Results tagged ‘ Kelly Johnson ’

The anatomy of a rare Yankees-Red Sox trade

Stephen DrewIt takes a specific set of circumstances for the Yankees and Red Sox to pursue a trade together, something that the American League East blood rivals haven’t dared to do since 1997.

As the most marketable pieces of the Red Sox were shipped away on Thursday, their clock rolling ahead to 2015 with Jon Lester, John Lackey and Andrew Miller leaving town, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wondered if he could get in on the action.

Swapping text messages on Thursday afternoon with Red Sox counterpart Ben Cherington, the clubs quickly hammered out the terms of a deal: infielder Stephen Drew and $500,000 would go to the Yankees in exchange for infielder Kelly Johnson. New York will be responsible for the remainder of Drew’s salary, approximately $5 million.

“The Drew stuff happened today,” Cashman said. “I threw an idea Boston’s way when they started moving and shaking as much as they were. Once they declared themselves the way they did, I floated a text Ben Cherington’s way and we worked really quickly off of that.”

Cherington said that the Yankees were not the first team to inquire about Drew, but the timing was right.

“We had talked to a handful of teams about Drew — teams we thought that might be in need of a shortstop — and it just so happened the Yankees were the team that fit and it fit for them,” Cherington said. “It sounds like he might play a little bit more second base there than short, but we just worked it out today. That one happened obviously late and was the last thing we did.”

The Yankees and the Red Sox had not completed a trade since Aug. 13, 1997, when New York re-acquired catcher Mike Stanley and infielder Randy Brown in exchange for pitcher Tony Armas Jr. and a player to be named later (pitcher Jim Mecir). The Red Sox later flipped Armas to the Expos as part of the Pedro Martinez deal.

Because the Red Sox are looking ahead to next season, the history between the clubs did not raise any red flags for Cherington, who said that he hopes Drew will play well in pinstripes.

“No, given the circumstances –look, we hope it helps them,” Cherington said. “I like Stephen, we all like Stephen. He’s a good player. It hasn’t worked out the way any of us wanted it to, certainly the way I wanted it to. Hope it works out for him there. The Yankee thing wasn’t an issue in that particular conversation.”

The clubs, partners in the legendary Dec. 1919 sale of Babe Ruth, have made just two other deals since George M. Steinbrenner’s 1973 purchase of the team. In March 1986, the Yankees traded outfielder Don Baylor to Boston for outfielder Mike Easler, and in Sept. 1994 the Yankees purchased reliever Scott Bankhead from the Sox.

“One of our two teams has to be in a playoff mode, and the other – in my opinion – has to be rebuilding to some degree. That’s obviously what happened on the last one that our franchises did,” Cashman said. “There’s a great deal of respect between the Red Sox and Yankees, both of our sides. It’s an amazing rivalry, but [we're] certainly very careful when we do business with each other. That’s an obvious statement.”

 


Brian RobertsBrian Roberts played 91 games for the Yankees this year, marking his highest total since 2009, but had produced just two hits in his last 17 at-bats and was held out of the lineup for the team’s last two games going into the Trade Deadline.

The Yankees plan to designate Roberts for assignment to create room for Stephen Drew on the active roster. With 348 plate appearances this season, Roberts’ Yankees tenure will end two plate appearances shy of a $250,000 bonus, but Cashman said the incentive was not a factor in the decision.

“No. Bottom line, it’s all just based on evaluations,” Cashman said. “We’re taking on money [in Drew and Martin Prado]. I had to go to ownership to ask to take on money. Somebody’s performance bonuses — by doing deals where you’re adding to your roster and taking on payroll in a significant way, it has nothing to do with somebody’s roster bonuses.”

Roberts, 36, posted a split line of .237/.300/.360 with five homers and 21 RBIs after signing a $2 million contract in January. Roberts already collected $350,000 in incentives, tied to reaching 250 and 300 plate appearances.

Cashman said that he was appreciative for the contributions from Roberts and Johnson, who was swapped to Boston for Drew.

“These guys, I thank them for their effort and what they brought, and I’m sorry to see them go,” Cashman said. “But at the same time, we’re trying to improve our club. In Drew’s case and Prado’s case, they’re going to assist us as we move forward, and reinforce and improve our chances. It’s just the nature of the beast.”


The Yankees had already expressed reluctance to rush infield prospect Rob Refsnyder to the big leagues, and Thursday’s Trade Deadline deals will help keep the 23-year-old with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

“I’ve been pretty consistent about Refsnyder, that my intention is to have him play his year out at second base,” Cashman said. “I have played a little bit with him in the outfield just in case we had to pull that rip-cord, but now I’ll have him focus solely on second base the rest of the way.”

Refsnyder has posted a split line of .298/.404/.494 in 46 games at Triple-A, with seven homers and 20 RBIs, after starting the year with Double-A Trenton. A fifth-round selection in the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Cashman has suggested that Refsnyder could be the Yankees’ starting second baseman in 2015.

“I’ve been pretty consistent and reluctant to bring him up,” Cashman said. “I’d rather him play the whole year out and prepare potentially to take a shot at the roster next year.”


Michael Pineda’s first Minor League rehab start is scheduled to come on Sunday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Syracuse. Pineda is scheduled to throw four innings and 60-65 pitches, and could need three rehab starts before being big league ready.

“Beat up” Brian Roberts getting a couple of days off

Brian RobertsBrian Roberts has played in 91 games this season, marking his highest total since 2009, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi senses that the veteran second baseman may be wearing down as a result.

“I think that could possibly be going on,” Girardi said. “He’s been beat up pretty good this year physically. He’s answered the bell every day that we’ve called upon him and he’s played hard for us.”

Roberts has two hits in his last 17 at-bats and has reported some aches and pains, according to Girardi, who said that he plans to give Roberts a couple of days off to see if he can re-charge leading into the weekend series against the Red Sox.

“He’s dealing with soreness that players have,” Girardi said. “Legs get beat up, you hit balls off your feet, shins. It’s all part of it.”

Roberts, 36, has posted a split line of .237/.300/.360 with five homers and 21 RBIs in his first season with the Yankees, having signed a one-year, $2 million contract in January.

Staying in the lineup has financial advantages for Roberts, who has 348 plate appearances and is two shy of a $250,000 bonus. Roberts has already collected $350,000 in incentives, tied to reaching 250 and 300 plate appearances.


Michael PinedaThe last time Michael Pineda was healthy enough to face a lineup, he was wearing a smudge of pine tar on his neck, an offense that got the right-hander ejected from an April 23 start at Fenway Park.

That is expected to change on Sunday, when Pineda is being scheduled to get on the mound for one of the Yankees’ farm affiliates, targeting a mid-August return to the big league rotation.

“Four innings and 60 to 65 pitches will be his next move,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re not exactly sure where it’s going to be, they were talking about that today, but it wil be a regular game.”

Pineda, who served a 10-game suspension for the pine tar incident and has been on the disabled list since May 6 with a strained teres major muscle behind his right shoulder, threw 45 pitches on Tuesday in a simulated game at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa, Fla.

It is likely that Pineda would need three Minor League rehab starts before the Yankees would deem him ready for big league action.

“I think you’ve got to get him to where he can go 90 pitches and you feel good about it, where he’s not fatiguing,” Girardi said. “I think if you get there, then he’s a guy you think about.”


As anticipated, Mark Teixeira returned to the Yankees’ lineup at first base on Tuesday. Teixeira pinch-hit in the eighth inning of Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Rangers, his first game action since July 20 because of a lower lat strain and back spasms.

“Pretty easy; I knew where to put him,” Girardi said. “That didn’t take me long. It was good to see that he woke up today and he felt fine.”


Francisco CervelliGirardi said that Francisco Cervelli’s performance over the last week, when Teixeira’s injury pressed Brian McCann into duty at first base, offers a reminder that Cervelli can be a serviceable starting catcher at the big league level.

Cervelli has hit safely in a career-high 10 straight games.

“Great job. I said it last year; Cervy’s talented,” Girardi said. “It’s unfortunate, some of the injuries he’s had – broken hand, broken wrist, concussion. But Cervy’s played for us and he’s played well. He’s been thrown into pennant races and everything. We just need to keep him healthy.”


Kelly Johnson, who was placed on the disabled list July 23 with a strained left groin, is expected to be ready for activation in the minimum 15 days. Johnson may be sent on a Minor League rehab assignment to gather at-bats, and it is likely he will see some increased time at second base down the stretch.

Spring Game 23: Yankees at Braves

disney post card frontHello from Walt Disney World’s ‘Wide World of Sports’ complex, where the Yankees are visiting the Atlanta Braves this afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. There is no Yankees radio or TV coverage of today’s game; the Braves have a radio broadcast.

The Yankees are playing with a DH this afternoon; the Braves are not. Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (11-9-2)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Adonis Garcia LF
Jose Gil 1B

Ivan Nova RHP

Also scheduled to pitch: Danny Burawa, Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral and Shane Greene.

BRAVES (8-12-3)
Jason Heyward RF
B.J. Upton CF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Evan Gattis C
Justin Upton LF
Chris Johnson 3B
Dan Uggla 2B
Andrelton Simmons SS
David Hale RHP

News and notes from Joe Girardi’s morning interview session in Tampa:

– Girardi said that he has seen an improvement in maturity this spring from Ivan Nova, who makes his fifth start of the spring today.

“I’ve seen a guy that’s come into spring training that, it seems like he realizes how good he can be,” Girardi said. “And I think that’s important. I think for all young players, there’s that doubt always a little bit: can I do this on a consistent basis? Can I do it start after start, or game after game if you’re a position player? Do I need to look over my starter? Is there someone always doubting what I can do? I think he’s realized that, you know what, I can be pretty good. He came back last year and was really good, and I think that was kind of the eye-opener for him.”

– Girardi has been very encouraged by Mark Teixeira‘s health.

“What I’ve been most pleased is, you look at this whole spring training and there’s never been a point where he was scheduled to work that he had to say, ‘I could use a day,'” Girardi said. “That’s really encouraging to me. Everything that he’s been scheduled to do, he has done.”

He added that there is no longer any apprehension with Teixeira or Derek Jeter‘s health.

“I think they pretty much put it to rest,” Girardi said. “Obviously you worry about your guys when they’re playing out there every day, but I haven’t seen anything to lead me to believe that they’re not going to be healthy this season.”

- Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno aren’t likely to start again this spring, unless it comes in a Minor League game. They’re running out of innings to go around, and players like CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka need to take those starts. Nuno will relieve David Phelps tomorrow in Fort Myers, and Warren relieves Sabathia on Friday against the Pirates.

- There’s no decision yet on the fifth starter, but Girardi has been encouraged by the strong spring from this group.

“I have confidence in our guys. I believe in what they’re capable of doing,” Girardi said. “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen them do it on a pretty consistent basis. I believe that our rotation can be pretty good, I do. I think it can be really good. Obviously you have to avoid injuries. That always helps. With this competition for the fifth spot, these other guys have shown that, if we do have something to awry, that they can step in and do a pretty good job. I feel that we have a good rotation, we will have a good rotation, and we have depth.”

Girardi volunteered the names of Danny Burawa and Shane Greene, saying that they have “shown that they’re getting pretty close and they’re knocking on the door.”

- Girardi said they’ll “continue to discuss” using Alfonso Soriano as a backup first baseman, but they’re leaning more toward Kelly Johnson, who should get another start at first base this weekend.

“Kelly’s going to play a lot,” Girardi said. “I like what I’ve seen from him, and he’s going to play a lot.”

- Girardi said no decision has been made for a backup infielder at second and third bases. He carefully listed his candidates alphabetically so no one could read into it: Dean Anna, Eduardo Nunez, Scott Sizemore, Yangervis Solarte and Zelous Wheeler. Sizemore, by the way, has been out with a quad problem. Girardi said he could play by the end of the week. What you can read into that is that Nunez is, by no means, a lock to make this team.

- Brendan Ryan is still on track to play tomorrow against the Red Sox in Fort Myers. He has been out since the first week of March with a lower back/oblique issue.

Digging in for the new year

I need to pack up the ornaments and stow the Christmas tree away for another year; space is, as always, at a premium when you live in New York City. This is a long way of saying that I know we’ve got some catching up to do, closing the book on the holidays and trying my best to stop writing 2013 on all of my checks.

Here’s what’s cooking:

Hall Calls

We’ll have new Hall of Famers to celebrate this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, but I wouldn’t expect any of them to be wearing Yankees caps in Cooperstown. Mike Mussina has a strong case and I think that he’ll eventually get in, as voters consider the fact that he won 270 games while pitching in the American League East in a performance-enhanced era of slugging. All that time, his strongest supplements seemed to be either Mountain Dew or something covered in chewy nougat.

There’s plenty of analysis of his pitching career in the link I posted, so let me just share an anecdote here. Remember when Joe Girardi tried to ban sweets from the clubhouse in 2008? No one howled louder, or more often, than the Moose. I remember him sneaking in a few Krispy Kreme doughnuts and devouring them at his Yankee Stadium locker with satisfaction, something that still makes me laugh to this day. I believe the voters will eventually come around on Mussina, but not on the first ballot.

Don Mattingly got a contract extension with the Dodgers, but isn’t expecting a call this afternoon. Roger Clemens has said, quite accurately, that everything from here on is out of his control.

Who’s on third? I don’t know.

No, really. I don’t know. If we time-warped to April right now, I suppose the Yankees would have to go with Kelly Johnson at third base, but that’s a depth chart that still looks very much incomplete. They’d like to find someone to platoon with Johnson, and Mark Reynolds would make a lot of sense for that (Michael Young, I suppose, but less so). That market seems to have been slow-moving. I don’t expect Alex Rodriguez’s suspension to be completely thrown out by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, not with the fireworks of last month, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see it be knocked down from 211 games to a lower number. That announcement could come any day now.

Gardner scores a Thurman

Brett Gardner is among those who will be receiving Thurman Munson Awards on Feb. 4 in New York; former Yankees David Cone and Jim Kaat are also on the list. In this awards and dinner season, you’ll also want to consider attending the New York BBWAA dinner on Jan. 25.

Talkin’ Tanaka

In case you missed it, former Yankees pitcher Darrell Rasner spoke to WFAN’s Sweeny Murti this week about his experiences pitching with Masahiro Tanaka. The Q&A is definitely worth your time. You can expect the Tanaka sweepstakes to heat up very soon, though I suspect the bidding might go all the way down to the Jan. 24 deadline.

I never knew I needed to have an 1989 Topps Jake Taylor card, but I do.

And a friendly reminder, as I stare out the window and consider if it’s worth upgrading to a North Face jacket: Yankees pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 14.

Mark Teixeira: “I’m close to 100 percent”

Teixeira - MSKCC 2I had a nice chat with Mark Teixeira recently for a holiday feature about his childhood Christmas memories, a story you can read here.  Of course, we also talked a little baseball. Here are some of the highlights:

On the Yankees’ offseason so far:

“I’m really happy with the moves. We had plenty of holes to fill, unfortunately, but when you can go get Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran before Christmas – even guys like Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson, I think can be huge pickups for us. I’ve played against Brian for 11 years; I’ve played with Kelly in Atlanta, so I know what kind of quality guys they are. They’re going to fit in great with our clubhouse. I think they’re going to do a great job on the field as well. I’m really excited.”

On his rehab from right wrist surgery: 

“I’m close to 100 percent. I feel like I’m healed. I wish I was a little bit looser; my wrist is going to be tight for a while because of the way the surgery was performed. They had to kind of tighten everything up to make it secure. It’s still a little bit tight, but that’s why I’m doing rehab every day and doing exercises every day. I’ll start swinging a bat in January and that will also help loosen it up.”

On if there are any doubts about being ready for Opening Day:

“I don’t have any doubts. I have to prove to myself that I’m 100 percent and I hope I’ll be 100 percent next month. You won’t really know until you go out and play that first game in Spring Training. When someone throws a 95 mph fastball in on your hands, if I can turn on that pitch and have no tightness or no pain, then I know I’m OK.”

On his Yankees wishes for 2014:

“I would love for us to round out our pitching staff, both in the starting rotation and the bullpen. If we add a couple more pieces, I think we go into 2014 with a great shot. I know Cash has worked really hard and I give him a lot of credit for what he’s done so far. I wouldn’t mind unwrapping a present after Christmas with a couple more guys on the pitching staff and we’ll be ready to roll.”

On expecting the ’14 Yankees to be a championship-caliber club:

“That’s obvious. Even based on last year, I don’t think anybody’s expectations have changed. I’d be remiss to talk about the last time the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs, what happened in that next season. Hopefully that happens again. I’m very confident that we’re going to go into the season with high hopes and we’ll see what happens.”

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