Category Archives: The Front Office

Less than a week to go before the HOF announcement…

Yankee Stadium Frieze

With less than a week to go before the HOF announcement, Derek Jeter is still running at 100% with 37.4% of the votes known.

Larry Walker is at 85.1%
Curt Schilling 79.9%
Barry Bonds 75.3%
Roger Clemens 74.0%

You need 75%.

But the unknown votes that haven’t come in yet, and the votes that remain anonymous usually drop people by as much as 10%, thus Jeter and Walker could be the only two getting in, and even Walker could be on the bubble.

Will Jeter join Mariano Rivera at 100%?

Others: Despite hitting over 400 HR each, Adam Dunn and Alfonso Soriano have no votes. Jason Giambi has one, as does Paul Konerko.

LHP Cliff Lee has only one. It looks like these players, among others, will drop off the ballot.

You need 5% to stay on the ballot.

Some Notables: Bobby Abreu 7.1%, Andy Pettitte 12.3%, Sammy Sosa 18.2%, Andruw Jones 27.9%, Manny Ramirez 35.7%, Gary Sheffield 39.6%, Scott Rolen 50.6% …..

For the whole list:     http://www.bbhoftracker.com/


CC Sabathia has been hired by the Yankees as a special advisor. Don’t know about him in the booth, however, as rumors are he doesn’t get along with Michael Kay.


So Alex Cora and the Red Sox have parted ways. Nice way of saying he resigned before he got fired or suspended. I’m waiting to see what the suspension will be like. After all, he was involved in BOTH places—at Houston, who just got hammered, and Boston, whose investigation is still ongoing. I think his punishment will be quite severe.

MLB hammers Astros; Cora and Red Sox next.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Worked OT, and am watching the College Football National Championship game, so I’ll do a lot of cut and pasting here.

From MLB.com (edited) Bold is from me :

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were each suspended without pay for the 2020 season by Major League Baseball, which on Monday released the findings from its investigation of Houston’s sign-stealing allegations.

Approximately one hour after the penalties were issued, Astros owner Jim Crane announced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park in Houston that Luhnow and Hinch had both been dismissed by the organization.

As part of the penalties, Houston also forfeits its first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts. In addition, the Astros were fined $5 million, which is the highest allowable fine under the Major League Constitution.

Former Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman, who was dismissed by the club in October after he made offensive and insensitive comments directed at a group of female reporters at the conclusion of the American League Championship Series on Oct. 19, 2019, was also suspended for one year for his inappropriate conduct in the clubhouse. Taubman “shall be ineligible to perform services on behalf of any Major League club, either as an employee or independent contractor.”

The suspensions of Luhnow and Hinch are to begin immediately, ending on the day following the completion of the 2020 World Series. Taubman, who is currently not employed by a Major League club, will be eligible to apply for reinstatement at that same end time as well.

Should either Luhnow or Hinch be found to engage in “any future material violations” of Major League rules, the offender will be placed on the permanently ineligible list.

The report says the illegal sign-stealing was mostly player-driven, but it states that former bench coach Alex Cora, who is now the manager of the Red Sox, was involved in setting it up. Cora was not disciplined as part of this investigation, but the report states that he could face penalties at the conclusion of the ongoing investigation into allegations of illegal sign-stealing by the Red Sox during the 2018 season.

There were no penalties given to any Astros players as part of the investigation, though Mets manager Carlos Beltrán — who was a DH/outfielder on the 2017 Astros — was mentioned in the report as one of the players involved in the illegal sign-stealing. In explaining why no players would face any discipline, Commissioner Manfred wrote the following:

“Assessing discipline of players for this type of conduct is both difficult and impractical. It is difficult, because virtually all of the Astros’ players had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme, and I am not in a position based on the investigative record to determine with any degree of certainty every player who should be held accountable, or their relative degree of culpability.

“It is impractical given the large number of players involved, and the fact that many of those players now play for other clubs.”

Now the Astros need to find a new GM and manager. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that Astros bench coach Joe Espada (a one-time Yankees coach) is the favorite to become interim manager

As for Cora and Boston, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.  They may need a new manager soon as well.

Once again, from MLB.Com, once again, edited :

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was named by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred as a primary participant in the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme of 2017 and may face future discipline for his role upon the completion of an ongoing investigation into a similar scheme allegedly used by the Red Sox during Boston’s World Series championship season of 2018.

The Red Sox organization also could receive penalties when that investigation is concluded.

“Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs,” wrote Manfred. “Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct. I will withhold determining the appropriate level of discipline for Cora until after the [Department of Investigations] completes its investigation of the allegations that the Red Sox engaged in impermissible electronic sign stealing in 2018 while Cora was the manager.”

The two teams hurt the most are the Yankees, who lost the ALCS to Houston in a series where the home team won every game, and the Dodgers, who lost the WS to Houston in 2017 and to Boston in 2018. 

One last thing: with Hinch out, don’t be surprised if Aaron Boone is now the manager of the 2020 AL All-Star team.

 

Yanks settle with all arbitration eligible players.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From MLBTR.com:

The Yankees have worked out deals with all of their eligible players. The team has a hefty $8.5MM pact with Aaron Judge, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Backstop Gary Sanchez settled for $5MM, per Feinsand (via Twitter). The New York org will pay righty Luis Cessa $895K and Jonathan Holder $750K, Murray reports (Twitter links). Fellow reliever Tommy Kahnle will earn $2.65MM, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). And star lefty James Paxton has settled at $12.5MM, Heyman adds via Twitter. Chad Green and Jordan Montgomery have also agreed to terms, but the prices aren’t known.

The luxury tax; the logo; one more year?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From MLBTR.com:

The luxury tax bills for the Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees – the three teams that exceeded the $206MM threshold in 2019 – are now public knowledge. The Red Sox owe $13.4MM, the Cubs will pay $7.6MM and the Yankees must surrender $6.7MM, according to Ronald Blum of The Associated Press. As far as actual payrolls go, Boston checked in at $228MM, the Yankees put a $226MM roster on the field and the Cubs spent $220MM, Blum notes.

Neither the Red Sox nor the Cubs made the playoffs in 2019 despite their elite-level spending, while the Yankees lost to the Astros in the ALCS. Now, with the exception of the Yankees (who’ve already made history this offseason with the nine-year, $324MM contract they awarded right-hander Gerrit Cole), those clubs look as if they’re in salary-cutting mode. The tax limit will climb to $208MM next season, and the Yankees will blow past it in the wake of the Cole signing. Moreover, there’s a decent chance the Yankees will outspend the $208MM mark by $40MM or more, which would lead to a 42.5 percent overage tax next year and would cause their highest draft pick to drop 10 spots.

It seems the Red Sox and Cubs would like to avoid the tax, but it remains to be seen whether either will pull off that feat. As things stand, next year’s Red Sox are projected to go beyond $208MM by almost $30MM, while the Cubs will do so by about $6MM, per Jason Martinez of Roster Resource.

It will be easier for Boston and Chicago to duck the tax 12 months from now if they sell off an expensive star or two, which seems possible. The clubs have former MVPs (outfielder Mookie Betts for the Red Sox and third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant for the Cubs) who have come up in trade rumors. Betts and Bryant aside, there are other well-compensated potential trade chips in both cases. Left-hander David Price and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. come to the fore for the Red Sox, while righty Yu Darvish and first baseman Anthony Rizzo join Bryant among high-priced Cubs who may not be untouchable.


You may have noticed the Nike logo on the Yankees’ uniform Gerrit Cole was wearing yesterday at his press conference. I’m not too happy about it, but according to the NY Post,

the reason the swoosh is now located on the front of the Yankees’ uniform is because of MLB wanting to appeal to younger consumers and, not for nothing, a 10-year deal that was valued at, according to sources, more than $1 billion among MLB, Nike and Fanatics.

Money doesn’t only talk, it screams.


Another thing about the Cole signing. It hurts the team that knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs in three of the past five years. You improve yourself, hurt them.

The deal could be even longer and more expensive. There is an avenue in which Cole’s contract would become a 10-year deal for $360 million. If Cole opts out after five years, the Yankees may void the opt out and extend the contract one more year for $36 million, The Post confirmed.

 

Yanks sign Adam Warren to a minor league deal.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks are seeing if an old friend can still help them. Maybe not in 2020 until late in the year, but in 2021 for sure.

From MLBTR.com:

The Yankees have reached agreement on a minor-league contract with righty Adam Warren, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). He’ll receive an invitation to MLB camp as a non-roster invitee. It’s a two-year arrangement, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand notes on Twitter, which recognizes the fact that Warren is returning from Tommy John surgery.

The contract includes a $800K salary in the event that Warren is able to earn his way onto the big league roster. He can also pick up another $700K in incentives based upon appearances. The deal includes an August 28th opt-out clause, Rosenthal adds, which perhaps suggests that Warren is hoping to rehab on a fairly aggressive timetable from his September procedure.

Warren, 32, first cracked the majors with the Yanks and has spent parts of seven seasons in two prior stints in the Bronx. He pitched for the Padres in 2019, struggling to a 5.34 ERA in 28 2/3 innings with 7.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9.

Warren was with the Yanks 2012-2015, then with the Cubs briefly to start 2016 before coming back to the Yanks in 2016-2018. He was with Seattle in 2018 and with the Padres, as noted above, in 2019.

His best years have been with the Yankees, going 20-20, 3.18, ERA+ 129. For his career, the 32 yr. old RHP is 30-24, 3.53, ERA+ 117.

He pitched for the Yanks in the 2017 postseason.

Pettitte instrumental in getting Cole to NY. Now for other moves.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Hal Steinbrenner called Gerrit Cole five times, but someone else apparently was also very instrumental in getting Cole to sign with the Yankees.

Andy Pettitte, who pitched mostly for the Yankees but who also spent a few years with the Astros, discussed the difference between the teams, how much NY meant to him and helped him, and what a postseason experience—as well as WS titles in NY—meant to him and his career. That supposedly helped tip Cole, who grew up a Yankees and Pettitte fan, to NY.

So Andy, a special consultant, really came up huge for the Yanks in these negotiations.

Now the Yanks turn to other needs. After losing Didi Gregorius to the Phillies, will they be able to keep Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances or Austin Romine?

It looks like a deal with Gardner could be hammered out soon. The concern is that Gardner will turn 37 next August. Gardner did hit career highs in HR and RBI this past season, and since Aaron Hicks will miss at least half of 2020, the Yanks do need a CF.

Betances, who pitched only 2/3 of an inning in 2019, is iffy. Would he re-sign for a year to re-establish value?

Romine is also iffy. Rumors are that the Yanks could be looking at Martin Maldonado, who caught Cole ten times in Houston last year to a 1.57 (!) ERA. Maldonado, 33 and a righty bat, isn’t much of a hitter (.219 career batting average, OPS+ 73) but did win a Gold Glove in 2017 for the Angels. He hit .213-12-27, OPS+ 75 for three teams in 2019. The question about Romine is would he come back to backup Gary Sanchez or does he want to start elsewhere.

Oh yeah, as mentioned in a NY Post article by George A. King III, the Yanks probably won’t be needing that “opener” in 2020 now.


Ken Harrelson, known as the “Hawk”, was selected to the HOF in the broadcasting category—The Ford C. Frick Award. Many may also remember him as a flamboyant 1B/OF for the KC A’s and Boston Red Sox in the 1960s, and in 1968 he led the AL in RBI while finishing third in the MVP voting. He broadcast Chicago White Sox games for many years. He actually broadcast Yankees games in 1987 and 1988.

Yanks get Cole for Christmas

Yankee Stadium Frieze

I have to get ready to go to work, so this will be brief.

The Yankees got their man. Gerrit Cole is a Yankee on a record-breaking deal. 9 years, $324MM. No money deferred, and a no-trade clause. $36MM/yr for 9 years. Cole can opt out after the fifth year of the deal, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

The Yanks are looking to shop J.A. Happ (see below), so who #5 in the rotation would be next year is up in the air, but the top 4 looks to be Cole, Severino, Paxton and Tanaka. Tanaka as a 4. Sweet. #5 could be Montgomery or German (and we still don’t know what German’s suspension for domestic abuse will be). They also would have Michael King and Deivi Garcia at SWB and Jonathan Loaisiga could be a long man who could start if necessary. There are others, but a front four of Cole, Severino, Paxton and Tanaka is certainly formidable.

From MLB.Com and Bryan Hoch:

The Yankees made Cole their first-round selection (28th overall) in the 2008 MLB Draft, only to see him honor his commitment to UCLA. Selected first overall by the Pirates in ’11, Cole reached the Majors with Pittsburgh in ’13. He was 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA in 127 starts during his time with the Bucs, including selection as a ’15 National League All-Star.

With the Pirates dangling Cole to interested clubs during the 2017-18 offseason, (Yankees’ GM Brian) Cashman again attempted to bring Cole to New York. Cashman balked at including third baseman Miguel Andujar in negotiations, and Pittsburgh ultimately agreed to a four-player package from the Astros.

Cole was 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA in 65 starts for Houston over the past two seasons, earning selection as an American League All-Star both years. He finished second to teammate Justin Verlander in AL Cy Young Award balloting this past season, leading the Majors with 326 strikeouts and a 185 ERA+ while finishing 20-5 with a league-leading 2.50 ERA in 33 starts.

While Cole’s landmark deal will threaten to push payroll past the third luxury-tax threshold of $248 million, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner authorized the outlay understanding that Tanaka, Paxton and possibly Happ could all be free agents after the 2020 season. The Cole signing could increase the Yankees’ efforts to trade Happ, who has been being actively shopped in recent weeks.