Quick Hit: Olney On The Yankee Lineup And Bullpen

Bit of a slow start to the day, so I thought I’d point out what Buster Olney is up to this week.  If you haven’t been following, he’s been listing his top 10 MLB team roster groups.  Started with rotations on Monday, bullpens yesterday, and today it’s lineups.

All the posts are Insider-only, but here’s what you need to know from a Yankee perspective.  Olney had the Yanks’ bullpen ranked #2 behind Kansas City, mainly on the strength of the Andrew Miller-Dellin Betances late-inning tandem but also due to the “stacked” depth of left and right-handed middle relief.  He ranked the projected Yankee lineup 10th today, which came as a bit of a surprise to me, and summed them up with this statement:

“The lack of a rock-solid, MVP-type middle-of-the-order hitter will probably prevent the Yankees from climbing among the leaders in run production, but improvement seems inevitable.”

That sounds about right, as does his evaluation of the bullpen depth.  …

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Arbitration Figure Submittal Deadline Coming This Friday

It’s not a huge deal, but it is worth pointing out that the deadline for eligible players to file for salary arbitration was yesterday.  Teams and players have until Friday to exchange salary proposals with each other, and the Yankees are down to 4 eligible players after their run of offseason trades: Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and David Carpenter.  There were no reports yesterday of any of those 4 not filing for arbitration, so it’s safe to assume that all of them did.

The Yankees started the offseason with 7 eligible players.  They’ve already re-signed Esmil Rogers and there’s no reason to expect that they won’t come to terms with these 4 guys.  They’re saving themselves a few bucks on payroll by shrinking their number of eligible guys, and they’re also saving themselves a few bucks by trading away guys who were in their 2nd or 3rd year of eligibility for guys who are entering their 1st.  …

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Yanks Acquire RHP Chris Martin, DFA Gonzalez Germen

Acquiring a pitcher for cash from the Rockies worked out well the last time the Yankees did it.  Guess they felt it was worth going back to that well again for this minor move.

Martin is a 28-year-old righty reliever who made his MLB debut in 2014, pitching to a 6.89/3.77/2.90 tripleslash with 14 K in 15.2 IP.  He throws fastballs of all kinds and his 4-seamer sits comfortably in the mid-90s, and his primary offspeed pitch is a low-80s curveball.  He’s listed at 6’8’/215 too, so he’s a pretty hyyuuuuuuuge dude.

Germen’s time with the Yankees was brief and over before it ever started.  He had a very small chance of making a significant impact out of the ‘pen this year.  Clearly the Yankees felt that Martin was an upgrade over him.  …

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Resetting The Organizational Catching Depth

As usual, the Yankees are experiencing the pains of a 40-man roster crunch.  They have yet to make a move to open up a spot for the recently-signed Stephen Drew, and when they do they will have to deal with a possible surplus of infielders on the roster.  That’s not the worst problem to have when you’re coming off a year in which your infield was as bad as the Yankees’ was in 2014, and it should work itself out by the time Spring Training comes and goes.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Bombers were going through a similar crunch with their catching depth.  They opened the offseason with 5 catchers on the 40-man and not enough spots for all those catchers.  Francisco Cervelli was traded to Pittsburgh for Justin Wilson, which opened up the backup MLB job for John Ryan Murphy and eased the playing time concerns at the rest of the upper levels.  With that issue cleared up, let’s do a quick review of the team’s current catching depth.…

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Quick Hit: Some Good Hensley News For Your Tuesday Morning Blues

Hope everyone is just as excited for the 2015 season as I am!

A video posted by Ty Hensley (@tyhensley17) on

If the video isn’t playing for anybody, what you’re not seeing is an Instagram video of Ty Hensley throwing in a batting cage.  It was posted by Hensley himself over the weekend, and seeing that he’s OK and already back to baseball activities is a huge visual sigh of relief.  The early reports on his attack and resulting injuries were very serious and the hospital photos were pretty bad, so to know we can go from simply wishing for him to make a full recovery back to wondering how much this will affect the start of his 2015 season is great news.

As for how these injuries will impact Hensley’s season, if at all, I think we’ll have to wait and see.  Missing a few weeks of an offseason throwing program doesn’t seem like it should be a huge deal for a young pitcher, but this year was supposed to be his first in full-season ball.  …

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Yankees formally announce coaching hires and changes

The Yankees made the hires of hitting coaches Jeff Pentland and Alan Cockrell, and infield coach Joe Espada official and also announced some changes within the 2015 coaching staff.

Here’s a link to the full press release press release and here are those changes:

The New York Yankees today announced Joe Girardi’s coaches for the 2015 season, with Jeff Pentland (hitting), Joe Espada (third base) and Alan Cockrell (assistant hitting) joining the staff. Larry Rothschild (pitching) and Gary Tuck (bullpen) will each return to the roles they served in 2014, while Rob Thomson will now be the club’s bench coach and Tony Pena will serve as first base coach.

No more Robby Thomson and his horrible sends home! Hooray! Though it does seem odd that Tony Pena is now the first base coach and Thomson has been promoted to bench coach – the same positions they held back in 2008, during Joe Girardi’s first year as Yankee manager.


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Picking Out The Most Realistic Targets From The Remaining Free Agent Starter Pool

Vogelsong vs KC

Not a sexy option, but could pitch more innings than CC next year. Courtesy of Getty Images

However we all individually feel about things like the Stephen Drew signing, the recent bullpen moves, or the overall status and potential of the team, one thing we can all agree on is the need for more starting pitching.  There are serious questions and concerns about each guy in the projected rotation, most of them health-related, and the already thin organizational starting depth was dealt a small blow by the trading away of Manny Banuelos.  Ivan Nova‘s return will help some, but he can’t  be expected to step back into the rotation and pitch like the 2013 2nd half version of himself.

The Maxes Scherzer and Jameses Shields of the world are still hanging there for the taking on the free agent tree of temptation, but all signs point to the Yankees sticking to their word and not inking either of those 2 this offseason.  …

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We Don’t Really Need To Talk About Ryan Howard, Do We?

There was a rumbling of trade musings last week after this Jerry Crasnick tweet in which he listed the teams who were not on Ryan Howard‘s no-trade list.  The Yankees were included in that list of teams, so naturally that sparked a run of “what if the Yankees traded for Ryan Howard?” posts around the Yankosphere.  To be honest, I don’t understand why even one post of that nature needed to be written.  Ryan Howard is not coming to the Yankees.  Period.

Mark Teixeira may have been bad last year, but he was still better than Howard.  He had a .711 OPS to Howard’s .690, he hit 1 fewer HR than Howard in 30 fewer games, and he significantly bested Howard in bWAR and fWAR thanks to the fact that he can still actually play first base.  He’s younger than Howard by 4-5 months, he’s owed less money over the same period of time ($46.25 mil for the next 2 years compared to $60), and he’s a better 2-way player than Howard with a better chance to improve his production in 2015 if his wrist is stronger.…

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More coaching news: Espada to be infield coach

As you can see, Jack Curry is busy reporting hiring news today. Hey Jack, some of us (Brad V) are trying to watch football.

Anyway, Joe Espada was drafted by the Oakland A’s in 1996 and spent his entire playing career in the minors. He last played with the Pensacola Pelicans in the Central League (An independent league) in 2005.

Espada previously served as a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman. After serving as the Marlins’ third base coach, Espada turned down the Marlins’ High-A Jupiter managing position, opting instead to take the scouting position with the Yankees in 2013.

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