Tag: Clint Frazier

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.

King: Yankees, Pirates Discussing Deal for Gerrit Cole

The Yankees may look to the trade market to fill in a gap in their starting rotation, according to the New York Post’s George A. King III. On their radar: the Pittsburgh Pirates’ RHP Gerrit Cole.

King reports the Yankees are in contact with the Bucs about a deal that could include OF Clint Frazier and potentially more. King mentions that the Pirates would also look for “a pitcher ready to work in the majors,” which would imply someone like Chance Adams. There is no indication that a deal was close to done.

Cole had a down year for the Pirates, pitching to a 4.26 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9. The Yankees would likely try to buy low on Cole, who they drafted No. 28 out of high school in 2008. Cole did not sign, instead opting to pitch at UCLA. He became the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.

Frazier has become a bit of an odd-man-out in New York. He was ticketed to take over left field once Brett Gardner‘s contract expired, but the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton made that seem less likely since both Stanton and Aaron Judge may see time in left field. He made his MLB debut July 1, and posted a .231/.268/.448 line with four home runs, 17 RBIs and a 30.3% K-rate to a 4.9% BB-rate.

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Adams is seen as one of the most MLB-ready arms in the Yankees system. Many fans clamored for him to be promoted in 2017 when the Yankees needed starting pitching reinforcements. Split between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017, Adams pitched to a 2.45 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9. His command could use some work, and many think he could profile better as a reliever because he only averaged five innings per outing.

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This deal would allow the Yankees to grab a high quality arm in Cole with hopes that he rebounds toward his All-Star season in 2015. The 27-year-old would not be a free agent until after the 2020 season, like current Yankee RHP Sonny Gray. He would shore up a Yankees rotation that is relying on a big bounce-back season from Masahiro Tanaka, and young arms like Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery.

Thoughts Following Giancarlo Stanton’s Introductory Press Conference

Giancarlo Stanton is officially a Yankee, and put on the pinstripes for the first time in front of the media at a press conference from the Winter Meetings in Florida. It’s crazy, and completely unexpected, to have a player with the pedigree of Stanton in pinstripes. A lot was said, and I have some thoughts following up on the introduction of the Yankees’ newest slugger.

  1. I did not realize how unhappy Giancarlo was in Miami. From his Instagram post before the press conference to comments made at the conference, this “breakup” between Stanton and the Marlins was long overdue. Stanton cited the lack of direction in the Marlins organization while at the lectern. He said he was “very excited to be a part of the Yankees, and this winning environment and culture.” Stanton really did not hold back in his criticisms of his former team. He also did not seem to have much of a filter in speaking with the media. It will be important for him to be honest with reporters, but hopefully he will steer clear of trashing or insulting other teams or players.
  2. In a breakout session after the formal press conference, Stanton’s agent Joel Wolfe said the 28-year-old has “no desire to opt-out” of his contract after the 2020 season. This seems to be a case of putting the cart before the horse. As written, Stanton is under contract until 2027 at the earliest, with a $25 million team option ($10 million buyout) for the 2028 season. Stanton would be 37 years old by 2027, and in a perfect world, would still be a productive designated hitter for the Yankees. But, as was the case with Alex Rodriguez, players will decay over time. I think it’s premature to talk about Stanton opting out when he hasn’t even gotten in a full Yankee uniform. Should we reevaluate the opt-out next season? Probably. Now? Not necessary.
  3. I still have some questions about how Stanton, Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner all fit into the same starting lineup. Luckily, Stanton expressed today that he was willing to move around in the field in order to help the team. He told a panel on the YES Network that he would be willing to play left field, where he has not played since five starts there in 2010 with the Double-A Jacksonville Suns. Stanton certainly has the athleticism to tackle left field, and will likely get looks there along with Judge during Spring Training.
  4. Starlin Castro might just be the unluckiest player in baseball. He gets traded out of Chicago right before they win the World Series, and then gets shipped out of New York as part of the transaction that turns them into a huge juggernaut. Castro likely never dons a Miami Marlins uniform, but rather will be flipped to another team that needs a quality middle infielder. Castro was an All-Star in 2017, and has experience at both shortstop and second base.
  5. Hal Steinbrenner said that the Yankees are not done making moves this offseason. But, I don’t expect them to make any moves near the magnitude of this trade. They are looking to shed a little bit more payroll by trading veterans Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley. Headley is an easier sell, given that he is a free agent after the season and owed just $13 million. The Yankees would have to eat substantial money to trade Ellsbury and his albatross contract. Plus, Ellsbury has a full no-trade clause in his deal, just like Stanton. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Ellsbury is “unlikely” to waive that no-trade clause. There are also rumors that the Yankees are seeing what returns they could get for trading promising young outfielder Clint Frazier. Frazier was the Yankees No. 2 prospect until he graduated by breaking the 130 at-bat plateau.
  6. Brian Cashman would not name a starting second baseman at this point in time. The Yankees will either try to sign a veteran for cheap, or allow one of their Younger players to win the position out of Spring Training. I think some combination of Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade will man the keystone to start the season. Cashman also mentioned Gleyber Torres and Thairo Estrada. Torres is obviously the more attractive choice, but he managed only 96 plate appearances at Triple-A before injuring his elbow. I predict he’ll start the season in Scranton so that the Yankees are sure he’s fully recovered. Plus, the Yankees can gain an extra year of control over Torres if they wait to start his service clock like the Cubs did with Kris Bryant. If Torres debuts like Bryant did, the Yankees will be absolutely ecstatic.

 

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.

Baseball America Lists Yankees Top 10 Prospects for 2018

To get the bad taste of Shohei Ohtani‘s spurning of the Yankees out of our collective mouths, here’s some good news about players the Yankees actually do have. Baseball America’s Josh Norris ranked the top 10 prospects in the Yankees system leading up to 2018.

Without further ado (* indicates player on 40-man roster):

  1. INF Gleyber Torres *
  2. OF Estevan Florial
  3. LHP Justus Sheffield
  4. RHP Chance Adams
  5. 3B Miguel Andújar *
  6. RHP Albert Abreu *
  7. RHP Jorge Guzman
  8. RHP Luis Medina
  9. SS/2B Thairo Estrada *
  10. RHP Domingo Acevedo *

One of the biggest knocks against the Yankees is that they cannot develop pitchers. However, this prospect list clearly indicates that the Yankees have some promising arms that could be MLB-ready soon. Sheffield is the most MLB-ready of the bunch, having hit 98 mph with his fastball and the best slider in the system. Norris listed the pitching depth as the system’s biggest strength.

The system’s biggest weakness? Catching. That won’t be a short-term problem since Gary Sánchez will control the starting catching job for years to come, barring anything unexpected. Their next best catcher is Kyle Higashioka, who went hitless in 20 plate appearances while Sánchez was injured in 2017. Higashioka did hit .338/.390/.797 in the minors in 2017, but in just 21 games because of injuries. Norris lists Jason Lopez and Saul Torres as the “next catching prospects,” but notes they “played at short-season Staten Island and Rookie-level Pulaski, respectively.”

Norris opines that the Yankees’ system is trending downwards, but that is only because of trades and graduations to the big leagues. When talents like Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Chad Green and Jordan Montgomery are no longer “prospects,” it’s easy to see how the system takes a hit.

Be sure to read through the whole post on Baseball America (linked above), as Norris projects the Yankees 2021 lineup and also lists which players have the best tools in the system.

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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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 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.

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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