The offseason news cycle is starting to get underway for the Yankees after their disappointing ouster from the playoffs at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. The 2018–19 offseason is one that Yankee fans have been anticipating for years, ...
Adam Lind‘s time in pinstripes has reportedly come to an end. Randy J. Miller of NJ Advanced Media reported this morning that the Yankees have released the 34-year-old first baseman/outfielder.
The club confirmed Lind’s release in a tweet from their official PR Twitter account.
Lind signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to MLB Spring Training March 2, and he slashed .200/.250/.200 in five games with the Yankees. The contract he signed reportedly had an opt-out for March 22 if he was not on the major league roster by that point. It seems the Yankees have jumped that gun by releasing Lind, which shows that they prefer the skills of Neil Walker and/or Tyler Austin backing up Greg Bird at first base.
In 2017, Lind performed well as a part-time player off the bench. The veteran slashed .303/.362/.513 in 116 games for the Washington Nationals. Even more impressively, Lind put up a .356/.396/.644 line with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 48 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter.
Now, Lind re-enters a market that has been quite cold for 1B/OF/DH types like him. I expect him to latch on with another National League club that will value his skills off the bench.
The Yankees made two more cuts Tuesday, sending the presumed third-string catcher Kyle Higashioka and No. 1 prospect infielder Gleyber Torres to minor league camp. Each player is on the 40-man roster, so the team used an option year on each player.
Higashioka impressed with the bat this spring. But, it was not enough to take the backup catcher job away from Austin Romine, who has shown a similarly hot bat. Higashioka hit .333/.444/.467 in nine games before his demotion. As the third catcher on the 40-man, he’s only an injury away from coming back to the big leagues. He made a nine-game cameo last season when Gary Sánchez went down with a bicep injury, going hitless in 20 plate appearances. Higashioka, barring any injuries of his own, will be the starting catcher at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Torres struggled at the plate in his return from Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow. Many expected Torres to run away with the second base job, but the rust that comes with missing an entire half a season reared its ugly head. That resulted in a slash-line of .160/.250/.240 in 11 games. Torres also looked like he was trying to do too much both at the plate and in the field, where he had some miscues typical of a player trying too hard.
Plus, the Yankees gain an extra year of control over Torres if he remains in the minor leagues for at least 16 days. I think the Yankees would have demoted Torres for those 16 days regardless of his performance in the spring. One extra year of control over a player MLB Pipeline says “has the tools to be a star” could make a ton of difference in the future. In the minors, Torres will likely continue his rotation of playing at third base, shortstop and second base.
The Yankees’ matchup with the Detroit Tigers today ended locked in a 2-to-2 tie after Giovanny Gallegos blew a one-run lead after just two batters in the ninth inning.
It was a low-scoring game from the start, with the Tigers scoring first on a Leonys Martín solo shot off CC Sabathia in the third inning. That was all the offense that the Tigers got until the ninth inning.
The Bronx Bombers did not look like themselves until their two-run rally in the eighth inning. Didi Gregorius launched his third home run of the spring to cut the lead in half. Aaron Hicks followed with a single, Miguel Andújar moved him to second on a ground out, Adam Lind walked, Gleyber Torres walked to load the bases, then Shane Robinson beat out a double play ground ball to score Hicks and tie the game.
The Tigers came right back in the ninth. JaCoby Jones singled off Gallegos then moved to second on a wild pitch. Victor Reyes promptly singled to center field, and Jones beat Estevan Florial’s throw to the plate.
The Yankees threatened in the bottom of the ninth after Jeff Hendrix made it to third after a leadoff walk. But, strikeouts from Jace Peterson and Kyle Higashioka set the stage for Estevan Florial to ground out to second base. Hendrix was stranded on third, and that ended the game in Tampa.
- Neil Walker is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut in pinstripes (at least the pants) for Friday’s evening matchup with the Houston Astros. He had been working out at the free agent camp setup by the MLBPA in Bradenton, Fla., and is scheduled to workout at the Yankees’ minor league complex over the next few days to prepare for full game activity.
The Yankees send Chance Adams to the hill to take on Miguel Castro of the Baltimore Orioles at their complex in Sarasota, Fla.
With just 17 days on the calendar until the Yankees open in Toronto, Brian Cashman made one last free agent splash. The team inked infielder Neil Walker to a one-year major-league deal worth to $4 million plus $500K in incentives for plate appearances.
Walker, who slashed .265/.362/.439 (114 wRC+) in 111 games between the Mets and the Brewers, found himself unemployed deep into the offseason after a 2017 that saw him place 15th in fWAR amongst second basemen with at least 400 plate appearances. He did miss 36 games in 2017 after suffering a partial tear in his left hamstring suffered June 14.
“We had some talks early in the winter that didn’t quite work out, and we went down different avenues of what else might be out there after that, but fortunately, things circled back here, and I’m just happy to be here on a contending team,” Walker told reporters prior to Monday’s tilt with the Minnesota Twins in Tampa.
The 32-year-old looks to fit in a couple different places for the Yankees. As a switch-hitter, he provides balance to a lineup that is mostly dominated by right-handed batters. His defensive versatility is also quite useful, given that he suited up at third base, second base and first base last season. Walker’s contract also allows the Yankees to move on from him if youngsters like Miguel Andújar or Gleyber Torres start knocking down the door to the big leagues.
Walker likely opens the season rotating between third, second and first depending on platoon splits and how the rest of the team is performing. His stats showed a huge disadvantage against lefties last season, though his career splits show just a 10-point difference between his skills from both sides of the plate.
The veteran had been working out at “Camp Jobless,” the Spring Training camp for free agents created by the MLBPA in Bradenton, Fla., for the time that it was open. Aaron Boone told reporters that Walker could appear in a Grapefruit League game as early as Thursday.
The beginning of Walker’s Yankees career could mark the end for outfielder Jake Cave. Cave, who was slashing .158/.304/.211 in 19 at-bats this spring, was designated for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for the Yankees’ incoming signing. Cave had been added to the 40-man after the 2017 season to prevent him from becoming a minor league free agent. He had hit .305/.351/.542 with 20 homers and 56 RBIs, both career-highs, between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017.
Cave fell out of favor in Yankees camp because of the team’s outfield glut and the success of Billy McKinney in camp. The Yankees have 10 days to trade, release or outright Cave to the minors if he clears waivers. He has never been outrighted before, so he will not have the right to decline the assignment if he clears waivers.
Walker’s signing also affected the spring of Danny Espinosa. The Yankees released the veteran infielder, and immediately gave his No. 14 jersey to Walker. Espinosa, who was trying to catch on as a veteran stopgap infielder or bench player, was hitting .160/.276/.320 in 12 spring games for the Bombers. He did hit one home run, and drove in four. The move is likely to allow the 30-year-old to pursue an opportunity with a club that has more playing time available at the big league level.
In his career, Espinosa has a .221/.297/.378 slash line with 98 home runs and 316 RBIs since he debuted for Washington in 2010. He struggled badly in 2017, however, bouncing between three teams and slashing a meager .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and 31 RBIs.
Lastly, the Yankees reassigned infielder Kyle Holder to minor league camp. Nothing out of the ordinary here, as the 23-year-old is projected to begin the season at Double-A Trenton. Known for his glove mostly, the Yankees’ first round pick from 2015 showed some promise at the plate in 10 games in camp. In 17 at-bats, he slashed .471/.500/.647 with three doubles and three RBIs.
Holder hit .271/.317/.350 in 104 games with Class-A Advanced Tampa, then put up strong numbers (.333/.367/.511) in 11 Arizona Fall League games.
The cuts from Yankees camp continue, as right-handed pitchers Domingo Acevedo and Brian Keller will now take their talents to minor league camp. Acevedo, a 40-man roster player, was optioned to Double-A Trenton while Keller, a non-roster invitee, was simply re-assigned.
Acevedo came into camp ranked as the team’s No. 9 prospect coming off a year that saw him make two starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He made 23 starts overall between Class-A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A with a 3.25 ERA and a 9.6 K/9 rate. His fastball has been clocked as high as 103 mph, and also features an “average” mid-80s slider and “plus changeup”. He did not appear in a Grapefruit League game because the team told him to delay his throwing program to help him recover “from the biggest workload of his career and shoulder trouble,” per NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty. Acevedo did not pitch after Aug. 21 last season after being shut down with shoulder soreness.
Keller was a late addition to the list of non-roster invitee players in Yankees’ camp. MLB Pipeline did not rank him amongst the team’s Top 30 Prospects. He worked as a starter between the Class-A Charleston RiverDogs and Class-A Advanced Tampa Yankees last season. Between the two levels, he pitched to an 11-8 record and 3.13 ERA in 24 total starts. He made one appearance in big league Spring Training, pitching two scoreless innings and recording two strikeouts Feb. 26 against the Phillies. Roster Resource projects him to begin the season with Class-A Advanced Tampa.
Giancarlo Stanton smacked his first Yankees home run off Matt Harvey, and the other Yankee bats combined to score 10 runs in a rousing win over their crosstown rivals.
The Stanton homer came in the fifth inning, where the Yankees already had a 3-to-1 advantage. Aaron Judge walked prior to Stanton’s at-bat. The home run resulted in the removal of Harvey from the game after 4⅔ innings.
Brandon Drury and Kyle Holder each knocked in two runs as well, with other RBIs coming from Tyler Austin, Abiatal Avelino and Shane Robinson. Estevan Florial almost had one, but the play was ruled a fielding error by right fielder L.J. Mazzilli.
Luis Cessa was on the ropes fairly quickly in this game, getting the hook after 1⅓ innings with the bases loaded. David Robertson made his spring debut in the second, and promptly Houdini’d out of the inning without allowing a run.
There was a funny moment in the fifth inning where no one came out to pitch for the Yankees. Described as “some issues” by Aaron Boone in his YES Network mid-inning interview, Dellin Betances had gone into the clubhouse to shower and get changed because he was only supposed to throw one inning. Adam Warren, the next scheduled pitcher, apparently never got the memo to warm up. So, Betances put his uniform back on and faced one more batter. Luis Guillorme singled, then Warren came in to relieve Betances.
- Tyler Wade dove for a ball hit by José Reyes, and rolled his wrist trying to make a play. It looked really bad at first glance, and Wade was in a lot of pain. He was replaced by Kyle Holder, and I was truly holding my breath because Wade has really impressed me this spring. But, reports from the clubhouse indicated that he needed “ice but no tests,” and that he would return to action Monday. It is unclear if he was already scheduled to sit out Sunday.
- Aaron Judge got his first multi-hit game of the spring today. His timing looks to be back, and that’s a great sign for a player coming off of offseason shoulder surgery. Boone mentioned during his interview that Judge was also getting reps in left field with Stanton on the back fields while the team was away playing road games. We’ve yet to see Judge out there in an exhibition game, but something tells me we won’t have to wait long for that to happen.
- Both Chad Green and Adam Warren threw for more than one inning today, which should surprise absolutely no one. These two are the main multi-inning relievers for the Yanks, and they will probably get stretched out to throw up to three innings before Opening Day gets here.
Masahiro Tanaka looks to rebound from his poor spring debut in a matchup against Jacob Turner and the Miami Marlins. The Yankees will make the long trek to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter for that game. No word on who’s going, however.
UPDATE (March 10 at 3:28 p.m.): The injury to Wade is not as serious as originally thought, per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.
Wade will likely miss a game or two. A great young player catches a lucky break with what would’ve been a devastating injury.
“I’m fine. Scary more than anything else. I’m glad I’m ok,” Wade said to Newsday’s Erik Boland.
Yankees second baseman Tyler Wade left Saturday’s game with an apparent left wrist injury after diving for a ground ball hit by José Reyes of the New York Mets. He came up grasping the left wrist with great pain on his face.
Wade was slashing .318/.385/.364 with two RBIs coming into today’s contest. He was replaced at second base by Kyle Holder.
The 23-year-old looked to be grabbing the lead in the competition to start at second base for the Yankees on opening day. He is competing with Gleyber Torres, Ronald Torreyes, Danny Espinosa and Jace Peterson for the job.
At this point, the Yankees have had no official comment on the injury.