Category Archives: The Front Office

Yanks go to bargain basement again for another OF.

The Yankees went to the bargain basement again for another lefty-hitting OF. It really looks like unless they can dump salary in a trade, that this will be the way to go for a LF. Either internally via Hicks, Cabrera or Florial or by trying to get a bargain like McKinney, Calhoun, or this latest signing, Rafael Ortega, to a minor league deal.

Ortega, 31, has played for the Rockies (2012), Dodgers (2016), Marlins (2018), Braves (2019) and Cubs (2021-2022). In 364 MLB games he has hit .250 with an OPS+ of 88. He can play all 3 OF positions and his 162-game average is .250-9-45 with 18 SB. OPS+ 88. Last season in 118 games for the Cubs he hit .241-7-35 with 12 SB.

As I mentioned in a previous posting, the Yankees brought in Brian Sabean as an advisor to Brian Cashman. Great move. Sabean, along with Gene Michael, helped to build the Yankees dynasty (via the core 4 and Bernie) of 1996-2003. After going to SF, where he has been for the last 30 years, Sabean won 3 WS there. Great addition for the Yankees to bring him back.

Finally in this report, a passing to relay. Stefan Wever, who had one MLB game in his career, died at the age of 64. Wever’s only MLB game came in 1982 when he started and lost a game for the Yankees on Sept. 17, getting knocked out in the third inning after giving up 9 runs, 8 earned.


Cashman goes “dumpster diving” for two outfielders.

I don’t know how much up against a budget Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman is, but he did sign two outfielders yesterday on the cheap. Rumor are that the Yanks are around $290MM in payroll and that they don’t want to go over the next level of $293MM. So, before they’d get someone pricy, salary would have to be shed (Donaldson, Hicks).

With that in mind, and the Yanks still looking for a LF, preferably one that hits lefty, Cashman did some “dumpster diving”.

One was Billy McKinney, signed to a minor league contract and assigned to AAA. You may remember the name. McKinney was a Yankees prospect who began his MLB career with the Yanks but was traded after just two games. McKinney has played for the Yankees (2018), Blue Jays (2018-2020), Brewers (2021), Mets (2021), Dodgers (2021) and A’s (2022). So, he’s been around. In 263 MLB games, he has hit .206 and has an OPS+ of 78 (100 is average). He has played mostly RF in his career but has also put in time in LF and at 1B. McKinney made $700,000 last year. His 162-game average is .206-17-44. He is 28.

The other signing is a non-roster invite. Willie Calhoun, a former top prospect for Texas. Calhoun has played for the Rangers (2017-2022) and Giants (2022). Also 28, Calhoun hit 21 HR in only 83 games for Texas in 2019. Two HBP, one in 2020 and the other in 2021 have slowed down his career. The first broke his jaw, the second, his forearm. He is a .240 hitter for his career, with an OPS+ of 85. His 162-game average is .240-20-66. Calhoun has only played LF.

Both are long shots, and it seems that Calhoun has the better chance to stick. Offensively the edge would be with Calhoun, defensively, McKinney. Calhoun made $1.3MM last year.

Both low-cost, low-risk, signings. Both lefty-hitting OF. Good for a look-see. Hope to catch lightning in a bottle and get high reward (think Matt Carpenter last year).

LF option. David Peralta?

With Michael Brantley going back to Houston, another LF option is off the board.

Besides the LF options I wrote about before (Reynolds, Kepler, Varsho, McCarthy, even having Cabrera as full time LF (and please, no Hicks!)) I ran across a few other options. Some, like Tommy Pham or Andrew McCutchen, I disregard because the Yankees need a lefty or switch-hitter to balance out the lineup and Pham and McCutchen (who was briefly a Yankee before) don’t fit that qualification.

One name I didn’t mention before is David Peralta. He is a free agent, and a lefty bat that could help. Peralta is 35, a LF and a former Gold Glove winner. At 35, Peralta would not demand a long-term deal. Good. He made $7.5MM last year, so he wouldn’t be as expensive as Benintendi, who got $15MM/yr for five years from the White Sox, would have been.

While Peralta did hit 30 HR in 2018, that is an outlier. He has a 162-game average of .281-18-78 but given his age and what he has done in the past few seasons, .255-.260, 10-15 HR and about 55 to 65 RBI is what you can reasonably expect. If a lefty pitches, maybe that is the time to sit Peralta and play Stanton in LF. You don’t want Stanton in the OF often, but this could keep Stanton fresh.

I don’t know if Peralta could be an answer or if the Yanks have him on their radar. One thing is for sure. The free agent LF are coming off the board. If not Peralta, then a trade may have to be made. Apparently, it would take a lot to pry Reynolds away from Pittsburgh. I am not sold on Kepler from the Twins. What it would take to get say Varsho or McCarthy from Arizona, I don’t know.

But the Yanks should add Peralta to the mix of LF to target if they haven’t already. Think of him as a little older, and slightly less (not by much, the stats are very similar) version of Benintendi.

Cashman signs 4 year extension

I should have written this yesterday, but I’ve been on pins and needles as we all are, waiting for the big news regarding Aaron Judge. (Not only fingers crossed, but prayers too. I keep thinking of the kids like that one in Toronto that have their Judge shirts. What they want for Christmas is their favorite player, Judge, back in the Bronx!)

But in other news, Brian Cashman was re-upped as Yankees GM for four more years, through 2026. He’s been GM since 1998.

Trevino wins Platinum Glove.

Besides his Gold Glove for best defensive catcher in the league, Jose Trevino has won the Platinum Glove as best defender in the AL period.

One thing I read that worries me a bit. Justin Verlander apparently was quoted as saying that the Yankees are dinosaurs when it comes to free agency. That they are behind the curve. I guess he means that there are new methods to it and that the Yanks are stuck in the 1977 or 2009 times? I don’t know. But a disturbing read nonetheless.

Free agency begins. Some Yankees moves.

From Major League Baseball Trade Rumors.com

The Yankees announced they’ve selected pitchers Jhony Brito and Matt Krook onto the 40-man roster. New York also outrighted outfielder Tim Locastro off the roster, and the speedster elected minor league free agency upon clearing waivers.

Both Brito and Krook have played seven seasons in the minor leagues. That’d have given the right to elect free agency this evening if the Yankees didn’t place them on the 40-man roster. New York clearly values both enough to keep them from hitting the open market, with each player cracking a 40-man for the first time.

Brito, 25 in February, is a former amateur signee out of the Dominican Republic. He’s a quality strike-thrower, and Baseball America wrote this summer that he could develop into a back-of-the-rotation starter. The righty split this year between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, working to a 2.96 ERA through 112 2/3 combined innings. He only struck out 20% of opponents but had a tiny 7.7% walk rate.

Krook spent the whole year in Scranton, starting 22 of 29 appearances. The University of Oregon product, a fourth-round draftee back in 2016, pitched to a 4.09 ERA over 138 2/3 frames. He had a solid 25.7% strikeout percentage but walked an elevated 12.1% of batters faced. The left-hander is generally regarded by evaluators as a likely future reliever.

Locastro, a 30-year-old outfielder, has seen sporadic action for the Yankees in each of the last two seasons. He appeared in 38 games this year but worked mostly as a late-game entrant based on his speed and defense. Locastro hit .186/.239/.349 in 46 plate appearances this year and is a career .227/.325/.331 hitter. He spent most of the season in Scranton, putting up a .240/.332/.395 line over 47 games.

The Yankees announced that they have added right-hander Jimmy Cordero to their 40-man roster.

Cordero, 31, logged 83 innings of MLB action across the 2018-2020 time frame, putting up a 4.55 ERA in that time. Unfortunately, he required Tommy John surgery in March of 2021, wiping out that entire season. The White Sox outrighted him at the end of that campaign.

He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees for 2022 and was able to return to the mound by June. He eventually made 32 appearances for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In 38 2/3 innings, he posted a 2.09 ERA, along with a incredible 31.8% strikeout rate and 51.7% ground ball rate.

Based on that strong showing, he’s earned his way back onto a 40-man roster. He has one option year remaining, which will allow the Yankees to use him as an optionable depth arm in 2023. He has between two and three years of MLB service time, meaning they can keep him around for years to come if he continues to hang onto that roster spot.



Also (and not from MLBTR) the Yanks are reportedly interested in Masataka Yoshida from Japan, who I wrote about a few days ago. Lefty hitting OF. Good bat-to-ball contact. Think Benintendi with more power.

The Yanks offered the qualifying offer to Anthony Rizzo ($19.65MM). We will see if he accepts or wants a little more, like 2 years/$40MM.

To no surprise, Aaron Judge added the Silver Slugger award to his Hank Aaron Award. We wait for all-MLB and MVP awards.

News and Notes.

To no one’s surprise, Aaron Judge was named as one of the three finalists for the AL MVP award. He is considered the favorite to win the award. I still get ticked by people pushing for Alvarez (it’s a regular season award, people!) or Ohtani (the Angels finished 33 games back. So, you are telling me that without him they are 45 back? Whoopdie damn do.).

The Contemporary Baseball Committee will be looking at 8 ex-players for the HOF. Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling. Five of the eight would be controversial selections because of steroids and/or personality issues, despite in some cases 3000+ hits, 500+ HR, 300+ wins. I won’t get into that. We know about all that. That leaves McGriff, Mattingly and Murphy. I believe McGriff, who is tied on the all-time list with Lou Gehrig with 493 HR (and no steroids) should have already been put in. I’d love Mattingly, but Mattingly’s 1994-1989 pre-back injury (HOF quality) and 1990-1995 post-back injury numbers (merely above average) are drastically different. If Donnie could have only stayed healthy and put up numbers 1990-1995 that matched his 1984-1989 numbers, then he would be a more serious candidate. Murphy I am on the fence on. A back-to-back MVP (1982 and 1983) that like Maris (1960 and 1961) isn’t in the HOF. Maybe a few more HR (he had 398) or a higher average (.265) would have given him a better shot. Once he turned 32, he wasn’t the same player. A few more seasons at his peak would have given him a better chance.

The Yanks have not only players as free agents, but coaches too. Pitching coach Matt Blake is a free agent. (GM Brian Cashman is coming back but as of now is working pro bono. His contract expired October 31 and no new deal has been done yet). Assistant pitching coach Hensley Meulens is gone to be hitting coach for Colorado.

As expected, the Yanks picked up the team option for Luis Severino at $15MM for 2023. Anthony Rizzo opted out of his contract and is a free agent. Here are the Yankees’ free agents and my thoughts.

Andrew Benintendi. Yanks will make an offer to try to keep him.

Zack Britton. Interesting call. With Chapman departing, Yanks could use a lefty reliever, but Britton will be 35 next year and missed almost all of 2022 after a poor 2021 and TJ surgery. Pass. Use $ for Judge.

Matt Carpenter. A tough call. Turns 37 around Thanksgiving. If Stanton is DH most of the time, where does that leave Carpenter? I think it depends on if Judge stays or goes. If Judge stays, pass. If Judge goes, then the Yanks may look to sign Carpenter and Stanton and Carpenter could switch between RF and DH.

Miguel Castro. Pass. The Yanks could probably replace him with Weissert at a lower cost (save $ for Judge). They already have Trivino, Marinaccio, King, Holmes, as RH relievers, as well as Schmidt and German if Schmidt and German aren’t starters. And Stephen Ridings should be over his injury issues that cost him 2022.

Aroldis Chapman. Pass. Goodbye and Good Riddance for missing that mandatory workout before the ALDS.

Marwin Gonzalez. Pass. Only hit .185 in 2022. Since 2019, has only hit .198. Oswaldo Cabrera can fill his utility role for less money. 34 next year. Like Britton, pass, go with youth and less $$. Save $ for Judge.

Chad Green. Pass. Will miss most if not all of 2023 because of TJ surgery. Instead of paying him will need to throw that $ at Judge.

Aaron Judge. Obviously the #1 Yankees target and priority.

Anthony Rizzo. The Yanks will look to retain him.

Jameson Taillon. Questionable. Even if the Yanks get Judge back, is there enough money left to go after a Carlos Rodon (my choice)? Would they give a low in years but high in $$ deal to Verlander, DeGrom or Kershaw? Could go either way here.

Of course, getting rid of the salaries of Donaldson and Hicks would help. As of now, the Yanks think both have something left (excuse me while I get sick), but of course they aren’t going to say anything that diminishes whatever trade value they have.









Notes from Boone/Cashman press conference




Since I’ve been out on disability for a while, I was able to watch the Boone/Cashman press conference yesterday. Here are a few takes from it.

Since everything revolves around Aaron Judge, they would like a deal sooner rather than later. Nothing would be as bad as being scorned and then having no backups to fall back on. Cashman denied any friction with Judge from this spring’s negotiations.

Neither thinks a drastic retool is necessary. They think the Yankees would have been far more competitive in the ALCS vs. Houston if LeMahieu, Benintendi and Carpenter were healthy. I can agree there. Judging by their comments about Benintendi’s and Carpenter’s injuries, it appears that they will be reaching out to both of them to see if they can get both back.

One thing that concerned me was their defense of Josh Donaldson. Now if anyone were on the trading block, neither Boone nor Cashman would be tipping their hand on that. But to state that Donaldson, 37 next month, underachieved offensively but still has something in the tank goes against everything we saw this year. He looked cooked. But with Donaldson’s contract being horrible, I guess they have to hope. They did think Donaldson deserved to be among the three Gold Glove finalists at 3B, though.

SS appears to be a competition next spring training. IKF could still be there but will be pushed by Peraza and possibly Volpe. Oswaldo Cabrera figures in here too. Peraza was described as impressive in his short 18 game stint at the end of the season. Other terms used for him was that he needed to improve and develop last year (done) hence not an earlier callup. Jack Curry, on the YES network, mentioned that IKF was a polarizing figure to the Yankees fanbase much as Sanchez was. Boone and Cashman were defending IKF at the presser, stating that IKF (as a bridge) did everything that was expected from him.

They would like Anthony Rizzo back. Rizzo will opt out of his $16MM deal, but the question is will he accept a qualifying offer of $19.65MM or go for more? Or accept more years at less than the qualifying offer? (2 yr/$18MM per). But the Yanks hope to work something out with him.

To no surprise, the Yanks WILL pick up Severino’s $15MM team option. One more rotation piece could be in play. It could be retaining Taillon (a free agent) or going elsewhere. After the front three of Cole, Cortes and Severino, there still is Schmidt, Montas and German even if Taillon goes, but you know what they say…. you NEVER have enough pitching.

The feeling is that Stanton was playing through something at the end of the year. I feel the same way. His batting average after June 1 was Gallo-like.

Cashman’s contract actually expired October 1. He wants to return, and Hal wants him back, so it is like Cashman is working pro bono as of now. But you figure something will be worked out soon there.

I wrote down notes haphazardly while the conferences were going on, but there is a quick synopsis for you.

UPDATE: One thing I didn’t like: From the NY Post: In other bits of info from Cashman’s press conference, he said he wouldn’t discuss trading players but noted that outfielder Aaron Hicks would be back and that the team felt he still had something to offer. Really? Ugh. But then, if he is on the market, they don’t want to say anything hurting Hicks’ trade value (which is probably low enough already).

Other things I came across:

A sad state of affairs. Graig Nettles states that the Yanks stopped inviting him to Old-Timer’s games and events some five years ago and he doesn’t know why. It’s a shame. Nettles should have a plaque in Monument Park (#9 is already retired for Roger Maris and I don’t think Nettles deserves that honor, but a plaque? Definitely). Apparently, someone in the front office has it in for Nettles, but who?

One tweet on Twitter accuses the Yanks of being more of a corporation than anything else, including a baseball organization. Looking at how they have the YES network, are involved with an Italian soccer team, have the Pinstripe Bowl, were in negotiations to play regular season games in France (and remember they played in England recently, also Japan) I have to wonder if that person is correct, and if so, that could be a scary thing. After all, I remember the CBS years, where the Yanks were not the priority of a corporation, but just part of it. You would like it to be 100% baseball. Does this explain the fan base’s exasperation with the owner and the front office? Or some of the postseason failures of recent times? After all, Hal is more corporate than the old man was as far as divesting his interests (or so it appears). And the last time the Yanks won, or even went to the WS, the old man was still alive (although much diminished in capacity). Hal’s track record does seem more corporate and bottom line than baseball oriented, and is that a problem and a cause of the postseason disappointments?

Finally, another Japanese player few have heard of to keep an eye on. Yesterday I mentioned RHP Koudai Senga.

Now, Masataka Yoshida. If the Yanks are not able to bring back Benintendi, Yoshida has many of the same skill sets as Benintendi. He is a lefty hitter. He turns 30 next July. He hit .336 with 21 HR and 89 RBI in Japan this season. His power would probably drop in the USA but then again, Benintendi only had five HR this season. Like Benintendi, a contact hitter. Benintendi had 52 walks and 77 strikeouts while hitting .304. Yoshida had 82 walks and only 42 strikeouts. Yoshida has hit .326 in Japan and has 427 walks to 307 strikeouts. He has had four seasons of 20 or more HR (which would be what here? 12-15?). If you take Yoshida’s career stats in Japan and divide by five, his average season in Japan comes out to something like .326-27-95 over 156 games. Taking into account the tougher MLB competition, could he hit .280-15-70 here? Be Benintendi-like for a cheaper price? Be a backup consideration if the Yanks can’t sign Benintendi? Just throwing his name out here because until recently, I hadn’t heard of Yoshida (or Senga) either. But most of us haven’t heard of these Japanese stars who could be MLB-bound. So just passing his name out there and informing you (and me).

Baseball Thoughts.

Game 3 of the WS was postponed last night and will be played tonight, weather permitting. The series is tied at a game apiece.

So, a few thoughts in the meantime.

First off, I won’t post anything regarding free agency until it happens or there is a great certainty that it will happen. Reading all this conjecture about Aaron Judge going to SF, the Dodgers, staying with the Yankees, is all bullshit. When you read predictions about who is going where and for how much each year, what percentage of those predictions is actually accurate? Answer: Not many. So, until something happens, I will do my best not to spread unfounded rumors.

Justin Turner of the Dodgers won the Roberto Clemente Award for community service. The Yankees’ nominee was Jose Trevino.

A couple of managerial decisions have been made, with the biggest surprise probably being Bruce Bochy (3 WS rings, future HOF) coming out of retirement to manage Texas.

The Yanks will be keeping Aaron Boone as manager, and most likely Brain Cashman as GM as well. I think the retention of Cashman (and by retaining him, he’d retain Boone) is tied into the Judge situation. You don’t want a novice GM trying to work out the details of trying to re-sign Judge, whose contract could be not only very expensive, but also very involved and intricate.

Reports are that Boone & Cashman will return.

Remember in the Godfather series that Tom, the character played by Robert Duvall, was an adopted son who was the Corleone family’s consigliore? As long as he didn’t go against the family (like Fredo) … he was in.

It seems like Brian Cashman is the Steinbrenner family’s “Tom”. Despite a long track record of playoff appearances but no WS appearances (can’t take the next step), it appears as if Cashman will be back. As for Aaron Boone, Hal Steinbrenner has indicated he will be returning also. Boone just finished the first year of a three-year extension.

We will see what kind of changes happen this offseason. What kind of changes there are start with whether Aaron Judge will be back or not.

But organizational changes? The way of thinking? Structure and organization? Things not reliant on whether a player stays or leaves? That doesn’t seem to be changing, and that is a problem. After an embarrassing sweep by Houston, in which the Yanks didn’t look competitive (and they didn’t look competitive all year vs Houston), you keep things the same? Ugh. You can look at other years in which the Yanks were swept. Some that come to mind are 1922, 1963, 1976, 2012 and how they looked outclassed in each one. In some (1922, 1976) the Yanks rebounded to win the WS the next year. In others, it was a sign of an aging, deteriorating team (1963, 2012) that soon wouldn’t make the postseason at all.

The Yanks have to look at which way they are going. Two Yankees’ legends, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, differed in their opinions. Rivera thought Boone should be let go. Jeter was happy Boone was returning. Of course, maybe Derek was just being nice. But then, Jeter never fired a manager, retaining Donnie Baseball during his whole tenure as Marlins’ CEO.

It has been written that if Boone were let go, other teams would jump at him. True. He has led all five of his teams to the postseason. But it seems that he is only the third best manager in his own division, maybe even worse than that. The postseason is a different breed than the regular season, and Boone’s postseason decisions have been questionable.

The Yanks started 2022 61-23. They finished 38-40, then were 3-6 in the postseason. So, after 61-23, including the postseason, they went 41-46. Under .500. Not for a month. But for 87 games. That is not a blip on the radar. That is the sign of a deeper problem.

Which makes people wary about the retention of Cashman and Boone. The gap between the Yanks and Houston has widened, but it appears that cosmetic, and not major (of course, if Judge departs, that would be major change) changes would occur because of retention. It also appears that Hal doesn’t want to take any risks necessary to make the Yanks better. We’ve known that he is more of a bottom-line kind of guy. Does he have the gravitas to go outside the box?

We are spoiled as Yankees fans, I admit that. Other teams would be happy with making the postseason some 90% of the time over the last twenty years with a WS title. Maybe Hal is content with just having a good team. We want titles.

But as mentioned on Michael Kay’s show, the Dodgers spend a lot but since 1988 have ONE title, and that was in the Covid-shortened 60-game season of 2020. 111 wins this year meant nothing to them. The postseason has become a crapshoot tournament, watered down by MLB.

One thing the Yanks can do is to cut BACK on the analytics. Paralysis by analysis, as was also said on Michael Kay’s show. Some is good, but is there too much? Based on some decisions made, yes. Go by what you see. Go by your experience and your gut. You are overanalyzing.

But this retention reeks of same old, same old. And we know what Einstein said about doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

One last note: A couple players declared free agency, but these were the AAAA types at SWB like Ron Guzman, Josh Bard, Tyler Wade and Jacob Barnes.

UPDATE: and whoever it was that came up with the bright idea of showing 2004 Red Sox clips to “motivate” the Yanks into coming back from an 0-3 hole needs to be fired. Members of that 2004 team were disgusted and sickened (like Jeter).