New York Yankees – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-04-24T20:00:04Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Option Chad Green, Activate Gary Sanchez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156925 2019-04-24T17:57:24Z 2019-04-24T17:57:24Z The Yankees have announced a few notable roster tweaks. Struggling reliever Chad Green was optioned down to Triple-A to sort things out, with southpaw Stephen Tarpley recalled to take his active roster spot. And the club activated catcher Gary Sanchez while optioning down fellow backstop Kyle Higashioka.

Green has simply not been himself this year. After two outstanding campaigns in the New York bullpen, he has been bombed for 14 earned runs on 15 hits (including four dingers) in his 7 2/3 innings this season.

It’s tough timing for Green , as he is trying to set the stage for his first season of arbitration eligibility. With 2.077 years of service accrued through yesterday, he can only afford to miss 64 of the remaining potential MLB service days before the season ends if he’s to cross the threshold to a third year of service. (If he falls short of that, he could potentially still qualify for arb as a Super Two, though that’d put free agency one season further in the distance.)

The Yankees will hope they can figure out what is going on with Green. His velocity is down a bit, though he’s still sitting just under 95 with his heater, and his swinging-strike rate has dropped to 10.4%. While his groundball rate has shot up to 48.4% — a level he hasn’t worked at since he was in the minors — Green is giving up loads of hard contact.

Meanwhile, the club will welcome the return of Sanchez to a lineup that has been racked by injuries. The slugger bounced back quickly from a calf strain. Several other key players remain sidelined, but the hope is that a variety of fill-in pieces can keep the team above water in the meantime.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Sign Brad Miller]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156817 2019-04-22T20:41:46Z 2019-04-22T20:34:01Z The Yankees announced Monday that they’ve signed veteran infielder Brad Miller to a minor league contract. The ISE Baseball client was recently designated for assignment by the Indians and elected free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to the minor leagues.

The 29-year-old Miller hit .250/.325/.417 with a homer and three doubles in his short time with the Indians but lost out on his roster spot when Cleveland activated Jason Kipnis from the injured list. Miller isn’t a strong defender but has experience all over the infield as well as in the outfield corners, making him an interesting depth pickup for an injury-decimated Yankees club. The lefty-swinging utilityman is a career .240/.313/.409 hitter in 2545 plate appearances, including a .243/.322/.433 line against right-handed pitching.

At present, the Yankees have Greg Bird, Troy Tulowitzki, Miguel Andujar and Didi Gregorius all on the injured list, which has forced the club to carry a hodgepodge of largely unproven replacements. Mike Ford, Gio Urshela and Tyler Wade are all logging at-bats around the infield right now (in addition to DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres), and things in the outfield aren’t necessarily any better; Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton are all on the IL for the Yankees, leaving Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman in the starting lineup. To their credit, however, both Frazier and the relatively unknown Tauchman have performed quite well.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Grant Gio Gonzalez His Release]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156793 2019-04-22T19:09:46Z 2019-04-22T18:27:57Z The Yankees announced that veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez was not added to the team’s 40-man roster after exercising his opt-out clause over the weekend. The team had 48 hours to add Gonzalez to the roster once he triggered that clause, but he was instead allowed to become a free agent and is now able to sign with any club.

Bringing Gonzalez to the Majors would’ve been a fairly expensive bit of speculation for the Yankees, as the southpaw’s contract contained a $3MM base salary and called for him to earn an additional $300K per start made. With the decision to move on from Gonzalez, the Yankees will rely on James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia and Domingo German while awaiting the return of top starter Luis Severino, who is recovering from a lat strain.

Gonzalez, 33, made three starts with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton before opting out of his contract. Although he was shelled in the season opener (eight runs in four innings), the veteran rebounded with a pair of excellent outings, yielding a combined two runs with an 18-to-2 K/BB ratio in 11 innings. He threw 93 pitches in the most recent of those outings (April 14), so Gonzalez is plenty stretched out and could even be ready to join a big league staff in short order. He was slated to make a fourth appearance over the weekend but had that start rained out.

While Gonzalez found a tepid market for much of the offseason (to put things mildly), he should have no shortage of interested clubs this time around. Many teams have seen their rotation struggle early in the season, with some losing key arms for much (or all) of the season and others having to send younger rotation hopefuls back to the minors. The Brewers, Angels, Mets, Red Sox, Cardinals, Phillies, Athletics, Indians and Twins have all endured varying levels of disappointment from their starting rotations and could conceivably look to the durable Gonzalez as an alternative option.

While the 2018 season certainly wasn’t one of Gonzalez’s best, he topped 170 innings and 30 starts for the eighth time in the past nine seasons, working to a 4.21 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9 along the way. Gonzalez has averaged 31 starts per season dating back to 2010 and hasn’t made fewer than 27 appearances in a given season since that time. As recently as 2017, he notched a 2.96 ERA in 201 innings of work, though he did lead the National League in walks that season. Nevertheless, Gonzalez has regularly been an average or better starter in the Majors for the past decade; that strong track record made it nothing short of bewildering to onlookers that he faced such a seemingly minimal market, but he’ll now venture into free agency for a second time with new representation as he looks to find a quick path back to the Major Leagues.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Sanchez Could Return Midweek]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156779 2019-04-22T15:39:07Z 2019-04-22T15:39:07Z The injury-plagued Yankees could welcome Gary Sanchez back to the lineup as soon as Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone told reporters Sunday (link via Newsday’s Laura Albanese). He’ll suit up for a rehab game with Class-A Charleston today, and barring any kind of setback, that’ll line him up for a midweek return against the Halos. Boone spoke optimistically but also vaguely about injured regulars Aaron Hicks, Miguel Andujar, Giancarlo Stanton and Troy Tulowitzki, declining to put a specific timetable on any of the bunch.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets “Keeping A Close Eye On” Gio Gonzalez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156724 2019-04-21T17:22:58Z 2019-04-21T17:22:58Z The Mets again appear to have interest in left-hander Gio Gonzalez, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post writes.  The Mets are “keeping a close eye on” Gonzalez’s situation, as the southpaw opted out of his minor league contract with the Yankees yesterday, creating a 48-hour window for the Yankees to either add Gonzalez to their 25-man roster or release him.

This isn’t the first time that Gonzalez has been on the Mets’ radar screen, as the Amazins considered signing the veteran hurler in the offseason.  Though the Mets and a few other teams were linked to Gonzalez in rumors, the Yankees were “pretty much” the only team to come through with an actual offer, as Gonzalez said last month.  That offer was a non-guaranteed deal that would have paid the left-hander $3MM if he had reached the Yankees’ 25-man roster.  Despite Luis Severino’s injury, the Yankees seemingly haven’t seen the need to utilize Gonzalez in their pitching staff, and thus it seems as though Gonzalez will hit the open market once more.

As much as the free agent market has been increasingly hostile to veteran players, it was still surprising that Gonzalez wasn’t able to land a Major League contract over the winter.  While his peripheral numbers indicated some decline in 2018, the 33-year-old has still been a durable and effective mid-rotation starter for the last nine seasons.  Since the start of the 2010 campaign, Gonzalez has posted a 3.49 ERA, 2.37 K/BB rate, and 8.6 K/9 over 1681 1/3 innings for the A’s, Nationals, and Brewers.

Now that the season has begun, however, Gonzalez may have a better shot at a guaranteed deal since teams suffering from early-season pitching woes may be more amenable to such a contract.  In the Mets’ case, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday (Twitter link) that New York is more likely to sign Gonzalez than either Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel because Gonzalez’s price tag would still be considerably lower than those other two available hurlers.  Plus, signing Gonzalez wouldn’t cost the Mets a draft pick, unlike the qualifying offer-rejecting Keuchel and Kimbrel.

Mets starting pitchers have combined for a 5.56 ERA this season, sixth-highest of any team in baseball.  Jason Vargas and his 9.58 ERA is the most glaring weak link, though Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard have also struggled, and Steven Matz’s promising early results were stained by a nightmarish outing on Tuesday (six earned runs without a batter retired).

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Place Aaron Judge On Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156654 2019-04-21T15:10:43Z 2019-04-21T14:57:15Z TODAY: The Yankees have officially recalled Estrada and placed Judge on the IL with a left oblique strain, as per a team announcement.  Manager Aaron Boone described Judge’s injury as “pretty significant” in comments to reporters (including Jack Curry of the YES Network), and said the outfielder would be re-evaluated in two weeks, though no specific timetable was given on when Judge could return.

SATURDAY, 5:38pm: The Yankees expect to recall infielder Thairo Estrada to replace Judge on their 25-man roster, per a team announcement.

5:08pm: An already packed, talent-rich Yankees injured list is on the verge of adding another household name. Superstar right fielder Aaron Judge left Saturday’s win over the Royals with an oblique injury and is likely heading to the 10-day IL, manager Aaron Boone told Sarah Langs of MLB.com and other reporters. Judge will go for an MRI in the meantime.

Judge’s impending IL placement continues an absurd early run of injuries for the Yankees, who, at 10-10, have tread water sans a slew of cornerstones. They’ve been without fellow starting outfielders Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton for all or most of the year, while catcher Gary Sanchez, third baseman Miguel Andujar, ace Luis Severino, setup man Dellin Betances, and shortstops Didi Gregorius and Troy Tulowitzki are also among the walking wounded. The only players nearing returns in that group are Stanton and Sanchez, who, like Judge, rank among the Yankees’ premier power threats.

As far as position players go, no one is of greater importance to the Yankees than the hulking Judge, one of the game’s foremost producers since he burst on the scene in 2017. Dating back to his transcendent rookie season, Judge ranks third in the majors in wRC+ (161) and fifth in both fWAR (14.1) and home runs (83). Factoring in Saturday, when he picked up a homer and a single, Judge is off to a dazzling .288/.404/.521 start (150 wRC+) with five HRs in 89 plate appearances.

Should Judge miss significant time, as is often the case with oblique issues, it will be the second straight year in which an injury has shelved him for a long period. Judge missed all of August and half of September last season after suffering a chip fracture in his right wrist, which also came against the Royals. By then, though, the Yankees had all but sewn up a playoff spot, making his absence easier to handle. They’re now left to hope he makes it back in short order; otherwise, Stanton’s forthcoming return will become all the more timely.

Stanton aside, the Yankees will need reserve outfielders Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Mike Tauchman to continue offering the solid to great production they’ve posted this season. Tyler Wade replaced Judge in right on Saturday, though he hasn’t hit at all in 157 major league PA. Meanwhile, the Yankees’ 40-man roster doesn’t include any other healthy outfield options, and their most experienced veteran in Triple-A Scranton, Billy Burns, hasn’t produced in either the majors or the minors since a respectable rookie season with the Athletics in 2015.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156663 2019-04-20T23:32:48Z 2019-04-20T23:32:48Z Injuries to cornerstone players have defined the season for the Yankees, who are likely to see right fielder Aaron Judge hit the IL next. But there is better news regarding banged-up catcher Gary Sanchez and third baseman Miguel Andujar, who, like Judge, are among New York’s offensive linchpins. Sanchez, on the IL with a left calf strain since April 11, will play a minor league rehab game Monday and should then return to the Yankees’ lineup Wednesday, per David Lennon of Newsday. Meanwhile, the Yankees “continue to be optimistic” that Andujar will come back this season, according to manager Aaron Boone (via Lennon). Andujar hasn’t played since March 31 because of a labrum tear in his right (throwing) shoulder, an issue the team has feared could require season-ending surgery. However, the majority of recent Andujar updates have been positive, and that’s all the more heartening for the Yankees given their injury-ravaged state.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gio Gonzalez Opts Out Of Yankees Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156530 2019-04-20T19:19:59Z 2019-04-20T19:11:04Z 2:07pm: Gonzalez will opt-out, tweets Andy Martino of SNY. The club has 48 hours to either grant him his release or add him to the active roster.

Friday, 2:47pm: Gonzalez does indeed intend to trigger the clause, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link), which means the Yankees will have to decide whether to add him to their roster. That appears to be unlikely, per Feinsand, suggesting that Gonzalez will probably head back onto the open market.

Friday, 12:16pm: Veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez has hired CAA Baseball to represent him, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports (via Twitter). He’d previously been a client of the Boras Corporation. The change comes just before tomorrow’s opt-out date in Gonzalez’s minor league contract with the Yankees — a provision that he is giving strong consideration to exercising, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees recently got CC Sabathia back from the injured list and have received three solid outings from righty Domingo German, so there’s no guarantee they’ll bring Gonzalez to the Majors for a look.

Gonzalez’s contract comes with a $3MM base salary, but the greater consideration for the Yankees is surely the incentives structure to which he agreed. As one might expect for a veteran of his stature, Gonzalez’s non-guaranteed deal is packed with incentives — perhaps more so than any minors deal in recent memory. He’d reportedly be paid a hefty $300K per start with the Yankees at the MLB level, on top of that base rate of pay, making it a fairly expensive proposition to even take a look at him on a short-term, trial basis.

Thus far with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, Gonzalez has had mixed results. He was shelled in the season opener for Scranton (eight runs in four innings), but he’s rebounded with a pair of excellent outings, yielding a combined two runs with an 18-to-2 K/BB ratio in 11 innings.

The fact that he made 93 pitches in his most recent outing should signal to other clubs that he’s built up enough to the point that he could step directly onto a big league pitching staff if needed. Assuming he opts out, that type of opportunity would likely be the type he and his new representatives seek. Several teams that entered the year hoping to contend — Red Sox, Brewers, Cardinals, Angels, Mets, Phillies, Athletics — have seen their starters combine for an ERA of 4.50 or worse, so it stands to reason that there could be heightened interest in Gonzalez now, as compared to when he was a free agent over the winter and was unable to find a big league deal.

If Gonzalez does trigger his opt-out clause tomorrow, he won’t immediately become a free agent. The Yankees would have 48 hours to weigh whether it’s worth placing him on the big league roster or grant him his release. But with the rotation currently featuring James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, Sabathia and German (with other depth options on hand in the form of Chance Adams, Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa), the team may simply prefer to let him go.

Gonzalez’s change in representation has been reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database. As always, if you see any errors or omissions within, please let us know via email: mlbtrdatabase@gmail.com.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Sign Logan Morrison]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156519 2019-04-19T22:27:32Z 2019-04-19T20:20:34Z 3:20pm: The Yankees have announced the signing.

11:16am: ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets that Morrison’s deal comes with a July 1 opt-out and a $1MM base salary at the MLB level (though that salary would presumably be pro-rated).

11:06am: The Yankees have agreed to a minor league contract with first baseman/designated hitter Logan Morrison, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com (Twitter links). He’ll head to extended Spring Training for the time being. Roster Roundup first tweeted the two sides were talking. Morrison is represented by ISE Baseball.

Morrison, 31, belted 38 home runs with the Rays in 2017 but struggled through an injury-ruined 2018 campaign with the Twins that was ultimately truncated by surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. That operation, performed last August, came with a roughly eight-month timetable for recovery; this contract falls right in line with the end of that rehab period. Once he’s up to speed and in game shape, Morrison will head to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton.

New York recently lost first baseman Greg Bird for at least a month due to a case of plantar fasciitis, although given Morrison’s own health status, it’s unlikely that he’d be able to step up as an option to help in the short-term anyhow. That said, the Yankees’ roster has generally been decimated by injuries, and having Morrison on hand as a risk-free depth option at the Triple-A level to perhaps aid the lineup starting in mid-May or early June certainly won’t hurt.

Last year with the Twins, “LoMo” hit .186/.276/.368 with 15 home runs and 13 doubles through 359 plate appearances, although the hip issue that ultimately ended his season quite likely hindered him at the plate before he underwent surgery. His 2017 season was nothing shy of excellent, as he turned in a .246/.353/.516 slash with 38 homers, 22 doubles and a triple in 601 trips to the plate.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Injury Notes: Severino, Andujar, Sanchez, Stanton, Tulo, Hicks]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156502 2019-04-19T01:08:21Z 2019-04-19T01:08:21Z Injuries are the story thus far for the Yankees, whose sluggish start is explained in no small part by a dizzying barrage of maladies. One of those has proven particularly confounding, as young starter Luis Severino came down with a lat strain while rehabbing a shoulder injury. As James Wagner of the New York Times reports, the investigation into the origins of Severino’s health problems has become a tale of its own. At this point, the team isn’t sure how that problem popped up; GM Brian Cashman says it wasn’t detected in the imaging that identified the initial shoulder problem.

In any event, there’s still five weeks to go until Severino can potentially start to throw once again. While he and the team wait for that important development, they’ll hope to welcome back a few other players. The latest …

  • The Yanks are at least open to considering utilizing Miguel Andujar as something other than a third baseman, manager Aaron Boone indicated to reporters including Wagner (Twitter link). Andujar’s shoulder injury hasn’t limited him much with the bat, but has made throwing difficult. Even if he’s able to avoid a surgical procedure, then, a return to the hot corner may be difficult. In that event, it’s possible he’d be utilized in the DH slot or perhaps even at first. Those possibilities aren’t yet being discussed in earnest, with Boone saying the club will wait to see how Andujar’s throwing progresses, but it now seems there are some new approaches on the table.
  • Backstop Gary Sanchez is still on track for a quick return to the active roster, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes. In fact, with his calf injury evidently progressing well, he may be back when first eligible on Sunday. That’d be a nice boost for the lineup; the 26-year-old catcher had been back to his slugging ways before incurring the injury.
  • Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton also seems to be showing signs of nearing a return from his biceps injury, though he’s certainly still further off. Stanton has taken cuts off a pitching machine, as Hoch tweeted yesterday, though it’s still a bit uncertain when he’ll be fully ready for activation. It seems possible, but not certain, that Stanton could return before the club wraps up a lengthy West Coast road trip on May 9th.
  • Several other players are also progressing, but on less-certain timelines. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is also working back from a calf strain that is a bit more significant than Sanchez’s. (Via Hoch; Twitter link.) He’s participating in baseball activities and says he’s feeling good, but there’s still no indication when he’ll be ready. Outfielder Aaron Hicks is also engaged in a variety of baseball functions but hasn’t yet taken batting practice to test out his ailing back. He’s hoping to do so this week, Wagner tweets, which would perhaps clear the way for a rehab assignment.
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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Greg Bird Out At Least A Month; Yankees Select Mike Ford]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156337 2019-04-16T21:35:24Z 2019-04-16T21:15:30Z 4:15pm: Bird will miss “at least” a month of action, manager Aaron Boone told reporters (Twitter link via Newsday’s Erik Boland).

9:47am: The Yankees have selected the contract of first baseman Mike Ford, per a club announcement. Fellow first baseman Greg Bird is heading to the injured list with a left plantar fascia tear, with a 40-man roster spot created by shifting outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to the 60-day IL. Jimmy O’Brien of Talkin’ Yanks had the news on Ford’s promotion this morning (Twitter link).

It’s more tough news for Bird, who was already scuffling in the batter’s box. The 26-year-old has dealt with a litany of injuries already in his career. Now, he has a potentially tricky new malady to overcome. Details on his anticipated timeline aren’t yet clear, but Bird will surely require a lengthy stretch on the IL. Plantar fascia tears can require up to a month in a walking boot even before the real rehab work starts.

Ford is also a 26-year-old, left-handed-hitting first bagger. When Bird debuted with the Yanks in 2015, though, Ford was working out the kinks at the High-A level.

There have been some ups and downs since, with both power and patience on display when he’s going good. Across 532 upper-minors plate appearances in 2017, Ford posted a .270/.404/.471 slash with twenty home runs and a snazzy mix of 94 walks and 72 strikeouts. Last year, the Princeton product sagged to a .760 OPS at the highest level of the minors.

Ford has been firmly on the risk so far in 2019. An afterthought in spring camp, he has burst out of the gates back at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Through 45 trips to the dish, Ford carries a .410/.467/.897 batting line with five long balls and four walks to go with seven strikeouts.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gonzalez Awaiting Opportunity As Opt-Out Looms]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156285 2019-04-15T18:36:58Z 2019-04-15T17:58:34Z
  • Veteran lefty Gio Gonzalez is awaiting an opportunity in the Major Leagues with the Yankees as an opt-out clause in his minor league contract looms, Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post writes. The Yankees, according to Gonzalez, were the only club to even make him an offer this winter and didn’t do so until midway through Spring Training after an injury to Luis Severino. The southpaw had a brutal first start in Triple-A but has bounced back with a pair of strong outings, yielding just two runs through 11 innings with an 18-to-3 K/BB ratio. Gonzalez didn’t shy away from voicing his displeasure with the manner in which the offseason unfolded but also said he doesn’t feel he needs to pitch as though he has a point to prove: “No. I have nothing left to prove to people. [I] throw 180 innings, do your thing, I’m durable, doing it for the last 10 years. If I still have to prove a point, that’s embarrassing in this sport.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Paxton, Hicks]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156199 2019-04-14T22:11:20Z 2019-04-14T22:11:20Z
  • Big-ticket offseason pickup James Paxton has struggled so far as a member of the Yankees, which led the left-hander to talk with his sports psychologist, Sweeny Murti of WFAN tweets. The former Mariner revealed he had been putting too much pressure on himself to succeed with his new team, though he now believes he’s on the right track. Paxton also found out from Yankees special advisor Carlos Beltran that he was tipping his curveball grip in his most recent start, an ugly showing in Houston on April 10. He’ll attempt to incorporate Beltran’s advice against Boston on Tuesday.
  • Speaking Sunday with reporters, including Bryan Hoch of MLB.com and Erik Boland of Newsday, Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks said he feels “great” and could take on-field batting practice in the next week. There’s still no timetable for his return, though. Hicks has been dealing with a lower back issue since early March, shortly after the Yankees inked him to a seven-year, $70MM contract extension. Although his absence has deprived the Yankees of one of the game’s preeminent center fielders, battle-tested reserve Brett Gardner has delivered passable offensive production (90 wRC+ in 61 plate appearances) in his stead.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Poll: Slow-Starting Playoff Contenders]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156179 2019-04-14T03:58:29Z 2019-04-14T03:58:29Z The Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs and Rockies were among the majors’ most successful clubs in 2018, when the quartet comprised 40 percent of the league’s playoff bracket. No one was better than the Red Sox, who rolled to 108 regular-season wins before steamrolling the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers in the postseason en route to their latest World Series title. The Yankees, despite their loss to archrival Boston, enjoyed a more-than-respectable year in which they notched 100 victories. And Colorado knocked out Chicago in the National League wild-card game, a battle of two 90-plus-win teams, before succumbing to Milwaukee in the divisional round.

    Given the excellence those clubs displayed last year, it would have been fair to expect each of them to earn playoff berths again in 2019. Instead, while we’re just a couple weeks into the season, all of those teams have tripped out of the starting block, having combined for 19 wins in 58 games. They’re the only members of last year’s playoff field that are under .500 at this point.

    Boston, whose roster is almost the same as its title-winning version (sans relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly), dropped a game to the lowly Orioles on Saturday. Fifteen contests into the season, the Red Sox have already lost 10 times – something they didn’t do until Game 35 a year ago. Neither their all-world offense nor their high-end pitching staff from 2018 have come close to replicating those performances thus far, and questions have swirled around ace Chris Sale. Signed to a five-year, $145MM extension before the season, Sale’s velocity – which began dropping amid an injury-limited 2018 – has continued to plummet. Unsurprisingly, the 30-year-old’s effectiveness has waned as his fastball has lost power. Not only has Sale allowed an earned run per inning across 13 frames, but one of baseball’s all-time strikeout artists has fanned just eight batters.

    Maybe Sale is battling a physical issue, but the Yankees are dealing with plenty of their own. Eleven of their players, including standouts Luis Severino, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks and Dellin Betances are on the IL. The majority of that group won’t be back in the near future – or perhaps until 2020 in the case of Andujar – while Severino, Gregorius, Hicks and Betances haven’t suited up yet this year. With so many integral contributors unavailable, the Yankees have started 6-8. That would be less concerning if not for their inability to capitalize on an easy early season schedule. The Yankees have played 11 games against the Orioles, Tigers and White Sox, all of whom are regarded as bottom feeders, and only won six of those matchups. The AL East rival Rays (11-4) have taken advantage, evidenced by their 4.5-game lead on New York and their six-game edge over Boston.

    Over in the NL, the Cubs – on the heels of a widely panned offseason – have sputtered to a 5-9 showing and a four-game deficit in the Central, which could be one of the majors’ most competitive divisions. Although cornerstone hitters Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber haven’t resembled their best selves, the Cubs’ offense has still done well statistically. Their pitching has been abysmal, on the other hand. Yu Darvish, who’s in Year 2 of a huge contract, continues to perform nothing like the pitcher he was pre-Chicago, while the bullpen the Cubs did little to bolster over the winter has looked predictably vulnerable.

    Speaking of vulnerable, the Rockies have christened their season with the majors’ worst record (3-12) and its last-ranked run differential (minus-36). If the Rockies are going to overcome their horrific start to pick up their third straight playoff appearance, they’ll need far more from their position players. Their hitters have put together a woeful 37 wRC+ and minus-2.6 fWAR, both of which easily rank last in the game. Injuries have played a part, as regulars David Dahl, Daniel Murphy and Ryan McMahon are all on the IL. Meanwhile, the Rockies’ primary offensive catalysts – Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon – have all been duds so far. Those three won’t stay down forever, though, and Colorado’s starting staff also has the talent to rebound from its early season mediocrity. But the Rockies can’t afford to let this skid continue to fester, especially considering they’re stuck in a division with the perennial champion Dodgers. Realistically, it’s wild card or bust for the Rockies, but rallying to steal one of those two spots in a crowded NL won’t be easy.

    While it would be unwise to panic on April 13, there are more reasons for concern than expected in all of these teams’ cases. Then again, the same was said last year about the Dodgers, who began 16-26 on their way to 92 wins and another pennant. The Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs and Rockies can take solace in that, perhaps, but do you believe any of them are already in serious trouble?

    (poll link for app users)

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Activate C.C. Sabathia From Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=156101 2019-04-13T13:27:15Z 2019-04-13T13:27:15Z The Yankees have activated southpaw C.C. Sabathia from the injured list, as per a club press release.  Left-hander Stephen Tarpley was optioned to Triple-A last night to create a 25-man roster spot for Sabathia, who is set to start today’s game against the White Sox.

    Sabathia underwent both a minor knee surgery and an angioplasty during the offseason, leading the Yankees to make the IL placement in order to give the 38-year-old time to properly ramp up his preparation.  He technically began the season on the active roster, in order to get a five-game suspension out of the way (Sabathia was issued the suspension for hitting Jesus Sucre with a pitch in a game late last year) before he hit the IL on April 3.

    Now, Sabathia is ready to begin what will be his 19th and final Major League season.  The veteran re-signed with New York on a one-year, $8MM deal in early November, as there was never much doubt that Sabathia would don the pinstripes one more time.  Though the Yankees will monitor Sabathia’s innings and usage as a nod to his age and injury history, he has continued to provide solid results in the rotation.  Sabathia has a 3.76 ERA, 7.7 K/9 rate, and 2.48 K/BB rate over 481 1/3 innings since the start of the 2016 season.

    Sabathia’s return patches at least one hole in the Yankees’ injury-riddled roster, though the team still has a whopping 11 players on the injured list.  Rotation-wise, Sabathia joins Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ in the starting five, while Domingo German continues to fill in for the sidelined Luis Severino.

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