Saturday, June 14, 2014

Can Heath Bell Be Of Any Value?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

The shuffling and re-shuffling of the middle relief deck has been a constant for the Yankees this year.  Early injuries to the rotation, some DL stints at the front end of the 'pen, and a lot of really poor performances have combined to a rotation of mostly mediocre characters through the last 2 spots and the Yanks are very much still in search of a couple of reliable options.  They've got rookie Jose Ramirez in 1 spot for the moment, and the recently-acquired David Huff in the other.  You'll remember him from his tandem starter duties with Phil Hughes last season.

Another move Cash made to add some organizational depth was signing Heath Bell to a MiL deal on Friday.  Bell was released by the Rays earlier in the season after putting up a 7.27 ERA in 17.1 IP and most recently he had been pitching some OK ball for the Baltimore Orioles' Triple-A affiliate (4.22/3.24 in 10.2 IP).  He's been on an accelerated downtrend for the last few seasons, so is there any reason to think he might have something offer the Yankee bullpen?

Draft Signing Updates: Lindgren, DeCarr And Foley

The Yankees signed a group of lower round draft picks earlier this week.  Yesterday they locked up 3 of their higher picks when 2nd rounder Jacob Lindgren, 3rd rounder Austin DeCarr, and 5th round Jordan Foley all agreed to deals.

Lindgren, via his dad's Twitter, signed for exactly slot value of $1,078,700.  Not much of a surprise considering the pick and his profile as a college pitcher.  Foley also signed for exactly slot value at $317,500, according to Chris Cotillo.  DeCarr signed for an even million bucks, not quite double the slot value of his pick (585.1k), but a good enough chunk of change to get him to pass on his commitment to Clemson.

DeCarr was the biggest and only real no-sign risk from the Yankees' picks in the first 10 rounds, so the rest of the signings should just be a formality now.  No word yet on where DeCarr will be heading, although my guess would be SS Staten Island.  Both Lindgren and Foley are ticketed for Low-A Charleston to start their pro careers.  Have to think there's a very good chance that neither stick there long.

Pineda To Be Out Until August

The news on the field has been all good in the last 4 games.  There was a bit of off-field news before last night's game that's not so good.  When speaking the media before the game, Joe said that Michael Pineda will be out of action until August as he works his way back from his back/should muscle setback.

According to Joe, Pineda has yet to resume playing catch after being shut down a few weeks ago in an ExST start.  Joe expects him to resume playing catch "fairly shortly" and from there the Yanks are going to take it slow with him and build him back up to a regular workload through bullpens, BP sessions, and some MiL rehab games.  They anticipate that process taking a month and a half, so it'll almost be like another Spring Training for Pineda.

Joe was quick to state that Pineda had not suffered another setback.  The team just wants to be careful with him and make sure they don't rush him and give him enough time to heal.  While it's good to know that there have been no further setbacks, the return of the kid gloves mentality with Pineda is not a good sign at all.  The injury is already in the vicinity of his shoulder injury and when all is said and done it's going to keep him on the shelf for 3+ months.  With all the health problems he's had, it's looking more and more like he's never going to be the pitcher the team expected him to be when they traded for him.

Game 66 Wrap-Up: NYY 7 OAK 0

(Next time on "Foul Territory", Mark learns how to high five properly.  Courtesy of the AP)

Check it out, people.  A real, actual winning streak.  Isn't it amazing??  The Yankees have played some brutal baseball since mid-May, but they've started to turn things around across all facets of the game over their last 4 games.  Their starting pitching has been much better, their relief work has been consistent and solid, they haven't been booting and throwing the ball all over the field defensively, and they've scored 4 or more runs 3 times in a row.  Last night's latest victory featured the up-and-down David Phelps outdueling Oakland's Sonny Gray in this weekend series opener.

Game Notes:

- Once again, the Yanks got off to a fast start.  3 straight singles by Gardner, Jeter, Ellsbury and a Mark Teixeira sac fly plated 2 runs in the 1st and another Gardner single scored Brian Roberts in the 2nd.

- Phelps was very sharp from the get go, and retired the first 10 batters he faced into the 4th inning.  He was locating his fastball down and on the corners for strikes and generating weak contact for his defense.

- The Yankee bats went a bit cold after the 2nd and allowed Gray to stick around through 6.  He gave way to the bullpen in the 7th and in the 8th against Jeff Francis was when the offense struck again.  With 2 outs and runners on first and second, the bottom of the order rattled off 3 straight singles to score 4 more runs.  Brian Roberts' base knock and the missed catch on the play at the plate was the big blow.

- The only thing Phelps wasn't was efficient with his pitches, and he exited with 2 outs in the 7th after giving up a double to Jed Lowrie.  Dellin Betances came in and did the fireman thing to get through the 8th.

- The 4 late runs put the game safely out of reach and gave Joe the chance to rest his regulars, so he went with Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the 9th and watched Ramirez retire the 3 best Oakland hitters in order.  This is why they kept  him up and not Daley.