Saturday, December 31, 2016


As we come to the end of 2016 and look to the brightness and promise of 2017, I came across this nugget about small talk while running on the treadmill this week.  NBC Today's Al Roker and Tamron Hall talked about the death of small talk because we are too preoccupied with our phones to engage in such meaningless chatter. 

But as I listened to their insights on this interpersonal mainstay in our society, I immediately thought about the specific activity that was replacing it: Blogging and Micro-blogging.

(A 2011/2012 version of Bleeding Yankee Blue)
"A growing body of research suggests that small talk has surprising benefits. In a study published in 2014 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers found that daily interactions with casual acquaintances, like chatting with your regular barista at the coffee shop, can contribute to day-to-day well-being," stated an article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this fall.  But what if blogging and the ability to interact with a larger audience is a worthy replacement?  

Photo: David & Erin Robertson wearing Bleeding Yankee Blue
"As a small company or startup, going straight for the gatekeepers - influencers and bloggers, is a great way to reach your target market. Your consumers turn to them for recommendations about the very products you sell. This is especially true if your products include fashion, lifestyle products or food. And if you’re marketing to millennials, they often look to influencers because they want an authentic, personalized customer experience, and they’re estimated to spend $200 billion annually by 2017," reported Forbes magazine earlier this month. 

Much like the words of Terri Funk Graham, "The more passion people have for the work that they do, the more likely they are to demonstrate positive energy and success in life," we here at BYB blog because we love the Yankees and we engage in small talk, nuggets if you will, about baseball much like you would with a person in line at the supermarket, while you wait for your plane at the airport or with family during the holidays.

Today's small talk is blogging and we do it here with you everyday, 365 days a year.  

In Photo: Then Cleveland Indian Clint Frazier
Whether we feature prospect talk with our minor league teams and those interesting personalities that shape our Yankee system with someone like John Sadak who "has a fun job. He is the voice of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, amongst many other announcing gigs. He has been on hand for an amazing transformation in the Yankees farm system, and has seen some of today’s stars at the big league level develop from question marks to the reigning AL Player of the Week" ; or we capture the possibility of the trades to come with Hot Stove talk with guys like Ken Rosenthal who report the word on the street with words like "every time I hear Brian Cashman utter his cryptic mantra, “We’re open to anything,” the same thought enters my head: “Uh-oh, here come the Yankees," we are blogging what's hot, what's interesting and what's in our heads as we sit at the keyboard.

Photo: Getty Images of Jose Quintana
According to the New Yorker, "American life is based on a reassurance that we like one another but won’t violate one another’s privacies. This makes it a land of small talk."  And the same would be true here at BYB.  We can comment, we can make fun, we can discuss intelligently, but we can't violate each other's opinions and we have to have something interesting to say.  "How can print newspapers possibly compete with this high-speed analysis, team updates at the blink of an eye, along with all these other online statistical bells and whistles found on so many Websites?" reported Huffington Post.  

It's true.  Blogging has become a part of our culture, particularly in sports and definitely in baseball. It's not that far fetched to say that it is replacing small talk at the water cooler and on the train.

Bleeding Yankee Blue today
And with our writers competing for a bigger baseball audience every season, continue to expect more from us here at BYB.

We expect more of ourselves in 2017 much like we do from the team we cover. 

Is Blogging replacing small talk in our society today? You betcha!

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof


Photo of Gleyber Torres. Credit: USA Today
We have a lot to look forward to Yankee fans.  We have a terrific crop of kids ready to do great things for us.  I just wanted to focus on few of those hitting prospects that we are personally excited about. 

Photo: MiLB
1. Clint Frazier, OF. This kid is something else. Personality, talent and there is no question we could see him in the Bigs in 2017.  Last season, combined Cleveland and Yankee minor leagues he had a .263 average with 16 homers and 55 RBIs. Decent, but more work to do.  Don't worry... he'll do it!

2. Gleyber Torres, SS. This kid is young! 19 years old, but it won’t be long before he forces his way to the major leagues, no question about it. The kid just won the MVP of the Arizona Fall League. Only good things to look forward to!

Photo: MiLB
3. Jorge Mateo, SS/2B. There have been 'hints' about perhaps trading Mateo away, but we at BYB suspect he'll be held onto as the future second baseman with Torres at short.  The kid has mad talent. Last season with Tampa he batted .321 in just 21 games.  In 2016 he dropped to .254 in 464 at bats.  Again, another youngster with more work to do, but the Yankees like what they see from this kid.

4. Aaron Judge, OF. This kid is a giant.  Casey calls him the Iron Giant.  He's athletic and strong.  One thing he needs to do is work on decifering pitches and cut down on his strikeouts.  If he can, he will no doubt be a force, not only with the New York Yankees, but in the league itself.

Photo: Los Angeles Daily News
5. Blake Rutherford, OF. Blake is only 19 and the kid, much like Mateo is probably 2 years away, but there is no question he's the Yankee future.  We really like this kid. Hopping between the Yankees Gulf League and the Pulaski Yankees, the kid batted .351 with 40 hits in 113 at bats.  Excited is an understatement.

Photo: Charleston RiverDogs
6. Miguel Andujar, 3B. Andujar is 21 year old, but had 12 HR and 83 RBI while hitting .273 last year for A and AA. He might help us at some point considering the Yankee Universe is down on Chase Headley.  Sure, it would be alittle crazy to put Andujar in that type of position, but you never know. Could 2017 be the year we see him in September call-ups? That could be cool.

Bottom line, these are the kids that BYB is following closely right now and will continue to have updates as the year goes on.  Of course, you can read about many of the prospects, both hitters AND pitchers in Dan Lucia's series YANKEE PROSPECT WATCH as well, just click on his name. 

The future is bright. We'll have a team led by mostly young hitters with Sanchez, Bird, Judge, and even the semi-young Didi and Castro.

When do you remember a Yankee team like this?  It's been awhile...

--Douglas Solomon 
BYB Guest Writer

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Friday, December 30, 2016


(July 28, 2015 - Source: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)
With the daily tales of Jose Quintana sounding more and more like a byproduct of Jose Cuervo and little else, I got to thinking some more about our big splash re-signing of Aroldis Chapman.

(May 8, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
It was exactly a year ago the Yankees first signed him to create the super bullpen combo with Dellin and Andrew known as No Runs DMC. The word 'rebuild' wasn't even in our vocabulary yet, and the word 'prospects' still referred to our chances for a postseason run.

From blockbuster trade piece for a potential playoff contender, to trade piece for a bunch of kids we hope have a future in the Bigs... and then back again to a team stripped of it's top draws and more question marks than when he left. What a difference a year makes, huh?

Looking back at Aroldis's dizzying journey also made me realize that this winter marks the end of the third year of Joe Girardi's four-year deal, and as we enter it's final season -- the extra one Joe extracted from the team by leveraging interest from his hometown Cubs, I wonder where all the turbulent change his team is undergoing may send Joe's career careening next.

I'm a fan of Joe. I really am.

(May 19, 2016 - Source: Getty Images North America)
I know about all the handicaps he's had to overcome and the better-than-expected finishes he's performed. But I also know that if the team is truly evaluating all its assets and liabilities moving forward, the manager's position has an impact on the daily success of the product on the field. That can not be ignored.

It seemed to me that Joe would stick with a cold bat way too long or sit a hot one way too fast...OR keep a dead arm in the rotation and send a live one to the pen, based more on the number of zeros in their contract and their years of MLB service than their numbers on the score card!

And was it really beyond his authority to order two of our leading base stealers to actually try and steal a bag a little more frequently when they both underwent mid-career psychoses and decided it was more comfortable for them to remain glued to their bases until the next hitter moved them over?

And what about all those phony spring training "competitions" for the starting rotation and catchers when everyone knew the outcomes in advance -- especially the youngsters who invariably were the losers, despite often being the winners in the scorecards? Does "Competition always brings out the best" ring a bell?

I bet that was great for morale. The stories those kids brought back with them to the farm when they got sent down must've been priceless.

(Aug. 29, 2015 - Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)
Heck, maybe I'm just not privy to the proprietary metrics that informed him Stephen Drew really was the best option at second base in the entire organization, for the entire year. Meanwhile we all saw he was the worst hitting second basemen in the league.

Maybe a good players' manager does these things. Maybe there's old-school wisdom to his play-it-safe strategy. Or maybe he was only following orders from Brian and Yankee brass. I've given him a pass for years using that one myself.

(Oct. 1, 2016 - Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)
But you know what? Joe's always saying: My job is to manage the guys in the room.’’ I think he's telling the truth. It's one of his go-to lines whenever he's asked if he's being ordered to play stiffs over warm bodies or whenever he's asked to pontificate about rumored trades.

So in this, his final year, that pass is rescinded. From now on whenever Joe says things like that -- and particularly whenever he manages like that -- I'm taking him at his word. It's his job. His choices. His wins. His losses. Period.

(Sept. 16, 2014 - Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)
Three years ago this winter, Joe signed a four-year extension with the Yankees rather than jump to an almost certain gig with the Cubs because he "absolutely" believed the Yankees would win another World Series before his deal expired. And here we are three years later, the Cubs have their ring and the Yankees are having dreams about a pitcher named Quintana who likely still wouldn't be the final piece in their championship puzzle.

Joe's loyal, I'll give him that. Funny thing about that "competition always brings out the best" thing, though. It can also bring out the worst.

The heartbeat of the next Yankees dynasty will be the young bloods who start coming up this season. Whether Joe hears it or not, I believe, will decide if he'll be allowed to compete with them any further.


 Let's just hope that some of the big ones stay.

(July 31, 2016 - Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America)
Look, the Yankees need a starting pitcher just to help give them some stability. So, it's not totally surprising that hours after Bleeding Yankee Blue puts out THE UNTOUCHABLES. YES..  yesterday, Brian Cashman goes on MLB TV's High Heat and let's the Yankee Universe know that there is a plan in place... or something.

(Sept. 10, 2015 - Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America) has the story, I will take the nuggets from them on this one:

"Here's what Cashman told MLB Network's "High Heat" on Thursday:

'I think the most important currency to have nowadays is high-end prospects, and I think we -- by everyone's evaluation -- have collected a number of those,' Cashman said. 'So I think we can easily [trade them]. It's just, will we do that?

I think we'll stay engaged in the marketplace, and over time if we do match-up favorably with somebody where we can get what we want and they get what they want, then yes, we'll try to get something,' Cashman added. 'But we're very protective of the work we've done thus far, and we don't want to do anything at the expense of a short-term gain. We want to make sure it's for long-term efforts as well. And as we've seen since last winter, the price of doing business trade-wise is extremely high.'"

Photo: Getty Images
And so yes, I know that your next question is about Jose Quintana and all that talk about trying to acquire him too. has some more on that too:

(Aug. 6, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
"It's likely the Yankee go into spring training with just about the same roster they have now. They've been linked to the White Sox's remaining ace, lefty Jose Quintana, and there's been chatter about their willingness to deal third baseman Chase Headley and left fielder Brett Gardner. But those are secondary moves. The roster you see is likely the roster you'll get come mid-February."

Photo: Baseball America
Now while Kuty didn't give much there, he actually gave a lot. If come the trade deadline Quintana is still being floated, the Yankees could very well trade a prospect of 2 away. Maybe it's Jorge Mateo... and a few lower level prospects. Maybe they even convince the White Sox that Headley could help them... I'm spit balling, but that's the reality.

Bottom line, as Dan Lucia said yesterday in his piece THE UNTOUCHABLES. YES.. , there needs to be a few prospects that are totally untouchable. Clint Frazier. Justus Sheffield. Gleyber Torres... Dillon Tate even.  Guys that we know can blossom.  After all, there's a reason why we traded for them in 2016 in the first place.

Bottom line, Cashman is flowing right now and he's not sleeping.  He's trying to make the Yankees a better club, but he's cautious... and smart... and I like that.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Photo: New York Daily News
Over the past couple of weeks there have been some ‘rumors’ thrown around regarding possible trade options for the Yankees. There was the Andrew McCutchen three team trade rumor (Read BIG TALK THAT McCUTCHEN COULD BE A YANKEE...) and also the many different conversations about Jose Quintana and now including David Robertson, read THAT PESKY QUINTANA NUGGET

The rumors included the names of several Yankees prospects who could be involved in a deal such as Blake Rutherford and Miguel Andujar.
Photo:  New York Daily News
Now, there seems to be two general thought processes about who is untouchable and who is not. Let’s just get this out of the way; Gary Sanchez is all but untouchable. He is the current (future) face of the Yankees as of this moment. His throwing arm, his stick and even the nickname ‘Kraken’ and #IamGary make him a New York kind of guy, something the Bombers have been missing.

Back to the two general thought processes now. The first is that nobody should be untouchable because after all this is a business and every player is an asset. Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner receive inquiries all the time and throw their own inquires around the league. If an opportunity arose to better the organization whether it be financially or on the field, it should be discussed, regardless of which assets you would need to part ways with. If it makes sense, go for it.

On that same note, the minor league prospects are just that: Prospects. Having a young player who has not proven himself on the big stage has inherent risks. Not all prospects pan out so there comes an inherent risk is not taking an offer for a proven above-average asset like Jose Quintana. I’m not advocating a trade for him, he is just my example. If it improves the team, brings in some more fans (revenue) and the price is right, it very well could be the right move.
The second thought process is almost every top prospect the Yankees have right now needs to be untouchable. Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo, Justus Sheffield, Blake Rutherford, Miguel Andujar, James Kaprielian, Domingo Acevedo and Chance Adams top my personal list of players that need to be untouchable right now. Here’s why…
Photo: Getty Images
One player like Jose Quintana will not make the Yankees a World Series contender. They are in rebuild mode and need to let the Baby Bombers play whether they fail or succeed. The Yankees are still in transition with CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez’s contracts coming off the books this year and plenty of upper level minor league prospects who have either had their cup of coffee or will this year. Holding on to all their young, inexpensive assets is what they need to do right now.

Now if the Yankees were in the Red Sox shoes and were seemingly one or two pieces away from becoming one of the favorites to win the World Series by acquiring Chris Sale for top overall prospect Yoan Moncada, top 100 pitching prospect Michael Kopech and two others, then the conversation definitely changes. The Red Sox utilized their assets to make a run right now when they are built for one.

The Yankees currently are not.
(Sept. 21, 2016 - Source: Mike Carlson/Getty Images North America)
The only scenario regarding parting ways with the untouchables I personally would consider right now would be if it includes dropping some dead weight as well. If the Yankees could hypothetically ship Jacoby Ellsbury and his contract somewhere with, say, Jorge Mateo and get a useful, inexpensive, MLB ready arm, that would have to be considered to expedite the rebuild and free up payroll. While it’s an unlikely scenario, if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Brian Cashman having had talks similar to the scenario I just mentioned.
(Sept. 25, 2016 - Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America)
2017 should be a year to see what Gary Sanchez can really do over 162 games. Can Aaron Judge get over the Mendoza line and cut down his strikeout percentage to a respectable rate? Is Tyler Austin really a long term big leaguer? Is Greg Bird healthy and ready to be the first baseman of the future? What is Rob Refsnyder really capable of? What about Jordan Montgomery and Dietrich Enns on the hill? What will #RedThunder do when given his opportunity? That is what this year needs to be about.
Source: Getty Images
For the record, I believe the top prospects right now should be all but untouchable. The Yankees don’t need Andrew McCutchen. Jose Quintana probably makes them a more likely Wild Card contender but at a drastic cost. No free agent with a draft attached is worth it right now.

It’s not the right time. Stay the course.

--Dan Lucia,  
BYB 'Series' Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia

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Ah, fruit cake....the butt of a lot of holiday jokes. You may have heard stories of it being rock hard or crusty. I once heard a story about a guy eating some and then chipping a tooth. Who really thought it would be a good idea to prepackage it and then send it through the mail as if it were some amazing prize? That must be how the "re-gifting" concept was created. Well, baseball may not have a lot of fruit cakes being passed around, but those pesky "buy low" offers are kind of like fruit cake, no?

So what are we getting at here? According to ESPN HERE the Yankees are getting some uninspired offers on Michael Pineda this winter. It's that holiday fruit cake that your relatives send you that you just didn't ask for! What are the Yankees supposed to do with that? The answer is simple really.....nothing. Don't bite.

(Sept. 19, 2016 - Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)
Sure, Pineda has been rather lackluster. The shoulder injuries and pine tar drama just don't make up for the poor stats and psyching himself out and blowing important match ups, especially when he is ahead of the count. He is his own worst enemy but to another team he could be the right kind of gamble to rehab and tack on to the back of their rotation. He could be the guy that just can't perform up to the hype in New York but do well on a smaller stage on a one year commitment. One year is nothing so if he tanks they can just cut him lose. He's the perfect "buy low" risk.

(Sept. 19, 2016 - Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)
 So I am sure Brian Cashman has a lot of phone calls pouring in. Last year I was okay with "re-gifting" Pineda the fruit cake but this year I say hold on to him. Once again we are the under dogs. Baseball fanatics are already handing over the AL East to the Red Sox even though Joe Girardi says the Yankees will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox this season. The fact of the matter is, we already sold all of the best players we had. We have a new potential with our offense, but the pitching is rather scary.

(Sept. 17, 2016 - Source: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images North America)
Right now, the Yankees will have to rely on CC Sabathia to be a productive, and effective pitcher in his last year. Masahiro Tanaka is still the ace but unfortunately cannot be cloned and will need someone else to step up and produce in what could be his last year as a Yankee as is opt-out date approaches. Luis Severino is just too much of a question mark to even be able to predict because 2015 and 2016 were polar opposites. He needs to prove that he is more of the 2015 pitcher to get a starting rotation spot again. So that leaves Michael Pineda as the guy to step up and once again prove he has some of that same talent we saw in 2011 with the Mariners. What else is left?

(Sept. 24, 2016 - Source: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images North America)
Well, the Yankees also have Adam Warren the successful bullpen arm. The Yankees need to figure out what they are going to do with him once and for all before they turn him into the modern day Joba Chamberlain. After that, comes a battle for a back end spot between Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell and Chad Green who all could be a productive back end guy, or maybe something more eventually but it is too soon to tell.

So for the time being, it makes sense for the Yankees to pass on the "buy low" offers teams are offering for Pineda. Nobody likes fruit cake, and these offers only destabilize the Yankees even more. That could lead to more headaches and toothaches for the Yankees down the it's probably wise to continue the age old tradition and pass.

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