Tuesday Afternoon News And Notes: 12/1/15

Good news!  We're back up and running, albeit in a bit of a diminished fashion.  Like Stacey said before, it's going to take some time to get back up to full capacity so bear with us while we work on things.  In the meantime, here are a few news nuggets to ease you into the current site condition: - Postseason shares were released yesterday.  The Royals had a pool of $25.2 million to divvy up for winning the World Series.  Even divided up 58 ways that’s a nice chunk of change for a month’s work.  The Yankees got $1.048 mil and change for playing in and losing the AL Wild Card game and they handed out 59 full shares and 15.98 partial shares.  That works out to $13,979.99 per full share.  Also a nice chunk of change for one night’s work.

- Via Jon Heyman, the Yankees are among the teams who have called Atlanta about Shelby Miller and the Braves reportedly asked for Luis Severino in return.  Heyman did say there is “no evidence the Yanks are considering that” and I have to think they’ll pass if that’s what it’s going to take to get Miller.  Still worth asking, though.  You never know if there’s a deal to be reached if you don’t ask.

- Via Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox signed Chris Young to a 2-year deal yesterday, giving them some added depth at the MLB level.  The deal was confirmed to be for $13 million earlier today.

That seems like buying high on a really good year to me, but that could just be me.  I don’t think Young is going to hit that well next season or beyond, I do think Aaron Hicks is going to be a better player than Young next season and beyond, and I definitely didn’t want to bring Young back on a multi-year deal.  If that’s what it took to get him, I’m glad the Yankees passed and upgraded with Hicks.

- Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees “never played seriously” for Young.  Had a quote from Cash saying they were out on Young the minute they made the Hicks trade.  Good.  That’s smart roster management.

- Also in the news today, the Marlins may hire Barry Bonds as their new hitting coach.  A-Rod thinks it's a good idea, and he would know from his offseason work with Bonds leading up to the 2015 season.

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Report: Yankees Shopping Ivan Nova

I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.  It was a quiet week in Yankeeland, but there was one small story I wanted to go back and touch on before we pressed on into the heart of the offseason. Last week Joel Sherman reported that the Yankees had "let teams know Ivan Nova is available" in a trade if they were interested.  This is noteworthy for two reasons.  One, the Yankees are on the record as being in the market for starting pitching this offseason and Nova is a starting pitcher, and two, Nova really wasn't good this past season and hasn't been anything special in his MLB career.  The idea of teams lining up to make the Yankees a trade offer after finding out he's available is borderline laughable.

Sherman's report went on to explain that the Yankees are looking for starters with more years of team control remaining, something that Nova does not have.  The 2016 season will be his final arbitration year before free agency and the Yankees must be hoping they can move him for somebody who will be around a little longer rather than keep him next year and then lose him for nothing.

And therein lies the real story in this report.  This isn't about the Yankees trying to add more cost-controlled starting pitching in 2016 so much as it's about the Yankees' plans for Nova in 2016 and beyond.  What this report tells me is that the Yankees not only don't see Nova as part of their starting rotation plan next year, but they also aren't planning on re-signing him after next year.  They've already started the process of moving on from Nova and they'd rather trade him now and get something back that they need than hold onto him next year as a redundant, unnecessary part of the roster.

That organizational mindset is spelled out in Sherman's report.  He takes special care to point out that the Yankees "are not selling low on Nova" and then rattles off all the positively spun things that could be used to up his trade value in talks.  He'll be healthier next year, he'll be motivated, he's cost-efficient in his final arb year, and he's still in his physical prime at age 29.  All of those things are or could be true, but if they're all true then why are the Yankees trying to trade the guy?  He's a young, cost-controlled starting pitcher and they have said they're looking for young, cost-controlled starting pitchers.  The only reason they would be looking to move him is if they were selling low.

So take the report however you want, but the truth is that Nova has been inconsistent in his Yankee tenure and he's lost the position he once held as an important piece of the team's future plans.  By my count he's the 7th starter on the current 40-man roster, and if the Yankees think they can turn their 7th starter into a better starter, that's something they should pursue.  Nova isn't going to bring that kind of return back on his own, but I could see a scenario or two in which he's part of a multiple player package that brings back a better young starter.

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Report: Yanks Talking Outfielder-For-Pitcher Trade With Indians

The Brett Gardner trade rumor train keeps rolling down the offseason tracks, gathering speed as it goes.  Via Jon Morosi, the Yankees are one of several teams talking to the Cleveland Indians about putting a trade together involving an outfielder and one of Cleveland's starting pitchers.  As Morosi points out, the Indians are dangerously light on quality MLB outfielders right now and won't have Michael Brantley at the start of next season.  They also have a very deep starting rotation, with 6 legit big league starters in the mix. If the Yankees are involved and the trade revolves around Cleveland acquiring an outfielder, of course it's going to be Gardner whose name comes up.  There's no way Cleveland would even entertain the idea of taking on Jacoby Ellsbury's contract.  But Gardner would be a good fit for them thanks to his well-rounded offensive skill set and ability to play center field.

With the Yankees openly looking to add more starting pitching, any of Cleveland's young starters would be a good fit.  Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco are the big prizes.  Yankee players and fans should be very familiar with Carrasco after his 2 stellar outings against them in a 10-day span this past August.  But the team could also take interest in the potential of younger guys like Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar.  One thing worth noting about all 4 of those pitchers- they all had home run problems last year.

The other teams mentioned in Morosi's report were the Dodgers and the Blue Jays, and to be honest the Dodgers are probably a better trade partner than the Yankees here because of their depth.  They could offer Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, or Scott Van Slyke.  The Yankees can offer Gardner and Aaron Judge.  It's not a bad option to pursue to add more starting pitching without spending "too much" money, but at first glance I'd call this a longshot for the Yankees.

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Thoughts On The Early Offseason Happenings

[caption id="attachment_79373" align="aligncenter" width="525"]Cash Stache Still loving the Cash Stache as much this week as I did last week. Courtesy of the AP[/caption] You might have noticed a decrease in content on the site recently.  While that's a natural occurrence once the season ends and there are no more games and updated stats to analyze, in my case it's also a matter of real life taking a much bigger slice of the time pie.  My 9-5 cube monkey job has gotten very time consuming over the past month or so, to the point that I barely have the time or the mental energy to write anymore.

That can be frustrating when there's news breaking and trades being made, as it's never as much fun being the last blogger in with your take on something when all the relevant points have already been made, for the writer or the readers.  That said, I do want to take a little time now to go back and talk about what's been going on in the early offseason for the Yankees because I do have opinions on this stuff and I want to try to get them out while I have the time.  Sorry for the recapiness, but here we go.

- This "open to anything" idea that Cash has publicly stated is pretty fun, no?  I would prefer that the Yankees not deal Andrew Miller away or sign Wei-Yin Chen for 5 years, but I much prefer those rumors coming out than a slow, plodding offseason of nothing.  I think Cash sees that he has a little bit of a window to remain competitive while ownership waits out the end of some long contracts, and it does seem as though he's been empowered to seek, pursue, and make trades as he sees fit to build around that expensive core.  That's not something that's always been the case the last few offseasons, so if it is this year and last week was any indication, we should be in for some sizable hot stove excitement.

- I think Adam Warren is a goner this offseason.  I don't have an idea where he'd be going or what the Yankees would try to get back, but it still feels like he's the odd man out of the internal rotation group.  And I'm not even counting CC.  Tanaka isn't going anywhere, Pineda and Eovaldi are still young and have room to grow on the cheap, the team is expected to bring back Ivan Nova in his final arbitration year, and Severino is the future.  There's some young pitching on the way up through the system and Warren's trade value has never been higher.  He fits the same mold as JRM and JRM is gone.

- As for that deal, I like it for both sides.  I was firmly in the camp that believed John Ryan Murphy could be a good starting catcher by season's end, and I wanted the Yankees to replace/upgrade from Chris Young rather than overpay to bring him back.  I think that trade made both of those things to happen.  Murphy never had much of a future in New York, not with Gary Sanchez taking the next step this season, and the same could be said for Aaron Hicks in Minnesota.  Hicks will step into that lefty masher platoon role and he brings even more defensive flexibility and skill than Young.  Murphy gets to take over the everyday job in Minny.

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Report: Yankees Unlikely To Pursue Zobrist

Looks like I didn't miss too much over the weekend.  The one new rumor with some juice that came out last night comes to us courtesy of The Post and concerns both the Yankees and the Mets and their respective plans to pursue Ben Zobrist this offseason. Via Dan Martin and Ken Davidoff, the Yankees are unlikely to go hard after Zobrist because of his expected price tag.  The exact quote from the report says "the Yankees aren’t willing to spend as much as Zobrist likely will receive", and that the Mets will make "a strong push" for Zobrist to address their multiple roster needs.  That information comes from the always reliable unnamed "industry sources".  They're better than just regular unnamed sources because they're definitely in the industry, you see.

All jokes aside, this report makes sense to me.  The MLBTR projection for Zobrist was 3 years/$51 million, this report mentions 4/$60 mil as a possibility, and I've already said I don't see the Yankees going all in on Zobrist for those types of commitments.  They have players in-house who they are seemingly comfortable with handling second base, they've got a crowded outfield, and they have greater needs elsewhere.  Giving a 4-year deal to a 35-year-old also doesn't fit the current roster building plan, even if that 35-year-old is very versatile.

In a vacuum, I'd love to have Zobrist on the team next year.  He would provide flexibility and depth all over the roster and make it easier to move Brett Gardner, who is probably the team's best chance to get more young, cost-controlled MLB players back in a trade.  It's strange to accept money as the reason for the Yankees passing on a player who fits their needs, but that's the new model with ownership.  If they're waiting for more money to come off the books before spending big again, it makes sense that they'd bypass Zobrist and focus their attention elsewhere.

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GM Meetings Day 4 Recap: A Quiet Finish

There were no last-day fireworks for the Yankees yesterday on the final day of the 2015 GM Meetings.  Cash did his damage on Wednesday and in all likelihood laid some groundwork for bigger talks next month.  Most of the big news yesterday came from the rest of the league. - The biggest news is recent former Yankee front officer and new Anaheim GM Billy Eppler making a splash and acquiring all-world defensive shortstop Andrelton Simmons from the Braves for Erick Aybar, prospects, and cash.  I like the move if the Angels think they can perk up Simmons' bat, which Atlanta apparently did not think was possible anymore.  Anaheim is already in "win now" mode with the guys they've got, no reason for Eppler to not be aggressive if he thinks it improves the team.

- The Mariners kept dealing as well, picking up righty reliever Joaquin Benoit from the Padres.  The AL West should be fun next year.

- Via Ken Rosenthal, it sounds like Colby Rasmus will be the first player to accept his qualifying offer.  That would mean he'll get $15.8 million next year and have another shot at free agency.  Not bad for a dude who played on a 1-year/$8 mil deal in 2015.  Guys like Rasmus can make a nice chunk of change for themselves by accepting qualifying offers.  Maybe we'll start to see more players do it now.

- One small bit of Yankee news.  The Silver Slugger Award winners were announced last night and Brian McCann took home the award for AL catcher.  He hit .232/.320/.437 with 26 HR and 94 RBI, so congrats to him.

- And in the kinda sorta Yankee news category, former World Series MVP Scott Brosius has been hired as the Mariners' new Triple-A hitting coach.

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GM Meetings Day 3 Recap: 1 Trade, 2 Trades, And The Rumor Mill Heats Up

[caption id="attachment_79335" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Aaron Hicks 2015 Your new fourth outfielder... for now (Courtesy of Getty Images)[/caption] Very busy day for Hipster Cash yesterday.  He started off by clearing a 40-man spot and kept the trade momentum rolling with an out-of-nowhere swap with the Twins that netted him at least his Chris Young replacement.  Here's a full recap of yesterday's activities.

- The first trade was a straight up roster dump.  Cash said so himself.  The Yanks sent utility man Jose Pirela to the Padres for 20-year-old right-hander Ronald Herrera.  The move got them down to 38 on the 40-man roster and gave them a potential sleeper pitching prospect.

- The second trade was the big one.  The Yankees acquired outfielder Aaron Hicks from the Twins for backup catcher John Ryan Murphy.  This trade, while unexpected, followed a pattern Cash has established recently of dealing from positions of depth to acquire young MLB players with lots of team control remaining.  Murphy really came into his own in 2015 as Brian McCann's regular backup, and like Francisco Cervelli before him he will now get the chance to expand into a regular starting role.  Hicks steps into Young's righty platoon outfield role for now, but Cash did say the Yankees see him as an everyday player.

- Naturally this ramped up the speculation on Brett Gardner's future with the club.  When asked about the possibility of trading Gardner now, Cash said "“I have been hit on Gardy over the years quite often, and he hasn’t gone anywhere.  I value Gardy a great deal. … He’s not an easy get.” (via Chad Jennings)

- In other hot stove rumor news, Ken Rosenthal reported the Diamondbacks as one of multiple teams that have asked about Andrew Miller.  These 2 teams have hooked up on trades before and Rosenthal pointed out the match in potential trade chips, so this makes sense.

- Via Mark Feinsand, the Yankees might "make a serious run" at lefty free agent pitcher Wei-Yin Chen this offseason to give their rotation some balance.  Chen is coming off a solid year and has been a reliable mid-rotation guy since coming to the Majors in 2012.  He's also reportedly seeking a 5-6 year deal and will cost any non-Baltimore team that signs him their 1st round draft pick.  He's a good pitcher, but I don't see the Yankees going that hard for him at the cost of the pick and that many years.

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Yankees Send Murphy to the Twins for Aaron Hicks

It seems that this morning's trade was a mere precursor for something with far greater ramifications for the 2016 season:

John Ryan Murphy was quite good for the Yankees this season, putting up a .277/.327/.406 (103 OPS+, 99 wRC+) line in 172 PA as Brian McCann's back-up. There was talk about an expanded role for Murphy heading into 2016, given McCann's age and struggles down the stretch, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. Of course, that could also mean that Gary Sanchez could be in-line for a large role as something between a back-up and platoon player behind the dish - he's certainly earned the opportunity.

As for Aaron Hicks, Keith Law actually wrote a bit about him as a trade target this morning. Here's the crux of it:

No matter how you slice it, however, Aaron Hicks seems to be the most imminent victim of the roster crunch, right after establishing himself as a viable everyday player in center, hitting .259/.333/.432 as a regular after returning from a forearm injury in late June. He's a plus-plus runner with a 70 or 80 arm in center, and his defense could still improve as he's more reliant on pure speed than good reads or efficient routes. He has yet to show much production against right-handed pitching, but killed lefties in 2015, and at least has hit right-handers in Double-A and Triple-A the last two years. The free-agent market is deep in corner outfielders but has no center fielders to match Hicks' potential with the glove and bat.

At the very least, Hicks seems to be an excellent replacement for Chris Young, with a career line of .272/.360/.447 with 10 HR in 261 PA against southpaws - and at something close to league-minimum salary, to boot. And with the Brett Gardner rumors swirling, who knows what else could be in store?

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Report: Yanks And Mariners Have Had Talks About Brett Gardner

Here's the other new story I alluded to in the previous recap post.  According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees and Mariners have "discussed" a potential trade involving Brett Gardner.  This comes as the latest example of the "Brian Cashman is open to anything" storyline that's been gaining strength over the last week or so. Sherman's report is quick to state that the discussions are in the early stages and no specifics have been mentioned by either side, but there is a good fit and logical reason for both sides to pursue this.  The Mariners need to be competitive now and Gardner is the perfect type of top-of-the-order table setter they need in front of their big hitters.  Jerry DiPoto is the new GM in Seattle and has always liked Gardner.  From the Yankees' side, Gardner is arguably their most trade-able main roster piece as an above-average player with a reasonable contract.  With Ellsbury locked in, Beltran coming off the books after next season, prospects waiting in the wings, and some intriguing FA outfield options, Gardner is the best chance for them to move a piece while also helping another area of roster need.

The report mentions "high-end starting pitching" with team control as the desired return for the Yankees, and while Seattle is unwilling to discuss right-hander Taijuan Walker, the same does not hold true for lefty James Paxton.  The 27-year-old pitched to a 3.90 ERA/4.31 FIP split in 67.0 MLB innings in 2015, but has battled injury problems on and off for the past few years.

Stove's gettin' hotter.  It's definitely worth watching where this rumor goes over the rest of this week and in the weeks to come leading up to the Winter Meetings.  Gardner is one of the core members of the Yankees now and a well-known leader in the clubhouse.  Losing him would be tough, but it would also create more opportunities for young players to step in and could bring a good return to bolster the rest of the roster.

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GM Meetings Day 2 Recap: Young, Profar, Mets Rotation, Gold Glove Shutout

It was another calm day at the 2015 GM Meetings yesterday.  The biggest piece of Yankee hot stove news actually came out super early this morning, so that post will wait.  Here's the day 2 recap to get the morning started: - Via Erik Boland, Cash confirmed that the Yankees are interested in bringing Chris Young back.  "Would we like to have him back? Of course. You couldn’t ask him to be any better" Cash said.  Young was a lefty masher on a cheap 1-year deal this past season.  Have to think he's looking to cash in on that and his market development will determine how seriously the Yankees pursue him.

- FWIW, Bob Nightengale reported the Red Sox as one of the other teams interested in Young.

- Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees are one of several teams that have checked in on Jurickson Profar's availability.  Profar, the top prospect in baseball as recently as 2013, has missed the past 2 seasons with shoulder injuries for the Rangers but is playing in the AZFL right now to make up for lost time.  According to Sherman, the Yankees are interested in Profar as a second baseman, but right now the Rangers are not looking to deal him.

- If you were hopeful that the Yanks could pull off a killer trade for one of the Mets' big young arms, Cash rained on that parade. yesterday, saying "that will never happen" when asked about the possibility. (Via Mike Puma)

- Yanks got shut out in the Gold Glove department last night when the AL and NL award winners were announced.  Yoenis Cespedes beat out Brett Gardner in left field, Eric Hosmer went over Mark Teixeira at first base, and Alcides Escobar topped Didi Gregorius at short.  I have to think Teix would have won if he wouldn't have gotten hurt.  He was spectacular at first this year.

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