The Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury with the idea of putting him on top of the lineup to pair with Brett Gardner. At least, that’s what the front office told us. To pay someone over $150 million, most teams expect more than speed and defense, they expect some top-notch hitting tools.
Ellsbury has a history of hitting well, particularly for average. If you go back to 2011, you’ll see that he’s more than just a contact hitter, he has some very exciting power. Since his 32 home run season, the power has been quieted by some injury-plagued seasons. Ellsbury went nearly 1,000 plate appearances with just 13 home runs in Boston between 2012 and his free agency.
Despite what the Yankees say, part of their $20 million plus annual commitment to the center fielder is in the hopes that he regains his power stroke, particularly in Yankee Stadium. Left-handed hitters already have an advantage in the Bronx, but when you combine that with Ellsbury’s history, it’s not hard to see why the Yankees took a huge gamble on him.… Click here to read the rest
This spring, if I were to ask which team had the best rotation in baseball, the Nationals and Tigers were the two most obvious answers. The Rays, Red Sox, Braves, and Cardinals had a shot at this title before injuries and regression met them. The Yankees were in a similar discussion, though no one thought CC Sabathia or Michael Pineda would hold up for very long. Unfortunately, these fans were right, and as brilliant as the Yankees’ rotation looked in the month of April, the loss of Sabathia, Pineda, and Nova seemingly turned their pitching staff from a strength to a weakness.
Now that we’re a month and a half into the season, the Yankees’ rotation still hasn’t hit a perfect stride, but they’re certainly keeping themselves above water. In fact, the breakout season of Masahiro Tanaka could be one of the best pitching performances the Yankees have seen in the franchise’s history. Hiroki Kuroda‘s slow start certainly put a damper on expectations this April, but he’s put up a 3.44 ERA since May 1st.… Click here to read the rest
Though it’s too early for the expected teams to begin their annual fire sale, we’re a month away from the All Star break, and it’s time for front offices to start considering whether they’ll be buyer or sellers next month. While a few teams like the Twins and White Sox have taken surprising leaps this season, and will likely become buyers if the standings hold up, teams like the Diamondbacks and Rays have taken an unanticipated downturn. We’ll still see the expected trade market open up around guys like Jeff Samardzija, but there could be some unforeseen names hitting the trade block.
A month of baseball can change a lot of records, but teams like the Rays, Cubs, and Phillies are starting to separate themselves from the rest of baseball as the worst of the worst. I suppose we could see a run from teams like the Padres, Diamondbacks, and the Astros, but these three teams are likely to be sellers at the trade deadline as well.… Click here to read the rest
The Texas Rangers have run into some horrible injury luck this season, the results of which have them sitting eight games behind the Oakland Athletics. Despite missing Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, Martin Perez, and Geovany Soto, the team remains just two games under .500. After Fielder underwent neck surgery a few weeks ago, the Rangers called upon Mitch Moreland to take care of first base. After 184 plate appearances of poor production and defense, Moreland and the team will now likely conclude that it’s time for him to get a much needed ankle surgery which will keep him sidelined for the next three months.
First of all, I have a hard time calling Kelly Johnson a first baseman, but with the Rangers injury troubles around the infield, it would be easy to find Johnson playing time.… Click here to read the rest
I’ve been an avid fan of moving Brian Roberts to a bench position, or perhaps even off the active roster, in favor of Kelly Johnson. Roberts hasn’t been good in five years, and despite limited playing time and learning new positions, I’ve preferred Johnson’s power potential this season. On the other hand, the Yankees seem to like Roberts’ ability to switch-hit. Being able to hit for both sides is really all he’s got going for him at this point, but that point is moot when the numbers continue to show that he can’t hit anyone.
Roberts is now batting .239/.317/.350 in 203 plate appearances this season. He’s started 49 games, and he’s shown that his age and injury troubles have hurt him both defensively and offensively. 2009 was the last time Roberts had an OPS over .800, and it was the last time he played a full season. I’d love to see Johnson get a chance at his true position of second base, but the team seems unwilling to give Johnson the torch.… Click here to read the rest
With the first-year player draft commenced, the last remaining big-name free agent is now free of his draft pick compensation. Teams no longer have to give up their highest non-protected pick to sign designated hitter and first baseman Kendrys Morales. Yesterday afternoon, we heard that Morales will finally decide on offers, and he doesn’t plan on taking his time.
Of course, the Yankees asked Morales to wait just a few more days. Unsure with the state of their own lineup, the Yankees are still interested in Morales’ bat, however they’d like to see how Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira respond to playing after dealing with elbow and wrist issues. Assuming one of these players needs further surgery or time on the disabled list, the Yankees would become the obvious favorite to land the switch-hitting Morales.
But if Teixeira and Beltran miraculously remain healthy for the rest of the season, it’ll be difficult to plug Morales into a regular position.… Click here to read the rest
When Brian Cashman made the move to sign Jacoby Ellsbury to an exorbitant contract and re-sign Brett Gardner for the next five seasons, the Yankees knew that they’d need to get power from their infield. The hope was that they’d receive above average power from right field, first base, catcher, and the designated hitter, but outside of Brian McCann, the Yankees took a gamble that Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, and Alfonso Soriano could withstand age-related regression and stay on the field. That gamble has flopped.
A stronger and more reliable offense would have more power options around the infield, but all three of Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, and Jeter have shown very few signs of life with the bats. If not for Yangervis Solarte‘s breakout season, it’s hard to imagine where this team would be.… Click here to read the rest
After claiming Wade LeBlanc on waivers yesterday, we knew the Yankees would be making a move to clear room on both the 40-man and active roster. Alfredo Aceves, who pitched to a 6.52 ERA in 10 games with the Yankees, was designated for assignment this afternoon. Preston Claiborne was also optioned down to the minor leagues while the Yankees called up Jose Ramirez from Triple-A Scranton.
Joe Girardi also announced that Carlos Beltran could be in the lineup as soon as tomorrow. I’d imagine the Yankees are trying to test both Beltran and Mark Teixeira as much as they can before Kendrys Morales signs with a team after losing his draft pick compensation tomorrow. The Yankees have not ruled out signing Morales, so learning the extent of Beltan’s elbow injury and Teixeira’s wrist injury could be an important factor in this decision.… Click here to read the rest