Category Archives: Scandal

Beltre, one of the greatest 3B ever, retires.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Adrian Beltre announced his retirement from baseball today, and will most likely be a first ballot HOF in 2024.

Beltre, listed on baseball-reference.com as the 4th greatest 3B ever (behind Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews and Wade Boggs, and ahead of George Brett, Chipper Jones, Ron Santo and Brooks Robinson) finishes his career with 3166 hits (16th on the all-time list) and 477 HR (30th). He was a 4x All-Star, 5x Gold Glove, 4x Silver Slugger, and 2x Platinum Glove winner. Six times he finished in the top 10 for MVP voting, including a runnerup finish in 2004 and a 3rd place finish in 2012. He played for the Dodgers 1998-2004, Seattle 2005-2009, Boston 2010, and Texas 2011-2018. My guess is he goes into the HOF as a Ranger. His 162 game average was .286-26-94, OPS+ 116. In 28 postseason games, he hit .261-5-11.

A passing. Ken Howell, who pitched in the majors from 1984-1990, passed away November 9 at the age of 57. He pitched for the Dodgers 1984-1988 and the Phillies 1989-1990. His best season was in 1989 for the Phils, when he went 12-12, 3.44, ERA+ 103. He went 38-48, 3.95, ERA+ 92 in his MLB career, 162 game average 9-11, 3.95, ERA+ 92. He got into one postseason game with the Dodgers in 1985 against the Cardinals in the NLCS.

I’ve seen some news about the Yankees and Manny Machado that make me laugh and want to shake my head.

First off, Reggie Jackson is raising some concerns about the statements Machado made that he isn’t “Johnny Hustle”. Now I do agree that Reggie has the right to question Machado’s remarks, and mentioned that a lack of hustle wouldn’t play in NY. But lest we forget June 18, 1977, when REGGIE’S lack of hustle after a bloop single made Billy Martin pull him from a game in Fenway and which almost caused a brawl between Billy and Reggie in the dugout? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Also, A-Rod apparently is calling Machado a “fine young man.” So a guy who was suspended from baseball for an entire year due to steroid usage is being a character witness for Machado? (Shaking my head).

 

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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.

 

 

 

WS Game 3. Muncy’s walkoff HR wins it for LA in 18th, 3-2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

In a game that ended around 3:30 AM Eastern Time, the Dodgers won the longest WS game in history, 3-2 in 18 innings, on a Max Muncy walkoff HR off of Nathan Eovaldi to avoid an 0-3 deficit in games. Boston leads two games to one.

With the game going so long, teams will have to decide who starts Game 4 (see below), and players could be exhausted. Eovaldi threw 97 pitches of relief in Game 3.

Joc Pederson homered for the Dodgers in the third to put them up 1-0.

In the sixth, Manny Machado hit what he thought was a HR, showboated, and wound up with a long single instead of a double. So far this postseason, there is a lot NOT to like about a team potentially signing him as a free agent. So much talent, too many headaches. If the Yanks sign him, could they be getting another A-Rod, another person with so much talent and so many headaches?

Funny how Manny adores A-Rod, A-Rod is pushing for Machado and A-Rod despite his TV connections, is still a Yankees’ advisor. You wonder if A-Rod will bring Machado, and all his talent, but also all his problems, to the Bronx.

A-Rod redux. And just like A-Rod, a guy who wants to play one position, but is forced into another (although, with Didi’s injury, Machado may get to play the position he desires, at least temporarily, but then what? Where does Andujar go if Machado does wind up a Yankee?)

Dodgers’ starter Walker Buehler was brilliant.

But in the bottom of the eighth, Jackie Bradley tied it with a HR off of Kenley Jansen.

Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers pulled a rock, getting picked off of first in the bottom of the ninth. In the top of the tenth, he made up for it by throwing out a runner at the plate for an inning-ending DP.

Boston scored in the top of the 13th, but left the bases loaded. LA came back to tie it up with two out in the bottom of the 13th on an error, setting the stage for Muncy’s walkoff HR in the bottom of the 18th. Muncy had just missed winning it with a walkoff HR in the bottom of the 15th, as his long drive was just foul.

Wood the winner, Eovaldi the loser. As the NY Post’s Joel Sherman reports, the Dodgers didn’t use Rich Hill, and have him to start Game 4, but Boston used Price in relief, used up Eovaldi, and didn’t even use Drew Pomeranz who now may be forced to start Game 4. Who starts?

The Hank Aaron awards for league’s best hitters went to Christian Yelich of the Brewers and Boston’s J.D. Martinez.

And if you want a good chuckle, agent Scott Bora$$ says that Jacoby Ellsbury will be ready to go for the Yanks in 2019 spring training. What else did you expect Bora$$ to say? The guy is great at fleecing owners.

Dodgers go 1 up, Boston 2 up in LCS’s. Didi has successful surgery; Machado

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Dodgers went up 3 games to 2 over Milwaukee and are one game away from returning to the WS with a 5-2 win yesterday in Game 5 on the NLCS. Clayton Kershaw, who has had postseason trouble in the past, pitched like the ace he usually is.

Boston took a 3 games to 1 lead over defending WS champ Houston in the ALCS, beating them 8-6 Wednesday night. Jackie Bradley, who hit a grand slam in Game 3, hit a 2-run HR in Game 4. Closer Craig Kimbrel has been shaky this postseason, but with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth, LF Andrew Benintendi made a diving catch to save the game for Boston. If the ball drops and gets past him, Houston at least ties, and probably wins, the game. Also, fans interfered earlier with a ball that went for an out instead of a HR, and that too, cost Houston. Was the call correct? Who knows, but there is a good article by Joel Sherman in the NY Post today criticizing MLB for continuing to use overweight, 66-yr. old umpires as the OF umps down the line.

Didi Gregorius of the Yankees had successful Tommy John surgery on his right (throwing) elbow. Once again, he’s expected to miss at least half of the 2019 season.

Meanwhile, one possible replacement for Didi, Manny Machado, isn’t helping his free agent cause. As talented as Machado is, his lack of hustle and sometimes dirty play is turning a lot of people off.

In an interview on the Michael Kay show, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman states that teams have inquired about Gary Sanchez, but that Sanchez is unavailable, even after his disappointing 2018 season.

 

Boston goes up 2-1 in ALCS, Dodgers even NLCS at 2 each.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

I was working a lot of OT, so I didn’t see much of either game, but…

in the ALCS, how to piss a game away. 3-2 Boston, top of the eighth, and Roberto Osuna comes in to pitch for Houston. He gets two outs but also gives up two singles. He gets two strikes on the next batter. One strike away from getting out of the inning and keeping his team in the game. He hits the batter to load the bases. He gets two strikes on the next guy and hits him too, forcing in a run. Then he gives up a grand slam. Boston’s good enough without having games handed to them like that.

For Osuna, maybe some karma due to his domestic violence issue earlier this year.

The deciding run in the game? A HR by Steve Pearce, a guy one writer said wasn’t worth the Yankees calling up from SWB a few years ago. Um, ….

In the NLCS, the Dodgers got a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 13th to even the series up at 2 games apiece, 2-1.

Game 112. Yanks edge Chisox in 13, 4-3. Yanks pitchers strike out 20.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Sonny Gray pitched three scoreless innings of relief and got the win as the Yanks (70-42) edged the Chicago White Sox 4-3 in 13 innings Tuesday night.

Yankees’ pitchers combined for 20 strikeouts in the game.

CC Sabathia turned the clock back some ten years by striking out 12 in 5 2/3 innings, but left trailing 1-0, having given up a run in the third.

The Yanks didn’t get a hit until the sixth. In the sixth, they had runners on first and third with no one out but didn’t score.

The Yanks tied the game in the seventh when Miguel Andujar hit his 15th HR of the season.

In the top of the tenth, Giancarlo Stanton hit a 2-run HR (26) to put the Yanks up 3-1, but with two out in the bottom of the tenth, Zach Britton gave up a 2-run HR to Jose Abreu that tied the game.

In the top of the 13th, Didi walked with one out. After Torres struck out, Voit singled Didi to second and Andujar singled him in, 4-3 Yanks, the final score.

For the second straight night, a Yankee batter was robbed of a HR by Adam Engel. This time Kyle Higashioka was robbed.

Stanton 2 hits, HR, 2 RBI
Andujar 3 hits, 2 RBI

Sabathia 5 2/3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 W, 12 K.  3.49
Green 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K  2.75
Robertson 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  3.35
Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K.  2.30
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.  3.57
Britton (BS, 2) 1 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR.  3.98 (Balt/NYY). Threw 2 WP, 1 HBP
Gray (W, 9-8, 5.40) 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 H, 4 K.

In other news:

Jacoby Ellsbury needed hip surgery this week. 6 month recovery time. Out all year.

Clint Frazier not happy at some comments Michael Kay made about Frazier’s stint on the DL re: concussion issues.

Ex-MLB player (and a former Yankee) Esteban Loaiza will get years in jail for running a drug ring. From the NY Post (edited):

Former Yankees pitcher Esteban Loaiza is expected to change his plea later this week in a felony cocaine distribution case, according to a report.

Loaiza — who was arrested in February in San Diego after authorities said they found 44 pounds of cocaine in a van parked in the garage of a rented townhouse — has a “change of plea” hearing listed in Southern California US District Court on Friday, WLS-TV reports.

The Tijuana-born Loaiza, 46, initially pleaded not guilty in February. A change of plea hearing results in a defendant submitting a guilty plea in “99 percent” of all criminal cases, according to the station’s legal analyst Gil Soffer, a former federal prosecutor.

…..

Federal investigators have said they believe Loaiza used the rented townhome as an intermediate destination for cocaine. Prior to his arrest, during which Loaiza was pulled over for a traffic violation and cops found a sophisticated compartment to hide contraband in his Mercedes-Benz, the former MLB star had crossed the Mexican border earlier that day, prosecutors said.

Authorities later obtained a search warrant for Loaiza’s rented home in Imperial Beach, where investigators said they found 44 pounds of cocaine stored less than 1,000 feet from an elementary school.

Loaiza, who posted bail in May, faces a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence and up to life in prison if convicted, according to the station.

Loaiza pitched for nine teams throughout his 14-season career, including the Yankees, Dodgers, White Sox and Pirates. He retired in 2008 with a 126-114 record and a 4.65 career ERA. He was a two-time All-Star and the second-winningest Mexican pitcher in MLB history, second only to Fernando Valenzuela. In 2003, he finished second in the American League Cy Young voting and started the All-Star Game.

Game 106. Gray exasperates again, Yanks suffer bad 7-5 loss to O’s.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The way Sonny Gray pitched today, and the way Lance Lynn pitched in relief of Gray, the Yankees really have to consider pulling Gray from the rotation, placing him in the bullpen, using him as a mop up man, and replacing him with Lynn.

For today was completely unacceptable. You get knocked out of the box in the third inning by the worst team in baseball. A team 33-75, who has traded away some of their better players, and a team that resembles a AAA squad.

The Yanks (68-38) fell 5 1/2 games behind Boston with a 7-5 loss Wednesday afternoon. The Yanks are 6-6 against Baltimore. Boston has done to Baltimore what teams should do to Baltimore, going 10-2 against them. There is a 4 game swing out of the 5 1/2 right there. It is unacceptable that the Yanks are just 6-6 vs. the Orioles. Right there is costing the Yanks the division.

Gray took the wind right out of the Yanks sails right away, giving up five runs in the second inning. Gleyber Torres got his first of two homers for the day in the bottom of the second to make it 5-1, but made two lackadaisical plays in the field. 3B Coach Phil Nevin had some words for various Yankees in the dugout during a rain delay in the third inning. I guess some were directed at Gleyber.

Gray gave up two more runs in the top of the third to put the Yanks behind 7-1 to the worst team in baseball, a team with a .306 winning percentage. (That means 50-112 over 162). Gray was booed, and it looks like he’ll be booed out of NY if it isn’t happening already. Unacceptable. Yankees’ fans have a right to be pissed off at going just 6-6 against Baltimore and for Gray to be knocked out in the third inning against this team.

Lynn pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, and the bullpen pitched 6 1/3 scoreless total, but the crater-sized hole Gray put the team into was too much to overcome.

In the second, after Torres had hit that HR, the Yanks loaded the bases with two out but Stanton struck out.

In the fourth, the Yanks put two men on, both via error, but Shane Robinson GIDP.

In the eighth, Hicks singled and Torres walked. Bird walked to load the bases and Andujar singled in a run to make it 7-2. The bases were loaded with no one out but Romine struck out and Walker GIDP.

With two out in the ninth, Didi Gregorius singled and Hicks walked. Gleyber Torres hit his 2nd HR of the game, #17 on the season, to make it 7-5 but then Greg Bird popped up to end the game.

Didi 3 hits
Torres 2 HR, 4 RBI (but a couple of lapses in the field)
Andujar 2 hits, RBI

Gray (L, 8-8, 5.56) 2 2/3 IP, 7 R, 8 H, 2 W, 3 k. Gave up 1 HR.
Lynn 4 1/3 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 0 W, 5 K. 4.89 (Minn/NYY)
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  2.68
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.  2.06

The Yanks signed 16 yr. old SS Alexander Vargas to a deal, using $2.5MM international bonus money.