Thursday, July 27, 2017


The trade deadline is five days away and the Yankees have made improvements to the infield and the bullpen but the stating rotation still needs to be addressed. Time is running out and soon some of the options will be also. Not to mention some options are just really bad.

Photo: Getty Images
The Yankees have already been tied to a few names. Last week we speculated if the Yankees were one of 12 teams connected to Jaime Garcia read that HERE. This week the Yankees have been talking to the Oakland A's about Sonny Gray and then there is that crazy idea floating around about Justin Verlander in a Yankee uniform (and it really is crazy). But there is one pitcher that is flying under the radar.

Photo: Getty Images
The St. Louis Cardinals are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. They are currently 3.5 games back in the National League central but Lance Lynn is in the final year of his contract so he is a rental. He's making $7.5 million this season and he is probably worth making the expensive $18 million qualifying offer to in the off season but Lynn will be able to secure a longer term deal worth more money so he would likely decline. The Cardinals could decide to just deal him now.

While I don't see the Cardinals cutting him in the next few days especially after dealing lefty Marco Gonzales there is still a small chance. The Yankees need another starter and Gray is likely going to be expensive. If Cashman is going to stick to his game plan of the Yankees being "cautious buyers" Gray will likely cost the Yankees some blue chip prospects. Lynn could add some veteran experience at the back end.

Lynn may not be the most exciting addition compared to other pitchers, but he certainly makes more sense than Justin Verlander! He's cheaper, won't cost us the better talent and the guy has a better record than Verlander does. He's also got veteran experience and knows what it is like to play in the postseason since he was part of the winning 2011 World Series team.

Photo: Getty Images
Lynn does have some injury history. He missed all of last year due to Tommy John surgery but before that a minor oblique injury in 2011. Before missing last season he pitched 175 innings or more between 2012 and 2015 so he is an innings eater. He relies heavily on his fastball but can throw a four-seamer, sinker and a cutter with good control. He also uses his change-up and curveballs enough to throw hitters off so he has the tools. Lynn's ultimate challenge at Yankee stadium would be fly balls though, he's not a ground ball guy. Overall though, he is no more risk than any other pitcher the Yankees have been connected to recently.

Lynn may have been overlooked for awhile now but he makes sense for the Yankees. I'm sure the Cardinals probably won't see it the same way though. It's worth a call though. You can't get a "NO" unless you call and ask and he would be an upgrade over Bryan Mitchell and the other fill-ins.

Food for thought as the Trade deadline looms closer...

--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor 
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

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Photo: Getty Images
Once upon a time a couple of months ago, if Jordan Montgomery had gone 6 ²/₃ innings and given up only two hits after just 85 pitches, you could almost buy Joe Girardi giving him the hook with two outs.  

Photo: Getty Images
Back then, after all, Montgomery was still the hunch play Joe plucked from spring training obscurity, and the team was still test-driving some of the new kids on the block, seemingly playing for the fun and future glory to come.

Problem is, Monty's not a hunch play anymore, the rest of the division tanked along with the Yankees' hot start and now the division is up for grabs. The team appears -- according to the vaunted  rumor mill, at least -- to be toying with the idea of blowing some important prospects on a starter to make a run at the postseason this year.

And that means Joe, suddenly, has all the excuse he needs to abandon the youth movement whenever it suits him instead of, you know, stretching the kid and others like him into  real live starters like the team may about to be buying with valuable prospects.

So when the medium-leverage situation came up Tuesday against the Reds, instead of leaving Monty in to continue on cruise control and perhaps raise his game and length a notch, Joe yanked him and went to his newly restocked pen.  The move worked great -- for one out by  Kahnle, who was the prize of the recent multi-player trade with the White Sox.

Photo: Getty Images
Then came the eighth inning and  the struggling Betances who nearly booted the game, walking two and coughing up a run-scoring double, requiring yet a third reliever -- Warren -- to come to HIS rescue.  When asked after the game his reason for pulling the cruising young Monty, Joe's response:

“That’s why we went and got these guys,’’ Girardi said of the Yankees’ bullpen, that saw Kahnle and David Robertson added in last week’s trade that also brought the Todd Frazier. “It’s a situation [where] if I leave [Montgomery] in and the guy hits a home run, I’m asked that. I just felt it was time.”

So Joe's logic behind not letting the kid try pitching a little deeper into the game or at least finish the seventh was simply that he had new toys to play with and couldn't resist the urge.

Never mind that the rook had thrown more pitches in five of his six prior starts. And never mind that a big reason the team needed those new toys for the bullpen in the first place was due to Joe's overuse of the bullpen.  This may seem like a small thing, but this is another example of why I hope the team doesn't waste prospects going all in this year.

Because one of the most critical upgrades needed to take this younger, leaner, more dynamic team to the next level can't be fulfilled by any trade this week, in my humble opinion.  It can only be accomplished by letting Joe's contract expire after the final game of the season and performing a proper search for the right skipper who can make decisive, bold moves for the right reasons and won't hide behind ridiculous excuses to justify panic moves that blow up in his face.

Photo: Getty Images
I was still seething about Joe's excuse for yanking Monty the next day (yes, I'm capable of seething even after a win when I think we're winning battles that can lose wars) when I saw CC say a curious thing  after Luis Severino wiped the floor with the Reds.

Asked if Severino was now officially the team's ace, the Yankees former ace  had to think about it a couple seconds, and then began  by qualifying his answer thusly:

"That's up to Joe," Sabathia said. "That term is thrown around so loosely these days. But, yeah, for what that term is, he is."

It's actually not up to a manager to decide who's the ace on a team.

Photo: New York Daily News
All anyone needs is decent eyesight and a good view of the batter's box to see who's triggering the most futile guess swings and sending the most anguished faces back to the opposing dugout to know who that guy is on a team.

But within this current Yankee clubhouse, where there's no longer anyone left with championship cache to counter Joe's limited record of achievement and expertise,  even an expert on the subject of being an ace like CC (who's been the definition of  one for three teams) is hesitant to speak frankly  about the role lest he be out of step with a scripted response his boss may be rehearsing for an upcoming presser.

That's no environment for young players to develop, grow and thrive in.  Joe's by-the-book managing and fly-by-night communicating are the antitheses of what this team needs to win, this year and going forward.  Brian has been making great deals the last 12 months that make sense for the future.

That's why I have confidence he's saving the biggest, best  move for last, and the final piece in this championship blueprint will be replacing an old catcher who can't see what all young pitchers eventually need to get the final out is old-fashioned work and not new toys from the bullpen.

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


 Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Yankee young ace pitcher Jordan Montgomery pitched a no-hitter into the 6th inning last night.  His stellar performance help lead the Yankees into victory over the first of two games against the Cincinnati Reds.  And although his pitching has been nothing less than consistent this season, that's not actually the topic of this piece.  It's about a no-hitter jinx that fans believe stem from broadcaster's calls from the booth.


According to Awful Announcing, a site affiliated with NESN, "For as long as announcers have called baseball games, they’ve faced a choice in how to handle a no-no. They can either bluntly declare that there’s history in progress, or they can dance around the subject in homage to the on-field tradition of keeping the words “no-hitter” as far away from the pitcher as possible."

Source: Fox Sports

Now, clearly, I would be the first to say that when Announcer Joe Buck dances around anything with regards to baseball play-by-play, he's a jinx- remember how he ruined the All Star Game this year among other competitive events.  But what happens in the booth while players are on the field is out of their earshot, so commentator banter could not interfere with the a potential no-hitter, right?

Source: Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America

Cubs play-by-play announcer, Len Kasper heard from hordes of angry fans when he supposedly jinxed a Jake Arrieta no-no in 2014 and then again when he cursed a Jon Lester attempt the following season. “I feel like we’ve lost our way, somewhere along the line, where fans think we have some sort of mystical control over what happens,” Kasper, who has called three MLB no-hitters, told Awful Announcing."

Source: YES Network

But I think I love what former pitcher, no-hitting pitcher that is and now Yankee commentator Al Leiter said the best.  As he bantered with Michael Kay last night, who quietly alluded to the no-hitter by Montgomery through the beginning of the 6th, Leiter said that broadcasters have absolutely no affect on the performance of the pitcher on the field.  “I think it’s ridiculous,” Leiter told Awful Announcing. “Having thrown a no-hitter, I don’t believe in a jinx from somebody who is far away that’s not in earshot of the action. I find it comical, amusing or silly.”

What they do impact, however, is the fans and this impact loudly criticizes the daring broadcasters who have the audacity of saying "no-hitter." As Leiter said, it affects their passion for the game.  I for one get that, loud and clear.  I tend to stand clear of saying "no-hitter" during any game where it becomes apparent that something special could in fact happen.

Passion for the game is a good reason to get all fired up.  No-hitter jinx or not, it is great to hear fans get excited about this game.  And just so Michael Kay knows it, just talking about a no-hitter jinx could be jinx. That is all...

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof

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I love following Eduardo Nunez around in his baseball career.  Now he has been traded from the San Francisco Giants to the Boston Red Sox.  Now I don't like him... I kid, I kid.

Hardball Talk writes:

"A trade went down in the wee-wee hours: the Boston Red Sox acquired third baseman Eduardo Nunez from the San Francisco Giants. The Giants will receive minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos in return....

Nunez can play other infield positions, but it’s not like second base and short are problem areas for Boston."

And there was a great moment among he and his Giants teammates when word came down of the trade. Check this out...

And now he goes to Boston.  I've always liked Nunez. I wish him well.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Photo: Getty Images
You know the Athletics are asking for every prospect the Yankees have, AND Aaron Judge... AND Luis Severino... just because they can.  Look, we here at BYB have been writing about this Sonny Gray rumor for a while now, and it's one that appears to be a real thing.

(July 10, 2017 - Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)     
A lot of talk today about how the Yankees and A's are getting much closer to a possible deal for Gray and first baseman Yonder Alonso. In fact, BYB wrote about Alonso a while ago as being part of a Gray package if it was to happen.  Read THE YANKEES CAN'T IGNORE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM ANYMORE.  Jeana Bellezza wrote:

"...the Yankees could consider Yonder Alonso from the A's. He is having a breakout season and rumored to be interested in signing an extension with the team but are rarely successful in retaining high-dollar free agents. The A's are likely to make Alonso available on the trade market and his one-year, $4 million salary will make him easy to move..."

Nailed it, Sista.

MLB Trade Rumors writes today:

Photo by: Charles Wenzelberg
"...the Yankees are “making progress” toward a deal that could send both players to the Bronx..."

And of course the big question is for who.  Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeted this about Yankee Prospect Estevan Florial:

All of his is interesting, but you gotta wonder if by young centerfielders, someone like Clint Frazier would be in the mix.  And what about the other prospects? What about Jorge Mateo? How about pitching? Would they want Justus Sheffield or is he untouchable?

We are following this very closely.  I do leave you with this though.  This comes from Mark Feinsand:

We will see what happens tomorrow I guess.

Stay tuned...

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Everybody wants to be a star.  I guess Heyman can't help himself.

(July 23, 2017 - Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America)
We all want Giancarlo Stanton on the New York Yankees, don't we? I mean, it would be cool to see Aaron Judge and Stanton in the same lineup, wouldn't it? Well... Jon Heyman knows this.  And Jon Heyman, who, I guess is struggling with that FanRag Sports website over there... has decided to go off the reservation... perhaps going a bit rogue... and planting seeds just to get the ol' Yankee fan base riled up.

I made my calls yesterday. I checked with my bud who pretty much knows a lot about the inner workings of the Yankee organization, and he assured me there is no "real" check in with the Yankees.  If anything he says... it's a courtesy call... followed by a "no, we're not giving away the farm from Giancarlo... and a hang up." His words. Nothing more... no meetings... no nothing.  That's because there is nothing to this story and I guess Jon Heyman's clicks are more important than the integrity of his reporting.  But we at BYB aren't the only ones who have done solid research to figure this out....

Sports Illustrated dug in too with more, and sourced Jim Bowden from Sirius XM saying the whole thing was crap... much like me:

"Did they or didn't they check in? FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman reported on Saturday that the Yankees were one of the teams that recently inquired about Stanton, but a day later, SiriusXM's Jim Bowden reported that the rumor was false. "

In fact there are nearly 7 teams who have at least called or been attached to the Marlins or are thinking about Stanton on their team, be it more fantasy than reality... all of them knowing that the contract that's attached to him is ridiculous.  And for the Yankees to truly "want" Stanton, all you need to do is say 2 words... Jacoby Ellsbury.  That contract is terrible and it's no where near Stanton's.

Even Joe Giglio of has this:

"Marlins people have said that Stanton isn't "out there" on the trade market, but that hasn't stopped at least "four or five" teams from checking in while the Marlins shop several other players."

The point is, with the rumor season swirling... just read everything and trust me... don't read only Jon Heyman.  You'll get screwed every time.

Look, if there's one thing I know being a respected writer over these years (since 2010 at BYB)... it's integrity in reporting is vitally important.  You want to get it right, not first. 

The rumor season is silly, because it gets away from those principles.  And if you notice... many of these baseball insiders aren't right.  They float garbage.  Then... if a deal DOES go down, whatever it is, usually not what they originally reported, they jump on that story and get off their wrong story as "oh well... no one will notice".  Well, I notice.

In the end, they still report something, but they fall over each other as if to be first.  In reality, the final "Deal" is not the deal they originally tweeted... it's another one... but they act as if they knew it all along.  That's the rumor season... and that's stupid.

If Giancarlo Stanton came to the New York Yankees, it would be amazing... but not with that contract, and NOT without giving away everything we have built in the Yankees farm system. I find it interesting that I cannot find another solid source on this story and it's my opinion that this whole thing is BS.  My opinion of course. 

It just makes zero sense. It's stupid and Heyman's banking on you being stupid.

Heyman gets the egg on the face photo... exclusively from BYB.

Monday, July 24, 2017


Eh... it's not.

But damn it's fun to think about!

Hell, if we could trade Jacoby Ellbury for a years supply of Taco Bell... I'm all over that too.  I love Taco Bell. Actually, truth be told, I love tacos in general.  Fish Tacos, Beef Tacos, Chicken Tacos, soft or hard. Sometimes soft and hard combined. I don't discriminate when it comes to Tacos.

I throw grilled corn in there, some sharp cheddar... lettuce, tomato.  Gotta have the Tabasco.  Mmm... I'm friggin starving...

Anyway look.  Suzie Pinstripe sent me this text a short time ago, and I was so busy yesterday and today, I had no idea it was even 'a thing'.  And yes, technically it IS a thing, but technically it's also not.

It's speculation and rumor and while I love it... I'm not sure if this is even something the Tigers would go for.  I mean, Jacoby Ellsbury's contract is ridonk.

Then I read something in Sports Detroit Nation or Detroit Sports Nation or something, from writer Don Drysdale... I'm not kidding... who wrote this:

Photo: Getty Images
"Buster Olney published a piece on Sunday titled, “Which big contract could the Yankees take on to trade Jacoby Ellsbury?” The piece is centered around the Yankees finding out a way to unload Jacoby Elsbury‘s contract which will pay him north of $21 million over each of the next three seasons with a buyout option of $5 million for the 2021 season.

Included on Olney’s list of potential trade pieces to make a deal for Ellsbury work are Tigers starting pitchers, Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann."

And I'm like, "Oh, it's from Olney. When's that guy been right?"  

And so then I started thinking about how ridiculous Olney, Bill Madden and Jon Heyman are sometimes with their rumor mill and how they remind me of a bunch of dogs at a table playing cards talking about how they can make up all this garbage and folks like me write about it and get annoyed because the bottom line is... if you every follow these guys, they don't actually get their rumors right... they're only right AFTER a trade is made. You know what I mean?

So, I kept digging to see if there were any legs to this rumor...

Michael Kay and Don LaGreca spoke about it, but after the Olney report. So the bottom line is, while I kind of love this rumor, there is nothing really to it. It's pure speculation and fun to talk about.

Look, would I like to see Clint Frazier out there the outfield instead of JE? Yes.  But we're stuck with the guy I'm afraid and anyone who saw us sign Jacoby years ago knew this would happen. 

Photo: Getty Images
Do we need pitching? Yes.  Could we get some Tigers starters? Sure... but is there any way we can get rid of Jacoby in the process? Hopefully.

Well, thank God we have Cashman.  Maybe he can figure it out.

For now... I'm getting some tacos...

Casey BYB Merchandise (2017)


Goodbye Rob Refsnyder.

Photo: New York Daily News
The end of an era is over. He was the beginning of the Youth movement that has now surpassed him. It's part of the cold hard reality when it comes to baseball... Refsnyder is a good guy but he is a good guy that just didn't have a future in this organization.

Refsnyder was hyped to be part of the future and a top prospect when he was drafted in 2012. The Yankees spent the past few years bouncing him back and forth between the majors and Triple-A. He had many opportunities at first base, second base as well as right and left field but nothing ever clicked. Refsnyder just didn't have a home and while the rest of his peers progressed he was a bouncing ball and eventually the Yankees ran out of options this week.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
After the Yankees designated him for assignment they worked out a trade sending him to Toronto for minor league first baseman Ryan McBroom.

(June 2, 2017 - Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America)
Refsnyder may not have been the prospect with the most talent in the Yankees organization, but he definitely has a good head and a good heart. Not all great baseball players have the complete package of talent and character and I am reminded of that from time to time. Refsnyder reminded me that there are still some REALLY good role models out here when we wrote I'M HIGH ON ROB REFSNYDER. It was that simple interaction that made me a fan of Refsnyder the person not just as a baseball fan. He left a lifetime impression on not only that kid, but me too.

(June 20, 2016 - Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America)     
That is why I appreciate what Refsnyder did for the Yankees because he represented us well. It sucks when you have an example where "nice guys finish last" like here, but now Refsnyder will have a new opportunity and hopefully succeed on the Blue Jays who are also in their own rebuilding mode. Maybe he will get the breakthrough in Toronto that he never got here. Baseball can be funny like that.

I said back in June 2016 that I believed Refsnyder was "going places now more than ever" and although it won't be in a Yankee uniform I was still right. The Yankees organization is just too deep for him and now he gets a new opportunity. I wish him luck.

I hope that his great attitude and new motivation will bring him a lot of success in Toronto.....just not too much luck if we ever play against him.

--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor 
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

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The Yankees win the Series! The Yankees win the Series!

July 22, 2017 - Source: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images North America
No, not THAT Series. But after going 0-for-18 in games that could've clinched a series win against 10 opponents over the last month and a half, the 19th game against the 11th opponent, the Mariners on Sunday, turned out to be the streak-busting charm.

It was a game that was started by raw rookie Caleb Smith, who came within an out of finishing the fourth inning (one inning fewer than Sabathia in Game 2 of the series)  but got the hook from Joe after allowing his fourth run of the frame to cross the plate (as many as Tanaka in Game 3 of the series) -- a disappointing end that began with three eye-popping innings of command and control that saw only one Mariner reach base.

Photo: Getty Images
A month ago, when Smith was still a nearly unknown (to most Yankee fans as well as most beat writers) Triple A All-Star-in -the-making sporting an 8-0 record and a 2.07 ERA in 15 starts, I drew a ton of flak among friends and  Yankee fans on social media for predicting he'd be the next new face to start a game in pinstripes despite all the allegedly expert rumors suggesting more recognizable arms were imminent or forthcoming.

But as a strong believer in Brian's commitment to his blueprint for the rebuild, I felt strongly there was no way he would make a move before evaluating everyone they already have that can help them both now and in the  future.

"He may not be the Chance anyone wants the team to take. But he looks like a safer bet to pitch at Yankee Stadium than anyone else I'm hearing rumors about," I wrote back then. And I was right.

Unfortunately for Caleb and for evaluation purposes, the Yankees did what they almost always do with their young starters and instead of keeping him on his regular rotation schedule when they brought him up from Moosic, they stuck him in the Yankee pen for awhile as binder fodder for Joe  -- and worse, held him back from his last start on the farm before doing so.

(July 16, 2017 - Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America)     
So the rook had to wait 20 days between his last start as a RailRider and Sunday's as a Yankee, with just one relief appearance of work in between to keep him sharp -- a three-inning spot a week ago that included five strikeouts, one walk and two perfect innings before giving up two runs in the third.

In Joe-speak, that's not what you want if you're trying to get  a true read on a young starter's stuff, and it sure as hell isn't what you want if you're the young starter wanting to make a best impression.

Therefore, thanks in no small part to the crappy Yankee Way of bringing up young starters (he's still 25 and only nine months older than Aaron Judge) Smith is now tattooed with an ugly 8.10 ERA after his first 6.2 innings in the Bigs.

However, he who dies by the small sample size may also may live by them.  Caleb only allowed one baserunner in four of those innings, and he's got seven strikeouts against just two walks. And he's allowed no dingers. Seven strikeouts. Two walks. 6.2 innings.  No dingers... Let that sink in a moment.

Joe sucks at developing young pitchers. But Joe likes pitchers with "presence" who challenge hitters and can throw strikes instead of nibbling around the edges and walking a ton, and can keep the ball in the yard -- and the length they can give him is of secondary importance to him, as he explains in this clip about what he likes about Smith but which could apply to virtually all Yankee pitchers.

This kid has a valuable arm and is under team control just as long as Judge and the rest of the new kids on the block. He just needs to be allowed to battle through tough innings and learn to finish -- and also not to be dicked around and Joba-cized like a bouncing ball between the the rotation, the pen and Pennsylvania.

So what he needs is to be in a rotation in one place or the other and kept on a regular starting schedule. In the end that can only make him more valuable -- either to the Yankees or as a trade chip to another club.

If he stays on schedule, his next start would be Saturday against the Rays.  If he's not on the mound against them, hopefully he'll be liberated from Joe's binder brigade and  in Charlotte that day whiffing the Knights for the RailRiders.  For the sake of both Smith and the Yankees strategic future handling its young arms, I sincerely hope they dont blow it with him.

In the meantime, I'm donning my flak jacket  because I have another prediction to make.

(Photo By: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
It's been awhile since the beat writer-fueled buzz surrounding a potential Chance Adams promotion was squashed hard by Yankee management, and ever since then the beats mantra has been he's not ready for the bright lights of the Bronx.

But I spotted something Saturday on Twitter from an all-too-often ignored "Yankee insider" that tells me management may have changed its tune, so I'm going out on a limb here like I did on Twitter that day and call it like I feel it.

Between Montgomery closing in on his inning limit for the season and CC's brutal home/away splits (5.29 ERA in six starts at the Stadium vs. 2.29 in 10 starts elsewhere), the team has got to be seriously considering either a six-man rotation or, at the very least, skipping turns for both in the coming weeks, creating even more gaps in the rotation to be filled beyond merely Pineda's.

I was right about Smith, so please don't hit me with the flak quite so hard this time -- or make fun of my Adams "insider", who beats the heck out of Bill Madden's imaginary rumor-mongering Bird-hating sock puppet insider any old day.

Just remember, when it happens, you read it here first in Bleeding Yankee Blue!

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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