GM Meetings Day 3 Recap: 1 Trade, 2 Trades, And The Rumor Mill Heats Up

[caption id="attachment_79335" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Aaron Hicks 2015 Your new fourth outfielder… for now (Courtesy of Getty Images)[/caption]

Very busy day for Hipster Cash yesterday.  He started off by clearing a 40-man spot and kept the trade momentum rolling with an out-of-nowhere swap with the Twins that netted him at least his Chris Young replacement.  Here’s a full recap of yesterday’s activities.

– The first trade was a straight up roster dump.  Cash said so himself.  The Yanks sent utility man Jose Pirela to the Padres for 20-year-old right-hander Ronald Herrera.  The move got them down to 38 on the 40-man roster and gave them a potential sleeper pitching prospect.

– The second trade was the big one.  The Yankees acquired outfielder Aaron Hicks from the Twins for backup catcher John Ryan Murphy.  This trade, while unexpected, followed a pattern Cash has established recently of dealing from positions of depth to acquire young MLB players with lots of team control remaining.  Murphy really came into his own in 2015 as Brian McCann‘s regular backup, and like Francisco Cervelli before him he will now get the chance to expand into a regular starting role.  Hicks steps into Young’s righty platoon outfield role for now, but Cash did say the Yankees see him as an everyday player.

– Naturally this ramped up the speculation on Brett Gardner‘s future with the club.  When asked about the possibility of trading Gardner now, Cash said ““I have been hit on Gardy over the years quite often, and he hasn’t gone anywhere.  I value Gardy a great deal. … He’s not an easy get.” (via Chad Jennings)

– In other hot stove rumor news, Ken Rosenthal reported the Diamondbacks as one of multiple teams that have asked about Andrew Miller.  These 2 teams have hooked up on trades before and Rosenthal pointed out the match in potential trade chips, so this makes sense.

– Via Mark Feinsand, the Yankees might “make a serious run” at lefty free agent pitcher Wei-Yin Chen this offseason to give their rotation some balance.  Chen is coming off a solid year and has been a reliable mid-rotation guy since coming to the Majors in 2012.  He’s also reportedly seeking a 5-6 year deal and will cost any non-Baltimore team that signs him their 1st round draft pick.  He’s a good pitcher, but I don’t see the Yankees going that hard for him at the cost of the pick and that many years. Continue reading GM Meetings Day 3 Recap: 1 Trade, 2 Trades, And The Rumor Mill Heats Up

Yankees Send Murphy to the Twins for Aaron Hicks

It seems that this morning’s trade was a mere precursor for something with far greater ramifications for the 2016 season:

John Ryan Murphy was quite good for the Yankees this season, putting up a .277/.327/.406 (103 OPS+, 99 wRC+) line in 172 PA as Brian McCann‘s back-up. There was talk about an expanded role for Murphy heading into 2016, given McCann’s age and struggles down the stretch, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. Of course, that could also mean that Gary Sanchez could be in-line for a large role as something between a back-up and platoon player behind the dish – he’s certainly earned the opportunity.

As for Aaron Hicks, Keith Law actually wrote a bit about him as a trade target this morning. Here’s the crux of it:

No matter how you slice it, however, Aaron Hicks seems to be the most imminent victim of the roster crunch, right after establishing himself as a viable everyday player in center, hitting .259/.333/.432 as a regular after returning from a forearm injury in late June. He’s a plus-plus runner with a 70 or 80 arm in center, and his defense could still improve as he’s more reliant on pure speed than good reads or efficient routes. He has yet to show much production against right-handed pitching, but killed lefties in 2015, and at least has hit right-handers in Double-A and Triple-A the last two years. The free-agent market is deep in corner outfielders but has no center fielders to match Hicks’ potential with the glove and bat.

At the very least, Hicks seems to be an excellent replacement for Chris Young, with a career line of .272/.360/.447 with 10 HR in 261 PA against southpaws – and at something close to league-minimum salary, to boot. And with the Brett Gardner rumors swirling, who knows what else could be in store? Continue reading Yankees Send Murphy to the Twins for Aaron Hicks

Quick hit: Yanks trade Jose Pirela to the Padres

Some hot stove news!

Ronald Herrera is a right handed pitcher who made it to Double A last season so the deal opens up a spot on the 40-man roster. 20-year-old Herrera threw 43 2/3 innings for the San Antonio Missions. He gave up 48 hits, walked 14 and struck out 35.

Jose Pirela, who can play second base and the outfield, played in 37 games last year for the Yankees and batted .230/.247/.311/.558 in 78 plate appearances. Continue reading Quick hit: Yanks trade Jose Pirela to the Padres

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

GM Meetings Day 2 Recap: Young, Profar, Mets Rotation, Gold Glove Shutout

It was another calm day at the 2015 GM Meetings yesterday.  The biggest piece of Yankee hot stove news actually came out super early this morning, so that post will wait.  Here’s the day 2 recap to get the morning started:

– Via Erik Boland, Cash confirmed that the Yankees are interested in bringing Chris Young back.  “Would we like to have him back? Of course. You couldn’t ask him to be any better” Cash said.  Young was a lefty masher on a cheap 1-year deal this past season.  Have to think he’s looking to cash in on that and his market development will determine how seriously the Yankees pursue him.

– FWIW, Bob Nightengale reported the Red Sox as one of the other teams interested in Young.

– Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees are one of several teams that have checked in on Jurickson Profar‘s availability.  Profar, the top prospect in baseball as recently as 2013, has missed the past 2 seasons with shoulder injuries for the Rangers but is playing in the AZFL right now to make up for lost time.  According to Sherman, the Yankees are interested in Profar as a second baseman, but right now the Rangers are not looking to deal him.

– If you were hopeful that the Yanks could pull off a killer trade for one of the Mets’ big young arms, Cash rained on that parade. yesterday, saying “that will never happen” when asked about the possibility. (Via Mike Puma)

– Yanks got shut out in the Gold Glove department last night when the AL and NL award winners were announced.  Yoenis Cespedes beat out Brett Gardner in left field, Eric Hosmer went over Mark Teixeira at first base, and Alcides Escobar topped Didi Gregorius at short.  I have to think Teix would have won if he wouldn’t have gotten hurt.  He was spectacular at first this year. Continue reading GM Meetings Day 2 Recap: Young, Profar, Mets Rotation, Gold Glove Shutout

GM Meetings Day 1 Recap: Cash Talks Murphy And 2016 Rotation

[caption id="attachment_79316" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Cash GM Meeting Mustache The Cash Man stylin’ and profilin’ (Courtesy of Mark Feinsand)[/caption]

The 2015 GM Meetings opened in Boca Raton, Florida yesterday.  Naturally that meant Brian Cashman was going to be there, and be there he was as he knocked the fashion world on its collective ass with his stylish, hipster-y, Tobias Funke-esque arrival getup.

Besides that, there wasn’t anything major that went down yesterday.  There usually isn’t at these meetings.  This is more of a table setting for the Winter Meetings next month.  But there were a few tidbits worth talking about:

– If you were thinking of signing Daniel Murphy to play second base next year, don’t get your hopes up.  Via Mark Feinsand, Cash said “I think if we’re going to pursue something, we have two offensive-profile players already at that position, so if we did any changing there, it would be seeking more balance on both sides of the ball” when asked about Murphy.  For the money it would take to sign him and the draft pick, I’d rather pass and go with Ackley-Refs too.

– Via Erik Boland, Cash said the plan for Adam Warren is to come into camp as a starter next year.  That’s a smart move for multiple reasons.  1) You can never have too much rotation depth; 2) Warren was pretty good as a starter last year, pitching to a 3.66 ERA and 3.92 FIP in 17 starts and a 2.93 ERA in his final 8; 3) If he’s going to be a swingman again, it’s easier to go from starter to reliever than vice versa; 4) If he’s going to be on the trade block this offseason, and he is one of the team’s more attractive trade chips, he’s more valuable as a starter.

– Via Wally Matthews, the situation isn’t as clear for CC Sabathia.  Cash wouldn’t commit to CC as a starter next season, saying “we’ll see, I’m not guaranteeing anybody anything.”  This is a typical company line when discussing roster battles that haven’t started yet, but CC has always been a pitcher above those battles in his time with the Yankees.  He’s a guy who’s been guaranteed a rotation spot every year that he’s been here, until now.

It’s hard to argue with the change in status, though.  Between the repeated injuries, the major decline in performance, and the now public battle with alcoholism, CC is not the rock he used to be for the rotation.  The Yankees have 5 better starters than him and it’s in their best interests to finally marginalize his role on the pitching staff.  He’ll come into camp and compete for a job as long as he’s healthy, and he should.  But if he doesn’t pitch well, he shouldn’t be gifted a spot in the starting 5. Continue reading GM Meetings Day 1 Recap: Cash Talks Murphy And 2016 Rotation

Heyman: Cashman willing to listen to offers for Miller

Yes, it’s all speculative.

Yes, it’s possible that none of this will happen and that it’s all just talk but…

Jon Heyman is reporting that Brian Cashman may be willing to trade anyone away and that could include closer Andrew Miller even though it’s quite a longshot.

“We’re open to all ideas — as always,” Cashman said when asked about Miller. “It doesn’t mean I’d do anything but if the Dutch never asked the Indians for Manhattan you’d be living in New Jersey.”

Again, this could mean nothing, but Miller doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his current contract and if the Yankees can get a big return, they may pull the trigger on a deal.

Who would you want the Yankees to acquire for Miller? Who would you package in with Miller? Get creative and leave your suggestion in the comments.
Continue reading Heyman: Cashman willing to listen to offers for Miller

MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents List And Predictions

With free agents now able to sign with any team and the GM meetings starting up today, the timing couldn’t be better for MLB Trade Rumors to post their annual top 50 free agents list and predictions for where all of those free agents will sign and for how much.

The entire list and write-up on each player can be found here, but for Yankee-centric purposes here’s what you need to know.  MLBTR predicts the Yankees will sign Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and Chris Young (the outfielder).

Heyward is their #2 free agent and MLBTR predicts a 10-year/$200 million deal.  That dollar amount seems a little light to me and the years seems longer than the Yankees would be willing to go, but if that deal comes with an opt-out clause, maybe that would inspire the Yankees to pursue a longer deal if they were OK with the dollars.  Zobrist comes in at #21 and is projected to get a 3-year/$51 million deal.  Not sure how I’d feel about that.  Young is #46 and MLTR predicts 2 years and $12 mil for him.  I’d let him walk for multiple years.  Sell high on Young if he’s looking to cash in on his 2015.

I don’t have a hard time seeing the Yankees signing any one of these three, or even signing Zobrist and re-signing Young, but I have a real hard time seeing them sign all 3 this offseason.  Especially not at those prices.  The big money isn’t going to be spent again until more big money comes off, and that isn’t happening until next offseason.  If all 3 do sign, however, that has to make the Yankees a favorite in the AL next year. Continue reading MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents List And Predictions

Quick hit: Sanchez wins the AFL All-Star game MVP

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For the second year in a row, a player in the Yankees organization has won the Fall Stars Player of the Game award in the Arizona League’s Fall Star Game. Last year it was Greg Bird, and this time, it was catcher Gary Sanchez who finished 1-3 with two RBI – those two RBI coming off a game-tying, line drive home run that also plated Jurickson Profar of the Rangers.

He also threw out two would-be base stealers in the game and played behind the plate the entire game for the West team which won the game 8-3 over the East.

Sanchez said after the game, “I wasn’t expecting it, because other hitters did a good job, too. But I took it, and it’s something I really feel good about.”

The 22-year-old Sanchez doing very well in the AFL this year, leading the league in home runs with six, and he’s batting .328/.353/.688 with 17 RBI through 15 games for the Surprise Saguaros.
Continue reading Quick hit: Sanchez wins the AFL All-Star game MVP