Yankees To Be A High Variance Team Again in 2016

Entering the 2015 season the New York Yankees had a ton of different variables that were going to alter the course of their season. They were completely unpredictable and it was impossible to know what the answers to the variables would be. It turns out the Yankees got mostly good answers. Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda stayed mostly healthy. Luis Severino and Greg Bird were ready to contribute. Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira were able to turn back the clock. Didi Gregorious and Nathan Eovaldi took steps forward. As we fast forward to this season, many of those same questions have to be answered affirmative again for the Yankees to get back to the postseason and they’re once again almost impossible to figure out.

You used to always know what you were getting with the Yankees in the previous decade because they made sure they had a championship caliber team every season. They were about as low variance as you could get.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Yankees Sign Donovan Solano To MiL Deal

Well it ain’t Juan Uribe, but the Yankees did do something to address their lack of upper level infield depth by signing Donovan Solano to a Minor League deal yesterday.  Solano, 28, is a long-time MiL player in the Cardinals and Marlins systems and has seen small chunks of time at the MLB level over the last 3 seasons.

A right-handed hitter, Solano has a .257/.307/.328 tripleslash in 1,145 career MLB plate appearances and a .263/.314/.323 tripleslash in over 3,000 career MiL plate appearances.  If nothing else, he’s been freaky consistent as he’s worked his way up the ladder to the show.  As a whole, he’s not much offensively.  He can put the bat on the ball, but that’s about it.  Doesn’t draw walks and doesn’t hit for any power.  Defensively he’s much more useful, spending time at second base, third base, and in the outfield corners in his MLB career and some at shortstop back in his MiL days.… Click here to read the rest

Can The Yankees Just Sign Juan Uribe Already?

It’s been about a month since I mapped out the projected Opening Day roster, and not much has changed since then despite the recent acquisition of Aroldis Chapman.  He simply slots into the top third of the bullpen, bumping everybody beneath him down a spot and bumping Jacob Lindgren back to Triple-A to open the season, which probably wouldn’t be a bad thing for him coming off elbow surgery and a lot of missed time.

At this point the roster is basically set with the exception of the final bench spot.  Looking at the makeup and positional depth, there is a need for a backup at third base.  The talk right now is that Starlin Castro could be a possibility if he’s willing to play the position and the Yankees are willing to use him there.  But Castro hasn’t played the hot corner since his early MiL days and only recently converted to playing second base regularly.  Somehow I don’t think the Yankees envisioned trading for him to turn him into a super utility infielder, but the point remains that there needs to be a reliable backup behind Chase Headley and filling that need would be the best use of that final bench spot.… Click here to read the rest

Why Sell Low on Nova?

Nova vs TOR 2015

Courtesy of Getty Images

I had a four year-old Chevy Tahoe with a lot of life left, but a fender-bender left it dinged, scratched, and missing a side window. The needed series of cosmetic repairs would’ve cost maybe $3K over a few months, and by using it over those months, I could’ve verified that nothing structural was wrong. But I was kind of sick of it, so I left it looking like a Sanford & Son junkyard prop, and I sold it for $9K less than bluebook value.

OK, I made that up. I just envy the southern/midwestern trial lawyers who sell their points with homespun anecdotes about good ol’ American cars, horses, and cheese grits. I was really talking about Ivan Nova: I don’t understand the sell-low strategy of trying to trade a potentially useful player exactly when his value is at a low point.

The problem isn’t just trading him after a bad half-year. The bigger problem is that we don’t know whether his 2015 performance (1) was just bad because he’s bad now or (2) was suppressed by injury recovery and rust that he could get past in 2016.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Ken Griffey Jr. And Mike Piazza Elected To The Baseball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2016

It’s official.  To almost no one’s surprise, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Hall of Fame today.  To the surprise and disappointment of some who may have been encouraged by the early public results, they were the only 2 players to be selected.  Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines both fell just short of the required votes and Griffey’s fellow first-year eligible guy Trevor Hoffman also fell a bit short.

Griffey was named on 437 of 440 ballots, giving him the new individual record for vote percentage at 99.3%.  Squawk about the 3 voters who left him off if you want.  I’m going to choose to believe they made the call knowing Griffey would get in easily anyway and deciding to cast that vote for another player they thought was in need of one.  We all know there are plenty of those guys out there.  Piazza came in on a healthy 83% of the vote, with Bagwell falling just shy of the 75% threshold at 71.6 and Raines at 69.8.  … Click here to read the rest

Wednesday Morning Links: 1/6/16

First links post of the new year, huzzah!  Also an important day on the MLB calendar, as we will find out later today which players have been elected to the 2016 Hall of Fame class and which players have not.  Early results have been very favorable to Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza, and both Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines could sneak in too.  That’d be a nice class.  The announcement comes at 6 PM Eastern tonight.  Until then, here are some links.

– On Monday, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs looked at the last 20 years of Yankee bullpen win expectancy to show how they’ve never been below average in any of those last 20 years.  Of course Mo factors into that in a big way, but even with Mo that’s an amazing stat.  There were some ‘pens that were Mo and a bunch of garbage.

– Nick Ashbourne of BP Bronx touched on the dramatic decrease in framing performance by Brian McCann last year and what it says about his defense going forward.… Click here to read the rest

Report: Actual MLB Team “Has Had Interest” In Ivan Nova

Deep in the underbelly of his latest weekend MLB column, Nick Cafardo did something that I honestly didn’t expect to see done this offseason.  He provided some real, actual, reported evidence that another MLB team is interested in trading for Ivan Nova.  The Yankees have had Nova on the market for a while now, although I think it would be a stretch to say they’re actually “shopping” him.  Team-friendly arb deal or not, there’s not much about Nova’s recent track record that would inspire teams to want to trade something away for him.  And yet Cafardo managed to tie the Marlins to Nova, saying “Miami has had interest.”

Whether that interest still exists now in the present or only in the past is unknown, and either way there isn’t a great match to be made between the Yanks and Marlins.  Miami doesn’t have any non-Jose Fernandez young starting pitching of value and there’s no way they’re trading Marcell Ozuna back to the Yankees for Nova.  … Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: When Does Baseball Start Again?

With the calendar flipping over from December 2015 to January 2016 and the football regular season wrapping up, I think it’s safe to say we’ve crossed the threshold from “excited about hot stove season” to “suffering from hot stove cabin fever” in the baseball world.  Good thing too, because with 46 days until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa, we’re closer to the start of the 2016 season than we are to the start of the 2015 offseason.  That’s a good thing.  Means it won’t be long now before we can step out of the hot stove haze and into some fresher baseball air.

But in the meantime, can somebody go check on my boy John Harper?  Maybe fluff his pillows a little bit, get him some more juice, and take his temperature?  He’s taking the hot stove fever thing a little too far with his latest trade proposal:

“If only the Mets and Yankees would be willing to take the chance.

Click here to read the rest