Should the Yankees Consider Justin Upton?

Justin Upton

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(Editor’s Note- This post originally appeared on ESPN’s SweetSpot yesterday evening.  Thanks to the mothership for giving us a shout out)

The New York Yankees have yet to add any unrestricted free agents of note this offseason and have made it known that they are waiting until their big contracts come off the books until they go back into the high-priced free agent pool. They have managed to improve through trades for Starlin Castro and Aroldis Chapman, but not spending any money has left the team still weak in a few areas and with many questions.

There is, however, a free agent out there in his prime who could be exactly what the Yankees need to make another playoff push in 2016.

The top areas of concern may be the middle of the order and right-handed power. Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran all turned back the clock in 2015 and were extremely productive when healthy.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Girardi Names Chapman The New Closer

Joe Girardi was on YES’ “Yankees Hot Stove” show last night with Bob Lorenz and Jack Curry, and he talked a lot about how he plans to utilize his group of new players this season.  Obviously everybody knows what the big story is in there and Joe didn’t waste any time addressing it.  He came out and said that Aroldis Chapman will be the closer going into Spring Training this year, with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances serving as co-primary setup men.

Not exactly earth-shattering news in and of itself, but noteworthy in that the announcement was a major deviation from Girardi’s strategy last year when there was the Betances/Miller closer competition.  As Curry pointed out, Joe waited until May of last season to officially declare Miller the closer.  This season he’s making the call over a month before pitchers and catchers report.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the decision.  It was assumed that Chapman would be taking over the closer role the minute the Yankees traded for him.  … Click here to read the rest

Report: Actual MLB Team “Has Had Interest” In Ivan Nova

Deep in the underbelly of his latest weekend MLB column, Nick Cafardo did something that I honestly didn’t expect to see done this offseason.  He provided some real, actual, reported evidence that another MLB team is interested in trading for Ivan Nova.  The Yankees have had Nova on the market for a while now, although I think it would be a stretch to say they’re actually “shopping” him.  Team-friendly arb deal or not, there’s not much about Nova’s recent track record that would inspire teams to want to trade something away for him.  And yet Cafardo managed to tie the Marlins to Nova, saying “Miami has had interest.”

Whether that interest still exists now in the present or only in the past is unknown, and either way there isn’t a great match to be made between the Yanks and Marlins.  Miami doesn’t have any non-Jose Fernandez young starting pitching of value and there’s no way they’re trading Marcell Ozuna back to the Yankees for Nova.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: When Does Baseball Start Again?

With the calendar flipping over from December 2015 to January 2016 and the football regular season wrapping up, I think it’s safe to say we’ve crossed the threshold from “excited about hot stove season” to “suffering from hot stove cabin fever” in the baseball world.  Good thing too, because with 46 days until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa, we’re closer to the start of the 2016 season than we are to the start of the 2015 offseason.  That’s a good thing.  Means it won’t be long now before we can step out of the hot stove haze and into some fresher baseball air.

But in the meantime, can somebody go check on my boy John Harper?  Maybe fluff his pillows a little bit, get him some more juice, and take his temperature?  He’s taking the hot stove fever thing a little too far with his latest trade proposal:

“If only the Mets and Yankees would be willing to take the chance.

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Rounding out the Rotation

Last week, George King reported that the Yankees would look to add starting pitching depth through minor league deals. This has been a strategy for the team in recent years, and it worked out amazingly well with Bartolo Colon (2.1 bWAR in 164.1 IP) and Freddy Garcia (3.5 bWAR in 146.2 IP) in 2011. The Yankees have not had much success since then, albeit not for a lack of trying (Ramon Ortiz, Scott Baker, etc), but it makes sense that the trend would continue. After all, the worst case scenario is that the player opts out of his deal and costs the team a few thousand dollars along the way.

Realistically speaking, the pitchers that are willing to take a minor league deal have some sort of glaring flaw, which is oftentimes of the injury or poor performance variety (or some combination of both). Expecting a repeat of Messrs Colon and Garcia would be optimistic at best – but that should not dissuade us from those pitchers that could potentially be had on such a deal.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Aroldis Chapman is a Yankee

That happened quickly, didn’t it?

Baseball Prospectus ranked Jagielo 8th in the Yankees top-ten, and did not mention the other three. Baseball America ranked Davis 6th in its top-ten. My off the cuff analysis of the four prospects dealt would be as follows: Cotham is a reliever, Renda is a bench player, Davis could be a 3rd or 4th starter, and Jagielo has serious pop and a good approach, but he’ll end up at 1st (and he’s no #GREGBIRD).

More analysis is forthcoming, but for now enjoy some additional tweets.

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Do Not Trade Andrew Miller

Miller vs TOR II

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There have been rumors for weeks that the Yankees were having conversations with teams about Andrew Miller. A lump built in my throat. What!? Rumors fly around all the time so I did not take it all that seriously. And then there was this sentence from Buster Olney in his ESPN blog (behind a pay wall): “The Yankees got very deep into conversations about Andrew Miller with the Houston Astros, before Houston’s acquisition of Ken Giles.” Very deep into conversation seems a bit beyond a rumor. My knee-jerk, unprofessional reaction is, “Please say it ain’t so!”

There is some logic behind my emotional leap. While I have often echoed a former ESPN SweetSpot leader that relief pitchers are fungible, great relievers are not. The Astros, one of the most stat driven front offices around, made it clear this winter that good relief pitchers were the big area of need after bowing out of the playoffs last year.… Click here to read the rest

Winter Meetings Day 3 Wrap-Up

The Yankees kept moving and shaking after the Castro deal on Tuesday, trading another piece of their Major League bullpen away yesterday to add some upper-level rotation depth.  Today is the final day of the meetings and the Rule 5 Draft is later, so maybe we’ll see another move.  Here’s a quick update on where we stand after yesterday.

– The aforementioned trade was the Justin Wilson one.  The Yankees got right-handed starters Luis Cessa and Chad Green in return, and both figure to start next season in the Triple-A rotation.  Cessa sounds like the better prospect from what I’ve read, but neither is a stud.  Wilson figures to be replaced internally by someone from the Lindgren-Pazos-Webb triumvirate.  Just kidding, it’s going to be Lindgren.

– Via Jon Heyman, Brett Gardner is “still out there” in trade talks, although nothing is close for now.  I think Gardner stays.

– Via Joel Sherman, the Yanks are still shopping Andrew Miller around to the D’backs and Astros.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Don’t Expect A Lot Of Noise From The Yankees This Week

The 2015 Winter Meetings get started today, and the early action on the free agent market last week has got the hot stove boiling and the rumor mill turning quickly heading into the week’s festivities.  This could be a very busy few days on both the free agent and trade fronts, with multiple teams looking to make big moves.

The Yankees are not one of those teams, at least not according to what they’ve been saying publicly.  Brian Cashman declared that the Yankees’ money “has been directed and committed already” on Friday, and he followed that up by saying “”we’re not in a position right now to take a shot at anything that comes along… ” when he arrived in Nashville yesterday.  The messages in these statements are pretty simple: the Yankees aren’t willing to spend top dollar on the free agent market and they aren’t willing to part with top prospects on the trade market.

If that’s the case, and we have little reason to think otherwise based on previous statements by Cashman and other front office members, then it’s going to be a pretty quiet and boring week for Yankee fans.  … Click here to read the rest