Yankees trade two major league relievers to Cincinnati in salary dump

luis cessa, yankees

If you thought the New York Yankees would pass the luxury tax threshold at the trade deadline in an effort to improve the team’s chances of making the playoffs, that doesn’t appear to be the case after their most recent transaction.

We all woke up on Wednesday with the news that the Yankees traded relievers Justin Wilson and Luis Cessa to the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named later, in what should be effectively viewed as a salary dump in the mold of the Adam Ottavino trade with Boston in the offseason.

The Yankees’ angle appears to be getting rid of some salary with the anticipation of making another move prior to Friday’s deadline, presumably for Texas slugger Joey Gallo, Rockies’ star Trevor Story, or Marlins dynamic outfielder Starling Marte.

What does this tell us? It seems like the Yankees are trying to fit another piece but won’t be surpassing the soft cap in doing so. They want to avoid being taxed at all costs, even if it means trading a good reliever.

The Yankees lost a good reliever in Cessa

The left-handed Wilson hadn’t been reliable at any point this season for the Yankees, even hitting the injured list a couple of times. However, Cessa had evolved into a good reliever, a piece capable of contributing to a team with playoff aspirations.

Perhaps the Yankees wanted to get rid of Wilson’s salary and had to sacrifice Cessa to find a trade partner.

According to NJ Advance Media, “the wheeling and dealing, which included the Pittsburgh Pirates trading right-hander Clay Holmes to the Yankees for two minor leaguers on Monday, saves $1.08 million towards the $210 million luxury tax threshold. According to Cots Baseball, the Yankees’ luxury tax number now is $207,631,173, which computes to $2.369 million under.”

The 29-year-old Cessa is 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA in 29 relief appearances this season for the Yankees.

New York Yankees: A tale of two different teams, Mets series takeaways

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Yesterday, the New York Yankees suffered an embarrassing loss in game one of a day-night doubleheader after another loss on Saturday. Still, they salvaged the night game, just another series loss. Yesterday was a microcosm of the whole Yankee season. Down, up, and down again. The Yankees, at the halfway point of the season, are now ten games behind the East-leading Boston Red Sox and are only trailed by the Baltimore Orioles.

The New York Yankees have suffered all season long with poor pitching at times and poor hitting most times. The was evident in yesterday’s two games. In game one, the Yankee pitching completely collapsed, with Yankee ace Gerrit Cole having his shortest outing as a Yankee. Then the bullpen imploded behind him. In game two, the pitching was much better, with Nestor Cortes Jr. getting his first start of the season and Chad Green having one of his best games of the season, resulting in a win. However, the hitting was mostly missing as the Yankees only mustered up eleven hits between the two games.

Game one, Pitching collapses:

Yankee ace Gerrit Cole has been struggling recently and had his shortest outing since being acquired by the Yankees. Cole went only  3.1 innings giving up 6 hits and 4 earned runs, one of them a home run. Giving up long balls has been a problem for him recently. Loaisiga replaced Cole, and Green came in and pitched two scoreless innings.

Then Aroldis Chapman came in for the save as they were ahead 5-4. In his last few outings, Chapman, who has struggled mightily, immediately gave up a home run into the visitor’s bullpen in left to Pete Alonso blowing the save. Then hit a batter, followed by walking one. Next, Boone came to the mound and removed him. He was charged with 3 earned runs. From the game, Boone brought in the usual good Lucas Luetge, who made things even worse, giving up another 3 earned runs for the 10-5 loss.

There isn’t much positive to say about the game. The New York Yankees did get seven hits in the game, but they weren’t timely. The brightest spot in the game is when catcher Kyle Higashioka hit a double, driving in two runs. But, unfortunately, the Yankees hit no home runs.

Game two a different story

The disaster in game one of the doubleheader caused manager Boone to use Michael King in the game. He was scheduled to start the second game, but having to pitch on Friday thrust Nestor Cortes Jr. into a Sunday start. Then, after Justin Wilson gave up 5 runs Saturday, Boone had to call in King to pitch  4 innings for the Yankees, preventing him from getting the start on Sunday.

Reliever Cortes who had pitched 18 innings with an ERA of 1.02, finally got his chance to shine in a start in game two, and shine he did. Cortes Jr. went 3.1 innings for his longest outing of the season, giving up just one earned run while striking out four. Chad Green, who got the win, pitched three scoreless innings, including an immaculate inning in the seventh when he stuck out the side with nine pitches. Nestor Cortes Jr. now becomes an option for future starts.

The Yankees could only make five hits in the game, but the stellar pitching saved the deficient lineup. The hitting star of the game was Gio Urshela hit a two-run homer giving the Yankees the three-run lead.

A tale of two different teams

The New York Yankees at the beginning of the season a the team to beat by baseball analysts. So when they opened the season, winning only 5 for their first 12 games, it was shocking. Unfortunately, that shock has disappeared, and the Yankees have done the same thing all season. They have had good stretches, but bad ones follow them. They tease fans by becoming the Bronx Bombers we all know and then losing the next few games in a row. At the start, the Yankees just could not hit, scoring less than three runs a game. More recently, the Yankees’ pitching has been subpar. With the loss of Corey Kluber, who had a no-hitter, to shoulder problems, the Yankees starting pitching, and even the bullpen has struggled at times.

Now that we are at the halfway point of the season, getting out of the hole the Yankees have dug for themselves seems more and more remote. They are certainly not out of it mathematically, but they have much work to do with being five games out of getting a second wild card slot.

New York Yankees to play day-night today, takeaways from loss to the Mets

new york yankees, justin wilson

Today will be a huge day for both the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Yesterday the Yankees lost game one against their cross-town rivals 8-3. The Yankees were almost embarrassed by the Mets, as they couldn’t get a single hit off Taijuan Walker until the sixth inning. In the end, they could only muster up three hits, all in that sixth inning.

Today they will play a dual day-night doubleheader starting at 2:05 pm; the two games will be seven-inning contests. The day game will be started by Yankee ace Gerrit Cole that has struggled recently. The night game will be started by Nestor Cortes Jr., who has been lights out for the Yankees in relief; his ERA is 1.02. For Cortes, it will be his first nationally televised game in the Major Leagues. The 7:05 pm game will be televised on ESPN. To save face, the Yankees will need to win both of these games and take the series from the Mets.

New York Yankees couldn’t perform in game

The New York Yankees struggled mightily in game one yesterday. The pitching wasn’t there, and the hitting was almost absent. Jordan Montgomery only lasted 4.1 innings giving up three earned runs. Montgomery, although the Yankee’s second-best pitcher, couldn’t find control over his secondary pitches. Taijuan Walker mowed down every Yankee hitter he saw through five innings as the Yankees couldn’t garner up a hit against him to add insult to injury.

Montgomery was bailed out in the fifth as Lucas Luetge replaced him and stopped the bleeding. Then bad turned worse when Justin Wilson came in sixth, not recording an out and giving up five more runs. The only bright spot in the game was when Michael King replaced him and pitched four scoreless innings shutting down the Mets rest of the way.

Also, Aaron Judge hit his 19th home run of the season on the plus side as he continues his hot streak. The Yankees only left one man on base, but there is not much to be said about that; if you don’t get hits, you can’t leave men on base.

Torres/Frazier continue to disappoint

After an abysmal season last year for Gleyber Torres, he started this season out pretty good, showing up in better shape and with improved defense. But near the end of April, he crashed and was hitting just .186. By the end of May, he had improved, hitting his second home run of the season and batting .274. However, during the whole month of June, it has been all downhill for the young shortstop.  He has only hit one more home run, and his batting average has dropped to .240. Yesterday he went hitless in the Mets game and earned his 12th error of the season. His signature has become airmailing throws to first base.

What makes this so disappointing is that the Yankees still have faith in Torres. He had a stellar season in 2019 when he led the team in home runs with 38 and batted .278. So far this season, he is on track to hit 6 or 7 long balls.

Possibly the biggest disappointment hitting-wise is that halfway through the season, Clint Frazier has still not found his stroke, hitting just .186. In the last month, he hasn’t hit a home run, and for the month of June, he has only ten hits. The is the longest slide of his up and down career.

Now he is on the IL with vertigo. He has gone under several tests, but no cause has been revealed. It could result from his 2018 head-first smash into the wall that caused him to have a concussion and miss some of 2018 and 19. The only talk about Frazier is that he may end up on the trading block.

Gerrit Cole will start today. Hal has faith in him

Gerrit Cole will start game one today of a day-night doubleheader. Cole’s performance has fallen off dramatically since Josh Donaldson of the Indians named him in a conversation on using illegal substances to improve grip. Once MLB announced that they would be regularly checking and suspending for the use of any kind of sticky stuff, Cole’s spin rate affecting ball movement has been off. In June, the New York Yankees have lost three of his five starts. During April, his ERA was 1.43 near the top for pitchers. Now at the end of June, it’s 2.66.

Cole’s last start against the Boston Red Sox was one of the worst of his career. He gave up five runs in five innings, three of them home runs. The Yankees have now lost eight of his sixteen starts, making many wonder if Hal Steinbrenner spent $324 million on an average pitcher that can’t be good unless using illegal substances. However, this week when addressing the team’s woes, managing partner Hal Steinbrenner has reaffirmed his faith in Cole, saying that he is not worried about Cole in a post sticky baseball world.

Cole has a game score of 33. However, 50 is average in the metrics system created by Bill James to measure the pitcher’s effectiveness in a single game.

 

 

Yankees: Injury updates on three crucial contributors

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

There has been an unprecedented flurry of injuries in the 2021 MLB season, and the New York Yankees have been no exception to the rule. They already lost center fielder Aaron Hicks for the season with a wrist injury, while starters Corey Kluber and Luis Severino won’t be back at least for several weeks.

Three players should be back soon, though:

Gleyber Torres: The Yankees’ shortstop had to leave Thursday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays with what was deemed as left lower back stiffness. The team will evaluate him on Friday, per MLB.com, as the team returns home to face the Oakland Athletics.

Torres suffered the injury in the third inning as he threw a ball in the infield and fell awkwardly on his back. It doesn’t have the look of something that will need a stint on the 10-day IL, but we will know more after he is evaluated.

Two Yankees’ relievers are inching closer to a return

Darren O’Day: A low-key crucial signing during the offseason, O’Day has been nursing a right rotator cuff strain for a few weeks now. He is expected to return in a couple of weeks, since he threw a bullpen session on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium that went according to the plan.

He is slated to throw another one today or tomorrow, per manager Aaron Boone. If he clears that hurdle, the next step would be pitching in a live batting practice setting.

Justin Wilson: The left-hander strained his right hamstring recently, but threw a successful bullpen on Tuesday and will throw again today. Just like O’Day, if he has no issues, he will pitch live batting practice or begin a rehab assignment in the minors.

Wilson, dealing with a less serious ailment than O’Day (at least in theory) could beat him back to the Bronx and may skip the live batting practice step.

New York Yankees: Latest injury update for 9 Yankee players

zack britton, yankees

Although not as bad as the last two years, the New York Yankees have had their share of injuries. But the future looks bright with most injured players being back with the team in the month of July, some sooner. Here are the latest updates.

Zack Britton (Bone chip)

We start off with Zack Britton returning from bone chip surgery as he will be back to the team sooner than any other player on this list. Manager Aaron Boone said on Thursday that Britton is doing well coming off his first rehab game. Boone suggested that Britton would be activated off the IL during this road trip which could be as early as today, but more like will be during the Blue Jays series in Buffalo.

Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery)

After a successful first rehab start (2 2/3 1 run), Severino will make his second rehab start with the Hudson Valley Renegades this afternoon. Aaron Boone has stated that Severino’s starts will be six days apart. He is drawing closer to the return to Yankee Stadium, which is still projected to be in a month or so. He will probably only be built up to 50-60 pitches when he returns and will finish building up over several games, hoping that he will be fully stretched out by the postseason.

Luke Voit (Oblique)

As reported by Aaron Boone, Voit will have his first rehab game at Scranton Wilkes/Barre early next week. He could return to the team after a week of rehab games.

Darren O’Day (shoulder)

MLB.com reports that O’Day has increased his throwing distance to 120 feet on the flat and that he may start throwing off the mound soon. Projected return to the team something before the All-Star break.

Clarke Schmidt (elbow)

Max Goodman of Sports Illustrated has reported that Schmidt has been throwing bullpens. But so far, he is only throwing his fastballs. His projected return to the team is also sometime in July.

Justin Wilson (hamstring)

Aaron Boone stated on Tuesday that Wilson is responding well to treatment of his hamstring injury but did not indicate when he might pitch for the team.

Ryan LaMarre (hamstring)

LaMarre started rehab games this week at Scranton Wilkes/Barre. He could be available to the major league time in a week or two at the most.

Corey Kluber (shoulder)

As of the last update, Kluber is still tossing the ball but has not thrown off the mound. He is still projected to be out until early August if all goes well.

Aaron Hicks (wrist)

The has been no change in Hick’s recovery from wrist surgery. If he returns to the team this season, it likely will not be before September at best.

New York Yankees Recap: Tigers walk-off against the Yankees in the 10th

new york yankees, justin wilson

Tonight the New York Yankees met up with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park for the first game of a 3 game set away. The Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole was pitted against the Tigers’ Casey Mize. Going into tonight’s game, the Yankees were 2 games out of first place in the AL East, and the Tigers were at the bottom of the American League, winning only 19 of 50 games.

Casey Mize, to start the first inning, faced DJ LeMahieu who went down looking Giancarlo Stanton back in the lineup after missing 13 games struck out. Aaron Judge singled. Gio Urschela flew out to right to end the half. For the Tigers it was Robbie Grossman leading off against Gerrit Cole and he struck out. Castro ground out. Candelario doubled. Cabrera walked on a questionable call. Jonathan Schoop ground ot to end the scoreless inning.

At the second Gleyber Torres led off against Mize and Gleyber Torres flew out to right. Rougie Odor ground out. Clint Frazier flew out to right to end the half. The bottom was led off by Kyle Higashioka who stuck out The half ended out scoreless. At the bottom Mazara ground out to Cole. Eric Haase ground out to short. Nick Goodrum went down on strikes to end the inning scoreless.

At the top of the third Kyle Higashioka flew out to far right. Brett Gardner flew out to left field. watching the game Mize looked remarkable like Gerrit Cole including the busy crop behind the cap. LeMahieu struck out as Mize put down seven Yankees in a row. At the bottom Jake Rogers flew out to Aaron Judge. Robbie Grossman singled up the middle for a single. Harold Castro singled moving Grossman to third. Candelario singled driving in Grossman for the first run of the game. Miguel Carbrera hit into a double play play to end the inning but the Tiger;s scored the first run of the game. Tigers  1 the Yankees 0.

At the fourth Giancarlo Stanton led off the fourth by striking out. Aaron Judge followed with a double. Gio Urshela grounded to short Torres grounded to short to end the half. At the bottomof the fourth. Jonathan Schoop faced Cole  and struck out. The inning ended with the score the same the Tigers 1 and the Yankees 0. The score remained the same through the fifth inning until Rougie Odor got a a homer in the fifth inning tying up the game. New York Yankees 1 and the Detroit Tigers 1.

The score remained the same until the top of the tenth inning when the New York Yankees ghost runner Aaron Judge scored on a passed ball. But in the bottom of the 10th Robbie Grossman got a two run walk off win against Justin Wilson for the Tigers win of game one of the series. Both Cole and Mize pitched well in the game, both allowing only one run.

The final score was the Detroit Tigers 3 and the New York Yankees 2. The winning pitcher was Bryan Garcia and the loser was Justin Wilson. The question for the Yankees will be why after only 14 pitches in the ninth, why Aaron Boone chose Justin Wilson who has not pitched well for the Yankees to take the 10th inning instead of Aroldis Chapman.

Yankees activate relief pitcher to aid strong bullpen

new york yankees, justin wilson

With the New York Yankees traveling to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays, they activated relief pitcher Justin Wilson from the 10-day injured list. Activating the lefty will provide the Yankees a bit more flexibility and diversity from the bullpen, which has performed well as of late. Since the Yankees sent down Michael King earlier this week, no corresponding movies were needed for Wilson to re-join the roster.

The former Met signed with the Yankees this off-season to a two-year, $5.15 million deal with a player option 2022. At 33 years old, Wilson only pitched 19.2 innings last year, logging a 3.66 ERA. Over a larger sample size in 2019, Wilson finished with 39 innings of work, earning a 2.54 ERA. After throwing live batting practice last weekend, the Yankees were taking things slowly before activating Wilson.

The expectation is that Justin will be a regular contributor from the bullpen, especially with skipper Aaron Boone playing the statistics game utilizing his lefty arm. Since the Yankees are coming off a tough start to the season, most recently losing to the Baltimore Orioles in extra innings, it is their offense that primarily needs more consistency. The Yankees scored a season-high seven runs on two occasions, but in their losses scored no more than three, indicating a deficiency in production.

In the most recent lost Baltimore, though, the Yankees posted 13 hits and left runners in scoring position on five separate occasions, essentially giving away the win to their opponent. It seemed as if with Aaron Judge out of the lineup, things get a little bit interesting, and he’s expected to miss Friday’s contest against Tampa.

New York Yankees: The latest injury updates on 8 Yankees

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees have had injuries in the spring and before, but have been relatively free of serious injuries that will keep players off the field for prolonged periods. The only serious injury is Luis Severino that was caused by his Tommy John Surgery at the beginning of last season. Here is a breakdown of the injuries and the latest updates for New York Yankee players and when fans could expect them back with the team.

Luis Severino:

On February 27, 2020, Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow. At the time, it was projected he would be away from the team until late summer 2021. That would include a few minor league rehab starts. But recently, manager Aaron Boone has updated his progress, say that he is doing better than expected in his rehab. Boone has actually caught a session from Severino. He is now expected to be back with the team sometime in mid-July.

Miguel Andujar:

Third baseman and outfielder Miguel Andujar has minor hand and wrist soreness that will keep him away from the team at the beginning of the season and with a difficult-to-diagnose injury, possibly beyond. After his poor showing in spring training, when he does come back, he will most likely be sent down to Scranton and won’t be used unless injuries require him.

Luke Voit:

The loss of last year’s baseball home run leader is one of the most significant injuries so far in the spring. Voit had knee surgery yesterday in New York. It was first noticed when he had trouble running the bases. An MRI revealed a partial meniscus tear. He is expected to be away from the team at least until the middle of May.

Justin Wilson:

Left-hand pitcher Justin Wilson was supposed to partially make of for the loss of Zack Britton; he left a March 22 outing with shoulder soreness and tightness. An MRI did not find any serious injury. He is on Anti-inflammatories but will miss the beginning of the season, which is on Thursday of this week. Wilson is progressing nicely and doesn’t want to be in the IL; however, general manager Brian Cashman announced yesterday that he would start the season on the 10 day IL. He will probably return when that expires.

Zack Britton:

It was discovered that left-hand reliever Zack Britton has a bone chip in his elbow. He underwent surgery to have it removed on March 15. There is conflicting information on when fans may expect him to return. Some say six weeks; others say two to three months. Based on the worst-case scenarios, he will be back with the team sometime before the end of June. CBS Sports reports that he won’t be back before May 28th.

Mike Tauchman:

Backup outfielder Mike Tauchman is suffering from a mild self-inflicted injury. Tauchman fouled a pitch off his lower right leg, near his calf, during an eight-pitch at-bat against Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler on Sunday. He is presently icing it down and taking anti-inflammatories. The injury is minor, but his readiness for opening day is questionable.

Clarke Schmidt:

The news on Clarke Schmidt’s elbow injury is not good. He experienced an extensor strain in his right elbow; it’s a common ailment and not long-term serious. Manager Aaron Boone said Thursday that Schmidt’s return to throwing could be “imminent.” However, no matter how minor, he will have to build back up for season play, and he is expected to be out until May 31 after being put on the 60-day IL on Saturday.

Aaron Judge:

Fans were wondering why Aaron Judge was not in yesterday’s New York Yankee’s game after also missing the game before. The good news is that there is nothing seriously wrong with the slugger. He is under the weather. He has gone through the COVID health protocols and has passed those. Both general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone said he would be ready to start the season on Thursday. Other sources say that is questionable.

 

 

Yankees News: Positive Justin Wilson injury update, Jay Bruce expresses excitement about making team

new york yankees, justin wilson

The New York Yankees are heading into the regular season with a few injuries under their belt. Things could’ve been worse, but they did lose relief pitcher Zack Britton and Justin Wilson — Wilson is fighting to get back to normal before the start of the season on April 1.

Wilson has recently begun throwing off the mound, having a successful session over the weekend.

“I got all the way to 90 feet and felt really normal,’’ said Wilson. He also mentioned he’s at about 75-80% of his program.

The Yankees desperately need Wilson to be back to normal as soon as possible, especially with Britton expected to be out for another few weeks. Wilson was solid for the New York Mets in 2020, earning a 3.66 ERA over 19.2 innings.

“I’m not sure it’s set in stone either way,’’ Wilson said. “I know they’ve got a few things they want to see on their checklist.”

Luckily, the Yankees are slowly getting healthier in the pitching department but did lose starting first baseman, Luke Voit, to a partially torn meniscus. He will be out for a minimum of three weeks but recently underwent surgery to correct the issue. Manager Aaron Boone had stated it was better to get the injury out-of-the-way now than play through it and potentially make it more serious.

Jay Bruce on making the Yankees active roster:

Due to Voit suffering the meniscus injury, slugger Jay Bruce made the roster in his absence. Bruce could fill the first base spot in his absence, despite being a traditional right fielder.

“I’m extremely excited to make the team,’’ Bruce said. “Luke’s injury is disheartening for everyone. … He is a big part of the team. My goal is not to come here and replace Luke Voit. It’s to be Jay Bruce and help this team, just like I planned when I signed here.”

Bruce is traditionally a double-digit home-run hitter throughout his career, so he can supplement the loss of Luke in a minor way. After starting off the spring strong, Bruce fell back down to earth, finishing with a .194 average, two homers, and three RBIs. With more live-action, I believe his stat line will flatten out, but just until Voit makes his return in a few weeks.

“I didn’t post a great stat line in spring training, but I refuse to think three extra hits would’ve changed anyone’s mind about a roster decision,’’ Bruce said. “The feedback was good the whole time.”

Yankees receive great Justin Wilson injury news

new york yankees, justin wilson

When the New York Yankees signed former Met Justin Wilson to a two-year, $5.15 million deal, they imagine him being an integral part of their bullpen. In fact, there’s a good chance he plays a big role in 2021, as he posted a 3.66 ERA in 2020 with the Yankees’ crosstown rivals.

In 2019, he logged a 2.54 ERA over 39 innings, an even greater sample size compared to last season, showcasing his qualities. As a former fifth-round pick in the 2008 June Amateur Draft, Wilson is now 33 years old and looking to take a significant role with the Bombers.

However, Wilson removed himself from Monday’s game with shoulder tightness, which commanded MRIs on Tuesday morning. The feedback was inconclusive at first, but the Yankees have since updated us on his condition.

Per the Yankees:

Upon review of the MRI taken yesterday as well as comparing it to a pre-signing MRI there was nothing actionable from those images. LHP Justin Wilson will be treated for his symptom of tightness of his left shoulder and has been given an oral anti-inflammatory medication. He will continue to receive treatment over the next several days before resuming a throwing program.

Thankfully, Wilson is subject to regular rehabilitation, and no extensive injuries were found. This is a great update for the Yankees, who expect to work through the loss of Zack Britton for the first few weeks of the 2021 regular season. Britton is having surgery on his elbow to remove a bone chip, which will keep him out for at least another five weeks.

Even upon his return, Britton will have to work his way back after missing a majority of spring training. Wilson will likely play a significant role in supplementing his loss, and while his sample size over the past two years isn’t great, the Yankees will need him to be 100% healthy.