Sunday Morning Rumors: Ibanez, Grilli

A pair of hot stove stories from late Friday on the hitting coach and bullpen situations.

– First the hitting coach.  There were reports earlier in the week about Raul Ibanez being one of the 3 finalists for the Tampa Bay managerial job.  According to George King, if Ibanez doesn’t get that job, he has no interest in becoming the Yankees’ hitting coach.  Sounds like it’s manager or bust for Raul and I can’t really blame him for that.  We’ll have to wait until next week to see who this mystery interview candidate is.

– Now the bullpen.  Via Sweeny Murti, the Yankee front office has discussed right-hander Jason Grilli as a hypothetical replacement for D-Rob should they fail to re-sign him.  Grilli, 38, was really good as the Pirates closer in 2013, less so last year before he was traded to Anaheim.  He bounced back post-trade and could be worth the minimal cost it will take to sign him.…

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Notes From Cash’s Night On The Streets

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Looking good, Billy Ray. Courtesy of Bruce Beck

Brian Cashman spent his night on the street to help raise awareness for homeless youth in New York City last night, and that provided a convenient opportunity for Brendan Kuty to talk to him and get some updates on where the Yankees stand this offseason.  He had a lot to touch on.

– Cash called the decisions to protect the 4 players (Austin, Williams, Burawa, Pinder) from the Rule 5 Draft “layups.”  Let’s not get carried away, Cash.  It’s not like that’s 4 of your best 10, or even best 20.

-Cash said he still does not know what Hiroki Kuroda plans to do but that he expects Kuroda to play somewhere next year.

– The pursuit of Brandon McCarthy was again confirmed, and Cash said that signing him “wouldn’t preclude” the Yankees from going after another starter.  Duh.

On the hitting coach front, the Yankees will be interviewing some new candidate next week but Cash would not reveal the name.  …

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Report: Yanks Sign Another Top International Prospect

No, it wasn’t Yoan Moncada, but the Yankees continued their international spending barrage by snapping up the last of Baseball America’s top 30 guys.  Via Ben Badler, the Yanks have inked 16-year-old Colombian outfielder Bryan Emery, the 23rd ranked prospect on BA’s list.  No specifics were given on the dollar amount, but because they’re already way over their budget, it will cost the Yankees double.  Here’s what Badler had to say about Emery:

“Emery is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds with a loose swing from the left side. He had been switch-hitting, though he’s hit exclusively lefthanded in recent months. He’s strong and generates easy, explosive power, though leading up to July 2, there were mixed reviews about his game hitting, partly because of his environment…

Some scouts who have seen him recently have seen better game performance, with a simplified hitting approach and a cleaner setup that helped him stay more direct to the ball. Emery’s athletic for his size, has a strong arm and has worked out for clubs in the infield and the outfield, but he fits best in right field, where he will begin his career.”

Athletic, good arm, plus power potential, and improving mechanics.  …

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Greg Bird Wins AZFL MVP

He didn’t have as dynamite a regular season as he did in 2013, but Greg Bird put an exclamation point on his stellar Arizona Fall League season by being named MVP of the league yesterday.  Bird got off to a hot start in the first 2 weeks and kept his performance up over the length of the season, finishing with a .313/.391/.556 slash line in 99 at-bats.  He led the league in home runs (6), runs scored (21), and hits (31), and was second in RBI (21). and total bases (55).  Among hitters with at least 70 at-bats, his .947 OPS was best.  He also did this.

Bird has been on the offensive upswing ever since the Yankees moved him out from behind the plate to first base prior to the 2013 season.  He’s still nothing special defensively at the position, but he’s shown an ability to hit for plus average, plus power, and draw a ton of walks over the last 2 seasons, and he’s worked himself into serious consideration for a spot on the Major League roster in the near future.  …

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Saturday Morning News And Notes: 11/8/14

Here’s the latest run around the Yankee news circuit before a big day of college football.

– Via multiple reports, the Yankees are among a handful of teams who have contacted the Chicago White Sox about the availability of shortstop Alexei Ramirez.  Ramirez, 33, hit .273/.305/.408 with 15 HR and 21 SB in 2014.  He’s owed $10 mil for 2015 and has a $10 team option/$1 mil buyout for 2016.

Via Mark Feinsand, the Yanks and Chris Young have “mutual interest” in a reunion after his stellar September, and the team has already reached out to Young’s people to start talks.  Personally I’d take the great SSS performance and move on, but whatever.

– If you missed the Chad Jennings post yesterday, some of the notable Yankee MiL free agents include Zoilo Almonte, Scott Sizemore, and switch pitcher Pat Venditte.

– They were announced on Thursday, but in an absolute and complete shock, there were no Yankee players on the list of AL Silver Slugger Award winners.…

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Quick Hit: Yanks Decline Then Re-Sign Andrew Bailey

Good stuff from Chad Jennings here.  We knew the Yankees had a decision to make on Andrew Bailey’s 2015 option and there it is.  The team declined the option, saving themselves a few mil towards this year’s payroll, then re-signed Bailey to a MiL deal.  This gives him the chance to continue rehabbing his shoulder injury and keeps the Yankees’ chances of getting something useful from him alive.  Pretty smart.

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Report: Yanks Targeting Jason Hammel, Interested In Bringing Back Capuano

Add a few more names to the free agent pitching list.  Via Jon Heyman on Wednesday, the Yankees are “targeting” righty starter Jason Hammel along with Brandon McCarthy, and “have interest” in bringing back left-hander Chris Capuano.  An unnamed source in the story reiterated the point about the Yankees not pursuing the big money pitchers this offseason, and these new names make it appear as though they’re comfortable swimming in the middle part of the free agent talent pool.

Capuano was solid in 12 starts with the Yanks this season, posting a 4.25/3.85/3.78 tripleslash with 55 strikeouts and 0.9 fWAR in 65.2 IP.  I’d have no problem bringing him back as a swingman or rotation depth piece, although he was let go by 2 other teams in 2014 and he was pitching in Triple-A when the Yankees acquired him.  If he comes back, it should be on a very small deal, possibly even a non-guaranteed one.

Hammel I’m not that high on.  …

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Quick Hit: Brett Gardner Had Surgery On A Muscle I Probably Don’t Have

So I guess that answers the question of what was wrong with Gardner’s abdominal area in the second half of the season.  Sounds like something that would be painful to walk around with, let alone swing a baseball bat, run around, and throw a ball as hard as you can.  This certainly lends some explanation to Gardner’s second-half offensive fade and lack of stolen bases, and it’s good to know that he’s going to make a full recovery and be ready for Spring Training.

Bigger picture though, is this late-season injury thing starting to become a trend with Gardner?  Without looking it up, I feel like he’s ended 3 or 4 seasons with a bunch of nagging injuries that have left him playing at far less than 100% and killed his production.  He’s not a huge guy and he plays the game very aggressively, so some of it is just the natural result of playing the game every day for 6 months.  …

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Wednesday Morning News And Notes: 11/5/14

There’s a bunch of small stories I haven’t blogged over the last few days that are worth mentioning.  Here they are in rapid-fire order:

Aaron Judge was named the AZFL’s Player of the Week on Monday.  He hit 2 HR, scored 6 runs, and drew 7 walks in 5 games last week.  Good to see him getting more burn as that season has progressed.

Via George King, there does appear to be some mutual interest between the Yankees and Raul Ibanez for the vacant hitting coach job.  Ibanez is reportedly “intrigued” by the possibility, but no meeting or interview has been scheduled.

Via Jon Heyman, the Yanks have already reached out to start contract talks with Chase Headley.  Looks more and more like A-Rod will be the full-time DH and part-time infielder next year.

Dellin Betances was named as one of the 3 finalists for the American League Rookie of the Year award this year.  …

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