Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Turkey Day, Yankee Fans...


Happy Thanksgiving to the Yankees and their fans everywhere…

Wishing you and your families a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday weekend!

Another quiet week in the Yankees Universe aside from the trade of speedy Tyler Wade to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the releases of Clint Frazier and Rougned Odor. One week to a potential lockout in MLB baseball, and all’s quiet…too quiet…on the Bronx front.

It is kind of funny that there are no true shortstops on the Yankees roster with Major League experience (sorry Gio, you are a third baseman). Everybody expects the Yankees to solve the shortstop vacancy one way or another (of course), but for now, it is a need. The Angels, meanwhile, have collected both Wade and Andrew Velazquez. For Wade, it is a homecoming for the Southern California native who grew up in Murrieta, California, which is close to Orange County. Murrieta is next to Temecula, which has some great wineries. No more cross-country commutes for Wade to attend Spring Training.

Photo Credit: Rob Carr, Getty Images

The loss of Wade was the direct cost for signing lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez so quickly after he was released earlier in the month. I think the Yankees should have either waited to sign Rodriguez or simply went after someone else with comparable skills after the deadline to set the 40-man rosters to keep an open spot for Wade. I get Wade was out of options and as the last man on the bench, the Yankees like the flexibility of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Shuttle. Oh well, I wish him the best in Anaheim. I am sure it is exciting for him to play in front of family and friends, and have Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon and Noah Syndergaard as his teammates. I hear his manager, Joe Maddon, likes versatile players. I am hopeful and optimistic that Oswaldo Cabrera is ready to become the next Tyler Wade on the Yankees roster.

For Clint Frazier, I wish him a full return to good health and the ability to resume his Major League career. It did not work out in New York, but he has the power to rewrite the story elsewhere. This time last year I had genuinely thought Frazier’s time in the Bronx had finally arrived. It turned out to be the road to the end. It will always be disappointing that he was unable to fulfill his early promise in Yankee pinstripes. Even though I am hopeful he can achieve his MLB dreams, it was clear a change of scenery is needed.

As for Rougie, this makes it twice that Joey Gallo has lost his friend as a teammate through release. First, when the Texas Rangers cut Odor and now. I enjoyed Odor’s home runs and the energy he brought to the team but overall, he is just not a good player. But you must believe someone will take a shot on him since the Texas Rangers are paying the majority of his 2022 salary. I would drop to see Rougie drop the need for power and focus on the finer art of hitting.

With teams continuing to appoint new coaches, I wonder when the Yankees will announce the additions to Aaron Boone’s coaching staff. I keep seeing other teams name new hitting coaches, yet it is still a vacancy for us. If the Yankees have offers out, what is taking so long? I know the unsettled managerial vacancy in Queens might be part of the delay as potential candidates (like Eric Chavez) may be under consideration. So much to do, yet so little time with the looming lockout.

Speaking of the Mets, Steve Cohen’s overreaction to the last-minute overnight decision of former Mets starter Steven Matz to sign with the St Louis Cardinals was priceless. Is this what it was like for Mets fans to watch the irrational antics of late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner? Matz owed the Mets nothing, and as a free agent, Matz had to make the decision he felt with in his best interests. Handshake agreements mean nothing. David Wells can attest to that. Nothing is official until the ink has dried on the contract. I have no issue with Matz deciding not to give his former club a chance to match the offer. I will not miss Matz in Toronto and I am glad he is back in the National League. The Yankees could further weaken Toronto’s starting rotation by signing Robbie Ray. Just sayin’…

Marcus Stroman seems like the perfect anti-hero to end up in Boston. I do not dispute his talent, but I have lost respect for the man personally. I would welcome his return to the AL East as a Yankees adversary. To be the best, you must beat the best, so Stroman does not scare me. Maybe the Angels will sign Stroman. They seem to be using the Mets pipeline to rebuild their pitching staff with the additions of Thor and reliver Aaron Loup.

Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes had this post yesterday about free agent starter Jon Gray. I have long admired Gray and I would like to see Matt Blake and the Yankees pitching instructors work with Gray at sea level. The 30-year-old Oklahoman was a Yankees draft pick in 2011 (10th round) but he did not sign, opting to attend the University of Oklahoma. Daniel is right, if the Yankees could get Gray on a four-year deal with the $11 million average annual value, they should do it.

Tuesday, November 30th, looms as a big day for MLB. The non-tender deadline was moved from December 2nd due to the impending lockout. I fully expect the Yankees to tender a new contract to Gary Sanchez regardless of how many fans are finished with him. There are no great catching options available, and Kyle Higashioka is a backup at best. Even if the Yankees have identified a strong potential alternative, Gary has trade value, which is greatly enhanced if the National League, as expected, adopts the designated hitter rule. I would be incredibly surprised if the Yankees non-tendered him, making him a free agent. It would simply be a bad business decision.

There could be a flurry of activity next week…then silence if a lockout happens. I am hopeful the Yankees can fill at least a need or two before any potential shutdown. Who knows how long a lockout may last? For as exciting as it was to see fans return to baseball stadiums this year, the labor dispute is such a downer for the sport. I wish the two sides were more proactive in settling their differences rather than forcing a lockout to provide the necessary pressure. Greed reigns supreme for all concerned.

As always, Go Yankees!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Frazier, Odor, and Wade, You're Fired! ...


Trio designated for assignment, while Nelson and Sands head to Philly…

With so much buildup and anticipation among the Yankees Fan Base, yesterday’s Rule 5 40-man roster deadline was a bit underwhelming.

I think while many of us expected potentially huge deals to clear roster space, none came to fruition for the Yankees or anybody else. Trades can still happen, but the upcoming week (Thanksgiving) tends to be fairly quiet due to the holiday. The following week brings the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement and, as most experts predict, a lockout by the MLB owners. So, potentially, there may not be any major trades for the Yankees until a new CBA is in place. If the two sides cannot come to agreement until next Spring, it makes you wonder how much time the Yankees will have for roster construction.

For me, I would like to see resolution of the shortstop vacancy prior to any lockout. There is so much to do, yet so little time. I guess we will have to be patient and wait to see how GM Brian Cashman can bring more athleticism and diversity to the team despite the upcoming challenges and roadblocks.

The players cut were Clint Frazier, Rougned Odor and Tyler Wade. Wade probably surprised me the most. As one of the few shortstops on the roster, it seemed he was safe. Speed and diversity are generally strong traits for roster protection. As we have learned with Cashman over the years, no move is made without an eye toward another deal, so he most likely made the decision to part with Wade with a future deal or two in mind.

I wanted Clint Frazier to succeed in New York. When he was announced as the starting left fielder last season, it felt like he had finally arrived. Unfortunately, it turned out to be another lost year, and the concussion issues continued to play a huge part in his inability to get back on the field. A polarizing player, I now feel he will benefit playing in a lesser pressurized environment if he is able to overcome his health challenges. It is tough to see what his future holds. He could become a consistent MLB player, or he may be facing the end of the road. With such extremes, there was no point in saving a 40-man roster space for him. It is clear his time as a Yankee had ended. I am hopeful the Yankees can get something, anything…like a low-level minor-league prospect…for Frazier rather than an outright release. Same with Wade.

While designating Odor for assignment makes all the sense in the world, I will miss the energy he brought to the team. It is always nice to have that ‘Nick Swisher’ type of guy on the team, in terms of outgoing personalities. Considering the Texas Rangers will continue to pay Odor’s large salary in 2022 except for MLB’s minimum salary, you would have thought Hal Steinbrenner would have been a huge proponent to keep the Odor in the Yankees Clubhouse.

I half expected the Yankees to cut LHP Zack Britton since 2022 will be a lost year due to Tommy John surgery, much like the way the Yankees parted ways with Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda. There is some belief that Britton could be back by the end of the year. Not sure if that saved him or the impending free agency of Aroldis Chapman next off-season. If I had to guess 2022 will be Chapman’s final year with the Yankees.

To clear space, the Yankees also traded RHP Nick Nelson and C Donny Sands to Club Joe Girardi for a couple of not-highly-regarded, low level prospects (3B T.J. Rumfield and LHP Joel Valdez). Losing Nelson did not surprise me, but Sands did. As a recent addition to the 40-man roster, he seemed primed to fill the Triple A shuttle depth behind Yankees backup catcher Kyle Higashioka after a breakout season. Now, he gets a chance to fill a Major League role behind Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Many fans were surprised the Yankees protected Miguel Andujar, but his trade value may benefit if the NL adopts the designated hitter rule. While he certainly would not be a centerpiece, first baseman Chris Gittens could be a player in a potential trade to Oakland for first baseman Matt Olson. Or if Luke Voit is traded, he would become the backup depending on how the off-season plays out.

The Rule 5 eligible prospects added to the 40-man roster were SS Oswaldo Cabrera (who potentially becomes the new Tyler Wade); OF Everson Pereira (who almost went to Texas in the Joey Gallo trade); RHP Stephen Ridings; RHP Ron Marinaccio; and LHP JP Sears. Of the players, only Cabrera (eighth) ranks among the Yankees’ top ten prospects according to Baseball America. Cabrera only ranks 16th on the Yankees’ Top 30 list of prospects, according to Pereira is 13th on the list.

The biggest surprises of players not protected were C Josh Breaux (18th best prospect, according to and OF Brandon Lockridge (19th). You can probably add RHP Matt Sauer (27th) to this list.

Yankee prospects are chosen in the Rule 5 Draft every year and this year, if there is Rule 5 draft, should prove to be no different. The odds of sticking with another MLB club are low. The Garrett Whitlock success stories are exceedingly rare, but I always fear the teams that decide to tank and have open roster spots to fill. If MLB passes a minimum salary floor to protect against tanking, maybe it will help. I would hate to lose Breaux. I know he has not performed as expected and remains a project at age 24, but catching depth is important. At this point, 20-year-old Antonio Gomez is probably more important than Breaux, but he has not played above A ball. Anthony Siegler, drafted ahead of Breaux, has really fallen off the map. Maybe 2022 is the year the 22-year-old can re-establish some prominence in the Yankees’ farm system. I guess like pitching, you can never have too much catching, especially when the big-league starter is a disappointment.

It has been reported that the Yankees offered RHP Justin Verlander a one-year, $25 million deal (according to Jon Heyman of Verlander subsequently got the second year from the Astros which lead to his return to Houston. I am glad he did not take Hal’s money. I am sure that Verlander will make a successful return from Tommy John surgery despite his age, but c’mon, there are simply some players who should never wear the famed Pinstripes. If Verlander is not at the top of the list of guys who should not pull-on MLB’s greatest jersey, he is near the top. The Yankees need another strong starting pitcher, but there are other, better options.

Despite all Yankee fans love of Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo, this will probably be another one of those years where GM Brian Cashman goes with an under-the-radar trade to bring in young, talented starter on the verge of blossoming.

I wish former Angels GM and Yankees Assistant GM Billy Eppler all the best in his new role as general manager for the New York Mets. For as many people who passed on the job, the Mets did surprisingly good with hiring Eppler. I always liked Eppler and before he left the Yankees, I had really wanted the team to promote Brian Cashman to President of Baseball Operations and make Eppler the GM. Kind of makes me wonder if that is how it plays out in Flushing Meadow after Cashman’s contact expires after the 2022 season. I fully expect Hal Steinbrenner to bring Cashman back, but if the 2022 season does not meet minimum expectations, you never know what might happen.

As always, Go Yankees! 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Correa, Seager or Bust...


Yankees Fans impatiently wait…

Contrary to the title of this post, there is a very real possibility the Yankees get neither Carlos Correa nor Corey Seager. So, whether you feel the Yankees sign Correa, despite his history with trash cans, or Seager, despite his lesser defensive skills (than Correa) and the need for a position switch to third within the next couple of years, it is not our God-given right that we are going to get either one.

I could see a scenario where Correa goes to Detroit to be united with his former manager, A.J. Hinch, and Seager signs with the Texas Rangers, who are this year’s team with “stupid money” to spend. While it seems obvious the Houston Astros will not be players for Correa (based on their low-ball offer), you can never count the Los Angeles Dodgers out for Seager. He is a popular player with the Dodgers fan base, and a talented player on the field. The current third baseman, Justin Turner, will be 37 years old in ten days. Turner played 151 games last season, only the second time he has reached that number in his career, and the likelihood is that his numbers will start to trend downward. Turner will make $20 million in 2022 (counts $17 million toward the luxury tax threshold). His option for $16 million in 2023 can be bought out for $2 million. I can easily see the Dodgers deciding to move on from Turner if he shows signs of slippage in 2022. It makes sense to retain Seager to replace Turner and begin the transition next season, particularly if the universal DH is adopted in the National League. Trea Turner becomes the shortstop and insert Gavin Lux at second base. The Dodgers have the cash to make this work.

I am not trying to be a downer, but we need to set realistic expectations. If the Yankees sign Correa or Seager, I will be ecstatic. I am willing to forgive Correa if he joins the Yankees, and I think Aaron Judge would accept him, as one of the game’s best shortstops, in the Yankees clubhouse. While we will never forgive the sins of the Houston Astros as an organization, the players can seek redemption. I will never like Alex Bregman or Jose Altuve, as I viewed them as leaders in the scandal, but the other players were, to a small degree, victims of circumstances. They were part of a team and while we can say they should have blown the whistle; it is simply not as easy as that. How do you rat out your teammates? Or if you do, what kind of man are you? Some would say a great man, but others would say he is untrustworthy and unsupportive of his teammates. The latter tag would be exceedingly difficult to shake in clubhouses. It took an ex-Astro to step forward. I am not trying to defend Correa, but I do view it as a complicated situation for him. If the Yankees have the chance to sign a 27-year-old all-around great shortstop, they should.

While I keep going back and forth, there is no doubt I would love to have Corey Seager wear pinstripes. I am on board with a plan to eventually move Seager to third base to open shortstop for Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe when they are ready. It is likely if the Yankees are successful in trading for Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson, one of the young shortstops (probably Peraza) could be lost in the trade, but Volpe shows signs of being something special regardless of the talk he may need to be moved to second. In that scenario, sign a fill-in shortstop when the time comes to move Seager, and wait for a young stud like Trey Sweeney. The Yankees have options to keep Seager’s powerful bat in the lineup regardless of the position he plays.

But, if the Yankees are unsuccessful in their runs for either Correa or Seager, it is not the end of the world. I have long respected Trevor Story. I get the fears of Mile-High induced stats, but if you have seen the guy play, you know he is among the better players in the game. Like his former teammate, DJ LeMahieu, succeeded in New York, Story can do the same. Toronto’s Marcus Semien has the knack for coming up big in the brightest moments. He may be older, but he buys time for Peraza and Volpe. I know I would be disappointed if the Yankees do not get at least Story, but I would feel good with Semien playing shortstop in the Bronx next season.

Photo Credit: Michael Reaves, Getty Images

If the off-season shortstop acquisition is Andrelton Simmons, then we will know all plans went to hell.

It is sad that minor league free agent Kyle Holder’s offensive game could never match his sterling glove. If he could have hit, his timing for Major League readiness would have been now.

As other teams quickly move to make coaching staff changes, I wonder when the Yankees will announce Aaron Boone’s 2022 coaching staff. Based on GM Brian Cashman’s recent words, it sounded as though candidates were being vetted so it seems some announcements could be made soon. I saw the Minnesota Twins hired former Padres manager Jayce Tingler as their bench coach. Tingler may not have been a great manager for the loaded but uninspired Padres, but he is the type of hire I would like to see for Yankees bench coach. Not him specifically, but someone with his type of resume. Former Yankee coach Trey Hillman, most recently on Donnie Baseball’s staff in Miami, seems like a logical choice. He is valued by the front office and obviously knows the organization. I would move current bench coach Carlos Mendoza to first base. For third, former Mets manager Luis Rojas has been mentioned. Like Tingler, he did not prove to be a great manager, but I would have no trouble sliding him into the third base box as Phil Nevin’s replacement. It would be a good mutual fit for Rojas as it could position him for his next managerial job which could prove more successful for him.

I was surprised the Yankees re-signed LHP Joely Rodriguez so quickly. Granted, I thought he did an excellent job after his acquisition from Texas last July at the trading deadline, but realistically, he is easily replaceable. Why waste a valuable 40-man roster spot with him? I know the Yankees saved money. By declining the team option for $3 million, the Texas Rangers were on the hook for the $500,000 buyout. Putting Rodriguez’s John Hancock on a piece of paper three days later for $2 million technically saved the Yankees $1 million. I think I would have waited, even if it had meant losing Rodriguez, to keep the roster spot open. As it stands, the Yankees need to clear roster space (currently full) between now and next weekend to make room for valuable Rule 5 eligible prospects. I would hate to see another Garrett Whitlock situation where a talented prospect is grabbed by a rival and flourishes at the Major League level. The deadline to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 Draft is Friday, November 19th, so it is a given there will be activity on the Yankees’ transaction wire this week. A wonderful time to send multiple players to Oakland for Matt Olson.

Speaking of Olson, it is tough. I really enjoyed Anthony Rizzo as a Yankee. I truly feel that if he had not contracted COVID-19, his time in Pinstripes could have embodied the brilliance of his first several weeks before becoming ill. I know he is an older player, and Olson is so much younger and better, but I would hate to lose Rizzo while chasing a potentially unsuccessful run for Olson. If the Yankees do grab Olson, I will not give it a second thought and will be incredibly happy for the team’s latest first baseman. I am hopeful if the Yankees cannot pry Olson from the A’s, they can quickly pivot back to Rizzo.

The Yankees should sign Aaron Judge to an extension.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The next critical date for the Yankees is December 1st for the non-tender deadline. This is the date we will know the fates of guys like Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier. A few years ago, it would have seemed so improbable they would be non-tendered, but here we are. It seems a given that Frazier is gone. Not sure how much value Andujar has right now, but it still seems a trade for a low-level lottery ticket would make more sense. I do not see the Yankees letting Sanchez go but I also recognize his time as a starting catcher for the Yankees may be over. There is a part of me that still holds out hope Sanchez can be the player we once thought he was going to be. If not, I would rather see him traded so the Yankees can control his destination rather than simply allow him to hit the open market and land with a rival, only to find success with his new team. I am glad that Brian Cashman, and not me, must make these decisions.

December 1st also represents the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement so the next day could bring a lockout. There is growing pessimism that a new deal can be struck before the CBA expires, yet it seems so foolish for both sides to allow a stoppage that could disrupt, at a minimum, the off-season. All parties stand to make incredible sums of money in 2022 if they can collaborate and compromise. A lockout, in my opinion, would do more harm than good for the game.

As always, Go Yankees!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Time for Off-Season Improvements...


Photo Credit: Allen Beatty

Cashman’s Goal: Build a better, more-diverse team for 2022…

The end of the World Series is always nice since it signals the end of the present baseball season, and the start of the always enjoyable Hot Stove League.

Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves for their surprising…but well-earned…World Series championship. They lost their best player, Ronald Acuna, Jr, during the season, yet overcame the odds to capture victory with some of the most improbable names. 

Photo Credit: Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports

No sadness in watching the Houston Astros suffer humiliating defeat on their home turf, where the trash cans could only stand by quietly and watch. As much as I wanted the Astros, like the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, to LOSE (friggin’ Losers), I think I had reconciled myself to the fact if they won the series based on their talent, I would accept the win. Fortunately, it did not come to that, but I do recognize there are talented Astros despite their prior misdeeds. They did not reach the World Series by luck.

So, you can place me among the Yankee fans who would accept Carlos Correa as a Yankee if he were to sign with our favorite team. Realistically, I do not think it will ever happen. But how could you say no to one of the best (all-around) …and still quite young…shortstops in the game? His best years are ahead of him. Whichever team signs him, whether it is Houston, Detroit, the Los Angeles team also known as Anaheim, or some other team, will be better in 2022 with Correa on their roster.

All tea leaves indicate the Yankees will sign Corey Seager despite not as defensively gifted as Correa and clearly on a fast track for a position move to third base. There is a part of me that hates to see Seager leave Los Angeles, but they are in good hands (and bat) with Trea Turner. Turner’s move to short would allow the Dodgers to plug the talented Gavin Lux in at second base (the natural positions for both Turner and Lux).

Photo Credit: Luis Sinco, Los Angeles Times

Many fans seem to be down on him, but I would be happy with Trevor Story. I get the concerns about his Mile-High inflated stats, but Story can play. His skills are transferable to sea level. Any of these three (Correa, Seager, or Story) would help improve the Yankees. There are more moves to be made, but this would be a tremendous start to a successful off-season. If we hear news the Yankees have signed Andrelton Simmons as their choice for shortstop, it will be hard to get excited about next season regardless of any other moves they may make.

I am concerned about a potential lockout when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at midnight on December 1st. It makes you wonder if we will see more activity in November…or less if the owners decide to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. I am trying to stay optimistic and hope the owners and players can work to find common ground before any potential lockout or work stoppage. The last thing the game needs right now is disruption.

The fans in the Yankees Universe seem to salivate, excessively, over A’s first baseman Matt Olson as it appears there may be a fire sale in Oakland. I get it. I would love to have Olson on the roster in addition to one of the top three free agent shortstops. However, like Correa, I do not think it will happen. I would love to be surprised on this one. If the Yankees can get Anthony Rizzo, at the very least, I will feel much better about first base heading into next season. So, Rizzo to Olson, or somewhere in between, will be fine. Ready to move on from Luke Voit and I continue to believe it is a waste of DJ LeMahieu’s talents to put him at first.

As fun as it would be for the Yankees to sign free agent starter Robbie Ray to slot in behind Gerrit Cole, the Yankees, or rather owner Hal Steinbrenner, is not going to abandon his financial constraint as a professionally trained bean counter. If a huge contract is handed out, it will be isolated to the new shortstop. Jon Gray seems to be an interesting pitching option to me. He was once a Yankees draft pick (unsigned), and I would like to see what Gray can be away from Coors Field. He is a talented pitcher, and I would certainly take the risk with him. I know, we did not have much luck with the last Gray to wear pinstripes, but, honestly, I feel the results would be better this time around. The right-handed Gray is only 30 (his birthday was yesterday), so he has good years ahead of him. Let us see Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake work his magic with Gray to pull out his full potential. I would love to see it.

Photo Credit: Rob Tringali, Getty Images

The Yankees waive four players, and three are claimed by other teams. The Philadelphia Phillies waived six players, and all, including former Yank Ronald Torreyes, go unclaimed. It is a testament to the talent on the Yankees roster. I do not think it was a surprise to see the Yankees remove Bronx native Andrew Velazquez, Tim Locastro, Greg Allen, or Rob Brantly from the 40-man roster (to clear room for the Injured List returnees before the opening of free agency on Monday). The toughest part is Locastro being claimed by the Red Sox. I really hate to see Yankees lost to the Red Sox for nothing, particularly when they perform as well as former Yank Garrett Whitlock did last season. Locastro is not suddenly going to become the next Mookie Betts, and there is no guarantee he will survive the Red Sox roster through the off-season, yet I simply dislike the Sox grabbing any Yankee players. As for Velazquez, he was a fun story and I appreciated his contributions last season, but there is no way the Yankees would sacrifice a roster spot for the journeyman infielder. I wish him the best in Anaheim. Allen takes his speed to Pittsburgh. Fine, give Estevan Florial a chance. Brantly went unclaimed and was outrighted to Triple A, but he can refuse the assignment to become a free agent. All four of those players are replaceable.

Earlier in the week, Brett Gardner became a free agent when he declined his player option. While there was no way the Yankees were going to exercise the team option ($7.18 million), I did think Gardy would pick up his option. But in retrospect, you know Gardner will be back in Pinstripes next season if he wants to. By declining the player option, he picks up $1.5 million from the Yankees for the buyout and can still sign a new contract for as low as the player option amount of $2.3 million to increase his overall compensation. Every year I say it, I am ready to move on from Gardy, but it seems inevitable he will be back until he is not. At some point, Florial must learn and mature as a Major League player. If not, trade him. It is another move I find highly unlikely, but it would be cool if the Yankees acquired Starling Marte to play center, making Aaron Hicks the fourth outfielder, sending Gardy off to retirement and future Old Timer’s games.

I am not sure why former Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers left Boston after the season, but I do find him an intriguing candidate for the Yankees. Boston bats have performed well under Hyers’ tutelage. There is talk the Red Sox could replace him with Astros hitting coach Troy Snitker, son of the Braves manager. I would not mind if the Yankees snagged Snitker for themselves. There seems to good options for the Yankees to replace former hitting coach Marcus Thames. I am anxious to see who will be sitting next to Aaron Boone in the dugout, assuming they move current bench coach Carlos Mendoza, as they should, to another role (first or third base coach). I continue to hold out hope for a seasoned, veteran strategist who can help Boone be the best he can be.

Let the off-season begin. I hold much hope the guys reporting to Steinbrenner Field next February will be ready and prepared to bring the long-awaited 28th World Series championship to New York City. A Braves championship means the start of a Yankees dynasty, right? Let’s go!

As always, Go Yankees!