Rob Thomson Interviews for Yankees Manager Job

Multiple sources reported this morning that Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson interviewed with the club for the managerial opening.

The fact that Thomson is being interviewed is absolutely no surprise. He has been in the Yankees organization for the past 28 years, most recently serving as Joe Girardi‘s bench coach. He served as the team’s third base coach from 2009 to 2014.

He also has front office experience, working as field coordinator, director of player development and vice president of minor league development. He also interviewed for the Toronto Blue Jays managerial opening in 2012, before opting to remain with the Yankees.

Thomson filled in as Yankees manager for the May 19 matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays as Girardi briefly left the team to attend his daughter’s graduation ceremony. The Yankees lost that matchup, 5-to-4, on an RBI single by Evan Longoria off of Tyler Clippard.

None of the candidates for the managerial job in the Bronx will be secrets. Brian Cashman told reporters on a conference call earlier in the week that all candidates will speak to the media as part of the process.

 

Gleyber Torres Will Not Play Winter Ball

The No. 1 prospect in Major League Baseball will remain out of action through the winter, as Yankees INF Gleyber Torres announced in a series of tweets that the decision was made for him by the Yankee organization.

The second tweet refers to the Caracas Lions, the team in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League that owns Torres’ winter ball rights. Torres is still recovering from Tommy John surgery on his left arm suffered during the 2017 season.

Torres, widely known as MLB.com’s top ranked prospect, slashed a combined .287/.383/.480 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs in 55 games between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was also on a rotation of playing games at shortstop, second base and third base to enhance his defensive versatility.

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On June 17, Torres slid into home plate head-first in a matchup with the Buffalo Bison. The Bison catcher landed awkwardly on Torres’ outstretched left arm, injuring him with what was originally diagnosed as a hyperextended left elbow. Scans later showed a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, which required the Tommy John procedure.

Torres’ recovery has been documented through plenty of videos posted to his Instagram account, showing him swinging a bat and working on hand-eye coordination drills. He is still expected to be ready for Spring Training in 2018.

Almost Back 💯 #gleybergood

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Yankees Announce 2018 Home Spring Training Schedule

The Yankees have announced 16 Spring Training games that will take place at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, starting with a February 23 tilt with the Detroit Tigers.

There is no word on the team’s away games, which are sure to be announced in the following weeks. These 16 games are unlikely to include the inevitable exhibition games against a college team or the exhibitions that take place in an MLB stadium.

And with that, we begin our countdown until baseball begins again.

The schedule can be viewed here.

Report: Shohei Ohtani Chooses CAA to Represent Him in USA

Reports from multiple MLB insiders say that Japanese RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani has hired Creative Artists Agency to represent him in the United States. The reports stated further that “Baseball co-head Nez Balelo will be the lead agent,” per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Balelo also represents Andre Ethier, Adam Jones, Ryan Braun and Jean Segura.

This, when confirmed, would be a huge step towards Ohtani making the jump from Nippon Professional Baseball to Major League Baseball. At age-23, he would be held to the International Bonus Pool system, and could receive at most a $5.75 million signing bonus on a minor league deal. Despite that limitation, Ohtani appears open to making that move.

The Yankees began the year with $4.75 in bonus money, and Ken Davidoff reports the maximum Ohtani could get from the team would be a $3.25 million signing bonus. Any deal he signs would put him under team control for at least six years.

Ohtani is a career .286/.358/.500 hitter with 48 home runs and 166 RBIs for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. He also owns a 42-15 pitching record, with a 2.52 ERA and a 10.3 K/9 rate. He also owns a career .990 fielding percentage in the outfielder (65 games), having made just one error. This combination of skills gives him the potential to be a two-way star.

The other obstacle that is stopping Ohtani from coming to the MLB is a dispute between MLB, the players’ association and NPB. Joel Sherman of the NY Post reported that the MLB-NPB posting agreement (how players cross the Pacific) expired last Tuesday.

From Sherman’s article:

“The sides, though, were close to an agreement to move to a system whereby the Japanese team losing a player to MLB would receive a percentage of the deal the player signed with an MLB club — believed to be between 15 and 20 percent.

However, Ohtani’s team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, refused to give its needed vote to the deal unless the righty pitcher was grandfathered into the old deal, whereby the Fighters would receive the maximum $20 million in exchange for posting him prior to his Japanese free agency.”

No posting agreement can be made without the agreement of the players association, and that has stalled because the union does not want MLB and NPB making an exception specifically for Ohtani.

Many experts have tied Ohtani to the Yankees since he fits their youth movement, and would be a dynamic piece of their roster because of his skills to pitch, hit and field. Only time will tell if he will make the move to MLB.

Aaron Judge Named Finalist for AL MVP, ROY; Luis Severino for AL Cy Young

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America clearly are feeling the Yankees’ youth movement going forward. Today, Aaron Judge was announced as a finalist for the American League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year award. Luis Severino was named a finalist for the AL Cy Young award.

Judge’s season was downright incredible for a guy who batted .179/.263/.345 with a 44.2% strikeout rate during a 27-game audition at the end of the 2016 season. He finished the season on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. Despite opening 2017 as the Yankees No. 4 prospect, Judge still had to compete with Aaron Hicks for the starting job in right field. He won the job, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Judge demolished a rookie-record 52 home runs, and also drove in 114 RBIs. Despite a slightly inflated 30.7% strikeout rate, the 25-year-old led the American League in runs created (149) and walks (127). Judge is also a finalist for an AL Gold Glove in right field, thanks to his 6.1 UZR and 9 DRS.

His Competition

Judge faces some formidable competition in the Houston Astros 2B José Altuve and the Cleveland Indians 2B/3B José Ramírez:

  • Altuve: .346/.410/.547, 24 HR, 81 RBI, 32 SB, -1.9 UZR, 3 DRS (7.5 fWAR)
  • Ramírez: .318/.374/.583, 29 HR, 107 RBI, 17 SB, 0.3/3.8 UZR (2B/3B), 5/0 DRS (2B/3B) (6.6 fWAR)
  • Judge: .284/.422/.627, 52 HR, 114 RBI, 9 SB, 6.1 UZR, 9 DRS (8.2 fWAR)

I think it will come down to the importance of defense and the importance of a high batting average vs. high power output. Despite a 62-point difference between Altuve and Judge’s averages, Judge maintains a 12-point advantage in on-base percentage. Ramírez almost certainly finishes third behind these two. Fangraphs says Aaron Judge is the most valuable of the three, and I have to agree with them.


Judge is also a finalist for Rookie of the Year. I will simply let the statistics speak for themselves when I say that Judge might just win the award unanimously. His competition is Boston Red Sox LF Andrew Benintendi and Baltimore Orioles 1B/OF Trey Mancini:

  • Benintendi: .271/.352/.424, 20 HR, 90 RBI, 20 SB, 0.9 UZR, 9 DRS (2.2 fWAR)
  • Mancini: .293/.338/.488, 24 HR, 78 RBI, 1 SB, -1.2/-7.9 UZR (1B/OF), -4/-1 DRS (1B/OF) (1.8 fWAR)
  • Judge: .284/.422/.627, 52 HR, 114 RBI, 9 SB, 6.1 UZR, 9 DRS (8.2 fWAR)

Judge is worth six wins more than Benintendi. I don’t think this one will be close.


Luis Severino‘s 2016 was simply awful. He went 0-6 in his first seven starts, and was placed on the disabled list May 13 with right triceps inflammation. Once activated 15 days later, he was optioned to Triple-A until July. He came up July 25, and was used mainly in relief. He pitched to a 0.39 ERA in 23⅓ innings with a 9.64 K/9.

That stint as a reliever was enough for the Yankees to try him again in the starting rotation. And it was so worth it. Severino went 14-6 (which does not include the countless times the bullpen blew leads after his exit) with a stellar 2.98 ERA (3.08 FIP) and 10.7 K/9. One year after only making 11 starts, Severino became the ace of the Yankee rotation and made 31 starts. He was named an All-Star in 2017.

His Competition

Severino faces a stacked field for AL Cy Young: Indians RHP Corey Kluber and Red Sox LHP Chris Sale.

  • Kluber: 18-4, 2.25 ERA (2.50 FIP), 265 K, 36 BB, .192 BAA (7.3 fWAR)
  • Sale: 17-8, 2.90 ERA (2.45 FIP), 308 K, 43 BB, .206 BAA (7.7 fWAR)
  • Severino: 14-6, 2.98 ERA (3.08 FIP), 230 K, 51 BB, 207 BAA (5.7 fWAR)

Severino’s season was an incredible bounce back. But, I think both Kluber and Sale have him beat. Kluber’s ability to miss bats, but not walk people and Sale’s sheer stuff make them tough to overcome. I think it goes to Kluber this year.


History

Here are the last Yankees to win each award:

  • MVP: Alex Rodriguez (2005)
  • RoY: Derek Jeter (1996)
  • Cy Young: Roger Clemens (2001)

The Yankees are certainly hoping that their players can get some hardware as the offseason gets underway.

Aaron Judge Will Be MLB The Show 18 Cover Athlete

The list of honors for Aaron Judge seemingly does not stop. He is headed for the American Rookie of the Year Award, is an AL Most Valuable Player candidate and is a finalist for a Gold Glove in right field. Today, he was named the cover athlete for MLB The Show 18.

Judge’s rookie season was the stuff of legend. He broke the Yankee single season home run record before the All-Star break. Despite a rough July and August, he still finished with a .284/.422/.627 line, coupled with 52 home runs and 114 RBIs. He led the American League with 127 walks, and 128 runs scored.

Judge is the first Yankee to be on the MLB The Show cover, and is the first Yankee to be on a video game cover since Derek Jeter graced the cover of Major League Baseball 2K7.

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Jake Cave, Nick Rumbelow Added to the 40-Man Roster

With free agency beginning in just about 24 hours, the Yankees have begun to protect some of their MiLB pieces. The team added OF Jake Cave and RHP Nick Rumbelow to their 40-man roster Monday.

These additions push the Yankees to have just two spaces left on their 40-man roster. Cave was scheduled to hit Minor League free agency, having completed his Minor League Uniform Player Contract. Those contracts last seven years, and Cave would have been able to test the free market.

Rumbelow had been on the 40-man roster previously. He appeared in 17 MLB games in 2015, going 1-1 with a 4.02 ERA out of the bullpen. He missed all of 2016 and part of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Rumbelow was released at the end of 2016, but resigned with the Yankees a month later. At age 26, he would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

Cave slashed a combined .305/.351/.542 with 20 home runs and 56 RBIs in 103 total games. He struck out 26.3% and walked at 6.4% at both levels. Cave’s stats were powered by a fantastic month of July, where he raked to a .390/.439/.667 line with seven homers and 21 RBIs in 26 games. Cave fits in as a potential fourth outfielder for the MLB club, or as the first depth option at Triple-A.

Rumbelow had an impressive year in his comeback from Tommy John. In 25 total games, he logged a 1.12 ERA with a stellar 10.0 K/9 rate with Double-A and Triple-A. Of those 25 appearances, he finished 14 games (6 saves) and worked to a 5-1 W-L record. Rumbelow will have to impress during Spring Training to gain a spot in a crowded and talented Yankees bullpen.

These moves are just the first round of roster maneuvering for the Yankees, since they have a plethora of young prospects who need protection from the Rule 5 draft.

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