Tag Archives: Steinbrenner

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.

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).

ALCS Game 3. Offensively challenged Yanks on the brink after 5-0 loss.

The fat lady isn’t singing, but she is warming up after a 5-0 loss to Houston yesterday put the Yanks down 3 games to none in the ALCS.

In all of MLB history, only one team has come back from an 0-3 deficit. As Yankees fans are too painfully aware, that was Boston against the Yanks in 2004.

I am one of many criticizing some of Aaron Boone’s moves. Twitter is full of them, and when Yankees’ broadcaster Michael Kay is LIVID at Boone’s moves …. well, Houston, we have a problem.

Yet ANOTHER lineup change for the Yankees before the game. Doesn’t it always seem, after five years, that Aaron Boone never can find the right formula and STICK WITH IT? It’s obvious that Matt Carpenter isn’t right (although he finally got a hit in the ninth inning), but Boone batted him FIFTH? (And remember last year in Boston, Boone batted Gallo cleanup!) Instead of sticking with Peraza’s glove at SS, he went back to Stanton in LF (LF in Yankee Stadium is no picnic) and put Cabrera at SS. The constant lineup changes appear to be clueless panic moves now, making it seem like Boone is grasping at straws.

Fans are now demanding a change. I hear it talking to them, feel it myself, and read it online. And some of it is from the broadcasters on your OWN NETWORK. The same old, same old. And just changing what seems to be a push-button manager taking orders from the front office, GM, analytics people won’t work if all you are going to do is to hire another push-button manager to take and make the wrong decisions from an inept front office. There needs to be a change from the top down. That would not only include Boone, but Cashman (been there some 25 years), Levine and maybe even Hal himself (that won’t happen, but Hal, can you show a little fire? Are you still alive?).

Otherwise, next year will be like all the others. The same old, same old. The Yanks are hitting .156 this postseason. They survived hitting .182 vs Cleveland. They are hitting .128 vs. Houston. The Yankees have had six or less hits in a game now for TEN STRAIGHT POSTSEASON GAMES. Think about that. They have hit .159 in that span. Their modus operandi for hitting isn’t working in the postseason.

The Yanks got 3 hits last night, two in the bottom of the ninth. Feeble. Some things you can’t control, like injuries to LeMahieu and Benintendi. But you don’t see any adjustments in batter’s approaches.

Meanwhile, and getting back to front office decisions, in the NLCS, the Phillies are up 3 games to one on the Padres. The Phils are pounding the baseball. Have you noticed something there? Kevin Long is the Phillies’ hitting coach. Does that name sound familiar? He was the Yankees’ hitting coach from 2007 to 2014. The last time the Yanks won a WS, in 2009, Long was the hitting coach. The Phils’ manager is Rob Thomson, who took over for Joe Girardi and who has done a masterful job. When the Yanks let Girardi go, they got rid of his coaches too. Hmmm. Maybe they are getting rid of the wrong people. Maybe they should start AT THE TOP.

Looking at the postseason here, and my grades from a few weeks ago, I had mentioned that the final grade for the front office and manager was still to be determined, based on a few things. I originally gave a C, with it being an F if they didn’t re-sign Judge. Forget that now. It’s an F, no matter what.

In the second inning, with two out, a flyball was called for by Harrison Bader and Aaron Judge. Replays showed Bader clearly calling for it, and the CF has the right of way. But neither heard the other and Bader dropped it after shying away from the 6’7″ Judge at the last moment. Who wants Judge running into you? Starter Gerrit Cole then gave up a 2-run HR that hit the top of the RF wall and bounced over. The way the Yanks have been hitting, 2-0 felt like 20-0.

In the sixth, Cole loaded the bases with no one out. Boone went to Lou Trivino. All three inherited runners scored. 5-0. Game over. For all intents and purposes, season over.

Boone has managed five seasons, one of which was the 60-game Covid season of 2020. He’s had years of 103, 100 and 99 wins. But it still seems like he is overwhelmed by the postseason, getting outmanaged by Kevin Cash, Alex Cora, and now Dusty Baker.

3 hits. 11 strikeouts (making it 41 for the 3 games so far in the ALCS). If there are more lineup changes, I don’t think I want to know. One thing I do see. Without D.J. or Benintendi, the Yanks don’t have a true leadoff hitter. You wonder if even those two are true leadoff hitters.

Cole (LOSS) 5+ IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 W, 7 K. Gave up 1 HR. 1 HBP
Trivino 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.
German 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 1 K.

Einstein’s theory of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Meanwhile, losses to Houston (I hate the Astros) in 2015, 2017, 2019 and it appears, 2022. If things don’t change, the same or worse will occur in 2023.

CHANGE. Not cosmetic change, but MAJOR CHANGE.

Game 132. Lead down to 5 after 9-0 loss.

You don’t know what to write anymore. A 15 1/2 game lead is now down to 5. Tom Petty’s song “Free Fallin'” keeps playing in your head. From 61-23 to 79-53. 18-30 in their last 48 games, and as much as you want it to stop, it isn’t.

Anthony Rizzo had an epidural for his back. He’s out for this whole Tampa Bay series. During the game, an embarrassing 9-0 loss, Andrew Benintendi hurt his wrist, saying he “felt something pop.” X-rays were negative, but an MRI is forthcoming. Don’t be surprised if he is out a while, maybe for the season.

Meanwhile you can’t win if you can’t score, and the Yankees’ offense right now looks like I’ve been transported back to the Horace Clarke/Gene Michael/Jake Gibbs days. Ugly. The Yankees got just five hits last night.

It’s hard to pitch when you have no margin for error.

For six innings, Domingo German was really good. The Rays got a run in the fourth because Josh Donaldson made two errors on back-to-back plays. The Rays would have had another run except that Oswaldo Cabrera (who replaced the injured Benintendi) threw out a runner at the plate.

It stayed 1-0 into the seventh. In the seventh, German made his only mistake, giving up a 2-run HR. 3-0, and you knew it was over then. The way this offense has collapsed, you knew they were not coming back.

Then the Rays got six runs in the eighth off of Greg Weissert and Anthony Banda (you are forgiven for saying “Who?”). Who’d have thought, on September 2, in the middle of a pennant race, that Weissert and Banda would be on the mound for you. That says a lot of where the Yanks are right now.

Then the ultimate ignominy last night. Marwin Gonzalez on the mound to get the last out in the eighth.

Embarrassing. And I’m trying to be nice about it.

Let’s face it. No matter what happens from here on in, heads should roll. Hal Steinbrenner has been far too quiet. Show a little anger at what is happening Hal! Instead, he’s been too busy buying an Italian soccer team.

Yankees’ fans on the Internet made themselves known yesterday. If you went on websites, blogs, Twitter, etc. they were all wondering why rookies Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza were not in the lineup. Bring them up only to sit? Keep guys like Hicks in the lineup? Yankees Universe was NOT happy when that lineup came out.

For the sake of integrity for this blog, some numbers that Michael Kay alluded to on last night’s broadcast. You can’t ignore this. We have been seeing this every day.

LeMahieu (toe problem) 10 for 69 since Aug. 8. .145. NO extra base hits.
Stanton by month: April .269; May .301; June .176, July .156, August .130. 0 for 3 last night, 3 strikeouts.
Since June 1, Stanton is hitting .159. That is Gallo-like bad. Achilles problem.
Torres .186 since July 13. 6 walks. 50 strikeouts.
Hicks starting with 2nd game of a DH on July 21. .155, NO extra base hits.
Donaldson has pretty much been in the .220s all year.
Higashioka is at .191.
Even Rizzo, despite 30 HR, is only at .225.
Marwin Gonzalez doesn’t play much. But he’s 0 for his last 29.

If a team hits, you can carry someone like Isiah Kiner-Falefa. This team is hitting .239. That makes IKF’s lack of power stand out more despite his .261 batting average.

Those numbers are one reason the fans were upset at the lineup last night. Granted Cabrera went 0 for 3, and Peraza, in his MLB debut, struck out, but give the kids a chance. They can’t do much worse than what has been going on.

I don’t know. Whatever the hitting coaches are telling these guys, it isn’t working, or some guys are stubborn and aren’t listening. Maybe some guys are hurt more than what is being let on.

One last thing before the recap. The MVP thing. When was the last time Ohtani played a meaningful game? One that had pennant race implications for his team? The Angels were out of the race by the end of June. Take Ohtani off the Angels and they are still a crappy fourth place team.

Since the All-Star Game, Aaron Judge is hitting .321 with 18 HR. Of course, other teams are and have been pitching around him based on what the rest of the lineup has NOT been doing. While the ship is sinking, the one lifeboat in the Yankees lineup has been Judge. The award is for the most VALUABLE player. Not Player of the Year, Decade or Century. Ohtani is great. Granted. But look at the numbers. Who right now is more VALUABLE?

Ok, enough.

Recap. The Yanks were shut out on five hits. They struck out 13x.

German (L, 2-3) 6 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 W, 1 K. 3.12
Weissert 1 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 0 W, 2 K. 10.13
Banda 0 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 3 W, 0 K. 1 HBP. 6.75
Marwin Gonzalez 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 0.00 POSITION PLAYER.






Game 90. Yanks miss chances, fall in 11, 5-4. Fifth loss in last six games.

Last night was frustrating. The Yanks (62-28) lost for the fifth time in their last six games, falling to Boston 5-4 in 11 innings. It was the third straight game, and fourth in the last six games, that went into extra innings. The Yanks AL East lead is now 12 games.

Before the game, Miguel Castro left the clubhouse for an MRI on his pitching shoulder. The Yanks’ bullpen has taken a few hits lately, and the replacements just back from the IL haven’t picked up the slack so far.

Meanwhile, check out my other post on last night’s minor league games. It appears that with Luis Severino going on the IL, that Domingo German will be coming off the IL to take Severino’s rotation spot for a while.

Before I get into the game recap, a bit of a rant. Sorry. But in the real world, if you don’t do your job well, you get fired. Apparently not so with MLB umpires (right, Angel Hernandez?). Manager Aaron Boone got ejected last night for arguing balls and strikes. The reason was the same. Granted he was tossed after arguing a bad call on Matt Carpenter, but the frustration was built up by umpires once again refusing or being too lazy to adjust their strike zone to Aaron Judge’s height. Judge’s strike zone, at 6’7″ is obviously different than that of say, Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s. But no player gets more strikes called on him that are clearly way below his knees than Judge does. Pick one. Is it laziness, stubbornness, incompetence or some combination of the three that makes these umps miss these pitches? And as for the punchout of Aaron Hicks on a check swing to end the game, I don’t believe he went, but think that the umps got tired after an 11-inning game and just wanted to eat their dinner.

One more thing before the recap, and it also deals with someone keeping their job even though he is doing it poorly. Joey Gallo is now 4 for his last 55. .161. Two of those hits were flukes (remember the triple lost in the lights at Fenway?). It’s like everyone else is playing with a DH but the Yanks are still letting the pitcher hit. Enough said. Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone, please listen to Yankees’ Universe regarding Gallo. It’s way past time. I don’t want to be negative, but it must be said. You can’t keep acting like the emperor has clothes when it’s clear he is naked.

Now to the game. Yankees’ killer Rafael Devers put Boston on the board right away with a 2-run HR in the first inning, and two batters into the game, Boston was already up 2-0. Boston had second and third, with no one out and could have tacked on more, but Yankees’ starter Jordan Montgomery got out of it.

With one out in the bottom of the third, D.J. LeMahieu singled, and one out after that, Anthony Rizzo walked. Giancarlo Stanton then hit a 3-run HR (24) to put the Yanks up 3-2.

The lead didn’t last long. Christian Vazquez homered for Boston in the top of the fourth to tie the game. In the top of the seventh, Bobby Dalbec homered for Boston off of Aroldis Chapman, and Boston went up 4-3.

The Yanks tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, but here is where things got very frustrating, and the Yanks blew their chances to win. Gleyber Torres led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. Matt Carpenter was HBP. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF) laid down a bunt and Boston’s pitcher tried for a force at third and threw the ball away. Torres scored to tie the game and the Yanks had men on second and third with no one out. Aaron Hicks was intentionally walked to set up a force out. All the Yanks needed was a flyball. I kill for sac flies. But Jose Trevino GIDP, 5-2-3, and D.J. LeMahieu grounded out, and they left that winning run on base.

In the bottom of the tenth, more frustration. Clay Holmes left the bases loaded for Boston in the top of the tenth, and now the Yanks started the bottom of the tenth with the ghost runner at second (for the thousandth time, I hate that rule!). After Judge grounded out, not advancing the runner, and Rizzo was walked to set up a force at any base, Stanton singled to load the bases. Once again, the Yanks couldn’t get the hit or sac fly to win the game, as Torres GIDP.

In the top of the eleventh, Boston had the ghost runner in Xander Bogaerts. A flyout moved Bogaerts to third. A groundout kept him there. But then Yankees’ pitcher Michael King threw a WP, enabling Bogaerts to score what was the winning run.

Frustrating. The Yanks are in a bit of a rut which they need to snap out of.

They were 2 for 15 w/RISP last night.

LeMahieu 3 hits
Stanton 2 hits, 3-run HR (24)
Carpenter 2 hits

Montgomery 6 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 W, 4 K. Gave up 2 HR. 3.26
Chapman 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. 4.74
Peralta 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 2.27
Holmes 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K. 1.31
King (L, 6-2) 1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 WP 2.19

What could have been. Elston Howard, manager?

One recent occurrence, and one we are in now, have me thinking.

What could have been?

The recent hiring of a female to manage the Yankees’ Low-A Tampa team is groundbreaking. The Yankees could have been the first to break some other ground many years ago.

With this being Black History Month, MLB.com has a feature up on Elston Howard, who became the first black Yankees player in 1955. In 1963, Howard became the first black player to win the AL MVP award—an award that had already been won several times by blacks in the NL.

The YES network, I am sure, will also run their biography on Howard this month. I have seen that bio before and it does raise an interesting what if?

In 1973, the Yankees played their final season in the original (pre-renovation) Yankee Stadium. After the last game of the season, Ralph Houk resigned. As the Yankees were going to play in Shea Stadium in 1974 and 1975 while Yankee Stadium was being renovated, the question now arose as to who would be the Yankees manager in 1974.

At first the Yankees hired Dick Williams, who had just managed the Oakland A’s to two straight WS titles but then who resigned immediately after the 1973 WS (in which the A’s beat the Mets). But the hiring was nullified by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn after A’s owner Charlie Finley protested that Williams owed Finley the final year of his deal (Finley had no qualms of releasing Williams from the obligation in mid-1974 so that Williams could manage the Angels). The Yankees turned to Bill Virdon instead.

But what if they had chosen Howard? In the YES bio, Bobby Murcer talks about how Ellie had the respect of the whole team and no one would have argued against the hiring of Howard to be the Yankees’ manager.

Howard, upon his retirement from playing after the 1968 season, had become a coach for the Yankees. In so doing, he became the first black coach in the AL.

If the Yankees WOULD have promoted Howard to manager for the 1974 season, he would have become the first black manager in MLB history—-an honor that went to Frank Robinson (Cleveland) in 1975.

But from 1974-1991, as you know, the Yankees had an endless parade of managers, led by Billy Martin’s five separate terms. Others had repeats, too.

Virdon 1974-1975
Billy Martin I 1975-1978
Bob Lemon I 1978-1979
Billy II 1979
Dick Howser 1980
Gene Michael I 1981
Lemon II 1981-1982
Michael II 1982
Clyde King 1982
Billy III 1983
Yogi Berra II 1984-1985 (Yogi I was in 1964)
Billy IV 1985
Lou Piniella I 1986-1987
Billy V 1988
Lou II 1988
Dallas Green 1989
Bucky Dent 1989-1990
Stump Merrill 1990-1991

Since 1991, there have been just four managers.

Buck Showalter 1992-1995
Joe Torre 1996-2007
Joe Girardi 2008-2017
Aaron Boone 2018-present.

So some stability since 1992. But you wonder. If the Yankees had hired Ellie, and if Ellie’s health had held out (he died of a heart condition Dec. 14, 1980 at the age of 51, on the same day that thousands of people in Central Park, along with millions around the world, gathered to mourn the loss of John Lennon, who was assassinated six days before) would the Yankees have had stability in the 1970s/1980s? Granted, stability in managers wasn’t a trait of the Boss, George Steinbrenner, but you wonder. If Ellie were manager, how well would he have done, and would it have stopped the merry-go-round of managers, especially with Billy Martin?

We’ll never know what could have been.

What now? A look at the front office.

As the Yankees’ (disappointing) season is over, I look at the postseason. What needs to be done to be better? In many ways, I feel this team needs to be blown up. A lot of pieces don’t fit together. First a quick look at things, then Part 1. The front office, manager and coaches.

First, the numbers. The team, for most of the season, was too right-handed. This for a team in Yankee Stadium. Cashman tried to remedy that with the trades for Rizzo and Gallo, and did pick up Odor. Um, getting guys from Texas (Odor and Gallo) isn’t too good of an idea. How good is Texas anyway? While Rizzo helped, the other two didn’t help much.

In a 15-team league, the Yanks were 13th in hits. Last in doubles. Next to last in triples. Yes, they were third in HR, and 1st in walks, but that’s all they did. Walk or hit homers. Brett Gardner laid down 5 of the 10 sac bunts. They don’t bunt, teams seem not to anymore. They were 10th in SB. They ran the bases poorly (and something I’ll get to in a moment). The batting average of .237 was 13th in a 15-team league. The OPS+ was 100—average. They were 11th in total bases. 12th in sac flies. That last one shows a lot. Not getting runners in that are on third with less than two out. The SB? Not creating runs. They don’t hit and run. Too many low-average, high-strikeouts sluggers. Not enough contact hitters.

They only got to the postseason (barely, by one game, and a 1-0 win on the last day of the season) on their pitching. The ERA of 3.74 was third in the league. ERA+ 115. 15% above league average. And that was mostly on the bullpen. Starters don’t go deep in games anymore. The starters weren’t bad, but only Cole, of the starters, won more than 10 games.

Players were out of position, hurting the defense. Odor paying 3B. Torres proved he isn’t a SS. LeMahieu’s best position is 2B, but then what to do with Torres? Move him to 2B, then LeMahieu went to 3B and Gio to SS–not their best natural positions. The infield must be sorted out. And I didn’t mention the defense or lack of it at catcher.

We’ll get to the positions in another post.

Hal Steinbrenner. Is he involved? How much so. I know not in the open like his father was, but behind the scenes he better be steaming. How committed is he to changing this team around? He couldn’t be pleased at how this team underperformed. One postseason game, and not even at home. How committed to the salary cap as opposed to improving the team? Yes, you have to budget, but is the budget or the quality of the team the higher priority? Or the YES network?

Cashman. I don’t feel he’s going anywhere. He’s like Tom Hagen in the Godfather—the Corleone’s adopted son (saw that somewhere, nice analogy). Only he’s Cashman and they are the Steinbrenners. But the way the pieces of this team didn’t fit, like trying to match puzzle pieces from a couple of DIFFERENT jigsaw puzzles, wasn’t good. That falls on Cashman. And some deals? Andrew Heaney? Yikes. Some were steals (Holmes) but others … ugh. But I don’t think he is going anywhere.

Boone. If he goes, he goes, I’m kind of neutral there. But I do ask. When the Yanks play Tampa Bay or Boston, do you get the feeling Boone is being outmanaged by Cash or Cora? If that answer is yes, then there is a problem. Say what you will about Billy Martin, but you never felt as if Billy was outmanaged by Earl Weaver or Whitey Herzog. You felt you were even, at least. Do you feel the same way about Boone? I don’t know why he just didn’t put Gardner in the leadoff spot for the wild card game (not that it would have helped, Gardner was 0 for 3 with 3 K) but Gardner led off a lot in his career. Batting Gardy 6th? Since when is Gardy a power hitter? Gallo 4th? Ugh. A .160 cleanup hitter. I know with some injuries, esp. to guys like Voit and LeMahieu, that Boone was limited. Also, in Fenway. Green Monster. Play Stanton in LF, Gallo in RF, Judge in CF and DH Sanchez? Yeah, Sanchez may not have done much. But the lineup that went against Boston begged for a low-scoring game. Higashioka and Velazquez in the lineup, Gardy hitting sixth. That low-scoring game is something Cole didn’t give them. If the Yanks made a change, I’d like John Flaherty. Follows and knows the team by broadcasting on YES. Former catcher. Can handle the pitching staff, not to mention the catchers. No, I don’t think Buck Showalter, Willie Randolph, Don Mattingly would be available. Maybe Espada. I’d like Flaherty, which leads me to this…

Some guys are in the broadcast booth (nice, cushy job) when they should be in uniform as coaches. Based on what the hitting was this year, the hitting coaches, Marcus Thames and P.J. Pillitere, should go. I’d love to see Paul O’Neill as hitting coach rather than broadcaster, David Cone as pitching coach (more in a moment) than broadcaster, and Flaherty as manager than as broadcaster. What’s the priority here, Hal? Ratings by having these guys broadcast or wins by having these guys coach and manage? Besides O’Neill, I’d love Matsui as hitting coach. At least those guys didn’t try to pull the ball all the time.

I think Blake was fine as pitching coach. I do not mind him staying. 3rd in league in ERA. if not him, then I would have liked Cone. Sometimes old school works. Stop it with the all the analytics already. Use analytics as an aid, not a crutch.

The bullpen was fine. Harkey. Ok there. Lots of times the best part of the team. Getting back to Cashman, I do wonder why he let Luis Cessa go (Cessa 53 games NYY/Cincy, 2.51 ERA).

Now 3B coach? Nevin got what, 23 guys thrown out at home this year? Friendship be damned, Nevin has to go. The baserunning all year was poor.

Summary: I think Cashman and Boone are staying. I am neutral on Boone, but if he goes, I have my choice as manager: Flaherty. (Update: In the past there were talks about Raul Ibanez? And if Cora can come back from “purgatory”, could the same be said for Carlos Beltran?)
But the coaching staff has to be reconfigured. Especially hitting and 3B coach.

Cashman and Hal have to be busy this offseason blowing up the team.

Next: Catcher and infield. Hint: That has to be reconfigured.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts and what you would like done.



Game 89. Brutal. Yanks blow it in 9th, give up 6 runs, lose 8-7.

This was brutal. Up 7-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees (46-43, Tied for 3rd, 8 back) gave up 6 runs to Houston in the bottom of the 9th, the last three on a walkoff HR by Jose Altuve, and lost 8-7.

With the all-star break now, the Yanks will have that depressing memory to chew on for a while.

The Yanks didn’t have Jonathan Loaisiga (Covid) available. Zack Britton and Darren O’Day are both on the IL. But it speaks volumes that they didn’t even let Aroldis Chapman start the ninth inning with a five-run lead. No trust in him.

And this is the FOURTH really bad loss in a month and a day. THIRD in two weeks. Some bad memories as we revisit.

June 10. Up 5-3 in Minnesota. The game that started Chapman’s skid. He gave up two 2-run HRs, didn’t get an out, in the bottom of the ninth. Yanks give up 4 runs. Yanks lose 7-5.

June 30. Up 8-4, Yanks give up 7 in top of the ninth to Angels and lose 11-8.

July 4. 1st game of DH, 7-inning game. Up 5-4 going into the top of the seventh, give up 6, lose to Mets 10-5.

Now July 11. Up 7-2 in Houston, give up six in the bottom of the ninth. Lose 8-7.

I heard a little bit of WFAN after the game. In those few minutes, they were ripping into Hal Steinbrenner to show some emotion. To show he cares. To get ticked off about these losses. To show that he, like us, is a LITTLE bit like a fan, and that isn’t only a business that he only cares about on the business end but is impassive on the wins and losses end. Or if he doesn’t care, then sell the team to someone who does. They were really on him.

The Yanks scored in the top of the third when Gary Sanchez walked with one out. On a strikeout, Sanchez moved up on a WP. Luke Voit walked, and Sanchez scored on a error on a ball hit by Gleyber Torres.

Yankees’ starter Jameson Taillon gave up a HR in the bottom of the third that allowed Houston to tie the game.

Tim Locastro hit his first Yankees’ HR (second of the year for him) to put the Yanks up 2-1.

The Yankees went up 3-1 in the fifth. Giancarlo Stanton singled, Voit walked, and Torres singled in Stanton.

Jameson, who pitched well, gave up another HR in the sixth, and it was 3-2.

In the seventh, the Yanks made it 4-2 when with two out, Torres walked, stole second, and scored on a single by Gio Urshela.

Sanchez hit a 3-run HR (15) in the eighth to make it 7-2.

Then the roof fell in in the bottom of the ninth. As mentioned, Chapman not trusted with a five-run lead (Yikes!). Domingo German comes out for his third inning of relief. Single. Double.

In comes Chad Green. Double to make it 7-4. Another double makes it 7-5. Bloop single. Runners on first and third. Line out. Then the 3-run HR by Altuve to win it for Houston. Yikes.

The Yankees could have crushed the Astros in this game. They walked 14 times to go with their 8 hits. But they were 3 for 16 w/RISP.

Sanchez 3-run HR (15)
Stanton 2 hits.
Urshela 2 hits, RBI
Locastro solo HR (2)


Taillon 6 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 2 W, 4 K. 1 HBP. 2 of 3 hits given up HR. 4.90 (nice job, has lowered ERA by a run, was almost 6)
German (H, 2) 2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 2 K
Green (L, 3-5) 1/3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up walkoff HR. 2.89



Game 77. Yanks fall into 4th place after getting swept in Fenway, 9-2.

What a lost weekend. Hal Steinbrenner needs to channel his father. You can only imagine how the old man would have reacted after the Yankees got swept in Fenway this weekend. Couple this with the Red Sox sweeping the Yankees at the Stadium three weeks ago, and the Yankees are 0-6 vs. the Red Sox this season.

Pair that up with Tampa Bay, and the Yanks are 5-14 vs. those two teams this year. Sunday’s 9-2 loss dropped the Yankees to 40-37, and down to 4th place in the AL East, 6 1/2 out.

The weekend was embarrassing. Even Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole was affected. Cole gave up a HR on the very first pitch he threw, and gave up another HR, a 3-run 451 ft. shot, before the inning was out. After one inning, the Yanks were down 4-0, and it seemed like all the air was out of the balloon. In that inning, Miguel Andujar, still learning the outfield, made a bad defensive play.

With two on and one out in the third inning, and a chance to get back into the game, the Yanks came away with nothing. In the bottom of the third, Cole gave up a leadoff HR to J.D. Martinez, which was another bomb, and an error by Gleyber Torres helped lead to another run. After three innings, Boston led 6-0.

Cole settled down after that, at least giving the Yankees some innings (5), but even if he had pitched well, once again he received little support. The only runs the Yankees got came via a two-run HR by Aaron Judge (17) in the top of the sixth that cut the score to 6-2. They struck out 13x. The Yanks loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, came away with nothing. Boston, meanwhile, got a run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 7-2.

Brooks Kriske, who has not pitched well for the Yankees this year (5 games, 7 R in 5 IP, ERA 12.60) gave up two runs in the eighth, including a solo HR, to make it 9-2, the final score.

Later this week, the Yanks hit the halfway point of the season. Over the 4th of July weekend, I will give “mid-term grades” out. As you may guess, it won’t be pretty.


LeMahieu 2 hits
Judge 2-run HR (17)


Cole (L, 8-4) 5 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 8 H, 2 W, 6 K. Gave up 3 HR. 1 WP. 2.66
Cessa 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. 3.13
Kriske 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR. 12.60

Game 13. Boone addresses team after Yanks’ 8-2 loss.

I was about to write that the Yankees need to look in the mirror. That Aaron Boone has to snap at them. That Brian Cashman needs to snap at them.

That Hal Steinbrenner needs to channel his father’s anger and snap at the team right now.

For last night was embarrassing. An 8-2 loss to (once again, Tampa Bay) that dropped the Yankees to 5-8, the worst record in the league. People (I won’t call them fans) were so disgusted they were throwing stuff onto the field.

The team looked like a mess in just about every way. The offense got only three hits. Their only two runs coming on a 2-run Giancarlo Stanton HR in the seventh inning. They don’t string together hits or have rallies.

Starters, (other than Gerrit Cole) need to go deeper into games. More than 3 or 4 innings. Granted, last night the Yanks used Nick Nelson as an opener and that failed, but …

The defense has been lousy, too. Three errors last night, one really costly on what should have been an inning=ending DP that instead allowed two runs to score.

Besides snapping at the team, Boone needs to look at some of his decisions, too. I don’t like the “opener”, and I also didn’t like Hicks (.167 so far) batting third.

This isn’t to rip the team, although they may deserve it. It is an honest assessment. You can’t be a fan of the Yankees right now and like what you are seeing. So far the Yankees are woefully underperforming. It is early. They are 4 games out. 4 games out is nothing only 13 games into a 162 game season.

But worst record in the league. They face Tyler Glasnow (an ace) today. Atlanta (a good team) comes in next. What you don’t want is 5-8 to become 7-15 or so in a few weeks. You fall 10 games or so under .500? That’s hard to make up.

They need to get some passion. They need to snap out of it and now. They need a wakeup call and maybe Boone, in angrily confronting the team last night, woke some of them up. Let’s hope so.

Did any of you think the Yanks’ would be hitting .222 as a team after 13 games? That they would be next to last in the league in runs scored? Last in slugging average? There is a lot of blame to go around. Did you think that after Cole, the next two best performing players right now would be Michael King and Darren O’Day, with Kyle Higashioka fourth?

Here is something amazing to me. In 13 games, do you know how many sacrifice flies the Yankees have hit? NONE.

I’ll take runs any way I can get them.

Things have to change, and change now.

The Yanks struck out 14 times last night. You can’t win by not putting the ball in play.

Stanton 2-run HR.

Nelson (L, 0-2) 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 2 W, 2 K. 10.80
King 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 W, 4 K. 0.00 1 HBP. Sent to alt. site after game.
Cessa 1 IP, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 W, 2 K. 1.17
Luetge 4 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 W, 3 K. 6.10

Luetge “took one for the team”. The runs he gave up were on bleeders and bloopers. Seems like everything going wrong.

Things have to turn around. And now.