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Yankees saving up for Harper in 2018?
(Anthony Gruppuso)

The New York Yankees may have been frugal this offseason, and may continue to do so for the next two years, with their eyes on the 2018 free agent class headlined by outfielder Bryce Harper, according to Jeff Passen of Yahoo Sports (Feb. 5).

While there has been $2.5 billion spent on free agents so far this offseason, the Yankees are the only team not to sign a single Major League free agent.

The Yankees, despite earning $100 million more than the next team, made a minimal operations profit last season. Between that and having contributed more to the MLB luxury tax than any other franchise since its existence, New York has been trying to cut costs.

However, another reason could be the Yankees intend on playing out some of their current contractual obligations and prepare themselves to go all in on the 2018 free agent class.

After the 2017 season, the Yankees are projected to have Marx Texeira, Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Dustin Ackley off of their books. There is also the possibility that Masahiro Tanaka could opt-out of his contract that offseason, providing even more payroll flexibility.

Harper headlines the 2018 free agency class that also includes Josh Donaldson, Clayton Kershaw, Manny Machado, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey, David Price, Dallas Keuchel, Adam Jones and Jason Heyward (potential opt-out).

Harper, who will be 26 during the 2018 offseason, is the reigning NL MVP who hit .330 with 42 home runs and 99 RBI last season.

He is expected to sign an unprecedented contract given his stature as one of the game's best players and young age.

 

Tags: Alex Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira , Masahiro Tanaka , Tim Reilly

Yankees announce spring training invites
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks on the phone before a scheduled spring training exhibition game against the Miami Marlins at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (David Manning)

Here are the 25 playrs the Yankees will invite to spring training:

RHP

  • Tyler Cloyd
  • Domingo German
  • Chad Green
  • James Kaprielian
  • Brady Lail
  • Diego Moreno
  • Vinnie Pestano
  • Anthony Swarzak

LHP

  • Richard Bleier
  • Tyler Webb

Catchers

  • Carlos Corporan
  • Francisco Diaz
  • Kyle Higashioka
  • Santiago Nessy
  • Eddy Rodriguez 
  • Sebastian Valle

 

Infielders

  • Jonathan Diaz
  • Pete Kozma
  • Jorge Mateo
  • Deibinson Romero
  • Donovan Solano
  • Tyler Wade

Outfielders

  • Dustin Fowler
  • Aaron Judge
  • Cesar Puello

Report: City to ban smokeless tobacco at stadiums
Smokeless tobacco would be banned at Yankee Stadium if a city councilman gets his way. (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

Smokeless tobacco would be banned at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium under a bill that will be introduced Friday at a New York City Council meeting, according to the New York Times (Feb. 6).

New York would join Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, all of which have banned smokeless tobacco both on the field and in the clubhouse.

Councilman Corey Johnson will introduce the bill.

"If New York passes this bill, and I think it will, it moves us dramatically closer to the day when smokeless tobacco is prohibited in all major league cities," said Matthew Myers, the president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The Times reported the Yankees and Mets have told Johnson that they would support the bill, and the councilman is confident that the full Council will support it. 

Johnson is pushing to have the bill quickly approved so it could be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in time for Opening Day.

Major League Baseball has long tried banning smokeless tobacco, but the players' union has opposed doing so during collective bargaining. The union did not comment; MLB said in a statement  it supports the legislation.

The Mets' David Wright, who does not use smokless tobacco, told the Times: "On one hand, I would argue we are adults and that's a choice we choose to make. On the other hand, we are role models and the last thing we want is for an underage kid to begin using because they watched their favorite players do it."


Yankees sign two to minor league deals
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Tyler Cloyd throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis/USATSI)

The New York Yankees signed RHP Tyler Cloyd and third baseman Deibinson Romero to minor league deals, according to Baseball America's Matt Eddy.

Both Cloyd, 28, and Romero, 29, played in the Korean Baseball Organization last season.

Cloyd went 4-9 with a 5.98 ERA in 19 appearances (17 starts) with the Phillies from 2012 to 2013. He was Philadelphia's 18th-round selection in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft. He went 11-11 in 28 starts last year with the KBO's Samsung Lions.

Romero has yet to reach the majors, spending most of his career in the Twins' minor league system. In 2015, he played 38 games for the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate and 76 games for the KBO's Doosan Bears, hitting a combined .269 with 18 home runs and 77 RBIs. He played five games in the Dominican Winter League.


Do the Yankees have a rotation ace?
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Andy Marlin)

The last time the New York Yankees received a bona fide ace-like performance from one of their rotation members it would likely be CC Sabathia's 2011 season in which he went 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 230 strikeouts across 237 1/3 innings of work. The club has received quality starting pitching performances over the last few seasons, but no one has taken the role as ace and run away with it.

Will someone from the 2016 rotation step up and claim the ace role? First, let's briefly describe what we mean by ace. The ace is the pitcher who tames the opposition virtually every time he steps on the mound. He dominates often, works a ton of innings and basically controls the outcome of games all by himself.

We'll take the expected starters one by one in alphabetical order and explain why they might, and might not assume the role of ace in 2016.

Nathan Eovaldi

Eovaldi, who turns 26 this month, came to New York last season with lots of questions; mainly how does a guy who throws close to 100 mph fail to strike out a ton of guys? Eovaldi worked diligently with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and began to work on his ancillary pitches. By midseason Eovaldi started to get it and he cruised through the summer becoming the performance leader of the rotation.

Eovaldi finished the season 14-3 with a 4.20 ERA (3.42 FIP). His 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched were the highest of his career. That's not a superior number, but it was a good first step for Eovaldi.

He seemed to grow as a pitcher as the year wore on and grew confident with each start. If Eovaldi continues to build on his success in 2015, he certainly has a shot of being the club's ace in 2016.

Eovaldi still needs to go deeper in games, work on limiting the number of hits he allows (10.2 H/9) and cut down on his walk rate (2.9 BB/9). But, the biggest thing holding Eovaldi back, might be the elbow issue that plagued him at the end of last season. If the injury turns into something more and Eovaldi loses zip on his fastball or the necessary spin on his splitter, he could find himself back to being a middling pitcher.

Michael Pineda

If Pineda is going to finally turn the corner, this would have to be the season. Pineda can look dominant at times and for extended periods, but it's met with downturns, something that does not happen with aces.

In 2015, Pineda did do one thing well and that's make 27 starts, the most since his rookie campaign. Pineda, 27, went 12-10 with a 4.37 ERA (3.34 FIP) with 156 strikeouts in 160 2/3 innings. Pineda continued to master the strikezone by limiting walks to a fantastic 1.2 BB/9.

Pineda might never be a workhorse type, but he has the talent to move into elite status. The problem here is he's had that same label since he burst on the scene in 2011, and nothing has really changed. Will 2016 be different?

CC Sabathia

Most of you will see this name and giggle, but the fact that Sabathia has the ability to lead the team in starts and innings pitched despite his recent struggles says something to me - he has something in the tank.

Sabathia's knee issues have been problematic for some time now, and have truly dampened his performance. Before being fitted for a knee brace toward the end of last season Sabathia was pitching much like the man who seemed to be deteriorating before our eyes - 24 GS, 138 1/3 IP, 5.27 ERA and 26 HR allowed.

After pitching with the knee brace Sabathia began to show signs of being able to compete at the level the Yankees needed - 5 GS, 29 IP, 2.17 ERA and 2 HR. It is a small sample size for sure, but it coincided with an actual change to Sabathia's physical constraints, so it should not be taken too lightly.

Sabathia is no longer a shoe-in for 30 starts and 200+ innings, but he remains the most likely candidate to reach those figures based solely on his willingness to battle on the mound. That says a lot about Sabathia's makeup, and while I do not figure he'll regain ace status, I do believe he can provide the club with moderate production in 2016.

Luis Severino

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about Severino's chances of taking over ace status of the club. He's discussed at length of wanting to grab the moniker, and having the confidence to prove he deserves it.

Severino no doubt has the talent to be an ace as he has shown great progress in his short professional career. Severino began last season in Double-A and shot through the rest of the Yankees' system. Once he took to the mound as a major league player, he didn't lose a step.

Severino showed great poise in his 62.1 innings with the Yankees. His numbers were as good as any of the other starters during the period of time - 2.89 ERA (4.37 FIP), 8.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. Severino does need to work on the walks and his home run rate (1.3 HR/9) needs to come down.

Here's the rub with Severino; he turns 22 later this month and expecting him to be the ace might not be fair. I admire his desire and love the self-assurance he exudes, but let's see him pitch a full season in the big leagues before we hand over the title of ace. 

Masahiro Tanaka

Tanaka has a lot going for him. He's still young (27), he has unquestioned ability, possesses a sound work ethic and he's a polished pitcher. He's also a ticking time bomb.

It terrible to have to continually bring up the fact that Tanaka is pitching with a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. But, the possibility of a full tear and subsequent Tommy John surgery is a reality and it limits many from projecting Tanaka to dominate on the mound for a full season.

In my view, so long as Tanaka pitches with the partial tear, he's bound to find himself on the disabled list at least once each season for four to six weeks similarly to what he encountered in 2015. Despite this, Tanaka also has the best chance in my opinion to be the pitcher who makes the most of his 25 starts and 160 or so innings.

His performance in two seasons in New York shows he belongs at the top of a rotation. In 44 MLB starts (290 1/3 innings) Tanaka owns a 25-12 record with a 3.16 ERA (3.54 FIP). His strikeout rate (8.7 K/9) is solid and his walk rate is almost as good as Pineda's (1.5 BB/9). Tanaka allows too many homers but tends to limit them to solo shots thus not disrupting his bottom line too much.

All of that said, the chances Tanaka can make 30 or more starts and eclipse 200 innings are minimal. As I mentioned early on, the ace needs to be on the mound the entire season and it's hard to see that with Tanaka.

Unfortunately, looking through the rotation as it stands right now, there isn't a single member that portrays the image of staff ace. Each pitcher has at least one strike against him which precludes me from claiming one has a great chance to achieve the status. The Yankees might need to wade through another season without someone taking the rubber every five days and pitching to the status of an ace on a consistent basis.

That's not to say the Yankees cannot be successful in 2016 with five average to above-average performances this season - they can. But, I wouldn't expect a singular dominant season from a starting pitcher, but simply various spurts of supremacy from each of the members and that might be enough to remain in contention this season.

Tags: CC Sabathia , Luis Severino , Masahiro Tanaka , Michael Pineda , Nathan Eovaldi


Yankees have interest in Carlos Torres
(Ron Chenoy)

The Yankees have expressed interest in free-agent RH reliever Carlos Torres, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com (Feb. 2).

Kuty notes that Torres has already drawn interest from roughly 20 teams, including some in Asia. 

Torres, 33, elected free agency on Monday after being designated for assignment by the Mets and clearing waivers.

Torres posted a 4.68 ERA and 1.37 WHIP while striking out 48 batters in 57 2/3 innings (59 appearances) for the Mets last season. He suffered a calf injury in September, ending his season.

In six seasons with the White Sox, Rockies, and Mets, Torres has a 4.26 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. 


Daily News Live: Bird 00:02:54
The Daily News Live panel discusses the impact of the Greg Bird injury will have on the Yankees in 2016.

Yankees 1B Greg Bird will miss the entire 2016 season due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder, the team announced.

The injury is a reoccurence of the one he suffered in May of 2015.

Bird is scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

According to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, the team does not intend to seek a major league free agent option to serve as depth at first base (Feb. 1)

While the Yankees said Bird will be out for all of 2016, Buster Olney of ESPN cites a source who says it's unlikely but "not out of the realm of possibility" that Bird can return toward the end of the season (Feb. 1).

Bird, 23, made his major league debut last season and hit .261 with a 343 OBP and .529 SLG with 11 HR in 46 games (157 at-bats).

Mark Teixeira is expected to be the Yankees' regular first baseman this coming season.

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

This is a gut-punch for the Yankees. Bird was a complete revelation in 2015 as Mark Teixeira's replacement, and was theoretically first in line for first base reps in 2016 if the incumbent first baseman was injured.

While Bird was expected to begin 2016 with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, it was not irrational to anticipate he'd get lots of at-bats with the Yankees considering Teixeira hasn't played in more than 123 games in a season since 2011. Bird might have also seen some time with the big league club if DH Alex Rodriguez was bit by the injury bug.

The bigger issue here is that the Yankees do not have a player on the MLB roster aside from Teixeira who has significant experience at first base. As of now, Dustin Ackley (22 career games at first base) seems to be in line to play there on Teixeira's days off. I do not think the Yankees will want to lean on that the entire season. Catcher Brian McCann could also play first in an emergency.

As for options still available on the free agent market, the Yankees could look to former Pittsburgh Pirate Pedro Alvarez (who could also sub at third base, where the Yankees also don't have a definitive option), though Brian Cashman said the team wouldn't pursue a free agent such as Alvarez.

Casey McGehee, a former Yankee who can play first and third base, is also available if the Yanks want to look outside the organization. Or the club could possibly check on Juan Uribe to spell third baseman Chase Headley on occasion, with Headley shifting to first base when needed.

Tags: Greg Bird

Yankees claim Torreyes off waivers, DFA Adams
Mar 6, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Ronald Torreyes (74) works on infield practice prior to a spring training baseball against the St. Louis Cardinals game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Yankees have claimed infielder Ronald Torreyes off waivers. To make room for him on the roster, the team designated outfielder Lane Adams for assignment.

Just two weeks ago, on January 15, the Yankees claimed Adams off waivers and DFA'd Torreyes.

From the Yankees:

Torreyes, 23, made his Major League debut with the Dodgers in 2015, going 2-for-6 (.333) with 1R, 1 double, 1RBI and 1BB in eight games. The right-handed batter also played in a total of 110 minor league games at the Double-A and Triple-A levels for three organizations last season, combining to hit .261 (109-for-418) with 60R, 18 doubles, 3 triples, 4HR and 36RBI with affiliates for Los Angeles-NL, Toronto and Houston. 


Sabathia throwing in Tampa
CC Sabathia walks off the mound after a start for the Yankees. (AP)

CC Sabathia, whose 2015 season ended abruptly when he went into rehab for alcohol abuse, is in Florida and has begun throwing bullpen sessions, according to the New York Post (Jan. 31).

The Post reported the lefthander threw off flat ground and in the bullpen before pitching coach Larry Rothschild at the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa on Friday.

Before going into rehab just before the Yankees' wild-card playoff loss to Houston, the injury-plagued Sabathia appeared to have turned a corner health-wise. With a new knee brace, he went 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his final five outings of the season.

Sabathia, 35, had three sub-par seasons after making the All-Star team in 2012. He is due to make $25 million this season.

The Post reported pitchers Andrew Miller, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Severino and infielder Dustin Ackley also have made appearances at the Yankees complex, along with prospects including outfielders Mason Williams and Aaron Judge and shortstop Jorge Mateo.


Severino hopes to build off rookie season
New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino delivers a pitch to an Atlanta Braves batter in the first inning of their game at Turner Field. (Jason Getz/USATSI)

After making 11 starts as a rookie last season, Yankees RHP Luis Severino told the New York Post's Dan Martin he thinks he build off his 2015 season.

"I think this year I'll be better than last year," Severino said. "I'm working on my breaking stuff, and my command is gonna be good. I'm already working harder than I did last year to get ready because I know what I have to do to pitch [in the majors]."

Severino, 21, started the 2015 season in Double-A and was quickly promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he dominated. 

He was promoted to the bigs in August and made 11 starts down the stretch for the Yankees, going 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA and striking out 56 batters in 62 1/3 innings.

"I got a lot of experience after I got to the majors,'' Severino said. "I know a lot of hitters now and I know how to pitch them better.''

Considered "untouchable" by GM Brian Cashman, the Yankees opted to stand pat at the trade deadline last season and hang onto their top prospects, including Severino. Last January, he was ranked the 23rd-best prospect in baseball.

"I expected to get high up, but not as high as I did," Severino said. "I didn't think I'd be doing this kind of stuff.''

Now, he is confident he can have a significant role in the Yankees' rotation in 2016. Earlier this month, he told YES Network's Meredith Marakovits he thinks he could be an ace.

He told The Post he started a throwing program about a month and a half to two months ago in hopes of reaching 200 innings pitched this season.

Combined with his minor league stats, Severino threw 161 2/3 innings last season. Asked about a potential innings limit, Severino said, "I'm not worried about that."

Tags: Luis Severino

Three Yankees ranked in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospect list
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge swings at a ball during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Reinhold Matay/USATSI)

Three Yankees prospects were ranked on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospect list for 2016.

Shortstop Jorge Mateo, who was not among the top 10 shortstops, was ranked the 30th overall prospect. Outfielder Aaron Judge, the eighth-ranked outfielder, was ranked 31st overall.

Gary Sanchez, whom MLB Pipeline ranked the second-best catcher, was ranked 59th overall.

Mateo, 20, hit .278 with two home runs, 40 RBIs and 82 stolen bases with Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa last season, while Judge split time between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Earlier this week, Baseball Prospectus ranked Judge the 18th-best prospect, Mateo 65th and Sanchez 92nd.


Baseball Prospectus: Judge ranked 18th-best prospect
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge celebrates with teammates in the dugout after scoring in the fourth inning during of a spring training baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. (Tommy Gilligan/USATSI)

Outfielder Aaron Judge, shortstop Jorge Mateo and catcher Gary Sanchez were all ranked among the top 101 prospects in baseball, according to Baseball Prospectus.

Judge was ranked 18th, Mateo 65th and Sanchez 92nd.

Playing with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season, Judge, 23, hit .255 with 20 home runs and 72 RBIs, however struggled in Triple-A, hitting .224 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 61 games. He was New York's first-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft.

Mateo, 20, hit .278 with two home runs and 40 RBIs last season for Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa. He has been in the Yankees' organization since 2012.

Sanchez, 23, has been in the organization since 2010 and made his MLB debut last season. Playing mostly with Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Sanchez hit .274 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs last season and could contend for a spot behind Brian McCann on the 25-man roster this season.

According to Baseball America, Mateo is the Yankees' top prospect, followed by Sanchez and then Judge, and MLB.com's Jim Callis ranked the Yankees the 10th-best farm system in baseball last August.


Yankees avoid arbitration with Nova
(Gregory Fisher)

The Yankees have avoided arbitration with RHP Ivan Nova, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.1 million, according to Jack Curry of YES (Jan. 28).

Update - 4:45 p.m.: The Yankees confirmed they have avoided aribtration with Nova.

According to Curry, the deal includes potential performance bonuses.

Before coming to terms, Nova had asked for $4.6 million, which the Yankees countered with an offer of $3.8 million.

Nova, 29, returned from Tommy John surgery last season and posted a 5.07 ERA and 1.40 WHIP while striking out 63 batters in 94 innings (17 starts).

Tags: Ivan Nova

"The primary logos of each Spring Training league, which includes a highway-like road sign with state initials, are located on both caps and jerseys. On the caps, patches of these logos are on the left side, while the right side features an embossed American or National League logo. All jerseys will include the state logo patch on one of the sleeves," MLB said. The league continued: "The names and numbers on the backs of all jerseys will feature a sublimated Spring Training design pattern featuring Spring Training marks and the silhouetted batter logo. These sublimated designs are also found on the inside of the caps' crowns."


Yankees discussed trade for Jose Reyes last summer
(Matt Kartozian)

The Yankees explored the possibility of acquiring SS Jose Reyes from the Rockies last summer, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports (Jan. 28).

According to Rosenthal, the Yankees would've required the Rockies to pay a substantial portion of Reyes' remaining salary (he's owed $44 million through 2018) and would've moved him to second base. However, a deal never came close to fruition.

The Yankees have since traded for Starlin Castro, who will play second base, with Didi Gregorius at shortstop.

Reyes, 32, is currently facing domestic abuse charges stemming from an incident in October, which he pled not guilty to in November.

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

I like Brian Cashman, maybe more than most, but this would have been a huge mistake for the Yankees. What's baffling to me is that this goes against the new mantra the Yankees have tried to stick to the last couple of seasons: stay away from declining and costly players.

Even if the Rockies picked up a large chunk or all of Reyes' salary, the Yankees would've been stuck with him through 2017. The Yankees would've also had to give up players in return and the higher the salary paid by the Rockies, the better the players/prospects the Yanks would have had to part with.

Reyes is a declining hitter (.726 OPS in 2014 and .688 OPS in 2015) who has a hard time staying on the field. Also, they were going to just move Reyes to second base midseason? He played 43 games there in 2004; that's it.

I cannot for the life of me think of one good reason the Yankees wasted time considering this move, and I'm particularly happy nothing came of it.

 


Can these Yankees minor league position players make an impact in 2016?
(Adam Hunger)

The New York Yankees have begun to trust some of their younger players and we could see that grow some more in 2016. While the Yankees might not elevate current minor league position players to New York at the outset of the season, it is plausible that some of them could make an impact at the big league level this year.

Greg Bird

There is some debate about whether Bird deserves to be on the major league roster or not as the season commences. His performance with the Yankees while Mark Teixeira was injured at the end of last season was eye-opening and surely eases the club's need to worry about the future at first base. Bird proved he could handle the role on a daily basis, but with Teixeira making over $23 million in the final season of his contract it makes more sense to have Bird play regularly at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Bird, 23, actually hit better in New York than he did in his time in the minors in 2015. In fact, he improved in terms of OPS from Double-A through MLB.

League

PA

2B

HR

OPS

Double-A

212

16

6

.804

Triple-A

150

7

6

.853

MLB

178

9

11

.871

For reference, Teixeira delivered a .906 OPS in 2015, so the drop-off was negligible when Bird was called upon to fill the void.

Just because we expect Bird to start the year at Triple-A, it doesn't mean he won't get his fair share of time in New York in 2016. If Teixeira is injured (which feels like a certainty) and on the disabled list, Bird would seemingly take over the role during the time period because the club does not employ a true first base backup on the MLB roster. There is also a chance that the club could call up Bird if Alex Rodriguez suffers an injury warranting a DL stint. Furthermore, general manager Brian Cashman has noted that he'll have no problem bringing players back and forth from Triple-A if the matchups fit so Bird might get a few days here and there when the Yankees want to rest either Teixeira or A-Rod and get Bird's left-handed bat in the lineup.

Bird had been climbing the ladder among Yankees' prospects and now it does seem apparent that he has a promising future in New York.

Aaron Judge

Judge is the least likely of this group to get anything more than a cup of coffee in September. Judge might be the right-fielder of the future, but there is little to suggest he'll be highly impactful in 2016.

Judge performed quite well at Double-A Trenton in 2015, earning himself a promotion after just 280 plate appearances at the level. Unfortunately, Judge showed he needs some more seasoning after producing a .680 OPS at Triple-A in 260 plate appearances. That's almost 200 points lower than he generated at Double-A.

The Yankees outfield is filled by Brett Gardner for the next three seasons, Jacoby Ellsbury for the next five (each has a club option as well) and while Carlos Beltran's contract ends after this season, the team traded for 26-year-old outfielder Aaron Hicks this offseason. Hicks can play any of the outfield positions and has been described as a player the club expects to receive ample time this season meaning he's looked at as part of the future. Unless the Yankees find a trading partner for one of the three, it remains to be seen just how early Judge will become a member of the MLB club.

The Yankees would have to have a slew of injuries in 2016 AND Judge would have to be pounding Triple-A pitching for him to be called up any time before rosters expand in September. Even then, if the Yankees are whole and in the midst of a postseason race, Judge might be seldom used.

Rob Refsnyder

Refsnyder is a darling of the fans and the kid continuously kicked to the curb by the club. Last season the Yankees stuck with the abomination that was Stephen Drew and teased Refsnyder with a midseason call-up that lasted all of four games.

He got a shot in September as part of a platoon with Dustin Ackley, but it came only as Drew was on the shelf due to a bout with dizziness.

In 525 plate appearances in Triple-A in 2015, Refsnyder hit .271 with a .359 on-base percentage and a .402 slugging percentage. In a small sample of 47 plate appearances with the Yankees, Refsnyder's slash line was .302/.348/.512. On defense, Refsnyder has shown slight improvement, but many scouts still believe he'll be nothing more than average at the position.

The Yankees went out this offseason and traded for Starlin Castro to be their second baseman, once again relegating Refsnyder to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. If Refsnyder sees any time in the bigs in 2016, it will be due to injury or because he is traded to a team in need of a second baseman. Refsnyder was recently ranked as the ninth best second base prospect in the game so there is a chance that another team in the league sees him as a future piece to their puzzle.

One thing Refsnyder, who turns 25 in March, has going for him is that he doesn't have to wait for Castro to get hurt. It seems if any of the infielders besides Teixeira gets injured and requires a stint on the disabled list Refsnyder could get some work at second base. The reason being, if Chase Headley or Didi Gregorius are hurt, the team has noted that Castro could move over to third base or shortstop, making room for Refsnyder at second base.

Now, that's no shoe-in with Ackley on the roster already, and a utility infielder to be determined as an option as well. For Refsnyder it's about the breaks in 2016 and his best one might come out of New York.

Gary Sanchez

The Yankees 23-year-old backstop blossomed over the last calendar year after underperforming to expectations through 2014.

Sanchez, signed as an international free agent in 2009, was recently named the game's No. 2 catching prospect. After falling off the charts, Sanchez has reclaimed his spot among the games' more eagerly anticipated call-ups from the catcher's position.

In 2015, Sanchez followed up a .262/.319/.476 slash line with 12 home runs in 254 plate appearances at Double-A Trenton with a .295/.349/.500 line and six homers in 146 plate appearances. Then Sanchez absolutely dominated in all facets of the game at the Arizona Fall League drilling seven home runs in just 98 plate appearances. Sanchez also showed off his canon arm behind the plate, throwing out 62 percent of runners trying to steal against him in Arizona.

Sanchez has the best chance of the players reviewed here to make the club out of camp without having to rely on an injury to a teammate. Sanchez will be given every opportunity to win the backup role behind starting catcher Brian McCann. Sanchez will face some competition from minor league veteran Austin Romine and MLB vet Carlos Corporan, but the role seems to be Sanchez's to lose.

The Yankees farm system has come a long way in the last few years. Before long the club could be in the midst of deploying a new core from within the organization on a daily basis. For the time being, these players are the ones knocking on the door and if the chips fall in the right places they could make an impact at the major league level in 2

Tags: Gary Sanchez , Greg Bird , Rob Refsnyder

A-Rod hopes to build off rejuvenated year in 2016
New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez takes batting practice before a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. (Nick Turchiaro/USATSI)

Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez told the New York Post's Kevin Kernan he hopes to build off last year's rejuvenated season and has been doing so both physically and mentally.

He has spent the offseason paying attention to his durability, as he has trained with Olympians Isa Phillips and Malachi Davis so he, at 40, can stay healthy after undergoing hip surgery.

"It goes back to a year and a half off to really get healthy,'' Rodriguez said. "It was a blessing in disguise. ... A lot of what I do is pre-hab, it's flexibility.''

Rodriguez played 151 games in 2015 after sitting out the 2014 season to suspension and missing extended time in 2013, 2012 and 2011. He hit 33 home runs and 86 RBIs, primarily playing as a designated hitter.

"I'm going to try to do exactly what I did last year, see ball, hit ball,'' said Rodriguez, who added he found an added appreciation for the game when he broadcasted the World Series with FOX. "Keep it really simple. Enjoy it, have fun.''

The Yankees didn't sign any big-name free agents this offseason, but made several key acquisitions in second baseman Starlin Castro and reliever Aroldis Chapman, both of whom Rodriguez lauded. He called Chapman a "game-changer" and believes Castro will "flourish" in the Bronx.

"We have a really good clubhouse and that's something that you don't take for granted,'' Rodriguez said. "I thought it was a special group, I like our collection of young and veteran players.''

Tags: Alex Rodriguez

Yankees sign Carlos Corporan to minor league deal
(Jerome Miron)

The Yankees have signed C Carlos Corporan to a minor league deal, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Jan. 26).

Corporan, 32, hit .178/.244/.299 in 33 games with the Rangers last season.

A switch-hitter, Corporan has hit .218/.280/.342 with 20 HR in 701 at-bats in parts of six major league seasons.

The Yankees currently have three catchers on their 40-man roster: Brian McCann, Austin Romine, and Gary Sanchez.


Refsnyder ranked ninth-best minor league second baseman
New York Yankees second baseman Robert Refsnyder hits an RBI double against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USATSI)

Yankees prospect Rob Refsnyder was ranked the ninth-best minor league second baseman, according to MLB Pipeline.

Refsnyder, who split time between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the majors last year, hit .302 with two home runs and five RBIs in 16 games in the majors, and hit .271 with nine home runs and 56 RBIs in Triple-A last year.

From MLB Pipeline:

An outfielder at Arizona, Refsnyder's transition to second base has been slow and steady. It's always encouraging when a solid hitter in the Minors performs well in his big league debut, and that's exactly what Refsnyder did in 2015. Despite that, the Yankees did acquire Starlin Castro from the Cubs this offseason, leaving Refsnyder's future on the right side of the infield in New York in doubt.

Refsnyder, 24, was the Yankees' fifth-round pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft. Through his minor-league career, he has a .290/.380/.432 batting line with 33 home runs and 198 RBIs in 430 games.

In the field, he recorded 18 errors and a .967 fielding percentage in 107 games at second base with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year.

 

Tags: Rob Refsnyder

Yankees lose IF Ronald Torreyes off waivers
Mar 6, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Ronald Torreyes (74) works on infield practice prior to a spring training baseball against the St. Louis Cardinals game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

MLB moves trade deadline back 1 day to August 1
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred before game four of the World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets at Citi Field. (Jeff Curry)

Major League Baseball is pushing back this year's deadline to make trades without waivers by one day to Aug 1, wanting to avoid having players on the field during Sunday afternoon games as they are about to get dealt.

Teams usually remove players from starting lineups and in mid-game when trades near completion. The trade deadline is 4 p.m. EDT and July 31 falls on a Sunday this year, when there are six games starting just after 1 p.m. EDT, four more from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and another four from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m.

"A Sunday trade deadline, given the way we play games on Sunday, didn't seem like it made the most sense, so we decided to move it the one day," Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after owners approved the change at their quarterly meeting. "We don't think it will be the end of modern civilization to do it one day later."

Baseball's trade deadline was June 15 from the 1923 season until it was moved to July 31 for 1986. Some have advocated it be pushed back significantly because of expanded playoffs, which keep more teams in contention later.

"I'm not sure that we're looking to break any new ground on this one," Manfred said. "We just thought that Sunday made no sense for us this year. Whether it's the 31st or the 1st, I don't see it as a huge issue."

Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press


Chapman won't face charges for domestic incident
(Joe Camporeale)

Yankees LHP Aroldis Chapman will not face criminal charges for the domestic incident he was involved in with his girlfriend on Oct. 30, according to the Sun Sentinel (Jan. 21)

Though Chapman will not face criminal charges, he is still subject to discipline by MLB under their new domestic violence policy.

During the incident, Chapman allegedly choked his girlfriend and fired a gun in his garage while she hid in bushes outside the house.

The Yankees acquired Chapman from the Reds in December in exchange for prospects Eric Jagielo, Tony Renda, Rookie Davis, and Caleb Cotham.

Chapman is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.


Steinbrenner says Chapman is innocent until proven otherwise
(Rick Osentoski/USATSI)

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says reliever Aroldis Chapman is "innocent until proven otherwise."

New York acquired Chapman from Cincinnati last month, after a proposed trade between the Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers came apart when a Florida police investigation into an accusation of domestic violence involving the Cuban left-hander became public.

"In this country, when allegations are brought against a person, that person is completely innocent until proven otherwise. Not the other way around," Steinbrenner said Wednesday at baseball's owner's meetings.

According to a police report, Chapman's girlfriend told officers he pushed her, put his hands around her neck and choked her during an argument. Police said there was not sufficient evidence to charge Chapman, and the pitcher's lawyer, denied the reported allegations.

Major League Baseball is investigating and could discipline the pitcher under its new domestic violence policy. >> Read more


Luis Severino, the Yankees ace?
New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) pitches during the third inning Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. (Tommy Gilligan)

Luis Severino said that he "thinks he can be" the ace of the Yankees staff next season in an interview with Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network (Jan. 20).

Severino, 21, is entering his first full season in the Major Leagues. Last year he was 5-3 with a 2.89 in 11 starts after being promoted in August.

Masahiro Tanaka, who is the presumed ace of the staff and likely opening day starter, has been mired by injuries the past two seasons. While he has performed at a high level when healthy, it remains to be seen if he can anchor the staff for an entire season.

He is expected to join, and possibly battle for a spot, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia in the rotation. All of whom have questions surrounding their health and performance.

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

First, I love the confidence and yet we shouldn't take his comments out of context. In the interview, Severino responded to several of Marakovits' questions with the same answer, "yes, of course."

I look at his response to her question about being the Yankees' ace as one which shows belief in his abilities. Honestly, if there is some cockiness in there, the Yankees could use a starter with a bit of an edge.

On a deeper level, there is every reason to think that Severino could be the future ace of this staff. He might not ascend to that level in 2016 without some injuries, but he surely could do so in the coming years based purely on performance.

Severino has dazzled at each level including his stint with the Yankees in 2015. At 21 years old he's talented enough to flourish and is surely on a path to be a leader of this rotation for years to come.

Tags: CC Sabathia , Luis Severino , Masahiro Tanaka , Michael Pineda , Tim Reilly

Can Carlos Beltran provide Yankees ample production in 2016?
New York Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran (36) singles against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning in the American League Wild Card playoff baseball game at Yankee Stadium. ( Adam Hunger)

Carlos Beltran's three-year, $45 million contract signed during a New York Yankees' winter in which the club guaranteed close to $500 million in salaries, was sensibly met with questions about his age, but much of the money talk revolved around the bigger expenditures that offseason - Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka.

With a limited farm system at the time, the signing seemed like a placeholder which could produce either poor or good results. And so far it's been an even split.

As Beltran enters the final year of the deal, let's look back at his first two seasons in the Bronx and approximate what we can reasonably expect from the soon to be 39-year-old outfielder.

Beltran's back, right?

Beltran came to the Yankees after two years with the St. Louis Cardinals where he reached 600 plate appearances in each season. That was something of a great accomplishment considering he was not far removed from two injury-plagued seasons with the New York Mets.

Beltran was quite good at the plate for the Cardinals in 2012 when he launched 32 home runs and drove in 97 runs. He recorded a 124 wRC+ according to FanGraphs in his first season with the Redbirds. He followed that up with an even better campaign at the plate with a 131 wRC+ showing he still had plenty of life in his bat. If there was a negative, it was his once Gold Glove caliber defense had eroded drastically by defensive metrics.

The Yankees saw an opportunity to bring in a player with a championship pedigree who at worst could transition to some at-bats as the designated hitter if his fielding continued to decline, and was showing the ability to remain on the field despite playing in his age-36 season. And more importantly Beltran was stroking the ball quite well.

Injury derails first season in pinstripes

The Yankees were not getting the Beltran bat of his MVP-caliber seasons, but the club didn't necessarily need him to be that. The team wanted a complete professional hitter in the middle of the order.

At the onset of his Yankees' career Beltran was just that. He enjoyed a fine first month with New York, recording an .826 OPS (125 wRC+) with nine doubles, five home runs and 13 RBIs in 103 plate appearances.

But then in May, Beltran began to experience pain in his right elbow. It was revealed that he had a bone spur and eventually hit the disabled list. Surgery to remove the bone spur was not the route immediately chosen; instead Beltran was used as the designated hitter for much of the remainder of the season to avoid having to throw.

Beltran struggled through June, but had a decent July and August. He played in just 10 games in September, and was eventually shut down for the season to be with his wife who suffered a miscarriage.

He finished the season with a meager .233 batting average, .301 on-base percentage and a .402 slugging percentage. Beltran hit 15 homers, drove in 49 runs with a 96 wRC+, leaving a bad taste in many fans' mouths.

Redemption comes slowly

Beltran worked hard in the offseason leading to the 2015 campaign after recovering from surgery to remove the bone spur. He was eager to put aside a season in which he felt he could have been better if healthy. The Yankees would not have the luxury of using Beltran as the designated hitter with Alex Rodriguez back from his yearlong suspension.

Beltran looked awful in April, producing a slash line of .162/.216/.265, further dampening the once high expectations. Besides his poor bat, Beltran was continuously exposed in right field as a below average defender.

The Yankees could deal with the defense if Beltran was hitting, and fortunately for them they didn't have to wait long. Beltran began to find his stroke in May and his production increased steadily through the remainder of the season. There were points, especially down the stretch, when Beltran was arguably the best hitter on the club.

From Aug. 2 through the end of the season Beltran put up fantastic numbers for any player, let alone a 38-year-old - .297/.365/.520 slash line with 12 doubles, 11 home runs, 34 RBIs and a 139 wRC+ in 230 plate appearances. It was Beltran's bat which helped push the Yankees into the postseason for the first time in two seasons.

Bottom line; the Yankees received exactly what they wanted out of Beltran in 2015 despite a slow start and a stint on the DL in July (left oblique strain) in which he missed 12 games.

What's in store for 2016?

The problem of course is that Beltran is not getting any younger and while it grows tiring to revolve expectations around one's age, it is not something to ignore when we are talking about a player is turning 39 in April. The wariness increases because Beltran has had issues staying on the field since he became a Yankee.

Since 2014, Beltran has missed 82 games. He barely broke 500 plate appearances in 2015, but some of that is due to being replaced late in games due to inferior defense. The need for 2016 - and what the Yankees desire - is that Beltran delivers quality production as he did from May 1 last season during those 500+ plate appearances.

Beltran's performance is important because once again the Yankees offense will be reliant on him and two other players whose age is heading in the wrong direction in Rodriguez (turns 41 in July) and Mark Teixeira (turns 36 in April). As I wrote last week when looking at Teixeira, the Yankees will have to find time to rest Beltran throughout the season in an effort to keep him strong.

The difference with resting Beltran compared to Teixeira is that the club has a fairly competent player to use as a backup to Beltran in Aaron Hicks. General manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi have already stressed that they see Hicks getting ample time on the field (up to 4-5 days per week) and Beltran could be the player who is replaced most often by the much better fielding 26-year-old.

Finding time for Beltran to either relieve Rodriguez as the designated hitter, or to simply ride the pine for a day is essential to keep the veteran's production at a level necessary for the club to succeed.

Provided Beltran can amass another 450-500 plate appearances in 2016, I have confidence he can provide similar performance metrics that he managed for much of 2015. It's not difficult to believe Beltran can put together an .800 OPS season with 15-18 home runs and 65-70 RBIs and a wRC+ in the neighborhood of 120. It's not superstar level, but certainly enough to help the Yankees offense and compete in the American League East.

Tags: Carlos Beltran

Yankees avoid arbitration with Eovaldi
(Gregory Fisher)

The Yankees have avoided arbitration with RHP Nathan Eovaldi, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced.

According to Marc Carig of Newsday, the deal is worth $5.6 million (Jan. 19).

Eovaldi, 25, posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 154 1/3 innings pitched (27 starts) for the Yankees last season.

He's arbitration-eligible the next two offseasons and is eligible to become a free agent after the 2018 season.

With Eovaldi now under contract, the only arbitration-eligible players the Yankees have yet to settle with are LHP Aroldis Chapman and RHP Ivan Nova.

If the Yankees fail to come to terms with Chapman and/or Nova, their salary will be determined by an arbitrator in February.

Tags: Nathan Eovaldi

Yankees, Gregorius avoid arbitration
New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius hits a double during the fifth inning of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. (Gregory Fisher/USATSI)

The New York Yankees avoided arbitration with shortstop Didi Gregorius with a $2.425 million settlement (Jan. 18).

Gregorius, 25, filed at $2.525 million last week. He earned $553,900 in 2015, his first season with the Yankees.

Last year, Gregorius hit .265 with nine home runs and 56 RBIs at the plate, and made 13 errors with a .979 fielding percentage in 155 games at shortstop.

The Yankees avoided arbitration with Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda. They have yet to agree to terms with Ivan NovaAroldis Chapman and Nathan Eovaldi.

Tags: Didi Gregorius

Yankees avoid arbitration with Pineda, Ackley
New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) pitches against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. (Andy Marlin)

The New York Yankees have avoided arbitration with Dustin Ackley and starting pitcher Michael Pineda, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (Jan. 15).

Pineda, 26, will make $4.3 million next season. He was 12-10 with a 4.37 ERA over 27 starts last year. 

Ackley, 27, signed a one-year deal worth $3.2 million next season. He hit .231 with 10 home runs last year. 

According to Passan, the Yankees and RHP Ivan Nova are not far off, as Nova is aiming for $4.6 million while the organization is at $3.8 million (Jan. 15).

Aroldis Chapman filed at $13.1 million while the Yankees are at $9 million, according to Jon Heyman (Jan. 15).

Also according to Heyman, Didi Gregorius filed at $2.525 million and the Yankees are at $2.3 million (Jan. 15), while Nathan Eovaldi filed at $6.3 million and the Yankees $4.9 million (Jan. 15).

Tags: Tim Reilly

Yankees claim OF Lane Adams off waivers
Right fielder Lane Adams (45) takes batting practice before the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. (Denny Medley)

The Yankees claimed outfielder Lane Adams off waivers from the Kansas City Royals.

To make room for Adams, New York designated infielder Ronald Torreyes for assignment.

From the Yankees

Adams, 26, combined to bat .281 (137-for-488) with 72 runs, 26 doubles, 16 home runs, 62 RBI, 31 steals and a .791 OPS in 134 games between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha in 2015. The right-handed hitter made his Major League debut in 2014, going 0-for-3 in six games for the Royals. In seven minor league seasons, he owns a .270 career batting average (678-for-2,512), 58 home runs, 296 RBI and 164 stolen bases in 668 games. The Talihina, Oklahoma native was originally selected by the Royals in the 13th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Adams was designated for assignment by Kansas City on January 6.

Torreyes, 23, had been acquired from the Dodgers on January 12 along with LHP Tyler Olson in exchange for INF Rob Segedin and a player to be named later or cash considerations. 


Cashman agrees with naming Chapman closer
(Joe Camporeale)

Aroldis Chapman will be the Yankees closer - at least to start spring training, Joe Girardi announced this week.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman agreed with the manager's decision.

"He's been a closer his entire major league career," Cashman said Wednesday, according to the New York Post (Jan. 14). "Miller did a fantastic job for us there last year, but he's done other things. He's been a starter and a setup guy, so has Dellin [Betances]. Chapman hasn't."

Chapman will supplant Andrew Miller as closer for the Yankees, despite facing a likely suspension for his role in a domestic violence incident.

Last season, Chapman went 33 for 36 in save opportunities last season with the Cincinnati Reds, recording a 1.63 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. For New York, Miller recorded 36 saves in 38 chances with a 2.04 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.

Betances was tied for fourth in the majors with 29 holds last season, serving as Miller's primary setup man. He did fill in and record nine saves last year, though also blew four saves. Betances, 27, struck out 131 batters in 84 innings and recorded a 1.50 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.

"The max value on [Chapman] is pitching him in the ninth in tight situations," Cashman said.

Tags: Andrew Miller , Dellin Betances

Yankees sign RHP Anthony Swarzak to minor league deal
(Matt Marton)

The Yankees have signed RHP Anthony Swarzak to a minor league deal, according to MLB reporter Jon Heyman (Jan. 13).

Swarzak will earn $750K if he makes the big league roster.

Swarzak, 30, posted a 3.38 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 13 1/3 innings for the Indians last season before being outrighted to Triple-A.

After being sent to Triple-A, Swarzak joined the Doosan Bears of the Korean Baseball Organization, where he had a 5.26 ERA in 92 1/3 innings.

For his career, which began in 2009 with the Twins, Swarzak has a 4.45 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 453 innings.


Mark Teixeira's Yankees' tenure can come full circle with big season
(Kevin Jairaj)

When the New York Yankees missed the 2008 playoffs - ending a streak of 13 consecutive postseason appearances - the club went on a spending spree highlighted by signing Mark Teixeira to an eight-year, $180 million contract. Let's take a look back at the seven years Teixeira has put behind him in pinstripes and contemplate his performance for his final season in the Bronx.

Hot Start

The 2009 Yankees moved into a brand-new stadium and along with Teixeira inked pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett to long-term deals, and traded for outfielder Nick Swisher. There were holdovers on offense - Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon and Jorge Posada - but it can be argued it was Teixeira's monster season that provided the final nudge for the Yankees' offense and helped the team to 103 regular season wins and an eventual World Series championship.

Teixeira smashed 39 home runs and drove in 122 runs in his inaugural season in the Bronx; both marks led the American League. He hit.292 with a .383 on-base percentage and a .565 slugging percentage. His wRC+ mark of 142, per FanGraphs, ranked third among AL first baseman (min. 500 PA) in 2009.

Teixeira's traditional power stats remained quite good in 2010 and 2011 (33 and 39 home runs, 108 and 111 RBIs, respectively), but his batting average took what has become a permanent dip. In 2010 he hit .256 and then his batting average dropped to .248 in 2011.

Injuries mount, production drops

From 2009 through 2011 - Teixeira's age-29 to age-31 seasons - he averaged 157 games played and 701 plate appearances. But, beginning in 2012, the injury bug continuously hit Teixeira and completely sapped the production the Yankees were paying for.

Since 2012, Teixeira has played in no more than 123 games in a season (2012 and 2014) and appeared in just 15 games in 2013 due to right wrist surgery. During that three year span, Teixeira's slash line dropped severely in all categories - .229/.320/.431 in 1,095 plate appearances.

Teixeira was also hampered by the defensive shift when he hit from the left side of the plate during this time period. Line drives and groundball singles that used to sneak through were routinely gobbled up in short right field. Further, Teixeira was not able to drive the ball as he used to in 2014 because his wrist was not 100 percent from a strength perspective.

Rejuvenated...to a point

After difficulty staying on the field from 2012-14 and failing to produce at his previous norm, Teixeira set out to get himself into better physical shape. His diet became gluten-free and he professed his wrist was as strong as ever just before spring training began in 2015. Teixeira was so confident in his strength that he predicted he would beat the shift by going over the top of it meaning more doubles and home runs.

That he did.

Teixeira notched just 16 hits in the season's first month, but 13 of them went for extra bases (five doubles and eight homers). The power was there; unfortunately, that was it. But, then he began to do more than just mash and occasion pitch.

From May through July 2015, Teixeira was on fire. In 310 plate appearances during the span, Teixeira ripped 17 doubles and launched 20 home runs. His slash line was better than his 2009 performance - .284/.390/.579.

Not all good things last as Teixeira went into a funk in August. Worse, he suffered a fracture after fouling a ball off his shin. It was a freak injury, which was ill-fated for him and the Yankees since he had been able to stay on the field for all but eight of the team's first 117 games.

One last hoorah?

As Teixeira readies himself for his age-36 season, can he provide the Yankees with similar fire power he showed for most of 2015? Or will he suffer yet another malady which keeps him off the field for an extended period and/or suppresses his performance while he's on it?

I believe it is within reason for the Yankees to expect Teixeira to be as productive at the plate in 2016 as he was in 2015. I also feel that they are well aware of his inability to play in 150-plus games again in a season.

Teixeira will surely do his part and show up to spring training in superior shape. His future relies on his health, and he knows this. Teixeira felt as though he had something to prove in 2015, and that chip on his shoulder might still be apparent this season. He has plenty to play for.

The key for Teixeira is for the Yankees to find a way to rest him at least once per week from the field, if not completely give him a day off. Perhaps they try to do so when it butts up against a scheduled off-day so he receives two straight days of rest. While Teixeira could be the most productive offensive force the team has in 2016, he's only helpful if he is on the field and feeling strong.

Players don't typically like to rest. But Teixeira, playing in a contract season, might be more than accommodating to this type of situation knowing full-well that his production in 2016 will go a long way in determining his fate as a free agent. One issue with resting Teixeira as suggested is the player who will back him up, Dustin Ackley, has played just 22 games at first base in his career.

If Ackley is a disaster at first base, it might preclude manager Joe Girardi from following a strict rest protocol for Teixeira. Yes, Greg Bird is waiting in the wings, but the Yankees will likely (and wisely) ask Bird to play daily at Triple-A versus once per week in New York.

I imagine the Yankees would be pleased if Teixeira plays in 130-140 games (540 - 580 PA). Anything beyond that is gravy. In such time it wouldn't be surprising if Teixeira is able to crack the 30-HR mark again and drive in 90 or so runs.

And that's precisely the type of performance the Yankees would need from him in order to contend in the American League East. Consequently, those results are what Teixeira needs in order to garner one last multiyear contract. It's a match made in baseball heaven.

Tags: Mark Teixeira

Baseball Night in NY: Chapman 00:03:45
The panel discusses Joe Girardi's announcement that Aroldis Chapman will enter the 2016 season as the Yankees' closer.

The panel discusses Joe Girardi's announcement that Aroldis Chapman will enter the 2016 season as the Yankees' closer.


Six Yankees file for salary arbitration
(Brad Penner)

Dustin Ackley, Aroldis Chapman, Nathan Eovaldi, Didi Gregorius, Ivan Nova, and Michael Pineda all filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday.

All of the above players (except for Chapman, who was later acquired from the Reds) were tendered contracts by the Yankees in December.

If the Yankees are unable to agree to contracts with any or all of the above players, their salary will be determined by an arbitrator in February.

Tags: Ivan Nova , Didi Gregorius , Dustin Ackley , Michael Pineda , Nathan Eovaldi

Yankees acquire Olson and Torreyes from Dodgers
(Troy Taormina)

The Yankees have acquired LHP Tyler Olson and IF Ronald Torreyes from the Dodgers in exchange for IF Rob Segedin and a PTBNL or cash, it was announced on Tuesday night.

Both Olson and Torreyes had been recently designated for assignment by the Dodgers.

Olson, 26, had a 5.40 ERA and 2.10 WHIP in 13 1/3 innings pitched for the Mariners last season. He had been traded to the Dodgers after the season.

Torreyes, 23, had two hits in six at-bats last season for the Dodgers. He hit .261 with a .308 OBP and .347 SLG in Double-A and Triple-A for the Rangers and Dodgers.

Segedin, 27, hit .287 with a .360 OBP and .426 SLG with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season.

 

Tags: Danny Abriano

Chapman to be Yankees' closer to start spring training
(Rick Osentoski/USATSI)

Manager Joe Girardi said the New York Yankees will open spring training with newly-acquired reliever Aroldis Chapman as the team's closer (Jan. 11).

Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances all ranked in the top three in strikeouts and strikeout rate among all relievers in baseball last season. 

Though Miller was the Yankees' closer last year after recording 36 saves in 38 chances with a 2.04 ERA and 0.86 WHIP, he said he was willing to adjust his role to help the team (Dec. 29, 2015).

Chapman, who may be subject to MLB discipline for his role in a domestic violence incident, went 33 for 36 in save opportunities last season with the Cincinnati Reds, recording a 1.63 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. 

Betances was tied for fourth in the majors with 29 holds last season, serving as Miller's primary setup man. He did fill in and record nine saves last year, though also blew four saves. Betances, 27, struck out 131 batters in 84 innings and recorded a 1.50 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.

Immediately after the Yankees traded for Chapman, GM Brian Cashman said the organization's plan was to keep all three relievers instead of trading one of them for depth elsewhere.

"There's a lot of ground to cover between now and Opening Day, with a lot of this subject matter that's still unresolved," Cashman said last month (Dec. 28, 2015). "That's all for another day. I think we are definitely an improved team with this addition to go along with the other pieces in our 'pen."


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

One of the running jokes last season was that Girardi refused to anoint Miller his closer even after he had locked down numerous saves for the club. Girardi wasted no time tabbing Chapman with the distinction.

The potential suspension will force Girardi to mix and match with Betances and Miller when the season begins, but knowing Chapman is the closer when he would return is hardly shocking. Chapman is the prototypical closer with his overpowering fastball which he consistently ratchets up into triple-digits on the radar gun. Further, the club didn't trade away four minor leaguers for him to serve as a setup man in what might be a single season with the club.

The other reason Chapman makes sense as the Yankees' closer is because it can be argued that Betances and Miller -- despite their own dominant performances the last two seasons -- provide more value as setup men considering their experience in such roles and their ability to record more than three outs in a game. This would allow Girardi utilize Chapman at the beginning of the ninth inning more often than not.

Tags: Andrew Miller , Dellin Betances

Castro to serve as backup third baseman
Starlin Castro will be the Yankees' second baseman, but GM Brian Cashman said he will be a backup third baseman. (Dennis M. Wierzbicki/USATSI)

In addition to being the New York Yankees' primary second baseman, Starlin Castro will also be a potential backup third baseman for Chase Headley, according to GM Brian Cashman (Jan. 11).

Castro, whom the Yankees acquired from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for RHP Adam Warren, has not played third base since 2008, when he played for the Cubs' Rookie League team. He spent most of his time as a shortstop or second baseman.

Cashman suggested Castro would be able to fill in at third base if needed instead of Alex Rodriguez.

"Alex is a DH," Cashman said.

Cashman also said there were no plans to put neither Dustin Ackley at third base, as he can play second base, first base and all three outfield positions; nor Rob Refsnyder, as Cashman said he wanted to avoid putting him in a utility role.

"That's not a conversation that we've had," Cashman said. "Right now, our focus is still for him at second, but I'll always leave the door open for us to adjust as we move forward. … Obviously if we have an injury on the left side of the infield, (Refsnyder can come up to play second base, and) Castro can swing over."


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

Roster versatility has become a big facet to the success of baseball clubs in recent years, so utilizing the talents of a player already on the roster to fill a potential void during the season makes sense. Castro being the backup plan for Headley also suggests that Refsnyder might be more important as a member of the organization rather than as a trade chip going into this season.

This is because Castro could also be the backup at shortstop if Didi Gregorius suffers a long-term injury. There is the potential that if any of the infielders besides first baseman Mark Teixeira is injured, Refsnyder could be the first choice to fill a spot.

The notion of a rotating bench spot, much like the Yankees used for the bullpen slot last season is an intriguing option and viable with Castro's ability to handle multiple positions. Going this route would also allow the Yankees to provide valuable major league experience to youngsters at multiple positions and eliminate the need to pay a veteran for a singular bench spot with little playing time attached to it.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez , Chase Headley , Didi Gregorius , Dustin Ackley , Mark Teixeira , Rob Refsnyder

Yankees sign two to minor-league deals
Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley dives back to second as Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jonathan Diaz tries to tag him out on the pick off attempt during the seventh inning at Progressive Field. (Ken Blaze/USATSI)

The Yankees signed infielder Jonathan Diaz and RHP Tyler Jones to minor-league deals on Monday (Jan. 11).

Diaz, 30 played second base, shortstop, center field and left field for the Blue Jays last season, and has seen time at third base. He played just seven games in the majors last year and spent most of his time with Triple-A Buffalo. He has played 35 games in the majors with the Blue Jays and Red Sox since 2013, hitting .145 with no home runs and six RBIs.

Jones, 25, is a reliever who pitched in the minors with the Atlanta Braves' organization last season. He had a 2.50 ERA in 49 appearances across High-A and Double-A, recording 22 saves in 25 chances. He totaled 65 strikeouts in 54 innings.


Baseball Night in NY: HOF Cases 00:03:52
The Baseball Night in New York panel discusses which retired Yankees have a chance at making the Hall of Fame.

Yankees acquire RHP Kirby Yates
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Kirby Yates (49) throws a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement)

The Yankees have acquired RHP Kirby Yates from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations, according to Jack Curry of YES (Jan. 8).

Yates, 28, is 1-2 with a 5.27 ERA in 57 career relief appearances over two seasons with Tampa Bay. He was acquired by Cleveland in November and later designated for assignment.

New York's 40-man roster now stands at 38. 

Tags: Tim Reilly

Starlin Castro writes about trade to Yankees

Starlin Castro, who the Yankees acquired from the Cubs last month for Adam Warren, writes about that experience in the Players' Tribune (Jan. 7).

After discussing his time with the Cubs, Castro goes into detail about how he was welcomed by the Yankees, writing that he's here to win and that he "couldn't be happier." 

"Luckily for me, I've been welcomed with open arms," Castro writes. "Several of my new teammates have reached out to say how excited they are about next season. Carlos Beltrán, who I played against when he was in St. Louis and whose career I admire, got in touch with me right away - and already has made me feel like part of the group."

Castro's favorite "Welcome to New York" moment was a phone call from Yankees legend Reggie Jackson.

"That's the sort of call that you dream about as a kid," Castro writes. "…and it really was a dream come true: Reggie had so much advice and encouragement for me - and said that he was looking forward to working with me in spring training. I think I smiled for the rest of the day after we got off the phone."

Castro, 25, is entering the fifth season of an eight-year deal worth just over $60 million.

Last season for the Cubs, while adjusting to a move to second base, Castro hit .265 with a .296 OBP and .375 SLG to go along with 11 HR and 69 RBI.


Posada, Ramirez among players to be on 2017 HOF ballot
New York Yankees first baseman Jorge Posada at bat during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. (Michael L. Stein-US PRESSWIRE)

Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada will be added to the Hall of Fame ballot in 2017.

Along with Posada, Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Vladimir Guerrero will be up for election for the first time next year.

Players need at least 75 percent of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, who on Wednesday elected Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza into Cooperstown, to check off their name on the ballot in order to earn election into Cooperstown.

Qualified senior members of the BBWAA are wrtiers who have 10 or more consecutive years of covering the sport. As it currently stands, voters can select a maximum number of 10 players for election. According to the BBWAA, 41.6 percent of the voters had full ballots, while the average ballot contained 7.95 names.

In November, the Hall of Fame's board of directors decided to retain the 10-player limit as opposed to raising the maximum number of votes to 12, as propsed by the BBWAA.

Posada, who ended his career with a .273/.374/.474 batting line, hit 275 home runs, 1,065 RBIs and 1,664 hits in his 17-year baseball career, all spent in pinstripes.

Fifteen players will return to the ballot in 2017 after receiving the minimum 5 percent for re-consideration, including Jeff Bagwell (71.6 percent), Tim Raines (69.8 percent), Trevor Hoffman (67.3 percent), Curt Schilling (52.3 percent), Roger Clemens (45.2 percent), Barry Bonds (44.3 percent), Edgar Martinez (43.4 percent) and Mike Mussina (43 percent).

Looking ahead to the future, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Andruw Jones, Scott Rolen, Johnny Damon and Omar Vizquel will all be eligible for the first time in 2018.

In 2019, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Todd Helton and Roy Halladay will be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Derek JeterJason Giambi and Bobby Abreu will be on the ballot for the first time in 2020.

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

It's going to be fun to see the Yankees' "Core Four" begin to trickle onto Hall of Fame ballots and it will be enjoyable to hear the subsequent debates about their qualifications. Posada was certainly a key member of the five most recent Yankees championship teams, but I believe his candidacy will fall short in the end.

Posada, who was never credited with being a good defensive catcher, accumulated some fine offensive statistics but was in the top 10 of American League MVP voting just twice in his career.

During a stretch from 1998 through 2010 (when Posada was a mainstay in the Yankees lineup), the Posada kept pace with fellow catcher Ivan Rodriguez (considered by many to be a shoe-in for eventual election) in terms of WAR per FanGraphs' measure (45.3 to 44.9). The problem is, Rodriguez had amassed considerable accomplishments before Posada took charge in New York, finishing his career with 68.7 fWAR compared to Posada's 44.3 mark.

Posada was quite good which should provide him enough backers to remain on the ballot for the 10-year period. But Posada was not great, and as such will likely fall well short of votes required to be elected by the BBWAA.

Tags: Matt Eisenberg

Mussina, Clemens miss out on Hall of Fame election
(Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE)

Former Yankees pitchers Mike Mussina and Roger Clemens missed out on election to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday night, falling shy of the 75 percent needed for enshrinement.

Both Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected, with Griffey (99.3 percent) breaking Tom Seaver's all-time percentage record.

Mussina, who was in his third year on the ballot, received 43 percent of the vote. He received 30.2 percent last year.

During his 18-year career, which included eight seasons with the Yankees, Mussina went 270-153 while posting a 3.68 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He struck out 2,813 batters.

Clemens, who was in his fourth year on the ballot, received 45.2 percent of the vote after receiving 37.5 percent last year. He has been kept out so far due to the claims that he used illegal performance enhancing drugs, which includes his mention in the Mitchell Report.

Clemens spent six of his 24 seasons with the Yankees. Overall during his career, he went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.17 WHIP while winning seven Cy Young awards. He struck out 4,672 batters -- third on the all-time list. 


Which roster weaknesses can Yankees fully address before spring?
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (right) and general manager Brian Cashman during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement)

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

In approximately six weeks the New York Yankees begin spring training workouts. Unfortunately, there are at least four areas of their roster that show signs of weakness with little time left to upgrade. Some of the areas might be remedied in time, while others will be difficult to effect change before the season commences.

Another RH power bat would be nice

Look, no one expected Alex Rodriguez to drill 33 home runs in 2015, and surely we cannot anticipate a reproduction of those efforts in 2016 by the 40-year-old. Can we?

Even if we figure Rodriguez is good for 20 homers, where is the rest of the right-handed power coming from? Mark Teixeira might hit just over a handful of homers from the right side last season (seven of his 31 homers in 2015 came as a right-handed hitter), and after that they're going to be few and far between. If Teixeira is injured, his likely replacement, Greg Bird, hits solely from the left side.

That leaves switch-hitters Carlos Beltran and Chase Headley, along with right-handed hitting Starlin Castro as the other hitters in the projected everyday lineup against southpaws. That trio hit 19 combined home runs from the right side in 2015. The Yankees could use Aaron Hicks, another switch-hitter, from the right side as well (six home runs from the right side in 114 plate appearances), but he's not set to be an everyday player so at the best he is likely replacing potential homers from Beltran.

The left-handed hitting heavy lineup cost the Yankees down the stretch and they are set up with much of the same issues for 2016 unless there is a truly unforeseen move in the near future.

Speaking of Teixeira's backup

Many fans want Bird to be on the major league squad when the team breaks camp, but the likelihood of that happening without Teixeira (or maybe A-Rod) being injured is slim.

One of the keys to this season is getting Teixeira regular rest from his duties on the field; I'm thinking at least once per week. The Yankees need his offensive production and I believe it can be elevated with some more downtime. The problem is, with Bird assumed to be in Triple-A, the Yankees do not employ a legit first base backup option.

As of now, a majority of plate appearances at first base that do not go to Teixeira will likely be taken by Dustin Ackley who has played 22 of his 607 career games at first base. The Yankees had a true backup last season (Garrett Jones), but the team misplayed him (or didn't play him enough) and he withered away on the bench, ultimately designated for assignment.

Again, if there is a required disabled list stint in Teixeira's future, Bird will be called up. But what if Teixeira has those little ailments that typically befall him which last five, six or seven days? The Yanks will be stuck with an inexperienced player at one of the most important positions on the field.

Who's in the middle?

When it comes to the Yankees bullpen, we only know that the backend which is comprised of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and to some extent (because of a potential suspension) Aroldis Chapman, is expected to be dominant. But how will games get from the starter to the imposing back end of the bullpen?

The Yankees do have options in the system, some of which received ample time on the major league roster in 2015. We can figure that the club will employ one more lefty for the middle innings and I think the Yanks have a good crop of three players to utilize. One of Jacob Lindgren, James Pazos or Chasen Shreve will win the role out of spring training with the other two ready to pounce if the incumbent falters or in case of an injury.

The Yankees will also see at least one starter get pushed to the bullpen assuming good health across the board. It's possible that the Yanks have two starters in the pen if the team cannot trade Ivan Nova and they want to use Bryan Mitchell as a reliever (Jan. 4). One or both of those pitchers could be used simply in long relief and mop up roles.

In my view the club needs a veteran right-handed setup man. Relying on whichever starter misses the cut or several rotating arms (Nick Goody, Branden Pinder and Nick Rumbelow) from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre shuttle is not prudent. The Yankees need to have some stability in the setup role, and this is especially necessary with Chapman presumably gone for an unknown period of time when the season begins.

No clear cut ace - again

Forget about the fact that the Yankees rotation members each have some sort of questionable issue attached to their name, there isn't a single one of them that profiles right now as an ace. Of the weaknesses mentioned finding an ace-caliber starter is one least likely to happen before spring training.

There is a chance Masahiro Tanaka or Michael Pineda realize their complete upside, and Nathan Eovaldi could take the next step after making significant strides in his development last season. But a transition to an elite pitcher is going to take some work and honestly a bit of luck for these pitchers.

We cannot expect Luis Severino to take control of the rotation with just 62 1/3 innings under his belt. And to suspect to get premier production from CC Sabathia, Nova or Mitchell is foolhardy.

Lacking a true ace does not necessarily spell doom for the club - look at the Kansas City Royals' rotation the last two seasons - but it would surely help to know there is a stopper every five days. Based on what we know from 2015, the Yankees don't have that type of pitcher; they simply have some potential aces that have an abundance of work to do to get to that level.

What's it all mean?

The Yankees have some time to figure things out, but it seems as though any resolution to these weaknesses will mostly come from within, and the ones that cannot be fixed will remain limitations as the season begins. 

Finding an impact bat from the right side doesn't fit the Yanks' current budget, and would likely require similar salary reduction from the current roster (for example; trading Miller AND Brett Gardner, and then adding Justin Upton).

The only area I can see them signing an impact player via free agency is for a veteran right-handed middle reliever, and even then it might go against what they've set out to accomplish where it regards free agency - avoid it for now.

Finally, keep in mind, if the club is in contention near the trade deadline and any of these weaknesses linger where a remedy is deemed necessary, it could push the team to make an addition via trade. None of these flaws are of the doomsday variety, but when we're talking about the difference between a few wins over the course of the season, eliminating as many shortcomings as possible surely helps.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez , Carlos Beltran , Dustin Ackley , Greg Bird , Mark Teixeira , Masahiro Tanaka , Christopher Carelli

Luis Dorante returns as manager of Charleston RiverDogs
Dec 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Yankees logo during the MLB winter meetings at Gaylord Opryland Resort . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

The New York Yankees announced that Luis Dorante will return as the manager of their Single-A affiliate Charleston RiverDogs in 2016, making it his third season as the club's skipper. The RiverDogs went 71-69 and 66-74 in Dorante's first two seasons as the team's manager. 

Before joining the RiverDogs in 2014, Dorante served as the bullpen coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2008-2010. Dorante was also the first base coach for the Trenton Thunder, the Yankees Double-A Affiliate, in 2012 and 2013.

Greg Colbrunn will be joining the staff as the team's hitting coach. This will be Colbrunn's third stint as hitting coach for the RiverDogs, having held the position from 2007-2009 and 2011-2012. He also served one year as the RiverDogs' manager in 2010. Since leaving the team after the 2012 season, Colbrunn joined the Boston Red Sox as their hitting coach, helping the team win a World Series championship in 2013. 

Justin Pope joins Dorante's staff after serving as the pitching coach for the Pulaski Yankees in the Appalachian League last season, where he coached the team's pitching staff to a league best 3.08 ERA. Pope was previously the manager of the Staten Island Yankees from 2012-2013.

Travis Chapman will be returning for his second season as the RiverDogs' defensive coach. Chapman has been in the Yankees organization for several years, making his managerial debut with the GCL Yankees in 2014.

Michel Hernandez will coach the catchers on the RiverDogs in 2016, making it his fourth year coaching in the Yankees organization. Hernandez spent his first two seasons as a coach with the GCL Yankees, and then served as the defensive coach in Double-A Trenton last season.


Can the Mets & Yankees match up for a trade?

The Yankees are asking for a top, young starting pitcher in return for LH reliever Andrew Miller (Jan. 2, 2015).

As such, the Daily News reporter John Harper wants the Yankees to trade Miller and Brett Gardner to the Mets for Zack Wheeler, Rafael Montero and Alejandro De Aza (Jan. 4, 2015).

"For the Mets, Gardner would be a nice addition as a center fielder and leadoff hitter," he explains. "Miller, meanwhile, would pair with Jeurys Familia to give the Mets a lock-down bullpen that would enhance the dominance of their young starters and dramatically improve their chances of winning a championship over the next three seasons - while both Gardner and Miller are under contract."

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV
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Putting aside the minimal chances this would come to fruition, the prospect is intriguing. There is little doubt that the Yankees are eager to bring aboard a young starter with significant upside and Wheeler certainly fits the bill. I can see some use for Montero as Harper suggests, but De Aza profiles to be a bit player, which the Yankees don't need (especially for the cost).

Obviously, Wheeler is the key here. All through this offseason, I've been stressing that the Yankees need to add a No. 1 or No. 2 starter, so this makes absolute sense. I'm also of the mindset that neither Gardner nor Miller on their own offer enough to get a deal done, but packaging them in the same trade is quite interesting. If the Yankees decided that this was a viable option, it would take a sizable chunk of change off their books, and maybe then they'd look to add a top free agent OF, like Justin Upton, with some of the savings.

Here's some reaction from MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone with how he views the proposed deal from the other team's perspective...

Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com
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Miller and Familia would be awesome together, especially in tandem with the team's rotation. I actually have no problem parting with Wheeler to get him, since it fills a need in a big way for the entire season by pulling from what isn't a strength until late summer. I also like that Miller is under contract through 2018, making $9 million a season, so it's not like trading Wheeler for a rental player. In the position the Mets are in, I'd actually consider a one-for-one swap. It's the other parts and pieces that complicate the deal...

Tags: Christopher Carelli
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