New York Yankees Weekend News Roundup: Snell, Holt, LeMahieu, and more

New York Yankees, Blake Snell
Jul 1, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres

The New York Yankees search for starting pitching will not include the Tampa Bay Ray’s Blake Snell as he has been traded to the San Diego Padres. Neither team has announced the deal, but it is confirmed by CBS Sports. The deal is both good news and bad news for the Yankees. Snell in his career has been a Yankee killer, and now the Yankees will no longer face him in the regular season. On the bad news side, if the Yankees were hoping to add him to their staff; he is another pitcher that the Yankees won’t acquire.

It appears in the deal that Snell will go to the southern California team and the the Tampa Bay Rays will get two pitchers and two catchers from the Padres. Snell, 28, won the 2018 American League Cy Young Award and has compiled a 2.85 ERA (148 ERA+) and 3.54 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the last three seasons. Another possible target, Charlie Morton, the Yankees lost out on when he was signed by the Atlanta Braves.

Could the Yankees target Brock Holt?

I know your saying Brock who? If the Yankees can’t sign DJ LeMahieu they will need a serviceable utility player. Brock Holt is just that. The previous Boston Red Sox and Brewers player is not known for having a flashy bat, but in 20 games with the Washington Nationals in 2020 he did hit .262/.314/.354, or a 78 OPS+. What the Yankees could use is his glove which is quite good. Add to that he can play most anywhere on the field. He has manned all outfield positions and is serviceable at all infield positions. He has also demonstrated an ability to play a competent shortstop in a pinch (-2 DRS, 5.2 UZR/150, 3 OAA in 398 career innings).

With the New York Yankees inevitable injuries they should at least kick the tires on the 32 year old Texan.  Holt represents an upgrade for the Yankees over Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada coming off the bench. It would probably cost the Yankees something in the $2 million bracket to get Holt, he might even accept a minor league deal with a guaranteed invitation to spring training. At this price, the Yankees should definitely be in on Holt.

More Teams interested in DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have made it clear that the want to re-sign batting title champ DJ LeMahieu.  They have made it a top priority and basically have put all the other needs of the team on hold, until they find out if DJ will again be in pinstripes. The Yankees offered LeMahieu a qualifying offer of $18.9 million immediately after the season ended, an offer he just as quickly refused.

But the sides have been talking with no any results that they are any closer to a deal then when they started. The Yankees would like to see a three year deal at $75 million. However LeMahieu is standing strong on his desire for a five year deal at $125 million. The only thing the Yankees have going for them is that DJ has made it known that he wants to stay with the Yankees where he likes his teammates and enjoys playing.

But the Yankees are walking a dangerous line by not agreeing to his terms, or at least offering a compromise. The longer they wait the more likely he will give up on the Yankees and go with one of the other teams that are hot on him. The Wasserman Group, DJ’s agency has made it known that the Toronto Blues are in pursuit of LeMahieu and the crosstown Mets have also shown an interest. But that group is growing according the agency; the rich Los Angeles Dodgers are now in the mix.

Former Yankee Phil Niekro passes away

Very unhappy news was revealed early Sunday morning when that found out that knuckleballer Phil Niekro had passed away in his sleep. The Hall of Fame starting pitcher had one of the longest pitching careers in baseball. He played for 24 years mostly with the Atlanta Braves. But for two years between 1984 and 1985 he pitched for the New York Yankees, going 32-20 with an ERA of 3.59. Much of his success as a pitcher came from him developing his famous knuckleball pitch. Fellow Yankee Bobby Mercer once said of his pitching style; “trying to hit his knuckleball was like trying to eat Jell-O with chopsticks.”

It’s a very uncommon feat for a pitcher to remain at the top of his game for his entire career, especially for a career that lasted 24 years. In his 24 years, he only had four losing seasons, and they were not near the end of his career. As stated earlier, he spent most of his career with the Braves. The Atlanta Braves signed him in 1966, after two years with the Milwaukee Braves, and he finished his career at the end of the 1987 season for those same Atlanta Braves after a short stint with the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays.He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame not as a New York Yankees but more fittingly an Atlanta Brave in 1997. Niekro was 81 years old.



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