Tag: CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia Leaves Game With Right Hip Soreness, Will Undergo MRI

The injury bug has struck again, as veteran lefty CC Sabathia had to leave Friday’s start against the Baltimore Orioles after four innings and 58 pitches with “right hip soreness”. The team announced the injury, and that Sabathia would undergo an MRI on his injured hip.

Tommy Kahnle replaced Sabathia in the fifth inning. CC gave up three solo home runs (two to Manny Machado, the other to Chris Davis) in his four innings. After an inning-ending strikeout of Anthony Santander, it looked like the lefty was limping during his walk off of the field.

The Yankees will likely recall either Luis Cessa or Domingo Germán if Sabathia must go on the disabled list.

Tigers 2, Yankees 2: Oh Yeah, Ties Are a Thing

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.

Notes:

  • 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.

Tomorrow’s Game:

The Yankees send Chance Adams to the hill to take on Miguel Castro of the Baltimore Orioles at their complex in Sarasota, Fla.

Boone Announces Yankees’ Starters for First Four Spring Games

The spring slate starts Friday against the Detroit Tigers.

The Yankees officially open their spring slate Friday against the Detroit Tigers. Manager Aaron Boone has announced who his first four starting pitchers of the Grapefruit League are:

  1. Luis Cessa (Friday)
  2. Domingo Germán (Saturday)
  3. Jordan Montgomery (Sunday)
  4. Sonny Gray (Monday)

It is currently unclear how the rest of the starters will get involved beyond Monday’s matchup with the Phillies. The Yankees have to get starts for the rest of their rotation (Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, CC Sabathia) while also making space for their prospects and relivers to get ready.

Boone also said that Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez will not play in Friday’s opener. Judge is still recovering from offseason surgery on his left shoulder. There is no announced medical reason for Gardner and Sánchez sitting out. Most likely to avoid putting too much stress on their bodies so early in the spring.

Cessa and Germán are likely competing to be the team’s sixth starter out of camp. Cessa posted a 4.75 ERA (5.69 FIP) in 10 games (5 starts) for the Yankees last year. He found himself on the Scranton Shuttle again for most of the season.

Germán made his MLB debut June 11 against the Orioles with 2⅔ innings of shutout ball. He wound up making seven appearances (mostly mop-up innings) with a 3.14 ERA (3.44 FIP) and a solid 11.3 strikeouts-per-nine rate. Germán figures to be in the rotation at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Gray and Montgomery are simply working back into shape as parts of the Yankees rotation for the 2018 regular season. These four pitchers likely won’t go longer than two or three innings since it’s the early spring.

Harper: Gerrit Cole Trade to Yankees “Inevitable”

Despite news that the Houston Astros were checking in on Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole, the New York Daily News’ John Harper cites an unnamed rival executive calling a trade of Cole to the Yankees “inevitable”.

Two important quotes:

“I think it’s inevitable they’ll get together on a deal,” a rival exec told me Monday. “The Yankees have the pieces and Pittsburgh needs to tear it down. They’ll find common ground.”

“They’re one of the few organizations that have the depth, at the big-league and minor-league level, to match what the Yankees can offer,” an AL scout said. “But (GM Jeff) Luhnow has shown he doesn’t want to give up top prospects if he can help it, so I’d still favor the Yankees.”

The report from Harper comes as Astros’ owner Jim Crane told reporters that his team is pursuing “a high-end starter”. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported the same day that the Astros checked in with Pittsburgh on Cole. The Astros and Pirates reportedly discussed outfielder Derek Fisher as a return, The Pirates are aiming higher at top prospects Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley.

Reports linking the Yankees to the Pirates have died down in recent weeks, since Brian Cashman told Neil Huntington that top prospect infielder Gleyber Torres is off-limits. The Yankees have also been connected to the Pirates’ versatile utilityman, Josh Harrison. In his column, Harper suggests Cashman would make the deal if it were to be Clint Frazier and someone like Chance Adams for Cole.

Though the Yankees already have five starters on their roster, it would appear as though they would like to add one more quality arm heading into Spring Training. They have been linked to other controllable young pitchers in the trade market like Arizona’s Patrick Corbin and Detroit’s Michael Fulmer. Plus, they have kicked the tires on free agent Yu Darvish.

Since they can field a rotation with their current personnel, Brian Cashman does not need to overpay for pitching. Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia and Jordon Montgomery already represent an intimidating pitching staff. That said, expect Cashman to pounce if the deal is right.

Yankees Re-Sign CC Sabathia

UPDATE (Dec. 26 at 3 p.m. ET): The Yankees officially announced the signing on the day after Christmas via Twitter.


The Yankees locked up a pivotal part of their 2018 starting rotation Saturday, agreeing to a one-year, $10 million contract with veteran lefty CC Sabathia.

“CC feels there’s unfinished business to attend to,” agent Kyle Thousand of Roc Nation Sports told MLB.com. “There were competitive offers that CC was weighing, but in the end, CC wanted to come back and win a championship with the Yankees. He loves his teammates, the clubhouse and the moves the Yankees are making. He wants to bring home another championship to the Yankee fans.”

CC made it clear after the Yankees were eliminated in Game 7 of the ALCS that he wanted to return to the Bronx to finish out his career. He has not commented on his future in baseball beyond the 2018 season.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great,” Sabathia said after Game 7. “This is my home, and I want to see this thing through.”

Sabathia will simply need to pass a physical for the deal to be official. The 37-year-old was a huge part of the Yankees rotation in 2017, pitching to a 14-5 record and 3.69 ERA in the final year of the deal he signed prior to the 2009 season. He won a World Series with the Yankees that year, and has been crucial to the team ever since.

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The veteran brings expertise and consistency to the back of a Yankees rotation in need of a few more arms. With innings limits looming on young starters Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees will have to rely on the veterans like Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray to pitch well consistently.

The Yankees may continue their pursuit of another starting pitcher even with Sabathia back in the fold. The team has been linked in trade talks recently to Arizona Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin, Detroit Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer and Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole.

Angels Have Reached Out to CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia‘s return to the Bronx may not be as obvious as most Yankees fans would like to think. George A. King III of the New York Post reported Sunday that the Los Angeles Angels discussed signing the veteran lefty.

Sabathia, 37, expressed interest in re-signing with the Yankees after his seven-year, $161 million contract signed in 2009 expired. CC pitched to a 14-5 record and a 3.69 ERA in the final season of his deal. Overall in pinstripes, he was 120-73 with a 3.75 ERA. He led the MLB in wins in 2009 and 2010, and was the ALCS MVP in 2009. He won his only World Series with the Yankees in 2009.

The Yankees were reportedly reaching out to Sabathia after failing to land RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani. Now, the Angels have Ohtani and are trying to snatch Sabathia from the Bombers, too. Sabathia would fit perfectly in the back of an already scary Yankees rotation.

If they are unable to re-sign Sabathia, the Yankees are reportedly in on RHP Alex Cobb. They also have been dangling the talented OF Clint Frazier as trade bait since they recently acquired reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton in a trade with the Miami Marlins. The Bombers are reportedly asking for a top-line starter plus prospects for Frazier.

The Yankees also have starting pitching depth available in their minor league system. Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield are considered as close to MLB-ready as the Yankees have. They are Top 5 prospects in the Yankees system, and rated as Top 100 overall by MLB.com.

Shohei Ohtani Informs Yankees He Will Sign Elsewhere

The Yankees will not come away with one of the biggest prizes of the 2017-18 offseason, as Shohei Ohtani‘s representatives informed the Yankees that he will sign elsewhere.

Reports indicated that Ohtani was working to narrow the field of teams that he has interest in. The San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and the two LA teams are listed as favorites at this point. An exception to the “small market, West Coast” skew is reportedly the Chicago Cubs, per the Pioneer Press’ Mike Berardino.

The Yankees supposedly impressed Ohtani with their pitch, but the presence of Masahiro Tanaka and the bright lights of New York City likely dashed this plan. The Mets, Red Sox and Twins are the other teams reportedly out of the chase for the Japanese two-way star.

Intrigue surrounds Ohtani since he has the potential to be a full-time two-way player at the MLB level. The 23-year-old slashed .286/.358/.500 with 48 home runs and 166 RBIs in 403 games. As a pitcher, he had a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA, 624 strikeouts and 200 walks in 85 games (82 starts).

The Bombers will now likely shift their focus to re-signing LHP CC Sabathia, or looking for other starting pitcher options on the market. They will also have to re-purpose the international signing bonus pool money they accrued in the hopes of landing Ohtani. They will likely target Kevin Maitán, the top prospect among the Braves players released as penalty for breaking of international signing rules. The other target would be RHP Kazuhisa Makita, who was posted by the Seibu Lions.

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.

Report: Alex Cobb Deciding Between Cubs & Yankees

Free agent RHP Alex Cobb is reportedly down to two teams in his decision on where to sign for the 2018 season and beyond, according to Peter Gammons of The Athletic and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The 30-year-old will likely pick either the Chicago Cubs or New York Yankees.

Cobb could follow his old manager Joe Maddon to the Windy City, where the Cubs have seen postseason success and a World Series title in 2016. But, he could also fit in a Yankees rotation that is looking for a solid fifth starter.

Cobb has a 3.12 ERA in five starts at Yankee Stadium. He is an extreme ground ball pitcher, with 2017’s 47.8 percent ground ball rate being the lowest in his MLB career. He has averaged just 0.84 home runs per nine innings in his career, which is an important stat if he were to pitch in the Bronx. Since missing all of 2015 and all but five starts in 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, Cobb has a 13-12 record and 4.20 ERA. Not exactly eye-popping numbers.

What may push Cobb to the Cubs could be a simple lack of space with the Yankees. CC Sabathia has been clear that he wants to return to the Yankees, and Brian Cashman said he was “excited” to speak with Sabathia’s agent. It’s also no secret that the Yankees are in the thick of the pursuit for Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani should he be posted by his NPB team. The Yankees also got a surprisingly fantastic season out of left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who may begin the season in Triple-A.

It’s frequently said that you can never have too much pitching. But, I think Cobb would only fit in with the Yankees if they are unable to land both Ohtani and Sabathia. The Cubs are more desperate than the Yankees are for starting pitching, and Cobb could prove to be too expensive for a team looking to get under the luxury tax threshold.

 

Free Agency Begins

It’s Thursday, November 2. The champagne has barely dried from the Houston Astros World Series celebration that Sports Illustrated predicted three years ago. But now, it’s time to fire up the Hot Stove.

That’s right – the offseason, and free agency, gets underway today. The Yankees are not expected to be big spenders due to their well-publicized goal of getting under the $197 million luxury tax threshold. Their big winter will come after the 2018 season.

Here are the 2017 Yankees that are now free agents:

  • Matt Holliday, DH
  • Todd Frazier, 3B/1B
  • Jaime García, SP
  • Michael Pineda, SP
  • CC Sabathia, SP

That group does not include Masahiro Tanaka, who has until Saturday, Nov. 4 to decide whether he will exercise his player option or remain under contract until after the 2020 season.

Of the names listed above, I think CC Sabathia is the most realistic bet to re-sign with the team. Sabathia said after the season that he wanted to finish his career in New York, and could be had on a deal similar to Andy Pettitte‘s in 2013: 1 year, $12 million.

I think the team will also make a run to re-sign Todd Frazier, who really proved to be a fantastic leader during the run to the American League Championship Series. However, I think he will receive multi-year offers elsewhere, and that does not fit into the Yankees long-term plans to hand third base over to either Miguel Andújar or Gleyber Torres in the near future.

The Yankees have an incredible amount of depth, and will be able to fill holes from within their system. Plus, they are known to be pursuing Japanese SP/DH/OF Shohei Ohtani should he leave NPB to come to the MLB. If Ohtani is not available or signs elsewhere, expect the Yankees to target either Jake Arrieta or Lance Lynn.

A glaring need is a left-handed reliever that is not named Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees used Chasen Shreve to the tune of a 0.2 fWAR season in 2017, but that may not be enough going forward. They may make a run at someone like Mike Minor, who posted a 2.1 fWAR season out of the Kansas City Royals bullpen in 65 appearances.

I’ll do my best to bring the latest Hot Stove info as it comes.