Tag: New York Yankees

Jose Abreu

Jose Abreu is a unanimous selection for AL Rookie of the Year


White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, who finished third in the AL in homers and first in slugging percentage last season, was the unanimous choice for the AL Rookie of the Year award, announced Monday.

Abreu topped Angels starter Matt Shoemaker and Yankees setup man Dellin Betances for the award in a strong class of AL rookies. Any one of those three, Collin McHugh, Masahiro Tanaka and Yordano Ventura probably would have won the award in 2013 over 88 games of Wil Myers.

Shoemaker finished second with 12 of the 30 second-place votes, though he was named on just 16 ballots. Betances got seven second-place votes and was named on 13 ballots. McHugh finished fourth, getting six second-place votes. Tanaka was fifth with three second-place votes.

Recognized as Cuba’s best hitter before defecting, the 27-year-old Abreu became the White Sox’s everyday first baseman after signing a six-year, $68 million contract with the White Sox in the offseason. He ended up hitting .317/.383/.581 with 36 homers and 107 RBI despite serving an early DL stint due to an ankle injury.

Shoemaker is the only controversial selection. While undeniably a fine starter, he got the nod over McHugh and Tanaka strictly because of his 16-4 record for baseball’s best team. Digging a little deeper:

Shoemaker: 3.04 ERA, 124 K in 136 IP
McHugh: 2.73 ERA, 157 K in 154 2/3 IP
Tanaka: 2.77 ERA, 141 K in 136 1/3 IP
Ventura: 3.20 ERA, 159 K in 183 IP

McHugh should have been the pick as the AL’s top rookie starter. He actually faced the Angels four times this year and had a 1.90 ERA. In all, he had a 1.55 ERA in seven starts against playoff teams. Shoemaker had a 4.40 ERA in his five starts against playoff clubs.

Betances, a failed starter in the minors, was simply an overwhelming reliever for the Yankees, rivaling Wade Davis for the best numbers of any reliever in the majors. He had a 1.40 ERA and a 135/24 K/BB ratio in a whopping 90 innings out of the pen. Only the Mets’ Carlos Torres threw more innings in relief last season.

For the third straight offseason every free agent declined the qualifying offer

Victor Martinez AP

Three straight offseasons filled with speculation about various free agents who received qualifying offers accepting the one-year deals and three straight offseasons in which no one accepted them.

In all 34 players have turned down qualifying offers since the system was put in place and zero have accepted, including borderline cases like Michael Cuddyer, Ervin Santana, and Francisco Liriano declining their teams’ offers today.

Here’s a list of all the free agents to turn down the $15.3 million qualifying offer this time around:

Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays

Nelson Cruz, Orioles

Michael Cuddyer, Rockies

Francisco Liriano, Pirates

Russell Martin, Pirates

Victor Martinez, Tigers

Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers

David Robertson, Yankees

Pablo Sandoval, Giants

Ervin Santana, Braves

Max Scherzer, Tigers

James Shields, Royals

Last year Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew clearly should have accepted what was then a $14.1 million qualifying offer, so we’ll see if any of this year’s offer-declining free agents regret their decisions in a few months.

David Robertson turns down $15.3 million qualifying offer from Yankees

David Robertson

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that reliever David Robertson has turned down the Yankees’ qualifying offer of $15.3 million.

There was some speculation that Robertson might accept the offer given that having draft pick compensation attached will hurt his free agent market, but clearly he’s convinced he can still get a multi-year deal for similar annual money. Perhaps from the Yankees, who’re still able to re-sign him.

Robertson was fantastic stepping into Mariano Rivera’s massive shoes as the Yankees’ closer, converting 39 of 44 save chances with a 3.08 ERA and 96/23 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. Dating back to 2011 he’s thrown 258 innings with a 2.20 ERA and 12.3 strikeouts per nine frames.

Brian McCann: “I’m definitely going to change my approach”

brian mccann getty

Brian McCann had a disappointing first season with the Yankees, hitting just .232 with a career-low .692 OPS in 140 games after signing a five-year, $85 million contract.

He’s an extreme pull hitter and teams shifted a ton against McCann, who told MLB Network that he’s “definitely going to change my approach a little bit” next season in an effort to combat the shifts.

I think there’s definitely times to bunt. Maybe leading off the inning down four or five runs or [with a] man on first, no outs, try to start a rally. But, you know, as far as hitting the ball the other way, that’s something I’ve definitely done going into spring training and then a month into the season you look up and you sacrifice power and driving the baseball. Or at least I do. That’s the line I have to walk. I’ve hit a certain way for a long, long time.

It’s certainly valid for a good hitter to worry about his overall production declining if he were to change his approach trying to beat shifts, but when you’re coming off a season in which you got on base just 28 percent of the time working on laying down some bunts and slapping the ball down the third base line seems like a pretty reasonable change.

Russell Martin wants at least $75 million

Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates

We already know Russell Martin will turn down the $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Pirates and previously reports have said the Cubs are the front-runners to sign him. And now Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Canada says the free agent catcher “wants a contract worth between $75-$80 million over five years.”

Brian McCann got a five-year, $85 million deal from the Yankees last offseason. Martin is a couple years older than McCann was then and failed to top a .750 OPS from 2009-2013, but he’s coming off a fantastic season in which he hit .290 with a .402 on-base percentage and .832 OPS in 111 games.