Ben Zobrist Is A Bigger Upgrade Than You Think

Zobrist

Courtesy Scot Tucker/ SFBay

Despite having to suffer through Stephen Drew all year at second base, the feeling I get from most Yankees fans is that they think Ben Zobrist wouldn’t be a real difference making acquisition. Maybe it’s because Zobrist isn’t a flashy player and is a little older, but Yankees fans should know how good this guy is from his days in Tampa Bay. Somehow, he is still so underrated.

Zobrist has played 60 games for the Oakland A’s this season after recovering from a torn left meniscus in his knee. He has posted a .258/.347/.421/.768 slash line with a .334 wOBA and a 117 wRC+. That is only slightly below his career line of .264/.354/.428/.782 with a .343 wOBA and a 118 wRC+.

Zobrist also defends whatever position he is playing extremely well. He’s the kind of player the Yankees love because he’s a switch hitter who takes a ton of walks. Incredibly, he has put together four straight seasons with a WAR over 5.0 and three of those seasons it’s been at least 5.6.…

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Minor League Stories of the Week

It was an exciting week in the Yankees farm system, with a few fun storylines to watch play out. With his recent promotion, Gary Sanchez plays the biggest role, but after the way he has been playing and his apparent new focus on his professional career, it is well deserved. Without further adieu, here are the big stories from the week.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
Sanchez made his Triple-A debut in style on Saturday. The Yankees’ much vaunted catching prospect spent the last couple seasons in Trenton, but after a strong showing over the last month, and an appearance in the Futures Game, he got the call to join the RailRiders. In his last nine games with Trenton, the young backstop hit .342 with four homers and four doubles. On Saturday, Sanchez wasted little time in announcing his arrival, as he drove a three-run shot over the wall inhis very first at-bat. It was Sanchez’s thirteenth homer of the season and he finished the night going 2-4, accounting for all of the RailRiders runs, as they fell to Louisville 6-3.…

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Trying (And Failing) To Make Sense Of Ryan Over Refsnyder

This was supposed to be a long post analyzing the decision to send Rob Refsnyder down and keep Brendan Ryan up on the active roster.  I was going to try to be fair and rational and logical and come up with an explanation that made sense for the team and the players involved.  But after thinking about it for the last 18 hours or so, I can’t do it.  I can’t.  I really don’t have the energy or the desire to try to rationalize this move, and after 18 hours I still can’t figure out why the Yankees made it.

No matter what way I try to look at the decision, it doesn’t make sense to me.  Keeping Ryan over Refsnyder makes the team weaker and worse than it was before.  Refsnyder might not have the defensive flexibility that Ryan does, but he looked good enough at second base.  Wouldn’t the team be better off with him at second and Stephen Drew on the bench as the utility infielder?  …

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Game 91 Recap: Yankees 2 Mariners 1

Teix HR vs SEA

Standard Teix message rates apply. Courtesy of the AP

Win the series.  Just win the series.  It’s all about winning series for the Yankees right now.  2 out of 3 while the rest of the AL East goes hot and cold will make it an easier stretch run, and it doesn’t matter how you get the W as long as you get it.  They got a rare stellar start from CC Sabathia this afternoon, and even though they didn’t do enough offensively to get him a win, they did just enough to come away with a team win and a series win.

It was a blast from the past for CC today.  He was pitching like he was feeling good after the extra rest, hitting 93 on his 4-seam fastball and sitting low 90s on his 4-seamer and sinker all day.  Seattle had a tough time squaring him up and didn’t generate much through 4 innings.  When the 5th came and the Mariners went back-to-back singles to lead it off, it looked like the one bad inning was coming.  …

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Game 91: Hernandez vs. Sabathia

Here’s today’s game thread.

MARINERS
1. Austin Jackson CF
2. Kyle Seager 3B
3. Robinson Cano 2B
4. Nelson Cruz RF
5. Franklin Gutierrez LF
6. Mark Trumbo 1B
7. Jesus Montero DH
8. Chris Taylor SS
9. Mike Zunino C

YANKEES
1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
2. Brett Gardner LF
3. Alex Rodriguez DH
4. Mark Teixeira 1B
5. Brian McCann C
6. Carlos Beltran RF
7. Chase Headley 3B
8. Didi Gregorius SS
9. Stephen Drew 2B

Enjoy the game.

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Game 90 Quick Recap: SEA 4 NYY 3

Yesterday it was Kyle Seager going yard twice for all of Seattle’s runs.  Today it was Robinson Cano.  Yesterday those home runs weren’t enough to beat the Yankees, but today they were as the Mariners reversed last night’s decision and picked up a 4-3 win over the Bombers.

The first Cano homer didn’t take long at all.  Brad Miller singled to lead off the game and Cano came up with 1 on and 1 out looking to pull a first-pitch fastball.  He got one from Michael Pineda and did what he used to do all the time in Yankee Stadium to give his team a quick 2-0 lead.

The Yankees didn’t get much going against Hisashi Iwakuma early.  That changed in the bottom of the 4th when Mark Teixeira singled with 2 outs.  This brought Brian McCann to the plate and he got a hanging fastball from Iwakuma that he deposited over the wall for a game-tying 2-run homer.  But Seager led off the top of the 6th with a single and Cano got to Pineda again, yanking another 2-run homer into the right field seats.…

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Game 90: Iwakuma vs. Pineda

Pineda vs BAL

Here’s your game thread!

MARINERS
Miller SS
Seager 3B
Cano 2B
Cruz RF
Smith LF
Jackson CF
Trumbo DH
Morrison 1B
Zunino C

Iwakuma P

YANKEES
Ellsbury CF
Gardner LF
Rodriguez DH
Teixeira 1B
McCann C
Headley 3B
Jones RF
Gregorius SS
Refsnyder 2B

Pineda P

Enjoy the game!

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Four Reasons Why the Yankees Should Trade for Papelbon, Make Him Closer

The trade deadline is just two weeks away. The Yankees are in a great position to the buyers. That said, I don’t think anyone wants the Yankees to completely sell the farm and mortgage the future yet again. So here’s a trade target they can pick up for little while still improving the team: Jonathan Papelbon.

You know him. The Phillies have him signed to an over-market contract at $13 million with a vesting option that is almost sure to hit for next year. They don’t want him. He doesn’t want to be there. You probably hate him too. I know I did for years. But he’s the perfect low-cost piece for the Yankees to add at the deadline. Here’s why:

He’s still very good

Papelbon has been on a terrible Phillies team for a few years now, so I know I’ve tended to forget how good he is. His headline numbers since signing:

  • 2012: 70 innings, 2.44 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 11.9 K/9, 2.3 BB/9
  • 2013: 61.2 innings, 2.92 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 8.3 K/9, 1.6 BB/9
  • 2014: 66.1 innings, 2.04 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 8.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
  • 2015: 33.2 innings, 2.60 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 9.4 K/9, 1.9 BB/9

He’s pretty good!…

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Game 89 Quick Recap: NYY 4 SEA 3

Sorry for the late recap.  I was out getting free t-shirts at the Brewer game and celebrating a little too hard post-game.  Part of that celebration was due to A-Rod’s game-winning home run for the Yanks, a big hit to save a second half-opening win over the Mariners.

If it wouldn’t have been for the existence of Kyle Seager, Masahiro Tanaka would have had a spotless performance last night.  Seager got to him for a solo home run in the 3rd to get Seattle on the board and a 2-run shot in the 5th to give them the lead.  Other than those 2 hits, Tanaka was on point last night.  7 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts.  Probably not good enough for some NY sports writers, but plenty good enough for me.

The Yankees bookended their 4 runs with solo homers, Chris Young‘s to start things in the bottom of the 2nd and Alex Rodriguez‘s to pull back ahead in the 7th.  …

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