given the uncertainty in the back end of their 2014 rotation and the unlikeliness of the front office to spend much to fill it, they might want to consider taking the kid gloves off their former organizational crown jewel and taking a chance with him.

The idea sounds reckless and unnecessarily risky, but is it really?  …

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Thinking About Possible Rule 5 Casualties

rule-5-draft

In a little less than 2 months, the MLB Winter Meetings will wrap up and hot stove season will be brought to a full boil.  At the end of the meetings, the 2013 Rule 5 Draft will be held and the Yankees could find themselves in a tricky spot for that draft this year.  It’s no secret that the Yankees have a crowded 40-man roster on their hands right now.  It’s something that seems to have been a growing problem for the past few years, a byproduct of an aging roster full of big contracts and an organizational desire to both protect its top prospects and keep the below-replacement level players blocking them around (see: Nix, Jayson or Stewart, Chris).  With an unknown number of roster spots opening up and a large group of Rule 5 eligible players worth protecting, the Yankees might be at risk of losing a useful prospect or 2.

The top Rule 5 eligible player in the system would have been J.R.

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There’s Mutual Interest Between The Yanks And Beltran Because Of Course There Is

Beltran

To say that yesterday’s news of there being mutual interest between the Yankees and free agent to be Carlos Beltran was unsurprising would be a gross understatement. My reaction to Mark Feinsand’s report was a pretty simple, “duh.”  The Yanks and Beltran have been loosely linked for almost 10 years now, and Cash is still probably kicking himself for not getting a deal done with Beltran back when he was in his prime in 2005.  Now that Beltran is 36 going on 37, he’s much more in line with the current Yankee business model.  He’s a former All Star on the downside of his career looking for one last contract and the Yankees are the safest of havens for those types of players.  The only thing surprising about this story is that it came out this early while Beltran was still playing in the postseason.

In fairness to Beltran, his downside is a much better downside than those of players like Ichiro and Kevin Youkilis.  …

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Let’s Talk About Mark Teixeira

Teix vs BOS

There are headlines aplenty going around the Yankee infield right now.  When you’ve got $50-60 million worth of players whose statuses for next year are all in some sort of doubt, that’ll happen.  The one name that is absent from the conversation is that of Mark Teixeira, and that’s probably just fine with him.  Never one to draw a lot of media attention with what he does on or off the field, Teix has slid almost into Kevin Youkilis “don’t even both talking about him” territory after having season-ending wrist surgery in early July.  Considering his importance to next year’s team, it’s probably time to dust him off and get him back in the offseason discussion.

What little of Teix we have seen and heard lately hasn’t been baseball-related, at least not on the field.  He did a little studio analyst work for the MLB Network, which I’m still waiting for a review on, and when he’s not doing that he’s tweeting out inane college football questions.  …

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Prioritizing The Offseason To-Do List

Cash PC

While the best teams in baseball continue to put on a nightly show in the postseason, the Yankees are slowly moving forward with their offseason plans.  They re-signed manager Joe Girardi to a new 4-year deal last week and they are in the process of re-signing his coaching staff to return with him.  The word “stability” was used a lot when Joe’s new deal was announced and it’s something this organization needs to re-establish going forward, but there’s still a lot that needs to be done to achieve that goal.

The coaching staff is just the first piece of the puzzle for the Yankees this offseason, and hardly the most important one at that.  There’s a lot of work that needs to be done with the roster and a lot of big decisions that need to be made to determine the direction this franchise takes in 2014 and beyond.  A lot of those decisions probably won’t be made until a decision is rendered in the Alex Rodriguez suspension appeal hearing, something the Yankees have no control over.  …

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Thursday Morning Musings: Joe’s New Contract Edition

You know the drill, let’s do this.

- Glad to see Joe’s new deal get hammered out quickly.  Both he and the Yankees made it clear they both wanted him to return and kudos to both sides for not wasting any time and letting things drag out close to or past the end of the month.  Joe’s done a good job as Yankee manager, he’s experienced and comfortable in the atmosphere, and he’s the best man for the job of navigating this club through its transition from the end of the Core Four Era to the present day MLB landscape.

- As for the whole “what about Chicago” thing, I don’t think that was ever really as big a possibility as the MSM was making it out to be.  If Joe was really that interested in going back to Chicago, he wouldn’t have been sitting down with the Yankee brass days after the end of the season.  He knew when his contract was up, he knew what he wanted to, and he didn’t want to waste time getting it done.…

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Thinking About C-Grand’s New Contract

C-Grand vs CHW II

If you’re the type to put weight in early October hot stove rumors, it appears there’s already another potential suitor for Curtis Granderson this offseason.  A Chicago Sun-Times report this past weekend painted the White Sox as an interested party, citing the always anonymous source who said they were expected to make “a hard push” for Granderson.  Like the Yankees, the White Sox were a hot offensive mess this season.  They could use Granderson’s power, local ties, and personality to help inject some life into their franchise and put a few more butts in the stadium seats.

The Yankees were expected to make C-Grand a qualifying offer once the offseason started, although their true motivations for doing so are a bit of an unknown.  After seeing what Ichiro and Vernon Wells were still capable of in full-time outfield roles (nothing), the Yanks could certainly use Granderson in one of the corners and in the middle of the lineup next year.  …

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