New York Yankees Needs

The Yankees are back to being the Bronx Bombers.  They spent over half a billion dollars this off-season trying to add to the team.  The big signings were pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and backstop Brian McCann.  You can no doubt say they have improved the ball club from a year ago.  The key losses were sluggers Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson, and pitchers Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera.

The starting rotation seems okay with four out of the five spots.  The fifth starter will most likely be Michael Pineda who hasn’t thrown a pitch in pinstripes.  Plan B would be David Phelps who spent time in the rotation, and the bullpen in 2013.

First base should not be a problem in 2014 with Mark Teixera penciled in.  If he is healthy he can hit 40 long balls, and drive in 100.  For the past nine years the Yankees had All-Star Robinson Cano at second base.  After he signed the massive deal with the Mariners, the Yankees signed Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, and Scott Sizemore to play second.  Roberts hasn’t been healthy for a few years, as well as Sizemore.  Kelly Johnson will see his time at third base, where he only played in about 15 games there in his career.  Derek Jeter is retiring after the season.  As long as he is healthy he can have 200 hits and a .300 BA.  Catcher Brian McCann will hit 30+ HR with the short porch in Yankee Stadium.

The outfield consists of five players.  Brett Gardner in left field, Ellsbury in center, and Beltran in right.  Beltran and 38 year old Alfonso Soriano will split time between right field and designated hitter.  It looks like the odd man out is Ichiro Suzuki.  Maybe not.  I know he is 40 years old, but he said that he has drastically improved from last year.  In reality he is on the bench, but don’t count him out if someone is struggling, or injured.

The great Mariano Rivera retired following the 2013 season.  Former set up man David Robertson will take the ball in the ninth inning.  Guys like Shawn Kelley, Preston Clairborne, Mark Montgomery, and Delin Betances will compete for the ball in the eighth inning.  Matt Thornton is now the left handed specialist after Boone Logan left for Denver.  The long relievers will be Adam Warren, David Phelps, and maybe Vidal Nuno.

If the Yankees had to make one more move, they should sign Stephen Drew.  He would fit perfectly in the Yankees left side of the infield.  He could be the short term option to fill Jeter’s shoes.  Drew could spend time at third base this season, and that would move Johnson back over to second base, his normal position.

Another option for the Yankees should be a pitcher.  If they sign someone, it would be a starter.  If they want a reliever they would have to make a trade.  Ervin Santana is a name.  He would be an okay option for the fifth spot in the rotation, but he gives up to many HR and that is not good at Yankee Stadium.  Right now they would take any reliever with major league experience.

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MLB Daily Transactions: 2/26/14

Carl Pavano Retires

Carl Pavano has retired from professional baseball,
Pavano’s agent shared with Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors. “Despite my strong desire to compete and hard work in preparing for the upcoming season. “I feel that the amount of time lost from my spleen injury, coupled with the recovery from my complications from that injury, preclude me from continuing to compete at my highest level, which is necessary to perform in the major leagues.” He registered a 108-107 recored, 4.39 ERA , 1,091 Strikeouts, and a World Series Ring ( 2003 Marlins ) in 14 big league seasons with the Expos, Marlins, Yankees, Indians, and Twins.
Angels and Mike Trout Agree on Extension

The Los Angeles Angels signed OF Mike Trout to a one-year, $1 million contract per Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. This is the highest salary ever for a pre-arbitration player on a one-year deal, topping Ryan Howard’s ($900,000) previous record. Last year Angels just renewed Trout’s contract at just $20,000 over the league minimum, but the two sides reached an agreement this time around and continue to discuss a possible contract extension in the range of $150 million over six years.

Shairon Martis Signs with Taiwan Team

Shairon Martis has signed with the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions in Taiwan per Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Martis had two minor league offers from MLB teams, but opted to go play overseas. He spent most of last season at Triple-A with the Twins, posting a 4.26 ERA with 65 strikeouts over 80 1/3 innings.

White Sox Claim Maikel Cleto

White Sox claimed RHP Maikel Cleto off waivers from the Royals.
Cleto was designated for assignment by the Royals earlier this month with the Jimmy Paredes signing. This is Cleto’s third team in a year. He’s 18 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings in the majors, but he throws hard and Chicago will try to harness his potential.
White Sox Designate Jake Elmore

White Sox designated INF/OF Jake Elmore for assignment. The room cleard a spot for right-hander Maikel Cleto on the 40-man roster. Elmore was claimed off waivers from the Astros in November after batting .242/.313/.325 with two home runs and six RBI in 136 plate appearances last season and he could soon be on the move once again.

Sign the petition to make Opening Day a national holiday!

Wait, what?

“Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith is heading out on the campaign trail for the next 30 days. His platform? To turn Major League Baseball’s Opening Day into a national holiday.

Smith announced the initiative on Tuesday and has partnered with St. Louis-based company Budweiser to get a petition to the White House before the 2014 season opens in full on Monday, March 31. He will, however, need plenty of support in getting the proposal all the way to the White House.”

100,000 signatures are required to get a formal response from the Big Man himself.  Click here to sign the petition yourself!

Angels, Mike Trout nearing extension

The Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Mike Trout are nearing a contract extension that would lock Trout in through 2020.  The deal is in the $150-$160 million range.  Ken Rosenthal estimates$1 million pre-arbitration in his first year, second year $12 million, then $15 million, $20 million, $32 million, $34 million, and $36 million in 2020.  He would be a free agent at the age of 28.

Trout is the MLB’s best outfielder by far, as well as likely the Face of the MLB.  In his three-year MLB career, he has spent them all with the Angels.  In the last two years, he has been named to the All-Star team.  He has also won the Silver Slugger award in the last two years.  In 2012, he won the Rookie of the Year.  In the last two years, Trout has tied for second in MVP voting.  Trout has an astronomical .314/.404/.544 slash line over his career in 336 games.

This extension is nearing agreement, and will likely happen within the week.

MLB Daily Transactions: 2/23/14-2/24/14

Mark Stetter Retires 

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Mitch Stetter has announced his retirement from baseball.
Stetter tweeted out the announcement earlier this month. Stetter posted a 4.08 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 86 innings across parts of five major league seasons. He has accepted a job as a pitching coach in the Royals Organization.  He pitcher in the Major League for the Brewers through 2007-2011 and was in the minors with Rangers,  Brewers , and Angels in the last years of his career.
Red Sox Place Dempster on Restricted List
Red Sox placed RHP Ryan Dempster on the restricted list.
Dempster announced last week that he will not pitch this season due to neck issues and the desire to stay home with his family. The Sox put him on the restricted list  to clear room on the 40-man roster for the addition of Chris Capuano.
Yankees Extend Brett Gardner

Yankees signed OF Brett Gardner to a four-year, $52 million contract extension. The deal also includes a $12.5 million option (or a $2 million buyout) for a fifth year. YES Network’s Jack Curry was first to report a deal was close, and it’s now completed.  He had been set for free agency after the season and batted .273/.344/.416 with eight homers and 24 stolen bases last year for the Yankees.

Orioles Designate Chris Jones

Orioles designated LHP Chris Jones for assignment. It clears a spot for Nelson Cruz on the 40-man roster. Acquired from the Braves for  Luis Ayala deal , Jones is coming off a 2.85 ERA and 53 strikeouts over 79 innings in 2013 between Double- and Triple-A. He was just added to the 40-man roster in November.

Pirates Claim Brent Morel

Pirates claimed INF Brent Morel off waivers from the Blue Jays per Mike Wilner of BlueJaysTalk. The Jays designated Morel for assignment late last week to clear a 40-man roster spot for Liam Hendriks. Morel will now battle for a backup infield job in Pirates camp.

Pirates Designated Chase d’Arnaud

Pirates designated INF Chase d’Arnaud for assignment.

The move clears a spot for the newly-claimed Brent Morel on the active roster. D’Arnaud, 27, hit .233/.288/.350 with four home runs, 20 RBI, and 17 stolen bases in 61 games at the Triple-A level last year after returning from thumb surgery.

Rangers Extend Ron Washington 

Rangers signed manager Ron Washington to a one-year contract extension through 2015. A vote of confidence for the Rangers’ skipper, as his contract was set to expire after 2014. Washington owns a 611-524 record (.538) over seven seasons at the helm, including two AL pennants.

Derek Jeter Replacements

Derek Jeter announced earlier this month through his Facebook page that he would be retiring after the season. The captain leaves a large hole, and someone will eventually have to play shortstop. The question is, who will play? The Yankees have an awful farm system, because they spend a lot of money and make trades for good players. So there will not be a good shortstop called up by the Yankees. This means that they will have to pursue the free agent shortstops that will be on the open market next year.

Hanley Ramirez will be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season.  In his career he has spent time with the Red Sox, Marlins, and the Dodgers.  At the conclusion of the following season, Ramirez will be 30 years old.  You know he can handle the media considering he is playing in Los Angeles right now.  He can play third base as well as shortstop.  He only played in 86 games in 2013 but still managed to hit 20 homeruns.  He said that he would love to be a Dodger for the rest of his career, but I’m guessing he will land wherever the most money is.  The Yankees will overpay for the infielder, following the depart of Derek Jeter.

Troy Tulowitzki has been in the league for eight years.  I don’t think he will play his entire career for the Colorado Rockies.  Back in 2010 Tulo signed a seven year contract, so would reach free agency no earlier than 2017.  He is a premier hitter, and defender, but is a risk.  He hasn’t played in more than 145 games since the 2009 season.  His best overall season was in 2011, when he hit .302 with 30 homeruns, and 105 RBI.  He would go over to the Yankees via trade.  Do the Yankees have anyone intriguing enough?  The answer in reality is no.  The Rockies will not accept an average or below average prospect.  They will not dump his contract.  That’s what the New York Yankees will try to do.  Either convince them that they will take on his contract or say that he is declining and just hand Tulo over to us.

Asdrubal Cabrera could be a more realistic expectation for the Yankees. Cabrera has played with the Indians since 2007 and has been named an All-Star twice and a Silver Slugger once. 2013 was a bad season for Cabrera, as he hit only .242 and had 14 home runs. His WAR, as calculated by Baseball Reference, was only 1.2. Overall, it was not a fantastic season for Cabrera, but he will be a free agent as young stud Francisco Lindor makes it up the ranks of the Indians farm system. Cabrera will most likely rebound this season, as it is a contract year, and he would most definitely like the money.

Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Asdrubal Cabrera could be the answers.  Yes, they are some of the best at what they do.  That does not mean they are right to fill future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter’s shoes.  Does anyone know who the right person is?  Brian Cashman, and Hal Steinbrenner might have an idea, but no one knows for sure.

The Stephen Drew & New York Yankees Saga

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees made an offer to free agent infielder Stephen Drew earlier in the off-season, believed to be for two or three years, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Nevertheless, the report indicates, the Yankees do not appear to be one of the four teams still pursuing the 30-year-old.

At the time of the offer, says Sherman, New York was making offers to multiple players while explaining that they would pull them back as necessary as things developed. Drew hoped at the time to land a bigger deal, and the club ultimately withdrew its offer at some point during its massive outlay on several prominent free agents.

Notably, Sherman’s article does not indicate that the Yankees have current interest in Drew, but instead throws more cold water on the idea. (Other recent reports, of course, have said that the team does not intend to pursue him.) Sherman writes that principal owner Hal Steinbrenner called for a halt to spending after signing Masahiro Tanaka, and that the club is “not bending for Drew”.

Without Drew, argues Sherman, the club will likely find a mid-season need for a player of his like, but will be hard-pressed to acquire one. With Brendan Ryan at second base and Kelly Johnson at third, the Yankees are really lacking depth-wise in the infield.  Drew has already said he would be willing to play second or third, so he would be a good fit in front of Ryan or Johnson. Sherman presented the situation that the Yankees will be hard-pressed to acquire an infielder like Drew to Steinbrenner for comment, and his response seems to indicate that the team feels ready to move forward as presently constructed:

“No team is without concerns. We will address those concerns as we go, just as we did in several areas last year. … I am comfortable with our payroll as it stands now. … We have a very good club and we will continue to improve in areas that we see need it; not just in areas that need it on paper. We need to see what actually transpires in those areas and react.”

Who knows where the shortstop will land when the time comes.

MLB Daily Transactions: 2/22/14

Orioles sign Nelson Cruz

The Baltimore Orioles signed slugger Nelson Cruz. Cruz bated .266 last season with 27 home runs. He was suspended for PED usage and was involved in the Biogenesis scandal while on the Rangers last season.

Dodgers Designate Justin Sellers

The Los Angeles Dodgers designated INF Justin Sellers for assignment per Eric Stephen of truebluela. The room was made to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for the newly signed Erisbel Arruebarrena. The 28 year-old has a chance to rejoin the team on a minor league deal.

Yankees Sign Andrew Bailey

Yankees signed RHP Andrew Bailey to a minor league contract.
The deal is loaded with incentives, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports. He is still recovering from labrum and shoulder capsule surgery, but he could be back and ready to make an impact by midseason.
Tyler Colvin and Giants agree on minors deal
Giants signed OF Tyler Colvin to a minor league contract.
The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training. He spent the majority of the 2013 season at Triple-A Colorado Springs where he slashed .275/.377/.480 with nine homers, 32 RBI and six steals in 67 games.

MLB Daily Transactions: 2/21/14

Blue Jays Claim Liam Hendricks

Blue Jays claimed RHP Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Orioles. It’s the third time he’s been claimed off waivers this winter (most recently by the Orioles). The Jays have a bunch of players competing for the final spot in their rotation, and Hendriks could join the mix. He owns a 6.06 ERA in 156 career major league innings.

Blue Jays Designate Brent Morel

Blue Jays claimed 3B Brent Morel off waivers from the White Sox earlier this offseason. Morel spent the majority of the 2013 season at Triple-A Charlotte, where he hit .266/.349/.403 with six homers and 54 RBI in 106 games.

 

Loek Van Mil Sign with Japanese Team

Loek Van Mil agreed to a deal Friday with the Rakuten Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League. He spent the 2013 campaign in the Reds system with a 3.52 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 34/30 K/BB ratio over 64 innings between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville.

 

Dodgers Ink Erisbel Arruebarruena

Erisbel Arruebarruena’s deal with the Dodgers is a five-year worth $25 million. That figure includes a $7.5 million signing bonus. While the defensive-minded shortstop is expected to begin the season in the minors, the move could mean an eventual transition of Hanley Ramirez to third base.

Realistic Landing places for Cruz, Santana, and Drew

Spring Training has started, and a few solid free agents are still out there. Here are a few places I think they should go.

Nelson Cruz 

Seattle Mariners: Cruz would be an okay fit into the Seattle lineup. Without him in the lineup opposing pitchers could easily pitch around Robinson Cano. With Cruz it would be a lot more difficult to pitch to the top of the Mariners lineup. Realistically, there isn’t much room in the outfield, with Michael Saunders, Logan Morrison, and Corey Hart.  I don’t see this happening unless Cruz is unsigned until the last minute.

Baltimore Orioles: Cruz would be a good fit in Baltimore. Their outfield is not full, with Nick Markakis being the only starter set in stone. If the Orioles want a solid outfield they need to go out and sign someone. Whether it be Cruz or Kendrys Morales.  Morales would be a better fit, and is the more realistic option. But if the O’s want to make a splash and contend in the very talented AL east they should definitely sign him.

Ervin Santana

Arizona Diamondbacks: Ervin Santana would make the D-backs rotation solid. He could slide right into the 2 or 3 spot in the rotation behind Patrick Corbin or Bronson Arroyo. It could put them in contention for a wild card spot. But this most likely won’t happen because they just signed Arroyo.

Toronto Blue Jays:

Santana would give the Blue Jays rotation a good boost. He would be a good replacement for Josh Johnson, who left for San Diego in free agency. He would be a nice 1, 2, 3, punch with Mark Buehrle, and R.A. Dickey in the rotation.

Kansas City Royals:

If no one signs Santana midway through spring training I expect the Royals to re -sign him. It would be a key to the Royals contention in the AL Central.

Stephen Drew

New York Mets: The Mets could definitely use a shortstop, as they haven’t had an adequate replacement since Jose Reyes left. Although Drew isn’t Reyes by any stretch of the imagination, he is better than Ruben Tejada, who is the best option the team has at the position. The Mets have already made some deals this winter, as they signed Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins currently have Pedro Florimon at shortstop, and, well, it isn’t working. He hit .221 in 2013, and doesn’t seem to be the answer for the Twins. Although he would cost the Twins a draft pick, it would only be a second round pick, because they own a top five pick. The Twins showed that they are willing to make moves to better the team, as they signed Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco.

Predictions

 Cruz: Seattle Mariners

Santana: Kansas City Royals

Drew: New York Mets

What do you think?  Leave your predictions in the comments