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Category Archives: The Owner
They only got to the postseason (barely, by one game, and a 1-0 win on the last day of the season) on their pitching. The ERA of 3.74 was third in the league. ERA+ 115. 15% above league average. And that was mostly on the bullpen. Starters don’t go deep in games anymore. The starters weren’t bad, but only Cole, of the starters, won more than 10 games.
Players were out of position, hurting the defense. Odor paying 3B. Torres proved he isn’t a SS. LeMahieu’s best position is 2B, but then what to do with Torres? Move him to 2B, then LeMahieu went to 3B and Gio to SS–not their best natural positions. The infield must be sorted out. And I didn’t mention the defense or lack of it at catcher.
We’ll get to the positions in another post.
Hal Steinbrenner. Is he involved? How much so. I know not in the open like his father was, but behind the scenes he better be steaming. How committed is he to changing this team around? He couldn’t be pleased at how this team underperformed. One postseason game, and not even at home. How committed to the salary cap as opposed to improving the team? Yes, you have to budget, but is the budget or the quality of the team the higher priority? Or the YES network?
Cashman. I don’t feel he’s going anywhere. He’s like Tom Hagen in the Godfather—the Corleone’s adopted son (saw that somewhere, nice analogy). Only he’s Cashman and they are the Steinbrenners. But the way the pieces of this team didn’t fit, like trying to match puzzle pieces from a couple of DIFFERENT jigsaw puzzles, wasn’t good. That falls on Cashman. And some deals? Andrew Heaney? Yikes. Some were steals (Holmes) but others … ugh. But I don’t think he is going anywhere.
Boone. If he goes, he goes, I’m kind of neutral there. But I do ask. When the Yanks play Tampa Bay or Boston, do you get the feeling Boone is being outmanaged by Cash or Cora? If that answer is yes, then there is a problem. Say what you will about Billy Martin, but you never felt as if Billy was outmanaged by Earl Weaver or Whitey Herzog. You felt you were even, at least. Do you feel the same way about Boone? I don’t know why he just didn’t put Gardner in the leadoff spot for the wild card game (not that it would have helped, Gardner was 0 for 3 with 3 K) but Gardner led off a lot in his career. Batting Gardy 6th? Since when is Gardy a power hitter? Gallo 4th? Ugh. A .160 cleanup hitter. I know with some injuries, esp. to guys like Voit and LeMahieu, that Boone was limited. Also, in Fenway. Green Monster. Play Stanton in LF, Gallo in RF, Judge in CF and DH Sanchez? Yeah, Sanchez may not have done much. But the lineup that went against Boston begged for a low-scoring game. Higashioka and Velazquez in the lineup, Gardy hitting sixth. That low-scoring game is something Cole didn’t give them. If the Yanks made a change, I’d like John Flaherty. Follows and knows the team by broadcasting on YES. Former catcher. Can handle the pitching staff, not to mention the catchers. No, I don’t think Buck Showalter, Willie Randolph, Don Mattingly would be available. Maybe Espada. I’d like Flaherty, which leads me to this…
Some guys are in the broadcast booth (nice, cushy job) when they should be in uniform as coaches. Based on what the hitting was this year, the hitting coaches, Marcus Thames and P.J. Pillitere, should go. I’d love to see Paul O’Neill as hitting coach rather than broadcaster, David Cone as pitching coach (more in a moment) than broadcaster, and Flaherty as manager than as broadcaster. What’s the priority here, Hal? Ratings by having these guys broadcast or wins by having these guys coach and manage? Besides O’Neill, I’d love Matsui as hitting coach. At least those guys didn’t try to pull the ball all the time.
I think Blake was fine as pitching coach. I do not mind him staying. 3rd in league in ERA. if not him, then I would have liked Cone. Sometimes old school works. Stop it with the all the analytics already. Use analytics as an aid, not a crutch.
The bullpen was fine. Harkey. Ok there. Lots of times the best part of the team. Getting back to Cashman, I do wonder why he let Luis Cessa go (Cessa 53 games NYY/Cincy, 2.51 ERA).
Now 3B coach? Nevin got what, 23 guys thrown out at home this year? Friendship be damned, Nevin has to go. The baserunning all year was poor.
Summary: I think Cashman and Boone are staying. I am neutral on Boone, but if he goes, I have my choice as manager: Flaherty. (Update: In the past there were talks about Raul Ibanez? And if Cora can come back from “purgatory”, could the same be said for Carlos Beltran?)
But the coaching staff has to be reconfigured. Especially hitting and 3B coach.
Cashman and Hal have to be busy this offseason blowing up the team.
Next: Catcher and infield. Hint: That has to be reconfigured.
Feel free to comment with your thoughts and what you would like done.
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.
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.
Sanchez $6.35MM (I know, .147 and benched in postseason gets you THAT?!)
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.
In a recent interview, Hal Steinbrenner mentioned that Aaron Boone would be back as Yankees’ manager in 2021, but he refused to commit on Domingo German’s return.
I apologize for not getting my Yankees’ grades and recommendations for the offseason out yet. I am dealing with my mom’s (passed away in July) estate and we thought we had a buyer for her house but that fell through last night. So I am dealing with a lot right now. I’ll get my thoughts up when I get time, but between mandatory OT at work and the estate, my time is very limited right now. Bear with me.
I have not been able to watch too much baseball since the Yanks were eliminated. Mostly due to the reasons I listed. The Rays are up 3 games to none on Houston (and Jose Altuve seems to have caught Steve Sax disease) while Atlanta has won both of the first two games from the Dodgers.
Lately, it seems like every move Aaron Boone is making is backfiring on him.
Especially when it comes to the bullpen.
Right now, Brian Cashman is with the team, and after last night’s 12-7 loss, I wouldn’t be surprised if heads roll after this season.
Watching part of the YES postgame show, it seemed like ex-Yankee and current YES broadcaster John Flaherty had a couple of criticisms, and was more critical than normal.
In the line of fire would be pitching coach Matt Blake, bullpen coach Mike Harkey and even manager Boone himself.
Blake had no coaching experience before getting the pitching coach job this year and was a bit of a surprise choice to replace the fired Larry Rothschild (now with SD).
You may argue that maybe going with David Cone, who interviewed for the job, may have been a better choice.
I wonder if the Yankees need to take a good, hard look at how their pitching philosophy has or hasn’t worked lately. One reason they have been coming up short has been their rotation. Just getting Cole may be like putting a band-aid on what seems to be a bigger problem.
When you lose 14 of 19, and have free-falled your way into clinging to the 8th and last playoff spot (and that spot is only there because of the virus of 2020), you can expect fans not to be happy on Twitter. And, it appears, there isn’t much happiness on the YES postgame show or in the front office. I would guess Hal isn’t too happy either.
Injuries are one thing, but bad play is another.
If ever there is a time for a good ripping into a team to wake them up, now is the time.
The Yanks (21-20) took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth, only to see Chad Green and Adam Ottavino give up 10 runs in what turned out to be a 12-7 loss.
Flaherty, on the postgame show, wondered why Boone stayed with Ottavino (who didn’t record an out, all six batters scoring) so long. He also criticized Boone’s body language during the inning. Just an observation, but Flaherty’s words sounded like someone angling for Boone’s job. They were quite critical, and you may add, harsh.
But this was really bad. It’s one thing to lose 14 of 19 in a 162 game season, but in a 60 game season? We’re talking 1/3 of the season here.
The Yanks got back-to-back HR from Luke Voit (14) and Aaron Hicks (4) in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead.
But as has been their wont lately, the Yankees’ pitchers, Jordan Montgomery in this instance, gave runs right back, and Montgomery joined the cast of Yankees’ starters not giving any length, thus putting more pressure on a failing bullpen.
Montgomery gave up a run in the first, another in the second, and the game was tied.
The Yanks got a run in the fourth when Miguel Andujar hit his first HR of the season. 3-2 Yanks.
In the fifth, with one out, D.J. LeMahieu and Luke Voit both singled, and with two out, Clint Frazier’s double scored two runs. 5-2, Yanks.
A bases-loaded walk to Hicks in the top of the sixth made it 6-2.
Then the roof fell in, as Green and Ottavino gave up ten runs in the bottom of the sixth. The final indignity came when Ottavino gave up a grand slam. The bottom of the sixth lasted 43 minutes and took up 67 pitches.
I have wondered about pitch selection a lot lately. In checking out the game on MLB’s gameday, I had to shake my head when, during a 9 or 10 pitch at bat (which resulted in Luke Voit making an error), Green threw nothing but fastballs. Really? Eventually the batter will time the fastball, especially after seeing nine or ten in a row.
There is a difference between pitching and throwing. Yes, there was criticism of that in Twitterworld, and I think, on the YES postgame show as well (I’m not too sure about YES, but YES was a bit critical last evening, and rightfully so).
The Yankees’ defense, suspect lately, made two more errors. Nothing is going right.
The Yanks got a run in the top of the ninth on an RBI groundout by Andujar.
But this game signified “just when you think things can’t get worse…”
Something’s gonna happen. It has to. This can’t continue.
Because the Yanks are close to missing out on the playoffs entirely.
Voit 2 hits, solo HR (14)
Hicks solo HR (4), 2 RBI
Frazier 2 hits, 2 RBI
Andujar solo HR (1), 2 RBI
Montgomery 3 1/3 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 2 W, 1 K. 5.72
Holder 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.25
Green 1/3 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 H, 2 W, 0 K. 4.26
Ottavino (L, 2-3; BS, 3; 7.82) 0 IP, 6 R, 4 H, 2 W, 0 K. Gave up grand slam.
Cessa 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.81
Schmidt 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K. 7.71