Tag: Gary Sánchez

Higashioka, Torres Optioned to Minor League Camp

The Yankees made two more cuts Tuesday, sending the presumed third-string catcher Kyle Higashioka and No. 1 prospect infielder Gleyber Torres to minor league camp. Each player is on the 40-man roster, so the team used an option year on each player.

Higashioka impressed with the bat this spring. But, it was not enough to take the backup catcher job away from Austin Romine, who has shown a similarly hot bat. Higashioka hit .333/.444/.467 in nine games before his demotion. As the third catcher on the 40-man, he’s only an injury away from coming back to the big leagues. He made a nine-game cameo last season when Gary Sánchez went down with a bicep injury, going hitless in 20 plate appearances. Higashioka, barring any injuries of his own, will be the starting catcher at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Torres struggled at the plate in his return from Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow. Many expected Torres to run away with the second base job, but the rust that comes with missing an entire half a season reared its ugly head. That resulted in a slash-line of .160/.250/.240 in 11 games. Torres also looked like he was trying to do too much both at the plate and in the field, where he had some miscues typical of a player trying too hard.

Plus, the Yankees gain an extra year of control over Torres if he remains in the minor leagues for at least 16 days. I think the Yankees would have demoted Torres for those 16 days regardless of his performance in the spring. One extra year of control over a player MLB Pipeline says “has the tools to be a star” could make a ton of difference in the future. In the minors, Torres will likely continue his rotation of playing at third base, shortstop and second base.

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 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


Game 1: Lineups, First Pitch, Baseball!

It’s finally here!

The most wonderful time of the year has arrived as the Yankees kick off their Spring Training schedule with a matchup against the Detroit Tigers.

Luis Cessa gets the ball first for the Yankees as he looks to win a job as the team’s sixth starter. That role would certainly land him in the minor leagues to start the season, but a team’s sixth starter is truly an important role. Cessa pitched to a 4.75 ERA (5.69 FIP) in 36 innings for the big league club last season.

This game features a few regulars, including Giancarlo Stanton‘s debut in pinstripes. Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez were announced to be out of this game earlier in the week. Today’s lineup is quite strong, and features young talents like Gleyber TorresMiguel Andújar and Clint Frazier.

I doubt we’ll see any remnants of the beef between the Tigers and Yankees from last season. It will be interesting, however, to see how Austin Romine and Miguel Cabrera interact given their fisticuffs last season.

Tigers’ Lineup:

  1. Martin – CF
  2. Castellanos – RF
  3. Cabrera – DH
  4. Huffman – LF
  5. Candelario – 3B
  6. Hicks – C
  7. Espinal – 1B
  8. Amarista – 2B
  9. Kozma – SS

Pitcher: Carpenter – LHP

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.

Reports: Stanton Would Accept Trade to Yankees

With the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes finally wrapped up (he signed with the Los Angeles Angels Friday), the focus now shifts back to the offseason’s other huge storyline: where will Giancarlo Stanton be traded?

Craig Mish of SiriusXM reported this week that the 2017 National League home run leader has included the New York Yankees in a list of teams that he would waive his no-trade clause to join. The Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are on the same list. Stanton had recently been linked in trade talks with the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, though both teams indicated Stanton would not waive his no-trade clause.

It’s unknown whether geography will play into Stanton’s eventual choice. From the teams he has chosen, it’s clear he wants to win. With the Miami Marlins slashing payroll at every corner, it’s only a matter of time until the 6’7″ outfielder finds himself on another ballclub.

Imagining Stanton in a lineup with Greg Bird, Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez is a scary thought. Using 2017 numbers, that’s 153 home runs in the same lineup. It would take some maneuvering to find playing time for all the outfielders currently on the Yankees roster if Stanton were to come up north.

Acquiring Stanton would necessitate dumping the cumbersome contract of Jacoby Ellsbury, who is signed through 2020 and owed $63.4 million. Stanton, of course, is not cheap either. He is theoretically signed until his age-38 season (2028), with an opt-out following the 2020 season. He is still owed $285 million.

The Yankees would have to entice the Marlins to continue paying some of Stanton’s contract by including at least one prospect of decent value. After seeing that the Giants offered Joe Panik and three prospects not in MLB.com’s Top 100, the Yankees could easily make a better offer. That said, don’t expect to see Gleyber Torres headed to Miami in a trade for Stanton.


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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Gary Sánchez to Serve Three-Game Suspension in Baltimore

After appealing his original four-game suspension, Gary Sánchez will serve a three-game ban during the team’s series in Baltimore.

The Yankee catcher expressed remorse for his actions through a post on his Facebook page. The discipline was handed down after video showed Sánchez landing multiple sucker punches on Tigers players August 24.

Sánchez homered twice August 23, and did so again in his first at-bat on the 24th. Michael Fulmer hit him with a pitch in his next at-bat. Later in the game, Yankee reliever Tommy Kahnle threw behind Miguel Cabrera, who has instigated multiple incidents with the Yankees this season. Cabrera is currently serving a six-game suspension.

There is no word on Austin Romine‘s appeal of his two-game suspension. Joe Girardi told reporters that Romine will start all three games in Baltimore. Recently-acquired Erik Kratz will serve as backup catcher.

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
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
2B: Núñez (32)
CS: Devers (1)
E: Devers (7, throw)
New York Yankees
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
3B: Ellsbury (3)
HR: Headley (10), Holliday (17)
RBI: Headley (53), Holliday – 3 (54), Sánchez (78)
Boston Red Sox
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
Pitches-Strikes: Pomeranz: 105-64, Workman: 16-11, Abad: 8-4, Maddox: 11-9
New York Yankees
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
WP: Tanaka
Pitches-Strikes: Tanaka: 97-66, Robertson: 13-9, Betances: 12-9

Yankees Call Up Five Players as Rosters Expand

September 1 has arrived, and the Yankees have made widely expected roster moves to take advantage of expanded rosters.

With suspensions to Gary Sánchez and Austin Romine looming, the Yankees selected the contract of Erik Kratz from Triple-A. The Yankees traded for him from the Cleveland organization Thursday as depth. The 37-year-old veteran was slashing .270/.359/.472 with 13 home runs for Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate. In 225 MLB games, he carries a .200/.248/.362 line. Luis Cessa moves to the 60-day disabled list to open a 40-man roster spot for Kratz.

Matt Holliday returns from the disabled list now that rosters have expanded. The veteran went .229/.349/.257 combined on his rehab assignment at Class-A Advanced Tampa and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It becomes hard to figure where he will get at-bats, given the return of Greg Bird and resurgence of Chase Headley.

The Yankees reinforce the bullpen by adding Ben Heller and Bryan Mitchell. Heller has been fantastic for Triple-A, with a 2.88 ERA and a 13.1 K/9 rate. Mitchell worked as a starter in Scranton, but has pitched mostly in long relief with the big league club. Jordan Montgomery also rejoins the Yankees.

Notable names to stay in the minors are Miguel Andújar, Tyler Austin and Tyler Wade. Both Austin and Wade were optioned to Scranton less than 10 days ago, and cannot come back unless there is an injury. There is no word on whether they will be promoted once 10 days have passed. Andújar, who has been on an offensive tear (currently on a 15-game hitting streak, .333/.379/.531 at Triple-A) remains in the Minors presumably to get full-time at-bats, continue working on his third base defense and help the RailRiders win a championship.