Tag: Jake Cave

Yankees Acquire RHP Luis Gil from Minnesota Twins for OF Jake Cave

Cave had been designated for assignment March 12.

Jake Cave has found a new home in Minnesota, as the Yankees dealt him to the Twins for pitcher Luis Gil Friday. Cave had been designated for assignment March 12 to clear a 40-man roster spot for newly-signed infielder Neil Walker.

Cave found himself on the chopping block after a strong 2017 in the minors because of the Yankees’ outfield depth. He put up career highs in home runs (20) and RBIs (56), while slashing .305/.351/.542 in 103 games between Double-A and Triple-A. The 25-year-old, who is capable of playing all three outfield positions, was hitting just .158/.304/.211 through 10 games with the big league club in Spring Training.

The Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and the emergence of Billy McKinney in Spring Training made Cave expendable. While the Yankees’ next true center fielder, Estevan Florial, is still a few years from the Bronx, they were clearly comfortable dealing Cave because of their belief in the upside of Aaron Hicks and in the consistency of Brett Gardner to back him up.

The return for the Yankees is 19-year-old right-hander Luis Gil. Gil signed with the Twins in 2015, and pitched for their Dominican Summer League team in 2015 and 2017. It is unclear why he did not pitch in 2016. Between those two seasons, Gil posted a 3.32 ERA and 10.1 K/9 in 30 games (14 starts).

Gil is the second pitcher the Yankees have acquired with only Dominican Summer League experience under their belt. The Bombers traded Nick Rumbelow to the Seattle Mariners in November 2017 during their 40-man roster crunch for RHP Juan Then, who is now ranked as the Yankees’ No. 25 prospect.


The Twins designated 1B/DH Kennys Vargas for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Cave. Vargas was out of options, while Cave still has three remaining. Cave likely begins the season with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

Yankees Sign Neil Walker Amidst Flurry of Moves

Walker in; Cave, Espinosa and Holder out.

With just 17 days on the calendar until the Yankees open in Toronto, Brian Cashman made one last free agent splash. The team inked infielder Neil Walker to a one-year major-league deal worth to $4 million plus $500K in incentives for plate appearances.

Walker, who slashed .265/.362/.439 (114 wRC+) in 111 games between the Mets and the Brewers, found himself unemployed deep into the offseason after a 2017 that saw him place 15th in fWAR amongst second basemen with at least 400 plate appearances. He did miss 36 games in 2017 after suffering a partial tear in his left hamstring suffered June 14.

“We had some talks early in the winter that didn’t quite work out, and we went down different avenues of what else might be out there after that, but fortunately, things circled back here, and I’m just happy to be here on a contending team,” Walker told reporters prior to Monday’s tilt with the Minnesota Twins in Tampa.

The 32-year-old looks to fit in a couple different places for the Yankees. As a switch-hitter, he provides balance to a lineup that is mostly dominated by right-handed batters. His defensive versatility is also quite useful, given that he suited up at third base, second base and first base last season. Walker’s contract also allows the Yankees to move on from him if youngsters like Miguel Andújar or Gleyber Torres start knocking down the door to the big leagues.

Walker likely opens the season rotating between third, second and first depending on platoon splits and how the rest of the team is performing. His stats showed a huge disadvantage against lefties last season, though his career splits show just a 10-point difference between his skills from both sides of the plate.

The veteran had been working out at “Camp Jobless,” the Spring Training camp for free agents created by the MLBPA in Bradenton, Fla., for the time that it was open. Aaron Boone told reporters that Walker could appear in a Grapefruit League game as early as Thursday.


The beginning of Walker’s Yankees career could mark the end for outfielder Jake Cave. Cave, who was slashing .158/.304/.211 in 19 at-bats this spring, was designated for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for the Yankees’ incoming signing. Cave had been added to the 40-man after the 2017 season to prevent him from becoming a minor league free agent. He had hit .305/.351/.542 with 20 homers and 56 RBIs, both career-highs, between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017.

Cave fell out of favor in Yankees camp because of the team’s outfield glut and the success of Billy McKinney in camp. The Yankees have 10 days to trade, release or outright Cave to the minors if he clears waivers. He has never been outrighted before, so he will not have the right to decline the assignment if he clears waivers.


Walker’s signing also affected the spring of Danny Espinosa. The Yankees released the veteran infielder, and immediately gave his No. 14 jersey to Walker. Espinosa, who was trying to catch on as a veteran stopgap infielder or bench player, was hitting .160/.276/.320 in 12 spring games for the Bombers. He did hit one home run, and drove in four. The move is likely to allow the 30-year-old to pursue an opportunity with a club that has more playing time available at the big league level.

In his career, Espinosa has a .221/.297/.378 slash line with 98 home runs and 316 RBIs since he debuted for Washington in 2010. He struggled badly in 2017, however, bouncing between three teams and slashing a meager .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and 31 RBIs.


Lastly, the Yankees reassigned infielder Kyle Holder to minor league camp. Nothing out of the ordinary here, as the 23-year-old is projected to begin the season at Double-A Trenton. Known for his glove mostly, the Yankees’ first round pick from 2015 showed some promise at the plate in 10 games in camp. In 17 at-bats, he slashed .471/.500/.647 with three doubles and three RBIs.

Holder hit .271/.317/.350 in 104 games with Class-A Advanced Tampa, then put up strong numbers (.333/.367/.511) in 11 Arizona Fall League games.

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

Tigers 1, Yankees 3: Undefeated

The Yankees start off Spring Training on the right foot.

The Yankees are off to a great start this spring, grabbing a 3-to-1 win over the Detroit Tigers in the season opener.

The first inning was the only one where Yankees pitching tripped. Leonys Martín led off with a single for the Tigers, then moved to second on a deep fly ball from Nicholas Castellanos. After a groundout, Martín came into score on a Chad Huffman single. That run off Luis Cessa was all the Tigers got. After Cessa, Ben Heller, David Hale, Brady LailCale Coshow and Giovanny Gallegos combined for seven shutout innings.

The Yankees’ offense struck in the sixth inning. Tyler Wade led off with a hustle double, then moved to third on a balk during Kyle Higashioka‘s at-bat. Higashioka walked, Danny Espinosa then was hit by a pitch. Jake Cave drove Wade in on an RBI groundout, and then Jorge Saez finished the job with a two-run single to score Higashioka and Espinosa.

Both sides played a clean game with the exception of a fielding error by Wade at shortstop.

Tomorrow brings another game (isn’t baseball season great?) for the Yankees. Domingo Germán gets the ball at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla., to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Per NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty, notable names making tomorrow’s trip are: Frazier, Florial, K. Holder, Andújar, Wade, Austin, Espinosa, Drury, German, Warren, Tate, J. Holder, Kratz.

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.

Jake Cave, Nick Rumbelow Added to the 40-Man Roster

With free agency beginning in just about 24 hours, the Yankees have begun to protect some of their MiLB pieces. The team added OF Jake Cave and RHP Nick Rumbelow to their 40-man roster Monday.

These additions push the Yankees to have just two spaces left on their 40-man roster. Cave was scheduled to hit Minor League free agency, having completed his Minor League Uniform Player Contract. Those contracts last seven years, and Cave would have been able to test the free market.

Rumbelow had been on the 40-man roster previously. He appeared in 17 MLB games in 2015, going 1-1 with a 4.02 ERA out of the bullpen. He missed all of 2016 and part of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Rumbelow was released at the end of 2016, but resigned with the Yankees a month later. At age 26, he would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.

Cave slashed a combined .305/.351/.542 with 20 home runs and 56 RBIs in 103 total games. He struck out 26.3% and walked at 6.4% at both levels. Cave’s stats were powered by a fantastic month of July, where he raked to a .390/.439/.667 line with seven homers and 21 RBIs in 26 games. Cave fits in as a potential fourth outfielder for the MLB club, or as the first depth option at Triple-A.

Rumbelow had an impressive year in his comeback from Tommy John. In 25 total games, he logged a 1.12 ERA with a stellar 10.0 K/9 rate with Double-A and Triple-A. Of those 25 appearances, he finished 14 games (6 saves) and worked to a 5-1 W-L record. Rumbelow will have to impress during Spring Training to gain a spot in a crowded and talented Yankees bullpen.

These moves are just the first round of roster maneuvering for the Yankees, since they have a plethora of young prospects who need protection from the Rule 5 draft.