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Yankees trade Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Reds

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Good morning all. If you’re like me, you woke up to a somewhat surprising move from the Yankees today. About an hour or so after last night’s win, the team announced that they traded relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Reds for a player to be named later.

Moving Cessa is a bit perplexing, as it may mean more innings for the likes of Nick Nelson, Albert Abreu, and/or Brooks Kriske. Dumping Wilson isn’t surprising. He’s been ineffective and seemed like an obvious option to send packing in order to add space under the luxury tax threshold. In sum, this move appears to be a precursor for more things to come. The front office is trying to meet Hal Steinbrenner’s luxury tax demands while also buying at the deadline.

If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that we absolutely loathe the Yankees penny-pinching. The Yankees should never, ever, dump salary on a team like the Reds. The Reds! A small market team in Cincinnati. I don’t care that it’s only a couple of million dollars. It’s a sad reminder of how Hal operates this ballclub.

Cessa, 29, has a 2.82 ERA in 38.1 innings this season and a 3.64 ERA since 2019. He blossomed into a really nice low leverage reliever who ostensibly will be tested in higher pressure situations in Cincinnati. The Reds will have him for two more seasons after this one, too. He’s not a free agent until after the 2023 campaign.

The Yankees signed Wilson as a free agent this winter and clearly regretted doing so. He was supposed to be a sturdy middle relief option, but instead, he’s either struggled or been hurt. The lefty tossed 18 innings of 7.50 ERA ball for the Bombers this year. He has a $2.3 million player option for next season.

Per Cot’s, Cessa is due $383,871 the rest of the season, which will reduce the Yankees’ luxury tax payroll accordingly. Wilson’s AAV is $2.575 million, though he’s due $1,041,936 of his $2.85 million salary the rest of this year according to Cot’s. If you take the same ratio of remaining salary to actual salary applied to his AAV, the Yankees will save something like $940,000 in luxury tax payroll here. So between the two dealt: something around $1.3 million in luxury tax payroll savings this season.

So, not huge savings, but it does create a little more room for the Yankees to improve the roster. We’ll see what’s to come by Friday’s deadline.

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DoTF: Seigler goes deep twice

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

The RailRiders came up short against Syracuse, 10-8 (box score). Down 6-0 after a rough start from Luis Gil, the offense tied it up in the fourth and took the lead in the sixth inning, but the bullpen coughed it up.

  • Starting pitcher: RHP Luis Gil: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 HBP — 26 of 54 pitches were strikes (48%)…Yikes, what a mess of a start. This follows his six no-hit innings last time out.
  • In relief: RHP Brian Keller: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K — 28 of 53 pitches were strikes (53%)
  • In relief: RHP Reggie McClain: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K — 21 of 43 pitches were strikes (49%)…Rare poor outing for McClain, who took the loss. He has a 1.43 ERA this season.
  • In relief: RHP Braden Bristo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K — 8 of 12 pitches were strikes (67%)
  • In relief: RHP Stephen Ridings: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K — 11 of 15 pitches were strikes (73%)
  • Hitting star: SS Andrew Velazquez: 3-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K, SB — Also made a nifty defensive play as you can see below
  • Multi-hit games: 3B Armando Alvarez (2-5, R, K) and SS Kyle Holder (3-3, R, 2 BB)
  • Leftovers: Every RailRider had a hit. DH Matt Pita went deep for the team’s only other extra base hit.

Double-A Somerset Patriots

Somerset topped Reading 5-4 in 10 innings (box score). Michael Beltre, who hit a two-run homer early in this one, hit the go-ahead RBI single in the 10th. Kevin Gadea escaped a bases loaded, no one out jam in the bottom half to hold on.

  • Starting pitcher: RHP Janson Junk: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR — 57 of 88 pitches were strikes (65%)…Only the second time he’s given up more than two runs in a game all season (1.78 ERA in 65.2 IP).
  • In relief: RHP Elvis Peguero: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K — 29 of 45 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • In relief: RHP Addison Russ: 2.1 IP 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K — 23 of 36 pitches were strikes (64%)
  • In relief: RHP Kevin Gadea: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K — 11 of 22 pitches were strikes (50%)…Walked the first two batters he faced. Keep in mind there was the extra inning rule in effect, too. Nice escape.
  • Hitting star: RF Michael Beltre: 3-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB — Has 12 homers and 20 steals in 270 plate appearances. Nice year for the 26 year-old.
  • Prospect watch: SS Oswald Peraza: 0-5, RBI — They can’t all be winners
  • Leftovers: Pretty quiet night for the offense aside from Beltre. 1B Dermis García, 2B Jesus Bastidas, and DH Aaron Palensky had the only other hits.

High-A Hudson Valley Renegades

After a 58 minute rain delay, the Renegades played a full nine against Wilmington and lost, 5-4 (box score). Not much to write home about in this one except for Anthony Seigler’s huge night.

  • Starting pitcher: RHP Jhony Brito: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K — 57 of 94 pitches were strikes (61%)
  • In relief: RHP Trevor Holloway: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K — 33 of 53 pitches were strikes (62%)
  • In relief: RHP Derek Craft: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 K — 15 of 18 pitches were strikes (83%)
  • Hitting star: C Anthony Seigler: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, K — Increased his slugging percentage from .355 to .406 just like that. Seigler’s been one of the few prospects not to have an offensive breakout this year, but good to see this performance. Home run videos below.
  • Prospect watch: 2B Anthony Volpe: 0-3, R, BB, K, SB — Josh Smith played shortstop tonight…Volpe made two errors, wonder if he’s just not too comfortable at the keystone.
  • Leftovers: RF Jake Sanford and LF Elijah Dunham had the only other hits for the Renegades. Dunham’s was a double. DH Josh Breaux walked twice.

Single-A Tampa Tarpons

The Tarpons’ game against Palm Beach was postponed. They’ll play a double-header tomorrow.

FCL Yankees

The rookie-level Yankees lost to the FCL Tigers, 12-8 (box score).

  • Starting pitcher: RHP Freicer Perez: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K — Left his last start early with a leg injury, thankfully it appears to have been minor. This was a rehab outing, by the way. I’d expect him in Hudson Valley eventually. He topped out in High-A when he was last healthy in 2018.
  • In relief: RHP Alfred Vega: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
  • In relief: RHP Yoljeldriz Diaz: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 0 K
  • In relief: RHP Jarod Lessar: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • In relief: LHP Brandom Sánchez: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER
  • Prospect watch: SS Alexander Vargas: 2-5, 2 R, K, SB — 19 year-old switch-hitter has a .324/.387/.441 slash line
  • Prospect watch: DH Antonio Gomez: 2-5, R, K — 19 year-old catcher is hitting .264/.400/.358
  • Homering: LF Madison Santos (1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K) and 3B Marcos Cabrera (2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, 1 K) — Santos is off to a fast start (1.220 OPS) after he struggled in Pulaski in 2019 (.658 OPS). He’s the Yankees’ 48th-best prospect, per FanGraphs. Cabrera is 30th.
  • Leftovers: CF Raimfer Salinas had two hits, a stolen base, and a caught stealing…only others to reach base cleanly were RF Jake Pries (HBP), C Agustin Ramirez (BB) and PH Hemmanuel Rosario (BB).

DSL Yankees

Yankees1 topped the Angels, 11-1 (box score). Yankees2 fell to the Pirates, 10-7 (box score).

Game 99: Phew

The Yankees beat Tampa Bay 4-3 tonight, but it was a lot closer than it needed to be. Like so many other games this year, the offense failed to capitalize on opportunity after opportunity. There were so many chances to bury the Rays tonight, but to no avail. Fortunately, a strong start by Jordan Montgomery and a good enough performance from the bullpen allowed the Yankees to hang on.

As ugly as this win was, it was also a relief. It’ll keep them at least within 3.5 games of out of a Wild Card spot, pending tonight’s Oakland game. That’s well within striking distance, as you know. Hey, maybe a trade addition or three would help, but what do I know. Might have helped make tonight’s game easier, at the very least. With that, let’s break down tonight’s game.

Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview: July 27-29

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I think we are officially at the point in the season where every game and every series is a must-win for the Yankees, and it doesn’t really matter who it’s against. They are 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot, so wins are imperative and the fact that the series is against a team that the Yankees are “chasing” is secondary; the should-be rival Tampa Bay Rays are 8 games ahead of New York and one back of Boston.  After a deflating series against the Red Sox, the Yankees are once again hoping for the tide to turn as they head to the Trop.

Yankees Trade Target: Trevor Story

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You know the drill, the Yankees need some help and they need it fast. A good option to start addressing those needs is no other than arguably the best position player available in the market right now. It’s Trevor Story-time!

Background & Performance

Story is a 28 year-old (turns 29 in November) shortstop, who has started there for the Colorado Rockies since his MLB debut in 2016, and with good reason. He is on the really short list of best shortstops in baseball ever since that year. How is he so good then? Let’s take a deeper look at him, shall we?

The right-handed hitting Story has a career .273/.339/.521 (110 wRC+) slash line, good for a .361 wOBA. In that time, he has accumulated a magnificent 24.2 bWAR value. That bWAR total represents a 5.43 bWAR per 650 PA (a proxy for full season), which is a value put up by no-doubt All-Stars every year.

Additionally, if we zoom in a little bit in his past 3 seasons — 2018, 2019, 2020 — we can see that he’s had WAR/650 PA values of 6.14, 6.94, and 6.53. That works out for a 6.54 WAR per season value, and that my friend is approaching upper-echelon level All-Stars now. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

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