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Minor Leaguers Filing for Free Agency; Who to Re-sign and Who to Look Into

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Key Yankee Organizational Players That Filed

-RHP Humberto Sanchez (AAA) [acquired in Gary Sheffield trade] Good stuff, possible MLB future
-C Chris Stewart (AAA)- Backup catcher, hit .280 with 18 RBI
– 3B Eric Duncan (AAA)- 2003 1st-Round draft choice, a fan favorite who can field the ball and can also hit for power.
– IF Cody Ransom (AAA)- Backup for most of the 2009 season for the MLB Yanks, but also filled in for Alex Rodriguez at 3B for the first month of the season until he hurt his own quad. In 122 at-bats in the MLB in 08 and 09, he has a .230 avg, 4 HR and 18 RBI, and can also play the field.
-OF Freddy Guzman (AAA) [if you consider him a SWB Minor Leaguer, acquired from the Orioles at the ’09 deadline], extremely fast, can cover ground in the field. However,very little power. Solid player off the bench.
-OF John Rodriguez (AAA)- Signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 1996. Spent time with the Cardinals, Mets and Rays. Good power.

I would re-sign Sanchez and Duncan, because they still have MLB futures ahead of them.
My Players to Watch that Filed from Other Teams

RHP Clint Everts (*WAS)- Picked by the Expos (Nationals) 5th overall in 2002 draft. Good stuff, went 8-1 with a 1.65 ERA, 68 Ks, 26 BB in 60 IP in the minors in 2009. Just 23 years old.
LHP Rich Hill (*BAL)- With the Cubs and Orioles, a career record of 21-20. Nasty curveball. Would make a good long relief man or spot starter.
LHP Chris Capuano (*MIL)- Another lefty with a good curve. Has been hit by some injuries in recent years, but the Yankees could take their chances. I like him as another long reliever/spot starter.
OF Chris Denorfia (*OAK)- Good all around player, can come off the bench if needed.
LHP Gustavo Chacin (*PHI)- You may remember him as the guy with the glasses from the Blue Jays a few years back. 25-15 in his MLB career, went 9-4 with a 3.20 ERA for AAA Lehigh Valley.
RHP Chad Cordero (*SEA)- Longtime Expos/Nationals closer, led the league in 2005 with 47 saves. Career 20-14 with a 2.78 and 128 saves. Could be a great pickup to pad the back end of the bullpen.
Other players to watch: 3B Travis Metcalf (*TB), LHP Javier Lopez (*BOS), RHP Phillip Humber (*MIN), C Eliezer Alfonzo (*SD), 3B Joe Thurston (*STL), 3B Dallas McPherson (*SF), OF Tim Raines Jr. (*KC), 2B Josh Barfield (*CLE).
*=Former team

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Yankees Designate Cody Ransom for Assignment, Promote Claggett

August 5, 2009 Leave a comment

The New York Yankees made some roster decisions before tonights game.

-They designated Cody Ransom for assignment (making me very excited.)

-They promoted Anthony Claggett from AAA Scranton. Claggett is most known for his role in the Yankees infamous loss to the Indians on April 18th.

Plea to Yankees: Call up Zach Kroenke and Shelley Duncan

August 4, 2009 1 comment

Here are a few things I would like the Yankees to do

– Purchase the contract of Zach Kroenke and demote Mark Melancon. Melancon needs to pitch and it is obvious Joe Girardi is not willing to use him in pressure situations. Kroenke spot-started today and gave up 1 run on 2 hits in 5 Innings of work. He can be a long-man/lefty specialist, allowing Alfredo Aceves to work his way into the rotation, if neccessary.

-DFA Cody Ransom and re-promote Shelley Duncan. It is absoluetly pointless to have Ransom in the MLB right now and it is absoluetly pointless to have Duncan sitting in AAA. If the Yankees want a righty bat off the bench…here he is.

-Place a waiver claim on every-yes i do mean every-starting pitcher on the block. Brian Bannister, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, even Bruce Chen for all I care (just kidding about Chen…he is a perfect fit for the Royals). Anyone but Sergio Mitre.

-Trade Juan Miranda in a trade for one of these pitchers. He could be an MLB player right now for about any team. He is worthless to the Yankees, however, unless Mark Teixeira gets hurt. Even then, the Yankees have Shelley Duncan. It is also for the better of Miranda’s career, even though he is on the Yankees 40-man roster, he is very unlikely to get playing time with the Yankees. With Jorge Vazquez waiting in AA for the AAA promotion….it’s a perfect time to use him for trade bait.

-For now, DFA Sergio Mitre and purchase Josh Towers‘ contract. Towers has reached his peak in AAA (like Mitre did) and is now ready to give it a shot in the MLB. If they don’t want to do this, why not give Kei Igawa a shot? Yes, I am being serious. If you are going to spend all this money to have him…why not make him useful? He has reached his prime in AAA, also, and he could possibly help out the club in some way.

For all the Yankees fans reading this- I ask you to remember one thing. Austin Jackson was the price for Jarrod Washburn. Austin Jackson is also a top, top prospect. If it will take Austin Jackson to get any of the pitchers I mentioned above…don’t do it.

10 Questions with Scranton W/B Yankees Beat Writer Chad Jennings

July 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Chad Jennings is the beat writer for the Scranton W/B Yankees. He was kind enough to answer 10 questions for me. Here is the interview:

1. Out of all the players in AAA this year….who has impressed you the most? Who has dissapointed you the most?

Chad Jennings: Austin Jackson has probably impressed me the most. For a guy his age to hit like this in the International League is pretty amazing. He’s also a lot faster than I expected, and he uses his speed well on the bases and in the outfield. He’s terrific driving the ball to the opposite field. Kevin Russo, Shelley Duncan and Zach Kroenke deserve some honorable mention here. I guess there’s some disappointment in the way Doug Bernier and Justin Leone have struggled. Great guys, both of them, but the bat just hasn’t been there all season. Eric Duncan has really struggled, too.

2. Do you see Shelley Duncan as a capable MLB every day player, or just another AAAA player?

CJ: I absolutely see him as a capable MLB everyday player. I would love to see what would happen if a big league team stuck with him for a season. He would strikeout quite a bit, but he could be a 35 home run guy. And if he got himself locked in, he could be really valuable.

3. Can you give us some information on Zach Kroenke?

CJ: Lefty. Low 90s with his fastball. Mixes a slider and splitty, using both as an outpitch. He’s not a huge strikeout guy, but he doesn’t allow many hard-hit balls. And he comes from a major college program at Nebraska. There’s talent there, it’s just a question of how much the other pitchers in the system have him overshadowed.

4. The AAA Yankees got off to an 11-0 start this year and are currently the 2nd best team in the IL winning-percentage wise. Who would you attribute this to the most? The players? The manager?

CJ: I think there’s a lot to be said for this coaching staff. The Yankees have been one of the best teams in the league each of the three years they’ve been in Scranton, and that’s happened with constantly shuffling rosters. Dave Miley and Butch Wynegar really know what they’re doing and the pitching coaches the past three years — Dave Eiland, Rafael Chaves and Scott Aldred — have track records that speak for themselves. Aaron Ledesma has been a great addition this season. That staff has helped create a loose, easy going clubhouse. In the end, though, I think it falls on the players. These guys have largely bought into the idea of winning being important, even at this level, and I think that’s helped.

5. After seeing the whole Tony Bernazard and Binghamton Mets story play out and the Mets be repeatedly chastised for their lack of depth how do you feel the Yankees are at the same thing? Do you feel they have good enough depth in the system?

CJ: For the most part, yes. The Triple-A roster has long-term and short-term solutions in the infield, outfield and catcher. The relief depth is such that it’s been hard to get everyone innings. The starting pitching depth has dwindled considerably, but that’s only after a ton of injuries and just-for-now bullpen conversions. It’s deep enough to fill some holes.

6. How is the Redsox farm system this year?

CJ: I don’t really follow it too closely. I know Lars Anderson hasn’t been too good, but Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Daniel Bard are legit. Junichi Tazawa looks like a solid signing, as well.

7. Who would you say is the best prospect you’ve seen this year (Yankee or non-Yankee) and do you feel he has lived up to the hype?

CJ: I missed a lot of them. Didn’t get to see Gordon Beckham or Tommy Hanson or Andrew McCutchen. I did see Matt Wieters, and what struck me was his size and athleticism. He looks like an NFL tight end. He just looks like a better athlete than everyone else. I also thought Michael Bowden looked good against the Yankees. He’s really boosted his stock the past year or two.

8. Is Kei Igawa just another minor-leaguer?

CJ: Maybe. I think Kei can get big leaguers out, but when he makes a mistake, it gets crushed. And it’s tough to learn anything new from watching him pitch in Triple-A. He’s been good at this level for three years now. He seems to be better at keeping the ball down this year, but I have no idea if that will be enough to make a significant difference at the big league level. He’s had Triple-A success in the past but not been able to carry it to New York.

9. Give us a background on Austin Jackson?

CJ: It seems most people know that he was a terrific athlete in high school who turned down a basketball scholarship to Georgia Tech, but when Tyler Kepner wrote about him in the Times, Kepner wrote about the batting cage that was in Austin’s backyard as a kid. The idea of him as a terrific athlete who just happens to be playing baseball is false. He’s always been a baseball player, he was just too good of an athlete to focus on one sport in high school. He’s doing that now and he seems to be getting better and better. Plus, he’s a good guy. He seems to work hard and his teammates seem to really like and respect him. There’s been a lot of buzz about him this season, but Austin has handled it as well as possible.

10. Last question: Give us one story that you find interesting in your time covering the Scranton Yankees?

CJ: Hard to pick one. The first that comes to mind is a story I’m working on right now about Shelley Duncan’s personality. There’s a lot more depth to him than most people realize.

I liked writing about Cody Ransom this season, simply because I like it when long-time minor league guys get a real shot in the big leagues. Cody’s not an everyday player, but I think he’s fine in that utility role and I think there are a lot of guys like him who could play a role in the big leagues if given a shot. Dan Giese did it last year. Chris Coste during the Red Barons years. Nick Green’s doing it with Boston. I’ve also really enjoyed all the random big leaguers pulled out of obscurity — Edwar Ramirez and Alfredo Aceves especially — because we all spend a ton of time reading about “prospects” but there are always guys completely off the radar who can make a surprising run to the majors. Covering last year’s playoffs was fun because there were so many walk-off wins and tide-turning moments.

Thanks to Chad for answering the questions and also to Mike Ashmore for answering his questions!

Yankees Have a Move to Make

July 27, 2009 2 comments

Brett Gardner was placed on the 15-day DL today with a broken thumb. Jon Albaladejo was called up to take his place. Tomorrow the Yankees will call up an OF from Scranton to replace Gardner….but the question is….WHO?

The only CF option is highly-touted prospect Austin Jackson, who Joe Girardi said will NOT be called up.

That leaves Shelley Duncan and an injured John Rodriguez. Ramiro Pena is also an option having played a few games in CF at AAA.

Prediction: Shelley Duncan called up and Yankees move Xavier Nady to 60 day DL

What I want done: Shelley Duncan and Ramiro Pena called up, move Nady to 60 day and Designate for Assignment Cody Ransom. Pena can play CF when completely neccessary and so can Nick Swisher.

P.S.: Chad Jennings, who covers the Scranton Yankees, has agreed to answer 10 questions for me through email. He will be the first person to be a part of my 10 question segment. I should have the interview up by Tuesday.