Tag: Billy McKinney

Yankees Acquire J.A. Happ From Toronto for Drury, McKinney

Less than 48 hours after acquiring dominant lefty Zach Britton from the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees and Brian Cashman immediately pivoted to another American League East southpaw. The Yankees have acquired J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney.

The trade immediately gives the Yankees some stability in the back end of the rotation. Happ has not started in fewer than 25 games since prior to the 2014 season. So far in 2018, he has a 10-6 record and 4.18 ERA. That ERA has been bloated by a rough month of July, where he has a 7.41 mark in four starts. In his career against Boston, Happ is 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA. He’s 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA in nine Fenway Park games. He has a career 3.94 ERA at Yankee Stadium, although now he’ll be wearing the pinstripes.

Happ is expected to report to the Yankees tomorrow.


Both pieces heading from the Yankees to the Blue Jays did not have an immediate role with the 2018 Yankees. Drury was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the off-season, and began the season as the starting third baseman. After just eight games, Drury revealed that he suffered from migraines and blurred vision, frequently while playing, but never told anyone. He then missed 71 games before doctors determined that it was a tendon in his neck that was causing the problems. He hit .176/.263/.275 in 18 games with the Yankees prior to the trade. He was named an International League All-Star after hitting .294/.403/.447 for the RailRiders.

McKinney came to the Yankees as part of the haul netted by Cashman in the Aroldis Chapman deal in 2016. He played all three outfield positions and some first base in 54 games for the Yankees AAA team. He hit .230/.294/.502 with 13 home runs in the International League. He was a member of the Yankees 40-man roster and was the team’s 20th ranked prospect.


The trade winds began to swirl earlier this afternoon when RailRiders beat writers first reported Domingo Germán would be moved up to start a day earlier than scheduled, replacing Erik Swanson. At the same time, I noticed McKinney was left out of the lineup against a right-handed starter. Drury has long been rumored to be a trade chip for the Yankees.

Swanson ended up being moved to tomorrow’s start, while Germán made it through 1+ inning before being removed after consultation with the trainers. That’s obviously not great.

Clint Frazier Removed From SWB Game With Concussion Symptoms

Bad news for one of Brian Cashman’s best trade chips.

Bad news came from Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday night, where the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate was playing. Outfielder (and prominent trade chip) Clint Frazier was removed prior to his second plate appearance after attempting a diving catch in the outfield in the first inning.

Conor Foley, a RailRiders writer for The Times-Tribune in Scranton, said Frazier was removed “for precautionary reasons related to possible concussion symptoms” and the outfielder would “see a doctor soon”.

SWB manager Bobby Mitchell said Frazier was feeling “lightheaded,” and had expressed “he wasn’t ‘feeling too good'” prior to first pitch. “There’s a chance he could go on the DL just because he’s had the concussion syndrome thing and you want to be careful with that,” Mitchell told DJ Eberle, a RailRiders beat reporter for the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre. “Don’t know exactly the move and how he’ll feel tomorrow, but there’s a possibility that, yeah, he could [end up on the DL].”

Frazier had been optioned by the Yankees on Monday, but took the full 72 hours allotted to him to report to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre since he never would have gotten an All-Star break. He was batting .265/.390/.353 (115 wRC+) in 41 big-league plate appearances, and an impressive .311/.389/.574 (170 wRC+) in 216 International League plate appearances.

Cleveland prospect infielder Yu Chang hit a line drive that he made a diving attempt for but came up empty. It ended up being an RBI triple fielded by right fielder Billy McKinney.

The 23-year-old was called out on strikes to begin the game, and was pinch-hit for by Shane Robinson when his spot in the order was due to hit in the second inning. Robinson flew out and proceeded to take over in center field for the rest of the game.

The Internet went into a fury once reports indicated Frazier had been lifted, especially with Trade Deadline madness and Frazier’s pedigree as a trade chip. Recent reports indicate that Brian Cashman has been shopping him aggressively in an effort to shore up the Yankees’ starting rotation. That plan now hangs in the balance as Cashman and the Yankees anxiously await updates on Frazier’s condition.

The Yankees recalled Brandon Drury to replace Frazier on the active roster for tonight’s series opener with the Mets.

Morosi: Moustakas at 1B of Interest to Yankees

With Greg Bird putting up below average offensive production for the Yankees at first base (97 wRC+, 95 OPS+), the Yankees could turn to an unorthodox option on the trade market. Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com is reporting the team has interest in acquiring Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and moving him across the diamond to first base.

The Yankees have gotten very little production out of first base for the second consecutive season, as the combination of Bird, Tyler Austin and Neil Walker has produced a .657 OPS – 29th among 30 Major League teams.

Morosi reports the Royals expect to trade Moustakas, who became a victim of the 2017-18 free agent freeze and signed with the Royals on a one-year, $6.5 million deal that features a $15 million mutual option for 2019. Morosi mentioned also that the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies are also interested in Moustakas, but as a third baseman. At 29, the 2nd overall pick in the 2007 draft seemed poised to cash in on a season where he hit a career-high 38 home runs. But, that opportunity never came and he found himself back in Kansas City for cheap.

In 82 games so far this season, Moustakas has put up a .258/.312/.472 line with 16 home runs. He has, however, just 17.0 innings of big league baseball at first base in his career and they’ve all come in 2018. Moustakas would likely receive the sort of crash course that Chase Headley got at the end of 2017 following the acquisition of Todd Frazier. Headley only had 62 innings at first base under his belt when the Yankees made that move on July 18, 2017. However, Headley had been a bit of a utility man with the San Diego Padres, also seeing time in the outfield. Moustakas only has a few minor league innings at shortstop on his résumé.

Acquiring Moustakas would show the Yankees have zero confidence in Bird’s ability to put it all together in 2018. He still has minor league options remaining, so the Yankees would likely stash him in Triple-A until September 1 to get things ironed out. A move that acquires salary like this would be worth watching also because the Yankees want to add to the starting rotation and stay below the $197 million luxury tax threshold. The Yanks could shed the remaining salary of Neil Walker by attaching a higher quality prospect, which is how the team managed to jettison Headley alongside Bryan Mitchell.

The internal options to replace Bird aren’t great. Austin recently hit the minor league 7-day disabled list with a back issue, where he joins fellow Triple-A first baseman Mike Ford. The next man up would be Billy McKinney, who has already cracked 11 home runs in the International League but has primarily suited up in the outfield this season. Ryan McBroom has had an impressive breakout after being acquired for Rob Refsnyder from Toronto, hitting .313/.336/.498 at Triple-A while splitting time between first base and right field.

Greg Bird is just 12-for-61 (.715 OPS) in his past 21 games. In that same span, Mike Moustakas is 15-for-71 (.626 OPS). Neither is lighting the world on fire at the moment. I think it’s too soon to be making a declaration in either direction on this rumor. Bird rounding into shape so that the Yankees only have to trade for a starter would be the best case scenario. But, if Bird gets injured or continues to struggle, Brian Cashman has the pieces and the flexibility to land Moustakas for much less than the trade that sent ex-teammate Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals.

Tommy Kahnle to Return Friday; Greg Bird on Saturday

Badly needed reinforcements are headed to the Bronx, as key contributors RHP Tommy Kahnle and 1B Greg Bird are set to be activated from the disabled list during the upcoming series against the Los Angeles Angels. Manager Aaron Boone provided the information in a radio interview with Mike Francesa.

The bullpen proved overworked in an ugly loss Wednesday in Texas, where the Yankees’ offense scored 10 runs but were bested by 12 from the Rangers. Tommy Kahnle will provide extra length as he serves as another arm Boone can trust in a high-leverage situation. Kahnle last pitched April 12 in Boston, before a concerning velocity drop led the Yankees to discover his right shoulder tendinitis. That likely explains his unsightly 6.14 ERA (5.69 FIP) as well as astronomical 9.8 walks-per-nine rate. So far on his rehab assignment, Kahnle has allowed two earned runs in five innings of work.

Greg Bird returns to a first base position that has actually been handled well in his absence. The 25-year-old did not make the trip north for the Yankees’ opening series in Toronto due to another surgery on a small bone spur in his right ankle. Doctors removed a coin-sized calcium deposit from the joint. Yankees first basemen have combined to hit .238/.296/.431 with nine homers and 33 RBIs to this point in the season, so they have the luxury to ease Bird back into things. I would expect the Yankees to demote an extra reliever (likely A.J. Cole) so that they can keep both Tyler Austin and Neil Walker on the active roster. On his rehab assignment, Bird has slashed .205/.367/.436 with three home runs. He likely will play one more game with the RailRiders Friday in Scranton.


Gary Sánchez, who left Tuesday night’s game with calf cramps and did not start in Wednesday’s game, will likely start behind the plate as normal to catch Luis Severino in Friday’s series opener. He’ll get at least the half-day-off Saturday as Sonny Gray will start.

Prior to Boone’s interview with Francesa, there was nervousness regarding Sánchez’s health as the team signed catcher Wilkin Castillo out of the independent Atlantic League and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. No word at this point if either of their catchers, Kyle Higashioka or Erik Kratz, are going through any injury issues. Castillo is actually quite versatile as well, logging innings at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field. And, yes, he logged 6⅔ innings on the mound for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians in the Pittsburgh Pirates system in 2015.

Earlier today, the Yankees activated outfielder Billy McKinney (left shoulder sprain) from the 10-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Yankees 10, Rangers 5: Torres Leads Bombers Past Bartolo

21-year-old vs. 44-year-old – Advantage: Gleyber

Gleyber Torres showed off his power stroke Monday in Texas, smacking two home runs for the first time in his career en route to a 10-to-5 Yankees victory over the Rangers.

The 21-year-old second baseman, who was just three months old when Bartolo Colón made his MLB debut, drove in three as he hit homer No. 5 off the righty in the second and No. 6 in the sixth. That second home run chased Colón from the game. In between the two homers, Colón plunked Torres. Whether intentional or not, Torres got the best possible revenge.

The Yankees scored six on Colón in his 6⅓ innings, with the scoring starting in the second inning. Gary Sánchez led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a Tyler Austin ground out and then came around to score on a Neil Walker double. Torres followed with a 418-foot bomb to left that scored Walker.

In the bottom of the second, the master of the three true outcomes, Joey Gallo, got the best of Tanaka as he smacked his 14th home run of the year to right-center field.

Walker got in on the home run party in the fourth inning, smacking a solo shot into the right field seats for his first home run as a member of the Yankees. In 44 plate appearances in May, Walker is slashing .343/.477/.543 while appearing at first and third base. Neither is his natural position, yet he is still contributing on both sides of the ball. Worth the $4 million investment without question.

Tanaka could not avoid the big hit in the fourth inning in a jam he created for himself. He walked Jurickson Profar and Gallo back-to-back, and then allowed a three-run game-tying home run to Rougned Odor. Odor had not homered since September 20 last season.

Aaron Judge snapped himself out of an 0-for-15 funk with a towering solo home run in the fifth inning, which was his 12th of the season and also gave the Yankees a 5-to-4 lead. Torres’ second home run ushered Colón out of the game and recently recalled righty Matt Bush in from the bullpen. Brett Gardner walked, Judge doubled him over to third and Giancarlo Stanton scored Gardner on a sacrifice fly to right. Didi Gregorius, who could not buy a hit, then roped a double to left to score Judge.

After Tanaka got out of the fifth, Aaron Boone turned the game over to the bullpen. Chad Green, David Robertson and Jonathan Holder handled the last four innings, and the only blemish was a Ronald Guzmán homer. Green allowed the dinger in his second inning of work. Otherwise, not much happened offensively for the Rangers after Odor’s fourth inning home run.

In the top of the ninth, Sánchez roped a double to left, and then Aaron Hicks followed with his fifth home run of the year to ice the game for New York. Since May 15, when Clint Frazier was recalled in Washington, Hicks has caught fire: 8-for-19 (.421/.500/.842, 257 wRC+).

Tanaka’s outing left a lot to be desired. He has a 5.91 ERA in his four May starts, and has allowed 20 hits in 21⅓ innings in that same timeframe. Of course, the Yankees have scored an average of just over seven runs behind him in those outings. He had no command of his splitter, which is a key to his success.

Too many left out over the plate, and too many that are too low to even entice hitters. Fixing his splitter will allow him to miss more bats and induce more ground balls.


Rehab Update:

  • Greg Bird: 1-for-4, HR, 1 BB, 2 K – second home run of his rehab assignment.
  • Billy McKinney: 0-for-4 – he seems close, and will likely be activated and optioned to Triple-A sooner than later
  • Tommy Kahnle: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 K – got the loss in his first professional start and first rehab appearance for Low-A Charleston. Likely makes one more appearance before returning Friday in the Bronx.

What’s Next:

Domingo Germán, who has not pitched in 10 days, gets the start against Cole Hamels. Hamels had some interesting things to say to the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan the other day:

“It’s kind of the nature of what happens,’’ [Hamels] said. “You get traded once and you understand the possibilities are there. … The Yankees have a tremendous team. I feel like I have a lot left and I’ve been able to add more pitches and I haven’t had a serious injury.’’

The Yankees are reportedly on Hamels’ no-trade clause list, though it seems likely he would waive that agreement if given the opportunity.

Game 44: Big Sexy in Texas

Somehow, Bartolo Colón is still pitching.

Fresh off a blowout win to secure their eighth straight series win, the New York Yankees tab Masahiro Tanaka as their starter against Bartolo Colón and the Rangers in Arlington.

Masahiro Tanaka has been consistent in his last five starts, and the Yankees have won four of them (one is in limbo as Tanaka started the suspended game in Washington on May 15). In that timeframe, he has a 3.72 ERA and a strong 24-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Most importantly, 84% of at-bats against the righty in this sample have ended in ground balls. That’s the best way to keep your team in the game. Since his debut in 2014, Tanaka has not had success against the Rangers. He’s 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts against them.

Facing the Yankees is the ageless right-hander Bartolo Colón. At the age of 44 years, 11 months and 27 days, Colón is having a resurgence on the mound in 2018. Through nine games (seven starts), the veteran has just a 2-1 record but a stellar 2.82 ERA. In his last time out against the Seattle Mariners on May 16, he fired 7⅔ shutout innings while allowing just four hits on 96 pitches. In 21 career appearances (20 starts) against the Yankees, Colón has a 6.11 ERA in 113⅓ innings. Gleyber Torres, the Yankees’ second baseman, was just three months old when Colón made his MLB debut.

Miguel Andújar sits against the veteran Colón, while Neil Walker returns to the lineup at third base for the first time this season. Tyler Austin gets another start over at first, while Didi Gregorius returns to the lineup in the cleanup spot.


Greg Bird and Billy McKinney have had their rehab assignments transferred to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and have traveled to Pawtucket to play the Red Sox’s affiliate.

Tommy Kahnle, who has been shelved since April 16 with right shoulder tendonitis, began a rehab assignment tonight with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs tonight. He could rejoin the team as soon as Friday, per Aaron Boone.


Rangers’ Lineup:

  1. Delino DeShields Jr. – CF
  2. Shin-Soo Choo – DH
  3. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  4. Nomar Mazara – RF
  5. Jurickson Profar – SS
  6. Joey Gallo – LF
  7. Rougned Odor – 2B
  8. Robinson Chirinos – C
  9. Ronald Guzmán – 1B

 

Yankees 8, Royals 3: Bombers Clobber Five Homers to Even Series

Four balls over the wall, and one that missed by a few inches.

The Bronx Bombers lived up to that nickname Saturday night in Kansas City, as the rain held off to allow the Yankees to even their series with the Royals behind an 8-to-3 win.

Gary Sánchez finally broke out in a huge way tonight, going 4-for-5 with a double, two home runs and a single. The Kraken drove in three runs and scored two of his own.

In the third inning, Aaron Hicks showed off his speed as he smacked his second inside-the-park home run of the season on a fly ball to right field. He is the first Yankee to have multiple inside-the-park home runs in a season since Mickey Mantle in 1958. Gleyber Torres smacked a go-ahead 3-run homer in the fourth to put the Yankees ahead for good. In the top of the ninth, Giancarlo Stanton smacked one into the left-center field fountains, and then Sánchez snuck his second homer of the night over the left field wall.

The Royals rallied for two runs in the third when Alcides Escobar led of the inning with a single and then scored on a Ryan Goins double. Jon Jay then sacrificed Goins to third, and Jorge Soler followed with an RBI single.

They also scored in the fifth, when Goins walked, Jay singled and then Mike Moustakas hit a broken-bat single to right that scored Goins. The Royals almost plated another run, but a strong relay from Stanton to Ronald Torreyes to Gary Sánchez nailed Moustakas at the plate trying to score from first on a Salvador Pérez double.

Hicks, Torreyes and Tyler Austin each managed multi-hit games tonight. Aaron Judge was the only Yankee without a hit.


Rehab Update:

  • Greg Bird: 1-for-3, BB – Bird is headed to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to continue his rehab stint.
  • Billy McKinney: 1-for-3, BB – McKinney played center field for the Thunder tonight. Played five games there for Trenton in 2017, once in 2016. Unclear if he’s headed to SWB with Bird.

What’s Next:

Sonny Gray looks to rebound from an awful start against his old team, the Oakland Athletics. Gray gave up five runs in five innings May 11, and looks to revert to the pitcher that allowed just two runs over six innings against the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians.

His counterpart will be southpaw Eric Skoglund. In seven starts, the 25-year-old has pitched to a 1-3 record and 5.58 ERA. His last start saw him get a tough luck loss against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing just two runs while scattering seven hits in 7⅔ innings.