Report: Yanks Have “Expressed Interest” In Carlos Torres

We’re a shade over a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting and the Yankees might not be done adding pieces to bring to camp.  According to a report by Brendan Kuty, the Yankees are among 20 teams who have contacted right-handed reliever Carlos Torres after he elected free agency on Monday.  He was designated for assignment by the Mets a few weeks ago to open a 40-man roster spot for Antonio Bastardo.

Torres, 33, was a late-blooming pro after scrapping starting and converting to a reliever in 2012.  He was a useful piece of the Met bullpen for the last 3 seasons, soaking up innings, working in a variety of different middle relief roles, and posting some decent numbers.  He posted a 4.68 ERA/3.53 FIP with a 19.8% K rate in 57.2 IP last season, his lowest IP total as a Met.  His flexibility would be valuable to the Yankees, who have a wide open competition for middle relief spots behind their big 3.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Tanaka Throws Off A Mound For The First Time Since Surgery

A quick pause on the Prospect Week festivities to touch on something noteworthy.  Per an AP report earlier today, Masahiro Tanaka threw off a mound for the first time since having surgery in October to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.  The bullpen session took place in New York, where Tanaka was presumably getting looked at by team doctors in preparation for his reporting to spring camp next week.  From the sounds of it, pitching coach Larry Rothschild was in attendance for the bullpen session, although no quotes were given and there was no report on the specifics of the throwing session that I saw.

Tanaka is the most important part of what could be a very volatile rotation mix again in 2016.  When he’s been healthy, he’s proven to be a very good starting pitcher capable of being unhittable when he has everything working.  The problem has been his inability to stay healthy and the rash of different arm injuries that have limited his workload in each of his first 2 seasons.  … Click here to read the rest

Yankees Announce List Of Non-Roster Spring Training Invitees

We’re less than 2 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Tampa and that’s close enough for the Yankees to announce their list of non-roster Spring Training invitees.  They did so earlier today, officially inviting 25 non-roster players to big league camp.  The group was highlighted by top organizational prospects Aaron Judge, James Kaprielian, and Jorge Mateo, as well as notable prospects Dustin Fowler and Brady Lail and previous MiL signings such as Pete Kozma, Anthony Swarzak, and Vinnie Pestano.  Along with the players on the 40-man roster, the Yankees will have 65 players in Major League spring camp.

Here’s the full list of non-roster invites:

Catchers: Carlos Corporan, Francisco Diaz, Kyle Higashioka, Eddy Rodriguez, Sebastian Valle, Santiago Nessy

Infielders: Jonathan Diaz, Pete Kozma, Jorge Mateo, Deibinson Romero, Donovan Solano, Tyler Wade

Outfielders: Dustin Fowler, Aaron Judge, Cesar Puello

Pitchers: Richard Bleier, Tyler Cloyd, Domingo German, Chad Green, James Kaprielian, Brady Lail, Diego Moreno, Vinnie Pestano, Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Webb… Click here to read the rest

Prospect News And Notes: 2/1/16

Couple of quick updates on the MLB.com prospect lists that came out late last week.

Aaron Judge was the final Yankee prospect to crack a positional top 10 list, coming in as the #8 outfielder.  The brief write-up on him praised him for being a better all-around hitter than originally advertised while acknowledging his struggles upon jumping to Triple-A, saying “… even though he profiles as a potential slugging run producer, he’s also shown an ability in the past to make adjustments. Once Judge does that, he should be ready for his New York debut.”

Judge is going to have a lot of eyes on him during ST this year and I feel like Joe could give him a lot of burn to get a firsthand look at how he’s changed his approach against upper-level hitting.  If Judge is able to learn from last year and improve his Triple-A production while cutting down on strikeouts, he could skip guys like Williams and Heathcott in line when it comes to being the first outfielder called up.… Click here to read the rest

Prospect News And Notes: 1/29/16

All prospects all the time.  Couple of things to touch on from yesterday:

– One, the MLB.com top 10 positional prospects release party continued yesterday with the shortstops.  It’s a deep position, so Jorge Mateo did not crack the top 10.  He did, however, get a shout out in the honorable mentions, with the write-up comparing him to Jose Reyes and calling him the Yankees’ shortstop of the future.  I thought Mateo might sneak into the bottom third of the list, but it’s understandable that he didn’t after what was his first year of full-season ball.

– Two, Baseball Prospectus put out their Top 101 prospects list and the consensus top 3 Yankee prospects all made the cut.  Aaron Judge came in at number 18, Mateo at 65, and Gary Sanchez was 92.  Personally I think Sanchez should be at least 25 spots higher, but I’m also a Yankee fan.  The complete list and the capsules on each player are completely free.  … Click here to read the rest

Yanks And Ivan Nova Avoid Arbitration, Agree To 1-Year Deal

As first reported by Jack Curry, the Yankees and Ivan Nova agreed to a 1-year deal today, avoiding arbitration in the process.  The deal is for $4.1 million with some unknown performance incentives and it has been confirmed by the team.  Dollar amount is right smack dab in the middle of the figures that both sides submitted previously.

Nova is coming off a tough year in his first season back on the hill after TJS.  The Yankees were shopping him as aggressively as they could earlier in the offseason and he’s effectively lost his rotation spot based on his injuries and uneven performance, but with nobody biting on the trade front Nova obviously holds a lot more value to the team as part of the pitching staff.  He’s expected to work as a starter in spring camp but will likely settle into a long relief/swingman role as long as nobody gets hurt.  Nova has always had command problems, but he has the stuff to be an effective starter and possibly even a very effective reliever if he can establish some form of consistency.… Click here to read the rest

Saturday Morning News And Notes: 1/23/16

I had internet issues at the office yesterday, so I couldn’t get on and write what I had planned to write about.  I’ll make it up in an abridged version now along with some other news nuggets and happenings around Yankeeland.

– On Thursday, local authorities announced that they would not be filing charges against Aroldis Chapman in connection with the alleged events that took place at his home last year.  Police were called to the house in response to a domestic dispute and Chapman was accused of choking and pushing his girlfriend during an argument as well as firing a gun in his garage.  Chapman admitted to firing the gun out of frustration, but denied assaulting his girlfriend and he was not arrested at the time.  There was a fair amount of internet outrage earlier in the week when Hal spoke about the signing and dropped the “innocent until proven otherwise” line, but with the timing of this announcement you have to think that he and the team knew the situation when he made those comments.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks And Eovaldi Come To Terms On New 1-Year Deal

And another arb-eligible player checked off the list.  The Yankees announced that they have agreed to terms on a new 1-year deal with Nathan Eovaldi today, avoiding arbitration in the process.  Via Jon Heyman, the deal is worth $5.6 million, the exact midpoint between the numbers each side submitted last week and slightly below the MLBTR projection of 5.7

It’s not quite the same as Didi’s situation, as this was Eovaldi’s second year of eligibility and he is not a Super Two, but it’s similar in that Eovaldi does stand to make himself some big bucks in the future if he can continue to build on his solid 2015 season.  He pitched to a 4.20/3.42/3.81 tripleslash in 154.1 innings, setting a new career high in K rate and racking up 3.2 fWAR in 27 starts before finishing the year on the DL with elbow soreness.  Before the injury, Eovaldi was really humming along in July and August as he started to feel comfortable with his splitter as an effective third pitch and he is expected to be fully healthy and ready to go when Spring Training starts.  … Click here to read the rest

Yanks Avoid Arbitration With Didi, Agree To A 1-Year Deal

Three down, three to go.  Via Jack Curry, the Yankees knocked another one off the to-sign list yesterday, agreeing to a 1-year, $2.425 million deal with starting shortstop Didi Gregorius.  Didi filed for a $2.525 million salary last week while the team came in at 2.3, so this final figure is a bit above the midpoint and a small victory for Didi.

This was Didi’s first year of arbitration eligibility and based on service time he qualifies as a Super Two player, so he could be looking at some very nice paydays to come if he can continue to improve on his solid 2015 season.  After a sloppy start in the field and a slow start at the plate, Didi finished the year with a .265/.318/.370 batting line, 9 HR, 57 runs scored, 56 RBI, 5 defensive runs saved at short, and 3.1 fWAR.  His K rate was below 15% and he hit .294/.345/.417 in the second half of the year while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense.  … Click here to read the rest