A Month of Fundays

A New York Yankees, Giants, Knicks, Rangers and other stuff blog.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yanks Win Rain Shortened, Pen Saving Game!

Yanks just beat Yu Darvish, thanks to Mother Nature and the reasonably priced True Yankee, Brett Gardner.   Gardy hit a two run jack, his 10th, which gave the Yanks the 2-1 lead that the rain upheld.   The rain started in the bottom of the 5th, so it was official.   This is great because the Yanks didn't have to use their pen.  Phew after last night's 14 inning monstrosity.   Now let's see who's on the team tomorrow!

Yanks: Ian Kennedy Part 2?

The Yanks reportedly have a scout in Chicago tonight watching Ian Kennedy pitch for the Padres.   Kennedy is a weird pitcher.   First, he's got a strong K rate and lots of K's without too many walk or home runs, and a bit less than a hit an inning.   But his ERA+ is a below average 95.   Perhaps the mysterious Yankee Analytics department is recognizing something.    Anyway, he's not someone who should cost us anything serious, and I was kind of thinking he and Headley would arrive in one trade. But they are looking at him tonight, and he'll probably be similar to the guys we've called up this year, but without as much uncertainty.   We'll see what happens.

Btw, Soria just got traded for the Tigers #2 and #4 prospects...   Imagine what Robertson could get us given what Soria and Street have brought in trade this week.

Knicks Waive Shannon Brown

Phil Jackson is kicking the training wheels off of his new look Knicks.   He just cut Shannon Brown, who had probably only been signed for his familiarity with the triangle.   He played in Summer League for the Knicks and that, apparently, was that.   Gotta wonder what's next for the Knicks.   Not worried about it for the first time in forever.

Rangers Come to Terms With Kreider

The Rangers and Chris Kreider avoided arbitration this morning by agreeing to a two year deal that will pay Chris 2.35 this year and 2.6 next.  This is ideal, as it probably is too soon to make a huge commitment to Kreider but it might not be at some point during the two year deal.   Now they just have to make deals with Brassard and Moore.   So far, so good -- for the time being, at least.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Headley Wins it for the Yanks in 14!

So it took him three times, but Chase Headley had the game winning hit in a 14 inning pitchers (incompetents?) duel that just ended at the stadium.    It was 0-0 till the 13th when both teams scored one.   The Jeff Francis finally appeared for the Yanks (after two weeks on the 40 where he did nothing, nice work Joe G.) .  Anyway, he prevented the Rangers from scoring again, then the Yanks beat Soria, who the Rangers had been holding back in the 14th.  Roberts and Cervelli had the big hits before Headley's game winning single.    Whitley was good again, or, at least lucky.   I wonder who'll make his next start...

MZA Signs

Mats Zuccarello has signed a 1 year 3.5M deal with the Rangers.   Good deal for both sides as we await further cap increases.   I think the Rangers might have gotten crushed on this one if it had gotten to arbitration.  This should give them room for Kreider and Brassard.

Yanks Cashman Says He Still has More Work To Do

So Cash now says he's still looking for a starting pitcher as well as a righty throwing OF.    First we've heard of the OF, but it could be Wllingham.   The pitcher could be Lee, Danks, or Kennedy, and but the price for any of this stuff must be small or we are back in the late `80s.   Scary times but as long as he's not making a big talent bet on this year's underachievers, we should be okay.

Rangers Appear To Be Headed to Arbitration With Kreider

The Rangers are behaving curiously this summer.   First, they were in pretty good cap shape, but then pissed it away by increments on older players who will block kids.   Because of those questionable investments, they must now play a dangerous arbitration game with three of their best young players: Kreider; Brassard and MZA.  The problem with arbitration is that it can be so hurtful and foster bad feelings from the players across the table.   The Rangers need a better way to handle their young core, and not just the McD's.

In the meantime, this offseason, which features all these veteran bandaids, seems to indicate a trade of some of the kid forwards is probably in the offing. We'll deal with that when we know who for, but the signs are pretty bright.

Impact of the DePaula Trade on The Yankee System

So, the Yanks finally traded Raphael DePaula today.   You'll recall all the drama they went through to get him a few years ago, including his suspension and several false starts.   After the promotion of Severino, he as the most electric arm left at High A for the time being, and was probably close to a AA promotion after last night.    

So the trade right now takes a power arm out of Tampa, but the reason they were willing to do this was that there are plenty of power arms left from both the most recent draft and past few IFA classes. DePaula was already 23, and still walking too many arms.  

Now, the Shane Greene story is exactly why you should be incredibly patient with power arms, but the fact is the Yanks are loaded with them, so this wasn't so bad, unless you wanted to save DePaula for a bigger trade, though I'm not too interested in making any bigger trades.

Speaking of which the Yanks are reportedly talking to the White Sox about Danks, who would be another buy low guy.

Yanks Acquire Chase Headley

Yanks have traded Yangervis Solarte and Raphael DePaula for Chase Headley.    Had a feeling DePaula was getting traded this round.  Since he's the only thing of value leaving, we should remember he's been pitching better in his second go round in High A, but his chances of making it are probably not what they were when he was cruising through low A.    Headley, at one time seemed to be able to hit.  If he snaps out of it at all, this could be alright.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Giants Sign OL John Sullen

The Giants didn't leave Chris Snee spot open long as they have signed jumbo guard John Sullen out of Auburn.   He probably knows Mosley.   There are varying reports on his size and weight.  Some list him as 6'5" 318 while others have him at 6'6" and 340.  We'll see what kind of feet he has.   We could have a revolving door at the bottom of the OL chart as well as the roster as camp progresses.

In other news, Beason was the only Giant who has to start camp on the PUP list.   Beatty, Manningham and Jerry all avoided it, though they will be limited in practice.

Clarkin Pitches 3 innings of 1 Run Ball

Ian Clarkin didn't start today, Gabe Encinas did (and he looked a bit better than he has in his comeback from TJS).    Instead, Ian came in for three innings as the second pitchers, he only gave up 2 hits, and a walk, but it equaled a run, and he struck out 4.   The announcer said he's throwing his curve harder and it's becoming even more effective.  I have no doubt that this is our second best current pitching prospect, and he better not be going anywhere.

In other news Mark Payton hit his first pro homer, and could probably handle high A.

Chris Snee Officially Retires

This is a sad day in Giant Land.   Chris Snee, one of the greatest OL's and greatest players in Giant History has called it quits at 32.   He just couldn't get his strength back without risking more debilitating injuries.  God bless him.   I remember having him on my list back in 2004 and was thrilled when the Giants picked him.  He immediately raised the level of our line play, and turned Tiki's last three seasons into three of his best.   I will alway have memories of Snee, O'Hara and Seabert just heading down field and blowing guys up.   Snee was just unbelievable in his prime, and he made everyone around him better.  He was a huge part of the Giant Identity when they were winning Super Bowls, and we do now and will alway need more players like him.   He is the model of what we should be looking for in an OL and a Giant.   Good speed, Great One.

Giants Camp Opens

So. everyone is showing up, and David Wilson says he's cleared to go.   That's huge news for the offense, because he's a threat to score every time he touches it, much like Bekham, and this offense should really allow him to go off.    We'll see.   Still waiting on a Chris Snee announcement.   Then we'll have to talk about the OL again.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chris Snee

Rumors abound tonight that Chris Snee is retiring tomorrow.  I really hope this is not the case, because in my book, he's an all-time Giant.  Until the injuries of the last few years, I felt there was a very good chance he'd end up in the Hall of Fame.  If he retires tomorrow that will be tough.  

Also, I have to wonder if the Giants would have done anything different during the draft of FA if they'd known sooner.  Weston Richburg can play Guard, and Geoff Schwartz's best position is reportedly RG, but there probably were some better starter options in FA than Brown and Jerry.

Yanks Win Again On McCann Walk Off Hit

I can just see Cash getting souped up.  The Yankees won again today, and this time Brian McCann drove in Jacoby Ellsbury for a walk off.     Maybe they are waking up, but they still left guys on base throughout the game which set up the final walk off.  Unbelievably, the only reason the game was tied was because Frazier hit a 98 mph inside fastball from Betances.  First homer Dellin had given up in 2 months.    Seven more games left in the home stand, and each win makes a trade more likely.

This Week on the Blog

Should be a really interesting week on the blog, and all four teams we like could be active.

Giants: The Giants open training camp tomorrow!  Hopefully the injury reports will be at minimum, and the questions that come up with have good answers.   We'll look at offense, defense and specials, eventually.

Yankees: The Yanks will continue their home stand, as Cash beats the bushes for reinforcements.  Let's hope they hold onto their best prospects, and any moves they make will follow the McCarthy deal.  We'll probably have a few more articles on the system.

Rangers: I'm getting a bit concerned that the signings of all of these veteran forward are going to lead to the trading of some forwards from the system.  Don't like it, but that's what concerns me.   We'll post if anything comes up.

Knicks:  Summer league is over for them, but they still have a roster to work on.   There'll be more stuff as it comes up.

Let's go, teams!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Severino Pretty Dominant

Luis Severino went 5 ip 2H 1BB R and 6K's in his first AA appearance.   Both hits, the walk and run came in the first inning, when it seemed like he was a little tight, and also had some bad luck when Nimmo went from first to third.    But he retired the last 12 he faced and was the guy we've been used to seeing and hearing about all year.   This was a pretty good test against the BMets, and Pazos, another good prospect took over in the 6th.  So far so good, for our future ACE.

Yanks Win Again

Brandon McCarthy was terrific in his Yankee Stadium debut, pitching 6 innings of 1 run 9K ball.   He would give way to Warren then Kelley then Thornton as the Yanks got solid pitching from all and won 7-1.  Beltran homered for the Yanks and Gardner, Jeter, McCann, Beltran, Roberts and Johnson all had good days on O.

Of course, the more they win, the more Cash will decide they deserve a chance, and overpay in a trade.    So great as we should feel about McCarthy's great start, and the O having a good day, we should also feel some trepidation.

Severino pitches tonight.

Severino To Make His AA Debut Today

Luis Severino will start for Trenton today, thereby making his AA debut.  Last year he had a big hiccup when he hit Charleston.    This year, he gave up some unearned runs in his high A debut.   We'll see what happens.   Could be some walks as the batters and the umps feel him out.   Of course, after his bumpy debut in Tampa he basically had no-hit stuff the rest of the way, and could very well have that again tonight.   Should be an interesting game and let's wish him the best.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Yanks: Trading DRob Pros and Cons

The Angels just gave the Padres three of their top 4 prospects, plus one other guy for Huston Street and another guy from AA.   That's quite a haul, and that should get the Yankees thinking about moving their unsigned closer David Robertson,

Robertson has been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball for several years, and it's kind of weird that the Yanks haven't extended him yet.    They should, absolutely try to do that before the deadline and before entering into any sort of trade talks around him.    He was a great set up man and has made  a seamless conversion to the overrated closer roll.  

Well, people will think, Dellin Betances is clearly our closer of the future but that would take him out of the key relief ace role, and move him into a job that is at least partly ceremonial, where he'd get called into plenty of "save situations" that pretty much anyone can handle.   It's sort of been sad that Mo and DRob both went from being dynamic two inning aces to closers, even though Mo is now a legend as the greatest closer ever.

In fact, if DRob gets traded the Yanks should make Kelley or Warren the closer's for now, and really start converting over to a more dynamic bullpen built around two inning guys like Betances and Lindgren, etc, with either a lesser closer or those guys splitting up the save opportunities.

But the only reasons to trade DRob are that he is unsigned for next year, and that the Padres just robbed the Angels for Huston Street.

Last year, the Yankees did not trade Cano at the deadline, and thus, missed out on what would have been a huge prospect take.   They then let the Mariners sign Cano then punted their compensatory draft pick.  In other words, they got absolutely nothing for their best player.

That was an insane sequence of events and really the price of not locking Cano up earlier.    But they haven't locked up DRob, either, so unless they can, they should consider it.

Rangers Sign Lee Stempniak

It's a one year deal and it should be pretty cheap.   He'll probably score some goals and block a kid in the old Pouliot role.   Sheesh.

Yanks Win!

David Phelps came up with another quality start.  When he tired, Dellin was willing' and Dellin.  There were surprise appearances by the xbh power of Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran.   Yet we could still only score 4 runs.   Weird that.   But this seems to be the model for this year's games.  Anyway, Beltran says he didn't have a concussion, so that could be an interesting situation.    Meanwhile, the Yanks have 9 more home games in a row here, and the way the first few of will probably determine whether they are buyers or sit on their hands-ers at the trade deadline.  Who knows with this group of underachievers?

Yanks CC to Have Knee Surgery

Today it was determined that CC Sabathia will require micro-fracture surgery, thus ending his season and threatening the continuation of his career. I sincerely wish CC the best in his recovery and future.  However; this has got to be a lesson to the Yankees.  Stop paying over 30 players to opt back in after they've opted out.  Heck, this year's free agent signing should be a lesson about hiring any over 30 FA's.

UPDATE:  Cashman says it is not micro-fracture but "clean up" surgery, though he is still out for the year.   I guess we'll see.

The killer kicker to this year's underperforming FA class is that the draft deadline just passed and unless someone changed their minds in the last 15 minutes, the LHP Andrew Chin was the last signing from this year's class.

Had the Yanks just kept one or two of their first round picks, they could have targeted and signed more and different picks.   The idea behind this is not just to have a shiny farm system while the MLB team falters.  

The fact is, the past two CBA's and the money they have stolen from the Yanks and other successful teams, has made it easier for teams to retain their best players, meaning the cream of the crop no longer hits free agency at the beginning of their primes.  Instead they are hitting it at the middle or end of their primes, and at that point the Yanks must learn to stay away.

So, the reason to aggressively build the farm isn't just to supply the MLB team with homegrown stars, but to have the extra ammo to go get other teams' stars without having to re-start the farm from scratch.  

That's why they needed a second monster draft in a row much more than they needed Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran.    It's so they could build something much better.

We could be in for a craptacular couple of years until the Yanks figure this out at the ownership level. The Tanaka signing was great.   The IFA splurge was great in principle.   Punting three first rounders for three 30 or over FA's, the best of whom was Gardner duplicative was bad business.   Though I do believe the scouts got us bang for the buck and will earn praise from the underfunded draft class of `14.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Yankee System: What's Up?

I was going to write this article tomorrow to allow any remain draft signings to come, but your participation here has riled me up.

Last year, the press made a big deal about how the Yankee farm was barren and as a result the team couldn't call up injury replacements and thus, missed the playoffs and brought shame to millions.   This meme is still being marketed by the press this year, though even other teams' scouts are conceding the farm is okay, if only lacking high end talent.  Though, Luis Severino and Aaron Judge say, "Hi."  But let's hang onto them.

So where are we now?  And why does it look like there are multiple plans afoot?   To wit, in November of 2012, the Yanks finally played the arbitration game and netted 3 first round picks.   They hadn't had close to that since they had a first and a sandwich pick which they used on Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain in a 2006 draft that is still paying dividends in the form of Dellin Betances.

With the three picks they took Eric Jagielo, Ian Clarkin and Aaron Judge.   All three look like good to great picks so far, their high draft pool, as a result of the three 1's netted them a deep draft class that has already seen college reliever Tyler Webb hit AAA this year, and a prep bat like Dustin Fowler kicking it in Charleston.   Gosuke Katoh is starting to rock there, and Tyler Webb has done some good things, too.  Anyway it looks like a really good draft and the Yanks seemed to have figured something out.

What's more, their Rowland era string of damn good IFA signings seemed to continue last July.

As a result of these good recent IFA signings as well as the 2013 and 2012 drafts, the Yankees currently have some great quality and depth from A ball all the way down to their complex in the Dominican Republic.

This great talent acquisition was basically happening under the cloud of Hal Steinbrenner's 189 plan, which either did or didn't keep the Yanks out of the running for Puig, Cespedes and the other Cubans.  I think it might have, since, he also had not been willing to pony up for Chapman or any of the other high end Cuban's of the past few years. In fact, I think any time Hal says no, and the guy turns out, the Yanks sort of blame the scouts, but I think it's his budgets.

Anyway, the new austerity was bringing more picks, so that was a very good thing, if missing out on all the Cuban hitters who are going off was a bad thing.

Then they didn't make the playoffs, and all draft benefits were lost as Hal, obviously, decided to scrap 189 and authorized a huge expenditure on Ellsbury, McAnn and Beltran.   It's been a horror show on the field, and was a horror show for this year's draft, as the Yanks forfeited  3 better firsts than they had last year, and ended up with a tiny draft pool.

In general, the Yanks had been becoming more prep centric in their draft approach over the last few years, even with the rules change, though they've also had success with their college picks.  This year's tiny draft budget forced them into taking college almost to the exclusion of preps. In fact, they've only signed 1 prep player so far, Austin DeCarr and because they gave him their top bonus it doesn't look like they'll be able to sign anymore this year.

That's how destructive the flip side of the November spending spree has been.  They didn't just lose three great picks, they lost money for more good picks throughout the 40 rounds.  Absolutely brutal on a farm that's just being rebuilt.

That said, there was a compensatory plan in action.  And at least some intelligence somewhere in the organization as the Yanks did aggressively go after Tanaka, an IFA who cost them no draft compensation, but made up for a lot of the pitching blunders of the recent past, till he got hurt.

But, according to Kiley McDaniel, among others, as far back as last December the Yanks had a plan to blow the roof off this years teenage IFA class, and earlier this month, they did just that.   What's more, the draft guys knew they were getting a panoply of high upside teen hitters in July, and thus went for their own panoply of college arms in the draft.  And some of those arms are already looking good.

Between this year's diminished draft and the Yanks foreign splurge they still managed to add more deep and diverse talent to the entry levels of the system, including some college pitchers who are already moving on up.

So I think it's very safe to say that over the past two years, the Yanks have done a very good job of amateur talent acquisition.  They have ignored the major Cuban FA's over the Hal reign settling for bargain guys like Adonis Garcia and Jorge Luis, and that's hurt them at the upper and major league level of the organization.

Now I've spent some time on the impressive health of the bottom of the system.   So what's up with the top two levels and who's to blame?

First, I'm not sure anything is very wrong with AAA.  Most teams keep AAAA players there, and the Yanks actually have 4-6 position players who might help the big league club at this point, as well as the pitchers they've already called up.   Dave Miley is the manager there and a recent ceremony for him,  Cashman called him a great teacher.   This made me wonder why he wasn't farther down the chain teaching young kids.  But, whatever, AAA is in pretty good shape prospect wise.

AA had been a wasteland for awhile.   It's been home to struggling prospects like Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and - to a lesser extent - Gary Sanchez for over a year.   But this past week, they finally sent some more talent up to challenge those stalled guys including Jake Cave who started in CF and moved Mason Williams to DH tonight, and pitchers Luis Severino and Nick Rumbelow up to the rotation and pen respectively.

I think this will prove a great test both for the promoted players and what I consider the questionable coaching staff at AA.   But, unquestionably, as of these promotions we now have talent at all levels of the system, which we haven't had in a few years.  

In fact, guys like Aaron Judge, Eric Jagielo or Dante Bichette and Miguel Sulburan could all be promoted to AA before the end of the season, moving even more talent to that level and providing and even broader challenge to the coaching staff.

So, anyway, looking up and down the system, it's definitely having a bounce back year, and despite the November `13 FA splurge,  more talent has been added to the base, and serious talent is starting leach up.    It's in good shape, and press is behind in their estimations of it.

Why it's bouncing back is a credit to both the scouts, and the good coaches,  and some solid plans that have worked around Hal's limits on draft spending, IFA spending, and Cuban spending.

Btw, the way to build the bridge from the old guard to the kids in the farm was with Cubans.  But they didn't see that, or didn't see that in time, and that's why we stink now at the major league level and had a limited draft this year.   It wasn't a scouting problem it was a budget problem.

Yanks Sign LHP Andrew Chin

The Yanks added another pitch-ability lefty to their recently growing collection of pitch-ability lefties.  He was this year's 15th rounder, and I have no idea if he got over the 100K his and all post round 10 slots allow.   There have been varying reports on his ability, so we'll see what he can do.

Yanks: Cashman's Latest Threat, "I have to reinforce our pitching"

Yikes.   He just doesn't get it.   The Yanks have been struggling on offense all season because he made bad choices last November, and now he's interested in blowing up the farm for pitching, that will not fix the offense.   The team he has put together it a DOG.  And he needs to fold, and call up the kids.   This is not the year to try to pull of a big trade at the deadline.  There's nothing out there that's worth what a Severino or Clarkin, Judge or Jagielo would bring to the Yanks.  No one.   Patience is what is required not more of the Hal Era pound foolishness.    This is feeling sickly late `80s.

Yanks: Draft Picks Must be Signed By Tomorrow

Usually, the Yanks surprise us with a high upside signing or two at the deadline, but this year, because of the low pool money, and the amount DeCarr commanded, they may not have anymore signings to announce at the deadline tomorrow.   I wouldn't mind if a few more deadlines passed without announcements:)   Meanwhile Lindgren made his High A debut today and struck out the side in his first inning.  Don't know if he'll pitch another one, but I love having a dynamic lefty relief ace.