Putting This Year’s IFA Haul in Perspective

Much has been written about the Yankees signing ten of the top thirty international free agents this season. But how much talent have the Yankees landed, really?

I’m not going to pretend to know more about the specific players that the Yankees signed than what I’ve read on MLB.com and Baseball America. I did, however, go back and look at Baseball America’s top international free agent list five years ago, and checked in on the status of the top-25 players. The result:

2 really great signings (Sano and Profar), 6 players with varying prospect potential (including Gary Sanchez, probably the bet of the group), and 17 busts. If the Yankee haul follows the same pattern, they’ll emerge five years from now with roughly half that–a top-10 prospect, two or so top-100 prospects, and a fringey player or two.

Not bad, huh? Obviously, we’re looking at a sample of one year, but a quick glance at 2008 and 2010 show similar bust rates.…

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Quick hit: Some 40-Man Roster Moves

Per the Yankees PR Twitter account:

“Roster move: Yankees add OF Tyler Austin, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Branden Pinder and OF Mason Williams to 40-man roster and sold the rights of INF Zelous Wheeler to the Rakuten Golden Eagles.”

The 40-man roster currently has 38 players and all four players placed onto the roster would have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

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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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Yankees Shortstop Options

It’s no secret that the No.1 thing on Brian Cashman’s winter to do list is to find a replacement for Derek Jeter. Whether that is a short term or long term replacement remains to be seen. The good news is that it will be easy to improve on Jeter’s 2014 season.

The bad news is that the free agency crop of shortstops isn’t very good and full of players who may have to move off the position. The good news is that there are a good number of trade candidates available, but that would of course mean giving up prospects when the Yankees are trying to rebuild their farm system. Lets take a look at the candidates:

Free Agents

Hanley Ramirez- Ramirez represents what might be the greatest risk of any free agent on the market let alone the shortstop market. His bat is still extremely productive and that is huge in this day and age of baseball when offense is limited.…

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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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Thursday Afternoon Open Thread: A Search for a Shortstop

Well, this is the most obvious statement ever so let’s discuss possible shortstop candidates, shall we? Have fun with it and be respectful to your fellow readers.

Here’s the list of free agents to choose from.

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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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Yankees trade Cervelli to the Pirates

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Yankees have traded catcher Francisco Cervelli to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Yankees are getting left hander Justin Wilson in return.

Cervelli, who had been with the Yankees since 2008, has 10 home runs, 92 RBI and 191 hits in his career. He played in a career high 93 games in 2010 but his time with the Yankees has been hampered by injuries.

Here’s video of his first home run with the Yankees in June 2009:

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Midweek Open Thread: 11/12/14

This is your open thread for the evening.

It’s Wednesday night so there’s a new Top Chef Boston episode on. You can also watch the Knicks lose to the Magic. Well, I’m assuming that’s what’s going to happen… I could be wrong.

Here’s a vine for you to watch. It has nothing to do with baseball or sports. I just think it’s funny.

Enjoy your evening!

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