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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The last Yankee dynasty which began in 1996 was triggered by the young players’ rookie Derek Jeter, second-year pitcher Andy Pettitte and second-year pitcher Mariano Rivera. Soon afterwards Jorge Posada joined the other three and the four became known as the “Core Four.” Beginning in 1996 and ending in 2007 the Yankees made the playoffs every year and were 4-time World Series Champions.

What a weekend August 12-14 was in Yankee-Land. On August 12 the Yankees celebrated A-Rod’s last Yankee game, on August 13 the Yankees celebrated the 20th anniversary of their 1996 World Series Championship team and on August 14 the Yankees honored Mariano Rivera by adding his plaque to Monument Park.

With A-Rod unconditionally released on Friday, the Yankees on Saturday brought up from their Triple A farm team Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge. Both players in their first at bats on Saturday powered back-to-back home runs. The feat of two players hitting back to back home runs in their first at bats in the majors had never been done before in the history of baseball. Austin’s home run was to right field and just cleared the 314-foot sign, whereas; Judge’s home run traveled 457 feet and tied for the fourth longest home run ever hit at Yankee Stadium. In that same game home runs were also hit by Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks. Manager Girardi has stated Aaron Judge will be their permanent right fielder and it is clear that Gary Sanchez is their catcher of the future. All of the above mentioned players are under the age of 27 or as Yankee broadcaster John Sterling put it, the “Baby Bombers” have arrived.

It is fitting that after celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 1996 World Series Championship team, which also marked the first year of the last Yankee dynasty, we can talk about the next Yankee dynasty.  Clearly the strategy of GM Cashman is working better than I expected and probably even better than Cashman expected. The Yankees as of this writing are still in the hunt for the second wild card spot. But there are too many teams in front of them and their starting pitching as it stands now is suspect to say the least. Except for the Tanaka and Sabathia the rest of the starters including Pineda, Eovaldi and Severino have been woeful. However, the bright side for the next couple of years will be watching these young players develop into solid major leaguers triggering the next Yankee dynasty. 

Why do I call this the early stage for the next Yankee dynasty? Over the next two years the Yankees will be rid of many costly salaries. After the 2018 season, with Beltran’s $15 million, Teixeira’s $22.5 million, Sabathia’s $25 million, A-Rod’s $21 million and other bad contracts gone, the Yankees will have globs of money to throw at almost any great player they want. What about signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado or Jose Fernandez, a free agent in 2019? Cashman’s strategy of unloading Chapman, Miller and Beltran to receive back 12 very good prospects has rebuilt the Yankee farm system into one of the best in baseball. These good prospects can be used as trade bait to bring back to the Yankees top starting pitchers. I predict the new Yankee dynasty will start at the beginning of the 2018 season. The Yankees will be very competitive in 2017 and possibly can be a second wild card team. This will depend on the Yankees fortifying their pitching staff in the off season. Remember, the Yankees could resign Beltran and Chapman for the 2017 season. The addition of 29-year old Adam Warren this year has already helped the pitching staff.

It would be hard to predict now which of the young Yankees will be the “Baby Bombers” that trigger the new Yankee dynasty. But for the next few years Yankee fans can really enjoy watching the new Yankee dynasty taking shape


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner have finally faced reality. The 2016 Yankees are not an awful team but are simply a .500 team. After a 25-year run which began with the Core Four, the Yankees realize that the future is not now. Let us Yankee fans never forget the 25-year run which began with the Core Four and produced five World Series Championships. However, after being swept in a three-game series by the Rays, the Yankee owner and GM finally admitted they are now sellers. The list of Yankees traded before the August 1 non-waiver trading deadline included Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova. In return for these veterans they received ex-Yankee Adam Warren and 12 prospects, of which at least 6 have been evaluated by scouts as top prospects. GM Cashman has transformed the Yankee farm system from an eyesore to one of the best in baseball. Since Beltran and Chapman will become free agents and both have said they are open to resigning with the Yankees, it is possible both will be in pinstripes next year. IF they wanted to they could also bring back Ivan Nova for next year. If all that should happen Cashman would have received the 12 prospects and Adam Warren for Andrew Miller. What a heist?

The bad news for the Yankee fans is that, by giving away their best hitter Beltran along with two of the top five closers in baseball in Chapman and Miller, the Yankees have waved the white flag on the 2016 season.

On the other hand, there is much good news in what has just occurred. The 12 prospects included SS Gleyber Torres --- the top prospect of the Cubs --- and outfielder Billy Mckinney---the 24th pick in the 2013 draft ---, both received in the Chapman trade. The Miller and Beltran trade brought back outfielder Clint Frazier --- who according to Cashman has “legendary bat speed” --- and pitcher Dillon Tate, the fourth pick in the 2015 draft. Adding these prospects to the already existing Yankee prospects including Greg Bird --- who has already shown he is a big league 1B ----, Adam Judge --- a power hitting outfielder ---, Gary Sanchez --- a highly thought of catcher ---, Jorge Mateo --- their prior number one prospect ----, pitcher Luis Severino and others, the Yankees have assembled a prospect pool that not only can make the Yankees better in the future but also can be used to trade for other teams’ talent. There is still more to Cashman’s plan. Over the next two years the Yankees will be rid of many costly salaries. After the 2018 season, with Beltran’s $15 million, Teixeira’s $22.5 million, Sabathia’s $25 million, A-Rod’s $21 million and other bad contracts gone, the Yankees will have globs of money to throw at almost any great player they want. What about signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado or Jose Fernandez, a free agent in 2019?  

Well, what about the 2017 and 2018 seasons? I believe the Yankees can remain a competitive team by combining their major league ready prospects with players like Ellsbury, Gardiner, Gregorious and Castro. They may also pick up a pitcher like Chris Sale or some other ace who becomes available. Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Luis Severino will still be there. Also, Dellin Betances should be more than just a capable closer. There will now be room for many of these young prospects to have a chance to show that they are really Major League players. It will be fun watching these young players develop and just maybe a new Core ???? will emerge.

Yes, Yankee fans, if Cashman’s plan is successful we can look forward to the beginning of a new Yankee dynasty starting in 2019. 


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Theo Epstein, the President of the Cubs, and Brian Cashman, the GM of the Yankees, concluded a trade where the Yankees shipped Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in exchange for Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford. Let’s look at this trade through the eyes of these two men.

Theo Epstein was hired in 2011 as the President of the Cubs. His goal was to bring an end to 100+ years of Cubs’ misery by repeating what he did for the Red Sox, leading them to WS Championships in 2004 and again in 2007. The combination of Hector Rondon as the Cubs closer and Pedro Strop as their setup man ranked them seventh in the NL with a 3.73 ERA contributing to the Cubs' 12-15 record in one-run games. In acquiring Chapman, the Cubs now have a pitcher who broke the record in velocity, throwing several pitches at 105 mph. He fanned 44 batters and walked only eight in 31 1/3 innings with New York while converting 20 of 21 save chances. Yes, there is a risk in giving up your number one prospect Torres, but with Chapman as its closer, Epstein can see Chapman getting the last out in a final WS game breaking the 108 year Cubs WS drought. Epstein did what I expected Washington to do. That is, do whatever it takes to obtain Chapman. I said Washington’s Papelbon was finished as a closer and yesterday Papelbon blew a save against Cleveland not recording one out facing five straight hitters. In my April 3 blog, I predicted the Cubs would win the World Series. Theo’s addition of Chapman allows me to double-down on my preseason prediction.

What does this trade mean for the Yankees? In December, acquiring Chapman for a quartet of average minor leaguers was a no-brainer. Now, getting the Cubs number one prospect, a versatile major league pitcher, another good prospect and a throw-in minor leaguer was too good to pass up in July. The players they received from the Cubs were Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford.Torres is a 19-year-old shortstop who was listed as the Cubs number one 2016 minor league prospect. Before the trade he was in high A-ball where he was batting .275 in 94 games with 9 HRs and 47 RBIs. Billy McKinney, a 21-year-old outfielder who bats and throws from the left side, was originally selected as the 24th pick in the first round of the 2013 draft by Oakland right out of high school. In 2015 he batted .340 in A-Ball and then was promoted to Double A, where his 2015 season ended with a hairline fracture. In 2016, he is currently batting .252 in Double A. In getting Adam Warren back, the Yankees got a veteran pitcher who for his 4-year stay (2012-2015) with the Yankees had an ERA of 3.39. He can be used as a spot starter or a long relief man. The Cubs got Warren in the deal that sent Castro to the Yankees. Now the Yankees have both coveted players. How sweet is that? As for Rashad Crawford he is a 22-year-old throw-in who is currently in A-Ball. Since Chapman will be a free agent in 2017,

the Yankees will have every opportunity to resign him for next year. Who knows he might again wear the pinstripes in 2017. What does this say about the Yankees for the rest of 2016? Cashman’s trade is a stroke of genius which does not wave the white flag for the 2016 Yankees. As of this writing the Yankees are only 4 games out of the second Wild Card with three teams ahead of them. At this point in the season their starters should be able to handle seven innings and they still have, in Betances and Miller, the best pair of pitchers to finish the game. Further, the addition of Warren gives them a dependable starter if needed. Both Epstein and Cashman should be commended on making this trade. Yes, the Cubs will break their 108 year WS drought; whereas, the Yankees are successfully getting younger while still staying competitive for the post-season.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Here are some of the winning and losing teams with regard to new signings for 2015. Everything could change for any team that signs the biggest pitching fish still available, Max Scherzer. The talk is the team that signs him to a contract can expect to pay close to $30 million per year. Clearly, this limits the suitors to a few teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers.So far the city of Chicago is the winning city for 2015 signings with both of their teams earning a grade of A. On the North Side the Cubs had a great week. After signing the highly successful manager Joe Maddon, they added a number one pitcher Jon Lester. To help the entire pitching staff they signed the veteran catcher Miguel Montero. They also signed veteran pitcher Jason Hammel. Combining these veteran signings with the highly touted young Cubs will make the Cubs a contender for the playoffs. On the South Side the White Sox improved themselves by acquiring Jeff Samardzija from the Athletics. The signing of David Robertson gives them their closer. With the earlier acquisition of first baseman Adam La Roche and their just announced signing of outfielder Melky Cabrera, the White Sox are ready to contend in the tough American League Central.

How have the Mets and my Yankees done so far in 2015 signings? First, the Mets got off to a great start by acquiring the left fielder they needed for power, Michael Cuddyer. The signing of Mayberry is okay and gives them a fourth outfielder. The Mets then went into hibernation. The expression you can’t have enough good starting pitching applies to the Mets. With veterans Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee teaming with their young pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, and Noah Syndergaard they have an abundance of quality starters. Not to mention their top minor league pitching prospects. However, these starters need a quality defensive shortstop behind them. So far the Mets have failed to provide that quality shortstop. Their default shortstop is Wilmer Flores who for a shortstop is an acceptable hitter but a below average fielder. They do have several minor league shortstop prospects like Matt Reynolds who may be ready by July. They still have time to move one of their quality pitchers and a minor league prospect for that needed shortstop. Turning to the Yankees, after acquiring shortstop Didi Gregorius as their replacement for Derek Jeter and lefty relief specialist Andrew Miller, the Yankees had a quiet week at the Winter Meetings. As I mentioned in a previous blog letting David Robertson leave was a big mistake. The trio of Betances, Miller, and Robertson would have given the Yankees the best seventh, eighth, and ninth inning trio in the majors. GM Brian Cashman would like to add a third baseman and a starting pitcher, but seems uninterested in getting into a bidding war. Flash!!! As I am writing this blog the news of the signing of Chase Headley by the Yankees for $52 million for four years is announced. Think of third baseman Hendley as a 52 million dollar safety net for A-Rod. GM Cashman is not enamored with A-Rod and does not know what a soon to be 40-year-old player who has played sparingly for the last three years can give him. For 2015, A-Rod will be fighting for a job even though he is under contract until 2017 and is owed a minimum of $61 million plus an additional $30 million in incentives. The A-Rod situation combined with the wilting of Mark Texeira in the later years of his long term contract will discourage Cashman from giving Max Scherzer a long-term contract. Flash!!! GM Cashman just announced A-Rod will be used solely as a DH and Hendley will be the regular third baseman in 2015.

Before the signing of Headley I would have given both New York teams a C grade but with Headley signed I will raise the Yankee grade to a C+.


 

 

 
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