Tag: Billy McKinney

Yankees 1, Braves 3: Gary’s Dinger Not Enough

Gary Sánchez hit a line drive home run off ex-Yankees RHP Arodys Vizcaíno, but it was not enough to push the Yankees to victory over the Atlanta Braves Friday in Kissimmee.

Sánchez’s second dinger of the spring came in the sixth inning, as the Yankee backstop managed to tie the game with one swing. It was his second hit of the game after he led off the fourth inning with a single to center field.

The seventh inning doomed the Yankees to defeat. Preston Tucker singled against David Hale, then Charlie Culberson singled to move Tucker to second base. Next, Carlos Franco doubled to right field, where Billy McKinney had an adventure fielding the ball. McKinney ended up committing a fielding and throwing error on the play, allowing two runs to score.

Those runs ended up making the decisive difference in the game. Only one of those runs was charged to Hale as earned.

Offensive Notes:

  • Greg Bird really struggled tonight. He struck out three times in four at-bats, leaving seven men on-base. His Spring Training average dropped below .100 after this game. Spring stats obviously mean very little, but it would be important for the Yankees to get Bird going. “I think he is a middle-of-the-order hitter on a championship team. When we see him healthy and at his best, he will be a guy who will be a real option to hit in the middle of our order,’’ Aaron Boone said to George A. King III in late February.
  • Other than Aaron Hicks‘ bloop single, Gary Sánchez provided the Yankee offense tonight with his solo home run and single. “Gary, for me, he’s one of the most gifted hitters I’ve played with, and I’ve played with some pretty decent ones, as you know,” said Brett Gardner to Coley Harvey, who now covers the Yankees for ESPN. Sánchez just renewed his contract for $620,400 in 2018 since he is still a pre-arbitration player.

Pitching Notes:

  • Sonny Gray was fantastic on the mound in his 3⅔ innings of work. He struck out three, walked one and only allowed one hit.
  • Chasen Shreve and Jonathan Holder each contributed one scoreless inning of work tonight. Each pitcher struck out two batters. Both are looking to make the Opening Day roster in the front end of the bullpen.
  • The Yankees were bested tonight by a product of their own organization. Anyelo Gómez, who was credited with the win, was selected by the Braves out of the Yankees organization in the Rule 5 draft. Roster Resource projects him to stick with the Braves in the front end of their bullpen. If he does not, the Braves must return him to the Yankees.

Tomorrow’s Game:

The Yankees welcome the Mets into Steinbrenner Field for another Subway Series preview game. The Yankees won the first edition in Port St. Lucie, and send Luis Cessa to the mound Saturday against Matt Harvey. Cessa had been scheduled to start March 7 at the Mets, but had been scratched for Domingo Germán because of a stiff neck.

Game 14: Off to Disney World

No TV, just radio tonight.

The Yankees bring their team (minus nine players) to Kissimmee tonight, taking on the Atlanta Braves inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Champion Stadium hosts a matchup between big league righties Sonny Gray and Julio Teherán.

The team continues to look at Billy McKinney, as he starts in right field tonight after his go-ahead grand slam against the Mets Wednesday. Fellow 40-man outfielder Jake Cave gets the start in left field. Gleyber Torres starts at second base, while Miguel Andújar continues his quest for the third base job.

The Yankees list RHP Jonathan Holder, LHP Chasen Shreve, RHP Tommy Kahnle, RHP J.P. Feyereisen and RHP David Hale as probable relievers against the Braves.

Braves Lineup:

  1. Ender Inciarte – CF
  2. Charlie Culberson – SS
  3. Freddie Freeman – 1B
  4. Tyler Flowers – C
  5. Nick Markakis – RF
  6. Ryan Schimpf – 3B
  7. Christian Colón – 2B
  8. Preston Tucker – LF
  9. Lane Adams – DH

Game 9: Versatility on Display

More AL East action!

The Yankees welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to Tampa (yeah, it’s odd) for a preview of AL East action, with fireballers Chad Green and former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi facing off.

The biggest note about today’s game is that Giancarlo Stanton makes his first professional start in left field for the Yanks. Over the winter, much was made about whether Stanton or Aaron Judge would see time in left field. It’s only a matter of time until Judge gets time out there, but his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery has slowed him down slightly.

With the Yankees short on first base depth, Billy McKinney gets the start at first base. He played the position in high school, and began taking reps there again during the Arizona Fall League. McKinney, who can also play both outfield corners, is competing with Tyler Austin, Ryan McBroom and recently signed Adam Lind for spots on the first base depth chart behind Greg Bird.

Two former Yankees take the field for the Rays, as Nathan Eovaldi will be on the mound and Nick Solak suits up at second base. Solak was traded by the Yankees to the Rays as part of the three-team deal that allowed the Bombers to get infielder Brandon Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rays’ Lineup:

  1. Mallex Smith – LF
  2. Kevin Kiermaier – CF
  3. Denard Span – DH
  4. Brandon Snyder – 1B
  5. Jake Bauers – RF
  6. Nick Solak – 2B
  7. Johnny Monell – C
  8. Kean Wong – 3B
  9. Jake Cronenworth – SS

Game 5: Green vs. Blue (Jays)

The Yankees head west to Dunedin.

The Yankees are back on the road, as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays at their spring complex in Dunedin. Chad Green will get the ball as a starter today, making his first spring appearance.

Green was a revelation out of the bullpen last season. He finished the season with a stellar 5-0 record and 1.83 ERA (1.75 FIP). He struck out 13.4 batters per nine, while walking just 2.2. He comes into camp stretched out as a starter, though manager Aaron Boone noted “a lot would have to happen” for him to end up in the rotation.

Marco Estrada gets the ball for the Blue Jays. The 34-year-old had a disappointing season in the final year of the two-year, $26 million contract signed after the 2015 season. In 33 starts, he finished 10-9 with a 4.98 ERA (4.61 FIP) with 8.5 K/9, 9.0 H/9 and 3.4 BB/9. Not what you want from a guy making $14.5 million.

After his walkoff heroics last night, Miguel Andújar gets the start at third base and bats second. A ton of middle/utility infield candidates in the lineup today as well, with Danny Espinosa at second base, Jace Peterson at designated hitter and Ronald Torreyes at shortstop. Lastly, we get to see another start from Billy McKinney (this time in left), and Shane Robinson shifts to right field.

Today’s scheduled relievers for the Yankees are RHP Brady Lail, RHP David Hale, RHP J.P. Feyereisen and RHP Raynel Espinal.

Blue Jays’ Lineup:

  1. Devon Travis – 2B
  2. Yangervis Solarte – 3B
  3. Josh Donaldson – DH
  4. Justin Smoak – 1B
  5. Randal Grichuk – RF
  6. Russell Martin – C
  7. Steve Pearce – LF
  8. Kevin Pillar – CF
  9. Aledmys Díaz – SS

Phillies 3, Yankees 4: Miguel’s Magic

The first walk-off of the year!

With two strikes and two outs against him in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, Miguel Andújar came up huge against the Philadelphia Phillies. His walkoff solo home run propelled the Yankees to their fourth straight spring victory Monday night in Tampa.

Andújar is in the thick of the intense infield competition for the Yankees. He came in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, and immediately roped a double that knocked in his main competition at third base, Brandon Drury. That hit tied the game. Then, after Gleyber Torres and Mark Payton were unable to connect against Ranger Suárez of the Phillies, Andújar lined a 2-2 pitch out to left for a game-winner.

Sonny Gray started the game in excellent shape. He worked around two singles to throw two innings of shutout ball, striking out two. Things began to unravel once Chance Adams came in to relieve Gray. Shoddy control allowed Carlos Santana to drive in a leadoff walk with a sacrifice fly in the third.

Ben Heller took over after a scoreless inning from Jonathan Holder. He eventually walked the bases loaded with one out, and then hit Phillies’ catcher Jorge Alfaro to force in a run.

The Yankees answered in the bottom of that frame. Drury walked, Billy McKinney reached on a fielding error by first baseman Matt McBride, then Tyler Wade knocked Drury in to cut the deficit to 2-to-1. Andújar’s double in the seventh tied the game.

Another Yankees run came in the eighth. Erik Kratz and Tyler Austin walked, then designated hitter Jorge Saez (pinch-hitting for Giancarlo Stanton) singled Kratz in to give the Yankees a 3-to-2 lead. Austin was thrown out trying to score by left fielder Jesmuel Valentin.

Cody Carroll was tasked with getting the last three outs, but he was unable to without squandering the lead. He got the first two outs, but Scott Kingery deposited a solo home run out to right field to tie the game again at 3.

Andújar took care of the Phillies from that point, going from two strikes and two outs to the first walk-off hero of this young season.

Tomorrow, the Yankees take a trip west to take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Dunedin Stadium tomorrow at 1:07 p.m. Chad Green will get the start coming off an incredible season out of the bullpen. His counterpart will be RHP Marco Estrada.

Game 4: Sonny in Tampa

The Yankees return home for another matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field Monday night with Sonny Gray on the mound. The Bombers took the Phillies down 8-to-3 Sunday at their complex in Clearwater.

Sonny Gray makes his Tampa debut tonight after being acquired by the Yankees at the 2017 Trade Deadline. As a Yankee, he posted a 4-7 record (he got terrible run support) and a 3.72 ERA (4.87 FIP) in 11 starts after the deadline. Gray is set to make $6.5 million this season after avoiding arbitration with the Yankees on a one-year deal.

Gray’s counterpart on the hill will be Phillies’ right-hander Ben Lively. The 25-year-old debuted last year, and made 15 starts to a 4-7 record and 4.26 ERA (4.97 FIP). A fourth round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, Lively struck out 5.3 per nine innings and walked 2.4.

This lineup looks similar to something that Aaron Boone would use in a regular season game. Brett Gardner and Gary Sánchez make their spring debuts tonight. We get to see some more of Billy McKinney in right field as well. Tyler Wade gets the start at the heavily coveted second base opening.

Tonight’s scheduled relievers are RHP Chance Adams, RHP Giovanny Gallegos, RHP Ben Heller and RHP Cody Carroll.

Phillies’ Lineup:
  1. Rhys Hoskins – LF
  2. Carlos Santana – 1B
  3. César Hernández – SS
  4. Aaron Altherr – CF
  5. Nick Williams – RF
  6. Jorge Alfaro – C
  7. Ryan Flaherty – 3B
  8. Pedro Florimón – 2B
  9. Dylan Cozens – DH


Yankees 4, Pirates 1: McKinney Wins It

The outfielder-turned-first-baseman hits the Yankees’ first homer at a perfect moment.

Billy McKinney gets a big moment under his belt early in Spring Training by belting a go-ahead three-run home run to win the Yankees’ matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Bombers opened scoring in the fourth with clutch hitting from an unlikely source: non-roster catcher Erik Kratz. Danny Espinosa and Ronald Torreyes walked, then Kratz singled to right field to score Espinosa for a 1-0 lead.

The Pirates responded with a monstrous solo home run by Gregory Polanco in the fifth inning off right-hander Dillon Tate. That was the extent of the Pirates on the board, however, as their other six hits amounted to nothing.

The score remained knotted at one until the ninth. Jace Peterson walked, Miguel Andújar singled and then McKinney launched his first homer (and the Yankees’ first homer) of the Spring out to right field.

Jonathan Holder pitched around a 1-out double by Cole Tucker in the bottom half of the frame to secure the Yankees’ second victory of the spring.

Next up: the Philadelphia Phillies at their complex in Clearwater.

Heyman: Yankees, Marlins Have Discussed Giancarlo Stanton

The Yankees and Miami Marlins have reportedly had discussions regarding a trade that would send the 6′ 6″, 245-pound OF Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The article from Heyman is a really interesting read simply because Stanton is such a dynamic and expensive player. The 2017 NL MVP hit .281/.376/.631 (156 wRC+) with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs in his age-28 season with the Marlins. Stanton is signed through 2027 (can opt out after 2020) with a club option for the 2028 season. He has $295 million due from 2018 onwards.

There is an obvious appeal to adding another power bat to the Yankees lineup. Pair Stanton with the likes of Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez and you have an impressively scary lineup. But, the Yankees are looking to get under the luxury tax threshold this offseason, and taking on Stanton’s salary would make that difficult.

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Heyman mentions that the Yankees would have to unload Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and maybe even longest-tenured Bomber Brett Gardner to offset the cost of Stanton. With Jake Cave, Clint Frazier and Billy McKinney on the 40-man roster they would be able to offset the trades of Ellsbury and Gardner. Stanton would presumably start in left field since I would avoid moving Judge. Trading Headley would ensure that either Miguel Andújar or Gleyber Torres would start the season at third base.

As good as this deal sounds, I do not think it’s worth it for the Yankees. They are better off keeping their veterans and letting other teams overpay for Stanton. The Marlins want whoever takes Stanton to pay the majority of his contract (Jon Morosi reported today that the Marlins would accept the Giants paying “at least $250 million of the $295 million left”).

Of course, these teams have already linked up on a trade this offseason. The Yankees traded 1B Garrett Cooper and LHP Caleb Smith to the Marlins in exchange for Michael King and international signing bonus pool money ahead of the 40-man roster deadline. The other connection is that the Marlins’ CEO is former Yankees SS Derek Jeter, and the Vice President of Player Development and Scouting is former Yankee Gary Denbo.

The Yankees are better off letting Gardner and Headley play out their contracts, trying to dump Ellsbury to free up a roster spot. Then, once their luxury tax number resets, they can go all-out on a free agency class that includes Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

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Yankees Add Six Players to 40-Man Roster

All of the Yankees’ wheeling and dealing in the last few days came with a purpose. The team added six players to their 40-man roster Monday to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

The team protected RHP Albert Abreu (No. 7), RHP Domingo Acevedo (No. 6), INF Thairo Estrada (No. 17), RHP Jonathan Loáisiga, OF/1B Billy McKinney (No. 23) and INF Gleyber Torres (No. 1). I expected everyone with the exception of Loáisiga to be protected, since Loáisiga has no experience above Low-A ball.

The Yankees acquired Abreu in the trade that sent Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. He pitched well in 2017, putting up a 2-3 record and 3.38 ERA across three minor league levels with the Yankees. He displayed strikeout stuff (10.3 K/9) but had command issues (3.0 BB/9) that will have to be ironed out in the lower minor leagues. Abreu impressed in the Arizona Fall League, finishing with a 2.60 ERA and 23 strikeouts in six AFL starts.

Acevedo signed with the Yankees March 3, 2013, as an international amateur free agent. The 6’7″ right-hander started 23 games across three different MiLB levels, topping out at Triple-A. His lanky frame has allowed him to reach up to 103 mph with his fastball. He finished 2017 with a 3.25 ERA and 9.6 K/9 rate. He has the potential to be a starter if he can manage his mechanics, but also could end up as a potent back-end reliever.

Estrada is another player who put himself on the radar with a strong Arizona Fall League performance. He was second on the Scottsdale Scorpions in average, hitting .342/.381/.430 with a homer and 10 RBIs. A versatile middle infielder, Estrada batted .301/.353/.392 with six homers and 48 RBIs exclusively with Double-A Trenton.

Loáisiga serves as the wild card. The Yankees were bound to protect another pitcher, and they chose the 23-year-old from Nicaragua. In 11 starts with the Yankees organization in 2017, Loáisiga was filthy. He went just 1-1, but had a stunning 1.83 ERA and 9.1 K/9 compared to 0.8 BB/9. To protect a guy who has not pitched above Short Season-A is rare, but Loáisiga showed he deserved it.

McKinney was the 24th overall pick in the 2013 Amateur Draft, selected by the Oakland Athletics. He was traded in 2014 with Addison Russell and Dan Straily to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. McKinney found himself in the package with Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren and Rashad Crawford that went to the Yankees in exchange for Aroldis Chapman in 2016. Once he hit Triple-A in 2017, McKinney turned heads, batting .306/.336/.541 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 55 games. The Yankees sent him to the Arizona Fall League (which foreshadowed his protection), where he finished second with 20 RBIs. He also played first base in the AFL, aiming to increase his versatility.

As mentioned above, Torres came to the Yankees in the Chapman deal during the 2016 “rebuild”. The consensus No. 1 prospect in MLB, Torres’ 2017 season was cut short after he tore his left UCL sliding into home plate in a Triple-A game. He missed the rest of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was on a rotation of playing third base, shortstop and second base in order to find a position for him in the major league lineup. He was hitting .309/.406/.457 in 23 Triple-A Games prior to his injury. The Yankees are not allowing him to play winter ball, but Brian Cashman implied that Torres will be able to compete for a job during Spring Training.

The Yankees obviously had very tough decisions to make regarding who to protect. They made many trades, and had to leave a lot of talent unprotected. If a team selects an eligible player from the Yankees who is not on the 40-man roster, they pay the Yankees a fee and must keep that player on their active roster for the entirety of the season. If they are unable to keep that player on the active roster, they must return him to the Yankees and they will get a refund. If another team keeps that player on the active roster for the entire season (like the San Diego Padres did with C Luis Torrens in 2016), they gain ownership of the players rights, and can send them to the minor leagues.

Report: Yankees Interested in Rangers INF Jurickson Profar

As the GM Meetings come to a close in Orlando, Fla., there is an interesting rumbling regarding the Yankees and Texas Rangers. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees are intrigued by Rangers’ utility man Jurickson Profar.

Profar has been a disappointment since being billed as the No. 1 prospect in baseball prior to the 2013 season. He has posted a .229/.309/.329 line through 206 games at the big league level. He has yet to play more than 90 games in a season, and missed the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to a shoulder injury.

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But, he does have some redeeming qualities. He has pedigree, and could come into his upside later on in his career. At age-24, he still could “find it” and be a productive player. He has experience at every infield position, and 30 games in left field. That kind of defensive versatility is valuable. Where he would fit in a Yankee organization that has Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade remains to be seen.

Trading for someone like Profar would only make sense if the Yankees can unload a few of their excess 40-man roster pitchers. Guys like Luis Cessa, Giovanny Gallegos, Bryan Mitchell, Caleb Smith and more may be shipped off in a package to open up more 40-man spots for names like Domingo Acevedo, Thairo Estrada and Gleyber Torres.

If the Yankees can open up two or three 40-man roster spots while only taking on Profar (projected to make $1.1 million in arbitration per MLBTradeRumors), that would be a fantastic opportunity to buy low on a player with plenty of pedigree. They did it with Didi Gregorius, and also look to do so with Billy McKinney (Aroldis Chapman trade) and Dillon Tate (Carlos Beltrán trade).

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