New York Yankees Analysis: What does Kluber, Taillon, and O’Day bring to the Yankees? (videos)

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

Corey Kluber:

The New York Yankees signed Corey Kluber to a one year $11 million contract. Kluber could be as good a pitcher as Gerrit Cole if he can return to form. In 2018 he had 20 wins for the Indians. He is a two-time Cy Young Award winner that has 18 wins in both 2016 and 2017. If you can believe that Yankee slugger can have another 2017 season, you can also believe the same with Kluber.

New York Yankee fans will be delighted to watch Corey pitch. One of the reasons he is so successful is that he is a five-pitch pitcher that can complete games. Kluber throws five pitches: a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a cutter, a breaking ball, and a change. His strikeout pitch is his dominant two-seam sinker. He has been a workhorse and will be unfazed by playing in New York as he is stoic on the mound and doesn’t lose his cool. By all accounts, he is also a nice guy and a good teammate.

Kluber’s award-winning pitching style includes five pitches, one of the keys to his pitching success. He most recently relied mostly on his two-seam fastball that he throws at 92 mph and throws as a sinker. He also relies on his 84 mph slider. He mixes in the changeup, cutter, and his  92 mph four-seam fastball. Kluber is not just a power thrower; he is a pitchers pitcher who has good command and limits home runs.

Kluber’s nickname is “Klubot.”


Jameson Taillon:

Jameson Taillon is another pitcher that didn’t pitch last year. His 2019 campaign was cut short when he needed Tommy John surgery. He rehabbed over the offseason and during the 2020 season. Completely recovered, he will be ready to pitch on day one of the 2021 season.

From 2013 to 2019, he threw 7,285 pitches, all of them occurring in the MLB Regular Season. In 2019, he relied primarily on his Slider (89mph), Fourseam Fastball (95mph), and Sinker (95mph); he also mixes in and curveball and changeup. Taillon is a totally different pitcher than Kluber, which is good if one follows the other. Taillon gets a lot of ground balls. His fastball is straight as an arrow and is his strikeout pitch.

With the trade, the Yankees have team control of him until the end of the 2022 season, when he will become a free agent. Taillon reinvented himself as a pitcher after his second Tommy John surgery. He now uses his legs more, which takes the string off his elbow. If Taillon can return to his former form, he could be a number two starter; it all depends on how Cole and Kluber pitch.

By bringing Taillon on board, the Yankees are reuniting him with Gerrit Cole. He and Cole are great friends. They played in the minors together and with the Pittsburgh Pirates during 2018 and 2018, so he will feel right at home. Taillon’s name is pronounced “Tie-own.”

Darren O’Day:

The addition of Darren O’Day to the New York Yankee’s bullpen give the bullpen an all-new look. The Yankees can now bring in a submariner in relief. A submarine pitch is when the ball is released, often just above the ground but not underhanded, with the torso bent at a right angle, causing the hips to pivot. His submarine pitch is not extreme and is almost like a sidearm. The pitch confuses many hitters as they don’t see that type of pitch frequently.

This past week O’Day signed a one-year contract with the Yankees for $2.5 million. The contract also has a team/player option for 2022. O’Day last year in 19 games was 4-0 with a minuscule ERA of just 1.10, better than any Yankee reliever last season. O’Day pitches well against right-handed batters, which makes him a somewhat natural replacement for Ottavino. He throws almost comically soft by today’s standards; his fastball has sat around 86 miles per hour over his last few seasons. He doesn’t give up home runs, and when hitters hit him, it’s for soft contact, usually resulting in ground balls.

O’Day gives Yankee manager Aaron Boone great versatility with the bullpen. If he has to use multiple relievers in a game, he can drag Green Green out of the pen to throw his fastball, O’Day’s sidearm slider (which resembles an overhand cutter), Britton’s bowling ball, and Chapman’s heater and slider combination. The Yankees like to make opposing hitters dizzy in late innings by making them face relievers with distinct and varied approaches; O’Day brings the ultimate tool to change the hitter’s eye line.

O’Day sounds like a good ole Irish name, but actually, he is of Polish ancestry. His original family name was Odachowski.

New York Yankees: Cashman has a lot to say about the coming season

New York Yankees, Darren O'Day

The New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman took to Zoom yesterday to talk about the rotation, the team, and his hopes to win a World Series. After a very quiet offseason, the Yankees came alive in the past two weeks. The first thing they did was complete the negotiations for the long-awaited resigning of second baseman DJ LeMahieu last year’s batting champ. Once they got that done and knew how much money they had to spend, they immediately signed two-time Cy Young Award-winning Corey Kluber.

In more recent moves, they made a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates giving up four low-level prospects for starting pitcher Jameson Taillon. Then they, in a surprising move, managed to trade diminished reliever Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox in basically a salary dump, making room for more improvements in the team. Just two days ago, they signed quality reliever Darren O’Day a feared sidearm pitcher to bolster the bullpen. According to several sources, the New York Yankees still have about $7 million left to spend while remaining under the Steinbrenner mandated luxury tax threshold.

In a Zoom call on Friday, general manager Brian Cashman had a lot to say about pretty much nothing but indicated that he was pretty happy with what the club had now and could win with:

“The roster’s not complete, ever,’’ Cashman said on a Zoom call Friday. “But at the same time, we’re ready to go with what we have.”

After the season ended, the Yankee pitching staff was pretty much dismantled. Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ became free agents when the Yankees did not offer any of them qualifying offers. Tanaka has since signed a contract with the Eagles of the Nippon Pro League in Japan. Paxton is still a free agent, but Happ has signed with the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees also lost a key cog in the bullpen when Tommy Kahnle refused assignment and then signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cashman said of the team as it is now set up:

“I think if you’re evaluating it, I’ve got quality at all positions,’’ Cashman said. “I’ve got depth in the starting rotation with the additions of Taillon and Kluber that’s pushed everybody, in theory, back.”

Cashman also talked about the return of pitchers Domingo German and Luis Severino. Throughout the offseason, both manager Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman have referred to Severino’s return to the team in June or July. For the first time yesterday, Cashman said of his return as being late in the summer. To me, late in the summer would mean not before August. Why the change in timing is unknown, or it could just be an off the cuff remark. When pressed on the matter of the budget limitations, Cashman had this to say:

“I’m not going to speak about budget or limitations or what our lack of limitations might be,’’ Cashman said. “I’m not here to say that I’m under a mandate we have to be under a tax threshold. … But I do know this: the Steinbrenner family has always been supportive. We tried to reconfigure the game plan appropriately and come up with a roster that’s maybe a little bit stronger, maybe a little bit more resilient,’’ Cashman said. “But that doesn’t mean that’s what going to play out.”

There is no question that the front office had made substantial changes/upgrades in last year’s team when they lost in the ALCS to the better Tampa Bay Rays with one-fourth of the payroll. When asked about the delay in the signings, Cashman had this to say:

“I don’t know if it matters the time frame it takes,’’ Cashman said. “I was very public about what our intent was. When a player becomes a free agent, you have no idea how that’s going to play out. If DJ wanted it to be over in two weeks, he should have just said yes to my first offer.” he also offered on if he is now satisfied with the team ““I can’t tell you I’m satisfied because satisfaction only comes with success,’’ Cashman said. “Every move we make is intended to get us closer to accomplishing a world championship title again. We just won’t find out until later if the decisions we make now, which are intended to have that occur, [are] going to play that way.”

Brian Cashman has always been creative in putting teams together that he hoped can win another World Series for a team that has won 27 World Champions and more championships than any sports franchise in the world, And this year is no different. Well, maybe a bit different as he is relying on returning pitchers that, in some cases, have not pitched in a year and a half. But with the spring training just over two weeks away, the Yankees, who still have a bit of money left and many prospects that can be traded, may still work to improve the team.





New York Yankees News/Rumors: Brian Cashman may not be done, and Joc Pederson signs with the Cubs

The New York Yankee’s general manager Brian Cashman must be happy with the successes he has had in the last week or so. First, he was able to sign DJ LeMahieu to a six-year contract for far less annually than industry sources said it would take. He followed that up by signing two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to an $11 million one year deal. A few days later, he managed to orchestrate a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates to bring starter Jameson Taillon to the Yankees for a mere four low-level prospects.

It had recently come out that Cashman, before the Kluber deal, was in talks with the Pirates to bring both Joe Musgrove and Jameson Taillon to the Bronx. For some unknown reason, that didn’t work out, and Musgrove went to the San Diego Padres for four prospects. Those players were Hudson Head, Omar Cruz, David Bednar, and Drake Fellows. It soon came out that it was a three-team trade.

While the Padres sent southpaw Joey Lucchesi to the New York Mets, the Mets would be sending catching prospect Endy Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since taking over as general manager of the Pirates, Ben Cherington’s best trade is so far. When the dust settled, Cashman signed Kluber and continued to negotiate to get Taillon, which he successfully did.

If you believe that Cashman is done improving the team, you are likely wrong. According to who you want to believe the New York Yankees still have between $6.5 and $8.5 million left in the budget without going over owner Hall Steinbrenner’s mandate that Cash stays below the $210 million luxury tax threshold. Add to that, he has a bevy of high A and low A prospects that are log jamming the minor league system. Many forget that there was a re-alignment of the minor league system this offseason causing the closing down of the Staten Island Yankees and the Pulaski Yankees. The Yankees have to mesh all those players into existing minor league teams.

The Yankees have a considerable amount of shortstops and centerfielders in the system that could very well be used as trade bait to get an additional starter, bullpen help, or more outfield depth. So with prospect aplenty and money left to spend, expect more Yankee acquisitions before spring training that is just over two weeks away.

The New York Yankees still have to decide if they will bring centerfielder and fan-favorite Brett Gardner back for a twelve year with the Yankees. With the most recent addition of Darren O’Day, they could still use another arm in the bullpen. They traded Adam Ottavino in a payroll dump and let Tommy Kahnle walk to the Los Angeles Dodgers when he would accept the Scranton team assignment, making him a free agent. Presently they have a strong late-inning staff of Chad Green, Darren O’Day, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman. Where they are lacking is early and long relief relievers.

If they don’t sign Brett Gardner, they have to decide with reliever Brad Hand out of the picture after signing with the Washington Nationals and Joc Pederson singing with the Chicago Cubs if they still want an outfielder. Also, the Yankees have to address a situation that has received little press. The Yankees cannot go into the regular season with only two catchers. Last year the Yankees had backup catcher Erik Kratz who has since retired. Should either Gary Sanchez or Kyler Higashioka become injured, there would be no backup catcher. Only time will tell what Cashman will do with his remaining assets, but we are likely to know sooner than later.


New York Yankees Analysis: Are the Yankees taking too big a risk with pitching?

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

After the 2020 shortened season, the New York Yankees decided not to give qualifying offers to start pitchers Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ. That left them with only one veteran pitcher, last year’s acquisition of their ace Gerrit Cole. Behind him, they had a bevy of inexperienced, untested, not ready for prime time pitchers that the front office originally said they were satisfied with.

The Yankees instead made their priority the signing of second baseman DJ LeMahieu to a new contract. Those negotiations dragged on for over two months while pitching upgrades went untouched. Early in the offseason, Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner issued a directive that he wanted to stay below the luxury tax threshold of $210 million. With that edict and LeMahieu still dangling out there, and how much it would cost to keep him in pinstripes, general manager Brian Cashman’s hands were tied, not knowing how much money he had to spend on the team’s other needs.

The New York Yankees did make some minor moves by signing Nestor Cortes Jr. and Adam Warren to minor league contracts. Both relievers had pitched for the Yankees before. Finally, last week the Yankees were able to resign LeMahieu last year’s batting champ. Cashman apparently got very creative. Originally it seemed that Yankees might have to pay as much as $25 million a year to keep DJ. The negotiations dragged on because DJ wanted more security than the three-year $75 million contract the Yankees reportedly offered. DJ demanded five years and the talks stalled.

One thing we know about Brian Cashman is that he can be secretive and creative. In the end, he got LeMahieu to sign a six-year deal, but at only $15 million annually, giving Cashman far more flexibility on additional improvements to the team. Before fans could digest the signing, another signing was made hours later. The Yankees signed a one year $11 million contract with Corey Kluber. Kluber is a two-time Cy Young award winner but comes to the team with injury baggage.

The Yankees already have questions with Jordan Montgomery, who is just a season off his Tommy John surgery. Last season he pitched in ten games with a 2-3 record and an elevated 5.11 ERA. This season they will have Domingo German coming back from the suspension; he didn’t pitch at all last season. Joining him midseason will be Luis Severino, returning to the Yankees after not pitching for a season and a half.

The New York Yankees’ next move was to trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates that sent starter Jameson Taillon to the Yankees for four lower-level Yankee prospects. That move was most likely influenced by Gerrit Cole, who was in the minor leagues with him, and they pitched together for the Pirates in 2016 and 2017. At first, this seemed like a huge upgrade for the Yankees, but he too did not pitch last season, coming back from his own Tommy John surgery.

In another surprise move yesterday, the Yankees signed a $2.5 million contract with the 38-year-old reliever Darren O’Day. This acquisition was made possible when the Yankees dumped Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox in their only second trade this century. O’Day is old in pitching terms but will give the bullpen a different look with his pitching submarine style. The Yankees are also familiar with O’Day from their years of facing him with the Baltimore Orioles. But O’Day has his own injury issues.

The New York Yankees have now set themselves up with some great pitchers that could have a high reward for the Yankees without spending a barrel of money, but coming with that is a significant risk. The question is, are the Yankees taking too big a risk? They are betting on all these returning pitchers regaining form and giving them a winning season. The Yankee’s injury history the past two years to otherwise healthy players makes one wonder how this will all pan out.

  1. Gerrit Cole, healthy coming off a 7-3 ERA 2.84 season in 12 games. In his previous two seasons with the Houston Astros, he won 35 games. Cole has been relatively healthy in his career, but in 2016 he was on the IL three times, one a season-ending elbow inflammation.
  2. Cory Kluber’s 2019 season was shortened by a fractured arm. Last season he pitched only one inning after developing a bad should in his first game with the Texas Rangers. In the previous three years, Kluber won 18 or more games. Since 2014 he has been in the Cy Young voting, winning the award twice.
  3. Jameson Taillon did not pitch last season for the Pirates. TJ surgery. Taillon has been in the majors for five years but pitched in only seven games in 2019. Taillon is one of the few pitchers that has had Tommy John surgery twice.
  4. Luis Severino, coming off Tommy John surgery, hasn’t pitched in almost two years. Severino was 19-8 in 2018 with an ERA of 3.39. Severino was an All-Star and Cy Young nominee in two years of his four years with the Yankees, but also had Tommy John surgery, then missed five months in 2019 due to an issue with an inflamed rotator cuff. He later dealt with a lat injury while rehabbing his rotator cuff.
  5. Domingo German did not pitch last season due to suspension. During 2019 he was the Yankees’ most winning pitcher going 18-4 before MLB shut his season down. German has pitched in 38 games over three years.
  6. Jordan Montgomery, a season off from surgery, 2-3 ERA 5.11 in 10 starts during 2020. “Monty” has pitched only 18 games during the last three years with the Yankees. There is a question on how he will hold up in a 162 game season.
  7. Darren O’Day, 38 years old, missed two months in 2018 with a hamstring injury, missed five months in 2019 with a strained forearm. Last season was 4-0 with a 1.10 ERA in 16â…“ innings over 19 games last year with Atlanta and remained healthy.

It’s hard to believe that all of these pitchers will complete the 2021 season without an injury with all these injuries and surgeries. If the Yankees can pull this off, they will be the team to contend with this season. If not, they may have overplayed their cards. Just as likely as one or more of these players miss some time, it is probable that the New York Yankees can still have a good season. This big upside is that if these players can come even close to their best years, we will see you in October.

Much of the Yankees’ 2021 success may lay in the hands of their up and coming pitching prospects. The Yankees will surely have to make adjustments as the season progresses as the pitchers have to have inning limits either from not pitching last season or adjusting to a 162 game season. Deivi Garcia and Clarke Shmidt will surely see innings, especially if the Yankees use a six-man rotation at some point in the season to give pitchers another day of rest.





Darren O’Day provides an elite weapon against right-handed hitters for the Yankees

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are still making waves in the free agent market, even after adding DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber and trading for Jameson Taillon. This time, they decided to bring a veteran, effective bullpen arm in Darren O’Day.

“Sources: Yankees in agreement on a deal with relief pitcher Darren O’Day, pending physical,” The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler tweeted on Wednesday. Other writers confirmed the news.

Much like Adam Ottavino – who was traded in the past few days to the Boston Red Sox in a salary relief move – O’Day is the kind of side-arm righty that is very, very tough on batters of his same hand.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, O’Day will receive $1.75M in 2021. There is a $1.4M player option for 2022 or a $700K buyout. If O’Day declines the option, the New York Yankees have a $3.15M option.

The Yankees are getting a good one

Pitching in the American League East is nothing new for O’Day, who was a member of the Baltimore Orioles from 2012 to 2018.

For his career, the 38-year-old O’Day has a 2.51 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in 604 career games.

Despite his fame as a righty specialist, the Yankees are getting a complete reliever. He has held lefties to a .228/.299/.412 line with a .303 wOBA. Of course, he has been far more effective vs. right-handed hitters, with a stellar .193/.262/.287 and a paltry .248 wOBA.

His 2020 was stellar with the Atlanta Braves. In 16.1 innings, he had a 1.10 ERA and a 2.76 FIP, with 12.12 K/9 and 2.76 BB/9.

While not as dominant and versatile as guys like Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton or Chad Green, the New York Yankees are acquiring what could theoretically be their fourth-best reliever and another reliable arm with an eye on the playoffs.

The Yankees, even after adding O’Day, still have some room in the payroll before hitting the luxury tax threshold of $210M. Will they go for another reliever? Will they seek a left-handed bat?

Report: New York Yankees sign dominant veteran relief pitcher to contract

New York Yankees, Darren O'Day

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made another move this week, signing relief pitcher Darren O’Day, formerly of the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles. After trading Adam Ottavino to the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees opened up $8.15 million in available financial flexibility, and it was only a matter of time before they secured another bullpen arm to support the team.

Cashman has already allocated plenty of resources toward the starting pitching rotation, even if some of the players are coming off significant injuries. He has acquired former Cy Young award-winning pitcher Corey Kluber and traded for Pittsburgh Pirates’ homegrown talent Jameson Taillon.

Taillon is good friends with Gerrit Cole, who both developed in the Pirates’ farm system. Now that both players are on the Yankees, the expectation is they could be a dynamic duo, working off one another and their chemistry.

What are the Yankees getting in Darren O’Day?

However, it was only a matter of time before the Yankees bolstered the bullpen, and O’Day had a phenomenal 2020 season, despite a small sample size. Over 16.1 innings, he recorded a 1.10 ERA with 12.12 strikeouts per nine. He’s not a high ground-ball rate pitcher but records outs regularly and has been a consistent relief arm throughout his career.

His last significant sample size was back in 2017 when he pitched 60.1 innings and recorded a 3.43 ERA. He has always hovered in the double-digit strikeout per nine percentage, and routinely leaves batters on base. He has a career average of 83.7% left on base, an astronomical number that suggests he works his way out of trouble well, especially when brought in to help in tough situations.

The only issue with O’Day is that he is 38 years old but is a 6-foot-4 and 220-pound pitcher, and it seems as if he has a bit of juice left in the tank. The Yankees might be getting the last bit of gas, but he can be an influential player for the team in 2021.