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Category Archives: The Owner
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
Jordan Montgomery, who has the nickname “Gumby”, could have stood on the mound last night and used the old Eddie Murphy line, “I’m Gumby, dammit!”.
As if anyone forgot.
Montgomery, who I nickname “the General” after the famous WWII British general Bernard Montgomery, had a very good rookie season in 2017, going 9-7, 3.88, ERA+ 116, when he finished 6th in ROY voting.
Then came 2018. He was doing well, 2-0, 3.62 in six starts when he needed Tommy John surgery. He missed the rest of 2018, some 80% of the season or so.
He missed all of 2019, except for one start and one relief appearance at the end of the year. Just four innings, three runs, no decisions.
He was doing great in spring training this year and then the virus hit. So his first start of 2020 wasn’t until last night, July 31.
He went 5 2/3 innings, gave up just one run, and got his first MLB win since April 21, 2018. That’s a long time to wait.Two years, three months, ten days.
It also reminded you that he’s good. Welcome back, Monty.
The Yanks (5-1) hit three homers to support him in the 5-1 win over Boston.
Montgomery gave up a HR in the third inning to Michael Chavis, and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, caused by his own making by hitting a batter and later committing an error on what should have been a DP comebacker.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the third, the Yanks took the lead when D.J. LeMahieu singled and Aaron Judge followed with a two-run HR (3). It was the third straight game in which Judge homered.
Gio Urshela made it 3-1 in the fourth with a solo HR.
Finally, Brett Gardner got his first hit of the season, a 2-run HR in the eighth to give the Yanks a 5-1 cushion, which wound up to be the final score.
LeMahieu 3 hits. The “Machine” is hitting .455. Picking up where he left off in 2019.
Judge 2-run HR. (3) Homers in three straight games.
Torres 2 hits. Guess we didn’t need to worry about that bruised elbow.
Urshela 2 hits, Solo HR.
Gardner 2-run HR. Finally, his first hit of the season. Now to get the Kraken going.
Montgomery (W, 1-0, 1.59) 5 2/3 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 1 W, 4 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR, made an error.
Green (H, 1) 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 4 K. 0.00 Looked great
Ottavino (H, 1) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 0.00
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 0.00
Doubleheaders will be seven inning games this year to try to get the games over with because of the virus and health reasons. The “man starts on second” rule for extra innings applies to these games in the eighth inning. Hopefully both rules, shortened games for DHs and also the”man starts on second base” rule are for this season only because of the virus situation.
Also, good and bad news on the injury/virus front. Aroldis Chapman is over the virus and will be back soon. But the Yanks have lost Tommy Kahnle for the rest of the season. UCL, and faces Tommy John surgery.
Suzyn Waldman, Yankee radio announcer, kept a promise to Gerrit Cole and sang the national anthem before the Yanks’ home opener last night. A few years ago, knowing Cole grew up a Yankees’ fan, that the Yanks had originally drafted him (he went to UCLA instead) and was about to hit the free market soon, Waldman told him that “he’d make a great Yankee.” Cole replied, “If I sign (with the Yankees), you have to sing the national anthem at the home opener then.” Cole remembered that Waldman had done the national anthem at games before and once starred on Broadway. Last night, Waldman kept her promise. Nice touch.
The Yanks are wearing HGS patches on their uniforms to honor Hank Steinbrenner, who passed away a few months ago.
This will be brief. I’m up early and have to attend my mom’s funeral today.
In a year so turbulent, disruptive and unusual, it only stands to reason that baseball’s opening game, delayed for so long, was in itself delayed, and then called off early. The Yankees won 4-1 when the game was called in the top of the sixth.
Also, with all the anarchy, violence and rioting going on, the game was decided by some “G-men” and a Judge. Now to have that in real life.
The G-men were Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton. Of course the Judge was Aaron Judge.
Cole won his Yankees debut, pitching 5 innings and giving up only one hit—a HR.
In the top of the first, Judge singled and Stanton hit a 2-run HR (1).
Cole gave up the HR to the second batter he faced. After one inning, 2-1 Yankees.
In the third inning, Tyler Wade walked and then scored on a double by Judge.
In the fifth, Gio Urshela (another G-Man) walked and Wade got a bunt single. Two outs later, Gleyber Torres (yet another G-Man) walked to load the bases. Stanton singled to make it 4-1.
With one out in the sixth, Luke Voit walked and Urshela singled. Then the rains came.
Judge 2 hits, RBI
Stanton 2 hits, 3 RBI, HR
Rough nights for Brett Gardner and Gary Sanchez. Both were. 0 for 3, all strikeouts. NOT a good evening for those G-men. (Scherzer struck out 11).
Wade 2 Plate appearances, walk and a bunt single.
Cole (W, 1-0, 1.80) 5 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Talk about flattening the curve! Dr. Tony Fauci’s first pitch was …. pathetic. SMH. At least it was a “socially distant” pitch. It missed the catcher by a good six feet.
The Yankees are wearing patches on their uniforms to honor Hank Steinbrenner, who passed away a few months ago.
From the NY Daily News:
Hank Steinbrenner, the co-owner of the New York Yankees, has died after a long illness, sources confirm to the Daily News. He was 63.
Hank, the eldest son of George Steinbrenner, had largely kept out of the spotlight over the last decade. He and his younger brother Hal inherited the team when ‘The Boss’ died in 2010. But Hal became the organization’s managing general partner and the more visible of the two brothers.
Hank Steinbrenner spoke to the Daily News in 2017 about the “Baby Bombers” and how he had no interest in trading away the Yankees’ young talent.
“We’ll never (trade away prospects). I didn’t want to do that in the ’80s. But there was somebody that disagreed with me,” Steinbrenner joked at the time, referring to his father.
His death was not related to the coronavirus, per sources.
The luxury tax bills for the Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees – the three teams that exceeded the $206MM threshold in 2019 – are now public knowledge. The Red Sox owe $13.4MM, the Cubs will pay $7.6MM and the Yankees must surrender $6.7MM, according to Ronald Blum of The Associated Press. As far as actual payrolls go, Boston checked in at $228MM, the Yankees put a $226MM roster on the field and the Cubs spent $220MM, Blum notes.
Neither the Red Sox nor the Cubs made the playoffs in 2019 despite their elite-level spending, while the Yankees lost to the Astros in the ALCS. Now, with the exception of the Yankees (who’ve already made history this offseason with the nine-year, $324MM contract they awarded right-hander Gerrit Cole), those clubs look as if they’re in salary-cutting mode. The tax limit will climb to $208MM next season, and the Yankees will blow past it in the wake of the Cole signing. Moreover, there’s a decent chance the Yankees will outspend the $208MM mark by $40MM or more, which would lead to a 42.5 percent overage tax next year and would cause their highest draft pick to drop 10 spots.
It seems the Red Sox and Cubs would like to avoid the tax, but it remains to be seen whether either will pull off that feat. As things stand, next year’s Red Sox are projected to go beyond $208MM by almost $30MM, while the Cubs will do so by about $6MM, per Jason Martinez of Roster Resource.
It will be easier for Boston and Chicago to duck the tax 12 months from now if they sell off an expensive star or two, which seems possible. The clubs have former MVPs (outfielder Mookie Betts for the Red Sox and third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant for the Cubs) who have come up in trade rumors. Betts and Bryant aside, there are other well-compensated potential trade chips in both cases. Left-hander David Price and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. come to the fore for the Red Sox, while righty Yu Darvish and first baseman Anthony Rizzo join Bryant among high-priced Cubs who may not be untouchable.
You may have noticed the Nike logo on the Yankees’ uniform Gerrit Cole was wearing yesterday at his press conference. I’m not too happy about it, but according to the NY Post,
the reason the swoosh is now located on the front of the Yankees’ uniform is because of MLB wanting to appeal to younger consumers and, not for nothing, a 10-year deal that was valued at, according to sources, more than $1 billion among MLB, Nike and Fanatics.
Money doesn’t only talk, it screams.
Another thing about the Cole signing. It hurts the team that knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs in three of the past five years. You improve yourself, hurt them.
The deal could be even longer and more expensive. There is an avenue in which Cole’s contract would become a 10-year deal for $360 million. If Cole opts out after five years, the Yankees may void the opt out and extend the contract one more year for $36 million, The Post confirmed.