Are The Yankees Trying To Avoid Paying Brian Roberts?

Roberts E vs TEX

In case you were wondering, yes. That was a play he should have made. Courtesy of Getty Images

This was supposed to be a post asking how much longer the Yankees could afford to keep trotting Brian Roberts out as their everyday second baseman.  It was supposed to be posted on Tuesday, but Mike Axisa beat me to the punch and said everything I was going to say so I scrapped the idea.  That’s blog life.  It happens.  But then I was struck with a new Roberts-centric idea based on what’s transpired over the last few days.  Buried in Mike’s post was this point about Roberts’ contract that I had totally forgotten about:

Roberts is about to start making some decent bucks through bonuses — he has already banked $350,000 in incentives and is two plate appearances away from another $250,0000 — so there is a financial incentive to make a change as well. The Yankees would pay Refsnyder through the end of the season less than the bonus they’d owe Roberts if he gets those next two plate appearances.

Read more

Should The Yankees Try To Trade For David Price?

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

We’re still far enough away from the trade deadline for it to not officially be “trade season” quite yet.  Those winds don’t start really blowing ’til the All-Star break.  But business is already picking up on the David Price front.  Arguably the best player who will be available and the type of difference maker in the rotation that any contending team could use, Price is the talk of the trade town both locally and nationally.  TB beat writer Marc Topkin wrote over the weekend that there are already some teams with scouts following him and the Rays’ preference is to trade him to the NL, and earlier today yesterday Buster Olney suggested (Insider-only) that a trade could materialize as soon as this week.

The Yankees have not been involved in any of the early rumors, outside of Jim Bowden’s trade proposal from last week.  Price would fill a huge need for them though, and it will come down to how serious the Yankees are willing to get about what they’ll have to give up to get Price.  …

Read more

Expecting A Wild Trade Season

Charles Rex Arbogast, AP

Charles Rex Arbogast, AP

Though it’s too early for the expected teams to begin their annual fire sale, we’re a month away from the All Star break, and it’s time for front offices to start considering whether they’ll be buyer or sellers next month. While a few teams like the Twins and White Sox have taken surprising leaps this season, and will likely become buyers if the standings hold up, teams like the Diamondbacks and Rays have taken an unanticipated downturn. We’ll still see the expected trade market open up around guys like Jeff Samardzija, but there could be some unforeseen names hitting the trade block.

A month of baseball can change a lot of records, but teams like the Rays, Cubs, and Phillies are starting to separate themselves from the rest of baseball as the worst of the worst. I suppose we could see a run from teams like the Padres, Diamondbacks, and the Astros, but these three teams are likely to be sellers at the trade deadline as well.…

Read more

Shaking Things Up With Pirela Or Refsnyder

I’ve been an avid fan of moving Brian Roberts to a bench position, or perhaps even off the active roster, in favor of Kelly Johnson. Roberts hasn’t been good in five years, and despite limited playing time and learning new positions, I’ve preferred Johnson’s power potential this season. On the other hand, the Yankees seem to like Roberts’ ability to switch-hit. Being able to hit for both sides is really all he’s got going for him at this point, but that point is moot when the numbers continue to show that he can’t hit anyone.

Roberts is now batting .239/.317/.350 in 203 plate appearances this season. He’s started 49 games, and he’s shown that his age and injury troubles have hurt him both defensively and offensively. 2009 was the last time Roberts had an OPS over .800, and it was the last time he played a full season. I’d love to see Johnson get a chance at his true position of second base, but the team seems unwilling to give Johnson the torch.…

Read more

Derek Jeter Is Hurting The Yankees

ny_a_jeterd_576x324

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Derek Jeter doesn’t deserve all the blame, he doesn’t deserve the majority of the blame, but Derek Jeter certainly is not helping the Yankees.

When Brian Cashman made the move to sign Jacoby Ellsbury to an exorbitant contract and re-sign Brett Gardner for the next five seasons, the Yankees knew that they’d need to get power from their infield. The hope was that they’d receive above average power from right field, first base, catcher, and the designated hitter, but outside of Brian McCann, the Yankees took a gamble that Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, and Alfonso Soriano could withstand age-related regression and stay on the field. That gamble has flopped.

A stronger and more reliable offense would have more power options around the infield, but all three of Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, and Jeter have shown very few signs of life with the bats. If not for Yangervis Solarte‘s breakout season, it’s hard to imagine where this team would be.…

Read more

It’s Time To Move Johnson Back To Second Base

Icon SMI

Icon SMI

In last night’s game, two second baseman were booed for completely different reasons. I’ve talked about my opinions about booing Robinson Cano quite recently, but the other taunted second baseman was still wearing pinstripes. After watching his defense over the last week, it’s hard to argue that Kelly Johnson doesn’t deserve to hear it from the fans, but if anyone deserves to be booed, it’s whoever is asking him to play positions that he’s hardly ever played before.

Before 2014, Kelly Johnson was a full time second baseman with some experience in left field. Over his entire major league career, Johnson had just two starts at first base and twelve starts at third base prior to joining the Yankees. At the moment, he hasn’t logged a single start at second base or the outfield for the Yankees, and he’s now started nineteen games at first base and fourteen games at third base. The Yankees have asked him to not only play irregularly, but when he does play, to play at positions where he has virtually no experience.…

Read more

Can Peter O’Brien Help This Year?

Back in 2012, Peter O’Brien was drafted as a senior out of the University of Miami. O’Brien’s high prospect ranking was due to an impressive display of offense and status as a senior that would likely sign below slot value in the second round. Not much has changed for the bat-first catcher, who’s now seeing more and more time around the field. While the Yankees have kept him behind the plate, O’Brien has now found himself with a handful of innings in the outfield and at third base. While his defensive ability is still in question, O’Brien’s offense has maintained, and he now leads all of minor league baseball with 19 home runs this season, which ties him with Nelson Cruz for the most home runs in professional baseball. Here is his latest shot.

In 2013, O’Brien had a breakout performance in Charleston and Tampa. He finished last season with 22 home runs, good for a .291/.350/.544 slash, but also struck out 134 times.…

Read more

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.…

Read more

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.…

Read more