Results tagged ‘ Rob Refsnyder ’

Many questions as Joe Girardi and the Yankees flip the calendar to 2016

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi signals to his players in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Atlanta. The Yankees won the game 20-6. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Yankees manager Joe Girardi held his end-of-season press conference this morning at Yankee Stadium. The session ran approximately 35 minutes and covered a variety of issues, recapping the campaign, the early playoff exit and looking ahead to 2016.

There’s lots of questions with this Yankees roster — some which can be answered now, some which will be resolved over the course of the next four months. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy a 2,500-word rundown of the most important topics that were covered today:

How do you evaluate your own performance?

“With the information in front of me being prepared and the discussions that I had with my coaches, I did what I thought was right every day. The bottom line is we didn’t win, so that’s going to be questioned. I understand that. Hindsight can be 20/20; could have done something different? In saying that, we’re not so sure that would have worked any better. That’s the bottom line. I did the best I could, is the bottom line. People thought that I could have done better and I understand that, so you live with it.”

On players wearing down in the second half:

“The one person I think you worry as much about as any on a club that’s an everyday player is always your catcher, especially if he’s an offensive catcher. What kind of numbers is he going to have in the month of September? I’ll evaluate what I did with Brian McCann this year and maybe see could you do a little bit different next year, that sort of thing, to physically keep him strong, because he’s a huge part of our offense.”

Dellin Betances posted

What happened with Dellin Betances?

“I think he became a little human, that’s all. It’s not like he had a 4.00 ERA in those months. He still pitched pretty well. I know he gave up a run the other day in the playoff game, but you look at the hit, you’re giving up a hit to one of the best hitters in the game, in a sense, when it comes to getting base hits. There were a lot of question marks on me on how much I used Dellin during the course of the season and was I using him more. Does anyone know how many pitches he threw this year compared to last year? I would bet not.

“Does anyone know that he was shut down about the last 10 days of September last year? He threw five more pitches in the regular season this year than last year. I was cognizant of his workload. I studied his workload the year he was in Triple-A and had so much success out of the bullpen. When I look at what happened to Dellin, he had a human month. We’ve seen other great relievers have a human month; really, really good relievers have a human month. When I look at our bullpen, I think a lot of questions were answered.”

How much of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner’s second-half issues were injury related?

“Ells felt good. He physically felt pretty good the second half. He did run into the wall and I think it affected his shoulder a little bit, but I would continue to ask him about it. And I know those guys would never make that excuse. Speed guys are going to get beat up as much as anyone. So in saying that, a thing with Brett Gardner, I’ll look at how I used him. Some of the months, he was so good it was unbelievable. And they’re always somewhere in between, usually, their tough months and their good months. But we try to get them rest. I think there was a point where Gardy had three days off in September and I tried to get him a couple of other days off. We try to get these guys rest.”

Were the Yankees right to hold on to their prospects in late July, rather than make a big trade?

“Well, I think when you look at the contributions they made, I think we made the right moves. I know David Price did extremely well in his 10, 12 starts over there. I know Johnny Cueto had some struggles over there. When I look at Severino’s body of work, I think we’re all pretty pleased with what we saw. We’re glad we kept him. I think when we look at Bird’s work, I think we’re pretty pleased and probably glad that we kept him. I look at other players, some of the players who finished in Triple-A – Aaron Judge we think is going to make a big impact, we feel that Gary Sanchez is going to make a big impact after the year that he had and the improvements that he made – so I think the organization made the right decisions not giving up if you want to call them your top prospects, your blue-chip prospects, just for a two-month rental. I think it might have been different in possibly trading those guys if it would have been someone you would have the next five, six, seven years and you knew you were going to be able to keep them.”

Jacoby EllsburyIs there fence-mending needed with Ellsbury after the Wild Card benching?

“There’s a lot of hard decisions that I have to make during the course of the season. At times I sat Gardy for Chris Young. At times I sat Ells for Chris Young. As far as fence mending, that’s to be determined, I guess, as I talk through things with players over the course of the winter. I had to make a decision, and as I told you, it wasn’t an easy decision. I went through all kinds of different scenarios and what these guys had done during the course of the season. It came down to a body of work during the course of the season against left-handers. That’s not an easy decision. Gardy has a pretty substantial contract as well. I have three outfielders that have pretty substantial contracts, and I did what I thought was the best at the time. Did it work out? No. But the question I’m going to get is, if you played Ells would it have been better? Would it have been three runs better? I don’t know that. None of us knows that. If I would have played this guy, would it have been better? That sort of thing. Only time will tell. I thought we had a great conversation that day, and I thought his attitude was great that day. He had the right attitude. No player wants to sit there. Even the guys who knew they didn’t have a chance to start don’t want to sit, they want to be out there, but that’s the way you want it.”

Ever consider benching A-Rod in the Wild Card game and playing Chris Young in right field?

“Alex had been a guy who had been one of our more successful guys against left-handers during the season. No, I did not. I felt like Alex would have to have a big impact for us to win that game.

Expect to have your entire coaching staff back?

“We haven’t even talked about that. I haven’t even been in the office until today. As I said all along, it ends abruptly, it’s very difficult for me. it’s hard for me to watch the other games on TV. I haven’t even thought about that.

If A-Rod and Teixeira are healthy, how can Greg Bird fit on the 25-man roster?

“That’s not an answer I have for you now. I think you have to see how a team is constructed. He played extremely well for us, but I think you have to look at your club.”

With only three free agents (Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, Chris Young), how can this team be better in 2016 without a big signing or trade?

“If you look at our club, if guys would have had some of the offensive numbers that they had in the first four months in the last two months, I think we substantially would have had more wins. I think it’s possible we would have won our division. I know that didn’t happen and those are reasons that we have to sort out as an organization, probably more me as a manager. If you look at that, we won 87 games. Our division winner won [93]. We had some guys that really had some tough second halves. If they had the same second half as the first half, I think it’s a much different story.”

Aaron JudgeCould Aaron Judge break camp with you?

“Anything’s possible. Sometimes it happens through an injury. My first opportunity was through an injury. And then I went down for 40 days and then came back. That was my opportunity. The one thing with a young player, though, is you don’t want a young player playing only once a week or twice a week when there’s still development that could take place, that would slow that down. That’s always the question that you have to answer. Is he going to thrive in that situation?”

Any chance Rob Refsnyder sees time in right field? Maybe John Ryan Murphy at the infield corners?

“I don’t really see Refsnyder necessarily going back to the outfield. I think we will continue to try to develop him as a second baseman. We believe that his bat is going to play. Could you toy around with playing Murph at a different position one day here? I think you could. I think he’s athletic enough to do it. I think you have to see the makeup of your roster before you necessarily start doing those things. I’m not opposed to doing that. You’ve seen me out of need sometimes do some things that maybe had some of you scratching your head. I never thought I’d put Carlos Beltran at first base, but when my option was him or Ichiro one night, I had to do it. I’m not opposed to doing anything if it has value and I think it’ll help us.”

CC Sabathia

What’s CC Sabathia’s 2016 outlook?

“I think when you looked at his last seven or eight starts, when you looked at his starts with his knee brace, I thought things got better. I did. I thought his ERA was substantially lower. He pitched much better. I think right now you view him as a starter. You see how he physically bounces back again. But I think right now you’re viewing him as one of our starters.”

Will you have to handle Masahiro Tanaka carefully again in ’16?

“If you look at his numbers, and I know it’s a small sample, there really wasn’t a difference when he went on normal rest and had the extra day. We had some physical concerns going into the season and I think we were trying to be proactive in that situation. But I thought he answered the bell pretty well going on normal rest. So that’s something that at times can really shake up your bullpen and shake up what you do. I think inserting a sixth starter every once in a while is not a bad idea, but it becomes somewhat of an up-and-down shuttle when you don’t do that and sometimes you don’t necessarily want to send someone down who’s in your bullpen.”

Should A-Rod even bring a glove to Spring Training?

“You know, I imagine that he’s probably going to be a DH moving forward. That’s something we’ll probably address in the winter as well, because you look at the makeup of your club and could you expect something, but it’s probably mostly DH.”

Rob RefsnyderWhy did you wait so long to give Refsnyder an opportunity?

“There were still some questions marks that had to be answered about him, about playing the position and that sort of thing, because he was young at it and there were shifts taking place and other things taking place and we wanted to make sure that he was completely aware of. The one thing that I’ve realized about playing the infield is that it’s so much different than it used to be. There are so many little things that you have to know. Every player with the exception of the first baseman has to be able to play on the other side of the diamond. That’s a big difference than what it was three or four years ago.

“By doing that (keeping Refsnyder on the big league roster in early August) we probably would have had to release someone, and we weren’t ready to do that. We looked at what Drew had done since the time that we had sat him down in Oakland for those three days. His numbers were pretty good after that. And he got hot at some times and the ballpark played favorable for him and he was playing extremely good defense, so we decided do stick with that. Drew got hurt again and it really allowed Ref to get another chance, and when he was given that chance he grabbed hold of it and ran with it and that’s why he stayed in there.

“Before Drew got hurt, if you remember, there was a 10-day period that he was as hot as anyone on our team, and we were thinking, ‘OK, if he continues to play like this.’ It was unfortunate he got hurt but it opened up a chance for Ref and he took advantage of it.

Why did Gardner stop stealing bases after mid-June?

“There is no answer. Part of it is he wasn’t on nearly as much the second half and teams pay attention to him obviously a lot. But that’s something that probably needs to be addressed because we need that out of him. And that’s something that you look at. Physically, he never really complained about his legs. But physically, sometimes where a guy doesn’t steal as much, maybe they don’t physically feel as good, they’re not going to tell you, they’re not going to ask out of the lineup. The things like I said I gotta look at. As an organization, you have to look at the optimal number of days that you play a guy in a sense to get the most out of him and for him to be the most productive.”

Masahiro TanakaDo you need to add a big-time ace, or is Tanaka your guy?

“In looking at Tanaka, I think he’s a top of the line rotation pitcher. Is he a 1, is he a 2? I don’t know. But I think Sevvy has a chance to be a top-line rotation [pitcher] and I think to me, the most important thing is that during the course of the season, we have five starters that can compete every day and give you a chance to win. That’s the most important thing. Really, to be safe, you better have six or seven.”

Do you need a right-handed bat? 

“We lost a big right-handed bat is what happened to us I think really against lefties a lot. We expect to have Tex back and healthy. And that adds a big right-handed bat. Depending on who your second baseman is, that could add a substantial bat, too, which changes our club.”

What happened to Chasen Shreve?

I think Shreve has a chance to be better because of the struggles he went through and probably learned a lot about himself. For the first five months this guy was really good and was a huge part of our bullpen. And that’s what I’m going to look at. The sixth month, yeah, we gotta figure out what happened. Mechanically there were probably some things that got a little bit off and we gotta teach him and help him get back to his mechanics when things get off, in a sense, but I think it has a chance to really help him.”

Yanks counting on CC Sabathia to take another step forward

New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia delivers to Tampa Bay Rays' Logan Forsythe during first inning of a baseball game on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Hello from Tropicana Field, where the Yankees will open a three-game series with the Rays tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET.

CC Sabathia is on the mound for the Yankees; Erasmo Ramirez is getting the starting nod for Tampa Bay.

The Yankees have won eight of their last 10 road games, and have won four of seven games this year at Tropicana Field. The Rays have lost 12 of their last 19 games. 

Playoff picture: The Yankees (78-64) trail the Blue Jays (82-61) by 3 1/2 games in the American League East. Toronto has the night off. The Yankees lead the Rangers (75-67) by three games for the first Wild Card spot. Baseball Prospectus has the Yankees with a 96.6 percent chance of making the postseason, but just a 8.8 percent chance of winning the division.


Clubhouse report

Joe Girardi said that he expects about 100 pitches tonight from Sabathia, who is coming off 4 2/3 innings of three-run (one earned), four hit ball vs. the Orioles in his return from the disabled list. Girardi said that he thought Sabathia’s changeup and slider seemed effective against Baltimore, and he showed decent location with his fastball. They’ll be looking for him to keep that consistency going tonight. Sabathia is once again wearing a brace on his right knee.

Adam Warren is listed as tomorrow’s probable starter. There’s a chance that he could be used tonight in an emergency, and if that were to happen, the Yankees would roll with a bullpen game. Warren is expected to throw about 65 pitches tomorrow if he does start. Luis Severino is a definite to start on Wednesday.

Jacoby Ellsbury is hitless in his last 17 at-bats and has one hit in his last 25. Girardi said that Ellsbury “feels pretty good, he’s been just a little bit off. He’s doing everything he can to get back on track.” Girardi also said there is no temptation to dislodge Ellsbury from the leadoff spot. 

MLB Network’s three to watch

Evan LongoriaEvan Longoria is slashing .393/.507/.820 (24-for-61) with six homers against Sabathia; his 75 plate appearances against Sabathia are his most against any pitcher in his career.

Logan Forsythe is hitting .299/.373/.625 against left-handed pitching this season. He ranks third in the AL in slugging percentage against southpaws behind Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz (minimum 100 plate appearances).

Carlos Beltran is hitting .310 (9-for-29) during a seven-game hitting streak, and is slashing .305/.377/.527 since the All-Star break. 

On this date

Sept. 14, 1999: The Yankees defeat the Blue Jays, 10-6, at SkyDome. Bernie Williams’ eighth-inning grand slam ties the game and Paul O’Neill’s grand slam in the ninth puts the Yanks ahead.

Quote to note

Girardi’s explanation for why Rob Refsnyder hasn’t seen the field yet this month:

“The one thing is, he spent the whole year in Triple-A. He doesn’t know the pitching staffs up here. If he would have been up playing the last two months, it probably would have been different. But he wasn’t, so we’re sticking with the guys that have been here and played at this level and have a better understanding of what people are doing to them.

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.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman trying to upgrade offense

Brian CashmanThe reconstructed Yankees rotation has performed better than Brian Cashman would have anticipated, and the general manager said that he’d now prefer to focus his attention on acquiring a big bat as the July 31 non-waivers Trade Deadline approaches.

“It’s weird,” Cashman said in an interview with ESPN New York 98.7 FM. “Our pitching has been drastically altered because of the injuries, and despite losing four out of five starters and all that stuff, our pitching has survived – surprisingly, to this point. I think our offense should be better.

“… It still feels like the pitching needs more help, but honestly the offense has been consistently poor throughout the entire year. The answer has to be an offensive piece, I guess.”

The Yankees believe they upgraded their infield this week by acquiring Chase Headley from the Padres, but they could also use a right-handed hitting outfielder. The Twins’ Josh Willingham makes some sense as a potential trade target, as does the Rangers’ Alex Rios.

Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury have been constants in the Yankees’ outfield this year, but 40-year-old Ichiro Suzuki has faltered with regular playing time and the team still isn’t sure if Carlos Beltran will be able to return to defensive duty this year because of a bone spur in his throwing elbow.

Cashman also said that he does not see homegrown 23-year-old Rob Refsnyder as the answer to help a lineup that has produced 395 runs through 100 games; only the Astros (394) have scored less among American League teams this season.

Refsnyder has enjoyed some buzz at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he had a .301/.401/.497 slash line entering play on Thursday, but Cashman said that he does not believe Refsnyder would represent a significant upgrade over Brian Roberts at second base right now.

“He has a chance to be the second baseman of the future maybe as early as next year,” Cashman said, adding that if Refsnyder does see any big league time in 2014, it would likely be in the outfield. “If we can avoid it, I don’t think we’d get the impact over the next two months that people would think. That jump from Triple-A to the big leagues is larger than it’s ever been.”

Masahiro Tanaka is still reporting discomfort in his right elbow, 10 days after having a platelet-rich plasma injection, but the Yankees are still hopeful of having the right-hander return to the big league mound this season.

Tanaka was diagnosed with a small tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament earlier this month. Three doctors recommended a six-week rehab program instead of having Tanaka undergo Tommy John surgery.

“He’s improved, but he still feels it,” Cashman said. “On a daily basis, it decreases, so that’s good. But it’s not good that he’s still feeling it at this stage. We just go day by day and week by week, and we’ll adjust accordingly. Right now, it’s too early to call.”

The Yankees have said that Tanaka would have three weeks of rest from throwing, so he would likely attempt to resume playing catch in the first week of August. After that, Tanaka would have to go through the gauntlet of bullpen sessions, batting practice and then Minor League rehab games to get back to the big leagues.

“We’ve got to wait three weeks to see where he’s at,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Then we’ll probably have him start to have him play catch and see if he’s going to be a pitcher for us. You’ve got to let things heal. Things don’t heal overnight.”

Manager Joe Girardi said that the Yankees will likely make a roster decision regarding injured first baseman Mark Teixeira by Friday.

Thursday’s series finale against the Rangers will be Teixeira’s fourth consecutive game out of the lineup due to a mild strain of his lower left lat. After Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Reds, Teixeira underwent an MRI exam that revealed the injury.

“It’s just seeing how he feels after three or four days,” Girardi said. “Then we’ll decide if we think it’s going to be the near future that he would play or we’re going to need the 15-day [disabled list]. If it’s going to be 12, 13, 14 days, it probably makes sense to get a player here.”

Because of rain in Tampa, Fla., Michael Pineda’s simulated game was moved indoors on Thursday morning. The rehabbing right-hander threw 30 pitches, with no hitters. He will progress to throwing three innings or 45 pitches against live hitters in five days.

Derek Jeter was out of the Yankees’ lineup on Thursday; Girardi said that it was a regular day off, and that if it had been a night game, Jeter probably would have played.


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