Sunday, April 21, 2019

Despite Win, Yankees Lose...

Photo Credit: Julio Cortez/AP
Aaron Judge becomes latest Casualty…

There was immediate concern when Aaron Judge arrived at first base after his single in the bottom of the sixth and you could tell he was in pain. Even as Head Trainer Steve Donahue came out and they removed Judge from the game, there was hope it was only a precautionary move with a fairly comfortable lead over the Kansas City Royals. But when Judge dropped the F bomb as he walked through the dugout, it signaled this was worst case scenario. Although no timetables have been given, the left oblique injury will keep Judge away for awhile.  

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Of all the injuries the Yankees have suffered this year, I had felt that Aaron Judge was the guy the team could least afford to lose. Gleyber Torres probably runs a close second, but Judge is the ideal right fielder for this team and its heart and soul. It was no fun last summer when we lost Judge for an extended period as a result of the fractured wrist, courtesy of a Jakob Junis pitch.  But at time, at least the team had Giancarlo Stanton to step into right. As the team prepares to play today, there are only three outfielders on the team. Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, and Clint Frazier. The role of the fourth outfielder will be filled by infielder Tyler Wade, who has not exactly set the World on fire with his bat this season.  

With the placement of Judge on the Injured List today, there will be an unlucky 13 players on the list. Fortunately, Gary Sanchez will back soon. He is expected to play a minor league rehab game on Monday before being activated on Wednesday. The Yankees head for Anaheim, California to begin a four-game set with the Los Angeles Angels tomorrow so Sanchez should be ready by the third game. Giancarlo Stanton is expected to return sometime during the upcoming road trip but he’s a little further out than Sanchez. The road trip concludes in Phoenix, Arizona on May 1st. The sooner, the better but we need to make sure that Stanton is 100% ready to go to avoid any setbacks.  

The Yankees have very limited outfield depth in the system. Everyone knows that top prospect Estevan Florial fractured his wrist in Spring Training and is still recovering so he’s not even a thought (not that he should have been…yet…anyway). The five outfielders listed on the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster are Trey Amburgey, Billy Burns, Omar Carrizales (who?), Matt Lipka, and Zack Zehner. Available free agents include Jose Bautista, Matt Holliday, Austin Jackson, Denard Span, Danny Valencia and Chris Young. In other words, there is no help on the horizon other than the return to good health for those on the IL. The only other option is trade, but most teams are reluctant to trade this early in the season. I keep hearing Justin Smoak’s name. No doubt he’d provide a productive bat to pair with Luke Voit at first base and DH, but the Toronto Blue Jays are only a game behind the Yankees and they certainly smell the blood in the water. Not that the Jays have World Series aspirations this year and they’ve already parted with Kevin Pillar (traded to San Francisco on April 2nd) but I don’t think they’d actively help the Yankees at this point even if the teams have been receptive to inter-division trades in the past. 

I am not sure what to think at this point. You can only hope the team treads water until the injured stars begin their return to the active roster. It’s hard to look at the current roster and say, ‘Oh yeah, this team is winning the World Series this year’. I am glad that Clint Frazier and recently Mike Tauchman have stepped up but it’s going to take more from the other replacement players. I can’t say that I am overly optimistic. The Yankees can simply not afford to lose any more players at this point. They are stretched as far as they can without outside help. It is imperative that the injured players come back soon but the risk is rushing them back too soon. I guess these are the times that GM Brian Cashman and his staff truly earn their paychecks. With so much bad news lately, I could really use some good news about now. At least we have the NFL Draft later in the week.

With Judge’s injury, yesterday’s 9-2 win over the Royals actually felt like a loss.  There was certainly no joy after the game. I was glad the team evened its record at 10-10 but sadly the future, at this moment in time, seems hazy. The Boston Red Sox elevated themselves out of the AL East Cellar yesterday with their second consecutive victory over the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays. With such uncertainty surrounding the Yankees, I’d hate to see the Red Sox go on a roll. There’s no doubt the rash of injuries should make for a reliable battle-tested bench later in the season but that’s hardly any consolation on the 21st day of April. The coming days and weeks will go a long way toward determining how this season will play out. If there was ever a time for the team to unite and persevere through adversity, this is it. At the moment, Yankee Stadium feels a little like Winterfell as the Night King and his Army of the Dead close in for the kill.    


To talk a moment about Saturday’s game, it is unfortunate that a Yankee fan interfered with the fly ball to left by Gleyber Torres in the bottom of the third inning. Initially ruled a home run, the call was overturned upon review and Torres was ruled out due to the interference. I agree the fan leaned over the wall so clearly by definition it was interference, but I honestly do not feel Royals outfielder Alex Gordon would have caught the ball. Replay seemed to show the ball just an inch or two beyond his reach. Fortunately, the Yankees didn’t need the three-run homer but I feel bad for Gleyber in losing a home run courtesy of a fan. On the other hand, the fan probably didn’t appreciate the free escort out of the stadium by Security. Tough situation since I feel I probably would have reached for the ball without thinking, like most of us, in that  situation too. Aaron Judge hit his fifth home run before he was lost to us. The Yankees also got homers from Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, and with his first as a Yankee, DJ LeMahieu. It was a great bounce-back game for Masahiro Tanaka who lost on a grand slam last Sunday. Tanaka went seven innings, giving up only four hits and a run. He walked three and struck out seven to improve his record to 2-1. I thought his ability to leave the lightning quick Billy Hamilton stranded at third after Hamilton’s lead off triple in the top of the third inning (a ball that went under the glove of the defensively-challenged Luke Voit at first) was huge.

The Yankees conclude their four-game series with the Royals today. They’ll send James Paxton (2-2, 3.91 ERA) to the mound. He’ll be opposed by Jorge Lopez (0-2, 4.30 ERA). The Yankees could really use a series win as they embark on the nine-game West Coast trip to Anaheim, San Francisco and Phoenix. Hopefully the remaining healthy players can provide Paxton with the necessary support for his third win of the season.  

As expected, Gio Gonzalez exercised the opt-out in his minor league contract. The Yankees have until tomorrow to either elect to promote Gonzalez to the Major League roster or let him go. I fully expect the latter. No doubt he’ll get a big league job soon but it won’t be in the Bronx. Too bad he can’t play the outfield.   

As always, Go Yankees! And please, stay healthy.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The April Roller Coaster Ride...

Photo Credit: Anthony J Causi/NY Post
Up and Down Start Continues…

It was an uneven week to say the least. Sure, it was great to sweep the two-game series in the Bronx against the dreaded Boston Red Sox but to follow up with lackluster play in the first game of the Kansas City Royals series was disappointing. It’s easy to blame the high number of injuries for the slow start but there’s no excuse for not playing hard every game. Fortunately, the Yankees rebounded last night to beat the Royals, 6-2, behind CC Sabathia (1-0), the bullpen and a couple of dingers.

Photo Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images
I’ll admit it. I was one who didn’t feel the Yankees should have re-signed Sabathia this past off-season. For as much as Sabathia has meant to the Yankees over the years and his invaluable role as team leader/mentor, I thought his spot in the rotation could be improved upon. I was wrong and that’s perfectly okay. Sabathia has continued to surprise me with his late career renaissance. When he encountered the knee problems a few years ago, I didn’t think he would be able to reinvent himself as a pitcher, yet he did. I am enjoying Sabathia’s final ride and pleased he’ll do it in Pinstripes. I don’t know his post-career plans but I am hopeful the Yankees find a role for him. I am not sure he can continue to pitch like he has in his first couple of starts but there’s no doubt he’ll give his team a chance to win every time he takes the hill.  

We came into the season with such high hopes. For a few years now, we’ve looked at 2019 as the year the Yankees would arrive to capture their 28th World Series Championship. Then, player after player found his way to the now-massive Injured List and the team has struggled out of the gate. Someone asked Mike Axisa on his River Ave Blues chat yesterday how many wins this Yankees team (as currently constructed without the return of any of the men on the Injured List) could achieve and he responded with 84. He’s not wrong. You can’t lose so many superstars without an adverse impact. The big question is who would step up to take advantage of opportunity due to the missing stars.  

So far, the award for best replacement player has to be Clint Frazier. There are many who still feel that Frazier’s future lies outside of Pinstripes but I am glad to see him potentially have his breakout year. I’ve been a critic and not exactly an admirer of his social media skills. But we’re starting to see the player GM Brian Cashman saw a few years ago when he sent reliever Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians. In fifteen games covering 57 plate appearances, he has 4 homers, 12 RBIs, and is hitting .327/.351/.577 with a great 145 wRC+. His arm was on display last night in right field when he fired a 95 mph throw to catcher Kyle Higashioka on the third base line to nail Martin Maldonado who had tried to score after tagging up at third in the third inning. For as much as Brett Gardner has done to help the Yankees win this week, there’s no question the future of left field should reside with Frazier. When Giancarlo Stanton returns to take DH and Aaron Hicks is back in center field, it should be time for Gardy to move to the bench. Maybe Frazier is just rebuilding his stock for an inevitable trade for starting pitching but I honestly I hope not. I’d like to see him thrive in the Bronx. His time is now.  

Photo Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
While there won’t be room for him on the big league roster when Stanton and Hicks return, it’s nice to see left fielder Mike Tauchman hit a couple of home runs this week. It’s amazing that he was never able to launch one at Coors Field in his young career. I know, he was only given limited opportunities with the Rox but there’s no question his swing would have played well at 5,280 feet if he had been given more chances. With the Rockies running into their own string of injuries, I can’t help but wonder if they wished they had held onto Tauchman.  

I fully expect the Yankees to let pitcher Gio Gonzalez walk when he formally opts out of his minor league contract this weekend. While I’d prefer the experienced Gonzalez over Domingo German for the long haul, German has certainly pitched well enough to retain his spot in the rotation despite his rocky start last Thursday. I think my biggest concern in the rotation right now (aside of Luis Severino’s absence) is the performance of J.A. Happ. It’s unfortunate the Yankees do not have more time with Gonzalez to keep him available if Happ continues to struggle. I don’t see Gonzalez extending his minor league contract with the Yankees and I do not see the Yankees bringing him up only to serve as a long man out of the pen.  I think there are starting opportunities for him with other teams (like the New York Mets who just placed the great Jacob deGrom on the Injured List). He’ll get a starting gig somewhere.  So, Gio, thanks for the memories. Sorry you didn’t the chance to wear Pinstripes in Yankee Stadium but it’s probably best the Yankees didn’t need you during your short stay.

Speaking of minor league contracts, I am not sure what I think about the Yankees signing first baseman Logan Morrison to a minors deal yesterday. It’s hard to let go of his comments from the past. I know Gary Sanchez has moved on with his comments yesterday that the Home Run Derby (when LoMo questioned the choice of Sanchez over him) was two years ago. But LoMo attacked Yankee fans with his infamous “you can’t fix stupid” remark. I don’t think I am as forgiving as El Gary. I am not sure LoMo will ever get a chance to wear the Pinstripes (he has a July 1st opt-out) but if he does, he owes an apology to the Yankees fan base and to the team for his ill-advised prior comments. It’s hard to criticize LoMo for his poor 2018 with the Minnesota Twins which ended with hip surgery but he is only a season removed from 38 jacks. If he could be that guy, he would certainly be an improvement over Mike Ford as backup first baseman.  

With the impending return of Gary Sanchez in the next few days and hopefully Giancarlo Stanton by the end of the month, I am hopeful the Yankees can get on a roll. Today, the Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 3.22 ERA) to the mound.  He’ll be opposed by RHP Heath Fillmyer (0-0, 9.00 ERA). Tanaka will look to erase memories of that grand slam that did him in last Sunday in the 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox. We keep saying it but so far the Yankees have failed to capitalize, they need to beat teams like the Royals. Handed a soft schedule to start the year, I never dreamed that we’d still be chasing a .500 mark nearly a month into the season. But all things considered, it’s nothing that a nice 10-game winning streak can’t cure.

I just saw the news that the Miami Marlins fired their hitting coach, former Yankees third baseman Mike Pagliarulo, after their game last night. I hate to say it, but I think the days are numbered for Marlins manager Don Mattingly. Despite his Yankee connections, I think Marlins CEO Derek Jeter will move to get his own guy in the dugout at some point. In my humble opinion, odds are greater Jorge Posada will be Marlins manager next year over Mattingly. It’s unfortunate because Mattingly was my favorite Yankee during his playing career, and I’ve been a fan since those days ended. To replace Pags as hitting coach, the Marlins appointed Jeff Livesey as his replacement. Livesey is son of former Yankees executive Bill Livesey. Livesey will be assisted by one-time Yankees top prospect Eric Duncan.  

Okay Yankees, we need a win today. Please bring home the “W” to even your record at 10-10. We want this, you want this. Make it happen.

As always, Go Yankees!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Where did Aaron Judge's power go?

The question in the title of this post has been on the minds of Yankees fans recently. Sure, Aaron ranks second on the team in home runs (tied with Torres, Frazier, Gardner, and Voit... Sanchez leads the team with six), but his slugging percentage of .484 leaves a lot to be desired. I mean, Judge's slugging percentage was .528 last season, which was down considerably from the .627 he put up in 2017.

But I don't see any reason to worry.

Aaron is not striking out any more than he has his entire career, as you can see by his strikeout percentage of 31.2% this season, compared to his career mark of 31.6%. And he's not taking more walks as his walk percentage this season is 16.9% compared to 16.7% throughout his career. And he's hitting the ball harder than he ever has, evidenced by his line drive percentage of 36%, which is higher than his career mark of 26%.

Looking at the numbers we can see that Judge simply is not getting the ball up in the air as often. His fly ball percentage is just 29.3%, down significantly from his career percentage of 39.7%.

So why is that?

Well, looking at the statistics only one thing really stands out... he's not pulling the ball as often as he has in the past.

In his career, Aaron has pulled pitches 40.6% of the time, which is all the way down to 29.3% this season. While he's hitting more balls to center (36.6% as opposed to 31.4%) and to the opposite field (34.1% to 28.1%). And while his contact percentage is down a bit (63.8% now from 66.2% in his career), I don't think that's a big enough difference to say it's a problem.

To be honest, I think his lack of power so far this season is more of a choice rather than loss of ability. Judge is simply trying to be a more complete hitter instead of being all about the long ball.

Now, normally, that wouldn't be a problem. When you have a lineup chock full of guys that can hit the long ball (in case you forgot, the 2018 squad holds the record for most team home runs in a season) you can afford to lose a few dingers from Aaron Judge. But with Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, and Didi Gregorius on the shelf it stands out that much more.

Yes, seeing Judge bash home run after home run is fun, but his overall production is the main thing. That production is down a bit this year, but it's not nearly down enough to be worried.

When this team gets healthy (I'm trying to stay positive here by saying "when" instead of "if") they will be very scary. You've seen the healthy lineup before, but here's a refresher...

1. Aaron Hicks CF
2. Aaron Judge RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton DH
4. Gary Sanchez C
5. Miguel Andujar 3B
6. Gleyber Torres SS
7. Clint Frazier LF
8. DJ LeMahieu 2B
9. Luke Voit 1B

That lineup is a very real possibility come June 1st.

Yes, I realize that Andujar may be better as the team's primary DH or first baseman, but I'll address that situation and the possible lineup implications then. I'm just trying to give you an idea as to why Aaron Judge's lack of power is not a real problem, it just stands out as one with this injury-riddled team.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Big Maple domination


                                                (Photo credit: New York Yankees official Twitter)


It was a great outing by Paxton tonight. Going 8 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts & 1 walk. Huge confidence builder after his first 2 starts weren’t ones to remember. Paxton becomes the first Yankees’ pitcher with 12+ strikeouts & 2 hits or less vs Boston at home. Paxton can now build on this  start, it was one to remember.


Chris Sale continues his struggles for the 2019 season. He did go 5 innings but gave up 4 earned runs to the Yankees lineup. Yankees took advantage with 3 homeruns by Frazier, Tauchman & Frazier. Tauchman had a break out game with 2 hits & 4 RBI’s. Urshela had an insane defensive play, throwing from his knees to nail Betts.


It was a great game for the Yankees winning 8-0 over Boston. Confidence for the Yankees as they look to win the Series tomorrow. J.A Happ pitching tomorrow, he’s looking to find it as he’s had rough starts to the season.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Yankees Win, Always a Good Thing...

Credit: Getty Images
CC Sabathia Relishes the Role of Stopper…

Well, the last week didn’t go exactly as planned. I didn’t think the Yankees would win the three-game series in Houston but I had hoped for at least one win. They played well enough to win all three games if not for the lack of bullpen support. After Friday night’s rain-shortened loss to Eloy Jimenez and the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees had lost four consecutive games and could have been overtaken in the AL East Standings on Saturday by the Boston Red Sox, a team that has seemingly gotten off to a much worse start than our favorite team, if the Sox had won and the Yankees had not. Fortunately, CC Sabathia represented the Cavalry, arriving to save the day, while the highly paid hitless wonder known as Chris Davis helped power Baltimore past the struggling Red Sox.    

It is funny how the World looks so much better after a Yankees win. Life as a Yankee fan is such a roller coaster ride at times. It was hard watching Eloy Jimenez (first two home runs of his young career) and the White Sox crush Yankee pitching during Friday night’s rain-shortened seven innings loss. Although I am sure CC Sabathia would have liked to have stayed in yesterday’s game a little longer, he combined with Domingo German, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman to shut out the White Sox, 4-0, giving the Pinstripers a very much-needed victory. Honestly, I was unsure what Sabathia would bring in his first start of his final season. Delayed by December’s Angioplasty that placed a stent in a heart valve, a five-game suspension, and a trip to the Injured List as he worked his way back into prime form, it was vintage Sabathia on Saturday. He held the White Sox to a meaningless single by second baseman Jose Rondon in the top of the third inning. It was the first and only hit the Sox would get on this day.  

Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images
Sabathia looked strong when he struck out Wellington Castilllo looking to end the top of the fifth inning but the pitch, his 62nd, would be his last. The TV cameras showed a disappointed Sabathia in the dugout as Manager Aaron Boone informed him his day was finished. I don’t blame Boone. No reason to push Sabathia this early. His 62 pitches for the Tampa Tarpons (High-A) in a rehab start last Sunday were his season high. He probably would have been good for a few more pitches but why risk it. We need the big guy in the weeks and months ahead. With an off-day last Thursday and another tomorrow, the Yankees were able to skip the fifth spot in the rotation, making Domingo German available to provide back up support for Sabathia. It was the perfect formula. German, continued his brilliant 2019 performance with two innings of hitless relief and four strikeouts. If you looked at stats alone without names, you’d think his line belonged to the team’s ace. 3-0, 1.38 ERA, 9.69 K/9, and 1.03 BABIP. Not that Luis Severino is coming back anytime soon but if he were to return today, you’d have to argue that J.A. Happ, not German, should be the loser of a rotation spot. 

Zack Britton finally delivered a relief outing that we expect to see. Three-up, three down in the top of the eighth. I know, it was just the White Sox but you would have thought they were the second coming of Harvey’s Wallbangers after Friday night. Britton had to start somewhere with a solid appearance. Saturday was as good a day as any. Now if we could just get Chad Green and Jonathan Holder back on track. I’d really like to see this so-called Super Bullpen that everyone has been talking about. I know, Dellin Betances is a major cog and his absence hurts, but the other guys need to pick up the slack. They are certainly capable of so much more.

I know I was feeling much better about Aroldis Chapman from his first pitch in the top of the ninth when the radar gun clocked his strike to Adam Engel at 99 MPH. In throwing nine pitches to finish off the game, Chappy hit 100 MPH four times. He is trending in the right direction for those fearing his loss of velocity. It was not a save situation but Chapman needed the work and he did not disappoint.  

Credit: Paul J Bereswill/NY Post
Credit to White Sox starter and former Yankee Ivan Nova. Back in the stadium he was raised, he delivered as well as he could have. He faced one batter in the top of the seventh, giving up a single to Gleyber Torres. Pulled at that point, Torres would eventually score the first run for the Yankees when Luke Voit singled with the bases loaded. It was almost unfair for Nova to be charged a run on this day, but he was, thus taking the tough luck loss despite holding the Yanks to only four hits, and no runs while he was standing on the mound, over six innings and the one batter faced in the seventh. No doubt he’ll look back on the day proud that he was able to compete exceptionally well with his one-time mentor as Sabathia prepares for his ride to the Sunset and eventual placement in MLB’s Hall of Fame.  

Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
With such a great pitching performance by the Yankees, the team’s offense was almost an afterthought. The Yankees needed the runs, of course, to win the game but for inning after inning, they were unable to mount any serious threat against Nova. When Nova gave up that single to Gleyber Torres in the bottom of the seventh and departed the game, it opened the door for the Yankees. It took a little luck when Greg Bird hit into a fielder’s choice at second against White Sox reliever Jace Fry. An error by Yolmer Sanchez, booting a potential double play ball, left both runners safe at first and second. After another pitching change, Clint Frazier singled to right off reliever Ryan Burr to load the bases. Luke Voit keep it going with a broken bat single past the outstretched glove of the shortstop, scoring Torres. 

Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
Kyle Higashioka, getting the start at catcher in place of Austin Romine, hit a long sacrifice fly to right which brought Bird home with the second run. Tyler Wade displayed his athleticism with a rare squeeze bunt toward third that easily allowed Frazier to score. The Yankees were up, 3-0.

Aaron Judge accounted for the final Yankees run when he led off the bottom of the eighth with a short home run (a 335’ shot that took full advantage of the right field porch). Hey, a homer is a homer. Sure, we love the homers that reach the second deck, especially when Judge is at the plate, but I’ll take the short fly that lands into the first row of the right field porch any day.  

Hopefully the win helps the Yankees “turn the corner” (as Aaron Boone would say). A win today to take the series against the White Sox would be ideal, considering the other Sox come to town on Tuesday. Nothing like changing our Sox on a positive note. The Houston Astros got hot at the right time last week to sweep the Yankees in their home park. It would be nice for the Yankees to do the same to the visiting Red Sox for the brief two-game series.

Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 1.47 ERA) gets the ball in the White Sox finale this afternoon. He’ll be opposed by the talented Carlos Rodon (1-2, 3.38 ERA) in what should be a great pitching matchup. I kind of wish Tanaka was pitching against the Red Sox this week, but if he can deliver a win today, that’s all we can ask.  Tuesday’s game will feature James Paxton against Chris Sale, two pitchers with high expectations who have, so far, delivered uninspiring results. Wednesday is the battle of 8.00+ ERA pitchers with J.A. Happ going against former Yank Nathan Eovaldi. I really hope Paxton and Happ were watching Sabathia pitch yesterday. They need to follow his lead. Get on a roll and the team’s slow start will be nothing but a distant memory. A nice ten-game winning streak would help warm things up for the summer ahead.  

Stephen Tarpley was the loser of a spot on the 25-man roster when he was optioned to Triple A to make room for Sabathia. It meant that Joe Harvey’s stay in the Bronx will last awhile longer and rightfully so. He has only appeared in one game (one of the losses to the Astros last week) but he did his job when called upon (unlike Green and Holder). I’d like to see what he can do with an extended stay in the Show. Tarpley, on the other hand, is not quite ready. He’ll benefit from a little more seasoning in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

As always, Go Yankees…and, please, stay healthy!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Was There A Curse Of The Yankees Captains?

Kid Elberfeld served as the Yankees captain in 1906 and kept the title until the 1909 season was over with the Highlanders. Kid was nicknamed The Tabasco Kid because of his fiery temper and actions both verbally and physically on the field with the umpires. One time while in the minor leagues Kid threw a ball of mud into an umpires open mouth and later in the Major Leagues he assaulted an umpire physically and had to be removed by the police. This was not a stat that was kept up with back in the early 1900's but most historians say that Elberfeld was thrown out of more games than anyone else in his era. Elberfeld managed the Highlanders in 1908 and finished with the worst record in the league with a 27-71 record.




Hal Chase was considered to be the first official Yankees/Highlanders captain when he was named the captain in 1910 and kept the title until 1912. Hal was considered to be the best defensive first baseman in all of baseball and even drew rave reviews from the likes of Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson during his playing career for his glove. Hal's legacy is extremely tainted though with rumors of him betting on baseball games and suspicion in throwing baseball games and purposely losing. This kind of stuff is why we will never see guys like Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson in the MLB Hall of Fame but somehow Hal not only got away with it but is still a member of the hall.




Frank Chance was only the Yankees captain for one season, the 1913 season, and it did not exactly go as planned. The Cubs released him and negotiated to get him on the Yankees after multiple surgeries to remove blood clots in his brain that were caused by being hit in the head by pitches in the 1912 season. The Yankees signed him to a three year deal in 1913 and never played more than 12 games in a single season for the Yankees. The Yankees spent much of the 1913 season in last place but a late season push, including a win in the next to the last game, had the Yankees finish 7th in that season. Not exactly as planned for Frank and the Yankees.




Lou Gehrig was named the Yankees captain in 1935 and would remain the captain until he retired in the 1939 season due to a disease which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Lou retired at the young age of 36 so who would know how much more revered he would be had he been able to see the latter years of his 30's in baseball. The Iron Horse played in 2,130 consecutive games which was not surpassed until Cal Ripken Jr. passed it in 1995, a mere 56 years later. Gehrig finished with great stats in his career but was absolutely decimated by ALS. Lou would retire from baseball in the 1939 season at the age of 36 stating that he was "The Luckiest Man On The Face Of The Earth" and would die only two years later in 1941 at the age of 38.




Thurman Munson was named the Yankees captain in 1976 and kept the title until 1979. The Yankees would lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in 1976 but would win back to back World Series in 1977 and 1978 behind the bat of Reggie Jackson. The Yankees would not make an appearance in the 1979 World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates beating the Baltimore Orioles but what else happened in 1979 would hurt the Yankees and Munson more. Munson owned his own plane and was taking flying lessons because he got so homesick and wanted to be able to go to Cleveland to his family whenever he wanted. Thurman was practicing taking off and crashed his plane on August 2, 1979 and died.



Don Mattingly was named the Yankees captain in 1991 and would keep the title until he retired after the 1995 season. The Yankees were generally a terrible team when Don Mattingly was on the team only making the playoffs once in his tenure in 1995. A strike shortened 1994 season would have probably seen the Yankees in the playoffs as well but we will never know but the greed of the MLB Players Association is a discussion for another day. Mattingly injured his back in 1987 though and was never the same after that season and would prematurely end his career after allegedly horse playing with teammate Bob Shirley.



Derek Jeter has five World Series rings,a Rookie of the Year award, 13 All Star Game appearances, a World Series MVP award, has gotten an MVP vote in 12 seasons and finished as high as 2nd place in 2006, has five each of Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards, and would have earned $261,159,364 in his baseball career before any kind of endorsements and such by the time his current contract was up after the 2014 season. What curse? If there was one Mr. Derek Sanderson Jeter definitely broke that.

The History Of The Yankees Captains

There have been 14 players named the team captain in the Highlanders/Yankees history. Some Yankees/Highlanders players are listed as captains but the first to be officially recognized as the Yankees captain was Hal Chase in 1910. Three of the first four Yankees "captains" were not officially recognized as Yankees captains but I have included them as well with the 11 official captains in our history.

Let's take a look at the complete list now.

(P) Clark Griffith 
Spent 1891-1914 as a Yankees player
Spent 1903-1905 as a Yankees captain



(SS) Kid Elberfeld 
Spent 1898-1914 as a Yankees player
Spent 1906-1909 as a Yankees captain




(1B) Hal Chase #1
Spent 1905-1919 as a Yankees player
Spent 1910-1912 as a Yankees captain



(1B) Frank Chance 
Spent 1898-1914 as a Yankees player
Spent 1913 as a Yankees captain



(SS) Roger Peckinpaugh #2 
Spent 1910-1927 as a Yankees player
Spent 1914-1921 as a Yankees captain




(OF) Babe Ruth #3
Spent 1914-1935 as a Yankees player
Spent 1922 as a Yankees captain





(SS) Everett Scott #4
Spent 1914-1926 as a Yankees player
Spent 1922-1925 as a Yankees captain





(1B) Lou Gehrig #5
Spent 1923-1939 as a Yankees player
Spent 1935-1939 as a Yankees captain



(C) Thurman Munson #6
Spent 1969-1979 as a Yankees player
Spent 1976-1979 as a Yankees captain





(3B) Graig Nettles #7
Spent 1967-1988 as a Yankees player
Spent 1982-1984 as a Yankees captain





(2B) Willie Randolph #8
Spent 1975-1992 as a Yankees player
Spent 1986-1988 as a Yankees co-captain


(P) Ron Guidry #9
Spent 1975-1988 as a Yankees player
Spent 1986-1988 as a Yankees co-captain





(1B) Don Mattingly #10
Spent 1982-1995 as a Yankees player
Spent 1991-1995 as a Yankees captain





(SS) Derek Jeter #11
Spent 1995-2014 as a Yankees player
Spent 2003- 2014 as a Yankees captain

Four Yankees captains have been elected into the Hall of Fame, and obviously it will be five when Derek Jeter is eligible, including Clark Griffith, Frank Chance, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. It is really amazing to think that players like Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto, or Catfsh Hunter to name a few have never been named a Yankees captain. It is also interesting to point out that Babe Ruth has only been a captain for a single season in 1922. George Steinbrenner kind of watered down the whole prestige behind being the Yankees captain, in my opinion, when he handed the honor out six times in his tenure as Yankees owner but Derek Jeter did his best to make the best of the situation and bring the prestige back to the most honored spot in all of baseball, the captain of the New York Yankees.

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for April 12th, 2019


Good morning Yankees family!

On April 12, 1935, what Yankees player was named captain, making him the club's first captain since Everett Scott in 1925?

Highlight below for your answer!!



Lou Gehrig



And a special good morning to my beautiful and amazing wife, Kari. I love you so damn much. It's the weekend! Yikes!!

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/12: Pope on a Rope Soap


On this day in 2008 the Yankees Low A affiliate, the Charleston Riverdogs, commemorate the first visit of Benedict XVI to the United States with a Pope on a Rope Night promotion. The first 1,000 fans received a soap figurine which looked like the Holy Father.

Also on this day in 1953 Mickey Mantle was informed via the public address announcer that Mickey Mantle had just became a father. Mickey Mantle Jr. was the first of four sons by Mickey and Merlyn. Here is the Brooklyn Dodgers announcement at Ebbets Field: "Mickey doesn't know it yet but he has just become the father of an eight-pounds, twelve ounce baby boy."

Also on this day in 1935 the Yankees named Lou Gehrig the fifth captain in their history. The then 33 year old first baseman joined Hal Chase(1912), Roger Peckinpaugh (1914-1921), Babe Ruth( six days in 1922), and Everett Scott(1922-1925).

Finally on this day in 1931 former Chicago Cubs Joe McCarthy made his managerial debut for the New York Yankees. The future Hall of Fame manager, who has the most wins of any manager in Yankees history with 1,460, saw eight pennants and seven World Series titles during his 16 years in the Bronx.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Tough Roster Decisions Loom

I've been tweeting about the lineup once this team gets back a few hitters currently on the Injured List, and the decisions to come. It doesn't look easy.

I'll start with the fact that Giancarlo Stanton has been hitting off a tee and may very well return by the end of this month. Then there's the reports that Miguel Andujar is feeling and looking good, and could also be back by the middle to end of next month. The timetable on Aaron Hicks return isn't clear, however he's been ramping up baseball activity lately.

Assuming those three are all back by the end of May this is what the lineup could look like...

1. Aaron Hicks CF
2. Aaron Judge RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton DH
4. Gary Sanchez C
5. Miguel Andujar 3B
6. Gleyber Torres SS
7. Clint Frazier LF
8. Luke Voit 1B
9. DJ LeMahieu 2B

And remember, that doesn't include the return of Didi Gregorius by mid-season. Well, that's not the problem. Here are a list of players to fill out the batting portion of the active roster...

Brett Gardner
Greg Bird
Austin Romine
Tyler Wade
Mike Tauchman
Troy Tulowitzki

Like it or not, Brett Gardner is not going anywhere. While he's not exciting, his ability to play anywhere in the outfield (most importantly in center) makes him valuable. And he's not a zero with the bat, either.

Austin Romine will be there too, as the team needs a backup catcher.

That leaves one more spot for a batter, as I don't see the Yankees going with only 12 pitchers. Nor should they as long as they keep relying on the bullpen to give them four to five innings every other game.

Now, you can take Tulo and Tauchman out of there. Tauchman is only around for depth, and he may be gone as soon as one of Stanton or Hicks returns, anyway. And Tulowitzki is making the league minimum, making it very easy to DFA him. Plus, with guys like Tyler Wade and Gio Urshela around, his loss doesn't hurt the team's infield depth.

So it comes down to really two guys... Greg Bird or Tyler Wade.

By the way, I'm not "married" to Luke Voit, but his power upside makes me want to keep him around. Sure, Bird may be the better defender, but his bat has not come around yet (one home run on Opening Day and no doubles). I'd like to see him stay healthy and start hitting in Scranton before taking Voit out of the lineup.

Honestly, if it just came down to the better offensive weapon I'd keep Bird around, but I can't ignore the fact that we'd be going without any backup infielder. He's not exactly tearing the cover off the ball, but the Yankees would have to keep Tyler Wade on the active roster at least until Didi returns.

So here it is...

1. Aaron Hicks# CF
2. Aaron Judge RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton DH
4. Gary Sanchez C
5. Miguel Andujar 3B
6. Gleyber Torres SS
7. Luke Voit 1B
8. Clint Frazier LF
9. DJ LeMahieu 2B

Bench
Austin Romine C
Brett Gardner* LF/CF
Tyler Wade* 2B/SS

*-left-handed hitter
#-switch-hitter

Of course, this does assume that Clint Frazier continues to look impressive (besides in the field). I could see Boone giving Andujar some more rest than normal to ease him back into things, meaning we could see him not only get a full day off but DH some, too. That would help give Stanton some regular rest as well to make sure his bicep is okay. That's especially true if Boone wants another lefty bat in the lineup, meaning Wade goes to 2B and LeMahieu to 3B.

The biggest takeaway from this is that while the offense hasn't been killing it lately, when healthy they can be an absolute force.

Now if only they can get things straightened out on the run prevention side of things.

Ugh.