Tag Archives: Gardner

If there is a Plan B, that may need to be changed.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Things have been quiet, and I don’t want to get into rumors, but if the Yankees’ off-season strategy is go after Gerrit Cole, but have a Plan B in case Cole rejects the Yankees offer, Plan B probably needs some alteration.

The top two targets for the Yankees, pitching-wise, are Cole and Stephen Strasburg. The Yanks have met with both, but it is expected that Strasburg will go back to Washington. Cole is a different story.

The Yanks have wanted Cole for a long time. They drafted him out of high school but Cole decided to go to UCLA instead. Then, when the Pirates were shopping him, the Yanks wouldn’t meet the Pirates’ demands (Miguel Andujar for one) and Pittsburgh traded Cole to Houston instead.

Apparently the Yanks told Cole that the money is there. It’s up to Cole, a Southern Californian, to decide if he wants New York.

But if the Yanks can’t get Cole (and it appears, for now, that all their eggs are being placed in that basket), or Strasburg, who is or was the Yankees Plan B?

If it was Zack Wheeler, forget it now. Wheeler signed a 5-yr., $118MM deal with the Phillies yesterday.

Cole Hamels reached a 1-yr., $18MM deal with Atlanta.

There are other Plan B’s out there, like Madison Bumgarner, Dallas Keuchel, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Gio Gonzalez, but they aren’t the WOW factor Cole or Strasburg are.

And if these Plan B’s are off the market when Cole decides, and he decides against the Yankees, what then?

Besides the pursuit of Cole, the Yanks also have to see about re-signing or letting go some of their own—Brett Gardner (most likely will be back what with Hicks going to miss most of 2020), Didi Gregorius (most likely gone), Austin Romine and Dellin Betances.

Of course, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner may look to the trade market. If that is the case, Clint Frazier and/or Andujar could be names (among others) dangled.

Gardy & Yanks talking. DJ a SS. Yanks name pitching coach. Ex-Yank coach Espada to be SF Mgr.?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks and Brett Gardner are talking about keeping Gardy in the Bronx. The free agent is 36, and with Aaron Hicks to miss at least 1/2 of 2020 due to TJ surgery, the Yanks will need a CF.

On top of that, the Yanks need veteran leadership that Gardy provides.

The problem is, Gardner is 36, 37 next August, so he’ll need a competent backup (Tauchman?) because Gardy can’t be expected to play every day any more.’


The Yanks have chosen a pitching coach for 2020, and it is not David Cone, or the two college guys they interviewed earlier this week.

Instead, it is Matt Blake, who has been with Cleveland the past few years.  From the NY Post:

His last job was as the Indians’ pitching coordinator and he worked for the Yankees as an area scout under Matt Hyde, who heads up the Yankees’ amateur scouting program from New Jersey to Maine and is considered among the best in the business.

Blake also has been involved with the Cressey Institute, a program that works on the strength aspect of developing athletes and has facilities in Florida and Massachusetts.

The Yankees talked to former Yankee pitcher and current YES broadcaster David Cone about the job, as well as Michigan pitching coach Chris Fetter and Arkansas’ Matt Hobbs.

Tabbing an outsider wasn’t a surprise because the Yankees didn’t renew the contract of pitching coordinator Scott Aldred and fellow pitching coordinator Danny Borrell left the organization to take the pitching coach job at Georgia Tech after the minor league season was over.

D.J. LeMahieu has won the Silver Slugger Award for best hitter at his position for 2019.

Even though he won a batting title in the N.L. with Colorado in 2016, this is still his first SS Award.


Former Yankees coach Joe Espada is considered the front runner for the SF Giants managerial job.

No Q.O. for Didi. John, Munson, Mattingly on Modern Baseball Era ballot for HOF consideration. Boone up for MOY.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees did not extend a qualifying offer of $17.8MM to Didi Gregorius. If he leaves as a free agent, the Yanks receive no compensation.

It could be that the Yanks want him back, but at less than that figure. But Didi now can talk to anyone.

Didi made $11.75MM last season, when he missed a significant amount of time recovering from TJ surgery. He played in 82 games, and despite hitting 16 HR and driving in 61 runs, only hit .238 with an OPS+ of 87. It was his worst OPS+ since his first year with the Yanks in 2015.

One other problem is that Didi didn’t walk much. His OBP was just .276.

As such, the Yanks probably didn’t think a raise from $11.75MM to $17.8MM was warranted or deserved. IF the Yanks want him back, it probably would be for less than $17.8MM.

Didi hopes to return. We will see.


From MLB.com:

Gregorius was one of seven Yankees to hit free agency on Halloween, following right-hander Dellin Betances, outfielder Brett Gardner, right-hander Cory Gearrin (who I don’t expect back), outfielder Cameron Maybin (questionable), catcher Austin Romine (would he come back as a backup or does he want to start elsewhere) and retired left-hander CC Sabathia.

As you know, the Yankees declined a $20 million option on first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, instead paying him a $5 million buyout.

Of that group, the Yankees seem most likely to pursue a reunion with Gardner, who could man center field in the wake of Aaron Hicks’ Tommy John surgery.

The Yankees announced the following roster moves on Monday:

• Reinstated 3B Miguel Andújar, 1B Greg Bird, OF Jacoby Ellsbury and RHP Jonathan Holder from the 60-day injured list.

• Reinstated RHP Jake Barrett from the 60-day IL and outrighted him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

• LHP Tyler Lyons has elected free agency in lieu of accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.


BBWAA awards:

Aaron Boone has been named as one of three finalists for AL Mgr. of the Year.

D.J. LeMahieu may get consideration for MVP, but he won’t be in the top 3. The top 3 are Bregman, Trout and Semien but the order won’t be revealed until Nov. 14.


Also from MLB.com:

The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced 10 candidates under consideration for induction as part of the 2020 Modern Baseball Era ballot: Dwight Evans, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons and Lou Whitaker.

Hicks out 8-10 months. Minor surgeries also for Tanaka, Voit. Ex-mgr. Girardi Philly-bound.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks may have to sign free agent OF Brett Gardner to a one-year deal. They won’t have Aaron Hicks until next July at the earliest. Hicks is to undergo Tommy John surgery on that throwing elbow of his and will miss 8-10 months.

Even though Gardner had a career year, reaching highs in HR (28) and RBI (74), you do have to wonder if, with Hicks out, the Yanks may also look elsewhere and sign someone else to a one-year deal to platoon with Gardy or if they might just see if Mike Tauchman, who had 13 HR and 47 RBI as a platoon player, or maybe even Cameron Maybin (11 HR, 32 RBI platooning as well) could be a fit.

The problem with Gardner is that he is 36, and turns 37 next August. A good, career Yankee, a leader, but will his age be a problem?

Ex-Oriole OF Adam Jones is a free agent. Maybe on a one-year deal. And only to platoon.

Masahiro Tanaka had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow, and Luke Voit had a procedure done, probably related to that sports hernia he got. Both are expected to be ready for spring training 2020.


D.J. LeMahieu is a finalist for the Gold Glove Award, at 2B. He is the only Yankee to be a finalist (3 are named at each position). I thought maybe Gio Urshela,  Gardner, and Aaron Judge would be considered, but nope.


Ex-Yankee C and later manager Joe Girardi got a 3-year deal with the Phillies to be their next manager, replacing Gabe Kapler. Girardi managed the Yanks 2008-2017, winning the WS in 2009, and had one year managing the Marlins prior to that.

ALCS Game 6. Altuve’s walkoff HR in bottom of 9th ends Yanks’ season, WS is Houston/Washington.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

I’ll get into some mistakes I think the Yanks made in this ALCS in another post. For now, just a game post.

Jose Altuve (ALCS MVP) hit a walkoff HR in the bottom of the ninth to give Houston a 6-4 win and send the Astros to the WS where they’ll meet the Washington Nationals. It’s the second pennant for the Astros in three years. Houston won the 2017 WS.

For the Yankees, it’s the first decade since the 1910s where they haven’t made a WS appearance. They did lose four ALCS’s in the 2010s.

2010: Lost in 6 to Texas.
2012: Swept by Detroit in the series where Derek Jeter broke his ankle in Game 1.
2017: Lost in 7 to Houston.
2019: Lost in 6 to Houston.

The use of an opener didn’t work well for the Yanks, because Chad Green gave up a 3-run HR in the first inning to Yuri Gurriel with two out. The HR came right after a mound visit. That sure didn’t work well.

The Yanks got one run back in the second when slumping players Didi Gregorius doubled and Gary Sanchez singled him in. Later, with two out and two on, Brett Gardner struck out on a questionable call. It was the first of many breaks that did not go the Yankees’ way last night.

The Yanks loaded the bases in the third, but Didi Gregorius grounded out to end the inning. Why he swung at the first pitch, who knows. Down 3-1, needing to get back in the game, and a new pitcher just in the game, make him throw strikes. Check his nerves out. Instead, it appeared Didi succumbed to the nerves and pressure. He should have taken one. That, I couldn’t understand. Big mistake by Didi there, I thought, and think.

Gio Urshela homered in the fourth to make it 3-2 and the Yanks then didn’t catch another break. Gardner, up next, hit a long drive to right that looked as if it would tie up the game but it went just foul. He wound up singling but the Yanks couldn’t get him in.

With two out and one on in the top of the sixth, Gardner lined one to right but Josh Reddick made a diving catch on it.

Altuve, who had doubled and scored in the first, walked to lead off the bottom of the sixth for Houston. He went to third on a single by Michael Brantley and scored on a forceout. 4-2 Houston.

In the top of the seventh, another bad break for the Yanks. With Aaron Judge on first and one out, Aaron Hicks lined one to left. Brantley made a diving catch and doubled Judge off of first.

With one out and one on in the top of the eighth, Houston turned a nifty DP to get out of the inning. All breaks were going against the Yanks. The Yanks escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the eighth and went into the ninth down 4-2.

In the top of the ninth, it appeared that maybe the baseball gods would finally smile on the Yankees. Gio Urshela singled. Brett Gardner struck out after almost being HBP. D.J. LeMahieu then tied the game with a HR that barely cleared the wall and the leap of George Springer, now playing RF. 4-4.

Aroldis Chapman started the bottom of the ninth ok with a strikeout and pop up, but then walked Springer. Altuve then hit his pennant-winning HR.

LeMahieu 2-run Game tying HR in top of 9th.
Encarnacion 0 for 3, walk, 3 strikeouts. He killed the Yanks this series.
Gregorius 2 hits, but that first pitch groundout with the bases loaded in the third hurt.
Urshela 3 for 3, HR.

Green 1 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K. Gave up HR
Happ 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.  Maybe should have started, given more length?
Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Kahnle 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 0 K.
Chapman (LOSS) 2/3 IP, 2 R, 1 H,  1 W, 1 K.  Gave up GW HR.

In retrospect, maybe the Yanks should have just started Happ and asked for four or five from him. There are a lot of things they could and/or should have done differently this series. That is for the next post, coming later today.

 

 

ALCS Game 4. Yanks pushed to the brink after 8-3 loss. CC ends career by getting hurt.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

It can’t be looking worse. An 8-3 loss to the Astros puts the Yanks down three games to one in the ALCS, and the Yanks are looking at Justin Verlander tonight, and if the series continues, Gerrit Cole later, and the Astros can afford to save Cole for a possible Game 7.

Besides giving up the eight runs, the Yanks’ bats were quiet for the most part again, as they blew a couple of chances. Twice they loaded the bases, only to come away with one run total.

In the bottom of the first, D.J. LeMahieu walked, was forced at second by Aaron Judge, but then Aaron Hicks blooped a single and after Gleyber Torres popped out, and a double steal was executed, both Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Gardner walked, Gardner’s walk forcing in a run. But the struggling Gary Sanchez struck out.

The Yanks really could have dropped the hammer there. They let the Astros off the hook.

Masahiro Tanaka gave up a 3-run HR to George Springer in the third inning, giving the Astros a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The fifth inning was a killer, as the Yanks loaded the bases with one out. You thought here’s where they get back in the game, but Gleyber Torres and the slumping Edwin Encarnacion both struck out.  Torres has carried the team, but this was one occasion where he couldn’t do it.

Things unraveled in the sixth. Normally sure-handed Gold Glover D.J. LeMahieu made an error, the first of four (2 by LeMahieu, 2 by Torres) by the Yanks on the night. That ended Tanaka’s night and brought in Chad Green. An out later, a single, then a 3-run HR by Carlos Correa made it 6-1 Houston and the game, for all intensive purposes, was over.

Gary Sanchez finally woke up, hitting a 2-run HR in the bottom of the sixth to cut it to 6-3. LeMahieu later doubled with two out, but Aaron Judge struck out to end the inning, so the Yanks could not get closer.

I’ve disagreed with Boone’s decisions to keep going back to the struggling Sanchez and also Adam Ottavino. As Joe Torre said, he was advised by Don Zimmer that you can’t have patience in the offseason. Time is too short. Boone, in this series, basically has chosen to sink or swim with those guys (Encarnacion, too, and I’ll get to that in a bit) and it looks like the answer is sink. Ottavino came in for the eighth, and gave up a double right away. Then things got sloppy. LeMahieu, so good with the glove, made his second error of the game to put runners on first and third with one out. In came CC.

Torres then made an error, making it 7-3. A lineout and HBP loaded the bases. CC got another lineout, runners holding, but then had to leave the game with a sore shoulder. Even if the Yanks can come back in this series, win it, and go to the World Series, CC’s career is over. He’ll be replaced on the roster, perhaps by Stephen Tarpley or Jordan Montgomery. Jonathan Loaisiga got a strikeout to get out of the inning.

More sloppiness in the ninth. Torres made his second error of the night, a 2-base error, then a WP and a single made it 8-3 Astros. There was another WP and a walk, but no further damage.

The “savages” have turned tame. The Yanks only had five hits in the game.

The Yanks (.204) are actually out-hitting Houston (.182) in the series, but Houston is getting key hits and the Yanks are not.

Correa is 3 for 17 with 7 strikeouts, but had the GW HR in Game 2 and a 3-run shot last nght. Springer is just 2 for 17 with seven strikeouts but both are homers, the game-tying HR in Game 2 and a 3-run HR last night.

Meanwhile the Yanks were 0 for 7 w/RISP last night.

The late Bill Gallo of the NY Daily News used to draw cartoons, and in big series like this, had the hero with a halo over his head, and the goat with the goat horns.

Encarnacion, 1 for 15 in this series. It could be his last games as a Yankee, as I expect the Yanks not to p/u the $20MM option but buy him out at $5MM instead.

Brett Gardner is 2 for 15. Didi Gregorius 2 for 16. Gary Sanchez 2 for 17. Gio Urshela 2 for 15.

If Stanton can’t play, and he hasn’t, then I do have to question the Yanks’ decision to keep him on the roster and not replace him. If, as Boone states, he can PH, then why can’t he DH instead of the slumping Encarnacion? If he can’t do that, then why is he on the roster? Replacing Stanton with say, Luke Voit or Mike Ford would enable the Yanks to bench the slumping Encarnacion, and get someone off the roster who can’t play anyway.

Also, the decision to stick with Sanchez and not give Romine a game (he couldn’t be worse than Sanchez’ 2 for 17) may come back to haunt them.

There are some decisions made in this series, like the ones I mentioned above and in the last few days) (Stanton/Encarnacion/Ottavino/Sanchez) that it appears the Yanks will rue all offseason.

One thing also appears evident. The Yanks starters are decent, but not elite. That’s the difference between them and say, Houston or Washington.

As good of a bullpen as the Yanks have, consider this. Your best pitchers generally either start or are your closer. The last pitchers on your team are generally the middle relief guys. John Smoltz made a good point in the telecast. You really would like to have your starter go a long way and just hand the ball to the closer. No middleman. Maybe one. But not a bunch of them. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Of all the teams in the playoffs, Washington is in the WS, and had two guys with 200 IP this year. Houston has three starters who went 200 IP or more.

The Yanks haven’t had a starter give 200 IP in a season since 2013 (CC, who had a bad year that year with a 4.78 ERA, and Kuroda, who pitched well that year but had tough luck and no run support).

The Yanks need their starters to give more length, and especially in the postseason. They could really use an ace. An “A” pitcher to go along with a lot of “B” starters they currently have. That would help put them over the top instead of doing what they have the past few years—win 100 or more but come up short to a team that won 106 or more.

Of course, Domingo German, and what he did, didn’t help the Yanks, but that’s another story.

More clutch hitting would also help. The Yanks had 5 hits, and 7 walks, but …  the Yanks struck out 13x.

LeMahieu 2 hits (of the Yanks’ 5). Of course. But uncharacteristically, 2 errors.
Torres 0 for 5, 2 strikeouts, 2 errors. After carrying them so far, a bad game.

Tanaka (LOSS) 5 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Green 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Ottavino 0 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 W, 0 K. Once again, couldn’t get an out. An error hurt.
Sabathia 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 HBP.  Last outing of his career.
Loaisiga 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Lyons 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.

The Yanks aren’t done, but they are close, unfortunately. If they can come back from 3-1 down, and in doing so, beat Verlander and Cole, it’ll be one of the great comebacks ever, and maybe it will wash away some of that bad taste still left from 2004.



Passings: One -time Yankee (briefly, 20 games) Bobby Del Greco. 86. OF. Pittsburgh (1952, 1956), Cardinals (1956), Cubs 1957,  Yankees 1957-1958, Phillies 1960-1961, KC A’s 1961-1963 and Phillies again 1965. Hit .229, 42 career HR, OPS+ 85. 162 game average .229-9-37.

Jackie Hernandez, 79. Platooned at SS for the 1971 WS Champion Pirates. Angels 1965-1966. Twins 1967-1968. KC Royals 1969-1970. Pittsburgh Pirates 1971-1973. Hit .206-3-26 for 1971 Pirates (WS Champs), and .188-1-14 for 1972 Pirates (NL East champs). 162 game average .208=3-32, OPS+ 49. 7 for 31, 2 RBI in 11 postseason games.

 

 

 

 

ALCS Game 3. Yanks fall 4-1, trail in Series 2 games to 1. Nats win NL.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Since May 22, Gerrit Cole has been unbeatable, going 19-0 in 25 starts with a 1.59 ERA. Incredible.

He was vulnerable against the Yankees, giving up 5 walks and 4 hits in his seven innings of work, but no runs.

Luis Severino was OK, but gave up a HR in the first to Jose Altuve (Altuve kills the Yankees) and another in the second to Josh Reddick and that is all Cole needed. Houston wins Game 3 of the ALCS, 4-1, and is up two games to one in the series.

The Yanks have a couple of problems. For one, manager Aaron Boone has to wonder if he should bench Gary Sanchez and start Austin Romine instead. Sanchez is 1 for 13 in this series with six strikeouts. For the whole postseason, he is 2 for 21 with 10 strikeouts. He also couldn’t block a WP that enabled Houston to score a run.

In a post-game interview, Boone said no when asked about going to Romine. I think he may be making a mistake.

Another is Adam Ottavino, who came into Game 3 with the score 2-0 in the top of the seventh. Ottavino isn’t getting anyone out and gave up a walk and a single before being pulled. Both runners later scored. Boone said he’ll continue to use him…. what else is he going to say?

Ottavino’s numbers this postseason: 2 1/3 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 3 W, 3 K.  1 HR given up. He’s faced 16 batters and 9 have reached base. You just can’t trust him in tight games anymore. At least not now.

There is no time in the postseason to hope. It’s do or die. It’s why Joe Torre once benched Wade Boggs, Tino Martinez AND Paul O’Neill for the same game (replacing them in the lineup with Charlie Hayes, Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry).

Cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion is also slumping. 1 for 12 with 6 strikeouts in this series. Maybe he needs to be dropped in the lineup.

The one constant is Gleyber Torres. The only Yankees’ run came on a HR by Torres in the eighth inning. He is 10 for 24 this postseason with 3 HR and 10 RBI. Maybe Boone should just keep him in the 3 spot. He batted fifth in Game 3, probably to try to protect Encarnacion and hopefully get Edwin going.

But that meant Brett Gardner hit third. Now the Yanks did get singles from D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Judge to lead off the bottom of the first, but Gardner flied out. The Yanks didn’t score. Maybe Gardner should have bunted the runners over there. I know you are thinking big inning, but this is Cole on the mound, and Gardner is not your prototypical #3 hitter (like a Ruth, DiMaggio, Maris or Mantle), and who knows, maybe Gardner beats it out. Just saying.  Gardner is 2 for 13 in this series with five strikeouts.

Didi Gregorius JUST MISSED putting the Yanks up 3-2 with a two-out drive with two on in the fifth that was caught at the wall. Tough break. Didi is 1 for 12 in this series.

The forecast is for rain. There is a very strong chance Game 4 gets rained out tonight. If so, I believe the Yanks HAVE to come back with Tanaka then for Game 4 on regular rest (and in his six innings on Saturday, he only threw 68 pitches in Game 1) to try to even the series and avoid going down three games to one.

The Yanks only had five hits in the game. In their last 20 innings, they’ve scored just three runs.

LeMahieu 2 hits
Torres HR, 2 walks
Aaron Hicks, starting his first game in over 2 months, walked twice.

Severino (LOSS) 4 1/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 3 W, 6 K.  Gave up 2 HR
Green 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Ottavino 0 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.  1 WP that scored a run.
Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K.

Who’d have thought Cessa would be out-pitching Ottavino this postseason?

Hopefully some of these Yankees’ bats heat up.

Also, hopefully Boone makes some right, and maybe necessary, tough decisions to shake the Yanks up.


Washington won the NLCS by beating St. Louis 7-4 last night, scoring all seven runs in the bottom of the first. With the four game sweep, the Nationals go to their first WS in franchise history, going back to 1969 when they were the Montreal Expos 1969-2004 before moving to Washington.

For D.C., it’ll host their first WS games since 1933 when the old Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) won the AL pennant but lost the WS to the NY (now SF) Giants.

Howie Kendrick was named the NLCS MVP.

So whoever wins the ALCS knows they’ll have to face Washington with its trio of Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin (not to mention Anibal Sanchez).