Prospect Musings A Few Days Away From IIATMS Prospect Week

Dustin Fowler 2015

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com

It’s been a busy week preparing for Prospect Week 2016.  There’s wild stuff going on behind the scenes that you guys don’t even know about.  I’m talking serious spreadsheet action.  The festivities kick off on Monday and there will be some more details on the whole schedule for the week coming later, but to get the prospect juices flowing I thought I’d touch on some of the trends I’ve noticed as we’ve worked on the list and some of the individual players I’m higher on and lower on than most.  It’s like a free look into the Brad Vietrogoski IIATMS Top 30 war room.

– The first thing that stands out to me after putting together this year’s list is how much upper-level talent the Yankees have right now.  It feels like they’ve got more legit future potential MLB guys in Triple-A and Double-A than they’ve had in a long time, and that’s without Eric Jagielo, Rookie Davis, and Jake Cave, who all would have been top 20 guys in our rankings.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Why Not Try A-Rod At First Base Again?

I don’t want to make this a longer post than it needs to be, because I do already know the situation and know it’s not going to change.  But since the news of the Greg Bird labrum tear came out and we started going over the various backup plans that the Yankees have at their disposal, I can’t help but think this is the perfect opportunity to revisit the idea of Alex Rodriguez at first base.

You’ll remember this was something the Yankees experimented with last year.  A-Rod worked out at first and got a little action in Spring Training, and Joe didn’t hesitate to give it the old college try, starting Alex at first in the 5th game of the season against the Red Sox.  He didn’t look very good in that game or his other brief appearance at first in late May and the idea was scrapped, along with the idea of playing A-Rod at any position other than DH for the rest of the season.… Click here to read the rest

Torreyes Reacquisition Provides A Second Chance To Make A First Impression

Ronald Torreyes 2015

Good defensive position. Courtesy of Getty Images

The minor trade that brought Ronald Torreyes to the Yankees a few weeks ago didn’t make many waves, and the follow-up DFA’ing of Torreyes to clear a roster spot for Lane Adams made even fewer.  But in the wake of yesterday’s crushing news on Greg Bird’s season-ending labrum tear, the Yankees reacquired Torreyes from the Angels and sent Adams packing, shedding some light on their plan to cover for the loss of Bird as Mark Teixeira‘s primary backup at first base.

The primary part of that plan sounds like it’s going to be Dustin Ackley.  Cash was quick to tell reporters that the team would not seek to replace Bird through the MLB free agent or trade markets and that Ackley would be assuming primary backup first base duties.  Ackley has some recent experience there and he was picked up and retained primarily because of his positional flexibility, so the move makes sense for a team that has already established itself as one not looking to spend money on free agents.  … Click here to read the rest

Worrying About Chase Headley

Headley vs SEA 2015

Courtesy of Getty Images

Less than three weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting and I continue to feel good about the 2016 Yankees.  Despite avoiding the MLB free agent pool like the plague, Cash managed to improve major areas of need on the roster and added youth and depth of talent to supplement the aging core.  There’s still one player left for him to snag to complete the roster, but I don’t actually expect that signing to happen.  The Yankees appear to be set with what they’ve got to open the year and once again they are going to face a ton of questions.

As far as the questions about the lineup go, I feel good about most of the answers.  I don’t expect Jacoby Ellsbury to be as bad as he was in 2015, and the addition of Aaron Hicks should help keep both Ellsbury and Brett Gardner fresher for the later months of the season.  Despite the obvious and measurable signs of permanent decline, I still expect Brian McCann to pop 20+ homers and drive in runs this season.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: “Shifting Into Non-Roster Invitee Mode”

I came across a recent Bryan Hoch article about the lineup options with Starlin Castro last night and it got me thinking.  No, not about the lineup because I don’t think there’s really that much to think about if we’re talking regular starting lineup against a righty.  That’s going to look like this:

1) Ellsbury
2) Gardner
3) Beltran
4) Teix
5) A-Rod
6) Big Mac
7) Headley
8) Castro
9) Didi

No, there was something else in the article that caught my eye.  Something about the Yankees not being able to make any more moves on the MLB level:

“The Yankees — the only team not to sign a Major League free agent this offseason — are saying that they have shifted into non-roster invitee mode, believing that they have exhausted their available options on the free agent and trade markets.”

Exhausted their available options?  What??

/checks MLBTR free agent tracker

/sees Juan Uribe’s name still included in the “unsigned” group

Guess they haven’t exhausted ALL their options.  … Click here to read the rest

Thoughts And Afterthoughts A Month Away From Pitchers And Catchers

Technically it’s less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting, but I’m rounding up.  Creative license.  The important thing is that the light at the end of the football tunnel is getting pretty bright and that means baseball isn’t far off.  We’ll have to slog through that week-and-change dead zone after the Super Bowl and that’s always a bummer, but it won’t be long after that when it will officially be baseball season again.  With that in mind, here are some quick thoughts on a variety of Yankee topics I’ve had rattling around in my head over the last few weeks:

– I’m already looking forward to this season more than I have the last few and I’m taking that as a sign that I’m pleased with what the team did this offseason.  I definitely would have preferred they get more involved in the free agent pitching market, at least the shallow end of it, but the moves to add extra Triple-A depth were fine, they retained all their top MLB-ready or near MLB-ready prospects, and they got better at multiple other spots on their 25-man roster.  … Click here to read the rest

Thoughts On The Aroldis Chapman Trade

How’s that for something unexpected?  I got a text from a friend yesterday afternoon while I was white-knuckling the drive home from work in a snow/sleet storm saying “Aroldis Chapman to the Yanks?” and I didn’t know how to take it.  I didn’t know if he was asking me if I thought it was a good idea, if there was a rumor out there I wasn’t aware of, or if he was just trying to start a hot stove conversation.  It didn’t occur to me that it might have actually been a trade the Yankees executed.  But they did and the 4-for-1 swap was quickly announced and confirmed by both teams.  This one really came out of nowhere.

Despite Chapman’s jaw-dropping on-field performance to date, this trade isn’t as fun to discuss as the Starlin Castro trade because of the circumstances surrounding Chapman presently.  Let’s be honest, those circumstances – the domestic violence allegations against Chapman and the potential impending suspension under MLB’s new domestic violence policy – are the only reason the Yankees made this deal and Brian Cashman openly admitted that in his statements yesterday.  … Click here to read the rest

Monday Morning Food For Thought: Hope For CC?

The news of CC Sabathia‘s early offseason progress came out last week and reaction among Yankee fans was understandably “meh”.  That’s what happens when you’ve had the kind of poor last few seasons that Sabathia has had, and it all seemed to come to a head in 2015.  The performance was still bad, the health was still not good, and Sabathia finally had to confront an alcohol problem that he’s been dealing with for the last few years.  There was already little reason to expect much from Sabathia in 2016, and it wouldn’t be completely unfair to say his latest problems make it even less likely that he’ll be a positive contributor.

And yet he will remain in the rotation.  Joe and Cash have each already said as much in previous interviews and meetings with the media, and the current state of the rest of the Yankee rotation pretty much necessitates it.  The depth isn’t there, the collective health and injury risk factor is sky high, and the Yankees are severely limited in what they can add to help those issues thanks to their trusty 2-way, self-enforced limitation on spending money and trading away top prospects.  … Click here to read the rest

The Problem With The Justin Wilson Trade

A week has passed since the Yankees shipped Justin Wilson to the Tigers for 2 Triple-A pitchers.  It’s done, it’s over, it’s old news by now, and yet I still can’t fully accept the deal and move on.  I completely understand why the Yankees made the move.  It was another textbook example of the “trade from positions of organizational depth to address areas of weakness” strategy that Cash has employed to try to rebuild this roster on the fly, and that strategy seems to be working pretty well.  I also completely understand why a lot of people didn’t like the idea of trading away an important piece of the 2016 Major League puzzle to fill holes in the Triple-A rotation.  That doesn’t exactly send the right message, especially when that message is being delivered behind the standard “we’re committed to building a championship-caliber team each and every year” company line.

The more I’ve thought about this trade and whether I did or did not like it, the more I’ve gone back and forth on it.  … Click here to read the rest