Tag Archives: Harper

Washington stuns Houston to win WS

Yankee Stadium Frieze

In a World Series in which EVERY GAME WAS WON BY THE ROAD TEAM, Washington, the biggest WS underdog since 2007, stunned Houston by winning Game 7 6-2.

It is only the second time Washington, D.C. has the World Series Champ, and it’s the first time since 1924. That team then became the Minnesota Twins in 1961.

This team started its existence as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and this is the first title in franchise history. This, the year after Bryce Harper, the face of the franchise the past few years, left to go to the Phillies in free agency.

Stephen Strasburg was named WS MVP.

Washington stunningly won the WS after starting the season 19-31. They didn’t even win their division. Down in the wild card game, they caught a break in the eighth inning against Milwaukee when Milwaukee’s RF overran the ball in trying to gun down a runner at the plate (the tying run) and as a result, the winning run came around to score.

Then in the NLDS, they took down the 106=win Dodgers. Down in the eighth inning of Game 5, they hit two HR off of Clayton Kershaw to tie the game and got a grand slam by Howie Kendrick in extra innings to win the game and series. They then swept the Cardinals in the NLCS.

In the World Series, they dispatched the 107-win Astros in unconventional fashion, winning all four games in Houston while losing all three games at home. Who’d have thought?

The Astros got off to a 2-0 lead. Yuri Gurriel hit a solo HR in the second off Max Scherzer, and Carlos Correa an RBI single in the fifth. Scherzer, who couldn’t start Game 5 because of a sore neck and who received a shot for the pain, started Game 7 and was not sharp, but kept his team in the game, giving up just two runs in five innings despite being in and out of trouble the whole time.

In the seventh, Washington took the lead with three runs. Anthony Rendon homered to cut the lead to 2-1. Juan Soto walked. Houston manager A.J. Hinch then pulled starter Zack Grienke, a move I wondered about at the time. Grienke had only given up the one run on two hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Reliever Will Harris replaced Greinke and gave up a two-run HR to Kendrick that hit the foul pole. 3-2 Nats, and they never looked back. Harris took the loss.

Patrick Corbin (who I wanted the Yanks to get last offseason when Corbin was a free agent) wound up with the win with three scoreless innings of relief.

Per MLB.com, Kendrick is the first player with multiple go-ahead home runs in the seventh inning or later in winner-take-all games in a single postseason. He also is just the second player to hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning or later while their team was trailing in a World Series winner-take-all game. The other was Hal Smith in 1960—the Bill Mazeroski game.

A walk to Adam Eaton, SB and RBI single by Juan Soto made it 4-2 Washington in the eighth.

The Nats tacked two more on in the ninth on a bases-loaded, 2 RBI single by Eaton. Washington got eight of their nine hits in the last three innings as Houston’s bullpen imploded.

 

 

 

S.T. Game 5. Infielders carry Yanks to 8-6 win. Harper signs with Phillies.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks beat the Pirates, 8-6 to improve their spring training record to 3-2.

The good: Infielders carried the day. Troy Tulowitzki (steal? If he is close to what he used to be, it’s a steal getting him) homered again, a 3-run shot in the bottom of the first. Tyler Wade had a solo HR.  L.J. Mazzilli, Lee’s son, broke up a 5-5 tie with a 2-run double. Greg Bird had two hits. Thairo Estrada, who lost most of the 2018 season after getting shot in the hip on a burglary attempt, had two hits.

Zach Britton and Jonathan Holder did well.

The not so good: J.A. Happ and Adam Ottavino struggled.

Happ 1 1/3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 2 HR.
Tarpley 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Ottavino (BS) 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Cortes 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 W, 4 K.
Holder (w) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Rosa (S) 2 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.

Bryce Harper finally signed with the Phillies for 13 years (no opt-out, has a no trade clause) and $330 million.

The Phillies have done nicely this offseason, getting McCutchen, Harper, Segura, D-Rob, and Realmuto. I live near Philadelphia, so the Phils’ fans are chirping, as is the Philly media.

But I do wonder about this regarding the Phillies….

Yes, Aaron Nola is good (17-6, 2.37 last year, 3rd in CYA, 13th for MVP, All-Star) and Jake Arrietta (10-11, 3.96) is a former CYA winner, but even with what appears to be a very good lineup now, their 3-4-5 starters look like

Nick Pivetta, 26, 7-14, 4.77 in 2018. Career 15-24, 5.33
Vince Velasquez, 26, 9-12, 4.85 in 2018. Career 20-26, 4.60
Zach Eflin, 25 soon, 11-8, 4.36 last year, Career 15-18, 5.10.

I don’t mean to rain on Philly’s parade, but despite the additions they made, they’ll need to improve considerably on what they get from their 3-4-5 starters.

As Yankees fans, that wouldn’t be acceptable on our end now, would it?

Yanks rained out. Arenado re-ups with Rockies, what it means for Andujar.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks game against the Phillies Tuesday was rained out and won’t be rescheduled.

Rockies’ 3B Nolan Arenado signed an extension with Colorado for 8 years and $260 MM so he won’t be hitting the free agent market after this season.

With both Arenado and Machado off the market, Miguel Andujar can breathe easy. Concentrate on hitting like you did last year and impove your defense. You don’t have to worry about Machado or Arenado anymore.

As far as Bryce Harper is concerned, I am starting to have one thought why this is taking so long.

That is this: that the Phillies may be the only team that will offer Harper the years and money he wants, but he really, really, doesn’t want to go to Philadelphia unless he absolutely has to, which is why he is still on the market as I write this.

Just my gut feeling.

When will free agents sign?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

We are about two weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting, and there are still a lot of free agents still unsigned, including four major ones in Harper, Machado, Kimbrel,  and Keuchel. There are others.

When will they finally sign?

Freddy Galvis signed a 1 yr, $4MM deal with Toronto.

Ex-Yankee Neil Walker went to the Marlins, 1 yr, $2MM.

The Red Sox signed Jennry Mejia to a minor league deal, even though he has been suspended 3x for PEDs. He last pitched in the majors in 2015.

Shawn Kelley to Texas 1 yr, $2.5 MM, option for a 2nd yr.

 

 

Yanks appear out on Machado

Yankee Stadium Frieze

It appears that the Yanks are out on Machado, as they won’t give him the years or money he is asking for.

It appears that they haven’t even made an official offer, either.

It appears that the Phillies and White Sox (and the White Sox just recently added Machado’s brother-in-law as well as one of his good friends to the team) are the two teams he may go to, with the Phillies being the favorite.

This isn’t George’s Yankees anymore, it’s Hal’s. That’s becoming apparent with how they have handled (mishandled as some fans might say?) the Corbin and Machado dealings.

Note the word “appears.” We’ll see. Some rumors have the Yanks wanting to go no more than say 5 years, $130MM or so, not the 7-10 years and $210-$300MM that some say that the Machado camp is looking for.

It is becoming apparent that if Machado wants to go to his allegedly preferred destination, the Yankees, that it will be for less years and probably less money.

Despite the Dodgers having cleared some space by trading both Puig and Kemp to Cincinnati, the rumors are that Bryce Harper, instead of going to L.A., could be headed back to Washington.

Decisions for the two should be coming shortly. After all, we are just over a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting.

Soon, rumors will be facts.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Apologies to the late Tom Petty for the headline. And yes, I know I haven’t written anything in ten days or so.

But nothing has been going on, what with the holidays and all.

And I don’t want to deal or write about rumors. Where someone is going, how much $, how many years —- I want to deal with the facts and then give my opinion.

Just writing about rumors and something that may not happen is fruitless.

Some free agents did sign recently—-no, not Machado (we are still waiting on that) or Harper.

From Twitter, a great example of how Yankees’ fans are feeling right now:

But Japan’s LHP Yusei Kikuchi signed with Seattle on a 4-yr. deal. DH/OF Nelson Cruz to the Twins on a 1-yr. $14.3 MM deal.

There is a HOF tracker that has 1/3 of the votes counted. You need 75% of the writer’s vote to get in. Not 74.8 (they don’t round up) but 75% or more. So far …

Rivera 100%, Halladay 94.9, Edgar Martinez 91.2, Mussina 83.2 and Clemens a nail-biter at 75.2.

Barry Bonds 74.5, Schilling 73, Larry Walker 65.7.

Andy Pettitte is only at 8%.

And oh yeah, Sonny Gray is still a Yankee. Not dealt yet.

Nothing on Ottavino, Robertson or Britton either.

More when things DO develop.

Beltran appointed special advisor to GM Cashman

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Ok, let’s put some pieces of a puzzle together. Even though the Yanks say that Manny Machado has some explaining to do about his actions and statements in this year’s postseason, the Yanks are still meeting with him tomorrow. Obviously, with Didi out half the season, the Yanks could go with Machado at SS until Didi returns.

What they then do with Miguel Andujar is anybody’s guess. (Trade for a top-notch pitcher? A top-notch 1B if Voit/Bird don’t cut it? Move Andujar to another position? 1B? LF? But of LF, what of Clint Frazier? You get the drift).

But here is the rub. A-Rod, Machado’s idol, is a special advisor to the Yankees. Machado has made it clear he’d love to play in NY (in the case above, regarding Machado’s offseason, some columnists have suggested that maybe Machado needs to sell himself to the Yankees and not the other way around). #13, A-Rod’s number, hasn’t been retired, and wouldn’t Machado like to follow A-Rod by wearing the number Machado wore in Baltimore? (#8, which Machado wore for the Dodgers, is retired by the Yankees for both Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey).

Now today, the day before the Yanks meet with Machado, the Yanks announce that they have hired Carlos Beltran as an advisor to GM Brian Cashman. It just so happens that Beltran’s former agent happens to be Machado’s current agent. Now Machado’s brother-in-law, Alonso, was just traded from Cleveland to the White Sox, and blood may be thicker than water, but with A-Rod and Beltran both now special advisors in the Yanks’ front office, maybe that water is getting mighty thick.

Me? Here is my guess: that Machado does wind up a Yankee (with Harper going to the Phillies). Which could give a lineup of Gardner, Judge, Machado, Stanton, Hicks, Sanchez, Andujar, Voit/Bird and Torres come opening day.

Should Clint Frazier make the team (I doubt it, unless the Yanks can dump Ellsbury—keeping Ellsbury means AAA for Frazier—no room) maybe against lefties Hicks leads off, everyone below Hicks moves up a notch and Frazier bats ninth.

Just saying.

But an interesting move in Beltran (who by the way, interviewed for the Yanks’ managerial job last year….possible managerial material?) being hired by the Yanks the day before the Machado meeting.

Just trying to read the tea leaves here.

Hal Steinbrenner will probably not be at the meeting with Machado. After all, his mom just passed away.

But I keep thinking of Machado as another A-Rod. All that talent, but all that baggage that may be coming with it.

 

Game 154. Yanks clinch playoff spot with 3-2 win. Stay 1 1/2 up on A’s.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (95-59) clinched a wild card spot in the playoffs with a 3-2, 11-inning, win over the Bad News Bears (oops, 44-110 Baltimore Orioles) yesterday, but whether the Yanks will be playing that one-game, sudden-death wild card game in the Bronx is very much still up in the air.

Oakland scored in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to a Minnesota error and a passed ball (hmm, Twins imitating Sanchez) that let in the winning run, and won 3-2. The A’s remain 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the top wild card spot.

The Yanks’ magic # over the A’s to ensure that the wild card game will be played in the Bronx is 6. Any combination of Yanks’ wins and A’s losses adding up to 6 and the game will be in the Bronx. The Yanks own the tiebreaker.

The Yanks got two runs in the second on homers by Aaron Hicks (26) and Luke Voit (12, 11 as a Yankee). They now have 251 HR on the season, on pace to tie the 1997 Seattle Mariners for the all-time single season record by a team (264).

Gary Sanchez continued his defensive woes, committing a PB and a throwing error in the third inning that allowed the Orioles to score a run. Besides a PB and an error, Sanchez also went 0 for 4, striking out twice, and his batting average dropped to .182. He was dropped to eighth in the lineup, and you really wonder if it’s just best right now to have Romine in there instead.

The Yanks could really have been in trouble except that Steve Wilkerson was twice thrown out at home.

Baltimore tied it in the fifth, and would have had more except for one of those times Wilkerson was thrown out at home (by Judge) and the fact they left the bases loaded.

After the Voit HR, the Yanks didn’t do too much offensively, and it became a battle of the bullpens.

Jonathan Holder got out of a huge jam in the top of the 10th. The Orioles left the bases loaded.

Finally, in the bottom of the 11th, Didi Gregorius singled, and Aaron Hicks double drove in Didi with the winning run.

Hicks 2 hits, HR, 2 RBI
Andujar 2 hits
Voit HR

Lynn 5 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 H, 2 W, 4 K.  4.80 (Min/NYY)
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.  2.60
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  2.59  Encouraging outing since just off DL
Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K.   2.64
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.  3.26 (Balt/NYY)
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 0 K.  2.97
Kahnle (W, 2-0, 6.75) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.

MLBTR states that CC wants to return in 2019, even if not to the Yanks. Tough call. Questionable knee, doesn’t go too deep into games. 39 next July. Yanks may want to cut the cord, so to speak.

Also, MLBTR reporting that Yanks have interest in bringing back McCutchen (a free agent) if the price is right, but that probably means buying out Brett Gardner’s option at $2MM instead of bringing him back at $12.5MM. Also, you have Clint Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury (both of whom missed most or all of this year due to injuries) to think about…

Then again, Bryce Harper is a free agent….

$alary Cap limiting Yanks moves, now.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Brrrr. There was a game at Yankees Stadium today but it was a college football game and not a baseball game.

You think of college football games being played in the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl—warm weather sites.

But the Pinstripe Bowl is in Yankee Stadium, and Boston College and Iowa played in bitterly cold temps today. Iowa winning, 27-20.

The field was frozen, and instead of cleats, players had to resort to sneakers on a field that was like a hockey rink. Icy.

As for the Yankees themselves, the free agent and trade market is as icy as Yankee Stadium was today. But then, the whole free agent market has been like that so far.

With the Yanks, the problem is that Hal wants to get under the $alary cap, which is $197MM. Right now, depending on what source you are looking at, the Yanks are somewhere around $178-182MM, leaving little for arbitration raises or moves made mid-season 2018 at the trade deadline.

Of course, freeing themselves of some of Jacoby Ellsbury’s contract would help, but how much can they free for a fifth OF making $21MM?

As far as possible deals to give more depth to the starting rotation, the Yanks apparently have offered Clint Frazier, Chance Adams and/or Tyler Wade/ Thairo Estrada for Chris Archer or Mike Fulmer and a little lesser package for Gerrit Cole.

Gleyber Torres, Estevan Florial and Justus Sheffield are off the table.

So the Yanks, for now, have their hands tied.

That includes trying to re-sign Todd Frazier, who probably wants a multi-year deal. He made $12MM last year, and even re-signing him for 1 yr at the same price puts the Yanks perilously close to the limit they want to stay under.

Why stay under? It would reset the Yanks luxury tax penalty which is currently 50 cents to the dollar.

Then they could actively go after free agents after 2018 with no penalty and next years class is a monster class which includes Kershaw, Machado, Harper and Donaldson for starters.

Harper, Donaldson, MVPs

Josh Harper of the Washington Nationals was the unanimous winner of the NL MVP, and Josh Donaldson of Toronto was announced the AL MVP last night.

Brian McCann, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira of the Yankees received consideration.

Harper is one of the youngest players to win the award.