2015 Trade Deadline Blog

Check back here throughout the day for updates on your favorite Yankees and Red Sox player trades.

4:08pm- Looks like that may be it. I will recap any additional moves later.

4:02pm- Cubs get Tommy Hunter according to Ken Rosenthal.

4:01pm- Jack Curry reports the Yankees did nothing.

4:00pm- We have reached the deadline, but trade reports can still come in.

3:58pm- Bob Nightengale is reporting that both the Red Sox and Yankees are standing pat.

3:56pm- Sherman tweets that unless something changes in next five minutes, the Yankees are not making a move.

3:55pm- Five minutes…..

3:52pm- Ken Rosenthal confirms the Cespedes move.

3:51pm- Jason Stark reporting Mets have traded for Cespedes.

3:49pm- Astros are apparently out on Kimbrel.

3:48pm- Looking back at last year’s trade deadline blog, the last trade report came at 4:11pm.

3:45pm- Bruce and Chapman are with the Reds, though Bruce is reportedly getting a day off.

3:44pm- Blue Jays tweet they have traded Felix Doubront to the A’s for cash.

3:40pm- 20 minutes to go….

3:38pm- Sherman reminds everyone that Cespedes cannot be offered arbitration, so if the Tigers want something for him in case he signs elsewhere they need to trade him today.

3:31pm- Rosenthal, Heyman, and Sherman are all reporting the Yankees offered Mateo to the Padres in a Kimbrel trade, but haven’t heard back.

2:52pm- John Farrell has apparently told WEEI in Boston he doesn’t anticipate any big moves from Boston.

2:47pm- In an addition by subtraction move, the Yankees have announced that they received cash from a Korean League team for Emil Rogers.

2:36pm- Blue Jays are adding Ben Revere according to multiple reports. This is on top of a trade for Mark Lowe earlier today.

2:20pm- Jon Heyman reports the Mets are making a push for Cespedes.

2:17pm- In addition, Chris Capuano has cleared waivers and been outrighted to AAA.

2:15pm- The Yankees announce they have DFA’ed Garett Jones in order to put Ackley on the roster.

1:55pm- Good point by Rosenthal on MLB Network- teams need to review medical records before 4pm today, they can’t review them afterwards, so teams are probably reviewing multiple medicals right now.

1:54pm- Jon Heyman on MLB Network reports that Yankees are not in on Chapman.

1:52pm- Joel Sherman reporting the Padres are working on something big for Kimbrel, but not with the Yankees. Padres won’t trade him to Yankees without Mateo in the deal. <Peter says- Mateo would be a deal-breaker for me in that discussion. No reason to take on all of that money and give up a big contract.>

12:08pm- Arizona is apparently out on Aroldis Chapman

12:05pm- Jerry Crasnick tweets that Broxton is headed to St. Louis.

11:38 am – The Yankees are in on several bullpen arms including Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

11:31 am – ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick and Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal are reporting the Red Sox and Padres are having discussions about Tyson Ross and perhaps Craig Kimbrel.

11:31 am – ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting the Red Sox are kicking the tires on Cleveland’s Carlos “Don’t Call me Hector” Carrasco.


Look Over There!

Here is my Yankee trade deadline day prediction, bet on a surprise. Brian Cashman has shown us time and again that we should ignore the rumors and just sit back and wait for events to unfold. Year after year, the names associated with the Yankees end up elsewhere and someone you did not expect at all ends up on the team.

So take a deep breath when you hear Craig Kimbrel is headed to the Bronx and wait. History says that isn’t happening.

I will start a live blog this afternoon around 2pm with rumors, trades and other tidbits. I hope to “see” you there.

Toronto Gets Price, We Get Ackley!-UPDATED

Ok, I tried to pump you up for this move, but I see I failed. The truth is, I don’t get it either. Let’s examine the good aspects of this deal.

1- Ackley is only 27

2- He is a lefty hitter

3- The price is right, Flores and Ramirez, a lefty-hitting outfielder, and a righty reliever, are commodities the Yankees have a lot of.

But here’s the problem, he isn’t very good.

Now, he was a decent second baseman with the glove until Robinson Cano replaced him there, but he is a career .243/.306/.366 hitter. And while he did play half his games in Safeco, his career road OPS is only .023 higher than his home OPS. (It is worth noting that he has a career .296/.387/.481 line at Yankee Stadium, but that is in a total of 63 PA’s. )  And if he can’t play second anymore, which some scouts suggest, what exactly is his role on this team?

To me there are three possible answers to why this trade was made.

1- The price was low enough (totally agree) that the Yankees decided to gamble on those Yankee Stadium numbers and see what happens. If it works, he is a controllable asset for the next two-plus years. If not, they can non-tender him.

2- This deal is a placeholder for something else. Perhaps Refsnyder is on the move.

3- As bad as Ackley has been, the Yankees feel he is an upgrade over Garrett Jones or Steven Drew. That’s a pretty low bar to set, but you would have to ask why the Yankees would waste any assets trying to improve on Drew when Refsnyder is in the minors and they have guys like Heathcott and Williams who could easily replace Jones.

I don’t know, but I would suspect something else to happen in the next 23 hours before the trading deadline.

UPDATE 8PM- Ackley is joining the team in Chicago tomorrow, so with the trade deadline, the roster situation should be a lot clearer.

Another Roster Move

After last night’s amazing game, the Yankees have DFA’ed Chris Capuano. Before we get to that, let’s talk about that game for a minute. Specifically, how crazy are the save rules that Adam Warren could enter a 19-5 game and earn a save because he pitched three innings? Hey he was great, Moreno was even better. In fact, the two of them pitched 8-1/3 innings of almost-perfect baseball. (One walk was the only blemish) The first ten Texas hitters went 3-for-5 with 5 walks. The final 26 went 0-25 with 1 walk. That’s an amazing reversal.

And now Capuano is gone. He was a signing I was not a fan of in December, and he really didn’t have a role on this club. He wasn’t good enough to be a spot-starter and Joe Girardi had really stopped using him entirely. Over the last month, he had a grand total of 4-1/3 innings pitched.

So good to see the Yankees cut their losses and good to see them add another young(er) arm to the bullpen, at least temporarily. Caleb Cotham was their fifth-round pick back in 2009, a draft that will now have produced six major-league players. (Better late than never as they say.) He has battled injuries and was moved to the bullpen finally this season. From there, he has taken off, dominating AA and AAA, and now he is here.

How long he stays is nothing more than a guess. The Yankees seem to have a plan to make the back-end of the bullpen a fluid thing. So, if they use a bunch of bullpen arms tonight, expect him to get shipped out and someone to take his place. The Yankees have a bunch of decent arms in Scranton, might as well give them a shot.

History Repeating

The confluence of another bad CC Sabathia start on Saturday with David Cone doing the postgame from the studio reminded me that we are seeing a familiar script unfold. It was fifteen years ago that Yankees’ fans saw Cone simply lose his effectiveness and their manager dig in his heels and insist on pitching him over and over again. Does that sound familiar?

In fairness, 2000 may have been worse than now. Cone was worse in 2000 than Sabathia has been in 2015, and his contract was up at the end of the season. (Not that contract status is a reason for loyalty, but Torre knew he wasn’t going to have Cone on the team in 2001. Girardi doesn’t have that luxury.) Cone put up a 6.91 ERA, yet made 29 starts! The Yankees signed Dwight Gooden in the middle of the season and traded for Danny Neagle, yet Cone kept pitching!  (Ah to have had a blog in 2000)

It wasn’t until the playoffs that Joe Torre finally saw the light. Cone worked exclusively out of the bullpen, and really worked is the wrong word. He didn’t appear in the Division Series and his sole appearance in the ALCS was one inning of mop-up duty. He got one batter in the World Series, but that was memorable. With the Yankees leading the series 2-1 and the game 3-2, Cone came in for the final out of the fifth and retired Mike Piazza. It was a deft bit of management by Torre, trusting a guy who had done so much for him in the past in a big spot.

In the next few days we will know how well this parallel between Cone and Sabathia will hold up. If the Yankees acquire a starter, who goes to the bullpen? We know what the answer should be, but with history and loyalty against us, we might be in for a nasty surprise.

Phil Hughes

The Yankees face former-prospect Phil Hughes tonight in Minnesota and that got me to thinking about eight years ago and the summer of 2007.

Back then we liked our mortgages big and undocumented, our investment banks as investment banks only, and we were positive that it would be Hillary Clinton versus Rudy Giuliani facing off to become the President in 2008. A-Rod had not been discovered as a cheater and he hadn’t even opted-out of his original contract. Were we ever truly that young?

For Yankee fans that will also be the summer of the three great prospects. The first was Hughes who came up in April, got roughed up a bit, and then was in the middle of a no-hitter when he got hurt. He returned in August, just as the Yankees brought their second big pitching prospect, Joba Chamberlain, to the big league bullpen. In September, we got to see the third guy, Ian Kennedy, join the other two and our dreams went into overdrive. Here were three incredibly young (Kennedy was the oldest at 22) guys who looked like they would make up the top of the rotation for years to come. In fact, if I had bet you that the trio would finish their Yankees’ careers healthy, but with only 80 wins combined, you would have laughed me out of the room.

Yet, that is exactly what happened. For various reasons, none of them came close to being what the Yankees thought they would. In fact, they were all generally disappointments. Hughes came closest to fulfilling his potential leading the trio with 56 wins as a Yankee, but that took seven seasons of very inconsistent results.

I thought about this and I write about it because it is a memory worth keeping this upcoming week. We hear the names, Judge, Severino, Bird, Refsnyder, and we expect to see four superstars in the next few years. That is foolish, it simply won’t happen. If two of those guys become regular and productive big-leaguers, the Yankees will be ahead of the curve. I am not advocating giving up any of those guys in trades, but the Yankees have a legitimate chance to win this year and if increasing those odds requires some prospects to be sacrificed to get increase those chances, the Yankees should do it. As the saying goes, flags fly forever.

Makes Sense

I am not alone in feeling that the roster move of Beltran being activated at the expense of Refsnyder was odd. Jack Curry pointed it out on the pregame. Numerous bloggers are furious over it. I agree with all of the criticism that it doesn’t make a lot of sense. But it is important to keep some perspective about it.

This doesn’t mean that Drew is the second baseman for the rest of the year. It doesn’t mean that Refsnyder is gone to the minors for the rest of the season. In fact, Brian Cashman offered a very sensible explanation for the move basically saying that it was about keeping inventory. If the Yankees cut Ryan or Drew, the two most likely moves, they would have one less asset for the upcoming trade deadline. (We can argue the value of those assets at a separate time.) Furthermore, what happens if they get an offer they can’t refuse for Refsnyder himself?

In the context of the 2015 season, this is a smart play. Send Refsnyder down for ten days and see what happens on the trade market. If you don’t find a deal you like, simply promote Refsnyder and cut Ryan (not Drew, Drew is amuch better option with the bat and close to Ryan defensively.) One way or the other, I would bet that Drew is not starting at second when August rolls around.

Break Time

The Yankees took the series from Boston with a somewhat messy victory on Sunday. They head into the All-Star Break with a 3.5-game lead in the AL East.

The story of today is Rob Refsnyder. We saw the good and the bad of him in the span of an inning. In the Top of the 9th, Refsnyder parked one over the Monster. It was a very interesting moment because Girardi easily could have pinch-hit for him with Drew since there was a righty on the mound. (More on that in a minute) In the bottom of the inning, Refsnyder made a bad play covering second on a ball hit back to the pitcher. The official scorer did a good job charging him with the error.

Those two plays reflected the scouting reports about Refsnyder, good hitter, but a so-so fielder. The question is, what will the Yankees do with him now? Girardi’s faith was rewarded with that home run, but the fact that he was willing to let him hit there tells me the Yankees are going to let Refsnyder sink or swim at second and  therefore Steven Drew is no longer a starter.

That makes a lot of sense. Clearly, the Yankees needed to upgrade at second. With a little over two weeks until the trade deadline they get a chance to see if Refsnyder is the answer at second and could make a trade if he isn’t. Drew still has value. He provides good defense at three positions, and he has shown the ability to take advantage of RHP at Yankee Stadium. As far as backup infielders go, the Yankees could do a lot worse.

The only question is will Drew be able to handle it? It’s certainly a blow for a guy to lose his starting spot. One would hope that Drew would recognize that the Yankees have given him 124 games to show them his value and he has hit .171 with 15 homers. That deserves a trip to the bench and the Yankees are smart to do it now and try an internal option first.

Finally, as a fan, this is an exciting time. I was looking at the combination of Didi and Refsnyder today and trying to figure out the last time the Yankees regularly had two guys in the middle of the infield who were under 26. I think it might be Dent and Randolph, but I am not sure. Whatever the answer, the youth movement appears to be gaining steam in the Bronx.


Round 1- New York-UPDATED

My only quibble tonight has to do with the bullpen management by Joe Girardi. A 5-1 victory seems like an odd place to use your three-best relievers.

I’m ok with using Wilson in the 7th, you want to get through that and the score is only 4-1. I am also ok with using Betances in the 8th. Why not shut them down then and head to the 9th up 4? But, I don’t get Miller in the 9th. The only explanation I can think of is that Girardi is ok using Miller for an inning both Saturday and Sunday. If he isn’t, he mis-managed this tonight.

As a Yankees’ fan, this was a great, great game to watch. Pineda showed why he is the ace of this team and the offense took advantage of some sloppy Red Sox defense.

For the Red Sox, this loss may be more troubling because of Bucholz’s injury. Hopefully, he isn’t gone for long- you never want to see a player hurt.

Finally, the big news on the Yankee end is that Rob Refsnyder is getting called up tomorrow. Boston is starting two lefties the next two days, so it makes sense in the short term, but I can’t figure out the long-term plan. Refsnyder is not the savior some fans think he is, but he is too good to sit on the bench regularly. I suspect another shoe is going to drop soon.

10:39PM- Girardi told the press two interesting things in his postgame press conference. 1- Miller wasn’t going to pitch back-to-back until after the break, so that’s why they used him tonight. 2- Refsnyder is coming up and he is going to play tomorrow and Sunday.

I expect the move is Refsnyder for Figueroa, but the interesting to see will be what happens after the break. Girardi hinted that Refsnyder isn’t a temporary move.


Hello Boston

Fear not Red Sox fans. Andy may have abandoned you to live out his dream as a carney, but I am still here. And since the Yankees are coming to town this weekend, I will provide you some analysis of your season so far.

At this point you really have to look deep into your soul and wonder if this is worth it. Why do you keep following this team? This “relationship” is destroying you. Give it up, and come join the good guys.

Not convinced? Ok, I’ll analyze the Red Sox then.

The popular notion is that the rotation is sinking the team. While I can’t completely refute it, I will say it is not as bad as it looks. Every Boston starter looks significantly better when looked at though the lens of FIP and not ERA. Buchholz’s FIP is 2.56. Miley’s is 3.90. Porcello 4.46. Masterson 4.64. Significantly better than their ERA’s and a suggestion that they can show improvement in their overall numbers in the second half.

The bullpen trends the opposite way. Ogando has a 4.92. Breslow has a 5.58. The other main guys in the pen, with the exception of Uehara, have FIP’s slightly higher than their ERA’s. Still overall, the pitching should be better and if the offense can do its end, the Red Sox should be better. And in a division where the separation from worst to first is only five games, that could be significant.

That’s part of what makes this weekend so compelling. This is a chance for both teams to send a message heading into the break. Boston can show that their recent play is for real and they will be a force in the second half. The Yankees can show that they are not going to surrender first without a fight.

Back after the game.