Category Archives: The Front Office

Mid-Season Report Cards. It isn’t pretty.

Today’s Yankees’ rainout allows me to do the midseason report cards. At present the Yankees are 41-39, very disappointing. Game 81 is the halfway point, (and tomorrow–Friday’s—game is in jeopardy of being rained out as well) so here goes. As you may guess, this won’t be pretty. After all, the Yanks are 12th (out of 15 in AL) in runs scored, next to last in doubles and triples, last in SB, 9th in batting average (.236), OPS+ average at 99 (100 is average). They are 4th in ERA (ERA+ 114). Grades much better for pitchers than hitters.

One thing surprising (or not). Some grades have really changed over the past few weeks. Aroldis Chapman, for instance.

Another thing. Grades are also made based not only on what they have done, but on what you expected from them. You expect more from say, Aaron Judge than from Tyler Wade. So grades are also made on whether they are performing up to expectations (or salary, if you prefer).

Gary Sanchez B. A month ago, this grade would have been lower. Yes, he still exasperates you. The talent vs. what you actually get. Yes, he won’t hit .270 (.238 right now). But his 14 HR are tied for second on the team. His defense is still below par. Some bad baserunning. But wait. His OPS+ (on base pct. plus slugging average) is 130. 30% above league average. It’s third on the team. This from a guy who lost his job a month ago. Yeah, the average isn’t great. But it’s better than the .147 of last year or the .186 of a couple years ago. And if he hits 30 HR … not many catchers do that. Recent hot streak raised grade from a D.

Kyle Higashioka. B. Yes, a .198 batting average. A little leniency to backup catchers who play once a week. The OPS+ is 95, just 5% below league average. Most backup catchers have OPS+ in the 60s or 70s. 10 of his 18 hits are for extra bases, and there is a reason he catches Cole all the time. Average notwithstanding, he hasn’t been too bad.

Ok. Now to First base. Ugh.

Jay Bruce. F. 4 for 34. .118. OPS+ 30. 70% below league average. So bad he retired.

Mike Ford F. 8 for 60. .133. OPS+ 57. So bad he was traded—to Tampa Bay, a division rival!

Chris Gittens F. Given a chance. Went just 2 for 21. OPS+ 21. Remember 100 is league average.

Luke Voit. D. .195, OPS+ just 67. The fact he was hurt saves him from an F here. Led majors in HR (22) in 2020. Injuries and the IL have limited him to three so far this season. His loss, and the pathetic play of his replacements, have really hurt the Yanks. Needs to get back to normal in second half.

D.J. LeMahieu C. Hasn’t been bad, but just average. Therefore a C. From .327 and .364 the past two seasons to .271. Power, RBI, clutch hitting all down from the last two years (when he was the best player on the team). OPS+ 101. Average. The defense also seems to have slipped a bit.

Gleyber Torres F. 24 HR in 2018 as a rookie. 38 in 2019. SIX TOTAL SINCE. Out of position at SS. Only 24 but what has happened? OPS+ 122, 127, 102 and now 79. From hitting in the .270s the first two seasons to the .240s the past two. His HUGE dropoff has been a killer.

Rougned Odor C Minus. .211. OPS+ 91. He is what he is. Can hit a HR (has 8) but low average, too many strikeouts. Had 3 30-HR years in Texas, but hit .204 one year, .205 another. Had years there of 162 and 178 strikeouts. Giving Yanks same. I wasn’t sold on getting him. Unfortunately one of the few lefty bats they have.

Tyler Wade. C. We already know he can’t hit much, if at all. So expectations were low to start out with. OPS+ 54. Versatile and has played OF more than in the past, nice range there, and not bad out there. One of the few guys on the team that can run (Yanks last in AL in SB).

Gio Urshela. B. Great defense again. Banged up. But .272, 10 HR, OPS+108. Been solid.

Clint Frazier F. LF job given to him. His to lose. He lost it to Andujar, a novice OF. .186. OPS+ just 77. Only 5 HR, 15 RBI.

Brett Gardner. F. I wasn’t in favor of bringing him back. Turns 38 in August. Looks old and done. .204. Just 11 RBI. OPS+ 79. And playing almost every day since Hicks is out for the season. If he wasn’t the Yanks best (only?) CF option, I’d advocate he just retire NOW.

Aaron Hicks. F. I thought batting him (.233 career average) third was a huge mistake. I thought giving him the multi-year deal they did was a mistake too. He thought he’d hit 30 HR this year? Injured, out for season. Before the injury, .194, mostly righty, nothing from hitting lefty. OPS+ 74.

Miguel Andujar. D. Learning the OF. But has his beginner moments. Uncomfortable around the wall. Throwing to the wrong base. A man without a position? Not good at third, not much at first, now in left. An indictment of Frazier that Clint lost his job to Andujar. .257 ok, but just 12 RBI, and doesn’t walk. OPS+ just 86. He, Frazier and Torres, three youngsters, have really killed the Yanks with their regression. And their regression hasn’t been slight but considerable.

Aaron Judge. A. Leads team in BA, HR and RBI. Also in OPS+ 148, and anything over 140 is MVP consideration material. Best hitter and non-pitcher on the team. Gets screwed by umps who won’t adjust the strike zone to adjust to the fact Judge is 6’7″. As a result low pitches below his knees are called strikes as if Judge were 5’10”. Defense still great, and forced to play CF at times.

Giancarlo Stanton B. I would give him an A except he can’t play the field. His inability to (or the Yankees refusal to) play him in the OF occasionally means Judge or Sanchez can’t have a day at DH. This inflexibility hurts the Yanks, and also when the Yanks play in NL parks (no DH; see the Phillies series where the Yanks lost both games, Stanton couldn’t play). 136 OPS+ is solid. Needs to stay healthy. Also needs to be able to play the OF once in a blue moon!

No grades for the lack of much playing time for Mike Tauchman (traded after 3 for 14), Ryan LaMarre (0 for 7 in 3 games) or Estevan Florial (just one game). The exceptions were made for Voit’s 1B fill-ins.

Pitching.

Gerrit Cole A. Been struggling a bit lately, but 8 wins, ERA 2.66, ERA+ 161, which if continued all merit CYA consideration. Yanks wasting his starts by giving him no run support.

Jordan Montgomery B. ERA+ 106. ERA 4.06.
Lot of no-decisions, just 3-2, but Yanks 11-4 in his starts (Cole, b/c of lack of run support, is 8-8).

Corey Kluber B+. Was 4-3, 3.04 ERA+142 with a no-hitter when the shoulder acted up. Any ERA+ over 140 CYA worthy. Big loss.

Domingo German. C. Inconsistent. Two lousy outings, sent down, came back, very good for two months, now lousy again. 4.50 ERA, ERA+ 95. Fields his position very poorly.

Jameson Taillon F. Rarely gives innings. 3-4, 5.43. ERA+ just 79.

Michael King C. Better as reliever (2.29 ERA) than starter (5.47). He, and some others, can’t get out of the first inning unscathed. 0-4, 4.06, ERA+ 106.

Deivi Garcia F. 2 starts. 0-2, 6.48 in MLB. But 8.80 at AAA. Only 21 but what a regression.

Aroldis Chapman C. Wow. A few weeks ago, this would have been an A. On June 9, Chapman had an ERA of 0.39. Since then, it’s ballooned to 3.77, and it would be higher except that he has been saved by a triple play. Should take a little off his pitches and concentrate on just getting the ball over. Overthrows. Of course, HRs he gave up ended both of the Yankees’ last two seasons.

Jonathan Loaisiga A. His “coming-out” year. Been fabulous as a set-up man. 7 wins second on team (and all in relief!). ERA 2.32. ERA+ 186. Even though a setup man, deserves an All-Star slot.

Lucas Luetge. B+. Would have been an A until the recent meltdown against the Angels. Has come out of nowhere to post an ERA of 3.15, ERA+ 137.

Chad Green. A. 2.48 ERA, 174 ERA+. With Loisiga, pretty solid.

Luis Cessa B. 3.31 ERA, ERA+ 131. Been solid, but mostly used in garbage time. Like King, better in relief than as a starter, but I am a little surprised King went into rotation (King had no MLB experience there, whereas Cessa did. King’s experience as a starter was all in the minors.)

Darren O’Day. A. Has done well, but on IL, hasn’t pitched much.

Justin Wilson F. A 5.65 ERA for a short reliever is horrible. Went on IL.

Zack Britton no grade. Has missed almost the whole season so far with injury. Just five games.

Brooks Kriske F. As with Britton, just five games, but you can’t ignore a horrible 12.60 ERA.

Nestor Cortes, Jr. A. Can give innings. Compare his 1.02 to Wilson’s 5.65.

Wandy Peralta. F. Why Aaron Boone trusted the guy (Peralta is now on the IL) so much baffles me. 5.28 ERA. About same as Wilson, so same grade. Yanks traded Tauchman to SF for him. Tauchman hasn’t done much for SF, so… even.

Albert Abreu A. Too bad on the rollercoaster. Up/down, UP/Down. 2.13 ERA. Done well when brought up.

Nick Nelson F. 9.75 ERA. And the Yanks protected him and Kriske instead of Garret Whitlock, who went to Boston via the Rule 5 draft and who has a 1.42 ERA for Boston. Hoo boy.

Aaron Boone. D. I don’t mind Boone, think he’s an OK manager. But I am tired of him not calling out his underperforming team and making excuses for them. Time to get mad and pissed at them! Of course what happens in private, we don’t know. But Aaron, can you show some anger, equal to as much as we fans are pissed off right now? And stop looking at the big picture, so to speak by giving guys days off so much? You are saving guys for playoffs, that, the way the team is playing, you won’t qualify for!

Brian Cashman F. I’ve defended Cashman often. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame one day. But this year? No. A lineup devoid of lefty hitters. Yankee Stadium is made for lefty hitters, and those few lefties on the team haven’t done anything. The lineup has too many righty bats. Too many guys who can’t run (last in SB), don’t make contact, don’t hit and run, can’t bunt, don’t hit behind the runner, don’t run the bases well—meaning taking the extra base (and too many thrown out on the basepaths), one-dimensional, HR or nada. Some guys are playing out of position. The LeMahieu contract for a number of years, ok. Cole’s? OK. You are stuck with Stanton’s. But 7 years to Hicks? (rolling eyes). Not giving Hoy Jun Park (hitting over .350 at AAA right now) a chance but sticking with Odor? The same with Trey Amburgey vs. Frazier/Andujar? The team is constructed poorly. That falls on Cashman. Boone can only work with what he has been given. Hence an F for Cashman, a D for Boone. Preseason predictions for this team were for possibly 100 wins. They are 41-39. And the schedule the next month is difficult. They easily could be 49-55 or something like that at the end of July. Yes, that means going 8-16 in the next 24 games. Look at the schedule. Mets (do they face DeGrom? Luckily, no), Houston, Boston, Tampa Bay. I think those four teams encompass 17 of the next 24 games. The Yanks have not had a losing season since 1992. They better step it up, or else…. Forget the playoffs. They could finish under .500.







Game 78. Yanks lose 4th in a row, 5-3.

The YES network had a lot of statistics yesterday. For example, the Yankees have scored 3 or less runs in 41 of their 78 games this year. That is more than half. Last night, they scored 3.

About 2/3 of the homers they hit are solo HR. The homers aren’t coming with men on base. Last night the Yanks hit two homers. Yup. Both solo shots.

Yankees’ starter Michael King entered last night with a 14.40 ERA in the first inning. In his previous five starts, he had given up 8 first-inning runs. Make that now a 15.00 ERA and 10 runs in six starts. He put the Yanks into a 2-0 hole right away. The second batter, the incredible Shohei Ohtani, hit a HR off of him, #26 of the season for Ohtani. Ohtani is the scheduled starting PITCHER on Thursday against the Yankees, as he continues to do things not seen since Babe Ruth over 100 years ago. King doesn’t see anything wrong with his pre-game routine. The YES analysts see it differently. The YES analysts (which include some ex-major league players) say the jury is out whether King could be a starter in his MLB career. So far, my answer would be no. The first inning blues for one thing. For another, he doesn’t give you any length as a starter. He doesn’t go more than five innings (last night 4 1/3). Until King can fix those two issues, he can’t be an effective starter. Of course, King is only starting now because Corey Kluber is on the IL.

The Yanks lost their fourth straight game last night, 5-3 to Ohtani and the Angels. The loss drops the Yanks perilously close to .500, at 40-38. They are in 4th place in their 5-team division, the AL East, and are now 7 1/2 games out of first place. The season is slipping away. They better wake up. Call Sr. Mary Elephant to scream at them. Or, as Peggy Lee would sing, “Is That All There Is”? Very disappointing.

A couple of more stats YES gave out before more of a game recap. Going into last night’s game, the Yanks were 29th out of 30 teams with a .216 batting average with runners in scoring position. The Yanks went 0 for 4 w/RISP last night.

And lastly, two more things the YES analysts discussed. Both are instances of bad decision-making. Adam Ottavino had a good 2019 year with the Yankees (1.90 ERA) but a bad postseason that year. That bad postseason carried over to a bad 2020 (5.89 ERA). The Yankees traded him and a minor leaguer to, of all places, Boston for unknown compensation. It looks like just cash. Basically a salary dump. Didn’t even get a player for him. He’s rebounded to a 2.81 ERA for Boston this year. More damning is that Ottavino’s slider, when on, is devastating to righty batters. What do the Yankees have? A lineup full of righty batters. So the Yankees gave away to their arch-rival, a guy who, when on, has just what it takes to shut the Yankees down—which is exactly what Ottavino did to his former team this past weekend.

Another guy that shut the Yankees down this past weekend was Garrett Whitlock. If a player is in the minors for three years and not placed on the 40-man roster, he is subjected to the Rule 5 draft. Another team can claim him for $50,000. That player must stay with that team or be first offered back to the original team for $25,000. Well, the Yankees did not protect Whitlock. Whitlock was snapped up by—-you guessed it—-Boston, and helped beat the Yankees this past weekend. Whitlock, a rookie, is 3-1, 1.42 for Boston so far this season. Who did the Yankees protect instead of Whitlock? Well, Nick Nelson for one (0-2, 9.75 for the Yanks in 8 games this year) and Brooks Kriske (0-0, 12.60 in five games for the Yanks so far this year). Oops.

I know. As Yankees’ fans, those points that YES brought up are depressing. But give YES credit for going deep into things and in explaining some reasons for the Yankees underachieving so far this season.

Ok, to last night’s game. I already mentioned that King gave up 2 runs in the first inning, the first on a HR by Ohtani. So the Yanks are down 2-0 before they even came to bat.

The Yanks did get one run back in the bottom of the first. D.J. LeMahieu singled, Aaron Judge doubled D.J. to third, and Gary Sanchez scored D.J. with a SF. 2-1. But the Yanks couldn’t bring Judge in as well.

The Yanks did tie the game up in the second when Gio Urshela homered (10).

LeMahieu made an error in the fifth, which led to the Angels getting an unearned run to take the lead, 3-2.

Lucas Luetge gave up a HR to ex-Met Juan Lagares in the sixth and the Angels went up 4-2.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 14th HR of the season in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Angels’ lead to 4-3, but the Yanks would score no more. Meanwhile the Halos got an insurance run in the eighth off of Chad Green. 5-3, the final score.

Stanton solo HR (14)
Urshela 2 hits, solo HR (10)

The Yanks only got six hits in the game. Now, many Yanks are struggling, but one in particular? What’s happened to Gleyber Torres? 2018, .271, 24 HR, All-Star, 3rd in ROY voting. 2019, .278, 38 HR, All-Star, 17th in MVP voting.
Since then, 2020 and 2021 combined, 110 games: .240-6-39. Which all coincides with his move to SS. You wonder.

King (L, 0-4) 4 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR. 4.06
Luetge 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR. 2.52
Green 2 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 3 K. 2.48
Cortes 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1.13

Darren O’Day and Justin Wilson can both come off the IL today. Brooks Kriske is sure to be sent back. It’ll be interesting to see if Abreu or Cortes goes back. Both have done well.

P.S. Back to work next week as I complete my recovery from two major (and one life-saving) surgeries. So future reports won’t be as in depth.




Game 72. Yanks leave too many on base in 6-5 loss. O’Day, Wilson start rehab.

The Yankees had many chances to blow the game open. But they didn’t. They went 0 for 10 with RISP and left 13 men on base, and this came back to bite them in a 6-5 loss to KC last night.

With the loss, the Yankees are now 38-34, 3rd in AL East, 5 1/2 back.

The main culprits were Giancarlo Stanton, 0 for 3 (did walk twice) left six on, Gleyber Torres 0 for 4, all strikeouts (did walk once, left 3 on), and Clint Frazier (0 for 5, 3 strikeouts, left 6 on ). Torres is something like 2 for his last 33, and his batting average has dropped over 30 points. Where Torres’ power has gone is baffling too. I don’t expect 38 HR as in 2019, but we are close to the halfway point of the season, and Torres has just 3 HR. Something close to Torres’ 2018 rookie year when he hit 24 would be enough and expected.

The Yanks scored first, when Luke Voit, just off of rehab, hit the first pitch he saw 423 feet for a two-out HR, Voit’s 2nd HR of the season. The Yankees went on to load the bases, but Frazier grounded out.

In the second, Kyle Higashioka homered for his sixth HR of the season. It put the Yanks up 2-0. But with two on and one out, Voit popped up and Stanton struck out.

Right then I had a bad feeling. Yes, the Yankees were up 2-0 with their ace, Gerrit Cole, on the mound, but when you leave five men on base in the first two innings and don’t break the game wide open, it often comes back to bite you, and it did for the Yankees last night.

A bad break (literally) for Cole in the third when a couple broken bat hits led to a KC run as the Royals cut the Yanks’ lead to 2-1. Cole gave up a game-tying HR in the fourth. 2-2. Those were the only hits Cole gave up.

The Yanks left the bases loaded in the fourth, when Stanton grounded into a force out. Another blown chance to salt the game away.

In the seventh, the Yanks went up 3-2. Luke Voit tripled. A fan tried to catch the ball (kick him out of the park. I hate when fans reach over the wall. They know better and still do it). There was no interference, and it was unclear if the ball would have cleared the fence anyway. Pinch-runner Tyler Wade then scored on a wild pitch.

Jonathan Loaisiga came in for the eighth inning. Cole had once again done a fine job, but the Yanks didn’t support him enough. Cole is 8-3 this season, but the Yankees are 0-4 when Cole gets a no-decision. Loaisiga has been great this season, but didn’t have it last night, giving up four runs.

D.J. LeMahieu got the Yanks back in the game with a two-run HR (6) in the bottom of the eighth to cut the Royals’ lead to 6-5. Aaron Judge then just missed tying the game up, as he doubled. So the Yanks had the tying run on second with one out. Once again, nothing. Rougned Odor popped up, and Stanton grounded out.

The Yanks got two on in the ninth, but Brett Gardner popped up to end the game.

The lack of getting just one clutch hit to break the game open really killed the Yanks last night. What a frustrating loss.

LeMahieu 2 hits, 2 RBI. 2-run HR (6)
Judge 2 hits
Voit 2 hits, triple and a solo HR (2)
Urshela 2 hits
Higashioka solo HR (6)

If only Stanton, Torres or Frazier had come through just once. Sigh.

Cole 7 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 3 W, 6 K. Gave up 1 HR. Two broken bat his and the HR. That was all. 2.33
Loaisiga (L, 7-3; BS, 2) 2/3 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.52
Luetge 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.48


Minor League Notes, and a lot to think about and discuss here:

The 40-man roster creates some problems. Say someone is doing well (see below) but isn’t on the roster? Well, you want to add him, but who does he replace?


AAA: SWB (29-11) crushed Lehigh Valley, 14-5, in a game in which both Darren O’Day and Justin Wilson both started rehab stints. Both pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Hoy Jun Park, a 2B/SS, played CF. Read into that as you wish. He had 3 hits and an RBI, and is hitting .366 for SWB. He hits lefty. Interesting he played CF last night. Meanwhile, the Yanks aren’t getting anything from their lefty hitters. Odor (.193-7-15, OPS+ 78; 100 is average). Gardner .206-2-8, OPS+ 77. Gardner turns 38 in August. But Park isn’t on the 40-man roster. I’ve advocated bringing Park up. But at whose expense, and why did Park play the OF for the first time last night? I do have to wonder. RF Ryan LaMarre 3 hits, RBI. DH Trey Amburgey 3 RBI. Erik Kratz, former big-league catcher, and ex-Yankee, really likes Amburgey, a righty hitter. Amburgey is hitting .360 at SWB. Right now, he may be a better option than Frazier (.187-5-12, OPS+ 77) or Miguel Andujar (.242-5-9, OPS+77). Amburgey, like Park, is not on the 40 man roster, so if you give him a chance, at whose expense? The point is, if someone is raking at AAA, when do they get rewarded with a promotion? And at whose expense? How long do you continue playing someone whose adjusted OPS is 22-23% BELOW league average, as is the case with Odor, Gardner, Frazier and Andujar? These are legitimate questions GM Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone must decide, especially if the Yankees are to improve.

Besides the rehab stints of O’Day and Wilson, and the continued success and questions about Park and Amburgey, some other notes on SWB’s win: 2B Derek Dietrich 3 hits, RBI. 3B Armando Alvarez 2 hits, 2 RBI, solo HR. 1B Rob Brantly 2 RBI. C Max McDowell 2 hits. SS Andrew Velazquez, 2 hits, 4 RBI, a 2-run HR.

AA: Somerset ppd.

High A: Hudson Valley (26-16) won 12-3. SS Josh Smith 2 hits. C Josh Breaux 2 hits. CF Brandon Lockridge 2 hits, 4 RBI, a 3-run HR. 3B James Nelson 2 hits, 2 RBI. 1B Chad Bell 3 hits, 2 RBI. RF Frederick Cuevas 2 hits, RBI, solo HR.

Low A: Tampa was up 2-0 when the game was suspended in the top of the second inning.





Game 69. Ex-Yanks’ prospect beats Yanks, 5-3.

A few years back, James Kaprielian was a top Yankees’ prospect. Then injuries slowed his development, and he was traded to the A’s with others for Sonny Gray. We know how poorly Gray turned out.

Last night, Yankees fans got a taste of what might have been. Kaprielian and the A’s shut down the Yankees (36-33, 3rd in AL East, 6 back) 5-3.

James Taillon started for the Yanks, and gave up a HR on a two-out, 0-2 pitch to put the A’s up 1-0 in the first inning. I feel as if the Yanks need to make a deal for a starter (two, preferably) ASAP. Taillon, in 13 starts this season, has only thrown 58 innings, an average of only 4 1/2 innings per start. Only twice in those 13 starts has he gone more than 5 IP. He has ONE win. The ERA is 5.59. He is coming off two TJ surgeries in his career, as well as overcoming cancer. But he isn’t cutting it. Also, Michael King is better as a reliever and not a starter. He also isn’t providing length (since replacing the injured Corey Kluber in the rotation, King is averaging less than 4 innings/start in his 4 starts). King’s ERA in 13 relief appearances in his career is 3.93 but it is 7.28 in eight career starts.

But the Yanks don’t have replacements handy. Luis Severino’s return has been delayed because of the groin injury. Deivi Garcia has been horrible at AAA. Clarke Schmidt has not thrown a pitch yet. Promising youngsters are at AA, or below, not at AAA.

I don’t believe the Yanks can make up ground with Taillon and/or King in the rotation. GM Brian Cashman needs to make a trade ASAP.

Taillon gave up a run in the top of the third to make it 2-0, Oakland.

The Yanks tied it up in the bottom of the third when with two out, Brett Gardner walked and D.J. LeMahieu followed with a 2-run HR (5). The Yanks only got 4 hits in the game.

The Yanks took a 3-2 lead in the fifth when Rougned Odor homered (7).

But Wandy Peralta gave up a 3-run HR in the top of the sixth that put Oakland up 5-3, and that stayed as the final score.

Looking at Peralta’s ERA (5.28 as a Yankee), I think manager Aaron Boone trusts him too much. The Yanks will get help here. Both Darren O’ Day (who was doing well before getting hurt) and Justin Wilson (who wasn’t) should be back soon.

LeMahieu 2-run HR (5)
Odor solo HR (7)


Taillon 4 2/3 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 1 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR. 1 HBP. 5.59
Peralta (L, 3-2; combined SF/NYY record) 1 1/3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR 5.32 (combined SF/NYY ERA)
Luetge 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 1 HBP; 1 WP 2.91
Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3.10

Minor League Notes (VOIT ON REHAB):

AAA: SWB (27-11) won 7-5. Nick Nelson 4 1/3 IP, 1 R; Albert Abreu 2 IP, scoreless, 5 K (in his brief time with Yanks, 4 games, Abreu has done well this year). CF Greg Allen 2 hits, 2 RBI, 2 -run HR. Two hits, RBI. LF Trey Amburgey 2 hits, RBI. Amburgey is hitting .372 at SWB. Former Yankees C Erik Kratz likes him. Neither Clint Frazier or Miguel Andujar is lighting it up. Why not give Amburgey a chance? 1B Rob Brantly 2 hits, 3 RBI, solo HR. 3B Derek Dietrich solo HR.

AA: Somerset (26-13) won 8-1. Janson Junk (2-1, 1.03) 6 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR. 1B Luke Voit on rehab: 3 for 4, scored 3, drove in 3, double, solo HR. DH Oswald Peraza 2 hits, RBI. 2B Oswaldo Cabrera 3 hits, 3 RBI. CF Tom Milone 2 hits, solo HR.

High A: Hudson Valley (23-16) split a DH.

Game 1: lost 6-2. SS Josh Smith solo HR.
Game 2: won 2-0. Smith DH, 2 hits, scored both runs. 2B Ezequiel Duran 2 hits, 2 RBI.

Low A: Tampa (27-13) lost both games of a DH.

Game 1: lost 3-1. All 3 runs unearned. RF Juan De Leon solo HR.
Game 2: lost 8-2. Infielder (2B/SS) Jesus Bastidas 2 hits, RBI.

.

Game 68. Yanks sweep Jays, 8-4 in game featuring a triple play.

The Yankees (36-32, 3rd, 6 out) got a much-needed sweep of the Blue Jays with an 8-4 win that featured a lot.

For one thing, for the first time in franchise history, the Yankees have turned TWO triple plays in the same season. This one was the first 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple play in MLB history.

On top of that, Gio Urshela and Aaron Judge each made great defensive plays, and for the third straight game, a pinch-hitter that manager Aaron Boone sent up to the plate came through big time.

In the bottom of the first, Yankees’ starter Michael King (who is better in relief than as a starter) walked Marcus Semien, the leadoff hitter, then gave up a single to Bo Bichette. A WP moved the runners to second and third. Then came the unique triple play. Vlad Guerrero, Jr. bounced one back to King, who threw to first to get Guerrero. Out #1, Bichette was trapped between second and third, and Yankees’ 1B D.J. LeMahieu threw to SS Gleyber Torres. Semien, also trapped, broke for home. Torres threw to C Gary Sanchez, who ran Semien back to third before flipping to 3B Gio Urshela, who tagged Semien out. Out #2. Urshela then spun around and threw to Torres, who tagged out Bichette, who tried to move up when the Yankees tagged Semien out. Out #3. Got that? Any way, a triple play, the Yanks’ second of this season, and the first one ever that went 1-3-6-2-5-6.

The Yanks then scored right away in the top of the second. Urshela doubled, and Brett Gardner singled him to third. Miguel Andujar hit into a fielder’s choice, and reached on an error, Urshela scoring. Yanks up 1-0. Gardner was then caught at the plate on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Tyler Wade, and although the Yanks did load the bases back up, they didn’t score anymore that inning.

In the top of the third, Giancarlo Stanton singled and one out later, Urshela homered (8) to make it 3-0.

Toronto scored twice in the bottom of the third inning to cut the Yanks’ lead to 3-2. In this inning, Gleyber Torres tweaked his back and had to be removed for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fourth. He appears OK and day-to-day, though.

In the bottom of the fourth, Gio Urshela made an excellent defensive play for the last out of the inning.

Toronto tied it in the fifth, and went ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth. It could have been even worse. Shortly after going ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Blue Jays’ RF Cavan Biggio hit a deep drive to right that appeared to be a 2-run HR that would have given Toronto a 6-3 lead except that Aaron Judge jumped, extended his arm over the wall, and robbed Biggio of that possible HR to keep the score at 4-3.

The Yanks came right back with four runs in the top of the seventh inning. Rougned Odor, who replaced Torres earlier, led off the inning with a single, and Stanton homered (13) to put the Yankees up 5-4. Sanchez and Urshela both singled, then Gardner bunted them over. After an out that didn’t advance the runners, Chris Gittens pinch-hit for Tyler Wade and laced a two-run single to make it 7-4.

In the top of the ninth, Sanchez singled. Urshela struck out after just missing a 2-run HR. The ball was just foul. Gardner walked and both runners then moved up on a WP. After a walk to Andujar loaded the bases, Gittens hit a sac fly to make it 8-4, which wound up as the final score.

Stanton 2 hits. 2 RBI. A 2-run HR (13).
Urshela 3 hits. Double, 2-run HR (8). Excellent defensive play.
Judge robbed a batter of a 2-run HR.
Gittens 1 for 1, 3 RBI


King 4 1/3 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 2 W, 1 K. 1 WP 4.08
Luetge 2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.00
Green (W, 1-4) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.62
Loaisiga (H, 9) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K. 1.70
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 HBP. 0.00

Earlier in the day, the Yanks traded Mike Ford to Tampa Bay for $100K and a player to be named later.


Minor league Notes.

AAA: SWB (26-11) won 4-2. SS Hoy Jun Park 1-2, 2 walks (.372 at AAA). RF Socrates Brito 2 hits, 2 RBI, 2-run HR. DH Kellin Deglan solo HR.

AA: Somerset (25-13) won 9-3. Starter Ken Waldichuk 4 2/3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 5 W, 7 K. Gave up 2 HR. Waldichuk had pitched 30 2/3 scoreless innings for High A Hudson Valley before a callup. This was his first start at AA. He hurt himself with 4 walks in the first inning. Two pitchers 4 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings of relief (Nick Green and Ron Marinaccio). CF Michael Beltre 2 hits, RBI on a solo HR. 3B Oswaldo Cabrera 3 hits, 2 RBI, 2 solo HR. 2B Diego Castillo 3 hits, 2 RBI. C Donny Sands 4 RBI, a 3-run HR.

High A: Hudson Valley (22-15) won 3-2. SS Josh Smith 2 hits. DH Anthony Seigler 2 hits. LF Elijah Dunham 3 hits.
Starter Shawn Semple 6 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 W, 11 K. Gave up 1 HR.

Low A: Tampa rained out.


Game 66. Yanks come from behind for a 6-5 win.

Before the game, GM Brian Cashman addressed the media, stating he still believes in manager Aaron Boone and the team and that the Yankees (34-32, 3rd in AL East, 8 back) would be buyers, not sellers, at the trade deadline.

The Yanks then went out and snapped their 3-game losing streak with a 6-5 win in Buffalo over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The night started off shaky. Yankees’ starter Jordan Montgomery walked the bases loaded with no one out in the bottom of the first but got out of the inning giving up only one run.

Gary Sanchez tied the game up in the top of the second with his ninth HR of the season.

Yankee-killer Bo Bichette homered in the third inning to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.

In the top of the fourth, Chris Gittens got his first MLB hit, a HR, to tie the game. Gittens was 0 for 14 before that.

Toronto came back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, all with two out, and Bichette was the guy again, delivering a two-run single.

The Yanks cut it to 5-3 in the top of the sixth. With one out, Gio Urshela singled, and Sanchez doubled him to third. A groundout by Miguel Andujar scored Urshela.

The Yanks then tied it up it the seventh, thanks to a gift run. Brett Gardner led off the inning with his second HR of the season. D.J. LeMahieu then doubled. Two wild pitches enabled LeMahieu to score and tie up the game.

The game-winning run came in the top of the eighth. Andujar singled, and Tyler Wade pinch-ran for him. One out later, Wade stole second, and pinch-hitter Clint Frazier then doubled home Wade to make it 6-5.

An oddity: Gerrit Cole, who is starting tonight, leads the Yankees with seven wins. Second is Jonathan Loaisiga with six—all in relief.

LeMahieu 2 hits
Sanchez 2 hits, solo HR (9)
Gittens solo HR (1). FIRST MLB HIT.
Gardner solo HR (2)
Frazier pinch-hit GW RBI double.


Montgomery 5 1/3 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 H, 4 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR. 4.20
Cessa 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.33
Loaisiga (W, 6-2) 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1.78
Britton (H, 1) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 0 K. 0.00
Chapman (S, 13) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1.85


Minor League Notes: TIme to really get concerned about Deivi Garcia. He only got one man out last night, and gave up five runs. His ERA at AAA SWB is now 8.10 (and in his 2 starts with the Yankees, 6.48). Ugly. Estevan Florial had 2 doubles and a HR, and drove in 3 runs as SWB (21-11) won 12-6. Florial is still hitting just .195. 2B Hoy Jun Park went 4 for 4, 3 RBI, and is hitting .365 for SWB. I, for one, advocate calling him up and replacing Odor.

AA: Luke Voit went 1 for 4 on rehab as Somerset (23-13) won 10-1. Starter Glenn Otto 7 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 2 W, 14 K (3-2, 3.95). SS Oswald Peraza 3 hits, 2B Diego Castillo 3 hits, 4 RBI, 2-run HR. C Donny Sands 3 hits, 3 RBI, 2 HR, a solo shot and a 2-run shot.

High A: Hudson Valley (21-14) won 6-5. C Josh Breaux 2 hits, solo HR. 1B Chad Bell a 3-run HR.

Low A: Tampa (27-10) won 10-5. C Austin Wells 3 hits, RBI. RF Josh Sanford 4 for 4, 2 RBI, solo HR. 2B Trevor Hauver 2 hits, 2 RBI. Two others with 2 hits each.

Game 64. Bad day in many ways as Yanks lose to Phils in 10, 8-7.

Saturday was a bad day for the Yankees in many ways. I will get to that in a moment.

Before the game, some moves. Zack Britton was activated off of rehab and Brooks Kriske was sent back to the minors. Also, Mike Ford, who only hit .133-3-5 (8 for 60) for the Yanks this year, and who was only 2 for 24 (.083) at SWB, was designated for assignment.

Jameson Taillon has been the worst Yankees’ starter this season. He is coming off of two TJ surgeries, and has fought off cancer. But coming into the game, Taillon was 1-4 with an ERA of 5.09.

Taillon could not get out of the first inning, and saw his ERA climb to 5.74. His ERA+ is 71, 29% below league average. Taillon only got one out, and put the Yanks (33-31, Tied for 3rd, 7 1/2 out) into a quick 4-0 hole in a game they would lose in 10 innings, 8-7.

So you think, ok, ride Taillon out until former Yankees’ ace Luis Severino gets back from rehab.

Not so fast.

Severino, in his second rehab game, gave up one run in 1 2/3 IP, but then had to be helped from the field after injuring his groin. Based on the reports I read, he will be out quite some time.

Not only that, with Corey Kluber on the injured list, Michael King has had to join the rotation. One problem with that. In his career, King is 0-4, 7.46 as a starter (7 games) and 1-1, 3.93 as a reliever.

That is not all. Deivi Garcia has started two games for the Yankees this year, and is 0-2, 6.48 ERA. At SWB, Garcia has an ERA of 6.26.

It looks like GM Brian Cashman is going to have to hit the phones and make a deal. You may say, several deals.

The Yanks are barely above .500 at 33-31. They are now 7 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East, and even though they have 98 games left, this does not look like a playoff team at all right now.

Taillon gave up singles to the first four batters of the game, leading to two runs for the Phillies. Then a walk to reload the bases before the only out he recorded—-a sac fly that brought in another run. After a single that made it 4-0, Taillon was relieved by Nestor Cortes, Jr. Cortes gave up a hit that loaded the bases up yet again, but then got two strikeouts to prevent further damage.

Cortes did a good job in trying to keep the Yankees in the game.

The Yanks got two runs in the top of the second inning. With one out, Gary Sanchez homered (8). One out later, Miguel Andujar singled, and Brett Gardner tripled him home. 4-2. But Gardner was left stranded at third because the Yanks were playing in a National League park, no DH, and the pitcher had to hit (I hate seeing pitchers hit, prefer the DH, but that yields to Mcproblems which I will get to in a bit). Cortes grounded out to end the inning, and in case you are wondering, the last Yankees’ pitcher to hit a HR was Lindy McDaniel at the end of the 1972 season (he hit it off of Mickey Lolich at the old Tigers’ Stadium).

Cortes gave up a run in the fourth, and it was 5-2, Phillies.

The Phils got two runs in the fifth off of Luis Cessa, and ex-Yankee Ronald Torreyes drove in one of those runs. It looked like a blowout with the Phillies now up 7-2.

But the Yanks came back. In the sixth, with two out, Rougned Odor homered to make it 7-3.

In the eighth, the Yanks cut it to 7-4. Aaron Judge singled, and one out later, went to second on a groundout. Sanchez then got a two-out hit to score Judge.

The Yanks tied it up in the top of the ninth. with one out, Gardner and Tyler Wade each walked. D.J. LeMahieu then hit a 3-run HR (4) to tie it up.

Gleyber Torres made a great defensive play to save the game in the bottom of the ninth.

I hate the ghost runner extra inning rule where they start extra innings with a man on second base. I also hate seeing pitchers hit and prefer the dh. But both rules do show a flaw with the Yankees, and that is in executing the fundamentals.

The DH has turned some AL teams like the Yankees into glorified beer-league softball teams instead of BASEBALL teams. What I mean by that is that they sit around waiting for the 3-run HR and don’t make things happen. They don’t bunt (4 sac bunts this season, 2 by Gardner). They don’t hit and run. They don’t steal (14 SB, last in AL. Heck, Rickey Henderson would have 14 by himself in a month’s time). They don’t hit behind the runner to advance the runner. They play station to station and don’t run the bases well.

That leads me to extra innings. You are starting the inning with a man on second. The Yanks left him there. And we have seen that too much this year. They don’t bunt him over so he then may be able to score on a sac fly. They don’t even hit the ball to the right side to advance the runner. Part of that fault is the predominance of righty hitters and in not having a lefty hitter to pull the ball. Yesterday, with that man on second, Gio Urshela grounded out, not advancing the runner, then two strikeouts (Sanchez and PH Kyle HIgashioka).

The Phils, an NL team, DID execute the bunt. Not only that, Aroldis Chapman made an error on the play, so the Phils had first and third with no one out. After a pop-up, an infield hit won the game for the Phils, 8-7.

In extra innings, it comes down to the fundamentals. Just because you have the DH, does not mean you forget to steal bases, run the bases poorly, don’t bunt, don’t move the runners over…..but the Yanks don’t do any of that. They need to become a BASEBALL team again, not a station-to-station beer league softball team that does nothing but wait for the HR.

Billy Martin would hate this team. It goes against many of the scappy things he did as manager.

The Yanks need to make some changes.

LeMahieu 2 hits, 3 RBI. 3-run HR (4)
Sanchez 2 hits, 2 RBI. Solo HR (8)
Odor 2 hits, solo HR (6).
Gardner 2 hits, RBI


Taillon 1/3 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 1 W, 0 K. 5.74
Cortes 3 2/3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 1 W, 6 K. 1 WP. 1.93 Nice job trying to keep it close.
Cessa 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 0 K. 3.42
Peralta 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K. 4.57 (Combined ERA SF/NYY).
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 0.00 (Season debut)
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.73
Chapman (L, 4-2) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1.93


Game 13. Boone addresses team after Yanks’ 8-2 loss.

I was about to write that the Yankees need to look in the mirror. That Aaron Boone has to snap at them. That Brian Cashman needs to snap at them.

That Hal Steinbrenner needs to channel his father’s anger and snap at the team right now.

For last night was embarrassing. An 8-2 loss to (once again, Tampa Bay) that dropped the Yankees to 5-8, the worst record in the league. People (I won’t call them fans) were so disgusted they were throwing stuff onto the field.

The team looked like a mess in just about every way. The offense got only three hits. Their only two runs coming on a 2-run Giancarlo Stanton HR in the seventh inning. They don’t string together hits or have rallies.

Starters, (other than Gerrit Cole) need to go deeper into games. More than 3 or 4 innings. Granted, last night the Yanks used Nick Nelson as an opener and that failed, but …

The defense has been lousy, too. Three errors last night, one really costly on what should have been an inning=ending DP that instead allowed two runs to score.

Besides snapping at the team, Boone needs to look at some of his decisions, too. I don’t like the “opener”, and I also didn’t like Hicks (.167 so far) batting third.

This isn’t to rip the team, although they may deserve it. It is an honest assessment. You can’t be a fan of the Yankees right now and like what you are seeing. So far the Yankees are woefully underperforming. It is early. They are 4 games out. 4 games out is nothing only 13 games into a 162 game season.

But worst record in the league. They face Tyler Glasnow (an ace) today. Atlanta (a good team) comes in next. What you don’t want is 5-8 to become 7-15 or so in a few weeks. You fall 10 games or so under .500? That’s hard to make up.

They need to get some passion. They need to snap out of it and now. They need a wakeup call and maybe Boone, in angrily confronting the team last night, woke some of them up. Let’s hope so.

Did any of you think the Yanks’ would be hitting .222 as a team after 13 games? That they would be next to last in the league in runs scored? Last in slugging average? There is a lot of blame to go around. Did you think that after Cole, the next two best performing players right now would be Michael King and Darren O’Day, with Kyle Higashioka fourth?

Here is something amazing to me. In 13 games, do you know how many sacrifice flies the Yankees have hit? NONE.

I’ll take runs any way I can get them.

Things have to change, and change now.

The Yanks struck out 14 times last night. You can’t win by not putting the ball in play.

Stanton 2-run HR.

Nelson (L, 0-2) 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 2 W, 2 K. 10.80
King 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 W, 4 K. 0.00 1 HBP. Sent to alt. site after game.
Cessa 1 IP, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 W, 2 K. 1.17
Luetge 4 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 W, 3 K. 6.10

Luetge “took one for the team”. The runs he gave up were on bleeders and bloopers. Seems like everything going wrong.

Things have to turn around. And now.

Roster moves before Opening Day.

The Yankees made some roster moves before Opening Day on Thursday. Justin Wilson starts the season on the IL. No corresponding move yet, but I’d expect Lucas Luetge to make the team to replace him.

Michael King and Tyler Wade will break camp with the team.

Derek Dietrich and Robinson Chirinos have accepted minor league assignments. Chirinos is recovering from a wrist fracture.

Jhoulys Chacin was released.

Yankees have very productive day. D.J., Kluber, arbitration news.

The Yankees had a very productive day on Friday, coming to terms with all arbitration eligible players, re-signing free agent D.J. LeMahieu, and signing Corey Kluber. But all this will mean some people appear to not be coming back.

Hal Steinbrenner wants to get under the $210MM luxury cap, especially after the Yankees (and all of MLB) took such a financial hit in 2020 due to the 60 game season forced upon it by the pandemic. After yesterday’s dealings, word is they are only $10MM or so away from hitting that cap. Meaning only minor signings, if any, unless they make a trade to free up money and create room.

What this means is that all of the following may be gone: Happ (expected), Paxton (expected), Gardner (not as much so) and Tanaka (not so much so). Happ, 38, was 21-10, 4.13 ERA+ 106 while with the Yankees 2018-2020. He was excellent when coming over from Toronto in 2018, bad in 2019 and good in 2020. But he was ineffective in the playoffs, going 0-3. He also was very critical (as we fans and others were and are) of Aaron Boone’s decision to use Deivi Garcia as an opener in Game 3 of the ALDS then have Happ come in. A move that failed, miserably.

Paxton, 32, has had trouble staying healthy. He was very good in 2019, going 15-6, 3.82 (ERA+ 117) but then needed back surgery. His 2020 was horrible. Five starts, another injury, 1-1, 6.64. In three starts for the Yanks in the 2019 postseason, Paxton was 1-0, 3.46. He made $12.5MM in 2020 and probably doesn’t fit the Yankees budget unless he took a big cut in pay. As we’ve seen, he is also an injury risk, having never qualified for the ERA title (162 IP in a normal season, 60 IP last year).

Gardner, 37, seems like the most likely to possibly return, but it would have to be at a big cut in pay. He had power last year, but his batting average was way down. .223-5-15 in 49 games, OPS+ 108. Gardner, if he comes back, would probably have to be reduced to a bench player, what with the emergence of Clint Frazier. Gardner has spent his whole career (2008-2020) with the Yankees, and his 162 game average is .259-14-56 with 28 SB (OPS+ 101; 100 is average). He doesn’t run like he used to, but still is a good defensive player who could spell Frazier in the late innings. But the Yankees already have a younger, and more inexpensive alternative to Gardner in Mike Tauchman. Gardner made $10MM last year, and the Yankees bought out his option at $2.5MM. If he comes back, it probably would have to be for $5MM or less, and that doesn’t then give the Yanks a lot of wiggle room elsewhere. Gardner’s numbers seem average, but he is listed on baseball reference as the 41st best LF of all-time.

Tanaka, 32, now appears gone what with the signing of Corey Kluber, which I will get to soon. Tanaka has been with the Yanks 2014-2020, and while never being a dominant ace, proved himself dependable and reliable. He has gone 78-46, 3.74 (ERA+ 116) as a Yankee after signing a huge contract (and the Yanks posting a huge posting fee for him). His 162 gm. average is 15-9, 3.74. Solid. Not great, but solid. In 10 postseason starts, he went 5-4, 3.33 for the Yankees. He may go home to Japan, but there are also rumors that San Diego may be interested in this 2x All-Star. Tanaka made $23MM last year, would be taking a cut, but he wouldn’t take so much of a cut to get the Yanks under the cap. With the Kluber deal, Tanaka is gone, it appears.

Now to Kluber, who signed a 1 year, $11MM deal with the Yankees yesterday after wowing scouts at a tryout the day before. It helped the Yankees that Kluber had a working relationship already with the Yanks’ pitching coach and strength and conditioning coach. This is a gamble that could pay off big. Kluber will be 35 in April and if he gets back to what he was, sets in nicely at #2 behind Gerrit Cole. Heck he could even be #1 above Cole, believe it or not. From 2013-2018 for Cleveland, Kluber won two Cy Young awards, finished third twice, was a 3x All-Star, and got MVP consideration 3x, finishing 7th for MVP (great for a pitcher) in 2017. From 2013-2018, his average season was 16-8, 2.96, ERA+ 143. But he got injured in 2019, one of the injuries a broken forearm after being hit by a line drive. In seven starts for the Indians in 2019, he was only 2-3, 5.80. He only pitched one inning for Texas in 2020 before getting hurt again. So since 2018, just 2-3, 5.65 in eight starts, 36 2/3 IP. For his career, Kluber’s 162 g. ave. is 16-10, 3.16, ERA+ 135. Obviously the Yankees are hoping he can get back to where he was or close to it. If so, the $11MM for one year is a deal.

So as of now, the rotation looks like Cole, Kluber and Jordan Montgomery as the top 3 starters. Domingo German, who went 18-4, 4.03 in 2019 before being suspended and missing all of the 2019 postseason and all of the 2020 season, could slot in at #4. The #5 could be a battle between youngsters Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, Mike King and veteran Jhoulys Chacin. Don’t forget about the 33 year old Chacin, who was signed to a minor league deal and who has a 78-87 record with a 4.04 career ERA (ERA+ 108). Chacin was horrible in 2019-2020 (4-12, 6.06) but was a 15 game winner in 2018.

If Kluber and Chacin can get back to where they were…. but as you know, if is the biggest two letter word in the dictionary.

And don’t forget, Luis Severino, still just 26 next year, should return from his TJ surgery in June or July. A front three then of Cole, Kluber and Severino, with Montgomery and whoever wins the #5 (Garcia, German, Schmidt, King, Chacin) could be decent…. if of course, healthy. (Fingers crossed).

The Yankees also are coming to terms with D.J. LeMahieu on a long-term deal. LeMahieu, a free agent, has been the Yankees best player the past two seasons, and finished in the top four for MVP voting both years. As a Yankee, 2019 and 2020, D.J. has hit .336, leading the majors last year in batting average (.364), and he also led the AL last year in OBP, OPS and OPS+. A 3x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, and 2x Silver Slugger, LeMahieu, 32, is a .305 career hitter. He’ll slot back in at 2B, but could also play 1B and 3B. Word is he wanted 5 years at around $100MM, the Yanks came back with something like 4 years at $75. In the end a compromise. The Yanks got the lower $$ figure they wanted but LeMahieu got the years he wanted. Six years, $90 MM. The years could hurt later on.

Lastly, the Yankees settled arbitration cases. Here are what players will get in 2021.

Judge $10.175MM
Sanchez $6.35MM (I know, .147 and benched in postseason gets you THAT?!)
Voit $4.7MM
Urshela $4.65MM
Torres $4MM
Green $2.15MM
Montgomery $2.13MM
Frazier $2.1MM

Earlier, Luis Cessa got $1MM.

Remember, these are raises. Leaving little wiggle room, what with the D.J. and Kluber signings for much else. Which is why I wrote about the likelihood of many departures.

We’ll see if there are any other moves.