Tag Archives: Judge

How do you follow a season for the ages?

How do you follow a season for the ages? What are the expectations for Aaron Judge in 2023? Will fans boo if he as a great season but nowhere close to 2022? What should we realistically expect? Let’s look at what Judge did in 2022 and what baseball-reference projects for 2023.

.311-62-131. 133 R, 111 walks, 175 strikeouts. .425 OBP, .686 SA, 1.111 OPS, 211 OPS+, 391 total bases.
.288-41-99, 97 R, 78 walks, 150 strikeouts. .383 OBP, .570 SA, .953 OPS, OPS+ around 181, 297 total bases.
(projected, still MVP quality)

So, if Judge “Drops off” to the level projected, will fans get on him? How unrealistic will their expectations be? Judge did hit 52 HR in 2017. Hitting 50 again isn’t unrealistic. But if he hits 40-45, drives in 100-110, hits, .285 (something close to what is projected, will fans be happy with that?)

Personally, I think the walks projection is way too low. He drew 111 walks in 2022 and after a season like that he is only projected for 78 walks? I think pitchers will be very careful with someone after a season like Judge had and as a result, he would see as many walks or even more if he isn’t getting any protection in the lineup. Rizzo, who will probably be hitting behind Judge, is important as far as protection—just as Mantle was to Maris. How often will pitchers pitch around Judge?

A sad part of Maris’ history is the unrealistic expectations people had for Maris in 1962. Maris had hit 39 HR in 1960 but outside of 1961, never topped 40 in his career—unlike Judge.

1961 .269-61-141 132 R, 94 W, 67 K. .372 OBP, .620 SA, .992 OPS, OPS+ 167 366 total bases
1962 .256-33-100 92 R, 87 W, 78 K. .356 OBP, .485 SA, .840 OPS, OPS+ 126 286 total bases

Maris had 81 extra base hits in 1961, 68 in 1962. Maybe in 1962 he wasn’t pulling the ball as much. The balls that were HR in 1961 were doubles in 1962. His doubles went from 16 to 34 from 1961 to 1962.

In one game in 1962, Maris was walked intentionally 4x because Mantle was out of the lineup with an injury.

A good, but not great year for Maris in 1962, and his defensive play in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the WS saved the WS for the Yankees. Still, he was considered the “Flop of the Year” for 1962. Really, what were people expecting?

Maris didn’t get any MVP votes in 1962 after winning the award in 1960 & 1961. Mantle won in 1962 despite missing about 30-35 games with injury (.321-30-89 for Mickey, with 122 walks in 123 games).

Maris probably wasn’t MVP in 1962 but 33 HR and 100 RBI for a WS Champ and NO MVP consideration whatsoever?

Breaking Ruth’s record set some people off. Maris, a private person, wasn’t anywhere near as garrulous as the beloved Ruth, thus getting the “surly” rep from sportswriters.

Judge is not surly, and more affable than Maris but still a private individual. I doubt Judge will get the level of vitriol hurled at him that Maris had, and I sincerely hope not.

But I also hope the expectations for Judge aren’t ridiculous. Yes, it would be great to see him hit 60 again, but if he his .285-45-110 you would take that, wouldn’t you?

Judge named captain; Yanks DFA Luetge. NFL Legend Franco Harris passes away.

At the press conference yesterday to announce his signing, Aaron Judge was named the Yankees’ captain, their first since the retirement of Derek Jeter after the 2014 season.

A press conference regarding Carlos Rodon’s signing will be today.

In order to make room on the team for the signing of Tommy Kahnle, Lucas Luetge was DFA’d.

Sad news: Another part of my childhood is gone. I am a Steelers fan and growing up in the 1970s the Immaculate Reception kind of sealed the deal as far as me becoming a fan of the Steelers. Just a few days before the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, and a few days before weekend celebrations about that play, and a few days before the Steelers were to retire his #32 at halftime of the Steelers/Raiders game Saturday evening, Franco Harris died at the age of 72. RIP, Franco.

JUDGE RETURNS! But more needs to be done and a LF option is off the market. What about Rodon for rotation?

He is back! Aaron Judge will be a lifetime Yankee. 9 yrs. $360 MM. No trade clause. Expect him to be named captain as well.

Until a few days ago, the Yanks were still at 8/300 then 8/320 but with the Giants offering a 9th year, Judge and Hal Steinbrenner had a conversation. Judge really wanted to stay a Yankee, Hal really needed him back and so he got the extra year and $$.

The Padres tried to sweep in and offer a bigger deal at the last minute. Some say 10 yrs/and $400-410MM. But Judge wanted to stay a Yankee and needed to see fair market value and then give the Yanks a chance to match which he thought was fair, which they did.

I think of things on a couple of ends. For Judge, it is a chance to cement his legacy. An iconic player like a DiMaggio, Mantle or Jeter who is great for only one team, and that team is the most iconic in baseball. To go into the HOF as a lifetime Yankee. To have #99 forever on the wall in Monument Park. To be mentioned in the same breath as those Yankees whose numbers are retired.

Not only that but think of the endorsements Judge gets in NY. No offense to San Francisco, but Madison Avenue is in NY. Commercials, magazine covers, advertisements. That is just to name a few outside ventures that could bring Judge more money.

For Hal, marketing as well. How do you sell your team without its franchise player? Not only the face of the Yankees, but one of the top 10 if not the #1 face in the game itself? The Yankees had about 3.14 million fans come to Yankee Stadium last year. Without Judge, what would 2023 be? Would they lose 600,000 in attendance? 1 Million? Parking money? What about the YES network’s rating? The price of commercials on the YES network? Souvenirs? EVERYTHING would go down. Far less revenue.

MLB network surmised that in the last few weeks of the season, in which the Yankees had the division wrapped up and were playing Pittsburgh and Baltimore, that the Yanks still got $40MM more than usual because the fans came out and filled the Stadium because of Judge’s HR chase.

They needed each other. The deal had to be done. Imagine if free agency were around in the old days. Imagine the Yankees losing Joe DiMaggio right after WWII or Mickey Mantle after his triple crown season of 1956.

Yes, the last few years could bite the Yankees in the ass. But they couldn’t let Judge go. Judge wanted to stay. The Yankees NEEDED him to.

I am happiest for the little kids who wear Judge’s number. Remember the little boy in Toronto gifted a Judge HR ball and who met Judge? Remember his reaction? Now think how heartbroken he would have been if Judge departed. We are so happy when we get a great free agent. We forget how heartbreaking it can be on the other end, especially for a youngster. I still remember how I felt in 1974 when Bobby Murcer was traded to SF for Bobby Bonds.

But there is still a lot of work to be done and I am eagerly awaiting the Yankees next move. They are heavily involved in trying to get Carlos Rodon. I have advocated getting Rodon (27 wins and ERAs of 2.37 and 2.88 in the last two years) to make the rotation top notch. Cole/Rodon/Severino/Cortes/Montas. And you still have Schmidt and German in long relief if not traded to fill another need.

Speaking of that other need, the Yanks still need a LF. If you sign Rodon (looking for six years at $30mm per) and are then able to trade Schmidt or German, then they could be included in a deal with Pittsburgh for Bryan Reynolds. Benintendi, Conforto and Nimmo are still out there.

One guy that could have filled LF is Masataka Yoshida. He was posted this morning by Japan but went quickly even though there was a window for him up to January 20. Boston got him for $90MM over 5 years with a $15.4MM posting fee.

Taillon to Cubs; Yoshida posted

Well, I am still alive after the almost heart attack Jon Heyman gave me after an erroneous report on Aaron Judge that he retracted minutes after tweeting it. Still in all, he gave Yankees fans a heart attack for a few moments. Still no word on Judge.

UPDATE: JUDGE IS STAYING IN THE BRONX! 9/360. MORE LATER!

Meanwhile, Jameson Taillon, who led the Yanks in wins this past season (14) signed a 4-yr., $68MM deal with the Cubs.

Besides wanting to bring back Judge, the Yanks also need a LF. They would like to bring back Andrew Benintendi, but if they don’t, there is Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo out there. There also, as of today, and for a short while, is Masataka Yoshida, who was posted by his Japanese club today. Teams have until January 20 to sign him.

Yoshida will be 30 next summer. A lefty hitter, he has a .327 career batting average in the NPB. This past season, hie hit .336-21-89 in 121 games, and he consistently walks more than he strikes out. This past year was 82 walks and 42 strikeouts. Besides Conforto, Benintendi and Nimmo, Yoshida very well could be a Yankees target.

Cody Bellinger signed a 1 yr, $20MM deal with the Cubs to try to get back to what he used to be and to re-establish his value.

What would my offer to Judge be?

Like most fans, I was surprised that Texas went to a five year/$185MM deal with Jacob deGrom. I wasn’t surprised that deGrom, the victim of no run support with the Mets for so long, departed. He won back-to-back CYA with a total record of 21-17 despite unreal ERAs. He doesn’t even have 100 wins in his CAREER due to lack of run support. Most predictions had him leaving. But 5 years for a 34-year-old who has been hurt the last couple of seasons seemed and seems too much. Most predictions were in the 3-year range. When healthy, deGrom is one of, if not the best, pitcher in baseball. But he hasn’t been healthy lately.

Which brings me to Aaron Judge. What is he looking for? I don’t like to deal in rumors, but rumors are the Yanks’ initial updated offer is 8 years and $300MM. That is $37.5 MM a year, which would made Judge, by AAV (average annual value) the highest paid position player by $2MM more than Mike Trout. That seems like a fair deal.

But does Judge want a ninth year? Judge turns 31 next spring. It is fair to assume that after 4 or 5 years that his production would decrease. Heck, it may decrease immediately. How does he replicate 2022? So how much $$ and how many years is he looking for?

If someone (looking at YOU, San Francisco) wants to give Judge 10 years, $400MM, the Yankees probably wish Judge well. They can’t go there, especially when you have the contracts of Cole and Stanton to deal with. (I won’t even get into trying to dump Donaldson’s deal).

So, what kind of compromise could be had to keep Judge in the Bronx? Something that would be fair to both sides but take declining ability into account?

Here is what I would propose.

He becomes Yankees’ captain. I don’t know how important that would be to Judge, but to his teammates, it is like he is captain already, so no biggie there.

With the captaincy, comes a no-trade clause. Simple enough, you don’t want to trade your captain, the face of the franchise.

Ok, to the money.

First 3 years. Ages 31-33. $45MM a year. My offer is front-loaded. This enormous amount makes Judge the highest paid player in the game, at least for now, anyway.

Next 3 years. Ages 34-36. $38MM a year. As of now, that would still have his AAV higher than any position player in the game. Things could change in the future, but still…

Last 3 years. Ages 37-39. $30 MM a year. This gives the Yankees some financial flexibility to get pieces around Judge, whose numbers are sure to be significantly lower as he nears the end of his career.

This adds up to 9 years and $339MM, beating out the 8 yr/$300MM offer supposedly on the table. It still has an AAV of $37.66MM over the nine years, still higher than Trout’s, still making Judge the highest paid position player by AAV and front-loaded to a) made Judge the highest paid player in the game as of now and b) give the Yanks some breathing room at the end of the contract.

If Judge doesn’t like that deal, then as much as I want Judge to stay in NY, I would have to move on. I don’t know what Judge wants in terms of ego, years or money. I sincerely hope he stays. Him leaving would be not only a baseball but a marketing blow for the Yankees. It would be like Joe DiMaggio leaving right after WWII or Mickey Mantle leaving around 1960. Devastating.

But how much is too much? There has to be a limit. If I were Hal Steinbrenner, the proposal above is what I would come up with. I think it would be more than fair.

What do you think?

After hopefully signing Judge for that amount, I offer Carlos Rodon a 5 yr deal at $140MM. $28MM a year. I don’t know if Rodon wants $30MM a year. You may need to go 5/$160MM? But a front four of Cole, Rodon, Severino and Cortes (and hope Montas comes around) is a very strong rotation. By the way, of that front four, guess which one of the four had the highest ERA last year? It was Cole.

I also am intrigued by Bryan Reynolds of Pittsburgh asking for a trade. The Yanks do have a CF in Harrison Bader, but I would look into this. Bader or Reynolds could be moved to LF. Although better in CF, I would move Reynolds to LF. Bader is just too good defensively in CF to move him. Reynolds is a switch-hitter. Turns 28 in January. Signed through 2023, arbitration eligible in 2024, free agent 2026. So, he’s locked in for a while. The Yanks have been interested in him in the past. His contract for 2023 is only $6.75MM, which is far less than the Yanks would have to pay to bring back Andrew Benintendi, or go out and get Matasaka Yoshida, Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo. What would it take to get Reynolds? I offer #5 prospect Everson Pereira (who would be without a future in NY if you have a Judge/Bader/Reynolds outfield), #6 prospect Trey Sweeney (the SS would be superfluous in NY since you have Oswald Peraza, Anthony Volpe and Oswaldo Cabrera) and because you are giving up your #5 and #6 prospects, and because by losing Reynolds, Pittsburgh needs an OF (besides the prospect in Pereira), I throw Hicks into the deal and eat some of Hicks’ contract. Reynolds, by the way, has a 162-game average of .281-24-79 with an OPS+ of 127. 28, switch-hitter, my only concern is how he’d handle moving to LF in order to keep Bader in CF. But cost-wise? Cheaper than Benintendi, Yoshida, Nimmo or Conforto.

Judge wins AL MVP overwhelmingly.

Over the past few weeks, I was getting a bit ticked at people saying that Shohei Ohtani deserved the MVP over Aaron Judge. For one thing, Ohtani’s Angels finished 33 games behind Houston. It reminded me of what happened when Ralph Kiner went into Branch Rickey’s office asking for a raise. Rickey replied to the future Hall-of-Famer, “We finished last with you, we can finish last without you!”

Taking nothing away from Ohtani or Kiner, but Ohtani didn’t play a meaningful game since what, mid-June? Meanwhile Judge carried his team, keeping them afloat as a 15 1/2 game lead shrunk to 3 1/2. I read something that from the All-Star Game until the end of the season, Judge, who was hitting a respectable .284 at the All-Star break, hit .349 the rest of the way. The rest of the Yankees hit .223. Now THAT is valuable. THAT is carrying a team. Without that, the Yankees may have suffered the worst collapse ever.

To those who say that what Ohtani does hasn’t been done since Babe Ruth, I get it. And I get that he does it so well. But just because he is a unicorn, doing what no one else does, is that alone reason to give him the award? For if that is the case, just retire the award from now on. I mean, if he hit .235 with 10 HR and went 5-6 with an ERA of 4.75, he’s still doing what no one else does, right? I like Ohtani. He’s a great player. But if he and Mike Trout (who finished 8th for the MVP this year) could not lift the Angels to sniffing distance of Houston, then how valuable were they? And Ohtani did have Trout. No other Yankee besides Judge got even so much as a tenth place vote this year.

The voters got it right. Judge got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, easily beating out Ohtani for the award., with the other two first place votes going to Ohtani. Judge led the majors in 8 different categories, and the AL in another, many by wide margins. He hit 16 more HR than the next best guy. His total bases were some 80 or so above the next best guy. His OPS+ of 211, well, it’s rare when someone is over 200. And as for those who think Judge was all HR, he almost won the Triple Crown, hitting .311. He stole 16 bases in 19 attempts, a ratio better than Ohtani’s, who was only 11 for 20. He made ZERO errors despite switching back and forth between CF (78 games) and RF (73 games). That switching back and forth may have cost Judge a deserved Gold Glove but may have made him more valuable. Ohtani may be a good fielder. But we don’t really know because when he isn’t pitching, Ohtani doesn’t play the field. He DH’s, a luxury the Babe never had.

With his MVP award joining his 2017 Rookie of the Year Award, Judge becomes only the second Yankee to win both awards, the other being Thurman Munson (1970 ROY and 1976 MVP). The ROY was first given out in 1947, which explains why Joe DiMaggio isn’t on that list.

Ohtani is a great player. But 2022 was Judge’s year, and the voters got it right.

The Yankees have made a new offer to Judge. There are no details. We can only imagine what it is. But hopefully a deal is done soon, and the newest Yankees’ MVP remains in the Bronx. Many years from now, we hope #99 joins numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (twice), 9, 10, 15, 16, 20, 21, 23, 32, 37, 42, 44, 46, 49 and 51 in Monument Park.

Two unanimous CYA winners first time since 1968. Cortes 8th, Cole 9th. MVPs announced tonight.

For the first time since 1968 (Gibson and McLain) both CYA winners were unanimous winners of the award.

In the NL Sandy Alcantara became the first Marlin to cop the honor.

In the AL Justin Verlander won his third CYA, adding to his HOF resume. For Verlander, very impressive given his age (39) and coming off TJ surgery.

The Yankees’ Nestor Cortes got three fifth-place votes and finished eighth in the voting. Gerrit Cole got one fifth place vote and finished ninth. We keep wondering when Cole might win the award himself. He has finished second twice, losing out to Verlander in 2019.

The MVP awards will be announced tonight and here is hoping Aaron Judge beats out Shohei Ohtani for the award.

Free agency begins. Some Yankees moves.

From Major League Baseball Trade Rumors.com

The Yankees announced they’ve selected pitchers Jhony Brito and Matt Krook onto the 40-man roster. New York also outrighted outfielder Tim Locastro off the roster, and the speedster elected minor league free agency upon clearing waivers.

Both Brito and Krook have played seven seasons in the minor leagues. That’d have given the right to elect free agency this evening if the Yankees didn’t place them on the 40-man roster. New York clearly values both enough to keep them from hitting the open market, with each player cracking a 40-man for the first time.

Brito, 25 in February, is a former amateur signee out of the Dominican Republic. He’s a quality strike-thrower, and Baseball America wrote this summer that he could develop into a back-of-the-rotation starter. The righty split this year between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, working to a 2.96 ERA through 112 2/3 combined innings. He only struck out 20% of opponents but had a tiny 7.7% walk rate.

Krook spent the whole year in Scranton, starting 22 of 29 appearances. The University of Oregon product, a fourth-round draftee back in 2016, pitched to a 4.09 ERA over 138 2/3 frames. He had a solid 25.7% strikeout percentage but walked an elevated 12.1% of batters faced. The left-hander is generally regarded by evaluators as a likely future reliever.

Locastro, a 30-year-old outfielder, has seen sporadic action for the Yankees in each of the last two seasons. He appeared in 38 games this year but worked mostly as a late-game entrant based on his speed and defense. Locastro hit .186/.239/.349 in 46 plate appearances this year and is a career .227/.325/.331 hitter. He spent most of the season in Scranton, putting up a .240/.332/.395 line over 47 games.

The Yankees announced that they have added right-hander Jimmy Cordero to their 40-man roster.

Cordero, 31, logged 83 innings of MLB action across the 2018-2020 time frame, putting up a 4.55 ERA in that time. Unfortunately, he required Tommy John surgery in March of 2021, wiping out that entire season. The White Sox outrighted him at the end of that campaign.

He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees for 2022 and was able to return to the mound by June. He eventually made 32 appearances for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In 38 2/3 innings, he posted a 2.09 ERA, along with a incredible 31.8% strikeout rate and 51.7% ground ball rate.

Based on that strong showing, he’s earned his way back onto a 40-man roster. He has one option year remaining, which will allow the Yankees to use him as an optionable depth arm in 2023. He has between two and three years of MLB service time, meaning they can keep him around for years to come if he continues to hang onto that roster spot.



Also (and not from MLBTR) the Yanks are reportedly interested in Masataka Yoshida from Japan, who I wrote about a few days ago. Lefty hitting OF. Good bat-to-ball contact. Think Benintendi with more power.

The Yanks offered the qualifying offer to Anthony Rizzo ($19.65MM). We will see if he accepts or wants a little more, like 2 years/$40MM.

To no surprise, Aaron Judge added the Silver Slugger award to his Hank Aaron Award. We wait for all-MLB and MVP awards.

News and Notes.

To no one’s surprise, Aaron Judge was named as one of the three finalists for the AL MVP award. He is considered the favorite to win the award. I still get ticked by people pushing for Alvarez (it’s a regular season award, people!) or Ohtani (the Angels finished 33 games back. So, you are telling me that without him they are 45 back? Whoopdie damn do.).

The Contemporary Baseball Committee will be looking at 8 ex-players for the HOF. Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling. Five of the eight would be controversial selections because of steroids and/or personality issues, despite in some cases 3000+ hits, 500+ HR, 300+ wins. I won’t get into that. We know about all that. That leaves McGriff, Mattingly and Murphy. I believe McGriff, who is tied on the all-time list with Lou Gehrig with 493 HR (and no steroids) should have already been put in. I’d love Mattingly, but Mattingly’s 1994-1989 pre-back injury (HOF quality) and 1990-1995 post-back injury numbers (merely above average) are drastically different. If Donnie could have only stayed healthy and put up numbers 1990-1995 that matched his 1984-1989 numbers, then he would be a more serious candidate. Murphy I am on the fence on. A back-to-back MVP (1982 and 1983) that like Maris (1960 and 1961) isn’t in the HOF. Maybe a few more HR (he had 398) or a higher average (.265) would have given him a better shot. Once he turned 32, he wasn’t the same player. A few more seasons at his peak would have given him a better chance.

The Yanks have not only players as free agents, but coaches too. Pitching coach Matt Blake is a free agent. (GM Brian Cashman is coming back but as of now is working pro bono. His contract expired October 31 and no new deal has been done yet). Assistant pitching coach Hensley Meulens is gone to be hitting coach for Colorado.

As expected, the Yanks picked up the team option for Luis Severino at $15MM for 2023. Anthony Rizzo opted out of his contract and is a free agent. Here are the Yankees’ free agents and my thoughts.

Andrew Benintendi. Yanks will make an offer to try to keep him.

Zack Britton. Interesting call. With Chapman departing, Yanks could use a lefty reliever, but Britton will be 35 next year and missed almost all of 2022 after a poor 2021 and TJ surgery. Pass. Use $ for Judge.

Matt Carpenter. A tough call. Turns 37 around Thanksgiving. If Stanton is DH most of the time, where does that leave Carpenter? I think it depends on if Judge stays or goes. If Judge stays, pass. If Judge goes, then the Yanks may look to sign Carpenter and Stanton and Carpenter could switch between RF and DH.

Miguel Castro. Pass. The Yanks could probably replace him with Weissert at a lower cost (save $ for Judge). They already have Trivino, Marinaccio, King, Holmes, as RH relievers, as well as Schmidt and German if Schmidt and German aren’t starters. And Stephen Ridings should be over his injury issues that cost him 2022.

Aroldis Chapman. Pass. Goodbye and Good Riddance for missing that mandatory workout before the ALDS.

Marwin Gonzalez. Pass. Only hit .185 in 2022. Since 2019, has only hit .198. Oswaldo Cabrera can fill his utility role for less money. 34 next year. Like Britton, pass, go with youth and less $$. Save $ for Judge.

Chad Green. Pass. Will miss most if not all of 2023 because of TJ surgery. Instead of paying him will need to throw that $ at Judge.

Aaron Judge. Obviously the #1 Yankees target and priority.

Anthony Rizzo. The Yanks will look to retain him.

Jameson Taillon. Questionable. Even if the Yanks get Judge back, is there enough money left to go after a Carlos Rodon (my choice)? Would they give a low in years but high in $$ deal to Verlander, DeGrom or Kershaw? Could go either way here.

Of course, getting rid of the salaries of Donaldson and Hicks would help. As of now, the Yanks think both have something left (excuse me while I get sick), but of course they aren’t going to say anything that diminishes whatever trade value they have.









Notes from Boone/Cashman press conference




Since I’ve been out on disability for a while, I was able to watch the Boone/Cashman press conference yesterday. Here are a few takes from it.

Since everything revolves around Aaron Judge, they would like a deal sooner rather than later. Nothing would be as bad as being scorned and then having no backups to fall back on. Cashman denied any friction with Judge from this spring’s negotiations.

Neither thinks a drastic retool is necessary. They think the Yankees would have been far more competitive in the ALCS vs. Houston if LeMahieu, Benintendi and Carpenter were healthy. I can agree there. Judging by their comments about Benintendi’s and Carpenter’s injuries, it appears that they will be reaching out to both of them to see if they can get both back.

One thing that concerned me was their defense of Josh Donaldson. Now if anyone were on the trading block, neither Boone nor Cashman would be tipping their hand on that. But to state that Donaldson, 37 next month, underachieved offensively but still has something in the tank goes against everything we saw this year. He looked cooked. But with Donaldson’s contract being horrible, I guess they have to hope. They did think Donaldson deserved to be among the three Gold Glove finalists at 3B, though.

SS appears to be a competition next spring training. IKF could still be there but will be pushed by Peraza and possibly Volpe. Oswaldo Cabrera figures in here too. Peraza was described as impressive in his short 18 game stint at the end of the season. Other terms used for him was that he needed to improve and develop last year (done) hence not an earlier callup. Jack Curry, on the YES network, mentioned that IKF was a polarizing figure to the Yankees fanbase much as Sanchez was. Boone and Cashman were defending IKF at the presser, stating that IKF (as a bridge) did everything that was expected from him.

They would like Anthony Rizzo back. Rizzo will opt out of his $16MM deal, but the question is will he accept a qualifying offer of $19.65MM or go for more? Or accept more years at less than the qualifying offer? (2 yr/$18MM per). But the Yanks hope to work something out with him.

To no surprise, the Yanks WILL pick up Severino’s $15MM team option. One more rotation piece could be in play. It could be retaining Taillon (a free agent) or going elsewhere. After the front three of Cole, Cortes and Severino, there still is Schmidt, Montas and German even if Taillon goes, but you know what they say…. you NEVER have enough pitching.

The feeling is that Stanton was playing through something at the end of the year. I feel the same way. His batting average after June 1 was Gallo-like.

Cashman’s contract actually expired October 1. He wants to return, and Hal wants him back, so it is like Cashman is working pro bono as of now. But you figure something will be worked out soon there.

I wrote down notes haphazardly while the conferences were going on, but there is a quick synopsis for you.

UPDATE: One thing I didn’t like: From the NY Post: In other bits of info from Cashman’s press conference, he said he wouldn’t discuss trading players but noted that outfielder Aaron Hicks would be back and that the team felt he still had something to offer. Really? Ugh. But then, if he is on the market, they don’t want to say anything hurting Hicks’ trade value (which is probably low enough already).

Other things I came across:

A sad state of affairs. Graig Nettles states that the Yanks stopped inviting him to Old-Timer’s games and events some five years ago and he doesn’t know why. It’s a shame. Nettles should have a plaque in Monument Park (#9 is already retired for Roger Maris and I don’t think Nettles deserves that honor, but a plaque? Definitely). Apparently, someone in the front office has it in for Nettles, but who?

One tweet on Twitter accuses the Yanks of being more of a corporation than anything else, including a baseball organization. Looking at how they have the YES network, are involved with an Italian soccer team, have the Pinstripe Bowl, were in negotiations to play regular season games in France (and remember they played in England recently, also Japan) I have to wonder if that person is correct, and if so, that could be a scary thing. After all, I remember the CBS years, where the Yanks were not the priority of a corporation, but just part of it. You would like it to be 100% baseball. Does this explain the fan base’s exasperation with the owner and the front office? Or some of the postseason failures of recent times? After all, Hal is more corporate than the old man was as far as divesting his interests (or so it appears). And the last time the Yanks won, or even went to the WS, the old man was still alive (although much diminished in capacity). Hal’s track record does seem more corporate and bottom line than baseball oriented, and is that a problem and a cause of the postseason disappointments?

Finally, another Japanese player few have heard of to keep an eye on. Yesterday I mentioned RHP Koudai Senga.

Now, Masataka Yoshida. If the Yanks are not able to bring back Benintendi, Yoshida has many of the same skill sets as Benintendi. He is a lefty hitter. He turns 30 next July. He hit .336 with 21 HR and 89 RBI in Japan this season. His power would probably drop in the USA but then again, Benintendi only had five HR this season. Like Benintendi, a contact hitter. Benintendi had 52 walks and 77 strikeouts while hitting .304. Yoshida had 82 walks and only 42 strikeouts. Yoshida has hit .326 in Japan and has 427 walks to 307 strikeouts. He has had four seasons of 20 or more HR (which would be what here? 12-15?). If you take Yoshida’s career stats in Japan and divide by five, his average season in Japan comes out to something like .326-27-95 over 156 games. Taking into account the tougher MLB competition, could he hit .280-15-70 here? Be Benintendi-like for a cheaper price? Be a backup consideration if the Yanks can’t sign Benintendi? Just throwing his name out here because until recently, I hadn’t heard of Yoshida (or Senga) either. But most of us haven’t heard of these Japanese stars who could be MLB-bound. So just passing his name out there and informing you (and me).