Tag: Miguel Andújar

Heyman: Yankees Check in With Orioles on Machado Again

The Yankees need a third baseman, and may be trying to fill that hole with a three-time All-Star. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Bronx Bombers once again engaged the Baltimore Orioles in trade talks on 25-year-old third baseman Manny Machado late last week.

Heyman’s column, dated Jan. 5, reads:

The New York Yankees, apparently excited about the idea they could make their excellent winter even better and more star-studded, were back in contact with the Baltimore Orioles regarding Manny Machado this week, sources say…

The Yankees actually may have the best chance of several contenders to land Machado, but word still is that the Orioles haven’t been tempted by anything they’ve heard from anyone regarding the superstar infielder.

Machado will be a free agent after the 2018 season, and teams are weary of giving up premier talent without some assurance that he would consider signing a long-term extension wherever he ends up. He has already expressed interest in moving back to shortstop, the position where he played until being blocked in Baltimore by J.J. Hardy. Nevertheless, Machado won Gold Gloves at the hot corner in 2013 and 2015.

Offensively, Machado struggled in 2017. He managed to slash just .230/.296/.445 with 18 home runs and 47 RBIs in 83 games before the All-Star break. He did not get any help from a .239 BABIP rate. The second-half was much improved, where he hit .290/.326/.500 and added another 15 home runs. All told, he put together a .259/.310/.471 (102 wRC+) line with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs.

Embed from Getty Images

The Orioles are said to want at least two MLB-ready pitchers in any trade package for Machado. For the Yankees, that would mean someone in the category of Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield or one of Domingo Acevedo/Albert Abreu. The Yanks have been pushing Adams as their top trade chip, hoping to keep the higher upside guys like Sheffield, Acevedo and Abreu. There are also reports (one from Joel Sherman) that the Orioles “actually like [Jacoby] Ellsbury a little,” though any trade would be complicated by his no-trade clause.

Though it would not be wise to count Brian Cashman out for any deal, it does not appear to be worth it for the Yankees to give up premier talent within their own division for only one guaranteed year of Machado. They appear comfortable with letting Miguel Andújar compete for the starting job out of Spring Training, and are keeping tabs on free agents like Todd Frazier and Eduardo Núñez.

In a perfect world, Andújar or a veteran on a 1-year deal hold down the hot corner in 2018, and Machado puts on the pinstripes for 2019. But, if it turns out that the Yankees do not need Machado, they can focus on signing top-level starting pitching or fill whatever holes may come up during the course of the season.

Embed from Getty Images

Yankees to Sign International Prospects Raimfer Salinas, Antonio Cabello

After the Yankees worked hard to acquire international signing bonus pool money to woo Shohei Ohtani, they have bestowed it on different recipients. Per Baseball America’s Ben Badler, the Bombers will sign international amateur outfielder Raimfer Salinas and catcher Antonio Cabello.

Badler said on Twitter that the amount of money each player signed for would not be published yet “out of respect for the requests of several Venezuelan players/families”. The Yankees had $3.5 million in signing bonus money that they needed to spend before next summer.

Salinas is 16 years old, and is ranked as the No. 10 international prospect for the 2017 class. Cabello is 17 years old, and ranked at No. 15 on the same Baseball America list. The two join OF Everson Pereira (No. 5), SS Ronny Rojas (No. 11), SS Roberto Chirinos (No. 20) and OF Anthony García (No. 28) as the six players on Baseball America’s top 50 prospects list now in the Yankees organization.

These players join a system that already boasts five prospects on MLB.com’s Top 100 list: INF Gleyber Torres, RHP Chance Adams, OF Estevan Florial, LHP Justus Sheffield and 3B Miguel Andújar.

The club has not confirmed the signings of Salinas or Cabello at this point.

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

Todd Frazier: “It’d Be Great to Come Back” to Yankees

Todd Frazier, one of the key pieces of the Yankees’ 2017 postseason run, expressed his interest in a return to the Bronx in an interview broadcasted on MLB Network Radio.

 

The 31-year-old came to the Yankees as a piece in the trade that also brought Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson to the Bronx ahead of the 2017 Trade Deadline. Frazier solidified defense at third base, and contributed 11 home runs and 32 RBIs in 66 games down the stretch. He was, however, a rental player, and became a free agent following the conclusion of the World Series.

Frazier conceivably fits in the Bronx next season, but only on the right deal. A one-year deal with a value around $15 million would let Frazier hold down third base and some designated hitter at-bats in 2018. But, Frazier is likely to be enticed by multi-year deals and a higher annual value from a team looking for power and solid defense.

Embed from Getty Images

Plus, Frazier does not really fit into the Yankees long-term plans. Miguel Andújar (No. 5 NYY, No. 91 MLB) has shown an MLB-ready bat, with defense starting to round into shape. Gleyber Torres (No. 1 NYY, MLB) looks to recover from his elbow surgery last season to claim a spot on the big league roster. Chase Headley, who moved to first base part-way through 2017, is still signed for $13 million in 2018 and showed he can still contribute (1.9 fWAR).

As important as Frazier was, a reunion between him and the Yankees seems unlikely because their third baseman of the future (or his placeholder) is already with the team.

Prospect rankings via MLBpipeline.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tyler Wade’s Curious Situation

No one has ever questioned the potential of Tyler Wade. Currently ranked as the No. 6 prospect for the Yankees, Wade is proficient everywhere around the diamond. At 22, he has already played 14 games in the big leagues.

Brian Cashman gave Wade a vote of confidence earlier in the season when he said that Wade would be the first name called if the Yankees needed infield reinforcements. With a system that just acquired Gleyber Torres, a top-five prospect in all of baseball, Cashman’s choice of Wade shows just how high the Yankees are on him.

His defense has sparkled, but his bat has yet to show the ability that allowed him to slash .313/.389/.453 for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In his 14 games at the MLB level, Wade has a .136/.224/.227 line that includes 15 strikeouts in 49 plate appearances.

If this was last year, and the Yankees sold at the deadline, Wade would be starting at second base every day until Starlin Castro‘s return. The team’s lack of playoff aspirations in 2016 gave them the opportunity to test the skills of players like Tyler Austin, Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez in the MLB. They found their catcher and right fielder of the future in part because of that experiment.

However, this is a different year, and a different team. The Yankees need Wade to provide quality defense, some base-hits and stolen bases down the stretch. Castro still needs time to heal after his second hamstring injury of the season. But, if Wade continues to struggle at the plate, the second base job will go to Ronald Torreyes. The Yankees only have one other infielder on the 40-man roster: Miguel Andújar. The Yankees want to get his defense at third base serviceable, so there is no way they’d throw him into the second base fire. Wade is the guy to “replace” Castro on the roster.

The Yankees find themselves between a rock and a hard place with Wade. As much as they want him to develop with everyday at-bats, he cannot do so at the expense of the team’s performance. It looks like Torreyes will get the bulk of second base playing time until Castro returns. When Castro returns, Wade will go back to the RailRiders. He has been the target of Yankee fans’ ire because of his inability to instantly contribute at the MLB level. But, Wade has the talent to be a valuable piece down the stretch and into the future.