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Yankees Trade Rumors and Gossip 8/17/15: Refsnyder's attitude, Jose Reyes, and Felix the Gardener

In this marquee edition of our rumor roundup, we digest the latest waiver wire rumors, consider gossip about Rob Refsnyder's attitude, and observe the severance of Felix the Gardener from the Yankees' front office.

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It’s been a while since we’ve done a rumor roundup, so I hope you’re ready, because boy do we have some rumoring and some gossiping to do. Can I interest you in divorce news? In scuttlebutt about clubhouse behaviors? In an Important Fact Update? There’s quite a bit to get to, but let’s begin with some waiver wire speculation.

  • Jose Reyes is the latest waiver wire trade candidate to be connected to the Yankees. The thirty-two-year-old shortstop is hitting .274/.309/.366 this year, good for an 82 wRC+, which is a tick above the 79 wRC+ Stephen Drew has managed. As Arun wrote previously, the the trade wouldn’t really make sense for the Yankees – Reyes costs a ton ($22 million a year through 2017) and wouldn’t have a position on the team. Didi Gregorius is the better player, and Reyes has essentially no major league experience at second base – only a quarter of a season there in 2004. Even if he had a track record at second, the Yankees seem reluctant to abandon the Stephen Drew/Brendan Ryan pairing they presently have.
  • We previously reported the Yankees had interest in Chase Utley, Martin Prado, and James Shields. Following up on these three: the Utley rumor seems to be dead in the water – it seems like either the Giants, the Angels, or the Cubs are likely to land him. Moving onto Martin Prado: the former Yankee utility hero isn’t having his best year – he’s currently the owner of a 84 wRC+, with a .316 OBP and 4 home runs – but he would be an upgrade over Drew at any rate, being both a more reliable hitter and more versatile and proficient in the field than Drew. But’s Joe Frisaro reports the Yankees would have to overpay to land Prado. Moreover, it’s unclear whether Prado has even made it through waivers. Finally, no update from last time regarding James Shields aside from the fact that Shields has now cleared waivers.
  • Might Rob Refsnyder be kept in the minors because of makeup/attitudinal issues? After all, it’s not necessarily true that Stephen Drew is the team’s "best option" (Cashman’s words). Refsnyder, who played four games for the major league side in July, is better offensively than Drew. He would be a downgrade defensively, but his bat would almost certainly be more valuable than Drew’s glove, especially down the stretch. So why isn’t he in the Yankees’ clubhouse? It’s the clubhouse itself that’s the issue, apparently – senior members of the team didn’t appreciate Refsnyder’s attitude and approach to the game. According to Mike Francesa (and others who have since corroborated the story), Refsnyder acted as if he were entitled to the position. Francesa also cited a source within the organization who said coaches found Refsnyder "uncoachable." If true, it’s certain this approach – what amounts to essentially de-seating the well-liked Drew, a veteran and by all accounts a good clubhouse guy – would not have gone down well with other veterans on the team. And, more generally speaking, nor does this mesh with the Yankees’ general ethos of comradeship and teamwork. Refsnyder’s comment upon being demoted – "I wasn't expecting this" – did strike me as being a little unusual at the time; it’s not often you hear players speaking out and disagreeing with an administrative decision (especially players on this team). I’m wary of reading anything into that, however – though those looking for fuel to fan the flames will raise this. As with any salacious gossip, if there’s any truth to the story we’ll almost certainly hear more over the next few weeks.
  • Important Fact Update: In today’s Important Fact Update, FanGraphs is reporting that Stephen Drew has hit 15 home runs this season. FanGraphs also cites sources which suggest Brian McCann has hit 20 home runs this season. According to numbers, this means Stephen Drew has equaled 75% of Brian McCann’s home run output. This has been today’s Important Fact Update.
  • Jessica Steinbrenner, daughter of George Steinbrenner, has divorced Felix the Gardener. Steinbrenner met Felix Lopez, her third husband, when her second husband hired him to serve as their landscaper. Ten years ago second husband was out and third husband was in, and now third husband is out and... God knows what is in. This is, of course, relevant to the Yankees, as the Steinbrenner daughters – both Jessica and sister Jennifer – have a habit of promoting their husbands to executive positions in the Yankees front office. Lopez, for instance, saw a rather inexplicable career trajectory from gardener to executive vice president. He was also given charge of player development in Latin America. His major achievements include single-handedly ensuring the Yankees lost out on Yoan Moncada, and claiming responsibility for the Dominican Republic winning the 2013 World Baseball Classic when his entire contribution was letting the Dominican team practice at the Yankees’ spring training ground. Let’s hope the next person Jessica Steinbrenner decides to elope with has some kind of baseball credential, lest we wake up one morning to find a barber has become general manager of the Yankees.
  • I know you’ve spent many sleepless nights wondering what Chase Headley’s pre-game ritual is. Well sleep softly evermore, dear reader: before each game, Chase watches motivational videos produced by team psychologist Chad Bohling. According to, "The videos [include] montages of some of [his] best moments spliced with rousing speeches or [his] favorite music." What are some of Chase’s best moments, exactly? And what would he consider a rousing speech? I’m thinking... footage of him making a clean throw to first base – a rare occurrence that is sure to get the blood pumping – spliced between the best lines from President Kennedy’s ‘We choose to go to the moon’ speech.
  • Luis Severino gave a deep and meaningful interview to the media pack before yesterday’s game, offering such revelations as, "I'm going to try to make my pitches," "I'm going to try to not miss my location," "the catcher gives me the sign," and "I am very excited."
  • ran an essential story titled "Golden retriever fetches bat at Trenton Thunder game" and, as the word ‘essential’ would imply, it is a must-read. Within, media-man Ryan Hatch has enclosed authentic footage of golden retriever Derby retrieving a bat. Hello Derby. You are slower at your job than a human would be, but you are orders of magnitude cuter than a human while doing it.