Gardner back; Classless Cora; RIP Willie McCovey, Hall of Famer.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks will have Brett Gardner back in 2019, and it was a good move in how they are bringing him back.

The Yanks declined his $12.5MM contract, buying him out at $2.5MM. They then turned around and brought him back for 2019 at $7MM, saving $3MM in the process.

A good move on both ends. Gardner remains with the only MLB team he has ever been with, the Yankees. The Yankees don’t have to pay as much next year for a 35 year old coming off a bad season (.236-12-45, 16 SB, OPS+ just 86, 14% BELOW league average). Not only that, in the final couple of months, Gardner lost his job to Andrew McCutchen, expected to sign elsewhere as a free agent.

If Gardner can revert back to form in 2019, a good deal for the Yanks. Cost-effective production. If not, it is a 1-year deal, and the Yanks could trade or cut Gardner mid-2019, it won’t cost too much to do, and maybe Clint Frazier or Jacoby Ellsbury can do something in place of Gardner. Of course, both Frazier (concussion) and Ellsbury (various incidents inc. hip surgery) are question marks right now.

(Updated 11/4: I can see a platoon of Gardner/Frazier in LF if Frazier is healthy, and perhaps Frazier takes over. As for Ellsbury, who knows? At 35, Gardner’s playing time will probably be, and would have to be, reduced. Gardner hit .260 up until July 9, .206 thereafter.)

Alex Cora, manager of the WS Champion Red Sox, proved he has absolutely NO class. In the postseason celebration today, he said something that even if I were a Red Sox fan, I would be quite upset about it if I had a young child with me at that celebration. I won’t repeat it. He mentioned about how the Red Sox scored 16 runs in Game 3 of the ALDS and used a profanity afterward. No class. Hey Alex, congratulations on winning 108 and then the WS. Need I remind you that you were a great manager this year (I don’t know about the future) but that you were NOT that great a player? Really, I wonder how you lasted 14 years in the majors with a 162 G. average of .243-4-36, OPS+ 72 (28% below league average), and in only 5 of those 14 years did you play in 100 or more games. Pick up a lot of splinters in your ass while riding the pine? Anyway, can you imagine someone like Joe McCarthy or Joe Torre using those words to denigrate an opponent? And you wonder why the world is like it is in a lot of ways today. NO CLASS CORA.

Hall of Famer Willie McCovey died today at the age of 80. With two out and men on second and third in the bottom of the ninth of game 7 of the 1962 WS, McCovey scorched a liner right at Yankee 2B Bobby Richardson to end the game. If that ball were hit six feet to either side of Richardson, the Giants win the game 2-1 instead of the Yanks winning 1-0. Especially since the runner on second was Willie Mays. It was the last title of the Yanks’ great dynasty era. They lost the WS in 1963 and 1964 then the dynasty collapsed in 1965.

McCovey hit 521 HR in his career, the same total as Ted Williams and Frank Thomas. He won the ROY award in 1959,  when despite playing in just 52 games, he hit .354-13-38.

In his very first MLB game, he went 4 for 4 (single, triple, single, triple) against HOF pitcher Robin Roberts in 1959.

McCovey played in 4 decades, 1959-1980. SF Giants, 1959-1973, San Diego Padres 1974-1976, and back with the Giants 1977-1980.

He won the 1969 MVP Award, hitting .320-45-126, OPS+ 209 that year, leading the NL in HR, RBI, and the majors in OBP, SA, OPS, OPS+ and intentional walks. The runnerup for MVP that year was Tom Seaver of the Amazin’ Mets.

Three other times he finished Top 10 for MVP, inc. 3rd in 1968, when he also led the NL in HR and RBI.

He led the NL in HR 3X. RBI 2X. The majors in walks, once. He hit 2 HR in the 1969 All Star Game.

He was a 6x All-Star. He hit 18 grand slams.

McCovey Cove, the bay behind the RF wall at the Giants new ballpark, is named for him.

He played in 2 postseasons, the 1962 WS and the 1971 NLCS. In 8 games, he hit .310-3-7.

He was the 1977 Comeback POY at the age of 39.

Mostly a 1B, he did play some LF in his career.

His 162 g. average was .270-33-97, OPS+ 147.

After a rough 2018 in which he only hit .212-7-23, OPS+ just 79 in 63 games for Houston in 63 games, the Astros declined the option on Ex-Yankee Brian McCann. McCann did win a WS ring with them in 2017 when he hit .241-18-62 in 97 games, OPS+ 106. While with the Yanks 2014-2016, he was average. Had some pop, averaging 23 HR and 76 RBI / yr, but the shift killed him, as he only averaged a .235 batting average.

It appears his future (he turns 35 next year) is as a backup.

 

 

 

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