Yankees News: Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, and Clint Frazier fights for No.26

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge shoulder update:

The New York Yankees faithful, as well as coaches and Aaron Boone, are concerned with the health of their monster slugger Aaron Judge.  Judge reported to spring training early, but as of a day ago, he had yet to take batting practice.  Judge has been suffering from shoulder pain, a situation that he has dealt with since his time at Fresno State.  The good news is that Judge played toss and hit from the Tee yesterday and is expected to take batting practice today or tomorrow.

The Yankees are hoping the injury-prone slugger can stay healthy this year and replicate his incredible 2017 season. Judge has suffered significant injuries in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons that have considerably lessened his impact on the club.  Fans are hoping the Yankee will get a contract extension that the front office has been withholding so far.  If Judge misses any substantial time off the field due to injuries again this season, that extension probably will not be forthcoming.

D.J. LeMahieu wants to remain a Yankee:

New York Yankee D.J. LeMahieu has been relatively quiet as spring trainer started at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.  With the Astros talk and a series of new injury scares dominating the news, D.J. has been in the background.   Yesterday in an interview, he spoke about his 2019 season.

“I think I get in trouble, especially, if I try to do too much,” he said. “So just kind of stay within myself and I did a really good job of that last year and the results happened. For me, I’m not trying to do anything, I should just be myself and everything takes care of itself.”

He without mentioning the Astros sign-stealing, he recalled the heartbreak of losing Game 6 of the ALCS at MinuteMaid Park.  LeMahieu hit the game tieing home run before Jose Altuve hit his home run off Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros the series win.

“Went from I thought we were going to win the World Series to being in the locker room real quick, it wa a tough loss and I think it makes me even more excited to be here starting spring training again.”

The Silver Slugger talked about playing ball in New York and made it clear that he wants to remain with the Yankees.  This is his contract year as he becomes a free agent following this season.  He was arguably one of the Yankee’s most important players last year as the team faced multiple injuries. D.J. remained healthy and reliable, manning second base and seamlessly sliding to the two corners of the infield when needed.

Clint Frazier fights for that 26th spot:

This year rosters around baseball will expand from the traditional 25 to 26 players, and Clint Frazier wants that spot.  Frazier, so far in the last two years, has had a checkered time with the big team.  At times ablaze at the plate and at times a little leaguer in the outfield.  There is no question that Frazier is a formidable force with his quick swinging bat. He slashed .267/.317/.489, with 12 home runs in 225 at-bats in 2019.  Where Frazier has to prove himself in his defense.  This season may be his last chance to prove to the Yankees that he belongs at the major league level. 

Several players, including Manager Aaron Boone, believes in Frazier.  Boone said: “Fraz has the chance to be a great player in this league, we want to be there for him, continue to help him grow in this game.” How much playing time if he makes the team will depend on the health of the outfield with Aaron Hicks still rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery, questions with Stanton durability, and a possible sore shoulder from Judge.  As Frazier fights for the extra spot on the roster he said: 

“…So I think this spring training, if I could go out there and I do what I can do offensively and I do what I know that I can defensively, then maybe I’ll put myself in a different spot to not only focus on the 26th man.”

When Frazier was spoken too, he seemed to want to talk about baseball and not his run-ins with reporters or any other distractions he may have caused.

“But I also believe that if I lose who I am, it probably affects you on the field, and that’s the biggest thing, is trying to be yourself without becoming a distraction. And as we all know, distractions can linger. And I don’t want to go through distractions. I don’t want to deal with that anymore….I’m here to have people just talk about baseball. I don’t need the rest of the stuff. This isn’t the Yankees’ reality TV show.”

 

New York Yankees: Aaron Judge is getting back on track

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

After the news came out that Aaron Judge was having discomfort in his shoulder, New York Yankees fans went into a panic as it was a reminder of last season’s injury nightmare. Judge had indicated that there should be no reason to worry though, as it was just normal soreness that comes from playing baseball.

Judge had another good day yesterday and took swings off the tee. It was the first time he swung a bat since being shut down earlier in the month and everything went fine.

“He kind of gave me across the room [a] smile and thumbs up,” manager Aaron Boone said. “So everything’s moving there I think the way it should. So, another good day for him.”

Even though Judge is feeling better and getting back on track to prepare for the season, I don’t expect to see at the plate a ton in the Spring Training games. I think the New York Yankees are going to be extra careful with Judge since they don’t want a repeat of last season.

“We won’t be in a rush to put them in a game, just because of where we are in the calendar,” Boone said. “But I think he’s pretty much good to go.”

After fracturing his wrist in 2018 and enduring an oblique injury in 2019, the Yankees are definitely going to monitor and limit Judge’s workouts and play on the field up until Opening Day. It’s likely they do the same with other players like Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, and Gary Sanchez.

2020 NFL Draft: New York Giants Should Take Mekhi Becton at No. 4

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

Ahead of the NFL Combine this week, former scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah was asked his thoughts about what the New York Giants should do with the No. 4 overall selection in April’s NFL Draft.

Well, they’ve got a lot of holes. You pick up there for a reason. And I get what you’re saying about finding some playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. But, look, as an organization, your number one priority is ensuring that Daniel Jones is going to grow and develop and be a success.

 

So if I have to go through another year of watching some vanilla, boring defense lacking in playmakers, I’m going to do that if it means I can go ahead and get my left tackle that will protect this kid for the next 10 years. That would take priority for me. I know there’s depth at the tackle class.

 

To me Mekhi Becton is a freak, from Louisville, an absolute freak. I’m not in the business of trading off freaks at a need position. He’s a left tackle. He’s a better version of Bryant McKinnie. He’s going to be that guy for the next 10 to 12 years to protect your franchise quarterback. He’s so big, so long, so athletic, even when he is not perfect, it doesn’t matter because nobody can get through him. He’s 6’7″, 370 pounds.

 

You just don’t see guys like that come around very often. I know trade-back options exist. I know you can take a defensive playmaker. To me I’m not trading off that pick. I’m sitting there right there taking Mekhi Becton.

So, there you have it. I’m always down for a road grader, a “hog mollie” with the top pick. Without large bodies you cannot compete. Becton is certainly that and he can play left tackle.

For the Giants follow Jeremiah’s advice, they’d first have to see who falls to them. By some divine intervention, they could still be in play for Chase Young if a run on quarterbacks causes a ‘trading-up’ frenzy that has QB-needy teams leapfrogging the Giants to grab a signal caller.

If the draft order stays intact, and GM Dave Gettleman decides to stick potential deals to trade back in his desk drawer and stand pat, then Becton is one way to go.

He could be the Giants’ starting left tackle on opening day, moving current LT Nate Solder to the right side or even the bench. The Giants are also high on Nick Gates, who played well in a small sample of games and last year’s seventh rounder George Asafo-Adjei, who missed the 2019 season due to injury.

Mike Remmers will be a free agent and the Giants could also bring him back on a one-year deal, but Jeremiah is right. They need to finally address left tackle and with player such as Becton staring them in the face, they may just pull the trigger.

New York Mets: Yoenis Cespedes Moving in the Right Direction

New York Mets, Yeonis Cespedes

The story of the high priced New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is one of the most talked-about stories throughout the beginning of Spring Training. After missing almost two years with heel injuries, Cespedes arrived at Spring Training early and is progressing well in his rehab program.

Cespedes made a lot of noise by his silence towards the media. He has decided not to speak to them at all, which continues his long-lasting battle against the press. On the field, Cespedes has been everything the Mets could ask for as he recovers from double heel surgery. The surgery is still keeping Cespedes out of the first few Spring Training games due to the Mets being extremely cautious with their slugger.

Any Progress is Good Progress

Cespedes surgery is very similar to the career-damaging one Troy Tulowitzki received. He is moving well on his repaired legs, but the Mets have not ramped things up in the same way they have done with the rest of their players. It seems the defense will be the hardest part of Cespedes finding his way back to the field. The Mets can put him in any Spring Training games if he cannot move at 100 percent.

If there is rust in Cespedes’ swing, it has not been evident yet. After flinging his bat, Todd Frazier style, on his first swing, he has been good since. Cespedes’ at-bats have included a homer, double off Rick Porcello, and a hard line drive off Jacob deGrom. The best part of his game has always been his bat, which seems ready for game action.

The Mets are fine with easing Cespedes back because of their surplus of outfielders. His expectation is likely to regain his role in left field, but the longer he cannot play, the easier it is for J.D. Davis to continue playing over Cespedes.

New York Giants “in love” with top offensive tackle prospect

New York Giants, Tristan Wirfs

The New York Giants have plenty of options with the 4th overall pick, and whether they address the offensive line or defense is yet to be seen. Arguments can be made for both, as the Giants are in desperate need of a defensive playmaker like Isaiah Simmons, but also need an offensive tackle to lock down the right side for years to come.

With Jack Conklin offering his services in the free agency, GM Dave Gettleman is reportedly intrigued. However, his price-tag could be a deterrent, especially since Nate Solder will count $19.5 million against the cap in 2020.

This could lead Gettleman to address the position through the draft, where he can consume a far cheaper investment but still have the talent to work with.

One thing is for sure, the Giants plan to have a smash-mouth football team moving forward, and blocking for Saquon Barkley in the run and Daniel Jones in the passing game is essential.

One prospect the New York Giants are “in love” with:

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reports that Big Blue enamored by Iowa offensive tackle, Tristan Wirfs.

In fact, the Giants already “love” Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs, according to an NFL source familiar with the Giants thinking, and they have expressed similar interest in Alabama’s Jedrick Wills. Both of them are widely considered among the top four offensive line prospects in this year’s class, and they will get a good look from the entire league at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis next week.

It is far too early to know whether either of them would interest the Giants enough to draft them with the fourth overall pick. Right now, the NFL consensus seems to have Wirfs and Wills in a four-man group at the top of the offensive line charts, with Georgia’s Andrew Thomas and Louisville’s Mekhi Becton. Which order they will eventually land in depends, for now, on who is asked.

With so much talent at the tackle position in this year’s draft, it opens up a bevy of possibilities for the Giants. However, trading back and accumulating picks seems to be the idealistic move at this point in time.

New York Yankees: Aaron Judge takes step forward in recovery from shoulder injury

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

After reports of New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge suffering a shoulder injury hit the news, mass hysteria ensued. Luckily, the ailment is a result of training too hard int he weeks leading up to spring training. A bit of soreness and crankiness was the culprit, according to manager, Aaron Boone.

Resting his shoulder for three days enabled him to begin swinging a bat and hitting off a tee, which should indicate him being close to returning to full batting practice.

The Yankees, though, start Grapefruit League play in Tampa on Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Judge projects to join the team next week in live-action play, as the Yankees are taking all precautions with this injury.

“It probably started a couple weeks ago, when I first got down here,” Judge said. “I’ve been hitting since early November, and working out since early November, and once I got down here, I hit on the field, hitting outside.

“I just thought it’d be best to — I just felt a little soreness up in the shoulder. Nothing alarming, nothing that I was like, ‘Hey, we need to really check this out.’ So I said, ‘Hey, we got plenty of time going into spring training, let’s take it slow these next couple days, make sure everything’s right, and then kind of go from there.’”

While it’s calming to know that Judge has been working hard on improving his craft in recent months, straining his body isn’t ideal before spring training play. Ensuring he’s 100% healthy before resuming activities is necessary, but light practice is encouraged so he can get into the swing of things seamlessly (pun intended).

The New York Yankees need to be careful with their star slugger:

Judge is beginning to earn a reputation of always being injured, and his latest issue hasn’t calmed that narrative. The 2017 campaign was his only near-season of complete health, and he launched 52 homers. He missed 45 games in 2018 and 54 games in 2019.

The hope is he can remain healthy in 2020, contributing towards a Yankee goal of making the World Series, an achievement that has evaded them for the past decade.