Tag: Tyler Austin

Morosi: Moustakas at 1B of Interest to Yankees

With Greg Bird putting up below average offensive production for the Yankees at first base (97 wRC+, 95 OPS+), the Yankees could turn to an unorthodox option on the trade market. Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com is reporting the team has interest in acquiring Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and moving him across the diamond to first base.

The Yankees have gotten very little production out of first base for the second consecutive season, as the combination of Bird, Tyler Austin and Neil Walker has produced a .657 OPS – 29th among 30 Major League teams.

Morosi reports the Royals expect to trade Moustakas, who became a victim of the 2017-18 free agent freeze and signed with the Royals on a one-year, $6.5 million deal that features a $15 million mutual option for 2019. Morosi mentioned also that the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies are also interested in Moustakas, but as a third baseman. At 29, the 2nd overall pick in the 2007 draft seemed poised to cash in on a season where he hit a career-high 38 home runs. But, that opportunity never came and he found himself back in Kansas City for cheap.

In 82 games so far this season, Moustakas has put up a .258/.312/.472 line with 16 home runs. He has, however, just 17.0 innings of big league baseball at first base in his career and they’ve all come in 2018. Moustakas would likely receive the sort of crash course that Chase Headley got at the end of 2017 following the acquisition of Todd Frazier. Headley only had 62 innings at first base under his belt when the Yankees made that move on July 18, 2017. However, Headley had been a bit of a utility man with the San Diego Padres, also seeing time in the outfield. Moustakas only has a few minor league innings at shortstop on his résumé.

Acquiring Moustakas would show the Yankees have zero confidence in Bird’s ability to put it all together in 2018. He still has minor league options remaining, so the Yankees would likely stash him in Triple-A until September 1 to get things ironed out. A move that acquires salary like this would be worth watching also because the Yankees want to add to the starting rotation and stay below the $197 million luxury tax threshold. The Yanks could shed the remaining salary of Neil Walker by attaching a higher quality prospect, which is how the team managed to jettison Headley alongside Bryan Mitchell.

The internal options to replace Bird aren’t great. Austin recently hit the minor league 7-day disabled list with a back issue, where he joins fellow Triple-A first baseman Mike Ford. The next man up would be Billy McKinney, who has already cracked 11 home runs in the International League but has primarily suited up in the outfield this season. Ryan McBroom has had an impressive breakout after being acquired for Rob Refsnyder from Toronto, hitting .313/.336/.498 at Triple-A while splitting time between first base and right field.

Greg Bird is just 12-for-61 (.715 OPS) in his past 21 games. In that same span, Mike Moustakas is 15-for-71 (.626 OPS). Neither is lighting the world on fire at the moment. I think it’s too soon to be making a declaration in either direction on this rumor. Bird rounding into shape so that the Yankees only have to trade for a starter would be the best case scenario. But, if Bird gets injured or continues to struggle, Brian Cashman has the pieces and the flexibility to land Moustakas for much less than the trade that sent ex-teammate Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals.

Greg Bird Activated; Ronald Torreyes Optioned to SWB

The Toe-Night Show moves to Scranton, at least for now.

We all knew Greg Bird was coming back today. Yankee manager Aaron Boone told Mike Francesa as much during Thursday’s off-day. He also mentioned that the team had not quite figured out who was going to be demoted to Triple-A when the slugging first baseman returned.

“It’s something that we’ve had a lot of conversations about,” Boone said before Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. “We are still mulling it over; we just met a little bit ago to work through things and what we think the best way to go is. It leads to a difficult decision, not a simple one, not an obvious one. It’s something, frankly, that we’re still kind of working through.”

That decision has been made, and it must not have been easy. The Yankees demoted fan-favorite utility infielder Ronald Torreyes to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and activated Bird as expected. Torreyes was hitting .339/.349/.435 with six doubles in 62 at-bats this season. His value came from his ability to hit for contact even without much playing time, as well as suit up at any non-first base infield position and even in the outfield corners.

It’s worth noting that last season, where Torreyes played in 108 games and Bird in just 48, that Bird had an OPS+ of 84 and Torreyes’ was just 81. Bird actually managed to contribute more offense despite having 166 fewer plate appearances. That’s because of Torreyes’ 153 hits as a member of the Yankees, a whopping 83.7% of them have been singles. Out of Bird’s 69 hits as a Yankee, just 47.8% have been singles.

Bird brings some badly needed lefty power to the Yankees lineup. Lefty hitters have only hit 18 home runs for the Yankees this year, and 11 of those have come from Didi Gregorius. When healthy, the 25-year-old Bird does quite well against lefties. His OPS is actually 69 points higher against southpaws than righties, which is impressive for a young player.

The Yankees choose to keep Tyler Austin and A.J. Cole around, who were my top candidates for a demotion upon Bird’s return. Austin will likely platoon at first until Bird is ready to play everyday, as well as get some at-bats as a designated hitter when the Yankees face a tough lefty. With the Yankees struggling to get consistent innings from Domingo Germán and Sonny Gray, it makes sense to keep an arm like Cole’s around in case of mop-up and/or long relief situations.

I wouldn’t expect Torreyes to be gone long, as the Yankees likely will not want to rely on Gleyber Torres as their sole backup shortstop. While the decision to send Torreyes down must’ve been tough, it makes the most short-term sense for this team. It’s not like they abandoned him on a deserted island. Torreyes had the most flexibility because of his minor league options and I see him continuing to contribute in the Bronx this season.

Erik Kratz Traded to Brewers; Adam Lind Released

The Yankees made two minor league moves Friday afternoon, trading Triple-A catcher Erik Kratz to the Brewers and releasing 1B/OF Adam Lind. The Yankees signed utility man Wilkin Castillo, primarily a catcher, out of the independent Atlantic League yesterday likely knowing Kratz would be dealt today.

Kratz, 37, came to the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations ahead of the September 1 roster expansion date in 2017. His acquisition came at a time where the Yankees needed catching depth because of looming suspensions to both Austin Romine and Gary Sánchez. Kratz went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs in four appearances for the Yankees. This season in Triple-A, he was hitting .269/.356/.538 with four home runs and six RBIs in the International League. The Brewers selected Kratz to their 25-man active roster today.

Lind was released as the Yankees await the return of Greg Bird to the everyday lineup. This all but confirms that Tyler Austin will be demoted to Triple-A when Bird is officially activated Saturday. Lind was hitting .241/.302/.414 with one home run and seven RBIs in eight games prior to his release. The minor league contract he signed contained an opt-out for June 1, and the Yankees gave him a head-start on his free agency with this release.

Castillo was with the Yankees in 2017, though only in minor league duty. The 33-year-old is a switch-hitter, and has appeared at every position except for center field in his minor league career. Between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year, he slashed .196/.243/.286 with three home runs and 13 RBIs. He’s there to play defense and give the other minor leaguers a breather every once in a while. Castillo was hitting .314/.400/.486 through 20 games with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.


The Yankees activated RHP Tommy Kahnle from the 10-day disabled list prior to Friday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

Tommy Kahnle to Return Friday; Greg Bird on Saturday

Badly needed reinforcements are headed to the Bronx, as key contributors RHP Tommy Kahnle and 1B Greg Bird are set to be activated from the disabled list during the upcoming series against the Los Angeles Angels. Manager Aaron Boone provided the information in a radio interview with Mike Francesa.

The bullpen proved overworked in an ugly loss Wednesday in Texas, where the Yankees’ offense scored 10 runs but were bested by 12 from the Rangers. Tommy Kahnle will provide extra length as he serves as another arm Boone can trust in a high-leverage situation. Kahnle last pitched April 12 in Boston, before a concerning velocity drop led the Yankees to discover his right shoulder tendinitis. That likely explains his unsightly 6.14 ERA (5.69 FIP) as well as astronomical 9.8 walks-per-nine rate. So far on his rehab assignment, Kahnle has allowed two earned runs in five innings of work.

Greg Bird returns to a first base position that has actually been handled well in his absence. The 25-year-old did not make the trip north for the Yankees’ opening series in Toronto due to another surgery on a small bone spur in his right ankle. Doctors removed a coin-sized calcium deposit from the joint. Yankees first basemen have combined to hit .238/.296/.431 with nine homers and 33 RBIs to this point in the season, so they have the luxury to ease Bird back into things. I would expect the Yankees to demote an extra reliever (likely A.J. Cole) so that they can keep both Tyler Austin and Neil Walker on the active roster. On his rehab assignment, Bird has slashed .205/.367/.436 with three home runs. He likely will play one more game with the RailRiders Friday in Scranton.


Gary Sánchez, who left Tuesday night’s game with calf cramps and did not start in Wednesday’s game, will likely start behind the plate as normal to catch Luis Severino in Friday’s series opener. He’ll get at least the half-day-off Saturday as Sonny Gray will start.

Prior to Boone’s interview with Francesa, there was nervousness regarding Sánchez’s health as the team signed catcher Wilkin Castillo out of the independent Atlantic League and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. No word at this point if either of their catchers, Kyle Higashioka or Erik Kratz, are going through any injury issues. Castillo is actually quite versatile as well, logging innings at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field and right field. And, yes, he logged 6⅔ innings on the mound for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians in the Pittsburgh Pirates system in 2015.

Earlier today, the Yankees activated outfielder Billy McKinney (left shoulder sprain) from the 10-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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

Game 44: Big Sexy in Texas

Somehow, Bartolo Colón is still pitching.

Fresh off a blowout win to secure their eighth straight series win, the New York Yankees tab Masahiro Tanaka as their starter against Bartolo Colón and the Rangers in Arlington.

Masahiro Tanaka has been consistent in his last five starts, and the Yankees have won four of them (one is in limbo as Tanaka started the suspended game in Washington on May 15). In that timeframe, he has a 3.72 ERA and a strong 24-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Most importantly, 84% of at-bats against the righty in this sample have ended in ground balls. That’s the best way to keep your team in the game. Since his debut in 2014, Tanaka has not had success against the Rangers. He’s 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts against them.

Facing the Yankees is the ageless right-hander Bartolo Colón. At the age of 44 years, 11 months and 27 days, Colón is having a resurgence on the mound in 2018. Through nine games (seven starts), the veteran has just a 2-1 record but a stellar 2.82 ERA. In his last time out against the Seattle Mariners on May 16, he fired 7⅔ shutout innings while allowing just four hits on 96 pitches. In 21 career appearances (20 starts) against the Yankees, Colón has a 6.11 ERA in 113⅓ innings. Gleyber Torres, the Yankees’ second baseman, was just three months old when Colón made his MLB debut.

Miguel Andújar sits against the veteran Colón, while Neil Walker returns to the lineup at third base for the first time this season. Tyler Austin gets another start over at first, while Didi Gregorius returns to the lineup in the cleanup spot.


Greg Bird and Billy McKinney have had their rehab assignments transferred to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and have traveled to Pawtucket to play the Red Sox’s affiliate.

Tommy Kahnle, who has been shelved since April 16 with right shoulder tendonitis, began a rehab assignment tonight with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs tonight. He could rejoin the team as soon as Friday, per Aaron Boone.


Rangers’ Lineup:

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

 

Giovanny Gallegos Promoted for Texas Series Opener

UPDATE (3:35 p.m. EDT): The Yankees have announced the move. Gallegos will wear No. 61.


It seems we have an answer regarding who will fill the roster spot vacated by Clint Frazier after he was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Sunday night. George A. King III of the New York Post reported that right-handed reliever Giovanny Gallegos is likely to join the team today for the series opener in Texas.

Gallegos debuted with the team last May, and made 16 appearances as one of the up-and-down relievers on the Scranton Shuttle. He finished the season with a 0-1 record and 4.87 ERA.

The 26-year-old had been dealing with a back problem that shelved him at Triple-A, where he has just three relief appearances to this point. In those outings, he has given up three runs in four innings (6.75 ERA). Gallegos figures to be filling the role of eighth man, and he’s useful because he can be optioned to the minor leagues without risk of losing him.

It seems likely that Gallegos will hang around until Greg Bird is ready. Aaron Boone described Bird’s return as “around the corner,” so Gallegos may not be long for the MLB roster. Demoting a reliever when Bird returns will also allow them to keep Tyler Austin around, who is 6-for-11 (.545/.538/1.364) in his last three games with three home runs.