Despite Postponement, Rumors State the MLB Still Envisions 162 Games Played In 2020

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

According to several rumors, the MLB is still planning on playing a full 162 game schedule in 2020 despite the Opening Day postponement due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Along with other sports, the MLB suspended their season on Thursday. Right now, the league is planning to open the season in early to mid-April, but that may already be in jeopardy.

I think that at this point, the most realistic start date probably isn’t until around May 1st. If this virus clears out in a few weeks, players will still need a bit of time to get game ready.

May 1st would probably be the latest date that the season could start if there are still intentions to play a 162 game schedule. This would lead to a December World Series, and the weather becomes a huge factor by then.

The league could consider expanding rosters to over 30 players for the season. If they did that, they could schedule some doubleheaders to try and end the season earlier while playing a full schedule. Teams could have maybe seven guys in the rotation for doubleheaders, with everyone still throwing every five days.

But, fatigue would be a huge issue for relievers and position players if there were to be scheduled doubleheaders. Once the COVID-19 situation gets better overall, the league office and teams could meet to decide the best course of action for the remainder of the season.

No matter which way the league decides to go, there will be pros and cons. They just need to do what will be best for both the players and the fans.

New York Giants Wise To Lock Up David Mayo

New York Giants, David Mayo

The New York Giants have signed linebacker David Mayo to a three-year contract extension (according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic). This Friday the thirteenth ended up being David’s lucky day. The Giants made the right decision and extended David Mayo on a team-friendly contract.

Affordable Contract

Mayo’s three-year contract extension is worth $8.4 million, according to Ian Rappoport. The former Carolina Panther is receiving a hefty pay increase while the Giants are retaining a consistent contributor in run defense. Mayo’s reliable performance in 2019 makes this deal a bargain for New York’s team.

Consistent Run-Defender

David Mayo started 13 games in 2019 despite being considered a reserve heading into the season. In those 13 games, though, Mayo exceeded all expectations. David’s consistent performance in run-defense throughout the season earned him his new contract.

Pro Football Focus was a big fan of David Mayo in 2019. Mayo earned PFF’s second-highest run-defense grade by an inside linebacker this season. Mayo did struggle in pass-coverage, but his play against the run was consistent and makes him with valuable heading into 2020.

In 2019, David Mayo totaled 82 combined tackles in 13 games. Additionally, Mayo had 5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. But Mayo’s poor coverage stats will likely keep him from being the Giants’ primary inside linebacker next season. Mayo’s coverage was targeted 29 times and he allowed 19 completions, a 65.5% completion percentage. This is an area where David will need to improve in 2020 if he wants to see his role continue to expand on the Giants’ defense.

Report: A look at how the Yankees are dealing with sick individuals inside the organization

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

With Corona Virus forcing major league teams to halt operations and postpone live-action games, the New York Yankees are taking all precautions to ensure their staff is safe from any exposure.

The Yankees, however, are staying in Tampa to continue informal practicing while the league shuts down in an effort to remain healthy and fit for the start of the regular season. The additional time off should contribute toward the recovery process for Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and James Paxton.

General manager Brian Cashman expressed his confidence in their protocols to monitor players, as per NJ.com:

“Once the temperature rises, obviously we monitor it and get them over to our internist,” Cashman said. “And just as in prior years, they go through the protocols. If the internist thinks he might have influenza – whether it’s a player or a staff member, front office member, coaching staff (member) – they go through the process.

“Does he have strep? Does he have influenza? All that stuff. We’ll continue to act accordingly on both sides … the major-league camp and the minor-league camp.

Remaining together seems like the best move for the Yankees, considering the viral spread of the infection could have reached immediate family. For teams like the Yanks who play in New York, staying away from the Bronx is essential, with the number of infected people tripling since Wednesday in the city.

“There’s no script here that we can all fall back on and rely upon,” Cashman said. “I think there’s a recognition of there’s a lot of unknown.”

With nearly every sports league and event canceled for the next month, at least, all we can do now is speculate and evaluate the team/players before the start of the regular season. We will be providing updates and reports in the coming weeks to ensure you’re caught up on all baseball-related activities.

Yankees Legends: “The Chairman of the Board,” Whitey Ford

historic photograph of three baseball players

“The Chairman of the Board”

A 10-time New York Yankee All-Star, a Cy Young Award Winner, an eight-time MVP nominee, a lifetime record of 236-106, and a career ERA of 2.75, it could be only one person, Edward Charles “Whitey Ford.” Ford spent his entire career of 16 years with the New York Yankees. During his 18 years with the Yankees, he spent two years in the Army serving in the Korean War. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974. With the death of Yogi Berra, Ford has been named the greatest living baseball player by the New York Times.

Ford was a local boy, born in Queens just a few miles from the Bronx. As a child, Ford played baseball and stickball in the summer in the sandlots of the Queens, football in the fall, and roller hockey in the winter. During the summers, Ford and his friends played sandlot baseball until dark on fields next to the Madison Square Garden Bowl, about a mile from his home neighborhood.  When not playing there, he and his friend would play stickball against a wall using a broomstick.

Several neighborhood fathers got together and bought uniforms for their sons.  They organized a team for the 13-year-olds, called the Thirty-fourth Avenue Boys.  The group stayed together for five years. Ford’s childhood baseball hero was Joe DiMaggio, who he got to see when he and his Father boarded the Subway for the trip to Yankee Stadium.

In Ford’s senior years of highschool In April 1946, he attended a Yankees tryout camp at Yankee Stadium as a first baseman. Paul Krichell, a Yankees scout, noticed Ford’s strong-arm during fielding practice. It was thought he was too small to play first base but had him throw a few pitches on the sidelines and showed him how to throw a curveball. He alternated every other game by pitching and playing at first base, in the summer after he graduated by playing with the Thirty-fourth Avenue Boys. The team went 36-0 to win the Queens-Nassau semipro league, with Ford winning 18 games without a loss when pitching.

Whitey was signed by the Yankees in 1947 as an amateur free agent and was assigned to the minor leagues. It was during this time that he got his nickname “Whitey” for his nearly albino blond hair, He made his major league debut on July 1, 1950, and let it be known that he was a force to be reckoned with. He won his first nine games in a row. He was named AL Rookie of the Year by sporting news. One thing most of today’s fans are not aware of is that his record would probably be even better, had Casey Stengel not saved him for the bigger games.

In 1951 Whitey would marry is wife, Joan. After the wedding, the Fords delayed their Florida honeymoon for three days so that Whitey could throw out the first pitch at the Yankees’ 1951 Opening Day in Yankee Stadium. They lived on Long Island and raised two sons and a daughter. After his first very successful first year with the Yankees, he served the next two years during the Korean War in the Army.

When returning to the Yankees in 1953, he showed he hadn’t lost any of his skills, going 18-6 on the year and pushed the Yankees to their fifth World Series win in a row. In 1954 the Yankees were loaded with great players and fully expected to win their sixth straight pennant and World Series. They won 103 games, more than in the past five seasons. But lost to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS, who would lose the World Series to the Giants.

In 1955 Ford would go 18-7, but the Yankees would not win the World Series again. In 1956 Ford would pitch even better going 19-6. Ford was 27 years old at the beginning of the 1956 season and started off winning his first six starts while giving up only five runs. He had a minuscule 0.83 earned run average. He would have had 20 wins, but when the Yankees clinched, he decided to forgo his start and save it for the World Series. The Yankee defeated the defending Brooklyn Dodgers in the Series.

The Yankees would again win the World Series in 1958 against the 1957 Champion Milwaukee Braves. In 1961 Whitey was to have his best season ever. He went 25-4 with a 3.21 ERA. He again would be an All-Star and would win his Cy Young Award. In early September, the Yankees held  “Whitey Ford Day” before a game against Cleveland, in appreciation of his outstandinng season and perhaps to make up for being overshaded by the home run race of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

The club showered him with gifts, including a six-foot package of Life Savers that was wheeled in from the bullpen. When it arrived on the mound, out popped the other top Yankee Luis Arroyo. Ford took the joke all in good humor. The Yankees would go on to win the World Series in five games against the Cincinnati Reds, their 19th World Series win.

Ford had three nicknames; Whitey was one of them due to his light blonde hair.  He was also called “Slick” by manager Casey Stengel.  But the nickname that has always stuck is “The Chairman of the Board.”  He got that moniker due to Stengel saving him for big games, and his ability to withstand high-pressure situations was an easy calm while remaining in complete control of a situation.

Ford would go on to have four more winning seasons, including another World Series win in 1962. the last success for the next 15 years. During his career, he had 13 seasons with eleven wins or more. His second best was the 24-7 season in 1963. He will go down in history as one of the greatest Yankee pitchers of all time. At age 91, we hope again to see the “Chairman” at this year’s Old Timer’s Day Game at Yankee Stadium.

New York Mets’ GM Brodie Van Wagenen: ‘This is bigger than baseball’

Simeon Woods-Richardson

Major League Baseball decided to cancel the remaining spring training games and push back the start of the new season “at least” two weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign was supposed to begin in late March but that is very much up in the air now. As a result, every team has been affected, including the New York Mets.

Each and every team’s plans have been derailed, and they are making decisions on the go. The Mets spent most of Saturday figuring out how to proceed from this point on, logistically and on other levels.

“We’re operating right now that this is bigger than baseball,” New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a press conference.

Mets officials met with MLB and MiLB players in their camps, and told them some pointers on how to proceed to protect their health and their families’. The players now have the option of going home, while others may prefer to stay in New York. There is a sense among the team brass that most of them will stay in Port St. Lucie, getting ready for the season.

As a result, Van Wagenen spent some time determining how many uniformed and non-uniformed staff members would be needed to accommodate the players left in training camp.

Some staffers were with the players on Saturday morning, assisting them in their workouts, and giving them treatment. Some players also lifted some weights and performed light baseball-related activities.

“Given the pace at which information is coming in, and circumstances are changing, we really are only focused on this afternoon, today’s schedule,” Van Wagenen said.

The Mets are trying to find answers

It’s not yet clear when opening day will take place, but it won’t be before April 9. The New York Mets, like every other team, will try to find some answers in the upcoming days.

According to Van Wagenen, the Mets want to ensure that their players are comfortable. The team will provide food and accommodations for those who wish to stay in Port St. Lucie, and for those who leave, the ballclub will monitor local and global travel restrictions.

“Are we concerned?” Van Wagenen said. “We’re very thoughtful and concerned right now with the well-being of our players and their families, and will continue to be, and will want to make sure we have the best information as quickly as possible so that players can make the good decisions that are best for their particular situations.”

New York Mets: Donovan Mitchell sr. tested negative for the coronavirus

New York Mets

In the past couple of days, the NBA world was taken by storm because of the news that Utah Jazz’ stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell had tested positive for the coronavirus. The New York Mets currently employ Mitchell’s father, also named Donovan, who is the team’s director of player relations and community outreach. There was some fear around the Mets’ headquarters because of the family link and because Mitchell sr. was in attendance in an NBA game between the Jazz and the Knicks.

Mitchell, in the following days after the game, regularly attended the New York Mets’ training camp in Port St. Lucie. However, the team got some good news to share: Donovan Mitchell father does not have coronavirus.

Gobert tested positive for the disease on Wednesday night, while Mitchell did so a day later. They are the only two NBA athletes so far to test positive for the virus.

Because of fear or further propagation, several top-flight leagues in all major sports have been either pushing back the start of their tournament, suspending them altogether or canceling any remainder games or events.

Upon learning that Gobert and Mitchel tested positive, the NBA canceled the remainding games of the regular season.

Other leagues that suspended operations are the NHL, the NCAA, the MLS, various European and South American soccer leagues, the PGA tour, and more.

So far, no MLB or MILB player has tested positive for the COVID-19, as it is also called.

The Mets were at risk

Upon returning to Florida from the NBA game he attended on March 5, Mitchell was performing his regular duties in the Mets’ training camp and was in close contact with players, staffers, and fans.

The New York Mets can breathe a sigh of relief for now, thankfully, as he is not infected. MLB allowed players to return home and pushed back the start of the regular season for two weeks to see how the situation develop. If it doesn’t improve, another pushback could be in the horizon.

Yankees skipper Aaron Boone says situation is “bigger than baseball” and he’s 100% right

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

With the MLB shutting down operations for the foreseeable future, players and coaches will practice privately away fro media and fans. These precautions are necessary to halt the viral spreading of the Novel Corona Virus, which has sent the USA into a state of emergency. New York Yankees skipper, Aaron Boone, expressed the fluidity of the situation we are currently in, mentioning that the club will stay together and continue practicing.

“From my understanding right now, we stay [in Florida] to work out as a club and everything is within our club,’’ Boone said on Thursday. “My guess is that it remains a fluid situation, obviously. We will take MLB’s lead and the situation’s lead and hopefully get to the point where we get back out there.’’

The league has instituted a shutdown for the next few weeks, already pushing back the start of the regular season to April and possibly May with the expected spread of the virus. Hopefully, the containment measures prove to be effective, and life can return to normal in the coming weeks.

“This is a unique situation that is bigger than baseball,’’ Boone said. “You want to do your part on behalf of the world, not contributing to be a part of this becoming a real poor situation. We will be cooperative in trying to play our part the best we can.’’

On the bright side, the push-back of the March 26 Opening Day could see both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back to full health and activity. However, Judge did mention it takes about 30 at-bats to settle into a rhythm, so I imagine he won’t be prepared to face live-pitching at the major league level with the league shutting down all operations for the next few weeks.

Again, an injured Yankee team will benefit from the prolonging of Opening Day, but we still must consider the seriousness of the virus and what it means for many around the world.

 

New York Giants: 3 players to piece together the secondary in 2020

Byron Jones, Brian Poole, Devin McCourty, New York Giants

The New York Giants desperately need to piece together their secondary in 2020, and it starts with finding a No. 1 cornerback. Free agency will be their primary allocation regarding the defensive secondary, as they spent three draft picks on injecting youth into the unit last offseason.

With about $80 million in free agency, the Giants and GM Dave Gettleman will need to allocate at least $35 million to overhaul the unit with veteran experience and quality. Gettleman is keen on carrying $20 million over into the season for draft picks and in-season acquisitions. However, the upcoming class of free agents is strong in positions the Giants desperately need to invest in.

Here are three players the New York Giants should be looking into:

1.) Byron Jones

The first is clear-cut, as the Giants cannot go in 2020 with DeAndre Baker featuring as their No. 1 corner — he’s simply not prepared to take on a full seasons workload against top wide receivers. Allowing him to continue his development in a secondary role will be beneficial down the road, but creating a great tandem with Jones and Baker would be an ideal scenario for a secondary who hasn’t had an intimidating presence in years.

Jones is expecting to land about $17 million in free agency, which is a significant but worthwhile number. His lack of statistical output can correlate directly toward the lack of attention he gets from opposing quarterbacks. While he’s not the type of player who will rack up interceptions, he’s a skilled ball-swatter and has fluid hips in coverage. He limited star wideout for the Saints, Michael Thomas, to zero receptions in 2019.

2.) Devin McCourty

Inserting a veteran and familiar presence for new HC Joe Judge is why signing Devin McCourty makes a lot of sense. While he’s aging at 32-years-old, McCourty had another productive season in 2019, racking up five interceptions and 58 combined tackles. The Patriots had one of the best defenses in the NFL last season, and his knowledge is vital to the growth of the Giants’ unit, who are all mostly below the age of 23.

I anticipate the Giants can grab him on a two-year, $20 million deal with high guarantees. This is an ideal stop-gap for a few seasons, while the Giants collect assets to invest in a younger option down the road.

3.) Brian Poole

One intriguing prospect at the slot corner position is free agent Brian Poole, who featured on the Jets in 2019. Poole had a stellar campaign last year, posting a 62.5% completion percentage, up slightly from 57.1% in 2018. His statistical output attests to his quality, and the Giants are missing a quality starter at slot corner.

However, Julian Love could be the expected starter at the position moving forward — I don’t believe he’s ready for an everyday starting role, considering his 9.8% missed tackle rate. He did post a 65.5% completion percentage over 29 targets, but Poole beats him at the category having dealt with 64 targets and a 62.5% completion rate. I expect Poole to land anywhere from $6-8 million per season.

Overall, these three players would account for about $33 million in cap space but would overhaul the unit entirely.

Are The New York Yankees Making a Mistake at Shortstop?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees made their play early into the 2019 offseason who their future at shortstop was. And they were tipping their hand during the 2019 regular season when rumors over their parting of ways with Didi Gregorius started coming out. It’s been clear for a while they intended to move Gleyber back to shortstop.

But is his Spring Training starting to show how much of a mistake that was?

I’ve Said it Before, I’ll Say it Again, He’s a Better Second Baseman

As George King and Ken Davidoff point we in the New York Post, Gleyber committed most of his errors last season at shortstop. And he played most of his games in the field at short. Out of the 20 errors he made last season combined, 11 were at short. He’s also committed 5 errors in 10 games in Spring Training.

I’ve argued before that “You can’t use a poor Spring Training performance as insight for the season to come”. But I’ve also pointed out the troubles defensively Gleyber has had defensively at short in the big leagues. This should be concerning for the Yankees, as it’s clear they want DJ to be their starting second baseman.

When Do You Consider the Move a Failure?

Sanchez had 2018 to forget, both offensively and defensively. With Judge being consistently hurt, Torres is becoming a lynchpin in that batting order. If his defensive woes at short continue, and he can’t figure it out, does that impact his offense the same way Sanchez’s defensive woes in 2018 effected him? Chuck Knoblauch saw his offense nose dive in the ’90s after his defensive instability became more obvious. And we’re talking about a former Gold Glove-winning second baseman.

This should concern the Yankees.

What This Could Mean for 2020 and 2021

If the New York Yankees have to move Gleyber back to second, you have to decide who you’re going to keep. If you want to keep DJ and want him to play, his second position on the field is third base. That’s the position currently occupied by Gio Urshela. Urshela is several years younger than DJ, and the analytics are going to show (and the Yankees are all in on analytics right now), that would mean they go with Urshela.

But what if Urshela regresses to what he was pre-2019 offensively? What if Urshela’s defensive liabilities (according to FanGraphs, he was the second worse defensive third baseman in baseball last season, showing a natural progression for Andujar if he was healthy), do you move Torres back to second, DJ to third, and have Wade as your shortstop, to then trade for a shortstop at the deadline?

The fact that the Yankees couldn’t find the same stats I found on Torre’s Defense is alarming. And the fact that his defensive liabilities at short are becoming more obvious makes you question why they didn’t just resign Didi in the first place.

Coronavirus: New York Baseball Fans Should Prepare for a Longer Layoff

New York Yankees

Jonesing for some baseball are you? We all are, but the reality is we’re not going to see the old pastime for quite some time. MLB has already delayed the season by two weeks, but that is seen as unrealistic.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan believes the season won’t begin until May, and that’s if everything breaks right.

The first thing that will have to happen is the normalization of American society. That may not happen for several months. New York is basically in lockdown. All major venues are shuttered for at least a month including Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center and Broadway. And those closures could last longer if the situation with Coronavirus worsens.

Should things improve and the government lifts the ban on gatherings of 250 people or more, that’s when the discussion will begin about resuming play. There’s also the prospect of playing games in front of no audience but that has met with a resistance from the teams and the players. If the venues aren’t safe for fans, they want no part of them, either.

When the green light is given, however, players will need time to ramp up for games, a second spring training of sorts. That could be as little as two weeks, though.

So, May could be a realistic target for MLB but as we stated, the direction the virus takes will be the driver of that. More incentive for everyone to band together to help stop the spread of the outbreak.