Category Archives: The Owner

Jeter steps down as Marlins’ CEO; Yankees name new assistant hitting coach

Yankees’ legend Derek Jeter stepped down as CEO of the Marlins yesterday, effective immediately.

While talks to try and get a resolution to the labor deal went on throughout the night, the Yankees named a new assistant hitting coach. Hensley Meulens replaces Eric Chavez, who was named asst. hitting coach but then left to become the hitting coach for the Mets. Meulens was a Yankee OF (with some time at 3B and 1B) from 1989-1993, and was with Montreal in 1997 and Arizona in 1998. He won 3 WS rings as a coach with the SF Giants. He was one of those considered for the managerial job that went to Aaron Boone in 2017. Another person who interviewed for that job was Carlos Beltran, who is now with the YES broadcasting team.

What could have been. Elston Howard, manager?

One recent occurrence, and one we are in now, have me thinking.

What could have been?

The recent hiring of a female to manage the Yankees’ Low-A Tampa team is groundbreaking. The Yankees could have been the first to break some other ground many years ago.

With this being Black History Month, MLB.com has a feature up on Elston Howard, who became the first black Yankees player in 1955. In 1963, Howard became the first black player to win the AL MVP award—an award that had already been won several times by blacks in the NL.

The YES network, I am sure, will also run their biography on Howard this month. I have seen that bio before and it does raise an interesting what if?

In 1973, the Yankees played their final season in the original (pre-renovation) Yankee Stadium. After the last game of the season, Ralph Houk resigned. As the Yankees were going to play in Shea Stadium in 1974 and 1975 while Yankee Stadium was being renovated, the question now arose as to who would be the Yankees manager in 1974.

At first the Yankees hired Dick Williams, who had just managed the Oakland A’s to two straight WS titles but then who resigned immediately after the 1973 WS (in which the A’s beat the Mets). But the hiring was nullified by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn after A’s owner Charlie Finley protested that Williams owed Finley the final year of his deal (Finley had no qualms of releasing Williams from the obligation in mid-1974 so that Williams could manage the Angels). The Yankees turned to Bill Virdon instead.

But what if they had chosen Howard? In the YES bio, Bobby Murcer talks about how Ellie had the respect of the whole team and no one would have argued against the hiring of Howard to be the Yankees’ manager.

Howard, upon his retirement from playing after the 1968 season, had become a coach for the Yankees. In so doing, he became the first black coach in the AL.

If the Yankees WOULD have promoted Howard to manager for the 1974 season, he would have become the first black manager in MLB history—-an honor that went to Frank Robinson (Cleveland) in 1975.

But from 1974-1991, as you know, the Yankees had an endless parade of managers, led by Billy Martin’s five separate terms. Others had repeats, too.

Virdon 1974-1975
Billy Martin I 1975-1978
Bob Lemon I 1978-1979
Billy II 1979
Dick Howser 1980
Gene Michael I 1981
Lemon II 1981-1982
Michael II 1982
Clyde King 1982
Billy III 1983
Yogi Berra II 1984-1985 (Yogi I was in 1964)
Billy IV 1985
Lou Piniella I 1986-1987
Billy V 1988
Lou II 1988
Dallas Green 1989
Bucky Dent 1989-1990
Stump Merrill 1990-1991

Since 1991, there have been just four managers.

Buck Showalter 1992-1995
Joe Torre 1996-2007
Joe Girardi 2008-2017
Aaron Boone 2018-present.

So some stability since 1992. But you wonder. If the Yankees had hired Ellie, and if Ellie’s health had held out (he died of a heart condition Dec. 14, 1980 at the age of 51, on the same day that thousands of people in Central Park, along with millions around the world, gathered to mourn the loss of John Lennon, who was assassinated six days before) would the Yankees have had stability in the 1970s/1980s? Granted, stability in managers wasn’t a trait of the Boss, George Steinbrenner, but you wonder. If Ellie were manager, how well would he have done, and would it have stopped the merry-go-round of managers, especially with Billy Martin?

We’ll never know what could have been.

Do Yanks have an offseason plan?

If the Yankees have a plan this off-season, I’d like to know what it is.

Now some contracts given out are a bit much. With the Yanks already paying a fortune for Stanton and Cole, and needing to save money for Judge down the line, they are probably watching their wallet.

But …. let’s go by position.

C. Rumor had them interested in Jacob Stallings, Gold Glove C for the Pirates. He was traded to Miami. Missed out there. So far stuck with the disappointing Sanchez and also Higashioka.

1B. Haven’t done anything with Voit. Rizzo still a free agent. Could always go with D.J. at 1B. Matt Olson of the A’s is on the Yanks’ radar but the A’s are asking for the moon and stars. I’d be shocked if Freddie Freeman doesn’t re-up with Atlanta.

SS. Need help here. Torres back at 2B. Urshela isn’t really a SS. I was hoping for Corey Seager. Lefty bat they needed, and a SS. Went to Texas. 10 years, $325MM. Ok. Yanks probably didn’t want to go that high. Especially with prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza a year or two away. They also didn’t want to go more than 7 years for Marcus Semien, who ALSO went to Texas (7 yr. $175MM). Now, Trevor Story is still out there. So is Javier Baez. So is Carlos Correa. All would be expensive, and in the case of Correa, maybe even more expensive than Seager (and Correa comes with that Houston baggage, plus he recently dissed Yankees’ legend Derek Jeter). But rumor has the Yanks looking at a stopgap until the kids are ready.

So then who? They could be looking at Andrelton Simmons. 32 year old. Righty bat. Doesn’t help, they need more lefty bats (see Seager). 4 time Gold Glove. Great. 3x MVP consideration, including a top 10 finish. Great. Hit .223-3-31, OPS+ 57 for Twins this year. That is horrid. 162 game average is .265-10-59, OPS+ 88. 100 is average. If Yanks sign him, Defense great. But teammates will have to pick up the slack and carry his bat.

Since Texas now has Seager and Semien, they Yanks may consider a trade for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 26, of Texas, who won a GG at 3B in 2020 before switching to SS. He hit .271-8-53 with 20 SB for Texas this year, OPS+ 85. Another righty bat. Sigh. His 162 g. average is .265-7-49, 16 SB, OPS+ 81. See Simmons, above. Same thing. Fine D. Other bats need to carry him.

Yet another rumor is trading with the Phillies to bring back the popular Didi Gregorius, especially if the Phils go big on a Story, Correa or Baez. The familiarity with Didi is a plus. Didi gives them the lefty bat they need. Didi, 32 in February, could be a one or two year stopgap. But he had a terrible 2021, hitting just .209-13-54, OPS+ 71 in 103 games, and his defense also took a step back. Didi’s 162 game average is .259-21-82, OPS+ 97. If he can get back to what he was, a better hitter than Simmons or Kiner-Falefa, and got MVP consideration twice, but you have to wonder if he is on the downside. If he can get back to where he was 2016-2018 when he averaged .277-24-81, OPS+ 108, a good stopgap until the kids are ready. But in the last three years, he has only it .237 with an OPS+ of 89. You wonder, as I stated, if he is on the downside.

The only move the Yanks have made to address the SS situation so far has been a very minor one. They signed Jose Peraza to a minor league deal. SS, 2B, LF. Another righty bat (Sigh). 27. Played for Dodgers 2015, Reds 2016-2019, Red Sox 2020 and Mets in 2021. Best year 2018 Reds. .288-14-58, 23 SB. OPS+ 98. For the Mets in 2021? .204-6-20, OPS+ 76. Not good. His 162 game average is .266-9-48, 21 SB. OPS+ 79. Once again, 100 is average. 79 is 21% below average.

Starting pitching. The Yanks offered Justin Verlander, 39 in February, a 1 year $25MM deal but Verlander got a 2nd year player option with Houston and decided to stay there. The Mets gave Max Scherzer, 37, a ridiculous 3 year, $130MM (!!!!!) deal. No way the Yanks were going $43.3MM a year! But they lost out on Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, a lefty pitcher who got 5 years and $115MM from Seattle. He would have been nice slotted behind Cole (or since Ray won the CYA and Cole finished second, in FRONT of him). Another the Yanks didn’t get was Kevin Gausman, who got 5 year and $110 MM from Toronto. Yet another Jon Gray, who got 4 years and $56MM from Texas. Now maybe the Yanks didn’t want multi-year deals, but $25MM for 1 year of a 39 year old Verlander but not $22MM per or $23MM per for 5 years of Ray or Gausman? Or $14MM for 4 years of Jon (no, not Sonny) Gray? Even 3 years, $36MM for Anthony DeSclafani? 2 years, $20MM for Alex Wood? I don’t get it. It seems as if the Yanks could be looking at 4th place in their division if they don’t do something. So far they have done nothing, and remember—two less wins this year and the Yanks WOULD have finished 4th in the AL East. Meanwhile the Yanks lost Corey Kluber to a division rival—-Tampa Bay. Kluber only gave the Yanks 1/2 a season this year because of injury. Good, and a no-hitter before the injury, not so hot after it. Marcus Stroman apparently isn’t interested in the Yanks. Nor the Yanks in him. Carlos Rodon is still available. The lefty threw a no-no himself this year, turns 29 in just a few days, and was 13-5, 2.37 ERA+ 183 this season. He was an All-Star who finished 5th in CYA voting this year. He is 42-38, 3.79, ERA+ 110 in his career. Before this breakout year, he was just average, and an injury risk.

Now, if the Yanks were going to throw $25MM for 1 year of Verlander, guess who else is out there? Clayton Kershaw. 34 in March. Maybe not the dominating Kershaw anymore, but younger than Verlander, and even though Kershaw has had injury issues recently, he isn’t coming off TJ surgery like Verlander is. Kershaw went 10-8, 3.55, ERA+ 115 for the Dodgers this year. 3 CYA. 1 MVP. 8X All-Star. Pitching Triple Crown. Average 162 game season 17-8, 2.49. Look at that ERA again. 2.49. ERA+ 155. Now I don’t see the Dodgers wanting to lose Kershaw as they have lost Seager and Scherzer. But the Yanks took a chance on Kluber. They were thinking of Verlander. Both CYA winners coming off injuries. Kershaw is expected to do one of three things. Back to the Dodgers, home to Texas, or retire. But if the Yanks were going to risk chancing Kluber, then Verlander, Kershaw would have been an interesting gamble. Also interesting and still out there would be Zack Greinke, another former CYA winner. Grienke had some issues which makes me think he wouldn’t be a good fit in NY. 6x All-Star, 6x Gold Glove, the guy can even hit!, but at 38, has slowed down. 11-6, 4.16 in 2021, ERA+ 103.

But you wonder if they missed the boat on, say, Ray or Gausman. Some guys (Kershaw? Greinke?) could be like when the Yanks got Randy Johnson. Ok, but past his prime.

CF. The Yanks are looking for someone more reliable than injured Aaron Hicks. Starling Marte was out there but went to the Mets for 4 years and $78MM. The Yanks do have prospects like Everson Pereira and Jasson Dominguez here. As with SS, are they waiting for players they can control, hope those players are the real deal and therefore doing nothing now but biting the bullet? A couple of trade possibilities are Cedric Mullins of Baltimore (in division and won’t be cheap) and Bryan Reynolds of Pittburgh. Some teams have inquired to see if the Yanks would deal Joey Gallo, who struggled mightily with the Yanks last year.

So far, the Yanks have done nothing, and there isn’t even a ripple in the water. No rumors. For them so far, the hot stove is ice cold.

The natives are getting restless, especially after all the moves that have been made, especially by the cross-town Mets.

What exactly IS the Yankees mode of attack and when will they strike? WILL they strike?

UPDATE: SS Freddy Galvis , 32, switch-hitter, is still a free agent the Yanks may go after. Phillies, 2012-17, Padres 2018, Blue Jays 2019, Reds 2019-2020, Orioles and Phils 2021. HIt .242-14-40, OPS+ 91 in 2021. 162 game average .246-16-63, OPS+ 82. Another cheap stopgap.





What now? A look at the front office.

As the Yankees’ (disappointing) season is over, I look at the postseason. What needs to be done to be better? In many ways, I feel this team needs to be blown up. A lot of pieces don’t fit together. First a quick look at things, then Part 1. The front office, manager and coaches.

First, the numbers. The team, for most of the season, was too right-handed. This for a team in Yankee Stadium. Cashman tried to remedy that with the trades for Rizzo and Gallo, and did pick up Odor. Um, getting guys from Texas (Odor and Gallo) isn’t too good of an idea. How good is Texas anyway? While Rizzo helped, the other two didn’t help much.

In a 15-team league, the Yanks were 13th in hits. Last in doubles. Next to last in triples. Yes, they were third in HR, and 1st in walks, but that’s all they did. Walk or hit homers. Brett Gardner laid down 5 of the 10 sac bunts. They don’t bunt, teams seem not to anymore. They were 10th in SB. They ran the bases poorly (and something I’ll get to in a moment). The batting average of .237 was 13th in a 15-team league. The OPS+ was 100—average. They were 11th in total bases. 12th in sac flies. That last one shows a lot. Not getting runners in that are on third with less than two out. The SB? Not creating runs. They don’t hit and run. Too many low-average, high-strikeouts sluggers. Not enough contact hitters.

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.



Game 89. Brutal. Yanks blow it in 9th, give up 6 runs, lose 8-7.

This was brutal. Up 7-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees (46-43, Tied for 3rd, 8 back) gave up 6 runs to Houston in the bottom of the 9th, the last three on a walkoff HR by Jose Altuve, and lost 8-7.

With the all-star break now, the Yanks will have that depressing memory to chew on for a while.

The Yanks didn’t have Jonathan Loaisiga (Covid) available. Zack Britton and Darren O’Day are both on the IL. But it speaks volumes that they didn’t even let Aroldis Chapman start the ninth inning with a five-run lead. No trust in him.

And this is the FOURTH really bad loss in a month and a day. THIRD in two weeks. Some bad memories as we revisit.

June 10. Up 5-3 in Minnesota. The game that started Chapman’s skid. He gave up two 2-run HRs, didn’t get an out, in the bottom of the ninth. Yanks give up 4 runs. Yanks lose 7-5.

June 30. Up 8-4, Yanks give up 7 in top of the ninth to Angels and lose 11-8.

July 4. 1st game of DH, 7-inning game. Up 5-4 going into the top of the seventh, give up 6, lose to Mets 10-5.

Now July 11. Up 7-2 in Houston, give up six in the bottom of the ninth. Lose 8-7.

I heard a little bit of WFAN after the game. In those few minutes, they were ripping into Hal Steinbrenner to show some emotion. To show he cares. To get ticked off about these losses. To show that he, like us, is a LITTLE bit like a fan, and that isn’t only a business that he only cares about on the business end but is impassive on the wins and losses end. Or if he doesn’t care, then sell the team to someone who does. They were really on him.

The Yanks scored in the top of the third when Gary Sanchez walked with one out. On a strikeout, Sanchez moved up on a WP. Luke Voit walked, and Sanchez scored on a error on a ball hit by Gleyber Torres.

Yankees’ starter Jameson Taillon gave up a HR in the bottom of the third that allowed Houston to tie the game.

Tim Locastro hit his first Yankees’ HR (second of the year for him) to put the Yanks up 2-1.

The Yankees went up 3-1 in the fifth. Giancarlo Stanton singled, Voit walked, and Torres singled in Stanton.

Jameson, who pitched well, gave up another HR in the sixth, and it was 3-2.

In the seventh, the Yanks made it 4-2 when with two out, Torres walked, stole second, and scored on a single by Gio Urshela.

Sanchez hit a 3-run HR (15) in the eighth to make it 7-2.

Then the roof fell in in the bottom of the ninth. As mentioned, Chapman not trusted with a five-run lead (Yikes!). Domingo German comes out for his third inning of relief. Single. Double.

In comes Chad Green. Double to make it 7-4. Another double makes it 7-5. Bloop single. Runners on first and third. Line out. Then the 3-run HR by Altuve to win it for Houston. Yikes.

The Yankees could have crushed the Astros in this game. They walked 14 times to go with their 8 hits. But they were 3 for 16 w/RISP.

Sanchez 3-run HR (15)
Stanton 2 hits.
Urshela 2 hits, RBI
Locastro solo HR (2)


Taillon 6 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 2 W, 4 K. 1 HBP. 2 of 3 hits given up HR. 4.90 (nice job, has lowered ERA by a run, was almost 6)
German (H, 2) 2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 2 K
Green (L, 3-5) 1/3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up walkoff HR. 2.89



Game 77. Yanks fall into 4th place after getting swept in Fenway, 9-2.

What a lost weekend. Hal Steinbrenner needs to channel his father. You can only imagine how the old man would have reacted after the Yankees got swept in Fenway this weekend. Couple this with the Red Sox sweeping the Yankees at the Stadium three weeks ago, and the Yankees are 0-6 vs. the Red Sox this season.

Pair that up with Tampa Bay, and the Yanks are 5-14 vs. those two teams this year. Sunday’s 9-2 loss dropped the Yankees to 40-37, and down to 4th place in the AL East, 6 1/2 out.

The weekend was embarrassing. Even Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole was affected. Cole gave up a HR on the very first pitch he threw, and gave up another HR, a 3-run 451 ft. shot, before the inning was out. After one inning, the Yanks were down 4-0, and it seemed like all the air was out of the balloon. In that inning, Miguel Andujar, still learning the outfield, made a bad defensive play.

With two on and one out in the third inning, and a chance to get back into the game, the Yanks came away with nothing. In the bottom of the third, Cole gave up a leadoff HR to J.D. Martinez, which was another bomb, and an error by Gleyber Torres helped lead to another run. After three innings, Boston led 6-0.

Cole settled down after that, at least giving the Yankees some innings (5), but even if he had pitched well, once again he received little support. The only runs the Yankees got came via a two-run HR by Aaron Judge (17) in the top of the sixth that cut the score to 6-2. They struck out 13x. The Yanks loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, came away with nothing. Boston, meanwhile, got a run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 7-2.

Brooks Kriske, who has not pitched well for the Yankees this year (5 games, 7 R in 5 IP, ERA 12.60) gave up two runs in the eighth, including a solo HR, to make it 9-2, the final score.

Later this week, the Yanks hit the halfway point of the season. Over the 4th of July weekend, I will give “mid-term grades” out. As you may guess, it won’t be pretty.


LeMahieu 2 hits
Judge 2-run HR (17)


Cole (L, 8-4) 5 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 8 H, 2 W, 6 K. Gave up 3 HR. 1 WP. 2.66
Cessa 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. 3.13
Kriske 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR. 12.60

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.

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.

Boone back, German may not be.

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.

Game 41. 10-run inning dooms Yanks, 12-7.

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