New York Yankees News/Rumors: Yankee’s mid-rotation replacements are disappearing

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees pitching situation this offseason is in continual flux. When the Yankees refused to give qualifying offers to Mashiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ, they became free agents able to accept offers from any team that was interesting in them. There are so many unknowns that general manager Brian Cashman has his hand filled trying to improve the Yankee pitching rotation after another losing season. The Yankees have won only one World Series in the last 20 years, the last one eleven years ago. The Yankee front office would like to see that change, along with the fans that are tired of getting to the postseason, only to lose again.

Although not comfirmed by the Yankees, there are suggestions that the Yankees are talking with Masahiro Tanaka about a possible return. Any return of Tanaka would likely be for a short term and deeply discounted from what he earned this past season. They didn’t offer him a qualifying offer, showing that they are willing to let the “Tank” walk if he won’t accept the Yankees terms.

With all of that going on the Yankees have been looking for mid-rotation pitching help. High on the list of considerations was Charlie Morton, Kevin Gausman, and Marcus Stroman. But now, this week both Stroman and Gausman have accepted qualifying offers from their teams, possibly looking for a bigger payday after the next season, when the free agent market may be financially better. The Yankees are quickly losing candidates to solver their pitching problems. That probably moves Charlie Morton and Lance Lynn, further up the consideration ladder. However, the secretive Brian Cashman may be looking at dark horses the no one knows about.

With the pitching market already shrinking, it makes one wonder if the New York Yankees might take a closer look at adding a big money pitcher, like the newly selected Cy Young Award winning Trevor Bauer? Being cash short due to huge losses this year, that is doubtful. The Yankee fans would love it. Imagine a pitching rotation of Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Masahiro Tanaka anchoring a rotation that has a bevy of backup prospects, like Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia and others.

If the New York Yankees are serious about winning a 28th World Championship, and winnig it now after obtaining Cole, they will bite the bullet and spend for Trevor Bauer, instead, of patching up a lineup behind Cole. Doing the same thing tends to produce the same results. Getting Bauer would make the loss of Masahiro Tanaka meaningless, with so many prospects able to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.

 

 

New York Giants: Can Tae Crowder be the answer next to Blake Martinez?

New York Giants, Tae Crowder

Going into the 2020 season, the New York Giants expected to have not one but two problems at linebacker. Nobody expected former Green Bay Packer defender Blake Martinez to become a staple on defense, currently ranking as one of the best at his position in the NFL through nine weeks.

Martinez currently leads the league with 92 total tackles and has an 80.4 overall defensive grade, per PFF. He has been a stellar run defender and has consistently gotten better in coverage as the weeks have gone by. Against Washington this past weekend, Martinez recorded an interception and pass break up, limiting his assignments to just 27 yards on three receptions.

The emergence of Martinez for the Giants has been welcomed, especially after he signed a three-year deal this past off-season. The problem, however, is the second linebacker spot next to him.

How have the New York Giants supplemented the LB2 position?

During camp, the consensus was that Devante Downs would fill the secondary linebacker role and that 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds, he represents a mammoth at the LB position. Last week, he played 29 total defensive snaps, but the Giants are preparing to gain back seventh-round draft choice Tate Crowder. While Downs has been effective in the run game the past several weeks, he is lackluster in coverage.

Crowder, on the other hand, is a better athlete and played well during his five appearances this season. He has one fumble recovery which he took for a touchdown and nearly secured an interception against the Los Angeles Rams.

As “Mr. Irrelevant,” Crowder has a long way to go before he is a cemented starter in the NFL but has presented solid traits and tangible abilities.

Crowder moves well with the flow of the game and is a smart player, especially when it comes to being in the right place at the right time. He’s not the fastest linebacker out there, but he makes up for his lack of speed and agility with effort and knowledge of the scheme. He took to Patrick Graham’s defense quickly and was recently designated for return after spending several weeks on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

It is too soon to tell if Crowder will be a focal point on defense and pair well with Martinez, but in his limited action, he showed plenty of promise and optimism. The remainder of the season will give us a good idea if he can lock down the spot and alleviate some concerns for the Giants going into the 2021 off-season.

Mets Interviewing Former Marlins President For President of Baseball Ops

New York Mets

At least one name is confirmed in the search for the next President of Baseball Operations for the New York Mets. Michael Hill has interviewed already after being let go by Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins in October. After the Marlins ownership change, Hill created a winning team out of mid-level free agents and prospects.

Hill joined the Marlins organization in 2002 after graduating from Harvard University and spending time in the minor leagues. He spent time in multiple positions like VP, General Manager, and most recently as the President of Baseball Operations. Hill spent more of that role trying to get good returns for All-Stars like Giancarlo Stanton and J.T. Realmuto.

Rebuilding the Farm System

After Jeter pushed Hill to trade away all their major league talent, Hill had to rebuild at the minor league level. Hill brought back players like Sixto Sanchez, Jorge Alfaro, and Sandy Alcantara. He fits the mold of the classic scouting methods and the new-school analytics that is sweeping through baseball. Hill proved his ability to create a winning roster with a lack of funds during the 2020 season. If hired, Hill has the opportunity to the same, with endless resources.

The rest of the candidates for the biggest job in the organization are still unknown. Hill receiving an interview, sets the example that the Mets will not make any more mistakes in their management. Hiring a former agent with absolutely no experience in the front office is a move of the past regime. The rest of the candidates likely contain a similar resume to the likes of Hill and Alderson.

Yankees rumors/news: JT Realmuto still a possibility for Bombers as they re-evaluate catcher

New York Yankees, JT Realmuto

If the New York Yankees weren’t rumored as trade partners and free-agent suitors for the best players in baseball, the world might be completely upside down.

However, the New York Mets are about to push the bounds of New York sports, exercising a lofty financial commitment, as new owner Steve Cohen is ready to make the franchise “great.”

With Cohen preparing to dump boatloads of cash into the Mets’ elevation, the Yankees have a new challenger in town. Nonetheless, they are still in the running to acquire the likes of star shortstop Francisco Lindor and potentially catcher JT Realmuto.

Former Cincinnati Reds’ GM Jim Bowden believes that catcher JT Realmuto is a great fit with the Yankees, as stated in his article for The Athletic (subscription required).

Realmuto, who would replace Gary Sanchez at catcher for the Yankees if signed, is one of the best players at the position in baseball. He finished the 2020 campaign with a .266 average, hitting 11 homers and 32 RBIs.

Realmuto’s primary issue is that he hosts a 24.6% strikeout rate and walks just 8.2% of the time. What he lacks offensively, he makes up in defense tenfold. Having committed just two errors and one passed ball this season, he is stout behind the plate and would be a massive upgrade over Sanchez.

Comparably, Sanchez finished the most recent season with a .147 average and a 36% strikeout rate. His offense doesn’t even closely resemble JT’s, representing a massive upgrade, but one that would likely be record-breaking in terms of financial commitment.

Defensively, Sanchez logged five passed balls and five errors this season, displaying a serious lack of consistency behind the plate.

While ownership seems to be committed to Sanchez for the time being, they were reportedly fielding offers for him at the trade deadline in August. That fact alone tells us that the Yankees might be more willing to part ways with him than previously thought.

While I don’t think they will acquire Realmuto and make a blockbuster trade, including Sanchez, it is a deal worth monitoring as the off-season progresses. Things are going to be interesting for the Yankees, and I can see them making a huge splash but also sitting still and plugging holes without spending too much capital.

New York Yankees’ LeMahieu finalist for tonight’s AL MVP reveal

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

Tonight, the MLB Network in collaboration with the BBWAA will release the winner of the AL MVP. DJ LeMahieu of the New York Yankees is a finalist, but is facing some tough competition for the award. Meet the three finalists:

DJ LeMahieu

DJ LeMahieu’s second season in pinstripes was a stellar one. After finishing fourth in 2019 MVP voting, LeMahieu would like to follow it up by winning the award in 2020.

In 195 at-bats, LeMahieu bat .364, winning the league batting title. He hit 10 home runs and drove in 27. Additionally, his OPS was a whopping 1.011 with an OPS+ of 177. LeMahieu also won the AL second-base Silver Slugger award for the second consecutive season.

José Abreu

Jose Abreu’s stellar 2020 season helped his Chicago White Sox squad capture their first postseason birth in 12 years.

Over 240 at-bats, Abreu drove in 60 and slugged 19 home home runs, finishing first and second across the majors, respectively. He hit .317 and had a .987 OPS with a 166 OPS+. As expected, he also won a Silver Slugger award, but for firs-base.

José Ramirez

After a rough 2019 season, Jose Ramirez bounced back nicely and has found himself as an MVP award finalist.

Ramirez bat .292 with 17 homers and 46 runs batted in over 219 at-bats. He added a .993 OPS with a 163 OPS+. Additionally, Ramirez swiped 10 bags and led the AL in runs scored. Like the other two candidates, Ramirez won a Silver Slugger award for his spectacular season.

This year’s AL MVP race is wide-open, and it wouldn’t really be a surprise if any of the three candidates won. However, according to stats, it seems as if LeMahieu and Abreu have a slight advantage over Ramirez.

Regardless of the outcome, all three players had phenomenal seasons and deserve recognition for it.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Will Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer make up and play nice?

trevor bauer, New York Yankees

Everyone knows that after another New York Yankees’ failed season, they need pitching help. They have lost three pitchers to free agency, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ. With that pitching need, the hot stove has been filled with talk of the Yankees acquiring free agent Trevor Bauer. Last night Bauer received one of the most prized baseball awards, the Cy Young Award for the National League’s best pitcher.  That award is likely to set the hot stove ablaze.

It has been long known that the Yankees Gerrit Cole and the Reds Trevor Bauer have had a feud that dates back to their college days. In an after award news conference Bauer again brought up the feud. In recent months Bauer has made light of the feud and did again last night, saying he would have no problem pitching alongside Cole at Yankee Stadium.

“I have nothing wrong with Gerrit,” Bauer said. “We had our differences in college and that was nine or 10 years ago at this point. I’m a different person now than I was then. I’m sure the same is true for him.”

For the most part, the feud is a feud on Trevor Bauer’s part, not the other way around. Cole went to high school at Orange Lutheran. After his senior year, the New York Yankees selected Cole in the first round, with the 28th overall selection of the 2008 Major League Baseball draft. Bauer attended Hart in Santa Clarita, California. Bauer was smart and graduated early, then attended UCLA. Cole refused the Yankee offer, instead attended UCLA. This is where the two high school baseball stars first met.

The first thing to understand is that both of these young men weren’t typical college jocks, they were both brilliant and very academic, and both studied their pitching crafts to levels seldom seen. That is where the similarities ended. The two personalities are polar opposites. Cole is quiet and all business with an extreme work ethic. Bauer’s mouth sometimes flapped when it shouldn’t, and his work ethic early on was questionable, noted by his coaches. Cole also noted it called out Bauer for it. This is when the bad feelings between the two first came about.

Later Cole indicated that he felt that Bauer didn’t have a future in baseball. What caused him to say that is anyone’s guess. But Bauer admits many said the same thing, but it intensified the hurt feelings when his competition, Cole, said it. At the end of their college careers, they both were at the top of their game and the most wanted in the 2008 draft. Cole was selected number one and Bauer number three, but the supposed feud went on for years. It should be noted that Cole has never spoken of the feud, and avoids talking about it, and to this day, doesn’t talk to or look at Bauer.

Whether the feud is over or not is anyone’s guess. The one thing for sure is that Bauer will not add any fuel to the fire, preventing him from becoming a New York Yankee, should the Yankees go after him.

“At the end of the day, I want to win,” Bauer said. “I hate losing. It drives me nuts. And it’s pretty evident from watching him pitch and seeing his performances in the postseason and how into it he is, that he feels the same way. And I think if you look at trying to win a World Series, which is one of my goals every single year, you want to put the most intense competitors together, you want to put the best talent together, and go and see what you can do. Certainly, if I was given the opportunity to do that and play alongside him again, I’d be more than open to it.”

Until Bauer is signed with a new club, the Yankees’ talk having both Cole and Bauer will not go away. After all, a one-two pinch of Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer would be devastating to any opponent facing the Yankees. For the most part, it would completely solve their pitching problems and more, but will the Yankees be willing to spend for Bauer, who is sure to command big dollars? Probably not, having just spent $324 million for Cole, having to resign DJ LeMahieu and the arbitration raises they will have to give out this offseason. The top brass has also said that the Yankees want to stay below the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

It would seem that a pitching rotation of Cole, Bauer, Severino, German, and Tanaka would almost assure the New York Yankees and another trip to the World Series and a 28th World Championship they have been waiting for since 2009. One intriging question, based on him stating that his ultimate goal is winning a World Series, would he take a little less money to pitch alongside Cole to obtain that World Series ring he wants?