Understanding The Yankees’ Trade Philosophy For 2014

Mike Carlson/AP

Mike Carlson/AP

During the Brian Cashman-era, the Yankees front office has evolved their philosophy on trades dramatically. Perhaps it was a product of George Steinbrenner’s earlier influence on the team, but seeing top prospects traded away was a regular staple of the Yankees’ late 90′s success. In fact, Cashman’s first trade as GM sent first round picks Brian Buchanan and Eric Milton along with Cristian Guzman and Danny Mota to the Twins for Chuck Knoblauch. Almost exactly a year after, the Yankees made another splash in the trade market by sending Homer Bush, Graeme Lloyd, and David Wells to Toronto for Roger Clemens. Cashman continued to trade for these big name players, which in the mid-2000′s included Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson.

It was around this time that George Steinbrenner became less involved with the front office. Brian Cashman was given the reigns of the minor league system, and the hope surrounding the Yankees’ new ownership seemed to be that the Yankees could develop talent rather than continue to trade for it or sign it.…

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Is Ellsbury Worth It?

Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

After negotiations with Robinson Cano turned bleak following the Mariners’ hefty offer, the Yankees hastily targeted Jacoby Ellsbury before his price skyrocket. Not only was Ellsbury stepping in at a position where the Yankees already had an great player, but the decision to sign Ellsbury over Cano neglected the middle infield in a shallow free agent market. Like-wise, Ellsbury’s bat had little chance to replace Cano’s offense.

In the end, the Yankees saved a guaranteed $87 million by choosing Ellsbury over Cano, and that extra money helped them sign Carlos Beltran and may have impacted their ability to outbid other teams on Masahiro Tanaka. Through the first quarter of 2014, Ellsbury and Cano have similarly disappointed offensively. Ellsbury currently owns a .756 OPS, while Cano’s OPS has fallen to .772. Of course, Cano is playing in a much more difficult environment in Seattle, one that’s now held him to just one home run.

There had to be some hope in the minds of the Yankee front office that Ellsbury would find the power stroke he displayed in 2011.…

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Are Warren And Betances Being Overworked?

Warren vs SEA

Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees split yesterday’s doubleheader against the Pirates in part because they were working with an undermanned bullpen all day.  Joe declared Dellin Betances unavailable before the first game after pitching him for 2+ innings on Thursday and Saturday and 3 times in the last 7 days, and Adam Warren became unavailable after the first game when Joe went to him in the 8th for the 3rd time in 4 days and watched him give up 3 hits and record only 2 outs.

D-Rob finished up that game with his second straight 4-out save, so he may not have been available for the second game either.  What was certain was that his current top 2 setup men were definitely not available and their shoddy replacements got beat for 2 late runs that sealed the Yankees’ fate.  Betances and Warren are still pretty new to the higher-leverage relief gig thing, but it’s not a stretch to say they’re light years better than the Alfredos Aceves and Prestons Claiborne of the world.  …

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The Positives In Injuries

Getty Images

Getty Images

After a four game losing streak, the Yankees took their last two games from the Mets at Citi Field. This little winning streak helps weaken the pessimism that usually follows such a poor performance and rash of injuries. With Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia, and Shawn Kelley now headed to the disabled list with Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Francisco Cervelli, the Yankees’ depth is starting show major signs of weakness. But as I mentioned on Wednesday, we’re still in the early months of the season when panic moves are not necessary. I don’t expect any major trades or free agent signings, as the Yankees can survive playing mediocre baseball for a couple of weeks.

Back in 2011, when Derek Jeter suffered a calf strain in June, many thought his career as an effective hitter could be over. In 2010, Jeter OPS’d just .710, and to that point in 2011, Jeter had just a .649 OPS in 293 plate appearances.…

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An Airing Of Grievances From A Frustrating Weekend At Miller Park

Jeter vs MIL

Avoiding this dude on Friday night was literally the only good play Jeter made all weekend. Courtesy of Getty Images

For those who didn’t know, my family came out to Milwaukee this past weekend for the Yankees-Brewers series.  They hadn’t been out here in a few years and our favorite baseball team coming out to my neck of the woods was as good a reason as any to break that streak.  The girlfriend was also along for the ride, so with her meeting the fam for the first time and them meeting her for the first time, it was a pretty big social event.

More relevant to this post than that were my expectations for the series.  Despite losing the DH and coming in not playing the best baseball in May, those expectations were very high.  The Brewers were 4-6 in their last 10 games before this series and had been playing .500 baseball for the past few weeks after their white hot start.  …

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Where Has All The Offense Gone?

Ellsbury K vs BOS

I feel ya, Jacoby. I feel ya. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees should have been catching a big break last night.  Seattle choosing to push back Wednesday’s scheduled starter Roenis Elias rather than skip him meant the Yanks got to avoid getting carved up by Felix Hernandez for the 457th time.  Of course, there’s always that pesky theory about the Yankees never being able to hit rookie pitchers and it played out in full effect last night as Elias held the lineup to 2 runs (1 earned) through 7 innings while striking out 10.  2 runs isn’t enough to get it done with the rotation in the kind of shape it’s in these days and it didn’t get it done last night.

The 2-run output marked the 5th straight game in which the Yankees scored 4 runs or fewer and the 13th game this season in which they’ve been held to 3 or fewer.  Since beating Boston 14-5 last Thursday, the Yankees have scored 13 runs in their last 5 games.  …

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Why You’re Probably Going To Hell For Booing Cano

cano

AP

Unlike the majority of Yankee fans I talk to, my appreciation for individual Yankee players came somewhat later in my fandom. When the conversation inevitably turns to favorite Yankee players, 90 percent of the time Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera are the answer. While I do vaguely remember Jeter’s rookie season, I was far too young to appreciate just how good he was. It wasn’t until Robinson Cano made his rookie debut that I could see young homegrown talent on an All Star scale.

For those that were either too young or didn’t follow the team in 2005, when Cano came up, he was never expected to be the player that he is today. Though he had success in the minor leagues in previous seasons, he never made any prospect lists, and his success in Triple-A could have easily been written off as small sample size. His early-season performance in 2005 was very much like what we’re seeing from Yangervis Solarte today, in that even months into Cano’s rookie season I remember telling myself that this just can’t continue.…

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Why Is Kelly Johnson’s Role Shrinking?

Johnson vs BOS 2014

Has anybody seen this man? Courtesy of Getty Images

Between not finding suitable everyday options for second and third base and finding even fewer for a backup at first base, the general consensus was that Kelly Johnson was going to be an important part of the infield this year.  At the end of Spring Training, he was the starter at third, the backup and perfect world best man for the job at second, and the backup for Teix at first as declared by Joe.  As a guy who’d spent the better part of the last 4 seasons either at second or in left field, that was a lot to handle, and if we’re being fair, I think Johnson has done a nice job handling what was asked of him in the first month of the season.  He’s played a pretty good third, a decent first, and he’s provided the left-handed pop the Yanks were hoping for when they signed him (4 2B, 3 HR in 69 PA).  …

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MLB Should Be Embarrassed About The Pine Tar Incident

pinedatar
I can’t explain what was going through Michael Pineda‘s head on Wednesday night in Fenway, and I can’t explain what was going on in his teammates’ head while they watched the 25-year-old take the mound with a streak of pine tar on his neck, but it was Brian Cashman who called this incident an embarrassment for the Yankees. To some extent, yes, the Yankees clearly didn’t communicate the severity of using pine tar to Pineda. Perhaps the language barrier confused Pineda, maybe the pitcher was trying to conceal it in his glove or belt and had an itch on his neck while applying it, or maybe he really is as stubborn as the media now assumes. Either way, Pineda cheated again.

Yet even the group of writers that have proven the most prudish about cheating refuse to call Pineda a cheater. During last night’s YES broadcast, not only did David Cone and Al Leiter talk about the rampant use of pine tar by pitchers, but they even detailed their own use and how they chose to conceal it.…

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