Monday, December 31, 2018

The Dawn of New Yankees Year...

The 2019 New York Yankees...

Happy New Year!  

Well almost, a few more hours to go…

From a sports perspective, I am not sorry to see 2018 exit the Main Stage. The Yankees were the most successful of my favorite professional teams during the year, making the ALDS before bowing out to the eventual World Series champions (who shall remain nameless). My football season came to end with a thud yesterday when the Minnesota Vikings, controllers of their own destiny, could not close the deal with the Chicago Bears, losing 24-10, and allowing the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to slide into the playoffs in their place. I know, please feel free  to insert your best Kirk Cousins jokes. I am sure Tommy Kahnle…and Mike Trout…are very happy today. If you are a Giants or Jets fan, I am sure that you share my misery this morning although you have much better draft position.  

Nevertheless, this is a Yankees blog so let’s talk baseball.

In March 2014, the Los Angeles Angels did the right thing and signed Superstar outfielder Mike Trout to a six-year, $144.5 million contract. Trout opted to sign the extension early, thereby skipping his arbitration-eligible years which would have left him eligible for free agency this off-season to join Manny Machado and Bryce Harper in the battle for $300 million contracts. Instead, he’ll gladly accept $34.083 million per year for the next two seasons before hitting the open market after the 2020 season. I mention this not for the reason the Yankees should eyeball Trout’s future free agency, but rather they should follow suit and offer the same kind of deal to Aaron Judge, the face of the Yankees franchise. 

Photo Credit: Rolling Stone (Theo Wenner)

I know Judge is under team control for one more year and begins the arbitration phase in 2020, but I’d like to see the Yankees take care of him. TGP’s Daniel Burch did a very nice breakdown of team salaries this weekend to show the Yankees can afford both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.  Honestly, I’d rather see more dollars go to Judge. Sure, I hope the Yankees can sign either Machado or Harper but they don’t need both regardless of whether or not they can afford it (they can, as Daniel so elegantly illustrated). Making Aaron Judge play for barely more than “minimum” wage is wrong. Okay, the $622,300 he made last year is far more than most of us will make in any given year, but there’s something awful in a World where Judge makes less than 3% of the annual compensation provided to the bag of dead weight otherwise known as Jacoby Ellsbury. I know it’s the way the system works but Judge has outperformed the majority of his peers and deserves better. He is already recognized as the unofficial Captain of the team by the Yankees fan base and despite adding other superstar players like Giancarlo Stanton and potentially Machado (or Harper), Judge is arguably the most popular Yankee and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Hal, PLEASE pay the man.  

Photo Credit: AP (LM Otero)

I really thought the Yankees would have added at least one major bullpen arm by year’s end. I guess there’s still some time for it to happen but it’s not looking very promising. I thought “Waiting for Manny” would have been a great time to focus on the pen. It seems like everyone is waiting for Craig Kimbrel to sign before the relief market moves, at least at the upper echelon of arms. I expect once Kimbrel decides where he’ll spend the Summer of ‘19, the pieces will move very quickly. Hopefully the Yankees are prepared to pounce on at least one of David Robertson, Zach Britton or Adam Ottavino. I’d really hate to lose out altogether on those three. The importance of a super-bullpen cannot be understated, particularly for a starting rotation that continues to carry so many questions. Even the current “sixth man” (Jonathan Loaisiga) has health concerns. I like some of the young arms in the system but I want “tried and true” to go with Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Jonathan Holder and Chad Green. No objections to breaking camp with Stephen Tarpley but we need a strong “closer-in-waiting” as a hedge for Chapman. I know Chapman’s workout photos this winter show him in peak condition but after last season, I don’t trust his knee and pitchers, generally-speaking, are fragile.   

via Instagram: _thecubanmissile54

CBS Sports, behind writer Dayn Perry, wrote their 50 MLB predictions for 2019 a few days ago. Surprise, another writer who predicts Manny Machado will be a Yankee. Perry projects Machado to sign the third-most lucrative deal in Major League history behind the free agent contract to be given to Bryce Harper (which, eventually, when it is signed, should rate as the largest) and Giancarlo Stanton.  Perry also has the Yankees winning the AL East, on a second consecutive 100-win season, over the Boston Red Sox (the defending champs are projected as a Wild Card team). He sees the Yankees taking the Fall Classic in five games over the Washington Nationals. Perry must be having visions of Pinstripes dancing in his head because he has Luis Severino winning the AL Cy Young Award and CC Sabathia reaching 250 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. Lastly, he projects Mister Underpaid (Aaron Judge) with 44 home runs. I think all of us have envisioned 2019 as “the” year. Glad to see CBS Sports has jumped on the bandwagon.  

This could be (should be) the week we finally hear about Manny Machado’s long-awaited decision. Even Jim Leyritz (@therealjleyritz) tweeted this yesterday when asked about Machado: "If I was a betting man. I'd say it's all but done. Not sure as I was with Stanton deal last year. Being able to break that news doesn't happen every year. Lol. But from what I've heard. All but the signature is needed. Stay tuned. Would be a good way to ring in the New Year."  

Regardless of what happens, I hope the Yankees retain Miguel Andújar. I don’t see a trade for an elite pitcher between now and spring training. and that’s the only way I could justify moving Andújar. I think the team is better served keeping him on the roster.  The guy is a hit machine and can help this team solve its RISP problem. Maybe he’s moved at the trading deadline if the team happens to have another third baseman in place with the initials of MM, but I’d really like to see what Miggy can do in Year 2 of his Bronx story. Let’s mix him in at first base and left field during spring training and see what he is capable of or if Manny decides to go to Philly or Chicago, let Andújar continue to develop at third and work to refine his defensive skills. We’d need to ensure shortstop is strong-defensively until Didi Gregorius returns but let’s quit pushing the ‘trade Andújar’ movement. The Yankees are better with him.

via Instagram: miguelandujar_02

I hope Brian Cashman has enjoyed his “time off”. I know, that’s just what it looks like from the outside looking in. Regardless, I hope the New Year brings a focused GM on a mission to field the best possible team when the regular season opens in a few months. We’re good but we can get so much better. Let’s not miss this opportunity. It’s time to bring a championship back to New York.  

Happy New Year to you, your family and everyone! Well, everyone except the Red Sox...definitely not the Red Sox. 

As always, Go Yankees!

New Year’s Resolutions for EVERY New York Yankees Starter

Happy New Year’s Eve to all of my Yankees family. What’s your New Year’s Resolution? I don’t generally believe in making any, but that’s because I believe in being the best you and the you that you want all the time, not because the calendar says so. My only New Year’s Resolution that I could even think to want to fulfill is to marry the love of my life, Kari Ann (soon-to-be) Burch on January 2nd, and spend the rest of the year keeping the promise that I made to her very early on into our relationship… to treat her like the queen that she is so that she can enjoy every day of the rest of our lives in true happiness. What do you think the Yankees resolutions are this year? I’m glad you asked, because I asked them all and recorded their answers for you here (no I didn’t, but I probably didn’t have to tell you that this post was written for fun… but just in case).

Luke Voit – “I vow to continue my stringent workout plan, as well as vow to continue documenting it on Instagram every chance I get, while working on my finger point to the right field bleachers for deep fly balls. Oh, and I want to read up on that Shane Spencer guy that everyone keeps comparing me to, but there’s nothing on the Greedy Pinstripes about him yet.”

*Clueless emoji*

Greg Bird – “My New Year’s Resolution is focus less on my hair and more on my training. I want to spend less time bleaching my teeth and more time working on my durability. I want to spend more time showing people my sweet swing and less time showing people my sweet ass. Oh, and I want to be humbler as well. I think everyone could benefit from that from time-to-time.”

*#StayHumble emoji*

Gleyber Torres – “To play whatever position the New York Yankees need me to play, and to be the top prospect again that they thought they were getting when they made the trade with the Cubs. My resolution is to just play baseball for the New York Yankees, and to finish what the team started in 2017… bringing home a World Series Championship.”

*Yankees Pride emoji*

Didi Gregorius – “To get healthy and get back on the field by July or August, but to also have the most entertaining Twitter account, again, here in 2019. I want the newer Yankees generation to keep asking ‘Derek Jeter who?’ and I want to continue my march towards a plaque inside Monument Park. Oh, and to use less emojis. I kind of think that had more to do with my Tommy John surgery than that slide into home, but we couldn’t tell the insurance company that.”

*Emoji movie emoji*

Miguel Andujar – “You guys know how you call Voit the next Shane Spencer? My resolution is by this time next year for you all to be calling me the next Adrian Beltre, just like Daniel Burch said you would.”

*Hard Work Pays Off emoji*

Gary Sanchez – “I want to show everyone that last season was a fluke. My shoulder was injured, I’m not lazy, and I will get better as a catcher. Jorge Posada was barely considered a member of the Core Four because he missed the 1996 World Series and some of the 1998 season behind Joe Girardi. Why? Because of his defense. Because he transitioned from second base to catcher. He improved adequately defensively behind the plate and so can I. And I will.”

*Ambitious emoji*

Giancarlo Stanton – “I had a great season in 2018 and many Yankees fans wanted me gone or traded all season long. In 2019, I want to make every one of you eat your words. No take backs, and the internet is forever.”

*Chip on the Shoulder emoji*

Aaron Judge – “I know it’s been said a bunch around here, but World Series or bust.”

*Eye on the Prize emoji*

Aaron Hicks – “My resolution this year is to become a better leadoff hitter, because that’s what it looks like I am going to be doing all summer long, and into October.”

*Ready for the Lime Light emoji*

Brett Gardner – “The more this whole thing drags on with Bryce, and with others, the more it looks like I am going to be seeing a lot of the bench this season in the Bronx, so I need to start getting ready mentally and physically for that.”

*Team Player emoji*

Jacoby Ellsbury – “I’m ready to get my 2018 going and ready to be the best outfielder I can be.”

*What Year Is It Again? Emoji*

Clint Frazier – “I have resumed baseball activities and I am already preparing for next season. There is going to come a time when Brian Cashman and the boys need me, and I’ll be ready.”

*FLEX emoji*

Austin Romine – “I had a breakout season in 2018 statistically and I think I shocked a lot of people. Maybe even myself. I just want to improve even more in 2019 and keep Gary on his toes.”

*PUSH emoji*

Tyler Wade – “All I want is for Yankees fans to say ‘Toe-who?’ by the time I call it a day in 2019.”

*Shots Fired emoji*

Thairo Estrada – “I have been to the Arizona Fall League for two straight seasons and I have shown the Yankees, and the rest of the league, what I am about and what I bring to the table. My resolution is to get to the Major Leagues in 2019, whether it be in the Bronx or somewhere else.”

*Cup of Coffee emoji*

James Paxton – “I want my first year with the Yankees to be a successful one. I want to stay healthy and make at least 30 starts, I want to throw around 200 innings, and I want to pitch deep into the postseason.”

*Maple Leaf emoji*

Luis Severino – “You know the Severino you saw in the first half of 2018? I want to not tip my pitches, not burn myself out, and not pitch through an injury (potentially…allegedly… whatever) so that you can see that pitcher for the entirety of 2019.”

*Durability and Conditioning emoji*

Masahiro Tanaka – “When I signed with the Yankees, I was brought in to be the ace. Now it looks like I am a third starter in the depth chart. I am just happy to be surrounded by such talent, maybe the bets staff we have had since I came here and agreed to stay here, and I just want to pull my weight and do my part to make that into fruition.”

*Through a Translator emoji*

JA Happ – “I went 7-0 last season for the Yankees, but I didn’t do too well in the postseason against the Red Sox. The Yankees didn’t acquire me to win in the regular season, they acquired me to beat the Red Sox in October, and I failed. My resolution is to not do that again this season.”

*Red Sox Suck! emoji*

CC Sabathia – “Heart problems change your outlook on everything, especially when you have young kids, so my resolution is to just get healthy, and stay healthy. For the Yankees, for myself, for Amber and for my family.”

*Prayers for CC emoji*

Jonathan Loaisiga – “Stay healthy. That’s it. I want to be the Yankees 6th man, until they need me to be their 5th man. Then their 4th man. So on and so on.”

*Sixth-Man emoji*

Domingo German – “I want to be the breakout player of the year for the Yankees. I want everyone wearing my jersey, not because I did it well… but because I did it the right way.”

*The Right Way emoji*

Jordan Montgomery – “Tommy John surgery… I want to come back from that. This season may be a loss, but I am going to do everything I can for it not to be.”

*Ulnar Collateral Ligament emoji*

Aroldis Chapman – “50 saves, no tendinitis, and a World Series championship.”

*Short, Sweet and to the Point emoji*

Dellin Betances – “100 K’s and I want to hand the ball to Aroldis four-or-five times a week, or more. That’s it. I want to win before I head to free agency next season, just so I can rub it in Randy Levine’s fat face.”

*Randy Levine’s Fat Face emoji*

Chad Green – “Boone is going to use me 116 times this season, so I just want my arm to not fall off before November. Am I right?”

*Am I Right? emoji*

Jonathan Holder – “My resolution is to earn my name’s keepsake, I want them holds.”

*Holds emoji*

Tommy Kahnle – “I don’t like Triple-A. I don’t like the bumpy bus rides and the childish crap played between innings. I want to pitch at the Major League level for all 162 games.”

*Triple-A Sucks emoji*

Chance Adams – “I was a top prospect before the 2018 season, and I want to be a top pitcher for the Yankees in 2019.”

*Return to Glory emoji*

Stephen Tarpley – “So many Yankees pitchers before me have turned into great Yankees relievers, and I just want to be the next one. Cashman seems to like me, and Boone does too, so I feel good about my resolution here in 2019.”

*Cashman Likes Me emoji*

And just for fun….

Manny Machado – “My resolution is to be wearing a Yankees uniform the next time I rant about hating and not respecting the Boston Red Sox. My resolution is to be wearing the Bronx Bombers pinstripes the next time those Philly assholes lock me out of the stadium and leave me standing outside in the cold. My resolution is to go down on that one knee swinging at a Chris Sale pitch, but this time I want that ball going over that ugly ass Green Monster before we send those punk asses home.”

*Machado Hates the Red Sox Too emoji*

Bryce Harper – “My resolution is to be roaming out in left field playing for the New York Yankees next season. I turned down 10-years and $300 million from the Washington Nationals and I shaved my beard the weekend that Cashman and company came to town. You guys know what my resolution is. I want to wear #34 for the New York Yankees so all those fans that purchased AJ Burnett, Brian McCann and JA Happ jerseys can wear their $165 jerseys once again, proudly. I don’t need 10-years and I don’t need $300 million, all I need is Yankee Stadium, that short porch, and the best fans in the history of all sports in North America. The New York Yankees. Cashgod, call me.”

*Call Him, Cashgod emoji*

Sunday, December 30, 2018

UPDATE: Can the Yankees Afford both Machado and Harper?

"Your'e not buying this 'austerity' crap either, are you?"

Earlier in the offseason, before any Top 50 free agents were signed and before any major trades had gone down between teams, The Greedy Pinstripes (long before River Ave Blues, Pinstripe Alley and other notable Yankee publications) took a look at how the New York Yankees could not only sign one of Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, but both. Furthermore, we broke it down by the penny, with some help from projections from MLB Trade Rumors and others, to show you that the team could sign both mega free agents AND stay under the luxury tax threshold for the 2019 season. Now that a few moves have been made, a few hefty salaries have been added, and a few trades have been made let’s take a look at if this is still the case for the Bombers.

Guaranteed 2019 Contracts (AAV in Parenthesis)

Giancarlo Stanton - $26 million ($25 million)

13-year deal worth $325 million with a full no-trade clause, an opt-out clause after the 2020 season, and a 2028 team option worth $25 million with a $10 million buyout. Stanton also receives $50,000 for each All-Star appearance, Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove Award. Stanton also receives $100,000 per MVP Award and $500,000 for each World Series MVP Award achieved throughout the contract. If Stanton does not opt-out after the 2020 season the Miami Marlins will retain $30 million in Stanton’s salary.

Masahiro Tanaka - $22 million ($22,142,857 million)

7-year deal worth $155 million with a full no-trade clause.

Jacoby Ellsbury - $21,142,857 million ($21,857,143 million)

7-year deal worth $153 million including a team option for the 2021 season worth $21 million and a $5 million buyout. Ellsbury also contains a full no-trade clause written into his contract.

Aroldis Chapman - $15 million plus $2.2 million signing bonus ($17.2 million)

5-year deal worth $86 million including an $11 million signing bonus paid in equal increments ($2.2 million) annually throughout the length of the contract. Chapman has an opt-out clause after the 2019 season and a full no-trade clause through 2019. Chapman has a modified no-trade clause for 2020 and 2021 if he does not exercise his opt-our clause that keeps him from being traded to a West Coast team.

JA Happ - $17 million ($17 million)

2-year deal worth $34 million including a vesting option for 2021 worth $17 million if Happ pitches 165 IP or makes 27 starts in 2020.

CC Sabathia - $8 million ($8 million)

1-year deal worth $8 million

Brett Gardner - $7.5 million ($7.5 million)

1-year deal worth $7.5 million

Total: $118,842,857 million (119,600,119 million)

All salaries via

It is worth mentioning the possibility that the Yankees could, and should in my opinion, move Jacoby Ellsbury and his contract by any means necessary. Ellsbury has two-years left and roughly $43 million, plus the $5 million buyout for the 2021 season, left on his contract. If the Yankees could eat up to half of that to move him, I would call that a victory for New York, regardless of the return. Of course, Ellsbury has a full no-trade clause and would have to accept any trade that the Yankees can come up with, but the likelihood of decreased playing time could force the hand of the $153 million man. Also, there is at least the possibility (I personally find it unlikely and I genuinely hate the idea) of trading Stanton and his mega-contract to a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers who are known to be searching for an impact right-handed bat this offseason to replace Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, among others. Unfortunately, we cannot assume that either contracts will be moved this offseason, or throughout the 2019 season.

The beautiful thing about the New York Yankees team as it is currently constructed is that the team is young, controllable, and relatively cheap all things considered. The list of pre-arbitration eligible players is impressive when you look at how many core players are listed below. This could get quite expensive for the team really soon, but for now the 2019 financials are given a bit of wiggle room because of the great job that Brian Cashman and company did building the farm system over the last five-to-ten seasons.

Pre-Arbitration 2019 Salaries – Valued at $555K each (waiver options in parenthesis)

Albert Abreu (3)
Domingo Acevedo (3)
Chance Adams (3)
Hanser Alberto (1)
Miguel Andujar (2)
Luis Cessa
AJ Cole
Thairo Estrada (3)
Clint Frazier
Domingo German
Chad Green
Joe Harvey
Ben Heller
Kyle Higashioka
Jonathan Holder (2)
Aaron Judge
Tim Locastro (3)
Jonathan Loaisiga (3)
Jordan Montgomery
Gary Sanchez
Stephen Tarpley
Gleyber Torres (3)
Luke Voit (3)
Tyler Wade

Total: $13,320,000 million (24 players x $555K each)

Without waiver options for the Minor Leagues the players without a waiver option by their name cannot be sent down to Triple-A without first clearing waivers and cannot be sent down without their consent.

All courtesy of

MLB Trade Rumors Projection for 2019 Arbitration Players

Dellin Betances (Arb 3) – $6.4 million
Greg Bird (Arb 1) – $1.5 million
Sonny Gray (Arb 3) – $9.1 million
Didi Gregorius (Arb 4) – $12.4 million
Aaron Hicks (Arb 3) – $6.2 million
Tommy Kahnle (Arb 2) – $1.5 million
James Paxton (Arb 3) – $9.0 million
Austin Romine (Arb 3) – $2.0 million
Luis Severino (Arb 1) – $5.1 million

Total: $53.2 million

Let’s remember that we can almost guarantee that Sonny Gray and his projected $9.1 million salary will be coming off the Yankees books before the start of the 2019 season. He will be traded, we just don’t know who will take on the Yankees right-hander before Spring Training. Some of these numbers could also be high, remember they are just projections, although at the same time these projections could be a bit low as well. MLB Trade Rumors is usually at least in the neighborhood, but all of these numbers are subject to change. I wonder if Didi Gregorius would be willing to throw the Yankees a bone for the 2019 season given that he will miss most of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. I am not saying that I think he will, or that I think he should, but it just seems like something a player like Didi would do. Dellin Betances did it for the Yankees on more than one occasion and it just wouldn’t surprise me to see Didi do something similar as well.

For those unclear about the arbitration rules, any player who is arbitration three or arbitration four will become free agents at the end of this season. Tommy Kahnle can hit free agency after the 2020 season while the Yankees have at least two more seasons of team control on Greg Bird and Luis Severino.

"Hell no, I'm not buying that. They gonna pay us!"

Top Free Agent Salary Projections via MLB Trade Rumors (AAV in Parenthesis)

Manny Machado – 13-years and $390 million ($30 million)

Bryce Harper – 14-years and $420 million ($30 million)

Total: $60 million annually combined

This part of the equation is the total unknown of the whole discussion. No one knows what both Machado and Harper will sign for. No one knows what the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago White Sox were willing to offer Machado, much like no one knows what a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers could offer to an outfielder like Bryce. Would either be willing to take less in terms of years and more in terms of salary to sign with the Yankees, thus hitting the free agency market again at or around age 30? Nobody knows, probably not even Bryce or Manny themselves at this point, that’s why we will use the MLBTR projections and go from there as both of these contracts and their negotiations develop and become public record.

It is worth mention, though, that reports have stated that the Phillies were less-than-enthused about going to ten-years for Machado, so a 13-year contract seems extremely unlikely. The $30 million AAV seems pretty realistic, though.

Retained Salaries per Spotrac

Brett Gardner – $2 million buyout of his 2019 team option

Alex Rodriguez – $4 million in deferred salary

Total: $6 million

Why in the world is this team still paying Alex Rodriguez?

"You take less, I'll take less. Deal?"

The Final Tallies

2019 Total Yankees Salaries Before Machado and Harper

2019 Total Yankees Salaries Including Machado and Harper

2019 Luxury Tax Threshold According to
$206 million

Let’s reiterate that these numbers include the projections given by MLB Trade Rumors for the Yankees arbitration eligible players as well as both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. These are unknowns that cannot be quantified today, these numbers could be higher or lower. These numbers also include the salaries of players like Sonny Gray, Jacoby Ellsbury, Giancarlo Stanton and others who could, however unlikely, be moved by Brian Cashman this winter and throughout the 2019 season. Eating half of Jacoby Ellsbury’s salary (let’s say $12 million for an even number sake) in a trade and trading away Sonny Gray’s $9 million in projected salary alone nets you an extra $21 million to give to Manny Machado. Given that the Yankees are roughly $15 million under the luxury tax as it stands, according to the above, that is $35 million annually that they could give Machado while still staying under the luxury tax threshold. Trading Stanton gives the Yankees at least $26 million to hand to Harper via free agency before going over the luxury tax threshold. For those keeping track at home, the Yankees could potentially clear $61 million following this plan while giving $60 million of it to both Harper and Machado.

"Deal, bro, now let's hug it out. See you in the Bronx!"

Ask yourself this. If the Boston Red Sox were sitting right on the line of the luxury tax would they trade an immense talent like Giancarlo Stanton to make room for Bryce Harper? I think not. Ask yourself this as well, would the Red Sox simply keep Stanton and not sign Harper because of the potential luxury tax threshold penalty? Hell no, so why should the Yankees?

In closing, can the Yankees sign one of Manny Machado or Bryce Harper without going over the luxury tax threshold? It looks highly unlikely, but with some maneuvering it is at least possible. Can they sign them both and stay under the magical number of $206 million? Absolutely not, not as the team is currently constructed anyway. Not when you consider that the Yankees will need to add salary at some point this season, either via the trade market or by purchasing contracts from Triple-A throughout the 2019 season. Should this stop the Yankees from trying to acquire both of these generational talents this offseason? Hell no, but will it? Stay tuned…

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Gardner Will Not Start In 2019

On October 31st the Yankees and Brett Gardner agreed to a one-year contract for 2019, and many Yankees fans lost their minds. And while they did so in many ways, the one way that sticks with me is those fans saying Gardner would be the starting left fielder next season. Particularly the starter instead of Bryce Harper.

Now, I know some Yankees fans (and sports fans in general) can have short-term memory loss, but all the evidence you need in order to understand that the whole "Gardner starting in left field in 2019) is bullocks can be seen late last season. Not years ago, but on September 1st of this past year.

September 1st marked the first game Andrew McCutchen would start for the Yankees. That also happened to be his first of 25 games started out of the Yankees remaining 26 in the regular season. Oh, and McCutchen started four of the six games the Yankees played on the postseason.

Why did I tell you all of that about Cutch? Because Bryce Harper is a hell of a lot better than Andrew McCutchen!

It's simple logic. If Andrew McCutchen started over Brett Gardner during a postseason race and run last season, then Brett Gardner is not going to be picked to start over Bryce Harper next season.

That isn't to say I believe the Yankees will sign Bryce. I think they should, but I pretty much have that thought covered. It's just to say that the Yankees surely have other plans for their regular starter in left field.

As Daniel pointed out this morning I did mention Clint Frazier as a starting candidate in left, but due to his concussion issues I'd bet that he'd begin the year in AAA to make sure he's good to go.

And while Harper is not off the table (I won't count him out until he signs somewhere else), my prediction is that the Yankees bring in someone to start regularly in left field for Opening Day and beyond. Sort of like how they have to figure something out to cover for Didi Gregorius possibly being out the entire 2019 season.

I mean no disrespect to Gardy. I really like the guy, and appreciate everything he's done for the Yankees. But we have to face the fact that he's an overall average player, and that isn't going to cut it in New York.

To Be a Yankee or Not To Be...

Unofficial Source points Machado to the Yankees…

Dan Clark, an Orioles blogger from Australia, caused quite a stir yesterday afternoon when he tweeted Manny Machado is headed for New York.

According to Clark, he trusts his source and stands behind his words. Ultimately, nobody really knows until Manny signs his name on the dotted line. He may want to be a Yankee as we’ve often heard and he may feel today the Yankees are his team but until the final decision is made and the agreement is in place, Manny is free to change his mind. I continue to hope Manny signs with the Yankees but honestly it continues to be my opinion that he’ll take the most money which will probably not be the Yankees regardless of how much he may have loved the team as a kid.  My hope is the Yankees make their final offer close enough that it causes Manny to accept slightly less to wear the Pinstripes. But if it is a wide gap, the Yankees had better enact Plan B immediately.

I feel bad for Clark. He has taken so much heat for his comments and people are attacking his credibility. In my opinion, that’s not fair. Does having “credentials” make a guy like Joel Sherman a better human being? No, I don’t think so. Clark has friendships with the Orioles and he is more connected to the inner workings of that organization than most Yankee insiders. I place some value in Clark’s message, but I recognize to blindly trust the words until proven correct is foolish. If he is right, great. I look forward to the introduction of Manny Machado at Yankee Stadium. If he is wrong, the world goes on and we wait for the development of Plan B to cover for the temporary loss of Didi Gregorius next season. I won’t think any less of Clark if he is proven wrong. He has expressed an opinion which is his right. He has the basis of sources that he trusts. We don’t know his sources but it’s not a reason to invalidate Clark’s words. I support his right to say whatever he wants about the Yankees or Orioles or any other team. He believes the words, right or wrong, and that’s all that really matters.  

As for Machado, the Yankee fan base seems so divided over the young superstar. I know that he failed to deliver a World Series championship for the Los Angeles Dodgers and we all know about the infamous “Johnny Hustle” comments, but last time I checked, the Red Sox rolled over all their competition last season, not just Machado’s Dodgers. I don’t blame Machado for the Dodgers’ loss. This is a team game. He is one of the best players at his position, whether it is shortstop or third base. He makes any team better and I think if he becomes a Yankee, the fan base will rally around him. At the end of the day, he’ll only want the same thing we want, a World Series championship. We’re going to boo him for that?  

In my post yesterday, I predicted Manny’s decision will come on Tuesday, January 8th.  However, that was under the assumption final offers had not been submitted. If, in fact, the Yankees, White Sox, and Phillies have submitted their best and final offers to Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, I’ll revise my decision date to Friday, January 4th. Next week should be an eventful one. We’ll see. Either way, I am glad the Machado speculation is coming to an end.  

I saw the blurb this morning in MLB Trade Rumors about the Texas Rangers and their trade of Jurickson Profar to the Oakland A’s. In the post today, Gerry Fraley, Rangers beat writer for The Dallas Morning News, is quoted as saying “The Yankees were interested in Profar as a stopgap player while Gregorius recovers but weren’t willing to give up much”. I figured the Yankees could have put together a prospect package that rivaled the one received from the A’s but this indicates the Yankees were not as sold on Profar as we thought. Fraley goes on to say Profar’s throwing problems will not be as obvious at second (he had 24 errors last season at third and shortstop) but the Yankees do not need a permanent second baseman (they already have great one) and the last thing they need is another defensively-challenged infielder. I like Profar and continue to hope he can fulfill the promise he once held as the top prospect in the game, but it sounds like the Yankees made the right decision to pass.  

The Sonny Gray to the Brewers talk seems to be picking up steam again. For Sonny, I think it would be a great opportunity. The Brewers have a good, young team and it’s obviously a winning environment right now. Sonny could prosper in Milwaukee. As for a potential return, I’ve heard Corey Knebel’s name. I know 2018 was a struggle for the Brewers’ closer and it included time in the minor leagues to find himself again, but I like Knebel and I think he’d be a good addition to the bullpen. Another potential name is first baseman/outfielder Eric Thames, but man, that would really be a pronunciation conflict with Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames. Seriously, Thames would be a good add but it would spell the end for Greg Bird and I am not sure the Yankees are ready to break that bond yet.  

Bryan Van Dusen (@Bryan_TGP) posted this comment on Twitter this morning: “All this talk about Manny Machado, and I’m just hoping that Brett Gardner is not the regular left fielder this season. Although, I’m looking out for Clint Frazier, as I wouldn’t be surprised if he became the regular left fielder sometime during the season (assuming no Bryce)”. I agree with this 100%. There hasn’t been a lot of talk about Red Thunder and I know everyone wants to see if he can stay healthy, but I am really hoping that Frazier can grab a starting role through his performance. I think everyone loves Gardy and he has been a great Yankee but the truth is he is not the player he once was. He can still be a very good fourth outfielder but the team should not depend upon him in the starting outfield when there are better options. Frazier, clearly, can be the better option.

On MLB Network yesterday, one of their predictions for the new year was the Yankees’ acquisition of LHP Madison Bumgarner at the trading deadline.  That’s one I could really get into. I know there’s been a lot of talk and speculation about MadBum but everyone expects the Giants to try and get their best deal in July. This is one that I hope the Yankees are positioning themselves for, especially if MadBum stays healthy. The Giants love Bumgarner, but new President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi will make a decision that is in the best interests of the Giants organization for the long run. The odds MadBum will be traded are as great as they’ve ever been. I’d love to see him playing in October again.

I am so tired of the World Series highlights that are continually replayed as the end of the year approaches. Can we turn the page already? The Red Sox are so yesterday’s news.

As always, Go Yankees!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Manny Machado Chooses Yankees- Maybe

According to Dan Clark on Twitter,  blue check verified sports writer that covers the Baltimore Orioles (and who follows me, so he can't be that bad), all final offers have been submitted to Manny Machado to mull over. Clark goes on to say that Machado has chosen the Yankees deal and is expected to announce the deal after the new year.

Twitter link below:

Yankees' Front Office Enjoying Time Off (Allegedly)...

Meanwhile, the Rumor Mill runs rampant…

As 2018 winds down to a close, all is quiet in the Yankees Universe except for Yankee Twitter and the endless possibilities expressed, again and again, by Yankee fans. The Yankees still have holes to fill in the bullpen and no confirmed plan at this moment in time to use anybody other than Tyler Wade and Gleyber Torres at shortstop to cover for Didi Gregorius. It does not appear these answers will be provided in 2018 and must wait until the calendar year changes. 
Although Manny Machado has indicated he will not make his long-awaited decision until after the first of the year, I don’t think anybody knows what that really means. I think some Yankee fans and industry experts think we’ll have his choice on New Year’s Day or worst case, the next day. I honestly do not think this will be resolved that quickly. To account for some of the inevitable back and forth between teams (if that hasn’t already happened), I’ll predict we have Manny’s decision by Tuesday, January 8th. I think the first week of January will be trying to elicit the best possible offers from the interested teams. As much as I want the Yankees to sign Machado, it remains my belief he’ll take more money to play in the City of Brotherly Love or the Windy City. I heard Larry Bowa on MLB Network yesterday talking about how the Phillies can overcome Machado’s childhood fascination with the Yankees by adding a few more zeroes to the check. If this goes into an all-out bidding war, I have no doubt the Yankees will come in third to the Phillies and White Sox. At that point, Manny has to decide what is best for him and his family.

Manny Machado and wife, Yainee Alonso

The sooner Manny decides, the sooner we can move on to Plan B.  I am ready to close the door, one way or the other. I am mentally prepared. If we have to settle for Freddy Galvis at shortstop, so be it. Let’s move on. At this point, pitching remains the team’s most critical need. 

MLB Network’s Jon Paul Morosi is reporting the Los Angeles Angels are interested in David Robertson.  Despite D-Rob’s expressed interest in playing close to his Rhode Island home, Morosi notes that Robertson would have the opportunity to close for the Angels and of course he knows Angels GM Billy Eppler well from their time together with the Yankees. It makes sense to me. I’d rather see D-Rob go to Anaheim versus pitching at Fenway Park for the Red Sox. I personally love Southern California so, in my opinion, it’s a no-brainer.  I think it would be fun to play on the same team with Mike Trout.  Eppler is trying to squeeze a few more wins out of his team with the recent signings of Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill. He needs to protect those investments by getting a reliable reliever to close out games. Robertson will be a much cheaper option than guys like Zach Britton and Craig Kimbrel and he’d fit well under new manager Brad Ausmus. Not that I am wishing D-Rob to the Angels. I’d still like to see him come back to the Bronx, but if that doesn’t happen, Anaheim is a preferred destination over division rivals.   

Angels GM Billy Eppler

Gumby had a birthday yesterday. Jordan Montgomery turned 26 as he continues to work his way back from last summer’s Tommy John surgery. No doubt we’ll see the former Gamecock somewhere around the time Didi Gregorius returns (or maybe a little later in the season if Didi is somehow ready to go by June or July). Not expecting much out of Montgomery next season but I am looking forward to seeing him in Pinstripes again. Happy Belated Birthday, Jordan!

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Elsa)

Searching for things to watch on TV last night, I settled on the original version of A Star Is Born (1937) starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. Of course, it made me think of the 1937 Yankees. They won the ninth World Series in franchise history that year, finishing 102-52 to win the AL Pennant by 13 games over the Detroit Tigers. They defeated the New York Giants in five games to claim the World Series championship. What a year for Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig! The 34-year-old Gehrig, within two years from being forced from the game due to ALS, had 37 home runs and 158 RBIs. He batted .351/.473/.643 and had an OPS of 1.116. He took 127 walks to only 49 strikeouts. 22 year-old Joe DiMaggio had staggering numbers for such a young player. 46 homers, 167 RBIs, .346/.412/.673 and 1.085 OPS. He took fewer walks than Gehrig (64), but only struck out 37 times. Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri at second, Frankie Crosetti at short, Red Rolfe at third and a pitching staff anchored by Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing.  Collectively, Gomez and Ruffing won 41 games as both pitchers reached the 20-win mark. Gomez threw six shutouts in 34 starts, pitching 278 1/3 innings, allowing only 72 earned runs for 2.33 ERA. Total Yankees domination. I love it! I know I left out some other great Yankees for the 1937 team but it must have been grand watching the Yankees annihilate their opponents year by year in the late 1930’s. 

Final Out, 1937 World Series at the Polo Grounds, Gehrig to Gomez

Moving back into current times, I felt kind of bad for Tyler Austin yesterday. When the Twins elected not to retain Logan Morrison after one year and Twins great Joe Mauer decided to retire, it appeared that Austin had a clear path to playing time for Minnesota next season. Then, the Twins acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Tampa Bay Rays and yesterday they inked former Seattle Mariners slugger and DH Nelson Cruz to a one-year deal with an option. Austin’s path to playing time appears to be blocked once again like it was with the Yankees. I was surprised Cruz went with Minnesota. I had really expected him to end up with the Houston Astros. He would have been a deadly bat in that lineup.  I guess it’s better for the Yankees he went with Minnesota but of course he adds a weapon if the Twins can get a Wild Card rematch with the Yankees to avenge their loss in 2017. Cruz may be 38 but he has that David Ortiz knack for smashing huge home runs at the best times (or worst times, depending upon your perspective). I guess Ronald Torreyes will have plenty of opportunities for his Toe Night Show at Target Field next season.

I was reading one blog the other day that talked about trades the Yankees wish they could undo. The blogger listed the Brandon Drury trade as his first choice. I know that trade didn’t work out, but I don’t look at it as one I’d undo.  I really liked Drury’s acquisition at the time of the trade. I liked the player and the potential that I thought he could bring to the team. A solid defender with some pop. I know it cost the Yankees several really good prospects (second baseman Nick Solak, currently rated as the eleventh best prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays by and pitcher Taylor Widener, who ranks as second best prospect for the Arizona Diamondbacks) but I can’t say I’d undo the trade. It was a risk worth taking. It didn’t work out. Drury had the undisclosed migraines and never really performed for the Yankees before losing his job to Miguel Andujar and subsequently getting traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in the J.A. Happ deal. I thought then and I still feel that when healthy and given the opportunity, Drury is going to help a team. Not sure the Blue Jays are that team since 2019 should bring the emergence of top prospect Vladimir Guerrero, Jr to the Show at some point during the season to place a stranglehold on third base for years to come but Drury will make good on his promise one day. Look, I’d love to have Widener back but I wouldn’t undo the Drury trade even with the benefit of hindsight. You have to take those types of chances to get better and I’d never want to see GM Brian Cashman get “gun shy” and start holding onto prospects longer than he should. Some trades work, some trades don’t. That’s how it goes.

Not that I am trying to wish the new year to get here any faster, but I am looking forward to getting to next Wednesday so that the Hot Stove League can resume activity. The days of nothingness are long and boring on the baseball front. I am anxious and excited for pitchers and catchers to report to Tampa, FL on February 13th but there is still so much work to be done. We need to ensure that Aaron Boone, in 2019, knows what it must have felt like to be Joe McCarthy in 1937. No pressure, Cash. Talk to your boss and get it done.

As always, Go Yankees!