New York Mets: The First Big Move Under Steve Cohen’s Ownership

The New York Mets finally made first their big move under Steve Cohen by acquiring Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. Fans can finally quit complaining about the lack of moves made at the moment. Now that we know who the Mets traded for, what should they expect in return?

Lindor is in the class of the premier shortstops in all of baseball. In the last four full seasons, Lindor was an All-Star in all four seasons, a two-time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner, and a Platinum Glove owner. Lindor is only 27 years old and will very likely re-sign with the Mets the same way Mookie Betts did with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fans will love him, and he is the new face of the franchise.

Carrasco is a bonafide number two starting pitcher. He has a 3.77 career ERA, battled through blood cancer to return in 2019, and is signed through the next three seasons. As the Mets wait for another starting pitching sign and Noah Syndergaard’s return, they have a rotation that will compete for a division crown.

Shortstops to Cleveland

Of course, Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez are heading to Cleveland. Both players have a high ceiling, but neither of them are at Lindor’s level. Both will thrive in a smaller market where the expectations are lower. Much like Travis d’Arnaud, Rosario needs a clean slate after never living up to his #1 prospect ranking.

Josh Wolf and Isaiah Greene are two former second-round pick for the Mets. Neither are in the upper class of Mets prospects but were worth taking a risk on. In 2019, Wolf had a 3.38 ERA in Rookie ball, while Greene has yet to play professionally.

The question becomes, “what is next?” George Springer is always on the radar, but anything can and will surprise us like the Lindor trade.

New York Yankees lose out on the Francisco Lindor sweepstakes in blockbuster fashion

New York Yankees, Mets, Francisco Lindor

If you are a New York Yankees fan, you are usually used to general manager Brian Cashman solidifying blockbuster deals. Being on the other side of the fence is a rarity, especially when compared to the New York Mets, a franchise that has seldom made big deals during the off-season.

However, new owner Steve Cohen wasn’t joking when he said he was going to invest back into the team. The New York Mets are closing in on star shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. This would give them one of the best defensive players in baseball and an above-average starter who can slide in behind Jacob deGrom.

According to Jeff Passan:

So far what we know of the New York-Cleveland blockbuster: Mets get SS Francisco Lindor and RHP Carlos Carrasco.

Cleveland gets: SS Andres Gimenez, RHP Josh Wolf, OF Isaiah Greene

The New York Yankees had their chance, but it’s long gone now:

The Yankees have been linked to Lindor multiple times over the past few seasons, and that rumor mill didn’t stop once the 2020 campaign concluded. The Yankees still aren’t sure about Gleyber Torres at SS, and if they lost DJ LeMahieu this off-season, Lindor was a consideration for them.

However, Cashman elected to take a different approach, avoiding long-term deals like the one Lindor is bound to receive from the Mets. It is a little worrisome that the team only a 7 train away is making such a big splash with new ownership, as they are confident in their quest to compete with the Yankees and their salary cap expenditures.

In 2019, Lindor hit .284 with 32 homers and 74 RBIs. For his slugging ability, he has an astronomically low strikeout rate at about 14%.

Ultimately, he would’ve been welcomed with open arms if the Yankees acquired him, but they are focused on DJ LeMahieu and his contract extension. Other teams have reached out to DJs representatives, including the Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, and Los Angeles Dodgers. Considering this blockbuster deal by the Mets, the Yankees simply can’t let LeMahieu walk, otherwise, they might have a riot on their hands.

BREAKING: The New York Mets acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco via trade!

New York Yankees, Mets, Francisco Lindor

The New York Mets are about to make the move of the offseason, as they are in very advanced conversations with the Cleveland Indians to acquire star shortstop Francisco Lindor, according to ESPN Jeff Passan. The deal is being finalized.

“The New York Mets are deep into talks on a deal to acquire Francisco Lindor from the Cleveland Indians, sources tell ESPN,” Passan tweeted on Thursday.

However, that is not all! According to Mark Feinsand, the Mets will also be getting Carlos Carrasco from the Indians in the Lindor deal.

According to Tim Healey fo Newsday, the Mets will get Lindor and Carrasco, while the Indians are acquiring Andres Gimenez, Amed Rosario, Josh Wolf, and Isaiah Greene.

Mets’ president Sandy Alderson had previously stated, over the winter, that the team would prioritize free agent acquisitions before the trade market. However, he also left the door open to acquiring talent already on other teams’ rosters.

The Mets are getting two stars!

Lindor, 27, makes sense for the Mets if they are able to sign him to an extension, as 2021 will be the last season of team control for him. He will hit the market after the 2021 World Series ends.

Lindor, one of the best shortstops in MLB, played all 60 games with Cleveland last season. In 266 plate appearances, he hit 8 home runs and hit .258/.335/.415 with a 100 wRC+. It was a subpar campaign by his lofty standards, but his defense and baserunning pushed his fWAR up to 1.7.

In his career, Lindor has slashed .285/.346/.488 with a 118 wRC+ and has 28.9 career fWAR.

Carrasco, meanwhile, will greatly improve the Mets’ rotation. In 12 starts and 68 innings, he had a 2.91 ERA and a 3.59 FIP, with a 10.85 K/9 and a 3.57 BB/9.

Carrasco would give the Mets a formidable rotation and would join Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, Noah Syndergaard, and David Peterson as options for manager Luis Rojas for the 2021 season.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Will Wade, Ford, or Tauchman have an impact of the 2021 season?

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

Whether the New York Yankees sign DJ LeMahieu or not, life will go on, and there will be a 2021 baseball season. However, the outcome of those negotiations could have much to do with what other changes the Yankees can make to a team that needs pitching, both starting and in the bullpen. Even before spring training starts on February 21, it seems the Yankee’s starting lineup is pretty set. Leading off if they can sign him will be DJ LeMahieu, followed by Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Clint Frazier, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, and Gio Urshela. Of course, if they can’t resign DJ, it could be substantially different. If the Yankees sign Brett Gardner for another year, he most likely will lead off.

At present, it is unclear how many men will be allowed on theNew York Yankees starting day roster, but it will probably be either 25 or 26. According to how many pitchers the Yankees have on the roster for the opening day, that will allow either two or three, bench players. Those players are likely to be Tyler Wade, Mike Ford, and Mike Tauchman. Let’s look at all three and see what impact they could have with the Yankees in 2021.

Mike Ford is the easiest to predict; he will back up Luke Voit at first base. Ford had a pretty lousy season in 2020, which was not uncommon, especially for players who don’t play daily. Ford hit .135 with 10 hits over 74 plate appearances. He also lacked his 2019 power-hitting with only 2 home runs. Still, he is an adequate first baseman. In his first year with the Yankees, he hit .259 with 12 long balls. If he can return to that in 2021, the Yankees will be happy with that performance.

From Mike Ford, the situation becomes far foggier for both Wade and Tauchman. For Tyler Wade, two scenarios could affect his playing time. If the Yankees sign LeMahieu, that would leave Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada as backups for LeMahieu. If the Yankees don’t sign DJ, they could choose to move Gleyber Torres to second base, his natural position, that would leave Wade to back up whoever is the shortstop, and secondly to back up Torres at second along with Estrada. However, whatever happens, Wade is still the fastest and smartest base runner on the team.

Still foggier is Mike Tauchman’s place with the team.  Now that Giancarlo Stanton is pretty much the every day DH, that leaves Clint Frazier in left field, Aaron Hicks in center, and Aaron Judge in right field. With the Yankees not taking up Brett Gardner’s option, that leaves Mike as the natural outfield backup for all outfield positions. Frazier has a good injury history, but the Aaron’s don’t. For instance, Hicks has only played in over 100 games in a season twice in his eight-year career. Judge has done a little better playing in over 100 games three of his five years. Complicating Tauchman’s playing time is if they re-sign Gardner, a natural center and left fielder. Adding to the mix, the Yankees just traded for outfielder Greg Allen who can play in all the outfield positions. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that general manager Brian Cashman has been getting calls about Tauchman’s availability.

Like with everything else in this offseason, while the DJ LeMahieu negotiations are at a standstill, it’s hard to know anything about anything until the outcome of those negotiations is known. All three of these players had substantial drops in performance during 2020. Tauchman, for some reason or other, lost all his power. Besides a 35 point drop in his batting average, he hit no home runs in 92 at-bats after hitting 13 in 2019. No matter how much playing time these players get, the New York Yankees hope they will return to a season similar to 2019. If the Yankees have injuries like they had in the last two seasons, these three bench players will see playing time.

 

 

New York Mets won’t rule out making a move for DJ LeMahieu

After signing catcher James McCann in December, the New York Mets have been relatively quiet in the free agent market. The league as a whole has been very slow to pick up the pace when it comes to signing upgrades. However, that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been monitoring the market.

The New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays have been connected to virtually every major free agent. Trevor Bauer, George Springer, Tomoyuki Sugano… you could say that they want the same players. But the thing is that both have wide open contention windows and need a couple of star-caliber players to solidify it.

One of the players that they both want is DJ LeMahieu. The Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers have been connected to him too, especially the reigning champs as they look to replace Justin Turner.

But according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Mets are eager to pry away LeMahieu from their crosstown rivals.

The Mets have other priorities, but that doesn’t rule them out

As of now, it appears that Springer is the Mets’ priority in the free agent market. However, they still want LeMahieu.
“They (the Mets) are widely expected to land Springer, possibly even Bauer, and won’t rule out LeMahieu,” Nightengale reported.

“No high-profile free agent wants to move as long as the Mets are in the picture,” Nightengale added.
The Mets have the desire to improve their roster, some holes in the rotation, bullpen, and center field, and the resources to fight for every major player available. That’s why agents want the Mets to be involved in every negotiation.

When it comes to LeMahieu, the smart money still has him signing with the Yankees. But in case that doesn’t happen, several clubs are lurking. One of them, even after committing $40 million to a starting catcher, is the Mets.

A next-level Anthony Beauvillier would solve a big problem for the Islanders

As the Islanders forge full steam ahead towards their season opener next week, there continues to be a lot of chatter about what we will see from an offensive standpoint this season. The Isles are basically sticking with the same forward corps they’ve had the past two years.

That group in recent years has been inconsistent at best with scoring goals having been hard to come by. Much of that narrative has been based on them not having a true goal-scoring threat.

Enter Anthony Beauvillier. He could be the answer to that problem if he has a monster season.

Beauvillier, 23, is entering this season with high expectations after he opened a lot of eyes with his sensational run in the postseason last summer where he recorded nine goals and five assists. He’s also coming off a solid 2019-20 regular season where notched 18 goals and 38 points prior to the season being shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think I’m ready to take the next step in my game,” Beauvillier told reporters via Zoom yesterday after he reportedly helped combine for three goals during the team’s first scrimmage of training camp.

Hearing those words should be music to Isles fans’ ears who have concerns about the offense.

Beauvillier has continued to evolve with each passing season, but it’s always been that consistency which has kept him from skyrocketing to that upper echelon. We also know it’s clear that he has an underrated scoring touch.

The last two seasons Beauvillier has totaled 36 goals. Before that in 2017-18, he recorded a career-high 21.

So obviously the potential for 25-30 is there, even in the season only being 56 games this year. And let’s be honest, if the Islanders can’t get that type of production from Anders Lee or Jordan Eberle, they will be in big trouble. They just don’t have the horses in their corps. Hence why Beauvillier turning into their missing sniper would really add a huge boost to the offense.

“I want to be a better player, a more consistent player and want to be a big part of this group, Beauvillier added. “It’s been like that for a couple years now and I just have to do it. It’s a little bit time for me.”

A lot of the Islanders’ success this year will hinge on guys like Beauvillier. He’s without question the club’s third-most important forward behind Mathew Barzal and Nelson and it’s crucial that he turns into that scorning threat he was in the playoffs and was projected to be when the organization drafted him 28th overall in 2015.

It would be huge for Beauvillier and the development of his career. More so, it would provide some huge reassurance for a quality that the Islanders have been lacking for so long.

The whole Mathew Barzal contract dispute has taken hold of the Islanders as they get set for the season to begin. So many people have chinned in on the situation — which could be solved any day now — but “Spittin Chiclets” Paul Bissonnette’s take might have taken the cake.

Saying the way “Barzal plays isn’t necessarily fun” in the Isles’ system and that’s why he should continue to holdout — its been confirmed it’s not that but just Barzal unsigned — is a doozy.

That system has gotten Barzal to the postseason two years in a row now and within an earshot of playing for the Stanley Cup.

If that’s not fun, then what is?

Josh Bailey scoring goals will never get old, even in training camp. Neither will his goal song.

 

 

Who will be the UFC champions after 2021? (Welterweight – Heavyweight)

UFC, Jon Jones

Yesterday, I went through the UFC’s flyweight – lightweight divisions and listed out who I believed would be standing as champion after 2021. Unlike 2020, I’m expecting some title to change hands inside the octagon in 2021.

2020 was the first time in the modern UFC era that not a single champion lost their title in a fight. Belts were vacated in 2020, however, if a champion made the walk with the belt, they walked out with the belt.

2021 is promising to be a very tough year for the UFC champions. Every one who is a current title holder is more than capable of holding on to their belts, however, it’s going to be far from easy.

The fights we already know about that are booked look tough on the champions. For example, the UFC is booking Petr Yan (15-1) against Aljamain Sterling (19-3) and Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) against Brian Ortega (15-1,1 NC).

The champions will likely enter the octagon as the betting favorite in both of those matchups. However, I personally see both challengers as the favorites when looking at the skillsets and attributes inside those matchups.

The champions in the heavier divisions are also in for some rough matchups in 2021. Lets go from the welterweight division through the UFC‘s heavyweight division and pick who will be standing as champion after this year.

UFC Champions after 2021 (Welterweight – Heavyweight)

Welterweight – Gilbert Burns

The first division up is the UFC’s welterweight division. Champion, Kamaru Usman (17-1), is booked to face Gilbert Burns (19-3) in the headliner of UFC 258. This fight has been booked a couple of times.

Originally, the two men were supposed to fight at UFC 251. However, Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t end up getting the shot. The promotion then tried to book this fight for December, but Kamaru Usman needed a little time to heal from his last fight.

Now, these former teammates are finally going to battle. Kamaru Usman lives up to his nickname in that he’s a nightmare for virtually all of his opponents. His strong wrestling and smothering style are incredibly difficult to deal with.

It’s one of the reasons why he hasn’t lost since his second professional fight. Usman is sensational, however, if there’s one man who has the style to beat Usman, it’s Gilbert Burns.

Burns is world class on the ground as a BJJ world champion. Not only that, but in 2020, he showed just how dangerous his hands are. He’s incredibly fast and powerful on the feet. I believe he will have the striking advantage whenever these two fight.

For now, I think that Burns is going to get the job done next month. I just think he has the perfect style to become the UFC champion. In looking at welterweight right now, I’m not sure anyone will take the belt from Burns if he gets it. At least not in 2021.

Middleweight & Light Heavyweight – Israel Adesanya

I’m lumping these next two UFC divisions together because I think one man will hold both titles after 2021. The middleweight and light heavyweight champion after 2021 will be The Last Stylebender, Israel Adesanya (20-0).

After doubting him for a while, I’m completely sold on Adesanya. Every time you start to doubt this man or believe someone will give him problems, he puts on the best performance of his career to shut everyone up.

Very much reminds me of Anderson Silva in his prime in that sense. Adesanya is already the middleweight champion and I don’t see anyone posing a threat to him at 185. I believe he’s just head and shoulders ahead of the competition there.

Adesanya is moving up to challenge Jan Blachowicz (27-8) at UFC 259 for the light heavyweight championship. This is going to be a tough fight for stylebender and Blachowicz is the most powerful fighter that Adesanya has ever fought.

It’s not going to be an easy fight, however, I think when it’s over, Adesanya is getting his second title. I’m not sure what fights will come after that for Adesanya, but I believe he will defeat anyone at either division that’s not named Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

Heavyweight – Jon Jones

Last but not least, we have the UFC’s heavyweight division. Who will leave 2021 with the title of baddest man on the planet? Well, I believe that the baddest man on the plan will also have the title as The GOAT.

Jon Jones is currently working on his move to the heavyweight division. Jones vacated his light heavyweight title in 2020 to focus on capturing the heavyweight championship of the world.

Stipe Miocic (20-3) currently reigns at heavyweight. Miocic is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history with two title reigns and a combined four title defenses which is unheard of in the heavyweight division.

Stipe has a very tough test in front of him for his first title defense of 2021. Miocic is taking on Francis Ngannou (15-3) for the second time. This fight is expected to take place in either March or April.

In my heart of hearts, I don’t see Stipe Miocic winning the rematch. He dominated the first fight between the two, but I believe both men are heading in opposite directions. Francis Ngannou is going to become the champion.

However, regardless of who wins, the winner will fight Jon Jones in either the summer or the fall. I think that a motivated Jon Jones beats either one of those men. Yes, Francis has power, but Jones’ striking defense is sensational.

I think his style would keep Ngannou at range and he’d be able to beat him on the cards. At this stage in their careers, I don’t see Miocic being able to beat Jones really wherever the fight goes. With that in mind, Bones will leave 2021 with heavyweight gold.

Report: New York Knicks have Taj Gibson on their radar

New York Knicks, Taj Gibson

The New York Knicks have won five of their last six games, and fans are worried about messing with the starting rotation, justifiably so. However, injuries have decimated their frontcourt, with Obi Toppin and dealing with a calf injury and Nerlens Noel also missing consistent games the past two weeks.

Ultimately, this has led to the Knicks being interested in former player Taj Gibson. He played with New York in 2019, and at 34 years old, he brings a stable veteran presence to the locker room and floor. During his time with NY, he played specifically at center and averaged 6.1 points per game and 4.3 total rebounds over 16.5 minutes. He was productive for what the Knicks asked him to do — primarily play big man defense and add an experienced presence in the paint.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Knicks have touched base with Gibson and are considering him on a free-agent deal. They declined the team option on his contract back in November, but there was mutual interest in him returning to the team. The numbers simply didn’t work out.

Gibson is best known for his assistance in Mitchell Robinson’s development, as he was seen as a mentor to the young center. According to Begley, there are a few contenders who have reportedly tabbed Gibson as worthy of interest aside from NY.

Nonetheless, the Knicks have been grinding lately on a tough road trip, finally making their way home against the Jazz and recording a stellar victory.

In the win, the Knicks enjoyed a fantastic performance from Julius Randle, who struggled in the first half but woke up in a second, finishing with 30 points and recording 16 rebounds. Point guard Elfrid Payton has also been fantastic lately, scoring 22 points and connecting on 10 or 15 shots against Utah.

The secret ingredient, though, has been Austin Rivers the past three games, after returning from a groin strain that held him out early on in the season. Against Utah, he recorded 23 points, hitting four consecutive three-pointers at one point.

It is exciting to see this Knicks team developing and growing so rapidly, and adding an experienced veteran like Gibson can only be beneficial, as long as he’s not eating into minutes in the current starting unit.

New York Yankees: Catcher Erik Kratz on Deivi Garcia, retirement and his future in baseball (video)

New York Yankees, Erik Kratz

It was a surprise for the casual New York Yankee fan when the little-known Erik Kratz burst on the scene late in the 2020 season as the Yankee catcher who caught Deivi Garcia’s Major League Debut. Before we get into that, it’s important that you know a little more about Kratz.

Kratz was a journeyman catcher for his 18-year baseball career. After playing for seven years with minor league affiliates of the Blue Jays, from 2002 through 2008, Kratz signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. It is with the Pirates that Kratz made his Major League debut in 2010. Throughout his career, Kratz was known as an excellent defender but a sub-par hitter, causing him to play second fiddle to the starting catchers for nine different teams. But throughout his career, he was also known for identifying and working well with young up and coming players and catchers. His longest stint was with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he caught for four years. He also caught for the Royals, Astros, Giants, Rays, Jays, Brewers, and of course the New York Yankees for two different stints.

After graduating from a Mennonite High School in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, he attended Eastern Mennonite University, where he caught for their baseball team. From 1999 Kratz caught every at-bat for every game he played in and was named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Year twice. In his senior year, he batted .507/.563/.993, with 25 doubles, one triple, and 14 home runs with 59 RBI’s in 142 at-bats. He broke the NCAA Division III records for doubles in a career. He never reached that hitting dominance in the majors.

Kratz was traded to the New York Yankees in August of 2017, for the Yankees as they fought for a postseason berth; Kratz appeared in only two games as a pinch hitter, in both appearances, he got a hit, one a double for a batting average of 1.000 on the season. When the season was over, he declined an outright assignment to Triple-A at the start of November 2017 and became a free agent. On December 13, he signed a minor league contract with the Yankees. In 2018, playing for the team’s AAA affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Kratz batted .269/.356/.538 in 52 at-bats, but during May of the year, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers.

On June 8, 2019, Kratz signed a minor league deal with the Yankees. He batted .299/.375/.500, with 7 home runs and 31 RBI’s, in 154 at-bats for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Kratz became a free agent following the 2019 season, but he re-signed on a minor league deal for the 2020 season. He was called up to the New York Yankees on August 8 after an injury to backup catcher Kyle Higashioka. During a pre-game interview in early September, Kratz became emotional when asked about his influence and role in helping young pitchers, particularly Latin pitchers, (he speaks Spanish) develop their game and succeed at the major league level. Kratz said:

“I love seeing what they can do… I think sometimes some people forget where they come from, some people forget that they want (to succeed) just as badly, and there’s people back home who want it just as badly for them.”

Erik ended his 2020 season with one of the best batting averages of his career; he hit .321 and only stuck out 6 times in 28 at-bats. But that was not the highlight of his years with the Yankees; it was catching and particularly catching Deivi Garcia’s Major League debut. The two loved their relationship with Garcia saying in an interview that he owes much of his success to the mentorship of Kratz. Kratz also made the Yankees quote of the season. On August 31, 2020, Kratz left the dugout to catch for the Yankees. Looking back at the dugout, the 40-year-old yelled:

“I’m so excited to go play catch with my son!”

On November 6, 2020, Erik Kratz decided to call it a career and retired from baseball. He cited wanting to spend time with his wife and family. He is now home with his family in Pennsylvania, enjoying his retirement and deciding his baseball future.  With his ability to relate and work with young players, he certainly has a lock on being a coach for one of the 30 Major League teams. Still, many industry insiders say that he is manager material. I can’t forget to mention that on September 20, 2020, Kratz became the oldest position player to pitch for the Yankees and his knuckleball was nasty. Recently The Atlantic caught up with Kratz at his home and interviewed him on his retirement and future. When asked about how his first season in retirement was going, he had this to say:

It’s a little bit different. As a player, my focus and approach was always to leave no stone unturned. I just would do everything I could to be ready for the season, because as a player, I never viewed myself as good enough to just kind of roll out there and see what happens. If I hadn’t retired, I would have started throwing two days ago. It’s nice to not have to do that. I’m not jonesing for like okay, we need some competition or something. I think I make myself competitive otherwise. It sounds so cheesy, but I’m working hard at being the best dad, I can be and the best husband I can be.”

The Atlantic also pointed out his special relationship with Deivi Garcias and other young Yankee players. They asked Kratz what it’s like to experience working with those players and their relationships.

“We’ve talked at length about Deivi and you know how his demeanor, his maturity, is above-average. But just because he’s above average in those areas, it doesn’t mean that he’s already the perfect player or the perfect person. There’s still like, not just baseball lessons but life lessons that will help him grow. But no way am I sitting here saying, “Oh, you know, you guys need to listen to me. I’m a sage old veteran.” That’s not how it works. It’s something that’s just a constant practice. It’s a, “show me, don’t tell me” kind of thing. For me, I really enjoy that one. It’s practice for my kids at home, too. It’s really important to me that I could hopefully help somebody. I don’t care if it’s somebody just in the big leagues for three years or for 10 years.”

The magazine also asked the obvious question if he wanted to go into coaching. Kratz said, “when the time is right.”  He also stated that he received a Major League offer to coach this past season; he was flattered but wasn’t done playing. He also pointed out that he wanted to retire and be home, whether it be a year or 10 years when his youngest graduates high school. He also stated:

“To be particularly honest, I don’t know that coaching is what’s best for me. Maybe it would be more like starting a mentorship program or having some type of front office hiring position. There’s a lot of things that intrigue me.”

One this is for sure, still being relatively young Erik Kratz is a New York Yankee that we will hear much more about in the future, maybe working with young players again as a Yankee coach or manager. We know he will go wherever he can make the biggest impact. Kratz is an extraordinary individual.

Below is Knuckleball Kratz pitching for the Yankees on September 20, 2020.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

 

The New York Yankees have the inside scoop with two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees desperately need to upgrade their starting pitching rotation after losing three players to free agency this off-season. There is the possibility they inquire about retaining James Paxton or Masahiro Tanaka, but it seems they have moved on from JA Happ considering his lackluster performance in 2020. Paxton is supposedly healthy and is throwing for teams, and the Yankees should be in attendance given his cost-efficient lefty arm.

However, it is possible general manager Brian Cashman elects to take a different approach toward the position. Going with new players that represent varying levels of quality to fit a specific mold seems like the most likely scenario. One fantastic opportunity could be Corey Kluber, who hasn’t pitched much over the past two seasons but was considered one of the best starters in the MLB two years ago in 2018.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees have an insider helping Corey Kluber recover from his previous injuries.

Eric Cressey, who runs Cressey Sports Performance, was named the Yankees’ director of health and performance last offseason and is training Kluber through rehab this offseason. Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake worked at Cressey Sports before joining the Indians as director of pitching performance in 2016 and, thus, was with Kluber for his final four Cleveland seasons. … In a text, Cressey wrote: “Corey is doing great. It’s been a really smooth rehab with no hiccups and he’s already been off the mound several times.”

Ultimately, having Cressey’s behind-the-scenes input can only help the Yankees round-out a solid valuation of Kluber and what he’s capable of moving forward. Cashman has taken similar measures before, signing formerly injured players to cheaper contracts that help the Yankees keep their salary allocations down.
However, this is not an ordinary situation, as Kluber is a three-time All-Star and has won two Cy Young awards over the last six years. Unfortunately, injuries have derailed his stellar career, and most recently tore a muscle while pitching with the Texas Rangers in 2020, but I do believe he’s still got some gas left in the bank.