Tag Archives: Steinbrenner

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

Lately, it seems like every move Aaron Boone is making is backfiring on him.

Especially when it comes to the bullpen.

Right now, Brian Cashman is with the team, and after last night’s 12-7 loss, I wouldn’t be surprised if heads roll after this season.

Watching part of the YES postgame show, it seemed like ex-Yankee and current YES broadcaster John Flaherty had a couple of criticisms, and was more critical than normal.

In the line of fire would be pitching coach Matt Blake, bullpen coach Mike Harkey and even manager Boone himself.

Blake had no coaching experience before getting the pitching coach job this year and was a bit of a surprise choice to replace the fired Larry Rothschild (now with SD).

You may argue that maybe going with David Cone, who interviewed for the job, may have been a better choice.

I wonder if the Yankees need to take a good, hard look at how their pitching philosophy has or hasn’t worked lately. One reason they have been coming up short has been their rotation. Just getting Cole may be like putting a band-aid on what seems to be a bigger problem.

When you lose 14 of 19, and have free-falled your way into clinging to the 8th and last playoff spot (and that spot is only there because of the virus of 2020), you can expect fans not to be happy on Twitter. And, it appears, there isn’t much happiness on the YES postgame show or in the front office. I would guess Hal isn’t too happy either.

Injuries are one thing, but bad play is another.

If ever there is a time for a good ripping into a team to wake them up, now is the time.

The Yanks (21-20) took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth, only to see Chad Green and Adam Ottavino give up 10 runs in what turned out to be a 12-7 loss.

Flaherty, on the postgame show, wondered why Boone stayed with Ottavino (who didn’t record an out, all six batters scoring) so long. He also criticized Boone’s body language during the inning. Just an observation, but Flaherty’s words sounded like someone angling for Boone’s job. They were quite critical, and you may add, harsh.

But this was really bad. It’s one thing to lose 14 of 19 in a 162 game season, but in a 60 game season? We’re talking 1/3 of the season here.

The Yanks got back-to-back HR from Luke Voit (14) and Aaron Hicks (4) in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead.

But as has been their wont lately, the Yankees’ pitchers, Jordan Montgomery in this instance, gave runs right back, and Montgomery joined the cast of Yankees’ starters not giving any length, thus putting more pressure on a failing bullpen.

Montgomery gave up a run in the first, another in the second, and the game was tied.

The Yanks got a run in the fourth when Miguel Andujar hit his first HR of the season. 3-2 Yanks.

In the fifth, with one out, D.J. LeMahieu and Luke Voit both singled, and with two out, Clint Frazier’s double scored two runs. 5-2, Yanks.

A bases-loaded walk to Hicks in the top of the sixth made it 6-2.

Then the roof fell in, as Green and Ottavino gave up ten runs in the bottom of the sixth. The final indignity came when Ottavino gave up a grand slam. The bottom of the sixth lasted 43 minutes and took up 67 pitches.

I have wondered about pitch selection a lot lately. In checking out the game on MLB’s gameday, I had to shake my head when, during a 9 or 10 pitch at bat (which resulted in Luke Voit making an error), Green threw nothing but fastballs. Really? Eventually the batter will time the fastball, especially after seeing nine or ten in a row.

There is a difference between pitching and throwing. Yes, there was criticism of that in Twitterworld, and I think, on the YES postgame show as well (I’m not too sure about YES, but YES was a bit critical last evening, and rightfully so).

The Yankees’ defense, suspect lately, made two more errors. Nothing is going right.

The Yanks got a run in the top of the ninth on an RBI groundout by Andujar.

But this game signified “just when you think things can’t get worse…”

Something’s gonna happen. It has to. This can’t continue.

Because the Yanks are close to missing out on the playoffs entirely.

Voit 2 hits, solo HR (14)
Hicks solo HR (4), 2 RBI
Frazier 2 hits, 2 RBI
Andujar solo HR (1), 2 RBI

Montgomery 3 1/3 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 2 W, 1 K. 5.72
Holder 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.25
Green 1/3 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 H, 2 W, 0 K. 4.26
Ottavino (L, 2-3; BS, 3; 7.82) 0 IP, 6 R, 4 H, 2 W, 0 K. Gave up grand slam.

Cessa 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.81
Schmidt 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K. 7.71

Game 6. A most welcome return. Monty leads Yanks past Boston, 5-1.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

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.

 

 

 

Hank Steinbrenner, son of George, brother of Hal, dies at 63.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

A shocker.

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.

 

Pettitte instrumental in getting Cole to NY. Now for other moves.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Hal Steinbrenner called Gerrit Cole five times, but someone else apparently was also very instrumental in getting Cole to sign with the Yankees.

Andy Pettitte, who pitched mostly for the Yankees but who also spent a few years with the Astros, discussed the difference between the teams, how much NY meant to him and helped him, and what a postseason experience—as well as WS titles in NY—meant to him and his career. That supposedly helped tip Cole, who grew up a Yankees and Pettitte fan, to NY.

So Andy, a special consultant, really came up huge for the Yanks in these negotiations.

Now the Yanks turn to other needs. After losing Didi Gregorius to the Phillies, will they be able to keep Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances or Austin Romine?

It looks like a deal with Gardner could be hammered out soon. The concern is that Gardner will turn 37 next August. Gardner did hit career highs in HR and RBI this past season, and since Aaron Hicks will miss at least half of 2020, the Yanks do need a CF.

Betances, who pitched only 2/3 of an inning in 2019, is iffy. Would he re-sign for a year to re-establish value?

Romine is also iffy. Rumors are that the Yanks could be looking at Martin Maldonado, who caught Cole ten times in Houston last year to a 1.57 (!) ERA. Maldonado, 33 and a righty bat, isn’t much of a hitter (.219 career batting average, OPS+ 73) but did win a Gold Glove in 2017 for the Angels. He hit .213-12-27, OPS+ 75 for three teams in 2019. The question about Romine is would he come back to backup Gary Sanchez or does he want to start elsewhere.

Oh yeah, as mentioned in a NY Post article by George A. King III, the Yanks probably won’t be needing that “opener” in 2020 now.


Ken Harrelson, known as the “Hawk”, was selected to the HOF in the broadcasting category—The Ford C. Frick Award. Many may also remember him as a flamboyant 1B/OF for the KC A’s and Boston Red Sox in the 1960s, and in 1968 he led the AL in RBI while finishing third in the MVP voting. He broadcast Chicago White Sox games for many years. He actually broadcast Yankees games in 1987 and 1988.

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.

Trade deadline. No major move done by the Yanks. Thoughts.

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The Yanks did not make a major move at the trade deadline.

They only made a minor one, trading rookie RHP Joe Harvey (1-0, 4.50 in nine games this year for the Yanks) to Colorado for LHP Alfredo Garcia. Per the NY Post: Garcia, 20, has pitched for Single-A Asheville and Boise this season. With the two teams, he’s combined for a 3-10 record and 6.00 ERA in 22 starts.

They apparently were looking at LHP Robbie Ray of Arizona but Arizona wanted OF Clint Frazier, RHP Clarke Schmidt (the Yanks’ #1 draft pick in 2017, who is now pitching at High A Tampa) and two other prospects. The Yanks thought that price was too steep.

Arizona did trade Zack Greinke to Houston (they made other moves as well). Now Houston is really scary with Justin Verlander, Greinke, Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley.

Greinke never would have come to the Yankees. He has a no-trade to the Yanks, and with his problems with depression and anxiety early in his career (2005/2006) NY wouldn’t be right for him at all.

That is the situation at the trade deadline. Some teams are asking too much of you, like the teams that wanted Gleyber Torres for a pitcher that other teams say is an ace but you know they are middle to back end of the rotation caliber. And Torres shouldn’t be going anywhere. He is not even 23 yet, a 2x All-Star, and someone with 20+ HR in both of his seasons in the majors. Torres for Matthew Boyd of Detroit (6-8, 3.94 now, career 28-43, 4.82)? Please. Spare me.

Some players, like Greinke and Madison Bumgarner, have no-trade clauses. Whether Bumgarner would have waived his to go to the Yankees, who knows. But we also don’t know what SF would have wanted for him.

Some teams, like the Mets, won’t deal with the Yankees. I can see that with the Red Sox not dealing with the Yankees, but the Mets are in a different league. But the Mets have the fear of looking bad in a deal with the Yanks, and don’t want the Yanks to “take over the city” or is it “Citi”? LOL. But the Yankeephobia the Mets’ front office has hurts them if they are making trades with other teams and getting less return from them than in what the Yankees would give them for say, Wheeler or Syndegaard—and neither Wheeler or Syndegaard went anywhere.

So the Yankees don’t get a starter that could have helped them. No Minor, Bumgarner, Wheeler, Ray, Stroman, Boyd, Bauer, Roark, Leake, etc. Most, as I stated, don’t fall into the “ace” category.

They didn’t get relief help either. Shane Greene and Mark Melancon (both former Yankees, by the way) both went from their respective teams (Tigers and Giants) to the Braves.

By the way, ex-Yankee (twice) David Robertson, who went to the Phillies last offseason as a free agent, and who has barely pitched this year, is headed for elbow surgery that could include TJ surgery. If TJ (Tommy John) surgery, then he misses ALL of 2020.

So the Yankees have to hope some, or all of the following, get healthy enough to contribute soon: Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga and Dellin Betances. Loaisiga had a rehab stint (2 innings for AA Trenton last night). The others haven’t pitched yet in a game for any rehab assignment yet.

Either that or some pitchers need to pick up the slack and pitch better than they have so far this season (Happ/Paxton, even Tanaka).

I don’t know if I would call the Yanks’ efforts at the trade deadline here a failure. If you DO want to point any blame for not improving the rotation, I don’t think it is now, but things that happened BEFORE getting to this point.

For example, the free agent market. I didn’t mind bringing back Happ at the time (and that may be a mistake, given what he’s done this year and that he has a couple years left on the contract). But Happ wasn’t my first option. He was a fallback option. I think that the Yanks felt as I did. Getting Patrick Corbin being the top priority, with Happ as a fallback. But Corbin wanted more than the four years that the Yanks were offering, and got six from Washington where he is 9-5, 3.23. The Yanks sure could use that now.

Then there was Gio Gonzalez. The Yanks signed him at the end of spring training to a minor league deal, one that Gonzalez opted out of a few weeks later when it was obvious, at that time, that there was no place in the rotation for him. He is 2-1, 3.48 for Milwaukee right now.

Lastly, Dallas Keuchel. The Yanks wouldn’t go an extra mile to land him, lost him to the Braves, and Keuchel is 3-4, 3.86 right now.

Any of those three would not have cost players, just money. Now the question is why the Yankees were not more proactive towards those three? And that may not be the fault of Cashman, but of Hal Steinbrenner, who, let’s face it, is more frugal than his dad. Hal may have set a certain price that he wouldn’t allow Cashman to exceed, and if a deal then wasn’t made, the blame falls on Hal then, not Cashman.

If there is something to gripe about, I feel as if it isn’t because of what wasn’t done today at the trade deadline, but what wasn’t done BEFORE—namely, Corbin, Gonzalez and/or Keuchel. For those three have/had better potential and results than almost all of what was out there today.

One more thing. I wasn’t too keen this offseason about bringing back CC. He hasn’t been bad this year, but you are getting what you expected you’d get from a guy who just turned 39. Two trips to the injured list. Not much length in his starts. He has not recorded a “W” in more than a month. Yes, having him retire as a Yankee is nice. It’s his final season. But sentiment doesn’t win titles. You think with your head, not your heart.

Being a clubhouse presence and a great teammate is great. But you also have to do it between the lines, and of course, CC isn’t what he used to be.

So we hope now for help from within. Severino, Montgomery, Loaisiga, Betances. Maybe Deivi Garcia, but I doubt it. I’d be surprised. At 20, he probably needs a full season of AAA, so maybe 2021 for him (or late 2020?)

And after this season is over, don’t mess up on the free agent market. For example, Gerrit Cole of Houston, who the Yanks once drafted (he didn’t sign) and later coveted (traded by Pittsburgh to Houston because the Yanks wouldn’t give the Pirates Miguel Andujar) is a free agent after this season. He is 12-5. 2.94 for Houston now. He was 15-5, 2.88 for them last season. He struck out 276 last year and leads the majors with 212 strikeouts right now. Houston is one of your top competitors right now for AL supremacy. You can improve yourself and hurt Houston after this season in one move. Are you listening, Hal? Cash?

 

 

Game 15. Yanks “slammed”. Lose 5-2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The heavily depleted Yanks lost to Chicago 5-2 today to fall to 6-9 on the season.

Unfortunately, the lineup now looks like a spring training lineup with a lot of guys in it who really, if not for the injuries, would not be in the majors right now.

It’s good the Boss, George, isn’t alive right now, for it was at this time in the season (1982) when Bob Lemon got the axe (6-10), and in 1985 when Yogi (6-8) got canned.

This isn’t to say that Boone should get fired, but just giving some historical perspective. There’s not much Boone can do right now but hope to keep the ship afloat.

The Yanks did have an early 2-0 lead, but in the fifth, Tanaka gave up a grand slam and that was it.

The Yanks only got four hits.

Tanaka (L, 1-1, 3.22) 4 + IP, 5 R, 7 H, 3 W, 6 K. Gave up grand slam.
Cessa 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1.08
Kahnle 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  3.86
Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K.  1.13
Harvey 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.  0.00
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.  9.95

One disturbing thing. It’s coming out that Paxton was probably tipping pitches against Houston? Severino apparently tipping pitches at the end of last year?

The pitching coaches need to see and realize this before it becomes an issue. This is on Harkey and Rothschild.

 

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.

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.

 

Joan Z. Steinbrenner, widow of “the Boss”, dies at 83.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Joan Z. Steinbrenner, widow of George and mother of four, Hal, Hank, Jennifer and Jessica, died yesterday at the age of 83. She was married to “the Boss” from 1956 until his death in 2010.