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Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Russo’

Yesterday, I reviewed the Baby Bomber’s pitchers and catchers and evaluated their chances of making the opening day roster. Today it’s time for the infielders and outfielders. Unlike the wealth of talent behind the dish and on the rubber, there isn’t any outstanding talent in these spots, but there are some intriguing guys who might help out somewhere along the line.

Infielders – Let’s face it. As fans, we don’t want another season of Ramiro Pena’s average glove and Mario Mendoza bat. And while Kevin Russo seems like a nice kid, he wasn’t any better. Who might replace him?

Eduardo Nunez: If any of the young infielders in camp have a sincere chance of unseating Pena, this is the guy. He continues to hit decently, showing some line-drive power and decent speed. He isn’t the smoothest guy in the field, but he isn’t a liability, either. Besides, he is the guy who was supposed to replace Derek Jeter had Armageddon come to the Bronx this past winter.

Eduardo Nunez

Eduardo Nunez

Reegie Corona: Quite frankly, I don’t see much difference between Corona and Pena. Both of them get the bat knocked out of their hands by anyone who throws harder than 85mph. Both are competent, but not other-worldly, fielders. He looks targeted for AAA Scranton and will likely be first guy up should Jeter or Robbie Cano get injured.

Brandon Laird: The Yankees are sending the natural 3B to AAA Scranton to learn a “super-utility role” – 3B, 1B, RF, LF. It makes sense since both 1B and 3B are sewed up for the next few years. And I doubt the front office wants to keep bringing in retreads for reserve RH bench spots, when there may well be a better option in the high minors.

Jorge Vazquez: Look, when you’re 29 and never been on a major league roster, you might want to start thinking about taking the Crash Davis route. Vazquez possesses a slider speed bat but can’t hit breaking balls. He plays the corner spots, but is known in the minors as a defensive liability at third and barely adequate at first. He does have power and displayed it against other minor leaguers early in camp. He’s a classic “AAAA” player – too good for AAA, but will get eaten alive in MLB.

Outfielders – Fortunately, the Yanks don’t really need anything other than competent bench players here, because this is easily the most underwhelming part of the minor league system.

Justin Maxwell: Ok, so he isn’t exactly a rookie, with 122 major league appearances over three seasons. But the Nationals aren’t exactly a MLB club, either. He has a career ML slash line of .201/.319/.379 with a .698 OPS. What he brings to the table is decent speed, the ability to play all 3 OF positions adequately and the high expectations from his college career at Maryland. Hopefully, a full season at AAA (something he never got from Washington) will help him rediscover the form that made him a 1st round pick.

Colin Curtis: Yankee fans got a glimpse of Curtis last year, when he appeared in 31 games for the Bombers. He didn’t really impress, putting up a .538 OPS in 64 plate appearances. (Although he did hit a memorable homer against the Angels). The former Arizona State standout may have reached his limit. If so, that would be a shame because he certainly has a compelling back story.

Greg Golson: Yet another player that fans have seen in Pinstripes, the 25 year old Golson also saw MLB time while with the Phillies and Rangers. He has become a speedy defensive specialist, and his arm proved invaluable in a key game against the Rays last year. Still, he needs to do better than his career MiLB slash line of .263/.309/.398 if he wants to stick with the big club.

Melky Mesa

Melky Mesa: Another long shot, the 24 year old Mesa has played 5 seasons of MiLB and never reached AA. He does have speed and power but his strikeout percentage (.319) is higher than his on base percentage (.307), never a good sign. I hope he figures it out, since he is the prototypical 5 tool player. The Yanks are taking something of a chance, assigning him to AAA to start the season and skipping AA entirely.

Jordan Parraz: In 7 minor league seasons, the 26 year old former Astros and Royals farmhand has compiled a MiLB slash line of .289/.376/.438, which is decent. But he may be another case of the classic “AAAA” player, since he has yet to see the majors despite an ability to play all three OF spots and good peripherals in the minors.

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The trade deadline has come and gone and Brian Cashman was certainly busy over the final 48 hours, landing three new players. With Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood now wearing Pinstripes, let’s look back at what were generally considered the Yankees biggest needs heading into this year’s trade season and see how well Cashman did in addressing them.

  1. Bullpen: The struggles of Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Chan Ho Park this year, along with injuries to Alfredo Aceves, Sergio Mitre and Damaso Marte turned what looked like a major strength at the beginning of the season into a major question mark. Cashman picked up Wood hours after the Indians activated him from the DL. And that’s been Kerry Wood’s big problem throughout his career – the guy just can’t stay healthy. At one time, he was supposed to be the Next Big Thing; now, his career has devolved into that of middle innings guy. Still, Wood has a plus fastball and curve and hitters don’t like to face him. Additionally, acquiring him gave the Yankees the perfect excuse to send Park and his thrill-a-minute pitching style packing, so that’s a plus right there. Also, Cashman gave up virtually nothing to get him, other than money and a future low-grade prospect, so there isn’t much risk involved here. Of course, this doesn’t really address the eighth inning role, but adding a power arm is never a bad idea. Grade: B-
  2. Outfield bench: Replacing Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon and Eric Hinske with Randy Winn and Marcus Thames didn’t exactly pan out. Thames has demonstrated that his all-hit, no-glove reputation is well deserved and Winn played so well he was asked to run away from Yankee Stadium. Enter Austin Kearns. Kearns represents a serious upgrade to this unit. Unlike Thames, he is a better than league-average defender at both corner spots and league-average in center, if needed. He has better than average speed, although it’s never translated to stolen bases. He has decent power from the right side, although not enough to ever be considered a power hitter. In other words, he is the epitome of a fourth outfielder even though his past teams were so awful he found himself thrust into starting roles. Once again, Cashman brought a solid player in from Cleveland for cash or the infamous PTBNL (btw, I want to meet that guy one day – he gets traded A LOT), so there isn’t much risk involved, either. The only thing keeping this from being an “A” is that Kearns doesn’t project as a guy you want starting 3-4 weeks in a row, should a serious injury occur. Grade: B+
  3. Infield Bench: This is the one area that still needs some work. Neither Ramiro Pena nor Kevin Russo are guys you really want to see with a bat in their hands, but the Yankees were unable to find any help. A waiver trade is always a possibility, but Tampa, Boston and Texas will know what the Yankees are up to and probably try to block any such move. Grade: F
  4. Designated Hitter: A full-time DH wasn’t a serious need, even if Nick Johnson is likely done. Using the DH role to rotate some of the Yankee vets would have been fine, if a strong utility guy could be found. None were, so Cashman did the next best thing: bring in some big-time thunder for the DH role. Although undeniably on the downside of very good career, Lance Berkman’s arrival means the Yankee line-up gets lengthened, with legitimate power threats from 2-8. The undeniable shocker of the trade deadline. Grade: A

Overall, I give Cashman a B- for this year’s deadline dealing, although that stands to improve if the Yanks can swing a deal for utility infielder.

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  Adam Dunn #44 Of The Washington Nationals HitsWith the non-waiver trade deadline now only two weeks away, this seems an opportune time to look at some of the current rumors surrounding the Yankees. Below are the players most recently linked to the Yankees by various sources, including MLB Trade Rumors, River Avenue Blues, ESPN and FOX Sports. I’ve included some personal thoughts on whether I think the player would help or hurt the drive for 28. By the way, I suspect that with AJ Burnett‘s tantrum yesterday and Andy Pettite‘s injury meaning he’s likely lost for at least a month, this list will be changing rapidly.

Adam Dunn (1B/OF, Washington Nationals): Easily the most controversial player on the board, but it may be a moot point. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is pretty much asking for the moon for a guy that would essentially be a rental, since his contract ends this season. What Dunn brings is home runs and a lefty bat, but that’s about it. The guy runs as well as a fire hydrant and strikes out at a seemingly impossible pace (he owns three of the top five strikeout totals in ML history). And forget about that “1B/OF” designation; the only position he can field adequately is Hot Dog Stand. The reality is, Dunn is this generation’s version of Dave Kingman. Still, the Yankees can pencil him in as DH, hit him 7th or 8th in the order and learn to live with his all-or-nothing approach. Only thing is, Dunn has made it abundantly clear he doesn’t want to DH. That stance would pose a real headache for Joe Girardi. Opinion: Skip him. A one-dimensional player with the ability to turn into a clubhouse cancer isn’t what the team needs and besides, the asking price is likely outrageous.

Joakim Soria (RHP, Kansas City Royals): If you can pry him loose, this one may be a no-brainer. Soria is currently the closer for yet another woeful Royals team and possesses a 93mph cutter and devastating change. (Remind you of anyone currently on the roster?) Unusual for a closer, he also features two other secondary pitches – a sharp breaking slider and a curve. He’s only 26 and under team control for another two seasons after this one. He not only fits as a terrific 8th inning guy, but projects as Mariano Rivera‘s heir apparent. (Hey, he is 25 for 27 in save opportunities for a horrible team). The problem is with prying him away from KC – they are likely to ask for half the roster from Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Still, it might be doable. KC is well stocked at catcher, 3B and 1B and would likely want outfield and/or pitching help. Opinion: If he can be had for anything less than Jesus Montero or Austin Romine, Brian Cashman needs his head examined if doesn’t trade for him.

Wes Helms (3B/1B, Florida Marlins): I have to admit this one has me scratching my head. Yes, he can play third and the Yankees have spent all season looking for a suitable backup for Alex Rodriguez. But the guy is hitting .243 this year with a .690 OPS. While those numbers do represent an upgrade from Ramiro Pena and Kevin Russo, it isn’t by an overwhelming amount. Helms is 36, has been declining for the past few years and would represent a rental – his contract expires at the end of the season. Bringing Helms aboard would also mean wasting a roster spot for a guy to back up third base – the Yankees can play either Nick Swisher or (gulp) Marcus Thames at first, if needed. Opinion: skip him. He doesn’t offer enough versatility to be a bench player on this team.

Leo Nunez (RHP, Florida Marlins): Nunez is an interesting player. Over the past 1 ½ seasons, he’s racked up 47 saves for the Marlins. Prior to that, he pitched to a 1.4 WHIP and 4.92 ERA in 106 appearances for the Royals. He features a plus fastball but can be a bit wild at times. In other words, he represents more upside than most of the relievers on the trade market, but is still somewhat typical of why trading for relievers can be a roll of the dice. If he winds up in the Yankee pen, does he replicate his Marlins numbers? Or does he revert to his KC form? If the former, he would easily be the 8th inning guy for Joe Girardi. If not, then the Yankees have an older version of Joba Chamberlain on their hands. Since at this point the Marlins aren’t conceding the NL East, you have to wonder why they would put their closer on the market. Opinion: Nunez could be a good play for the Yankees, provided the asking price isn’t too high. If he can be had for, say, Jonathon Albaladejo, I say make the trade.

Cody Ross (CF/RF/LF, Florida Marlins): So, how much would you pay for a 29 year old outfielder who is not exactly known for plate discipline, but has shown some power in the past and is having down season? Ross would essentially replace Thames on the Yankees roster and despite his down year, represents a significant upgrade over the incumbent. While he will never be mistaken for Willie Mays, Ross isn’t a defensive liability, having played a slightly better than major league average OF, regardless of which position he’s slotted. I would imagine of particular interest to the Yankees is Ross’ career .950 OPS against left-handed pitching, since he most likely would slot into a semi-platoon with Curtis Granderson. I can also understand the Marlins wanting to move Ross; they’ve had a logjam in the outfield ever since they recalled Mike Stanton. Opinion: Getting Ross would be a good move for Brain Cashman, but getting the Marlins to agree on a price could prove difficult. They still view him as a starter while the Yankees would use him as part-timer. Could a Nunez/Ross deal be swung for Albaledejo, Reegie Corona, Zach McAllister and another low-minors prospect? That would be worthwhile, I think.

Well, there’s my take on the rumors as of Sunday afternoon. As always, your feedback is welcome – let me know if you agree or disagree!

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Yesterday, I posted this about Curtis Granderson‘s ineffectiveness hitting against left-handed pitching. One of the potential solutions I tossed out there was trading for Jayson Werth, who is rumored to be on the trading block.

Lo and behold, today Buster Olney tweeted that the Phillies are aggressively marketing Werth and looking for a starting pitcher who they can slot in as their #2 or #3 guy. Buster may work for that other Evil Empire (ESPN), but his rumor reports are usually accurate. This sets up two potentially block-buster deals, if the Yanks are willing to swing for the fences. This particularly holds true as Werth has long been mentioned to be on the Yankees off-season short list of potential free agent signings.

The key to the whole thing is, in my opinion, the other probable free agent that is supposedly a foregone conclusion to sign with the team this coming off season. You know – a certain left handed starter currently wearing the Seattle Mariners colors – Cliff Lee. Here’s how I see it potentially playing out:

The Mariners are reputed to be looking for a young catcher with a major-league ready bat, which is why the dominant trade rumor has centered on the Twins and their prospect Wilson Ramos. (Ramos is blocked by Joe Mauer). However, the Yanks have two pretty good catching prospects, one of whom is considered to be a potential 25 HR/100 RBI type hitter in Jesus Montero. The other is Austin Romine, whose offensive skills aren’t as good as Montero but is much better defensively. I know this is sacrilege among most Yankees fans, but I’d much rather see Romine become Jorge Posada’s heir, but regardless, either of them makes an interesting component to pry Lee from the Mariners. (more…)

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Here are a bunch of updates courtesy of MLBTradeRumors.com:

The Yankees are focused on improving their offense right now. Olney wonders if the Yanks could pursue a powerful infielder like Ty Wigginton. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports listed some easier-to-obtain infielders yesterday.

The Yankees are not actively looking for a utility infielder, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal names Willie Bloomquist, John McDonald and Jayson Nix as options the Yanks could consider should they decide that they want more experience than Kevin Russo and Ramiro Pena can offer.

The Yankees now seem like the favorites to sign Lee this winter, but could they acquire the lefty during the season? They will call the Mariners in case they like the asking price for Lee, but the Yanks don’t seem like a fit.

  Starting Pitcher <strong><a href=Cliff Lee #36 Of The Seattle Mariners Pitches” width=”500″ />

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According to Chad Jennings, Jorge Posada has already been placed in the starting lineup as the DH, and it’s just a matter of who gets sent down to the minors. They are still carrying Chad Moeller on the roster, but there are also guys like Miranda and Russo who could be optioned. They will make the official move after batting practice. Who do you guys think it will be?

Update: 5:40PM ET: Sweeny Murti of WFAN just reported that Juan Miranda was optioned down. I guess the organization wants to hold onto Chad Moeller a little while longer, until they know that Jorge is good to go.

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From The LoHud Yankees Blog:

Randy Winn has been designated for assignment to make room for Curtis Granderson.

“It’s the worst part of my job,” Joe Girardi said.

The Yankees chose to keep Kevin Russo for his versatility.

It’s about time the guy was DFA. Hitting .213, with 1HR and 8RBI’s just doesn’t cut it in this town.

  Randy Winn #22 Of The New York Yankees Runs

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From the Yankees Official Website:

NEW YORK — The Yankees triggered moves to plug the injury-created gaps on their roster on Thursday, calling up catcher Chad Moeller and utilityman Kevin Russo from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before their contest against the Rays.

New York officially placed catcher Jorge Posada on the 15-day disabled list with a hairline fracture near the bottom of his right foot. Right-hander Mark Melancon was optioned to Triple-A.

In order to create room for Moeller on the Yankees’ 40-man roster, designated hitter Nick Johnson was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

The Yankees opted for Moeller, a 35-year-old backup who played 41 games with the club in 2008, over top prospects Jesus Montero and Austin Romine.

“Obviously we talked about everyone, but Chad has the most experience and that’s why we went with him,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Chad Moeller getting the call up to the majors was a move that was expected. Even though we all hoped Montero or Romine would get a chance, the chances of that were slim to none, considering the organization doesn’t think they’re ready. Moeller doesn’t excite anyone, but I guess he was the only option. Chad isn’t a very exciting player, posting up a career .226AVG in the major leagues. Mark Melancon was optioned back to Triple-A and Russo got the call up to the majors. They really needed another hitter on the bench because they are really dropping like flies.

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C.C. Sabathia wasn’t very sharp yesterday, but he pitched well enough to get the win. Unfortunately, he was one pitch away from putting himself in line for the win, when the umpires decided to stop the game due to the heavy rain. His pitching line was: 4.2IP 4H 3R 3ER 2BB 4K (89 Pitches, 52 for Strikes). Alfredo Aceves wound up with the win, improving his record to (W, 3-0) on the season.

As for the offense…

Mark Teixeira had a career day, by hitting three home runs off Red Sox pitching. Tex already has more hits than he had in all of April, so he’s really heating up now. He was 4-for-6 on the game, picking up 3 runs and 5RBI’s. Francisco Cervelli went 3-for-5, and knocked in 5RBI’s. Nick Swisher went 2-for-4, picking up 2 runs and 3RBI’s.

New York Yankees
Hitters AB R H RBI BB SO #P AVG OBP SLG
D Jeter SS 5 2 2 0 1 0 22 .304 .343 .464
B Gardner CF 5 1 2 0 0 1 24 .348 .431 .427
M Teixeira 1B 6 3 4 5 0 0 12 .207 .343 .396
A Rodriguez 3B 2 3 2 1 3 0 27 .276 .373 .438
K Russo 2B
1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000
R Cano DH 5 2 1 0 1 1 16 .348 .400 .661
N Swisher RF 4 2 2 3 1 1 19 .298 .381 .558
R Winn LF 3 0 0 0 2 1 27 .192 .250 .308
F Cervelli C 4 0 3 5 1 0 15 .429 .500 .500
R Pena 2B-3B 4 1 1 0 1 0 22 .136 .167 .182
Totals 39 14 17 14 10 4 186      
BATTING
2B: R Pena (1, C Buchholz); D Jeter (6, J Van Every)
HR: M Teixeira 3 (5, 5th inning off C Buchholz 0 on, 1 Out; 7th inning off R Ramirez 0 on, 0 Out; 9th inning off J Van Every 1 on, 1 Out)
RBI: M Teixeira 5 (20), A Rodriguez (19), F Cervelli 5 (12), N Swisher 3 (23)
S: B Gardner
2-out RBI: F Cervelli 4, N Swisher 2
GIDP: M Teixeira, R Cano, D Jeter
Yankees RISP: 8-18 (M Teixeira 2-3, D Jeter 0-1, F Cervelli 3-3, R Pena 0-3, B Gardner 0-1, A Rodriguez 1-1, R Cano 0-3, N Swisher 2-3)
Team LOB: 9
BASERUNNING
SB: A Rodriguez (2, 2nd base off S Schoeneweis/V Martinez); B Gardner (14, 2nd base off S Schoeneweis/V Martinez)
FIELDING
DP: 1 (D Jeter-R Pena-M Teixeira).
 New York Yankees
Pitchers IP  H  R ER BB SO HR PC-ST ERA
C Sabathia 4.2 4 3 3 2 4 2 89-52 3.04
A Aceves
(W, 3-0)
1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 19-15 3.00
B Logan
(H, 3)
0.1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2-2 2.08
D Robertson 0.1 2 0 0 0 1 0 14-8 12.91
J Chamberlain 1.1 0 0 0 1 1 0 21-10 2.63
D Marte 1.1 0 0 0 1 1 0 12-6 3.86
Totals 9.0 8 3 3 4 9 2 157-93  
PITCHING
HBP: D Pedroia (By C Sabathia)
First-pitch strikes/Batters faced: C Sabathia 13/20; A Aceves 5/5; B Logan 0/1; D Robertson 2/3; J Chamberlain 3/5; D Marte 2/5
Called strikes-Swinging strikes-Foul balls-In Play strikes: C Sabathia 21-6-13-12; A Aceves 5-1-6-3; B Logan 0-1-1-0; D Robertson 3-2-1-2; J Chamberlain 5-1-1-3; D Marte 2-1-0-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls: C Sabathia 3-7; A Aceves 1-1; B Logan 0-0; D Robertson 0-0; J Chamberlain 0-3; D Marte 2-1
Game Scores: C Sabathia 46

 

 

Final Score: Yankees 14, Red Sox 3

(Box Scores Courtesy of ESPN.com)

   The Boston Red Sox Grounds

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Kevin Russo just got the call up to the big league club due to the injury to Robinson Cano. Girardi’s lineup choices are getting short, and Russo will be one of his reinforcements while Cano is out. Russo was hitting .302, with 1HR and 11RBI down in Triple-A Scranton.

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John Sickel of MinorLeagueBall recently listed the Yankees top 20 prospects going into 2010. I am going to include the list with his grades, but without his write ups and analysis. Click the previous link to see his write up of the players.

  1. Jesus Montero, C, Grade A
  2. Austin Romine, C, Grade B
  3. Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B
  4. Zach McAllister, RHP, Grade B
  5. Slade Heathcott, OF, Grade B
  6. Mark Melancon, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+
  7. Gary Sanchez, C, Grade C+
  8. John Murphy, C, Grade C+
  9. Kelvin De Leon, OF, Grade C+
  10. D.J. Mitchell, RHP, Grade C+
  11. Wilkin De La Rosa, LHP, Grade C+
  12. David Adams, 2B, Grade C+
  13. Corban Joseph, 2B-3B, Grade C+
  14. Adam Warren, RHP, Grade C+
  15. Neil Medchill, OF, Grade C+
  16. David Phelps, RHP, Grade C+
  17. Andrew Brackman, RHP, Grade C
  18. Jose Ramirez, RHP, Grade C
  19. Jeremy Bleich, LHP, Grade C
  20. Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Grade C

OTHERS (All Grade C): Sean Black, RHP; Gavin Brooks, LHP; Jairo Heredia, RHP; Jamie Hoffman, OF; Brandon Laird, 3B; DeAngelo Mack, OF; Melky Mesa, OF; Juan Miranda, 1B; Hector Noesi, RHP; Ivan Nova, RHP; Eduardo Nunez, SS; Kevin Russo, 2B; Romulo Sanchez, RHP; Graham Stoneburner, RHP; Brad Suttle, 3B; Pat Venditte, RHP-LHP; Kevin Whelan, RHP.

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