Tag: Thairo Estrada

Ronald Torreyes Traded to Cubs for PTBNL/Cash

The Ronald Torreyes era is over. After 221 games, the Yankees announced today that they traded the versatile 26-year-old to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later or cash consideration. He had been designated for assignment Monday when the Yankees claimed pitcher Parker Bridwell from the Los Angeles Angels.

Torreyes had grown into a fan favorite since joining the Yankees in 2016 because of his energy and ability to produce as a bench player. He proved exceedingly useful in 2017, when he started the first month of the season at shortstop to allow Didi Gregorius to recover from a shoulder injury. Overall as a Yankee, he hit .281/.308/.373 (80 wRC+) with four home runs and 55 RBIs. He suited up at second base, third base, shortstop and right field for the Yankees.

Though he made a ton of contact, Torreyes provided little value with his offense. He walked 23 times in three seasons (3.8%), and only picked up extra-base hits in 6.4% of his plate appearances. He graded out as an average baserunner, but had little value as a pinch-runner since he only stole four bases in his time as a Yankee.

The real reason Torreyes was dealt appears to be his price tag. He is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter. I think the Yankees were planning to non-tender him if they did not find a destination by this Friday’s deadline. MLB Trade Rumors projected he would make $900K in his first go-around. The Yankees have way cheaper options for the utility-man bench role (Hanser Alberto, Thairo Estrada, Tim Locastro Tyler Wade, etc.) and Torreyes became the odd man out.

I’m expecting Toe will get a big hand at Old Timer’s Day at some point down the road. Only time will tell if Chicago is his final destination this offseason, as Torreyes has bounced around in the past. The Yankees acquired Torreyes along with lefty Tyler Olson in January 2016, but he got claimed by the Angels off waivers a week later. A week after that, the Yankees claimed him back from Los Angeles and the rest is history. For now, he’s a Cub. In February, we’ll see where he’s suiting up for Spring Training.

Yankees Option 3 to Minor League Camp

Abreu, Estrada and Loáisiga are headed to the Minors.

Twenty-four hours have passed since the Yankees reassigned six players to their minor league camp, and now three more will join them. Infielder Thairo Estrada and RHPs Albert Abreu and Jonathan Loáisiga were optioned out of big league camp. Estrada was sent to Double-A Trenton, while Abreu and Loáisiga are moved to Class-A Advanced Tampa.

Loáisiga was the only one of these three to appear in a game. He threw one scoreless inning and recorded two strikeouts March 2 against the Atlanta Braves. He had an impressive season in the minors last year, with a stellar 1.38 ERA in 11 games in the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) and Short Season-A Staten Island. MLB Pipeline ranked him as the team’s No. 14 prospect. The Yankees signed him out of a tryout in February 2016.

Abreu came to the Yankees in the trade that sent Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. Ranked as the team’s No. 5 prospect, his spring was derailed by an emergency appendectomy. He has since resumed throwing, but did not appear in any exhibition games. Despite dealing with a shoulder strain, Abreu threw 53⅓ innings between Rookie, Low-A and High-A before a stint in the Arizona Fall League in 2017. His regular season ERA was 3.38 between the three levels before posting a 2.60 mark in six AFL starts.

Estrada turned heads behind a .301/.353/.392 (107 wRC+) line in 122 games for Double-A Trenton. The 22-year-old also logged innings at shortstop, second base and third base in the Eastern League. Then, in 20 Arizona Fall League games, Estrada slashed his way to being named the No. 10 prospect with a .342/.381/.430 line in the fall circuit. But, Estrada was shot in the right hip during a botched robbery attempt in his home country of Venezuela. He is expected to return to game action in 2018, although the timetable is not clear. Estrada signed for $49,000 in August 2012.


These players were optioned, rather than reassigned, because all three of them are on the 40-man roster. Each was added to the 40-man this past offseason, so they each have two option years remaining. The Yankees can promote and re-option these players as many times during the 2018 season without burning another option year.

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.

 

Yankees to Acquire Giancarlo Stanton From Marlins

The reigning 2017 National League Most Valuable Player will almost certainly be suiting up in the Bronx in 2018. The New York Yankees have acquired OF Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins in exchange for 2B Starlin Castro, RHP Jorge Guzman and IF José Devers. The deal is currently pending since all players involved must pass physicals.

Neither club has confirmed the deal. The Yankees will take on $265 million of the remaining $295 million on Stanton’s contract. He can use a player option to opt out of his deal after the 2020 season.

The team plans to rotate Stanton with Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner in between the two corner outfield positions and designated hitter role. Stanton hit 59 home runs in 2017 en route to being named NL MVP and Hank Aaron Award winner. His slashline was .281/.376/.631, and also tallied an MLB-leading 132 RBIs.

The Yankees bought low on Castro, trading RHP Adam Warren and UTIL Brendan Ryan to the Chicago Cubs to acquire the young infielder. In his Yankees tenure, Castro hit .283/.317/.442 with 37 home runs and 133 RBIs. He was limited to just 112 games in 2017 because of a recurring hamstring issue. The Yankees will have Ronald Torreyes, Tyler Wade, Gleyber Torres and Thairo Estrada in camp to compete for the starting job at second base.

Guzman was the Yankees No. 9 prospect, pitching to a 2.30 ERA and 11.9 K/9 for Short Season-A Staten Island. Guzman came to the Yankees alongside Albert Abreu in the trade that sent Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. Devers got his first taste of minor league action at age-17 this year with the Dominican Summer League Yankees and Gulf Coast League Yankees East club. He hit .245/.336/.342 with one home run and 16 RBIs combined in Rookie ball. He is the cousin of Red Sox 3B Rafael Devers.

Though they were not actively pursuing Stanton at first, the Yankees were one of four teams that he would waive his no-trade clause to join. The other teams were the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. Stanton vetoed trades to the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals earlier this week. It appeared that general manager Brian Cashman had the opportunity to acquire Stanton for cheap, and took advantage.


Recent reports indicate that the Marlins are already taking calls on Starlin Castro, and will look to flip him to another contending team. The New York Mets have reportedly shown interest in Castro already. The 27-year-old is owed $22.71 million guaranteed through 2019, with a $16 million team option ($1 million buyout) for 2020.

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.

Yankees Add Six Players to 40-Man Roster

All of the Yankees’ wheeling and dealing in the last few days came with a purpose. The team added six players to their 40-man roster Monday to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

The team protected RHP Albert Abreu (No. 7), RHP Domingo Acevedo (No. 6), INF Thairo Estrada (No. 17), RHP Jonathan Loáisiga, OF/1B Billy McKinney (No. 23) and INF Gleyber Torres (No. 1). I expected everyone with the exception of Loáisiga to be protected, since Loáisiga has no experience above Low-A ball.

The Yankees acquired Abreu in the trade that sent Brian McCann to the Houston Astros. He pitched well in 2017, putting up a 2-3 record and 3.38 ERA across three minor league levels with the Yankees. He displayed strikeout stuff (10.3 K/9) but had command issues (3.0 BB/9) that will have to be ironed out in the lower minor leagues. Abreu impressed in the Arizona Fall League, finishing with a 2.60 ERA and 23 strikeouts in six AFL starts.

Acevedo signed with the Yankees March 3, 2013, as an international amateur free agent. The 6’7″ right-hander started 23 games across three different MiLB levels, topping out at Triple-A. His lanky frame has allowed him to reach up to 103 mph with his fastball. He finished 2017 with a 3.25 ERA and 9.6 K/9 rate. He has the potential to be a starter if he can manage his mechanics, but also could end up as a potent back-end reliever.

Estrada is another player who put himself on the radar with a strong Arizona Fall League performance. He was second on the Scottsdale Scorpions in average, hitting .342/.381/.430 with a homer and 10 RBIs. A versatile middle infielder, Estrada batted .301/.353/.392 with six homers and 48 RBIs exclusively with Double-A Trenton.

Loáisiga serves as the wild card. The Yankees were bound to protect another pitcher, and they chose the 23-year-old from Nicaragua. In 11 starts with the Yankees organization in 2017, Loáisiga was filthy. He went just 1-1, but had a stunning 1.83 ERA and 9.1 K/9 compared to 0.8 BB/9. To protect a guy who has not pitched above Short Season-A is rare, but Loáisiga showed he deserved it.

McKinney was the 24th overall pick in the 2013 Amateur Draft, selected by the Oakland Athletics. He was traded in 2014 with Addison Russell and Dan Straily to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. McKinney found himself in the package with Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren and Rashad Crawford that went to the Yankees in exchange for Aroldis Chapman in 2016. Once he hit Triple-A in 2017, McKinney turned heads, batting .306/.336/.541 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 55 games. The Yankees sent him to the Arizona Fall League (which foreshadowed his protection), where he finished second with 20 RBIs. He also played first base in the AFL, aiming to increase his versatility.

As mentioned above, Torres came to the Yankees in the Chapman deal during the 2016 “rebuild”. The consensus No. 1 prospect in MLB, Torres’ 2017 season was cut short after he tore his left UCL sliding into home plate in a Triple-A game. He missed the rest of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was on a rotation of playing third base, shortstop and second base in order to find a position for him in the major league lineup. He was hitting .309/.406/.457 in 23 Triple-A Games prior to his injury. The Yankees are not allowing him to play winter ball, but Brian Cashman implied that Torres will be able to compete for a job during Spring Training.


The Yankees obviously had very tough decisions to make regarding who to protect. They made many trades, and had to leave a lot of talent unprotected. If a team selects an eligible player from the Yankees who is not on the 40-man roster, they pay the Yankees a fee and must keep that player on their active roster for the entirety of the season. If they are unable to keep that player on the active roster, they must return him to the Yankees and they will get a refund. If another team keeps that player on the active roster for the entire season (like the San Diego Padres did with C Luis Torrens in 2016), they gain ownership of the players rights, and can send them to the minor leagues.

Report: Yankees Interested in Rangers INF Jurickson Profar

As the GM Meetings come to a close in Orlando, Fla., there is an interesting rumbling regarding the Yankees and Texas Rangers. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees are intrigued by Rangers’ utility man Jurickson Profar.

Profar has been a disappointment since being billed as the No. 1 prospect in baseball prior to the 2013 season. He has posted a .229/.309/.329 line through 206 games at the big league level. He has yet to play more than 90 games in a season, and missed the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to a shoulder injury.

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But, he does have some redeeming qualities. He has pedigree, and could come into his upside later on in his career. At age-24, he still could “find it” and be a productive player. He has experience at every infield position, and 30 games in left field. That kind of defensive versatility is valuable. Where he would fit in a Yankee organization that has Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade remains to be seen.

Trading for someone like Profar would only make sense if the Yankees can unload a few of their excess 40-man roster pitchers. Guys like Luis Cessa, Giovanny Gallegos, Bryan Mitchell, Caleb Smith and more may be shipped off in a package to open up more 40-man spots for names like Domingo Acevedo, Thairo Estrada and Gleyber Torres.

If the Yankees can open up two or three 40-man roster spots while only taking on Profar (projected to make $1.1 million in arbitration per MLBTradeRumors), that would be a fantastic opportunity to buy low on a player with plenty of pedigree. They did it with Didi Gregorius, and also look to do so with Billy McKinney (Aroldis Chapman trade) and Dillon Tate (Carlos Beltrán trade).

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