Offseason Roster Update: 1/2/15

The Yankees kept on wheeling and dealing yesterday, trading former top prospect Manny Banuelos to the Atlanta Braves for a pair of Major League relievers.  Now it feels like they really might be done putting next year’s team together, but never write off the Yanks on anything.  The last time we looked at the projected 25-man roster, I thought the team needed more starting depth, another relief arm, and some more beef on the bench.  They’ve hit on 2 of 3 there, and that’s not too shabby.

C)- Brian McCann
1B- Mark Teixeira
2B- Jose Pirela (or Rob Refsnyder)
SS- Didi Gregorius
3B- Chase Headley
LF- Brett Gardner
CF- Jacoby Ellsbury
RF- Carlos Beltran
DH- Alex Rodriguez

SP) Masahiro Tanaka
SP) Michael Pineda
SP) CC Sabathia
SP) Nathan Eovaldi
SP) Chris Capuano

Bullpen- Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson, David Carpenter, Chasen Shreve, Esmil Rogers

Bench- Brendan Ryan, Garrett Jones, Chris Young, John Ryan Murphy

Hard to say right now whether this team will be a little better or a little worse than the low-80s win projections from a few weeks ago.  …

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No-Longer-Breaking-But-Still-Important News: Yanks Trade ManBan To Braves For A Pair Of Relievers

Well there’s that next move in the new plan Cash said he had.  This might be the most surprising trade of the offseason and it’s another one that looks good for the Yankees.  Carpenter is a 29-year-old right-handed reliever with a 3.62/3.42/3.54 tripleslash and 201 K in 186.2 career innings.  He throws hard, he gets a lot of swings and misses, and he is under team control for 3 more years.  Shreve is an interesting prospect as a 24-year-old lefty who made his MLB debut in 2014, pitching to a 0.73 ERA and striking out 15 in 12.1 IP.  He can fill up the strike zone, get swings and misses when he needs them, and could have more upside than just a LOOGY.

Once the crown jewel of the Yankee farm system, Banuelos had fallen on hard times over the past few seasons thanks to injuries, most notably an elbow injury that required TJS.  …

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“About that $20+ Million I Saved You, Hal…”

Happy New Year! As Brad just noted, the Yankees’ offseason moves have youngered an old team – but they’ve also made it a cheaper team. Yes, they’re still old and expensive, but the difference is striking. Brad tallied the age differences, so I’ll tally key money changes here (all numbers are for one year’s salary) — which is somewhat fuzzy math, but bear with me, because there’s a point I want to make:

  • Losing Kuroda while resigning Capuano for a $2.75m raise → saved $13.25m
  • Losing McCarthy, dumping Kelley, and dumping Thorton late last year, then replacing them with a slew of $500K-$1m guys (Mitchell, Rogers, Miller, Whitley, German) → saved about $7.5m
  • Losing Jeter and getting Gregorious → saved about $11m (depending on Didi’s likely $1m-ish for 2015)
  • Losing Ichiro, using a full year of Young instead → saved $4m
  • Losing Prado and getting Jones (ignoring Phelps/Eovaldi, a monetary wash) → saved $6m
  • Dumping Roberts late last year, replacing him with Refsnyder/Pirela this year → saved $4.5m
  • Replacing Cervelli with Murphy → saved about $1m
  • Passing up Robertson for Miller → added $3.8m (over D-Rob’s $5.2m in 2014, but they saved $2.5m in a sense, by picking Miller at $9m over over D-Rob at $11.5m)
  • Keeping Headley → added $2.5m (the raise from his 2014 salary)
  • Getting (stuck with) A-Rod back on the books → added $18m (he’s getting $21m, but BBREF shows he actually got paid almost $3m last year)
  • Total: saved $47.25m; added $24.3m → net savings of about $23m

I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of other $1-2m differences, like the part-year 2014 salaries of Drew, Johnson, and Thorton, as well as possible modest raises embedded in some long-term contracts.…

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Consider These Options

Player A 2015 Steamer Projection- .274/.326/.402, 2.6 fWAR
Player B 2015 Steamer Projection- .262/.328/.390, 1.7 fWAR
Player C 2015 Steamer Projection- .259/.307/.381, 0.7 fWAR
Player D 2015 Steamer Projection- .262/.349/.400, 3.9 fWAR

Player A is Martin Prado, the originally scheduled programming at second base.  Players B and C are Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, the rookie tandem now tasked with replacing him.  Player D is Ben Zobrist, newly available second baseman/really, really good utility guy.  Just wanted to toss this up here to try to push my pro-Zobrist agenda a little more.

Think about it.  Prado was written into the starting second base job very lightly in pencil when the roster plans for next year starting coming together.  The safe assumption was that he’d play there as much as injuries allowed him to, with third base and right field both looking like they were going to be most in need of his services at some point.  That plan got scaled down by the signing of Chase Headley, but the opportunity was always there for Prado to be the floating everyday utility guy and for the injuries that proceeded his floating to open up a spot in the lineup for Refsnyder.…

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Quick Hit: Have The Yanks Called Tampa About Ben Zobrist Yet?

Zobrist vs CHW

Courtesy of Getty Images

Because if they haven’t they’re missing a golden opportunity.  Zobrist was made expendable earlier today when the Rays agreed to a 1-year deal with Asdrubal Cabrera, and Tampa is reportedly willing to move him.  At age 33, Zobrist is a switch-hitting, multiple position-playing super everyday utility man.  He’s what Martin Prado would be if Martin Prado was better at baseball in every way and he’s available on a steal of a 1-year/$7.5 million deal for 2015.

Simply put, Zobrist does everything well.  He’s a .264/.354/.429 career hitter, although he’s posted averages of .270 or better in each of the last 3 seasons, with few strikeouts (15.7% career K rate) and a ton of walks (12.7% career BB rate).  He’s an above-average defensive player at second base and in the outfield corners, and he can fake it at third, shortstop, and in center in a pinch.  He doesn’t steal a ton of bases, but he’s had 10 or more for 6 years in a row and he rates as an above-average baserunner.…

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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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Yanks trade Shawn Kelley to the Padres (UPDATED)

According to Robert Murray and Chris Cotillo, the Yankees have acquired Johnny Barbato from the Padres for reliever Shawn Kelley.

Barbato is a 22 year old right hander who last pitched for Double-A San Antonio in the Padres’ system. He was 2-2 with 2.87 ERA and earned 16 saves.

** UPDATE 6:26 PM** – Interesting comment by Kelley on the trade, via Dan Barbarisi:

“[Cash] said he hated to see me go, but they have some things they’re doing, things they’re working on, and it was part of new plan.”

A new plan, eh?  What’s involved in this new plan?  What else are the Yankees working on?  Gotta think it’s another rotation piece, no?

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Quick Hit: The Current Rotation Depth

With the Winter Meetings well in the rearview, the new year dead ahead, and pitcher-catcher report dates closer than you might realize, it appears as though the Yankees have made all the major moves they’re going to make this offseason.  Hiroki Kuroda would have made a lot of sense, but his announcement that he will return to Japan to pitch in 2015 ended the possibility of him being brought back as additional rotation depth.  Scott astutely pointed out how that might not be the worst thing in the world earlier this morning, but even without a declining Hirok the need for more starting pitching depth is obvious.  If the organizational rotation depth was ranked 1-10, here’s how it might look right now:

1) Masahiro Tanaka
2) Michael Pineda
3) CC Sabathia
4) Nathan Eovaldi
5) Chris Capuano

6) Bryan Mitchell (made final start of 2014)
7) Ivan Nova (slated to be back from TJS in May; might not be useful until August if at all)
8) Jose De Paula (made 24 starts between Double-A and Triple-A since 2013)
9) Chase Whitley (pitched to a 4.76/3.81 split in 12 Major League starts in 2014)
10) Manny Banuelos (pitched 76.2 innings over 25 starts in Minors in 2014 coming back from TJS)

That’s not very deep at all.  …

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