Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Importance of the Houston Astros Loss of Draft Picks

Imagine AJ Hinch having to make this walk...

I want to preface this post by saying, in all honesty, that no matter what the punishment was for the Houston Astros, many, including myself, were just not going to be happy. Anything short of stripping them of the 2017 World Series Championship, which is not realistic or logistically feasible, and parading all the players down the street a la Game of Thrones with Cersei’s walk of shame (Season 5, Episode 10) was simply not going to be good enough. That’s fandom in a nutshell. We’re all fanatical about our team and we are all equally as fanatical when we feel like our team got screwed over and/or cheated. Yankees fans are rightly upset about the whole situation, and the subsequent punishments set down by the league after the fact didn’t help matters much in my opinion.

Admittedly, when the announcement came down, I put out a tweet stating that I felt like the punishment was pretty light. Truth be told, I still kind of do think the punishment was a little on the lighter side, but once I saw a Tweet from my very good friend, and the co-owner and founder of the blog, Bryan Van Dusen, I started looking at things another way. Could the loss of their first and second round draft picks for the 2020 and 2021 MLB First Year Players Draft have much more of an impact on the team than I am giving the league credit for? Maybe.

Now before we deep dive into this too much I will admit that many of these first round and second round picks that I am about to talk about came early on in the draft and came as a result of the Astros tanking for many, many years. These subsequent draft picks that the Astros are about to lose will likely come towards the later half of both drafts, Houston will lose the 30th overall pick and the 62nd overall pick in 2020, but that doesn’t make them any less important.

The Astros current core and roster was built via the draft. Star players like Carlos Correa (1st overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft), Alex Bregman (2nd overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft), George Springer (11th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft), Kyle Tucker (5th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft), and Lance McCullers Jr. (41st pick overall in 2012) make up just a few pieces of the core that Houston was able to draft, develop, and bring up to the Major Leagues with varying degrees of success. It is also worth mentioning, while not part of the core and not a star player as of the time of this writing, that Blake Taylor will likely win a spot in the Astros bullpen to start the 2020 season. Taylor was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates and was acquired by the Astros from the New York Mets, along with Kenedy Corona, for outfielder Jake Marisnick this winter. Taking away even one of these guys probably changes the dynamic of the team but imagine if potentially four of them got taken away. That would just be soul crushing to the team, in my opinion, and that could very well be happening in some capacity to the future of the Houston Astros with these punishments handed down from the league yesterday.

"I take back my congratulations post, because you're just a little cheater!"

My one gripe about the punishment, and my main reason for thinking the punishment was a little light, was that the Astros were not hit whatsoever on the international market. Some of my followers on Twitter quickly rebuffed this, stating that the Astros were not major players on the IFA market, but after researching a little I have to vehemently disagree. It only takes one player signing with the Astros off the IFA market to change the minds of the many, and the simple fact that the Astros plucked All-Star and 2017 MVP* Jose Altuve out of Maracay, Venezuela as a 16-year old in 2007 could potentially change a lot of minds in the market. On top of that, albeit in smaller roles, the additions of Yuli Gurriel (defected from Cuba in 2016), Yordan Alvarez (defected from Cuba in 2016 and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers), Aledmys Diaz (defected from Cuba in 2012 and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014), Jose Urquidy who broke out during the 2019 postseason (signed out of Mazatlan, Mexico), and a pair of IFA-acquired arms in Framber Valdez and Francis Martes that may be vying for the 5th starter spot in spring training 2020, may also go a long way to putting Houston as a desirable destination for potential future international free agents. How many kids growing up in Venezuela want to be Jose Altuve right now? I bet that number is staggering, so to completely disregard the IFA market in the punishment is completely irresponsible, in my opinion.

Yes, I realize that Gurriel and Alvarez were signed outside of the International market and would not have affected their IFA spending budget, but my overall point was to show that the Astros could, and now are, more attractive than ever on the international market. Oh, and by the way if you want to continue even deeper down this rabbit hole, the Astros traded RHP Josh Fields to the Dodgers for Alvarez. Fields bounced around a few times throughout his MiLB career, but that career started after the Seattle Mariners selected him 20th overall in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft. Another first round pick that never amounted to anything at the big-league level, but ultimately shaped the way the Houston Astros are currently constructed through the Draft.

"Let's bang one out and get that dub!"

To take this whole thing one step further, you have to mention the fact that the Astros best pitcher right now is the ageless Justin Verlander. Verlander was the 2nd overall pick of the Detroit Tigers way back in the 2004 MLB Draft, and it took RHP Franklin Perez (Astros #3 prospect at the time who was acquired on the IFA market out of Valencia, Venezuela), OF Daz Cameron (Astros #9 prospect at the time who was drafted in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft), and C Jake Rogers (Astros #11 prospect at the time and former 3rd round pick from 2016) to acquire him back in 2017. So, in order for the Astros to acquire the pitcher that put them over the top during the 2017 postseason (and a former first round pick) it took them sending three of their top 11 best prospects, one of them being a former first round pick and the other being an IFA signing). You also have to remember that the Astros didn’t pay for the production that they received from Verlander; he was struggling mightily in Detroit before seemingly reinventing himself in Houston. Imagine if he had the same production in Detroit before the trade that he had while with the Astros, it may have taken three or four former first round picks to acquire him.

The Astros were not done there and were seemingly not content with their 2017 World Series Championship*. After the 2017 season the Astros acquired another former first round pick in Gerrit Cole (drafted 28th overall by the New York Yankees in 2008, and then again first overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011) from the Pittsburgh Pirates. What did it cost Houston to acquire the talented right-hander from Pittsburgh before the 2018 season? Joe Musgrove (first round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011), Michael Feliz (IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic), Colin Moran (first round pick 6th overall of the Miami Marlins in 2013), and Jason Martin (8th round pick of the Astros in 2013). To acquire yet another former first round pick, and another piece that the team thought would put them ahead of the pack in the American League, it cost the Astros two more first round picks, an IFA signing, and a “lottery ticket” in Martin.

"Bang, because Yankees fans were making fun of me!"

But the Astros were not done there either. In their never-ending effort to stay on top of the competition in the American League, Jeff Luhnow and company acquired former Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke at the trade deadline during the 2019 season. Greinke, a former first round pick (6th overall) of the Kansas City Royals in 2002, was acquired from Arizona for SP Corbin Martin (2nd round pick of the Astros in the 2017 MLB Draft), SP J.B. Bukauskas (1st round pick, 15th overall, by Houston in 2017), 1B Seth Beer (1st round pick, 28th overall, by Houston in 2018), and UTIL Josh Rojas. It is worth mentioning that while the Diamondbacks were willing to eat $24 million of the remaining dollars on Greinke’s contract, Houston is still on the hook for $53 million including his salary for the 2020 season. Did the money factor into the prospects haul for the Diamondbacks? You would have to think so, but even then, it still took two former first round picks, a second-round pick, and another lottery ticket in Rojas.

The Astros are clearly not against trading top prospects and former first and second round picks for that key piece they need at the big league level, which may mean that some of these Top 30 prospects (Fangraphs) may also be in the market for new real estate before July 31, 2020. Here is a look at the Astros Top 30 prospects and a quick look at how they got here.

      1.       Forrest Whitley – 1st round pick 17th overall 2016
2.       Jose Urquidy – IFA signing out of Mexico
3.       Abraham Toro – 5th round pick in 2016
4.       Freudis Nova – IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic
5.       Bryan Abreu – IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic
6.       Cristian Javier – IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic
7.       Brandon Bielak - 11th round pick in 2017
8.       Korey Lee – 1st round pick 32nd overall in 2019
9.       Hunter Brown – 5th round pick in 2019
10.   Jairo Solis – IFA signing out of Venezuela
11.   Jeremy Pena – 3rd round pick in 2018
12.   Jose Alberto Rivera – IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic
13.   Enoli Paredes – IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic
14.   Tyler Ivey – 3rd round pick in 2017
15.   Angel Macuare – IFA signing out of Venezuela
16.   Jordan Brewer – 3rd round pick in 2019
17.   Colin Barber – 4th round pick in 2019
18.   Grae Kessinger – 2nd round pick in 2019
19.   Luis Garcia – IFA signing out of Venezuela
20.   Luis Santana – IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic
21.   Jojanse Torres – IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic
22.   Carlos Sanabria – IFA signing out of Venezuela
23.   Cionel Perez – Defected from Cuba, signed as IFA in 2016
24.   Ronnie Dawson – 2nd round pick in 2016
25.   Dauri Lorenzo – IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic
26.   Manny Ramirez – IFA signing out of the Dominican Republic
27.   Rogelio Armenteros – Defected from Cuba, signed as IFA in 2014
28.   Nivaldo Rodriguez – IFA signing out of Venezuela
29.   Garrett Stubbs – 8th round pick in 2015
30.   Chas McCormick – 21st round pick in 2017

The present makeup and construction of the Astros were largely built through the MLB First Year Players Draft, and it looks like the future of the organization (either through the system or via trade) could be largely made up through the Draft as well.

"Got out just in time, boys!"

So, in closing, are the loss of their first and second round draft picks for the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts important? Yes, absolutely. Would it have hurt Houston even more to lose some of their IFA money and spending capabilities? Also, absolutely, but you know what hurts the most? Well, besides when the Astros miss the playoffs entirely in 2020 and have to watch the Yankees finally bring that World Championship trophy home, is that the team had to watch their manager get fired, their GM (and probably the best GM in all of baseball) get fired, AND they had to watch arguably their best pitcher head to arguably their biggest rival via free agency. Unfortunately, though, the Astros WILL keep the compensation pick that they received, 72nd overall, from the Yankees signing of Cole. How sweet would it have been if they had lost that pick too?  

Now we wait on the punishment for the Boston Red Sox, and more importantly Alex Cora. More to come…

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Yankees Settle All Arbitration-Eligible Cases...

New deals for the 9 Arb-Eligible Yankees…

ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan set the stage for the chaotic day yesterday when he tweeted: “Your Twitter feeds are going to be deluged today. Between now and this afternoon, 155 arbitration-eligible players will either agree upon salaries for the 2020 season or exchange desired salary numbers with teams. It’s always an extraordinarily hectic day for players and teams.” He was right. When the dust settled, all but 20 players had agreed to salary deals. Fortunately, none of those guys were Yankees as all nine players settled with the team. 

With visions of Yankees Team President Randy Levine spiking a figurative football a few years ago when the Yankees beat Dellin Betances in arbitration, I am glad the team avoided the ugly confrontation with their players again this year. 

For the arb-eligible Yankees, here are the results. The figures in parentheses are the projections per MLB Trade Rumors:

·      James Paxton, $12.5 million ($12.9M)
·      Aaron Judge, $8.5 million ($6.4M)
·      Gary Sanchez, $5 million ($5.6M)
·      Tommy Kahnle, $2.65 million ($3.0M)
·      Gio Urshela, $2.475 million ($2.2M)
·      Chad Green, $1.275 million ($1.4M)
·      Luis Cessa, $895,000 ($1.1M)
·      Jordan Montgomery, $805,000 ($1.2M)
·      Jonathan Holder, $750,000 ($800K)

I’d say the Yankees did a very good job bringing resolution to these cases. The only player who made significantly more than his projection was Aaron Judge and there’s no doubt he is worth the money, if not more. No doubt he would have made much more on the agreement if he had not missed so much time last year. Not sure he would have matched Cody Bellinger’s record first-year arbitration salary of $11.5 million considering Cody’s MVP year, but he would have been close as arguably the Yankees’ best position player. 

Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

Jeff Passan also reported the following players did not settle and, barring agreements between now and then, are expected to go to arbitration hearings:

·      Jesus Aguilar
·      Nick Ahmed
·      Pedro Baez
·      Andrew Benintendi
·      Jose Berrios
·      Archie Bradley
·      Aledmys Diaz
·      Brian Goodwin
·      Shane Greene
·      Josh Hader
·      Max Muncy
·      Hector Neris
·      Joc Pederson
·      J.T. Realmuto
·      Eduardo Rodriguez
·      George Springer
·      Trevor Story
·      Brent Suter
·      Chris Taylor
·      Tony Wolters

The Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that historically settles with their arb-eligible players, really stick out on this list. So do the Boston Red Sox who did settle with much rumored trade candidate Mookie Betts for $27 million. It really makes me appreciate the Yankees for ensuring agreements with all of their players. Happy Yankees make for happy Yankee fans.  

No big news for the Yankees so far in the new year, player-wise anyway. They did sign former Colorado Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta this week to a minor league deal with the presumed Spring Training invitation. Iannetta was released by the Rockies last August. He’s clearly a depth signing as I hold no expectation he’ll beat out Kyle Higashioka for backup catching duties but he does help to provide support if either Gary Sanchez or Higgy go down with injuries. I like the thought of Iannetta better than the recently re-signed Erik Kratz. 

Iannetta, who will be 37 shortly after the start of the season, has clearly seen his better days. Steamer projects him to play 60 games with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs, batting .218/.314/.402, .304 wOBA and 88 wRC+. In other words, pray for good health behind the plate.

There was a part of me hoping for a reunion with catcher John Ryan Murphy despite his underwhelming performance with the bat since he left the Yankees. He is no longer an option after signing a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday. Hard to believe that Murphy is still only 28. Pittsburgh is probably a good place for him to land since the Pirates seem to have a way of resurrecting former Yankee backup catchers. 

The Yankees also signed former Los Angeles Angels starter Nick Tropeano, a Long Island native, to a minor league deal. Tropeano, 29, a righty, is presumably depth for Triple A. While he showed promise for the Angels a few years ago, he’s never been the same since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2016. Last year, he gave up 15 runs in 13 2/3 innings at the Major League level for the Halos. He took his only loss last July in a dreadful start against the Baltimore Orioles when he was hammered for 7 runs in five innings. Here’s hoping for greater success with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He does carry an infamous stat. He’s the only pitcher to record a one-pitch strikeout.  He was pitching in Double A for the Houston Astros affiliate in August 2013. In the sixth inning of a game against the A’s affiliate, the batter, Vinnie Catricala, took a pitch he thought was outside. When the ump called strike, Catricala stepped out of the batter’s box to protest the call. The umpire, Ron Teague, invoking a little known rule, called an automatic strike. When Catricala didn’t step back into the box as instructed by Teague, the ump called him out by strikeout. Tropeano, with one pitch, observed the strikeout while standing on the pitching mound.  It’s something the game may never see again. For Catricala, the total of 9.4 seconds out of the batter’s box combined with his arguing, earned him an ejection from the game.    

While I still expect the Yankees to trade RHP J.A. Happ and most, if not all, of his contract, Happ who wore #33 in Toronto with the Blue Jays, dropped #34 this week to take Greg Bird’s vacated number. The Yankees still need to clear room on the 40-man roster once the Brett Gardner deal becomes official. Not sure what is taking so long. At first, I thought the holidays were the obstacle but at this point, it must be about clearing space on the roster. Who knows. I am sure it will be official before Gardy has to report to Tampa next month. If the Yankees had to drop someone right now, my vote would be for Stephen Tarpley. But for luxury tax purposes, the best case scenario is to move Happ’s money to open a spot for Gardy. I have full confidence in Jordan Montgomery as the team’s fifth starter.

I think the Yankees will continue to look for clever minor league signings (the low cost/high reward variety). Although they’ve been heavily criticized this off-season for their inactivity, I liked the Los Angeles Dodgers signing of former Milwaukee Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson. Granted, Nelson may never be the pitcher he once was, but I thought it was a good risk to take. There was a time that Nelson represented the hope of the Brewers starting rotation until he was derailed by injuries. Nelson is only 30 and he’s someone that I’d take a chance on. I’d like to see the Yankees find that type of deal with a pitcher who could presumably offer more than say a guy like Tropeano. As for Nelson, he is probably better suited for the bullpen at this point of his career, but he always made me think of CC Sabathia for no other reason than he wore the same number with the Brewers as CC did (#52) and is the same heighth (6’6”). For the Sabathia Stans, I am not comparing their stats or implying any close relationship. 

I fully expect to hear reports of Yankees GM Brian Cashman rummaging through dumpsters between now and February 12th. There will be no Josh Hader or Nolan Arenado sightings in Tampa next month but there could be a few recognizable names ready to compete for roles with the team. 

For those of you arguing between Miguel Andujar and Gio Urshela, both players can co-exist on the Yankees roster. I am glad to have both and looking forward to their respective contributions. I have no desire to pick one over the other. Ultimately, Aaron Boone and his staff will make the right choices about who to play and where. I can easily see scenarios with both players in the lineup, producing and helping the Yankees in their drive to dominate the American League.

As always, Go Yankees!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

2020 Yankees New Year's Resolution: Good Health for ALL...

Yankees Overhaul Training/Strength-and-Conditioning Team…

The Yankees have made their first significant acquisition of 2020. No, they have not landed Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians or Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers. In a story broken on Friday night by Lindsey Adler of The Athletic, the Yankees have hired Eric Cressey of Cressey Sports Performance to oversee their training and strength-and-conditioning departments. 

Admittedly, I was probably most familiar with Cressey as a former employer of Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake, who served time as a pitching coordinator for the company. However, Cressey is nationally recognized for his work in kinesiology and biomechanics, and has worked with baseball stars such as Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer. 

Per Corey Kluber’s quote on Cressey’s website, “CSP has been a crucial part of the success I have had in my career to this point. The programs have helped me gain velocity as well as put my body in position to remain healthy throughout a long season.”

For a team that set a MLB record last season for most players (thirty) on the Injured List in a single season, Cressey represents a major leap forward for the organization. We knew change was coming when word spread a few weeks ago that former strength-and-conditioning coach Matt Krause had been relieved of his duties with the Yankees. I expected an upgrade in the department but certainly not someone of Cressey’s caliber. 

As part of the deal, Cressey will be allowed to continue to operate Cressey Sports Performance which has locations in Hudson, MA and Palm Beach Gardens, FL. 

I am excited about Cressey’s hire and feel it is as critical to the training and strength-and-conditioning areas as last year’s addition of Driveline’s Sam Briend as the organization’s director of pitching and the offseason hire of Blake as the new Major League pitching coach, replacing Larry Rothschild. The hitting instruction group has also received major upgrades within the past year with the hiring of Dillon Lawson as hitting coordinator and Rachel Balkovec as a minor league hitting coach, among various other additions. 

According to Lindsey Adler, longtime trainer Steve Donahue, who has been in the organization since 1979, will transition to a role she says is “akin to trainer emeritus” and he is expected to maintain an active role in the organization. 

To replace Donahue as head trainer, the Yankees will promote assistant athletic trainer/physical therapist Michael Schuk, 37, who is entering his seventh season with the Yankees. His bio on the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society website indicates he holds a bachelor’s degree in Health Science-Athletic Training from the University of Central Florida and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Nova Southeastern University. Prior to joining the Yankees, Schuk worked as an intern for the Cleveland Indians and the NFL’s Washington Redskins. 

For those of you who continue to feel that Hal Steinbrenner is “cheap”, you may want to rethink your narrative.  We know the Yankees spent $324 million to bring one of the best starting pitchers in Baseball to the Bronx, but these organizational hires like Cressey most certainly come at very high costs. Outside of the Cincinnati Reds, who hired Driveline founder Kyle Boddy as director of pitching initiatives/pitching coordinator last October, no team has been as aggressive as the Yankees in rebuilding their organizational infrastructure with premium talent in nearly every area of instruction and conditioning. None of this happens without Hal Steinbrenner’s authorization (and his money, of course). 

As for the team on the playing field, the Yankees have been quiet since the highly successful press conference last month to introduce Gerrit Cole. The re-signing of Brett Gardner has yet to be officially announced but that seems to be a product of the holidays and the formal announcement could be coming any day now, along with the corresponding roster move to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Barring a trade of J.A. Happ, the most significant moves before pitchers and catchers report next month will probably be players coming in on minor league deals with MLB camp invites. 

Some Yankee fans wanted a reunion with former Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro, however, All-Starlin signed a two-year deal with the World Champion Washington Nationals to be their second baseman next season, replacing Brian Dozier and Asdrubal Cabrera. After a few years living in obscurity in Miami, I am glad to see Castro get another chance with a contender. Credit to Starlin who could have been a malcontent with losing under the Marlins, he was nothing but a positive, inspirational force on Don Mattingly’s team and I am happy to see him land with a good club.

Probably a couple of the remaining free agent names I am watching with interest are second baseman Scooter Gennett and first baseman Eric Thames. Not that I feel it is absolutely critical the Yankees bring in another left-handed hitter, but it would be nice.

Fangraphs, via Steamer, projects Gennett to hit .261/.311/.421 with .310 wOBA and 90 wRC+ this coming season with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs (0.6 fWAR) in 112 games. 2019 was a lost season due to injuries. He missed three months of the season after severely straining his groin in March. When he came back he only hit .217 in 22 games and was traded at the July deadline to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants, who had cut former second baseman Joe Panik, another name recently linked to the Yankees, to make room for Gennett, released Scooter on August 27th.  Gennett is infamous for the four home run game in 2017, but I think there’s potential for a rebound in a part-time role. Whether the Yankees bring in Gennett or Panik on a minor league deal, I’ll use the words of The Greedy Pinstripes’ Daniel Burch, “No such thing as a bad minor league deal.” I agree. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If it doesn’t work, you sever ties and move on. I like to  bring in as much competition at certain spots as possible and let the cream rise to the top. It’s not that I have anything against Tyler Wade or Thairo Estrada. I think one of them will serve a very valuable role as backup at shortstop for Gleyber Torres and there’s no question I love Wade’s speed. But there is room for a guy like Gennett who could provide some flexibility to use D.J. LeMahieu around the diamond like last year.   

Credit: USATSI

As for Thames, he may not hit for average but when he gets a hold of a mistake pitch, the balls go a very long way. That plays nicely with the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium. I am comfortable with Luke Voit and Mike Ford at first base, but would certainly not be opposed to bringing in Thames on a minors deal. 

It was a little tough watching Dellin Betances wearing Mets gear at his press conference this week. Last off-season, I wanted the Yankees to re-sign David Robertson, perhaps over then free-agent Adam Ottavino. D-Rob signed with the Phillies and only pitched in seven games before missing the remainder of the season due to injury. He subsequently had Tommy John surgery and is not expected back anytime soon. Meanwhile, Ottavino was signed and became a very valuable part of the Yankees bullpen despite the late season slide. The Yankees called that one right and perhaps they’ve made the right call about Betances. I’ll miss Dellin and I hope the achilles injury does not resurface for him. We know how critical your legs are for power as a pitcher so if anything’s off, it could be very problematic for a pitcher who occasionally struggles with command. I’d love to see Dellin return to form in 2020 and then opt out after the season to re-sign with the Yankees. In my dreams, I know, but Dellin will remain a favorite for his time in the Bronx.

For those of you who may have forgotten, potential fifth starter Jordan Montgomery was 9-7 in 2017 with 3.88 ERA. His K/9 rate was 8.34 and he started 29 games. His fWAR was 2.6.  I’d gladly take that production in the fifth spot again. I still expect the Yankees to trade J.A. Happ and his contract to lessen the team’s payroll for luxury tax purposes, but I think Montgomery represents a great replacement for Happ. Montgomery is a better starter, in my opinion, than 18-game winner Domingo German, who will miss the season’s first 63 games after his suspension for domestic violence was handed down this week by MLB. 

Speaking of German, I’ve seen many Yankee fans call for his release. While I in no way, shape or form, condone German’s actions, I do feel that he deserves the opportunity to serve his sentence and get the help he needs to be a better man. It would be wrong to cut him for no return. As a player he has value, and I’d hate to see him land in Boston to help the Red Sox who seem to be crumbling at the moment. If the Yankees opt to trade him and control where he goes, I would not be opposed. I feel the Yankees owe German nothing, but for letting his teammates down, he owes the team everything (same with his family, actually more so, who suffered the domestic violence). I am willing to forgive although I doubt I’ll ever forget his actions which form my impressions of his character, but let’s give him a second chance to prove he is better than this.

This time next month we’ll be anxiously awaiting the start of Spring Training (as if we aren’t already). February 12th is not that far away and we’ll soon see Gerritt Cole walking up to Steinbrenner Field as a member of everybody’s favorite team.  Good times.

As always, Go Yankees!