Second ex-Yankee pitcher goes to East rival
The New York Yankees may be haunted this season when they face ex-Yankee pitchers. Just over a week, ago the Tampa Bay Rays picked up 2021 Yankee pitcher and two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. The move by the Rays was made after the Yankees failed to offer the no-hitter pitcher a contract for the new season.
ESPNâ€™s Jeff Passan reports that a second ex-Yankee pitcher would be playing for another AL East rival. James Paxton, who pitched for the Yankees in 2020, has been picked up by the Boston Red Sox. Paxton was 16-7 in 2019 and 2020 for the Yankees. The injury-prone pitcher’s contract was not renewed, and he moved on to the Seattle Mariners, where he started only one game. But the Red Sox will take a chance with the pitcher who had Tommy John surgery last season. The contract is for one year at $10 million with a club option for 2023. He will not start the season, but the Yankees can expect to see him on the mound at Fenway Park at some point in the future.
Gary Sanchez remains the Yankee catcher for 2022
At the end of every season, the Yankees contemplate Gary Sanchez’s future, who hasn’t had a good year with the Yankees since 2017. This past season, Sanchez handled the backstop job a bit better than in 2020, but with very inconsistent hitting, and a degraded arm, the Yankees again considered non-tendering him. Sanchez has his supporters, but most fans would like to see him gone.
In previous articles, I have said that Sanchez would not be going anywhere, mostly due to the Yankees’ need to upgrade other positions and the lack of catcher options on the market. Last night many fans were wondering if the Yankees would tender him by the deadline. The Yankees did indeed tender him, so the duo of Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka will man the backstop for the upcoming season. Sanchez was given a 27% raise, worth an estimated $8 million.
Yankee non-tender candidates sticking around
The Yankees not only tendered catcher Gary Sanchez but all of their non-tender candidates. First baseman Luke Voit and third baseman Miguel Andujar will be hanging around as well. The caveat doesn’t necessarily mean they will be playing for the team, but it does mean the Yankees will have something to fall back on should they be unsuccessful in free agency or in the trade market. Tonight the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires. The Yankees will at least know they still have some options at those positions.
The Yankees also cleaned up some loose ends by giving contracts to Gio Urshela ($6.55 million), Domingo German ($1.75 million), and Lucas Luetge $905,000.
Chris Gittens won’t be playing for the Yankees
The Scranton Wilkes/Barre sensation, Chris Gittens, who got to play in a few games at Yankee Stadium last season, is no longer a Yankee and will be playing in Japan this season.
With the RailRiders, he hit .301 with 14 home runs in just 45 games. In this writer’s opinion, he was mishandled on the major league level, getting only 36 at-bats in 16 games that were scattered during the season, which never allowed him to get into his groove. He ended up hitting just .111 with just one home run. The Yankees released him.
Will the Yankees trade for shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa?
With the Yankees losing out on Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote that New York is expected to contact the Texas Rangers inquiring about shortstop Kiner-Falefa. Andy Martino echoed the report on Tuesday, saying that the Yankees had already contracted the Rangers.
With the acquisition of Cory Seager, the Rangers no longer need their 2020 shortstop. Should the Yankees work out a deal with the Rangers, make no mistake about it, the Rangers went after Seager to replace Kiner-Falefa, who is not the greatest shortstop, but for the Yankees would certainly be an upgrade from Gleyber Torres. Kiner-Falefa is a very good defender but not great offensively.
A big plus with the 26-year-old is that he stays healthy and is very durable. He played in all but six games in the last two seasons. In 2021 he had a slash line of .271/.312/.357 with 8 homers and 53 RBIs. He also stole 20 bases. Compared to Gleyber Torres, he would be a solid addition to the team.
Yankees sign infielder Jose Peraza to a minor league contract
The New York Yankees guaranteed themselves a backup at shortstop with the signing of Jose Peraza. Peraza is also a utility player that can play just about anywhere, but don’t be mistaken, Peraza is no upgrade from Tyler Wade.
Between 2019 and 2021, Peraza played in just over 200 games with only 13 homers and a batting average of just over .225. His last good season was in 2018 when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. He hit .288/.326/.416 with 14 homers. If he ever reaches the big team for the Yankees he will be a bench piece. For the time being, he will share the infield with another Peraza, Oswald for the Rail Riders.
Could Chris Taylor replace Tyler Wade?
The New York Yankee history shows that the front office loves players that can play multiple positions responsibly. In that end, they may target the former Dodger player Chris Taylor. Taylor is probably the most versatile player of all 2021 free agents.
In 2021 he played 33 games at second base, 9 at third base, 19 at shortstop, 16 in left field, 48 in center, and a few games in right field at Dodger Stadium. Although not above average at all positions, he is adequate wherever the Yankees might need him.
CBA expiration looming, will there be a lockout?
As of right now, it appears MLB will be in a lockdown when the sun rises tomorrow. Going into the last day of negotiations, the sides are still far apart on several issues. Two important ones to be resolved is that the players want more money earlier in their careers, and the owners want to keep that money. Yes, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it is all about money.
Another sticky point, players for decades have generally been fine with a six-year path to free agency â€“ but not when teams so blatantly manipulate the service time of budding stars to make it a seven-year slog suddenly. For the most part, in the last several agreements, the owners have pretty much had their own way. This time the players are not going to take it anymore, thus the likely hood of a lockout.
If there is a lockout, all transactions will cease. The last time there was a work stoppage, it was when the players refused to play. It was 1994 during August in a season without baseball, without a World Series that lasted until it delayed the start of the 1995 season. Ruffling fans, many left the game for other sports. Although a stoppage rewards neither side, it looks inevitable. The big loser is the fans themselves, especially if the issues can’t be hammered out by spring training.