A Month of Fundays

A New York Yankees, Giants, Knicks, Rangers and other stuff blog.

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Monday, March 02, 2015

Rangers Win

The Rangers just dominated the NHL points leading Nashville Predators.  Man, was the energy good and much different than it was Saturday night before the deadline.  The re-signed MZA was awesome and had two impressive assists on the first two goals -- and two was all the Rangers needed but they got 4.  The scorers were Staal, Kreider, Moore and Nash on an empty netter.  Nash missed a couple of gimme' early, but like every Ranger may have been too energized.  Yandle was impressive, and may have actually given them permission to dominate.  This situation should be watched.  Big and dominant win.

Let's Go Rangers!

Rangers Tonight: Yandle Debuts, Fast Returns

So though Keith Yandle will make his debut tonight, and though Jesper Fast will return to action, we'll still have Tanner Glass to fret about because Sheppard couldn't get in soon enough.   We're looking into claims that AV was involved in his delays.   Just the same, it should be interesting. Fast was getting better and better - like the rest of the kids - when he went down.   And we'll see if we can get our first look at Yandle on the PP.   Won't be complete till Hank is back and Glass is sitting, though.  Let's go, Rangers!

Rangers: Thank God For Gordie Clark

Seriously.  We are probably not grateful enough for all our teams scouts (wait, do the Knicks even have scouts?) but it feels like the Rangers scouts are allowed to do the most, and Gordie Clark, as well as Jeff Gorton,  Sather and an owner who cares more about the Knicks are to thank for it.   Since Gordie came aboard back around `05, the Rangers have been able to find and grab players in the draft like Stepan, Kreider, Miller, Duclair (sniff), Buchnevich, etc, among the unsigned like Hayes, and foreign markets like Zuccarello, and in prospect trades like the one that brought McD and Lindberg.   The Ranger scouts work both sides pro and amateur and it's working for them because they are good at their jobs and the powers that be trust them, and prospective players are held to a certain ideal and whom the Rangers have kept tabs on since their earliest years.   You see them constantly on players they had rated higly in their draft years like McD, Hayes, Lindbergh and even Sheppard whom assistant GM Doug Riseborough drafted when he was with the Wild.   It's a pretty perfect ecological system or glorious returns -- except for those few days every July when Sather gets an itchy palm and signs marginal vets that bock kids.

I think the Yanks and Giants both have a lot of great scouts.  But the will of the Yankees scouts often seems foiled when things like the Moncada situation comes up and ownership won't got all-Yankee on it, or when they needless jam up their salary structure by punting picks for over 30 year old FA's, like they did in 2013.   What's more it doesn't feel like all the scouts report to a single leader -- like the Rangers have with Gordie, or even the Giants have with their GM who came up through scouting.  Thus, I'd like to see Damon Oppenheimer be that guy -- but the structure doesn't seem to allow it.

So we should be supergrateful for Gordie and Gorton who have ownership backing, and when picks are lost in trades have the full organizational support behind still finding more Ranger-types to throw into the system -- and that's how we got Hayes -- who looks like burgeoning start -- and that's what they'll have to keep finding because the Rangers don't have another first rounder till 2017.

Giants Cut JD Walton!

The Giants have cut JD Walton, thereby saving about 3M on the cap and clearing the way for Weston Richburg to assume his natural position and the one he was drafted to play -- unless Brett Jones beats him out.   Huge upgrade on the C position as JD was a problem last year.   Good stuff!

Yanks Stuff

It was learned today that Yankee catching prospect Luis Torrens will miss the whole season with a shoulder injury.   This is a blow to the system, as he was perhaps the most natural catcher out of the IFA's they have paid and turned into catchers like Montero and Sanchez.   So he loses a year and Charleston will probably now have a college catcher.

Meanwhile, if this casts uncertainty on his future, it's a good thing the Yanks have the 16th pick.  Early projections seem to show a couple of prep catchers in that #16 window.  Might be a year to pick a few.

Giants Tag JPP

The Giants have tagged JPP, meaning, that unless someone is willing to give up 2 1's and a huge contract, JPP will get at least 1 year under Spags.   Meanwhile, the cap went up another 10M, and the Giants have about that much to spend after applying the tag to JPP.  Of course, they can always find more though cuts, retructures and extensions.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Yandle Stuff

A couple of interesting points about Yandle.  First, we've talked about making stretch passes and chipping pucks to the fast guys a bit over the past few years - even when Torts was here and Hags and Kreider showed up.  Yandle can really make those passes, so, it should be fun to get him out there with the fast guys.

What's more - and this is and admittedly small sample size - but last year was the first time I've ever seen the Rangers make it to the finals without a bread n butter offensive defenseman.  First there was Park, then there were Greschner and McEwen, then they had Leetch and Zubov (and won) and then they had last year, when McD's game was developing and he had a hell of a run, but wasn't that same kind of offensive defenseman the others were -- and Yandle is again.  Now, I don't think he's going to be Leetch or Park, but I think he is going to be able to bring the puck up and make plays.

Also, he'll be wearing #93.

The Rangers at the Deadline

The Rangers made a flurry of moves today, and they have till 5pm est. Monday before the deadline arrives when not only can no more moves be made, but they have to have on their rosters everyone they want to use in the playoffs.  So it's a big day, either way, even with what they have already done.  The key will be taking Tanner Glass away from AV.  Whether that means trading him, releasing him or sending him to Hartford, something must be done because AV won't stop playing him, and playing him creates too much stress on the rest of the team.

Ideally, they could also find some cap savings, but that doesn't seem likely to happen.

The tough thing today was trading Duclair for Yandle.  Now don't get me wrong, Yandle is a good player and might really excell in AV's system.  He hasn't been on this type of team before, nor has he had good defensive partners who could facilitate the chances he takes on offense.  So it could really be a good fit for Yandle.

That said, when you are lucky enough to find a great prospect like Duclair, you don't include him in a trade for an all-star.  He's going to be an all-star.  You trade him in  a package for a superstar.   And you don't just include him because AZ is willing to pay half of Yandle's remaining contract.   It's not only a bad use of Duclair who should have been kept and added to the front six next year -- but it devalues the rest of your prospects in future trades -- so they'd be wise to hang onto the rest of them and try to get winning utility out of them.

So beyond dumping Glass, and maybe calling up Lindberg or signing Buchnevich so he can be playoff eligible, there's not much else that they can reasonably do.  So we'll see what they do.

Rangers Extend MZA 4/18

Rather than trade Zuccarello, the Rangers seemed to have gotten him to blink.   MZA apparently settled for the deal the Rangers had been offering all along.  On the one hand, this is good.  On the other hand, it keeps us small at our top two right wings, and could impact Hagelin's future along with those of the other younger players.  And, it would make me a little sick think they traded Duclair because they knew there wouldn't be a spot for him next year.   Anyway it's a good price for a good player, but the Rangers need to find cap relief and need to find it soon.

UPDATE:  This isn't official yet, because the no trade or no movement issues haven't been finalized.  It should get done in the morning.

Rangers Acquire F James Sheppard

The Rangers just got C-F James Sheppard from the Sharks for a draft pick.  Don't know what the pick is, but Sheppard is a 4th line type player who can play C or F for the Rangers.  Good sized kid, who'll turn 27 this year.

UPDATE: It's for a 2016 4th, the NYR's own, not the one they got from AZ.  So, hopefully, we'll still be better than AZ next year:)

Rangers Just Struck Fast (and for Fast)

With Jesper Fast about ready to come back, the Ranger started on the road to redemption -- in my eyes anyway -- by trading Stempniak to the Winnipeg Jets!   Don't know what the take back is, and don't care as long as it's not a bigger cap hit.   Let's see what else they can do!

Cool, they got Carl Klingberg, a 24 year old Swede back.  So, they might be able to rock an all Swedish fourth line if they call up Oscar.

Rangers Going Forward

The Rangers, at this point have done much to decimate their farm and future.  Thanks to Gordie Clark, and that Scouts, though, the cupboard is still surprisingle far from bare.  Although, when these kids will finally get their chances is anyones guess given the coach and the GM's willingness to send them off.

Going forward without so many picks, the Rangers should remain an attractive landing spot for undrafted or unsigned players -- like Hayes was -- and they'll have to keep working that market.   They'll have to find some cap room, and it better not be at the expense of Stepan, Kreider, Hags or Miller, etc.

They need to start sending down unproductive veteran players like they used to and like Glass, for starters.

In the short term, before the deadline passes tomorrow, I'd like to see them make some sort of redemptive move.  You know, something that shows Gorton and Clark still have a voice in the room.  Either by trading old for young or by sending down scrubs and bringing up the kids.   I'd hate to see them trade more prospects or anymore picks, and extending MZA is nebulous to me.   Also, their greatest need, in my opinion, was to get a bit bigger and tougher for this cup run, and they didn't do it with the Yandle move.

So there we are.  Stop being so careless Rangers and do something smart to restore some of the value you've just given away.

Breaking: Rangers Get Yandle

The Rangers have just acquired Keith Yandle in a blockbuster deal.  Don't know the details but will keep updating.  May be mad.

UPDATE:  Yup.  I'm mad.   They traded Duclair, and 2016 first and John Moore for Yandle with AZ paying half salary.    I can't believe that A) they traded Duclair because AV is an asshole.  B) That they traded their 4th 1 in a row.  And C) That they had to do this because they signed Dan Bowyle instead of keeping Stralman.   We get a good player - but the future is gone.

FURTHER UPDATE:  They have to find more picks!   I'm really mad about trading Duke.  Absolutely loved that kid and what he could have been in our top 6.   Looks like they kept Buch instead and are now extending MZA instead of trading him.   Maybe they just couldn't stand the idea of having made 3 great third round picks as now Tambellini is also having a breakout season -- but after he and Buch and what's in Hartford the forward Cupboard is pretty bare.

Still Yandle is good and was the guy to get from Az rather than Vermette.   A former first round bust named Chris Summers is also coming back in the deal, and we may have given up another pick to go with the first.

Yandle is signed through next year.

PICKS UPDATE:  Rangers gave up 1 of this year's 2's, next year's 1 and got a 2016 4th round pick back.   UGH!   They still need more picks.

Yanks Name Their First 3 ST Starters

As of right now Adam Warren will start game 1, Nate Eovaldi will start game 2 and Esmil Rogers will pitch game 3.   Will be interesting to see if Nate throws any splitters.  Otherwise, the pitchers out of the pen could be more interesting.  Will probably see Severino.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rangers Trying to Bring Buchnevich Over Now?

Wow.  Now this is interesting.  Pavel's KHL team didn't make the playoffs, so his contract may be over.  Thus, the Rangers are trying to bring him over now on either a PTO or an entry level deal.   Like Duclair, this kid can fly and play, but the question is, would AV play him?   The situation bears watching.

Btw, both Duclair and Brady Skjei could be available this year if the Rangers get deep enough in the playoffs.

This Week on the Blog

This past week sucked for us.  The Yanks let us down catastrophically, and there was really no good news for any of our teams -- though the Rangers did keep winning, thank goodness.

Whether we like it or not, this week will be more eventful, starting with the Giants.

Giants:  On Monday, the Giants have to either sign JPP, franchise him, or get ready to lose him in free agency.   That's the deadline for tagging players.  What's more they still have to find more cap room, and could start looking at cut players from around the league like Anthony Fasano, Barry Cofield and Reggie Bush to start addressing their plethora of needs before the regular free agency period starts.

Rangers:  The NHL trade deadline passes at 5PM on Monday.  Since the Rangers ALWAYS make trades, my hope is simply that they are a better team Monday night than they are right now.  I'm handing it over to the hockey gods for there with one proviso: if MZA is traded it has to be for or part of a BIG IMPROVEMENT.

Knicks:  The Knicks and all of us will continue to mourn Anthony Mason -- the last Knick who wasn't on some level -- a pussy.   Phil Jackson either will or won't continue his scouting trip with an eye on getting more picks (which a genius should be able to do).

Yanks: The Yankees, such as they are, will continue working against their own best long term baseball needs and putting brand first.   Also, they will start playing preseason games, so it's a good time to see th kids before they get sent down -- if you can even stomach watching the Yanks for awhile.

So it will be an eventful week, whether or not those events will please us is anyone's guess.   I hope it's a great one for each of you.

MZA on the Way Out?

Katie Strang is reporting that the Rangers have now made MZA available for trade.  Depending on the take back, I like this more than extending him, and if the John Moore rumors are also true, I am glad the Rangers are looking to trade roster players instead of more picks or prospects.   About 54 hours till the deadline.

Rest in Peace, Anthony Mason, Knick

Anthony Mason, the former Knick, died over night from heart problems.  He was just 48 years old.  Mase was probably my favorite Knick during the Riley Era.  I prattle on about the team nature of basketball, and the effort nature of playing D out there.  Anthony Mason embodied both concepts and would have been a good and effective Knick on the Holzman Knicks or any Knick team, ever, because he got it and had the understanding and want to to make any team better.  He had probably surpassed the physically compromised version of Larry Johnson that we traded him for at the time of the trade, and thus I was pretty unhappy about it when the deal was made, not that I don't like Larry Johnson - I do - it's just that Anthony Mason was a KNICK and we can always use more and not less of them.  We still need more Knicks, and we lost this one way too soon - and twice.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Yadier Alvarez Seeks Waiver

According to RealGM, representatives for Cuban RHP Yadier Alvarez are seeking a waiver wich would allow Yadier to sign right away and not wait for 2/7.  Apparently, such waivers are available if the player can show reason.   We'll see if he can get it, and if he does we'll see if the price is right or the race is wrong.

Yanks: A House Divided?

The Yanks' failure to behave intelligently and sign Moncada early this week made apparent a schism between the baseball people and the ownership group that has created and powerfully threatens to keep creating their seasonal rate of championship success.

We've talked about his continually, but, under Hal, we have continually seen two plans at work.  There's the good one that has worked to add the best scouts in baseball, reorganize their minor league system, rely on analytics, and finally got the owner to agree to a July 2 splurge.   All of that stuff is really good.

Then we've seen the other plan -- which seems to want to just overpay for over 30's, and make excuses for not being more agressive with amateurs and Cubans when they've been able to.

The other day Hal whined about the payroll that was made necessary by this pennywise and pound foolish stewardship of the Yanks. We have a huge payroll because Hank wouldn't spend big on amateurs.  That's it. We have few to no entry level deals.  So no young salary savers.   And that's the only reason why its as high it is.  Meanwhile, in the period that the Yanks have achieved salaray stasis above 200M, MLB revenues have nearly doubled.   So cry us a river about your payroll, Hal.  It's bullshit.

The problem with the Yanks is the involvement of the non-baseball people.  Folks like Levine, Trost and Hal.  Until Hal stops listening to those guys and commits to his baseball people, the Yanks will continue to be at odds with themselves and take self-destructive actions, like, not signing Moncada and passing on all of those other Cubans over the past few years.

Rangers Stuff

I don't really think there's much on the trade market that should do anything to move the Rangers to move assetts.  Hell, Hayes outplayed and even won a faceoff from Vermette last night  -- and that's who the pundits are expecting the Rangers to get?  A rental who shouldn't play above and emerging kid?  No thanks.

In general, though, I think the Rangers should keep growing their big and fast brand, and I think they should probably do it through the draft, and with really carefully thought out trades for or signings of big, fast kids.  I think betwen Nash, Kreider and Hayes the Rangers are moving into a poward forward driven team with speed that will really rock in the playoffs.

I don't know if they're going to tradee MZA or not, but I don't think they should re-sign MZA or MSL this offseason.  Instead, I think those slots should go to Duke and Buch, who both has size, speed and skill.

Btw, it's time to stop playing Glass, now.  People don't fight in the playoffs, so he won't play in the  playoffs.  AV should be using these final 20 games or so to get the kids ready.

Knicks: Phil Scouts D'Angelo

Phil Jackson was on the road scouting Ohio St. PG D'Angelo Russell this week.   I would not mind it one bit if he were the Knicks first rounder.  He's clearly the best guard in the draft -- and his three's and shooting make him perfect for the Triangle.  What's more, he's a very good passer and rebounder.   In what he can produce he's somewhere on the Oscar Robertson/Walt Frazier axis, and thus would be a great get.  I'm not sure if they'd pick him over Okefor (who has an incredible array of moves and can pass, for a big man) or Karl Anthong Towns, who's an improving two way C.  In any event the Knicks should finally get a great player in the draft -- for the first time in decades.

UPDATE:  The NBA is apparently going to fine Phil Jackson for commenting on a draft ineligible player.  All the NBA fricking does is draft freshmen.  I wish I could create some hypocritical and arbitrary revenue streams.

UPDATE:  Phil is now spending 2 days scouting but probably not talking about the Kentucky team.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rangers Win Another Wild One

Wow.  What a game.  Talbot was shaky in the first and gave up a quick goal.  Then Hayes, who is really coming on, gave Kreider a perfct pass across the goal mouth for Kreider's first goal of the night and Hayes's first assist.   Then Marty St. Louis took the first of two really idiotic offensive zone penalties which lead to an AZ power play, which lead to 2 goals agains when Klein also went off for knocking the puck out of play.   Bad, bad stuff.  The two first pick player would later commit his second offensive zone penalty with under 2 minutes left and the Rangers protecting a 1 goal lead.  Ponderous.

Anyway, it was 3-1 after one and Talbot was probably in danger of being pulled.   He came out for the second and so did the Ranger.  Stempniak scored his first goal of the night redirecting a John Moore shot.    Then Kreider scored his second of the game to tie it up.

The Rangers were swarming in the third, but didn't break through till Stempniak scored his second goal on a nice effort play after the AZ goalie had lost his stick.  And that was Hayes's second assist.   The Rangers then held on to win, yet another thriller.   Sheesh.  Lots more scouts in the house, but they just need to work with who they have and who's in the system.

Yanks Draft and IFA Pools

BA has updated the Yanks draft and IFA spending pools for 2015.

The Yanks have the 6th highest draft pool as of right now at  7,885,000, adding the allowable 5% overage, that gives them 8,279, 500.  I think it will go up if they can trade for a competitive balance pick or two, which I really hope they do.  They can also choose to go bigger, but it will cost them their `16 first.

Their IFA budget is and immovable 2,262,800 with a max figure of 300K for anyone player.  They can also sign as many 10K players as they want -- if they can find any.

They had till June 15 to find any IFA worth more than 300K, otherwise, we're out of luck for 2 years.

Let's hope the Yanks also have good luck after the draft and with Indy league standouts.

Yanks Name GCL2 Staff

Marc Bombard is the manager as we learned last week.  Interestingly, they have not namd a pitching coach yet.  I sort of wonder if that's because they don't have enough GCL aged pitchers:)  Kidding, they probably have a couple of guys with EST who could do it depending on what comes over or gets drafted.  Jason Brown is the hitting coach,  you mighy remember from his days as an org catcher with the Yanks system.  Lino Diaz is the defensive coach and he previously worked with the White Sox where he had some cultural responsibilities - just a guess but this could be the IFA squad for the Super `14s.

Meanwhile, we'll have to see where Drew Henson has landed.  He was one of the GCL hitting coaches last year and was well regarded.  He's either moved up or has gotten a bigger job in the organization side.

UDATE:  Drew Henson has indeed joined the Pro Scouting side for the Yanks.   So best wishes for Drew in his new job!

The Yanks Announce the GCL1 Staff

We talked a bit about this the other day.  But Julio Mosquera will officialy coach GCL 1.  His pitching coach will be former Yankee farmhand Elvis Quezada.  Caonabe Cosme will be the hitting coach.  He's 35 and it's his second year as the GCL1 hitting coach, but his 5th year with the organization.  They may have some hopes for him.  Almost hilariously, the "team coach"is a 50 year old named  Antonio Pacheco who spent the bulk of his playing and coaching career in Cuba.  He not going to know anyone!  I guess Omar Luis may still be around.   And the defensive coach will be Luis Figueroa.  He did that job for SI last year.

The GCL will be interesting this year because the Yanks didn't draft sign any preps last year and it looks like they might start this year's college picks in the Appy league.  So they're going to have so fill up 2 full teams with IFA's, 2015 prep picks and rehab guys.   I hope they have enough pitchers.

Yanks: More Hal Stuff

Hal's "We're not cheap," media blitz is getting a lot of run today, and some others are picking up on the fact that he's just been catastrophically dumb in his role as Yankee owner.    One thing, I and everyone else forgot in rightfully crucifying him for passing on Moncada -- and that is by rule, the Yanks cannot got after another high value young IFA starting in June, for 2 more years.   So it's not like he would have been setting a market he was going to re-visit any time soon.  That makes his decision to pass even more stupendously stupid.

Btw, the Yanks can and probably will grab more 23 and over IFA's from places like Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Cuba in the near to mid term, but it's fairly unlikely any of them will have the upside of Moncada.

As long time readers of the blog recall, we were begging the Yanks to spend big in the draft and IFA before MLB changed the rules and imposed limits where they had not existed.

Being willing to spend 10-15M in each market every year would have rebuilt the farm a few times over by now and gotten the payroll under 200M and thrilled the fan base.  

Instead, Hal wouldn't spend there and he wouldn't spend on Cubans.  So we are where we are - hoping old stars, pitching and D can get us back in the post season.

Rangers Should Stand Pat at the Deadline

There's really nothing on the Market that will put the Rangers over the top on their cup quest.  In fact,  their system probably holds more answers for them.  What's they can't do is repeat the errors of `93 and `94 when they traded a bunch of young talent - that could have lead to multiple cups for 1 cup and years of suffering.

Guys like JT Miller and Carl Hagelin are important young pieces and both look like core.  Miller is a tough playmaker, and Hagelin's world class speed threatens everyone.   Trading them now would cost a ton in the long term.  Likewise, the kids on the farm and KHL should be non-starters in any trade talks.

You can't keep trading #1's then tradeprospects on top of that.  You'll collapse like you did in the `90s.  They've already traded the ones and they can't trade the prospects and young players without creating massive problems.

Yankees: Pitching and Defense

So, everyone's at camp now and everyone seems healthy.  There was  even some tape of Pineda bouncing around.  They desperately need him if their `82 vision of winning with pitching and defense is to  come to pass.   From a winning perspective, this might feel like a really bad bet - but objectively, if you realize that as of a result of some terrible decisions on amateurs and Cubans over the Hal era some bad years were going to happen - it will be an interesting experiment.

They're essentially betting that Tanaka, Pineda, and CC will make their starts and that their BP will be lights out - and that plus D around the diamond will limit suppress the other teams' o's.  

Now, the BP should be great, but betting on Tanaka, Pineda and CC seems like a long shot.  What's more if they're all healthy and dominant could the Yanks have over done it on D?  That's what will be interesting.  Will having Gregorious playing SS stop enough balls and turn enough unturned DP's to create wins on the field?  Can they consistenly win on the margins without the traditional Yankee O?

It's possible that they will, especially if we have health luck, and get something out of Eovaldi and Nova/Severino as the season moves along, but, man, oh, man would better hitters help.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yankees: Hal Speaks

Two days after screwing the pooch on a future Yankee middle of the order bat, Hal Steinbrenner spoke to Joel Sherman.  He seemed to take umbrage at the fact that some have called him cheap.  He defended himself against that charge by discussing his payroll (he added in the luxury tax -- which btw, if it had really hurt the Yanks in a cashflow sense over all these years would have caused them to cut payroll or sue baseball).  I don't think anyone really thinks Hal is cheap, especially after the way he hands out hundreds for millions to older declining ball players on an annual basis.

So Hal is not cheap.  What Hal is, is stupid.  What Hal doesn't understand is how his payroll got so high, and what remains the only way to fix it.  Cheap young talent from strong drafts and strong IFA classes who can play for the Yanks on introductory deals.

Okay, so Moncada was going to cost a lot. Even with the penalty he was going to cost less than McCann got for 5 years and they were going to be getting more than 6 years of control.   It would not have counted against the payroll.   What Moncada would have allowed them to do is replace ARod or what ARod used to be, and do if for minimal money over the first few years.

Every year the Yanks spend a ton on luxury tax and revenue sharing.  And they get absolutley nothing in return for those millions.  They would have gotten a chance at a great player for fewer millions with Moncada, but they were too stupid to see it that way and make the right move.

Hal did bring up their IFA splurge from last July, and that was a really great thing.  Unfortunately, it was the only great thing Hal has okayed for the Yankee system on his watch.    He refused to go big in the drafts after he took over and before MLB changed the rules.  And, that, along with the corruption that was going on in our Dominican operation for years, is why the Yanks don't have great young talent in the bigs right now.

So, what Hal did tonight was not recognize the fact that they needed the July infusions of IFA talent, because Hal had blown off spending on the and in IFA up till then.  And he also failed to recognize than Yoan Moncada is three years older and closer to the majors than the other IFA kids.   He had a chance to really set the Yanks up for the short and long term and he balked at it.

He made a collosal mistake, tantamount to when his dad let Reggie walk in `82, but his father always owned that, and never let one of his guys get away again.

Hal doesn't have guys yet, but Moncada could have been that, too.

When Hal took over, he said the Yanks would still be the Yanks.  They weren't the Yanks on Monday, and, other than last July, they haven't been the Yanks in amateur spending at all on his watch.

Giants Draft pt.6: Running Backs

The release of Peyton Hillis earlier, which was completely expected, reminded me to talk about this year's RB's -- because the Giants need another one.  What the Giants really need is a speed back who can catch the ball and create another threat to score on any touch.  Unfortunately, no one in this draft seems to be that David Wilson type of guy.  But there are three guys I like for the Giants who can catch the ball and they are David Johnson, Duke Johnson and Ameer Abdullah.   Of these three I like David and Duke the most.  Ameer's got great tape and quickness but small hands, and we don't need another ball security problem.   He'd have to really prove that he can consistently catch and not fumble with those paws.  David is a fullsize back who had a dynamite combine and we'd be lucky to grab him in the third.   Duke was great on a poorly coached Miami team and seems very much like a Giant pick.

Btw, the Giants could go a whole nother way at RB and take one of the plethora of all purpose backs, like Tevon Coleman or even Gurley if he falls to 40.  A healthy Gurley could be the best player in this draft so the Giants should be willing to grab him and red shirt him if he falls to 40.  There are more like David Cobb, who could also work for the Giants in a pure three headed running attack.

In any event, it's a great draft for backs, and the Giants should grab one.

Yankee Fact

Before Randy Levine became Yankee President in 2000, the Yankees won 25 World Series.  Since he became president the Yanks have won 2, if you count 2000, 1 if you don't.   Not sure why more blame doesn't land at his feet, but going from 1 championship every 3-4 years to 2 in 16 is terrible.  What's more, some of the pundits were hinting at the fact that it was Levine who discouraged the signing of Moncada.  Now, Hal is a freaking nitwit for listening to this non-evaluator on a scouting and future of the franchise -- but aside that, the Yanks record under Levine's presidency has been pretty terrible.  Why isn't he the focus of more criticism?

Giants Release Hillis

Today, the Giants soldiered on with their cap work, cutting RB Peyton Hillis.  The Giants took a chance on Hillis and he had some good games for them, and was evrything they'd hoped he could be. We would have been more useful if they were a better team when he was there, but he gave a good effort and leaves redeemed.

Oscar Lindbrg Raises Rangers Floor and Gets Sent Down

Oscar Lindberg looked good last night.   If you were watching him, he came as advrtised and looked like a real playmaker withi his passes.  Unbelievably, AV sat him for strtetches of the third and then sent him down for specious "cap reasons" after the game.

This is the flaw that will undo AV: he is willing to let vets like Glass and Stempniak struggle (and man was Glass bad last night), but he won't let more than a few kids learn and grow.  He's yo-yo'd JT Miller, who's been one of the Rangers best lately, and now he's likely to do it to Lindberg.

Btw, there are no cap reasons that are preventing Oscar from being up.  Just a crappy bottom of the roster.  Let's hope they hang onto him.

Yanks Now Have 6 Teams Below Full Season A

With the addition of Pulaski, and the maintenance of the two GCL teams, the Yanks, for the first time in a long time, have 6 teams below A ball. Broken down, the Yanks have 2 DSL teams, 2 GCL teams, Pulaski in the Appy league, and Staten Island in the NYPL.  So that's six rosters of kids and inexperienced players vs on 4 from A to AAA.  Thus, at any given time of summer - because most of the players on these team are either in EST or aren't Yanks yet in the Spring - the Yanks will have more players way down in the low minors than they do in A and up.

This represents a sea change from the days when Lin Garrett was running the drafts and they were using them, almost primarily, to stock the Staten Island team for the exciting NYPL season.  I'm not kidding you.  They used to go for prospects with fewer picks and go for more organizational guys with the balance of picks.  That clearly wasn't a tack that was going to produce a lot of major leaguers, let alone guys who could make it to AA, and it didn't.

Fortunately, over the past several drafts they have moved away from trying to stock SI and have moved more toward taking guys for "reasons." Ulitimately this will produce a lot more major leaguers.

Back in the old days, the Yanks also used to have a VZL team, but they got rid of that because of the political strife in VZ, so now the bulk of IFA's start out on one of the two DSL teams.

Also, good kids and IFA's used to make the move from the GCL one year to Charleston the next.  Now Charleston is only one of three places they can go after GCL.  Speaking of which, the Pulaski team should alleviate the need to throw college picks who are 21 or 22 into the GCL  because they're not ready for SI.  Instead they can send those guys to Pulaski and get back to using the GCL for teens and first year stateside IFA's.

In any event, they're gonna need more catchers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

So Who's Your Favorite Yankee These Days?

Mine's Dealin' Dellin Betances?  Who's your's?  You can only name 1 and not supply any people you almost named.   I like Dellin best because he never gave up and when he finally got a chance, he dominated, like Yankee kids should always do.  Used to be harder to pick one.  Now it's easy and that probably says something.  I've gone through periods of not having a favorite Giant, Knick or even Ranger, and they've never coincided with winning.  

Rangers Win a Wild One 1-0

Wow.  Without Nash or Hank, the Rangers just beat the Flames on a goal by Kevin Hayes.  He was assisted by Brassard, who set a new high in points for a season with a quarter of the season to go.  That Flames goalie was insane and robbed JT Miller twice.  JT also got in a a fight.  So why do we have to play Tanner Glass, who had more turnovers tonight.  Talbot was excellent as he made a bunch of tough saves, even though the Rangers limited shot attempts.

It was wild because the refs weren't calling anything other than icing.  Sheesh.  By the way the kids, meaning Hayes, Hags, Kreider and Miller played with great energy which created a lot of the Flames need to ice.   When they can combine good puck possession with their speed they can gas anyone.  They just have to keep doing it.

Big win.

Lots of Scouts at the Ranger Game Tonight

Including some GM's.   Really glad JT Miller has the flu tonight as the way he's been playing would create great demand.   We'll see what happens.

UPDATE: Now it looks like Rick Nash is out.   They said he was taking a maintenance day yesterday and now he's out?  yikes.

NEW UPDATE:  It's neck spasms. Hopefully that's all it is and nothing else.

FURTHER UPDATE:  JT is playing.   I'm not liking this pregame period AT ALL.

Yanks Announce Their GCL Managers

The Yanks have finally announced their GCL managers, and, as we suspected there will still be 2 teams there.  One will be Julio Mosquera, was the long term catching supervisor for the system, the other will be Marc Bombard, who comes to the organization after years up and down the NL.  He'll be 66 this year, so he brings a wealth of experience and fits my opinion that the Yanks should have their best teachers at the lowest levels.

Depending on the visa situation, the Yanks could be really loaded in the GCL this year, featuring a lot of those IFA's from last year.   We'll see.

Yankee Camp: Scott Rolen Tutoring Eric Jagielo

New farm head, Gary Denbo has left the Yankee gene Michael pool to get help for struggling 3B Eric Jagielo.  You'd think new Yankee hire Eric Chavez might be given the responsibility, or Graig Nettles or Wade Boggs, but nope, Denbo has left the pool and gotten Rolen.

Jagielo was the Yanks first first rounder back in `13 which was the last time the Yanks kept their picks.   While Judge and Ian Clarkin, the other two picks have hit the ground dominating, Jagielo has struggled between injuries, both with his contact, and in the field.

Jags has shown power, but that's been about it.  Some pundits have projected a move to first or left for him in the future, but I am glad they are going to help him battle to stay at third.  Wade Boggs was a bad 3b and so was George Brett, but they both worked through it and became better than average to very good.  I'm not saying Jags can be anything like them, but those are both big names who overcame his current challenge.

Jags is a bit of an odd prospect.  Usually, you can look at a picks tool box and find an historical counterpart.   But Jags is lefty power, some walks, and bad D at third.  Not sure who that projects him to be like.  Anyway, he has to win the battle with third for us and have a full healthy season before we can project him.  But it's interesting that Denbo is going outside of the organization for help.

UPDATE:  The Yanks have hired former Yank Matt Daly as a special assignment scout.  Nice job for Matt.

Rangers Call Up Lindberg

The Rangers have called up Oscar Lindberg.  Unfortunately, it's because JT Miller has the flu, and not because they've seen enough of Tanner Glass.  That said, he's an elite faceoff guy who is defensively responsible, can scate and make plays of O.  In other words, a better player than Glass and Stemp already.  Let's hope he shines and forces their hands.

Giants Release Kiwi

The Giants have released Matthias Kiwanuka, the star crossed DE who helped them to two rings - even though he was injured for SB 42.   Kiwi had declined over the past few years owing to injuries and constant positional switches.  It's fair to say he would have had a better prime if he'd just stuck to one position.  That said, he was a good Giant and he deserves our respect and gratitude.  He gave his heart, soul and body to big blue.

Trading MZA?

The Rangers and Mats Zuccarello are said to be far apart on a new deal.   Though they don't HAVE to get it done now, this is following a familiar script.  Last year the Rangers were less than 1M apart from Captain Cally, and they ended up trading him.  I think there's a pretty good chance that happens again with MZA.  Even if the cap goes up, it will be hard for the Rangers to extend guys like Stepan and Kreider if they give big extensions to MZA and MSL.

Yanks Draft Stuff: Preps Vs. Collegians

The Yanks are in for a bit of a draft bonanza this year - though not as franchise altering as the Knicks draft will be - but because they kept their picks, they will be in position to kick ass like we expect the New York Football Giants to do in their draft.  However; decisions they have made in the past could force their hands and they'd lose value.

To wit, under the new draft rules teams are always choosing between college players and preps.  For the years leading up to the draft the Yanks were taking more and more preps as a percentage of the whole.  Last year, they went mostly collegian because they gave away their top three picks, and thus had very low pool money.  And guess what?  They still had a good draft that added talent to the system and looks like it will provide major league help in the near and long terms.

This year they will have one of the biggest draft pools, and thus could go back to their preppy preference, unless the success of their college guys like Refsnyder, Judge and Lindgren, encourages them to go heavy on the college side yet again.

There might be more, to it, though.  And this is SPECULATION.   After the 13 season there was big but specious issue that the farm didn't have players ready to help the big league team, when they needed.   The upshot was that the Yanks had a big talk with the scouts, and Hal said words to the effect that the scouts will be looking at other kinds of players.

At the time, that chilled me.  It was quite clear that the Yanks for the past several years had been taking hitters with patience and pop, and pitchers with swing and miss stuff.  So I wondered what he could be talking about -- also I was disgusted that he was hanging the underfunded scouts out to dry.  It's the amatateur spending policies of the Yanks under Hal and NOT the scouts who have created the current mess.

Anyway, looking back at what happened thereafter, it's possible that they just told the scouts to pick more college players because they get ready faster.  I think that was most likely the message because a) that's what they've done, and b) Even Hal must understand that OBP and swing and miss are good things.

So, even with the increased pool, the Yanks could still lean heavily toward collegians if that was the `13 edict.

Btw, I think they can have a good draft either way.  Afterall, Lou Gehrig went to college.  Of course, Mickey didn't.  But, because the scouts are good at finding patience and pop, as well as swing and miss, they'll have a strong draft.

The one issue that could arise if they go heavily collegian again is that they could end up with a three tiered farm with a hug group of 21 and older, a relatively small group of 18-20 year olds that are almost exclusively foreign, and another big group of 16 anf 17 year old IFA's.   That's another reason why Moncada was important to the conga line - he's 19 going on 20 and would throw a huge talent in that window for us.    Anyway, the talent distribution per age will get a big screwed up if the Yanks go too heavily collegian again.

Stuff to think about, as it's our next good opportunity to grab amateur talent.