Domenic is a staff writer for It's About the Money, and the host of the It's About the Money Stupid podcast. By day, he is a mild-mannered real estate attorney on Long Island, and an aspiring intellectual degenerate.

Author Archives: Domenic Lanza

IIATMS Podcast Episode 42: New York Yankees Hot Stove Heats Up

With the Yankees wheelin’ and dealin’, E.J. and I decided it was time to revive the podcast. We discussed the Jose Pirela/Ronald Herrera and John Ryan Murphy/Aaron Hicks deals, the Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller rumors, and the possible trickle down effects that all of this could have. We also stepped outside of #YankeesOnly land a bit, and talked about the Andrelton Simmons pseudo-blockbuster, and New York State’s newfound stance on FanDuel and DraftKings.


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Yankees Send Murphy to the Twins for Aaron Hicks

It seems that this morning’s trade was a mere precursor for something with far greater ramifications for the 2016 season:

John Ryan Murphy was quite good for the Yankees this season, putting up a .277/.327/.406 (103 OPS+, 99 wRC+) line in 172 PA as Brian McCann‘s back-up. There was talk about an expanded role for Murphy heading into 2016, given McCann’s age and struggles down the stretch, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. Of course, that could also mean that Gary Sanchez could be in-line for a large role as something between a back-up and platoon player behind the dish – he’s certainly earned the opportunity.

As for Aaron Hicks, Keith Law actually wrote a bit about him as a trade target this morning. Here’s the crux of it:

No matter how you slice it, however, Aaron Hicks seems to be the most imminent victim of the roster crunch, right after establishing himself as a viable everyday player in center, hitting .259/.333/.432 as a regular after returning from a forearm injury in late June.

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Checking in on the Surprise Saguaros

If I was a betting man, I would hazard that the majority of folk reading this title wondered some variation of “what the heck is a surprise saguaro?” And, to be perfectly fair, I couldn’t blame you.

The Surprise Saguaros are one of the six Arizona Fall League teams, and they just so happen to be the Yankees affiliate (in addition to the Royals, Brewers, Cardinals, and Rangers). They are currently 20 games into their 31 game season, sitting at the top of the West division at 12-8. That doesn’t really matter, though, as the purpose of the league is developmental (much like the minor leagues as a whole, at least form the perspective of the Major League team). With that in mind, and with a few hours remaining until we will know who received a qualifying offer, now seems a good time to check-in on the Yankees’ eight representatives.

Domingo Acevedo, RHP
6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 HR, 1 BB, 5 K, 4.26 ERA

Acevedo made his full-season debut this season, and performed quite well (1.81 ERA in 49.2 IP).…

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The Free-est Free Agents

With the new-ish MLB Draft slotting system, teams are oftentimes forced to choose between signing a noteworthy free agent and a few million dollars in pool money. Signing a free agent that received a rejected a qualifying offer requires a team to forfeit their top pick (unless they are picking in the top-ten) – in the Yankees case, that would mean eschewing somewhere between $2 MM and $2.3 MM in the upcoming draft, in addition to the pick itself. To say that that would serve as a detriment to the team’s draft would be an understatement, given the team’s lingering IFA penalty that already limited the team’s activity this year.

Luckily for the Yankees, there are at least a dozen players that would fill the team’s needs for 2016 without any repercussions (besides the whole decline and injury potential thing, but that’s another story entirely) as they cannot receive a qualify offer due to being dealt at mid-season. We’ll known on Saturday what players were offered and rejected qualifying offers, as well.…

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Saving the 2016 Season in Three (Possibly) Easy Steps

The Yankees have not played a game in twenty-four days, and it feels even longer than that – which is unfortunate, because we’re still 156 days away from Opening Day (against those dastardly Astros, to boot). The off-season has begun for the Yankees, at least in earnest, and yet we’re still a couple of weeks away from the “real” off-season kicking off. As such, we’re stuck twiddling our thumbs as we await the beginning of hot stove season. And that gives us plenty of time to tackle rumors and rosterbate with a bit more than a simple glance at the available free agents.

In the interim, we decided to discuss moves that could be made to prepare the Yankees for 2016, and hopefully set them up to stay healthy and competitive for the entire season. Or, failing that, preparing them for the future. A few of us chipped in with three ideas apiece, which range from simple and (ostensibly) cheap, to somewhat laughable and/or expensive.…

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The 2015 IIATMS Awards

Major League Baseball’s regular season awards are slated to be rather intriguing, to say the least. The narrative will likely play a huge role in several of the awards (particularly the American League MVP and National League Cy Young), and, even without extenuating circumstances largely beyond a player’s control, some are simply too damn close to call. And that’s one of the most wonderful things about baseball; the more we know, the more difficult these heretofore easy decisions become.

Without further ado:

AL MVP: Mike Trout – .299/.402/.590, 41 HR, 11 SB, 172 wRC+, 9.4 bWAR, 9.0 fWAR

For the fourth season in a row, Trout led the AL in bWAR and fWAR (and were it not for his NL counterpart, he would have led the Majors, as well), while also pacing the league in OPS+ and wRC+. He also set a career-high in home runs, SLG, and ISO, continuing his evolution into an elite (or, more accurately, even more elite) power hitter.…

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Sizing Up the Second Base Market

Earlier today, Brad discussed the Yankees potentially heading into 2016 with a Dustin Ackley/Rob Refsnyder platoon at second base. That duo represented a breath of fresh air over the last month of the season, combining to hit .325/.375/.638 with 5 HR in just 88 PA. Of course, those 88 PA represent a drop in the bucket, in terms of both sample size (meaning our expectations should not be terribly influenced by those gaudy numbers), and with respect to the team’s overall production at the keystone.  In 2015, Yankees second basemen batted .223/.279/.403, good for a 90 sOPS+ (meaning that Stephen Drew and Co. were about 10% below-average as a group). And despite the front office’s best efforts to maintain strong up-the-middle defense, the Yankees ranked 28th in the Majors in defensive runs saved, and dead last in UZR/150 at second. Add it all together, and the Yankees ranked 29th in the Majors in second base fWAR, at -1.1.

The team was in a similarly awkward position heading into last year’s off-season, and the free agent market offered mostly less than enthusing options.…

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Checking in on the IIATMS Top 30

With the Yankees season having ended with a whimper, it is officially the time to look to the future – in terms of both the team that will take the field in 2016, and the farm system that will (hopefully) keep it competitive for the rest of the decade (and beyond). And what better place to start than with our pre-season prospect rankings?

30. Hoy Jun Park, SS
Pulaski (Rk) – .239/.351/.383, 5 HR, 12 SB (7 CS), 109 wRC+, 262 PA

Every report about Park has been positively glowing. The 19-year-old South Korean flashed above-average power at times, demonstrated patience at the plate, and played excellent defense at short. His overall numbers may not jump off of the page, but his overall skillset is enticing, and despite his distance from the Majors he may be the closest thing to a pure shortstop in the system.

29. Gosuke Katoh, 2B
Pulaski (Rk) – .287/.426/.416, 5 HR, 9 SB (0 CS), 143 wRC+, 254 PA
Charleston (A) – .161/.264/.202, 1 HR, 8 SB (2 CS), 42 wRC+, 149 PA

Katoh was solid but unspectacular with Charleston in 2014, posting a 96 wRC+ in his full-season debut.…

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The Wild-Card Game: Tanaka vs. Keuchel

This is it – the most important game of the season. That’s a line that has been utilized over and over again this season (and in most every season), but it is true in the purest sense of the phrase tonight. If the Yankees win, they advance to play the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS. If they lose, their off-season begins, as does planning for 2016.

Do or die. Win or go home. Put up or shut up. Here’s your game thread for this evening. Tonight’s lineups are:

Houston Astros New York Yankees
Jose Altuve, 2B Brett Gardner, CF
George Springer, RF Chris Young, LF
Carlos Correa, SS Carlos Beltran, RF
Colby Rasmus, LF Alex Rodriguez, DH
Evan Gattis, DH Brian McCann, C
Carlos Gomez, CF Chase Headley, 3B
Luis Valbuena, 3B Greg Bird, 1B
Chris Carter, 1B Rob Refsnyder, 2B
Jason Castro, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Dallas Keuchel, SP Masahiro Tanaka, SP

Enjoy the game!…

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