Author Archives: Michael Eder

Just Sign Stephen Drew Already

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Last time we checked up on Stephen Drew, the Red Sox and Mets were the last two teams in on the shortstop. Since then, the Red Sox have told their star prospect Xander Bogaerts to stop working on third base and focus on shortstop for 2014. One source told Marc Carig on Monday that the Mets were still having conversations on Drew, but a team official with the Mets said “there has not been much dialogue at all”.

So just to recap, the market for Drew looks pretty awful, as no one wants to give up a draft pick, no one has the money, or no one has a position for Drew. Yet the Yankees have all three, but we haven’t heard a peep from them. Drew seems like the perfect fit for a team that still has $20 million left until they reach their 2013 starting payroll, no first round picks to give up, and a 40 year old shortstop coming off a lost season that has retirement plans.…

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Yankees (Sorta) Getting Young In 2015

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

We’ve spent a lot of time here talking about the 2014 roster, how to get to $189 million (when that was a thing), and how to best maneuver the team for the upcoming season. Obviously, long term deals like the ones handed out to McCann, Ellsbury, and Tanaka have their own implications, but setting up for 2015 can be difficult when 2014 was such a huge obstacle. What most of us have overlooked is the potential plan for 2015 and beyond, but David P. on twitter pointed out that the crop of Yankee free agents in 2014-2015 is extremely old

With Derek Jeter announcing his retirement, we can now safely say that the roster will lose the Captain in 2015, along with other departing free agents Alfonso Soriano, Hiroki Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Kelly Johnson, and Brian Roberts. The collective age of this list (plus Jeter) is 35.5 years old, a rather ridiculously old group of free agents. …

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Projecting 2014: Mark Teixeira

John Munson/The Star-Ledger

John Munson/The Star-Ledger

Mark Teixeira may represent the biggest boom or bust player on the Yankees for 2014. After a down year in 2012 and a major wrist injury in early 2013, the slugger is two years removed from his last truly great season. Will the first baseman succumb to his nagging wrist, or will he rebound to the $22.5 million player that he showed in his first three seasons with the Yankees?

After a considerable drop in batting average in 2010 and 2011, Teixeira grew frustrated with the infield shifts put on him by teams like the Tampa Bay Rays. In 2012, the switch-hitter attempted to change his left-handed approach at the plate. The goal was to stay back on some pitches, and thus use all fields and prevent the heavy shifts to the right side of the infield. With this style, Teixeira hit just .228/.283/.386 with 5 home runs in 159 plate appearances. Frustrated with the lack of results, Teixeira went back to his pull-heavy approach in late-May of 2012 and thereafter hit .261/.353/.516 in his final 365 plate appearances.…

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The All Free Agent Team

There are three days until pitchers and catchers meet, yet the free agent market still sits idle with players starting to scramble for teams. Ervin Santana could be the next signing, as he’s made it clear that he’s ready for Spring Training. Free agents are free to sign at any point in February and March, and could even wait until mid-season, but it’s abnormal to have so many quality players still available in mid-February. So let’s have some fun with it and make an All Free Agent Team.

C Yenier Bello
1B Kendrys Morales
2B Aledmys Diaz
SS Stephen Drew
3B Brett Wallace
LF Andres Torres
CF Rusney Castillo
RF Nelson Cruz

I cheated on a few of these players. Bello, Diaz, and Castillo are all Cuban players that are or will be available fairly soon. Bello is already cleared to sign, and though the 28 year old is far from a prospect, he has a much more projectable bat than our only other option, Kelly Shoppach.…

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Projecting 2014: Masahiro Tanaka

AP/Kyodo News

AP/Kyodo News

Without throwing a single MLB pitch, Masahiro Tanaka received the fifth biggest contract for a pitcher in baseball history. Needless to say, the expectations for the right-handed are high. The $155 million contract plus the $20 million posting fee make it look like Tanaka could be the next great ace, but in reality, the pitcher simply found himself in the perfect storm of a market to overpay him.

The new CBA has severely limited the amount of money that teams can spend internationally, and very few markets now remain so open. The Japanese market is unrestricted, but the old posting system forced teams to blindly bid against each other to eventually offer a Japanese player a contract with no competitive offers. The new system allows any team to negotiate with any Japanese player, but the price to sign that player is determined by the Japanese team, who could ask for as much as $20 million. At 25 years old, with ace-like upside, Tanaka found himself as one of the youngest and talented free agents in MLB history during this offseason.…

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Projecting 2014: Carlos Beltran

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It’s about time Carlos Beltran became a Yankee. For nearly a decade, Beltran sought pinstripes through free agency, and offered the Yankees discounts in 2005, 2012, and now in 2014. He grew up as a Bernie Williams fan, and though we saw the outfielder play for 6 and a half years in Queens, it’s nice to see him finally make his way to the Bronx. There’s no doubt that the switch-hitter’s swings were made for Yankee Stadium, but with him entering his age 37 season and with a 3 year contract under his belt, is this move too late?

Beltran no longer offers the premium speed or defense that we saw earlier in his career, but he’s still a guy that can hit for average, on base percentage, and power. Despite his age, most of his numbers are stable through his last few seasons. In 2013, we did see an intriguing dip in his BB%, and perhaps a slight decrease in power.…

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Should The Yankees Be Interested In Bronson Arroyo?

AP Photo/Al Behrman

AP Photo/Al Behrman

We’ve talked about adding another fifth starter ever since the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka two weeks ago. The argument was that the team’s first four starters in the rotation all have their own issues, and the players in competition for the fifth rotation spot may be better suited for the bullpen. Obviously we’re even further in the year than we were last time we talked about the subject, we’re just a little over a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training. Players have the freedom to sign after February 14th, but when learning a new team, a new catcher, and a new pitching coach, pitchers are among the first players to show up to camp for a reason. We’ll see a lot of players scrambling for contracts over the next week, and Bronson Arroyo has already brought his asking price down to just 2 years and $22 million.

Arroyo does not throw hard and he’s not a strikeout pitcher, but he’s found a way to succeed in one of the most hitter friendly environments in baseball, Great American Ballpark.…

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Yankees Land Four On ZiPS Projected Top 100 Prospects

If you haven’t noticed, we’ve not only entered prospect season, but we’ve also entered projection season. Today, Dan Szymborski applied his projection system ZiPS to minor league players, and then compared the projections to Keith Law’s top 100 prospect list. The Yankees landed four prospects on this list, far more than we’ll see on any top 100 prospect lists this year.

Gary Sanchez ranked 38th overall (68th on Law’s), J.R. Murphy at 45 (not on Law’s), Mason Williams at 91 (87th on Law’s), and Slade Heathcott at 95 (not on Law’s).

I’m assuming there are a number of reasons for these discrepancies. All four of these players are position players, and I’ve assumed for a while that Yankee hitters are undervalued due to playing in perhaps the most pitcher-friendly system in baseball. Another reason would be the weight of injuries, and I’m not sure how much ZiPS takes into account the injury plagued seasons of Heathcott and Williams. Finally, these ZiPS projections are looking at overall career win contributions, and Keith Law is looking for breakout impact players that could be All Stars.…

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Projecting 2014: Hiroki Kuroda

It’s easy to forget just how good Hiroki Kuroda was in 2013. From April 3rd until August 12th, Kuroda was not only the Yankees’ best pitcher, he was a legitimate contender for the Cy Young award with a 2.33 ERA over his first 154.2 innings. Over his last 8 starts, Kuroda looked like he ran out of juice. The 38 year old pitcher owned a 6.56 ERA over those 46.2 innings, yet his strikeout rates continued to accumulate. Kuroda finished the 2013 season with a 3.31 ERA, but it’s not easy to convince Yankee fans that he’ll be capable of replicating that in 2014. His demise this August and September was similar to his late-season regression in 2012, and now we’re left wondering if Kuroda is too old to throw 200 major league innings.

To get to the bottom of Kuroda’s drop off, we should look to his walk rates. In his first 25 starts of the season, Kuroda walked just 29 batters, yet in his final 8 games, he walked 14.…

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