Yankees’ championship strategy: hope

August 1, 2011 | 73 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Breaking down the Yankees lack of activity at the trading deadline…

From Marc Carig of the Star Ledger:

But the Yankees didn’t walk away, according to a person familiar with the talks, until the Rockies declined the Yankees’ request for an MRI exam on Jimenez’s right shoulder. Lingering health concerns, questions about his drop in velocity and Jimenez’s recent performances were enough to squelch the Yankees’ interest.

If true, fair enough. We don’t know if it’s custom for teams to conduct MRIs at the request of a potential trading partner, but if the medical concerns were real, then benefit of the doubt goes to the Yankees.

Cashman on Colon & Garcia:

While Cashman admits “we’re in no-man’s land” in predicting the future performance of Colon and Garcia, Cashman named Triple-A right-hander Adam Warren as another legitimate big league starting option.

The Yankees are indeed in “no-man’s land” with these two, especially Colon. Bartolo hasn’t pitched over 100 innings since 2005. What happens if he goes down or his performance suffers due to fatigue? Adam Warren is having a good year at AAA (3.39 ERA / 3.95 FIP) and could fill in for a couple starts, but throwing out his name is really reaching at this point. Barring a catastrophe, the Yankees are going to the playoffs. Adam Warren, DJ Mitchell, and David Phelps are not starting a postseason game for the Yankees, but the club is counting on Colon help win them another championship. He’s pitched remarkably, no doubt, but to not bring in any playoff-quality depth is a big risk that we don’t agree with. If you openly acknowledge that you have no idea what to expect from Colon and Garcia — specifically calling it “no-man’s land” — that certainly sounds like you’re relying on hope as a strategy.

Cashman on promoting Manny Banuelos to AAA and potentially to the Boogie Down:

On Sunday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman did not make a trade, but the team decided to promote top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos from Double-A to Triple-A. He will start on Wednesday for Scranton.

By the end of the season, the 20-year-old Banuelos could be an option as a major league starter or the Yankees could make him a lefty specialist to team with the inconsistent Boone Logan.

“We’ll see,” Cashman said. “It is time for him to make the next step.”

This is clearly a move to evaluate Banuelos as a potential LOOGY for the Bronx bullpen. However, it was only one month ago when Yankees Senior VP Mark Newman told us that Manny still “needs time”, has “walked too many guys”, and is having “fastball command issues.”

Jon Heyman on why the Yankees balked on Houston’s Wandy Rodriguez:

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees offered to take on $21 million of the $38 million due to left-hander Wandy Rodriguez in trade talks with Houston. The Astros would have had to swallow $17 million to get the deal done.

With that kind of cash changing hands, the Astros would have needed to get a top prospect in return, and it seems doubtful the Yankees were willing to include one from the group of Manny Banuelos, Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances.

The Yankees recently gave terrible contracts to Derek Jeter and Rafael Soriano, two players who weren’t even close to deserving the deals they received. Yet, they choose to exercise fiscal restraint on a very high-quality pitcher (3 straight years with ~3.50 xFIP) who would add Colon/Garcia insurance, bolster their playoff rotation, and be a solid starter for the Bombers over the next 2-3 seasons. Don’t get it, especially when they wouldn’t have to hand over a top prospect if they picked up most of Wandy’s remaining contract.

Cashman on Ivan Nova:

I had no interest in moving Nova either.

That’s getting carried away.

Theo Epstein on why he traded for Erik Bedard:

[Bedard] really started to look like one of the better left-handed pitchers in the league again so we were certainly on him,” Epstein said of the scouting process that started in spring training in Arizona. “We scouted his first start back the other day in which he looked healthy. Rusty, certainly, but healthy. We thought, based on the looks from this year, his stuff was coming back, he was throwing well. He looks like someone who can really help us.

We’re really glad not to get just any starting pitcher but to get somebody who’s capable of shutting down any lineup in the league when he’s right. He’s certainly capable of pitching big games for us down the stretch and somebody with enough talent to take the mound in the middle of the pennant race or in a playoff game if that opportunity presents itself.

This is exactly what we said. It’s very disappointing that Boston acquired him.

Overall, we’re not pleased with the Yankees lack of activity. We absolutely love prospects and homegrown players. We get much more enjoyment out of winning when homegrown players contribute. The neglect of the farm system was one of the main reasons we launched the site in 2005.

However, it can be a dangerous to fall in love with every minor leaguer that comes along (not even willing to even trade Ivan Nova???). Guys like Wandy Rodriguez and Erik Bedard could have been had without surrendering any elite prospects — adding depth, improved postseason odds, and in Rodriguez’s case, a multiple year contribution.

Brian Cashman: Prospect hugger

*Props to Marshall Seymour and Vizzini for also contributing to this post


July 29, 2011 | 60 comments | in Featured | by SJK

What will Cashman do?

VOTE: The Circle of Trust

July 28, 2011 | 25 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

The Yankees starting rotation has been very good this season. In fact, it’s been one of the best in the American League, ranking 3rd in xFIP, 4th in FIP, and 5th in ERA. Yet, there seems to be uniform agreement that another starting pitcher needs to be acquired. It’s very strange. We can’t recall such urgency when a rotation has been this good.

There are concerns about the pixie dust surrounding Freddy Garcia, the fact that Bartolo Colon could pull a muscle when he gets up to pay the Chinese food delivery guy, the continued laboring of Phil Hughes, and the clap on/clap off nature of AJ Burnett.

Not to go all Joe Torre, but there seems to be a lack of trust in everyone not named CC…

So we ask…

Our two-step approach to the trading deadline

July 27, 2011 | 49 comments | in Featured | by SJK

As we get down to crunch time, here is our final plan of attack:

1. Get Ubaldo

According to MLBTradeRumors.com, the Rockies want three of the following four players: Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Ivan Nova.

Nova, you give away all day. The Yankees have back of the rotation types littered across AAA in guys like Adam Warren, David Phelps, and DJ Mitchell. They even have one rotting away in a mopup role in Hector Noesi.

Montero is finally starting to heat up (.293/.368/.586 in July) and there’s no question that his bat is going to be excellent. If he is moved to another position besides catcher, his value does drop, especially on a team like the Yankees. Regardless, if you want to acquire a premiere MLB pitcher, you have to give up a premiere prospect.

Betances and Banuelos are both top notch prospects, but again…you have to give to get.

Ubaldo is the truth. Jimenez is 27 (will be 28 entering next season) and the only major injury he’s had over the past few seasons was a cuticle issue. He’s locked up for $3 mil this year (pro-rated), $4.2 mil in 2012, $5.75 mil in 2013, and an $8 mil option in 2014. That’s huge value for a pitcher who ranks 10th in WAR among MLB starters since 2009. That ranks ahead of Jon Lester and Clayton Kershaw. Sorting solely by NL pitchers, he’s second only to Tim Lincecum. He would be a rotation centerpiece for the duration of his deal.

His fastball velocity is down this year, and we hope the Yankees would conduct their due diligence and avoid being Feliciano’d — but if everything checks out, this would be a hard deal to pass up. If the Yankees can acquire Ubaldo and still keep one of Betances, Banuelos, or Montero, then that’s a great move for the organization. Let’s try to avoid another Dan Haren for Joba Chamberlain situation.

2. Get Erik Bedard

Yeah, yeah, he’s always hurt. We know. Get some new material.

However, if one of the goals in making a deal is to increase the Yankees’ chances of postseason success, Bedard makes so much sense.

When he’s healthy enough to take the mound, Bedard is a fantastic pitcher — not too mention he’s left-handed, which is great for pitching in Yankee Stadium and against the Red Sox. He’s on a one-year deal, is having an excellent season (3.00 ERA / 3.59 FIP / 3.30 xFIP), and has had no arm problems. He makes his first start on Friday since coming off the DL with a sprained knee.

The whole concept of trading for a pitcher to throw a few games in the playoffs is really weird, since luck plays such a huge role in who wins. After all, you can have one of your pitchers be attacked by bugs. Yet, if you believe in that type of move, why not grab a guy who can dominate? If the Mariners want an arm and a leg, you pass on a rental. But, how much can the Mariners actually be asking for Bedard?

Acquiring both of these pitchers would cause a logjam in the rotation, but who cares…let time sort it out.

So there it is, we want Brian Cashman to get greedy.

*Props to Marshall Seymour and Vizzini for also contributing to this post.

Mariners earn invite to Hope Week

July 27, 2011 | 48 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

17 straight losses.

They tried to end their losing streak, Yankees said “no, no, no.”

July 25, 2011 | 33 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Derek hit a HR and helped extend the Mariners’ losing streak to 16.

Minor League Players of the Week, v14

July 25, 2011 | 6 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Tampa’s (A+) starting rotation is shaping into an exciting one to follow….plus, we have a first round draft pick take home the honors.

Brett Marshall, 21, RHP, A+
5 IP, 8 K, 0 BB, 3 H, 0 HR, 0 ER
Notable: 1 ER in his last 15 IP

NoMaas Ranking – #16

Previous 2011 MLPW Wins: #5

A longtime friend of NoMaas, Brett Marshall is quietly on his way to a very solid season. Over his last three starts (15 IP), Brett has struck out 19, walked two, and allowed only one earned run. He’s in a groove right now.

In his first full season in Tampa, the former Tommy John surgery (July 2009) recipient ranks 9th in FIP (3.43) among FSL starting pitchers. His ERA of 3.78 ranks 15th-best in the league. He’s kept the ball on the ground at a good clip (1.74 Groundout/Airout), but it would be nice if he could get the walks down a tad (3.44 BB/9, 9.1% walk rate).

Overall, he’s having a fine season in his first full year since he went under the knife.

Dante Bichette Jr., 18, RHB 3B, Rookie
.700/.727/1.150 in 22 PAs
Notable: Hit first professional HR

NoMaas Ranking – None

Previous 2011 MLPW Win – None

The Yankees’ 2011 first round pick was off to slow start until he completely lit up opposing pitchers last week. He hit for the cycle on the week, with four doubles, a triple, and his first professional home run. He also walked twice while striking out only once.

His gargantuan week rocketed him up the Gulf Coast League leaderboard. He ranks 6th in OPS (.933) and 3rd in OBP (.454). His ISO of .179 does not put him among the leaders in power, but he tops the league in walk rate (17.7%). Even better, he’s walking more than he strikes out (1.22 BB/K).

His BABIP is .354, but since reliable minor league batted ball data is basically impossible to find, we’ll just leave it at that. The Yankees’ top pick is kicking off his career in style.

Honorable Mentions:
Yeicok Calderon, 19, LHB RF, Rookie
.600/.625/1.200 in 22 PAs

.247 ISO ranks 6th in GCL

Cito Culver, 18, SHB SS, Short-Season
.392/.514/.607 in 35 PAs

2010 1st round pick walked 7 times on the week

Kelvin De Leon, 20, RHB RF, A
.368/.400/.947 in 20 PAs

Three HRs

Anderson Feliz, 19, SHB 2B, A
.476/.521/.857 in 23 PAs

Good week, but striking out way too much (106 Ks, 26.9%)

DJ Mitchell, 24, RHP, AAA
7 IP, 9 K, 2 BB, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 HR

3.12 ERA, 3.57 FIP

Taylor Morton, 19, RHP, Rookie
4.2 IP, 6 K, 0 BB, 3 H, 0 ER

2010 9th round pick, 22 K: 3 BB in 28.2 IP

Jose Quintana, 22, LHP, A+
6 IP, 6 K, 2 BB, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 HR

Last week’s Pitcher of the Week with another strong start, 39 hits in 60 IP!!

Yanks survive against A’s

July 24, 2011 | 32 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Despite scary 8th and 9th innings, the Bombers were able to hang on and take the series against Billy Beane and the Calculators, winning 7-5 on Sunday. Curtis Granderson continued his rampage, hitting his 27th HR (a 2-run shot in the 5th). Eduardo Nunez and Andruw Jones knocked in 2 runs each, while The Bartolo allowed 2 runs over 7 innings.

Curtis on HR #27: “It’s pretty, it’s so pretty.”

Buuuullsh**, Buuuullsh**, Buuuullsh**

July 21, 2011 | 42 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Girardi on potentially moving Jeter from leadoff:

As uncomfortable as that conversation with the Captain has the potential to be, Girardi said he wouldn’t hesitate to make a move with Jeter if and when he feels it’s necessary.

“I think if you ever have a situation where you have to move a player that is of substantial status – and that was not expecting a move – that you’d sit down and talk to him before you ever did it and tell him your thoughts, his thoughts, and be respectful about it and tell him what you’re thinking,” Girardi said. “I have to do what I feel is best for the team. When you look at a lineup, you look at how it works together, not independent of one guy. No, I’m not afraid to have that conversation.”

Freddy Garcia: “It doesn’t matter if you want another pitcher.”

July 20, 2011 | 53 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Fans clamoring for another starting pitcher. Cashman reportedly on the hunt for one. Sixty-five percent of NoMaas visitors said Freddy Garcia should be removed from the rotation if the Yankees make such a trade.

Well, who in the blue hell are we? On Wednesday night, Freddy Garcia dropped his ERA to 3.21 with 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball against Tampa. He struck out 7, walked zero, scattered 8 hits, and as usual, wiggled his way out of jams.

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