Thursday, July 27, 2017

A STARTING PITCHER THAT CASHMAN SHOULD THINK ABOUT...


The trade deadline is five days away and the Yankees have made improvements to the infield and the bullpen but the stating rotation still needs to be addressed. Time is running out and soon some of the options will be also. Not to mention some options are just really bad.

Photo: Getty Images
The Yankees have already been tied to a few names. Last week we speculated if the Yankees were one of 12 teams connected to Jaime Garcia read that HERE. This week the Yankees have been talking to the Oakland A's about Sonny Gray and then there is that crazy idea floating around about Justin Verlander in a Yankee uniform (and it really is crazy). But there is one pitcher that is flying under the radar.

Photo: Getty Images
The St. Louis Cardinals are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. They are currently 3.5 games back in the National League central but Lance Lynn is in the final year of his contract so he is a rental. He's making $7.5 million this season and he is probably worth making the expensive $18 million qualifying offer to in the off season but Lynn will be able to secure a longer term deal worth more money so he would likely decline. The Cardinals could decide to just deal him now.

While I don't see the Cardinals cutting him in the next few days especially after dealing lefty Marco Gonzales there is still a small chance. The Yankees need another starter and Gray is likely going to be expensive. If Cashman is going to stick to his game plan of the Yankees being "cautious buyers" Gray will likely cost the Yankees some blue chip prospects. Lynn could add some veteran experience at the back end.

Lynn may not be the most exciting addition compared to other pitchers, but he certainly makes more sense than Justin Verlander! He's cheaper, won't cost us the better talent and the guy has a better record than Verlander does. He's also got veteran experience and knows what it is like to play in the postseason since he was part of the winning 2011 World Series team.

Photo: Getty Images
Lynn does have some injury history. He missed all of last year due to Tommy John surgery but before that a minor oblique injury in 2011. Before missing last season he pitched 175 innings or more between 2012 and 2015 so he is an innings eater. He relies heavily on his fastball but can throw a four-seamer, sinker and a cutter with good control. He also uses his change-up and curveballs enough to throw hitters off so he has the tools. Lynn's ultimate challenge at Yankee stadium would be fly balls though, he's not a ground ball guy. Overall though, he is no more risk than any other pitcher the Yankees have been connected to recently.

Lynn may have been overlooked for awhile now but he makes sense for the Yankees. I'm sure the Cardinals probably won't see it the same way though. It's worth a call though. You can't get a "NO" unless you call and ask and he would be an upgrade over Bryan Mitchell and the other fill-ins.

Food for thought as the Trade deadline looms closer...



--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor 
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ




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THE BIGGEST MOVE THE YANKEES WILL MAKE

Photo: Getty Images
Once upon a time a couple of months ago, if Jordan Montgomery had gone 6 ²/₃ innings and given up only two hits after just 85 pitches, you could almost buy Joe Girardi giving him the hook with two outs.  

Photo: Getty Images
Back then, after all, Montgomery was still the hunch play Joe plucked from spring training obscurity, and the team was still test-driving some of the new kids on the block, seemingly playing for the fun and future glory to come.

Problem is, Monty's not a hunch play anymore, the rest of the division tanked along with the Yankees' hot start and now the division is up for grabs. The team appears -- according to the vaunted  rumor mill, at least -- to be toying with the idea of blowing some important prospects on a starter to make a run at the postseason this year.

And that means Joe, suddenly, has all the excuse he needs to abandon the youth movement whenever it suits him instead of, you know, stretching the kid and others like him into  real live starters like the team may about to be buying with valuable prospects.

So when the medium-leverage situation came up Tuesday against the Reds, instead of leaving Monty in to continue on cruise control and perhaps raise his game and length a notch, Joe yanked him and went to his newly restocked pen.  The move worked great -- for one out by  Kahnle, who was the prize of the recent multi-player trade with the White Sox.

Photo: Getty Images
Then came the eighth inning and  the struggling Betances who nearly booted the game, walking two and coughing up a run-scoring double, requiring yet a third reliever -- Warren -- to come to HIS rescue.  When asked after the game his reason for pulling the cruising young Monty, Joe's response:

“That’s why we went and got these guys,’’ Girardi said of the Yankees’ bullpen, that saw Kahnle and David Robertson added in last week’s trade that also brought the Todd Frazier. “It’s a situation [where] if I leave [Montgomery] in and the guy hits a home run, I’m asked that. I just felt it was time.”

So Joe's logic behind not letting the kid try pitching a little deeper into the game or at least finish the seventh was simply that he had new toys to play with and couldn't resist the urge.

Never mind that the rook had thrown more pitches in five of his six prior starts. And never mind that a big reason the team needed those new toys for the bullpen in the first place was due to Joe's overuse of the bullpen.  This may seem like a small thing, but this is another example of why I hope the team doesn't waste prospects going all in this year.

Because one of the most critical upgrades needed to take this younger, leaner, more dynamic team to the next level can't be fulfilled by any trade this week, in my humble opinion.  It can only be accomplished by letting Joe's contract expire after the final game of the season and performing a proper search for the right skipper who can make decisive, bold moves for the right reasons and won't hide behind ridiculous excuses to justify panic moves that blow up in his face.

Photo: Getty Images
I was still seething about Joe's excuse for yanking Monty the next day (yes, I'm capable of seething even after a win when I think we're winning battles that can lose wars) when I saw CC say a curious thing  after Luis Severino wiped the floor with the Reds.

Asked if Severino was now officially the team's ace, the Yankees former ace  had to think about it a couple seconds, and then began  by qualifying his answer thusly:

"That's up to Joe," Sabathia said. "That term is thrown around so loosely these days. But, yeah, for what that term is, he is."

It's actually not up to a manager to decide who's the ace on a team.

Photo: New York Daily News
All anyone needs is decent eyesight and a good view of the batter's box to see who's triggering the most futile guess swings and sending the most anguished faces back to the opposing dugout to know who that guy is on a team.

But within this current Yankee clubhouse, where there's no longer anyone left with championship cache to counter Joe's limited record of achievement and expertise,  even an expert on the subject of being an ace like CC (who's been the definition of  one for three teams) is hesitant to speak frankly  about the role lest he be out of step with a scripted response his boss may be rehearsing for an upcoming presser.

That's no environment for young players to develop, grow and thrive in.  Joe's by-the-book managing and fly-by-night communicating are the antitheses of what this team needs to win, this year and going forward.  Brian has been making great deals the last 12 months that make sense for the future.

That's why I have confidence he's saving the biggest, best  move for last, and the final piece in this championship blueprint will be replacing an old catcher who can't see what all young pitchers eventually need to get the final out is old-fashioned work and not new toys from the bullpen.



--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore








Wednesday, July 26, 2017

THE NO-HITTER JINX

 Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Yankee young ace pitcher Jordan Montgomery pitched a no-hitter into the 6th inning last night.  His stellar performance help lead the Yankees into victory over the first of two games against the Cincinnati Reds.  And although his pitching has been nothing less than consistent this season, that's not actually the topic of this piece.  It's about a no-hitter jinx that fans believe stem from broadcaster's calls from the booth.

Source: NJ.com

According to Awful Announcing, a site affiliated with NESN, "For as long as announcers have called baseball games, they’ve faced a choice in how to handle a no-no. They can either bluntly declare that there’s history in progress, or they can dance around the subject in homage to the on-field tradition of keeping the words “no-hitter” as far away from the pitcher as possible."

Source: Fox Sports

Now, clearly, I would be the first to say that when Announcer Joe Buck dances around anything with regards to baseball play-by-play, he's a jinx- remember how he ruined the All Star Game this year among other competitive events.  But what happens in the booth while players are on the field is out of their earshot, so commentator banter could not interfere with the a potential no-hitter, right?

Source: Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America

Cubs play-by-play announcer, Len Kasper heard from hordes of angry fans when he supposedly jinxed a Jake Arrieta no-no in 2014 and then again when he cursed a Jon Lester attempt the following season. “I feel like we’ve lost our way, somewhere along the line, where fans think we have some sort of mystical control over what happens,” Kasper, who has called three MLB no-hitters, told Awful Announcing."

Source: YES Network

But I think I love what former pitcher, no-hitting pitcher that is and now Yankee commentator Al Leiter said the best.  As he bantered with Michael Kay last night, who quietly alluded to the no-hitter by Montgomery through the beginning of the 6th, Leiter said that broadcasters have absolutely no affect on the performance of the pitcher on the field.  “I think it’s ridiculous,” Leiter told Awful Announcing. “Having thrown a no-hitter, I don’t believe in a jinx from somebody who is far away that’s not in earshot of the action. I find it comical, amusing or silly.”


What they do impact, however, is the fans and this impact loudly criticizes the daring broadcasters who have the audacity of saying "no-hitter." As Leiter said, it affects their passion for the game.  I for one get that, loud and clear.  I tend to stand clear of saying "no-hitter" during any game where it becomes apparent that something special could in fact happen.



Passion for the game is a good reason to get all fired up.  No-hitter jinx or not, it is great to hear fans get excited about this game.  And just so Michael Kay knows it, just talking about a no-hitter jinx could be jinx. That is all...




--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof




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EDUARDO NUNEZ IS NOW WITH THE SOX

Photo: MLB.com
I love following Eduardo Nunez around in his baseball career.  Now he has been traded from the San Francisco Giants to the Boston Red Sox.  Now I don't like him... I kid, I kid.

Hardball Talk writes:


"A trade went down in the wee-wee hours: the Boston Red Sox acquired third baseman Eduardo Nunez from the San Francisco Giants. The Giants will receive minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos in return....

Nunez can play other infield positions, but it’s not like second base and short are problem areas for Boston."

And there was a great moment among he and his Giants teammates when word came down of the trade. Check this out...

And now he goes to Boston.  I've always liked Nunez. I wish him well.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

SONNY GRAY TALKS PROGRESSING NICELY, BUT AT WHAT COST?

Photo: Getty Images
You know the Athletics are asking for every prospect the Yankees have, AND Aaron Judge... AND Luis Severino... just because they can.  Look, we here at BYB have been writing about this Sonny Gray rumor for a while now, and it's one that appears to be a real thing.

(July 10, 2017 - Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)     
A lot of talk today about how the Yankees and A's are getting much closer to a possible deal for Gray and first baseman Yonder Alonso. In fact, BYB wrote about Alonso a while ago as being part of a Gray package if it was to happen.  Read THE YANKEES CAN'T IGNORE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM ANYMORE.  Jeana Bellezza wrote:

"...the Yankees could consider Yonder Alonso from the A's. He is having a breakout season and rumored to be interested in signing an extension with the team but are rarely successful in retaining high-dollar free agents. The A's are likely to make Alonso available on the trade market and his one-year, $4 million salary will make him easy to move..."

Nailed it, Sista.

MLB Trade Rumors writes today:

Photo by: Charles Wenzelberg
"...the Yankees are “making progress” toward a deal that could send both players to the Bronx..."

And of course the big question is for who.  Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeted this about Yankee Prospect Estevan Florial:

All of his is interesting, but you gotta wonder if by young centerfielders, someone like Clint Frazier would be in the mix.  And what about the other prospects? What about Jorge Mateo? How about pitching? Would they want Justus Sheffield or is he untouchable?

We are following this very closely.  I do leave you with this though.  This comes from Mark Feinsand:


We will see what happens tomorrow I guess.

Stay tuned...

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