Quick Hit: Cash Explains The Plan For Brendan Ryan

Or does he?  I couldn’t really make any sense of his statement on the Didi Gregorius-Brendan Ryan platoon matter from yesterday (courtesy of Chad Jennings).  Here’s what he said:

“I’d just (say), it’s something we could consider, but Ryan’s also here for a reason. We have two left-handers in the middle infield in Drew and Didi, and we have Ryan as an alternative, so I trust that Joe — like he does all the time — he’ll dissect the matchups and try to put the best team on the field to win. If that means Ryan’s in there ahead of Didi on any given day, so be it.”

A reason?  What’s the reason?  It can’t be that Ryan is a good right-handed hitter because we all know that’s not true.  I’d like to think that’s why Cash was careful to call Drew and Didi “left-handers” and imply that they can actually hit a little bit and then call Ryan “an alternative,” which implies almost nothing other than being right-handed.…

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Musing On The Rotation A Week Away From Opening Day

Pineda ST 2015

Kill ‘em, Big Mike. Courtesy of the AP

Masahiro Tanaka: 3 G, 10.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K
Michael Pineda: 4 G, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 17 K
Nathan Eovaldi: 4 G, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14 K
CC Sabathia: 2 G, 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Adam Warren: 5 G, 16.2 IP, 17 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 11 K

That’s the official Spring Training statistical breakdown for the projected Yankee rotation so far, and if you’re the type to put any stock in ST stats for any reason then there’s a lot to like there.  The Yankee rotation was expected to be the roster area of greatest concern this spring, in terms of performance for some but more importantly in terms of health for most.  It was almost written as a foregone conclusion that the Yanks were going to suffer multiple injuries to their rotation in camp.  …

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Tuesday Afternoon Food For Thought: Taking A Flier On Jhoulys Chacin

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the Colorado Rockies released right-hander Jhoulys Chacin over the weekend.  I say somewhat surprising because the Rockies are always starved for starting pitching, Chacin is only 27 and has a modest track record of success with them when healthy, and he came at a reasonable price of $5.5 mil for this season, his final one of team control.

What makes the move understandable from the Rockies’ standpoint is the miserable and injury-plagued season that Chacin had in 2014.  He threw 63.1 innings over 11 starts with a 5.40 ERA and 4.82 FIP, and battled shoulder problems all year.  Unless I’m mistaken, and I very well could be, I don’t think last year was the first time he’s had shoulder injuries either.  For the Rockies to just completely cut bait on him, they must know something the rest of MLB doesn’t about the condition of that shoulder.

Which brings me to the obvious question of whether or not the Yankees should be interested in pursuing Chacin as some added depth for their corps of injury backups.  …

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Stephen Drew, Brendan Ryan, Chris Young, And Learning A Lesson From Last Year

A few weeks ago, it seemed like there was a real chance for some change in the planned Opening Day roster construction for the Yankees.  Brendan Ryan was injured, Stephen Drew wasn’t playing all that well (obligatory SSS disclaimer), and both Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder were doing enough in the early going to make legitimate cases for consideration.

A few weeks later, that chance has evaporated completely.  Ryan has returned to game action, Drew has swung the bat a little better and basically been guaranteed the starting second base job by Joe, and Pirela will be out for an extended period of time after colliding with the outfield wall in yesterday’s game and being diagnosed with a concussion.  Barring any more unforeseen injuries, the Opening Day bench now looks as if it will be the rather bland group of Ryan, Chris Young, Garrett Jones, and John Ryan Murphy, with Drew at second.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, and that’s coming from the guy who’s been openly campaigning for Ryan’s immediate dismissal from the team and for Drew to be penciled into his backup infielder spot to open up a job for Pirela or Refsnyder for a while.  …

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Quick Hit: Greg Bird, So Hot Right Now. Greg Bird

Greg Bird Eyes

Staring right through your soul. Not into it, through it.

The fun sub-plot of many top prospects performing well in their limited ST opportunities was touched on last week.  A handful of those top prospects, including top top prospects Luis Severino and Aaron Judge, were sent down yesterday as part of the first round of roster cuts, but not included in that handful was Greg Bird.  Bird has been the best and most eye-opening of all the Yankee prospects this spring, and for him the plot is rapidly shifting from “fun ST sneak peek” to “legitimate part of the Yankees’ future plans.”

Here’s what Bird has done in the last couple weeks.  He’s hit .385/.467/.846 in 13 ST plate appearances, the SLG rate best on the team.  He’s made a few nice plays with the glove to go with his stellar offensive production.  He’s drawn rave reviews from high-ranking people inside and outside the Yankee system, including Cash and new hitting coach Jeff Pentland.  …

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Imagining The Worst Case Scenario With The Rotation

Whitley vs TOR 2014

If Whitley is back in the rotation, you know it’s all gone wrong. Courtesy of the AP

Yesterday I laid out the rosiest, happiest, best possible best case scenario for the 2015 starting rotation, a starting rotation that we all know is pretty high risk and potentially high reward.  As some commenters were sharp enough to point out, the worst case scenario is the one that has a higher probability of happening and that fact was not lost on me when I wrote up the first post.  I always intended to do the worst case scenario too, even though it’s not something I particularly enjoy writing about.  So if everybody promises to stay calm and help each other through this, we can make our way through this hypothetical worst case scenario together.  Fair enough?  Alright, here we go.

If the best case scenario for Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda involves them staying healthy above all else, then of course the worst case scenario involves them both getting hurt.  …

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Imagining The Best Case Scenario With The Rotation

Tanaka ST 2015 BP

The key to any best case scenario… Courtesy of the AP

The big names in the projected starting rotation aren’t scheduled to make their 2015 spring debuts yet, but we got our first look at one of the members when Nathan Eovaldi made his first ST start yesterday.  He’s one of multiple best case/worst case unknowns in the rotation, and where he and the rest of his rotation mates fall on that case scale could determine whether the Yankees end up having one of the best or worst rotations in baseball this season.

I’ve been pondering how those best case/worst case scenarios might play out for a while now.  It feels like this season more than the last few is one in which the potential for the rotation leans mostly towards the extremes with not much room for a middle ground performance.  Without getting too detailed or statistically-supported in this exercise, I’d like to ramble for a bit on what I’ve been pondering and try to paint a picture of what the best case scenario for the rotation would look like this season.  …

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The First Spring A-Rod Story That Matters: Will He Play Tomorrow?

Alex Rodriguez

Courtesy of the AP

The Alex Rodriguez coverage continues to be almost entirely laughable this spring, but yesterday afternoon a few reports came out that were actually worth the time it took to write them.  With the Yankees’ ST opener about a day away, the question has been raised of whether A-Rod will play in that game and if so, at what position?  The beat guys got on this yesterday and didn’t turn up much.  Alex said he had to talk to Joe first, Joe said he had to talk to Alex first, and it sounded like everybody was going to get back and talk about it together today before making a decision.

The Yanks will play a 6-inning intrasquad game today with a pitching machine, and as of this morning it’s still unknown if A-Rod will even participate in that game.  While there will be little to take from his performance in his first game, whenever that may be, I do think the Yankees realize that this decision does carry more weight with it than it normally would.  …

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Don’t Forget About Andrew Bailey

Bailey ST 2015

Joe’s already got his eye on him. Courtesy of the Yanks’ PR handle

I name dropped him in the ST roster battles post yesterday morning, but I think Andrew Bailey deserves a little more digital ink based on the news that came out yesterday.  Via Chad Jennings, Bailey threw a bullpen yesterday afternoon.  Like Ivan Nova, he’s been back throwing bullpens for a while now and he spoke like a player who felt he was almost back to normal game shape:

“I came in and spent the offseason training, working as I would if I played last year. The doctor gave me 18, 24 months (to be healthy after surgery), and we’re in that 18th, 19th month. Everyone around here, training staff, coaches and strength and conditioning have all kind of (treated it as if) I’m a normal guy with some needs. Hopefully we get rid of those needs. Everything feels great. I’m with the team and doing everything as I would normally, and if I need a little extra work here or there, that’s fine too.

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