Tag: Aaron Hicks

Jacoby Ellsbury Unlikely to Waive No-Trade Clause

A report by the New York Post’s George A. King III brings news many Yankees fans were hoping to avoid: Jacoby Ellsbury does not plan to waive his no-trade clause this offseason.

The news stems from a statement given by Ellsbury’s agent, Scott Boras, to King Dec. 21 regarding the 34-year-old’s future with the Yankees:

“Jacoby likes New York, likes the Yankees and feels he is an everyday player,” Ellsbury’s agent Scott Boras said Thursday by phone. “The idea of moving isn’t in the mainstream for him.”

You can read the full piece here. Ellsbury would have to beat out Aaron Hicks to be the everyday center fielder next season. The two essentially traded hot streaks last season, though both struggled with injuries as well.

Here’s a comparison of their 2017 stats:

AVG HR RBI OPS fWAR
Ellsbury .264 7 39 .750 1.6
Hicks .266 15 52 .847 3.3

It’s not impossible to say that Ellsbury could overtake Hicks in Spring Training. Both have proven to be very streaky players, and the Yankees will likely go with the hot hand once they break camp. Former manager Joe Girardi sided with Hicks at the end of the 2017 season, but it remains to be seen what Aaron Boone does with center field in 2018.

Ellsbury suffered a concussion in late May 2017, and Boras said that his client “shouldn’t have come back as early as he did.” Hicks excelled in his absence, and that pushed Ellsbury into a fourth outfielder role.

After playing the first six seasons of his career in Boston, Ellsbury is sitll owed $68.4 million over the last three years of the contract he signed after the 2013 season. As a Yankee, he has a .264/.330/.386 line with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs over 520 games in pinstripes.

“He’s going to come in and compete to take his job back. There was a job that was taken from him during the regular season. I think that he had been playing really well for us until the concussion, and then that took him down for a period of time and then it took him a time to get back and find his stride,” said general manager Brian Cashman of Ellsbury at the 2017 Winter Meetings.

FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman had reported in recent days that Ellsbury would consider waiving his no-trade clause to “a select few teams”. He specifically named the San Francisco Giants, but later reported but the Giants were pursuing other options before engaging the Yankees on Ellsbury.

Heyman: Ellsbury Could Waive No-Trade Clause To “A Select Few Teams”

UPDATE (Dec. 21 at 9:40 p.m. ET): Heyman is reporting now that the Yankees have indeed reached out to the Giants about Ellsbury, but that he is not at the top of their list for their vacant center field position.

The Giants do have an opening after dealing the aging Denard Span to Tampa Bay in a trade for third baseman Evan Longoria. Ellsbury would represent a downgrade statistically when looking at the 2017 season, but the Giants would be looking to catch lightning in a bottle.


The Yankees outfield could round into shape over the next few days, and may not include 34-year-old Jacoby Ellsbury. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Thursday that the veteran may be willing to waive his full no-trade clause to move to “a select few teams”.

In his piece, Heyman mentioned the San Francisco Giants specifically:

Jacoby Ellsbury was said early this winter not to want to waive his full no-trade clause, but word now is that he might consider waiving it for a select few teams, and the San Francisco Giants could be one of them.

Ellsbury could fit in as the Giants’ center fielder, whereas with the Yankees he seems destined to be the fourth outfielder, as Yankees people say they are going with Aaron Hicks in center field. Ellsbury lives in the Phoenix area, so the Giants’ spring home in Scottsdale would be a plus for him, too.

You can read the full article here. Ellsbury slashed .264/.348/.402 in 112 games in 2017, missing 29 games due to a concussion suffered in May. Prior to the concussion, he was hitting 30 points higher, and lost the starting job in center field to Aaron Hicks while on the disabled list.

Signed after a 2013 season where he hit .298/.355/.426 with nine home runs, 53 RBIs and 52 stolen bases with Boston, Ellsbury has largely failed to live up to his seven-year, $153 million contract. So far, his line with the Yankees stands at .264/.330/.386 with 39 home runs, 198 RBIs and 102 stolen bases (80.3% success rate).

The current Yankee depth chart has Ellsbury slated to be a very expensive fourth outfielder. Brian Cashman has already said Hicks will start the season in center field, Brett Gardner seems anchored in left field and the towering combination of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will patrol right field. There will not be many designated hitter opportunities available either, since Judge/Stanton will likely hold that spot while the other is in right field.

Ellsbury really wants to play out the rest of his contract in New York, where the earliest he can be a free agent is after the 2020 season. He would be 36 at that time, and would certainly be paid the $5 million buyout of his 2021 team option. The Yankees would have to eat a fairly hefty chunk of his salary in order to move him to another team. Plus, Ellsbury has to approve any trade.

Shohei Ohtani’s Agent Gives All 30 MLB Teams Quiz to Test Suitability

Teams looking to land Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani have to do a little bit of homework, as his agent distributed a memo to all 30 Major League Baseball clubs asking them to explain why they would be the best fit for the 23-year-old.

From the Associated Press:

The memo from Nez Balelo, co-head of CAA Baseball, was distributed to all 30 teams by the commissioner’s office late Friday along with materials for the Dec. 1 vote on a new posting agreement between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball. If the deal is approved, the 23-year-old is expected to be put up for bid later that day or the following day.

Balelo’s memo asks for a team to evaluate Ohtani’s talent as a pitcher and as a hitter; to explain its player development, medical training and player performance philosophies and facilities; to describe its minor league and spring training facilities; to detail resources for Ohtani’s cultural assimilation into the team’s city; to demonstrate a vision for how Ohtani could integrate into the team’s organization; and to tell Ohtani why the team is a desirable place to play.

Each team was asked to provide its answers in both [English and Japanese] as soon as possible. Clubs were told not to include any financial terms of a possible contract.

The Yankees obviously will get this information back to Balelo and Ohtani in short order. They already planned to use former outfielder Hideki Matsui to help recruit Ohtani, as well as current RHP Masahiro Tanaka.

Ohtani has expressed interest in continuing to be a two-way player after he completes his move to the United States. This would, presumably, give an American League team an advantage in signing him since they could give him a proportion of at-bats as the designated hitter. In his five seasons in Japan, Ohtani played 62 games in the outfield, primarily in right field (57 games).

Both corner outfield spots are occupied for the Yankees. Brett Gardner is signed through the end of the 2018 season (with a $12.5 million club option for 2019) in left field. Aaron Judge will be renewed at league minimum, and won’t be eligible for arbitration until the 2020 season in right field, barring an extension. Ohtani has no experience in center field, and Aaron Hicks (who won’t taste free agency until 2020) has already been named the starter there.

That makes Ohtani’s place on the Yankees roster obvious: starting pitcher and designated hitter. If the Yankees are able to get Ohtani, they should continue to pursue a starting pitcher like CC Sabathia. Ohtani is used to pitching once a week in Japan, and a six-man rotation would help ease his transition to pitching once every five days.

The Yankees also do not have an obvious candidate for the everyday designated hitter. Matt Holliday most likely will not return after his .202/.300/.371 line in the second half. Using Ohtani as a DH would be less intensive than playing him in the already-crowded outfield. The team is likely planning to rotate players through the DH spot if Ohtani signs elsewhere.

New York has the second highest amount of available international signing bonus pool money to sign Ohtani at $3.5 million. The Texas Rangers lead them by a slight margin at $3.535 million. Each has had success signing a Japanese player in recent years, with the Rangers signing Yu Darvish and the Yankees inking Tanaka.

Because of his age, Ohtani is considered an amateur and must be signed to a minor league contract. That means he is a cheap commodity with a very high upside. The team that signs him will get control of six major league seasons if they do not agree on an extension.

Across his five seasons in Japan with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Ohtani is batting .286/.358/.500 with 48 home runs and 166 RBIs. As a pitcher, he has a 42-15 record, 2.52 ERA and 10.3 K/9 rate. He is expected to be posted shortly after the Dec. 1 vote by MLB owners to ratify the new posting agreement between MLB and NPB.

Thoughts Following Cashman’s Media Session at the GM Meetings

Brian Cashman gave a press conference to reporters during the annual General Manager meetings today in Florida. He said a lot of things, and I have a lot of thoughts. Let’s get to it:

Gleyber-Mania Fast Approaching?

We could see Gleyber Torres in the Bronx sooner rather than later. Cashman said he was “not denying anybody a chance to make the club and push their way into the mix.”

That definitely puts extra pressure on Chase Headley, who posted a -7 DRS at third base last year before moving to first base upon the arrival of Todd Frazier. Even with an awful May (.165/.211/.235), Headley managed to slash .273/.352/.406 while moving around defensively. He is due to earn $13 million next season.

What also intrigues me here is that Cashman mentions Torres as a third base candidate over Miguel Andújar. Torres has not seen game action since June 17 when he tore his left UCL in a home plate collision. He also only has 15 professional games at third base under his belt.

Andújar, on the other hand, has 541 MiLB appearances at third base on his résumé, and also got a big-league stint as the designated hitter in June 2017 and as a September call-up. Will Yankees look to trade Andújar, or keep him as a depth option? Many aren’t sold on his defense, but his bat is definitely ready.

Outfield Questions

A few days ago, Cashman remarked that Aaron Hicks is expected to be an everyday outfielder for the 2018 Yankees.

This seems to put Jacoby Ellsbury on the chopping block, especially since Jake Cave is now on the 40-man roster. But, Cashman said he has not taken a very serious step that would be necessary to move the 34-year-old outfielder.

Cashman said he views Clint Frazier as a depth outfielder in this situation, implying that he will begin the season with Triple-A. This would cement a Gardner-Hicks-Judge outfield with Ellsbury on the bench to start the season.

Things can change, like when Bubba Crosby was slated to start the 2005 season in center field before Johnny Damon signed in New York. Ellsbury could be moved. Someone could get hurt. There is a lot of time until Opening Day.

Chad Green: What’s His Role?

Cashman stated that Chad Green will come into Spring Training stretched out as a starter. I think that’s an interesting plan, given how successful Green was out of the bullpen.

Here are Green’s career splits:

  • Starter: 2-4, 6.10 ERA, 1.513 WHIP (38.1 IP)
  • Reliever: 5-0, 1.41 ERA, 0.747 WHIP (76.1 IP)

It’s like night and day. But, Luis Severino turned a successful bullpen stint into a Cy Young finalist season. The Yankees could simply try to catch lightning in a bottle here. In the worst case scenario, they would then put him back in the bullpen. Hopefully, they would avoid the ill effects of the back-and-forth that Joba Chamberlain suffered.

I would leave Green where he was. He was so effective that it doesn’t seem to make sense to move him.

Aaron Hicks Placed on 10-Day DL With Oblique Injury

After departing last night’s game early, outfielder Aaron Hicks was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain.

Hicks exited after running down a ball hit by Hanley Ramírez in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game. He was replaced in center field in the following inning by Jacoby Ellsbury. Hicks missed 39 games with a right oblique strain earlier this season.

To fill his roster spot, the Yankees pulled a bit of a head-scratcher. They recalled left-handed pitcher Caleb Smith from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees will play at least Sunday’s game with a fourth outfielder named Ronald Torreyes or Matt Holliday. The Yankees have both Tyler Austin and Tyler Wade, each with some corner outfield experience, on the 40-man roster. They could be summoned to the big leagues without the 10-day rule applying because of injury.

Presumably, Ellsbury will start in center field while Hicks is absent.

Aaron Hicks Injury Forces Yankees’ Hand on Cave/McKinney

With Aaron Hicks going down with yet another oblique injury, the Yankees could find themselves in a tough situation that greatly affects their future.

There are still doubts regarding the effectiveness of Jacoby Ellsbury‘s bat. Clint Frazier begins his rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton on Monday. The next top Yankee outfield prospect, Estevan Florial, has yet to crack Double-A with Trenton.

With 40-man rosters, the Yankees could do nothing. But, they need another outfielder to back up Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge. Sure, they could recall Tyler Austin or Tyler Wade, who have experience in the outfield corners. Sure, they could ask Matt Holliday to don an outfield glove and pray nothing bad happens.

Or, they could look to their Nos. 19 and 24 prospects: Jake Cave and Billy McKinney, respectively. Cave, 24, leads the RailRiders in batting average with his .328 clip for the 2017 season. Plus, he is tied with Ji-Man Choi for the team lead in home runs with 15. He has started 28 games in center field for Scranton, as well as 24 in right field and 12 in left field. He has just one error in the outfield this season. At his age, Cave is eligible for the Rule-5 draft. He knows all about that process, having spent 2017 Spring Training with the Cincinnati Reds. Cave was returned to the Yankees on April 5, 2016. Cave is also eligible for Minor League free agency after the season.

Billy McKinney, though he profiles as a corner outfielder, could still help the Yankees down the stretch. His .312 average puts him behind just Cave and Miguel Andújar for the best mark on the RailRiders. He, too, has shown a power stroke by clobbering 10 home runs in the International League. He has played both outfield corners regularly. At age 23, the former first round pick is Rule-5 eligible.

Both players have impressed at the highest levels of the minor leagues. A rebuilding team could be willing to take a chance on either player through the Rule-5 Draft since both have shown quality outfield defense and a talented left-handed bat. The Hicks injury essentially forces the Yankees to look at both Cave and McKinney as outfield options down the stretch. They may not trust Ellsbury, and certainly do not want to rush their No. 2 prospect, Clint Frazier, back from injury.

Protecting either Jake Cave or Billy McKinney allows them to keep a valuable future asset in the system while filling a current need on the MLB roster.

Red Sox 1, Yankees 5: Holliday Brings Labor Day Weekend Fireworks

Matt Holliday certainly made his presence known in his return from the disabled list.

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The veteran hit a crucial three-run home run to put the Yankees ahead for good in the sixth inning of Saturday’s matinee in the Bronx. He went 1-for-4 overall in the game. His homer pushed Masahiro Tanaka to his third consecutive victory on the mound.

“These are big games. I’m excited,” Holliday said. “I want to be part of this. I want to be part of this team. I missed being around the guys. I’m going to try to enjoy it.”

Chase Headley smacked his 10th home run of the year to open the scoring for the Yankees in the second inning. The score became tied when Eduardo Núñez scored on a Tanaka wild pitch in the top of the sixth. Holliday’s homer came next, then the Yankees added their final insurance run in the seventh on an infield single by Gary Sánchez.

The Yankee bullpen came in to pitch the final two innings once the starter was lifted. David Robertson and Dellin Betances cruised through the last six outs to net win No. 11 for Tanaka.

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The win did not come without a negative for the Yankees, however. Center fielder Aaron Hicks was removed from the game in the top of the seventh inning after robbing Hanley Ramírez with an impressive catch. Jacoby Ellsbury replaced him, and the injury was listed as “tightness in his left oblique”. He missed time with a right oblique injury earlier this season.


Box Score

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Sep 2, 2017 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston (77-59) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 1
New York (72-63) 0 1 0 0 0 3 1 0 X 5 10 0
W: Masahiro Tanaka (11-10) L: Drew Pomeranz (14-5)
Boston Red Sox
HITTERS AB R H RBI BB SO HR AVG
Eduardo Núñez – SS 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 .309
Andrew Benintendi – LF 3 0 1 0 1 1 0 .280
Mookie Betts – RF 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 .262
Mitch Moreland – 1B 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .252
Hanley Ramírez – DH 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 .244
Rafael Devers – 3B 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 .287
Christian Vázquez – C 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 .290
Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 .263
Tzu-Wei Lin – 2B 3 0 1 0 0 2 0 .283
TEAM TOTALS 32 1 6 0 2 7 0
BATTING:
2B: Núñez (32)
BASERUNNING:
CS: Devers (1)
FIELDING:
E: Devers (7, throw)
New York Yankees
HITTERS AB R H RBI BB SO HR AVG
Brett Gardner – LF 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 .261
Aaron Hicks – CF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .265
Jacoby Ellsbury – CF 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 .245
Gary Sánchez – C 4 0 3 1 0 0 0 .274
Aaron Judge – RF 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 .276
Didi Gregorius – SS 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 .292
Chase Headley – 3B 4 2 3 1 0 0 1 .278
Todd Frazier – 3B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .210
Matt Holliday – DH 4 1 1 3 0 0 1 .230
Greg Bird – 1B 4 0 1 0 0 3 0 .155
Ronald Torreyes – 2B 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 .295
TEAM TOTALS 34 5 10 5 2 8 2
BATTING:
3B: Ellsbury (3)
HR: Headley (10), Holliday (17)
RBI: Headley (53), Holliday – 3 (54), Sánchez (78)
Boston Red Sox
PITCHERS IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Drew Pomeranz – LHP 5.1 8 4 4 2 5 2 3.36
Brandon Workman – RHP 1.0 2 1 1 0 2 0 2.37
Fernando Abad – LHP 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.82
Austin Maddox – RHP 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
TEAM TOTALS 8.0 10 5 5 2 8 2
PITCHING:
Pitches-Strikes: Pomeranz: 105-64, Workman: 16-11, Abad: 8-4, Maddox: 11-9
New York Yankees
PITCHERS IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Masahiro Tanaka – RHP 7.0 5 1 1 2 3 0 4.54
David Robertson – RHP 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.32
Dellin Betances – RHP 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 2.29
TEAM TOTALS 9.0 6 1 1 2 7 0
PITCHING:
WP: Tanaka
Pitches-Strikes: Tanaka: 97-66, Robertson: 13-9, Betances: 12-9

Tigers 2, Yankees 0: Offense Goes Flatter Than Flat

Despite his poor numbers, Tigers’ starter Jordan Zimmermann looked like his old self. He dominated the Yankee offense, scattering six hits over seven innings in a 2-to-0 Yankee loss.

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The Yankees actually out-hit the Tigers, 7-to-6, but the Bombers wasted a quality start from Masahiro Tanaka. Rallies in the second, third and sixth proved to be fruitless for New York. The team was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Tanaka continued to struggle in the first inning, allowing three consecutive hits to start the game. But, he beared down to keep the damage at one run. The Tigers scored again in the fourth inning. Mikie Mahtook walked with two outs, and came around to score on a single and fielding error by Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Yankee offense never got going, stranding eight runners en route to their 0-for-9 line with runners in scoring position. Brett Gardner extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the third inning.

The only other Yankee highlight came in the eighth inning, when Dellin Betances set down Jim Adduci, Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera in an immaculate inning. He is the sixth Yankee to accomplish the feat, joining Brandon McCarthy, Iván Nova, A.J. Burnett, Ron Guidry and Al Downing.

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Next up for the Yankees is a four-game series in Cleveland, where Sonny Gray and Jaime García will make their Yankee debuts.


Aaron Hicks collected a single in three trips to the plate during the first game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A. Tyler Austin is expected to join him in Scranton shortly.

Aaron Hicks Begins Rehab Assignment With SWB

The Yankees get good news on an injured player as Aaron Hicks begins his rehab assignment tonight with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Hicks was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to tightness in his right oblique, and has not played since June 25.

The 27-year-old was in the midst of a breakout season, hitting .290/.398/.515 with a career-high 37 walks in just 60 games before his injury. He began the season as the Yankee fourth outfielder because he lost the right field competition to Aaron Judge. Hicks took advantage of increased playing time in center field when Jacoby Ellsbury went down with a concussion and neck injury.

Because Hicks is a switch-hitter, he will probably need a few games to get both of his swings back. He is batting second and playing center field for the RailRiders in their matchup with the Buffalo Bison tonight.

When Hicks is ready to return, it will create a controversial logjam of outfielders in the Bronx. The impressive play of Clint Frazier since his promotion has pushed Ellsbury into the fourth outfielder role. General manager Brian Cashman was quoted as saying Frazier will be demoted upon Hicks’s return. That doesn’t seem so obvious now, and Cashman said so in a more recent interview.

At this point, the Yankees have not announced a firm return date for the switch-hitting outfielder.

Clint Frazier Will Return to Triple-A When Aaron Hicks Activated

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said today that outfielder Clint Frazier will be optioned back to Triple-A when Aaron Hicks is activated from the disabled list.

The 22-year-old has impressed in his first 13 games replacing the injured Dustin Fowler in the outfield. His .298/.306/.638 line with just 12 strikeouts has effectively pushed Jacoby Ellsbury into the fourth outfielder role. Ellsbury has been limited due to injuries, and is hitting just .175 in July.

Frazier’s absence will not be very long. Hicks is still at least two weeks away from beginning baseball activities. He has not played since June 25, so a rehab stint in the minor leagues is likely. With that in mind, the Yankees are unsure when the 27-year-old can play again. Frazier will continue to play until Hicks is ready.

MLB rosters expand to 40 players on September 1, and you can bet Frazier will be one of those 40. A lot can happen in the next two weeks too. Ideally, no one gets hurt, Frazier goes down for a minimal amount of time and then everyone is back on the active roster come September.

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