YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:10 am

Yankees can’t ignore other half of pitching mission

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By Dan Martin July 10, 2019 | 8:03pm | Updated

Wandering eyes will be focused on the likes of Toronto’s Marcus Stroman, the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner and perhaps Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer over the coming weeks as the Yankees look to fortify their starting pitching for the stretch run and beyond.

And though there’s no denying the importance of adding to their rotation — including a healthy Luis Severino at some point in the second half — none of the starters who figure to be available by the July 31 trade deadline will fix the team’s pitching issues alone.

Instead, the Yankees will need the existing members of the rotation — J.A. Happ and James Paxton in particular — to do their part, which is more than they did in the first half.

And there are conflicting signs as to whether the Yankees can expect the two lefties to turn it around by the end of the season. Happ has traditionally been a better pitcher after the All-Star Game, with a 4.35 career ERA prior to the break and a 3.49 ERA the rest of the way.

A year ago, Happ had a 4.18 ERA in 20 starts with the Blue Jays, but a 2.69 ERA in 11 outings after being shipped to the Yankees in July. Still, a similar reversal is no guarantee in 2019, as Happ is dealing with some unprecedented struggles.

In his first full year in The Bronx, Happ entered the break with a career-low strikeout rate of 7.1 per nine innings. Perhaps more alarming, few pitchers have experienced more issues with the home run surge around the league than Happ — who is giving up 2.0 homers per nine innings, the highest number of his career and nearly double his career mark of 1.2.

Paxton showed some hope in the latter part of the first half, when he allowed two runs or less in four of his last five starts. But his first months in pinstripes have not gone smoothly — he’s had a 1.428 WHIP, his worst stretch since 2015, and the injury-prone Paxton has already spent time on the injured list with a left knee strain.

Even with the injury, Paxton is nearly halfway to his career-high in innings pitched (160 ¹/₃), which he reached last year.

Besides Happ and Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, a surprise All-Star, will also look to repeat his strong second half from a year ago, when he finished with a 2.85 ERA in his last dozen games of the regular season.

CC Sabathia tailed off a bit in the latter part of 2018, and it’s hard to imagine the 38-year-old won’t do the same in his final season.

Domingo German was excellent against the Mets after returning from a hip flexor strain before the break, but remains untested over a full major league season.

The most significant question is Severino’s status, with the right-hander out all season with rotator cuff inflammation followed by a lat strain that has flummoxed the Yankees. He is expected to start playing catch again this week after suffering yet another setback last month.

How a potential trade target impacts the remainder of the season remains to be seen, but it will hardly be the only important factor the rest of the way.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:17 am

Yankees report card: First-half success easing injury sting

By George A. King III July 10, 2019 | 7:12pm

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They have the best record in the American League at 57-31 despite not having Luis Severino and Dellin Betances at all and missing Giancarlo Stanton for essentially the entire first half.

All-Star DJ LeMahieu is a bona fide MVP candidate and Gio Urshela has taken the sting out of losing Miguel Andujar early in the season. Despite a recent slump, Gary Sanchez was an All-Star and has made good on a vow to be better this year than he was last year. The rotation has been up and down, but likely will get an upgrade before the July 31 trade deadline. Even without Betances, the bullpen has been very good.

Here is how The Post graded the Yankees in the first half.

DJ LeMahieu
When the Rockies didn’t have the money to retain LeMahieu, the Yankees pounced on the second baseman, who has turned into a legitimate MVP candidate with the bat and has provided flexibility by also playing third base and first base. Voted onto the AL All-Star team as a starter at second base, LeMahieu leads the league in batting average (.336) and with average with runners in scoring position (.462).
Grade: A

Aroldis Chapman
The gas-throwing lefty can opt out of the final two years of his contract (and $30 million) after this season. And though the free-agency landscape has drastically changed, if Chapman does after the break what he did before it, he could roll the dice. Converted 24-of-27 save chances and was an All-Star.
Grade: A

Gleyber Torres
At 22 and in his second big-league season, Torres is a two-time All Star at second base who filled in very well at shortstop when Didi Gregorius was on the IL. It took two injuries to get Torres on the All-Star team this year, which is hard to fathom. Has a chance to be a star in the Yankees’ infield for a very long time.
Grade: A

Domingo German
The staff leader in wins (10) missed almost a month with a hip flexor injury, which might have been the reason behind a three-start stretch from May 26 to June 7 during which he had an 8.59 ERA and hitters batted .323. From April 1 to May 21, the right-hander was 9-1 in 10 games (nine starts) with a 2.60 ERA and held hitters to a .185 average.
Grade: A

Tommy Kahnle
You always know the right-handed reliever with a plus fastball and Bugs Bunny changeup is around in the clubhouse because shyness isn’t one of his traits. Unlike last year, when he was injured and ineffective, he has pitched very well, limiting hitters to a .183 average and 23 hits in 34 innings. The changeup is a lethal weapon — even to right-handers.
Grade: A

Austin Romine
Only the uninformed dismiss what Romine has meant to the Yankees. When evaluating a backup catcher, flush all the numbers. Judge them by what they do on the days they catch. Romine is among the best backup catchers in the game. Tough guy who plays through injuries and a better hitter than his .231 average indicates.
Grade: A

Cameron Maybin
Played in 42 games before landing on the IL on June 23 with a strained left calf. Provided a big boost as a regular outfielder or off the bench. Hit .314 with five homers, 14 RBIs and a .391 on-base percentage. Very popular in the clubhouse.
Grade: A

Adam Ottavino
Fifty-three base runners in 40 innings is too much for a reliever who works a lot toward the game’s back end. The right-hander has issued 27 walks and given up 26 hits. Due to a wipeout slider, however, he has 55 strikeouts and hitters are batting just .184 against him.
Grade: B

Luke Voit
After Stanton went on the IL on April 1 and Aaron Judge went down on April 20, Voit filled the power void. By June 2, he had 15 homers and 39 RBIs. From then until going on the IL on July 2, Voit hit just two homers and drove in 11 runs, but hit .312 with a .902 OPS. Defensively, he is still average, but better than he was a year ago.
Grade: B

Didi Gregorius
Didn’t get off the IL until June 7, and in the first seven games, he looked like he was never gone: He hit .346 and had an on-base percentage of .370. He dipped after that, but Gregorius took a .275 batting average into the All-Star break with elite defense.
Grade: B

Gio Urshela
When the season opened, he was viewed as minor league insurance at third base, where he was considered a far-above-average fielder with a questionable bat. When Andujar was lost to season-ending shoulder surgery, the Yankees gave Urshela a crack at regular work, and he entered the break hitting .304 and shining defensively at third. Some of his team-leading 12 errors are on plays that other third basemen don’t get to.
Grade: B

Gary Sanchez
There were two ways Sanchez could go after a horrific 2018, when he led the majors in passed balls and hit .186 in 89 games: He could either bounce back or sink. Based on his 24 homers, 57 RBIs and an improved ability to block balls, Sanchez has put himself in the conversation about the game’s best power hitters. A Gold Glove isn’t in his future, but this year’s Silver Slugger is a good bet.
Grade: B

Aaron Judge
Limited to 33 games due to an oblique strain, Judge hit .271 with nine homers and 20 RBIs in 118 at-bats and supplied Gold Glove-quality defense in right field. With Stanton out indefinitely, Judge needs to stay on the field and produce to keep the Yankees atop the AL East.
Grade: B

Zack Britton
There have been bouts of wildness, but the overall body of work has been solid in front of Chapman. A ratio of 26 strikeouts to 20 walks in 37 innings needs to improve.
Grade: B

Masahiro Tanaka
For whatever reason, his signature split-fingered fastball hasn’t been as sharp or effective as in past seasons, and he will be the first to tell you he can pitch better. Named an All-Star as an injury replacement, the right-hander was 5-5 with a 3.86 ERA in a staff-leading 18 starts.
Grade: B

CC Sabathia
In his final season, the veteran left-hander takes a 5-4 record and a 4.03 ERA into the second half along with a desire to help the Yankees reach the World Series for the first time since they won it in his initial season with the team in 2009. He opened the season on the IL to give his right knee time to get ready and missed almost a month bridging May and June with inflammation in the hinge.
Grade: B

Brett Gardner
When camp opened, the question was how much Gardner would play with Stanton installed in left and Aaron Hicks in center. Well, Gardner has appeared in a team-high 84 of the Yankees’ 87 games. An 11-for-30 hot streak in the week before the break pushed his average from .231 to .246. With 14 homers, he is on pace to surpass his career high of 21.
Grade: C

Aaron Hicks
After signing a seven-year, $70 million deal in spring training, he missed most of camp and didn’t come off the IL until May 13. The power started to come around the week before the break, and Yankees will need it consistently starting Friday. Continues to rank among the best center fielders.
Grade: C

Mike Tauchman
He doesn’t knock you out with tools, but the left-handed-hitting outfielder is a very good fit on this team and the decision-makers favored him over Clint Frazier because he can catch and throw the ball.
Grade: C

Luis Cessa
The right-hander, who was out of options, made the team out of spring training and has been inconsistent. Provides length out of the bullpen and 43 strikeouts in 41 ²/₃ innings is good, but the 4.75 ERA needs to shrink.
Grade: C

Chad Green
Grade him in two installments. The opening act was so bad, the right-handed reliever was sent to Triple-A on April 24 with a 16.43 ERA to work on mechanical issues. The second? A whole lot better. In 19 games since May 12, Green has posted a 2.25 ERA, and the Yankees were 16-3 in those games. Used in the awkward role as an “opener’’ seven times, Green performed well. With no need for an opener now that German is back in the rotation, Green deepens the Yankees’ bullpen.
Grade: C

Clint Frazier
From June 2 to June 16, Frazier hit .333 with a .377 on-base percentage and an .877 OPS, and the Yankees sent him to Triple-A to make room for Edwin Encarnacion. In 53 big-league games, Frazier hit .283. However, his defense has gone from average to poor. His biggest value to the Yankees at this point is a club with pitching to trade still believing Frazier’s bat will more than make up for his fielding issues.
Grade: C

J.A. Happ
In 17 starts, the veteran lefty is 7-4 with a 5.02 ERA, but the Yankees are 12-5 in those games. That isn’t the only puzzling data. In seven starts from March 31 to May 4, Happ went 1-3 with a 4.93 ERA, and the Yankees went 4-3. From May 9 to July 4, Happ made 10 starts, the Yankees went 8-2, and he was 6-1 despite a 5.08 ERA.
Grade: C

James Paxton
Acquired from the Mariners to be a front-end starter, something the Yankees still are searching for. Missed nearly a month with an inflamed left knee and didn’t pitch great when activated from the IL, posting a 4.89 ERA in eight starts in which the Yankees went 4-4. Has pitched better in the past two outings with a 2.25 ERA.
Grade: C

Edwin Encarnacion
Has played in 15 games since being acquired from the Mariners, not a big enough sample to form a definitive opinion on the right-handed-hitting DH/first baseman. Aaron Boone says despite a .131 batting average as a Yankee, Encarnacion makes pitchers work, which helps other hitters. Twenty-one homers and 49 RBIs for the Mariners in 65 games show that he isn’t done, but the first impression in pinstripes hasn’t been good.
Grade: D

Jonathan Holder
Appeared in 31 games and proved that records (5-2) mean nothing for a middle-inning reliever by posting a 6.81 ERA. In 35 ²/₃ innings, the right-hander allowed 40 hits and issued 11 walks.
Grade: F

Giancarlo Stanton
Limited to nine games due to two stints on the IL. And nobody really knows when he’s coming back. But becomes an important part when he does.
Grade: Incomplete

Aaron Boone
With injuries to big-name players dominating the first half of the season and robbing Boone of Severino, Betances and Stanton, the second-year manager has held it together with his positive attitude and handling of a bullpen that needs reinforcements before the July 31 trade deadline.
Grade: A

Brian Cashman
Getting MVP candidate LeMahieu for two years and $24 million was the steal of the offseason. Bringing back Sabathia, Happ and Britton were good moves. Who knew getting Urshela last year from the Blue Jays would mean so much. A small move like acquiring Maybin paid off well.
Grade: A
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:19 am

Angry MLB players could strike without big changes

By Ethan Sears July 10, 2019 | 1:11pm | Updated


The next labor showdown is already in full force, and the phrase “work stoppage” is already being thrown around.

Amid a free-agency market that seems to dwindle with each offseason and service-time exploitation that seems to grow each year — with the exact opposite labor situation playing out in the NBA — MLB players are ready to start fighting for change, and that could include a strike, if necessary.

“We are together on this,” Pirates All-Star Josh Bell told USA Today. “I know work stoppages in the past have worked to our benefit for the longevity of the game, the longevity of the player, and for the compensation of the player. Just for equal rights.

“We’ve met for years for preparation, and we’ll definitely see what happens in the future. Hopefully we can find common ground, but if not, we’re more than prepared. The one thing we’ve been taught, and we’ve heard it countless times, is to save your money the best you can because you never know what the future holds.”

In the past, players have been able to bank on free agency for their paydays, but that’s changed of late. Free agency has become a long waiting game that wades into the season. Premier names like Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel didn’t sign until well after this season started, a testament to their inability to find contracts they saw as fair despite their star status.

“There’s a thought that the association is weaker than its ever been because of all of the younger players, but I think a lot of young players are beginning to understand,” Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez told the paper. “We’re all united.”

Though the current CBA expires after the 2021 season, players reportedly want change now. MLBPA executive director Tony Clark has reportedly met with commissioner Rob Manfred and there are plans for another meeting this summer.

“How to solve some of our economic challenges is going to be paramount in our next negotiations with MLB,” Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer said, per USA Today. “The players are very cognizant (with) what’s going on with economic situations because it’s not just affecting the peripheral players, it’s affecting every player.

“And every player is aware (of) what’s going on. Every player is extremely much more educated than they ever were before. There’s much better leadership even among the players now and what we’re trying to do to make the correct changes within the game.”
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:21 am

Robot umpires are coming to one professional baseball league

By Jared Schwartz July 10, 2019 | 10:36pm

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The Atlantic League could soon look a lot different.

Made up of seven teams primarily on the East Coast, the independent circuit will become the first American professional league to implement strike zone software and the stealing of first base in the second half of this season.

Umpires in the Atlantic League will wear an Apple AirPod in one ear, connected to an iPhone, which in turn is connected to the software program in the press box. The software only determines balls and strikes, transmitting the call to the umpire, who has the final say.

“It’s amazing how good these robots look,” league president Rick White jokingly told The Washington Post. “They look just like the actual umpires. I think once people actually see this happening, they’re going to realize it’s not that big a deal.”

A small panel is placed in an elevated position behind home plate, and it makes its rulings based on “that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap,” per the MLB rule book.

The software was created by sports data firm Trackman and provided by the MLB, and has been tested during real games in New Britain, Connecticut and Bridgewater, New Jersey. The league will formally introduce the software at the All-Star game Wednesday.

As the Trackman zone begins to whisper into umpires’ ears, the Atlantic League will also allow batters to steal first base. Any pitch that is not caught in the air will be a live ball, and batters will be allowed to take off at any time, similar to a dropped first strike.

The rule changes arrive as part of a three-year agreement with the MLB, allowing the league to study the effects of the changes before possibly implementing them in the big leagues. In return, the MLB will enhance its scouting of the Atlantic League and install hardware that enables advanced analytical study of players.

The Atlantic League has also experimented with prohibiting mound visits and defensive shifts, a three-batter minimum for new pitchers and larger bases. The MLB labor agreement expires in 2021, so if commissioner Rob Manfred wants to implement some of these new rules in the MLB, that would be the time.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:24 am

Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka’s problem with the baseball: 'Just doesn’t feel right’

Updated Jul 10, 8:14 AM; Posted Jul 10, 8:02 AM

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New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka pitches in the second inning at the 2019 MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. ( John Kuntz | cleveland.com)

By Brendan Kuty | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

CLEVELAND — When Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka grips the baseball that many major leaguers believe has been juiced to boost home run totals, he thinks how different it feels these days.

And then he goes a step farther.

“Probably the right word to say is, it just doesn’t feel right," Tanaka told NJ Advance Media via Japanese translator Shingo Horie.

Tanaka was speaking in the American League clubhouse before throwing a shutout inning in Tuesday’s 2019 MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field, which the American League won, 4-3, over the National League.

Earlier in the day, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred defended the league from allegations that it’s doctoring baseballs to increase offense.


Astros ace Justin Verlander, a likely Hall of Famer, was the loudest and most recent critic, saying the baseball has become “an (expletive) joke” and that MLB has instructed Rawlings, which it owns, to alter the ball.

“Baseball has done nothing, given no direction, for an alteration of the baseball,” Manfred told reporters in a conference room at the Ritz Carlton hotel in downtown Cleveland.

“If we were going to do it, we would do it in a way that was transparent to the media and fans before making that change,” he added.

MLB Players Association leader Tony Clark stopped short of saying he believes the league has altered the ball on purpose, but said that, “The game has changed. The ball is different.”


Tanaka, 30, has pitched in the majors leagues for six seasons. This year, he's 5-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 18 starts.

He explained the difference.

"Feels like the ball is a little bit harder and it feels like the seams re a little bit lower,” Tanaka said.

Is the ball juiced? He wasn’t sure. “I feel like there’s room for conversation on the topic,” he said.

But Tanaka had an issue with one of Manfred’s talking points.

Manfred said that since the baseballs are handmade and with natural products, there’s going to be a natural variance from ball to ball. Tanaka said he didn’t understand why home runs have only steadily ticked upward over recent years if that was the case.

“I think that MLB is saying that the balls are being handmade, then it shouldn’t just be going up. There should be a down, also,” he said.

Tanaka’s teammate, CC Sabathia, also said Tuesday that “the laces are just harder to grip, sown in tighter.”

“Guys are hitting home runs at a crazy record pace,” Sabathia said. “We’re trying to figure out why. But I think it just goes up and down, up and down just in the game. It’s just one of those years where it’s high. But like I said, the ball does feel a little different in your hand.”
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:37 am

Yankees have asked about Blue Jays pitchers Marcus Stroman AND Ken Giles

by Mac Josephson Follow @macjosephson

According to reports, Marcus Stroman isn’t the only Blue Jays pitchers the Yankees have inquired about.

We’ve known for weeks now that Stroman is one of the starting pitchers the Yankees are interested in acquiring before the July 31st trade deadline. That still hasn’t changed but on Monday Blue Jays beat reporter Scott Mitchell tweeted out that New York could be interested in acquiring him in a package that also includes their closer, Ken Giles.

The Yankees already have one of the best bullpens in baseball so they don’t really need any help but there’s no such thing as having too many good relievers. Especially if injured All-Star Dellin Betances doesn’t return from injury at some point during the second half.

Acquiring a package of Stroman and Giles would definitely cost the Yankees a bigger haul in prospects but Mitchell also noted in his tweet that the Jays would prefer to deal the two pitchers separately.

Scott Mitchell@ScottyMitchTSN
An interesting tidbit I’ve heard is both the Yankees and Twins have inquired about a Stroman/Giles package.
I’m sure Ross Atkins would prefer to maximize the returns separately, however.#BlueJays


Yankee fans might remember Giles from his time with Astros and the night he punched himself in the face after he gave up a go-ahead home run to Gary Sanchez last season. He was demoted to the minor leagues after the incident and traded to the Blue Jays before the trade deadline and since joining Toronto he’s been very good.

This season he has a 1.45 ERA in 31 IP with 53 K’s and a 1.00 WHIP. He’s striking out 15.4 hitters per 9 innings and he’s 13 for 14 in save opportunities. Those are great numbers but if I were GM Brian Cashman I’d focus more on only acquiring Stroman than the two of them together.

In order to acquire both players in a package, the Yankees would have to offer a lot to Toronto and I’m not sure it would be worth it considering Giles track record. I’m still not even sold that Stroman is the guy who would put them over the top in the postseason so giving up some of their top assets for both of them isn’t worth the risk.

As I mentioned Giles has quite the temper at times and his emotions can get the best of him so I don’t think the bright lights of New York would be the best fit for him. Also, during his time with Houston pitching in the playoffs on the game’s biggest stage, he was terrible when the pressure was at it’s highest.

In 2017 he was their closer heading into the postseason but against the Yankees in the ALCS and the Dodgers in the WS, he struggled mightily. In seven appearances that October his playoff ERA was 11.74 and he had a WHIP of 2.21. Houston went to him often but by the end of their run, he simply couldn’t be relied upon to get big outs. So much so that the Astros ended up using their starters as relievers to hold onto leads and carry them to their first World Series title.

Even though that was Giles only postseason experience and he’s looked like a different pitcher since then the Yankees should stay away from him to avoid the potential headache. Their team as currently constructed has terrific chemistry and they should bring in someone who can mess with that.

As for Stroman, I’d still rather see the Yanks acquire Trevor Bauer instead but he certainly wouldn’t be a bad fallback option. Just as long as he comes to New York by himself.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:40 am

Jon Heyman@JonHeyman

Despite twitter rumors, I hear there’s been no talk to this point between the Braves and Jays involving Marcus Stroman. “Total fabrication,” is a phrase I heard.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:45 am

Yankees should target these starting pitchers before July 31 deadline

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By JAMES O’CONNELL | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |
JUL 10, 2019 | 4:19 PM

And we’re back…

Yet again, we’re here talking about which pitcher the Yankees should acquire at the July trade deadline. Last year it was J.A. Happ, and the year before it was Sonny Gray. Who will be the guy for the Bombers this time around?

There are a variety of interesting candidates who figure to be available, even more than years past. There are three candidates who Brian Cashman should have at the top of his list, and none of them are Madison Bumgarner.

MARCUS STROMAN
Stroman is the most intriguing candidate. He already plays in the AL East and he’s also a local guy (from Long Island).

The 28-year-old is having a nice bounce-back campaign with the Blue Jays. He is 5-9 with a 3.18 ERA, striking out seven batters per nine innings while walking 2.8. However, his dazzling ERA isn’t the most attractive feature that Stroman brings to the table.

[More Yankees] Yankees pitcher and 'Ball Four’ author Jim Bouton dies at 80 »
The right-hander induces the most ground balls in the American League (57.5 percent ground ball percentage) and ranks in the top 15 for lowest fly ball percentage. Fly balls and Yankee Stadium tend to have a poor relationship, anyone who can force the ball on the ground with the Yanks star-studded infield would be crucial.

TREVOR BAUER
Bauer would be an intriguing fit in the Bronx and Cleveland figures to be sellers due to their current financial situation.

Bauer is 8-6 with a 3.61 ERA striking out 10.1 batters per nine innings. While the right-hander doesn’t have a dominant sinker to induce grounders like Stroman, he does have a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s and a devastating breaking ball that registers north of 2500 RPM (spin rate).

[More Yankees] Yankees pitcher and 'Ball Four’ author Jim Bouton dies at 80 »
He’s also obsessed with analytics, which is a major plus for the Yankees nowadays.

NOAH SYNDERGAARD
The final piece the Yankees should have atop their list comes close to home. Specifically, across town in Queens.

Andy Martino of SNY reported that Noah Syndergaard “isn’t a lock to stay” with the Amazin’s. A statement like that generally means the player can be had at the right price.

[More Yankees] Sonny Gray’s All-Star campaign is latest example of Yankees’ biggest problem »
Syndergaard isn’t having an ideal season with the Mets. His 4.68 ERA in 17 starts would usually be a turn off to teams around the league. But not in this case.

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Noah Syndergaard may also be a good fit in the Bronx. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The 26-year-old’s 3.98 FIP indicated he hasn’t pitched as poorly as his ERA shows. Also, the Mets rival the Boston Red Sox for the worst bullpen in the MLB as they have registered the most blown saves in the MLB with 21.

On top of the poor bullpen, the Amazin’s are the worst fielding team in baseball, ranking dead last in defensive WAR at -42. Yes, that is a negative sign.

Excuses can be made for a pitcher performing poorly on a bad team as often as the sun comes up. If it wasn’t for Syndergaard's extraordinary track record, he wouldn’t even be a thought.

His career 3.23 ERA and triple-digit fastball and electric slider give him the benefit of the doubt. In any other year, if Syndergaard was available, teams would be lining up to offer whatever it takes to land him, which is exactly what the Yankees should be doing now.

After all, we know exactly what would happen if the Mets traded a pitcher of his caliber to the Bronx. A Cy Young award every single season, followed by multiple World Series rings.

[More Yankees] Yankees decide to rest DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres before they leave for All-Star ‘break’ »
The Yankees will acquire a starting pitcher at the deadline, that’s a fact at this point. Adding one of these pitchers to the team with the best record in the AL along with Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and Giancarlo Stanton, would give the Yankees the deadly rotation they’ve wanted and needed.

It’s Christmas in July again folks, and it’s time to get excited.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:48 pm

The Yankees need to pair James Paxton with an opener

Paxton’s on a near-comical run of first inning ineffectiveness, and it’s keeping the Yankees from their optimal performance

By Joshua Diemert@JoshuaDiemert Jul 11, 2019, 12:00pm EDT

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Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The Yankees are a great baseball team. At the All Star break, they’re one of the three best in the game. At this juncture, we don’t really need to talk about correcting anything with the Yankees, but rather optimizing it. And James Paxton’s usage needs to be optimized.

Simply put, of all the pitchers on the Yankee staff, Paxton is the one who would benefit most from the use of the opener. The first inning has been a dreadful one for Big Maple so far this year, and he gets beat up at the back end of starts facing the top of the lineup the third time. Pairing Paxton with a designated opener would be the best way to mitigate the adverse results we see in the first and final innings of his starts, and optimize a Yankee staff desperate to carve out any advantage they can get over the likes of the Astros and Twins.

First, it’s important to establish just how poorly Paxton has pitched in the first inning this year. Almost every starter is worse in the first, simply because they’re guaranteed to face the first three hitters in the order, usually an opponent’s best. In the first inning, MLB starters allow a .762 OPS against, roughly the production Jean Segura, Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt have put up this year. Pretty good hitters all of them, but hovering just about average overall.

James Paxton gives up a 1.046 OPS against in the first inning. If Paxton’s first inning was a hitter, they’d rank fourth in all of baseball in OPS, smack dab between Mike Trout and Josh Bell. This is problematic. MLB starters average a 4.64 ERA in the first inning, and Paxton’s is almost six runs higher than that. Even if you want to control for the division the Yankees play in, chock full of good hitters and hitter’s ballparks, Paxton is the worst first inning pitcher on the staff:
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I don’t want this to just be a post ripping on Paxton, because I like him a lot, but we’re going to include just one more Paxton fun fact. If James Paxton was just league average in the first inning, his full season ERA would drop from 4.01 to 3.06. In short, Paxton’s first inning problems are what’s keeping him from being a real Cy Young candidate.

The simplest solution to this is just stop letting Paxton pitch the first inning. Not only is his bad first inning performance hurting him and hurting the team, I think it’s fair to say it’s hurting his ability to work deep into games. The narrative on Paxton before moving to the Bronx was that he would battle nagging injuries and see resultant IL time, but when he was on the mound he’d go as deep into games as anyone.
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What has actually happened in 2019 is Paxton has by far the highest first inning ERA of his career, while also his lowest innings per start. Now, he’s averaging 92 pitches per start, and over his career has average 92.7, so he’s throwing the same number of pitches in fewer innings. This is pretty intuitive - he’s getting rocked early and so his allotted pitches are being used up - but the fact we haven’t seen average pitches per start really decline shows us there’s nothing wrong with the health of his arm. The Yankees are comfortable letting him throw as much as he always has, he’s just not working as deep.

By keeping Paxton out of the first inning, you’d re-allocate those 92-odd pitches into innings where he does much better, and you’d probably see him pitch more innings per “start,” much closer to the 5.5-6 range he’s always been in. Luckily, the Yankees have just the guy to open as well.

With the return of Domingo German, the team has five starters again, and Chad Green finds himself back in a conventional reliever role. He saw a lot of success in a string of opening assignments, with a 1.23 ERA and 10:1 K:BB ratio in his eight opens. This is clearly something that Green has seen at least small sample success with, and more importantly it’s something he’s used to.

The hard part about the opener is pitchers are creatures of habit, and it’s difficult to say how well they’ll respond to a change in the role they’ve had since high school. Green’s already responded well, which is half the battle, and Paxton has already shown himself open to new technologies and ways of analyzing the game. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say it could be easier to “convert” Paxton than a much more old-school player like CC Sabathia.

We’re talking about optimization, not correction. The Yankees are still really good, and I certainly think Paxton is better than the half season we’ve seen so far. In the midst of a very strange run of poor first innings, and with an opener suited and used to the role, the best way to optimize this Yankee staff might be to shake it up internally.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:52 pm

MLB trade rumors: Yankees’ Clint Frazier for Indians’ Trevor Bauer?

Updated 12:48 PM; Today 11:31 AM

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Will the Cleveland Indians trade pitcher Trevor Bauer?

By Mike Rosenstein | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Much has been written about the New York Yankees and their quest to find more starting pitching before the July 31 trade deadline. One of the more popular names in the latest rumors is Cleveland Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer.

Some have floated a deal in which the Yankees would send outfielder Clint Frazier back to the Indians for Bauer (remember, the Yankees acquired Frazier in the Andrew Miller deal three years ago).

But SiriusXM analyst Steve Phillips went on MLB Network Radio on Wednesday to say why a Bauer-Frazier deal would be bad ... for the Indians.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, the Yankees, Clint Frazier.’ So are the Indians better trading Bauer to the Yankees and depleting their pitching by whatever that degree is you believe giving up Bauer cost them and putting Frazier in the outfield. I mean, Frazier is better than what their offense is in the outfield. But is he better than the loss of Bauer to the rotation? Not for me. Bauer is a better pitcher than Frazier is an outfielder.”



MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM@MLBNetworkRadio
If you're the Indians, do you trade Trevor Bauer? @StevePhillipsGM: No. #Indians | #RallyTogether

The 28-year-old Bauer is 8-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 20 starts this season. His 2.21 ERA in 2018 was second-best in the American League. According to Spotrac, Bauer is making $13 million this season and is eligible for arbitration in 2020.

Frazier is back with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, after hitting .283 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI in 53 games this season for the Yankees. Team officials are hoping the 24-year-old Frazier will spend his time down on the farm working on his defensive deficiencies in the outfield.
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