Yankees News/Rumors: Yankee fans get a shot in the arm, golden opportunities, and more

For the first time since the 2019 season, New York Yankees fans and other Bronx, New York residents were allowed in The Great Hall of Yankee Stadium. The Great Hall in the new stadium can hold events for up to 1,500 guests for Cocktail parties, dinners, food drives, Christmas toys for kids,  and concerts on a non-game day. This expansive hall is lined with larger-than-life banners of Yankees legends and beautiful vaulted arches that illuminate the hall with natural light. Now the Yankees have a special use, an inoculation site to administer the Covid vaccine.

The Stadium was opened as a mass vaccination site Friday by officials trying to boost inoculation rates in surrounding Bronx neighborhoods hit hard by the pandemic. Of the five boroughs of New York City, the Bronx has the highest infection rate. The population of the Bronx neighborhoods that surround Yankee stadium is just under 1.4 million residents. The Great Hall will see 13.00 to 15,000 vaccinations each week.

It will initially be open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Officials encouraging people to get vaccinated. The Yankees and officials enlisted former Yankees star relief pitcher Mariano Rivera to help. The Hall of Famer said he wanted to support the people who supported him for so many years. He said, “we saved so many games here, now it’s about saving lives.”

Yankees dump Ottavino, Rockies dump Arenado, what it might mean to the Yankees

Last week, the New York Yankees did what no one thought they could do, they moved Adam Ottavino off the payroll mostly to save near $9 million and open up some dollars to improve the team. In a much bigger move, the Colorado Rockies accomplished something of their own that few thought was possible, they moved Nolan Arenado’s $200 million off their payroll.

The two moves could be for different reasons; the Yankees managed to move Ottavino to a  team the Yankees seldom deal with, the Boston Red Sox. It was seen as a way to free up some money to improve the team. The Colorado Rockies deal with the St. Louis Cardinals might signal a teardown and a rebuild for the team; if that is the case, it could open up some golden opportunities for the Yankees.

If, in fact, a rebuild is the plan for the Rockies, Trevor Story, and Germán Márquez could be the next to go. That would open up some great trade possibilities for the Yankees. The Yankees don’t have the money to buy either player, but they do have some and several prospects they could dangle in front of the Rockies.  Story is a veteran shortstop that hit seven home runs and two triples, and he slugged .864 over the first 10 games of his career. He had an OPS of 1.183. The then-23-year-old hit six home runs over his first four games alone. Story will hit free agency in 2022.

German Marquez could be the big prize for the Yankees if a trade could be completed. There are two huge upsides for the Yankees; he is as good if not better than Jameson Taillon and would fight him for the number three spot in the rotation; if the Yankees can get him, it would give the Bombers a rotation next to none. The other plus is that the Yankees would have control over him through 2024. This would be a costly trade for the Yanks but well worth it if the Rockies are looking to move more payroll.

FanGraphs releases the top Yankee prospects

According to a report by Bleacher Report in January, they rated the New York Yankees as having the 23rd best farm system in baseball, which was a drop from 21st in 2020. MLB.com has the Yankees a 19th up three spots from 2020. But both reports indicate the Yankees have the most upside out of the top ten teams.

Now FanGraphs has released their list of the New York Yankees top 47 prospects in the farm system. It should be no surprise that Jasson Dominguez is number one. The 18-year-old centerfielder, according to the report, will not be ready for the majors until 2025. 2nd is Deivi Garcia, who has already made his Major League debut last season; he is slated to take a bigger part this season. 3rd is Oswald Peraza; the shortstop should be ready next season. 4th is Clark Schmidt, who is Major League ready. 5th is Alexander Vargas, another shortstop. 6th is pitcher Luis Medina who could make his debut this season.

Others that are, according to the report, Major League-ready are pitcher Alexander Vizcaino, pitcher Albert Abreu, Brooks Kriske, and Alfredo Garcia.

 

New York Yankees: Should the Yankees target Rockies RHP Germán Marquez (video)

Although earlier in the offseason, the New York Yankees said they were satisfied with the starting rotation they already had, which has not proven true. Last week, added two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber is still interested in adding more starters. There is no question that the Yankees. have a bright future ahead with some great pitching prospects, but most of them need more time to develop properly.

With the Yankees picking up Kluber and still looking for more help, the Yankees realized they could not depend on untested and inexperienced arms regardless of what they said earlier. Please don’t count on what they say; watch for what they do, and presently looking for more help. In an earlier article today, I exposed the Yankee’s interest in Jameson Taillon, a nice option that would cost the Yankees little in trades. However, even with him, the Yankees have not acquired or traded for a relief pitcher of the stature of Tommy Kahnle, who has left for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

If the Yankees truly want to beef up the bullpen beyond Chad Green, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman, they have to go after a reliever like Germán Marquez. Other than the risk involved in Kluber returning to his previous form, if he pitches well for the Yankees, he will be a free agent at the end of the season and likely want big money to stay with the team. The New York Yankees don’t have a lot of wiggle room going forward. If the Yankees trade for a premium reliever, they should get one that they will have team control over for several years. Marquez fits that bill. He will become a free agent in 2025. He would add $8 million to the payroll next year.

The problem may be prying him away from the Colorado Rockies if the Yankees can do that, it could give the Yankees a substantial arm for the long run. Like many pitchers, he didn’t have a great year last season going 4-6, but he did have a respectable 3.75 ERA, compare that to Jordan Mongomery’s 5.11. Marquez is also a healthy pitcher that started an average of 30 games from 2017 to 2019. He goes an average of six innings in most of his games. At age 25, he is not yet in his prime and will only improve.

Another consideration is that Marquez pitches at Miles High Stadium (Coors Field), where it’s a hitters game. His career ERA there is 5.10, but away more down to earth that ERA drops to 3.51. Marquez misses bats (9.1 career K/9), is stingy with walks (2.4 BB/9), his elite fastball velocity (95.9 mph in 2020, in the 85th percentile), and throws several good secondary offerings, including a curveball and a slider that both had a whiff rate over 40 percent last season. Every indication is that Marquez would pitch better at Yankee Stadium than he does for Colorado.

The big question is, what would the Yankees have to give up to move Marquez to the Bronx? The one sure thing is that it would take several of the Yankee’s best prospects to get a deal done. MLB Network’s Joel Sherman suggests this package:

  • RHP Clarke Schmidt or RHP Deivi Garcia
  • OF Clint Frazier or INF Miguel Andujar
  • RHP Luis Gil or RHP Luis Medina

It is doubtful that the New York Yankees would be all in on a trade that would include Clint Frazier or Deivi Garcia; the others suggested are certainly possibilities. Time will tell as the Yankees hope to improve the team further.

 

 

New York Yankees: Some intriguing moves the Yankees could make before spring training

For the New York Yankees and all the other 29 MLB teams, trade rumors come and go, for the most part, go. The Yankees were tied for some time to shortstop Francisco Lindor, and we know how that turned out, he is now a New York Met. More recently, all the buzz was that the Yankees were likely including Clint Frazier in a trade for Yankee target Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds. That, too, seems mostly gone. The Red has lost so much this offseason, and if they want to contend in the weak NL Central, it’s not likely they will let go of Castillo.

Regardless of the trades that have come and gone, two facts remain. With the re-signing of DJ LeMahiue and acquiring two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, the Yankees only have about $7 million to fill all their other needs. The other fact is that the Yankees, if they want to contend with a weaker East division this season, must still improve their pitching situation with another veteran starter and at least another arm in the bullpen to replace the Los Angeles departing Tommy Kahnle.

With the money nearly gone, there still are some intriguing trades to be made. First, let’s look at the starting pitching. Ace Gerrit Cole has the leadoff position nailed down; beyond that, there are questions. The New York Yankees now project that Corey Kluber will be their number two starter for the upcoming season. They hope to return to his 2018 form and provide a one-two punch that will put fear in opponents’ eyes. That’s when things fall apart to a degree. Next up is Domingo German; if he can pitch as he did during 2019, the Yankees will have a starting rotation that can mow down hitters, but German was beaten up in Winter ball after not pitching for a year. So that remains a question.

Beyond that, the Yankees have Jordan Montgomery, who hasn’t yet pitched an entire season and has been mostly inconsistent. Then there are baby pitchers that have little experience. Yes, around July 1, the Yankees will get Luis Severino back after not pitching for two years. They have no idea what to expect from him, but if he performs as we know he can, it will be a big plus for the Yankees and help them run for the postseason.

With these questions, the Yankees would very much like to have a veteran presence taking up that number three position in the rotation. With no money to acquire a premium arm, it will come via the trade. Here are a few options that will cost little or trades that could make sense, starting with a cheapy.

Zac Gallen age 25:

Zack Gallen of the Diamondbacks, the Yankees could pick up for petty cash. He will earn just $575K in 2021. The Diamondbacks have to be looking at a situation in the NL West that tells them it will be a long time before they can compete. The Los Angeles Dodgers are dominant, and the Padres build up to be a juggernaut for years to come.  There are tremendous pluses to picking up Gallen. The Yankees would have team control for the next five years and the guy puzzles hitters with his diversity of pitches. Last season when so many pitchers underperformed, he was 3-2 with an ERA of 2.75 with 82 strikeouts in 72 innings. He also frequently went deep into games.

Brandon Woodruff age 27:

Woodruff is another starter that the Yankees could probably send cash for. He will earn just over $3 million this year. The Yankees would have control of him for four years before he reaches free agency. His 2020 season was not tops, but he is a strikeout machine. He had 92 strikeouts in 71 innings. His record was 3-5 with a very reasonable ERA of 3.05 in 13 games. The Brewers have a lousy farm system and would be interested in nearly anyone.

German Marquez age 26:

Marquez would cost the New York Yankees, he is slated to make $7.8 million this year, and the Yankees would have control over him through 2024. This would be a trade that would cause some hurt to the Yankees. It is possible that an Andujar, Schmidt, and Gil trade could get this deal done with the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies aren’t going anywhere and might consider a trade. Marquez was 3-6 with an ERA of 3.75 last season. However, Marquez had tremendous potential. You have to consider he plays at Mile High Stadium, where the ball carries big time. His breaking ball is a killer and would be even more impactful closer to ground level.

Liam Hendriks age 31:

Yes, I know he was just traded to the Cubs, but stranger things have happened. This would be the Yankees’ costliest trade to make, the most hurtful but the most impactful. A trade with the Cubs for Hendriks would give the Yankees a tremendous edge. This trade would cost the Yankees the possible loss of both Deivi Garcia and Clint Frazier, maybe a few lower prospects from the farm. Hendriks was 3-1 with a tiny ERA of 1.78 24 games of relief. He would not only replace Tommy Kahnle in the bullpen but be a tremendous upgrade. It would cost the Yankees $11 million this year, and the Cubs would have to take on Adam Ottavino’s $9 million contract to make this work for the Yankees. Not likely, but certainly intriguing.