Report: Yanks And Mariners Have Had Talks About Brett Gardner

Here’s the other new story I alluded to in the previous recap post.  According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees and Mariners have “discussed” a potential trade involving Brett Gardner.  This comes as the latest example of the “Brian Cashman is open to anything” storyline that’s been gaining strength over the last week or so.

Sherman’s report is quick to state that the discussions are in the early stages and no specifics have been mentioned by either side, but there is a good fit and logical reason for both sides to pursue this.  The Mariners need to be competitive now and Gardner is the perfect type of top-of-the-order table setter they need in front of their big hitters.  Jerry DiPoto is the new GM in Seattle and has always liked Gardner.  From the Yankees’ side, Gardner is arguably their most trade-able main roster piece as an above-average player with a reasonable contract.  With Ellsbury locked in, Beltran coming off the books after next season, prospects waiting in the wings, and some intriguing FA outfield options, Gardner is the best chance for them to move a piece while also helping another area of roster need.

The report mentions “high-end starting pitching” with team control as the desired return for the Yankees, and while Seattle is unwilling to discuss right-hander Taijuan Walker, the same does not hold true for lefty James Paxton.  The 27-year-old pitched to a 3.90 ERA/4.31 FIP split in 67.0 MLB innings in 2015, but has battled injury problems on and off for the past few years.

Stove’s gettin’ hotter.  It’s definitely worth watching where this rumor goes over the rest of this week and in the weeks to come leading up to the Winter Meetings.  Gardner is one of the core members of the Yankees now and a well-known leader in the clubhouse.  Losing him would be tough, but it would also create more opportunities for young players to step in and could bring a good return to bolster the rest of the roster. Continue reading Report: Yanks And Mariners Have Had Talks About Brett Gardner

Report: Yanks “Leaning Toward” An Ackley/Refsnyder Second Base Platoon Next Season

Second base was a problem position for the Yankees this past season.  They struggled to find production early from Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan, seemingly waited too long to jettison Drew in favor of better options, and didn’t get much consistent positive value from the position until very late in the year when Dustin Ackley and Rob Refsnyder got hot and took over as the new platoon.  According to Jon Heyman’s latest report, that late season SSS boost may have influenced the Yankees’ plans for next season.

In Heyman’s most recent “Inside Baseball” piece for CBS, he reported that the Yankees are “leaning toward going with Refsnyder and Ackley next year”, which was something that drew a lot of conversation late in the regular season when they were both hitting.  On the surface, this looks like an easy decision to make for a team not looking to add payroll.  Ackley hit .288/.333/.654 in his 57 Yankee plate appearances and he’s a former top prospect with lefty power potential.  Refsnyder hit .302/.348/.512 in 47 MLB PA and .271/.359/.402 in Triple-A.

Of course, there’s always more to the story when it comes to the Yankees, and Heyman’s piece alludes to that by mentioning the team’s interest in free agent to be Ben Zobrist and former Yankee Martin Prado.  There are going to be plenty of good FA options at second this offseason, and Cash is no stranger to going to the trade market to pick up what he needs at a weak position.  Regardless of what way they’re leaning, the Yankees are never going to limit their opportunities to address an area of need and they’re never going to tip their hand as to what their offseason plans are.

The truth is that this “leaning toward” report doesn’t mean all that much just yet, but it certainly could and I don’t think it means nothing.  At the very least, the Yankees have a decent backup plan for second next year if nothing materializes for them on the FA or trade markets.  That’s already a better plan than they had for second base coming into this season and that’s a plus for next year’s team. Continue reading Report: Yanks “Leaning Toward” An Ackley/Refsnyder Second Base Platoon Next Season

Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/31/15 (UPDATED)

We’re down to mere hours now.  We’ll follow the latest developments here as the day progresses and break in with any actual trade news if and when it happens.

– The Yankees are in heavy on relievers today, with both Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman‘s names coming up multiple times.  They were reportedly working on a deal for Kimbrel last night, but talks continue to stall based on the Yankees’ willingness to include Jorge Mateo in a deal.

Via Jon Heyman, the Yanks are “not likely” to get Chapman.

Also via Heyman, they may be shifting their focus to Miami’s Carter Capps if they can’t get anything done for the other 2.  He’s the dude with the jump delivery.

– Precious little out there right now connecting the Yankees to any starters.  They lost another target last night when the Giants acquired Mike Leake from Cincy.

Dustin Ackley will join the team today in Chicago and there’s still the matter of clearing a roster spot for him.  Drew, Ryan, or Jones seem like the most likely candidates to go, but stay tuned. Continue reading Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/31/15 (UPDATED)

Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/30/15

2 big stories today related to the Yankees.  Neither involves them making any trades.

– The first was the Blue Jays acquiring David Price from the Tigers for a package of prospects.  It sounds like the haul was a good one, better than what the Rays got for him last year, and this was a move the Jays had to make if they want to make a serious playoff run.  Yanks get to hold onto all their top prospects (for now) and still get a shot to sign Price when he hits the FA market.

– The second, and more important, was the announcement that Michael Pineda has been scratched from his scheduled start tonight.  He has since been diagnosed with a Grade I forearm strain and put on the DL, and CC will start tonight’s game on regular rest.  This type of injury could put Pineda out until mid-September, so the need for the Yanks to add a starter has increased as far as I’m concerned, Severino or no Severino.

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yanks are “poised to strike” and are in on “all available arms”.  Not much different than we’ve heard all along, although they’ve yet to get seriously involved with anybody.

Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees are among the 4 “most likely landing spots” for Mike Leake.  Dom wrote this post last month about how Leake made a lot of sense for the Yanks. Continue reading Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/30/15

Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/29/15

It’s been mostly quiet on the Yankee trade deadline front for the last few days.  They’re connected to almost everybody in some capacity, but don’t seem to be seriously involved with anybody.  Hopefully there’s another behind-the-scenes deal being worked on.  It would be puzzling and disappointing to see the deadline pass without them making at least 1 move.  Here’s the latest:

As first reported by Jack Curry, the Yanks designated Chris Capuano earlier today.  That decision was almost surely driven by his abysmal performance last night and the fact that the Yanks have a ton of Triple-A depth arms.  The newest one getting called up tonight is righty Caleb Cotham, and Diego Moreno will get to keep his roster spot after his splendid relief outing.

– The big story from yesterday was the Royals trading for Ben Zobrist.  Zobrist was a known target and would have been a perfect fit for the Yankees’ needs, but it doesn’t sound like they were ever seriously in contention for him.

– Now the primary second base target appears to be Martin Prado, although there has been little indication the Marlins are actively shopping him.  I don’t think Prado is great, but I think he’d be the type of pickup the Yankees would look to make.  Upgrades the infield, adds more defensively flexibility, and can still hit left-handed pitching pretty well.

David Price is still a hot commodity and Bob Nightengale made him hotter with his report earlier that the Yanks, Dodgers, and Blue Jays are all “poised to have an all-out bidding war of prospects” to land Price.  That looks, sounds, and smells like fake pot stirring to me.  If it’s not, I’m OK with it.  Price is the type of difference-making starter the Yankees should be willing to trade their top prospects for if he’s available.

– In more realistic rotation upgrade options, the Padres are reportedly “flooding the market” with their starters according to Jayson Stark.  I would have no problem with the Yanks acquiring Shields, Cashner, or Ross if they could do it without giving up any of their top guys, but I expect that would be almost impossible to do. Continue reading Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/29/15

Should the Yankees Reacquire Martin Prado?

The Yankees need a second baseman.

Starters at the position have hit a team-low .193 this season, with a .619 OPS. Stephen Drew continues to draw starts despite his disappointing play, Jose Pirela’s bat hasn’t quite packed the punch the Yankees had hoped, and the team doesn’t appear ready to give Rob Refsnyder a shot yet.

Several teams have noted interest in 2B Ben Zobrist of the Athletics, so his price may be a bit too high for New York’s liking. A cheaper option may be looking to acquire an old friend.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Martin Prado might be an option for the Yankees.

The Yankees traded for the 31 year-old at last year’s trade deadline, before shipping him off to the Marlins last December along with David Phelps for Nate Eovaldi. He missed some time due to a shoulder ailment this season, and has posted an 88 OPS+ in 73 games. That would be an upgrade over Stephen Drew’s 76 OPS+ in twelve more games.

The question is, though, would reacquiring Martin Prado be worth it for the Yankees?

It all depends on demand. The shoulder injury has seemingly dissuaded some ballclubs, seeing as how the Marlins have gone from wanting a big return to now being a bit more open. From the sounds of it, it doesn’t seem like the Yankees would need to part with one of their top prospects, their reported goal for the trade deadline.

Prado nearly pushed the Yankees into the playoffs last season. His leadership was vital, and his power saw a nice bump playing in a hitter’s ballpark like Yankee Stadium. In order to get there again this season, they might need it back. They’re paying him $3 of his $11 million each of the next two seasons regardless of where he plays, anyway. Continue reading Should the Yankees Reacquire Martin Prado?

Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/27/15

Deadline’s right around the corner.  Here’s the latest:

– The big weekend trade was Johnny Cueto going to the Royals for a trio of lefty arms.  From what I read, it sounds like the return for Cueto wasn’t that great.  Makes you wonder what the Yanks could have done if they had a full complement of healthy pitching prospects.

– Via George King, the Yanks scouted Cueto for 5 weeks and at one point had “limited discussions” with the Reds about a deal involving Ivan Nova.  King says the Yanks are now waiting to see what the Tigers do with David Price.

– One pitcher they don’t seem interested in pursuing is Cole Hamels.  According to Joel Sherman, they aren’t interested in trading top prospects (Judge, Severino, Bird, Mateo) or taking on big money, both of which they would have to do to acquire Hamels.

– Via Jon Heyman, the Yanks “have discussed just about every available top starter and reliever”, so Cash is definitely doing his due diligence.  I don’t expect the team to change its stance on their top prospects though, so the biggest names out there are probably not realistic targets. Continue reading Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/27/15

Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/24/15

Well it happened.  The trade deadline activity finally kicked into gear yesterday.  With a week to go now, things should really start to pick up now that the first moves have been made.

– The first notable trade was Scott Kazmir going to the Astros for a pair of low-level prospects.  I was a little surprised to see him go for that little in return considering the way he’s been pitching, but maybe leaving that start with an arm injury killed some of his value.  I would have liked him in the Yankee rotation.

– The other major move was Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez going back to Pittsburgh, where he started his career, to get a shot at chasing a ring before he retires.  He was never a target for the Yankees.

– As for the home team, they will reportedly “listen to offers” for Gary Sanchez, according to Buster Olney.  I’m not sure how many teams are going to be calling up and proactively asking for him so much as making him a required piece in a trade package for one of their players, but this isn’t a surprising stance considering the Major League catching depth in Big Mac and JRM.  Sanchez is having another good year with the bat and recently got promoted to Triple-A.

(Unrelated, but Buster, if you’re reading this, can you unblock me?  We’re on the same team, bro.)

– There’s a rumor floating around about a Sanchez-Refsnyder for Cueto-Phillips deal being discussed, but I don’t think I believe that one too much.  If Cincy is really willing to give up Cueto for a package that doesn’t include Judge or Severino, then they might be in for a tough rebuild.

– It’s not a trade rumor, but the Red Sox lost their 7th straight game to start the second half last night.  This coming after the Yanks took 2 of 3 to send them into the break on a downswing.  That’s pretty funny.

– Also not trade-related, but it appears as though the Yankees are trying the Chase Whitley Experiment with a few more righty relievers.  Danny Burawa, who appeared briefly with the Major League club earlier this season and got shelled, was sent down to Double-A Trenton and started the game for them on Wednesday night.  He pitched 4 innings, gave up 1 run on 2 hits, and struck out 7.  Diego Moreno has started for Triple-A SWB in his last 3 appearances, and he’s pitched 8 scoreless innings over his last 2 starts.

Interesting to see the Yankees try this experiment again with guys who have worked exclusively as relievers for a long time, but understandable and something I like to see based on the success with Whitley.  The Yankees have a ton of upper-level relief arms but not much upper-level rotation depth.  Even if it’s just for emergencies and next year, it’s worth the experiment with fringe-y relief guys like Burawa and Moreno. Continue reading Trade Deadline News And Notes: 7/24/15

Report: Refsnyder To Stay With The Big League Club After The All-Star Break

Take this with whatever quantity of salt you desire, but according to John Harper of the Daily News, the Yankees are not planning on sending Rob Refsnyder back down to Triple-A after the All-Star break.  Instead they will keep him up with the Major League club, presumably as their new starting second baseman and bare minimum as part of a second base platoon with Stephen Drew.

This report comes on the heels of the Yankee decision makers speaking in vague, non-committal tones about Refsnyder’s future over the weekend.  Cash said there were no plans for him beyond last weekend when he was called up, and Joe told reporters after Sunday’s game that the team would use the break to discuss options and make a final decision.  If this report is indeed true, then it would appear as though the team liked what they saw from Refs on Saturday and Sunday and are finally coming to the realization that they can’t continue to trot Drew out at second base every day.

Of course, this report cites only the always-convenient and NY tabloid-typical unnamed source, and as a noted Tanaka fear monger, this could be nothing more than Harper stirring the pot to get pageviews.  But I’ll play along and assume it’s true and Refsnyder is sticking around, and in doing so I’ll say that this would be a smart move on the Yankees’ part.  Did Refs show he needs work defensively?  Yes.  Is there anything we can accurately gather from a 2-game sample size at the plate?  Nope.  But based on what he’s shown in the Minors, it’s very very likely that he’ll be an upgrade there over Drew.  And he can learn plenty defensively by working with Major League players and coaches every day, just as much as he could learn by playing in Triple-A every day.  There’s not much to be gained by him staying down there at this point, and more to be gained by calling him up and keeping him up.

This is a decision that helps the Yankees in the short and long term.  Refsnyder taking any chunk of playing time away from Drew gives the team a better chance to win games, which they need to keep as their top priority heading into the final months of the season.  The more he plays, the more he gives the team a chance to evaluate him as an everyday second baseman as well, and if he plays well he could become another young, cheap, team-controlled foundation player for the Yanks as they continue to evolve and get younger.  If this report is true and Refs is sticking around post-ASB, then kudos to the Yankees for finally making the decision. Continue reading Report: Refsnyder To Stay With The Big League Club After The All-Star Break