Breakout Performances Answering The Yankees Biggest Needs

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the signings of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, and Carlos Beltran, the Yankees set themselves up for long-term players at a handful of positions. Michael Pineda and Dellin Betances have shown great early-season performances, though there’s still some worry about Pineda’s injury record. Meanwhile, Mark Teixeira‘s injury history is no longer an issue, as the first baseman is carrying the team with power. Yes, the Yankees haven’t gotten full contributions from some of their players yet, Beltran’s injury-shortened debut has been disappointing, while McCann and Ellsbury haven’t started hitting as well as expected. CC Sabathia showed glimpses of great peripherals but bad results in his first few weeks before injury, and Ivan Nova remains a huge question mark.

It’s perhaps too early to start wondering about what the team will do in 2015, but as the season moves on, the Yankees seem to be answering many of their biggest needs through breakout seasons.…

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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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Girardi’s Unintentional Fireman

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Over the last 6 seasons, Joe Girardi has demonstrated how attached he is to his binder and his strategies. For as good Girardi is at getting the most from his bullpen, his formulas are incredibly simple and predictable. The manager chooses a closer, an 8th inning guy, a 7th inning guys, a specialist, a long-man, and a couple of middle relievers.

Of course, we’ve seen more intelligent decisions than just assigning a hierarchy in the bullpen and hoping for the best, Girardi does a great job of platooning players based on handedness, as well as their style of pitching. For instance, pitchers that we expected to be long-men, Adam Warren and David Phelps, have emerged in situations where runners are already on base. These two pitchers both command good sinkers/two-seamers, and have the ability to earn both ground ball double players and strikeouts.

While Girardi remains one of the most successful managers at commanding his bullpen, one knock against him is his strict adherence to the reliever hierarchy based on innings.…

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How Will The Yankees Replace Ivan Nova?

 Mike Carlson/AP

Mike Carlson/AP

The Yankee rotation began the 2014 season as their strongest asset. All five of their starting pitchers had the ability to end the year with top-of-the-rotation numbers. After suffering a tear to his UCL, Ivan Nova is likely out of the picture for this season, and not only does this put a strain on the Yankees’ starting pitchers, but also their bullpen.

After the Spring Training competition for the fifth starter spot, the Yankees rightfully settled on Michael Pineda and sent David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Vidal Nuno into the bullpen. The three ex-starters haven’t been without their faults, but they’ve also shown value in the right situation. With Nova likely to undergo Tommy John surgery, the Yankees will need at least one of these three bullpen arms to convert back to the rotation.

Warren has been the most effective of this group. He’s pitched just 9.2 innings in relief thus far, but his velocity increased in these short outings.…

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Teixeira, Roberts, Beltran key to World Series title

You expect biting analysis from this site. Obviously, that differs greatly from analysis that bites. For anyone who studies the game, the hope is for an “aha” moment. I had one this morning and I could not wait to share it with you. This is one of those dope statistics that is going to land me on all the lists of writer geeks of all time. Here it is: Data suggests Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts and Carlos Beltran all have to play significant time for the Yankees to win the World Series.

Whoo…that sounds good, doesn’t it? So what is the data that is going to shake the world? Every Yankee World Series champ in the Jeter-era featured at least three significant contributions from switch-hitters. Therefore, Teixeira, Roberts and Beltran all have to make significant contributions this season for the Yankees to win the World Series.

You are stunned, right? Brilliant, eh? If I do this right, now I have to throw a bunch of data at you to prove that I am a full-fledged Saberboy.…

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Musing On D-Rob And Nova’s Contract Extension Chances

Nova ST 2014

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Figured the timing was right after Nova’s dominant ST start yesterday)

It’s been a little over a week since the Yankees came out of left field (figuratively) with their 4-year contract extension for Brett Gardner.  While the extension drew universally positive reviews for its value relative to Gardner and questions relative to the much steeper price paid to Jacoby Ellsbury, the most important thing to come out of the deal was the new precedent it set for pre-free agency contract extensions for homegrown players.  The Yankees have been notoriously bad at locking up their quality young players, a problem created mainly by the lack of impact young players developed over the last 5 years and partially by their adherence to the outdated team policy of not doing extensions.

Cash’s declaration that that policy is now dead is welcome news to any Yankee fan hoping to see the team get back to the top of the MLB heap.  …

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Yanks Still Mining For Injured/Rehabbing Roster Gold

Johan Bullpen 2012

Pass.

In the never-ending quest to add more pitching depth, the Yankees were among several teams on hand to watch Johan Santana throw in Florida yesterday.  He’s attempting to work his way back from a second shoulder capsule surgery in less than 3 years and the Yanks have been linked to him for months.  According to George King, Santana was sitting 77-78 MPH with his velocity and he maxed out at 81.  That is a far cry from the upper-80s he was throwing the last time he was on a Major League mound, and while King did say his changeup looked “impressive”, I question whether Major League hitters would feel the same when it’s coming at them at basically the same speed as his fastball.

The long and short of it is that Santana doesn’t look like a viable option to bring aboard as additional Triple-A rotation insurance, at least not until he builds up more arm strength and gets his velocity back into the mid-80s.  …

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Ellsbury, Gardner, And The Change In Yankee Philosophy

Gardner New Deal Media

When the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury, it looked like the writing was on the wall for Brett Gardner.  He was being replaced as the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter heading into his final arb-eligible year.  The Yankees had just committed $153 million to a player with an almost identical skill set as his, there was no way they were going to entertain the idea of re-signing Gardner and carrying 2 speedy, low-power outfielders for the next X number of years.  They’d make Gardner a qualifying offer after the 2014 season, he’d decline, they’d recoup a draft pick, and he’d sign a 4 or 5-year deal somewhere else to be that team’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter.

Almost immediately the rumor mill fired up with potential trade partners for the Yankees to move Gardner.  The prevailing thought was that they could try to move him as part of a package to add starting pitching, a thought that I admittedly shared and was on board with earlier in the offseason.  …

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Prepare For Aledmys Diaz

WP_000127

According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees don’t plan on issuing anymore major league contracts this offseason. This is typical for mid-February, but with Stephen Drew still on the board, there is no doubt that many Yankee fans are scratching their heads at their reluctance to pick up another free agent infielder. In fact, last week I wrote about how how the team ought to just spend the money, as Drew’s contract will look like a drop in the bucket compared to the half a billion they’ve already spent. Despite some major issues with their 2014 infield, and the middle infield depth in their entire system, the Yankees refuse to deal with a desperate Drew. But Brian Cashman isn’t exactly ignorant of their infield, he acknowledges the team’s weaknesses in Sherman’s article.

“In some cases we are still looking for positions if we can. The second and third wave is a developing storyline. I don’t have obvious answers for this.

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