Chad Jennings is a former beat writer for the AAA Scranton Yankees. He took over as a Yankees beat writer in October and has agreed to do a quick interview with The Pinstriper. We thank him for the interview. Enjoy and don’t forget to check out his work here!
1. Thoughts on the Curtis Granderson trade? Who got the best of it?
I think every team got what it wanted. Granderson is a great fit for the Yankees. They gave up some real talent to get him, but that’s what it was going to take for an impact player like that. I think some people are getting a bit too caught up in his splits. They’re bad, and they’re a factor in judging him as a hitter, but at the end of the day he’s consistently hit 20+ home runs with 70+ RBIs while playing good defense in center field. He’s also young and signed to a good contract.
2. Can you profile Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy for us?
Jackson is going to be an everyday center fielder, but his lack of power suggests he’ll be more of a bottom-of-the-order hitter. He could develop more power and become more of an impact bat — wouldn’t surprise me, actually — but right now he’s a guy with a little bit of speed who hits for a high average despite striking out a lot. He’s also a good defensive player in center field. Kennedy started throwing a two-seam fastball during the Arizona Fall League and his curveball has improved since his bad 2008 stint in New York. It’s easy to overlooked that he’s been absolutely dominant in the minor leagues and that he pitched very well in the big leagues when he was first called up in late 2007. He throws strikes — quality strikes — and that makes him a good pitcher.
3. Any idea who the Yankees might want in the Rule 5 Draft? What position?
Can’t figure it out, to be honest. Infield makes no sense because the 40-man is already packed with utility candidates, I can’t imagine the Rule 5 providing a better backup catcher than Francisco Cervelli, and if the Yankees wanted a power arm, why not protect Grant Duff or Kevin Whelan? There are a few right-handed hitters available who can play the outfield and also have experience at catcher. I wonder if that might work for the Yankees, giving them a little bit more outfield depth — which they need — as well as a spare catcher for days when Cervelli is behind the plate and Jorge Posada is the DH.
4. Any idea of any players that might be taken from the Yankees?
I think Zach Kroenke will be taken, I think Kevin Whelan should be taken and I think Colin Curtis might be taken. There are other candidates — Jason Hirsh, George Kontos, Grant Duff, Alan Horne — but I tend to think Kroenke, Whelan and Curtis are the guys most at risk of being taken.
5. Do you think the Yankees need to improve the bullpen at all or they are good as it is?
I don’t think they have to make a bullpen move, partially because I think they’ll sign Andy Pettitte plus one more starting pitcher. That could leave either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain to return to the eighth inning (I still think they should both be starters, but that’s a whole other issue). David Robertson and Mark Melancon are also legitimate options for high-leverage bullpen roles. And you never know what young starter they might convert to the pen. If they were willing to move Hughes, they’re willing to move anyone, and guys like Ivan Nova and Zach McAllister might work well in that role. You never know.
6. Is Zach Kroenke an MLB option at this point? Was he part of the reason they were willing to trade Coke?
I think Mike Dunn was the reason the Yankees were willing to trade Coke. After last year, it’s hard to believe the Yankees see Kroenke playing a role in the big leagues. Kroenke was terrific in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year. When he didn’t get a shot then, and when he wasn’t added to the 40-man this winter, it became obvious that the Yankees don’t view him as much of a major league option. I hope he’s taken in the Rule 5 because he deserves a shot.
7. If you had to predict the rotation for next year what would it be?
Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Hughes, Chamberlain
I think they’ll bring someone else in to compete, but unless that person is Ben Sheets or Rich Harden, I think it’s entirely possible that Hughes and Chamberlain will outpitch the new competition and win the job.
8. The outfield? What could Melky Cabrera net in a trade and are the Yankees definitely more willing to trade him rather than Brett Gardner?
The short answer is, I have no idea. Cabrera is an enigma on the trade market. He’s still cheap and he’s coming off a nice year, but is his trade value that of a starting center fielder or a fourth outfielder? Everyone seems split on the way they ultimately view him. As for which one I would trade, it’s no secret that I really like Gardner, but I’m not sure it makes sense to have two left-handed center fielders.
*Interview conducted by Brandon of The Pinstriper and Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog*
The New York Yankees have acquired Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers in a three-team trade.
Here’s the trade:
Yankees Receive: Curtis Granderson (Tigers)
Analysis: Love the move for the Yankees. The Yankees are essentially getting a better version of Jackson and giving up Ian Kennedy, who has been often injured but still has a bright future, and Phil Coke. Coke is not a necessary piece for the Yankees, of whom have Damaso Marte, Mike Dunn and Zach Kroenke.
-Jack Curry has left the NY Times.
-Peter Gammons has left ESPN.
-Ivan Rodriguez has signed with the Washington Nationals.
-The Mariners are “unlikely to get involved” in the Jason Bay sweepstakes.
UPDATE: 3:30 PM: Looks like each team got a fair amount in the trade. Jackson will most likely have a solid MLB career, as long as he can get some of his power back. Kennedy will likely be a 4th starter or 5th starter in the MLB if he can heal from his injuries. Coke will make a good lefty specialist for the Tigers.
As for Granderson, with the short porch in right field, he could hit up to 35 HR. Add about 20-25 SB and 70-80 RBIs, I’ll take it. If Jackson can hit better against lefties (.183 Batting Average, .239 Slugging, .245 On-Base) he can prove to be a nice acquisition.
Don’t forget Granderson hit .302 as recently as ’07 and hit .280 in ’08.
Prediction: Granderson hits .268 with 32 HR and 75 RBI in ’10.
Hey readers, my name is Dan Reiner; I did a couple posts late in the season covering the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. I’m a die hard Yanks, Giants, Knicks, Rangers, Sentinels and PSU Nittany Lions fan. Though I am only in high school, I have complete knowledge of the MLB, and hope to someday study journalism in college, and follow my dream to be a sports writer. I’ll continue to write about the minor league teams and players on here, so read up to see how the kids are doing, as well as all of the posts!
Well first off, I’d like to say that DH/OF Shelley Duncan and 2B Kevin Russo were named to the 2009 TOPPS Triple-A All-Star team for their great seasons. Duncan led the International League with 30 HR and 99 RBI, and Russo was third in the IL with a .326 batting average.
And now with the IL season finished and players needing to improve to try to take the next step in the organization, the Fall Leagues come around. I’ve been following the key players in the Yankee organization that are taking part. So..how are the kids doing?
–RHP Ian Kennedy (AFL) has 6 games and starts with a record of 1-1 and a 4.74 ERA; In 24.2 IP hes allowed 25 hits 23 K and the key.. just 5 walks.
–RHP Josh Schmidt (VWL) hasn’t looked good. 7 games, 5 starts 1-3 4.63 ERA. In 23.1 IP, 22 H and 20 K
–LHP Mike Dunn (AFL) has looked shaky. In 8 games, a record of 0-2 4.32 ERA with 1 save. In 8.1 IP, 8 hits but a remarkable 15 K.
–RHP Romulo Sanchez (VWL) has looked solid. 11 G 2-2 3.83 ERA 14.1 IP, 10 H, and a very good 20 K with only 4 walks.
–LHP Zach Kroenke (AFL) has pitched 10 games. A record of 1-0 with a 5.02 ERA. 14.1 IP 13 hits 12 K and 4 BB
–RHP Ivan Nova (DWL), who we saw get a few postseason starts in AAA, has 5 games, 4 starts with a 1-0 record. A 1.05 ERA in 25.2 IP, with just 17 hits 4 walks and 17 Ks is exactly what scouts are looking for.
-1B Juan Miranda (DWL), just joined the league, and in 13 at-bats already has a 5 hits, 1 HR and 4 RBI
-C Jesus Montero (VWL) has been extremely disappointing to say the least. In 9 games, just 3 hits, a .115 BA, and 1 RBI.
-3B Brandon Laird (AFL) is tearing up opponents right now. In 20 games, he has a .313 BA, and is tied for 2nd in the league with 6 HR and 24 RBI
-2B Reegie Corona (VWL) has played 17 games, with a .314, 0 HR and 5 RBI
-OF Colin Curtis (AFL) has played 17 game, with a great .388 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI, and 2 SB
AFL= Arizona Fall League, VWL=Venezuela Winter League, DWL=Dominican Winter League
Look for some of these guys in trade talks or even on the big club come next season.
With September Call-ups being made today, the Yankees decided to stack their bullpen with a few young guns. Here were the five September call-ups yesterday:
Key SWB players not to make the call up list were Jon Albaladejo, Zach Kroenke and Shelley Duncan. Some people are angered by this, but these players are being kept down for the SWB Yankees attempt to repeat for the Governor’s Cup.
Albaladejo was not called up due to an eye injury he suffered a few days ago. He may be called up shortly.
I recently commented on a Chad Jennings blog post and asked him who he thought would be called up in September, if Ramiro Pena could play CF in the MLB yet, and if Austin Jackson could play all three outfield positions.
Here was his response:
The call-up situation changed today with the announcement that Joba Chamberlain will be pitching every five days, but only going a few innings at a time. That likely means more pitchers going up than I originally expected.
Of the five pitchers on the 40-man — Melancon, Claggett, Ramirez, Albaladejo and Dunn — I now think three will go up on September 1 and the other two will go after the season. I’ll take a guess that Albaladejo is the one most likely to go up on September 1.
Postion players, I think only Cervelli and Pena will go up on September 1. After the season, I think Duncan, Miranda and maybe Jackson.Pena looks good in center field, but I wouldn’t have him start a game there in New York. Maybe late in a game that’s already decided. For a guy who’s hardly played the position, playing center field in a big league ballpark is going to be quite a bit different from a minor league park.
No doubt Jackson can play all three spots in the big leagues right now and be well above average defensively.
Phil Coke has pitched in 59 games this year, seven more than Mariano Rivera for the team lead. Coke has blown five saves, the next most is one for a combined five pitchers. Coke is 4-3 with a 5.05 ERA following yesterdays horrible outing. Coke does have an impressive .209 Batting Average Against vs. Lefties. Coke is also 4-1 with a 3.19 ERA at home and an 0-2 record with a 7.84 ERA away. The main problem with Coke, however is that he has given up six homeruns to lefty hitters. The Yankees will most likely call-up either Mike Dunn or Zach Kroenke come September, and with Damaso Marte coming back as another lefty he won’t have to pitch as much.
The Royals Designated Ron Mahay for assignment today. I have wanted Mahay on the Yankees for about 3 years now and I haven’t stopped saying that. He has had an off year this year with his 4.79 ERA and 55 hits in 41 innings. Still, he can help the Yankees. Sure the Yankees would have 3 lefty relievers, but he can be a one-year rental for the Yankees. He can help them for the playoff chase and allow the Yankees to keep Zach Kroenke and Mike Dunn in AAA and maybe send them to the Arizona Fall League.
Also, why hasn’t Damaso Marte been placed on waivers yet? He must be healthy to be placed and he is healthy. If someone claimed Marte he could be gone (with his 4 year contract) for nothing OR one small prospect. Then the Yankees could use a combination of Phil Coke, Kroenke, and/or Dunn as their lefty relievers.