Saturday, March 25, 2023

And the Winner Is...


Anthony Volpe (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Anthony Volpe is the fan favorite for starting shortstop…

As Spring Training winds down, there is one thing that is quite clear. Anthony Volpe has made the Opening Day roster, or the New York Yankees have set up its fans for a huge letdown. No question Volpe has done everything possible to win a spot despite his age (21) and limited experience at the Triple-A level.

Volpe, who turns 22 in late April, continues to make a difference when he plays which seems lately to be nearly every day. I checked today’s lineup against the Philadelphia Phillies at BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, FL, and sure enough, Volpe is the starting shortstop, atop the batting order. In sixteen Spring games, he is hitting .277/.393/.574 (.967 OPS). His home run during yesterday’s game against the Minnesota Twins was his third of the exhibition schedule. Oswaldo Cabrera and Andres Chaparro may have stronger Spring hitting statistics, but Volpe’s maturity beyond his years, the ability to adjust, and making consistent plays with his glove have set him apart in the shortstop race. Most importantly, he has proven he belongs in the Major Leagues. Some players have ‘baseball smarts’ and young Volpe is that guy. 

The Yankees have a difficult decision ahead. The glut of infielders remains an obstacle unless there is a trade. The more likely scenario, unfortunately, is the potential reassignment of expected starter Oswald Peraza to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to clear space on the Opening Day roster. I feel bad for Peraza. He has nothing left to prove in Triple-A, and he is the stronger defender at short. No question that Volpe has outplayed Peraza at the plate and has done more to shine in the field over the past few weeks. Regardless, Peraza is Major League-ready, and his further development needs to happen at the game’s highest level.  I am convinced he will hit if given the opportunity.

Oswald Peraza (Photo Credit: AP)

If Volpe has won the shortstop job, I am beginning to wonder if Peraza’s time as a Yankee may be ending. Gleyber Torres is the most frequently mentioned name in trade rumors, yet Peraza has value and could help bring in an experienced starting pitcher for depth purposes. I thought we would have seen a trade or two this week as teams begin to make decisions about their rosters. The days ahead could prove to be active. If Volpe makes the Opening Day roster, the Yankees must make room on the 40-man roster. It will not be hard with the pitchers who will be moved to the 60-day Injured List (Scott Effross, Luis Gil, and Frankie Montas). Once the Yankees commit a 40-man spot to Volpe, it will be his for years to come.

I do not sense the Yankees will trade Torres over the coming days. DJ LeMahieu most likely will be the Opening Day second baseman with Torres perhaps serving as the designated hitter and Giancarlo Stanton playing the field. But Torres will be the team’s regular second baseman until proven otherwise. The cost of Torre and Volpe on the Opening Day roster is apparently Peraza so I expect the minor league reassignment instead of a trade.

Injuries can change things in a hurry so Peraza, if he is demoted, should stay positive and be ready for the inevitable call-up. He will be on the Yankees’ active roster before we get too deep into the 162-game schedule. Unfortunately, there must be a winner and a loser in the Volpe/Peraza battle for shortstop and the Opening Day roster. The Yankees would be better to have both yet there is simply no room, especially if they legitimately believe Josh Donaldson has rediscovered the ability to hit and Isiah Kiner-Falefa can be their Six-Million-Dollar man in an infield utility role. 

Regardless of how things develop between now and Opening Day, there will be disappointment among the excitement for those who make the team versus those who do not. I am ready for the regular season. Spring Training games have run their course. The Yankees played split games yesterday, jumping out to leads in both games, only to lose in the late innings. I do not like to lose, even with meaningless exhibition games, yet the only thought yesterday was can these exhibition games just end so that we can get to games that matter? I am so done with exhibition games.

Are the Catchers Ready?

Kyle Higashioka has returned to the Yankees from the World Baseball Classic (WBC) after Team Japan’s thrilling championship victory over Team USA. The concern, for me, is whether he is behind schedule in his preparation for the season. Despite making the Team USA roster, Higgy only appeared in three games and never saw the plate except behind it with his glove. I understood why Higgy did not play; he backed up elite catchers JT Realmuto and Will Smith, yet it did not get him prepared for the grind of the long season ahead. Hopefully, he will get up to speed quickly now that he has rejoined the Yankees.

Miles Mikolas and Kyle Higashioka (Photo Credit: Mark J Repilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees signed another catcher for minor league depth this week when they inked José Godoy to a minor league contract. Godoy, 28, has yet to make his mark in the Major Leagues. He has played in the Mariners, Twins, and Pirates organizations, but has only appeared in twenty-six Major League games since making his debut on May 21, 2021. A noteworthy stat is he became MLB’s 20,000th player when he made his debut. Most recently, he was in camp with the Los Angeles Angels on a non-roster invite until he received his release. I am not expecting much, if anything, with this signing but Godoy does provide needed depth in the farm system. 

Probably my only reason for mentioning Godoy is how close he could be to the Major League roster should anything happen to either Higashioka or Jose Trevino. The moral of the story is that Higgy and Trevi must stay healthy. Until Ben Rortvedt is healthy and ready to play, the Yankees are dangerously thin at the position. Rortvedt has started throwing and expects to ramp up baseball activities within the next couple of weeks.

Speaking of players away for the WBC, I feel bad for the Philadelphia Phillies and their first baseman Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins, returning from his time with Team USA, tore the ACL in his left knee in his first exhibition game back with the Phillies this week. He is expected to miss most, if not all, of the season. Hoskins is the latest reminder of how injuries can change plans in a hurry. Although I thought the WBC was a strong event, the knock is the timing of the competition during Spring Training. Players either had to play at a high level in a hurry like Hoskins…or do nothing like Higashioka.  Either way, it disrupted player preparedness for the upcoming regular season.    

Battle of Relievers

Last March, the Yankees made the memorable trade with the Texas Rangers for catcher Jose Trevino for reliever Albert Abreu and minor leaguer Robby Ahlstrom. Abreu was subsequently designated for assignment by the Rangers and then waived by the Kansas City Royals before finding his way back to Pinstripes. The Yankees obviously like him or they would not have brought him back. However, I think it is time to part ways.

Although one game should not be held against anybody, yesterday’s Twins game was a microcosm of the problem. Abreu was on the mound when Minnesota scored four runs in the ninth for their come-from-behind win over the Yankees. He gave up five runs in 1 1/3 innings of work. The Twins had four hits against him, including two home runs. Abreu also walked a batter. By comparison, Jimmy Cordero, earlier in the same game, pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing no hits or walks, and struck out three batters.


Jimmy Cordero (Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Cordero has done enough to show me he should make the Yankees’ bullpen over Abreu. Or maybe Abreu has just shown me enough that he should not be given a spot in the bullpen. Out of options, Abreu will be traded or released soon unless the Yankees remain infatuated with him for whatever reasons.

Estevan Florial lives another day

I thought Estevan Florial’s time as a Yankee was coming to an end, but most likely, with Harrison Bader starting the season on the Injured List, he has kicked the can down the road. Once Bader returns, Florial’s roster status will become questionable, and I foresee his designation for assignment unless he somehow has an epiphany to become a legitimate Major League hitter (unlikely, in my opinion). 

To start the season, Florial should serve as the team’s fourth outfielder although I would expect Oswaldo Cabrera to see more time in left supplanting my not-so-favorite Yankee Aaron Hicks. I thought the Yankees might go with Willie Calhoun or Rafael Ortega for the reserve outfield role, but in the final days of training camp, Florial’s spot on the 40-man roster gives him the leg up on the competition. He can serve as a speedy pinch runner and is a good defensive replacement.

I was hoping for more Yankees news this week to give us something to talk about. There are five days until Opening Day. Although the Yankees’ transaction wire has been quiet since the start of camp (outside of minor league activity), there should be some turbulence in the next 72 to 96 hours. 

Get ready, Gerrit Cole will soon get the ball. Looking forward to seeing who joins him and Aaron Judge in the Bronx for the season opener against the San Francisco Giants. 

As always, Go Yankees!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

To Trade or Not to Trade...


Gleyber Torres (Photo Credit: Sporting News)

Warning: MLB Roster Decisions Ahead…

Next week stands as the last complete week without “real” Major League Baseball games. With Opening Day only twelve days away, the upcoming week is sure to include many behind-closed-door meetings between General Manager Brian Cashman and his team. Time for newly hired executive consultants Brian Sabean and Omar Minaya to earn their paychecks. 

As the Yankees face the difficult decision (difficult for them, not us) to either add Anthony Volpe to the 40-man roster and bring him to New York for Opening Day or send him to Eastern Pennsylvania for slightly more seasoning, other MLB front offices are analyzing needs in preparation for determining the best twenty-six men for their respective rosters. It should create an opportunity for potential trade acquisitions as teams look to enhance rosters before the one-hundred-sixty-two-game schedule starts.


Anthony Volpe (Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post)

Injuries can change a team’s priorities in a hurry. The Los Angeles Dodgers were viewed as a complete team when Spring Training started and then they lose infielder Gavin Lux for the season, and the team screams the need for another infielder. It has prompted the subsequent Isiah Kiner-Falefa to the Dodgers rumors, which of course could just be a fictional proposal created by the Yankees’ fanbase. The New York Mets, despite all of Steve Cohen’s money, find themselves scrambling for a new closer after losing star Edwin Diaz was lost for the season. Diaz, celebrating Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, tore the patellar tendon tear in his right knee. He underwent surgery which has an expected timeline of about eight months according to Mets general manager Billy Eppler. I do not think the Yankees and Mets match up for any potential trades, but teams are assessing their volatile, ever-changing needs and preparing to pull the trigger for potential final improvements before the start of the long summer run.    

The Yankees’ weaknesses are the same as they have been since last October. Left field, pitching, and a surplus of infielders, especially if Anthony Volpe makes the big-league roster. Having too many players is always a nice problem, but it must be addressed. I like Gleyber Torres and I am not particularly anxious to see him depart via trade, but I recognize he would bring the most in return. My fear is the Yankees trade Torres, and then Oswald Peraza and/or Volpe prove they are not quite ready for the Show. I like the thought of Peraza and Volpe as the long-term shortstop/second base solution. At some point, you must rip the band-aid off. I like Volpe better at second base than third, so if you are not moving Torres to third, which I do not believe the Yankees would do, it makes so much sense to move Torres for pitching. 

The starting rotation concerns me. Carlos Rodón’s season will be delayed. Although he is expected back in late April or early May (looking to be the latter based on recent reports), his injury history says there is cause for concern. While I try not to read too much into Spring stats, Luis Severino’s slow start is troubling. Hopefully, once the regular season starts, he is the bulldog of old, but watching him get hit hard this Spring has not been fun. I was pleased with Clarke Schmidt’s dominating performance the other day (he threw five perfect innings against the Pirates, striking out seven batters). But…it was just a Spring Training game. He still must prove it in the regular season. I will never be a big fan of Domingo German, so I find it hard to hold trust in his ability. He might be a good opener, but he weakens during the course of games as batting orders get second and third looks at his pitches. Nestor Cortes, Jr may be healthy but his hamstring pull at the start of camp shows how quickly one can go down.

When the Yankees signed Rodón, everyone loved talking about how dominating the starting staff could be. Then the injury bug hit, first taking down Frankie Montas. While I think Rodón will be okay, the line of first defense…the starting rotation depth…is troubling. Jhony Brito looms as the first call-up if an additional starter is needed. Yet, he has never pitched in the Majors so he has yet to go through the adjustment period when one makes it at the game’s highest level. Deivi Garcia has had a good Spring but after two disappointing years in the Minors, his Spring does not alleviate the risks or concerns. Non-roster invitee Tanner Tully made a nice impression before his minor league reassignment. The organization’s top pitching prospects seem too far away to help. Drew Thorpe is in the low Minors, and Will Warren has only pitched one game this Spring. There is potential in the depth but no proven Major League experience.

Jhony Brito (Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

With the uncertain starting pitching depth, a trade for an experienced starter seems likely. Maybe I am letting my dislike of German seep in, but I would add a starter, assuming one can be had, and move German to long relief, which was his intended role before Montas went down. No doubt Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes is the Brian Reynolds of pitching for Yankee fans.  Burnes would look awesome in Pinstripes, but I think a trade for him is as likely as winning Powerball. It seems more likely the Yankees would trade for a pitcher like Chris Flexen of the Seattle Mariners.

If I had my choice of infielders to move, Josh Donaldson would head the list. Unfortunately, his age, contract, and declining bat skills make him difficult to move. It would cost good young prospects who would have to be added as an enticement and the Yankees would have to pay part of his contract. Isiah Kiner-Falefa makes the most sense. Although his days as the Yankees’ starting shortstop are over…thankfully…he has value as a utility player. The Dodgers have shown you can never have too many utility players. IKF’s ability to play multiple positions adds to his appeal for other teams. The Volpe decision weighs heavily into whether IKF or Gleyber Torres is moved. If Volpe starts the year in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, it seems more probable IKF goes. If Volpe makes the team’s Opening Day roster as the second baseman, Torres, sadly, would be the one who gets the tap on the shoulder. I just do not really see the Yankees moving Volpe or Torres to third base. I would cut Donaldson in a heartbeat to do it, eating his contract, but I do not think the Yankees would. 

Lastly, the albatross…left field. Aaron Hicks is a Yankee. My God, let it end. I am ready for the end of his Yankees career. Let him go elsewhere to see if he can stay healthy and have a resurgent career. Willie Calhoun and Rafael Ortega are not great options, and Estevan Florial cannot hit Major League pitching.  I am still riding the Jurickson Profar or bust train. Whether it is Profar or someone else who is not currently with the team, the Yankees need a good one-year option in left. Next Spring, there will be legitimate discussions about Jasson Dominguez taking over plus Spencer Jones will continue to make more noise. As much as I disliked the stopgap idea for shortstop last year, it makes total sense for left field.

We have been talking about these positions all Winter. Hope is in the air that we finally see some resolution during the upcoming week. It would be a tremendous day to wake up to find out the Yankees have parted ways with a few of the above names like Hicks and IKF. I see next week as the ‘add bodies’ week, the following week as the final roster tweaking (moving the bodies around) in preparation for the March 30th opener at Yankee Stadium.

Misters Sabean and Minaya, you are on the clock.

As always, Go Yankees!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Yankees & the All-Star Injury List...


Carlos Rodón (Photo Credit: David J Phillip/AP)

Yankees player (insert name) will miss time…

In the famous words of Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman: What, Me Worry?

The Yankee injury news this week felt like a gut punch.

So much for my excitement to see Carlos Rodón make his home debut at Yankee Stadium in the regular season’s second game against his former teammates, the San Francisco Giants. GM Brian Cashman gave the somber news this week that Rodón will not be ready for Opening Day due to a brachioradialis strain in his multi-million dollar left arm.

He will not pitch for seven to ten days and will have to restart his season’s preparation, a process that will take at least six weeks. He should be ready by late April. As cold as it can be during the season’s first few weeks, Rodón gets a pass on the fickle New York weather. This could have been worse news. Rodón had Tommy John surgery in 2019, but fortunately, his ulnar collateral ligament is strong. The fear, of course, is that the forearm strain could lead to further problems down the road.

Rodón commented if this had occurred later in the season, he may have pitched through it. He dealt with the same type of strain last season with the Giants and did not miss any time. Hopefully, the Yankees dodged a bullet and Rodón will be a force in the starting rotation in the not-so-distant future. 

Sadly, Rodón is not the only player who will see time on the Aaron Hicks Honorary Injured List. The Yankees have also announced Harrison Bader will miss time with a left oblique strain. The injury occurred during Wednesday’s game while swinging during an at-bat.  Core injuries are concerning given how difficult it can be to avoid re-injury.  Hopefully, Bader will miss the least amount of time and will be patrolling center field before Rodón returns.

When Spring Training opened, the worst injury news was Nestor Cortes, Jr’s hamstring strain and how it might delay his season. Now he is looking like one of the healthier players on the team. We already knew that Frankie Montas will miss most of the season after shoulder surgery. Now comes word that the other player received in the dreadful deal with the Oakland A’s at last year’s trade deadline, Lou Trivino, will miss time with an elbow sprain. The Yankees truly gave up their top pitching prospect, plus a few others, for guys who will provide nothing for the Yankees in the foreseeable future. Trivino is not expected back until May, but if he needs surgery, it could be longer. 

The bullpen has taken a hit with the temporary loss of two valuable veterans. In addition to Trivino, Tommy Kahnle is out with biceps tendinitis. Late March had appeared to be the possible end of the line for the latest Yankees chapter of Albert Abreu, but the injuries increase the likelihood he will make the Opening Day Roster. Jimmy Cordero is probably a beneficiary as well. The season has not yet started, but we are already playing the latest ‘Next Man Up’ round. 

Trying to run down the list of injured Yankee players is kind of like trying to keep up with all the 2023 celebrity deaths.

While Kyle Higashioka is away at the World Baseball Classic, catching has suddenly become a rare commodity in camp. Ben Rortvedt had a procedure for an aneurysm in the posterior artery of his left shoulder, Austin Wells has a fractured rib, and Josh Breaux will miss a few weeks with an elbow injury. When the injuries occurred, some fans feared the potential signing of former Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, which is never going to happen. Instead, the Yankees pivoted to former Tampa Bay Rays catcher Nick Ciuffo. Ciuffo is a former first-round draft pick (chosen twenty-first overall by the Rays in the 2013 MLB Draft), but he has never developed into a Major League hitter. 

Nick Ciuffo (Photo Credit: Smiley N Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

I think Mike Axisa referred to Ciuffo as a ‘poor man’s Rob Brantly’. He is right (as usual). Ciuffo, only 28, has played for four other organizations since his release by the Rays in 2019. After making his Major League debut in 2018, Ciuffo has only played in 21 Major League games, batting .188/.259/.292 (.246 wOBA and 54 wRC+). Yet, with Higgy away and Rortvedt out, Ciuffo holds the valuable backup role behind Jose Trevino. At one point, I wanted the Yankees to trade Higgy and acquire a catcher like Sean Murphy before he was dealt to Atlanta. Now I cannot wait for Higgy to return. Ciuffo is only an injury away from seeing time in the Bronx. Yikes! Here is hoping that Yankees catching coach Tanner Swanson can work his magic with Ciuffo.

Last week, I was wondering if Domingo German or Clarke Schmidt would win the fifth spot in the starting rotation and now both will be in the rotation. It is an opportunity for Schmidt to prove he is the long-term answer. 

Opening Day is under three weeks away. Hopefully, the Yankees can keep the remaining healthy players on the field. Not sure I can take more injury news. 

Farewell Estevan Florial

Estevan Florial is a Yankee as of this post, but his time is coming to an end. While Spring stats are generally meaningless, Florial is a guy who needed to play like his career depended upon it because it does. Unfortunately, the former top prospect continues to hit like an outfielder’s version of Nick Ciuffo. In ten Spring games and twenty at-bats, Florial is hitting .150/.227/.200 (.427 OPS).  Sadly, those numbers point to his Yankees exit.

Whether it is a trade for a low-level prospect (if another team feels it can unlock Florial’s potential) or simply a release, Florial is not making the Opening Day Roster. Out of options, the Yankees have no room for him, and it is time to say goodbye. Rafael Ortega and Willie Calhoun are more capable options for the reserve outfielder role. 

I am disappointed with this one. I had high hopes for Florial. I once believed he was a long-term solution for center field, and then later, left field. In the end, he was not a solution at all. He has become the latest chapter of Jesus Montero. An overhyped Yankees prospect who fizzled out. 

For Florial’s sake, I hope he can find success at his next stop.

Anthony Volpe Time

With the disclaimer that I did not personally hear it, Michael Kay said on yesterday’s The Michael Kay Show that Anthony Volpe has a real shot to make the team.

I continue to believe he will open the season in Triple-A, but I certainly would not be disappointed if he heads north with the team later this month. My fear with Volpe is the hype and expectations. It seems if he is anything less than Derek Jeter, fans will be disappointed. I believe Volpe will be a good player in his own right, but I will never try to compare him to anybody other than to hope he is better than Isiah Kiner-Falefa. I will be happy if Volpe makes the team but conversely, I will not be disappointed if he gets sent down. When Volpe is ready, the Yankees will make room. I do firmly believe that Volpe will make his Major League debut in 2023 and I look forward to it. I want to see the player he can become. 

Anthony Volpe (Photo Credit: Gerald Herbert/AP)

Both Volpe and Jasson Dominguez have been major revelations this Spring. Sure, they are the top prospects in the organization, but they have shown they belong. I wish Dominguez was closer to the Major Leagues as he would look beautiful in left field. Patience, Young Grasshopper. Volpe first, and then Dominguez. Hopefully, the two men can win a few World Series together. 

I have seen a few articles calling for Volpe to choose a lower number. I have no problem at all with 77. I think there is magic in double-Mickey Mantle. Maybe it did not work for a red-haired flameout, but Volpe can make the number work to his advantage. I would like to see him keep it over dropping down to say 11, 14, or 18. 

I guess we will soon find out about his number choice. Sooner than I expected if Michael Kay is right.

Passing of Jesús Alou

I was saddened to hear former Major Leaguer Jesús Alou has died at age 80. Alou was part of the famed Alou brothers, which include Felipe and Matty. Felipe is the father of Yankees third base coach Luis Rojas and a former Yankee (1971-1973). Felipe is also the father of former Major Leaguer Moises Alou, half-brother of Luis.  

Left to right, Jesús, Matty, and Felipe Alou (Photo Credit:

Jesús Alou had been a scout for the Boston Red Sox since 2002. During his fifteen-year career, he played for the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, New York Mets, and San Francisco Giants. He won two World Series championships as a bench performer for the A’s. 

The Alou name is baseball royalty. Even if he was working for the wrong organization, Jesús Maria Rojas Alou will be missed. My condolences to Luis Rojas and his family for their loss. 

As always, Go Yankees!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Anthony Volpe, Star of the Future...


Anthony Volpe (Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post)

Volpe is making a tremendous first impression…

Anthony Volpe is fantastic, but…he will not be the Yankees’ Opening Day starting shortstop.

At some point later this month, Volpe will be reassigned to Minor League camp and sent to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Many Yankees fans will have a difficult time accepting it when it happens, but we would be foolish to expect the Yankees to deviate from their plan.

Volpe is the likely winner of the James P. Dawson Award which goes to the best Yankees rookie in Spring Training. The award originated in 1956, and Clarke Schmidt, battling Domingo German for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, was the 2022 winner.

Volpe is a special player. He has the “it” factor, and his Baseball IQ has been described as ‘off the charts’.  While I believe Volpe could play in the Major Leagues today, it is important to understand the Yankees feel he needs more time to establish himself at Triple-A before his ascent to the Bronx. I do not believe this is a case of service time manipulation.

Volpe played 110 games for the Double-A Somerset Patriots last season. He slashed .251/.348/.472, with .358 wOBA and 122 wRC+, hitting 18 home runs and 60 RBI.  His performance earned him a promotion to Triple-A, where he played 22 games for the RailRiders. His line at Triple-A dropped to .236/.313/.404, .320 wOBA and 91 wRC+. He had 3 homers and 5 RBI.  The Triple-A numbers are a small sample, but it is a level Volpe has not yet mastered. 

In a very small sample size (eleven at-bats) this Spring, Volpe is hitting .364/.417/.727…against minor league pitchers and non-roster guys desperately trying to make their respective teams. The inflated batting line, strong defensive play, and on-the-field leadership qualities have led to heightened fan expectations. If you believe Volpe should be the Opening Day starting shortstop and will be upset if it does not happen, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Anthony Volpe with Derek Jeter "several years ago" (Photo Credit: Twitter/@TalkinYanks via @SOMPatriots)

MLB History is littered with great players who skipped minor league levels. It always makes me think of former Atlanta Braves slugger Bob Horner who was the first overall amateur draft pick in 1978 and was directly inserted into the ’78 Braves starting lineup. No comparison to Volpe, Horner was a collegiate player while Volpe was drafted out of high school so there were obvious differences in age, maturity, and development. Horner is just my reference point for ‘I don’t need no stinking minor leagues!’. 

If the Yankees believe Volpe needs more time in Triple-A, maybe he does. I do not want the Yankees to rush his development, and I support careful handling to ensure Volpe is the best player he can be. I am confident he will make his Major League debut in 2023. Maybe not late March or early April, but we will likely see him by the All-Star Break if all goes well. 

Anthony Volpe (Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post)

I am excited about Volpe’s future. This is the best I have felt about a Yankees rookie since Aaron Judge (with no intended disrespect to Gleyber Torres).  I am less confident about which position Volpe will play. Oswald Peraza’s best position seems to be shortstop, and the general talk has Volpe at second base where Gleyber Torres currently resides (thus, all the Gleyber trade talk). Third base is a possibility, and the Yankees will soon need a replacement for Josh Donaldson. If Donaldson continues his poor offensive performance, the change could happen as soon as this year. If not, it still seems unlikely Donaldson will be on the 2024 Opening Day Roster.   

I refuse to be upset when the announcement comes down that Volpe is headed for Triple-A. I support the Yankees’ opinion, and their belief it is in the best interests of the player and the organization. 

Volpe’s time will come…soon.  Patience requested. 

Donaldson, Kiner-Falefa, and Hicks

Every week, I reevaluate where I am with Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Aaron Hicks.

I have softened on Donaldson. I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt that the lockout and short Spring Training that included an unexpected trade from the Minnesota Twins to the Yankees may have adversely impacted Donaldson’s display at the plate last season. If for no other reasons than I love his defensive value at third, I am willing to give Donaldson time this season to see if he can be the feared hitter he once was. Maybe Father Time has him in a stranglehold, maybe not. I will hope for the latter, but I am prepared for the former.

Josh Donaldson and Aaron Boone (Photo Credit: Nam Y Huh/AP)

Personally, if I owned the team, I would trade Donaldson and make DJ LeMahieu the starting third baseman. Since that is unrealistic, I accept Donaldson’s presence and I am willing to give him a chance. 

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is NOT a Major League starting shortstop. The Yankees were foolish to think he was last season. Yet, Kiner-Falefa has value as a utility player. At $6 million this season, he is an expensive utility, and like high-cost natural gas, it is best to use in moderation. I will always be amazed the Texas Rangers spent a half-billion dollars to replace IKF, and the Yankees passed on elite free agent shortstops to give him the starting job. How did Texas know who IKF was, and the Yankees did not?  The Yankees are a smart organization, but IKF was a misjudgment on their part. 

I believe strongly that Oswald Peraza will be the Opening Day starting shortstop. If you are upset about Volpe being sent down, I will be upset if Peraza does not take the field in the top of the first inning on Thursday, March 30th when the Yankees play the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium. 

If IKF is on the roster as an infield utility (I dismiss the outfield talk), I am fine with it. He can carve a role with the team in a backup capacity. If he is traded to a suddenly infielder-needy team like the Los Angeles Dodgers or Colorado Rockies, fine. I will pack his bags and drive him to the airport. 

This leads us to Aaron Hicks. My God, how does this guy still have a job with the New York Yankees? I am done with Hicks. Finished. Kaput. My patience ran out with him a long time ago and there is no hope for restoration. I would love to see the Yankees sign Jurickson Profar and trade Hicks even if they must pay part of his contract. If not Profar, other trade options could bring in better players than Hicks.  Maybe not a Brian Reynolds, but a quality outfielder can be found at the right price. With terrific outfield prospects Jasson Dominguez, Everson Pereira, and Spencer Jones on the horizon, the Yankees only need a quality left fielder to cover the next year or two. Aaron Hicks is not that guy. Next…

The King is back!

Michael King made his presence felt yesterday when he pitched two hitless/scoreless innings in the Yankees’ 5-3 loss to Detroit. He struck out four Tigers in his dominating Spring debut.

After King’s breakout last season, he has become such a force in the bullpen. When he was lost for the season last year with a fractured elbow, the team suffered for it. I always like to say everyone is replaceable, but last season, King proved nobody could replace him. 

Michael King (Photo Credit: Yankees/

King is one of my favorite players and I love his role with the Yankees. I am sure there will be bad days. There always are with the crazy game of baseball, but King brings confidence each time he enters a game. If the Yankees win the World Series this year, King will have made a significant contribution to reaching the goal.   

I pray good health follows King this season. The Yankees need him, we need him. All hail the King!

As always, Go Yankees!