Christopher Carelli

Besides providing coverage of the New York Yankees for SNY.tv, Christopher Carelli's baseball commentary has also been published by Yahoo! Sports and The Cauldron. Follow Christopher on Twitter, @Chris_Carelli.

 

 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

Rebuild. Transition. Whatever we call it, the Yankees are operating the organization differently than they have in recent memory. What remains to be seen is whether the Yankees will stay the course regardless of whether they are winning or losing. I suggest it is imperative they do.

How the Yankees handled 2016 and the offseason

The Yankees felt comfortable entering 2016 as a few veterans experienced comeback efforts in 2015. However, a slow start and poor production through the middle of the season for some of those same players, pushed the Yankees into a direction unseen in decades...

Tags: Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Michael Pineda, Tyler Austin, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

Yankees manager Joe Girardi begins his 10th season as the club's skipper with arguably his toughest test ahead of him. Until the 2016 trade deadline passed, Girardi consistently managed a roster filled with star-studded, high-salaried, yet older players. When the dust settled, Girardi was in the midst of a full-blown transition, with a roster teeming with young talent. In the final year of his contract, can Girardi get the most out of the youngest team the Yankees have fielded since the 1990s, and thus earn another contract?

How did Girardi fare in 2016?

Coming off a Wild Card appearance in 2015, the Yankees returned a bulk of the same roster for 2016 with renewed expectations. Unfortunately, not all the veterans were able to replicate their inspired play from 2015. The Yankees got off to a 9-17 start and found themselves at the .500 mark as they reached the trade deadline...

Tags: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Chris Carelli
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GEICO SportsNite: Yankees news 00:01:32
Sweney Murti reports on all the latest news from Yankees camp and general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media.

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Dellin Betances has the talent to be a closer. However, the mammoth right-hander seems more at ease as the precursor to close out games. Fortunately for the Yankees, Betances will reassume that role in 2017.

How did Betances fare in 2016?

Tags: Alroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, 2017 Expectations, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Aroldis Chapman is the hardest throwing closer in the game and one of the few must-see Yankees. That's all well and good, but will Chapman be able to push the Yankees into playoff contention behind his 100+ mph fastballs?

How did Chapman fare in 2016?

Tags: Alroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) talks on the dugout phone during the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) talks on the dugout phone during the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

While a good number of players have already reported to Tampa, Tuesday marks the official beginning of spring training for the New York Yankees. As any other club, the Yankees have several areas of uncertainty which they hope will be resolved by April.

Who rounds out rotation?

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Adam Warren, Alroldis Chapman, Bryan Mitchell, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Tyler Austin, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (John Rieger/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. (John Rieger/USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

Michael Pineda is an enigma, and unfortunately for the Yankees that's the only consistency he has offered since being traded to New York before the 2014 season. Will Pineda, who becomes a free agent after this season, continue to bewilder the Yankees or reach his upside potential in 2017?

How did Pineda fare in 2016?

Pineda was good enough in 2016 to rack up 207 strikeouts in just 175 2/3 innings (10.6 K/9, which was best among American League starters) and bad enough to register a 4.82 ERA (3.79 FIP) and 1.35 WHIP. Pineda was not nearly as stingy as in recent seasons with his walk rate (2.7 BB/9 as opposed to 0.8 BB/9 in 2014 and 1.2 BB/9 in 2015) and he allowed 27 home runs (1.4 HR/9). The strikeouts marked Pineda's career high, while the ERA, WHIP, walks and home runs were all career-worst measures. Pineda also averaged a career-low 5.5 innings per start and reached the seventh inning in just four starts.

Tags: Michael Pineda, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

One can argue the Yankees should have been prepared for CC Sabathia to break down during his seven-year deal, which was advanced by a two-year extension. Unfortunately, Sabathia's troubles developed much sooner than the club hoped and encapsulated three full seasons as he battled injuries and diminished effectiveness. Sabathia finally discovered how to pitch without a power fastball, which led to a comeback season in 2016. Can he finish off his contract with a strong 2017 season?

How did Sabathia fare in 2016?

Sabathia entered the 2016 season with skeptical optimism based on his last handful of starts in 2015. He had been fitted for a knee brace which provided him the ability to pitch while limiting stress on his surgically-repaired right knee. The brace provided Sabathia confidence in the landing of his delivery, which allowed the left-hander to concentrate on his transformation into a finesse pitcher.

Tags: CC Sabathia, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

Masahiro Tanaka has a decision to make at the end of the season and his performance on the mound will likely dictate whether he opts out of the final three seasons of his seven-year, $155 million deal with the Yankees. Will Tanaka finally put to rest the notion of whether he was an ace in 2016, and can he duplicate that effort in 2017?

How did Tanaka fare in 2016?

Tanaka was far and away the Yankees' top starter in 2016 and pushed himself into the American League Cy Young Award discussion in the process, finishing seventh in the voting. Tanaka threw the most innings of his major league career (199 2/3) and finished with a 14-4 record, 3.07 ERA (142 ERA+), 1.07 WHIP, 165 strikeouts, and 36 walks...

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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 (Gary A. Vasquez)
(Gary A. Vasquez)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The Yankees' youth movement will be in full effect in right field this season. The club will give long-time prospect Aaron Judge a chance to win the role full time with the initial fallback option being former first-round pick Aaron Hicks. If it gets beyond these two players, the Yankees could be forced to institute a revolving door of right fielders in 2017.

How they fared in 2016

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, Jacoby Ellsbury, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

Jacoby Ellsbury has four years left on his seven-year, $153 million contract with the Yankees. He has yet to deliver the performance typically warranting such a deal and time is running out for him to turn the tide. Will 2017 be more of the same, or can Ellsbury channel some of the production he seemingly left in Boston?

How did Ellsbury fare in 2016?

Tags: Jacoby Ellsbury, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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 (AP)
(AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Brett Gardner's name is constantly bandied about in trade rumors, but once again he seems locked in as the Yankees' Opening Day left fielder. Gardner brings enough to the table to make his contract desirable, but can he reclaim extra-base power and base-stealing prowess in 2017, which would aid the Yankees on the field and boost his value on the trade market?

How did Gardner fare in 2016?

Gardner's overall offensive performance continued to skid in 2016. Gardner posted a .261 batting average, .351 on-base percentage and a .362 slugging percentage. Gardner stroked 22 doubles, six triples and seven home runs, scored 80 runs and drove in 41. Gardner's 92 OPS+ was by far his lowest measure since 2011. Most disappointing was Gardner's work on the base paths in which he swiped just 16 bases in a disturbingly low 20 attempts.

Tags: Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (7) looks on after hitting a home run during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. (Caylor Arnold)
St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (7) looks on after hitting a home run during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. (Caylor Arnold)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

As an All-Star outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Holliday was a key component to the club's offense for over seven years. Holliday enters a new phase in his career in 2017; as part of a new team and in a new role. Holliday will shed his glove on most days, but his offensive prowess will be integral to the Yankees success this season.

How Holliday fared in 2016

Tags: Gary Sanchez, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley (12) singles during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)
New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley (12) singles during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Yankees third baseman Chase Headley might be the most maligned player on the club's roster who truly doesn't deserve it. There is nothing flashy about Headley's game, but he's been consistent with the Yankees. Maybe, the type of "consistency," is the problem for fans.

Headley has perpetually stunk in one or two months of a season - whether that be at the plate or in the field - and has produced extended stretches of excellent play which elevate his season metrics into "average player" territory. Can Headley, who turns 33 in May, put together a season - one filled with above-average play in all facets - from April through October?

Tags: Chase Headley, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees catcher Austin Romine congratulates shortstop Didi Gregorius after scoring against the Houston Astros in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. (Thomas Shea/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees catcher Austin Romine congratulates shortstop Didi Gregorius after scoring against the Houston Astros in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. (Thomas Shea/USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees traded for Didi Gregorius believing in his upside potential and exhibited patience after a slow start in his first season in pinstripes. The club's relaxed attitude paid off as Gregorius flourished for a better part of 2016. Gregorius' gradual evolution has fans wondering if he can continue to elevate his game. 
 
How Gregorius fared in 2016 
 
In 2016, Gregorius became one of the best players on the club, turning in his finest all-around season. However, like much of the rest of the club, Gregorius got off to a rocky start in the season's opening month, hitting .224 with four extra-base hits, a .254 on-base percentage and a .343 slugging percentage. From that point Gregorius slashed .283/.311/.461 with 30 doubles, 18 home runs and 66 RBIs. Gregorius finished the 2016 season with career-high marks in batting average (.276), hits (155), doubles (32), home runs (20), RBIs (70) and slugging percentage (.447). 

Tags: Didi Gregorius, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro hits a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro hits a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

After Robinson Cano left the Yankees via free agency, the club went through two seasons of vacant offensive production without spectacular glove work from a slew of players at the keystone. The 2016 season brought stability and an offensive uptick with Starlin Castro, but it can be argued the soon to be 27-year-old infielder has yet to attain his ceiling. Can he reach it in 2017?

How Castro fared in 2016:

Tags: 2017 Expectations, Starlin Castro, Chris Carelli
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Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

The Yankees knew at the outset of the 2016 season that they would be without Mark Teixeira in 2017, but they might not have believed they would conduct a spring training competition to determine his successor. Here's a look at the candidates...

How they fared in 2016:

Tags: Greg Bird, 2017 Expectations, Tyler Austin, Chris Carelli
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 (Danny Wild)
(Danny Wild)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Yankees fans are rightfully excited about catcher Gary Sanchez, the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year runner-up, but to expect the same level of offensive production in 2017 might be asking too much.

What the Yankees need is a consistent force at and behind the plate. The Yankees require a potent bat in the middle of the batting order and a catcher who can control his pitching staff. Sanchez is that player, but as recently as the beginning of the 2015 season, the club was not certain he was.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, 2017 Expectations, Chris Carelli
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 (Michael Dwyer/AP)
(Michael Dwyer/AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

The Yankees' 2016 season did not end with a postseason appearance, but there were still plenty of big moments. Rather than relive each one, let's see how some of those circumstances might shape the 2017 season...

Chapman redux

Tags: Aaron Judge, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, CC Sabathia, Chase Headley, Gary Sanchez, Mark Teixeira, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chris Carelli
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 (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
(Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

The 2016 MLB postseason thrust relief pitching to the forefront of the game.

Teams with dominant relievers who could be used during high-leverage situations regardless of the inning and for more than three outs succeeded. The contention that such usage of bullpen arms would not survive the rigors of the regular season is fair, but how close can teams get to the style?

Tags: Bryan Mitchell, Dellin Betances, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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 (Wendell Cruz)
(Wendell Cruz)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

The Yankees are in the middle of a transition and there is a good chance RHP Masahiro Tanaka might not be a part of it after 2017.

Tanaka can opt out of his seven-year deal after this season, and if he pitches anything like he did in 2016, he will most certainly test the free agent market. Should the Yankees allow it to get that far?

Tags: CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chris Carelli
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 (Rick Osentoski)
(Rick Osentoski)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

The Yankees have the makings of a top notch back-end of the bullpen with Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman handling late innings, but adding another veteran reliever might go a long way in lengthening the club's relief efforts.

Before delving into the options available, it is important to stress that the Yankees could likely benefit from the excess of starting pitching options who will not secure one or both of the remaining rotation spots. In my view, one of the rotation candidates, Adam Warren, is more likely to work out of the bullpen, but his services should not preclude the Yankees from investigating the addition of one more reliever.

Tags: Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. (Bill Streicher)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. (Bill Streicher)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Barring a change of heart from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, the club will not be bringing a new face into the 2017 rotation.

Cashman recently told the New York Post that filling the rotation voids will be too difficult for the Yankees to accomplish via free agency (payroll issues) or trade (unwillingness to meet demands). Instead, Cashman will stick with the youth theme, hoping that a couple of in-house talents emerge as viable fourth and fifth starters (or better).

Luis Cessa came over in last offseason's trade of Justin Wilson to the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees figured Cessa would provide some depth for the organization's Triple-A club. Due to various factors, Cessa, who turns 25 in April, became much more important to the Yankees than that as he tallied 70 1/3 innings with the big league club.

Tags: Adam Warren, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits an RBI single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. ( Adam Hunger)
New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) hits an RBI single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. ( Adam Hunger)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

If Yankees GM Brian Cashman hopes to add new pieces to the roster or significantly change from within, it will likely come at the expense of left fielder Brett Gardner.

Cashman arrived at the Winter Meetings ahead of his normal offseason pace having made a preliminary move Sunday, signing Matt Holliday to be their primary designated hitter. The team left Thursday having agreed to terms with Aroldis Chapman for five years, $86 million to be their closer.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Adam Warren, Brett Gardner, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Tyler Austin, Chris Carelli
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Did Yankees make the right call? 00:04:37
Baseball Night in New York digs into the Yankees' deal with Aroldis Chapman and talks about what it means for the team's future.

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

Rebuild. Transition. Call it what you want. The Yankees want star players in their prime as part of the process, and Aroldis Chapman fits the bill.

Presumably pushed by ownership and relatively consistent with GM Brian Cashman's roster construction blueprint, the Yankees made signing Chapman their priority at the onset of the offseason.

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Happy Hollidays 00:02:29
The Daily News Live panel discusses the Yankees' signing of veteran Matt Holliday and ponders his impact on the team in 2017.

The Yankees have a plan and signing Matt Holliday as their designated hitter signals they are sticking to it.

GM Brian Cashman weighed several long-term and short-term options on the DH market, but the blueprint for the organization screamed one-year deal, to which they settled. The club is not one year from serious World Series contention -- in fact they might be a couple of years away. So long-term deals for a DH made little sense.

I was hoping the Yankees would reunite with switch-hitter Carlos Beltran because I felt his left-handed power was a necessity and he was also looking for a one-year deal. Once Beltran signed with the Astros, I figured that Brandon Moss, a left-handed masher, would be a solid option. The Yankees obviously felt that they had enough left-handed hitters in the lineup and that adding another was not necessary.

Tags: Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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Whom should the Yankees pursue? 00:02:47
The BNNY crew discusses whom the Yankees might target this offseason, including Carlos Beltran.

With the Winter Meetings kicking off Monday in Washington, D.C., in what areas can we expect GM Brian Cashman to center his concentration?

First, the methodology

Cashman does not typically use the Winter Meetings to make all his deals for the offseason. He tends to lay groundwork with free agents and their representatives as well as interact with GMs concerning players available on the trade market. Often, Cashman makes minor deals during the Winter Meetings and strikes any major trades or signings after the information collection process. But I would not be surprised if Cashman moved a bit quicker this offseason since he had plenty of time to collect data while he waited for the completion of the CBA.

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New York Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports Images)

Carlos Beltran has signed a one-year deal with the Houston Astros for $16 million.

The deal includes a full no-trade clause, according to Buster Olney.

The Yankees reportedly kicked tires on Beltran but never made him a formal offer, according to Mark Feinsand.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Chris Carelli
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman recently claimed that previous collective bargaining agreements (CBA) "hindered" the organization's ability to carry out its business model. As Major League Baseball and the Players Association work to hammer out a new CBA, would rumored changes work to the benefit or detriment of the Yankees?

Plenty of gossip has posited some changes to the next CBA. Among the chief alterations is a new threshold value for the competitive balance tax (or luxury tax as is it commonly coined), adding an international draft, and the elimination of draft pick compensation.

At the heart of the Yankees' restraints is the competitive balance tax. The tax's purpose is to curtail, as best it can, the spending of large market teams like the Yankees. The Yankees have surpassed the competitive balance threshold in every season since it began in 2003, with the 2002 iteration of the CBA. The tax has cost the Yankees just under $300 million overall through the 2015 tax, according to Forbes.com.

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 (Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE)
(Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE)

Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada is among 19 new candidates on the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot. Posada, a four-time World Series champion, was one of the best offensive catchers during his time in the major leagues, but does his overall resume measure up to the status of a Hall of Famer?

Posada, a five-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger winner, hit .273 with a .374 OBP, .474 SLG, 121 OPS+, 275 home runs and 1,065 RBI across 17 major league seasons (his first two seasons amassed just nine games). He caught close to 1,600 games for the Yankees, but his work behind the plate was not much of a strong suit as measured by defensive runs saved (-64 from 2002-2011; DRS was not recorded before the 2002 season via FanGraphs).

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Yankees GM Brian Cashman was willing to use Brian McCann as the club's full-time designated hitter if it came to it. But a deal came along that the Yankees and McCann did not want to pass up, leaving a fairly large void to fill. Fortunately for Cashman, he can sort through a multitude of options that sit on the open market.

Carlos Beltran

A reunion with the 40-year-old switch-hitter is certainly an option. Beltran was traded to the Texas Rangers for prospects including Dillon Tate, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 First Year Player Draft, before last season's trade deadline.

Tags: Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Chris Carelli
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The New York Yankees made yet another trade of a high-priced veteran when they shipped Brian McCann to Houston for a pair of right-handed pitching prospects on Thursday. The move infused increased chatter in the industry concerning left fielder Brett Gardner's tenure in the Bronx.

Gardner, 33. has been front and center in trade rumors since he signed his four-year, $52 million contract (contains a team option worth $12.5 million, $2.5 million buyout for 2019) before the 2015 season. Gardner has slowed down in recent seasons, but the $24 million remaining on his deal over the next two seasons is still a team-friendly situation. 

However, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has been open to trading anyone in the system if it makes sense for the organization's future. This is where a multitude of scenarios arise.

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Carelli
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The Arizona Fall League's regular season came to a close Thursday. The Yankees sent nine players to Arizona -- some to get rid of rust and others to demonstrate their readiness for the next level once spring training begins in February. In all, the Yankees that participated enjoyed health and success.

Tags: Greg Bird, Chris Carelli
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

The New York Yankees have some important roster choices to make by today's deadline to make changes to their 40-man roster before December's Rule 5 Draft, with any prospect added to the roster protected from potential selection. 

The Yankees have a slew of players to consider this season, some of whom are considered among their top-30 prospects.

As of Friday, the Yankees' 40-man roster stands at 39, so if they add more than one player, they'll need to determine which players they will let go in order to make room for any more additions. Some of these decisions should be easy for the organization.

Tags: Dustin Ackley, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Goody, Nick Rumbelow, Richard Bleier, Chris Carelli
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GEICO SportsNite: McCann trade 00:01:10
Yankees GM Brian Cashman discusses his thought process on the trade of catcher Brian McCann to the Astros for two prospects.

The Yankees have traded C Brian McCann and cash considerations to the Houston Astros for RHP Albert Abreu and RHP Jorge Guzmanthe team announced Thursday evening

The Yankees will pay $5.5 million of McCann's $17 million salary each of the next two years, while the Astros will cover the other $11.5 million, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

Tags: Brian McCann, Gary Sanchez, Houston Astros, Chris Carelli
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 (Caylor Arnold)
(Caylor Arnold)

The Yankees have expressed interest in free agent RHP Jason Hammelreports George A. King III of the NY Post

Hammel, 34, had a 3.83 ERA (4.48 FIP) and 1.20 WHIP this past season for the Cubs but was not on the postseason roster for any series during their World Series run.

The Cubs recently declined his $12 million option for the 2017 season, instead buying him out for $2 million.

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New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Danny Wild)
New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Danny Wild)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Last offseason, the New York Yankees professed to have a quartet of players that were off the table in trade talks. The Yankees engaged in a significant sell-off during the summer, further filling the farm system with some of the game's more highly touted players, making one believe the number of untouchable players might grow. Should that be the case?

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says that the answer is no, recently suggesting that catcher Gary Sanchez might be the only player deemed "difficult" to trade. Let's look at a handful of players who might be deemed worthy of various levels of an "untouchable" tag and discuss their merits.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Gary Sanchez, Jorge Mateo, Chris Carelli
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Gleyber Torres came to the Arizona Fall League to see just where he stood against tougher competition. The overwhelming praise heaped on Torres by scouts and analysts covering the league points to a player ready to rapidly climb the New York Yankees' organizational ladder.

Torres, the Yankees No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, leads the AFL with a .392 average (20-for-51) with six games left on the schedule. Torres, 19, has a .516 OBP, .667 SLG and 1.182 OPS, respectively good for first, second and first in the league. Not only does Torres have a shot at maintaining the batting average lead, he has put himself in position to win the league's most valuable player award. Torres started in the league's Fall Stars Game, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman flatly stated that Torres would start the season at Double-A Trenton, and in my view, should he succeed in the season's first few months, he is a prime candidate to move to Triple-A. 

Tags: Greg Bird, Chris Carelli
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 (Laurence Kesterson/AP)
(Laurence Kesterson/AP)

The Yankees have reached out to the agents for free agent outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Bautista, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag.

GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees are not planning on adding a big-ticket outfielder, but wouldn't rule it out.

"I'm open to anything," Cashman said. "But as of right now, we're going to let the kids take a shot. Our current focus is to let the kids try to take the job."

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Sep 8, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland (56) delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City won the game 4-2. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports (John Rieger)
Sep 8, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland (56) delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City won the game 4-2. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports (John Rieger)

The Yankees were among roughly 18 teams who had a scout on hand in Arizona during RH reliever Greg Holland's showcase on Monday, reports Joel Sherman of the NY Post.

Holland, 30, had Tommy John surgery in October of 2015 and was non-tendered by the Royals shortly after.

He had a 3.83 ERA and 1.45 WHIP with 49 strikeouts and 26 walks in 44 2/3 innings (48 appearances) for the Royals in 2016.

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 (Patrick Gorski)
(Patrick Gorski)

The New York Yankees received a Cy Young worthy effort from Masahiro Tanaka and a triumphant comeback from CC Sabathia in 2016, but after that the starting rotation was wildly inconsistent. The results will most certainly push the Yankees into investigating the starting pitching market via free agency and through trades, but will they make any significant moves?

The Yankees have options in the organization to round out the rotation -- Michael Pineda, Luis SeverinoLuis CessaBryan Mitchell and Chad Green -- plus a handful of minor leaguers looking to become part of the conversation. The issue here is that there are significant questions about each of those options and to be honest, there are potential problems with Tanaka (elbow) and Sabathia (age) as well. Should the Yankees sit back and hope for the best without approaching the market, the club could miss their second-straight postseason and fourth in five seasons.

Tags: Bryan Mitchell, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chris Carelli
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 (Reinhold Matay)
(Reinhold Matay)

The Yankees have added C Kyle Higashioka and RHP Domingo German to the 40-man roster, the team announced Friday.

They also reinstated INF Dustin Ackley and RHPs Nathan Eovaldi, Chad Green, Branden Pinder, and Nick Rumbelow from the 60-day disabled list.

Tags: Branden Pinder, Dustin Ackley, Nick Rumbelow, Chris Carelli
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Miguel Andujar, the New York Yankees No. 7 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, climbed the system rankings with an impressive 2016 season. His efforts have not slowed down with the Arizona Fall League's Scottsdale Scorpions, earning him a place in Saturday's Fall Stars Game via the fans' final vote.

Andujar, a 21-year-old third baseman, is hitting .326 with a .429 OBP and.413 SLG in 55 plate appearances. He has shown fine discipline at the plate for Scottsdale, drawing eight walks and striking out just five times. Andujar is in a bit of a funk this week, though, with just two hits in his last 15 at-bats.

The question for me where it concerns Andujar is whether or not he will develop the power typically desired from a corner infielder. Andujar hit just two home runs in 303 plate appearances at Double-A Trenton after knocking 10 homers with High-A Tampa in 248 plate appearances during the regular season. Andujar has not homered in Arizona and has just three extra-base hits among his 15 base knocks.

Tags: Chase Headley, Greg Bird, Chris Carelli
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The Astros could be a fit as a trade partner for Yankees C Brian McCannwrites Joel Sherman of the NY Post.

An executive told Cashman that McCann still has enough positive qualities that the Yankees should be able to get back something of value if they trade him -- especially if they eat some of the money left on his contract.

The 32-year-old McCann, who has a full no-trade clause, is owed $34 million through 2018, which would become $45 million through 2019 if his option vests.

Tags: Brian McCann, Chris Carelli
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Oct 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller reacts after striking out Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (not pictured) to end the top of the 7th inning in game one of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller reacts after striking out Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (not pictured) to end the top of the 7th inning in game one of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

I most certainly wish Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller were set to pitch in Game 7 of the World Series for the New York Yankees, but Wednesday night their new teams will be facing each other with only one walking away a champion.

Chapman and Miller combined with Dellin Betances for the first half of the season for a virtually untouchable back-end of the Yankees' bullpen. If New York held leads as early as the sixth inning, manager Joe Girardi turned to the trio, dubbed "No Runs DMC," to close out games.

Unfortunately, the Yankees could not generate enough leads to hand over to the threesome leaving the club little choice but to trade Chapman, a free agent, and Miller, an inexpensive and hot commodity. The trades needed to be made and the fruits of the deals might shape the Yankees roster in years to come. The deals netted infielder Gleyber Torres and outfielder Clint Frazier, who immediately shot to the top of Baseball America's prospect rankings for the club and pushed the organization into the conversation surrounding the top farm systems in baseball.

Tags: Alroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Chris Carelli
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Scottsdale Scorpions infielder Greg Bird of the New York Yankees in the dugout against the Surprise Saguaros during an Arizona Fall League game at Scottsdale Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas)
Scottsdale Scorpions infielder Greg Bird of the New York Yankees in the dugout against the Surprise Saguaros during an Arizona Fall League game at Scottsdale Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas)

New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird soared once called up to the big leagues in 2015, seemingly easing the then impending loss of veteran first baseman Mark Teixeira considering his contract would expire in 2016. Instead, Bird missed the entire 2016 season after surgery on his right shoulder, calling into question his potential imprint on the Yankees 2017 roster.I felt that Bird was going to be an important piece to the 2016 season. Despite Teixeira's and Alex Rodriguez's comeback seasons in 2015, each had questions marks coming into 2016. Teixeira's season-ending injury in 2015 was just another in a growing line of maladies, and believing a 40-year-old Rodriguez could duplicate his 2015 season was risky.Bird, a top prospect for the club (he was ranked No. 4 by MLB Pipeline among Yankees' prospects prior to the call-up), made fans forget about Teixeira quickly. The left-handed hitter roped nine doubles, smacked 11 home runs and drove in 31 runs in route to a .871 OPS (135 OPS+). Bird also played sound defense at first base, while blending in well with his teammates. The Yankees were in the middle stages of a transition to younger players, making Bird's success something to be excited about with some of his former teammates making noise in the minor leagues.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Mark Teixeira, Tyler Austin, Chris Carelli
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Aug 31, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Dillin Betances (68) celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) after beating the Kansas City Royals in thirteen inning at Kauffman Stadium. The Yankees won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports (Peter Aiken)
Aug 31, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Dillin Betances (68) celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) after beating the Kansas City Royals in thirteen inning at Kauffman Stadium. The Yankees won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports (Peter Aiken)

Former Yankee Mariano Rivera said despite struggles Dellin Betances had at the end of the season, the new closer still has the talent to pitch well at the end of games, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Rivera was on hand at Wrigley Field on Saturday night as part of a pregame ceremony to hand out awards for the top relievers in baseball. There, Rivera said Betances can still pitch well in the closer's roll that he had problems with at the end of last season.

Tags: Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, Chris Carelli
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Dillon Tate, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2015 First-year Player Draft by the Texas Rangers, did not deliver the anticipated results in his first full professional season. Tate, the Yankees No. 10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was received in the package that sent outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Rangers.The Yankees are content to work through Tate's growing pains and will be patient in determining his fate as either a starter or reliever for the organization.Tate, 22, has been sitting in the mid-90's on the radar gun, topping out at 97 mph -- and his ancillary pitches have begun to show some life. After a rough regular season in which he suffered through a hamstring injury, Tate is pitching in the Arizona Fall League to log some extra innings and appears to be getting into a groove. Tate recently told MLB.com's Jim Callis that he "is moving in the right direction."

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New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) talks with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) in the dugout during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) talks with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) in the dugout during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)

The New York Yankees were hardly favorites to return to the postseason, but they certainly had the pieces in place to make a run. Unfortunately, several variables kept the Yankees from reaching their goal in 2016. Will the organization take measures to address the mistakes during the offseason and through the regular season?False sense of security in Teixeira and RodriguezThe Yankees scored the second-most runs in the American League in 2015, led by surprise production from first baseman Mark Teixeira and designated hitter Alex Rodriguez. The players combined for 64 home runs and 165 RBIs that season completely surpassing expectations. However, the Yankees made a poor assumption that they would receive similar performances from an injury-plagued Teixeira and an aging Rodriguez.

Tags: Adam Warren, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, Bryan Mitchell, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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Gleyber Torres signs autographs prior to a game in the Arizona Fall League. (Mark Rebilas - USA Today)
Gleyber Torres signs autographs prior to a game in the Arizona Fall League. (Mark Rebilas - USA Today)

Top prospects are presumably under some pressure to play to their scouting reports, and when they are on stage in the Arizona Fall League, the performance becomes magnified. Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres isn't fazed and might be tacking onto his already lofty expectations."I don't try to put too much pressure on myself," Torres told MLB.com. "I just want to show everybody my abilities and go out there and have some fun."Torres, the Yankees' No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is certainly demonstrating his talent thus far. Torres has dominated at the plate over the first two weeks of the AFL season. Torres owns a .412 batting average, .524 on-base percentage and an .882 slugging percentage in 21 plate appearances. Torres has ripped two doubles, two home runs and driven in four runs.Torres, a shortstop by trade, is getting some reps at second base for Scottsdale as the Yankees continue to demand versatility among their middle infielders. Torres, 19, is at least a couple of years away from the big leagues, but he has two other players in the system to compete with for a chance to succeed Didi Gregorius or Starlin Castro, both of whom are under team control through 2019.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, Starlin Castro, Chris Carelli
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 (Nick Turchiaro)
(Nick Turchiaro)

Andrew Miller embarrassed hitters on the way to the ALCS MVP Award and I couldn't be happier for him. I also remain very pleased the New York Yankees chose to deal Miller for one of the two top prospects in the game and others with upside.I readily admit that while I'm happy for Miller, I do wish he pitched the Yankees into the 2016 World Series. Unfortunately, that was not happening. Miller, as good as he is, would not have been able to do such a thing for the Yankees this season, and might not have been able to in 2017. In 2018, during the final year of his four-year deal, who knows what would come about with the club or him for that matter.Odds are that Miller, 32 in May, will be effective through the remainder of his deal. However, we have seen dramatic downward shifts with older pitchers, relievers in particular, throughout history. Further, what if Miller suffered an injury like Nathan Eovaldi, rendering him useless on the trade market in the future?

Tags: Andrew Miller, Chris Carelli
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