Notes From Cash’s Night On The Streets

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Looking good, Billy Ray. Courtesy of Bruce Beck

Brian Cashman spent his night on the street to help raise awareness for homeless youth in New York City last night, and that provided a convenient opportunity for Brendan Kuty to talk to him and get some updates on where the Yankees stand this offseason.  He had a lot to touch on.

– Cash called the decisions to protect the 4 players (Austin, Williams, Burawa, Pinder) from the Rule 5 Draft “layups.”  Let’s not get carried away, Cash.  It’s not like that’s 4 of your best 10, or even best 20.

-Cash said he still does not know what Hiroki Kuroda plans to do but that he expects Kuroda to play somewhere next year.

– The pursuit of Brandon McCarthy was again confirmed, and Cash said that signing him “wouldn’t preclude” the Yankees from going after another starter.  Duh.

On the hitting coach front, the Yankees will be interviewing some new candidate next week but Cash would not reveal the name.  …

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Rule 5 Draft Protection Deadline Is Today

November 20th marks the next key date on the offseason schedule, as teams must add Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to their 40-man rosters to protect them or risk another team taking them in the Rule 5 Draft.

The Yankees currently have 36 players on their 40-man roster and a handful of remaining non-tender candidates, and as usual, they have an interesting batch of Rule 5-eligible guys.  The headliner of the group is Tyler Austin, the 22-year-old corner outfielder and infielder coming off a .275/.336/.419 season at Double-A Trenton and a strong showing in the AZFL.  Righty relievers Branden Pinder, Mark Montgomery, and Dan Burawa are all eligible, and all 3 spent time in the SWB bullpen in 2014.  Former top prospect Mason Williams is also eligible for the first time.  He still possesses multiple elite-level tools, but he could be left exposed after 2 straight years of very poor production and reported attitude and off-the-field problems.

Other organizational guys like Zach Nuding, Kyle Roller, Matt Tracy, and Cito Culver are also eligible, and it’s very possible that another team could want to take a look at them.  …

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Report: Trade Talks On Andrus And Ramirez Not Going Anywhere

Everybody and their mother knows that the Yankees are putting max effort into finding a new shortstop this offseason.  The 2 most talked about trade targets for the position have been Elvis Andrus and Alexei Ramirez, and the Yankees have been linked to both players in recent weeks.  Per the latest information from George King, those links don’t appear to be leading anywhere:

“Yet, according to a person with knowledge of the White Sox’s plans, they don’t believe a deal with the Yankees for the 33-year-old Ramirez is any further along than it was at July’s trading deadline, when the Yankees acquired Stephen Drew from the Red Sox…

As for the 26-year-old Andrus, who starts the first season of an eight-year deal worth $118 million this coming April, the Rangers will listen but aren’t in a rush to deal him…

And because they need pitching and catching — perhaps outfield help if they can move Shin-Soo Choo– there is a problem matching with the Yankees.”

Now THIS is a good rumor.  …

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On Hot Stove Rumoring For The Sake Of Rumoring, Or “Hey, Did You Hear About The Yankees And Max Scherzer?”

Scherzer vs TOR

BREAKING: Still not a Yankee. Not even close

Has everybody had a chance to check around the Yankosphere and baseball blog circuit yet today?  If you have, you were no doubt bombared with stories about the Yankees and Max Scherzer kinda, sorta, maybe, possibly being linked.  Via Jon Heyman:

“So far this offseason, there hasn’t been much that’s new and interesting tied to the Yankees– baseball’s most storied franchise and usually among its most active winter players.

And there has been very little, if anything, that’s been linked to right-hander Max Scherzer — baseball’s top free-agent pitcher.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there’s a chance that the Yankees and Scherzer may start becoming tied together, at least in terms of talk. It’s a match that might make sense.”

At face value, no.  That wouldn’t be a surprise.  Big money players are always linked to the Yankees during hot stove season, and they have a very apparent and widely-known need for starting pitching.  …

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Group Chat: Would You Sell Half the Farm for Tulo?

Scott: Matt’s Yankees Shortstop Options post was depressing, and rumors are flying about possible trades for Elvis Andrus or Troy Tulowitzki, with one rumor suggesting that the Yankees could have Tulo for something like Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Manny Banuelos. Would you take that deal, or something like it? I absolutely would. (1) Severino is great, with no red flags to date, but has only 25 IP at AA; it’s a long road yet to being a real MLB starter, much less the sort of #1-#2 starter you might regret giving up for a Tulo. (2) Bird has real holes in his game – rough at 1B (1 error every 10 games) and striking in 23% of PA in the low minors (bad but more a yellow than red flag); his 7 HR in 95 AB at AA, and great AFL showing, may signal exciting improvement, but to regret trading him for Tulo, he’d have to show continued progress.…

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Monday Afternoon Food For Thought: Does Howie Kendrick Do Anything For You?

We heard last week about the Yankees putting in a call to Anaheim to check on the availability of second baseman Howie Kendrick, and while there’s been little indication thus far that the Angels are seriously considering moving Kendrick, he’s a player worth pondering.

31-year-old player going on 32; .292/.332/.424 career hitter; .297/.347/.397 in 2014; inconsistent power, but good average and a relatively low K rate; almost universally regarded as an above-average defensive player by all kinds of metrics; noted Yankee killer.  He’s entering the final year of a 4-year deal that will pay him a modest $9.5 million and will become a free agent after the 2015 season.

There’s a lot to like in Kendrick, least notably the “Yankee killer” status.  To even suggest that the team should pursue a player simply because that player has performed well against them is preposterous.  There’s also the team’s current situation with Martin Prado and Rob Refsnyder to consider.  While second base is a position of need this offseason, the Yankees have multiple internal options to address it.…

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Report: Yankees Had “A Large Contingent” At Yoan Moncada’s Workout Last Wednesday

Moncada Workout 11-12-14

Moncada at last week’s public workout. Courtesy of SA & UACUTE; L MART & IACUTE; NEZ EFE

The announcement that 19-year-old Cuban prospcet Yoan Moncada was officially declared a free agent by MLB created some serious buzz on the international free agent circuit last week.  Moncada is highly-touted, with some scouts seeing him as a legitimate 5-tool talent, and he held his first public workout for MLB scouts last Wednesday in Guatemala.  There were 60+ scouts in attendance, and according to a report by Mike Vorkunov of NJ.com, the Yankees were out in full force.  Here’s the money quote:

“The Yankees were reported to have a large contingent at his workout last week.”

Quick-draw reaction?  Good.  They should have a large contingent there.  They played it safe and missed out on the last few big Cuban free agents, and Moncada comes with a much better scouting report attached to him at a much younger age than any of those other players.  …

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Early Offseason Big Picture: Optimism vs Pessimism re 2015 – a Group Chat

Scott:The Worst is Yet to Come,” happy sunshine guy Dan Szymborski reports in predicting late-stage-empire decay of the post-90s/2000s Yankees. Let’s discuss: Agree or disagree?

         Quick initial take: Agree with Dan that (a) declining oldsters are preventing improvement at many positions, (b) imminent help from the farm is modest, and (c) the free agent pool has gotten shallower now that teams extend young talent before free agency. On the other hand, (a) they’re already an above-average team, (b) some free-agent and rookie talent infusions are likely for 2015-16, and (c) they won’t lose literally a whole rotation (5 starters) to injury every year (like in 2014), right? Can the impending improvements exceed the impending declines enough to net the several extra wins they need to make the playoffs?

William: My take on it is this: Predicting gloom and doom sells papers and creates pageviews and makes off season people read ZiPS. Teams like the Orioles in 2014 and yes, the Royals and Giants show that a lot has to go right for a team to get the golden apple and a lot can go wrong too.…

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Wilson-Cervelli: Quick Takes + a Worry about Lost Depth

Wow, is my timing awesome: on Tuesday, I write a hosanna to Francisco Cervelli’s bright 2015 future of increased Yankee playing time, but apparently Brian Cashman disagrees or (gasp) doesn’t read me, because he traded Cervelli the next day for LHP Justin Wilson. I feel like Karl Rove on election night 2012 screaming about how Romney is still winning right as his fellow Fox Newsers gave up the ghost. So, a few quick takes on the trade:

(1) Don’t Cry for Me, Venezuela. I praised Cervelli as an above-par catcher who could free up Brian McCann both to rest and to spell Teixeria — but I can’t fault Cashman for trading him. In retrospect, I may have lowballed Cervelli’s injury history, especially his 2014 migraines, which don’t seem major, except that migraines are a known problem for folks who have had concussions. I still think the Yankees were a better team with than without him, but he’s not exactly indispensable or reliable.…

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