Tag: MLB News

Are We Witnessing The Making Of The New York Yankees New Core Four?

The Yankees are established as one of the greatest franchises in the history of sports. They produced a dynasty in the lates 90s into the early 2000s, including a group of players known as the “Core Four”. This core consisted of captain and shortstop Derek Jeter, left handed hurler Andy Pettitte, catcher Jorge Posada and closer Mariano Rivera. All of these players had one thing in common, they came up through the Yankees farm system as young players and played their entire careers with the Yankees (aside from Pettitte, who played 3 seasons with the Astros before returning to the Yankees in 2007).

The Yankees now have been one of baseballs best teams, being in the playoffs the last 2 years and winning at least 90 games, An integral part of the Yankees newfound success has been their young talent. With the way this team has been playing, its fair to wonder if the Yankees have found a new core four, the four players listed below have the best shot at replicating a new core of players.

#1 Aaron Judge, Right Fielder

Aaron Judge has arguably become the face of baseball, having been drafted in 2013 by the Yankees and tearing it up through their minor league system and was one of their most highly touted prospects. One can’t forget his debut in August of 2016 when he hit a home run in his first major league at bat against the Rays. Despite finishing his rookie season with a .179 batting average and 42 strikeouts in 84 at bats, Judge adjusted his mechanics and came into 2017 hot, arguably spending his true rookie season as the hottest player in baseball, hitting a putrid 52 home runs, 127 walks, and 114 rbis, winning the home run derby, being named an all star, finishing second in the AL MVP voting and taking home the rookie of the year award for 2017 while also setting the record for most walks and home runs by a rookie in history. Judge missed time due to a chip fracture in his wrist, but still had an all star campaign in 2018 smacking 27 home runs and hitting .278 in 112 games. Judge has battled injuries like many players in major league baseball, but theres no doubt he is an incredible asset to the Yankees and has arguably become their face of the franchise, Judges chambers in right field is a prime example of this, to have a section named after you at Yankee Stadium speaks volumes about how valuable you are to the organization.

#2 Gary Sanchez, Catcher

Gary Sanchez is without a doubt a fantastic catcher, his defense has been somewhat questionable in recent years, allowing the most past balls in 2017 and 2018 despite missing significant time due to a groin injury. Nonetheless, Sanchez is still a clutch hitter, it was only a few seasons ago Sanchez hit 20 home runs and drove in 42 runs in 53 games as a rookie, leading to him finishing second in rookie of the year voting only behind Detroit right hander Michael Fulmer. In 2017, Sanchez had arguably his best season to date, hitting 33 home runs and driving in 90 runs in 122 games with a stat line of .278, .345, .531 earning him an all star nod and a silver slugger award. Sanchez’s 2018 struggles both offensively and defensively show he needs improvement, but theres no doubt his outstanding performance helped the Yankees get back to postseason contention, with Josh Bard as the bench coach being a former catcher himself, Sanchez has all the tools necessary to get back to form.

#3 Luis Severino, Starting Pitcher

Luis Severino has been the Yankees ace for quite some time now, his rookie season saw him show glimpses of brilliance, pitching to a 2.86 ERA and winning 5 of the 11 games he started. His 2016 campaign was rocky as he was demoted to triple a in August of that year. Since his sophomore season, Severino has completely turned it around, not only overtaking Masahiro Tanaka as the ace, but winning 14 and 19 games in 2017 and 2018 respectively. He pitched to a 2.98 ERA and struck out 230 batters in 2017 and had a higher but respectable 3.39 ERA and 220 strike outs in 2018. He has finished in the top 10 for Cy Young voting each of the last 2 seasons. Severinos grit and stellar performance, especially in 2018s wild card game against the A’s in which he pitched 4 innings and struck out 7 without giving up a run earned him a 4 year extension worth $40 million. If he can stay consistant and perform as well as he has in recent years, theres no doubt Severino will go down as a core member of the Yankees new dynasty.

#4 Miguel Andujar, 3rd Baseman

Perhaps one of the most underrated Yankees players, Miguel Andujar, a player who wasn’t even supposed to play at the Major League level this past season was called up and instantly made an impact at the hot corner. Andujar often takes heat for his “poor” defense as he ranked 18th in the league for 3rds basemans fielding percentage at .948 which led to him being benched in game 4 of the ALDS due to the contact inducing C.C. Sabathia taking the hill, a game in which the Yankees were eliminated. Despite his struggles on defense, he still is a young player at only 21 years of age, and his offense more then makes up for it. Andujar was clutch to say the least for the Yankees, hitting .297 with 27 home runs and 97 RBIS. Andujars walkoff single against the Indians in May also proves that Andujar can come up big when necessary. With regard to games played, batting average, home run total and WAR , Andujar was the Yankees second best player in 2018, only behind Giancarlo Stanton. Andujar has lots of room to grow, and being homegrown and coming up through the minors with the Yanks, its only a matter of time until he gets even better.

Judge, Sanchez, Severino and Andujar all have something in common that the core four before them did, they all came up through the Yankees system. With Sanchez being signed in 2009, Severino and Andujar being signed in 2011 and Judge being drafted in 2013. With the way these baby bombers are playing, its not unrealistic to think this could be the start of a new core four.

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The Saga Ends: Manny Machado And San Diego Padres Reach Deal

In a offseason filled with controversy regarding mega star free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, at least one domino has finally fallen.

It was announced on Tuesday that the padres had signed Machado to a contract worth $300 million over 10 years. The contract comes with an opt out clause after the first five years. Machado had gauged many teams interest this offseason including the Yankees, Phillies and White Sox. Machado was expected to sign a contract in the $250 to $280 million range, but that changed upon his deal with San Diego. Machados contract is now the largest in history for American sports. Machados signing indicates the Padres desire to quickly return to contention, as their farm system contains several highly touted prospects including Fernado Tatis Jr. (#2 overall) Mackenzie Gore (#15 overall) and Luis Urias (#23 overall).

Britton Reunites With New York, Signs Three Year Deal

The news broke yesterday that veteran lefty, Zach Britton, had an agreement in place with his former team, the New York Yankees, initially worth $40 Million over three years. This deal, of course, was structured in part by super-agent, Scott Boras, so it’s bound to be slightly complex.

The deal is, by itself, a three-year, $40 Million deal. However, it includes an opt-out for Britton after two years, and an opt in for the Yankees after the second year as well, triggering a second two-year option.

Britton was bound to make a splash regardless of where he landed, yet, he is one of the more tentative options on the market. After Andrew Miller, another bounce-back candidate, came off the board, the focus in the left-handed reliever market shifted to Britton, who was rumored to be looking for a four-year deal. His, frankly, terrible BB% and K% numbers make him a relatively risky option, and his FIP isn’t encouraging either, sitting at a meager 4.22 this past season.

However, his legendary 2016 season is what aids him in maintaining value, and is what has teams hopeful that he will, eventually, regain his prior form.

MLB News: Righty Robertson Reaches Pact With Philadelphia

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was first on the news that David Robertson and the Philadelphia Phillies reached agreement on a two-year, $23 Million deal with a club option for 2021.

A right-handed stopper with reverse splits, Robertson had spent the beginning of his career with the Yankees prior to returning to them once again mid-2017 after being traded by the White Sox. Robertson’s peripherals are his main selling point. He has a career ERA of 2.88 but an even more impressive career FIP of 2.81. He boasts a mediocre Walk/9 of 3.6, but a stellar K/9 of 12.0 on the dot.

Overall, Robertson is a brilliant addition to an already threatening Philadelphia bullpen. It is unclear what role exactly the Phillies will exercise him in, but wherever he goes, he’ll be an excellent weapon out of the Pen.

MLB News: The Weekend Recap

The Reds, Dodgers Blockbuster:

Over the weekend, we saw a few relatively high-profile trades, but none bigger than this one. The Reds and Dodgers agreed to terms to send OF Yasiel Puig, OF Matt Kemp, LHP Alex Wood, C Kyle Farmer, and $7M in cash to Cincinnati in exchange for SP Homer Bailey, and Minor Leaguers Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray.

Many sources agree that this particular trade feels rather lopsided, seeing as the Reds were able to ship off Homer Bailey’s albatross of a contract while giving up minimal talent in the process (though both prospects were held quite high in scouts’ eyes) for four very solid major league pieces — though two of said players hit the open market next year.

The motivation for the Dodgers in this trade resides in the salary flexibility. After receiving Homer Bailey, the Dodgers are expected to release him, making him a free agent while the Dodgers pay the remainder of his salary — a whopping $23 Million. They, in turn, shed any money owed to either of their former major leaguers, allowing them to assess any holes that they currently desire to fill, especially those behind the plate, as well as at second base. It is also of popular opinion that the Dodgers are now even more well positioned to make a run at superstar Bryce Harper, though, even after trading two of their prominent outfielders, the Dodgers still have the likes of Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Alex Verdugo, and Andrew Toles available to play the field, giving them quite a few viable options that don’t cost $30 Million+.

The Three Team Trade for Profar:

This trade was certainly the most interesting of the three that took place this weekend. The Oakland Athletics, in absence of infielder Jed Lowrie, received a former number one MLB prospect, INF Jurickson Profar, from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Minor League infielder Eli White and international bonus slot money. The Athletics also sent minor league RHP Emilio Pagan and a 2019 first-round pick to the Tampa Bay Rays in the trade. The Rangers then shipped Minor League RHP Rollie Lacey to the Rays in exchange for Minor League pitchers Kyle Bird, Yoel Espinal, and Brock Burke, thus completing the complex transaction.

The A’s received their controllable utility infielder, while the other two teams involved bolstered their systems, and shuffled around a few prospects.

Swapping Santana For Gamel:

A few weeks back, the Mariners traded one Santana away, only now to receive another Santana from the Milwaukee Brewers this past weekend.

Domingo Santana was once a very well regarded threat within the MLB, mashing 30 dingers over 151 games in 2017, while also stealing 15 bases. However, the limited power that he showcased in 2018 after hitting only 5 home runs over 85 games raised some questions about the young outfielders’ consistency. Yet, he seemed to catch the Mariners eye, and they decided to send OF Ben Gamel, as well as Minor League pitcher Noah Zavalos to the Milwaukee Brewers for control of the young slugger.

This adds a necessary power bat to the Mariners question-filled lineup, and also gives them a piece in which they can speculate on, and possibly dish for an inflated price down the line. As for the Brewers, they receive a corner outfielder with an impressive ability to create contact, as well as a minor league pitcher with upside.

 

MLB News: Rays Net Veteran Starter Morton

Multiple sources report that the Tampa Bay Rays and Free Agent Charlie Morton have agreed to a deal worth $30 Million over two years — the largest contract of Morton’s career.

Until now, Morton has earned just around $40 Million over 11 years in the majors — the solid starter has finally received his due. His fabulous 2018 campaign in which he pitched to a 3.13 ERA over 167 frames gave him the leverage he needed to net his worth, and he now has the chance to compete with an underrated team that managed to win 90 games in the league’s toughest division last year.

This 35 year-old World Series Champion deserves every penny of what he’s been given. He is a driven man who keeps his head down, and plays the game the way it should be played. We’re expecting big things from him in 2019…

 

MLB: Ten Underrated Free Agents of the 2018-19 Class

The most anticipated offseason in recent memory is in full swing, and while most are focussed on the big names — Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Patrick Corbin, and the like, we here at LITS are honing in on some of the names that aren’t getting as much attention, but would easily be supreme upgrades for any and all teams this coming year. Let’s get started:

1. RHP, Kelvin Herrera

This 29 year-old closer was a highly anticipated trade candidate during the 2018 season, but, after putting up mediocre numbers with the Washington Nationals, his dominant reputation took a major hit. Though his second half performance was undoubtably poor, a career 2.82 ERA and his vast experience as a closer should prove more than enough reason for Herrera to see a healthy contract.

Contract Prediction: 3 years, $18 Million

2. RHP, Joakim Soria

Soria, an established veteran closer, has played for six separate teams over the last five years, and returns to the market again this year. However, I for one believe this years’ suitors could prove different for him. After another season putting up solid numbers, as well as taste of the postseason with the Brewers, the time may be right for Soria to receive a contract that eclipses one year. After all, with a career 2.88 ERA and an outstanding 220 saves over an 11 year career, Soria has shown that he’s not ready to slow down quite yet.

Contract Prediction: 2 years, $12 Million

3. INF, Josh Harrison

It is mind boggling to me that Harrison is not receiving more attention. The 30 year-old utility man has been nothing but consistent over his eight years in the majors, and, while 2018 was not his most prominent performance, it is indisputable that his versatility and athleticism would prove an aid to any team, especially those who miss out on Marwin Gonzalez. Harrison’s career .277 batting average and positional flexibility should offset his injury concerns, and should provide him with a solid deal this winter.

Contract Prediction: 2 years, $8 Million

4. INF, Neil Walker

After an absolutely abysmal 2018, Walker will be looking to bounce back in the coming season with a new club. The 32 year-old has flaunted positional flexibility, and shown flashes of excellence at the plate, so it seems likely that a team in need of a middle infielder will take a chance on him.

Contract Prediction: 1 year, $5 Million

5. INF, Tim Beckham

This 28 year-old utility man is one year removed from a dominant 2017 in which he slashed a solid .278/.328/.454 with 22 long balls — and that was his first full season. When he’s healthy and given regular playing time, the young, former first-rounder can provide some excellent offensive numbers, as well as a great deal of roster flexibility. He should have a fair amount of suitors going into 2019.

Contract Prediction: 1 year, $3 Million

6. LHP, Gio Gonzalez

Add this one to the list of ‘why in the world isn’t this guy drawing more interest?’ Gio Gonzalez has been the poster child of consistency over his 11 year career in the majors. The 32 year-old lefty boasts a career 3.69 ERA with even better peripherals over a staggering 1814 career innings pitched. Sure, his 2018 wasn’t exactly what he had hoped it to be, but I for one see nothing wrong with a 4.21 ERA over 32 starts. Gonzalez is a candidate for steal of the offseason, and would be a definitive upgrade for any team in need of a lefty in their rotation — especially those who miss out on Corbin, Happ, and Keuchel.

Contract Prediction: 3 years, $24 Million

7. LHP, Drew Pomeranz

Okay, hear me out. Yes, he was useless in 2018, and yes, he ended up in the bullpen and was, again, awful, but look at his 2017: a 3.32 ERA in 173.2 innings and a 9.0 K/9 — and his 2016 was extraordinarily similar. Those are intriguing numbers to say the least. Now, I will be the first to concede that his peripherals do not look great, and, after suffering through injury, he may have regressed slightly, but most teams should at least be willing to give him a shot.

Contract Prediction: 1 year, $5 Million

8. RHP, Cody Allen

Once again, add this guy to the same list as Josh Harrison and Gio Gonzalez. Cody Allen has had one singular outlying season, said season being 2018. Prior to this past year, Allen had logged sub 3 ERAs from 2013-2017, and turned in three consecutive years of 30+ saves. It is astonishing to me that a guy with clean peripherals, and a beyond solid K/9 ratio is getting almost no hype in any direction. If I were a GM, this guy would be near to the top of my list of players to lock down quickly. He’s another one that could come as a certified steal.

Contract Prediction: 2 years, $12 Million

9. LHP, Derek Holland

Holland had a sneakily good 2018, posting up a respectable 3.57 ERA and an encouraging 1.0 HR/9, a statistic he’s struggled with for quite some time. After working tirelessly to return to form, it seems quite likely that he’s found a method that works well for him. It will be interesting to see where he ends up.

Contract Prediction: 1 year, $6 Million

10. RHP, Anibal Sanchez

Speaking of sneakily good years, to round out this list we have what was perhaps the most surprising return of 2018. Anibal Sanchez was a massive part of the Braves’ division winning team, turning out a 2.83 ERA in 136.2 innings pitched. While his peripherals weren’t anything impressive, it stands to reason that Sanchez could have found his way back to whatever it was he discovered in 2013 when he logged a 2.57 ERA in 182 innings — and if that’s the case, he would be a major pickup for any team out there.

Possible Contract: 1 year, $8 Million