A Quick Peek At The Bullpen Landscape After Yesterday’s Roster Moves

This is what I predicted would happen before yesterday’s 40-man roster set deadline:

“My prediction for today is only Austin and Williams getting added, maybe one of the Triple-A arms if the Yankees make a move somewhere else today to open another spot.”

Almost nailed it.  Almost.  The one thing I didn’t anticipate was the Yankees protecting 2 of the eligible bullpen arms.  Not with 40-man spots being needed for future FA signings, not with D-Rob being one of those FA priorities, not with a solid middle relief corps already in place, and not with other non-40-man guys like Nick Rumbelow, Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, and Nick Goody waiting in the wings as well.

But the Yankees know their players better than I do, and they clearly like both Dan Burawa and Branden Pinder enough to want them around for depth.  They didn’t protect a similar pitcher in Tommy Kahnle last year and he ended up going to Colorado and having a nice 2014 season with the Rockies.  …

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Rule 5 Draft Protection Deadline Is Today

November 20th marks the next key date on the offseason schedule, as teams must add Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to their 40-man rosters to protect them or risk another team taking them in the Rule 5 Draft.

The Yankees currently have 36 players on their 40-man roster and a handful of remaining non-tender candidates, and as usual, they have an interesting batch of Rule 5-eligible guys.  The headliner of the group is Tyler Austin, the 22-year-old corner outfielder and infielder coming off a .275/.336/.419 season at Double-A Trenton and a strong showing in the AZFL.  Righty relievers Branden Pinder, Mark Montgomery, and Dan Burawa are all eligible, and all 3 spent time in the SWB bullpen in 2014.  Former top prospect Mason Williams is also eligible for the first time.  He still possesses multiple elite-level tools, but he could be left exposed after 2 straight years of very poor production and reported attitude and off-the-field problems.

Other organizational guys like Zach Nuding, Kyle Roller, Matt Tracy, and Cito Culver are also eligible, and it’s very possible that another team could want to take a look at them.  …

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Group Chat: Would You Sell Half the Farm for Tulo?

Scott: Matt’s Yankees Shortstop Options post was depressing, and rumors are flying about possible trades for Elvis Andrus or Troy Tulowitzki, with one rumor suggesting that the Yankees could have Tulo for something like Luis Severino, Greg Bird, and Manny Banuelos. Would you take that deal, or something like it? I absolutely would. (1) Severino is great, with no red flags to date, but has only 25 IP at AA; it’s a long road yet to being a real MLB starter, much less the sort of #1-#2 starter you might regret giving up for a Tulo. (2) Bird has real holes in his game – rough at 1B (1 error every 10 games) and striking in 23% of PA in the low minors (bad but more a yellow than red flag); his 7 HR in 95 AB at AA, and great AFL showing, may signal exciting improvement, but to regret trading him for Tulo, he’d have to show continued progress.…

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Early Offseason Big Picture: Optimism vs Pessimism re 2015 – a Group Chat

Scott:The Worst is Yet to Come,” happy sunshine guy Dan Szymborski reports in predicting late-stage-empire decay of the post-90s/2000s Yankees. Let’s discuss: Agree or disagree?

         Quick initial take: Agree with Dan that (a) declining oldsters are preventing improvement at many positions, (b) imminent help from the farm is modest, and (c) the free agent pool has gotten shallower now that teams extend young talent before free agency. On the other hand, (a) they’re already an above-average team, (b) some free-agent and rookie talent infusions are likely for 2015-16, and (c) they won’t lose literally a whole rotation (5 starters) to injury every year (like in 2014), right? Can the impending improvements exceed the impending declines enough to net the several extra wins they need to make the playoffs?

William: My take on it is this: Predicting gloom and doom sells papers and creates pageviews and makes off season people read ZiPS. Teams like the Orioles in 2014 and yes, the Royals and Giants show that a lot has to go right for a team to get the golden apple and a lot can go wrong too.…

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Wilson-Cervelli: Quick Takes + a Worry about Lost Depth

Wow, is my timing awesome: on Tuesday, I write a hosanna to Francisco Cervelli’s bright 2015 future of increased Yankee playing time, but apparently Brian Cashman disagrees or (gasp) doesn’t read me, because he traded Cervelli the next day for LHP Justin Wilson. I feel like Karl Rove on election night 2012 screaming about how Romney is still winning right as his fellow Fox Newsers gave up the ghost. So, a few quick takes on the trade:

(1) Don’t Cry for Me, Venezuela. I praised Cervelli as an above-par catcher who could free up Brian McCann both to rest and to spell Teixeria — but I can’t fault Cashman for trading him. In retrospect, I may have lowballed Cervelli’s injury history, especially his 2014 migraines, which don’t seem major, except that migraines are a known problem for folks who have had concussions. I still think the Yankees were a better team with than without him, but he’s not exactly indispensable or reliable.…

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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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The Prospects Most Likely To Help At The Major League Level In 2015

No matter what you think the Yankees should do this offseason, which players you think they should sign and which players you think they shouldn’t sign, one thing we can all agree on is the need for them to get something from their farm system next season.  There’s been a lot of talk from the highest levels of the front office about how they need to get younger and need to get more from their prospects, but very little action in the way of roster building and playing time decisions to back up that talk.

Next season is the time for the actions to match the talk.  The Yankees have an aging, broken down group of veterans, a rotation full of injury risks, and a greater number of legitimate fill-in options at the upper levels of their system than they’ve had in recent years.  When guys start getting hurt, or before guys even start getting hurt, the focus for next year’s roster should be on supplementing or replacing them with some of the upper-tier prospect talent in place of cheap, washed up veteran bums.  …

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Quick Hit: The Important Offseason Date Coming Up This Weekend

In my haste to get to the qualifying offer/5-day exclusive window free agent deadlines early next week, I skipped past another key date before then that has some meaning to the Yankees.  The deadline for teams to pick up or decline their options on players is this Saturday and there is one option for the Yanks to consider.  That option is for Andrew Bailey, the rehabbing reliever New York signed before this past season.

The move to sign Bailey was made with 2015 in mind, and the Yankees have a $2 million option on him that they have to decide on by Saturday.  Bailey did not pitch in any games in 2014 at any level while rehabbing from a torn shoulder capsule.  The last time I heard about his progress was in early August and reports said he had experienced multiple setbacks during his throwing program.

With that in mind, I have to think the Yanks will decline Bailey’s option and free up that couple of mil to use elsewhere.  …

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Searching For The Eventual 40-Man Casualties

One way or another, the 2014 Major League Baseball season will come to an end tonight.  Once that happens and the champagne starts flowing in one of the locker rooms in KC, the offseason will be officially underway.  The Yankees have plenty to do this offseason, as we’ve been detailing and dissecting for the last few weeks, and there could be a fair amount of roster turnover.

Before we get to that part, it only makes sense to take a look at the current roster situation.  The Yankees always seem to be under some kind of 40-man roster squeeze and it stands to reason that they’ll have another one on their hands at some point over the next few months as they re-sign and/or sign new players.

As of this morning, the Yankees have 45 players listed on their 40-man roster.  9 infielders, 9 outfielders, 5 catchers, and 22 pitchers.  When free agency becomes official, 12 of those players will come off the roster (Capuano, Hill, Huff, Kuroda, McCarthy, Robertson, Rogers, Drew, Headley, Jeter, Ichiro, Young), dropping the Yankees back down to 33.  …

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