New York Yankees Could Have Four-Gold Glove Winners On Roster In 2019

With an emphasis on defensive being established this offseason, the New York Yankees have improved their infield significantly, and there’s more work to be done.

With reports indicating that Manny Machado will join the esteemed franchise, the Yankees will add two Gold-Gloves to the infield, and the signing of Troy Tulowitzki adds another two. That’s four Gold-Gloves between them.

In the outfield, the Yankees have Gold-Glove winners in left-fielder Brett Gardner and the oft-injured Jacoby Ellsbury. Both are stellar defenders but have been inconsistent in regard to offensive production.

The New York Yankees’ youth agenda:

With the Bombers utilizing their younger stars – Miguel Andujar & Gleyber Torres – the team lacks a few infield veterans to help develop the youngsters and sure-up the unit. Signing Tulo provides great defensive value. He will undoubtedly be a primary tool in the growth of both players, and giving them consistent reps will additionally help.

The outfield on the other hand is tidy, with Aaron Judge and his cannon manning right field and Aaron Hicks holding down center. Judge is bound for a Gold-Glove in his career, or at least some sort of recognition for his ability to gun-down runners from afar. Hicks is a serviceable defender that gets the job done but isn’t making diving catches on a regular basis.

The team has a strong foundation of defenders and adding veteran talent only contributes to the betterment of the roster as a whole. In 2018, the combination of Gardner, Hicks, Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton ranked third in baseball for outfield defensive runs saved, only behind the Brewers and Diamondbacks.

Here’s how the infield ranked last season:

At first base, Greg Bird and Neil Walker, who spent a majority of the season at the position, ranked 21st in the MLB. Second base ranked 23rd despite a solid defender in Torres. Third-base ranked dead last in the league, with Miguel Andujar finishing as arguably the worst infield defender in baseball.

With the Yankees pitching ranking fourth-highest in the league in ground-ball rate, (44.6%) complications for lackluster defenders can arise. Andujar allowed a league high 25 runs costed at third base.

Ground-balls are, in fact, a great thing, but when you have sub par defenders fielding them, it can create issues that ultimately shouldn’t be a problem. Having good players in the field could be the difference between a Wild-Card game and having home-field advantage in the second-round of the playoffs.

These are some essential reasons that signing Tulo and securing Machado are atop the list of priorities this offseason.

New York Yankees: David Robertson signs deal down I-95

David Robertson, RHP, formerly of the New York Yankees, who became a free agent following the 2018 season has inked a 2 year, $21 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

He will be paid $10 million in 2019 and $11 million in 2020. It also includes a club option in 2021 for $12 million with a $2 million buy-out.

The 33-year-old native of Birmingham, Alabama who made his major league debut on June 29, 2008, has spent his entire career with the Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

Robertson has been a set-up man most of his career and sports a 2.88 ERA and 137 saves in 654 relief appearances over that stretch.

New York Yankees Writing The Script For The Departure Of Miguel Andujar

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees seem to be trending in a direction of improvement, and if they manage to secure super star free agent Manny Machado, it will put an interesting question into place.

What will the Yankees do with third-baseman Miguel Andujar?

The youth star was a stud at the plate last season, hitting .297. In the field, he was less than adequate, recording 15 errors which got him benched in the final game of the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox.

Signing Machado would add a two-time Gold Glove winner to the roster, and one that traditionally plays at third-base and shortstop. With the signing of Troy Tulowitzki, it seems as if the Yankees will utilize his talents at short while Didi Gregorius heals from Tommy John surgery.

Do these moves write the script for his departure?

All of these moves write the script for a blockbuster trade including Andujar. Machado would fill the third-base spot and Tulo would fill in at short. The only objection would be that Didi will be a free agent next winter, which questions if the Yankees intend to use Machado as their long-term solution at short and allow Andujar to develop further as a fielder.

The young athlete hasn’t played a position other than third, which questions his adaptability and limits his defensive value. His primary value is hitting, and it’s possible the Yankees seek quality pitching in return for his talents. Being that he had a magnificent rookie season, trading him now would be an advisable move given his stock. Who knows if he can maintain those hitting numbers over the next 5-years — .297/.328/.527. Despite these impressive hitting stats, he costed the Yankees 25 runs at third, which was the highest mark in the MLB.

While Miguel is liked by the clubhouse and fan-base, improving a team comes with some tough decisions. Andujar could very well not be a part of the Yankees’ future.

 

New York Yankees: Looking Back At The 2018 Season And What Lies Ahead

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The New York Yankees posted a 100 win season in 2018 for the first time since 2009. But was that good enough especially after over-achieving in 2017?

Looking at the high points for the New York Yankees:

There were some incredible high points. Notable of course were the balls flying out of major league venues all over the country as the Bombers did just that, setting a new MLB team home run record of 267.

Who could forget the home opener in which short stop Didi Gregorius homered twice and mashed for 8 RBI’s on his way to capturing the AL Player of the Month honors for April?

Anticipation was high for reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton’s debut in Pinstripes. Stanton would lead the team in his rookie season in the Bronx with 100 RBIs and a respectable .266 batting average. He “earned” his Pinstripes with his first walk-off home run on June 20 in a 7-5 win over the Seattle Mariners, blasting an absolute moon shot 453′ with an exit velocity of 117.9 mph. Stanton would carry the team offensively after teammate Aaron Judge was sidelined with a fractured wrist in late July.

Speaking of which, Judge made a child in Toronto a social media star when he hit a go-ahead homer at Rogers Centre in the 13th inning  after the boy had sported an “All Rise” sign the entire game. It was destined to happen. What a memory!

Then there was the curtain call for Didi in Anaheim, 3000 miles away from home after the mad emoji tweeter belted the go-ahead home run in a 4-3, 10 inning win on the west coast. Teammates pushed Didi out of the dug-out to receive his just reward so far from home.

A youth duo:

The “kids” some were concerned about having on the team in Andujar and Torres provided solid play and much excitement. Andujar, who won the Sporting News and Players Choice ROY, was a double producing machine, eclipsing Joe DiMaggio’s record for doubles (47) by a Yankee that stood from 1936 (44). And Torres became the 4th youngest Yankee to hit home runs in 4 consecutive games on May 25.

Gary Sanchez had an off year for him, appearing in only 89 games, with a 186 BA, 697 OPS and record 18 passed balls behind the plate. However, he had bright points such as the home run in Houston which prompted closer Ken Giles to smack himself in the face after Sanchez smacked a 3-run bomb to propel the Yankees to a 4-0 victory.

Look for a healthy, trimmed down version of Sanchez in 2019 who is capable of leading the team offensively. Sanchez underwent off-season shoulder surgery to treat a nagging injury which should have the 25 year old in top form for the 2019 campaign.

On the pitching side, the 2018 Yankees staff had a combined team ERA of 3.78 for 5th in the AL. At the beginning of the season, questions loomed about the staff as a unit. The ace, Luis Severino, had an impressive first half with the second-lowest ERA in baseball at 1.98. But the second half brought woes as it was thought that Sevy was tipping and opposing batters had figured him out. Sevy finished the year with a 19-8 record and 3.39 ERA. Hopefully off-season work can correct his issues.

CC Sabathia had his best season since 2012, finishing with a 9-7 record and 3.65 ERA. The ultimate teammate and leader among the staff, CC almost forfeited a $500,000 bonus for throwing 155 innings when he was ejected following hitting Sycre of the Rays in retaliation for Rays pitcher Kittredge nearly beaning catcher Austin Romine. The big guy then pointed to the Rays dug out and said some words.

All in all the Yankees 2018 season was action-packed and did not disappoint this fan overall. Of course it didn’t culminate in a trip through the Canyin of Heroes but there is much to build on and anticipate for this new year.

Thank you to the 2018 memories. Can’t wait to see you this year and create more. LET’S GO YANKEES!

 

 

New York Yankees: How Does Troy Tulowitzki Signing Affect Manny Machado Deal?

The New York Yankees signed veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to provide depth in the infield due to the absence of Didi Gregorius. The Yankees’ usual SS suffered serious damage to his throwing arm and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery.

Signing the former Toronto Blue Jay offers value, especially considering he’s on the veteran minimum deal. After missing the 2018 season with injury, Troy will return with the hopes of bouncing back at the age of 34. In 2017, he earned a batting average of .249 – nothing note-worthy, but good enough to consider bringing on as a stop-gap until Didi returns or the Yankees sign superstar free agent Manny Machado.

How does the Tulowitzki signing affect the Manny Machado deal for the New York Yankees?

With reports indicating the Yankees will win the race for Machado, the signing of Troy certainly questions their motives. Do they want to retain Gregorius for the long-hall, allowing Manny to walk, or do they want to provide reserve depth/rotational piece, in addition to two-time Gold Glove winner?

It seems as if the Yankees are keen on bolstering the team with high-quality defensive players, as both Machado and Tulowitzki have two Gold-Gloves to their name.

I wouldn’t expect this signing to affect the pursuance of Machado in any way, primarily due to the veteran minimum deal the Yankees offered the shortstop.

What kind of potential does Tulowitzki have?

We all know the type of quality Troy offered earlier in his career, and he’s five years removed from an All-Star caliber season – he hit .340 over 315 at-bats with 21 home runs and 50 walks. He only struck out 57 times. Those days seem long behind him, but extracting whatever value is left is surely what the Yankees are focusing on. Good defense and leadership is his contribution to the team.

Signing Machado on the other hand would provide the hitting quality, as he’s in his prime and recorded a batting average of .297 in 2018. By signing a veteran for a low cap-hit and rising star, they can piece together a balanced lineup that can withstand injury and cold-streaks. In baseball, it’s all about how you deal with the adversity, and the Yankees are putting together the right pieces to weather the storm.

What Can The New York Yankees Expect Out Of Pitcher James Paxton?

With the New York Yankees desperately needing starting pitching support in 2019, they made the decision to trade LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson, and OF Dam Thompson-Williams for Mariners’ ace James Paxton.

Paxton is a quality pitching option, hosting a 3.76 ERA and 1.09 WHIP last season. The primary issue with the newly acquired arm is his injury history. He has yet to pitch 180 innings in any single season since his inception into the MLB. He has spent a good portion of his time with the Mariners on the disabled list.

The positive in regard to his injuries is that they haven’t effected his shoulder or elbow, so in other words, they weren’t significant to his throwing arm. He did land on the DL with back inflammation before the All-Star break. Additionally, he missed a few weeks after getting hit with a line drive to his throwing arm. In 2017, he missed two months with a forearm strain and LAT strain.

While the injuries have piled up throughout the course of his career, he is still an extremely effective pitcher when healthy, which is what the Yankees have seen and acted on. With a solid starting rotation, they can use Paxton sparingly to preserve him. It’s only safe to assume that he will sustain an injury at some point in the season, and allowing him to rest and recovery will be essential moving forward, especially at the age of 30.

Was this a bad move for the New York Yankees?

This trade screams “win-now.” Everything about the acquisition of Paxton affirms that GM Brian Cashman is going for it all next season, and if they manage to sign Manny Machado, a World Series appearance is more than possible.

But was giving up Sheffield worth an oft-injured pitcher?

Personally, I wouldn’t have given up the No.31 ranked player on the MLB pipeline. Last year between AA and AAA, Sheffield pitched 116 innings, with an ERA of 2.48, striking out 123 batters and had an opposing BA of .198. The kid was a stud, and the Mariners now have themselves a top pitching prospect in their system.

The Yankees secured a pitcher that has experience and can help them immediately, but trading away top youth prospects is never advisable.

 

New York Yankees Experimenting With New Approach To Pitching Rotation

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

Do three twos equal a one? That is the equation the New York Yankees will be attempting to solve with their starting rotation this year. New acquisition James Paxton, returning All Star Luis Severino, and J.A. Happ are all vying to lead the Yankees rotation, but all are lacking at least one key component.

In their quest for a World Series appearance this year the Bombers are going with quantity to offset a slight shortage of quality.

Let’s take a look at each pitchers one hole in their otherwise ace like resumes:

Luis Severino has now had two consecutive seasons where dominant starts gave way to lackluster finishes. Putting aside the tipped pitch possibility, stamina seems to be his biggest obstacle to true dominance. While his velocity remained at the top of the league for starters all season long his command and movement both fell off post all star break.

With a diminished spin rate on his slider opponents were able to lay off his out pitch. This in turn allowed them to wait on his fastball, and any major league hitter will eventually time and crush a fastball he knows is coming. His hard contact rate jumped from 28% to 35% by seasons end. The team may want to manage his workload throughout the season to try and avoid a similar slip at the end of 2019.

Yankees acquisition has his pros and cons:

James Paxton has flashed tremendous stuff over his career, but is yet to put together even one season without at least one DL stint. He has displayed stamina, command, and the ability to lead a staff in Seattle.

Unfortunately the one ability he hasn’t shown is availability, as hes averaged just under 20 starts per season over the last 5 years. It’s hard to lead a staff when you spend a third of the season in the trainers room. None of his injuries were of a structural nature, so Yankee fans are hoping it’s just been random bad luck that’s due to turn. Expecting injury prone players to suddenly maintain their health is always a dicey proposition…how is Jacoby Ellsbury’s deal working out for the club?

Can J.A. Happ be the Yankees’ ace?

Finally there’s J.A. Happ, who was tremendous for the team right up until the ALDS, where he turned back into a pumpkin. That’s probably a little harsh but again if you look at his resume outside of last year and 2016 he’s been a .500 pitcher with an ERA that hovers right around 4 to 4.50.

As a crafty lefty to slide into the three spot in a rotation he’d be a little overqualified, but as the foundation of your staff he is definitely miscast. Planning on him building on 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA would be exceedingly optimistic .

All three are talented and can shoulder some of the load throughout the season, but the best hope is they can each hit their cold spells at different times and pick each other up.

With at least one of them in a groove all season long losing streaks should be avoidable and the offense should more than make up for the occasional stinker. With CC Sabathia closer to AARP than MVP, and Masahiro Tanaka seeming to think only post season games require his full attention the Yankees are hoping their trio of not quite aces can lead them through the post season and another championship.

New York Yankees Sign Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki To Deal

Veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, released by the Toronto Blue Jays on December 11th, has agreed to a deal with the New York Yankees, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Background info on Troy Tulowitzki:

Tulowitzki, 34, was released after missing all of 2018 with surgery to remove bone spurs in his right ankle. He played only 66 games the year before while dealing with ankle and hamstring injuries. He’s expected to fill in for shortstop Didi Gregorius until he returns from Tommy John surgery.

While a surprise move, this does not take the Yankees out of the Manny Machado sweepstakes. Financially, Tulowitzki will make league-minimum with the Yankees while Toronto pays the $20 million left on his previous contract. A former star for the Colorado Rockies, he was a five-time all-star and won two gold gloves. He was then traded to Toronto in 2015, joining a lineup that included Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Josh Donaldson.

Additional thoughts:

If the Yankees sign Machado as well and Gregorius does not play in 2019, that could raise questions for young third baseman Miguel Andujar. If Didi does return, maybe they will convert Tulowitzki into a utility player.

New York Yankees: Is Aaron Hicks The Key To Both Manny Machado And Bryce Harper?

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

While the majority of New York Yankees fans have been debating the merits of trading Miguel Andujar, there is another player that could be dealt that would provide a path to adding not just Manny Machado but Bryce Harper as well. It also could help the team stay on the cost effective spending plan they’ve stuck to under Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner.

Where does New York Yankees’ Aaron Hicks fit in?

Aaron Hicks profiles as a solid player, but somewhere south of superstar. He is a plus defender, good baserunner and a streaky but solid hitter. He will turn 30 this October, and has probably reached his ceiling as a player. He is about to become a much more expensive player as his arbitration eligibility comes to a close, and he will be seeking a long term deal.

With Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Dellin Betances all about to become much more expensive it may make sense to move on from Hicks. Brett Gardner can be a one year stopgap while the team continues to monitor Estevan Florial’s development.

This would open a spot in the outfield to see what you have in Clint Frazier (another inexpensive piece) or spend on a certain outfielder who idolized Mickey Mantle and has made it known he’d like to take his talents to Gotham.

If the yankees consider shifting the 23 year old Andujar to first base and leave Gleyber Torres, aged 22, at second, they would have a dynamic and cost effective right side of the infield. This would offset the costs of Machado and retaining Didi Gregorius on the left side. It would also leave the team with four all star caliber infielders under 30 years old. In addition a package of Hicks, Frazier and Greg Bird may be enough to get a solid low cost starter to slide in as a swingman this season and into CC Sabathia’s spot in the future.

The club also has Jordan Montgomery returning as a cost controlled young starter who was off to a very Andy Pettite like start to his career prior to his injury.

A perfect balance:

An outfield of Harper, Judge, and Gardner with Giancarlo Stanton spelling each on days off would give away some defense but would make the already powerful lineup lethal, and would drop two lefties into the right handed leaning order. The financial flexibility it offered would also keep the teams options open for future additions, while still retaining the flexibility to deal one of its young stars if they determine their productivity will not match their future pricetag.

These moves would all follow the team building plan implemented by Cashman and co. and take it into phase two of this teams development, the fine tuning of a championship caliber team.

New York Yankees: Manny Machado And The World Series Caliber Batting Order

With reports indicating that superstar free agent Manny Machado will sign with the New York Yankees in early January, it’s justified that we begin looking at the batting order.

For the Yankees, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton make up an impressive bout of power and strength, sending 25 balls into the bleachers in 2018. Machado will only add to the intimidation of the lineup as he sent 37 balls over the fence himself last season.

Adding an impressive bat like Manny’s will ultimately propel the batting order into another stratosphere, despite the absence of Didi Gregorius for potentially a significant chunk of the 2019 season.

The order will look something like this:

1.) Brett Gardner/Aaron Hicks

2.) Aaron Judge

3.) Manny Machado

4.) Giancarlo Stanton

5.) Miguel Andujar

6.) Gary Sanchez

7.) Aaron Hicks/Luke Voit/Greg Bird

8.) Clint Frazier

9.) Gleyber Torres

This lineup will provide balance and power throughout, as Machado has a high on-base-percentage (.367), which will come in handy with two power hitters on either side of him. The difference between a solo or multi-run homer can be significant – the difference between winning and losing on some occasions.

We can make the assumption that Sanchez will also have a better season at the plate. Two groin injuries and offseason shoulder surgery surely contributed to him hitting .186 on the year. He was ineffective for a majority of the year and failed to come up clutch, something that we aren’t used to after successful 2016-17 seasons.

The New York Yankees need to focus on consistency:

Consistency will be key with this order, and having so much star power never hurts. It can mask the cold-streaks of some hitters, something we saw with Stanton last campaign with Judge picking up some of the slack.

Additionally, every opposing pitcher has a game-plan for how they’re going to pitch against each batter, and facing All-Star after All-Star will eventually see them into a losing battle. Battering the confidence and pitch count will be the game to play, and the Yankees will surely have all of the tools to effectively carry this task out.

With the upgrades made, this lineup can surely be World Series caliber if it wasn’t already.