Offseason Roster Update: 11/24/14

Two months ago, before the regular season even ended, I looked ahead to the 2015 Opening Day roster and what it would look like were it comprised of only players who were guaranteed a 40-man roster spot at the time.  The exercise illustrated how much work the Yankees had to do this offseason, with almost every roster area showing some kind of weakness.  Now 2 months later, the regular season and postseason have ended, the offseason is in full swing, and not much has changed.  The Yankees made some 40-man roster changes last week, but not any that would seriously help next year’s team.  Today’s 2015 Opening Day roster would only be slightly better than September’s.

C- Brian McCann
1B- Mark Teixeira
2B- Martin Prado
SS- Brendan Ryan
3B- Alex Rodriguez
LF- Brett Gardner
CF- Jacoby Ellsbury
RF- Chris Young
DH- Carlos Beltran

SP- Masahiro Tanaka
SP- Michael Pineda
SP- CC Sabathia
SP- Shane Greene
SP- David Phelps

Bullpen- Dellin Betances, Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson, Preston Claiborne, Jose Ramirez, Jose De Paula

Bench- John Ryan Murphy, Jose Pirela, Ramon Flores, Eury Perez

The only new face in the lineup is the only new face the Yankees have added to their group of position players so far, and Young really only gets in because of the lack of infield depth.  …

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A Quick Peek At The Bullpen Landscape After Yesterday’s Roster Moves

This is what I predicted would happen before yesterday’s 40-man roster set deadline:

“My prediction for today is only Austin and Williams getting added, maybe one of the Triple-A arms if the Yankees make a move somewhere else today to open another spot.”

Almost nailed it.  Almost.  The one thing I didn’t anticipate was the Yankees protecting 2 of the eligible bullpen arms.  Not with 40-man spots being needed for future FA signings, not with D-Rob being one of those FA priorities, not with a solid middle relief corps already in place, and not with other non-40-man guys like Nick Rumbelow, Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, and Nick Goody waiting in the wings as well.

But the Yankees know their players better than I do, and they clearly like both Dan Burawa and Branden Pinder enough to want them around for depth.  They didn’t protect a similar pitcher in Tommy Kahnle last year and he ended up going to Colorado and having a nice 2014 season with the Rockies.  …

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Is Something Up With Cash?

Does Cash seem a little different to anybody lately?  Is everything OK with him?  I ask because it seems like he’s been a little… off, so to say.  And I’m not even talking about doing the “sleeping in the street” thing he’s participating in later this week to raise awareness for homeless children, even if raising money for them would be infinitely more helpful than awareness and the Yankees more than likely have a few bucks laying around somewhere.  I’m talking about the other stuff.  I can’t be sure, and if this is another classic Cashman smokescreen then it’s the greatest one of all time, but I can’t shake the feeling that he’s going full Costanza on us here and doing the opposite.

Think about it.  The Yankees have a stuffy outdated silly strict “no facial hair below the lip” policy; Cash shows up at the GM meetings last week rocking a goatee.  Instead of saying the usual, and in this case very applicable, company line of “we’re always looking to improve our team and upgrade where we can” at the GM meetings, he comes right out and declares that shortstop is the top priority.  …

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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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Back After Another Slow Week In Yankeeland

I made it back safe and sound from my week in Germany yesterday afternoon.  It was a good week, as I expected it to be after my first training trip out there in July.  But to be honest, I was pretty nervous about heading out there again.  Nervous as a Yankee fan.  For the last few years I’ve had a personal trend of big things happening when I’ve been away from blogging.  In April of 2012 I missed A-Rod’s homer against the Red Sox to put him into sole possession of 5th place on the all-time home run list when I was attending a friend’s bachelor party.  In September of that year, I missed the back-to-back extra-inning wins against the A’s participating in a bachelor party for another friend, and I was in the wedding for that same friend on October 13th when Derek Jeter broke his ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS.  I was celebrating my anniversary in Madison on April 20th this year when Ivan Nova suffered his season-ending elbow injury, and the Masahiro Tanaka injury and Brandon McCarthy trade both happened while I was in Germany in July.…

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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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Pondering D-Rob’s New Contract

David_Robertson_Firefighter

Seemed like a good time to break out the old fireman P-shop

One way or another, David Robertson is going to cash in this offseason.  He can accept the qualifying offer the Yankees made him yesterday and become the single-season highest-paid relief pitcher in baseball history, or he can decline and eventually sign a multi-year deal with any team.  As the top reliever available in this year’s free agent class, even the draft pick compensation won’t be enough to keep all of MLB away from him entirely.

The smart money is on the Yankees retaining him, but for how much money is a question worth asking.  D-Rob is an interesting case as he hits the free agent market for the first time in his career, unlike any top reliever that’s been available the past few offseasons.  His unique body of work, homegrown Yankee status, and attached draft pick compensation make the range of contract possibilities a wide one.

As an example of that range, compare the 2 early projections for D-Rob issued by major baseball sites.  …

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Was It Worth It?: Mark Teixeira

Teix Face

Seen way too much of this face the last few seasons. Courtesy of Getty Images

The biggest of the big anchor contracts in Yankeeland, the 10-year one for Alex Rodriguez, is cloudy in terms of the juice being worth the squeeze depending on how you factor in extra revenue and championships against all the negative headlines and declining production.  The next biggest deal, CC Sabathia‘s, was a little more clear in its worth.  Signing CC to lead a rotation desperately in need of an ace was the right decision.  It worked out splendidly for the first half of the contract before the decision to extend him was made and the move went sour thanks to injuries.

How about the “smallest” of the 3 contracts, Mark Teixeira‘s 8-year deal?  He signed it in the same offseason as CC, teaming up with him and the pitcher I’ve sworn never to name again to form the biggest Yankee free agent haul prior to last offseason.  …

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Searching For The Eventual 40-Man Casualties

One way or another, the 2014 Major League Baseball season will come to an end tonight.  Once that happens and the champagne starts flowing in one of the locker rooms in KC, the offseason will be officially underway.  The Yankees have plenty to do this offseason, as we’ve been detailing and dissecting for the last few weeks, and there could be a fair amount of roster turnover.

Before we get to that part, it only makes sense to take a look at the current roster situation.  The Yankees always seem to be under some kind of 40-man roster squeeze and it stands to reason that they’ll have another one on their hands at some point over the next few months as they re-sign and/or sign new players.

As of this morning, the Yankees have 45 players listed on their 40-man roster.  9 infielders, 9 outfielders, 5 catchers, and 22 pitchers.  When free agency becomes official, 12 of those players will come off the roster (Capuano, Hill, Huff, Kuroda, McCarthy, Robertson, Rogers, Drew, Headley, Jeter, Ichiro, Young), dropping the Yankees back down to 33.  …

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