Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

Author Archives: Michael Eder

Has The Solarte Party Come To An End?

After a hot start in Tampa this March, I was one of Yangervis Solarte‘s biggest doubters. A career minor leaguer rarely starts hitting major league pitching out of no where, and the small sample size of spring training wasn’t enough to disprove over 2,800 plate appearances in the minor leagues. But the infielder kept hitting, and by the second week of the regular season, I stopped doubting him and enjoyed the show. Solarte showcased bat speed, contact, an eye at the plate, and he was extremely versatile with his ability to switch-hit and play nearly anywhere on the infield.

None of this has changed. Solarte still has the same ability he did in April, but my fear was that we’d quickly learn something about Solarte that would finally expose a weakness. Either that didn’t happen or he made adjustments quicker than it could catch up to his statistics, because Solarte kept up his hot bat for two and half months between March, April, and mid-May.…

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Could The Yankees’ Outfield Defense Actually Be A Detriment?

AP/Nathan Denette

AP/Nathan Denette

There was little question about just how good the Yankees’ outfield defense could be after the previous offseason. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner are two of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, and although Alfonso Soriano has a bad reputation in the corner, his range over the last few years has gone from passable to above average. With Gardner headed back to left field, Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki switched to the smaller right field, and Ellsbury in center, the Yankees should have elite defense in the outfield. The bigger question surrounded the infield defense, which has been a major topic of discussion since the beginning of the season.

Starting 2014, the Yankees’ pitching staff looked extremely ground ball friendly. Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Masahiro Tanaka each throw a heavy sinker to induce soft ground balls, and Michael Pineda was the only fly ball pitcher in the rotation. Since then, the Yankees have also brought Chase Whitley, David Phelps, and Vidal Nuno into the mix, and each of these three feature two-seamers and sinkers.…

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Game 50: Whitley vs Wacha

I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day. Along with this great weather in New York, we have baseball! Here are the lineups as the Yankees open this series against the Cardinals.

Cardinals
Matt Carpenter 3B
Kolten Wong 2B
Matt Holliday LF
Matt Adams 1B
Yadier Molina C
Allen Craig RF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Peter Bourjos CF
Michael Wacha P

Yankees
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brian McCann C
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 1B
Chase Whitley P

The game starts at 4:15 PM EST and you can catch it on YES or ESPN. Enjoy!

Update: (4:01 PM) There is some rain in the forecast and the tarp is going on the field. Not sure how long this is supposed to last, but the game won’t start at 4:15.

Update: (4:46 PM) The estimated start time is now 5:15.

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Quick Hits: Beltran Swings, Teixeira’s Wrist, Kelley Throws, Lineup

We’ll start with the good news. Today, Carlos Beltran took fifteen dry swings without any elbow discomfort. The outfielder is dealing with a bone spur in his elbow, which may require surgery mid-season if he can’t rehab it. So far, so good, but as Sweeny Murti points out on Twitter, there are still a number of hurdles to overcome.

Now for the bad news, Mark Teixeira was scratched from today’s lineup with wrist stiffness in his surgically repaired arm. According to the first baseman, doctors warned him that he would feel regular stiffness and discomfort in the wrist throughout the season. He says it’s too early to judge the extent of the stiffness, and it sounds like he’ll be day-to-day for now. This is just speculation, but if Beltran or Teixeira have a setback, the Yankees could very quickly become suitors for Kendrys Morales. At least these injuries come at a time when the organization still has options on the free agent market.…

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Breakout Performances Answering The Yankees Biggest Needs

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the signings of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, and Carlos Beltran, the Yankees set themselves up for long-term players at a handful of positions. Michael Pineda and Dellin Betances have shown great early-season performances, though there’s still some worry about Pineda’s injury record. Meanwhile, Mark Teixeira‘s injury history is no longer an issue, as the first baseman is carrying the team with power. Yes, the Yankees haven’t gotten full contributions from some of their players yet, Beltran’s injury-shortened debut has been disappointing, while McCann and Ellsbury haven’t started hitting as well as expected. CC Sabathia showed glimpses of great peripherals but bad results in his first few weeks before injury, and Ivan Nova remains a huge question mark.

It’s perhaps too early to start wondering about what the team will do in 2015, but as the season moves on, the Yankees seem to be answering many of their biggest needs through breakout seasons.…

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Understanding The Yankees’ Trade Philosophy For 2014

Mike Carlson/AP

Mike Carlson/AP

During the Brian Cashman-era, the Yankees front office has evolved their philosophy on trades dramatically. Perhaps it was a product of George Steinbrenner’s earlier influence on the team, but seeing top prospects traded away was a regular staple of the Yankees’ late 90′s success. In fact, Cashman’s first trade as GM sent first round picks Brian Buchanan and Eric Milton along with Cristian Guzman and Danny Mota to the Twins for Chuck Knoblauch. Almost exactly a year after, the Yankees made another splash in the trade market by sending Homer Bush, Graeme Lloyd, and David Wells to Toronto for Roger Clemens. Cashman continued to trade for these big name players, which in the mid-2000′s included Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson.

It was around this time that George Steinbrenner became less involved with the front office. Brian Cashman was given the reigns of the minor league system, and the hope surrounding the Yankees’ new ownership seemed to be that the Yankees could develop talent rather than continue to trade for it or sign it.…

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What Makes Betances So Good?

Bill Kostroun

Bill Kostroun

There are many ways to get a batter out, and while some pitchers rely on sheer stuff to blow away a batter, most other pitchers rely on a combination of their pitch movements, velocities, and location to methodically confuse hitters. A pitcher like Mariano Rivera didn’t rely on a repertoire of disorienting pitches, he simply threw a cutter with incredible late horizontal break over and over again. Meanwhile, when a pitcher like Andy Pettitte lost velocity, he learned to throw with different movements and speeds to play up some of his declining pitches. Today, Masahiro Tanaka uses both styles, throwing a high-rising four-seamer, a hard breaking sinker, and a brutal splitter that make each subsequent pitch look like they’re moving even more than they really are.

Unlike Rivera, and much more like David Robertson, Dellin Betances uses more than one pitch. When a reliever, the right-hander used to throw a sinker and a changeup, but as a reliever he’s stuck with his two strongest pitches in his four-seamer and slurve.…

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Can Chase Whitley Save The Rotation?

Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

With CC Sabathia out until July and Ivan Nova recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Yankees have two of their projected five starting pitchers out for the foreseeable future. Michael Pineda could be back in two weeks, but despite a hot month of April, questions still linger about the state of his shoulder, velocity, control, and now his teres major.

The rotation is left in the hands of a dominating Masahiro Tanaka and scuffling Hiroki Kuroda. David Phelps and Vidal Nuno have each had their good and bad starts, and it looks like Phelps might be able to contribute something above average. Chase Whitley is the final piece to the puzzle, and as the season goes on, he could prove to be the most important.

Susan covered Whitley’s interesting amateur and minor league history last week, and the biggest takeaway from Whitley’s minor league numbers is that they’re very good. He owns a low 2.64 ERA, an 8.6 K/9, and a low 2.9 BB/9, both of which have improved in 2014.…

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Is Ellsbury Worth It?

Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

After negotiations with Robinson Cano turned bleak following the Mariners’ hefty offer, the Yankees hastily targeted Jacoby Ellsbury before his price skyrocket. Not only was Ellsbury stepping in at a position where the Yankees already had an great player, but the decision to sign Ellsbury over Cano neglected the middle infield in a shallow free agent market. Like-wise, Ellsbury’s bat had little chance to replace Cano’s offense.

In the end, the Yankees saved a guaranteed $87 million by choosing Ellsbury over Cano, and that extra money helped them sign Carlos Beltran and may have impacted their ability to outbid other teams on Masahiro Tanaka. Through the first quarter of 2014, Ellsbury and Cano have similarly disappointed offensively. Ellsbury currently owns a .756 OPS, while Cano’s OPS has fallen to .772. Of course, Cano is playing in a much more difficult environment in Seattle, one that’s now held him to just one home run.

There had to be some hope in the minds of the Yankee front office that Ellsbury would find the power stroke he displayed in 2011.…

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