Posted on: August 27, 2009 10:35 am

Newman discusses Yankee prospects

Chad Jennings, SWB's terrific beat-writer had a sit down with Mark Newman, VP of Baseball Operations. Some good stuff:

Jesus Montero's offseason

  • Seemed to be a candidate for the Arizona Fall League, despite the fact not a lot of Latin players go to the Fall League.
  • Montero is committed to winter team back home in Venezuela. That's where he should play this offseason.
  • “We’ll see," Newman said. "His finger’s got to heal.”
  • Newman said he expects the finger to heal enough for Montero to play.

Ian Kennedy's rehab

  • Throwing really well in Tampa.
  • Bullpen sessions this week. Facing live hitters next week.
  • Remains unlikely to pitch in a minor league game this season. Even the playoffs are doubtful.
  • "The smallest of chances," Newman said.

The contracts of Juan Miranda and Jorge Vazquez

  • Miranda has been optioned three times, but I wondered if he might qualify for a fourth option.
  • "I don’t believe so," Newman said. "But I’d have to look that up."
  • Vazquez was signed to a player development contract, not a one-year minor league deal.
  • That means Vazquez will be back in the organization next year. They don't have to resign him.

Alan Horne's rehab

  • Looked very good in his last Gulf Coast League outing on Thursday (seven scoreless innings, seven strikeouts).
  • Struggled last night with Charleston (nine runs, eight earned, seven hits, four walks through 4.1 innings).
  • “He’s still rehabbing, and he looked like a rehab guy last night," Newman said. "Shoulder strength. Command. They all go together."

Various injured players

  • Brad Suttle (right) is not going to play this year. Not even in winter ball. "Next year," Newman said.
  • Wilkin De La Rosa is in a throwing program. "He'll be back pitching, we think, in a week," Newman said.
  • Dellin Betances is very much up in the air with what I believe is an elbow injury. Newman said simply, "I don't know" when asked when Betances might throw again. 

September call-ups

  • Obviously Newman's not going to say who's going up in September, but I asked if Scranton/Wilkes-Barre would get players from Trenton.
  • “I can’t tell you who those are," Newman said. "But we’ve got Plan Bs and Cs to deal with whatever September call-ups we may or may not have.”
  • That said, there is no one in Trenton who is guaranteed a call-up to Triple-A regardless.
  • “There’s nobody that’s coming here absolutely," Newman said.

Hawaii Winter League

  • There is no Hawaii Winter League this year.
  • Everyone else might have known this. I did not.
Category: MLB
Tags: Jennings
Posted on: January 19, 2009 10:50 am

Yanks now and down the road

Another fantastic piece by Chad Jennings looking at how the signings of this winter will affect the big league roster now and in the future. Obviously, 1B and 3B are pretty well locked up until the late 'teens, but Jennings gets deep in analyzing other positions.

Some of the more interesting sections:


Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are two of the top prospects in the system, and two of the best catching prospects in baseball. Both should open this season in High-A but could push for a Double-A promotion by the end of the year. Opening next year in the big leagues seems like a stretch, but it seems reasonable that one or both could be major league ready by 2011. That scenario could allow the Yankees to use Posada as a DH at the end of his contract.

I've read some calls for a trade that would bring Joe Mauer to New York, but I can't imagine it ever happening. I can't even imagine him coming to New York when his contract expires after the 2010 season. Mauer is from St. Paul, and even a small-market team like the Twins should be willing to pay him to stick around. Regardless, the in-house candidates have upside significant enough to be worth the wait.


In-house shortstop candidates are kind of spotty. Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez can play defense, but there are very real questions about their bats. Justin Snyder has been a surprisingly effective hitter in the low minors, but he seems like more of a second baseman or utility candidate. The jury is very much still out on both Carmen Angelini and Addison Maruszak.

Without a reliable replacement in the system, the Yankees might have to look outside for Jeter's replacement (moving Alex Rodriguez back to shortstop seems unrealistic). Down in Texas, Michael Young is owed $16 million per year through 2013. And the Rangers have Elvis Andrus. Could that be a trade possibility down the road? You know who else might want to dump salary in the next few years? The Florida Marlins. You know who the Florida Marlins have at shortstop? Hanley Ramirez, who by the way, is fairly affordable this year and next, but when his deal bumps up above $10 million per year after the 2010 season, the Yankees might be primed to swoop in and made a play for him. Just a guess, but that timing might work out pretty well.


I  can't even tell you who's going to be starting in center field next season, much less beyond. In particular, Brett Gardner would give the Yankees a cheap center fielder for the next several years if he can cut down on the strikeouts and adjust to major league pitching. His last few weeks of 2008 were promising. He'll get a shot this year, and if he works out, he position might be set for the next five or six seasons, with Austin Jackson potentially sliding into the left field opening. 

Jackson, could be pushing for an everyday major league job by 2010, and he's more than capable in center. Lower in the system, converted infielder Abraham Almonte is an intriguing center field prospect, but he's a long way from the big leagues, and his .228 average in Charleston did nothing to help his stock.

If Gardner, Cabrera and Jackson each bust at the big league level, the Yankees will have to go looking for a center fielder. Rick Ankiel can play center and so can Carl Crawford and David Dellucci. Those are probably the best of the 2010 free agent class. Obviously the franchise would love to land a guy like Grady Sizemore, but he doesn't become a free agent until 2012 at the earliest. If Gardner, Cabrera and Jackson each bust, the Yankees are going to need a center fielder long before Sizemore hits the open market. Curtis Granderson is signed even longer than Sizemore, and at a cost reasonable enough that even a fully rebuiding Tigers team might not want to trade him. Carlos Beltran is a free agent after the 2011 season, but would the Yankees really want a 35-year-old center fielder? Let me throw out the name Shane Victorino. He's not a Sizemore or Beltran level name, but he's a nice player and the Phillies don't seem to be too far from having to blow up the big league roster and start over.


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Category: MLB
Tags: Jennings
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