Author Archives: Brad Vietrogoski

Filling Out The Back End Of The Bullpen

There’s no denying that the Yankees have done a helluva lot of work to reload their team this offseason.  They’ve spent over half a billion dollars in contracts, both in large amounts and small, to upgrade their rotation, lineup, and to a very small degree their bench.  One roster area that hasn’t harvested the fruits of that half-billion dollar labor is the bullpen.  To date, the Yankees’ only addition of significance to the 2014 ‘pen has been Matt Thornton, a 37-year-old lefty specialist who, while still effective against same-side hitters, is at the point in his career where his best days are behind him.

This singular signing in response to the loss of Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, and some guy named Mariano Rivera has put the Yankee ‘pen in a state of uncertainty, one that the free agent market is no longer as well equipped to resolve as it was a few weeks ago.  As we move below the 3-week threshold until pitchers and catchers report to spring camp, it’s time to look at what the Yankees could do to fill out and fortify their bullpen.…

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Let’s Talk About Some More Prospects

Rafael De Paula Futures Game

The Masahiro Tanaka signing storm has calmed down a bit, things are getting back to normal in Yankeeland, and we’re exactly 3 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting.  Obviously that means it’s time to talk about prospects again.  The Yankee Minor League complex in Tampa is open and there are already a handful of top guys down there getting ready for the season, plus I’m releasing my yearly top 30 prospects list next week.  Timing couldn’t be better.  Last time I rattled guys off the top of my head who I had already labeled.  This time it wasn’t so easy.  Probably the most mental energy I’m going to exert today.

Prospect I Want to See Bumped to A Full-Season League- Gosuke Katoh

Katoh didn’t come with any of the hype that the 3 Yankee 1st rounders in last year’s draft did, and there were some who thought he was a big reach as a 2nd round pick.  All he did to silence the critics was hit .310/.402/.522 (.434 wOBA) in 215 GCL plate appearances and showcase the plus defensive skills that already had scouts pegging him as a long-term second baseman.  …

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Reconsidering The Yankee Rotation With Tanaka

Tanaka Yankees

Before the news of the Masahiro Tanaka signing came out yesterday morning, the Yankee rotation was in big trouble.  At least that’s the spin that was being put on the majority of the conversations, reports, and blog posts around the Yankosphere.  CC Sabathia was coming off a terrible year and was going to be another year older with no indication that he could ever rebound to become a good pitcher again.  Hiroki Kuroda was also going to be another year older and potentially ready to break down and regress after a poor second half in 2013.  Ivan Nova was a big, inconsistent question mark, Michael Pineda was an even bigger question mark in bold font who might never be a starter again, and the rest of the 5th starter competition contingent was nothing special.  There was no way the Yankees were going to compete for anything with that crew.

After the Tanaka signing, the whole story changed.  Now Sabathia could be looking at a bounce back year after having a normal offseason throwing program to work on his mechanics and getting into even better shape.  …

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What Could A-Rod Have Done For The Yankees This Season?

A-Rod BOS HR

Barring a highly improbable decision by the federal courts, Alex Rodriguez will not play a single Major League game this season for the Yankees or any other team.  His playing career as we know it looks like it could be over and if he does try to come back in 2015 he may be on the receiving end of a beanball targeting that would make what Ryan Dempster did last August look like a walk in the park.

While the Yankees know that A-Rod will not be their starting third baseman this season, they’ve still yet to figure out who will be.  We know that they’re bringing a small army of replacement level competitors to Spring Training.  The most likely scenario is that 2 of those players split time at the hot corner as part of a replacement platoon, at least until one of them gets hurt or sucks so badly that someone else needs to replace him.  It’s a risky strategic decision given how much money the Yankees have spent to upgrade the rest of their lineup this offseason, and one that could backfire if they’re unable to get consistent production and value out of the position.…

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Thinking About The Potential DH Carousel

Carousel

Not pictured: the Yankee DHs

We’re less than 4 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting, so baseball is officially out there on the horizon.  When that Friday comes, baseball will officially be back and a few days later when the rest of the team arrives at the Tampa complex Spring Training 2014 will be fully underway.  As usual, there will be a handful of roster battles that will dominate the ST headlines, highlighted by the annual 5th starter competition.  A bench job or 2 will be up for grabs, as will some bullpen roles, possibly the closer role if the Yanks do end up signing another veteran late-inning reliever, and the third base platoon jobs.

One spot that won’t be up for competition this year is designated hitter.  The older and injury risky Yankees have more candidates for the DH spot than ever this season and will most likely be rotating a large cast of veteran characters through it in an attempt to keep everybody as well-rested and healthy as possible.  …

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Not A Prospect Yet (But Worth Watching): Dietrich Enns

Dietrich Enns

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

We continue our slow build towards the start of AB4AR Prospect Week with another look at a young player starting to make some waves in the Yankee MiL system but not enough waves to warrant full prospect status in my eyes.  Today’s player is Dietrich Enns, left-handed A-ball pitcher.  You might remember Enns from my profile post on him last June, and since that post there have been some developments in his development that make him one of the more intriguing fringe guys in the system.

Quick refresher on Enns for those who were too lazy to click the link.  He’s 22 years old, average sized, and was an unheralded 19th round pick out of Eastern Michigan in the 2012 draft.  He boasts a solid 3-pitch mix of a low-90s fastball, plus changeup, and an OK curveball.  He worked almost exclusively as a reliever at EMU and built up a well-earned reputation as a pitcher who will attack the strike zone with all of his pitches and mix up his pitches and speeds well from batter to batter.  …

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Thursday Morning Musings: 1/16/14

Saw “Lone Survivor” last night.  Great movie, really gripping, powerful stuff.  I read the book when I went to Germany a few years ago and I fully recommend both it and the movie to everybody.  There’s only 1 day of NFL playoffs this weekend, so free up a few hours on Saturday and go check it out.

Tanaka Watch 2014 is down to its final 8 days, the Yankees keep popping up more and more in comments by experts, sources, and unnamed team officials as the favorites to sign him, and I’m going to be stuck doing team building stuff with my co-workers all night after work, so I have to save every ounce of creative energy I have in me to make it through that.  Let’s muse.

- How about that Clayton Kershaw contract, huh?  $30+ mil a year is a decent chunk of change, I guess.  I could probably live pretty comfortably on that.  And strangely enough, I actually like the deal for both sides.  …

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A Quick Word On The Idea Of Moving Derek Jeter To Third Base

Jeter vs CHW

The Yankee infield is a hot topic right now and rightfully so.  On Opening Day the Yanks will have a starting infield that’s entirely different from the one that opened the 2013 season.  They’ve got 2 old/older players in Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira returning from serious injuries at first base and shortstop, they’ve lost Robbie Cano at second base and Alex Rodriguez at third base, and their current plan to replace the 2 of them appears to be the old “throw as much stuff at the wall as we possibly can and see what sticks” method.

An idea that I’ve seen mentioned multiple times in various blogs across the Yankosphere, and one that’s really been gaining steam in the comments section here is moving Jeter to third base and making Brendan Ryan the starting shortstop.  In theory it makes a lot of sense and I totally understand why people are thinking this way.  Jeter’s biggest defensive weakness is lateral movement.  …

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Quick Hit: Yanks Make Roberts Signing Officially Official

Stacey had this yesterday when the beat guys were reporting it, but it’s not officially official until the Yankees say it is and they said it was today.  Brian Roberts is now OFFICIALLY a Yankee.  He takes A-Rod’s roster spot and is currently the starting second baseman.

Insert your best “until he gets hurt” jokes in the comments.

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