Monday, April 7, 2014

So who here can play the infield?

Eduardo Nunez reacts after grounding out to end
Goodbye Nunez
It came out in Newsday that Eduardo Nunez had asked for his release when he was informed that he did not make the team, the team obligated him and designated him for assignment to add Yangervis Solarte to the roster. However Mark Teixeira hurt his hamstring in the series against the Blue Jays and with the designation of Eduardo Nunez the Yankees have no real depth in their infield in fact every infielder they have is either on the 25 man roster or on the disabled list, so when Teixeira went down they had to call up a Austin Romine who has no experience at any position other than catcher. In fact of the three catchers on the roster right now only Francisco Cervelli has any experience at any position other than Catcher and he has eight total innings at third and second as a pro baseball player. That’s it, of all five catchers on the roster John Ryan Murphy played several games at third when they thought about moving him from catcher and Gary Sanchez has one inning at 1st, every other game in their entire pro careers for all five catchers has been at Catcher or DH.

So what this means is that the Yankees are going to use Kelly Johnson as their everyday 1st baseman and might use Francisco Cervelli there, they do currently have him taking ground balls at first, I doubt that they want to use him there but they probably do not want to use Kelly Johnson at first either. What irks me a little is how the Yankees knew that they had very little experience at first outside of mark Teixeira and they neglected to play any of their infielders at 1st base, especially since they were trying get their young catchers into as many games as possible and evidently never thought to put any of them at 1st during spring training.
Corban Joesph could help as he is playing at first in AAA Scranton and he played a game at first for the Yankees last season, but he is relatively new to the position as he has mostly played as a 2nd baseman. He is also not on the 40 man roster right now as he was removed this offseason and so obviously the Yankees do not have a ton of belief in him and they would also need to remove someone from the 40 man and so unless another infielder or two go down then it seems unlikely he will be back with the team.

Obviously the depth situation will get better when Brendan Ryan gets back from the disable list but it’s not as though he will help with the current 1st base issue and frankly we have no idea how long he will be out for, he may even be out longer than Teixeira will be. It’s still possible that the Yankees will acquire someone, I mean Stephen Drew is still out there and Eduardo Nunez can still be traded for someone by the 11th. If you were wondering the Yankees could not add Nunez back to the 40 man unless he passed through waivers, which seems unlikely. These two early Infield injuries further emphasize how the Yankees have a real need in the infield, but so far they have not been able to make a move to bolster the infield. Until the Yankees make a move they may be grabbing players on the waiver wire to bolster their depth quite a bit until they have a more permanent solution. It’s still much too early to really find a team that might be willing to trade a piece and until then we are just going to have to hope that nobody else will get hurt. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Eduardo Nunez Designated for assignment

Eduardo Nunez has been Designated for assignment to give Yangervis Solarte a 40 man roster spot. So this has been a rough week for Eduardo as he lost the competition for the last 25 manroster spot to Yangervis Solarte, then Solarte took his number and now Solarte has taken his 40 man spot as well. No word on if Solarte has also kicked Nunez's dog or taken his girlfriend too but I assume that both of those have either already happened or will happen shortly.
Seriously though I am pretty surprised that the team DFA Nunez as I assumed they wanted to keep him for infield depth but apparently not, it would have seemed a better idea to DFA Preston Claiborne but I guess the team had other ideas, they probably feel that Nunez can slip through waivers now that all the rosters are set.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weird 2014 Predictions

So instead of doing the standard predictions for the season we decided that we would have some different predictions for at least April. If you have not already listened to the Podcast then do so, but here are our predictions and we will see if any of them are correct in a month.


7th inning doublesAlfonso SorianoBrendan RyanBrett Gardner
Non-Nunez ErrorsKelly JohnsonBrendan RyanCarlos beltran
Batters hitMichael PinedaDellin BetancesHiroki Kuroda
HBPKelly JohnsonFrancisco CervelliBrian McCann

A True Yankee Podcast 2014 Season

Nick, Chris and Brooke review the Yankees off season, discuss the acquisition of Tanaka and the loss of Robinson Cano. We also talk about what the Yankees still need to do and how this team looks going into the new season. Finally we make some interesting predictions about the teams performance through April. Also after our podcast Yangervis Solarte made the team over Eduardo Nunez, Nunez was optioned to Triple  A.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Michael Pineda is the 5th starter

He is still only 25
Coming into spring training the competition for the Yankees 5th starter spot was between David Phelps, Michael Pineda, Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren, but really nobody expected it to be anyone but either Phelps or Pineda. This was not a rigged competition where Pineda was going to win no matter what, but I think that they wanted Pineda to take this opportunity to show what he could do and that is exactly what he did. Phelps had a good spring, but in his two major league seasons he has not done anything to make people believe he is anything more than a back of the rotation starter and Pineda was an all star in Seattle and is still only 25, actually two years younger than Phelps.

Pineda and Phelps both had good springs, but more importantly for Pineda his stuff looked very good and his velocity crept upward as spring training went along, that slider of his looked very crisp as well. The Yankees have also expressed confidence in him, saying that he will have no innings limit this season, but they may just be trying to avoid any controversy around an innings limit.

Phelps and Warren will be in the bullpen, as might Vidal Nuno but I would not be surprised if all of these guys start for the Yankees at some point this season as teams always need more than five starters and the Yankees have not used fewer than eight in a season since 1975 and a team usually has a 6th starter that they use pretty heavily throughout the season.

The Montero-Pineda trade was two years ago and we still haven't seen the debut of Michael Pineda, but now it will happen on April 5th in Toronto and I for one am very excited about this and if Pineda does find success and Nova is able to be more consistent  then the Yankees could suddenly have a young power rotation with Tanaka, Nova and Pineda all young and under control for the next several seasons.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The 25 man roster approaches

For the most part the Yankees 25 man roster is set, we are really down to the last three or four spots on the roster and it seems likely that the Yankees already know who they will be taking with them. The Yankees do not have any obvious release candidates on their 40 man roster and so their options related to who makes the team a are somewhat limited. The 5th starter competition ended up being a two man race between David Phelps and Michael Pineda and it would seem that while you can make the argument for Phelps the Yankees love what they have seen with Pineda. I guess theoretically they could send Pineda down to the minors to start the year but I do not think that's what they are going to do. Obviously this does not really change the roster as Phelps will be in the bullpen and even if Pineda was sent down to the minors then I expect Nuno would simply go to the bullpen.

The bench and bullpen are a little more interesting as you have to take the 40 man roster crunch into account when looking at who will make the team. Five of the spots are pretty much guaranteed as Adam Warren, David Robertson, Shawn Kelly, Matt Thorton and presumably David Phelps are all going to be in the bullpen. That leaves two spots in the bullpen open and it seems likely that Dellin Betances will make the team but that still leaves a spot open in the bullpen. Chris Leroux and Matt Daley have been great this spring pitching a combined 18 innings with sixteen strikeouts to eight total base runners, however neither of these guys has faced many MLB quality bats this spring and while relievers do have a hard time facing quality opponents in spring training, neither of these pitchers is on the 40 man roster and would it really be worth designating someone to carry one of these guys on the 25 man roster? Neither Preston Claiborne nor Cesar Cabral has had a particularly good spring and haven't faced opponents any better than Daley or Leroux but their being on the 40 man roster likely gives them a leg up on them. If I had to guess I would say that the Yankees will probably go with Betances and Claiborne to fill out their bullpen as it would allow them to maximize their depth, remember Cody Eppley broke camp with the team last year after an awful spring but they did not wait long to designate him for assignment and that could be what happens here with Claiborne.I also expect that they will keep Nuno in AAA as rotation depth in case they quickly need a starter early on in the season. The bullpen will change as the season goes on and its very possible that Leroux and Daley will end up in the Yankees bullpen at some point this season but I expect they will go to Scranton to start the year.

The story of the bench battle is a little different as the only way Ichiro or Cervelli were not going to be on the bench was if they were traded away and it seems unlikely that a trade for either player will happen at this point in the spring, but it still remains a possibility. Their was initially only going to be one spot to battle for and it seemed likely that Eduardo Nunez would keep his job, but with Brendan Ryan going down with a variety of injuries it would seem likely that Eduardo Nunez will make the team based on the fact that he has major league experience, but of all the bench spot competitors he has arguably had the worst spring. With Sizemore still not looking 100% ready it seems likely that he will go to the minors to start the season, which really leaves Yangervis Solarte, Dean Anna and I suppose Zelous Wheeler to compete over the last bench spot, none of whom have any time in the majors. Solarte is a switch hitter who is raking this spring and had a very good last two years in AAA, however this is only 39 PA and Solarte played in the hitter friendly Pacific coast league the last two years. We see this all the time where a player hits the crap out of the ball in spring training and then goes to the majors or the minors and does absolutely nothing, the same is true for Anna or Wheeler but at least Wheeler and Solarte have actually hit this spring and they have all faced around the same quality of pitchers. Again just like with Claiborne, Dean Anna's being on the 40 man roster will likely be the deciding factor as they would not want to risk losing the depth given Ryan's injury, in this case if Anna is terrible then they can remove him from the 40 man and bring up someone from the minors or wait out his terribleness until Ryan comes back but if they lose him on waivers by designating him now then they would need Solarte to play even if he was playing poorly. The other factor in this is simply that Anna is regarded as a glove man and that is what the Yankees need to replace Brendan Ryan with right now and so it would be a surprise to me if Anna did not make the team.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Is it finaly time for Betances?

Betances in spring training
Dellin Betances was one of the top Yankee prospects a few years ago but despite some good signs along the way he was never able to harness his stuff as a starter and was moved into the bullpen. Betances has had a taste of the majors last season and in 2011, but was not successful in either brief September stint. However this Spring Betances has looked very good as he has pitched 5.1 scoreless innings, giving up only one hit and two walks, while striking out four batters and the Yankees are definitely trying to see if he can break camp with the team. Betances has great stuff with a great swing and miss curveball, a fastball that is mid to upper 90’s, a slider that he almost never uses and a changeup that has really yo-yoed around in terms of effectiveness.  This arsenal of pitches and Dellins imposing 6’8 body has made the Yankees keep him in the rotation for as long as they could but last season they finally relented and put him in the bullpen where he was much improved, putting up a 1.35 ERA in the Scranton bullpen as opposed to 6.00 as a starter. 

Betances was taken by the Yankees in the 8th round of the 2006 draft and they gave him $1 million to sign but here we are in his 9th year as a Pro and it might finally be his time, he does have another minor league option available for this season but the Yankees need help in their bullpen and Dellin can step right in and be the pitcher that the Yankees need and turn himself from a hard throwing prospect who could never put it together into a true major league contributor.  Dellin has definitely been frustrated with his slow progress and unfortunately he has been for a while, maybe especially because he is a gy who grew up a Yankees fan in Washington Height, Manhattan and he wants to be able to show everyone that the Yankees did not make a mistake by sticking with him and right now this spring training is probably the most important point in his career because he can do that.