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!