A Quick Word On All This Relief Prospect Depth

The talking point of the Yankees acquiring more organizational depth this offseason has been hammered home for a while now, perhaps nowhere more than with the bullpen.  There are already a ton of arms that are in competition for the last bullpen spot or 2, and there are going to be a ton of young arms waiting in the wings for their chance to break in and contribute.  I mean really, a ton of arms.  In somewhat of a particular order, here’s a breakdown of the current relief prospect depth:

1) Jacob Lindgren
2) Jose Ramirez
3) Chasen Shreve
4) Nick Rumbelow
5) Tyler Webb
6) Danny Burawa
7) James Pazos
8) Branden Pinder
9) Mark Montgomery
10) Nick Goody

That doesn’t even include guys like Phil Wetherall, Dietrich Enns, and Diego Moreno who have had some success working in relief in the middle levels of the system, and 2014 draft picks like Jonathan Holder, Jordan Foley, Sean Carley, and Jake Kelzer.  …

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Reviewing The 2014 International Signing Crop

They aren’t going to be prominently displayed in the IIATMS Top 30, but to do a week dedicated to prospect coverage and not mention the Yankees’ record-setting international spending spree last year would be wrong.  They said they were going to go big when the signing period opened last July 2nd and go big they did.  They handed out about $12 million in bonuses to a slew of top 30 international prospects in a matter of hours, and I believe the final bonus count came in at a little over $15 mil.  Factor in the penalty for going that far over their assigned $2.2 million spending pool and this last international signing period cost the Yanks roughly $28.5 million.

That’s chump change for them as far as investing in potential future All Stars goes, so it’s easy to see why they chose to make this move.  It’s far too early to tell if that’s what will come out of that investment, but the Yankees definitely got a lot of raw talent and upside for their buck.  …

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Hal Speaks On The Offseason (And Some Other Stuff)

Hal Steinbrenner was on hand for the latest owners’ meeting in Arizona yesterday, and as he usually does when he’s out and about, he held court with the Yankee beat writers on hand to talk about the latest happenings in Yankeeland.  I could bust his balls here for implying that the Yankees don’t have room to spend more money or for pointing out the health risks in the rotation while not addressing the need to address those risks, but I’ll just skip that and let people judge his comments for themselves.  All quotes via Ken Davidoff:

On the team’s offseason goals- “We had numerous goals.  Two of the goals were to get younger and get better defensively. I think we’ve done that. I think our bullpen’s better. I think it’s one of the best in baseball, quite frankly. My opinion.”

On the payroll budget and Cash working within that- “We started out with a payroll that was already high before we did anything.

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Thursday Afternoon Food For Thought: The Importance Of All These Marginal Upgrades

This was originally supposed to be a longer series of posts after the regular season ended, but I figured some of the wounds were still too fresh and I didn’t want to be too big of a downer.  We all know there were a ton of bad losses last season.  Listed below are the 5 games I believe the Yankees should have won the most:

  • 5/11/14- Brewers 6, Yankees 5.  Yanks blew an early lead after scoring 3 off Matt Garza in the top of the 1st.  Bullpen coughed up the lead late, then gave up the walk-off loss in the bottom of the 9th after a Teix HR to tie the game in the top half.
  • 7/5/14- Twins 2, Yankees 1.  Yanks lost on a walk-off error in the 11th inning after managing to score only 1 run against Minnesota starter Yohan Pino.  They didn’t have a single extra-base hit in the game.
  • 7/21/14- Rangers 4, Yankees 2.  The team made 5 defensive errors and scored 2 runs on 4 hits in 7.1 innings against Miles Mikolas.  
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The Already Youngering Yankees Continue To Get Younger

For years there has been a growing cry from Yankee blogs and fans alike for the team to get younger and start getting more from their farm system.  The term “rebuild” is seldom used in Yankeeland.  The front office openly declares every year that they plan on contending for titles, whether that goal is a realistic one or not, and they have stubbornly refused to be sellers at previous trade deadlines when doing so could have helped stimulate roster turnover and make the team younger.

This offseason has been a major sign that the Yankees are truly committed to following through on the goal of getting younger and better prepared for the future and creating opportunities for some of their prospects.  No huge deals have been given out in terms of money or years, they have steered clear of the top tier starting pitching targets, and there has been a noticeable focus on sacrificing a bit for the present to build for the future.  …

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What’s The Next Move After The Kelley Trade?

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The locker room should be a little less fun without him. Courtesy of MLB.com

In a move yesterday that some predicted, some welcomed, and some never saw coming, the Yankees traded Shawn Kelley to the San Diego Padres for 22-year-old right-handed reliever Johnny Barbato.  Barbato has some upside thanks to a mid-90s fastball and a legit swing-and-miss curveball, but his command has been spotty and last season was his first above A-ball.  Kelley would have contributed something positive to the Yankee bullpen in 2015.  It’s not nearly as likely that Barbato will do the same.

The most intriguing part of the deal is what it may suggest about additional deals in the works.  Kelley said Cash told him that “he hated to see me go” but that the decision to move Kelley was “part of a new plan.”  What is that plan?  What else is involved in it?  And how does getting Kelley’s fractional amount off the 2015 payroll play into that plan?  …

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From Evil Empire to Tweener – Or, Why It’s All About the SP

Yankeeland is a pretty conflicted place these days, and I think this is why: They’re tweeners. Neither direction really works for the Yankees, because they’re in-between: they’re not a contender right now; yet they lack many big-improvement moves to pursue; yet they’re just good enough to avoid a rebuilding project that might not work anyway.

The roster right now isn’t good enough to win, and other than signing Max Scherzer for a huge seven-year contract that will look bad before there’s still $100 million left on it, there isn’t any big improvement to be found.

(1) Andrew Miller and the most likely upcoming free agents (a mid-market SP and Headley) just maintain the status quo (replacing David Robertson and Hiroki Kuroda, plus keeping Chase Headley).

(2) Major offense improvements are tough to find because five regulars have immovable contracts producing at likely the 1-3 WAR level (McCann, Teixeira, Beltran, Ellsbury, and A-Rod – who may not be a regular, but the point remains that they feel compelled to keep a spot for him).…

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Tuesday Afternoon Food For Thought: What Other Starters Should The Yankees Target?

It’s been an unexpectedly interesting few days in Yankeeland to say the least.  For every roster hole they’ve filled, they’ve created another one.  If the regular season started tomorrow, the Yankees would have 3 health-related question marks in Tanaka, Pineda, and Sabathia occupying the top 3 spots of their rotation and 2 guys at the back end in Phelps and Warren who have spent the bulk of their Major League time working out of the bullpen.  That’s bad.

What’s good is that we know the Yanks aren’t going to stand pat with what they have there.  Their primary focus for the rest of the Winter Meetings and the foreseeable future is beefing up the rotation.  But how?  And with whom?

Brandon McCarthy is the first name that comes to mind.  The next 2, based on logic and growing perception in response to the D-Rob move, are Jon Lester and Max Scherzer.  But what about after them?  Who are the next names that make sense to go after now that we know the team needs multiple starters?  …

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Report: Marcus Thames Hired As New Assistant Hitting Coach

At long last, some action on the hitting coach front!  An article in the NY Daily News early Friday hinted that this move was coming, and this tweet from Matt Kardos made it sound like it’s a done deal.  Marcus Thames, former Yankee and current hitting coach at Double-A Trenton, is going to be the new assistant hitting coach for the Major League club next year.

Thames was one of the first candidates named back in October after Kevin Long was fired.  It was never confirmed if he interviewed for the position, but I have to imagine there was some kind of meeting and discussion, formal or informal, if the Yankees made this decision.  The dual-hitting coach trend is pretty new to the game and for once, it’s good to see the Yankees following the trend in its early stages instead of scrambling to catch up later.  …

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