A week in review: Baker, Carpenter, Drew, prospect list, Rodriguez and Tanaka,

Masahiro Tanaka 19

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s February 1st, which means there’s only two and a half weeks until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training! But before we get ahead of ourselves, we have to recap everything that happened this week. The Yankees signed a veteran arm who has a chance to make the team as rotation depth, Brian Cashman speaks highly of Stephen Drew, Masahiro Tanaka has good news regarding his elbow, David Carpenter expresses his excitement in being in Yankees pinstripes and there’s more drama in this week’s edition of “As The World Revolves Around Alex Rodriguez“. Here is your week in review.

— The Yankees made a transaction this week, signing RHP Scott Baker to a minor league deal. The Yankees view him as veteran rotation depth if he can make the team out of Spring Training.

— David Carpenter was interviewed earlier this week and expressed his excitement in reuniting with former Atlanta Braves catcher (and current Yankee) Brian McCann. He also was extremely optimistic about the state of the Yankees bullpen and said he was grateful to be a part of it.

— Stephen Drew was signed earlier this offseason to be the Yankees second basemen and while most are surprised Drew was re-signed after his horrible 2014 campaign, Brian Cashman believes Drew is a starting second basemen as long as he plays to the back of his baseball card.

“Hopefully, he can put last year behind him and be the player he was before then,” Cashman said during a conference call to the New York Daily News. “He has a history of being a ..read more

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MLB shouldn’t try to change the pace of play

Yankee Stadium 2

When the regular season rolls around, many fans anticipate going to the ballpark and taking in America’s past time for the next three hours. Many of us enjoy the battle on the field extending for as long as possible. In fact, many fans tend to rejoice when the game has “free baseball” or extra innings. But throughout the offseason, there have been talks of changing the pace of the game. Pitch clocks have been suggested, and are being tested in minor league ballparks. And Rob Manfred’s comments about changing the pace of the game in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports raised some eyebrows:

“I think there is substance and symbolism to this issue. On the substance, there’s no doubt that our games have crept longer, and I think that it is important on the substance to shorten them because it’s more consonant with the way that people live. Everybody’s pressed for time, and I think that to the extent we could save 10 minutes, 15 minutes on the average game, that would be a huge change in terms of the length of the game. Symbolically, because there’s so much talk about it and it is reflective of the way people live and of our society, I think it’s important to say to our fans, yes, we hear you and we’re taking steps to do something about this. … I think pace of game is one of those issues where you’re going to see us work on it over a period of years. If we could cut seven to 10 minutes off that would be a huge, a huge improvement I think this year.”

Baseball has gone through many changes over the years from instant replay to the elimination of home plate collisions. Some ..read more

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Hot Stove: Yoan Moncada clear to sign with MLB teams

After a slight hitch prevented Yoan Moncada from signing with Major League teams last week, Major League Baseball handled the issue and the Yoan Moncada sweepstakes is now back in full force.

Bob Klapisch reported Moncada has been cleared and can now sign with any MLB team. A scout also told Kapisch that if Moncada was a player in the US Amateur Draft, he would without a doubt be a No. 1 draft pick.

Moncada has been linked to the Yankees as the Bronx Bombers have shown legitimate interest in the infielder. Moncada reportedly had a private workout for the Yankees as per the team’s request.

UPDATE: Despite Kapisch reporting Moncada had been cleared, Ben Badler of Baseball America is reporting Major League Baseball has not changed their policy.

On Saturday, the commissioner’s office sent another memo to teams explaining that their policy for now remains the same, and to hold off on signing Cuban players until they figure out how to proceed.

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What to expect from Chase Whitley

Chase Whitley

Yesterday, we discussed what the Yankees could expect from Adam Warren during the 2015 campaign. Today, we move onto Chase Whitley, a pitcher who could ultimately win a role on the team as a reliever in the bullpen.

While Chase Whitley’s role was a reliever in his five minor league seasons with the Yankees (22-16 with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.126 WHIP), Whitley found a spot on the team in the rotation, especially after the team needed to replace CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda, three players who went down with injuries early in the season.

Whitley made his major league debut on May 15, 2014 against the New York Mets and he showed potential. Unfortunately, throughout the season he showed inconsistency, ending the season with a 4-3 record, a 5.27 ERA and a 1.480 ERA. However, when the original starting pitchers began making their return to the rotation, the Yankees didn’t send Whitley to the minors, they moved Whitley to his comfortable home in the bullpen.

Chase Whitley’s spot on the roster isn’t as concrete as Adam Warren’s. Whitley’s going to have to dazzle Joe Girardi and the Yankees during Spring Training if he wants to be considered for a role in the pen this season. But, he wouldn’t be the first major league starter that could potentially find success as a major league reliever. Dellin Betances was a failed starter before finding success in the pen and Warren was a decent reliever for the Yankees last season. As of right now, it’s hard to ask the Yankees to expect much from ..read more

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Rob Manfred on Alex Rodriguez, defensive shifts and pace of play

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In his first week as the MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred had a sit down interview with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The interview ranged over many topics, but it became a must read when Manfred brought up his meeting with Alex Rodriguez. As we recalled last week, Rodriguez had a meeting with Manfred in Manhattan (and the Yankees denied a meeting with Rodriguez, telling him they would see him in Spring Training) and Manfred believes Rodriguez deserves a second chance at resurrecting his baseball career. Manfred also clarified an original comment on him discussing the possibility of eliminating defensive shifts and potentially changing the pace of play.

Manfred on Rodriguez:

“It’s not uncommon for players to want to see me about something if they have an issue. I think of the conversations (earlier this month) with Alex as part of that ongoing activity and I’ve made it a practice not to get into the substance of those conversations. I don’t think Alex would, and I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to. … I come from a part of the business where you have back-and-forth exchanges that can become heated. People talk about the relationship that I had with Michael (Weiner). Michael and I had some pretty good goes over time. So when you come out of that environment you learn to put harsh words to one side and go forward with the relationship that you’re still going to have. That’s how I think about this issue. I think that when you have penalties that are like the penalties we have now negotiated, and the player does something wrong and serves out his penalty, the other side of that coin is baseball has to be willing to accept the player back and give ..read more

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Hot Stove: Yankees sign RHP Scott Baker to minor league deal

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The Yankees may have added some depth to the rotation–if Scott Baker can impress the Yankees in camp.

Matt Eddy of Baseball America is reporting the Yankees have signed Baker to a minor league deal. Baker spent the 2014 season with the Texas Rangers as a reliever out of the bullpen, but Baker is a starting pitcher. He’s logged over 150 innings three times in his career and logged in 200 innings once, all three times with the Minnesota Twins. Baker has a career 4.25 ERA and a 1.253 WHIP in nine seasons.

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What to expect from Adam Warren

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Yesterday, we discussed what we could expect from Masahiro Tanaka in 2015, and discussed the possibly of Tommy John Surgery for a partial tear in his UCL. Today, we discuss what we can expect from Adam Warren, who’s role is currently up in the air. We know he’s going to make the big league team, but will it be as a back-end starter, or as a reliever in the bullpen?

Adam Warren began his baseball career as a starting pitcher, going 28-25 with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.256 WHIP in 90 starts, which spanned through four minor league seasons with the Yankees. However, Adam Warren’s biggest role on the big league club wasn’t as a starter–it was as a reliever in the bullpen. In a pen with the likes of Dellin Betances and David Robertson, Warren went 3-6 with a 2.97 ERA, a 2.89 FIP and a 1.106 WHIP in 78.2 innings last season and proved he could be counted upon. But while Warren was effective, he had a big Achilles heel: he walked a lot of batters. 24 walks in 78.2 innings is less than ideal, and it’s typically frowned upon to have that many walks as a reliever.

Warren is almost guaranteed to make the roster when he comes into camp this season, but the main question is what will his role be? The rotation is currently injury plagued and it seems at the moment CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka are literally hanging by a thread.

Sure, the Yankees have Chris Capuano and ..read more

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BBDP Wildcard Prospect: Gabe Encinas

gabe encinas

On the cusp of being named one of the six breakout candidates for 2015, Gabe Encinas enters the season as one of the guys who could take the system to the next level. Back in 2013, Encinas was in the process of breaking out. He started the season throwing gas and controlling it, then he went down with a torn ligament in his elbow and required Tommy John Surgery.

Encinas is now at the magical 18 month mark from the surgery, and with his stuff he could become an impact prospect this season if he is healthy and effective. As with all wildcard prospects, however, this success is in no way a given.

The basics

Position: RHP Height: 6-foot-3 Weight: 195-pounds Draft: 6th round of the 2010 draft out of St Paul HS. Age: 23

Gabe Encinas started his career with the Yankees at the age of 19. He played in the GCL his first year out and pitched pretty poorly. He had a 5.08 ERA in 2011 and had 46 K and 18 BB in 51.1 IP. Despite the poor numbers, the Yankees decided to promote him to Staten Isand in 2012, where he again struggled with a 4.97 ERA in 70 innings. He walked 39 batters and struck out just 48.

At the end of 2012, however, something happened. Encinas had a major uptick in his stuff. He went from throwing 90-93 to 92-96 with the fastball, and his secondary offerings really came along. He had a few great outings at the end of the year, although he had some difficulty harnessing his newfound stuff.

In 2013, the success carried over. He started the season with 35 innings of 0.77 ERA ball, with 31 K in 35 innings and 16 walks. He was learning to control and harness his stuff and was pretty unhittable. That’s ..read more

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