SP Notes: Eovaldi, Happ

Could we have a second consecutive summer where Brian Cashman swings a reunion trade?

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported yesterday that the Yankees were one of many teams in attendance scouting right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who dominated the Mets through seven innings of one-hit ball. The 28-year-old racked up nine strikeouts without a walk.

Of course, Eovaldi had shown flashes of that talent in his 51 games in pinstripes. He went 23-11 with a 4.45 ERA in that time, but the results never seemed to match his stuff. Disaster struck in August 2016, when it was revealed that Eovaldi had a torn flexor tendon and partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.The Rays signed him as a reclamation project, giving him a one-year deal worth $2 million that also had a matching club option for $2 million. He rehabbed throughout 2017, and returned to pitch six no-hit innings in his return from the 60-day disabled list in 2018.

Eovaldi is a rental starter who could be had for much cheaper then someone under years of control. The Yankees have been known to target young starters who are cost controlled so that they can spend big money elsewhere. That would not be the case here but an acquisition of Eovaldi would be akin to the Jaime García trade of 2017. That trade was intended to add depth so that the younger pitchers on the staff could limit their innings.


On the J.A. Happ front, it seems the Yankees’ bludgeoning of the veteran lefty has led to a dispute between the Blue Jays and Yankees about his value. Buster Olney of ESPN reports the teams are having “continued conversations” about Happ, but they are “haggling over the price tag”.

Olney thinks the best course of action for the Yankees is to wait out the Blue Jays and the rest of the trade market to see if any better starting pitchers become available. I agree with Buster here, since Happ really doesn’t seem like the type of arm to be a difference-maker in a playoff series.

Now, I could understand this kind of trade if it would be a García-like maneuver. But Happ can’t be the guy they put all their trust in to deliver in the postseason.

Four (Could Be Five) Yankees Named to All-Star Team

The Yankees will have four representatives on the American League squad for this year’s All-Star Game in Washington on July 17.

They are:

  • RF Aaron Judge (starting)
  • LHP Aroldis Chapman
  • RHP Luis Severino
  • 2B Gleyber Torres

Each of the Yankees voted in as a reserve was selected by the player vote.

Giancarlo Stanton is eligible to be voted in as part of the “Final Vote” campaign. The Yankees have partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers in an attempt to get Stanton and breakout infielder Max Muncy voted as the National League final vote candidate.

Heyman: Zach Britton, Brad Hand Among Yankees Interests

A glaring need for the Yankees as the non-waiver trade deadline is a non-Aroldis Chapman lefty who can come into a tough situation to get left-handers out.

Chasen Shreve was given that role out of Spring Training once the team released Wade LeBlanc on March 23 as camp started to wind down. Shreve has been inadequate in that role, as lefties have an OPS of 1.002 against him as of July 8. Overall, hitters have an OPS of .853 against him (again, as of July 8) on the season so there’s clearly room for an upgrade.

Jon Heyman of FanCred tweeted yesterday that the Yankees have inquired with the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres about lefties Zach Britton and Brad Hand, respectively. Both would represent a gigantic upgrade over Shreve. Let’s dive into each of them as potential trade pieces.

Zach Britton

Britton is coming off a rather major injury, as he ruptured the Achilles tendon in his right leg December 20 during an offseason workout. He began the season on the 60-day disabled list and made his first appearance June 12. So far, he has pitched 10⅔ innings and allowed six runs. It creates an inflated 5.06 ERA up front, but if you look at his game logs, four of those runs came in one outing, and the other two came in another. He’s a victim of how small sample sizes can kill a reliever’s ERA.

The 30-year-old has been as dominant as they come since becoming a full-time reliever in 2014. He’s got a 1.61 ERA and 244 strikeouts to 73 walks. Britton will be a free agent after the 2018 season, so his status as a rental making the pro-rated portion of $12 million makes him rather cheap. Health issues with an Astros prospect torpedoed a deal to send him to Houston last year. The Orioles ended up screwed by Britton’s Achilles injury because now he has limited time to build up value.

Baltimore has used him exclusively as a closer since converting him into a reliever, though that clearly would not be his role if he were traded to New York. His .181/.239/.232 line against left-handed hitters since his bullpen move makes him a prime rental candidate for the Yankees.

Brad Hand

Hand is an interesting trade candidate for a variety of reasons. He has shown clear signs of regression from his All-Star campaign in 2017, and has an ERA that is more than half a run higher than at this point last season. But, his 2.16 ERA and 21 saves in 2017 were enough for the San Diego Padres to buy out his first year of free agency with a three-year extension in January 2018. That extension also features a club option for the 2021 season.

Hand has been a full-time reliever with the Padres since they claimed him off waivers prior to the 2016 season. In that timeframe, he’s marginally better against lefties than Britton in a smaller sample: .134/.230/.263

With that said, Hand will be a much more expensive trade because of the control that comes with him. The Yankees were able to fetch Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen from the Indians for a similar amount of control of Andrew Miller. Hand is not on the same level as Miller, but is also making significantly less money (Hand is making $4.1 million, up to $7.6 million; Miller has been making $9 million). Still, the prospect price would be quite high.


Given the Orioles’ loathing of trades within the division, I think it’s hard to imagine the Yankees acquiescing to their demands for a Zach Britton trade. An acquisition of Brad Hand, no matter how expensive, would provide a huge upgrade in a crucial spot for the Yankees relief corps. With the amount of young pitching talent still in the Yankee farm system, the Yankees should put more into targeting Hand for the 2018 team and beyond.

Yankees 2, Blue Jays 1: Small Ball Wins It

Fans of the sacrifice bunt, rejoice!

With a doubleheader lurking in Baltimore, the last thing the Yankees wanted was an extended extra innings contest in Toronto.

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They managed to limit things to one extra frame in their final game north of the border, thanks to some well-timed small ball in the 10th inning. Jays manager John Gibbons went with setup-man Seung-hwan Oh for two innings in relief of his starter Ryan Borucki, so he switched to closer Tyler Clippard (yes, THAT Tyler Clippard) to pitch the 10th inning.

Clippard’s 2-2 pitch to leadoff hitter Greg Bird hit the Yankee first baseman to start the rally. Aaron Boone immediately subbed Bird out for the speedy Tyler Wade. Austin Romine executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Wade into scoring position. Two pitches later, Brett Gardner lined a single to left field that scored Wade just ahead of the throw from Teoscar Hernández. David Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th to put another Yankees series victory on ice.

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Both starters performed quite well today, as Domingo Germán recovered from his last start against the Braves. He allowed just one run on a Kendrys Morales solo home run, and struck out five Blue Jays. Borucki showed his skills too, scattering seven hits and allowing just one earned run (Miguel Andújar RBI ground out) through seven innings of work.

Boone was able to squeeze two scoreless innings out of Adam Warren, and one out of Chad Green. Warren almost gave the game to the Blue Jays when Justin Smoak came within mere feet of giving the Blue Jays the lead with a third-deck home run. But, it was just foul and Smoak eventually grounded out to first base.

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Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton each racked up two hits, while Didi Gregorius, Bird and Romine each picked up one.

What’s Next

Two games in Baltimore!  Today’s game going into extra innings was the precise reason the team made a huge fuss about it being originally scheduled for Sunday Night Baseball.

Things get underway at 4:05 p.m. ET tomorrow at Oriole Park, with CC Sabathia (6-3, 3.02 ERA) going up against a yet-to-be-named Baltimore Orioles pitcher. I believe Game 2 is scheduled to begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1, and will feature Luis Cessa (0-1, 5.00 ERA) against former Yankees farmhand Yefry Ramírez (0-2, 2.51 ERA).

The Orioles (24-65) enter into this series 36.5 games out of first place in the American League East and on a six-game losing streak.

Game 87: Domingo on Domingo

Domingo Germán fittingly gets the Sunday start in today’s rubber game with the Toronto Blue Jays.

It’s been a mixed bag for Domingo Germán since he became a starter. He has an impressive 10.5 strikeouts-per-9 as a starter, but his 1.9 home-runs-per-9 obviously leaves something to be desired. He lasted just 4⅓ innings in his last time out against Atlanta and it felt like he lost focus once the fifth inning began because he had been given a huge lead. His pitches became flat and he simply let the Braves back into the game. Ideally, he gives the team decent length so that the bullpen isn’t taxed heading into tomorrow’s doubleheader in Baltimore.

Ryan Borucki is the man on the mound for the Blue Jays this afternoon. Ranked as the No. 8 prospect in their system by MLB Pipeline, he’s off to a promising start through two outings against Houston and Detroit. He’s allowed two earned runs each time out, pitching six and seven innings against the Astros and Tigers, respectively. Impressively, he has struck out 11 batters compared to just four walks (all in MLB debut vs. Astros). We’ll see how he fares in outing No. 3 against the Yankees offense today.

Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton flip roles today, as the former gets the half-day-off while the latter patrols right field. Miguel Andújar gets his first career start in the cleanup spot. Clint Frazier starts in left field, which slides Brett Gardner to center field. Brandon Drury gets another start at second base, while Greg Bird continues his exile to the bottom of the order. Austin Romine catches Germán.


Some pre-game notes:

  • Aaron Hicks (left leg cramps) is available off the bench today, Aaron Boone told reporters. Hicks had left yesterday’s game in the bottom of the fifth inning.
  • Aroldis Chapman is “feeling better” today after being removed after six pitches because of soreness in his left knee. Chapman has been dealing with tendonitis in that knee all season, so it’s unlikely the lefty pitches this afternoon.

Blue Jays Lineup

  1. Teoscar Hernández – LF
  2. Yangervis Solarte – 3B
  3. Justin Smoak – 1B
  4. Kendrys Morales – DH
  5. Kevin Pillar – CF
  6. Russell Martin – C
  7. Randal Grichuk – RF
  8. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – SS
  9. Devon Travis – 2B

Yankees 8, Blue Jays 5: Happ Fails Audition

In what was billed by many to be a trade audition for Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ for the Yankees, the offense ended up starring.

Happ surrendered back-to-back home runs to the game’s first batters, as Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge greeted him rudely to give the Yankees a quick 2-to-0 advantage. Happ then walked Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks. He managed to strike out Didi Gregorius and Miguel Andújar before allowing a 2-run double to Brandon Drury that just squirted over the head of a leaping Kevin Pillar.

Pillar would exact his revenge in the bottom the second off Luis Severino. After Justin Smoak led off the inning with a single, Pillar ripped a hanging slider over the left field wall for a two-run home run.

The Yankees got back into the scoring column in the following frame. Didi led off with a walk, but the next two hitters failed to advance him into scoring position. The second of which was Kyle Higashioka, who was called out on strikes with an absolutely glacial call by home-plate umpire Lance Barrett. CC Sabathia began to chirp from the dugout, and Barrett was having none of it. He warned Sabathia but gave him approximately three more words before tossing him from the dugout. Aaron Boone came out and attempted to smooth things over but it was clear Sabathia was the victim of a quick trigger.

With the ejection dealt with, Happ then walked Greg Bird. On his way to remove Happ, Jays manager John Gibbons had some words with Barrett. As Jake Petricka began his warmups, Gibbons himself took exception to some of Barrett’s decisions with the strike zone and got himself run as well. The second pitch Petricka threw ended up being rocked into the gap for a two-run triple by Gardner. The Yankee left fielder then scored on a passed ball by Luke Maile, which came on a 97 mph two-seam fastball.

In the bottom of the fourth, Randal Grichuk tagged Severino for a solo shot, marking the first time this season that the Yankees right-hander allowed more than one home run in a single game. The Jays scored again on a sacrifice fly by Pillar in the sixth, and on a garbage time Aledmys Díaz home run in the ninth off Chasen Shreve (more on this debacle later).

The Yankees became concerned in the fifth inning as center fielder Aaron Hicks was replaced in the outfield by Clint Frazier in left, with Gardner moving over to center field. The cause of this was revealed after the game as cramping in his left leg. Hicks should not have any lingering injury but will sit Sunday’s game as a precaution.

In the Yankees’ half of the ninth, Andújar smoked a double (measured at 109.6 mph) to leadoff the inning. Gregorius then followed by poking a single to left to push Andújar across as the final insurance run.

Aroldis Chapman was brought in to record the final three outs of the game, though it was a non-save situation. He only made it through six pitches, when he pulled up lame on his left leg after striking out Grichuk. Boone removed Chapman, who felt soreness in his left knee because of tendinitis that he has been dealing with all season. Shreve, who would have entered the game had the Yankees created a bigger advantage, was summoned to the mound. He worked a ground out from Maile and allowed Díaz’s eighth home run of the season before striking out pinch-hitter Teoscar Hernández to end the game.

Severino was due for an outing where he did not have his best stuff, but luckily the Yankees’ offense was ready to bail him out. The team is now hoping the injury scares for Chapman and Hicks prove to be minor. They now must play nine games in eight days in three cities before the All-Star Break arrives July 16.

What’s Next

Domingo Germán gets the nod in the series finale against the Jays and lefty Ryan Borucki.

This game was the subject of a conflict between the Yankees organization and ESPN, as the latter wanted to televise the game at 8:05 p.m. as their Sunday Night Baseball game of the week. With a doubleheader scheduled the following day in Baltimore, the Yankees cried foul, and even threatened to strip ESPN reporters of their clubhouse credentials. The network later relented, and moved the game into a 1:05 p.m. start time. The national spotlight will now be on the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels Sunday night at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Aroldis Chapman Pulled in Ninth Inning with Apparent Leg Injury

Aroldis Chapman was removed from Saturday afternoon’s game against the Blue Jays after throwing his sixth pitch of the day.

Chapman struck out Randal Grichuk, but immediately limped after landing once the pitch was released. It appeared to be his left leg that was giving him discomfort. He was replaced by Chasen Shreve, who had been warming up alongside Chapman during the top of the ninth inning.

The YES Network broadcasting team mentioned that Chapman has managed to tendinitis in his left knee throughout his career, though it’s unclear if his left knee was giving him trouble.

Chapman is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA (1.40 FIP) in 39 appearances for the Yankees in 2018. He has struck out 66 batters compared to 15 walks.

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