New York Yankees Remain Interested In Quality Veteran Reliever

The New York Yankees are in the market for a new reliever, especially as free agents David Robertson and Zach Britton remain unsigned but are still potential options to re-sign in New York.

A potential relief option for the New York Yankees:

One alternative that has been high on the wish-list for the Yankees is Rockies reliever, Adam Ottovino. The 33-year-old is coming off his best season to date, recording an ERA of 2.43 (2.74 FIP) and 0.99 WHIP. He struck out an impressive 112 batters in 77.2 innings, earning an average of 13.0 per 9 innings.

Ottavino has been one of the more consistent relief options since 2013, despite a rocky (pun intended) 2017, where he finished with a 5.06 ERA and 1.63 WHIP.

It seems as if the lone bad season was a minor blip on the radar, as he returned with a bang in 2018. He’s a solid option for New York, as they will potentially be losing several relievers if they choose to let Britton and Robertson leave in free agency.

Reports have stated that the Yankees still remain the favorite to retain Britton, while several other teams including the Red Sox and White Sox are speaking with Ottavino’s representatives.

Comparing Adam Ottivino to Robertson and Britton:

Ottavino: 2.43 (2.74 FIP) and 0.99 WHIP

Robertson: 3.23 ERA (2.97 FIP) and 1.033 WHIP

Britton: 2.88 ERA (4.08 FIP) and 1.160 WHIP

If the Yankees have the choice of the three, it seems as if Ottavino would be the better option given the Red Sox or White Sox don’t secure his signature first.

 

 

Could New York Yankees Use Gleyber Torres As Glorified Utility Man In 2019?

While the New York Yankees work through several injuries, it’s essential they find a versatile player that can adapt and be utilized in a variety of ways. Starting second-baseman Gleyber Torres fits the bill.
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The second-year pro might be put in a position to play a nice chunk of the 2019 season at shortstop while Didi Gregorius heals from Tommy John surgery. Torres performed well last season,hitting .271 with 24 home runs over 431 at-bats.

The 22-year-old has shown he can be a consistent player in an intimidating Yankees batting order, but his defensive skills have been questioned.It was thought the Yankees might be grooming him to be the shortstop of the future, as that was his position in the minor leagues. He was later moved to second-base and made 12 errors. While at shortstop, he committed 5 errors over 21 games,which prompted the move to second.

Looking at the numbers — 2.9 WAR in 2018 — it’s obvious that Torres had issues with fielding, similar to Miguel Andujar, who at third-base clocked 15 errors. At the ripe young age of 22, Gleyber has plenty of time to improve upon his weaknesses. Instilling faith in the youth player might be something the Yankees would consider,such as putting him back at shortstop until Didi returns.

Alternative options:

The only other legitimate options the Yankees have at shortstop are 24-year-old Tyler Wade and superstar free agent Manny Machado. It seems as if they are leaning towards signing Machado to take over the shortstop position, especially if Didi leaves for free-agency in 2019.

 

New York Yankees: Breakout Candidate For The 2019 Season

Batting .186 on the season is certainly nothing to write home about, especially when you’re on one of the most explosive teams in baseball. That’s the story of New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who batted .299 and .278 in the previous two years.

It’s fair to say 2018 was simply an off-year plagued by a lack of confidence at the plate. Maybe a lingering injury was bothering Sanchez, or maybe he wasn’t seeing the ball as well as he did in 2016-17. Either way, you could tell his bat was heavy and his fundamentals seemed sloppy.

Moving forward, he’s out breakout candidate of the year for 2019.

Why Gary Sanchez?

One of Sanchez’s more prominent struggles was simply getting on base, as his OBP dropped about .50 from the year before. Everything about his game was simply “off.” His defense was inconsistent, allowing 18 passed balls, the most in his entire career, and his batting was porous.

We can expect a bounce-back year because what we saw in 2018 wasn’t Gary, it was his worst form, and the Yankees are keen on sticking with him for the future. There was no reported interest (just rumors) in Marilins catcher J.T. Realmuto this offseason, which makes that assessment even more accurate.

Sanchez passed on the depth chart:

By the end of last season, reserve catcher Austin Romine had passed the youth-star on the depth chart, effectively erasing the “star” from his title. While Sanchez did hit 18 home runs, his ability to get on base and provide quality at-bats were rare at best.

More info on Gary’s hitting:

While Sanchez saw his strikeout rate increase by 2.2%, his walk rate elevated to a career best 12.3%. Showing patience at the plate and lacking confidence are two very different things, and I would lean toward the latter as being the conclusion.

El Gary did undergo left-shoulder surgery last offseason, which might have played a part in his demise. This reason alone justifies a bounce-back in 2019. Gaining his confidence will be his primary task this offseason. I would expect to see him look more prepared at the plate, his fundamentals more sound, and that undeniable focus that seems to glare off his eyes in the heat of battle.

New York Yankees Youth Product Might Receive Opportunity In 2019

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

With the New York Yankees set to lose starting short stop Didi Gregorius for a chunk of the 2019 season, they will have to find a replacement for the time being. Options like star free agent Manny Machado are atop the list, but the Yankees might be wise to look inwards to fill the void.

The New York Yankees might look in-house to solve their problem at short-stop:

Instead of spending top dollar, as Machado is looking to sign a deal worth around $300 million over 10-years, New York could look towards a player like Tyler Wade.

Wade, 24, has experience as a professional in two seasons — 2017 & 2018 — he batted a dismal .161 with one home-run and 42 strikeouts.

The Yankees designated Ronald Torreyes, utility man, several months ago, which doesn’t leave them with many options in the infield. Injuries are an unpredictable but frequent part of the game, and being prepared is essential. Wade might get another chance to show what he’s capable of at the professional level. The only issue is, he’s not a well-rounded player.

The 24-year old could theoretically slide in at shortstop and utilize his quality defensive skills immediately, the only issue is that the batting order would suffer the consequences. Gregorius batted .268 last season, hitting a Yankees shortstop record 27 homers. His power was impressive and Wade simply doesn’t have the same abilities at the plate.

Tyler Wade has been awful at the plate:

In the last two years, Wade’s wRC+ was 17 and 29. That’s nearly equivalent to a pitcher coming to the plate. He struck out a whopping 31.6% of his at-bats and walked just 6.8%. The Yankees already have trouble with their batters striking out at an astronomical rate, putting the team in a peculiar position.

Alternatively, the Yankees could look to Gleyber Torres to fill Didi’s shoes. Torres played at shortstop in the minors, but was moved to his more natural position at second-base.

Personally, I feel as though the Yankees will look to sign somebody to take over at shortstop, especially since Gregorius will be a free agent in the winter of 2019. Additionally, they cannot bet on the fact that Didi’s throwing arm will recover 100%.

New York Yankees Might Rue The Day They Let Torreyes Walk

The New York Yankees seemed to have plenty of depth at the beginning of the 2018 season but injuries and ailments began to take their toll before the playoffs. Having the necessary depth to push through those injuries is essential for any professional team looking to succeed in the playoffs.

The New York Yankees made a silly mistake:

The Yankees released Ronald Torreyes, or rather designated him for assignment to make room for right-handed pitcher Parker Bridwell. They claimed him off the waiver wire from the Los Angeles Angels several months ago.

Bridewell, 27, spent a majority of 2018 on the disabled list with an elbow injury. His finishing stats look like this — 1-0 with a 17.55 ERA in five-games. In 2017, he recorded a 10-3 record in 21 games (3.64 ERA).

Allowing Torreyes to walk turned out to be a bad decision by the Yankees, who are now in a a serious predicament. Starting shortstop and team leader Didi Gregorius is healing from Tommy John surgery and will likely miss a solid chunk of the 2019 season.

The 5-8 listed infielder, was a fan-favorite and positive influence in the clubhouse. Torreyes has a career batting average of .281, but didn’t play much last season due to a favorable lineup including Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, and Gregorius. But injuries are inevitable, and now we are playing the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” game.

What can the Yankees do to hold over the short-stop position?

It’s possible Torreyes is designated again, in which the Yankees would surely be keen on bringing him back. In the mean time, it seems as if Manny Machado is at the top of the list for the Yanks — a player who could influence the infield and batting lineup more than any other player out there. Additionally, he could fill in for Didi until his return.

However, I wouldn’t rule out Tyler Wade as an alternative for the time being. His defensive abilities and speed make him a solid option, but his hitting is below average. Wade has a strikeout rate of 31.6% and a walk-rate of 6.8%. These numbers are very troubling as the Yankees already have a strikeout heavy lineup — Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez…

His wRC+ marks the last two years have been 17 and 29, which is far below average. In fact, it’s somewhere in the realm of a pitchers batting average. The bottom line is the Yankees are likely going to avoid playing Wade at all costs unless it’s a last resort situation. They would be sacrificing a good bat in the lineup for a decent defender.

 

Should The New York Yankees Consider Wilmer Flores For First Base?

While it seems the New York Yankees are going to stick with Greg Bird and Luke Voit at first-base for at least one more season, it can’t hurt to investigate an alternative, and a rather solid one at that.

Options for the New York Yankees at first-base:

Voit emerged as a great option after Bird’s struggled in 2018 — hitting .333 with 14 home runs and 33 RBIs. His hitting ultimately kept him in the lineup and on the field, as Bird is a better defender but a far less productive hitter. Finding a player that can do both is the trick, which is where Wilmer Flores comes into play.

Flores has been a Met since 2013, his inception into the MLB. He holds a career .262 batting average and averages about 12 home runs per year (last 4 years). The Yankees seem to be keen on finding batters that can rack up high home run totals, and while Flores isn’t that type of player, he can contribute in other ways. One significant positive — Flores struck out 42 times over 386 at-bats, earning a strikeout rate of 10.9%. Throughout his career, he has earned a 14% strikeout rate, which proves he can be a reliable hitter for the Yankees.

The free agent first-baseman recorded 103 hits last year over 386 at-bats. Defensively, Flores recorded three errors last season.

The bottom line, Flores could be a serviceable option at first-base, especially since he’s a consistent hitter and an efficient fielder. The Yankees might be able secure his signature for $4-6 million on a one-year deal.

Why The New York Yankees Should Hold On To Miguel Andujar At All Costs

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees have drawn interest from several teams in regard to third-baseman Miguel Andujar after a fantastic MLB debut last season.

Andujar’s hitting was phenomenal, earning a batting average of .297 with 27 home runs and an on-base-percentage of .328. His impressive rookie campaign was led by his bat, which is what most teams are after — the Padres, Mets, and Mariners were all discussed as potential trade partners.

Why Miguel Andujar should be kept on the New York Yankees:

The Yankees would be foolish to allow one of the more exciting youth players in the league slip through their finger-tips. While adding quality starting pitching is a priority this offseason, giving up one of the best hitters in the lineup ultimately only leaves a hole on the roster.

The only justification of allowing Andujar to leave would be that he hurts the team on defense. He committed 15 errors last season and could be replaced by star free agent Manny Machado. Personally, I would like the Yankees to stick with the young phenom and give him time to develop. It’s surprising what a little confidence in a player can do to their game.

Another option for the infielder would be to move him to first-base, where he could work on catching and his flexibility rather than throwing and fielding from across the diamond. This seems like an idea that hasn’t been discussed much this offseason.

Miguel Andujar is a stud:

The rookie finished second in the league behind Shohei Ohtani for AL rookie of the year. His season was stellar and unloading the player would be the wrong move all around. Even if the Yanks received a good pitcher for his services, Andujar could be a staple in Pinstipes for the next decade.

New York Yankees Having Issue Unloading Substandard Relief Pitcher

The New York Yankees are in the process of bolstering their starting and relief pitching rotation, but one option is on the trade block due to a poor 2018 season.

Sonny Gray, a once highly coveted starting pitcher for the Oakland A’s, was brought over to the Yankees during the 2017 season, where he earned a 4-7 record. With a 3.72 ERA, Gray was though to be just having an off-year. This was not the case, as he followed up his lackluster 2017 campaign with arguably an even worse one in 2018.

How Sonny Gray performed for the Yankees last season:

Gray finished the season 11-9 with an ERA of 4.90. He was dropped from the starting pitching rotation and fell into a relief role, where he lost opportunities consistently due to bad performances.

In 2019, the right-handed pitcher will be in an arbitration year, which will allow the Yankees to slash his salary by a maximum of 20% of his total hit. He will earn an arbitration award of $9.1 million.

The Yankees are desperately trying to trade Sonny Gray:

The issues the Yankees are having with unloading Gray stem directly from their asking price. They have been pursuing high-end talent for the pitcher, who has a career record of 59-52.

The Yankees have traded for James Paxton and signed J.A. Happ to a two-year deal while trying to shop Gray. It doesn’t seem as if the team sees Sonny as a relief or rotational/reserve option, given his shopping.

 

New York Yankees Focus In On One Free-Agent Star And Lose Interest In Another

The New York Yankees have been heavily linked to free agent Manny Machado the past few weeks, as he would serve as an upgrade in the infield and add a stellar bat to the lineup.

How would the New York Yankees utilize Manny Machado?

Machado is supposedly favored over Bryce Harper, simply because Harper is a primary outfielder – a position of strength for the Yankees. The alternative would be able to fill in for Didi Gregorius while he heals from Tommy John surgery, and then could move to third-base for the future. Although, Didi will become a free agent in the winter of 2019, which poses a potential issue for the Bombers moving forward.

They could choose to keep Miguel Andujar at third-base and make Machado their everyday shortstop.

Reports over the weekend stated that the Los Angeles Dodgers are currently in the lead to sign the generational talent (Harper), while the Yankees are Machado’s first-choice among several teams seeking his signature — Phillies & White Sox.

Machado is looking for a 10-year deal worth about $300 million, a contract the Yankees aren’t willing to match. But, if they can come close, the pull the Yankees have over the two-time Gold Glove winner could be enough to convince him to come to New York.

I would anticipate an offer sheet of — 8-years $225 million with a nine-year team option worth $250 million. That’s a solid deal, despite the fact that they took on a Giancarlo Stanton contract worth a bit more — 12-years, $325 million.

The likelihood of Machado signing a deal worth under $250 million is slim, but you have to start somewhere. The Yankees don’t necessarily ‘need’ Machado, which is why they shouldn’t overpay. Use the draw and atmospheric appeal Yankee Stadium to your advantage.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman believes the White Sox and Phillies will offer more money than the Yanks, though he still places New York as a “slight favorite” to land the 26-year-old free agent.

“We’ve heard all along that Machado wants to be in New York,” Heyman said Friday on Fancred’s YouTube show. “In fact, I’ve heard from several people that he wanted to be in New York or Boston. Well, Boston’s not going to do it, obviously. … To me, I think the Yankees have a very good chance, and I think he’s one of those guys that may sign for a team that isn’t the highest bidder. That’s a rarity.”

A player that’s willing to surpass more money for a winning culture says a lot about their personality and dedication to the game. Despite his lack of effort and judgement at times, there’s no denying he’s as passionate as they come.

What Should The New York Yankees Do At The First Base Position?

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

Let’s be honest, Greg Bird seems to be a fantasy implanted in GM Brian Cashman’s mind that has resulted in failure more times than not. Most would say that Bird being the future first-baseman for the New York Yankees is a pipe-dream and maybe even a pride saver for Cashman.

In reality, we know that broken wing Bird isn’t the future, in fact, he’s not the present either.

So, that begs the question:

What should the New York Yankees do at first-base in 2019?

Luke Voit.

The Yankees acquired Voit from the St. Louis Cardinals midway through the 2018 season, and my oh my, did the Pinstripes work their magic. Over 132 at-bats, Voit earned a .333 batting average with 14 homers. Lets suppose Voit had 600 at-bats like some of his teammates — Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, etc. — he would have hit nearly 65 homers last season. Now, that’s an excessive number and a theoretical one at best, but you can see how productive he was in such a short amount of time in the Bronx.

Bird on the other hand hit .199 over 272 at-bats with 11 homers. He also struck out 78 times, which is about a quarter of his total at-bats. That’s bad, and despite his abilities at first-base, his hitting was so poor that Voit should automatically receive the first crack at the starting job.

Moving forward, the Yankees might want to look into finding a long-term solution after the 2019 season, assuming Voit doesn’t miraculously develop over night. His career stats don’t look bad when it comes to the numbers, but he hasn’t received consistent playing time to really prove he can be a serious option for the future.