The Blue Jays have announced that outfielder Melky Cabrera will be out for the rest of the season with right pinky finger fracture he suffered during Friday’s game, and he’ll have surgery next week. Cabrera is a free agent after the season, which means his career in Toronto could soon be over. As long as he figures to be healthy for the start of next season, though, he could be in for a nice payday in a free agent market that doesn’t feature much hitting. After struggling through the first season of his two-year deal with the Jays, Cabrera has bounced back in 2014, hitting .300/.348/.457 in 619 plate appearances. Cabrera’s injury is a blow to the Jays, who have won five games in a row to cling to their playoff hopes but are still 4 1/2 games back of the last Wild Card spot. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- Twins catcher Josmil Pinto says he has no issue with the team signing Kurt Suzuki to a two-year extension, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. “It’s good,” says Pinto. “If I play a little more time with him, I’ll get more experience. He’s got like eight years in the big leagues.” Suzuki initially signed a one-year deal with the Twins before the season, and it looked like Pinto might take over once he left. But Suzuki hit well and won the respect of the Twins’ pitchers, and now it looks like Pinto will back him up as Suzuki’s extension kicks in next season.
- The Astros recently fired manager Bo Porter and bench coach Dave Trembley, and it’s unclear what will happen to their remaining coaches next season. But GM Jeff Luhnow is happy with them, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart writes. Luhnow points to performances by Chris Carter and Jose Altuve this season as evidence that the team’s hitting instruction has been good, and he says that pitching coach Brent Strom has done “a tremendous job.”
- Tigers third base coach Dave Clark would have interest in returning to Houston to manage the Astros, MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports. “[I]t’s always intriguing to have your name mentioned as a possible managerial candidate. It’s definitely something I would entertain,” says Clark, a base coach with the Astros until he joined Brad Ausmus’ staff this season.
- Angels infielder John McDonald realizes the 2014 season might be his last, writes MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. “I don’t want to discount anything, but you’re also realistic about where you are in your career,” says the 39-year-old McDonald. “I’m at  at-bats right now, over the course of a full year, and last year I had the same. I’m also realistic.” McDonald has now played parts of 16 seasons with the Indians, Blue Jays, Tigers, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Phillies, Red Sox and Angels.
- The Yankees’ performance this year should serve as a wake-up call to the team’s top brass, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues writes. The team’s usual strategy of signing the best free agents doesn’t work as well as it used to, Axisa writes, but the advent of the luxury tax has limited the Yankees’ advantage over other teams — the Yankees’ payroll has stayed roughly static in the last several years, while other teams’ payrolls have risen. And the number of pre-free-agency extensions means fewer players hit free agency during their prime years. The Yankees will need to stop depending so heavily on veteran free agents, Axisa suggests.
Many people in New York say it’s impossible for the Yankees to rebuild, that their fanbase would never accept it, that no one would pay their prices and the ballpark would be empty. I wonder how true that is, when you consider it’s looking more like they’ll have no choice, but to have a tear down or continue being mediocre. I wonder how many of those IFAs they signed this year will even pan out.
I think they should trade everyone another team will give value for this off season, take in as much young talent as possible, and hope to field a competitive team in 2016 or 2017. They aren’t winning this year or next year, why hold onto anything that isn’t nailed to the ground? By the time they have a competitive team, these players will be too old to help anyhow. Just get rid of everyone.
The way the Red Sox unloaded a couple years ago seems completely impossible, they were fortunate the Dodgers changed owners and were desperate for relevancy in-time for their new TV contract. I don’t see any other team in that position on the horizon.
The most valuable players on the Yankees are probably Gardner, Betances, Pineda, and maybe Tanaka. I don’t see anyone eating much salary on any other player on that roster and giving them a decent prospect in return.
Forget about a decent prospect, just eating any of the salary alone is not going to happen. Also, the undesirables all have NTC
The NTCs are the biggest obstacle, I’d say. They’ve got quite a few albatross unmovable contracts for multiple years on declining players. Even if they had value, they couldn’t move them anyways.
The Yankees can eat all of the salary to unload players.
I’m sure spending hundreds of millions of dollars on some minor league kids will go over really well.
I’m sure spending hundreds of millions to win 70 games next year will go over well.
They’re probably a 500 win team, it’s enough to get people in the seats, you sell off all your talent you run the risk of losing the businesses buying season tickets and luxury boxes, all they really care about.
Believe it or not, most Yankee fans see the writing on the wall. The stadium would be empty right now, but Jeter is drawing crowds. Jeter is gone next year. Whatever payroll they could have spent on anything is going directly to ARod, and it would be a reach to assume he will produce anything at all, yet alone be a 6-7 WAR player.
The Yankees put themselves in a terrible position and they can either draw out the process and lose for 5,6,7 years or they can rebuild now and maybe win again in 3,4 years.
I’ve listened to enough sports radio in New York to know it’s pretty split, and it’s not the Yankee fans they care about, it’s the luxury boxes. They will not accept a rebuild, all that talk about getting under the luxury tax this year, and guess what happened, they lost luxury box and season ticket sales so they go out and spend a boatload of money to get the relevancy again immediately. They will not accept a rebuild.
They lost ticket sales because people knew they weren’t going to be a post season team. And they wont be next year, either. They can spend as much money as they want, it isn’t going to help. They don’t have the talent, and the talent isn’t on the free agent market, either.
I agree they won’t be a contender next year, and I agree that you can’t build a team thru free agency anymore. I’m 100% sure though they will every season make enough moves to put up a facade of competitiveness enough to sell to their average fan and luxury box buyer. If they stay relevant thru September they’ve succeeded even if they aren’t legit playoff contenders. How many Yankee fans kept calling into WFAN to whine at Francessa to saying they were out of the race just yesterday.
The **only** reason people are going to the games is Jeter. The stadium was empty last year, it will be empty next year. Jeter is their saving grace and everyone knows it. That is why they are doing so much ridiculous Jeter nonsense.
If they, say, released and ate Teixeira’s unmovable contract, due to his no trade clause, huge salaries, and health concerns, who would they replace him with? A minorleague top prospect? They don’t grow on trees and they don’t have one. A free agent? This year’s class looks barren. When push comes to shove, they’re built to treat they’re existing regulars as stop gaps, at minimum.
If they, say, released and ate Teixeira’s unmovable contract, due to his no trade clause, huge salaries, and health concerns, who would they replace him with? A minorleague top prospect? They don’t grow on trees and they don’t have one. A free agent? This year’s class looks barren. When push comes to shove, they’re built to treat they’re existing regulars as stop gaps, at minimum, until they develop prospects to reload with.
The Yankees aren’t winning this year but you are being overly pessimistic about the future. They have some young pieces like Betances, Pineda & Tanaka that may help next year. With the five team playoff format any team over .500 has a shot to make the playoff. There are no “great teams” in baseball anymore. So if they could upgrade some positions for 2015 they will be in the hunt. The need help in RF, 2B & SS.
But the problem is that you basically need them to stay healthy to contend. They are an old team. Which means you should expect even less production out of a large portion of the team next year, and that’s if it can stay healthy. Even the 3 young players you mention. Tanaka may have to go under the knife, and Pineda is always hurt. The Yankees are a team that doesn’t have a TON of upside, so it needs everyone to be healthy to reach that upside, but it’s too old and injury prone to realistically bank on the team staying healthy.
I don’t disagree. I would love if the Yankees had young athletic on the field talent like the Braves but what they have are veterans they can build around in 2015 like Ellsbury, Gardner & Mc Cann. Maybe if they sign a young IFA like Yasmani Tomas for RF and get some production for Refsnyder or Jose Pirela at 2B that would help (these AAA guys can’t perform any worse than Steven Drew at 2b).
There’s a good chance Tanaka won’t even play in 2015 based on his elbow…
No one knows which the IFAs will pan out. They did Ok with the Tanaka signing and Jose Abreu and Cespedes are legit MLB stars for other teams.
The Mets are in year six of their teardown and rebuilding plan and Citi-Field is not full. They are 13th in the league in attendance. In the six years you can make a case that the Braves and Nats have passed them in terms of young on the field talent.
Mets have only been rebuilding since 2011, and it’s been a half-hearted rebuild due to Wilpon finance problems. They’ve never explicitly said they were rebuilding, they each year made some fake promises of competitiveness and only sold off a couple of their legit assets.
You make it sound like the Jays are still on their winning streak
“Cabrera’s injury is a blow to the Jays, who have won five games in a
row…”. It should be “Cabrera’s injury is a blow to the Jays, who HAD
won five games in a row before the loss tonight…”
What a brutal loss it was.
The Yankees’ problem has always been the years. I don’t think anybody had an issue with them signing Teixiera, McCann, or Beltran, or re-signing Sabathia or even A-Rod (at the time it happened, mind you!). The problem is that that every time the Yankees see a free agent they stumble over themselves to offer so many years that you’re left shaking your head.
This is the byproduct of a team-wide strategy of “sign a guy for his decline years to have him in his good years.” It caught up to them, and now even the Yankees’ payroll is having trouble hefting that much dead weight.
the Yankees have also had some bad luck as well. Tex has gone downhill much more rapidly than they could have predicted, as has CC. A-Rod is in a class by himself. Beltran is old (I thought the signing was bad when made) but it was hard to foresee he would be poor in the first year of the contract.
The Beltran signing as of now doesn’t look to be as bad as the Shin-Soo Choo signing. I”m actually glad he rejected the Yankees offer.
The Yankees’ Dilemma
The premier young talents in baseball reach the majors in their early 20s, are under team control for at least 6 years, then finally reach free agency (if they reach at all). That means usually the youngest free agents will be about 28-29 if you’re lucky. Although in today’s era, if they’re premium talents (E.G. Trouts, Machados, Smyly, et al), they’ve likely signed an extension early on, which bought out the first few free agent years, which would make this group’s youngest be around age 30-31.
This is where the Yankees have their first crack. Unfortunately it’s made their recent teams carry older average ages and more injury prone than you’d want. Outside lightning striking somewhere in the organization (not out of the realm of possibility in baseball) the Yankees need to change this fundamental formula.
I would love to see Dave Clark get a shot at managing the Astros, or anywhere in the majors for that matter. I always liked him as a player when he played for the Buccos, and he seems to have a pretty good track record as a coach and minor league manager.
It’s ridiculous to say that the method of spending on free agents doesn’t seem to work as well in NY, if anything the scouting department has failed to sign & re-sign (internationally & domestically)/ also drafting the right players over the years. Ownership & management are making mistakes by not committing to either method, while shying away from talent to appease luxury tax.