Tag: Jordan Montgomery

Yankees Agree With J.A. Happ on Two-Year Deal

The 2019 New York Yankees starting rotation is starting to come into focus, as the team has agreed with veteran left-hander J.A. Happ on a two-year, $34-million deal that would bring him back to the Bronx. The deal also contains a vesting option for the 2021 season based on innings pitched.

Happ came to the Yankees in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney ahead of the 2018 Trade Deadline. He pitched lights-out for 11 starts in pinstripes, going 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA (4.21 FIP) as the team captured their second consecutive home-field spot in the Wild Card game.

“He was a performer; took the ball every five days,” Cashman said. “He was a competitor, came as advertised, a real pro. He had a veteran presence within that clubhouse, knew exactly what was necessary and brought it every five days in the most competitive division in all of baseball and the world. He checks all the boxes on that side of it.”

The playoffs were a different animal, though. Happ made just one start, lasting two innings and allowing five earned runs in Game 1 of the American League Division Series in Boston. The big blow in that game was a three-run home run by J.D. Martinez.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had reported earlier in the day that the two sides were in agreement on a deal with three guaranteed years, though he walked that report back to say they were simply gaining momentum.

Happ had also been courted by the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies, both teams he has pitched for in the past. The Phillies were hesitant to give Happ more than two guaranteed years, and it appears his recent familiarity with the Bronx plus the prospect of the vesting option prompted his return.


The Yankees may not be done in their pursuit of a starting pitcher, as injuries and ineffectiveness typically rear their ugly heads over the course of a 162-game season. They learned that the hard way when Jordan Montgomery went down for 18 months after just six starts because of Tommy John surgery in 2018.

The team wound up getting 24 starts from Chance Adams, Luis Cessa, Domingo Germán and Jonathan Loáisiga combined, and the team went 12-12 in those games. Sonny Gray, who was acquired to anchor the top of the rotation, started in 12 Yankees losses and was demoted to the bullpen in favor of Lance Lynn after August 1.

“It doesn’t mean we would be out of the market altogether. Obviously the Paxton acquisition gave us the ability to be a lot more disciplined and patient,” Cashman said. “If we pull down another one it will put us in a much stronger position to feel better about the rotation. But that doesn’t preclude us to being open-minded about any options that develop over time.”

With the acquisition of James Paxton and agreement with Happ, the Yankees find their starting rotation in exponentially better shape than last year.

Ellsbury, Frazier, Heller, Montgomery Activated From 60-Day DL

The Yankees quietly activated OF Jacoby Ellsbury, OF Clint Frazier, RHP Ben Heller and LHP Jordan Montgomery from the 60-day disabled list one day ahead of the Nov. 2 deadline Thursday. The Yankees 40-man roster now stands at 36.

Ellsbury went through an extensive list of injuries in Spring Training, and never took the field for the Yankees in the regular season. On August 6, he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. He’s expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Frazier was limited to 283 plate appearances from High-A, Triple-A and the MLB because of multiple concussions. He hit .265/.390/.353 (113 wRC+) in 15 big league games in 2018. He’s expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Heller underwent Tommy John surgery April 6 and missed the entire 2018 season. In 19 MLB games with the Yankees in 2016 and 2017, the righty was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. By all accounts, he should be ready for Spring Training in 2019.

Montgomery made six starts for the Yankees in 2018 before he, too, required Tommy John surgery. He was 2-0 with a 3.62 ERA before disaster struck. He’s expected to return at some point towards the end of the 2019 season.

Nationals 5, Yankees 4: Soto’s Shots Sink Yanks in Finale

The Yankees had no solution for 19-year-old phenom Juan Soto‘s power stroke Wednesday night, as the phenom slugged two home runs to power the Nationals to a series split in the Bronx.

Sonny Gray did not have his best stuff, but battled his way through five innings on 89 pitches. The toughest pitch he threw was a 1-0 fastball to Soto in the fourth inning, which looked like a lazy fly ball to left field. But, even with its 14% Statcast hit probability, it managed to carry out over the left field wall for a go-ahead three-run shot.

Soto struck again in the seventh inning once Chasen Shreve had retired the Nats in order in his first inning of relief. Once again, a 1-0 fastball came back to haunt a Yankee pitcher. But, this home run for Soto was no wall-scraper. With an exit velocity of 111.2 mph and an estimated distance of 436 feet, it’s safe to say Soto got all of that Shreve pitch.

The Nationals got the scoring going in the first inning. Adam Eaton doubled, Trea Turner moved him to third with an infield single before Anthony Rendon hit a sacrifice fly to score Eaton. In the bottom of the first, Brett Gardner singled, stole second and moved to third on a Spencer Kieboom throwing error before Aaron Judge knocked him in with a sac fly of his own.

Greg Bird, demoted to the No. 7 spot in the lineup, smoked his third homer of the year off Nats’ spot-starter Erick Fedde in the bottom of the second. Giancarlo Stanton knocked Judge in with an RBI single in the bottom of the third to give the Yankees a 2-run lead prior to Soto’s unfortunate homer.

Gleyber Torres drilled his 12th home run of the year to lead off the fifth against Fedde, which marks a career-high for the 21-year-old. From there, however, the Yankees offense would grind to a halt. They finished the evening 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on the evening, with the one being Stanton’s RBI single. Bird doubled to leadoff the seventh but was stranded. A Didi Gregorius walk and Stanton single were wasted in the eighth.


Some postgame notes:

  • Juan Soto and Gleyber Torres have a combined age of 41 years, 48 days, the lowest by opposing players to homer in the same game since Mike Tiernan and Egyptian Healy on May 19, 1887, per Stats by STATS (Twitter).
  • Masahiro Tanaka was sent home with an unspecified illness prior to Wednesday’s game, George A. King III of the New York Post reported (Twitter). After the game, Aaron Boone told reporters it was an inner ear infection (Twitter).
  • Sonny Gray was spotted with a “soft brace” on his right elbow, but would not say what it was for, per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch and The Athletic‘s Marc Carig. Carig told Pinstripe Point of View that it was the first time he’d seen Gray wear it, but he “could have missed it” before. It’s something worth watching.

What’s Next:

The Tampa Bay Rays, who have won three straight but just four of their last 10, come to town for a four-game series. Lefty Blake Snell, who is breaking out in 2018, faces Domingo Germán, who is looking to settle into the No. 5 spot in the Yankees rotation now that Jordan Montgomery is out for the season.

Game 45: Domingo on a Tuesday

Domingo Germán shakes the dust off his right arm (he has not pitched since May 12) to start the middle game against the Texas Rangers and LHP Cole Hamels.

After appearing out of the bullpen for his first five games of 2018, Domingo Germán moved into the starting rotation once Jordan Montgomery was placed on the disabled list. He has gotten two no-decisions so far, as he has put up a 4.91 ERA in 11 innings as a starter. However, hitters have hit just .167/.262/.250 in those two starts, which shows Germán may have fallen victim to the BABIP gods once or twice.

Veteran lefty Cole Hamels, who just recently expressed interest in being traded to the Yankees, gets the ball for the Rangers. Through nine starts, he has put up a 3.48 ERA, though he has walked a few more batters than he would like to. Since his debut in 2006, Hamels has only faced the Yankees four times: 1-2, 3.24 ERA and .723 OPS against.

Miguel Andújar returns to the lineup at third base and Neil Walker shifts across the diamond to play first. Tyler Austin serves as the designated hitter against the lefty, and Giancarlo Stanton grabs his glove to play left field in place of Brett Gardner.


Rangers Lineup:

  1. Shin-Soo Choo – DH
  2. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 3B
  3. Nomar Mazara – RF
  4. Jurickson Profar – SS
  5. Joey Gallo – LF
  6. Rougned Odor – 2B
  7. Robinson Chirinos – C
  8. Ronald Guzmán – 1B
  9. Ryan Rua – CF

Newsday: Yankees Still in Play for Alex Cobb

Could Brian Cashman make one last big splash?

While the Yankees’ starting rotation may seem settled for the 2018 season, one baseball source told Newsday’s Anthony Rieber that the Yankees are continuing to monitor the market of right-handed pitcher Alex Cobb.

Rieber said that Cobb would fit with the Yankees “if his price drops enough and the Yankees can continue their quest to stay under the luxury-tax threshold”. He then cited the Yankees’ signing of Neil Walker to a $4 million one-year deal as an example of how low Cobb’s market would have to go for him to fit under the $197 million luxury tax number.

Cobb is the best starting pitcher remaining on the market after a remarkably cold offseason for players expecting high-value contracts. Lance Lynn recently agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins, while Jake Arrieta inked a three-year, $75 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The issue with Cobb is that he declined the qualifying offer from the Tampa Bay Rays, so the Yankees would have to “lose its second- and fifth-highest selections in the following year’s Draft as well $1 million from its international bonus pool” because the Yankees exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2017.

The righty fits with the Yankees because he is a ground ball pitcher. In 2017, batters had a 47.8% ground ball rate against Cobb. That number, however, is a significant drop from Cobb’s last full season in the big leagues. Cobb had a 56.2% ground ball rate in 2014. Injuries prevented him from pitching in 2015 and he only made 13 starts (including rehab appearances) in 2016.

Behind incumbent fifth starter Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees do not have much starting pitching depth that is MLB-ready. Domingo Germán has impressed so far in Spring Training, and Aaron Boone mentioned him in the same sentence as Luis Cessa, Chance Adams and David Hale as potential sixth starters. The Yankees do not yet believe that Justus Sheffield or Domingo Acevedo are able to fill in just yet.

Adding Cobb would create an interesting situation in the Yankee rotation. The team could, conceivably, use an option year on Montgomery and have him spot start with the big league club to limit his innings and provide starting depth. But, you’re keeping an effective lefty starter who had a promising rookie year in the minors for part of the season to allow Cobb, who pitched his first full season since 2014 last year, to have a full-time rotation spot.

With the draft pick compensation and the fact that the Yankees have five starters already, I think adding Alex Cobb would create more headaches for the team than is necessary.

Game 10: No More Off-Days

After yesterday’s off-day, the only one of the spring, the Yankees head east to take on the Detroit Tigers for the third time. Jordan Montgomery gets the ball on short rest for the Bombers, while fellow lefty Francisco Liriano makes his spring debut for the Tigers.

The Yankees have decided to give Giancarlo Stanton another go in left field, which he entirely deserves. He battled tough sun and winds during his first appearance in left since a very short stint there in Double-A in 2010.

“I felt all right,” Stanton said to Bryan Hoch. “I got some bad balls that didn’t help the team at all. Got to find a way to get behind them or do something with those. But I felt all right. The routes and everything were good. The rest, not as.”

Also, Adam Lind makes his Yankees debut today batting seventh and DHing. He signed a minor league deal with the team March 2, and figures to battle with Tyler Austin for the backup first base job. His deal reportedly has an opt-out after Spring Training if he is unable to crack the big league roster. Lind slashed .303/.362/.513 (122 wRC+) with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs in 116 games for the Washington Nationals in 2017.


Tigers Lineup:

  1. Dixon Machado – 2B
  2. Jeimer Candelario – 3B
  3. Nicholas Castellanos – RF
  4. Victor Martínez – DH
  5. James McCann – C
  6. Mikie Mahtook – LF
  7. Niko Goodrum – 1B
  8. Pete Kozma – SS
  9. JaCoby Jones – CF

Yankees 8, Phillies 3: The First Blowout!

The Yankee offense had no difficulty finding the big hit Sunday afternoon in Clearwater, as they cruised to an 8-to-3 victory over their hosts, the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Bombers jumped out with a three-run first inning on the back of a Danny Espinosa double that cleared the bases. They added on in the fourth with a Ronald Torreyes sacrifice fly.

That 4-to-0 lead was in jeopardy in the bottom of the fourth. After a dominating first inning of work, Justus Sheffield struggled with his command in the second. A walk and a hit batter put him into trouble, and he paid for it. Odúbel Herrera plated one on a sacrifice fly, then Maikel Franco followed with a towering home run that spelled the end for Sheffield.

The Yankees offense then became the Jeff Hendrix show until the end of the game. He hit a grounder that Phillies first baseman Logan Moore could not handle, which allowed two to score. He then tacked on another RBI single in the eighth inning. The final run for the Yankees scored on a Rashad Crawford sacrifice fly. All in all, it was impressive to see how strong the Yankees lower prospects are.

A combined effort between Jordan Montgomery, Sheffield, Wade LeBlanc, Cale Coshow, Raynel Espinal and Giovanny Gallegos held the Phillies to just four hits, while striking out 12 batters.

The Yankees return to George M. Steinbrenner Field Monday for their first night game of the spring, as the Phillies will head east from Clearwater for another tilt against the Yankees in Tampa. Sonny Gray is scheduled to get his first in-game work of the spring. He faces fellow righty Ben Lively of the Phillies.

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