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2016-17 Hot Stove Chronicles: The Winter of Yankee Fan Content

It wasn’t too long ago that headline meant another successful October (as in a ring!) for the Bronx Bombers — not a ‘feel good’ finish in September. Reality that the Yankees are finally rebuilding, not reloading, has firmly set in and for most of us it’s a welcome, albeit strange, place to be.

Some argue it should have begun in earnest at the trade deadline of 2013, when Robinson Cano could have been swapped for a boatload of top prospects. Who knows where the team could have been today, but there was still the issue of bloated salaries doled out to vastly underachieving players. Apparently  time was and is the only remedy for that, as management wouldn’t release and/or couldn’t trade the principals in question. So we had to wait it out.

The big dinero contracts still on the books for 2017 are CC Sabathia, Brian McCann and Alex Rodriguez. And only A-Rod’s will show a zero return on investment. Sabathia had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on October 11th, but all expectations are for him to be ready for Spring Training. Trade rumors sending Brian McCann back to the Atlanta Braves have been swirling on and off for months, but may be heating up again at this writing. [UPDATE: McCann was traded to the Houston Astros on November 17th for two right-handed pitching prospects: Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman.]

It’s been said the 2016-17 free agent class is nothing to get excited about. Check out MLBTradeRumors for the most up-to-date list and judge for yourself. Our take? Put it this way — the 1980s era Yankees would have signed half the list, as every ‘household name’ on it is at least 35 years old.

2016 MLB Winter MeetingsBelow please find an almost daily chronicle of events, news and rumors worth bantering about in what should be an interesting off-season for the Yankees. The 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings will take place in National Harbor, Maryland, between December 4th and 8th at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Follow the action on Twitter and Facebook.

Yankees 2016-17 Hot Stove League Notebook


MARCH


March 26th : The Yankess incredible spring training is coming to a close, and NJ.com’s Randy Miller has a nice recap here: Yankees spring training: Who’s hot, who’s cold heading into final week.


March 20th : The worst fears of our guys playing in a high-intensity tournament like the World Baeball Classic so early in Spring has been realized, as Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius was shut down due to shoulder stiffness, which was diagnosed as a hematoma of his subscapularis muscle.

You know Joe Girardi was thrilled, quoted saying “It’s obviously not what you want to hear, but hopefully it’s something short. But again, we have not seen him. The evaluation from the doctor was his strength was really good. But we’ve got to see him.” (h/t: nj.com’s Randy Miller.)

Great. Here’s hoping Didi is back for Opening Day, and the only upside is that we should get a longer look at some of the infield talent in the farm system. Check out reports at River Avenue Blues and The New York Post for more.


March 17thYanks Hurlers Combine for No-Hitter. Happy St. Patrick’s Day indeed! Masahiro Tanaka, Chasen Shreve and Jordan Montgomery combined efforts to keep the Detroit Tigers hitless, and it wasn’t Motown’s second unit. Here’s the box score. It doesn’t mean much in the grand scope of things, but pretty cool, nonetheless.


March 15th : Just like the lead-in to Joel Rueter‘s piece at Bleacher Report states — “It’s not all sunshine and bat flips this preseason.” While the club has been playing at a high level overall, there are some concerns. Don’t miss: New York Yankees: The 5 Most Disappointing Players in Spring Training so Far.


March 13th : Eric Boland of Newsday reports “Yankees’ young prospects having a ‘great’ spring training“. Quoting GM Brain Cashman, “It’s been a great camp,” Cashman said Monday, an off day for the Yankees, who are 13-4 at the midway point of the Grapefruit League. “It’s been a chance to have our major-league staff get exposure to a lot of guys they’ve heard about and read about but not seen as much of. So it’s been as good a camp as you can expect. Overall as a club, we’re healthy so far. We’ve had good weather and good performance.”


March 12th : The Yankees have reassigned the following players to minor league camp: LHP Daniel Camarena, C Kellin Deglan, C Francisco Diaz, RHP J.P. Feyereisen, RHP Brady Lail, LHP Joe Mantiply, LHP James Reeves, RHP Nick Rumbelow, LHP Evan Rutckyj, C Jorge Saez, and LHP Justus Sheffield. (Press Release)


FEBRUARY 2017


Feb. 23rdA-Rod Hits Camp.


Feb. 20thYankees Ink Former Met Jon Niese. MLB Trade Rumors reports the club has signed the left-handed pitcher to an incentive driven minor league contact. Ken Davidoff (New York Post) tweeted “Niese will get a $1.25 million salary if he makes the team, with another $750,000 attainable via incentives.” These kind of signings are interesting — they’re always low-risk, high-reward. Most don’t go anywhere, but every once in a while you’ll catch lightening in bottle.

Remember Aaron Small in 2005?

A 22nd round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989, Small bounced around between numerous clubs over the next 15 years, never pitching more than 96 innings in a single season. By the Spring of 2005, he was on the scrap heap. The Yankees, then in need of pitching, took a flyer on him.

The rest is history — after getting called up on July 20th, Small went 10-0 down the stretch, including a complete game shutout. He was the fourth hurler in MLB history to record 10 wins without a loss. He signed a one-year deal for the 2006 campaign, but pulled a hammy in Spring Training and was ultimately DFA’d in July of that year. Not to say Niese could be that lightening in a bottle, but you never know!

Another example of more recent vintage was Esmil Rogers, whom the Yankees claimed off waviers from the Toronto Blue Jays on July 31, 2014. Rogers performed well above expectations for the remainder of the season, and signed a 1-year deal for 2015.

He got off to a rough start in ’15, sent to Triple A Scranton by June, then released outright by the trading deadline on July 31st.

Again, gotta give Ca$hMoney and the scouts their due. More often than not, these types of signing just seem to work out for the Yankees, at least for a stint — which is all you can hope for.


Feb 17thYankees Sign Chris Carter to 1-Year Deal. Carter, 30, batted .222 (122-for-549) with 84R, 27 doubles, 1 triple, 41HR, 94RBI and 76BB in 160 games with the Brewers in 2016, tying for the National League lead in home runs and games played, and setting career highs in hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, runs scored and walks.

Carter is the fourth player to be acquired by the Yankees the year immediately after leading or tying for a league lead in home runs, joining Alex Rodriguez (acquired in 2004), Johnny Mize (1949) and Babe Ruth (1920).

During his seven-year Major League career, the right-handed hitter has batted .218 (499-for-2,285) with 314R, 102 doubles, 4 triples, 150HR and 374RBI in 688 games with Oakland (2010-12), Houston (2013-15) and Milwaukee (2016).

A native of Redwood City, Calif., Carter was originally selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 15th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. To make room for Carter on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated LHP Richard Bleier for assignment. (Press Release)


JANUARY 2017


Jan 31stYankees Announce 2017 Spring Training Invitees. The New York Yankees today announced that they have signed 11 players to minor league contracts with an invitation to Major League Spring Training: C Wilkin Castillo, INF Ji-Man Choi, C Kellin Deglan, C Francisco Diaz, LHP Jason Gurka, INF Pete Kozma, LHP Joe Mantiply, RHP Nick Rumbelow, LHP Evan Rutckyj, INF Donovan Solano and INF Ruben Tejada. Diaz, Kozma, Rumbelow, Rutckyj and Solano were in the Yankees organization last year and return in 2017 after signing new minor league deals. The club has also invited 12 additional players to 2017 spring training, bringing the total number of invitees to 23 (11 pitchers, four catchers, six infielders and two outfielders). The number of players now scheduled to report is 63.

Six of the Yankees’ non-roster invitees have been tabbed among the organization’s Top 10 prospects by Baseball America entering the 2017 season, including INF Gleyber Torres (No. 1), OF Clint Frazier (No. 2), RHP James Kaprielian (No. 5), LHP Justus Sheffield (No. 7), RHP Chance Adams (No. 8) and OF Dustin Fowler (No. 9). The Yankees’ No. 4 prospect, INF Jorge Mateo, and No. 6 prospect, OF Aaron Judge, will also be in camp as members of the 40-man roster. (Press Release)

Torres, acquired by the Yankees as part of the July 2016 trade that moved Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs, became the youngest player ever to be named MVP of the Arizona Fall League, after batting .403/.513/.645 (25-for-62) in 18 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions following the 2016 season. Frazier and Sheffield, along with fellow non-roster invitee, RHP J.P. Feyereisen, joined the Yankees organization in the trade that sent Andrew Miller to the Indians at last season’s trade deadline.

Of the Yankees’ 23 non-roster invitees, nine were originally drafted by the club: Adams (2015, fifth round), LHP Daniel Camarena (2011, 20th round), OF Dustin Fowler (2013, 18th round), Kaprielian (2015, first round, 16th overall), RHP Brady Lail (2012, 18th round), LHP Jordan Montgomery (2014, fourth round), Rumbelow (2013, seventh round), Rutckyj (2010, 16th round) and INF Tyler Wade (2013, fourth round). In 2016, Adams went 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA (127.1IP, 33ER) in 25 games (24 starts) and led the minor leagues with a .169 (76-for-450) opponents’ batting average, the second-lowest opponents’ BA by a qualified minor leaguer since at least 1993, according to Baseball America. He also led all minor league pitchers (min. 125.0IP) with a 0.90 WHIP.

Rounding out the Yankees’ invitees is C Jorge Saez, who was selected by the Yankees from Toronto in the first round of the Triple-A phase of the 2016 Rule 5 draft. (Press Release)


Jan 13thYanks Sign Six. The Yankees have agreed to terms with SS Didi Gregorius, OF Aaron Hicks, LHP Tommy Layne, RHP Michael Pineda, C Austin Romine and RHP Adam Warren on one-year, non-guaranteed contracts, thus avoiding arbitration. (Press Release)


DECEMBER


Dec. 27th2017 Season Promotion Scheduled Released. Circle Sunday, April 30th’s 1:05pm start against the Baltimore Orioles because that’s Gary Sanchez Bobblehead Day! Sunday, May 14th is Derek Jeter Night, while Reggie Jackson Bobblehead Day lands on Friday, June 9th. See the entire updated schedule here.


Dec. 20thGoody Traded To Cleveland. Today the Yankees traded RHP Nick Goody to Cleveland in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Goody, 25, posted a 4.66 ERA (29.0IP, 30H, 15ER, 12BB, 34K) without recording a decision in 27 relief appearances over four stints (4/22-6/26, 7/9-21, 8/1-11 and 9/2-10/2) with the Yankees in 2016. Originally selected by the Yankees in the sixth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Goody was designated for assignment on 12/15 to make room for LHP Aroldis Chapman on the 40-man roster. (Press Release)


Dec. 16thChapman Officially Back in Pinstripes! With the largest contract ever awarded to a closer, Aroldis Chapman is back in The Bronx. A five-year, $86 million dollar agreement was finalized today. Included is a full no-trade clause, and the lefty fireballer can opt out after the 2019 season. It came down the Marlins and the Yankees, who both offered 5 year deals, but the choice was easy for Chapman, who was quoted saying “Every player dreams of being a Yankee, and if they don’t it’s because they never got the chance.” Now two thirds of the three headed monster is back in place, and the bullpen is coming together nicely. Yankees fans are hoping Tyler Clippard can be a solid swingman in the ‘pen as well.


Dec. 15thNick Goody DFA’d! To make room on the roster for the coming return of Aroldis Chapman, the club DFA’d 25-year old righthander Nick Goody. While his numbers in the Majors did not reflect his success while rising in the Yankees farm system, this move is somewhat of surprise. Goody was homegrown all the way, being selected and signed in the 6th round of the 2012 Amateur Draft. Goody was also drafted by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft, but opted not to sign. Odds are the LSU Tiger will be traded or claimed off of the wavier wire.



Dec. 14th
Donovan Solano Re-signed. The soon to be 29-year old utility infielder who opened some eyes with a solid showing as a September call-up in The Bronx last season, has agreed to a Minor League deal with the Yankees. A native of Columbia, Solano signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005 as an international free agent, and first saw action in the Majors with the Miami Marlins in 2012. The Yankees signed him to a Minor League contract in January of 2016, and he was assigned to the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and was an integral part of the team’s championship run. Solano was called up to The Bronx on September 18th when Starlin Castro was sidelined with a hamstring injury.


Dec. 13thPitching Prospect Murdered in Venezuela. It was announced today that 20-year old left-handed pitching prospect Alexander Figueredowas shot and killed in his native Venezuela on November 27th. For reasons not make public, Figueredo was on the organization’s restricted/suspended list for the 2016 season, and was not expected to be in uniform in 2017. He signed a minor league contract in 2013, and was assigned to the Dominican Summer League. So incredibly sad, our hearts go out to his family, and may he rest in peace.


Dec. 12thYankees Sign Ruben Tajada to Minor League Deal. The last time we saw former New York Mets second-baseman Ruben Tajada he was in a San Francisco Giants uniform. The time before that, he was being carted off the field during Game 2 of the 2015 NLDS, after getting taken out by a Chase Utley slide attempting to break up a doubleplay. It was hard to watch, and Tejada is yet to forgive Utley, even though the Dodgers infielder has reached out on a few occassions. In the agreement with the Yankees, Tejada will get an invite to Spring Training, and @JonHeyman reports he will get an annual base salary of $1.35M if he makes it to the big club.


Dec. 7thYanks Ink Matt Holliday for DH. The New York Yankees today announced they have signed seven-time All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday to a one-year contract extending through the 2017 season. Holliday, 36, batted .246 (94-for-382) with 48R, 20 doubles, 1 triple, 20HR and 62RBI in 110 games with the Cardinals in 2016, hitting at least 20 doubles for the 12th time in his career and at least 20HR for the 10th time. Holliday missed 44 team games on the disabled list from August 13 through September 30 after being hit by a pitch on August 12 and fracturing his left thumb. (Press Release)

Dec. 6thMay 14th will be Jeter day at The Stadium! The New York Yankees today announced that they will honor Derek Jeter during a pregame ceremony with the retirement of his No. 2 uniform number and the unveiling of his Monument Park plaque on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14, 2017. Jeter will become the 22nd player in franchise history to have his number retired and first since teammates Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte had their numbers retired during the 2015 season. His No. 2 will be the 21st number retired by the Yankees as No. 8 was retired for both Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey on Old-Timers’ Day in 1972. (Press Release)


NOVEMBER


Nov. 24thHAPPY THANKSGIVING: While food, football and family rule the day, Yankee fans are buzzing with with speculation over what suprises are in store from our erstwhile front office. Is a Carlos Beltran and/or Aroldis Chapman return to The Bronx in the cards? Maybe even a Mark Melancon one?

 


Nov. 23rdROSTER MOVES: The Yankees officially parted ways with Nathan Eovaldi, Joe Mantiply, and Nick Rumbelow, giving all three their outright release. There was speculation that the team would extend Eovaldi a contract even though he will be out of commission for the 2017 season (he underwent his second Tommy John surgery on August 19th), much like they did with John Leiber, signing the righthander after the 2002 season knowing he wouldn’t pitch again until mid-2004 due to right elbow injuries. Eovaldi posted a record of 23-11 and an ERA of 4.45 during his two year stint in pinstripes.


Nov. 18thROSTER MOVES: The Yankees traded LHP James Pazos to Seattle Mariners for RHP Zack Littell. The club also DFA’d RHP Nathan Eovaldi, LHP Joe Mantiply, and RHP Nick Rumbelow. A high school phenom from Haw River, North Carolina, the 20-year-old Littell, whose fastball tops out around 95mph, could get a look at a starting role in the future. He was selected in 11th round of the 2013 draft by the Mariners, and has been showing steady progress in the minors.

Pazos was originally drafted by the Tampa Rays in 2009 but did not sign. The Yankees selected him in the 13th round of the 2012 draft, where he rose through the farm system until his major league debut on September 5, 2015. Pazos appeared in 18 games over his two seasons with the club, posting a 1-0 record with a 5.40 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.680.


Nov. 17thROSTER MOVES: After weeks of speculation, the Yankees finally pulled the trigger on a Brian McCann trade, sending the catcher (and cash) to the Houston Astros in exchange for right-handed pitching prospects Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. Check out Mike Axisa’s piece at River Avenue Blues. Also see Kunj Shah’s article on media reactions at Pinstripe Alley.


Nov. 15thTHE SANCHIZE DENIED: The Baseball Writers Association of America announced that pitcher Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigersis the recipient of the 2016 AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, with Gary Sanchez finishing second. Fulmer received 26 first place votes to Sanchez’s 4. The final tally was 141 for Fulmer, 91 for Sanchez, and no else close. BWAA reports that four other Yankees were second-place finishers for the award — Whitey Ford in 1950, Kevin Maas in 1990, Hideki Matsui in 2003 and Robinson Cano in 2005. Sanchez was hurt by the argument that he only played a partial season (getting called up on August 3rd), but man, what a partial season it was. Tough break, but we have a feeling there will be plenty of awards in store for the young catcher.


Nov. 8thROSTER MOVES: Today the Yankees claimed LHP Joe Mantiply off waivers from Detroit, and designated RHP Branden Pinder for assignment.


Nov. 7thMonday February 13th – Pitchers and Catchers! The Yankees today announced the club’s 2017 Spring Training schedule, featuring a total of 35 spring games with 17 home games at the newly-renovated George M. Steinbrenner Field. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Spring Training on Monday, February 13, and hold their first workout on Tuesday, February 14. Position players are scheduled to report on Saturday, February 18. The club’s first full-squad workout is scheduled for Sunday, February 19. The Yankees will play their first spring game on February 24 at 1:05 p.m. vs. the Phillies in Tampa at George M. Steinbrenner Field.  (Press Release)


Nov. 4thCHAPMAN BACK IN PINSTRIPES?: The fireballing lefthander now has a ring, but a return to The Bronx seems to be next on his wishlist. Here Yankees GM Brian Cashman weighs in: Brian Cashman assesses Yankees’ interest in re-signing Aroldis Chapman by NJ.com’s Maria Guardado.

ROSTER MOVES: The Yankees selected the contracts of Domingo German from Tampa Yankees, and Kyle Higashioka from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders… the club also activated Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Rumbelow, Branden Pinder, Chad Green and Dustin Ackley from the 60-day disabled list.


Nov. 3rdROSTER MOVES: DH Billy Butler elected free agency.


OCTOBER

Oct. 25thGleyber Torres making headlines again!


Yankee Stadium to Undergo Numerous Enhancements for 2017


Oct. 24th
: The New York Yankees today announced that Yankee Stadium will undergo its first series of major design enhancements which are intended to improve the Guest experience for fans of all ages. Enhancements will include seven new social gathering spaces and additional dynamic food and beverage areas. Construction will begin this week for an anticipated debut prior to the start of the 2017 regular season.  (Press Release)


Oct. 15th : The excitement over the Bomber’s promising farm system continues to grow, and now it’s Yankees shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres taking the Arizona Fall League by storm. Check out this article by NJ.com’s Randy Miller: Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, ‘superstar’ in making, rakes walk-off hit in Fall League.


Oct. 11th : Earlier today, LHP CC Sabathia underwent arthroscopic right knee surgery for a routine cleanup. The surgery was performed by Yankees Head Team Physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Sabathia is expected to be ready for spring training. (Press Release)


Oct. 7th : The Yankees have signed pitching coach Larry Rothschild to a one-year contract for 2017. Originally named to the position prior to the 2011 season, Rothschild will begin his seventh season with the Yankees and his 43rd year in professional baseball as a player, coach or manager. The Yankees pitching staff set a single-season franchise record in 2016 with 1,393 strikeouts. Additionally, the club leads the American League with a 2.94 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the six years of his tenure. (Press Release)


Oct. 6th : Yanks Go Yard‘s Evan Halpine-Berger reports  that GM Brian Cashman will reward Kyle Higashioka with a spot on the 40-man roster. See the full article here.


Oct. 5th : Yankees announce Blake Parker and Kirby Yates were claimed off waivers by the Angels. Anthony Swarzak elected free agency.


Oct. 4thChad Jennings of LoHud looks at the present state of the Yankees’ 40-man roster.


Oct. 3rd : From the New York Post — Yankees’ 5 offseason decisions begin with Brian McCann. Dan Martin explores the Yankees needs and roster move possibilites at catcher, first base, the rotation and bullpen, and the outfield.

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